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Top Morning Stories September 14, 2011

Firefighters in Bastrop County are hoping stronger winds won't hurt efforts to contain the fire Wednesday.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.
Firefighters in Bastrop County are hoping stronger winds won't hurt efforts to contain the fire Wednesday.

Bastrop Firefighters on Alert for Today's Weather

The National Weather Service says Central Texas will have near critical fire weather conditionsthis afternoon and this evening. Winds will pick up with possible wind gusts of up to 25 miles per hour.

Today’s weather conditions also mean some Bastrop County residents won’t get to return home until Thursday at the earliest.  Those areas include Eastern Tahitian Village, Pine Forest, McAllister Road and the northern part of ColoVista.

You can see a map of Bastrop County's re-entry plan here. At last report, the Bastrop County Complex fire was 70 percent contained and had scorched over 34,000 acres.

Next Stop for Perry? Virginia

On the heels of Monday's GOP presidential debate in Tampa, Texas Governor Rick Perry now heads to the battleground state of Virginia. He's visiting the world’s largest evangelical Christian university, Liberty University, today. Emily Ramshaw of KUT's political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune,has a write-up this morning explaining why winning over Virginia voters is so important:

Virginia is a giant question mark for political observers — and a key state to win for presidential candidates. The state, long Republican, went blue in 2008 for the first time since 1964. While some call it a fluke, Ford O’Connell, a Virginia Republican strategist who advised the McCain-Palin campaign in the last presidential race, said he’s not so sure. “We’re going from what used to be traditional Virginia to modern Virginia, and we’ve got a very split electorate,” he said. “There’s no plausible scenario for the GOP to win the White House without winning Virginia.”

Man Executed for Double Murder

The State of Texas executed its 10th inmate of the year last night.  Steven Michael Woods was executed for the murder of two people near Dallas in 2001. The victims were 21 year-old Ronald Whitehead and 19 year-old Bethena Brosz.  Another execution is scheduled in Texas tomorrow