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Drilling Vehicles Lead To Costly Road Repairs


A state transportation official says oil production trucks and vehicles are tearing up local roads without providing enough money to pay for repairs.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that a task force of county judges, state officials and industry representatives discussed the issue Monday. Texas Department of Transportation deputy executive director John Barton tells the newspaper that repairing damaged roads could cost $2 billion.

Barton says his estimate doesn't include damage to interstate and state highways.

While oil and natural gas drilling have created jobs and revenue, local counties say the road damage is outpacing transportation budgets. DeWitt County, east of San Antonio, says it projects $7 million in property taxes for the current fiscal year - and as much as $342 million in possible repair costs.


Number of uninsured drivers on Texas roads drops

The number of uninsured drivers in Texas has dropped more than 38 percent from a year ago.

Officials attribute the drop to both a 4-year-old program aimed at getting those drivers insured or off the road and a clean-up of the state's driver database.

The Dallas Morning News reports that statistics compiled in June indicate that just 13 percent of motorists, or about 2.6 million Texans, are driving without minimum insurance coverage, a violation of state law. One year ago, the state reported that about 22 percent of all drivers, or 4.2 million people, had no insurance.

A private contractor discovered problems in the insured-uninsured database earlier this year.

Texas drivers pay an estimated $1 billion a year to protect themselves from those who have no coverage.


Dallas troupe hopes to attend Olympics arts event

The Dallas Black Dance Theatre is rushing to raise money so it can perform at a festival that serves as the official artistic arm of the Olympics.

The troupe was invited in April to perform in at the Cultural Olympiad in Edinburgh, Scotland, on Aug. 15-19.

The troupe's executive director, Zenetta Drew, tells The Dallas Morning News, "This is an honor, it's an opportunity to be recognized on a world stage, but it's also an investment in the future of our organization."

The estimated cost to send 11 dancers and four administrators to the United Kingdom is $200,000.

The money wasn't available in the group's general fund, so supporters have been trying to raise the money through private and corporate donations. About half the goal remains.


NTSB: Tail dolly still attached to doomed glider

Investigators say a glider that crashed near Houston, killing all three aboard, still had a tail dolly attached that should have been removed before takeoff.

Three family members, including a 3-year-old boy, were killed in the June 17 crash into a field near Wallis, about 40 miles west of Houston.

A preliminary National Transportation Safety Board report says a tow plane was pulling the glider down a runway for takeoff when witnesses noticed the tail dolly still attached. Alerted, the glider dispatcher radioed the tow plane and glider to abort takeoff. It was too late as both left the ground.

About 50 to 75 feet above the ground, the tow line was released from both aircraft, the glider's nose rose steeply before it plummeted nose down to earth.


Chimps who attacked US student to live

The lead South African government investigator says two chimpanzees who viciously attacked a U.S. student will be allowed to live.

Conservationist Dries Pienaar blames human error for the attack last Thursday that has left 26-year-old Andrew Oberle in critical condition.

Pienaar told The Associated Press on Tuesday he found no negligence by the Jane Goodall Institute Chimpanzee Eden sanctuary in eastern South Africa.

Sanctuary managing member Eugene Cussons said he did not blame Oberle for crossing between two safety fences to try to retrieve a rock that the chimpanzees would use to stone tourists.

The chimps dragged Oberle under an electric fence and Pienaar said they tore off some fingers of one hand, among other injuries.

Oberle is studying anthropology at the University of Texas at San Antonio, and was researching at the institute at the time of the attack.