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As Gov. Rick Perry Visits New York, He's Under Investigation In Texas

Gov. Rick Perry's office
Gov. Rick Perry is under investigation regarding whether he abused his power in Austin.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: the U.S. Chemical Safety Board says the West fertilizer plant could have been prevented; Austin City Limits announces its lineup; Gov. Rick Perry talks up Texas in New York; and more.

Gov. Rick Perry is again in New York, hoping to convince employers there to move to Texas. Meanwhile, back in the Lone Star state, he’s under investigation regarding whether he abused his power in Austin. Perry left Tuesday for a three-day visit featuring meetings with business leaders. On Tuesday, Perry challenged New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to a debate over economic policy. A Cuomo spokesman had no comment. Perry has led similar job-poaching tours in California, Illinois, Missouri and Connecticut. The governor touts Texas' "business-friendly climate," but hasn't prompted any major employer to move. In Texas, Perry is the focus of a grand jury investigation that could cause quite a bit of difficulty for the man who might run again for president. A judge seated a grand jury in Austin last week to consider whether Perry abused his power when he carried out a threat to veto $7.5 million in state funding for public corruption prosecutors. The Texas Tribune is reporting that Perry representatives worked to “swap the resignation of embattled Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg for restoration of the money.” [Associated Press]

  • A federal agency leading one of the investigations into last year's deadly West fertilizer plant explosion says that even if regulators don't know what started an initial fire, they know the resulting blast could have been prevented. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board on Tuesday announced its findings after a year of investigating the blast that killed 15 people, injured 200 and damaged much of the tiny town. The safety board chairman, Rafael Moure-Eraso, says the owners of the West plant weren’t required to comply with any fire codes. “They were basically under the radar of any regulators,” he told KERA. He says the ammonium nitrate at the West facility could have been stored inside a concrete structure, instead of one made of wood. And there were no sprinklers to flood the chemicals in case of a fire. More regulation is needed, the board says. Several other investigations have yielded no cause of the fire that preceded the blast. Read more from StateImpact Texas.[Associated Press]

  • The USA Film Festival opened in Dallas Tuesday night with Fading Gigolo. John Turturro wrote, directed and stars in the film about a man who takes up an unlikely second career. And he stopped by KERA for a chat with Stephen Becker. How did he get Woody Allen to act in the film? Turturro explains: “I thought Woody and I could be interesting as a team playing opposite of each other, and I suggested it to my hair cutter – Anthony, his name is, who’s Woody’s hair cutter. And he was brave enough – I don’t know if I asked him or told him, ‘Hey, if it comes up naturally, whatever…’ And Woody really, really liked it.” Listen to the conversation here. The festival runs through Sunday at the Angelika Film Center in Dallas. Turturro’s movie opens in Dallas May 2.

  • The Dallas Architecture Forum continues its Lecture Series at 7 p.m. Wednesday with architect Gregg Jones, principal of Pelli Clarke Pelli. The event takes place at the Dallas Museum of Art’s Horchow Auditorium. Pelli Clarke Pelli has designed several iconic buildings, including including the Petronas Twin Towers in Malaysia and the World Financial Center in New York City. Jones was the principal in charge of the International Finance Center in Hong Kong, the tallest skyscraper in Hong Kong.  Gregg Jones is also leading the McKinney and Olive project in Uptown – the building will be the tallest in that neighborhood.  A reception is at 6:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 for general admission and $5 for students (with ID) and can be purchased at the door. No reservations are needed.

Eric Aasen is KERA’s managing editor. He helps lead the station's news department, including radio and digital reporters, producers and newscasters. He also oversees, the station’s news website, and manages the station's digital news projects. He reports and writes stories for the website and contributes pieces to KERA radio. He's discussed breaking news live on various public radio programs, including The Takeaway, Here & Now and Texas Standard, as well as radio and TV programs in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.