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In Case You Missed It: June 1-2

Some of the best stories from The Statesman you might have missed over the weekend:
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  • Good Hearts Weird FoodThe Capital Area Food Bank keeps a shelf of “unique donations” - from “Mammoth Chunks” to “Armadillo Milk” - to honor the best of the donations they have received that can’t really be distributed to the food pantries the food bank supports.

  • Statesman Watch updateA couple whose belongings - including the wife’s wedding dress - were mistakenly seized by a company foreclosing on a neighbor’s home are still waiting for restitution.

  • Hays sports photos: check out photos of the Hays softball players win of the 4A softball state championship.

  • Austin’s rise on biggest cities list will slow for now: Austin jumped up to No. 11 on the list of biggest cities in the U.S. according to the latest census estimates. But the chances of making the top 10 soon don’t look so good.

  • Case pitting minors, state environmental agency against greenhouse gases moves ahead slowly: Plaintiffs ranging from toddlers to a 25-year-old have argued that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality should regulate greenhouse gas emissions as part of its duty to guard the public trust for current and future generations.

  • Austin builds “great streets” but at what cost?: As Austin’s downtown transforms to a 24-hour destination, its streets are becoming narrower, its sidewalks wider. Part of the city’s vision for a more walkable downtown, the changes are welcome to many visitors and downtown dwellers. However, as officials map out more so-called “great streets,” some are wondering if city planners are going too far.

    Two Statesman reporters decided to try out whether they could get around easier by car or walking on the new “great streets.” Check out the video

  • Analysis: Local gun suicides and mental health linked For every gun-related homicide in Travis County over the past three years, three people committed suicide using a firearm. Autopsy, toxicology and investigative reports show that more than a third either had psychiatric medication in their blood, or it was found at the scene of their deaths.

    Check out the related infographic



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Rick Perry, feds at odds over artificial reef program

The Texas governor and federal officials are in a disagreement over an initiative in place to remove offshore oil rigs that are no longer being used.

In 2010, the U.S. Department of the Interior began requiring offshore oil-producing companies to remove nonproducing platforms within five years. However, the state-run created the Rigs to Reefs program, which sinks capped and nonperforming oil platforms to create artificial permanent reefs.

 rick perry  texas  Environment  news  wildlife  coral reef 
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Fort Hood ventures into solar power
Nearly 3,000 solar panels have been installed at a field at Liberty Village in Fort Hood.
The $3 million Fort Hood project was paid for by the private contractor that owns the housing area and federal tax credits. It will supply about 20 percent of the energy needs of the military families at Liberty Village.
Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Fort Hood ventures into solar power

Nearly 3,000 solar panels have been installed at a field at Liberty Village in Fort Hood.

The $3 million Fort Hood project was paid for by the private contractor that owns the housing area and federal tax credits. It will supply about 20 percent of the energy needs of the military families at Liberty Village.

Photo by Rodolfo Gonzalez AMERICAN-STATESMAN

 fort hood  solar power  energy  environment  military 
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Restoring Lost Pines will take years of toil, millions of dollars — and help from landowners

What used to be here, before September’s fires swept through Bastrop County and blackened Bastrop State Park, is a mature forest of pines and hardwoods thick with deer and songbirds and the whoosh of breezes through treetops. Then the Labor Day fires consumed it, leaving behind an eerily silent cemetery of trees turned to charcoal and ground stripped to bare dirt.

The Lost Pines Recovery Team recently finished writing a five-year plan for restoring the vegetation. Officials say it will take enormous amounts of money, planning and volunteer labor to help the forest fully recover.

Read more of our stories, see video and photos six months after the Labor Day wildfires

 news  lost pines  Environment  bastrop county  wildfires 
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 news  Environment  texas  coal  energy 
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The City of Austin might enact one of the broadest bag bans in the nation and  prohibit disposable paper and plastic bags at all checkout counters starting  in January 2016.
In the meantime, starting in 2013, retailers could continue to offer thin,  so-called single-use bags, but customers would have to pay 25 cents apiece  for them, according to a draft of the ban. That three-year period would give  the public and retailers time to prepare for the ban, city officials say.
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The City of Austin might enact one of the broadest bag bans in the nation and prohibit disposable paper and plastic bags at all checkout counters starting in January 2016.

In the meantime, starting in 2013, retailers could continue to offer thin, so-called single-use bags, but customers would have to pay 25 cents apiece for them, according to a draft of the ban. That three-year period would give the public and retailers time to prepare for the ban, city officials say.

READ MORE

 austin  news  recycling  plastic bags  environment 
 30 notes

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