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Texas Storms Scatter Outbuildings & Nightly Roundup

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Severe storms unleashed damaging winds, including suspected tornadoes, across northeast Texas that damaged outbuildings and trailers but injured no one.

The windstorms were part of a line of severe thunderstorms that formed along a cold front Tuesday afternoon.

Lamar County Sheriff B.J. McCoy says a brief tornado near Brookston, 85 miles northeast of Dallas, lifted a barn about 20 feet before smashing it and tossed a firefighter into a ditch without injuring him.

A storm spotter told the National Weather Service that a twister flipped trailers and damaged roofs just north of Clarksville, about 120 miles northeast of Dallas. A Red River County sheriff's dispatcher said there were no reports of injuries, though.

Mayor of Dallas Takes City To Court

Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway is suing the city he leads - but not in his official capacity as mayor. Yesterday, Caraway was granted a court order preventing release of Dallas Police documents and recordings about a visit to his home in January.

Last week, the State Attorney General informed the city it must release the records.

Mayor Caraway claims public release of the material would cause irreparable harm.

Caraway initially said police were called because friends named Archie and Arthur got into a heated argument over the Cowboys game. He later told city council colleagues it was a marital spat with wife, State Representative Barbara Mallory Caraway.

Another court hearing is scheduled in two weeks.

Gov. Perry visits north Texas, touts budget cuts

Gov. Rick Perry says the Legislature should keep its hands off the state's Rainy Day Fund.

Perry repeated his position against tapping the fund Tuesday at an appearance at a Dallas machine shop. He said using the fund now would simply "kick the can down the road" and make Texas vulnerable to financial pressures in 2013.

However, he declined to say whether he'd veto any bill that taps the fund. He said his policy remains to avoid discussing legislation before it reaches his desk.

Texas is facing its worst budget crisis in generations. Some Republican lawmakers have proposed tapping the state's Rainy Day Fund to make up for a $27 billion shortfall. But Perry continues to oppose any effort to raise more state revenue, or to tap the fund.

Senate bill bans smoking in bars and restaurants

After several failures, supporters of a ban on smoking in public places in Texas have succeeded in getting legislation advanced in Austin.

Supporters had been trying to pass such a ban, which include bars and restaurants, for the past several legislative sessions. And it finally cleared the Senate Human Services Committee Tuesday, on a 5-3 vote.

The bill by Sen. Rodney Ellis, a Houston Democrat, now goes to the full Senate for consideration.

Supporters say restaurant and bars workers are exposed to second hand smoke that causes lung cancer, heart disease and other chronic ailments. Opponents say the bill violates the private property rights of business owners. The bill exempts cigar bars and tobacco shops from the ban.

Young Mexican police chief seeking asylum in US

Officials say a young woman who recently became police chief of a violence-plagued Mexican city is seeking asylum in the U.S after receiving death threats.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Tuesday that 20-year-old Marisol Valles Garcia is in the U.S. and will be allowed to present her case to an immigration judge.

Garcia made international headlines when she accepted the job as police chief in Praxedis G. Guerrero, a town near the Texas border that has been plagued by drug violence. Her predecessor was shot to death in July 2009.

Garcia was officially fired Monday for apparently abandoning her post.

The town is in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Its ombudsman, Gustavo de la Rosa, says Garcia is in the U.S. and has initiated a formal asylum petition.