News briefs: Feb. 24, 2016

Return of the burn ban in Hays County 

Burn ban is back in effect in sixty-seven counties across Texas as of Feb. 9. 

Hays County Assistant Fire Marshal Clint Browning says the recent rainfall has had little to no effect on drought conditions. High winds aren’t helping either since they are rapidly drying out the rain that has soaked into the ground. 

Up to date information about the status of the burn ban can be found on the Hays County Government website at www.co.hays.tx.us/fire-marshal.aspx, as well as the rules for outdoor burning in Hays County when the burn ban is lifted. 

Browning says needing rain isn’t the only factor affecting the burn ban. He says the need for “green grass” to grow so that rainfall will not turn into runoff, but get soaked into the ground. 

A late freeze in March, which Browning says Hays County is known for, would be even more detrimental to drought conditions as it causes the water already in the ground to dry out even faster.

Hays County currently is over two inches below the annual rainfall amount it usually experiences. The Hays County Commissioners Court will be watching the situation closely to determine when it is safe to lift the ban.

 

Equal turnout in primary early voting 

Early voting numbers are in and reactions from public officials are surprising. 

Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan says that while it is still a little premature to comment on any emerging trends in the early voting numbers, she is surprised at the equal turnout between republicans and democrats. 

Early voting has been a little sluggish, but Cowan says it “seems to be picking up.” 

Cowan doesn’t plan on tracking any trending data just yet.

“We are going to wait until all the caucuses are over with, it’s already going to be confusing because Jeb Bush is still on the ballot even though he withdrew from the race,” Cowan said. 

Cowan is optimistic about overall voting turnout though, and says so far it has proved to be normal to what Hays County has done in the past. 

“We are here to help voters,” she said. 

Early voting runs through Feb. 26. A list of early voting sites can be found on our website at www.haysfreepress.com. 

Election Day for the Primary is Mar. 1. A list of polling locations can also be found online. 

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