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Top Morning Stories August 16, 2011

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Photo by KUT News
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Rick Perry continues on the presidential campaign trail today in Iowa and has some harsh words for U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

Fire Destroys 15 Homes in Leander

Firefighters are watching for flare ups this morning, after a fast moving brush fire consumed 30 acres Monday. Just after 4:00 p.m. a grass fire sparked in a neighborhood near Leander Middle School forcing 189 homes to evacuate. Fifteen homes were destroyed in the fire. Most families have been allowed to return to their homes, but Lexi Maxwell of the Texas Forest Service told KUT News there is high chance of another flare up.

"Part of the area that burned was an undeveloped track and had a lot of heavy brush in it." Maxwell said. "As critically dry as things are now it is very possible that they could have flare ups in that portion," she said.

Neither the cause of the fire nor where it sparked has been determined.

Round Rock Water Restrictions

The City of Round Rock begins Stage II mandatory water restrictions today. Homes with odd-numbered addresses can only water the lawn on Wednesday and Saturday. Even-numbered can water on Thursday and Sunday. Watering by hand with a hose or bucket is unrestricted.

Because forecasters see no end in sight for the drought and lake levels continue to fall, we believe it is prudent to implement mandatory water restrictions,” Utilities Director Michael Thane said. “Our system is capable of meeting current demand, but we're not achieving the level of voluntary compliance we'd like to see.

There is a list of further water restrictions on the City of Round Rock website.

Perry Continues Swing Through Iowa

Rick Perry continues his presidential campaign trip in Iowa today. This morning he will tour a warehouse and later today will meet with business leaders in Dubuque all while touting Texas' job record.

Perry took a swing at U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last night during a gathering of Republicans in Cedar Rapids. KUT's political partner, The Texas Tribune reports on Perry's comment that it would be "treasonous" for Bernanke, as Federal Reserve Chairman, to print more money as a way to boost the economy before the 2012 election.

“If this guy prints more between now and the election, I don’t know what y’all would do to 'em in Iowa, but we would treat 'em pretty ugly down in Texas,” Perry said in response to a question from the audience. “I mean, printing more money to play politics at this particular time in American history is almost treacherous, or treasonous, in my opinion,’’ he said.