News Brief
6:11 am
Mon April 11, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 11, 2011

A wildfire burning near Fort Davis in West Texas on Sunday afternoon.
Photo by Jim Reese for KUT News

West Texas Fire Knocks Out Marfa Public Radio

A fire in the Fort Davis area was responsible for knocking out nearby Marfa Public Radio’s signal this weekend.  The fire burned the power lines that feed the station's mountaintop transmitter.  KUT's digital technology manager, Jim Reese, was flown over to help.  He said Marfa Public Radio went back on the air around 6 p.m. Sunday.  "Marfa Public Radio is the only station [there] that has wide area coverage, so there were no media outlets at all functioning for about 24 hours," said Reese. 

Wildfires Rage Across Texas

Hot, dry and windy conditions kept firefighters across many parts of the state busy this weekend.  26 Central Texas firefighters deployed to West Texas Sunday to help battle the wildfires in that region.  One team was sent to Fort Davis.  The Texas Forest Service told KUT resources were also sent in from 25 states.  

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Texas
10:49 am
Sun April 10, 2011

News Roundup for Sunday April 10, 2011

The Cathedral fire (Brewster County) viewed at night in April 2008.
Photo courtesy the Texas Forest Service.

Wildfire Danger at Historic Highs Today

State officials are warning of extreme wildfire danger across much of the western half of Texas today, as hot, dry, windy conditions couple with low humidity. 

The Texas Forest Service was fighting several wildfires yesterday, but was bracing for more, reported the Associated Press.

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Politics
3:25 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

President Obama to Return to Austin

President Obama spoke at UT in August 2010.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

President Barack Obama is heading to Austin for a fundraiser. The visit is planned for May 10. 

President Obama announced this week that he would run for re-election in 2012. It wasn't a huge surprise, but he is the first to announce his plans.

Transportation
2:45 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

Google Map Of Street Closures For Texas Relays Weekend

View Austin Street Closures For Texas Relays 2011 in a larger map

The Texas Relays are not just a serious competition for track and field athletes. The annual event has also become a celebration of southern car culture. All those slabs cruising through downtown can make it very difficult to navigate the area. This year, Austin police say they are taking extra measures to try to mitigate the gridlock.

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Texas
1:12 pm
Fri April 8, 2011

Massive Wildfire in West Texas Burns 50,000 Acres

Extreme fire is seen burning through thick fuel during the Highway 322 fire (Dimmit County) in March 2008.
Photo courtesy the Texas Forest Service

Officials are sending more resources to help battle a massive wildfire in West Texas that's already burned about 50,000 acres.

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Environment
9:46 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Environmentalists Protest Controversial Plastic Bag Bill

It's not everyday you see environmentalists protesting a bill that would require grocery stores to recycle plastic bags.

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News Brief
6:48 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 8, 2011

Austin Community College has reached a preliminary deal to buy more land at the Highland Mall site.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

ACC Buying More of Highland Mall

Austin Community College has announced that is under contract to buy 32 acres of land underneath the beleaguered Highland Mall.  The price tag is $14.6 million.  ACC has already bought the Dillard's and Macy’s spaces.  This latest deal is expected to close in mid-May.  If the deal is finalized, ACC would own about 80 percent of the Highland Mall site. 

From ACC's statement:

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economy
4:48 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

Average Austin Gas Prices Up 13 Cents In A Week

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Drivers in the Austin-San Marcos area are paying an average of $3.60 for a gallon of gasoline, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge Report. That compares to $3.47 just one week ago. And in those halcyon days of April 2011, we were shelling out a mere $2.69 for a gallon of regular unleaded. Prices have risen 29 percent since then.

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Austin
3:53 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

You Can Now File Non-Emergency Police Reports Online

APD's new website allows you to report non-emergency crimes online.

The Austin Police Department launched a new online reporting system today called CopLogic. It allows you to file the kind of non-emergency, low priority cases complaints you might normally report to 3-1-1.

In fact, APD says it processed more than 58,000 reports last year through 3-1-1.  That's an average of 158 calls a day. The new system, APD hopes, will improve the quality of reporting and case tracking.

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Health
1:58 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

State Issues Warning After Two Infants Drown In Bathtubs

Two bathtub drownings within a 12 hour period have prompted state officials to warn parents not to leave young children unattended by water.
Photo by lenifuzhead http://www.flickr.com/photos/lenifuzhead/

Two Texas infants died in bathtubs within a 12 hour period yesterday, prompting state officials to remind parents never to leave small children alone around any container of water.

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Arts and Culture
1:23 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

Alamo Drafthouse Promises To Clamp Down On No-Talking Policy

After recent complaints, the Alamo Drafthouse says it is revising its no-talking policy.
Photo by markonf1re http://www.flickr.com/photos/markonf1re/

The local food and film chain, the Alamo Drafthouse, says it is revising its famously strict no-talking-during-movies policy after a loud group of patrons ruined a screening of Rubber at the downtown Alamo Drafthouse Ritz last Friday.

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Business
12:14 pm
Thu April 7, 2011

Beanitos Maker To Create 150 Jobs In Austin Later This Year

Bean Brand Foods, the maker of Beanitos, says it is relocating its manufacturing facilty back to Austin.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin-based Bean Brand Foods, the maker of Beanitos bean chips, says it is looking for a 75,000 square foot facility in Central Texas to combine its manufacturing, warehousing, and administrative facilities. The locally based company says it will seek to hire 150 people towards the end of 2011.

Bean Brand Foods moved its manufacturing facility from Austin to San Bernardino, California in late 2010. But rising shipment costs and a desire to keep the plant closer to its Austin headquarters prompted the company to reverse course.

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Business
11:47 am
Thu April 7, 2011

Dell To Spend $1 Billion On Cloud Data Storage

Dell's Round Rock headquarters. The company employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas.
Photo by Dell

One of the largest employers in Central Texas, Round Rock-based Dell, announced this morning that it will spend $1 billion to build 10 data centers around the world as it seeks to expand into the growing cloud computing market.  Bloomberg reports this morning that the data centers would provide a wide range of services. 

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Arts and Culture
10:47 am
Thu April 7, 2011

Tibetan Monks Make Sand Art At Austin City Hall

Tibetan monks at work on their sand mandala in Austin City Hall.
Photo provided by the office of City Council Member Laura Morrison

A group of Tibetan monks is creating a work of religious art in Austin City Hall this week. They started on their sacred sand mandala on Monday and will continue through Friday.

On Friday at 5:30, the monks will dismantle the sand mandala and the public is invited to participate. Here's what that ceremony looked like when they did it in Omaha, Nebraska.

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Texas
8:24 am
Thu April 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 7, 2011

The Texas House will take a final vote today on a bill easing graduation requirements for high school students.
Photo by KUT News

House May Ease Graduation Requirements

The Texas House will take a final vote today on a bill that would ease graduation requirements for Texas students. Starting next year, high school students are required to take a total of 12 end-of-course exams called the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR), and they have to pass the exams in order to graduate.  In the bill the House will vote on today, high school students will have to pass fewer of the new state exams in order to graduate.

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