Archive for January, 2009

Aquifer Groups Host US Fish and Wildlife Town Hall Meeting on Critical Habitat for Devils River Minnows

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Aquifer Groups Host US Fish and Wildlife Town Hall Meeting on Critical Habitat for Devils River Minnows

When: Monday, September 22nd at 5:00 p.m.

Where: Kinney County District Courtroom
Brackettville, Texas

The Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance and Kinney County Ground Zero will host a town hall meeting to inform the public about the designation of Critical Habitat for the Devils River Minnow in Kinney County featuring experts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). Joy Nicholopoulos (USFWS State Administrator), Adam Zerrenner (USFWS Field Supervisor), and Nathan Allan (Fisheries Biologist) will answer questions about the recent designation of critical habitat for the Devils River Minnow in Pinto Creek. They will also discuss how people in Kinney County can help conserve the minnow and the streams where it lives.

Annalisa Peace, executive director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance says, “The Alliance is hosting this town hall meeting on behalf of our Bracklettville member group,”Kinney County Ground Zero.” “We hope the expertise provided at this forum will enable the local community to make informed decisions on matters affecting the species and Kinney County’s water resources.”

For more information on Critical Habitat for the Devils River Minnow: http://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/AustinTexas/

US Fish and Wildlife Service has published “Questions and Answers – Devils River Minnow Critical Habitat” which can be downloaded from here.

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Joe Straus Elected Speaker

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AUSTIN – Texas legislators unanimously elected Rep. Joe Straus III speaker of the state House Tuesday, making Straus the first San Antonio leader of the 150-member chamber in nearly 100 years.

Straus, a Republican, is starting his second full session in the state House. Straus emerged as the consensus choice 11 days ago of 11 maverick Republicans who decided that a fresh face would be their best bet to oust veteran Tom Craddick, a Midland Republican who wanted a fourth term as House speaker. Craddick has been in the Legislature for 40 years.

Many members have grown weary of a bitterly divided House in recent years. Republicans now control the chamber with a slim 76-74 margine.

“Let’s promise ourselves – let there be no walls in this House,” Straus told his colleagues, according to an advance copy of his acceptance speech.

“Let us come together as colleagues and servants to do what is right for Texas. Collaboration is the key to success in this session,” he said. “Together, we will build a House where members have an opportunity to express their views and a chance to do something great for their districts and for Texas.”

Straus also thanked Craddick for his long service.

In an awkward moment one hour before the 81st Texas Legislature convened,

Straus, on a cell phone, brushed up against Craddick on the House floor. Craddick looked the other way as Straus continued his conversation.

Straus is the only the second urban House speaker in 70 years and the first since Gib Lewis of Fort Worth won the powerful office in 1983. Only one other San Antonio member has been elected House speaker: Chester Terrell in 1913.

The speakership is one of the most powerful positions in state politics, with considerable influence over everything from taxes to the quality of children’s education to health care for the needy. The speaker determines priorities for Texans, assigns lawmakers to legislative committees and has a powerful hand in deciding whether bills pass or die.

San Antonians played a prominant role in the opening day of the state House. Secretary of State Hope Andrade, of San Antonio, presided over the chamber before Straus’ election as speaker. Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson, also a San Antonian, administered the oath of office for Straus.

Rep. Jose Menendez, D-San Antonio, nominated Straus for the speaker’s job.

And Sen. Jeff Wentworth, R-San Antonio, led a Senate delegation, which walked across the second floor of the Capitol to inform the House that the Senate had officially gathered to open the 140-day legislative session.

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