Business
1:47 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Ground Breaks Tomorrow On Massive Solar Farm in Pflugerville

Image courtesy RRE Austin Solar

Construction officially begins tomorrow on one of the largest solar farms in the country. The $230 million facility is being built by RRE Austin Solar in Pflugerville.

Besides hosting a 60 megawatt solar farm, the project also includes a nature trail, a wildflower meadow, trees, and a wind power exhibit. You can check out conceptual maps here and here.

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Environment
11:55 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Burn Ban Effective Immediately In Travis County

Camp fires like this one are prohibited in Travis County after County Commissioners issued a burn ban today.
Image courtesy Dido http://www.flickr.com/photos/iyadtb/

Citing extremely dry conditions in Central Texas, Travis County Commissioners followed the lead of some neighboring counties today and issued a burn ban. The ban prohibits anyone from burning "any combustible material outside of an enclosure which serves to contain all flames and/or sparks."

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Health
11:15 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Texas Warned Against Cutting Bioterror And Pandemic Response Capacity

A CDC demonstration showing how to administer the smallpox vaccine. A new study says Texas and most other states should not cut funding for public health emergency preparedness.
Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Texas scored 7 out of 10 in public health emergency readiness, according to a new report issued today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Trust For America's Health. The study lauds Texas for improving health spending over the past couple years, but warns that the state's looming budget shortfall could reduce our ability to deal with epidemics and bioterrorism.

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Austin
10:08 am
Tue December 14, 2010

KUT Audio News Roundup

Image courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/s_cindric/

Some of the audio news we've produced in the last 24 hours.

So How 'Bout That Weather?

You know that old saying “If you don’t like the weather in Texas,then just wait a few minutes?” As KUT's Mose Buchele reports, this fall, it’s truer than ever.

Healthcare Law Takes A Tumble In Virginia

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News Brief
5:16 am
Tue December 14, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 14, 2010

Logo courtesy of the Austin Independent School District.

AISD Changes Class Rank Calculation

Last night the Austin School Board approved changes to the way class rank is determined.  Class rank will now be calculated using a student's highest grades in 16 core classes such as math and science, plus two foreign languages.  That means electives such as home economics will no longer count for class rank. The

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Music and Arts
4:50 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Local Artists Raising Money To Teach Art To Ugandan Orphans

Ugandan orphans that two Austinites hope to each art.
Image courtesy Natalya Kochak

Two visual artists from Austin are trying to raise $3,200 to fund a trip to teach art to Ugandan orphans. Leticia Mireles and Natalya Kochak are already more than two-thirds towards their goal, but they still need about $1,000 within the next ten days. (You can donate to their trip here.)

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Austin
3:52 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Alleged DWI Cop's Wrecked Cruiser On Display At SWAT Headquarters

It's difficult to view from the street, but you can see part of the police car that SWAT team member Michael Hamilton is alleged to have wrecked in a DWI accident earlier this month.
Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Austin police chief Art Acevedo is sending a message to members of the department's SWAT team: Don't get drunk and wreck a police cruiser like your colleague Michael Hamilton is alleged to have done.

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Health
2:27 pm
Mon December 13, 2010

Texas AG Happy That Federal Judge In Virginia Ruled Health Law Unconstitutional

Image courtesy lambdachialpha http://www.flickr.com/photos/lambdachialpha/

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is applauding a ruling from a federal district court judge in Virginia that invalidates a key provisions of the new health law.

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Politics
11:21 am
Mon December 13, 2010

State Senator Wants To Ban Straight Ticket Voting

Image courtesy Dave Wilson Photography http://www.flickr.com/photos/dawilson/

Texas is one of sixteen states that offers voters the option of simply checking a box for a political party at the ballot box, forgoing the task of individually voting for each candidate. The practice is called "straight-ticket voting" or "straight-party voting" and Republican State Senator Jeff Wentworth (R-San Antonio) doesn't like it.

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Food
10:32 am
Mon December 13, 2010

Texan Wants To Grow World's Hottest Pepper

Until recently, the ghost chili used to be the world's hottest. Now the Naga Viper has dethroned the Ghost and one Texan hopes he can get his hands on the seeds.
Image courtesy Peter Baer http://www.flickr.com/photos/peterjbaer/

The Bhut Jolokia, or Naga Ghost chili, used to be the world's hottest pepper as ranked on the Scoville scale. But that all changed this winter when British chili farmer Gerald Fowler created a hybrid pepper he's calling the Naga Viper.

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news brief
12:02 pm
Sun December 12, 2010

Sunday News Roundup

A delicious morning breakfast, one of several dishes featured in a Houston Chronicle piece about "hangover food." Link below
Image courtesy Rhodes http://www.flickr.com/photos/rhodes

If you’re a Longhorns fan, you probably already heard the stunning news that defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is leaving to coach the Gators.

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Sports
7:58 pm
Sat December 11, 2010

Muschamp Leaving for Florida

Texas head football coach Mack Brown's staff will look a lot different next season.

Will Muschamp, UT's defensive coordinator and heir apparent to the Texas head coaching job, was named Saturday as the new head football coach at Florida.

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Texas
4:48 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

East Texas Church Arsonists to Plead Guilty

The guilty please are expected December 15th.
Image courtesy Keith Burtis http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

The two men charged in a string of church fires last year in East Texas have announced their plan to plead guilty, reports the Associated Press. 

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Austin
4:38 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Will Austin's Missing Moontowers Return?

A moontower at 8th and Rio Grande Streets. Two moontowers downtown were removed for high rise developments, but have yet to be returned.
Image courtesy Matthew Rutledge

Two historically significant moonlight towers, or moontowers, were removed to make way for the development of two downtown high-rise buildings, but both structures were completed months and neither moontower has been returned to its original location.

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Transportation
3:09 pm
Fri December 10, 2010

Austin Traffic Fatalities 20 Percent Lower This Year

MoPac as seen from the Far West bridge/overpass. Traffic fatalities in Austin are 20 percent lower compared to this time last year, APD says.
Image courtesy mirsasha http://www.flickr.com/photos/mirsasha/

The Austin Police Department just announced the 47th and 48th traffic fatalities of the year.  This time last year, there had been 58 traffic deaths reported in Austin. It's a decrease of about 20 percent.

The 47th fatality was a 76-year-old man who crossed the center line while driving down Anderson Mill Road and smashed into another vehicle just after 4 pm yesterday. Police don't believe alcohol or speed was a factor.

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