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Home    Education    Legislative    Publications    Calendar    Sunbelt Builders Show    Resources Dec. 7, 2010

Fort Hood soldier getting 'Extreme Makeover' home
Victoria Advocate    Share   Share on
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A soldier who was severely wounded in the Nov. 5, 2009, shooting at Fort Hood and his fiancee are getting the house of their dreams, courtesy of the ABC television show "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" and an army of volunteers working this week. Staff Sgt. Patrick Zeigler, who returned home from Iraq two weeks prior to the shooting, was hit four times in last year's attack and suffered a nearly fatal wound to his head. Team leader Ty Pennington and designers Leigh Anne Tuohy, Paul DiMeo and Xzibit, will work with local builder Tilson Home Corporation, the Texas Association of Builders and Temple-Inland Inc. to pave a new path for the couple "to embark on a lifetime of love and happiness." More



Freddie Mac economist: US housing market to rebound in 2011
Dow Jones Newswire via Automated Trader    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Macroeconomic factors suggest the U.S. housing market will improve in 2011, Freddie Mac's chief economist said in a note Monday. Accelerating economic recovery, low mortgage rates, a bottoming of home prices and increased affordability of homes at current low prices will be behind the improvement, said Frank Nothaft, the chief economist at the mortgage finance company. "These forces will support a gradual recovery in the housing and mortgage markets," he said. More

FreedomWorks stirring up Speaker's race
Houston Chronicle Texas Politics Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
FreedomWorks, chaired by former House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, continues to make the case for state House Republicans to dump incumbent Speaker Joe Straus, R- San Antonio. The group continues to communicate with its 43,000 Texas members via e-mail, and Armey has also called GOP House members. "This is a real opportunity for us and for the Tea Party movement and conservatives given this mandate," says FreedomWorks spokesman Brendan Steinhauser. More

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Texas legislators take aim at federal government
Fort Worth Star-Telegram    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Gov. Rick Perry apparently isn't the only one fed up with Washington. More than a half-dozen state lawmakers have filed measures to try to limit the federal government's ability to dictate what happens in Texas. These bills "represent the growing sentiment that the federal government has continued to overreach in its power and spending," said Rep. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, who has filed several resolutions. More

Texas GOP finally out of debt, chairman says
Austin American-Statesman First Reading Blog    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
When Munisteri unseated Cathie Adams as party chair in June, the Texas GOP had more than $700,000 in debt, and, going forward, was set to lose $90,000 with each passing month, Munisteri said. (The debt pre-dated Adams' brief tenure as chair.) Munisteri cut the budget by $50,000 per month — laying off some employees in the process — and immediately started working the phones to discuss the problem with donors and officeholders. More

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Texas Parks and Wildlife Department scraps plan for land swap, plans to buy
Lubbock Avalanche-Journal    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has scrapped a widely criticized plan to swap land with a Dallas businessman, proposing instead to keep a remote West Texas tract popular with hikers and kayakers while still acquiring the businessman's 17,000-acre ranch. Agency spokesman Tom Harvey said Monday the department plans to buy the Devils River Ranch for $13 million — $4 million in public funds and $9 million in private donations. The department would manage the ranch and the existing 20,000-acre Devils River State Natural Area. More

WikiLeaks document: El Paso ports of entry critical sites
El Paso Times    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
El Paso's largest international bridges and several dams along the Texas-Mexico border are among the 100 sites and resources identified by the State Department as critical to U.S. national security. The U.S. government considers the Bridge of Americas and the Zaragoza bridge and other structures to be of such importance that if "destroyed, disrupted or exploited would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States," according to a 2009 State Department document leaked by WikiLeaks. More



Texas' insurance commissioner forbids insurers' provisions that allowed them to interpret policies
Dallas Morning News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Health, life and disability insurers will no longer have blanket authority to decide what their policies do and don't cover in Texas, under rules approved Monday by Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin. The decision, which was sought by the state consumer advocate for insurance, ends long-standing provisions in most health and disability plans — called discretionary clauses — that give insurers the right to interpret their policies and decide what benefits must be paid. More

DA stays silent at death penalty challenge
Houston Chronicle    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Harris County District Attorney Pat Lykos on Monday ordered prosecutors in her office to "stand mute" during a rare hearing to determine whether the death penalty in Texas is unconstitutional. The last-ditch strategy to end state District Judge Kevin Fine's judicial inquiry into the procedures surrounding the state's death penalty statute makes an observer out of the largest district attorney's office in Texas. More

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