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AM Update: Drought Improves Texas Beaches, Another Ft. Hood Trial Delay?, Deep Eddy Re-Opens

Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Less Rain is the Texas Beach-Goer’s Gain?

Turns out, there may be a positive side to the state'shistoric drought. Less rain means less polluted runoff – so Texas beaches are cleaner than they have been in years. It's all detailed in a report released this week by the National Resources Defense Council.

The report details the testing done on hundreds of state beaches around the nation and evaluates the levels of certain bacteria found in the water. Texas’ South Padre Island was rated one of the nation’s twelve cleanest beaches, though Nueces, Matagorda, Kleberg, Harris and Aransas beaches exceeded the daily maximum bacteria standard. 

Bacteria caused by runoff and other sources of pollution can cause stomach flu, respiratory infection, and ear and skin infections. They can also cause harmful algal blooms, also called “red tides,” which disrupt local ecosystems.

To determine if waters are safe, Texas officials take samples for enterococcus. In 2011, twelve beaches showed zero samples with levels of enterococcus exceeding standards. More than half of Texas beaches weren’t sampled often enough to provide evidence of their cleanliness.

Fort Hood Trial Delayed Again?

The attorneys of Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist charged in the 2009 Fort Hood shootings, will ask a military judge today to have the trial delayed from August until December.

Hasan’s attorneys say they need more time to prepare and review evidence. They have already delayed the trial twice.

Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Hasan was barred from a courtroom hearing earlier this month for growing a beard, which violates military grooming standards. The judge ordered Hasan to watch hearings and trial proceedings on a closed-circuit television outside of the courtroom until he shaves.

Hasan’s attorneys say he grew the beard as an expression of his Islamic faith.

Eddy is Ready!

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Friends of Deep Eddy organization will celebrate the grand re-opening of Deep Eddy pool Saturday at 10 a.m.

The pool closed in November 2011 for repairs to its deck, piping and pool bottom. The 2006 bond initiative covered the cost of the $2.3 million renovations.

Deep Eddy first opened in 1915. The City of Austin says it is the oldest man-made pool in the state.

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