Perry Renews Drought Disaster Declaration | KERA News

Perry Renews Drought Disaster Declaration

Gov. Perry has renewed a proclamation declaring Texas a disaster due to the drought. The proclamation allows municipalities to apply for state assistance in dealing with the drought's impacts, including fighting and recovering from wildfires.

 Perry's proclamation says all counties in the state are plagued by extreme drought conditions and are vulnerable to wildfires.

Also Thursday, the Texas Farm Bureau said its members granted more than $1.4 million to help Texas volunteer fire departments in the wildfire fight.

One of the worst droughts on record has parched Texas in the past year, leading to some of the worst wildfires ever seen in Texas, destroying hundreds of homes and scorching thousands of acres.


Speed Likely Factor In Fatal Irving Crash

Irving Police believe speed was a factor in the crash of a Porsche into a canal along Spur 348/Northwest Highway.

Police were alerted after debris and damage to a guardrail was spotted. Divers located the car underwater and found a man and woman in the front seats, still wearing seat belts.

Information later received by police sent divers back to the scene where they recovered a third victim.

Police say the driver has been identified as 41 year old Southlake attorney, Ronald Eddins. The passengers are 21 and 23 year old Austin residents: Kaat Paula Debeuckelaer and Kenneth Joseph Lark.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Fort Worth Trustees Talk to Superintendent Hopefuls

Fort Worth school trustees began interviewing six superintendent hopefuls Thursday in a process trustee Judy Needham expects could take a month.

Needham says all candidates are superintendents, including Walter Dansby, the District’s acting leader. Dansby took over after Melody Johnson’s resignation and departure. Needham also says one or two hopefuls work out of state. She says board members promised anonymity to candidates, in order to protect them.

Needham says she wants someone with strong management and superintendent experience. She wants to see better test scores, a diminishing achievement gap, and someone who can unite the team.

Some critics of Fort Worth’s school board have blamed the former superintendent’s resignation on a divided board.

Attorney Dave Thompson, hired to help the district find its next superintendent, says trustees might narrow the choices down to a finalist in as little as two weeks.

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

FW Teenager Admits Punching Stranger

In a Fort Worth courtroom Thursday, a 14 year old boy admitted he punched a stranger in the mouth in an unprovoked attack three months ago. 40 year old Mark Gregory fell, hit his head and died. The Medical Examiner ruled the death a homicide.

Prosecutors say the boy was a passenger in a car that pulled alongside Gregory, who was walking. Court documents say the boy got out of the car and punched the man.

The boy’s attorney says his client is remorseful, and Gregory’s death was not intentional.

But the judge denied a request the boy be released to his mother’s custody. He will remain in detention until sentencing on a manslaughter charge later this month.

BJ Austin, KERA News

US Rep.: Soldier had 5 pounds of C4 in carry-on

A congressman says two 2.5-pound blocks of a powerful, military-grade explosive were found in a soldier's luggage at a West Texas airport.

Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Midland said Thursday that federal officials gave him details of the Saturday find in Trey Scott Atwater's luggage at Midland International Airport. Officials previously hadn't said how much of the material was found.

Conaway also said he takes the 30-year-old Fort Bragg soldier "at his word" that he was unaware the explosives were in his bag.

A hearing is scheduled for Friday to determine whether Atwater will remain in custody.

Authorities say Atwater's carry-on bag contained C4, which is used in Iraq and Afghanistan to blow the hinges off doors or destroy unexploded ordinance. Atwater grew up in Midland.


Wake starts for Texas boy, 15, shot dead by police

A long line of mourners is filing past an open casket containing the body of a 15-year-old South Texas boy shot dead by police who thought he was armed and deadly in a middle school corridor.

Police later learned that Jaime Gonzalez was armed with a pellet gun Wednesday inside Cummings Middle School in Brownsville.

The mourners filed past the casket at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brownsville, one block from his home. His stepmother, Noralva Gonzalez, sobbed as she embraced each visitor.

Dozens of young teens wearing white shirts sat in the pews and lined the back wall of the church. They then exited the church together and gathered outside, where they chanted the eighth-grader's name.


Officials investigate case of deported Texas teen

Immigration officials say they're investigating the circumstances under which a Texas teen was deported to Colombia after providing a false identity.

The family of 15-year-old Jakadrien Lorece Turner says she ran away more than a year ago. She was located in Bogota by Dallas police, with help from Colombian and U.S. officials.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said Thursday that Turner maintained after being arrested in Houston for theft and through the deportation proceedings that she was a Colombian adult here illegally. The official said Turner was interviewed by the Colombian consulate, which gave her documents to travel there.

Turner's grandmother, Lorene Turner, says officials should've done more to identify her.

Colombia's Family Welfare agency said the Foreign Minister was handling the matter. The Foreign Ministry had no comment.