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Texas Detention Center Improvements & Nightly Roundup


By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

Immigration and Customs Enforcement agreed today to continue improvements to a Central Texas detention center until all immigrant families held there have left.

ICE reached the agreement with the American Civil Liberties Union. It continues requirements of the settlement of a 2007 lawsuit over conditions at T. Don Hutto Family Detention Center in Taylor, Texas.

The suit filed on behalf of 26 children led to such things as more education and outdoor time. Most of the children's families were seeking asylum in the United States.

The lawsuit settlement was to expire at the end of the month.

The agreement follows Thursday's announcement by ICE director John Morton of plans to transform the immigration detention system from a criminal to civil system. The first step was to immediately stop sending families to Hutto for detention.

Texas' July temps 13th hottest

Rainfall in typically dry West Texas last month held down the state's temperature average while other parts of the Lone Star State baked.

National Weather Service meteorologist Victor Murphy in Fort Worth said Friday that last month was the state's 13th hottest July. The average temperature was 84.1 degrees, 1.7 degrees above the 82.4-degree normal.

He says rainfall scattered across West Texas throughout the month kept it cool in those regions and evened out the scorching 100-degree days in San Antonio, Houston and Dallas.

The average Texas temperature through July was the eighth warmest at 66.6 degrees. The hottest seven-month span was in another drought year, 2006, when the average was 67.8 degrees.

Despite persistent drought in Central and South Texas, last month was the state's 27th wettest July.

Officials: Only misdemeanor charges for driver

Investigators say the driver in last year's charter bus crash that killed 17 people near Sherman likely won't face felony charges.

The fatal crash near the Oklahoma border involved a group of Houston-area Vietnamese Catholics who were headed to a religious festival in Missouri.

Sherman police say 53-year-old Barrett Broussard won't face more than misdemeanor traffic violations. They had been focusing on whether he could face negligent homicide charges, but they've determined they probably have too little evidence to support that charge.

Broussard was at the wheel last Aug. 8 when the bus carrying 55 passengers blew a retreaded tire on the right-front axle and skidded off a U.S. 75 bridge. Federal regulations prohibit retreads from being used on front, or steering, axles of buses.

Ex-Texas school worker pleads guilty in fight club

A former worker at a Texas school where developmentally disabled residents were forced into videotaped "fight club" bouts pleaded guilty today. Twenty-two-year-old Vincent Johnson admitted to allowing the injury of a disabled person. Johnson received a two-year suspended jail sentence.

Johnson pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless or negligent injury to a disabled person through omission for not stopping fights prompted by some staffers at the Corpus Christi State School.

Judge Sandra Watts sentenced Johnson to the suspended jail time and five years probation in exchange for his agreement to testify against other former staffers.

Johnson also must do 150 hours community service and pay a $2,000 fine.

He had been scheduled to go on trial with two other former school employees, Jesse Salazar and Guadalupe Delarosa Jr., on Monday.