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Posted: Feb 9, 2014 2:30 AM

Updated: Feb 9, 2014 2:32 AM

EARTHQUAKES-INJECTION WELLS

Researchers study string of Texas earthquakes

(Information in the following story is from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Researchers are collecting data that could allow them to determine what role wastewater injection wells played in a string of small earthquakes northwest of Fort Worth.

Heather DeShon, an associate professor of geophysics at Southern Methodist University told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that the school's network of seismic activity sensors in an area about 15 miles northwest of the city have detected numerous small earthquakes recently.

DeShon said she hopes their study will allow them to say this particular well affected this fault.

The area in northeast Parker County has experienced more than 30 small earthquakes since November. Last month more than 30 area residents travelled to Austin to ask the Texas Railroad Commission to consider shutting down injection wells there. The commission said it didn't have enough information.

MAYOR RESIGNATION

Central Texas mayor resigns over tax debt

(Information in the following story is from: Killeen Daily Herald, http://www.kdhnews.com)

HARKER HEIGHTS, Texas (AP) A Central Texas mayor has resigned over unpaid property taxes that left him ineligible to continue serving.

The Killeen Daily Herald reports that Harker Heights announced Friday that Mayor Mike Aycock had resigned due to "unfortunate financial circumstances beyond his control."

A statement from the city said that Aycock had been unable to pay his property tax obligations before a January 31st deadline and according to the city charter could no longer hold office. Harker Heights is about 70 miles north of Austin.

Aycock has filed for re-election and he will be eligible if he pays off the taxes owed. In 2012, the Bell County Tax Appraisal District sued Aycock's construction company for unpaid property taxes totaling $8,644. It was not immediately clear if that tax debt was paid.

BORDER BILL

Congressmen propose improving CBP training

ANTHONY, N.M. (AP) U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce is pushing proposed legislation that would facilitate better interaction between U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the communities they serve.

Pearce, a Republican, and U.S. Representative Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat from Texas, announced the proposed bill during a meeting Saturday morning with community leaders in Anthony, New Mexico.

The legislation would focus on improving training and accountability for CBP agents.

The measure would include the creation of new channels for people to resolve issues with the agency.

According to Pearce, the proposal is the result of input from constituents, including ranchers and immigrants.

Pearce and O'Rourke previously collaborated on introducing the American Families United Act in October. That proposal would allow a judicial review for some U.S. citizens separated from family because of immigration issues.

TEXAS HOUSE-LEADERSHIP

Well-funded PAC targets Texas House Speaker Straus

(Information in the following story is from: San Antonio Express-News, http://www.mysanantonio.com)

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A conservative political action committee whose backers include a University of Texas regent facing possible impeachment wants to oust the current Republican leadership in the Texas House.

Accountability First launched last year as an obscure PAC crusading against local bond elections. But the San Antonio Express-News reported Saturday that the group is now targeting House Speaker Joe Straus and his allies.

Among those bankrolling Accountability First is UT regent Wallace Hall, who has given $100,000. Hall faces possible impeachment over allegations that he abused his powers in an attempt to oust UT Austin President Bill Powers.

Conducting that investigation is one of Straus' committees.

Accountability First Treasurer Tray Trainor says the group isn't "particularly focused on being anti-Straus." He says they want candidates with a conservative governing philosophy.

DEWHURST-CAMPAIGN DEBTS

Dewhurst still owes $1.4M from failed Senate run

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) A new federal report shows Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst still owing businesses $1.4 million from his failed 2012 run for U.S. Senate.

The Dallas Morning News reported Saturday that 20 private creditors have been waiting 18 months for payment. Dewhurst spokesman Travis Considine says the problem stems from a former adviser who Dewhurst sued over claims of stolen campaign funds.

Kenneth Barfield ultimately signed over his 6,000-square-foot home to Dewhurst as part of a legal settlement. Considine says efforts are ongoing to sell the house and use the money to pay creditors.

Losing to Ted Cruz kept Dewhurst in the statehouse. He now wants a fourth term but faces a primary challenge from three big-name Republicans: state Sen. Dan Patrick, Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples.

TED CRUZ'S FATHER

In the Cruz family, Ted is the diplomatic one

MADISONVILLE, Texas (AP) Rafael Cruz, father of firebrand U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, is proud to be politically incorrect.

The 74-year-old pastor travels Texas and fires up tea party gatherings. He's fond of comparing Barack Obama to Fidel Castro, and in the past has even suggested the president be sent "back to Kenya."

Though his son also relishes controversy, public officials are usually wary of loose-cannon family members as too politically dangerous. Not Cruz. He says he's proud to have his father as a highly visible face of his political operation. In fact, he acknowledges him as an occasional political surrogate.

Some political experts wonder, though, whether Rafael Cruz's bombshells will make it more difficult for his son to broaden his voter appeal if he decides to run for nationwide office.

BANANA SUIT-RIFLE

Man in banana costume with rifle cited by police

BEAUMONT, Texas (AP) Police have cited an 18-year-old Beaumont man who riled and worried passing motorists by standing at an intersection dressed as a banana with an semi-automatic rifle slung across his back.

Beaumont Police said in a statement on Saturday that officers determined the man was advertising for a local tactical and security store. The rifle had a drum magazine with a 50-round capacity.

Police briefly detained the man and cited him for violating a city ordinance prohibiting soliciting alongside roadways. Police had received multiple reports from concerned citizens.

FIRE-TWO DEAD

2 rescued from Fort Worth fire later died

(Information in the following story is from: Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com)

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) Officials say a woman and boy pulled from a burning Fort Worth home have died.

Fort Worth Fire Department spokesman Captain Tom Crow told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram Friday that 27-year-old Karla Guajardo-Salazar and a 6-year-old boy, who had not been identified, died after being taken to hospitals from the Thursday night fire.

The Tarrant County medical examiner's office said Guajardo-Salazar died of smoke and carbon monoxide inhalation.

Crow said a critically injured man was also taken to a burn unit in Dallas. No update on his condition was available Friday.

That man told investigators his wife woke him, screaming that the couch was on fire. Investigators found an electrical malfunction near an outlet behind the couch started the fire.

Firefighters found the woman and child in a bathroom.

DRUG CARTEL-CONSULATE SLAYING

Binational gang sent weapons to members in Mexico

(Information in the following story is from: El Paso Times, http://www.elpasotimes.com)

EL PASO, Texas (AP) Former members of a trans-national gang have testified in El Paso that U.S.-based members obtained weapons and ammunition for their Mexico-based counterparts.

The testimony came Friday at the trial of Arturo Gallegos Castrellon, who is accused of ordering the March 13th, 2010, shootings in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico of an employee of the U.S. Consulate there and two others. He has pleaded not guilty.

The El Paso Times reports that gang members in El Paso began accepting weapons as payments for drugs so they could smuggle them to their allies in Mexico.

At one point, a gang member in El Paso arranged to buy 15,000 rounds of ammunition through someone in Midland with a license for bulk sales at gun shows. The trial was scheduled to continue Monday.

ELEPHANT BIRTH

Elephant gives birth at Houston Zoo

(Information in the following story is from: Houston Chronicle, http://www.houstonchronicle.com)

HOUSTON (AP) Houston Zoo officials say three minutes of labor has produced a 385-pound Asian elephant calf.

Mother, Shanti, had carried the newly dubbed Duncan for 23 months before giving birth early Friday. Duncan was Shanti's fourth calf.

Zoo Director Rick Barongi told the Houston Chronicle zoo staff was pleased with Duncan's health. Barongi said at first the calf was very active and vocalizing, but had mellowed and was nursing a lot.

The new calf would likely spend a few more days behind closed doors before the public will be able to see him.

SOCHI OLYMPICS-DIG AT BUSH

IOC President verbally jabs at President G.W. Bush

SOCHI, Russia (AP) IOC President Thomas Bach took a shot at former President George Bush for breaking the traditional protocol at the opening ceremony of the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Bach was asked at a news conference whether Russian President Vladimir Putin might use Friday night's opening ceremony in Sochi as political propaganda.

Bach said, under the Olympic Charter, heads of state speak only one sentence, declaring the games open.

Bach said all leaders have kept to the script "except for one who violated the charter in Salt Lake City in 2002."

The Salt Lake Games were held less than five months after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks.

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