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Top Morning Stories February 8, 2011

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Image courtesy Devil's Rancher http://www.flickr.com/photos/cvreeland/
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The former GM of the PEC was sentenced to jail time and probation Monday.

Former PEC Exec Sentenced

The former general manager of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative has been sentenced to 300 days in jail.  A state district judge Monday also sentenced Bennie Fuelberg to five years of probation.  He's required to do community service and to pay $126,000 in restitution.  

The Austin American-Statesman reports that money is not going to the co-op.  It's going to the co-op's former law firm, which paid a settlement to the PEC last year. Fuelberg was convicted of third degree theft, misapplication of fiduciary property and money laundering in December.

State of the State

Texas Governor Rick Perry will give his sixth State of the State speech at 11 a.m. today.  The Associated Press is reporting the governor will ask lawmakers to indefinitely suspend funding for four Texas agencies - the Texas Historical Commission, the Texas Commission on the Arts, the Board of Professional Geoscientists and the Board of Professional Land Surveying - and to consolidate others.  KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, reports Perry is going to challenge colleges and universities to offer $10,000 bachelor's degrees.  You can watch the Governor's speech live on his website.

Trial to Begin for Former TYC Official

Opening statements are scheduled in Lubbock today for a former Texas Youth Commission official accused of sexually molesting inmates at a juvenile prison years ago.  45-year-old John Paul Hernandez was an administrator at the West Texas State school in Pyote.  He has pleaded not guilty. 

 Questions Arise Over Timing of Electricity Hikes

State lawmakers say they will hold hearings on the rolling power outages that left thousands of Texans in the dark last week.

When the blackouts hit, wholesale electricity rates skyrocketed to more than 50 times their normal price. The only thing that prevented them from going higher was a pre-set limit. The timing of changes to that limit is prompting some questions.  KUT's Matt Largey has more in his story which you can read here.