News Brief
5:28 am
Wed November 17, 2010

Top Morning Stories November 17, 2010

The makers of Four Loko have announced plans to pull the caffeine out of their caffeinated alcoholic drinks.
Photo courtesy of Kyle James, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jameskm03/5162509741/

Back to Class in RRISD Following Bomb Threat

Students at Deerpark Middle School and Live Oak Elementary School in the Round Rock Independent School District are having classes as usual today.  The schools were evacuated yesterday after a bomb threat was made on the Internet. Superintendent Dr. Jesus H. Chavez posted this update online last night:

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education
5:03 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

Astronaut Sally Ride Urges Austin Girls To Pursue Science & Math

America's first female astronaut Sally Ride was in Austin today to inspire young girls to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Image courtesy Sally Ride Science

The first American woman to travel in space was in Austin today. Dr. Sally Ride gave the keynote address at an annual luncheon for GirlStart, a local non-profit devoted to getting girls interested in science, technology, engineering and math.

Ride spoke by cellphone with KUT before catching a trip home to San Diego.

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public safety
3:26 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

Transcript of News Conference On Round Rock School Evacuations

Here is a partial transcript of a news conference held with reporters this afternoon concerning the evacuation of Deerpark Middle School and Live Oak Elementary School in the Round Rock ISD

Sgt. John Foster with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office and Round Rock ISD spokesperson JoyLynne Occhiuzzi addressed reporters.  First, John Foster's comments. (You can download audio of his remarks here.)

John Foster: Throughout the day we found this internet connection has gone to more than just one student. We have other information that we don't feel comfortable sharing right now because obviously what we want to do, what I want to do, and what everybody wants done, is somebody needs to go to jail for making this threat. If it's legitimate or if it's not legitimate, somebody needs to go to jail.

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Public Safety
2:42 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

Two Round Rock ISD Schools Evacuated

Updated at 4:45pm: Round Rock school officials say the school is still being searched.  The WilCo Sheriff's Office is giving them a tentative re-opening time of 7 pm.  As of now, the search has not yielded anything out of the ordinary.   RRISD officials say, as far as they can tell, school is still on at Deerpark and Live Oak as usual on Wednesday.

Updated at 2:45 pm: Bomb sniffing dogs are searching Deerpark Middle School and Live Oak Elementary School in Round Rock. Both schools were evacuated around noon due because of a bomb threat.

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politics
1:37 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

What You Will Find at the George W. Bush Presidential Center

An artist's rendering of Freedom Plaza, part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center opening in 2013.
Image courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center

George W. Bush broke ground today on his new Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. The $300 million facility isn't slated to open until 2013, but our friends at the Dallas NPR station KERA got a tour of some of the items that will be on display.  Take a look.

Business
1:00 pm
Tue November 16, 2010

Lacks Having Closing Sales as it Files for Bankruptcy

Texas-based Lacks Stores, Inc. is filing for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy.  Lack’s has been in business for 73 years.  In a press release, the Victoria-based furniture company said, while it's been profitable this year, lenders no longer want to help the company finance customer purchases. 

Lacks also gave some information about how it was affected by the recession:

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austin
11:48 am
Tue November 16, 2010

Cathedral of Junk Can Live On, Just Not as "Tourist Attraction"

A City of Austin news release issued today says the Cathedral of Junk can live on, but can't be promoted as a tourist attraction.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

The City's Planning & Development Review Department issued a news release this morning saying that the City of Austin and the Cathedral of Junk reached an agreement to keep the structure on the property.



KUT News reported in June that the Cathedral of Junk would be allowed to remain, after city inspectors initially told owner Vince Hannemann to destroy the bizarre attraction.

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austin
11:05 am
Tue November 16, 2010

"Groin Checks" and Long Security Lines at Austin Airport

Passengers traveling through ABIA will encounter "enhanced" pat-downs and longer security lines this holiday season.
courtesy flickr.com/dawilson/

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are scrambling to deal with longer security lines brought on by the continued growth in passenger traffic. Meanwhile, the Transportation and Security Administration began implementing more "thorough" pat-down procedures at the beginning of the month.

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News Brief
6:08 am
Tue November 16, 2010

Top Morning Stories November 16, 2010

The City of Austin is holding a public workshop tonight to talk about the future of trash and recycling services in the city.
Photo by KUT News.

Give Your Input on Trash & Recycling

The City of Austin’s inviting people to a workshop tonight to talk trash and recycling.  The city’s looking for input on its Solid Waste Management Master Plan.  That plan outlines the programs, infrastructure, staffing, and funding needed for Austin to reach zero waste by 2040, the city’s goal to drastically reduce the amount of waste going to landfills.  Tonight’s workshop is from 6:30 to 8 at Fiesta Gardens.

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austin
4:50 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Two Austin City Council Members Announce Re-Election Bids

Two Austin City Council members, Randi Shade and Chris Riley, announced today that they will run for reelection in May 2011.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Two first-term Austin City Council members announced they will seek reelection in May 2011. Place 3 council member Randi Shade was first to market with her press release at 2:15 p.m. today. Less than an hour later, at 3:11 p.m., Place 1 council member Chris Riley announced that he too would be seeking reelection.

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politics
4:14 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

"Whispers" That Budget Gap is $28 Billion

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Sen. Kirk Watson is getting some face time in the local media today because of a legislative preview he held this morning at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. KXAN says Watson called on Texas Comptroller Susan Combs to release detailed numbers on the state's finances.

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texas
3:33 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Car Crash in North Texas Being Linked to Four Loko

Four Loko shares the shelves with other caffeinated alcoholic beverages like Joose, that haven't attracted the same negative publicity.
Image courtesy Kyle James http://www.flickr.com/photos/jameskm03/

The national hysteria over the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko is reaching a fever pitch with bans looming or already enacted in Boston, New York, Michigan, Washington state, and Pennsylvania.

Now there's speculation that the controversial drink may have been consumed by the driver of an SUV that crashed and killed a 14-year-old girl in North Texas, reports My Fox Dallas-Fort Worth:

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business
2:20 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Austin Company Buys Hotel in Hawaii

Austin-based JMI Realty is involved in a joint venture to acquire the 311-room Aston Kauai Beach at Makaiwa.
Image courtesy promotional video (below)

Local real estate firm JMI Realty is pitching in to buy a Marriot hotel on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Austin Business Journal first reported it today based on a news release issued this morning, although the deal was first announced back in late-October.

JMI Realty is acquiring the 10 acre property in what is its first joint venture with Dallas-based Behringer Harvard. The price was not disclosed.

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texas
1:41 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Protests Planned for Bush Library Groundbreaking

An artist's rendering of Freedom Plaza, part of the George W. Bush Presidential Center opening in 2013.
Image courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center

George W. Bush and his wife Laura will be wielding the golden shovels tomorrow as they dig symbolic dirt for a groundbreaking ceremony on the country's newest Presidential Library.

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texas
1:10 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

Texas Has Second Highest Rate of Households Struggling to Eat

Children collect cans for the Capital Area Food Bank. A new USDA report today says Texas has the second rate of households struggling to put food on the table.
Photo by Katie Hayes for KUT News

A new report today by the United States Department of Agriculture found Texas has the second lowest rate of "household food security" in the United States.  Household food security is defined as a family having "access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members."

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education
12:11 pm
Mon November 15, 2010

School Finance Expert "Shocked" Over Report of Rich Districts Withholding Cash

A close-up of a dollar bill. An AP report found rich school districts in Texas withheld 40 million of these from poor districts.
Image courtesy Paul Sepiano http://www.flickr.com/photos/peasap/

An AP investigation published in several papers this morning found that dozens of "property-wealthy" school districts held on to money they were supposed to send to the state under the so-called Robin Hood law.

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central texas
11:34 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Kyle Hosts Public Meet-and-Greet With City Manager Candidates

Five Mile Dam Park in Kyle. People who live in the community will be able to meet tonight with four candidates for city manager.
Image courtesy Flickr urser ret0dd http://www.flickr.com/photos/ret0dd

People who live in the Austin exurb of Kyle have an opportunity to meet their future city manager tonight. Four people are finalists for the job. They'll be shaking hands tonight at 7 p.m. at Kyle City Hall.

Here are the names of the finalists and links to their biographies:

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texas
11:13 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Defense Presents No Evidence At Fort Hood Hearing

A soldier gets down on one knee during a 2009 memorial for the 13 people killed in a shooting at Fort Hood. The defense team for the accused rested after just 4 minutes during a pre-trial hearing today.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

It took military prosecutors nine days to present their evidence in the pre-trial hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.

Today, it was the defense's turn to present evidence in the Article 32 hearing, but Hasan's lawyers rested after just four minutes.

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News Brief
6:01 am
Mon November 15, 2010

Top Morning Stories November 15, 2010

Fort Hood soldiers at a memorial last year following the November 5th mass shooting. A hearing for the charged shooter is expected to wrap up today.
Photo by KUT News.

Key Hasan Hearing Wrapping Up

The Article 32 military hearing for the accused Fort Hood shooter resumes today.  Major Nidal Hasan’s hearing has been on hold for about three weeks.  This hearing will be determine whether he will be court-martialed for last year's mass shooting on the Army post that left 13 dead and 31 wounded. 

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Weekend Digest
11:14 am
Sun November 14, 2010

Sunday Update

UT Head Coach Mack Brown has seen his football team drop its last four games at home.
Gretch Sanders for KUT News

Building Blocks for Learning

Lego bricks literally came to life at the Delco Events Center Saturday, as kids from across Central Texas took part in a First Lego League competition. News 8 Austin reports the Legos were married with electronics, to give budding engineers a chance to create task-oriented robots.

Report Highlights License Suspension Work Around

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