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Gas Prices A Dollar Higher Than Last April & Nightly Roundup

By BJ Austin, KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The statewide average price for a gallon of gasoline is a dollar higher than a year ago at $3.75.

Dan Ronan, with Triple-A Texas says the latest weekly survey shows a big jump at the pump.

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Ronan: We saw gas prices increase in many cities by a dime or more. For instance, Dallas and Fort Worth saw gas prices increase by 12 cents in just seven days.

The average price in Dallas and Fort Worth is $3.79.

Ronan says a year ago, the average "fill-up" cost 38 dollars. Today it's 53.

House approves new district map for ed board

A new map for the 15-member Texas State Board of Education has won approval from the House. The map was approved Thursday by a 99-45 vote. Democrats largely opposed the plan, arguing that the plan didn't give Hispanics enough of a voice on the board. Rep. Burt Solomons, who sponsored the legislation, said the map was fair and kept more communities of interest together than the current map.

The board sets curriculum standards for Texas classrooms and oversees the state's endowment fund for public schools.

After one more procedural House vote, the plan next goes to the Senate.

Using new Census figures, the Legislature is drawing new district boundaries for the education board, members of the Legislature and Texans who serve in the U.S. Congress.

State committee approves anti-bullying legislation

A Texas Senate committee has voted to require school districts to prohibit bullying in schools.

The bill approved Thursday mandates that schools create a written plan that covers prevention of bullying all the way through investigating the event and protecting the victim.

The bill also expands the definition of bullying to specifically address electronic methods like texting and posting to Facebook.

Bullying is the suspected cause of at least four suicides by Texas students since the 2009 legislative session.

Educators have said they need this legislation because they feel empty-handed when it comes to dealing with bullying effectively.

Texas would join 37 other states that have specific bullying legislation.

The bill now goes to the full Senate.

Downtown Dallas Park Groundbreaking

After about six years of planning, "Belo Garden" in downtown Dallas is officially underway. Officials broke ground yesterday on the one-and-a-half acre garden' at Commerce and Griffin.

Robert Decherd, Chairman of Belo Corporation, says this downtown park will be different from the others.

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Decherd: It's the one of the four that will really be a garden. I think that's the distinctive part of what's happening here. Main Street Garden, which the city built on its own and did in a very impressive way, is an activity park. But this is a garden.

It will feature native Texas grasses, plants and trees, as well as an interactive fountain.

"Belo" and the city of Dallas split the 13 million dollar price tag. The city spent an additional two million dollars to remove very old, deep ground contamination. Buildings burned in a downtown fire in the late 1800's were simply covered-up and built over.

Belo Garden will open in the spring of next year.