Mose Buchele/KUT

In the Land of the Oil Bust, the Repo Business Booms

Oil closed at its lowest price in more than six years yesterday and, while it’s risen slightly since then, some project the price to drop even further. In some parts of Texas that's bad news for almost everyone. The economic ripple effect of low prices has led to layoffs and slammed the brakes on local economies. But there’s one business that’s going through a boom in the oil patch right now: the repo man.
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In a report released today, Texas Care for Children is recommending lawmakers restore funding in public services to improve children’s well-being and save money.

The report says Texas is spending up to $20 billion annually because the state does less to respond to the well-being of its children. The report points to the state’s rates of children living in poverty and teen pregnancies. The rate of children are living in poverty, 27 percent, is seven percent higher than the national average. And there are 52.2 teen births per 1000 teenagers — 20 births more than the national average.

City of Austin

The City of Austin’s Aquatic Division manages over 50 public pool facilities. The Bartholomew Pool, in particular, has demanded significant time and funding from the city since 2009.

Now, the city says the pool will need even more time and money before it's ready to reopen.

flickr.com/shutterdog

With all  the talk of football player safety at the professional level, it's not surprising that some Texas lawmakers are talking about requiring more precautions for younger athletes.

Texas currently allows 30 days of full-contact practice for high school and middle school athletes, but this could soon change.

flickr.com/imcomkorea

Update: The Boy Scouts of America board delayed its vote on whether to end a ban on gay membership until May. 

Original Story (8:13 a.m.):More than 40 elected officials from across Texas have signed an open letter encouraging the Boy Scouts of America to maintain its current membership policy—which doesn’t allow gay members or scout masters.

Gov. Rick Perry made his stance on the issue clear last weekend. Now, lawmakers including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Stapes are signing on to show their opposition to a change to the policy. A rally and prayer vigil at the Boy Scouts National headquarters in Irving has also been scheduled for this morning.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation was not enforced in Texas until June of 1865, two and a half years after the fact. The state’s history has a mixed record when it comes to change and racial equality. So it may be surprising to know that the capital city is home to the country’s first African American Lions Club, found

(We updated the top of this post at 10:45 a.m. ET.)

The Boy Scouts of America now intends to vote in May about whether its troops should be allowed to accept gay members and leaders, a spokesman says.

George Burns, Oprah WInfrey Network

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s due for a high near 70, along with scattered clouds and maybe a stray thunderstorm.

Lead Story: Federal prosecutors say Lance Armstrong won’t face criminal charges, despite the cycling star’s confession last month to Oprah Winfrey that he did use performance-enhancing drugs.  

The U.S. Attorney in the case says the decision was made last year not to press charges, and Armstrong’s recent televised comments haven’t convinced prosecutors to re-open the case.

(We updated the top of this post at 10:37 a.m. ET.)

Calling it "absolutely necessary" if the U.S. Postal Service is going to stop losing billions of dollars a year and reach anything close to financial stability, Postmaster Gen. Patrick Donahoe confirmed Wednesday morning that USPS is moving to eliminate Saturday delivery of first-class mail.

Dave Fehling, StateImpact Texas

New legislation that’s been introduced in Austin is supposed to help build a lot more hike and bike trails. It would do that by using those long ribbons of green space called “rights of way”, what are now used by big, utility transmission lines.

Ihwa Cheng/KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport saw more passengers last year than it ever has before. About 9.4 million people departed from or arrived to the airport in 2012. That was a four percent increase from 2011.

ABIA added more non-stop flights last year, including service to Washington D.C., Portland, and Philadelphia. And 200,000 people came through for the Formula One race in November.

But officials say they don’t expect to see the same gains in 2013. 

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