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Texas Jobless Rate Drops Slightly To 8.4 Percent

By BJ Austin, KERA News & Wire Services

Dallas, TX – The unemployment rate in Texas dropped slightly to 8.4 percent in October, down from the last month's 8.5 percent.

The Texas Workforce Commission said Friday that the state added 2,500 jobs in October. Texas's unemployment rate remains below the national rate of 9 percent.

Commission Chairman Tom Pauken says private employers in Texas are "investing their capital" in hiring more workers, adding 286,200 jobs since October 2010, for a growth rate of 3.4 percent.

Although six of the 11 sectors shed jobs last month, the largest gains were in leisure and hospitality, which added 14,900 positions. The biggest losses were in construction, which cut 12,800 jobs.

The Midland area had the lowest local jobless rate for October at 4.5 percent. Brownsville-Harlingen had the highest at 11.9 percent.

Feds: Not enough information to clear voter ID law

A new Texas law that would require more identification from voters has hit a road bump.

The U.S. Department of Justice says the state provided "incomplete" information. Therefore, the agency says they can't determine whether the new law would illegally discriminate against minorities. Federal law requires that changes to voting practices in Texas be cleared by federal officials before they can be enforced.

A report in the Austin American-Statesman says that will likely delay the scheduled Jan. 1 start of enforcement of the new law.

The law was passed by the Legislature earlier this year. It would require Texas voters to show an approved form of photo identification before they can cast ballots. It was unclear if the delay would affect the next statewide election, the March primary.

Trash Haulers Sue Dallas Over "Flow Control"

The city of Dallas is being sued over its plan to route all commercial waste picked up within the city limits to the McCommas Bluff Landfill.

The National Solid Wastes Management Association says the city's "flow control" ordinance is anti-free enterprise. The lawsuit claims the inability to dump at other landfills will cost local trash haulers and ultimately their Dallas customers millions of dollars.

Paul Quinn students have marched against "flow control". The campus is about a mile from the city's big landfill. Student Dexter Evans calls the predicted higher costs to customers one of many consequences the city did not think through.

Evans: It's about time that the city of Dallas realizes that you really need to take in hand a proper study before you make some type of policy decision. I think now they're seeing the cause and effect of what happens when you don't do that.

Mayor Mike Rawlings has said "flow control" will bring about 18 million dollars a year to the city in additional dumping fees. Fees that now go elsewhere.

The city says it "carefully studied court cases involving flow control laws before enacting its ordinance. The City believes its ordinance is valid and will defend it vigorously."

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Dallas Twinkles For The Holidays

Downtown Dallas dresses up for the holidays tomorrow night with the kick off of the annual "City Lights" event.

Kourtny Garrett, with Downtown Dallas Inc, says more businesses are involved this year, and that means more lights and decorations. New features include giant, round illuminated Christmas ornaments suspended over Main Street intersections.

Garrett: The spheres themselves change colors periodically creating a really vibrant atmosphere downtown. During the event, you will see Santa arriving in his usual surprise way at Main Street Garden. And the show will be ended at AT&T with the grand finale. They have a gorgeous light show that they are going to be projecting on the front of their building.

Last year, an estimated 25 thousand people turned out for the lighting of the "Dallas" tree with 10 thousand feet of lights, plus fireworks. The tree lighting is at 7pm.

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Alamo trademark deal reached between DRT, state

A trademark agreement for the Alamo has been reached between the Daughters of the Republic of Texas and the Texas General Land Office.

The San Antonio Express News reports Friday that the General Land Office hopes to use the trademark to sell merchandise and raise money for Alamo restoration and preservation.

Texas will get the rights to the names "Alamo" and "The Alamo," plus logos, websites and some titles. DRT has a nonexclusive license to use the trademark to support Alamo operations and maintenance.

DRT operations have been under state review since 2010. DRT leaders in June committed to working with the General Land Office to continue as Alamo caretakers.

A new law means DRT could be removed as Alamo custodian if an operating agreement isn't signed by Jan. 1.

Ill. man sues Southwest over free drink coupons

Southwest Airlines says it's reviewing a lawsuit filed by an Illinois man who claims the discount carrier owes him 45 free alcoholic drinks.

Adam J. Levitt filed a federal lawsuit this week against the Dallas-based discount carrier over a change in its drink coupon policy.

Levitt says for years he booked flights for the Business Select class, which gave travelers drink coupons worth $5 with no expiration date. But the lawsuit claims Southwest changed its policy last year saying Business Select travelers could only use coupons on the day of travel printed on them.

The lawsuit calls Levitt's 45 unredeemed coupons a breach of contract.

The lawsuit seeks class-action status for Southwest customers nationwide who have unredeemed drink coupons.

Southwest spokeswoman Katie McDonald did not offer further comment Thursday.