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Top Morning Stories April 13, 2011

Photo courtesy of Austin firefighter Jimmy Taylor.
Scorched land in West Texas. The Texas Forest Service says wildfires have burned nearly 1 million acres across Texas since January.

Firefighters Containing Some Fires, New Ones Spreading

The Texas Forest Service told KUT this morning firefighters are making progress on some of the bigger wildfires in West Texas.  But the fire in the Fort Davis area is still not contained.  That fire has burned about 120,000  acres. The Forest Service says several new smaller fires also popped up yesterday in East Texas. The Austin Fire Department says Austin firefighters who’ve deployed to West Texas are mainly being assigned to protect structures such as homes, schools and businesses from the flames.

Voter Registration Deadline Nearing

Tomorrow is the deadline to register to vote in the May 14 general elections. Three Austin City Council seats are on the ballot.  Incumbents Chris Riley, Randi Shade and Laura Morrison are up for re-election.  Early voting starts Monday, May 2. Travis County voters can get more info here

Texas House Takes Up Eminent Domain

The Texas House is expected to vote today on a bill that would limit the government's ability to seize private property under the power of eminent domain.  Private property would still be able to be seized but only for public use.  That includes transportation projects, hospitals and parks.  Governor Rick Perry made eminent domain legislation a priority this session. 

First Lady to Visit Military Families in San Antonio

First Lady Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will be in San Antonio today. The stop is part of a tour for Mrs. Obama's new initiative called "Joining Forces" to get more companies, nonprofits and communities to support military families. reports Obama and Biden will meet with wounded soldiers and their families at Brooke Army Medical Center.