– The National Weather Service in Ft. Worth has confirmed at least seven tornadoes swept through East Texas on Tuesday, with another four suspected.
The strongest was categorized as an EF1, which hit between Edom and Ben Wheeler in Van Zandt County at close to 90 mph, destroying several homes and damaging over 100 others. One woman was severely injured.
An EF0 was reported to hit Mabank in Kaufman County, while another EF0 hit just to the south in Henderson County at Cedar Creek Lake.
Merrick County, Nebraska – A Nebraska county board is supporting the proposed pipeline to carry Canadian tar sands oil to refineries near the Gulf of Mexico, a move that would affect sections of East Texas.
The Merrick County Board voted Tuesday to write a letter of support for TransCanada's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which is being reviewed by the U.S. State Department. The 1,700-mile project is designed to carry oil from Canada across Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Wolfe City – The Wolfe City Chamber of Commerce is hosting a candidates forum Thursday night, which will feature two contested races for the school board.
Incumbents Ron Ferguson and Phil Tanner are seeking re-election to serve full terms. Doug Skinner has filed for the Place 7 seat, currently held by Ferguson, and Steven Cherry has filed seeking the Place 1 seat, currently held by Tanner.
Austin – After a marathon debate that dragged into the wee morning hours, the GOP-led Texas House has approved a redistricting plan that would all but guarantee a continued Republican majority - albeit a smaller one than the party has now.
The map, approved on a 92-52 vote Thursday, would pit several Republicans against each other, including local state representatives Dan Flynn and Erwin Cain, should the two run again in 2012.
Greenville – The Greenville City Council Districts will also need to undergo redistricting, due to shifts in population over the last ten years.
During Tuesday's work session, Jacob Limon with Barney Knight & Associates said the City's total deviation between the population of their largest and smallest districts is currently over 27 percent. In general, lines need to be redrawn in the deviation exceeds ten percent.
The process will eventually require review and approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.
– East Texas was the site of nearly a dozen suspected tornadoes, some of which caused major damage Tuesday.
Van Zandt County emergency management spokesman Chuck Allen estimated that "easily 100-plus" homes were destroyed or damaged north of the tiny East Texas town of Edom. He said one woman suffered fractures when her mobile home was destroyed.
Allen described a damage track one mile wide and eight miles long extending from Edom to the north.