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TX Jobless Rate Drops & Nightly Roundup

By Staff Reports

Dallas, TX – Texas Unemployment Down Slightly

The Texas jobless rate last month was 8.2 percent -- down slightly from January's mark of 8.3 percent. State officials say non-farm employment was up by almost 23,000 jobs. The unemployment rate was lowest in the Midland area, 4.8%; and highest around Edinburg, McAllen and Mission- more than 12%.

Former Dallas FBI Agent Sentenced To Prison

Former Dallas FBI Agent Carlos Ortiz, Jr is going to prison for two years. He was sentenced Friday morning. Ortiz pleaded guilty to retaliating against a federal official - his boss.

Ortiz was about to be fired last summer when he made threats to kill Special Agent in Charge Robert Casey. A raid on Ortiz' Red Oak home turned up 29 guns and a sworn statement that threatened Casey. Ortiz spent more than 20 years with the Bureau.

Lt. Governor Optimistic About Budget

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst says spending on public education can be maintained, even increased, in the next two-year budget - the one with the 27 Billion dollar shortfall.

Dewhurst also vowed that the state senate, over which he presides, will not cut Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes.

The Senate subcommittee on Medicaid, yesterday, approved a budget that reduces a 30% cut in payments to nursing homes to 2%.

Dewhurst says dramatic cuts can be avoided by selling state land, reducing some expenses, and raising "non-tax" revenue.

Irving Highway Closure

A traffic note for drivers in Irving this weekend around the old Texas Stadium site. The mainlanes of 114 eastbound will be closed. Traffic will be diverted to the frontage road at the Rochelle/riverside exit. It starts at 9pm Friday, and will last through 5am Monday.

It's part of the 224 million dollar reconstruction of the Loop 12/Highway 114 interchange. Construction will last another two years.