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Dallas Fed's Fisher, Philadelphia Fed leaders to retire in 2015

WASHINGTON — The outspoken president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia will step down in March, shortly before the central bank is expected to raise interest rates for the first time since the recession, the regional bank said Monday.

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RadioShack sees stock jump on investment report

Fort Worth-based RadioShack saw its stock increase as much as 45 percent on Friday as investor Standard General LP said it was continuing talks on new financing for the electronics retailer.

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Fort Worth couple gets in 'Shark Tank,' comes out with deal

A Fort Worth couple who started a business when they couldn’t sleep, were the first entrepreneurs to get a deal on ABC’s Shark Tank in the season premiere on Sept. 26.

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Internal audit says EPA mismanaged Fort Worth project

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — An internal audit by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reveals the agency mismanaged an experiment using new ways to demolish asbestos-ridden buildings.

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Weatherford's Wild Mushroom to open in Fort Worth's Ridglea Village

Weatherford restaurant staple The Wild Mushroom Steak House & Lounge will be coming to Fort Worth in November, moving into the former site of Ray’s Steakhouse at to 3206 Winthrop Ave. in the Ridglea Village Shopping Center.

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Texas rice farmers may go 3rd year without water

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A Texas water supplier has scheduled a Tuesday vote on whether to withhold irrigation water from downstream rice farmers for a third consecutive year.

The Lower Colorado River Authority set the vote on a drought-related emergency plan. It would require the authority's two key reservoirs near Austin to have 1.1 million acre-feet of water on March 1 before making any water available to farmers, the Austin American-Statesman reported. That is higher than the 850,000 acre-feet threshold used in the past two years.

Each acre-foot is the amount of water needed to flood an acre to a depth of 1 foot. As of Friday the two reservoirs, Lake Buchanan and Lake Travis, held about two-thirds the water required under the proposed plan. The lakes haven't reached the proposed threshold since July 2011.

Texas is one of the largest rice growers in the nation.

The emergency plan also will require Austin and other municipal customers to restrict water use for the first time.

Lakes Buchanan and Travis, collectively called the Highland Lakes, are now at 36 percent of their capacity, and LCRA officials told the American-Statesman that it would be unlikely that the lake levels will reach the proposed threshold in time to be of benefit to the rice farmers of Colorado, Matagorda and Wharton counties.

That threshold is too high and unnecessary, said Ronald Gertson, a fifth-generation Wharton County rice farmer. A third consecutive year without water from the Highland Lakes could be the last straw for many growers and related businesses.

"It's disappointing. We recognize this is a drought-created condition," he told the American-Statesman, but the LCRA "is placing too much of the burden on downstream users."

Some growers have covered some of the shortfall with water from wells, but more than 50,000 acres were taken out of cultivation in the first year. That has had a ripple effect throughout the economies of the three downstream rice counties, which provide 5 percent of the nation's rice crop.

"The last thing we want to do is drain the lakes," said Mitch Thames, president of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture. "But this looks to me like they are hoarding water and not managing it. Where is the shared sacrifice? They are still watering their lawns and filling their pools in Austin."

However, the authority says the higher threshold is needed to give the lakes additional time to recover from the drought.

"These are some of the most difficult decisions" in the LCRA's 80-year history, general manager Becky Motal told the newspaper. "Right now, this drought is so severe it's not possible for everyone to have all the water they want."

The higher threshold is not enough for some critics. Any threshold of less than 1.4 million acre-feet is too risky, said Jo Karr Tedder, leader of the Central Texas Water Coalition.

"You just can't risk the drinking water supply in Central Texas to send it downstream. The lakes need time to recover, and they won't if water is released," she said.

In the meantime, the LCRA is proceeding with plans for a new Wharton County reservoir to serve the rice farmers and aims to have it ready by 2017.

 

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