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Top Morning Stories July 12, 2011

Travis_Redistricting.JPG
Photo by KUT News.
George Korbel is a Travis County-hired consultant assisting with redistricting.

State Office Building Closed

UPDATE 9:00 am: DPS officials have reopened the William P. Clements building, after issuing an all clear.

EARLIER:  The William P. Clements building at 15th and Lavaca is closed as well as the parking lot.  The Texas Department of Public Safety says this is a precautionary measure. DPS says a suspect has been detained and his vehicle searched.  Officials did not release other details.  DPS did say an 'all clear' is expected soon.

Public Weighing in on Travis County Redistricting

Travis County is holding a public hearing this morning on its redistricting plans. The county is redrawing boundary lines for county commissioners, justices of the peace, constables and election precincts, following last year's US Census. County officials are trying to get more public input before Commissioners adopt the final maps next month. The hearing is at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners Courtroom,  314 West 11th St. KUT's Mose Buchele recently reported how race and politics and the changing demographics of Central Texas are playing into the redistricting process.  Read that story here.

Feds ask States to Report Multiple Sales of Semi-Automatic Rifles

The US Justice Department is now requiring gun sellers in the four Southwest border states, including Texas, to alert officials about frequent buyers of high-powered rifles. Firearms sellers will have to report when a person purchases multiple semi-automatic rifles (greater than .22 caliber) with detachable magazines within a five-day period. It's part of a crackdown on suspected weapons trafficking by transnational gangs.

Sweetwater Wildfire Forces Evacuations

The Texas Forest Service says about thirty homes were evacuated yesterday afternoon near Sweetwater, west of Abilene.  A wildfire there has burned at least 3,000 acres. The fire started as two fires that merged, fueled by high winds. The Forest Service says it is currently working seven large fires scattered across the state, along with other smaller ones.

Lake Travis ISD Names Interim Superintendent

The Lake Travis School District's Board has named Susan Bohn interim superintendent. She was most recently deputy superintendent and general counsel.  She's holding the position for Dr. Rocky Kirk, who is resigning.  The Board has also selected a consulting firm to handle the search for the district's next superintendent.