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TAB News Briefs
Oct. 23, 2008
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Report: Ike Caused $8.5 Billion Damage
from USA Today
A preliminary report says Hurricane Ike caused about $8.5 billion in damage to Harris County houses, apartments and mobile homes. The report, scheduled to be completed on Dec. 1, by the Harris County Housing Authority indicates that Ike will be far costlier than any other Houston-area storm in recent memory. Single-family homes accounted for most of the damage, with a midrange estimate of $7.6 billion. Apartments sustained about $830 million in damage and mobile homes about $1.7 million. More

StrucSure

Q&A With Distrtict 4 State Representative Candidate Victor Morales
from The Athens Daily Review
Q. You’re somewhat of a political journeyman. What makes you think this will be the time you are elected to a major political office? A. Well, that’s a good question, I’ve been asked that before. But I think, that one of the things that is important to take note of is the tremendous Democrats’ involvement this year because of the Hillary-Barack race. For example, in Kaufman County at the Kaufman County Convention, we had almost 400 Democrats there and my understanding is the Republicans had about 60. More

Q&A With Distrtict 4 State Representative Candidate Betty Brown
from The Athens Daily Review
Q. Why should voters send you back to Austin for a sixth-term? A. I feel very comfortable in saying that I have voted my constituents issues. I feel like I know my district really well and know the things that are important to them. I weight every piece of legislation based on whether it is good for Texas families. I’ve tried to stick close to that and I think it serves me well. More

Barnett Shale Boom Puts a Local Focus on Texas Railroad Commission Race
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The election for Texas Railroad Commissioner is usually a sleeper. But in the midst of the Barnett Shale gas drilling boom, it’s a race to watch for North Texas residents. The railroad commission, which no longer has anything to do with trains, has one job: regulating oil, gas and mining. On issue after issue related to urban gas drilling — pipelines, saltwater disposal, well safety — residents have learned just how much authority the railroad commission has. And this year, the race features a Democratic challenger preaching about "corruption," and a rising Republican star who has his eye on higher office. More

Local Realtors Say Lubbock Housing Market Improved in Past Year
from KCBD-TV
According to California Based Veros Real Estate Solutions, Lubbock is projected to have the second strongest housing market in the nation over the next year. Local real estate experts say the Lubbock market improved over the past year, which is unusual in this tough economic time. "I think we've got a good steady situation, and I think we've had that all along, and I think that hopefully in 2009 it will stay steady," said Bobby McQueen of the Lubbock Association of Realtors. More

Fix Texas Insurance Tour Stops in Midland
from My West Texas
The Fix Texas Insurance Tour is traveling by RV to every corner of the state, visiting 16 Texas cities to raise awareness about the influence the insurance industry has on the state legislature and the Texas Supreme Court and the need for common sense insurance reforms that include prior approval of insurance rates, making the insurance commissioner an elected position, and ending unfair insurance practices like credit scoring. Information about the tour has been posted online at www.FitTexasInsurance.org. More

10 Things That Are Going Right
from Kiplinger’s Personal Finance via KLTV
Never in modern memory have Americans been so gloomy about their future. A record 90 percent of registered voters say the country is seriously off on the wrong track, according to the most recent ABC News poll. A long economic slump lasting well into 2009 looks likely. But take heart. The editors of Kiplinger's Personal Finance and Kiplinger's forecasting came up with ten things going right these days. More

Gas Prices Vary: Why?
from The Brownsville Herald
The price per gallon of unleaded gasoline is in retreat, but one lingering question continues to nag Rio Grande Valley consumers: Why is there such a price disparity between pumps? The simplest answer is competition, according to Michelle Foss, chief energy economist at the Jackson School of Geo Sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. "If you went shopping for a pair of Nikes, wouldn't you find different prices in different places?" Foss asked. "Of course, you would. Variability in price, that's what markets do." More

Texas Politician’s Disclosures Now Online
from The Austin Statesman
For years the Texas Legislature has resisted calls to publish politicians' personal financial information on the Internet. But the modern world caught up with state lawmakers Wednesday, when a fledgling watchdog group posted the disclosures online. Texas Watchdog, a non-partisan organization that uses public records to pull back the curtain on state government, obtained scanned copies of the financial disclosures for the major state officeholders and published them on their Web site. More

Houston Celebrates Oktoberfest with ‘Ike’s Over Fest’
from The Greater Houston Weekly
“Remember the Island” is Galveston’s new battle cry. Remnants of Ike may remain, but for the people of Galveston life goes on. After weeks of toil and turmoil, they’re taking time out to celebrate life on their beloved island with Oktoberfest – a.k.a. “Ike’s over Fest” – on Oct. 24-25 offering free admission for all. More

Report: Real Estate Market to Hit Bottom in 2009
from The Dallas Business Journal
Real estate investors and professionals say U.S. financial and real estate markets will hit bottom in 2009 and continue to slump for much of 2010, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The annual industry outlook includes response from more than 600 real estate experts, including investors, developers, property company representatives, lenders, brokers, and consultants. More

House Panel to Tackle Meltdown Reason, Remedy
from The Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune
Lawmakers have called key players from the past and present to congressional hearings in an effort to find out what caused the biggest financial crisis since the 1930s and determine how the government plans to get the nation out of the mess. Alan Greenspan, the chairman of the Federal Reserve for 18-1/2 years, was to be the star witness Thursday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. He faces questions about actions the government took or didn't take that might have contributed to the boom in subprime mortgages and the subsequent housing market collapse that has led to the loss of billions of dollars in investments. More

Report: Houston One of Best Real Estate Investment Markets
from The Houston Business Journal
The strong energy industry has made Houston one of the nation’s Top 10 real estate markets for the first time in more than 10 years, according to a report by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. Describing the Bayou City (which ranked sixth in the nation for real estate investment prospects) as a “hot-growth market,” the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2009 report says the city will continue to stay that way as long as oil prices remain high. More

Average Homeowner to See Rise in Property Tax
from The Houston Chronicle
The city and Harris County approved new property tax rates this week that effectively will raise the amount paid by the average Houston homeowner by $88 a year. Although the city cut its property tax rate for the fourth year in a row, and the county kept its rate the same, tax bills in most cases will go up because of the steady upward creep of property appraisals. More

Democrats See Chance for More Wins in House Races
from The Dallas Morning News
Barack Obama. A weak economy. A Democratic Congress mustering hurricane relief money. Reduced Republican spending on key races. Democrats are adding up those pluses and seeing hope in four competitive congressional races in Texas. But Republicans say Democrats are denying the reality of Republican strength in the state and say they will hold on to at least three of the seats. More

Cibolo Businessman Seeking City Council Seat
from The Seguin Gazette-Enterprise
Cibolo businessman Gabriel Castro announced this week he will seek an at-large seat on the Cibolo City Council. Castro, a resident of Cibolo for about five years, became the first candidate to make his announcement public in the wake of a pending recall election of the entire City Council. “It is my belief that the citizens of Cibolo rely too much on the politicians to do their thinking for them,” Castro said. “With a City Council built around true leadership, trustworthiness and honor, I believe we will gain the respect of the citizens of Cibolo.” More






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