Texas
9:00 am
Tue December 21, 2010

Tuesday Morning Update

Evening and Saturday parking downtown could start costing you.
Photo by KUT News

Parking Subcommittee Meets

The city subcommittee that will explore whether to extend paid downtown parking to evenings and Saturdays met for the first time yesterday.  KUT's Mose Buchele reports that some fear that a time line to end free downtown parking has more to do with Austin’s political calendar than with good city government.

High Fire Danger = No High-Flying Fireworks

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News Brief
6:22 am
Tue December 21, 2010

Stretch of I-35 Open Again After Early Morning Accident

Austin police say the stretch of southbound I-35 around William Cannon is now open. A portion of southbound I-35 had been shut down this morning because of a fatal traffic accident that happened earlier today. Southbound traffic had been diverted off of I-35 at the William Cannon exit onto the frontage road while police were on the scene investigating.

Politics
5:12 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Howard/Neil Race Not Quite Over

Dan Neil, the Republican in the race for House District 48, has filed a challenge against Democrat State House member Donna Howard.  Howard won re-election by 16 votes on Election Day.  That number was trimmed to 12 during an official re-count.  Now, Neil says a number of factors have lead him to file the challenge.

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Texas
4:31 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Approves Devils River Land Deal

TPW approves a land deal for frontage along Devils River
Photo courtesy of Laurence Parent.

Texas Parks and Wildlife today approved the purchase of land fronting the Devil's River.

As KUT previously reported, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commissioners pulled the original Devil's River land deal at their November 4 meeting, after public feedback that the plan blocked access to the river.  

In a statement released today TPW said

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Texas
12:25 pm
Mon December 20, 2010

Appliance Rebate, Part II

The purchase period for the state’s appliance mail-in rebate program starts today.

The last time the state did this, the website and phone lines were jammed with people trying to get in on the action. This time, consumers are supposed to buy the energy-efficient appliance first, and then mail-in a rebate application form.

The State Comptroller’s office says just over $18-million in federal stimulus funding is available for the rebates.  The program will remain open until all the funds have been distributed.

Charity
11:59 am
Mon December 20, 2010

Four Fun Ways To Help The Less Fortunate This Holiday Season

Austin's bustling non-profit community is brimming with need over the holidays. There's no way we can mention them all, but here are four charities that could use your help. Please add your favorite non-profit to support in the comments section below.

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Morning Update
8:41 am
Mon December 20, 2010

Monday Morning Update

AISD Seeks Budget Input

The Austin Independent School District will take public comment on next year's budget at a meeting tonight at AISD headquarters.  The Austin American-Statesman reports that the district could be as much as $60 million short in revenues for the 2011-2012 school year.  Budget writers expect to present the proposed plan at the end of February.

Fireworks Go On Sale Today

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Austin
9:42 am
Sun December 19, 2010

Sunday Doins' Around Austin

Congress Avenue Austin at the bridge
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rafaelmarquez/2947247065/

 

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Austin
9:07 am
Sat December 18, 2010

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar Turns 35

The annual christmas market began at the Armadillo World Headquarters.
Sue Clark www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/

Austinites have until the 24th to check out the City's annual holiday market. It's happening this year at the Palmer Events Center, but it wasn't  always so.

Check out a history of the Armadillo Bazaar here.

music
2:11 pm
Fri December 17, 2010

Local Collector Wants Jeff Beck To Play His $500,000 Guitar

Gil Hembree's $500,000 Gibson Les Paul was featured on the cover of a book he authored about Gibson guitars. He's hoping Jeff Beck will play the rarity.
Image courtesy Gil Hembree

It's one of the rarest guitars in the world: A 1955 Gibson Les Paul with Patent Applied For Pickups.  The guitar has been appraised at $500,000, according to its owner, Austin resident Gil Hembree. It has some of the first-ever humbucking pickups, a type of electric guitar pickup that was invented in the mid-50s and used widely ever since.

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Transportation
1:15 pm
Fri December 17, 2010

Cedar Park City Council Abandons Bus Service Deal

Proposed Cedar Park bus service route map from CapMetro

No new Capital Metro bus service will start in Cedar Park next month after the Austin suburb's city council voted 3-3 last night on the proposal. The stalemate meant council would not take action to approve the approximately $80,000 that Cedar Park would have to pay Cap Metro for the one year pilot.

"One of my main concerns was that CapMetro receives funding from the federal government because of the population of City of Cedar Park," Council Member Tony Dale told KUT News in explaining why he opposed the deal.

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economy
11:16 am
Fri December 17, 2010

Latest Jobs Figures Show More People Employed In Austin Area

Austin continues to weather the economic storm, but how many public sector jobs will disappear with state budget cuts?
Image courtesy Stuck in Customs http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuckincustoms/

The Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area added 17,700 jobs over the last 12 months, according to statistics released this morning by the Texas Workforce Commission. But because the size of the labor force also grew, the unemployment rate actually edged upwards to 7.1 percent in November 2010 compared to 7 percent in November 2009.

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News Brief
5:05 am
Fri December 17, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 17, 2010

If you're headed to Austin's airport be advised, today's expected to be one of the busiest days of the year.
Photo by KUT News.

Busy Day at Austin's Airport

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Texas
4:04 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Avoid at Christmas: Fruitcake, Family Drama and Mexico

State officials say stay away from Mexico over the holidays
Picture by KUT

In a move that seems to be becoming a holiday tradition, the Texas Department of Public Safety released it's annual call for Texans to avoid Mexico over the holidays.  DPS sighted increased violence, kidnappings, assault and rape along the boarder as reasons Texans should stay away.

In a press release today, DPS Director Steven C. McCraw says that while the department knows people safely travel and vacation in Mexico on a daily basis, the increase in violence is also a reality.

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Austin
2:54 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Cats and Dogs (and people) Sleeping Together...Mass Hysteria!

The Austin Humane Society gets ready to sleep with the animals
picture courtesy the Austin Humane Society

Workers and volunteers at the Austin Humane Society will spend the night at the shelter to honor all of the animals that will be homeless during the holidays.  The 5th annual sleep over starts tonight at 7 with a visit from Santa.  After the jolly fat guy poses for pictures with the shelter pets, the dogs will be allowed to run around an indoor dog park.  While all cats will be allowed to roam around the shelter as well.  Shelter staff and volunteers will spend the night all around the shelter, including dog kennels, cat rooms and play areas

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Arts and Culture
2:08 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

KOOP Radio Turns 16

KOOP went on the air 16 years ago in Austin.
Logo courtesy KOOP

The Austin city council passed a proclamation today to recognize KOOP radio's 16 years of public service broadcasting in Austin. KOOP delivers an eclectic mix of music and public affairs programming, all created and run by station volunteers.

Kim McCarson is the station's executive director, one of its few paid positions.  She says KOOP is the only cooperatively run station in the US.

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Austin
1:15 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Remembering Jennifer Gale

Jennifer Gale was ever-present at Austin city council meetings
Photo courtesy flickr.com/Patrick Dentler

The Austin city council opened today's council meeting with a tribute to Jennifer Gale.  Gale was ever-present at council meetings and ran for Mayor and several other elected positions over the years.  She was also homeless.  Gale was found dead two years ago tomorrow in front of a church near the UT-Austin campus.

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2012 Presidential Election
11:54 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Tea Party Caucus Announced

Sen. Patrick (R-Houston) hopes to strengthen Tea Party voice at Texas Capitol
Dan Patrick

The Tea Party played a big role in this year's national and state elections.  Now, one Texas lawmaker hopes to strengthen the loosely structured group's voice at the Texas Capitol.  In a release today, Tea Party caucus chair Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) announced the first 49 members of the caucus.  Sen. Patrick said he wants the caucus to keep the power the party showed at the polls going during the 2011 legislative session.

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Health
10:42 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Texas Healthcare Lawsuit Heard Today

Abbott and Texas hope to get ruling against new healthcare law
Photo courtesy Texas Attorney General

Attorneys General from Texas and 19 other states appeared in federal district court in Florida today to argue over the constitutionality of President Obama's new federal healthcare law.  Today’s oral argument was the final court proceeding for the suit.  U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson is expected to rule on the law’s constitutionality sometime next year.

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News Brief
5:35 am
Thu December 16, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 16, 2010

Senior Juliann Faucette helped the Longhorns reach the NCAA's Volleyball Championship Final Four.
Photo courtesy of Texassports.com

City May Support Payday Lending Legislation

The City of Austin will consider a resolution today to endorse state legislation to regulate payday and auto title loan lenders.  These lenders often have high interest and fees that consumer advocates say can trap people in a spiral of debt.  Right now there is a loophole that allows these stores to run without oversight.  If the resolution is passed, the city would officially endorse Rep. Eddie Rodriguez's House Bill 212. 

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