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Jade Helm 15 Military Exercise Starts Today In Central Texas

Master Sgt. Kevin Doheny
U.S. Army South Public Affairs/Flickr
Staff Sgt. Lance Gerving demonstrates how to use the M2 .50-caliber machine gun to Staff Sgt. Fernando Medina last fall at a field training exercise at Camp Bullis, Texas.

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Jade Helm 15 starts today; plans are unveiled for a Fort Worth Stockyards development; ATM thieves are roaming Dallas; and more.

A summer military training exercise that has aroused alarm among archconservative Texans begins Wednesday outside the Central Texas town of Bastrop. Summer military training exercises are common, and Jade Helm 15 will extend across seven Southwestern states. However, marking Texas one of two "hostile" territories for training purposes prompted conspiracy theories of martial law and firearms confiscations. Gov. Greg Abbott gave a nod to the panic when he directed the Texas State Guard to monitor the operation. Civilian volunteers say they'll shadow military movements around Texas. Training will occur in Camp Swift near Bastrop and 12 Texas counties, with airborne operations next month at Camp Bullis, near San Antonio. Jade Helm 15 wraps up in September. The Texas Tribune has more details. And the Houston Chronicle reports on the “Counter Jade Helm” volunteers who say they’ll monitor the exercise. The New York Times reports on Jade Helm. [Associated Press]

  • Developers have revealed their initial plans for changes at the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the plans would transform the historic Mule Barns. Documents “show a hotel planned along Marine Creek near Main and NE 23rd streets, an animal exhibition area, several parking areas, office buildings and areas set aside for residential development,” the newspaper says. “The plan also proposes upgrades to Stockyards Station, redeveloping the historic auction barn and scale house behind the Live Stock Exchange Building, and keeping a large portion of the cattle pen for a livestock demonstration area on the north side of East Exchange Avenue. … The developers hope the plan will allay fears from preservationists who believed the group wanted to make wholesale changes or perhaps tear down some historic structures as part of the project.” [Fort Worth Star-Telegram]

  • Criminals want cash from ATMs, so they’re trying to steal them around Dallas. Another store was hit Tuesday morning. Around 4 a.m., at least three suspects in masks opened the front doors of Friendly Drive In on South Lamar Street. The ATM was bolted to the floor, but the suspects got the ATM out of the store and loaded it into a van. As of Tuesday, there were 54 ATM-related offenses in Dallas this year, 23 of which have been successful, police say. Thirteen arrests have been made. Police say you should call Crime Stoppers at 214-373-TIPS if you know what happened.

  • Dallas’ bike-share program isn’t doing that well. The bike share at Fair Park grossed $795 between Jan. 1 and July 1, according to records obtained by the Dallas Observer. The city paid $125,000 for 16 bikes and the docking stations. The Observer says 250 bikes were checked out, but many of those can be attributed to maintenance rides by a city employee. “Another 53 rides were for two or fewer minutes, suggesting the user briefly pulled the bike from the rack before having second thoughts. That leaves 117 actual riders.” Read more here. [Dallas Observer]

  • An East Texas county clerk has resigned over the U.S. Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling. The Texas Tribune reports: “The Rusk County Commissioners Court on Monday formally accepted the resignation of County Clerk Joyce Lewis-Kugle, apparently the first Texas elected official to quit office rather than abide by the U.S. Supreme Court decision. … After waiting to receive new forms from the State Registrar's office following the Supreme Court decision, the county is now ready to issue licenses to same-sex couples, although an employee in the clerk's office said Monday that no one had applied for one yet.” Rusk County is located east of Tyler and south of Longview. [Texas Tribune]
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.