AUSTIN - The city council on July 26 voted unanimously to rename Austin's Town Lake "Lady Bird Lake."

The name change honors Lady Bird Johnson, who died at age 94 on July 11. She was the widow of the late President Lyndon B. Johnson.

City council members said the renaming is a fitting way to honor the former first lady's life because of her personal efforts to improve the lake, its surrounding trails and greenbelts.

Weather prompts


Weather experts are saying a 10-year drought appears to be over in all but a few sections of the state. And the rain keeps on falling in areas that have had more than their share.

With Gov. Rick Perry out of state on July 26, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst exercised his official authority to beef up and position Texas military forces in preparation for continuing severe weather and flooding.

"I will continue to monitor this situation closely and work with the governor's office and state emergency coordinators to ensure the state is doing everything necessary to keep Texans safe," Dewhurst said.

For San Antonio-Martindale Airfield, Dewhurst called for 30 more personnel, 10 more vehicles and three more helicopters and crew.

Also, for Camp Mabry in Austin, he called for 30 more personnel and 10 more vehicles, including Humvees and so-called "high profile vehicles."

Dewhurst asked all Texans to heed the warnings of local officials and take every possible precaution to stay safe.

Funding veto

prompts action

One of Gov. Perry's line-item vetoes in the $151 billion 2008-2009 state budget was about $154 million to fund community college employees group health insurance.

Lt. Gov. Dewhurst on July 25 said lawmakers and college officials across the state had let him know their concerns about the veto.

Dewhurst said he doesn't want community colleges to have to raise tuition or limit enrollment or have local taxes increased as a result of the veto.

In his June 15 veto statement Perry said money appropriated from general revenue may not be expended for employee benefit costs, and that community colleges wrongly have been using such funds to pay the benefits on non-state paid employees.

Dewhurst said he wants the matter addressed right away and plans to bring it up in a fall meeting of the 10-member Legislative Budget Board. The board has the power to reauthorize the vetoed funding.

Meanwhile, Dewhurst said, he plans to meet with Sens. Zaffirini, Hinojosa, Shapiro, Duncan, Ogden, other interested lawmakers, the governor's office and state agencies to work out a solution before the year's end.

Teen birth rate

ranks highest

Texas currently has the highest teen birth rate in the nation: 63 births per 1,000 females ages 15-19.

Nationally, there are 41 births for every 1,000 teens.

The data comes from the KIDS COUNT Data Book, a national state-by-state report released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and reported July 25 by the Austin thinktank, Center for Public Policy Priorities.

CPPP said the report is a precursor to the fall release of The State of Texas Children 2007, which will provide child well-being data for every county in Texas.

Senate passes

border funding

The U.S. Senate on July 25 passed an amendment to the Department of Homeland Security appropriations bill that would provide $3 billion in emergency funding for border security.

The amendment includes a provision drafted by U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, to allow the money to be used for enforcing immigration laws, including electronic employment verification improvements and increased removal and detention of visa overstays.

UT Tower lights

out for weekend

To control invading crickets, the University of Texas at Austin did not turn on the burnt orange lights that illuminate the UT Tower Friday night July 27 through Sunday night July 29. The insects are attracted to the lights.

Former health

agency chief dies

Dr. Robert Bernstein, who served as head of the Texas Department of Health from 1980 to 1991, died July 23. Bernstein was 87.

Ed Sterling writes a weekly column for the Empire-Tribune.