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Texas News Scrawl | Jocelyn Kaiser,W.J. Hennigan,Kirk Ladendorf,Josh Funk,Brian Stelter,Gary Dinges,Manny Fernandez,Eric Berger,Ryan Jones,Rick Jurgens,Minjae Park,John Council,Murphy Givens,Gitzel Puente,Laylan Copelin,Jessica Vess, Scott Guest,Guillermo Contreras,Jason Buch,Steven Oberbeck,Joshua Freed,Eric Berger,Joe Carroll,Logan Hawkes,Juan Antonio Rodríguez,Josh Hinkle,Bob Cox,Steve Campbell,Kirk Ladendorf,

Photo by Karnegie Musa. Copyright 2011.

Stories from other sources that Texas Business recommends:  

Texas Research Fund Will Re-Review MD Anderson Drug-Discovery Proposal by Jocelyn Kaiser of Science Insider. Reacting to charges of improper procedures, Texas's $3 billion cancer research fund has agreed to re-review a controversial $20 million commercialization award made in March to two Houston institutions. But it's not clear whether the plan will satisfy the critics, who are asking for a rigorous scientific review.

SpaceX's mission ends with a splashdown in the Pacific  by W.J. Hennigan of the Los Angeles Times. SpaceX’s Dragon space capsule successfully splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on Thursday about 563 miles west of Baja California after spending nine days in outer space. The unmanned capsule hit the water at 8:42 a.m. PDT, marking the end of a historic mission carried out by the Hawthorne-based company, officially known as Space Exploration Technologies Corp.

Dell shifts server tactics to focus on cutting data centers' energy costs by Kirk Ladendorf of the Austin American-Statesman. Dell Inc. is taking its first step toward developing low-power ARM-based servers aimed at business customers that run massive data center operations. The Round Rock-based company said Tuesday that it is making limited shipments of low-power servers — for evaluation purposes — to a small group of customers.

Pipeline firm pays $1M for spills in 3 states by Josh Funk of Bloomberg Businessweek. A Texas-based pipeline company has agreed to pay more than a $1 million fine for three spills in Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska, as well as invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in safety and equipment upgrades, federal officials announced. Enterprise Products and its Mid-America Pipeline Co. subsidiary agreed to the fine as part of a consent decree filed in U.S. District Court in Omaha, according to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency.

You Can Change the Channel, but Local News Is the Same by Brian Stelter of the New York Times.  SAN ANGELO, Tex. — Call a reporter at the CBS television station here, and it might be an anchor for the NBC station who calls back. Or it might be the news director who runs both stations’ news operations.

Planetarium proposal calls for $240 million, 47-story tower near Capitol by Gary Dinges of the Austin American-Statesman. A nonprofit group, with help from a big-name developer with projects across the globe, is shooting for the stars, pitching plans for a $240 million, 47-story tower near the Texas Capitol that would include a planetarium, science museum and technology center. It would also be home to a mix of shops, restaurants and residences, plus more than 1,000 underground parking spaces.

Groundwater depletion in semiarid regions of Texas and California threatens US food security by Phsy.org. Groundwater depletion has been most severe in the purple areas indicated on these maps of (A) the High Plains and (B) California's Central Valley. These heavily affected areas are concentrated in parts of the Texas Panhandle, western Kansas, and the Tulare Basin in California's Central Valley.

For Many Illegal Entrants Into U.S., a Particularly Inhospitable First Stop by Manny Fernandez of the New York Times. EDINBURG, Tex. — For decades, the first stop for illegal immigrants making their way across the Texas border has often been a stash house or drop house, an apartment or rental home where they might spend hours or days in squalor waiting to be transported elsewhere. Often it is where they are held until their families pay the smugglers’ fees.    

Texas reaches out to land spaceport deal with SpaceX by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle. Even as SpaceX continued to make history on Friday by berthing its Dragon capsule to the International Space Station, the state of Texas has stepped up its efforts to woo the company here. State officials are developing an incentive package to encourage SpaceX to build a spaceport near Brownsville.

Texas-Arlington becomes 12th member of Sun Belt conference by Ryan Jones of the Times-Picayune. Sun Belt Conference concluded its annual meeting Wednesday in Sandestin, Fla., by announcing the addition of Texas-Arlington as its 12th member, pending approval from the University of Texas Board of Regents. UT-Arlington joins Texas State and Georgia State as recent additions that will begin Sun Belt play in 2013. They will replace departing members Florida International, North Texas and Denver.

Lockheed uses temporary workers at striking Texas plant by Reuters. Lockheed Martin Corp, the Pentagon's top supplier by sales, began using temporary workers on Thursday in place of striking employees at its plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to help meet scheduled deliveries of F-16 and F-35 fighter jets. Fewer than 10 temporary workers, hired through a contractor, were brought in to supplement the "contingency work force" that includes managers, said Lockheed spokesman Joe Stout.

Texas firm targets homeowners with foreclosed 2nd mortgages by Rick Jurgens of California Watch. Adding new uncertainty in the state’s ongoing mortgage crisis, a Texas company is aggressively pursuing hundreds of Californians to collect second-mortgage debt – on homes they’ve already lost through foreclosure. Many of these former homeowners believed their mortgage debt had been erased after their houses were taken by banks and lending companies.

Report Raises Concerns About Texas' Electricity Supply by Minjae Park of the Texas Tribune.  Some Texans could face blackouts in 10 years as a result of electricity shortages, according to a report released Tuesday by the power grid operator for most of the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas’ report on its long-term outlook forecasts that by 2022, Texas will need more electricity during peak hours than it can generate.

Arbitrator and JAMS Added to Suit Against Fish & Richardson, Others by John Council of Texas Lawyer. Plaintiffs who sued Fish & Richardson, two of the firm's principals and a client have added JAMS and arbitrator Robert W. Faulkner as defendants. In their May 23 First Amended Petition in Ashley Brigham Patten, et al. v. M. Brett Johnson, et al., the plaintiffs allege, among other things, that the defendants failed to disclose a social relationship M. Brett Johnson, then a Fish & Richardson principal in Dallas, had with Faulkner, who had awarded the firm's client $22 million in an underlying case.

 Disposable Container Ban Lawsuit Heading Back to Comal County by KGNB.  The lawsuit against the city’s disposable container ban on local rivers is now likely headed back to Comal County, after a Travis County District Court judge ruled in favor of the city’s motion to change the venue of the hearing back to Comal County. Attorneys for the City of New Braunfels and for the plaintiffs (the Tourist Associated Businesses of Comal County) met in Judge Scott Jenkins courtroom in Travis County, and before any arguments were made on the merits of the disposable container ban itself, the judge ruled on 3 motions that were put before him.

Corpus Christi was founded to profit from Mexican trade by Murphy Givens of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. CORPUS CHRISTI — Corpus Christi was called the Old Indian Trading Grounds, not that Indians traded there, but it was an old Karankawa haunt where Texas traders landed goods to smuggle into Mexico. Of course they would have taken exception to being called smugglers, but so they were.

 TSCRA offering reward for cattle thief by Drovers CattleNetwork. FORT WORTH—Authorities are looking for an alleged cattle thief who has been missing since March. A reward has been offered through the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Operation Cow Thief for any information leading to the arrest of Ronald Ryan Shepard, also known as Ron Shepard of Brookfield Cattle Co. and Brookport Cattle Co. Shepard, 36, Illinois, was indicted Monday by a Rains County grand jury on 3 counts of cattle theft after he failed to make prompt payment on cattle purchased on 3 different dates to an East Texas auction market.

Airlines Increase Fees for 'Good Seats' by Gitzel Puente of NBC San Diego. Passengers may soon pay $25 or more to sit next to their families on airline flights because of a new seating fee. Customers on a some U.S. airlines, including American Airlines and United, will have to pay to reserve a window or aisle seat. 

Texas distillery makes cactus vodka by KLTV. SAN ANTONIO—A new vodka hit the market with a rather prickly and unusual main ingredient. Master mixologist Olaf Harmel whips up a couple of drinks at the grand opening of Blue Box,  San Antonio's newest night spot.

ERCOT: State faces potential power shortages for the next decade by Laylan Copelin of the Austin American-Statesman. The state's primary electricity grid operator is projecting potential power shortages during peak demand times over the next decade, putting more pressure on attempts to encourage conservation and raise the cap on wholesale prices. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, commonly known as ERCOT, on Tuesday released its 10-year forecast, which takes into account the growing demand for electricity, weather conditions, the economy and plans for new generation.

Greatbatch Relocating Executives to Texas by WGRZ. BUFFALO, N.Y. - Greatbatch Inc. of Clarence, N.Y. has announced plans to move its global headquarters in Frisco, Texas. The company employs around 700 people in Western New York, designing and manufacturing medical devices.

Controversial New Braunfels 'can ban' lawsuit under way by Jessica Vess and Scott Guest of KVUE. AUSTIN—Tubing businesses in New Braunfels are in an Austin courtroom Wednesday, hoping to overturn the so-called city “can ban.” The case is being tried in Travis County because the state is named in the suit.

San Antonio business deals linked to cartel money laundering case by Guillermo Contreras and Jason Buch of the Houston Chronicle. SAN ANTONIO - Federal prosecutors charged a Mexican businessman with San Antonio ties with money laundering Tuesday and accused him of being a front for corrupt officials from the border state of Tamaulipas. In a related civil filing, prosecutors said Tomás Yarrington Ruvalcaba, the former governor of that border state, took millions from drug cartels and ran his own extortion and bribery schemes.

Texas company wins $134M from utility owner PacifiCorp by Steven Oberbeck  of The Salt Lake Tribune.  A Salt Lake City jury has awarded a Texas company a $134 million judgment against PacifiCorp, which does business in Utah as Rocky Mountain Power, for pilfering trades secrets that it used to construct the Currant Creek power plant near Mona. USA Power of Dallas was awarded $18.2 million in damages against PacifiCorp, which was accused of stealing the company’s trade secrets and breaching a confidentiality agreement.

Delta to take Southwest's 717s by Joshua Freed of Bloomberg Businessweek. Delta Air Lines plans to add 88 Boeing 717s to its fleet, picking up planes that Southwest Airlines didn't want anymore. Delta said it will start leasing the 717s next year as long as its pilots approve a new labor contract, which isn't certain.  

SpaceX launch opens orbit to commercial space by Eric Berger of the Houston Chronicle. The first-ever commercial spacecraft bound for the International Space Station blasted into orbit early Tuesday, marking a historic step in opening space to private enterprise. The test flight of SpaceX's Dragon capsule came three days after a last-second scrub of a launch attempt.

Chesapeake Energy says "negative media campaign" has failed by Joe Carroll of Bloomberg News. Chesapeake Energy will defer a $1 billion sale of future production from Texas oilfields that earlier today it said would proceed. The company is holding off on the sale from its Eagle Ford wells in south Texas after U.S. oil prices fell by more than $15 a barrel this month, Jeffrey Mobley, senior vice president of investor relations and research, said during a presentation at a UBS AG conference in Austin.

Smugglers bringing diseased horses across International border by Logan Hawkes of the Southwest Farm Press. Ten horses authorities believe were smuggled into Texas across the Mexican border are infected with Equine Piroplasmosis (EP), a condition routinely found in Mexico and numerous other countries around the world, and a condition that can prove fatal to horses and could create major constraints to interstate and international movements if left undetected. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents seized the horses near the Rio Grande River in Hudspeth County, just south of El Paso.

Freedom Communication sells off 6 Texas newspapers by CBS News. McALLEN— Freedom Communications has sold off The Brownsville Herald, the Odessa American and four other Texas newspapers to newly formed AIM Media Texas. Irvine, Calif.-based Freedom announced the sale Friday. Also included in the deal are The Monitor in McAllen, the Harlingen Valley Morning Star, the Mid Valley Town Crier in Weslaco and El Nuevo Heraldo.

Mexico's peso falls against US dollar by Juan Antonio Rodríguez of  the El Paso Times. The Mexican peso fell 61 cents against U.S. currency during the past week, according to the exchange rate set up by Banco de Mexico in order to cover debts valued in U.S. dollars in México. Banco de Mexico established an interbank exchange rate at 13.77, up to 5 percent higher than the interbank exchange rate May 7 at 13.16.

Patterson, Combs F1 spat unresolved by Josh Hinkle for KXAN. AUSTIN—Whether Texas Comptroller Susan Combs broke the law when it comes to offering state funding for Formula One will not have answer anytime soon – or perhaps ever. With just six months until F1 is scheduled to race into Austin, a Texas Attorney General opinion issued Friday said it cannot resolve a complaint filed by the state's Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson

Colorado Community Bank sold to Texas owner by the Denver Post. Colorado Community Bank, a $500 million bank with 18 branches along the Front Range and Eastern Plains, is changing hands. Washington Investment Co., based in Yuma, announced today that it has agreed to sell its full ownership stake in the bank to Carlile Bancshares Inc., which is based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Southwest takes cautious approach, deferring plane orders by Bob Cox of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Southwest Airlines will defer taking delivery of 30 new Boeing jets in 2013 and 2014 as part of a go-slow growth approach aimed at holding down costs and boosting profitability. Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly outlined the cautious approach at the company's annual meeting at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas.

Aquarena Springs makes way for restoration of Spring Lake by Steve Campbell of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. SAN MARCOS -- Spring Lake, an aquatic marvel where the San Marcos River gushes out of the ground, is nearing the end of a $4 million makeover, completing its long transformation from a kitschy home to Ralph the swimming pig and Aquamaids back toward the more natural rarity that has been beckoning humans for 13,000 years. 

Two Austin companies raise a combined $15.6 million by Kirk Ladendorf of the Austin American-Statesman. Two Austin technology companies announced new investment rounds Wednesday that totaled a combined $15.6 million. NextIO Inc., a pioneer in high-speed data networking equipment, said it had closed a sixth round of funding for $12.3 million, to help it expand sales, marketing and further product development.

 Major Player in Fight Against Coal Company Bows Out by Julián Aguilar of the Texas Tribune. In what the leader of an environmental group said was a surprising and stunning blow to an effort to stop a Mexican company from mining coal on the border, an American Indian tribe has backed out of the fight. The Eagle Pass-based Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas has officially withdrawn its opposition to a permit application filed by the Dos Republicas Coal Partnership, which seeks permission to mine low-grade coal from approximately 6,300 acres of land in the border town.

For Sale: The Practice Piano That Made Van Cliburn Perfect by James Barron of the New York Times. Van Cliburn was reminiscing about No. 157754. “My practice piano,” he said.

H-E-B shelved route as logistics costs rose by David Hendricks of the San Antonio Express-News. H-E-B has cleared up a mystery. One of the secrets of the San Antonio-based grocery chain's growth has been its command of global logistics, which allows the stores to stock their shelves with low-price merchandise since the cost to ship those goods was kept low. 

Did Amazon deal to settle dispute over taxes mess with Texas law? by Laylan Copelin of the Austin-American Statesman. Amazon owed $269 million in sales taxes but made an "immaterial payment" in resolving a tax dispute with Texas by agreeing to begin collecting sales taxes in the state in July and promising jobs and capital investment. Never before had a Texas comptroller accepted such a promise to settle a tax dispute, and some question whether it was legal.

Animal chiropractor stakes claim in DFW by Chris Beattie of the Star Local News. Push, pull, pop...and a big neigh of relief. Adjusting a horse isn't such a strange phenomenon for Beth Evans and her fellow animal chiropractors. It's all in a day's work.

Three Texas winemakers open 4.0 Cellars by Jennifer McInnis of the San Antonio Express-News. Three winemakers behind Texas' newest winery believe in the saying: Three minds are better than one. The new 4.0 Cellars is a collaboration among Brennan Vineyards of Comanche, Lost Oak Winery (formerly Lone Oak Winery) of Burleson, and McPherson Cellars of Lubbock.

Carroll Shelby, Car Builder Who Added Muscle to American Racing, Dies at 89 by Richard Goldstein of the New York Times. Carroll Shelby, a Texas chicken farmer turned hot-rodder who went on to build innovative sports cars like the Cobra that challenged Europe’s longtime dominance of road racing as well as high-performance versions of production cars like the Ford Mustang, died on Thursday in Dallas. He was 89.

American Airlines Considers Change in Oldest Jet Livery by Mary Schlangenstein of Bloomberg. American Airlines is studying whether to adopt a new look for its jets, which sport the oldest livery among major U.S. carriers and an iconic polished-aluminum finish in use since the 1930s. “We have made a decision to embark on a modernization of our brand,” Chief Commercial Officer Virasb Vahidi said in an interview. “That could culminate with a potentially new livery and logo -- that’s something we are evaluating.”

British rocker Phil Collins touring Texas to talk about Alamo book by Shern-Min Chow of KHOU.com. HOUSTON — British rock star Phil Collins is touring Texas this week -- not to talk about music, but about The Alamo. He was at a signing for his new book, “The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey," in Houston on Wednesday.  

Victoria could soon see first transplant center by J.R. Ortega of the Victoria Advocate. Two physicians want to do their part in continuing the Crossroads' growth - but in the name of medicine.  Darmendra Verma, a hepatologist in Victoria, and Luca Cicalese, director of the University of Texas Medical Branch's Texas Transplant Center in Galveston, plan to open the area's first transplant center in the coming months.

All-Terrain Vehicle Company Moves To Sherman by Alex Belser of KTEN. SHERMAN, TX -- A company that makes all-terrain vehicles is rolling into town, bringing several new jobs to the area and the business's owner home. Business owner Shane Wilson makes specialized vehicles designed for hunters.

American Airlines to overhaul premium seats by Joshua Freed of Bloomberg Businessweek. American Airlines said it will overhaul the most expensive seats on its international fleet, and will drop its highest class of service on some planes. Those front-of-the-plane seats attract the highest-paying passengers

Dallas-based Hilltop to acquire PlainsCapital by Peter Johnson of the Dallas Morning News. Dallas-based Hilltop Holdings Inc. said Wednesday it has agreed to acquire PlainsCapital Corp., also of Dallas, for $318 million plus stock. PlainsCapital is the holding company for PlainsCapital Bank, PrimeLending, and FirstSouthwest.

Texas could land private launch site by Eric Berger of the San Antonio Express News. This month, a U.S. company plans to make the first private spaceflight to the International Space Station. Much of the space community views the launch by SpaceX as a watershed moment: the opening of the heavens to private industry and a glimpse of the public-private nature of future spaceflight.

The frequent fliers who flew too much by Ken Bensinger of the Los Angeles Times. There are frequent fliers, and then there are people like Steven Rothstein and Jacques Vroom. Both men bought tickets that gave them unlimited first-class travel for life on American Airlines.  

Hawker Beechcraft announces first flight of 400 XPR in Texas by Jim Moore of AOPA. Hawker Beechcraft announced May 7 the maiden flight of the Hawker 400XPR, though some upgrades of the Hawker 400XP/Beechjet 400A are still to come. The May 3 flight, which was previously announced by contractor Sierra Industries on May 4, took place the same day attorneys for the cash-strapped general aviation giant made its first appearance in bankruptcy court and secured permission to continue operations during a Chapter 11 process that is likely to last about year.

Rumor: New Microsoft Xbox Console Being Manufactured in Texas by David Murphy of PC Magazine. Had one a nickel for every Xbox 720 rumor that hit the airwaves well in advance of the console's alleged 2013 release date (there's $0.05 more), you could probably buy enough gear to make your own next-generation console. Here's another log to throw in the rumor fire: According to IGN, who spoke to undisclosed sources to unearth this one, the Xbox 720 – or whatever the name of Microsoft's Xbox 360 successor happens to be – is allegedly already being manufactured at a plant in Texas.

Company asks court to reinstate $459 million judgment by Bill Rankin of the Atlanta Journal Constitution.  When American Home Services sought to advertise its siding, window and gutter installation business in Atlanta, it hired a Texas company that faxed more than 300,000 advertisements across the metro area. A Fast Sign Co., a Norcross company that does business as Fastsigns and which received one of those faxes, filed suit and accused American Home Services of breaking a federal consumer law that forbids companies from faxing unsolicited ads. A Fulton County judge agreed and issued a $459 million judgment against the company -- $1,500 for each of the 306,000 junk faxes.

Company named for Green Ridge street eyes bid for Avon by James Haggerty of the Times-Tribune.  A Texas investment company headed by a Scranton native may be preparing a bid for cosmetics giant Avon Products Inc. Richmont Holdings, a Dallas-based company that invests in banking, technology, publishing and environmentally responsible supplies, is arranging financing to bid on New York-based Avon.

Dallas Museum Simmers in a Neighbor’s Glare by Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times. DALLAS — Two things were supposed to happen when the Nasher Sculpture Center opened here in 2003. Famous works like Rodin’s “Age of Bronze” and Matisse’s “Madeleine I” were to be bathed in copious sunlight streaming through a glass roof

Dallas pipeline company set to acquire Sunoco by Andrew Maykuth of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Sunoco Inc. is being acquired for $5.3 billion by a Texas pipeline company, the latest turn in the dramatic transformation of the iconic 126-year-old Philadelphia oil business. Energy Transfer Partners LP, a Dallas pipeline company, entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire Sunoco for a combination of cash and stock.

Northwest Texas Suing Insurance Company for Millions by Jordann Lucero of MyHighPlains.com. AMARILLO -- Northwest Texas Healthcare System is suing health insurance giant, Blue Cross Blue Shield. The lawsuit doesn't specify just how much the hospital is asking for, but Blue Cross said it was alerted that "damages... are in excess of $3.77 million," court documents said.

Austin pair planning to offer barbecue, country music to international fans of F1 by John Maher of the Austin American-Statesman. Circuit of the Americas may be aptly named. Early indications are there's as much interest from South America as there is from North America for Austin's first Formula One race in November. That, at least, is what Formula Austin President Andy Fish is seeing. 

State’s largest fishery, near Wichita Falls, can’t raise fish without water by Bruce Tomaso of the Dallas Morning News. Even as rains have washed away the drought across much of Texas, the Dundee Fish Hatchery west of Wichita Falls remains in trouble. The area is so dry that in March, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department was forced to temporarily close the hatchery.  Dennis Smith, manager of the hatchery, says it’s the first time that a Texas state hatchery has had to close because of a lack of water.

Trampoline sports park coming to Frisco by Steve Brown of the Dallas Morning News. A Los Angeles-based trampoline entertainment firm that’s growing a nationwide network of locations has leased a Frisco building. A franchise for Sky Zone Indoor Trampoline Parks leased 27,346 square feet in the Frisco Commerce Center on John W. Elliott Drive. 

Bloomingdale’s Outlet opens at the Shops at Park Lane in Dallas by Maria Halkias of the Dallas Morning News. Sometimes there’s an advantage to not being first. Upscale department store Bloomingdale’s is late to the outlet business, but it was paying attention all these years.

Knapp Medical Center sale halted by The Monitor. WESLACO — The potential sale of Knapp Medical Center to South Texas Health System, the local branch of Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services, is off the table for now, city and hospital officials confirmed Thursday. The sale was announced Nov. 30, but has been in limbo since December, when the city discovered a clause at-tached to a 1987 deed that required the hospital to stay a nonprofit entity, effectively disallowing its acquisition by for-profit UHS.

Source: North Texas, UT-San Antonio To Conference USA by Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas.com. DALLAS -- North Texas will leave the Sun Belt to join Conference USA, a source close to the program said Thursday. The source also said Louisiana Tech and Florida International will be joining the Mean Green in Conference USA, along with Texas-San Antonio, whose move was approved by the University of Texas System regents Thursday morning. 

West Texas Wildfires Burn Again by Jason Cohen of Texas Monthly. One year after the massive Rock House fire in West Texas consumed 315,000 acres over a period of four weeks, Jeff Davis County is facing the first major Texas wildfires of 2012.

Texas Business School Teaching Door-to-Door Sales by Inc. Cory Older, an M.B.A. student at the Acton School of Business in Austin, steeled himself as he prepared to knock on yet another stranger's door--the 100th he had hit in two days. Frankly, he wasn't proving very good at selling dictionaries, but he had to make quota to stay in school.

Firms at War Over $10 Million Contingent Fee in Patent Suit by Brenda Sapino Jeffreys of Texas Lawyer.  The Matthews Firm has sued Laminack, Pirtle & Martines and two clients they jointly represented, alleging Laminack, Pirtle and the clients refused to recognize The Matthews Firm's interest in a contingent fee arising from a nearly $50 million judgment. The plaintiff, a Houston firm that handles intellectual property work, brings breach of contract and quantum meruit causes of action against the defendants and seeks a declaratory judgment that it is entitled to a 22.5 percent fee in the underlying case.

Lubbock pet store set to leave mall after 40 years; owner blames animal rights intervention by Adam D. Young of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Bonnett Pet Center’s 40-year run in the South Plains Mall could end in less than three weeks after the mall’s corporate owner terminated the store’s lease in what Bonnett’s owner called a corporate move to please animal rights activists. Owner David Bonnett said his store is one of 70 mall pet stores across the country being forced out, their leases not being renewed by Macerich Co., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based real estate investment trust that owns South Plains Mall and nearly 100 shopping centers

Title fight fallout: El Paso's reputation sullied after boxing snub by Cindy Ramirez of the El Paso Times. Whoever said there's no such thing as bad publicity hadn't come across a mob of passionate El Pasoans upset over the misrepresentation of their city -- some who are now worried about the long-term effects of last week's cancellation of a boxing match in Sun Bowl Stadium. "These false claims about the safety of our city must stop," Mayor John Cook said, adding that characterizing El Paso as unsafe is giving the city a black eye.

Calpine to add 550 MW in Texas as reserve shrinks by Eileen O'Grady of Reuters.  HOUSTON— Calpine Corp, the largest U.S. independent power generator, will add more than 500 megawatts in Texas by the summer of 2014 to help the power-hungry state avoid rolling outages, officials said on Friday. Houston-based Calpine, which operates 7,200 MW in Texas, said recent action by state regulators and the grid operator to improve wholesale price signals when supplies run short led Calpine to decide to add new natural gas-fired turbines at two existing Houston-area power plants.

Amazon, State Settle Sales Tax Fight by Ross Ramsey of the Texas Tribune. Amazon.com will start collecting sales taxes from Texas customers this summer and agreed to make capital investments of $200 million and create 2,500 jobs in the state over the next four years, Comptroller Susan Combs announced.. In return, the state will drop its efforts to collect back sales taxes from the company.

Texas Army Bases Go Green, but Challenges Remain by  Kate Galbraith of Texas Tribune.  EL PASO — Outside a building that provides medical care for wounded soldiers at Fort Bliss, two long, dark lines of hundreds of solar panels stand on supports over the parking lot, moving to follow the sun. “Everybody wants to park under the solar panels,” said B.J. Tomlinson, the renewable energy and sustainable engineering program manager at Fort Bliss.

Latham & Watkins to Represent UT in Racial Preference Case by Matthew Huisman of the National Law Journal. The University of Texas at Austin will shell out close to $1 million for a team of Washington, D.C., lawyers to defend its admission standards that use race as a factor in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Latham & Watkins partners Gregory Garre and J. Scott Ballenger and of counsel Maureen Mahoney have been hired to represent the university for $987,000, according to an outside counsel contract.

Experts: State universities can do better at turning research into revenue by Laylan Copelin of the Austin American-Statesman. University of Texas professor James McGinity has defied the odds as an academic entrepreneur. In 1996, he and a colleague, Bill Williams, went in hock for $1 million to start a company, PharmaForm LLC, in a small building off Yager Lane.  

El Paso officials denounce Chavez-Lee fight cancellation, damage to city's reputation by Cindy Ramirez of the El Paso Times. It's the fight that's uniting the city. El Paso's top local, state and federal elected officials, together with representatives from various law enforcement agencies, on Wednesday joined forces to demand that the University of Texas System rescind its cancellation of the Julio César Chávez Jr. fight and help control the damage it's done to the city's reputation.

Hobby lobby: Dueling airlines' political operations take off by Chris Moran of the Houston Chronicle.  In pressing its message that international flights out of Hobby Airport will harm the local economy, United Airlines is drawing on a vast reservoir of good will built up by Continental Airlines, Houston's hometown airline until it was swallowed up by United in a merger. Continental filled that reservoir with decades of good corporate citizenship, operatives with deep ties to City Hall and tens of thousands of dollars in donations to politicians' campaigns.

Dog Food Manufacturing Plant, Jobs Coming To Brownwood by Roger Mares of KTXS News. BROWNWOOD, Texas -- A pet food company announced plans to open a manufacturing plant in Brownwood. Canidae Natural Pet Food Company will open a facility called "Ethos Pet Nutrition."

Igloo sees boost from innovation by Ronnie Crocker of the San Antonio Express-News. HOUSTON — Igloo is giving the humble ice chest a corporate makeover. After being purchased by a private equity firm 31/2 years ago, Katy-headquartered Igloo Products Corp. has invested $18 million in its local plant, raised salaries and hired new full-time staff.