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The Brief: July 13, 2015

The two-month Jade Helm 15 U.S. military training exercise is set to kick off on Wednesday, following months of headlines and conspiracy theories about a federal government takeover.

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The two-month Jade Helm 15 U.S. military training exercise is set to kick off on Wednesday, following months of headlines and conspiracy theories about a federal government takeover. 

Part of the exercise will take place in the Bastrop area, but there's little protest there now compared to April's national headlines detailing some citizens' skepticism. As the Austin American-Statesman's Marty Toohey reports, there's "no sign at all, really, that Bastrop is enmeshed in the controversy":

Bastrop Mayor Ken Kesselus said there has been no sign that trouble is coming from protesters or activists who say they will conduct countersurveillance on Jade Helm. ...

Aside from the media, “I’ve only gotten one call about this, from a guy from South Texas who thinks (President Barack) Obama is a Muslim imperialist who is going to take our guns away,” Kesselus said. “That’s it. … Maybe there are people here upset about this, but I don’t know them, and I don’t know anyone who knows them.”

The media will not be allowed to observe the start of the exercise, although some journalists may be able to view it later on, the Washington Post reported last week. The Houston Chronicle, meanwhile, reported on a citizen surveillance operation called "Counter Jade Helm" that will try to keep track of the exercise.

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Cruz stage presence focuses on the fringes of America's pulpits, Houston Chronicle

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Dismay in US over Guzman's escape from Mexican prison, The Associated Press

Terry Keel brought plenty of familiar faces to Agriculture Department, Austin American-Statesman

As state employees get small raises, DPS managers enjoy larger salary bump, The Dallas Morning News

D/FW Airport to be among first users of FBI criminal history tracking effort, The Dallas Morning News

Deadly biker shooting kicks up debate over gang label, Houston Chronicle

Tourism officials hope LGBT outreach can make Dallas a gay wedding destination, The Dallas Morning News

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Quote to Note

"Attendance will go down, and the drop-out rate will go up."

Mike Cantrell, the Dallas County commissioner, on the impact the state's new truancy law will have by making truancy a civil fine rather than a misdemeanor

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