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Top Morning Stories 2/8/12: Amber Alert, Ron Paul's Minnesota Showing, UT Studies Prof Performance

Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith (left). They believe she is with her mother, Kimberly Smith.
Photos courtesy Texas Dept. of Public Safety
Authorities have issued an Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith (left). They believe she is with her mother, Kimberly Smith.

Amber Alert Issued

Forth Worth authorities have issued an Amber Alert for 11-year-old Jessica Smith. Jessica is a white female, 5’1” tall, weighs 120 pounds and has brown hair and eyes.  

Police believe Jessica’s abductor is her mother, 42 year-old Kimberly Smith. Smith is a white female, 5’2” tall, weighs 150 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. Smith has a cross tattoo on the back of her neck and a decorative tattoo on her back.  

Smith was last heard from in Fort Worth, and is believed to be traveling in a 2007 silver Mazda CX9, with Texas license plate BMZ390.

Law enforcement officials believe that Jessica is in grave or immediate danger. If you have any information about the abduction please call the Fort Worth Police Dept. at 817-335-4222or dial 911.

Ron Paul Defies Expectations in Minnesota

Media attention has turned to GOP dark horse Rick Santorum following his sweep last night, but Ron Paul beat the odds with a second place finish in Minnesota.

The Texas Republican is deploying a unique strategy, going after delegates in caucus states rather than the largest share of the primary popular vote.  (Delegates behave like a mini electoral college for primary elections, deciding who each state's top party candidate will be.)  They are typically awarded to candidates proportionally based on voter turnout, and according to the Associated Press, Paul walked away with at least 13 of Minnesota's 37 delegates. 

It takes 1,144 delegates to win the GOP nomination, and presumptive front runner Mitt Romney currently has 101.

UT Moves to Strengthen Professor Performance Reviews

Does UT need tighter performance reviews for its instructors?  That's what the University of Texas System regents are deciding this week.

Today begins a two-day meeting among the regents in San Antonio, where they will review Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa's plan for a post-tenure review process.  It was unanimously approved last August, and now, the regents may put it into practice.  According to the Texas Tribune:

The proposed rules clarify that evaluations — which would be more frequent than they currently are for tenured professors — could be used in salary and career advancement decisions, and that faculty members who fail a remediation process could be fired.    UT regents are also expected this week to tighten the system’s policies on criminal background checks. Before 2010, the system did not require every institution to conduct background checks. Since then, checks have resulted in the termination of four employees. The new rules under consideration would require background checks on temporary employees and faculty members who interact with students, volunteers at day care centers, youth camps and health facilities.

Tolly Moseley is currently an intern at KUT News.
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