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Top Morning Stories February 11, 2011

Former juvenile inmates are speaking out during the trial of a former Texas Youth Commission official. More testimony is scheduled for today.
KUT News
Former juvenile inmates are speaking out during the trial of a former Texas Youth Commission official. More testimony is scheduled for today.

Former TYC Inmates Speaking Out About Abuse

Testimony continues in Lubbock today in the trial for a former administrator of a West Texas youth lockup.  The Associated Pressreports a third former inmate of the State School in Pyote is expected to testify against John Paul Hernandez. Hernandez is accused of sexually abusing young inmates in closets and classrooms.  He has pleaded not guilty.  From the AP:

In Thursday testimony, a former inmate told theLubbock County jury that Hernandez told him he loved him just days after the Texas Rangers began investigating the allegations of sexual abuse at the school. The young man, who fought back tears several times while he testified, told jurors that he knew the statement was meant to keep him quiet. A day later, John Paul Hernandez asked the teen whether his mother needed money, he said.   

Wind Power Growing in South Texas

When you think about wind power in Texas, West Texas probably comes to mind.  But as our political reporting partner the Texas Tribune reports, wind projects are growing along the Gulf Coast, mainly in the Corpus Christi area.  That has some people worried about birds, the coastal habitat, and the turbines' effect on military radars.  From the Trib:

The Naval Air Station Kingsville, a training ground for jet pilots, worries about the turbines interfering with its radar — the spinning machines look like airplanes on the screens of military radar operators. Capt. Mark McLaughlin, the station’s commanding officer, said the Navy has had to “tweak” its radar to block out the Kenedy Ranch turbines, even though they are more than 20 miles from its airfields.   

Amazon Closing Texas Facility is closing its distribution center in Irving as it battles the state over online sales taxes.  Texas is demanding $269 million in uncollected sales taxes it says it’s owed since Amazon has a physical presence in the state.  Last month Amazon sued Texas asking how it arrived at that dollar amount.  The company says it’s closing up shop here because of an “unfavorable regulatory climate"           

I-35 at Ben White Will Shut Down This Weekend

If you're driving I-35 near Ben White Blvd. this weekend, you you'll need an alternate route.  The Texas Department of Transportationis closing I-35 in both directions at Ben White starting at 10 p.m.  Traffic will be diverted to the frontage roads.  TXDOT is constructing four new flyovers to connect I-35 and US 290.  The Department says all roads should reopen by early Sunday afternoon.  The entire project isn’t slated to be done until September, but TXDOT says it’s running ahead of schedule.