Environment
4:43 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Lake Austin and the Hydrilla Plant

Austin has rejoined its battle against the invasive hydrilla plant
Image courtesy City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

Lake Austin is getting lower.  The Lower Colorado River Authority is drawing down the lake's level so that City of Austin crews can do battle with hydrilla, an invasive water plant that clogs the lake. 

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Arts and Culture
4:41 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Emerging Artists Get Seven Extra Days To Apply For $65,000 City Contract

This is where the city will build a African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. Emerging artists are encourage to apply for a grant to create a work of public art at the location.
Image courtesy City of Austin and Google Maps

Artists have an extra seven days to get their act together and write a proposal to create public art at the new the African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. The building will be constructed at 912 East 11th Street near Branch Street.

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Austin
3:28 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Missing Woman Found Dead In Greenbelt

Image courtesy APD

The body of an 81-year-old woman who went missing in South Austin last night has been found in the Greenbelt, according to the Austin Police Department.  KUT News reported earlier today that APD were trying to find Leona Wagoner Owen.

Austin
3:11 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Austin Ranked Third Best City For Young Entrepreneurs

Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Live Music Capitol of the World has topped another list of awesome cities. This time, it's the Under30CEO.com list of Top 10 Cities for Young Entrepreneurs in 2010.

Coming in third place right behind New York City and San Francisco, Austin is praised for all the familiar reasons:

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Environment
3:01 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Plastic Bags Could Be Banned In Austin

Plastic shopping bags will be banned in Brownsville this week. Austin is reportedly considering another attempt to do the same thing later this year.
Image by KUT News

Austin city leaders have been talking about banning plastic bags at stores for a while, but signs for such an ordinance look strong this year. 

“We have a report that we’ve been working on, on the cost impact of plastic bags. That study has been presented to City Hall, we hope to have that in the hands of city council within a couple of weeks,” said Bob Gedert, the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services director.

That report has not been released to the public yet.

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Health
2:38 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Cedar Fever? Allergist Says It Could Get Worse And Offers Advice

Image by Emily Donahue for KUT News

It's that time of the year again: the dreaded first three weeks of January when cedar pollen production peaks in Central Texas. People allergic to cedar are suffering particularly hard today because of pollen counts above 2000 grains per liter of air. Counts over 1,500 are considered "very high".  

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Health
1:59 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

Public Health Expert Worried About "Purple Stuff" Drink Expanding Distribution

This legal soda contains only valerian root, rose hips, and l-theanine but some public health experts worry that it references a recreational drug popularized by Houston hip hop artists.
Image courtesy Funktional Beverages

The makers of a legal drink that references a recreational drug say they are expanding distribution to more than 1,200 retail stores including twenty Signature Austin Convenience Stores in and around the city.

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Education
1:14 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

No More Camping Out At AISD Headquarters To Make Transfer Request

This is where parents used to have to camp out overnight to request transfers for their kids. The new lottery system being used by the district will put an end to that tradition.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District began accepting transfer requests today, and for the first time, AISD is using a lottery system to award transfers. The end of the longstanding first-come-first-served system means parents no longer have to camp overnight outside school district headquarters to improve their child's odds of having the transfer request granted.

"This will be just a much more family friendly process," AISD spokesperson Carmen Luevanos told KUT News.

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Politics
12:29 pm
Mon January 3, 2011

These People Don't Want Lawmakers To Take An Ax To State Government

Image by Erik Reyna for KUT News

After months of speculation, we will finally get an idea of just how big Texas' budget shortfall is when the Comptroller Susan Combs releases her revenue estimate within the next seven days. Meanwhile, a group of mostly progressive organizations has banded together to urge a "balanced" approach to closing the budget shortfall.

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News Brief
4:54 am
Mon January 3, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 3, 2011

Austin police are searching for missing 81 year-old Leona Wagoner Owen. She was last seen Sunday in South Austin.
Photo courtesy of the Austin Police Department.

APD Searching for Missing Woman

Update at 3:30 pm: 81 year-old Leona Wagoner Owen has been found dead in South Austin.

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Texas
8:50 am
Sun January 2, 2011

Sunday Morning Round-Up

Election Night 2010 will have a big affect on this upcoming legislative session.
Picture by KUT News

The 1st Sunday of 2011.  I hope more and more of you will resolve to start off your Sunday checking out the KUT News blog to see what's going on around town.

Taking a look at the top stories today:

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Austin
10:04 am
Sat January 1, 2011

Fiery Start to 2011

Austin's fire department had a busy first night of 2011.
Image courtesy Austin Fire Department

2011 has already started as a busy one for Austin firefighters.

Statesman.com reports six people have been hospitalized after two separate fires early this morning.  Two elderly men are in critical condition after a fire on Mt. Barker Dr., after being rescued by firefighters.  Four other men are being treated after an apparent fire at a Shell gas station at E. 10th and I-35.

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Austin
2:42 pm
Fri December 31, 2010

Don't Let Your Pets Get Freaked Out By NYE Fireworks

Two dogs wait to be adopted at Town Lake Animal Center. The shelter says its stray intake is expected to increase because of New Year's fireworks.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

To some people, New Year's Eve fireworks displays like this one are an awe-inspiring form of entertainment.

But to many cats and dogs, it sounds more like the end of the world.

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Austin
2:37 pm
Fri December 31, 2010

ANY Plans for New Year's?

A fireworks show will cap tonight's "Austin New Year's" celebration at Auditorium Shores
Image by Erika Aguilar/KUT

New Year’s Eve 2011 will look a little different in downtown Austin tonight. The bar and club scene will be about the same. But there won’t be a “First Night Austin” celebration, as there has been in years past.

In fact, this will be the first New Year’s Eve in six years where there has been no “First Night Austin” celebration. Organizers announced at the end of September that they didn’t have the money to stage the family-friendly downtown party this year. They’re hoping to be back to ring in 2012.

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Health
12:44 pm
Fri December 31, 2010

Four Ways People Get Depressed Over the Holidays

For some, the holiday season can be anything but merry and jolly.
Image courtesy http://flickr.com/BLW Photography

People have a lot going on this time of year. Party planning, family and friends in town, plus thinking about work next year and meeting those New Year’s resolutions.

For some, all of this can be too much. Michelle Magid calls it the holiday blues. She’s a psychiatrist at Seton Shoal Creek Hospital and an assistant professor at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

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