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Ex-Gov. White Testifies Against New Voter Rules

Former Gov. Mark White has testified that voter registration restrictions approved by the 2011 Legislature are unnecessary and make it tougher to register voters.

White took the stand Tuesday in federal court in Galveston on the final day of a hearing challenging the new provisions. Democrat White, before becoming governor, was secretary of state in the 1970s and helped overhaul the state's election code.

Assistant Attorney General Kathlyn Wilson argued the updated rules are meant to prevent fraud.

The nonpartisan group Project Vote seeks to block provisions regulating large-scale, community-based voter registration efforts. The group in February sued Secretary of State Hope Andrade and the voter registrar in Galveston County.

U.S. District Judge Gregg Costa has given both sides a week to submit further information.


More West Nile Mosquitoes in Dallas

A third neighborhood in Dallas is on the list to be sprayed for mosquitoes that could be carrying the West Nile virus.

Last year the first infected mosquito pool was not even indentified until very late in the summer season.

This week, three infected mosquito pools have surfaced in Dallas.

The latest to be identified will be sprayed Friday night. It’s in south Dallas bounded by Malcolm X, South Boulevard, Holmes and Pine Streets.

Tomorrow night, mosquito spraying trucks will be in southeast Dallas, around Elam and CF Hawn: and in West Dallas near Singleton, Mexicana and Ingersoll.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Dallas Among Cities Hoping To Set Swim Lesson Record

Dallas is among cities worldwide hoping to set a Guinness record for “The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson.”

The idea is to build global awareness about the importance of teaching children to swim.

Drowning is the second leading cause of death among ages 1-14.

Hundreds of Dallas children will participate by taking lessons in the 10 o’clock our Thursday at a dozen city pools.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Thousands lose electricity in Texas thunderstorms

Crews have been working to restore power to more than 16,000 homes and businesses a day after storms rolled through parts of Texas.

Utility officials say the largest outage area Wednesday afternoon was near Houston, in north Harris and Montgomery counties. Nearly 12,500 customers were still without electricity from Tuesday's bad weather.

Oncor Electric crews worked to restore power to about 4,000 customers from Wichita Falls to the Fort Worth area and down to Temple and Round Rock.

The National Weather Service says a chance of showers lingered Wednesday for parts of Texas.


TV Show “Dallas” Gets Praise And Cash At City Hall

The reboot of the television show “Dallas” premieres tonight on TNT.

This morning, at Dallas City Hall, enthusiastic council members approved nearly a million dollars over six years to Horizon Scripted Television – producers of Dallas.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Tennell Atkins says the run-up to tonight’s premiere has been worldwide publicity for the city.

Atkins: No money could pay for this advertising for the city of Dallas and the marketing for Dallas. I mean, this is a home run for the city of Dallas.

Atkins says the expenditure is creative economic development because shooting Dallas here brings jobs to locals, as well as publicity to the city.

BJ Austin, KERA News

100-year-old Battleship Texas springs massive leak

Hoses zigzag across the deck of the 100-year-old Battleship Texas as a crew works diligently to remove dozens of gallons of oil-laced water that has caused the vessel to list.

Ship manager Andy Smith said Wednesday he hopes the oil will have been removed by late Wednesday so the crew can begin looking for the cause of the leak. He says they still don't know why the ship that sits on Buffalo Bayou became flooded over the weekend, but it could be multiple leaks.

An 87-year-old World War II veteran who helped repair a leak in the 1980s visited the ship in hopes of again contributing to the solution.

The ship that fought in World Wars I and II is now a museum. Parts of the ship remain open.


Conservation efforts help avoid lizard listing

A contentious battle over a rare lizard found only in New Mexico and West Texas' oil and gas country has taken a surprising turn with federal officials deciding not to bestow endangered species protections on the small reptile.

The decision was being announced Wednesday in Washington, D.C., by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico says conservation agreements reached with many landowners in the dunes sagebrush lizard's habitat helped avoid a listing.

He says the case of the lizard should be used as a model for solving endangered species issues.

The Fish and Wildlife Service initially pushed off a final decision following an outcry from members of Congress and communities that rely on oil and gas development for jobs and tax revenue.

Environmentalists are calling the decision "unfortunate." They have accused the Fish and Wildlife Service of caving to political pressure and energy interests.