SOLDIER SENTENCED-FORT HOOD
Fort Hood soldier sentenced for fatal shooting
FORT HOOD, Texas (AP) - A sergeant at Fort Hood has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally shooting another man during a party last year at a home on the Central Texas post.
A plea deal capped the sentence Monday for 27-year-old Brett Wessel if he pleaded guilty to nonpremeditated murder. The Killeen Daily Herald reports he was demoted to the rank of private and dishonorably discharged.
Testimony before a military judge revealed Wessel was drunk when he left the party last September to retrieve a handgun at his home and returned to shoot Ryan Dickinson in the chest. The two had argued earlier.
Wessel, the father of three children with a fourth due in December, tearfully apologized to Dickinson's family Monday. Dickinson, a retired soldier, had two children.
2 renovation workers hurt in Waco house fire
WACO, Texas (AP) - Two renovation workers have been hurt in a fiery explosion at a vacant Central Texas house as they tried to remove glue from the kitchen floor.
The Waco Tribune-Herald reported Tuesday that one man remains in critical condition with burns over 90 percent of his body. The second worker has burns over 20 percent of his body and was listed in serious condition at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas.
The accident happened Monday as the men used lacquer thinner to try to remove glue from the floor.
Waco Deputy Fire Marshal Riley Kilgo says officials are trying to determine the source of the ignition.
Madisonville police dog found dead in patrol car
MADISONVILLE, Texas (AP) - A Central Texas officer has been put on administrative duty after his police dog was found dead in his patrol SUV after his shift ended.
Madisonville police Chief Chuck May said Tuesday that his department and Texas Rangers are investigating the accidental death of the dog named Baron.
May says the 5-year-old Belgian Malinois (MAL'-in-wah) was found dead in the police vehicle at the officer's home.
The police chief says the officer began work Thursday night, got off around midday Friday and went home. The dog was discovered dead several hours later.
May says Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine experts would determine a cause of death, which was pending Tuesday.
Temperatures in the area reached the low 90s Friday.
Madisonville is about 90 miles northwest of Houston.
Texas worker charged with tampering with pizza
GEORGETOWN, Texas (AP) - An 18-year-old pizza store employee in Texas has been charged with a felony after police say he rubbed his genitals on food he was preparing for a customer.
The Georgetown Police Department arrested Austin Symonds last week and charged him with tampering with a consumer product. A Papa Murphy's customer who ordered food on Sept. 2 told police he caught Symonds. Police say Symonds admitted that he would have given the pizza to the customer if he hadn't been caught.
A store employee tells the Austin American-Statesman that Symonds has been fired.
Symonds was released from the Williamson County Jail after posting $10,000 bond. Online jail records didn't indicate an attorney.
History books spark latest Texas classroom battle
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - As Texas mulls new social studies books for its 5-plus million public school students, some academics are decrying lessons they say exaggerate the influence of Christian values on America's Founding Fathers.
Some conservative activists, meanwhile, complain about what they see as liberal biases in the same books.
It's the latest ideological battle over what gets taught in the classrooms of America's second-largest state. But this time activists from the right and left are united in criticizing the proposed books, though for very different reasons.
The state Board of Education won't vote to approve new books until its November meeting. They won't go into classrooms until the next academic year.
But the board is holding a public hearing on the books in Austin on Tuesday - and emotions may run high.
Input sought on reopening drive at Texas refuge
LOS FRESNOS, Texas (AP) - Concerns about protecting endangered ocelots from vehicles but allowing the public to view the cats could mean changing a road entrance at a South Texas refuge.
The Valley Morning Star reports officials at the Laguna Atascosa (a-tuhs-KOH'-suh) National Wildlife Refuge seek public input on possibly reopening part of Bayside Drive.
Refuge manager Boyd Blihovde (blee-HOHV'-dee) said Tuesday that the 15-mile loop has been temporarily closed to private vehicles since last October. Visitors can still hike and bike the trail or take guided tours.
Blihovde says one suggestion would be to move the entrance to Bayside Drive to an area that would avoid prime ocelot habitat.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Federal Highway Administration are working on proposals. Public comment will be accepted through Oct. 15.
NASA announcing commercial crew winners
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - NASA is a giant step closer to launching Americans again from U.S. soil.
On Tuesday, NASA will announce which one or two private companies wins the right to transport astronauts to the International Space Station. The deal will end NASA's expensive reliance on Russian crew transport.
NASA officials will make the long-awaited announcement at Kennedy Space Center, next door to where the launches should occur in a few years.
The contenders include SpaceX of California, already delivering space station cargo; Sierra Nevada Corp., which is developing a mini-shuttle in Colorado; and Boeing, which would assemble its crew capsules at Kennedy.
NASA astronauts have been riding Russian rockets ever since the shuttles retired in 2011. The latest pricetag is $71 million per seat.
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