Associated Press | KERA News

Associated Press

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says he and Texas counterpart Ted Cruz will be "friendly competitors" should both run for president in 2016.

Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Gov. Rick Perry has kicked of his unofficial farewell tour to Texas politics by bashing Washington during a well-received speech at the state Republican convention in Fort Worth.

Lauren Silverman / KERA News

Google's Motorola Mobility smartphone unit will shutter its Fort Worth factory by the end of 2014, barely a year after it opened with much fanfare as the first smartphone plant in the U.S.

Scripps National Spelling Bee / Facebook

For the first time in 52 years, two spellers were declared co-champions of the Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday -- and one of them is from North Texas.

Shutterstock

Former President George W. Bush has successfully had a partial knee replacement in Chicago. Bush spokesman Freddy Ford says Bush had the procedure Saturday and returned home to Dallas Monday. Ford said in an email Tuesday that Bush was "doing great" and was able to "get up, walk around, and go up and down stairs just a couple hours after the procedure."

Jaguar PS / Shutterstock

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has apologized to the family of Trayvon Martin for his choice of words in an interview regarding bigotry and prejudice.

Texas A&M

Texas researchers are joining the U.S. government in stepping up efforts to help Central American farmers fight a devastating coffee disease -- and hold down the price of your morning cup.

BJ Austin / KERA News

The firefighters who tried in vain to stop the burning West fertilizer plant from exploding weren't prepared for the dangers of the blaze, which was too big for them to fight, state investigators said in a new report.

BJ Austin / KERA News

Officials from the Texas State Fire Marshal's Office plans to present the findings of its investigation into the deaths of first-responders in last year's explosion of a fertilizer plant.

Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

The Denton City Council on Tuesday voted to impose a temporary ban on hydraulic fracturing until September.

But fracking opponents want to make that permanent through an ordinance that would prohibit the practice in Denton. They’ve submitted a petition that seeks a total ban.

Dallas Love Field / Facebook

Dallas officials expect to decide by Friday which airline gets two gates at Love Field that American Airlines must give up since its merger with US Airways.
 
The CEOs of Southwest Airlines and Virgin America attended a Dallas City Council meeting Wednesday. Council members held most of their discussions behind closed doors.
 
The U.S. Justice Department says Virgin America should get the gates to increase competition at Love Field, where Dallas-based Southwest is the dominant carrier.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

State officials have suspended a Fort Worth veterinarian's license after he admitted telling some clients he would euthanize their pets but instead kept them in cages at his clinic.
 
The Texas Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners temporarily suspended Dr. Lucien Tierce's license Thursday, a day after he was arrested on animal cruelty charges. He was released on $10,000 bond.

The board says agents searching his Camp Bowie Animal Clinic in Fort Worth found "animal organs in jars" and "stacks of drugs, trash, laundry" and bugs throughout the clinic.

Hope Abrams/Flickr / flickr.com/photos/hopefoote/

Energy Future Holdings filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization Tuesday after agreeing with key financial stakeholders to keep its power-producing businesses operating in Texas while it reduces roughly $40 billion in debt.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Toyota is moving its U.S. headquarters from California to Plano.

The Japanese automaker announced the move Monday.

Toyota says the new headquarters will bring together employees who are now scattered around the country. It will break ground on a new headquarters in North Texas this year.

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

A half-century after the passage of sweeping civil rights legislation, President Barack Obama declared that he had "lived out the promise" envisioned by Lyndon B. Johnson, the president who championed the push for greater racial equality.

Marking the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, which Johnson signed into law, Obama lauded his Democratic predecessor's ability to grasp like few others the power of government to bring about change and swing open the doors of opportunity for millions of Americans.

Kate McGee / KUT

President Barack Obama returned to the grieving Army post Wednesday where he first took on the job as the nation's comforter five years ago, mourning at Fort Hood with families and uniformed comrades of those killed during last week's shooting spree. "We somehow bear what seems unbearable," he declared.

It was yet another sad observance for a president who has had to deliver words of consolation across the nation during his more than five years in office. At Fort Hood, the ceremony was made more poignant as a remembrance for soldiers who didn't die in wars abroad but in the safety of their own compound.

"They were members of a generation that has borne the burden of our security for more than a decade of war," Obama said.

Brinker International

Chili's has canceled a fundraiser for a group that states on its website that autism can be triggered by vaccinations, a position that has been widely discredited by the medical community.

Chili’s, which is part of Dallas-based Brinker International, had planned on donating a portion of its sales on Monday to the National Autism Association. On its website, the Massachusetts-based group says it believes that vaccinations can "trigger or exacerbate autism in some, if not many, children."

Kate McGee / KUT News

Update, 6:30 p.m. Thursday: Listen to KERA's interview with a survivor of the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, retired Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford.  

A soldier opened fire Wednesday on fellow service members at the Fort Hood military base, killing three people and wounding 16 before committing suicide.

The incident took place at the same Army post where more than a dozen people were killed in a 2009 attack.

The shooter, who served in Iraq in 2011, has been identified by NPR as Spc. Ivan Lopez, a 34-year-old military truck driver. The man had mental health issues and was being evaluated for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, according to Lt. Gen. Mark A. Milley, the senior officer on the base.

We're updating this post throughout the day. Check with NPR for the latest developments, too.

Ashley Park / KUT

A driver already charged with murder is facing 20 new charges of aggravated assault after he plowed into a crowd during the South by Southwest music festival in Austin.

Jail documents posted online Tuesday list the additional charges against 21-year-old Rashad Owens. An arrest report says Owens accelerated through a crowd, killing four people and leaving 17 injured.

Wikipedia

A state judge has ordered the Texas prison agency to disclose to attorneys for two inmates its supplier of a new batch of execution drugs.
 
The ruling Thursday in Austin comes one day after attorneys for two death row inmates filed a lawsuit against the Texas Department of Criminal Justice seeking the information. Texas prison officials say they will appeal the ruling.

U.S. Coast Guard/KUHF

Update, 1:50 p.m. Tuesday: The Coast Guard partially reopened one of the nation's busiest seaports to ship traffic Tuesday, three days after a collision between a barge and a ship spilled up to 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil into the waters south of Houston.

Authorities said ships were being allowed through the Houston Ship Channel after their assessment teams deemed it was clear enough for passage. More than 100 ships on both sides of the channel were awaiting the reopening.

Globalization of Higher Education

Their presidential plans may be uncertain but one thing is clear: Jeb Bush and Hillary Rodham Clinton keep bumping into each other – this time, in North Texas.

Bush and Clinton were taking the podium today at a higher education conference in Irving organized by Bush, the former Florida governor who is the brother and son of Republican presidents. The former secretary of state, whose husband, Bill Clinton, served two terms in the White House, is the leading Democratic contender in 2016 if she runs for president again.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Gubernatorial candidate Greg Abbott’s campaign says he would not sign the Texas Lilly Ledbetter Act, a measure that would give women more time to successfully make pay discrimination claims in state court.

Democratic opponent Wendy Davis introduced that measure in the Texas Senate last session.  The legislature passed it, but Gov. Rick Perry vetoed it.

Davis has hammered Abbott on the issue for two weeks claiming he doesn’t have women’s best interests at heart.

Brandi Korte/ladybugbkt / Flickr

The forecast is calling for colorful displays of wildflowers in the parts of Texas that received ample fall and winter rains.

The University of Texas at Austin's Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center said Thursday that while cooler-than-usual weather might delay the wildflower season in some parts of Texas, many areas should have full blooms and the first stirrings of spring can already be seen.

Caddo Lake Institute

Deep beneath the surface of Texas' only naturally formed lake there used to swim a massive, open-mouthed dinosaur-era fish with a long snout and prized caviar. Now, decades after the paddlefish was almost completely wiped out, it's coming back to Caddo Lake in East Texas.

A 55-year-old restaurant manager died and more than two dozen others were taken to hospitals Saturday after being overcome by carbon monoxide at a New York mall, police said.

Suffolk County police identified the man who died as Steven Nelson, a manager at the Legal Sea Foods restaurant at the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station on Long Island.

Police said 28 others affected by carbon monoxide were taken to area hospitals.

The Taliban has suspended talks over a possible exchange of Taliban and U.S. prisoners due to the "complexity" of the situation in Afghanistan, the militant group said on Sunday.

"Due to the political complexity of the current situation in the country, the leadership of the Islamic Emirate has decided to suspend the issue for some time," Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in an email to media organizations, using the name the Taliban gave their 1996-2001 government.

A 16-year-old North Texas girl who plummeted more than 3,000 feet to the ground in a skydiving accident in Oklahoma says she panicked then blacked out after her parachute malfunctioned and doesn't remember striking the ground.

Makenzie Wethington of Joshua spoke Thursday from a wheelchair during a news conference at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
 

Laura Buckman / The Texas Tribune

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis says she supports gay marriage. She also called on her opponent Attorney General Greg Abbott to stop defending the definition of marriage in the Texas constitution as only between one man and one woman. 

Louisiana State University

Parkland Health & Hospital System has named Dr. Fred Cerise as finalist to serve as chief executive officer of Dallas County's public hospital.

Cerise headed Louisiana State University’s charity hospital system, with 10 hospitals and related clinics, before Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration struck deals that turned over management of most facilities to outside companies.


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