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Top Morning Stories June 16, 2011

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Photo by KUT News.
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Bastrop and Hays Counties are the latest Central Texas counties to implement a fireworks ban because of serious drought conditions.

More Central Texas Firework Bans

Bastrop and Hays Counties have issued local disaster declarations to ban the sale and use of personal fireworks because of the ongoing drought. Both counties have asked Gov. Rick Perry to extend the ban through the Fourth of July weekend. Travis and Williamson Counties also already declared a ban on fireworks through the holiday weekend.

Supreme Court Stops Texas Execution

The U.S. Supreme Court stopped the scheduled execution of John Balentine last night. He was set to die for killing three teenagers in Amarillo more than 13 years ago. Balentine’s lawyers said he had poor legal representation during his trial.  Another Texas execution is scheduled for tonight.

Austin Bus Driver Attacked

Austin Police have released a video of a Capital Metro bus driver being beaten by a passenger. KVUE posted the video online which shows a man repeatedly punching the driver and dragging him onto the floor.  An Austin police sergeant said this is one of the worst robberies he's ever seen.

Capital Metro tells KVUE the driver, who was in his late 40's, has been released from the hospital and is still recovering. Police say if arrested, the attacker faces felony charges of aggravated robbery.

 

BMX & Skate Park Opening

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is holding a grand opening celebration today for the new Austin BMX & Skate Park. The celebration will begin at 10 a.m. at 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd. The park will officially open at noon. The new skate park was funded through the city's 2006 bond election.

Fans Celebrating Mavs Championship

250,000 people are expected at a victory parade this morning in Dallas to celebrate the first ever NBA title for the Dallas Mavericks. More from the Associated Press:

The fun begins at 10 a.m. Thursday with a parade through downtown, but hours earlier fans began staking out their favorite spots. Streets along the parade route were being closed two hours before the event, as organizers urged fans to avoid traffic delays and use public transportation. More than 250,000 people were expected to cheer on a fleet of three floats, 10 convertibles and a dozen trucks featuring star player Dirk Nowitzki, club owner Mark Cuban and everyone from team founder Don Carter to Nowitzki's guru, Holger Geschwindner. The guest of honor, of course, would be the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the shiny gold statue given to the NBA's top team.