BC-TX--Texas News Digest, TX

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Associated Press

Posted on January 3, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Texas news at 4:30 a.m. CST.

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NEWSBREAK-YELLOWSTONE-OIL SPILL

BILLINGS, Mont. — Delays in Exxon Mobil Corp.'s response to a major pipeline break beneath Montana's Yellowstone River made the spill far worse than it otherwise would have been, federal regulators said. Department of Transportation investigators examining the spill said pipeline controllers in Houston could have reduced the volume of the 1,500-barrel spill by about two-thirds if they isolated the rupture as soon as problems emerged. Instead, crude drained from the severed, 12-inch pipeline for another 46 minutes before a remote control valve near the river was finally closed. The July 1, 2011, spill fouled 70 miles of the riverbank along the scenic Yellowstone. By Matthew Brown.

AIRLINE-PASSENGER DEATH

HOUSTON — Police say an American Airlines jet flying from Brazil to North Texas has diverted to Houston after a 25-year-old passenger died aboard the aircraft. Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva says homicide detectives responding to George Bush Intercontinental Airport just before daybreak Wednesday found no signs of trauma on the woman. An autopsy will be performed. The name of the female passenger wasn't immediately released. An American spokesman says Flight 962 left Sao Paolo, Brazil, just after 1 a.m. Wednesday bound for Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. By Mike Graczyk.

TEACHING FINANCIAL COMPETENCY

SAN ANTONIO — A state law taking effect this year requires Texas public schools to instruct students on how to pay for higher education, and a financial literacy program in the San Antonio schools could provide a blueprint for similar initiatives across the state. The pilot program in San Antonio aims to get every high school senior to complete free applications for federal student aid, commonly known as FAFSA. The district has counselors help students with that effort. District officials say it could be a model for the rest of the state following the implementation of House Bill 34, which was passed in 2011 and is one of several measures designed to increase students' financial competency as college tuition costs increase.

DNA-DATABASE

SAN ANTONIO — Improved technology and an expanding DNA database have helped solve thousands of crimes in Texas since the national system was created more than 15 years ago, experts say. At least 643 homicides are among the Texas cases solved with assistance from the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. "Many of these crimes might never have been solved if not for this database," said Steve McCraw, director of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

EXCHANGE-AUDOBON-HOUSTON

HOUSTON — To heck with Houston, Edith Moore was heading for the woods. Her refuge would be a log cabin, built by her farm-boy husband miles from the bustling, buzzing heart of the city she found repellent. Let the city's 300,000 denizens revel in urbanity, she would commune with forest flowers. Much has changed since Moore — scientist, painter, poet, musician — and her husband, Jesse, moved to their sylvan retreat 80 years ago. The area's population has grown to 6 million; endless urban sprawl engulfs the once-rural outpost. Moore's beloved home, now a short distance from Beltway 8's western span, has gone to the birds. By Allan Turner. The Houston Chronicle.

AP Photos.

ALSO:

HOUSTON — Houston police say a domestic dispute has left two women shot to death in an apparent murder and then a suicide at their house. BC-TX--Houston-Women Dead.

AUSTIN, Texas — Police say a man and his juvenile son have died after their motorcycle hit a parked car in a Central Texas neighborhood. BC-TX--Austin-Motorcycle Wreck.

SAN ANTONIO — A memorial service will be held for a San Antonio police officer who died nearly three weeks after being hurt in a traffic accident while on duty. BC-TX--San Antonio-Officer Death.

AUSTIN, Texas — A Central Texas city has started a yearlong pilot program for curbside collection of compost. BC-TX--Austin-Compost.

AMARILLO, Texas — The Navy has added $1.4 billion to a Bell-Boeing contract to build 22 V-22 Ospreys in Texas. BC-TX--Bell-Boeing-Osprey.

DES MOINES, Iowa — The bill Congress approved Tuesday night providing tax relief for most taxpayers also helps wind energy and ethanol producers by extending tax credits designed to encourage continued development. BC-IA--Renewable Energy-Tax Credits.

SPORTS REFER:

COTTON BOWL-MANZIEL VS JONES

IRVING, Texas — Before Kevin Sumlin became a successful head coach, he was on Bob Stoops' staff at Oklahoma. Before that, they were both assistant coaches recruiting the same area. Now Sumlin takes his Texas A&M team against Stoops' Sooners in a Cotton Bowl matchup of former Big 12 rivals that are both 10-2. By Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins.

AP Photos.

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