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June 18, 2009
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Housing Starts Ratchet Up in May
from CNN
The nation's builders boosted their production in May, starting new housing units at an annualized rate of 532,000, up 17.2 percent from the revised estimate of 454,000 in April. The data release, a monthly report from the Census Bureau, also revealed that building permits jumped by 4 percent to a rate of 518,000 from 498,000 in April. More


Gov. Perry Signs Eminent Domain Bill at Alamo
from The Dallas Morning News
Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill Monday that asks voters to amend the state constitution to limit the ability of government entities to take private property using their eminent domain authority. In a ceremony at the Alamo, Perry said landownership has long been part of the state's way of life. He noted that many fighters in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo thought they'd be rewarded with land for their service. More

Texas Supreme Court Won't Hear Cowboys Stadium Eminent Domain Case
from The Dallas Morning News
The Texas Supreme Court has declined to hear a case challenging the use of eminent domain to take 17 properties for the new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. An attorney for the landowners argued that the stadium lease was invalid because it gave too much authority to the team, making them the "de facto owner." The $1.15 billion stadium is owned by the city but operated by the Cowboys. More

Mineral Rights Proposal Could be Costly for Homeowners
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Do you own your mineral rights? That question is crucial for people buying or selling land in Tarrant County, especially since production started in the Barnett Shale gas field. But it would get harder to answer under rules proposed by the Texas Insurance Department. More

More Home Sale Prices Kept Secret
from The Dallas Morning News
Early this year, a Tudor-style cottage in Dallas with a stately stone exterior and stained-glass windows was listed for sale at just under $500,000. How much it sold for is top secret. That's because real estate agents, buyers and sellers are keeping sales prices under wraps on hundreds of houses – even on the Multiple Listing Service. More

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Survey: DFW Economy Among the Best
from The Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas-Fort Worth economy ranked among the nation’s strongest metropolitan areas in the first quarter, with the third-best change in housing prices and fourth-best change in total output, according to the Brookings Institution. Texas did well overall, with all six major metro areas - D-FW, Houston, Austin, San Antonio, El Paso and McAllen-Edinburg - ranking in the top 20 among the 100 largest U.S. metro areas. More

Blog, Twitter Cause Campaign Headaches
from The Austin American-Statesman First Reading Blog
It started around midday Wednesday when Vince Leibowitz, the author of the Capitol Annex blog, wrote on Twitter, "Sources say Elizabeth Ames Jones to withdraw from Senate race." Jones campaign manager Alicia Collins heard about the gathering storm from a friend, and before she knew it, she was in full rumor-swatting mode. "There’s no truth to it whatsoever," Collins said. She later said, "She fully intends to stay in the race until the last vote is counted." More

Businesswoman Convicted for Scamming Homeowners
from The San Antonio Express-News
Federal jurors in the foreclosure-rescue scam trial of Rosario Castro Divins never saw her rap sheet that includes five convictions for trespassing, stalking and harassment. What the jury did know was that Divins, 55, was accused by the FBI of defrauding seven families out of more than $100,000 with promises to fix their foreclosures, and that she'd been ordered by a bankruptcy judge three times since 2000 to halt her practices. More

Report: Austin Construction Workers Face Dangers, Low Pay
from The Austin American-Statesman
Though it robustly feeds the city's growth and economy - generating an estimated $3.5 billion-plus annually in wages alone - Austin's commercial and residential construction industry frequently puts workers' safety, health and financial well-being at risk, according to a study released Tuesday by a worker advocacy group. More

Total U.S. Jobless Rolls Drop Sharply
from The Associated Press via The Brownsville Herald
The total number of people on the unemployment insurance rolls dropped for the first time since early January, the government said Thursday, while new claims for benefits rose slightly. The Labor Department said the total unemployment insurance rolls fell by 148,000 to 6.69 million in the week ending June 6, the largest drop in more than seven years. The decline is a sign that layoffs are easing. More

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