Austin
7:03 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

New Director at Town Lake Animal Center

Abigail Smith, the new director of Town Lake Animal Center.

The new director of Austin’s Town Lake Animal Center is committed to keeping Austin a “no-kill” city.  Abigail Smith, formerly of the Ithaca New York SPCA, took the helm at TLAC this week and said her first priority is to simply understand where things stand at the shelter.

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Energy
2:36 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

New Mercury Regulations For Coal Plants

The EPA announced mercury regulations that would require coal plants to cut emissions. This plant is the Cliffside Steam Station in North Carolina run by Duke Energy .
Photo courtesy of the Rainforest Action Network on Flickr.

The EPA announced yesterday new national standards for mercury emissions and other air pollutants. Within three to four years, coal plants be required to install new technology to cut back the amount of mercury released into the air from smoke stacks.

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Politics
2:34 pm
Thu March 17, 2011

Federal Healthcare Law Unwelcome in House Committee

Texas Lawmakers Have Ideas to Keep the Healthcare Law Out of Texas
Texas Tribune

The Texas House Committee on State Sovereignty took up a handful of bills today - all with the stated goal of protecting Texas from the Federal Healthcare law.  The bills use different tactics to nullify the federal law.  With one by Rep.

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News Brief
6:05 am
Thu March 17, 2011

Top Morning Stories March 17, 2011

Photo by KUT News.

House Panel OKs Guns on Campus Bill

A Texas House committee has approved legislation that would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons to carry guns on college campuses.  The House Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee passed the bill 5-3 Wednesday.  The guns on campus legislation now goes to the full House.  The Associated Press reports the vote was split along party lines, with Republicans backing the measure. 

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Elections
12:20 pm
Wed March 16, 2011

The Ballot is Set for May 2011 Austin Election

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT.

The ballot is set for the May 14 Austin City Council election.  The city clerk drew names for ballot placements Wednesday morning.  Three city council seats are up for grabs with incumbents Chris Riley, Randi Shade, and Laura Morrison seeking re-election.  Here's a look at the ballot order:

City Council Election Ballot 2011

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sxsw 2011
11:33 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Crews Fixing Brocca Gallery After Fire Disrupted SXSW Partying

Yellow tape restricts access to Fast Folks bike shop and Brocca art gallery after a fire last night.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Work crews arrived this morning to 1103 E. 6th St. after a fire disrupted a South by Southwest party at Brocca Gallery on Tuesday. The Austin Fire Department says the blaze caused an estimated $100,000 in damage and was started by malfunctioning electrical equipment. The cause has been ruled accidental.

The fire also closed Fast Folks Cyclery next door. The owners posted on their Twitter account last night that their shop is okay.

Continue reading for pictures and video.

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Texas
10:47 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Texas Will Switch Execution Drug Amid Shortage

Photo via Flickr user Andres Rueda.

Texas Department of Criminal Justice officials announced today that it will change one of the drugs in the three-drug cocktail used in executions in the state.

The drug sodium thiopental has been in short supply ever since the only U.S. manufacturers of the drug stopped production.

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News Brief
6:26 am
Wed March 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories March 16, 2011

Sixth Street shuts down for SXSW starting today.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT.

More Streets Closing for SXSW Today

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Texas
3:24 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Perry, House Reach Rainy Day Fund Deal

State leaders agree on tapping some of the Rainy Day fund to get the state's budget through August.
Image by KUT News.

Governor Rick Perry and House leadership have struck a deal that would use $3.2 billion from the so-called "Rainy Day Fund" to help close the budget shortfall for the current fiscal year.

In a joint statement by the governor, House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) and Comptroller Susan Combs, the remainder of the budget gap would be closed by $800 million in cuts and by using an additional $300 million that's come from increased state sales tax collections over the past few months.

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Austin
3:11 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

City Candidates Get Ballot Positions Tomorrow

Candidate lists are finalized for May's Austin city council election
Image by KUT News

A total of 11 people have filed for the three Austin city council seats up for election this May.  With the filing period over, the city clerk will draw names tomorrow morning to determine the order that names will appear in on the ballot.

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Politics
2:17 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Busy Day Under the Dome

The Texas Capitol is abuzz with activity this afternoon.
Image by Liang Shi for KUT News.

A pair of House committee hearings are attracting a lot of interest at the State Capitol this afternoon.

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to take up debate on whether to tap the state's Rainy Day Fund to help fill the budgetary shortfall facing Texas for the current fiscal year.  Thanh Tan of KUT's political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune, tells us the committee room is packed. 

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SXSW 2011
2:07 pm
Tue March 15, 2011

Get Your Car Off E. 6th St. By Midnight To Avoid Being Towed

Signs indicate when people need to move their cars off streets that will close. Posts and parking machines are wrapped in plastic to make removal of posters easier after SXSW ends.
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Comfortable shoes and iPad 2s are making way for synthesizers and neck tattoos as South by Southwest shift gears overnight from interactive to music.  The latter brings out much larger crowds, so the city is shutting E. 6th St. at midnight. Right now there are signs warning people to move their vehicles. Check out our Google Map of road closures after the jump.

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Energy
11:40 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Japan Disaster Puts Texas Nuclear Deal on Hold

South Texas Project nuclear facility, in Matagorda Bay, is in the process of adding two more units.
Photo courtesy of the NRG Energy.

CPS Energy of San Antonio announced today that negotiations over buying power from the South Texas Project [STP] expansion have been put on hold.

NRG Energy is in the process of adding two more units to the South Texas Project nuclear facility in Matagorda Bay.  CPS Energy, NRG and the Japanese company Tokyo Electric Power Co. would be the owners of the expansion, but Tokyo Electric's participation is now in question after a massive tsunami  damaged one of its nuclear plants in Japan.

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sxsw 2011
9:52 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Is Free Beer Enough To Win On the SXSW Trade Show Floor?

The trade show floor at SXSW is filled with companies competing for attention, but once they reel you in, are they delivering the message?
Photo by Nathan Bernier

Tech companies, ranging from independent iPhone app developers to multinational wireless providers, are competing for the attention of South by Southwest Interactive attendees who wander onto the trade show floor at the Austin Convention Center. Free beer and cotton candy are among the enticements, but once that traffic is built, is the message getting across?

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News Brief
6:30 am
Tue March 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories March 15, 2011

Image courtesy of Google maps.

Radiation Fears Rising in Japan

People near Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant have been evacuated as elevated levels of radiation are leaking from the plant.  Cooling systems at the plant have been failing since Friday’s massive 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.  NPR reports Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan ordered everyone within about 12 miles of the plant to evacuate.  

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