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Top Morning Stories July 27, 2011

Photo courtesey of The Texas Forest Service
The Texas Forest Service responded to two new wildfires yesterday. 247 of the State's 254 counties currently have burn bans in effect.

New Wildfires Blaze

The Texas Forest Service responded to two new fires yesterday as the drought continues to provide prime conditions for wildfires.

A West Texas fire in Pecos County has burned 1,200 acres and is now 30 percent contained. Another new fire in Stephens County, 90 miles west of Fort Worth, has already burned 1,500 acres.

Perry Appoints to the LCRA, Public Utility Commission

Governor Rick Perry made two high-level appointments yesterday. Raymond "Ray" Gill of Horseshoe Bay has been appointed to the Lower Colorado River Authority's Board of Directors, and Donna Nelson of Austin was named as the new chair of the Public Utility Commission of Texas. Nelson was previously serving as one of three commissioners.

Warren Jeffs Jury Selected

The jury is set in the high profile case of polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs. The head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is facing charges of sexual assault of a child in a state district court in San Angelo. He faces a maximum sentence of life in prison, if convicted.

Brushland Energy Research Facility to Close

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be withdrawing next year from a wind and solar research facility in Brushland, Texas. The end of the 35-year program comes as the department invests in new biofuel research. Kate Galbraith of KUT's political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune has more.