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Gov. Perry Launches Study On Offshore Drilling & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Texas Gov. Rick Perry has announced the formation of a group to focus on developing technology and improve safety in energy exploration and production. He says the move is part of an effort to help prevent future industry accidents, such as the one that lead to the Gulf oil spill.

At a news conference Tuesday at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Perry said the Gulf Project will be comprised of researchers, policy experts and state officials. They'll work to develop better equipment for offshore drilling and improved training techniques for oil spill response teams.

Perry cautioned against stopping offshore oil drilling because of the spill. He calls the Obama administration's effort to implement a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling inappropriate and unrealistic.

Dallas Homeless Czar Tapped For Park Board

The "Homeless Czar" for the city of Dallas - Mike Rawlings - has been tapped to lead the Park Board.

Mayor Tom Leppert announced the nomination of Rawlings as the new Chairman yesterday.

Leppert says the financially challenged park system needs a new direction, and "Mike knows how to raise funds and get things done." The mayor says he wants to find new partnerships with non-profits and corporations.

Rawlings has spent the past five years leading the city's homeless programs as Chair of the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

Falling stadium light poles recalled by feds

A government safety agency is recalling light poles that can crack and fall after 11 of them crashed down at stadiums and school gymnasiums over a decade-long period.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Tuesday there are more than 2,500 of the affected steel poles installed around the country. Manufactured by the now-defunct Whitco Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, the poles can weigh one to four tons.

The action, called a recall to repair, affects poles between 70- and 135-feet tall and are made of steel with a galvanized coating. They were manufactured between 2000 and 2005.

The commission says no one has been killed by the falling poles, but several schools and outdoor bleachers have been "significantly" damaged by falling poles.

Wednesday Is Clean Air Action Day

Today is the first-ever "Clean Air Action Day" in North Texas.

Mindy Mize, with Air North Texas, says the group is encouraging people to do something to improve air quality on July 7th, between 7am and 7pm.

Mize: Maybe they have access to transit, and they've never taken the bus or train before, try that; carpooling with a co-worker or a friend; taking their lunch to work instead of going out at lunchtime.

Mize says each of those activities cuts down on car exhaust that contributes to ozone pollution.

North Texas exceeds federal limits on ozone. Even tougher EPA standards are to be announced in August.

Air North Texas, which partners with cities and counties to promote clean air, wants to make July 7th an annual awareness and action day.

Carrollton May Change City Hall Hours

Carrollton City Hall may soon change its hours. The city council, last night, considered longer days Monday through Thursday; and half-a-day on Friday.

City Manager Leonard Martin says it's a customer-friendly thing to do.

Martin: When I leave at 5:20-5:30 on a lot of days, there will be people trying to get into the building and I have to explain to them we're open 8-5. So I think this will be a real good benefit to our customers.

City Hall would be open for business 7:30 to 5:30 four days, 7:30 to 11:30 on Fridays.

Martin says such as schedule has been well received in the nearby city of Corinth. And he tried it 20 years ago in a town in Missouri. Martin says morale went up, and sick leave went down because of early dismissal on Fridays. With the council okay, the new hours will start September 13th.