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AM Update: Whooping Cough Concerns, Voter Registration Laws, Clemens Plays Ball With Son

Judy Schmidt, Centers for Disease Control

A good Friday morning. Record high temperatures are still expected today, before a Saturday cold front brings decreased temperatures and an elevated fire risk. Here's some of the area's top overnight stories. 

Most Texas Whooping Cough Deaths Since 2005

The Texas Department of State Health Services says there have been more whooping cough deaths this year than in the past several years.The department says six children in Texas have died from whooping cough (aka pertussis)and more than 1,000 people have gotten sick.

Travis County leads the state in the number of whooping cough cases with 163 as of the end of August – that's about 14 percent of the state total. No one in Travis County has died from the illness. The Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department says it is "highly aggressive" in seeking out whooping cough cases so the numbers could be somewhat misleading. The department works with local health providers to identify whooping cough cases and alert them of clusters of incidents.

The department says it’s especially important for pregnant women, newborns and their parents or guardians to be vaccinated for the illness.

Whooping cough can be spread through coughing or sneezing. It usually starts with cold-like symptoms and can turn into a severe cough that can become deadly.

Texas Voting Registration Laws Get OK

A2-1 decision by an appeals courtmeans Texas can enforce new state voter registration laws.

The laws limit who can hand out voter registration cards and who can collect completed forms.

The non-partisan group Voting for America says the rules make it harder to register people to vote. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says the new laws are meant to prevent voter fraud.

In a previous ruling, a judge struck down several parts of the law and ordered an injunction so the rules couldn’t be enforced. Yesterday’s ruling overturned that decision.

Clemens Pitches, Clemens Catches

Former Longhorn and Major League baseballer Roger Clemens, 50, could be pitching to his 25-year-old son Koby in a Minor League game tonight.

The younger Clemens joined his dad by signing with the Sugar Land Skeeters this week. Koby Clemens had been playing with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

Roger Clemens says in a statement on the Skeeters’ website that he’s thrilled to be playing with Koby.

“This is cool stuff. Having Koby, my oldest son, back there to catch a game will be great. I’m glad he’s getting the opportunity to do so. We will have many special guests there to watch. Thanks again to Sugar Land!”

Skeeters President Matt O’Brien added:

“All season long, the ballpark has been the backdrop for great father/son memories. We are excited this one is coming together for the Clemens family.”

Roger Clemensjoined the Skeeters last month. He’s playing professional baseball for the first time since 2007 – when he was with the New York Yankees.

Clemens was accused of lying to Congress for denying he used performance-enhancing drugs. In June, a jury acquitted him on all charges.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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