Austin
7:41 am
Wed January 18, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/18/12

St. David's to Assist Low-Income Moms

The Central Health board is preparing to close Austin's Women's Hospital on February 9. St. David's medical center has a pending contract with the Central Health board to help moms affected by the closure. If the contract is granted, St. David's will help deliver babies and perform sterilization services.  That contract is up for approval today.

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Austin
4:12 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Blowing in the Wind: A Plastic Bag Ban Timeline

Austin's plans to ban single-use bags have been revised several times.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/arselectronica, Ramin Bahrani

Plans to phase out single-use plastic bags at Austin retailers are still up in the air.

Austin Resource Recovery, the department tasked with drafting an ordinance banning the bags, has drafted and scrapped two separate ordinances in as many months. But with a lull before the department rolls out their third (and presumably final) draft, now is as good a time as any to pin down their previous proposals.

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Austin
2:11 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Austin Tech Firm Convio Acquired by Competitor

Convio, a firm that sells software tailored to non-profits, was purchased by a competitor today.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/mydigitalslrcamera

Austin based tech firm Convio – which sells fundraising and outreach software to non-profits (including KUT) – has agreed to be purchased by South Carolina-based Blackbaud, a competitor that sells similar software.

The agreement was announced today on Blackbaud’s website. In a press release, the company wrote “The acquisition of Convio will combine the two companies’ strengths to accomplish a common mission – making multi-channel supporter engagement a reality – at a faster pace than either company could achieve on its own.”

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Austin
1:25 pm
Tue January 17, 2012

Travis County Burn Ban Back On

The Travis County Commissioners Court and county Fire Marshall agree it's time to reinstate the burn ban.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/compasspoint

The burn ban is back.

At their meeting this morning, the Travis County Commissioners approved a recommendation from county Fire Marshall Hershel Lee to reinstate the ban.

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Texas
11:56 am
Tue January 17, 2012

John Cornyn Predicts Texas Primaries Will Be Delayed Again

Sen. John Cornyn predicts Texas primaries will be pushed past their current April date.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/musicfirstcoalition

Sen. John Cornyn suggested yesterday that Texas many not be ready to hold its primaries on April 3.

While the political prognostication isn’t terribly surprising, considering the twists and turns the primary calendar has taken, it does have people wondering when elections will be held in Texas.

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energy
10:20 am
Tue January 17, 2012

City Council Discusses Austin Energy Rates

The Austin City Council is holding a special-called work session this morning to tackle Austin Energy’s proposed rate increases.

Council got an earful from citizens opposed to the increase at their last meeting. Since then, Mayor Lee Leffingwell has said he too opposes the increase as drafted.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:51 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Paul, Perry Survive Fiery GOP Debate in South Carolina

Gov. Rick Perry delivered a strong debate performance, but it may be “too little, too late,” according to the Texas Tribune.
Photo courtesy Fox News

The 16th debate of the Republican presidential primary season ended Monday with front-runner Mitt Romney bruised but not beaten. Gov. Rick Perry delivered one of his stronger performances, while Congressman Ron Paul remained blunt and unwavering on his anti-war, noninterventionist foreign policies.

During a two-hour debate before a highly enthused and vocal audience in Myrtle Beach, S.C., the moderators from Fox News and The Wall Street Journal mentioned the notable absence of former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, who dropped out of the race earlier in the day. That left the four underdogs scrambling for more airtime. They spent the first quarter of the debate criticizing Romney’s business record as the former head of Bain Capital, disputing his job-creation claims.

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News brief
8:49 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/17/12

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shown at a 2011 City Council Meeting. The mayor said Monday that he has problems with a proposed rate hike by Austin Energy.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

D.C. Court  Reviews Redistricting Case

A three-judge panel in Washington will hear arguments today to determine whether to give “preclearance” to election maps originally drawn by the Texas Legislature last year. Texas must get federal approval before altering voting districts, according to the Voting Rights Act. New maps are drawn every decade to reflect the population growth in Texas.

The federal trial in DC comes little more than a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments about which maps Texas should use for the upcoming primary elections. There are two sets of maps at play:  The maps drawn by the Legislature and a set of alternate maps drawn by District Court judges in San Antonio. The Texas primary elections have already been delayed from March 6th to April 3rd. And the April date is by no means set in stone. It’s been suggested that the election date could be pushed back as far as June, because of the legal wrangling.

Border Patrol to Toughen Policy

The AP reports the U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment.

The “Consequence Delivery System,” a key part of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy, divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records. Punishments vary by region, and children and the medically ill will still be released at the nearest border crossing.

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Arts and Culture
4:50 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

The Panopticon Shot Bar: SceneTap Uses Cameras to Survey Nightlife

Smartphone app SceneTap uses cameras and facial recognition software to assess the male-to-female ratio in Austin nightclubs.
Photo courtesy www.flickr.com/mrjoro

So this is the way we live now: a new mobile application is coming to Austin that rates bars. But instead of relying on user-submitted data like Yelp, it has a network of cameras in participating nightclubs feeding real time information on a club’s capacity and demographics.

That’s the idea behind SceneTap, launching across several Austin bars this Friday.

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Austin
3:15 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Five Rules For Allies Against Oppression this MLK Day

Students from Webb Middle School were among the many on hand celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Photo by Wells Dunbar/KUT News

A crowd of hundreds gathered on the University of Texas’ East Mall this morning to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The event’s speakers spoke to King’s legacy, but also emphasized the work remaining to be done in the struggle for equality.

Several speakers were on hand, including State Representative Dawnna Dukes, UT president William Powers, and more. But the most provocative speech of the morning came from Omi Osun Joni Jones, Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance and of African and African Diaspora Studies, who shared her “five rules” for allies in the struggle against racism, sexism, and homophobia.

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Austin
1:08 pm
Mon January 16, 2012

Five (or Six) Reasons Lee Leffingwell Opposes Austin Energy's Rate Increase

Following a public outcry, Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced he does not support Austin Energy's rate increases as currently proposed.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

You can add one more voice to the chorus opposing Austin Energy’s proposed rate increases: Mayor Lee Leffingwell, who announced this weekend that he does not support the current proposal from the utility.

As seen in the uniformly negative public reaction to Austin Energy’s proposal at City Council’s last meeting, the rate increase – potentially the first in 17 years – has struck a nerve.

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News Brief
8:28 am
Mon January 16, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/16/12: MLK Celebrations, SWAT Negotiations in NW Austin, Perry Appeals Ruling

The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the UT campus.
Photo by Gregor_Bug on Flickr

MLK Day March and Road Closures

A march celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begins at 9 am at the MLK statue on the UT campus at the corner of 24th and Speedway. It will continue to the Capitol along Congress Avenue. The march concludes at Huston-Tillotson University, where festivities will continue until 3pm.

You can expect some road closures in downtown Austin this morning as a result. The southbound off ramp of I-35 at MLK may be closed from 9am until 11am, depending on traffic. Chalmers Avenue and East Eighth Street will be closed from 7am to 6pm.

Capital Metro will be running a Saturday schedule today with no rail or UT shuttle service.

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Austin
8:44 am
Sun January 15, 2012

Top Morning Stories Sunday, January 15, 2012: Conservative Leaders Back Santorum; MLK Day Coming

Texas Governor Rick Perry signs autographs in South Carolina ahead of next Saturday's GOP presidential primary. Photo by Jay Root of The Texas Tribune.

Evangelical Leaders Meeting in Texas Pick Rick.... Santorum, That Is

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Austin
5:29 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

Honoring MLK With Community Service

Al Lemon (left) and Bruce Johnson volunteer to move furniture at the Austin Groups for the Elderly as part of the annual MLK Day of Service event.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

Some Central Texas volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to clean bathrooms and move furniture at Austin Groups for the Elderly. It was part of today’s MLK Day of Service.

“It’s a great way to help the elderly because they’ve done so much in the past to make it possible for us now," said Gwen Blackburn.

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Austin
4:50 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

City Round-Up: Street Closures, Surplus Sales, and Parking Goes Mobile

View Larger Map

It wouldn’t be a weekend in Austin without a few street closures, but this one’s lasting a little longer than most. The city advises West 34th Street, between Medical Parkway and Lamar Boulevard will be closed for three months, as the city repairs pipes under the stretch of street.

The city has more information on street closures on their Special Events website.

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