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Boy Scouts Reaffirm Ban On Gays

Evrik (cc) Wikimedia

The Irving-based Boy Scouts of America says it stands by its policy banning openly homosexual members. It says after a two-year study that included diverse views from volunteers and professionals, BSA leadership confirmed its policy and says it is the best “for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”

The board will also take no action on a pending resolution to reconsider the policy.

The statement was issued a day before ousted Ohio den mother Jennifer Tyrell is expected to deliver 300,000 petition signatures to Boy Scout Headquarters in Irving. She’s a Lesbian who volunteered as her son’s den mother, but was then removed. The signatures support her reinstatement.

The long-standing, now controversial policy, was supported by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000. Several BSA Board Members have publicly backed a policy change.

Bill Zeeble, KERA News

Current Policy:While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” 

Release Final 7-17-12

Budget Language May Keep C-130’s In Fort Worth

The commander of the Joint Reserve Base in Fort Worth is cautiously optimistic that eight C 130 cargo planes will not be moved to Montana.

Cpt. Robert Bennett told Fort Worth City Council members he’s watching budget maneuvers by the Texas congressional delegation in the 2013 National Defense Appropriations Act.

“They believe they’re going to put some language in the NDAA, and it’s going to stay in there where they’re not going to have the funds to affect that change of that capability to move up north and provide funding for that infrastructure that’s required,” Bennett said.

In other words, there would not be the $86 million needed to build hangars and a refueling facility in Montana. Fort Worth Congresswoman Kay Granger has moved to block that expenditure. She says Texas, with wildfires and hurricanes, needs the C 130’s more than Montana.

A move would also hurt the North Texas economy. Cpt. Bennett says new calculations put the current economic impact of the base at $2.3 billion a year.

BJ Austin, KERA News

Texas readies single-drug execution for carjacker

Convicted killer Yokamon Hearn once bragged how the carjacking murder that would send him to death row earned him a newspaper headline.

Now he faces the notoriety of news stories proclaiming him the first Texas prisoner executed under a new single-drug procedure.

The 33-year-old Hearn is set to die Wednesday evening in Huntsville for the 1998 fatal shooting of 23-year-old suburban Dallas stockbroker Frank Meziere. He was abducted at gunpoint while he cleaned his car at a self-service car wash in Dallas, then shot 10 times. Hearn would be the sixth Texas prisoner executed this year but the first since officials last week announced the switch to single-drug lethal injections. The previous method used three drugs.

Hearn has appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court to block the punishment.


Texas lawmakers examine public school rules

Texas lawmakers quizzed state officials and school superintendents on how well Regional Education Service Centers are doing their jobs.

The Senate Education Committee met Tuesday to hear testimony on how schools share services, both academic and operational.

Senators questioned whether state-funded Regional Education Service Centers are spending those funds effectively in helping school districts share resources. School officials and center directors said they help the districts save money.

Last year the Legislature slashed $4.8 billion in school funding to make up a statewide budget shortfall. Schools have since laid-off more than 10,000 workers and class sizes have gone up.

When lawmakers meet again next year they expect to face similar budget shortfalls. The Republican leadership has pledged not to raise government spending, and therefore must find additional savings.


Texas veterans claims double in 2-year period

Leaders of the Texas Veterans Commission say pending claims have almost doubled in two years and more employees are needed.

Executive director Tom Palladino says Texas offices are getting more local calls since the VA began using national centers that instead direct callers online. State officials also cite aging World War II veterans and more Iraq and Afghanistan vets making claims.

Palladino appeared Monday before a Texas Senate panel at a veterans home in Temple.

Commission officials say pending claims in Texas have grown from about 46,000 in July 2010 to nearly 90,000 now.

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, who chairs the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Military Installations, says Texas needs to earmark more resources to the commission. The agency has nearly 110 counselors to help file claims.


Prosecutor: Sgt. in base sex scandal a 'predator'

A military prosecutor has told jurors that a Texas Air Force base instructor charged with raping a female trainee and coercing others into having sex with him is a "consummate predator."

The prosecutor, Major Patricia Gruen, told the seven-member military jury at the outset of Staff Sgt. Luis Walker's court-martial Tuesday that Walker raped the trainee in a supply closet at Lackland Air Force Base and had inappropriate sexual contact with others in a dormitory.

Walker is the first to stand trial in a sex scandal at the San Antonio base where U.S. airmen go through basic training that has led to charges or investigations against 12 people.

Defense attorneys told jurors there is no evidence corroborating the trainees' claims.


Romney on attack in Pa.; Obama collects Texas cash

President Barack Obama is heading for Texas to raise money.

The Democratic president on Tuesday will hold two fundraisers in Austin and two in San Antonio, with an estimated haul of at least $5 million.

The Texas visit comes as counterattacking Republican Mitt Romney is seeking to shift political attention away from his business tenure and his tax returns.

Obama is turning to Republican-tilted Texas to raise money from gay, Latino and big-dollar donors.

The president is holding one event in San Antonio aimed in part at Latinos, featuring actress Eva Longoria. Another event in Austin is co-sponsored by the Democratic National Committee's LGBT Council.

Romney plans to campaign in the Pittsburgh area Tuesday.


Dallas Morning News Buys Pegasus
The Dallas Morning News has acquired the online news and entertainment publication Pegasus News.

Morning News general manager Rich Alfano cited Pegasus’ substantial listings as a way to expand the newspaper’s stamp.

Pegasus currently shares content with outlets like The Texas Tribune. It isn’t known yet if those agreements will be changed under new ownership.

Lyndsay Knecht, KERA News