Politics
6:25 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Hartnett Appointed Discovery Master in District 48 Race

State Rep. Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) will issue a report on the outcome of November's District 48 election
Image courtesy of the Texas House of Representatives

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R-San Antonio) appointed Representative Will Hartnett (R-Dallas) to serve as "master of discovery" to determine a winner in the Donna Howard-Dan Neil race in House District 48

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Texas
5:00 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Texas Mirrors Nation In Percentage Of High Income Earners

Image by Erik Reyna for KUT News

It's traditionally the slowest news week of the year, so thank goodness the folks at Yahoo! Finance came up with the idea of parsing new US Census Bureau data to rank states based on their percentage of high income earners. Texas came in at number fourteen, but rate of high income earners was only slightly higher than the national average.

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Environment
4:31 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

How Would Peak Oil Affect Your Life?

Drivers currently clog I-35 in downtown Austin and other highways, but some experts say that could disappear in a matter of decades for lack of oil.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

Nationally, gas prices are hovering around $3 a gallon these days. It’s far off the record price of more than $4.10 in the summer of 2008. Remember those days? Well, what about $5 dollar, even $10 dollar a gallon for gas?

To understand the rest of this story, you need to get one concept: peak oil.

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Health
3:56 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Have You Seen This Bear? Don't Eat His Cilantro

Cilantro and parsley sold under the Little Bear brand has been recalled over salmonella concerns.
Image courtesy J&D Produce

A produce distributor in the south Texas town of Edinburg has recalled almost 7,000 cases of cilantro and parsley after samples in Michigan and the Canadian province of Quebec tested positive for salmonella.

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development
2:48 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Travis County Buys Downtown Parking Lot To Build New Courthouse

Travis County Commissioners cleared the way to buy this plot of land downtown between 3rd and 4th streets to the north and south and Guadalupe and San Antonio streets to the east and west.
Image courtesy Google Street View

Travis County Commissioners didn't take any moves to block the planned purchase of a lot in downtown Austin, clearing the way for the deal to close tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

As KUT News reported two weeks ago, the county will pay $21,750,000 for the downtown block next to Republic Square Park.

County Judge Sam Biscoe says that’s half a million more than the appraised value.

“But I think that the location, more than justifies that. Plus it’s the size that we need,” Biscoe told KUT.

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Austin
2:17 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Pay Your Property Tax January 3 And Still Get December Receipt

Image coutesy Zanthan http://www.flickr.com/photos/zanthan/

The Travis County Tax Office wants you to know you can pay your property tax bill as late as January 3 and still get a December receipt. That's important to people who want to claim their property tax as a deduction on their 2010 tax return.

"That's because we are closed on the last day of this month, December 31st," tax office spokesperson Tina Morton told KUT News. "By law, when the deadline falls on a business day and we're closed, it automatically moves to the next business day."

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Arts and Culture
1:38 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Maddox Reax

The slaying of Austin drummer Bill Maddox, a drummer who played for local guitar legend Eric Johnson, is getting top story treatment from local media.  TV stations have been calling the Austin City Limits TV show today, which shares an office with KUT, and asking for B-roll of Maddox's ACL performance from 2001. Expect to see glimpses on tonight's newscasts.

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Georgetown
12:55 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Thieves Return Frog Sculpture To Park In Georgetown

Georgetown Parks and Rec superintendent Glenn Moss poses next to a frog sculpture that was stolen in October and returned on Christmas Day.
Image courtesy City of Georgetown

The City of Georgetown emailed us to let us know a 130-pound frog sculpture, stolen from San Gabriel Park in late-October, had been returned on Christmas Day. Surveillance camera footage from December 25 shows two people unloading the sculpture from an SUV and then driving away.

Georgetown Parks and Recreation superintendent Glenn Moss just happened to be strolling through the park yesterday and noticed the sculpture had been returned.

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Environment
12:27 pm
Tue December 28, 2010

Holly Power Plant Demolition Bidder Gets Litigious

Image by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

CST Environmental, a company based in San Leandro, California, is suing the city because it wasn't awarded a bid to demolish a decommissioned power plant in East Austin, according to the Austin Business Journal.

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Business
11:44 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Scrapping Texas Enterprise Fund Could Disproportionately Hurt Austin

Governor Perry's power to recruit companies to Texas with economic incentive grants would be stripped if a Dallas lawmaker has his way, but an analysis by KUT News shows Austin has benefited disproportionately from some of those funds.
Image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/refractedmoments/

A state lawmaker wants to abolish the Texas Enterprise Fund and other pools of money Governor Perry can use at his discretion to attract investment. But doing so could disproportionately harm Austin, according to our analysis of a report released last week by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.

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Transportation
9:56 am
Tue December 28, 2010

Flights Still Canceled At Austin Airport

A few flights are still canceled at ABIA after a winter blizzard blanketed the northeast with snow.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The two-day winter storm has ended in the northeast, but the effort to dig out from the snow is still going strong. Some flights to the region from Austin are still being canceled and the Wall Street Journal reports that it could take days to clear the backlog of travelers.

Several factors stood to delay a full resumption of flights, including the need to plow gates and get airport staff and flight crews back in place.

….

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Education
4:35 pm
Mon December 27, 2010

Journalism Groups Slam Texas A&M For Open Records Policy

Texas A&M University recently barred its employees from telling students to file open records requests under the state's public information act. Now, a group of fifteen journalism organizations is weighing in on the debate.

A letter from the groups, posted on the Poynter journalism blog, accuses the University of using a "potentially illegal" policy to "squelch investigations by its own students."

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Arts and Culture
3:35 pm
Mon December 27, 2010

2011 Wildflower Outlook Iffy

After a lush 2010, the wildflower outlook for 2011 is not as colorful.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

What better way to get one's mind off the recent cold weather than to think of the coming warm spring and the annual colorburst that is wildflower season?

Well...don't get your hopes up too high, according to a senior botanist at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

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Austin
1:54 pm
Mon December 27, 2010

Not Much New In NTSB Report On Austin Plane Attack

This is what the office building looked like shortly after Joe Stack crashed a plane into the building in February. The NTSB has issued its final report on the attack.
Image by KUT News

The National Transportation Safety Board has released its final report into the attack on an IRS building launched earlier this year by Joe Stack, a man believed to be frustrated with the federal government.

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Environment
9:50 am
Mon December 27, 2010

Where You Can Dump Your Christmas Tree in Austin

This map shows where you can drop off your Christmas tree in Zilker Park on the dates listed below.
Image courtesy City of Austin

Starting today, Austin Solid Waste Services pay-as-you-throw customers can leave their trees on the curb for pickup. If you tree is 6-feet or taller, it must be cut in half.


Everyone else can drop off their Christmas trees by the Polo Fields in Zilker Park from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the following days:

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