A federal court in Washington DC has thrown out the Texas redistricting maps drawn by Republican state lawmakers.
The three judge panel found evidence of discrimination in the election district maps for Congress, the state Legislature. Tarrant County Elections Administrator Steve Raborn says this ruling will not have any effect on the upcoming November elections.
“The districts that were thrown out are the ones that were enacted by the Legislature, not the interim maps that were given to us by the federal court in San Antonio back before the primary election,” said Raborn. “Right now, we’re not expecting any difficulties with the November elections. We think they will proceed as planned with the interim districts that we used in the primary.”
Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the court ruling stretches the Voting rights Act beyond the limits intended by Congress, and he will immediately appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
BJ Austin, KERA News
More Students Show Up For Class At DISD
The effort by the Dallas ISD to get kids to back to school this week is apparently paying off. Attendance on day two went up by 10,000 students.
That’s the highest second day total in a decade. Attendance on the first day was five thousand more than last year.
School officials made extra efforts this year to get the message out that kids need to be in school from day one. More than 150,000 students are now enrolled in DISD.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Big Job Labor Day To Close Major Dallas Interchange
A note for Labor Day travel and traffic: The Dallas North Tollway at LBJ will be closed Labor Day Weekend, August 31st through September 3rd. TxDOT crews will begin reconstruction of the heavily traveled interchange connecting the Tollway and LBJ Freeway.
It’s part of the 17-mile LBJ upgrade. This interchange make-over will take about 18 months to complete, and will occasionally shut down the Tollway at night or on weekends.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Texans Plan Labor Day Road Trips
In spite of Hurricane Isaac’s assault on the Gulf Coast, 2.4 million Texans plan to travel this Labor Day weekend. AAA-Texas says that’s 4% more than last year.
Most Texans surveyed plan to visit friends or relatives, or go to the beach or waterfront. And most Texans will drive.
BJ Austin, KERA News
Mosquito Repellant For Senior Citizens
Elderly Dallas County residents are about to receive 20,000 containers of insect repellant containing DEET. Health Department officials say it’s a new partnership with the company Cutter.
Dallas County Medical Director Dr. Christopher Perkins says studies show 80% of people infected with the most serious form of West Nile virus did not use insect repellent.
This will be the second free distribution of mosquito repellent to elderly, low income seniors in Dallas County this summer.
So far this year, Dallas County reports 309 cases of human West Nile virus, and 12 deaths. BJ Austin, KERA News
Texas Emergency Officials Prep For Isaac
Federal emergency officials in Texas have begun staging supplies in Louisiana in preparation for Hurricane Isaac.
Gov. Rick Perry has placed state and local emergency officials on alert, activating a disaster district committee in Beaumont to help people who might be evacuating from Louisiana.
The Texas emergency operations center in Austin continues to monitor Isaac.
The American Red Cross has activated its emergency command center in Dallas.
The regional Federal Emergency Management Agency office in Denton has set up an operations center. Emergency response items such as meals, water, cots, blankets and hygiene kits have been placed at various points in Louisiana.
Isaac is expected to make landfall over southeastern Louisiana, possibly the New Orleans area, either late today or early tomorrow morning.
Forecasters say Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida could see flooding linked to Isaac. A storm surge and heavy rains were anticipated in New Orleans.
American Air parent AMR posts $135M profit in July
The parent of American Airlines has posted July net income of $135 million.
Fort Worth-based AMR Corp. benefited from the busy summer travel season.
AMR Corp. said Monday that it would have made $189 million, if not for bankruptcy expenses of $54 million. The carrier sought Chapter 11 reorganization last November.
July revenue was $2.33 billion.
AMR ended July with $4.84 billion in cash and short-term investments, down from $4.97 billion at the end of June.
The company did not provide comparable figures for the same months last year.
For the quarter that ended in June, AMR would have earned $95 million if not for bankruptcy expenses. Those expenses meant it posted a net loss of $241 million.
Dewhurst says he'll run again for Lieutenant Governor
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he will run for a fourth term in 2014 following his failed bid for the U.S. Senate.
Dewhurst made the announcement Tuesday while attending the Republican National Convention in Tampa. His decision ends weeks of speculation about his political future since losing a July runoff to Ted Cruz in the race to replace U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Spokesman Matt Hirsch says the 67-year-old Dewhurst still feels "there's a lot of work left to be done."
Dewhurst has served as lieutenant governor since 2003, but another term is hardly assured. Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples have indicated they'll run to replace Dewhurst in two years.
The Texas lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate and wields considerable influence over state policy.
Campaign starts to replace 4 million burned trees
State parks officials have kicked off a campaign to raise money to replace millions of the signature trees that were lost a year ago when wildfires tore through the Lost Pines State Park and surrounding areas in Central Texas.
The devastating blazes last Labor Day weekend scorched 95 percent of one of the most popular state parks in Texas.
The campaign announced Tuesday is intended to replace 4 million trees on 16,000 acres less than an hour east of Austin.
Foresters say it will be at least 30 years before the loblolly pine seedlings grow to resemble a forest. Two million trees will be planted in the park and another two million outside the park.
The more than $4 million fundraising effort will be led by the Arbor Day Foundation.