News Roundup: Vintage WWII Airplane ‘Bluebonnet Belle’ Crashes En Route To Airshow

Our daily roundup of headlines from across Texas.

By Becky FogelJuly 23, 2018 1:33 pm

All the passengers on a vintage World War II plane survived the aircraft’s crash after it took off from a small Central Texas airport Saturday.

There were 13 people on the flight departing from Burnet and headed to an airshow in Wisconsin. Eight of the passengers were injured, according to the Burnet County Sheriff’s Office.

The Bluebonnet Belle was part of the Commemorative Air Force, a nonprofit based in Dallas. The plane, which was destroyed in the crash, was built in Oklahoma City in 1944.

Chris Dowell is with the Commemorative Air Force. He spoke with Austin NBC affiliate KXAN about the loss of the plane.

“It becomes part of your family, it becomes part of your life,” Dowell said. “It’s a tragic accident but it’s not going to stop our squadron.”

The Bluebonnet Belle flew 75 missions during World War II, and was also used last year during Hurricane Harvey to deliver food and supplies.

The Texas economy added more than 27,000 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in June, marking 24 consecutive months of employment growth in the state.

That’s according to the latest figures from the Texas Workforce Commission. In a video discussing the new data, Commissioner Ruth Ruggero Hughs said “that June hiring in Texas was robust, as private sector employers added 26,400 positions to their payrolls.”

The state unemployment rate also dropped slightly last month, from 4.1 percent in May to 4 percent in June.

Texas state agencies are preparing their funding requests for the next budget cycle, Houston Public Media’s Andrew Schneider reports.

The latest state revenue estimate went up by more than $2.8 billion. But the Legislative Budget Board is warning state agencies not to ask for more money.

Much that extra revenue will go into the State Highway Fund or the Economic Stabilization Fund (commonly known as the “rainy day fund”). Dale Craymer, president of the Texas Taxpayers and Research Association, said the board’s directive does give lawmakers more room to spend on school finance and Harvey relief.

“The simple truth is, however, the biggest driver of the state budget is Medicaid,” Craymer said.

Eva DeLuna Castro of the Center for Public Policy Priorities said that, particularly in the case of Medicaid, keeping spending even means Texas will deliver fewer services to a growing population.

“Population plus inflation, the cost of government services, requires about an 8 percent increase from one two-year budget to another just to do the same thing for Texans,” Castro said.

Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke says he is in on track to raise $25 million in his bid to unseat U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Appearing on WFAA’s Inside Texas Politics Sunday, the El Paso representative argued “that should be more than enough to reach everyone in every single of the 254 counties of Texas that we’ve been to so far to amplify our message.”

According to fundraising figures released earlier this month, Rep. O’Rourke has $14 million in cash on hand ahead of Election Day in November, while Sen. Cruz has $10.4 million.