Business
3:42 pm
Wed October 27, 2010

Texas After $269 Million from Amazon

Texas send Amazon.com a bill for $269 million in back sales taxes.
Image coutesy Amazon, Inc.

Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, was recently slapped with a $269 million sales tax bill by Texas. The $269 million figure comes from the amount the state claims the company owes from back-taxes since December four years ago, plus interest and penalties.

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Austin Police
2:01 pm
Wed October 27, 2010

APD Cop Faces Firing Over Domestic Dispute

Update 4:52 pm: Quintana was dismissed again. Details here.

Earlier: Austin Police officer Leonard Quintana finds himself on the hot seat once again today. He's facing a disciplinary hearing that started at 1 p.m. and could result in him being fired from the force for a second time.

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Health
1:50 pm
Wed October 27, 2010

New Alcoholic Energy Drink Comes Under Scrutiny

After hospitalizing 9 students at Central Washington University, many are criticizing the 12% alcohol malt beverage
Photo by Darby Rose

While there is nothing new to college kids swilling cheap alcohol to excess, a new malt drink has been raising eyebrows nationwide as it combines the sugary taste and energy kick of a Red Bull with the alcohol content of many fortified wines.

The drink, Four Loko, has gained notoriety because it was banned from Central Washington University after it sent nine of the school’s students to the hospital with alcohol poisoning. As KTRE-9 in East Texas reports:

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politics
12:07 pm
Wed October 27, 2010

South Texas Lawmaker Found Guilty on 6 Felony Counts

A South Texas lawmaker has been found guilty of multiple crimes in a case involving allegations that he sold access to the legislature.  The Austin American-Statesman reports the jury returned a verdict this morning for State Rep. Kino Flores (D-Mission).

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recreation
11:40 am
Wed October 27, 2010

Overnight Camping Banned on Corpus Christi Beach

Overnight camping on Corpus Christi Beach has been banned by the City Council there in an effort to reduce crime.
Photo courtesy Justin Wright http://www.flickr.com/photos/justinwright

Looking to go camping on the Gulf Coast in Corpus? Bummer alert: Corpus Christi City Council has instituted a curfew on Corpus Christi Beach between midnight and 5 p.m.

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kut
11:05 am
Wed October 27, 2010

Crews Make First Foundation Pour for New KUT Home

Crews making the first foundation pour for on the new University of Texas Belo Building, which will house KUT and unversity facilities.
Photo by Brian Urban for KUT

If you've driven past Dean Keaton and Guadalupe Streets recently, you may have noticed a new building going up in the northeast corner, on top of what used to be a parking lot.

That building will eventually house KUT, along with classrooms, labs and offices for the University of Texas College of Communication.  The photo-op ground breaking was held back in March, and progress appears to have been steady ever since.

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2010 Midterm Elections
10:49 am
Wed October 27, 2010

Millions in Donations Given in Last Month as Election Nears

Donators have their reasons for deciding not to give until late in the election cycle.
courtesy flickr.com/dborman2

Millions of dollars have funneled into the Texas legislative campaigns over the last month as interest groups try to maximize their influence in the upcoming election. The donations, primarily from trial lawyers and business owners around the area, have come late so as to reduce the exposure of the donors themselves.

Some contribute late so that donators can ride the coattails of a winning campaign. As The Austin American-Statesman reports:

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2010 midterm elections
5:10 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

State GOP Election Night Party to be Held In Buda

A zebra at Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch, where the Texas Republican Party is holding its election night watch party.
Photo courtesy TDS website

The Texas Republican Party just revealed the location of its election night celebration: the Texas Disposal Systems Exotic Game Ranch. 

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Shuttle Remembered
4:20 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Images from Shuttle Columbia Debris Recovery

A piece of the Shuttle Columbia lies on the ground in East Texas after crashing to the earth in 2003.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich

KUT is in the middle of broadcasting a weeklong series about the US space shuttle program. NASA is retiring the shuttle in early 2011, and we are reporting on what the program has meant to Texas and what its cancellation will mean for our future.

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Texas Music Matters
3:54 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

The Mockingbird of Mexia

Press Photo of 'The Mockingbird of Mexia' - Cindy Walker
Photo Courtesy of Texas Country Music Hall of Fame

Cindy Walker may be the biggest name in country music you’ve never heard. As a teenager in the 1930s, her songs were recorded by some of the most popular artists in the genre, including Bob Wills.  Cindy wrote one of Wills’ many hits, “Dusty Skies”, when she was just 12 years old.

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photography
3:23 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

5 Cool Time Lapse Videos of Austin

Still from time lapse by KUT photography intern Chris Kosho

KUT photo intern Chris Kosho made this cool time lapse video of Lady Bird Lake, but he is certainly not the first person to highlight Austin's beauty using the videographic technique. Here are five cool time lapse videos of the ATX worth checking out.

Texas Music Matters
3:14 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Austin Music Meets Film

Photo Courtesy of Echotone
Austin filmmakers shoot on location in downtown during the making of Echotone, a film playing at this year's Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival has taken over the Austin movie scene for the past week and a half.  Back in 1994, the event dubbed itself the first festival of its kind –specifically dedicated to writing for film.  17 years later, the festival attracts screenwriters, directors, editors, producers and actors from across the globe to participate in panels, premiers and script readings.  But in the ‘Live Music Capital of the World,’ where does music assert its place among filmmakers? 

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POLITICS
2:48 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Tom DeLay Jury Selection: Day One

Tom DeLay is the former Congressman from Sugar Land, TX who is in Austin for his trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges.
Image courtesy United States Congress

Local media is swarming around the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex this afternoon for the first day of jury selection in Tom DeLay's trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges. DeLay is the former-Republican House Majority Leader who is accused of conspiring to launder $190,000 in corporate cash to political campaigns. DeLay insists he's innocent.

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CRIMINAL JUSTICE
12:50 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Video Interview with Texas Judge Sharon Keller

Texas Court of Criminal Appeals Presiding Judge Karen Keller sat down with the Texas Tribune to talk about the death penalty, how Texas sanctions judges, and other hot button issues.
Still from Texas Tribune video

Sharon Keller is the Texas judge who was publicly reprimanded for closing her court on Sept. 25, 2007 and preventing lawyers from filing a last-minute appeal hours before their client was executed. Earlier this month, the top criminal judge in Texas absolved Keller of any wrongdoing. In an interview with AP immediately following that decision, Keller said she felt vindicated.

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news brief
8:33 am
Tue October 26, 2010

Top Stories for October 26, 2010

Jury selection begins today in the conspiracy trial of former U.S. House leader Tom Delay.
Photo by Erik Reyna KUT

Jury Selection Begins Today in Delay Trial

Jury selection begins in an Austin courtroom today for the conspiracy trial of former House Leader Tom Delay.

Delay is charged with conspiring to launder $190,000 in corporate donations through campaign accounts in the midst of the 2002 elections.

His lawyers have argued that he won’t be able to get a fair trial in Austin, because of his role in the 2003 redistricting that cost some longtime Democratic state lawmakers their seats.

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EDUCATION
4:17 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

Bastrop Man Alleges Racial Bias at School District, BISD Denies

Bastrop ISD is engaged in "potential discriminatory hiring" according to a man organizing a rally on Saturday, a charge the school district denies.
Image courtesy Bastrop ISD website

A Bastrop man is planning a rally and prayer service this Saturday to bring attention to what he says is "potential discriminatory hiring and unethical employment standards" at Bastrop ISD.

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sports
3:41 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

Austin Aztex Going To Florida

The Austin Aztex soccer team is relocating to Florida under terms of a deal with a UK-based consortium to acquire the team.

Only two years after it was founded, the Austin Aztex soccer team is leaving Central Texas for the Sunshine State. Aztex president Phil Rawlins confirmed the move in a news released posted today on the team's website.

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texas music history
3:07 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

Historic Central Texas Dancehall Destroyed by Fire

Club 21 Dancehall called itself the oldest continuously operated dancehall in Texas. It was destroyed by fire and the owner says they won't rebuild.

Central Texas’ historic Club 21 Dancehall is no more.  It burned down in a fire over the weekend. 

Club 21 was a popular spot off Highway 21 in Uhland, east of Kyle.  The owners claim it was the “oldest continuously operated country dance hall in Texas.”  KUT News spoke to Gary Hartman about the history of Club 21.  Hartman is the Director of the Center for Texas Music History at Texas State University.

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Shuttle Remembered
2:46 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

KUT Looks Back at the Shuttle

The Space Shuttle Columbia at launch on the STS-1 mission, April 12, 1981.
Photo courtesy of NASA

This week, KUT News reports on the past, present and future of manned space flight.

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development
12:37 pm
Mon October 25, 2010

Once Controversial Wal-Mart Opens Wednesday in North Austin

The new Wal-Mart in north Austin will fall under the "Neighborhood Market" brand, similar to this location in Louisville, KY.
Image courtesy Alex Leung. http://www.flickr.com/people/sixsteps/

A proposed Wal-Mart that was fiercely opposed by neighborhood groups in North Austin will open on Wednesday.  But the store has been sharply scaled down from the original 225,000 square foot plan.

The original plans also called for the construction of a 300,000 square foot parking garage, and would have seen the store operate 24/7.

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