Transportation
3:57 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Pedicab Permits Capped, For Now

Pedicab rules regarding insurance, fares and more passed at a City Council meeting today.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/atmtx

While the city regulates and considers improvements to pedicab services, no new permits will be issued for six months. 

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Elections
2:31 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Register This: Local Voter Registration Ends Today

A detail of a voter registration form.
Image courtesy Travis County

Austin’s Mayoral and City Council elections are just about a month away – and if you haven’t registered to vote, time is running out.

The last day to register to vote in Austin's May contests is this Thursday, April 12. You can find the voter registration form here, along with instructions where to mail the form. To register in person, visit the Travis County Clerk’s office, located at 5501 Airport Boulevard.

To check your registration status and verify that it’s current, click here. Need to make updates to your voter registration? Check out this page for more information.

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Austin
12:54 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

Percentage of Low-Income Austin Residents Up

The Community Dashboard report aims to measure the social, heath, education and economic well-being of the area.
Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The percentage of low-income residents in Austin is going up. That’s according to the Community Action Network’s third annual Community Dashboard report, released this morning.

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City Council
10:29 am
Thu April 12, 2012

City Council Preview: Of Pedicabs and Charter Changes

A pedicabber counts his cash during South by Southwest 2012.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

It’s relatively light work for the Austin City Council today, what with a scant 40-item agenda and nary a single zoning item. Still there’s a few items of interest for intrepid council watchers.

Pedal Power: On the agenda are a couple of items regarding pedicabs, those ubiquitous, people-powered cabs pedaling all over Austin’s entertainment districts. The biggest change is a moratorium on new pedicab permits for six months.

Items 21 and 22 include new rules over how pedicabs can operate in the Sixth Street area. In addition to defining acceptable areas of operation, other possible changes include how customers may pay a pedicabber:  both customers and pedicabs must form lines, and a customer may only hire the pedicab at the front of the line.

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AM Update
8:37 am
Thu April 12, 2012

AM Update: NCAA Cites Baylor, Labor Woes and Council Endorsements, Dental Board Faces Accusations

Women's Basketball tourney winners Baylor has been disciplined following action by the NCAA.

NCAA Finds Baylor Guilty of Infractions

On Wednesday, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) found Baylor University guilty of violating recruiting rules.

The NCAA mainly focused their three-year investigation on the men’s and women’s basketball teams.

In a statement by the NCAA, Baylor men’s basketball coach, Scott Drew, was cited for failure to monitor the program and will be suspended during the first two conference games.

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Smoking
4:55 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

No Ifs, Ands or Butts: UT Officially Smoke Free

A new policy prohibits lighting up on the UT campus.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/perspective

The University of Texas at Austin has kicked the smoking habit.

The UT System Board of Regents approved the policy this week. So while there are no signs up yet – and ashtrays can still readily be found around the 40-acres – smoking is no longer allowed. UT-Austin Human Resource Services director Adrienne Howarth-Moore says those no-smoking signs will be up soon.

"We have already received an order of our tobacco free campus signs,” Howarth-Moore says. “And so we are developing a plan for implementing those exterior signs, so that they will be prominently displayed for not just our campus community but for the variety of visitors and the general public that come to our campus on a daily basis."

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Voter ID
4:18 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Justice Department Blasts Texas Voter ID Law

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (l) and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have clashed over Voter ID requirements.
Holder photo courtesy Justice Department; Abbott photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

The U.S. Department of Justice says a Texas law requiring most people to show ID before they can vote will discriminate against minorities.

In court documents filed today, the department says there is substantial evidence that minorities will be affected the most:

Among other evidence, records produced by the State of Texas indicate that S.B. 14 will disenfranchise at least 600,000 voters who currently lack necessary photo identification and that minority registered voters will be disproportionately affected by the law, based on both a greater likelihood of lacking a required form of photo identification and a lesser ability to obtain a necessary identification.

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Police
1:19 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Service for APD Officer Jaime Padron Concludes

Police Chief Art Acevedo delivered an emotional speech at a memorial for Officer Jaime Padron today.

Memorial services inside Shoreline Church honoring Senior Officer Jaime Padron recently concluded. The bilingual service, with some speakers and songs in both English and Spanish, lasted about an hour and a half.

Speakers included Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, members of Padron’s family, and Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. Chief Acevedo delivered a lengthy and emotional speech, applauding Padron’s relatives, the Wal-Mart employees that tackled Padron’s accused shooter Brandon Montgomery Daniel, and groups that contributed financial support to Padron’s family.

Acevedo also lauded the Austin Police Department for showing “tremendous courage” and “tremendous class.”

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Health
12:40 pm
Wed April 11, 2012

Should 'Pink Slime' Be Labeled?

Beef cuts that are used to make "pink slime" or lean finely textured beef were on display during a tour in March of the Beef Products Inc.'s plant in South Sioux City, Neb.
Nati Harnik AP

Originally published on Wed April 11, 2012 12:06 pm

The fallout from the consumer backlash to so-called "pink slime" continues to hurt meat sales. Now, some companies are taking steps to label the product they call "lean, finely textured beef" in hopes that they can earn back consumer trust.

Tyson and Cargill, two multinational firms that sell ground beef containing the processed trimmings, say they have submitted labeling requests to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in hopes that some customers will feel better about buying ground beef containing LFTB if it's labeled.

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Texas
11:08 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Planned Parenthood Sues to Halt Exclusion from Program

March 6th, 2012: Protest against Texas lawmakers decision regarding changed to the the Women's Health Program. the federal government is expected to cut funding for the program because Texas improperly excluded Planned Parenthood
Photo by: Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Planned Parenthood branches in Texas have filed a federal lawsuit in an effort to block their exclusion from the state's Women's Health Program.

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Police
10:33 am
Wed April 11, 2012

Watch Funeral of APD Officer Live Online

Hundreds of police officers are expected to attend the funeral.
Photo for KUT News by Nasha Lee Lee

Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron will remembered today in a service at Shoreline Church at 15201 Burnet Road. The public is invited to pay their respects.

For those who cannot attend, the funeral will be available to watch online on the church's website.

Immediately following the service, the congregation will exit the church and attend a police ceremony on the lawn which will include a police air unit flyover and a final radio call.

Padron's body will then be taken to San Angelo for burial.

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AM Update
8:25 am
Wed April 11, 2012

AM Update: Funeral, Escort for Slain Officer, Ron Paul Stays Put, Poor Prognosis for Gulf Coast

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell (l) and Police Chief Art Acevedo (r) will speak at services for APD Officer Jaime Padron.
Leffingwell photo by Carlos Morales for KUT News; Padron photo courtesy APD; Acevedo photo by KUT News.

Funeral, Motorcade for Officer Padron Today

Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo are among the scheduled speakers at the funeral of a fallen APD officer today.

APD Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron will be laid to rest today. Padron was killed Friday while responding to a call at an area Wal-Mart early Friday morning, April 6.

Funeral services for Padron start at 11 a.m. at Shoreline Church on Burnet Road. The funeral will be with complete police honors. At the conclusion of the services, Padron’s body will be taken to San Angelo for burial.

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Crime
4:35 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Are Police Shootings on the Rise Nationally?

The Texas Peace Officers Memorial on the state capitol grounds.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/racheldtaylor

Before the fatal slaying of Austin Police Senior Officer Jaime Padron at an area Wal-Mart last week, the last time a member of the Austin Police Department was killed was in 2004.

But a new analysis posits that even as other violent crimes fall nationally, the killing of police officers may be on the rise.

The New York Times points to an analysis of recent data, tabulating the number of police deaths at the hands of suspected criminals:

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Health
4:16 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Teen Birth Rates Down in Texas

The number of babies born to Texas teens is at lowest level in decades.
Photo courtesy Liz Davenport via Flickr

The rate of teen pregnancies in Texas fell by 15 percent from 2007 to 2010.

A new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows the number of 15 to 19 year-old girls having babies in Texas dropped from nearly 62 in every 1,000 to about 52 per 1,000.

54,281 Texas teens gave birth in 2007. That number went down by 6,530 to 47,751 in 2010.

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2012 Presidential Election
3:52 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Santorum's Exit a Blow to Texas' Presidential Primary

Photo by Gage Skidmore via the Texas Tribune

Rick Santorum’s withdrawal today from the 2012 presidential contest makes Texas Republicans, once again, all but irrelevant in their party’s nomination process.

The drawn-out nature of the race had given party activists rare hope that this would be the most competitive presidential primary since 1976, when Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford duked it out in a contest that didn’t end until the party’s convention.

But a legal fight this year over redistricting pushed the Texas primary to May 29 from early March.

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Capital Metro
2:34 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Cap Metro Receives $38 Million From Feds for MetroRapid

Officials announced the investment along a bus similar to what MetroRapid will offer.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Capital Metro announced today that it has received $38 million from the Federal Transit Administration to help cover the cost of the MetroRapid program.

The funds come from the administration’s "Very Small Start" program and will cover about 80 percent of the program’s $48 million cost, said Linda Watson, the president and CEO of Capital Metro.

“That’s tax money that Texans pay coming back to Texas,” Watson said. “So it’s a great day not only for Capital Metro and our customers, but for Central Texas and taxpayers in the whole state of Texas.”

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2012 Presidential Election
1:38 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

Reports: Rick Santorum Dropping Out of GOP Race

Sources say that former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum is abandoning his bid for the Republican Presidential nomination. 

The  New York Times cites two Santorum advisors, who say Santorum will make the announcement in his home state of Pensylvania.

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Politics
1:04 pm
Tue April 10, 2012

George W. Bush Says He Doesn't Miss Being President

Former President George W. Bush in Washington, D.C., last September.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat October 20, 2012 11:50 pm

"I'm often asked 'Do you miss the presidency?' I really don't," former President George W. Bush told an audience in New York City this morning, Politico reports.

It was an "was unbelievably interesting experience," he added, but "I had plenty of the limelight."

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Politics
11:14 am
Tue April 10, 2012

Sunset Reviews Start Off With Standoff

Rep. Dennis Bonnen (R-Angleton) lead what was at times a tense meeting between the Sunset and Judicial Conduct Commissions.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission has begun to hear reports on five state agencies this morning at the Capitol. Those agencies will be up for review during the 2013 legislative session.

The state's sunset laws require all state agencies to be reviewed. Then the Sunset Commission sends recommendations for changes or even elimination.

Highlights of the meeting are expected to be presentations on the state Ethics Commission and the Higher Education Coordinating Board. But the meeting got kicked off with staff letting the Sunset Commission appointees know that the State Commission on Judicial Conduct denied access to all of the commission's processes.

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Transportation
9:49 am
Tue April 10, 2012

More Parking Meters Coming to West Campus?

This scene may become more common in the West Campus area, should additional pay parking be installed.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The City of Austin may soon install additional parking meters in the West Campus area.

University Area Partners, a West Campus coalition of businesses, property owners and neighbors, has requested that meters be installed to relieve traffic congestion in the area. Property owners say students and UT employees who park there causing a parking shortage. 

Brian Donovan, who chairs the association’s parking committee, says the meters will allow access for more drivers.

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