Politics
12:05 pm
Wed June 22, 2011

Williams Makes Congressional Run Official

Railroad Commissioner Michael Williams announces his candidacy for the U.S. Senate at TribLive on January 27, 2011.
Photo by Texas Tribune

Michael Williams is officially out of the Senate race and in the race for a new congressional seat based in Arlington.

He said earlier this month he was considering a switch, and now that the Legislature has approved congressional redistricting maps that include the new district, he's filing papers with the Federal Election Commission moving from the Senate contest to the race for Congress.

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Business
11:34 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Austin Will Be Test Market For Mobile Phone Payments

The three largest cellular carriers in the United States are going to pilot near-field mobile phone technology in Austin next year, according to a statement released yesterday. The review aggregator TopTenReviews.com posted the promotional video above, which offers a decent explanation of the technology.

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Education
10:47 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Missed the PAC Public Forum? Here's the Presentation

As we reported on KUT this morning, the Austin Independent School District held a public forum at Reagan High School last night to discuss the $40 million district-wide performing arts center that is slated to be built in the Mueller development.

Our story focused on the concerns of some local residents with traffic and building design. But there was a lot more information about the performing arts center itself contained in the presentation. You can view it in the embed above, or better yet, check out the full screen version.

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News Brief
6:46 am
Wed June 22, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 22, 2011

An appeals court has again upheld The University of Texas' use of race in its admission policy.
KUT News

Appeals Court Backs UT's Admissions Program

The University of Texas at Austin’s use of race in its admissions program has been upheld, again. The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declined to rehear the case Friday in a split 9-7 vote. Two white students filed a lawsuit in 2008 saying UT’s use of race and ethnicity as factors in admission decisions is unconstitutional. The case could be appealed to the Supreme Court.

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Environment
4:44 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Austin Firm Seeks To Build 200 Turbine Wind Farm Off Gulf Coast

A turbine at the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm off the coast of the UK.
Photo by phault http://www.flickr.com/photos/pjh/

One of the great contradictions of Texas is that, while we are the largest emitter of greenhouse gas in the United States, we also generate far more wind power than any other state. Perhaps it’s no surprise then, to find a company pushing to build the largest offshore wind farm in the country is based right here in Austin.

Technically, any offshore wind farm would be the largest in the U.S. That's because none exist yet, even though many projects are in the works. But Austin-based Baryonyx Corporation, with an office in the Littlefield Building on E. 6th St., hopes to construct a 200 turbine wind farm off the Gulf Coast with enough capacity to power 750,000 homes.

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Environment
3:38 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Abbott Continues Battle Against EPA Regulations

Attorney General Greg Abbott renewed his claim that EPA greenhouse gas regulations are unlawful and unconstitutional
Image Courtesy of the Texas Office of the Attorney General

A statement issued today by Attorney General Greg Abbott says the EPA’s efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by “timing” and “tailoring” are unlawful and unconstitutional.

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Politics
3:24 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

New Sexting Law Praised

A bill that creates a misdemeanor charge of "sexting" for teens wins praise from the Texas attorney general.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

A bill to hold teenage minors accountable for sending sexually explicit images of them or other minors without subjecting them to felony child pornography or trafficking charges now has Governor Rick Perry's signature.

Senate Bill 407, the so-called "Sexting Bill," was sponsored by State Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin.

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said he praised the "common-sense law that holds wrongdoers accountable – but does not impose life-altering consequences."

Health
2:49 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Allergies Running High This Summer

Pollen, whipped around by windy conditions, has some Central Texas residents sneezing, wheezing and sniffling their way through summer.
Photo by Jessica Lucia http://www.flickr.com/photos/theloushe/

Have you been sneezing more this summer? A victim to itchy, watery eyes? Well, you’re not alone. Dr. Dana Sprute, the Program Director at the UT Southwestern Austin Family Medicine Residency Program, notes allergies in Austin are running higher than usual.

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Texas
1:30 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Fires Eat Up Texas Timber

Air tankers, like this one, are being used for fire retardant drops on a pair of East Texas fires.
Photo courtesy U.S. Air Force

First, it was West and North Texas being scorched by wildfire. Now, it's East Texas's turn. Two large fires there have burned a combined total of 22,200 acres since last weekend. Eight smaller fires are also burning in the eastern part of the states.

The Bearing fire, southwest of Lufkin has burned 18,200 acres. The Dyer Mill fire, southeast of Navasota has consumed 4,000 acres and has prompted the evacuation of 1,800 homes and businesses in the area.

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2012 Presidential Election
12:41 pm
Tue June 21, 2011

Texas Tribune Tracks Perry's Travels

Photo illustration by Ben Hasson, Texas Tribune

Over the last several months, amid great presidential speculation, Gov. Rick Perry has had a much larger presence in national GOP politics.

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News Brief
6:26 am
Tue June 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 21, 2011

AISD is holding a public meeting Tuesday night to get input on a new performing arts center.
Photo by KUT News.

Give Your Input on AISD Performing Arts Center

The Austin Independent School District is planning to build a district-wide Performing Arts Center at the Mueller redevelopment site. AISD will be gathering public input on the project tonight. As KUT previously reported, the district already bought the land for the facility:

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Education
12:27 am
Tue June 21, 2011

AISD Brings Big Change to Two Middle Schools

School trustee Lori Moya leans over to say something to school board president Mark Williams during Monday night's school board meeting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT

The Austin Independent School District is taking some dramatic steps in an attempt to improve educational outcomes at a couple of eastside middle schools: Pearce and Garcia.

Pearce Middle School has been a particularly challenging campus for Austin ISD. In five of the last six years, it was ranked "academically unacceptable" by the state.

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Politics
7:45 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Perry Adds TSA Anti-Groping Bill to Special Session Call

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

This story featured additional reporting from Beth Brown.

Gov. Rick Perry this evening announced the addition of TSA anti-groping legislation to the agenda for the special legislative session. In a statement, he said lawmakers could consider legislation "relating to the prosecution and punishment for the offense of official oppression on those seeking access to public buildings and transportation."

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Education
7:18 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Mueller Advocates Challenge AISD Redistricting Maps

A two-minute countdown clock for people who address the school board during public hearings, such as tonight's on redistricting.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Ever since fresh US Census data revealed large population disparities in Austin ISD's seven trustee districts, AISD has been working to redraw those political boundaries.  One challenge is balancing voter influence without violating the Voting Rights Act by diluting the influence of protected minority groups.

Those sometimes conflicting goals may be tested around the Mueller redevelopment project, a planned mixed-use community being constructed on the site of what used to be a municipal airport.

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Environment
5:18 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

San Antonio to Shutter Coal Plant

Photo by daver6@sbcglobal.net http://www.flickr.com/photos/daver6/

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro announced today that City Public Service's Deely coal-fired plant will be shut down by 2018.  CPS Energy, San Antonio's publicly-owned utility, will turn to solar power announcing agreements with five investment partners, committing to meet 20% of its energy needs through renewable energy by 2020. 

"Today is the beginning of San Antonio's effort to become the 'new energy economy' city," said Mayor Castro in a live webcast today.

The CPS Deely plant is the first publically-owned coal plant announced to retire in Texas.

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Longhorns Baseball
4:17 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

'Horns Head Home

The baseball season is over for UT.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/srsphoto

The Longhorns' baseball season is over.

North Carolina shut out Texas, 3-0, this afternoon at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The loss eliminates the Longhorns from the tournament. Left fielder Jonathon Walsh had two of Texas' four hits in the game.

The 'Horns finish the season with a record of 49 wins and 19 losses.

Meanwhile, Texas A&M plays an elimination game against California tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m in Omaha.

Austin
1:46 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

LCRA Warns of Lake Hazards, Urges Conservation

The Lake Travis level is 23 feet below the monthly average of 461 feet.
Photo courtesy of LCRA.

Correction for Clarification: The Lower Colorado River Authority requests that customers impose mandatory water restrictions when the combines lake storage drop below 900,000 acre-feet of water, but does not curtail.

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Arts and Culture
12:31 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Texas Memorial Museum Closes for Repairs

Texas Memorial Museum staffers prepare to move into temporary offices, while the museum's air handling system is fixed. The museum will reopen in October.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Texas Memorial Museum will be closed for about 4 months starting today. The air handling system needs to be repaired.

Margaret Fischer, the director of museum operations, told KUT that replacing the system was strongly recommended by the University of Texas’ facilities management staff to avoid unplanned closures in the future.

During the maintenance, the air conditioning will be turned off on all but one floor where the employees will continue normal hours. They will move their offices to a higher floor to avoid the heat.

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Austin
12:03 pm
Mon June 20, 2011

Heat Advisory for Austin Today

The National Weather Service says to avoid strenuous activity outside until 7 p.m. tonight.
Photo by KUT News.

The National Weather Service issued a heat advisory for all of Central Texas today through 7 p.m. tonight.

A heat advisory is issued when both hot temperatures and high humidity fell like it is over 100 degrees outside and can cause heat illnesses. Highs for today are between 100 and 105 and could feel up to 109 outside.

The Weather Service recommends drinking plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check up on relatives and neighbors.

 

 

 

 

Politics
11:16 am
Mon June 20, 2011

Sanctuary Cities Bill: Comply or Lose State Money

Photo by KUT

Like parents threatening to withhold allowance from a misbehaving child, proponents of the Republican-backed sanctuary cities bill are warning local authorities across the state: Comply with the bill or face the fiscal consequences.

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