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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AM Update
8:46 am
Tue April 10, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Improvement Money, Pflugerville Utility Rates, Tornado Damage in Dallas

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority hopes to gain funding for the MoPac Improvement Project.
Photo by flickr.com/alphachimpstudio

MoPac Improvement Plan Makes Move for New Funding

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority has offered a preliminary proposal to acquire $135 million for the MoPac Improvement Plan.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) notified Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization board (CAMPO) of an unexpected funding windfall of $135 million. During a CAMPO work session last night, CTRMA requested that they receive the new funding to begin the improvements to MoPac.

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Austin
5:27 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Funeral Procession Route Set for Fallen Officer

Officer Jaime Padron was killed in shooting early Friday morning at an area Wal-Mart.
Images courtesy Austin Police Department

The Austin Police Department says drivers should expect delays in some areas on Wednesday between 1 and 4pm, due to the funeral procession for Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron.

Padron was shot and killed in the line of duty early Friday morning at a North Austin Wal-Mart. The suspect, Brandon Montgomery Daniel, 24, is in custody.

APD is inviting Austinites to pay their respects to Officer Padron during the procession, before his body is taken to San Angelo, where he'll be laid to rest.

 

The funeral procession route will be as follows:

 

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Wildfires
4:47 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Bastrop State Park Reopening

Crews chipping burnt wood inside Bastrop State Park.
Photo courtesy Texas Parks and Wildlife

Bastrop State Park is expected to be almost completely open by this weekend – seven months after wildfires ravaged the area.

Officials say more than 80 percent of the park’s trails will be open in the coming days, and reservations are being taken for campgrounds and cabins. More on the closures is available at the park’s website.

Closed in the aftermath of the Central Texas wildfires, the grand re-opening of Bastrop State Park is being planned for Labor Day weekend – the one year anniversary of the wildfires. The park saw incredible damage from the Central Texas wildfires, with flames engulfing nearly two-thirds of the 6,600 acre park. (You can see photos of the devastation in a slide show from KUT News.)

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Finance
2:40 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Financial Services Series Begins Tomorrow

Courses on budgeting and responsible credit use is getting underway.
Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin has teamed up with the Austin Housing Finance Corporation to host a series of financial education seminars. The first installment of the series will be held tomorrow night from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the University Hills Branch Library, 4721 Loyola Lane.

“One of the things they’re going to learn about are things like how to choose the proper credit card. And I’ll teach them about things like usury law,” says Janice Kinchion, the Coordinator of Asset Management and Loans for the City of Austin.

“Credit, in and of itself is not that difficult to get. What is difficult is the budgeting of it,” Kinchion adds. “Proportionate understanding of your income and how it can be spread among your expenses and needs is something that people just don’t simply think about.”

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Transportation
1:46 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

Pensions, Benefits at Stake in Cap Metro Labor Dispute

Capital Metro union members want to keep their current pension and retirement plans.
Photo by KUT News

There will soon be some changes at Capital Metro. Riders probably won’t notice but many drivers and mechanics will.

Capital Metro is required to change its labor structure after the Texas legislature passed a law, Senate Bill 650, last May that basically requires transit workers to either become state employees or become employees of a competitively-bid private contractor. 

To receive federal transit funding, Capital Metro employees initially needed to retain their right to collective bargaining, but the requirement was at odds with state law prohibiting collective bargaining and the right to strike for public employees. A third-party, StarTran, was installed to resolve the impasse – but SB 650 did away with that arrangement.

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2012 Presidential Election
1:21 pm
Mon April 9, 2012

How Far Does $1.09 Go Towards Office Supplies? Ask Ron Paul

Change Ron Paul can believe in: Paul's campaign has itemized over 100 expenses under one dollar.
Paul photo courtesy house.gov; Change photo courtesy flickr.com/ldrhcp

A big part of Ron Paul’s Libertarian-informed message is fiscal conservatism. And he has the campaign records to prove it.

ProPublica surveyed the campaign finance filings of the Texas congressman running for the GOP presidential nomination, and found that Paul’s campaign cataloged practically every petty cash expenditure – even though candidates don’t need to write down individual expenditures totaling less than $200.

Pro Publica notes:

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Education
11:21 am
Mon April 9, 2012

For-Profit Schools Under Fire For Targeting Veterans

Iraq war veteran Paul Rieckhoff (right), with Democratic Sens. Mark Begich of Alaska, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii and Patty Murray of Washington, introduces the GI benefit watchdog bill in Washington. Some lawmakers say for-profit schools are taking advantage of veterans and their educational benefits.
Manuel Balce Ceneta AP

Originally published on Tue April 10, 2012 12:27 pm

Hundreds of thousands of veterans have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan in recent years, eager to get an education under the new post-Sept. 11 GI Bill.

Many vets looking for a school find they are inundated by sales pitches from institutions hungry for their government benefits. Now, lawmakers are looking for ways to protect vets without narrowing their education choices.

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