Sports
9:50 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Josh Hamilton's Remarkable Story Continues: Four Home Runs in One Game

There goes No. 2: Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers as he hit the second of his four home runs Tuesday night in a game vs. the Baltimore Orioles.
Mitchell Layton Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 10:14 am

It's incredible enough that Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hit four home runs in one game Tuesday night — something that's only been done by 15 other major league players.

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2012 Presidential Election
9:01 am
Wed May 9, 2012

In West Virginia Primary, Texas Prisoner Gives Obama Run For His Money

Texas inmate Keith Judd won roughly 40 percent of the votes in West Virginia's Democratic primary.
Barack Obama photo courtesy of the White House; Keith Judd photo courtesy Texas Dept. of Corrections.

Texas prison inmate Keith Judd earned an unofficial 42 percent of votes in yesterday’s West Virginia Democratic Presidential Primary. President Barack Obama earned close to 58 percent.

So who is Keith Judd?

The Associated Press reports Judd is behind bars at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution for making threats at the University of New Mexico in 1999. Judd paid a $2,500 fee and filed a notarized form to get on the ballot in West Virginia.

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AM Update
8:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

AM Update: Border Patrol Overhaul, Radioactive Texas Dump Questioned, Austin Budget Talks Continue

A Texas judge has called for a hearing over a radioactive waste site in West Texas.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kmart

New Border Patrol Strategy Focuses on Intelligence

The U.S. Border Patrol unveiled a new plan for tightening America’s borders yesterday.

The 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan includes tactics and technologies developed over the past few years like unmanned aircraft systems – aka, drones – but also more focus on preventing risk.

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented growth in resources for the Border Patrol. Right now, there are more law enforcement officers on the border – more than 21,000 – than at any time in Border Patrol history.

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City Council Elections
4:42 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Early Voting Ends Tonight

Austin
2:55 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists, Part Two

Austin: The fastest growing, worst driving city for smutty, retired hipsters.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

It being election season in Austin, you’ve likely heard some candidate singing the city’s praises – or blasting Austin’s inclusion on various Top 10 lists as a sign of increasing cost.

KUT News likes to compile the city’s latest Top 10 accolades – but take it one step further, into a Top 10 list of our own. You can see our previous Top 10 list here.  

As we wrote then, to get a gauge of just how many Austin-happy rankings are floating around, we look for “best cities” rankings including Austin over the last few months. And from that, we compiled this meta-master list, a Top 10 of the city’s most recent Top 10 rankings ranging from the apparent, to the arbitrary, to the really, really arbitrary. So without further ado:

1. You grow up so fast!: No surprise here, but Austin’s growing, and growing fast. Forbes ranks Austin Number One in its April 18 study of “America’s Fastest Growing Cities.”

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Women's Health
2:23 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

When Religious Rules And Women's Health Collide

Hospital rules can affect a woman's options for care.
iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 3:18 pm

When you go to the hospital these days, chances are good that it will be affiliated with a religious organization. And while that may might just mean the chaplain will be of a specific denomination or some foods will be off limits, there may also be rules about the kind of care allowed.

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Education
12:54 pm
Tue May 8, 2012

Conflict of Vision: UT Music School Director Resigns

Glenn Chandler and Douglas Dempster have opposing views about the future of UT's Butler School of Music.
Photos courtesy University of Texas at Austin

Glenn Chandler, the director of the burgeoning University of Texas Butler School of Music, has stepped down. The resignation comes at the encouragement of Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts

Chandler had served as the Butler School’s director since 2001.

Dempster says he and Chandler had different visions of the role and the future of the school of music. The core issue was that Chandler wanted the school to become its own entity separate of the College of Fine Arts. Instead, Dempster wants the school to become more integrated into the College of Fine Arts.

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Texas
11:55 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Davy Crockett, King of the Auction House

A letter from David Crockett, drafted some six months before his death at the Alamo, is for sale.
Letter image courtesy rrauction.com

A letter written by famed frontiersman Davy Crockett on the eve of his trip to Texas is being sold at auction.

The letter, dated September 30, 1835, is Crockett’s reply to a dinner invitation. The reply was written while he was still living in Tennessee, before he moved to Texas and about six months before Crockett’s death in the Alamo, according to RR Auction.

Crockett had recently lost his seat in Congress and displayed his distaste for politics in the letter. He states his desire not to attend a political dinner and only accepts due to the social nature of the event.

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Arts and Culture
10:29 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Remembering Author Maurice Sendak

In this Sept. 25, 1985 file photo, author Maurice Sendak poses with one of the characters from his book Where the Wild Things Are, designed for the operatic adaptation of his book in St. Paul, Minn. Sendak died, Tuesday, May 8, 2012 at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Conn. He was 83.
LS AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:49 am

Author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose classic children's book Where the Wild Things Are became a perennial and award-winning favorite for generations of children, died Tuesday. He was 83.

Sendak appeared on Fresh Air with Terry Gross several times over the years. In 1989, he told Terry Gross that he didn't ever write with children in mind — but that somehow what he wrote turned out to be for children nonetheless.

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City Council Elections
10:21 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Early Voting Totals, Day Eight: Moving on Up

Turnout for Austin's 2012 election is hewing closer to the non-mayoral election in 2011 than the city's 2009 mayoral election.
Chart by Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Turnout traditionally increases towards the end of early voting, and the 2012 Austin City Council elections are no exception. 

3,448 ballots were cast yesterday, the second-to-last day of early voting. That brings total overall votes to 17,162, or 3.60% of Austin's registered voters. Continuing its lead status among Austin's polling places, Randalls’ Research Boulevard and Braker Lane location saw 441 ballots cast on Monday.

As you can see in the graph above, the late surge mirrors early voting patterns in Austin's 2009 mayoral election, and 2011's City Council election. But despite Monday's increased turnout, which bested this voting cycle's strongest single day of turnout by 1,000 votes, voting still lags behind Austin's last mayoral election. 

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Austin Energy
8:52 am
Tue May 8, 2012

Austin Energy: Power Should be Fully Restored by Mid-Morning

Austin Energy crews continue to work to restore power to all customers this morning.
Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Last night's storm caused power outages to around 3,000 Austin Energy customers all over the city. North Central Austin was especially hard hit.

Austin Energy spokesperson Ed Clark says 17 crews worked overnight to restore energy. Six more crews focused just on tree trimming. Clark says fallen tree limbs were a big problem in last night's storm.

Crews made repairs at about 200 locations. Two power poles were toppled and lines fell at a dozen locations. Austin Energy expects power to be back up everywhere by mid-morning.

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AM Update
8:20 am
Tue May 8, 2012

AM Update: Voter ID Trial Delayed, Longhorns Arrested Downtown, Paul Qui Wins James Beard Award

In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry signed SB14, Texas' Voter ID law.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/texasgovernor

Texas’ Voter ID Law in Legal Limbo

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that if Texas does not hand over requested documentation by Wednesday, the trial on Texas’ Voter ID Law will most likely be delayed. A delay in the trial means that Texas will not see the law implemented in time for the November election, according to the Texas Tribune.

The trial was scheduled to start July 9, until yesterday’s decision. The DOJ is specifically requesting information on voters and state databases; the state has until Wednesday to comply, says the Tribune.

KUT News previously reported that the DOJ had previously used demographic and census data to argue the  law would have a disproportionate impact on minority citizens.

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City Council Elections
4:57 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

No Joy in This Bundle: Shea, Leffingwell Trade Fundraising Barbs

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea holds a list of contributors to Lee Leffingwell's campaign.
Photo by Mose Buchele

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea accused her opponent, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, of breaking city campaign donation rules in front of City Hall today. 

At issue are thousands of dollars Mayor Leffingwell received at an event attended by supporters of Austin’s Formula One racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas.

Shea says because he received those checks at the same event he should have listed the host as a “bundler,” someone who solicits donations for a candidate and hands them over to a campaign in a “bundle.”

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Weather
4:44 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Flash Flood, Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Central Texas

A flash flood watch is in effect tonight through tomorrow afternoon for much of Central Texas. Heavy rain is expected –  with totals as high as five inches in some areas.

The National Weather Service writes:

Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms will continue through the overnight hours. Some of these storms could become severe, with large hail and damaging winds. Expect lows to be in the mid-60s to low 70s. Winds will start out at southeast, 10 to 15 mph, but will become east to northeast, at about 5 to 10 mph.

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Immigration
4:25 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Perry Urges Obama to Address Surge in Immigrant Minors

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Citing an unprecedented level of unaccompanied illegal-immigrant minors breaching the U.S.-Mexico border, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter Friday asking the Obama administration to address the “humanitarian crisis.”

Calling the issue a byproduct of Obama’s failed effort to secure the border, Perry cites recent media reports that indicate 5,200 unaccompanied and illegal-immigrant minors crossed in to the country during the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year, including 1,300 in March alone. It is unclear from the letter how many minors crossed into Texas.

“To be clear, Texas has been working diligently to protect the immediate health and safety of our citizens and the unaccompanied minors now in our state. However, by failing to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Perry wrote.

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Special Coverage
4:13 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

CIA Thwarts New, More Sophisticated Underwear Bomber

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 10:05 am

The CIA has thwarted a new plot that sought to blow up an American airliner using a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb. The plot was hatched by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen.

The Associated Press was the first to report the story and Reuters, CNN and NPR are now confirming. Both CNN and Reuters are running the story quoting unnamed government officials.

Here's the AP with the meat of it:

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Transportation
1:22 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Early Report: U.S. Highway Deaths Fall to Lowest Number Since 1949

Skid marks left by a van are visible on a highway after a van plunged over both the concrete and iron railing, killing three generations of a Bronx family, in New York.
Louis Lanzano AP

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:59 am

If a preliminary report holds true, the number of road deaths fell again in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 32,310 people died on highways last year, down almost 2 percent from the 32,885 people who died in 2010.

The Detroit News reports:

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Education
12:16 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

AISD Board Members Face Deadline on Tax Hike Decision

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

If the Austin school board wants to adopt its budget in June, it has only until May 25 to decide whether to ask for permission to raise property taxes on the November ballot. That’s the timeline the nine trustees will consider at a board work session tonight.

A proposal would cost the owner of an average Austin home an extra $100 a year.

Austin ISD has been trying to get in the habit of adopting its budgets in June, rather than leaving the work until August, just days before the new school year starts. The change would create “considerable benefits”, according to an AISD budget FAQ, because of a one-time accounting change that “effectively generates a two-month expenditure credit for payroll and other liabilities.”

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Health
11:46 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Even A Small Slowdown In Obesity's Rise Would Save Big Money

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:04 am

Slowing the rising rates of obesity in this country by just 1 percent a year over the next two decades would slice the costs of health care by $85 billion.

Keep obesity rates where they are now — well below a 33 percent increase that's been expected by some — and the savings would hit nearly $550 billion over the same 20 years.

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City Council Elections
11:07 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Early Voting Weekend Totals: Past Performance is No Indicator of Future Results (Except When It Is)

Austin's early voting patterns follow a similar pattern.

With early voting drawing to a close, turnout in the Austin city elections saw an expected uptick.

Friday turnout – 2,449 votes in all – broke this election’s previous best of nearly 2,200 on the first day of early voting. Turnout was similar on Saturday, with a total of 2,358 votes, before dropping off on Sunday, with only 897 ballots cast. Total overall turnout for early voting is now 13,713, or 2.87% of registered voters.

KUT News had previously described turnout as on track to beat 2011, Austin’s last City Council election, but possibly not 2009, Austin’s last mayoral election. And as depicted in the graph above, that prediction looks about right. Plotting the first seven days of early voting from 2009, 2011 and 2012, this election cycle’s turnout is solidly lodged between Austin’s last two contests.

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