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Roundup: Philanthropist Charles Wyly Killed In Colorado

Dee & Charles Wyly
Dee & Charles Wyly

By KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – Texas billionaire and philanthropist Charles Wyly has died in a car accident in western Colorado.

The Colorado State Patrol released a statement saying Wyly's Porsche was hit by a sport utility vehicle Sunday afternoon along a highway near Aspen. The patrol says the 77-year-old died at a local hospital.

In Texas, Wyly and his family donated generously to Dallas arts projects and Republican causes.

Wyly, his brother and their wives donated almost $2.5 million to Republican candidates and committees at the federal level over the past two decades. They gave $20 million to help build Dallas' performing arts center.

The Securities and Exchange Commission last summer accused Wyly and his brother of using offshore havens to hide a half-billion dollars in insider trading profits. The brothers strongly denied the claims.

Water turned off in North Texas town to conserve

Water conservation has been turned up a notch in one North Texas community: The water has been cut off. Kemp Mayor Donald Kile says water was turned off to residents Sunday for 48 hours.

KDFW-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth reports that two weeks ago, excessive heat caused the soil to shift, and the aging underground water pipes burst. About 2 million gallons of water leaked out. The city never caught up with the demand during the oppressive Texas heat wave and shut off the water to residents for two days to replenish its two water towers.

Meanwhile, the city is handing out bottled water, providing non-potable water to residents to flush toilets and conduct other chores.

Kemp, a town of about 1,150 people, is about 50 miles southeast of Dallas.

Texas drought will harm wildlife habitat for years

Wildlife biologists believe the worst yearlong drought in Texas history will have a lasting impact on entire ecosystems.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologist Jeffrey Bonner says the lack of moisture harms everything from the plants to the predators at the top of the food chain. Bonner says most wildlife will suffer low reproductive rates this year as their bodies enter basic survival mode.

Since January, Texas has only gotten about 6 inches of rain, compared to a norm of about 13 inches, making it the most severe one-year drought on record.

The extremely dry conditions have also struck parts of the Great Plains. They've been made worse in Texas by weeks of triple-digit temperatures that are causing reservoirs to evaporate, crops to wither and animals and fish to die.

Small earthquake reported in Dallas area

A small earthquake has been recorded in the Dallas area.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the 2.6 earthquake occurred about 11:45 p.m. Saturday. No injuries were reported.

The epicenter was six miles west-southwest of Dallas, and it was felt as far away as Greenville, according to reports to the agency's Web site.

Nurseries suffering in heat wave

Chalk up another casualty to the blistering Texas heat: greenhouses.

On Saturday, the mercury hit 105 in Dallas-Fort Worth, the 36th consecutive day of triple-digit heat, with more on the way. The result is that business isn't blooming at many nurseries.

Landscape companies and sod suppliers say they are frustrated by high temperatures that are destroying inventories and keeping customers away.

The Fort Worth-Star-Telegram reports that, until cooler weather prevails, growers, owners and landscapers are doing what they can to survive. That means big discounts on inventory are common.

James Guthrey, sod landscape sales manager for Servall, a landscape supply company in Plano, said the relentless heat "is going to kill a lot of grass."