Transportation
5:07 am
Tue January 15, 2013

City Investigation Aims to Reduce Traffic Deaths

A council resolution looks to get to the bottom of a recent spike in traffic fatalities.
flickr.com/mirsasha

For almost 10 years, traffic deaths were relatively low in Austin. Then last year they spiked. Now two city council members want a study to look into why so many people died on Austin’s roads in 2012.

Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison is certain that population growth cannot be the reason for so many traffic deaths. At least, not the only reason.  “We got to figure out why,” Morrison says. “That spike and that increase is actually a trend that we are seeing nationwide. So, I suspect there’s something going on much more generally across the nation that our increase might be related to.”

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Business
5:00 am
Tue January 15, 2013

Here's the ABCs of P3s (aka Public-Private Partnerships)

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is recommending tighter laws governing some public-private partnerships.
Erik Reyna, KUT News

Interview with author Mary Scott Nabers about her book on public-private partnerships "Collaboration Nation."

Public-private partnerships have been back in the news lately,  after the Sunset Advisory Commission put a halt to some development projects being discussed for the Capitol area. Lawmakers want to tighten up some of the laws governing the Texas Facilities Commission and public-private partnerships, or P3's.

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Politics
7:38 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Texas Secessionists: Petition Response Should Be 'Torn to Pieces'

Secessionists from seven states filed petitions at WhiteHouse.gov
flickr.com/luna715

The White House has responded to a petition requesting the right for Texas to secede from the union. It was signed by more than 125,000 people.

The White House said that the Founding Fathers who created the Union “did not provide a right to walk away from it.”

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Business
7:34 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Report: Dell Could Go Private

Dell Inc's headquarters in Round Rock. Dell stock surged on word the publicly-traded company could go private.
Dell Inc.

Shares in computer-maker Dell Inc. surged by 13 percent Monday on rumors the Round Rock based company could go private. Bloomberg News cites anonymous sources as saying Dell is in talks with at least two private equity firms.

John Doggett is a lecturer at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business. He says the talks come as Dell is shifting its business strategy away from PCs.

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CRIME
7:30 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

APD Officer Injured in Shootout

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A police officer was injured during a shootout Monday afternoon near a shopping center in northeast Austin.

APD say it started shortly after 3 o’clock yesterday afternoon at the Capital Plaza Shopping Center off I-35. Someone robbed the driver of an armored vehicle and took off.

People called 9-1-1 and police chased the suspect to a wooded area near the Springdale Shopping Center at Manor and Springdale Roads. That’s where the shootout happened. 

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Military
5:49 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

U.S. Military's Suicide Rate Surpassed Combat Deaths In 2012

U.S. military suicides rose in 2012. Here, the Army's "Generating Health and Discipline in the Force" report, right, is seen last January. The reports was a follow-up to its "Health Promotion/Risk Reduction/Suicide Prevention" report.
Alex Wong Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 15, 2013 5:47 am

The number of suicide deaths in the U.S. military surged to a record 349 last year — more than the 295 Americans who died fighting in Afghanistan in 2012. The numbers were first reported by the AP; NPR has confirmed them.

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Politics
3:45 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

First Draft of Texas House's 2013 Budget: $89.1 Billion

The first budget draft leaves $5.5 billion in unspent projected revenue. It is expected to be filed Tuesday.
Erik Reyna/KUT News

The first draft of the Texas House budget comes in at $89.1 billion, and leaves $5.5 billion in unspent revenue.

"The filing of this budget will allow the House to formally begin a discussion about Texas’ priorities," said House Appropriations Chair Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie), in a statement. "This bill recognizes the demands of population growth on public schools and Medicaid, and steadfastly maintains the House's commitment to fiscal discipline."

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:25 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

House Rule Change Could Weaken Democratic Minority

Crowds of visitors, lobbyists, and lawmakers turned out to the Texas capitol for the opening day of the 83rd legislative session, Jan. 8, 2013.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The Texas House's Democratic minority was dealt a blow Monday when the House passed an amendment to the chamber's rules to limit legislators' ability to derail a bill based on clerical errors. Calling "points of order” on such errors is a strategy lawmakers have often used to block measures they oppose.  

State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, authored the amendment to the House rules to limit abuse of typographical mistakes to kill legislation. Points of order on those types of mistakes send bills back to committee to be corrected before they can return to the floor to be voted on.

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Education
3:02 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

AISD Board Deliberates Bond Package Worth Almost $900 Million

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A plan to spend almost $889 million on upgrades to buildings and facilities in the Austin school district school will be presented to the school board for consideration tonight. The recommended bond package is the result of months of work by a citizens advisory committee.

The bond package proposal is divided into four separate parts:  $350 million for critical repairs, $264 million to help build more schools and add classrooms to alleviate overcrowding, $131 million to be spent on fixing cafeterias, technology and science labs and energy conservation, and another $145 million on facility improvements for fine arts, athletics, career and technology, special education.  You can read the breakdown in this AISD document

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Lance Armstrong
2:04 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Reports: Lance Armstrong Has Told Livestrong Staff He's Sorry

Lance Armstrong in 2010.
Nathalie Magniez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 1:56 pm

Cycling superstar Lance Armstrong, who has been stripped of his many victories because anti-doping authorities say he used performance enhancing drugs throughout his career, has reportedly told the staff at his Livestrong cancer charity that he's sorry. But it's not clear at this hour exactly what it is he's supposedly apologized for.

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Lance Armstrong
1:57 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Photos: Media Waits Outside Lance Armstrong's Home

Hoping to see Oprah Winfrey, the media parked and set up cameras outside of Lance Armstrong's home in Austin.
Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Before sitting down with an exclusive interview with Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong reportedly apologized to the Livestrong staff today.

At least seven media trucks were parked outside of Armstrong’s house Monday morning, hoping to catch a glimpse of Oprah Winfrey. The talk-show host was expected to appear at Armstrong’s house sometime Monday for an exclusive interview with the former cycling champion. However, the Associated Press reported this afternoon that Armstrong was on his way to a hotel to tape the interview.

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George H. W. Bush
1:24 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

Elder President Bush Released From Hospital

Former President George H.W. Bush in June.
Michael Loccisano Getty Images for HBO

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 12:54 pm

After nearly two months in a Houston hospital, where he spent some of the time in intensive care for treatment of complications related to bronchitis, an infection and a stubborn fever, former President George H.W. Bush was sent home today.

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Texas
12:54 pm
Mon January 14, 2013

White House Responds to Texas Secession Petition

A coalition of Tea Party groups rally against President Obama on Jan. 16, 2009, at the Texas Capitol.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Responding to petitions from Texas and seven other states calling for the right to secede, the White House called for healthy debate, but to not let "that debate tear us apart."

"In a nation of 300 million people — each with their own set of deeply-held beliefs — democracy can be noisy and controversial. And that's a good thing," wrote Jon Carson, director of the Office of Public Engagement, in a statement called "Our States Remain United." "Free and open debate is what makes this country work, and many people around the world risk their lives every day for the liberties we often take for granted."

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Health
11:15 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Hispanics Less Likely to Get Flu Shot

Hispanic adults are less likely to get vaccinated for the flu than non-Hispanic whites.
CDC/ Judy Schmidt

Hospitals and clinics in Austin and Travis County are reporting high levels of flu activity. Across Texas, six kids have died so far this year from flu-related illnesses.

Doctors say the best way to protect yourself is to get a flu shot.

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says Hispanics are 10 percent less likely to get vaccinated than non-Hispanic whites. According to a CDC survey, in March of 2012, less than 40 percent of Hispanic adults had been vaccinated. That's compared to around 50 percent of non-Hispanic white adults.

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Politics
10:31 am
Mon January 14, 2013

Obama: I Will Not Let Deficit Talks Be Tied To Another Debt Ceiling Debate

President Obama speaks during his news conference in the East Room of the White House on Monday.
Jason Reed Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 14, 2013 2:03 pm

At a news conference dominated by discussion of what's expected to be Washington's next big political battle, President Obama insisted Monday that he will not let Republicans tie an increase in the federal government's borrowing limit to negotiations over cuts in future federal spending.

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