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Top Morning Stories, December 25, 2011

Image courtesy
Part of the LBJ Ranch house near Johnson City. The National Parks Service has opened the living quarters of Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson to the public.

Best wishes for this Christmas Day! There was a Christmas homecoming at Fort Hood, the loss of a house in East Austin this morning, and a look into the Hill Country home of America's 36th President.

Troops Return to Fort Hood

More than 200 troops returned to Fort Hood Christmas Eve, after 11 months in Iraq. The Killeen Daily Herald reports the homecoming represented more than family reunions in the rain of a Saturday afternoon. The unit of the Army's First Cavalry was among the last U.S. military units to leave Iraq, over seven years after the war began.

Fire Consumes East Austin Home

Austin firefighters got an early Christmas wake-up call. Fire broke out in a reportedly abandoned home on E.M. Franklin Ave., just south of East Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. The Austin Fire Department says crews weren't able to save the house, so they went "defensive" mode, to keep the fire from spreading to other houses. The fire was controlled just before 8:00 a.m. There were no reported injuries.

Inside LBJ's Home

The Austin American-Statesman reports this morning that a new part of the LBJ Ranch is open to visitors. The Johnson's living quarters, which served as the Western White House during Lyndon Johnson's presidency, have been opened to the public. President Johnson died in early 1973, almost exactly four years after he left office. His widow, Lady Bird, continued living part time at the ranch house until she died in the summer of 2007.