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Proposals From Agencies To Save 5% & Midday Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX –

Texas leaders will review 5 percent budget cutting proposals offered by agencies as the state faces a potential 2011 shortfall of up to $16 billion. Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus set a Feb. 15 deadline for agencies to offer plans to trim their budgets, although Monday was federal holiday.

The Texas Education Agency is proposing $135.5 million in cuts, including science lab grants and funding for steroid testing. TEA also proposed eliminating the $1 million it would cost to continue steroid testing for student-athletes competing in University Interscholastic League events.

An exemption is sought by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to allow the prison system's budget cuts to total $50.4 million. Corrections authorities say no exemption would mean the Texas prison system would have to trim about $294 in spending.

ID on woman killed in Dallas by train

A woman killed by a commuter train in Dallas has been identified.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit spokesman Morgan Lyons say 54-year-old Van Phan of Dallas died in Monday accident in an industrial area. Witnesses say the woman walked into a Trinity Railway Express train, which links Dallas and Fort Worth, during afternoon rush hour. Lyons says the woman had walked around lowered crossing arms and the train operator sounded the horn.

A cell phone was recovered. Lyons says investigators do not know if Phan, who wore a hooded jacket, had been on the phone when she died.

The area is about 100 yards east of where a man trying to cross the tracks was struck and killed Feb. 10. That victim was identified as 52-year-old Steven Whitaker of Dallas.

Astronauts unveil phenomenal new window on world

Astronauts are taking in "absolutely spectacular" views of Earth as they crank open shutters inside the International Space Station's new $27 million observation deck.

Astronauts began opening the window shutters of the domed lookout early Wednesday. The central round window is the largest ever flown in space. It was exposed first, and station commander Jeffrey Williams said the view is "absolutely spectacular." The astronauts closed the shutter a few minutes later to test the mechanisms, and opened another as the shuttle-station complex sailed over the South Pacific.

The highly anticipated unveiling occurred during the third and final spacewalk of Endeavour's mission.

The observation deck is part of a new room at the space station named Tranquility.