Olivia Gordon http://kut.org en State Investigated West Fertilizer Plant in 2006 http://kut.org/post/state-investigated-west-fertilizer-plant-2006 <p></p><p style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;"><a data-mce-="" href="http://www.tceq.state.tx.us/" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);" target="_blank">The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality</a>&nbsp;has&nbsp;released the&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.tceq.texas.gov/news/releases/4-18west" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);" target="_blank">records history</a>&nbsp;of the&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://kutnews.org/post/west-texas-15-fatalities-estimated-fire-under-control" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);" target="_blank">West Fertilizer Co.</a>The plant was built in 1962, before the federal government required&nbsp;such facilities&nbsp;to have&nbsp;federal&nbsp;air permit authorizations for certain chemicals.&nbsp;The plant did not&nbsp;receive&nbsp;the authorization until 2004.</p><div style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;"><p style="line-height: 1.5; margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">In 2006, a citizen filed&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www2.tceq.texas.gov/oce/waci/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.complaint&amp;incid=76859" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);" target="_blank">an official complaint</a>&nbsp;with the TCEQ. The complaint said that an ammonia smell was "very bad last night from Fertilizer Plant,” and that the smell “lingered until after they went to bed.” The TCEQ investigated the plant and issued a violation because the plant had not gotten the required authorization.</p> Thu, 18 Apr 2013 20:20:54 +0000 Olivia Gordon 7414 at http://kut.org State Investigated West Fertilizer Plant in 2006 City Officials Commemorate Boardwalk Groundbreaking http://kut.org/post/city-officials-commemorate-boardwalk-groundbreaking <p>Officials from the City of Austin and <a href="http://www.thetrailfoundation.org/index.cfm">The Trail Foundation</a> teamed together to celebrate the official start of construction on the Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk.</p><p>The festivities brought together dozens of interested spectators, plus a Popsicle vendor, a mariachi band and water cannons courtesy of the Austin Fire Department.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.thetrailfoundation.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&amp;subarticlenbr=65">The boardwalk</a>&nbsp;will close a 1.1-mile long gap in the trail circling Lady Bird Lake.</p><p>At the event, Mayor Lee Leffingwell said the project was about more than convenience for cyclists and joggers. Fri, 03 Aug 2012 19:13:54 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4817 at http://kut.org City Officials Commemorate Boardwalk Groundbreaking AM Update: Boardwalk Groundbreaking, State Budget Lesson, Ice Cream Festival http://kut.org/post/am-update-boardwalk-groundbreaking-state-budget-lesson-ice-cream-festival <p><strong>City to Break Ground on Boardwalk</strong></p><p>Today the City of Austin and <a href="http://www.thetrailfoundation.org/index.cfm">The Trail Foundation</a> will officially launch the <a href="http://www.thetrailfoundation.org/displaycommon.cfm?an=1&amp;subarticlenbr=65">Boardwalk Trail Completion Project</a> for the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake.</p><p><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/contract-okd-lady-bird-lake-boardwalk">The project</a> will close a 1.1-mile gap in the trail. The boardwalk will be over land and over the lake. Construction could be done by early 2014.</p><p>Mayor Lee Leffingwell, city officials and Trail Foundation officials will take part in today&#39;s groundbreaking. The ceremony will take place at International Shores Park near the trail. The Austin Fire Department will shoot off celebratory water cannons at the park to commemorate the project&rsquo;s launch.</p><p> Fri, 03 Aug 2012 13:10:38 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4813 at http://kut.org AM Update: Boardwalk Groundbreaking, State Budget Lesson, Ice Cream Festival State Re-designates UMC Brackenridge as Highest Level Trauma Center http://kut.org/post/state-re-designates-umc-brackenridge-highest-level-trauma-center <p><a href="http://www.seton.net/locations/brackenridge/">University Medical Center Brackenridge</a> announced its re-designation as a Level I Trauma center for adults today.</p><p>The designation reaffirms the original Level I designation the hospital received in 2009. Every three years the center goes through a stringent re-designation test by <a href="http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/Mobile/Mobile.aspx">The Texas Department of State Health Services.</a></p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 22:00:45 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4802 at http://kut.org State Re-designates UMC Brackenridge as Highest Level Trauma Center AM Update: Early Voting Ending, Aurora Victim Laid to Rest, Longhorns in the Olympics http://kut.org/post/am-update-early-voting-ending-aurora-victim-laid-rest-longhorns-olympics <p><strong>Last Day to Vote Early</strong></p><p>Today is the last day to cast your ballot early in the primary runoff election.</p><p>You can&nbsp;<a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/20120731/early_polls.pdf" target="_blank">click here</a> to find a list of early voting locations in Travis County. Most locations close at 6 p.m. The polling place at the Travis County Offices on Airport Boulevard is open until 7 p.m.</p><p>Less than three percent of registered Travis County voters have cast a ballot so far.</p><p><a href="http://www.co.travis.tx.us/county_clerk/election/default.asp" target="_blank">Election Day</a> for the primary runoff is Tuesday. On Election Day you’ll only be allowed to vote at your precinct.</p><p><strong>Colorado Shooting Victim Remembered in Austin</strong></p><p>A funeral for the former Austinite <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/am-update-former-austinite-killed-aurora-am-biodefense-center-dedication-early-voting-starts" target="_blank">killed in the Aurora movie theater massacre</a> will take place in Austin today. Fri, 27 Jul 2012 13:22:02 +0000 Kelly Connelly, Olivia Gordon, Laura Rice & Laura Rice 4769 at http://kut.org AM Update: Early Voting Ending, Aurora Victim Laid to Rest, Longhorns in the Olympics Drought Map Shows No Significant Changes http://kut.org/post/drought-map-shows-no-significant-changes <p>As far as the Texas drought goes, no news might be good news.</p><p>After steadily improving for months, <a href="http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/DM_state.htm?TX,S">the U.S. Drought Monitor map</a> shows statewide drought conditions have reached a plateau.</p><p><a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/recent-rain-barely-boosts-lake-levels">Heavy rains two weeks ago</a> brought more than 10 percent of the state out of any drought. That number remains steady.</p><p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 20:26:19 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4766 at http://kut.org Drought Map Shows No Significant Changes Gas Prices Still on the Rise http://kut.org/post/gas-prices-still-rise <p>Gas prices continue to inch back up. AAA Texas reports they are now at an average price of $3.36 a gallon in Texas.</p><p>The average in Austin is also $3.36, a 10 cent increase over last week. Prices are still about 20 cents cheaper than this week last year.</p><p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 19:12:13 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4763 at http://kut.org Gas Prices Still on the Rise ¡Todos a Votar! Latino Voter Tour Underway http://kut.org/post/todos-votar-latino-voter-tour-underway <p>A tour to inform and register Latino voters throughout the country kicks off tonight.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.todosavotar.com/">&iexcl;Todos a Votar! (&ldquo;Let&rsquo;s Vote!&rdquo;) tour</a> will travel through California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and &nbsp;Colorado, before winding its way to Texas.&nbsp;The group will be in Houston in mid-September but has plans to visit more Texas cities.</p><p>Tonight the campaign&rsquo;s first event, a Twitter town hall with the hashtag <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/search/%23voto12">#voto12</a>, will allow users to chat online about issues effecting Latino voters.</p><p> Wed, 25 Jul 2012 20:36:17 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4759 at http://kut.org ¡Todos a Votar! Latino Voter Tour Underway 13 Dead in South Texas Pickup Truck Crash http://kut.org/post/13-dead-south-texas-pickup-truck-crash <p>Thirteen people are reported dead and 10 others injured, after a pickup truck carrying 23 passengers crashed into a tree in South Texas Sunday evening.</p><p>&ldquo;This is the most people I&#39;ve seen in any passenger vehicle, and I&#39;ve been an officer for 38 years,&rdquo; Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety <a href="http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/texas/11-dead-12-hurt-in-goliad-truck-wreck">told the Associated Press.</a></p><p>Officials believe the passengers may be illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol Agents were called in to assist with the investigation.&nbsp;&ldquo;It&#39;s unknown whether or not (the victims) were illegal, but it&#39;s possible,&rdquo; Bryant told the AP.</p><p><a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/apd-defends-police-pursuit-turned-deadly">Austin police have noted the popularity of similar trucks</a> in the transport of undocumented immigrants before.</p><p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:07:17 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4737 at http://kut.org 13 Dead in South Texas Pickup Truck Crash AM Update: Former Austinite Killed in Aurora, A&M Biodefense Center Dedication, Early Voting Starts http://kut.org/post/am-update-former-austinite-killed-aurora-am-biodefense-center-dedication-early-voting-starts <p><strong>Texans Victims of Colorado Shooting</strong></p><p>An Austin native was one of the 12 people killed in <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/many-killed-dozens-wounded-dark-knight-rises-midnight-screening-colorado" target="_blank">Friday&rsquo;s shooting</a> at a Colorado movie theater.</p><p>Gordon Cowden, 51, of Aurora, took his two teenage children to the midnight premiere. They were not injured.</p><p>Cowden&rsquo;s family described him as a &ldquo;true Texas gentleman.&rdquo; They say he was a &ldquo;loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner.&rdquo;</p><p> Mon, 23 Jul 2012 12:58:52 +0000 Laura Rice & Olivia Gordon 4735 at http://kut.org AM Update: Former Austinite Killed in Aurora, A&M Biodefense Center Dedication, Early Voting Starts AM Update: Lackland Air Base Sexual Assault Case, Austin Movie Security, Summer Sales Tax Holiday http://kut.org/post/am-update-lackland-air-base-sexual-assault-case-austin-movie-security-summer-sales-tax-holiday <p><strong>Lackland Assault Case Nears Conclusion</strong></p><p>The case against Staff Sergeant Luis Walker, the trainer <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/air-force-base-texas-allegations-sexual-assault">accused of sexual assault</a> at<a href="http://www.jbsa.af.mil/">&nbsp;Lackland&nbsp;Air Force Base&nbsp;</a>in San Antonio, is wrapping up. Closing arguments got underway this &nbsp;morning.</p><p>Staff&nbsp;Sgt. Walker is accused of 28 counts that include rape and sexual assault.</p><p>In three days of testimony, the prosecution presented 14 witnesses, including alleged victims. The defense brought only one witness, a technical sergeant familiar with the video surveillance capabilities throughout the base.</p><p> Fri, 20 Jul 2012 12:50:28 +0000 Kelly Connelly, Olivia Gordon & Wells Dunbar 4729 at http://kut.org AM Update: Lackland Air Base Sexual Assault Case, Austin Movie Security, Summer Sales Tax Holiday What's That Smell? Algae Bloom Causing 'Musty' Smelling Water http://kut.org/post/whats-smell-algae-bloom-causing-musty-smelling-water <p>A <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyanobacteria">blue green algae bloom</a> in Lake Austin may lead to &ldquo;musty&rdquo; or &ldquo;earthy&rdquo; smelling and tasting water for some Austinites&nbsp;<a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/news/algae-bloom-could-add-unusual-taste-and-odor-water">says&nbsp;Austin Water</a>, the utility responsible for city water treatment and distribution.</p><p>Jason Hill, a spokesman for Austin Water, said there is no way to know what parts of the city might receive the water, but that the strange smell does not effect its safety.</p><p>Austin Water discovered high levels of the algae in routine samples of the city&#39;s raw water. Hill said the company is adding powdered carbon to its treatment process to try and counteract the algae&rsquo;s scent and flavor.</p><p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 21:12:32 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4714 at http://kut.org What's That Smell? Algae Bloom Causing 'Musty' Smelling Water How Natural Gas is Fueling the UT-A&M Rivalry http://kut.org/post/how-natural-gas-fueling-ut-am-rivalry <p>When Texas A&amp;M <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/texas-am-leave-big-12">left the Big 12</a>, many assumed the rivalry between the Aggies and the Longhorns left with it.</p><p>Now the two Texas colleges are facing off again, but this time there&rsquo;s a chance both schools &ndash; and the public &ndash; &nbsp;could win. Yesterday, UT-Austin and Texas A&amp;M were awarded&nbsp;<a href="http://arpa-e.energy.gov/media/news/tabid/83/vw/1/itemid/58/arpa-e-announces-new-projects-to-advance-innovative-natural-gas-vehicle-technologies.aspx" target="_blank">grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy</a>&nbsp;to develop cheaper natural gas vehicles.</p><p>UT&rsquo;s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.utexas.edu/research/cem/" target="_blank">Center for Electromechanics&nbsp;</a>received more than $4 million to engineer new ways to refuel&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/us-has-natural-gas-problem-too-much-it" target="_blank">natural gas</a>&nbsp;cars at home.</p><p> Fri, 13 Jul 2012 18:27:56 +0000 Olivia Gordon & Laura Rice 4682 at http://kut.org How Natural Gas is Fueling the UT-A&M Rivalry AM Update: Voter ID Trial Wraps Up, New APD Officers, Perry to Support Romney in Nevada http://kut.org/post/am-update-voter-id-trial-wraps-new-apd-officers-perry-support-romney-nevada <p><strong>Voter ID Trial Continues</strong></p><p>Closing arguments are set to begin today in the <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/controversial-texas-voter-id-law-begins-federal-trial" target="_blank">Texas Voter ID trial </a>in Washington, D.C.</p><p>The law would require voters to present a government-issued photo ID at the polls.</p><p>A three-judge panel will decide whether the Texas law violates the Voting Rights Act by making it harder for minorities to cast a ballot. The U.S. Department of Justice <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/attorney-general-holder-calls-voter-id-laws-poll-taxes">argues that it does</a>.</p><p>But lawyers for the state say the law <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/reactions-justice-department-photo-voter-id-decision" target="_blank">wouldn&rsquo;t disenfranchise minority voters</a>. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott hopes the judges will agree and that the law will be in place in time for the November election. Fri, 13 Jul 2012 12:38:24 +0000 Olivia Gordon & Laura Rice 4678 at http://kut.org AM Update: Voter ID Trial Wraps Up, New APD Officers, Perry to Support Romney in Nevada Looking Back at Austin's 'Library For the Future' http://kut.org/post/looking-back-austins-library-future <p>A new central library &ndash; an updated replacement for the 1970s-era &nbsp;<a href="http://library.austintexas.gov/locations/Faulk%20Central%20Library">Faulk Central Library</a> downtown &ndash; has been in the works since 2006.&nbsp;It was that year that voters approved $90 million in bonds to finance the project.</p><p>Six years later, and construction hasn&rsquo;t &nbsp;started on what the city touts as the &ldquo;library for the future.&rdquo; And the Austin City Council recently approved an additional $1.3 million in funding. &nbsp;</p><p>In the spring of 2008, the Council approved the library&rsquo;s site, nestled between the <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/take-look-citys-seaholm-plans">slated-for-redevelopment Seaholm Power Plant</a>, and the site of <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/citys-42-million-land-sale">the former Green Water Treatment Plant</a>.&nbsp; The library was officially defined as the &ldquo;Library for the Future&rdquo; when the council approved an &ldquo;Architectural Program Building Narrative&rdquo; later that year. That&rsquo;s also when the council also selected the architects to guide the project.</p><p> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 20:59:36 +0000 Olivia Gordon & Wells Dunbar 4636 at http://kut.org Looking Back at Austin's 'Library For the Future' AM Update: Study: APD Needs More Officers, Ft Hood Shooting Jury Questions, Texas Special Ed Numbers http://kut.org/post/am-update-study-apd-needs-more-officers-ft-hood-shooting-jury-questions-texas-special-ed <p><strong>Study Advises APD to Grow with City</strong></p><p>A new <a href="http://alt.coxnewsweb.com/statesman/pdf/07/070612PERF_Final_Report_Austin.pdf">study</a> commissioned by the City of Austin recommends the Austin Police Department increase its staffing numbers by over 250 by 2017.</p><p>The study, released by the <a href="http://www.policeforum.org/">Police Executive Research Forum</a>, a nonprofit organization which has studied police departments around the nation, suggested APD increase its officer-to-population ratio to 2.11 officers per one thousand residents. Right now, Austin has 2.08 officers per one thousand residents.</p><p>The department spends 57 percent of its time responding to calls, leaving little time &ldquo;to engage the community, solve local crime and disorder problems, or patrol hot spots,&rdquo; says the report. The study recommends aiming to drop the time spent responding to calls to 45 percent.</p><p> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 12:28:05 +0000 Olivia Gordon, Kelly Connelly & Laura Rice 4628 at http://kut.org AM Update: Study: APD Needs More Officers, Ft Hood Shooting Jury Questions, Texas Special Ed Numbers Is the City’s $5,500 F1 Trip Worth It? http://kut.org/post/city-s-5500-f1-trip-worth-it <p>Just <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/austins-formula-one-race-gets-green-light">months before Formula One arrives in Austin</a>,&nbsp;city officials left today to tour the <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverstone_Circuit">F1 Silverstone circuit</a> in Northampton, England, and meet with race and safety officials.</p><p>Mayor Lee Leffingwell and City Manager Marc Ott have their full travel expenses covered the <a href="http://circuitoftheamericas.com/">Circuit of the Americas</a>, the organization responsible for building the Austin-area track and hosting the race.</p><p>The other city officials, including Police Chief Art Acevedo and Fire Chief Rhonda Mae Kerr, have a portion of their expenses covered; their flights are being paid for with approximately $5,500 in city taxpayer dollars.</p><p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 20:07:06 +0000 Olivia Gordon & Wells Dunbar 4626 at http://kut.org Is the City’s $5,500 F1 Trip Worth It? Mid-Week Holiday Hurts Worker Productivity http://kut.org/post/study-mid-week-holiday-hurts-worker-productivity <p>Firing up the grill? Don&rsquo;t expect to be fired up at work.</p><p>With this year&#39;s Fourth of July holiday falling on a Wednesday, many workers are taking vacations in addition to the mid-week day off. Though summer vacations are commonplace, the quantity of workers taking off at the same time could spell trouble for some companies.</p><p>But John Challenger, CEO of global outplacement firm <a href="http://www.challengergray.com/">Challenger, Gray &amp; Christmas</a>, told <a href="http://app1.kuhf.org/kuhf.php">KUHF</a> that not all companies will be hurt.</p><p>&ldquo;For a busy company, there&rsquo;s just the risk that they can&rsquo;t produce the same amount worker-hours they need to provide a high quality service or product,&quot; he said. &quot;For companies that are in a slowdown, it&rsquo;s probably not a bad idea to get their vacations loaded up at the same time.&rdquo;</p><p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 16:04:06 +0000 Olivia Gordon 4622 at http://kut.org Mid-Week Holiday Hurts Worker Productivity State Looks to Cut Number of Medicaid-Covered Premature Births http://kut.org/post/state-looks-cut-number-medicaid-covered-premature-births <p>The Texas Health and Human Services Commission is launching a new <a href="http://www.hhs.state.tx.us/news/release/070312-Premature-Births.shtml" target="_blank">Medicaid initiative</a> to help prevent premature births.</p><p>The program was launched this week and provides a 24-hour help line and other resources to help mothers carry their babies to term.</p><p>Medicaid pays for more than half of the births in Texas. HHSC spokeswoman Stephanie Goodman told <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-state-agencies/health-and-human-services-commission/hhsc-program-targets-intensive-care-babies/">The Texas Tribune</a> that premature births are especially expensive.</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;One of those babies is more than 18 times the cost of a regular newborn,&rdquo; said Goodman. &ldquo;If we can reduce that, we can save a lot of money.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 14:03:09 +0000 Sam J. Ellison & Olivia Gordon 4619 at http://kut.org State Looks to Cut Number of Medicaid-Covered Premature Births AM Update: Austin Doctor Dies, Overturned Convictions in Texas, Youth Football World Championships http://kut.org/post/am-update-austin-doctor-dies-overturned-convictions-texas-youth-football-world-championships <p><strong>Beloved Austin Family Doctor Dies</strong></p><p>Dr. Mathis&nbsp;Blackstock, a well-known Austin doctor, died Tuesday from melanoma. He was 87.</p><p>According to his&nbsp;<a href="http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/statesman/obituary.aspx?pid=158383271">obituary</a>, Dr.&nbsp;Blackstock&nbsp;remained engaged with former patients and doctors at the&nbsp;Blackstock&nbsp;Family Health Center, named for him, until about two weeks ago. In the 1970s, he helped found a clinic at the San Jose Catholic Church in South Austin in order to serve underprivileged patients.</p><p>The funeral for&nbsp;Blackstock&nbsp;will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Austin, 4700 Grover Ave. Dr.&nbsp;Blackstock&nbsp;is survived by three children and a wife of 63 years.</p><p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 12:07:40 +0000 Mary Mattia, Sam J. Ellison & Olivia Gordon 4617 at http://kut.org AM Update: Austin Doctor Dies, Overturned Convictions in Texas, Youth Football World Championships