Crystal Chavez, KUT News http://kut.org en Manor High School Evacuated, Bomb Squad On Scene (Updated) http://kut.org/post/manor-high-school-evacuated-bomb-squad-scene-updated <p>Update: The following announcement is posted on the <a href="http://www.manorisd.net/">Manor ISD website</a>:</p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:03:13 +0000 Wells Dunbar & Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3439 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 01/12/12: Stratfor Chief on Hacking, State Parks Get Financial Boost http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-011212-stratfor-chief-hacking-state-parks-get-financial-boost <p><strong>Stratfor Chief Lays Out Hacking Ordeal</strong></p><p>Austin-based intelligence analysis firm Stratfor&#39;s website is back up and running after hackers, who claimed to be with the group Anonymous, stole thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to Stratfor customers.</p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 11:32:41 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3438 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 01/12/12: Stratfor Chief on Hacking, State Parks Get Financial Boost Top Morning Stories 01/11/12: Commission Taking Up Bags Ban, Recovery Work Resumes in Bastrop http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-011112-commission-taking-bags-ban-recovery-work-resumes-bastrop <p><strong>City Commission to Review Proposed Bags Ban</strong></p><p>The City of Austin&rsquo;s Solid Waste Advisory Commission is scheduled to take up a proposed plastic bags ban tonight. The <a href="http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/edims/document.cfm?id=162432">draft ban</a> would ban single-use plastic and paper bags starting in January 2013. And from this June to December businesses would have to charge ten cents a bag.</p><p>Tonight&rsquo;s Solid Waste Advisory Commission meeting starts at six thirty at City Hall. The Austin City Council would still have to vote on the ban before it could take effect.</p><p><strong>Recovery Work Resuming in Bastrop </strong></p><p>Recovery work will resume in wildfire-damaged Bastrop County. Federal officials yesterday cleared <a href="https://www.bluebonnetelectric.coop/news/newsdetail.aspx?itemID=110">Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative </a>to get back to work clearing trees, picking up debris and putting up electric lines and meters in burned areas. Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:55:40 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3431 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 01/11/12: Commission Taking Up Bags Ban, Recovery Work Resumes in Bastrop Top Morning Stories 01/10/12: Tx Primary Could be Delayed, Police Meet with Community about Murder http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-011012-tx-primary-could-be-delayed-police-meet-community-about-murder <p><strong>Texas Primaries Could be Delayed Further</strong></p><p>The Texas Primary Election is scheduled for April 3rd but the U.S. Supreme Court could delay it. The Court heard arguments Monday in a case that could determine what Texas&rsquo; legislative and congressional districts look like for the upcoming primaries.</p><p>Legal wrangling over proposed redistricting maps already delayed the state&#39;s primaries by a month. <a href="http://kut.org/2012/01/supreme-court-considers-delaying-tx-primary/">As KUT&#39;s Matt Largey reported</a> during <em>Morning Edition, </em>Monday&rsquo;s Supreme Court hearing left open the possibility the primaries could be delayed further.</p><p><strong>Police Meet with Neighbors about Central Austin Murder</strong></p><p>Austin Police met with residents last night concerned about their safety after the <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/confusion-and-sadness-after-band-camp-counselor%E2%80%99s-murder">New Year&#39;s Day murder of 29-year-old Esme Barrera</a>. Tue, 10 Jan 2012 11:53:49 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3409 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 01/10/12: Tx Primary Could be Delayed, Police Meet with Community about Murder Top Morning Stories 12/09/12: Supreme Court Hears TX Redistricting, Texas Drug Trial to Begin http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-120912-supreme-court-hears-tx-redistricting-texas-drug-trial-begin <p><strong>Supreme Court Hears Texas Redistricting Case Today</strong></p><p>Today the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Texas&#39; redistricting maps. Legal teams from Texas are gathered in Washington for oral arguments over which redistricting maps should be used for this year&rsquo;s primary elections.</p><p>At stake are the congressional and legislative boundaries the state of Texas will use for the next decade. And as KERA&rsquo;s <a href="http://keranews.org/post/texas-election-maps-supreme-court-today">Shelley Kofler reports</a>, the impact on minority voters is at issue.</p> Mon, 09 Jan 2012 12:16:22 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3397 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/09/12: Supreme Court Hears TX Redistricting, Texas Drug Trial to Begin Gov. Perry Cautious with the Media http://kut.org/post/gov-perry-cautious-media <p>Texas Governor Rick Perry is taking his campaign to New Hampshire and South Carolina, which hold GOP presidential primary elections this month. <a href="http://kut.org/2012/01/what-might-perry-be-thinking/">Perry had members of the press corps scratching their heads after Iowa</a> over the mixed messages from his campaign staff.</p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 18:54:40 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3378 at http://kut.org Gov. Perry Cautious with the Media Top Morning Stories 12/29/11: Horns Win Holiday Bowl, Stratfor Offering ID Protection After Breach http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-122911-horns-win-holiday-bowl-stratfor-offering-id-protection-after-breach <p><strong>Longhorns Top Cal in the Holiday Bowl</strong></p><p>The UT Tower was lit burnt orange this morning. The Texas Longhorns won last night&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.holidaybowl.com/">Holiday Bowl</a> in San Diego. Texas beat the Cal Golden Bears 21-10. The Horn&rsquo;s defense forced five turnovers. Quarterback David Ash threw one touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.</p><p>The win brings Texas&rsquo; overall record this season to 8-5. This was a return to a bowl game for the Horns who weren&rsquo;t bowl-eligible last season.</p><p><strong>Next Up, the Alamo Bowl...</strong></p><p>Another Big 12 team plays tonight. The Baylor Bears will take on the University of Washington in the <a href="http://www.alamobowl.com/main/index.php">Alamo Bowl</a>. The Bears finished up the regular season 9-3. The Washington Huskies finished 7-5.</p><p>Baylor&rsquo;s going into the game with this year&rsquo;s Heisman Trophy winner- quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Alamo Bowl starts at 8 p.m. in San Antonio.</p><p><strong>Stratfor Providing Free ID Protection Services Following Security Breach</strong></p><p>The Austin-based intelligence company Statfor is providing one year of identity protection services for free to its members whose personal information may have been compromised. Thu, 29 Dec 2011 11:18:25 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3324 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/29/11: Horns Win Holiday Bowl, Stratfor Offering ID Protection After Breach Top Morning Stories 12/28/11: Holiday Bowl Tonight, Teen Leaves Inspiring Video Before Passing Away http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-122811-holiday-bowl-tonight-teen-leaves-inspiring-video-passing-away <p><strong>Holiday Bowl Time!</strong></p><p>Texas and California clash tonight in the <a href="http://www.holidaybowl.com/">Holiday Bowl</a> in San Diego. The Texas Longhorn football team is looking for its eighth win of the season. A lot&rsquo;s at stake for the Horns and the California Golden Bears. Both ended the regular season 7-5. And both teams are making a return to a bowl game after not qualifying last season.</p><p>Tonight&rsquo;s game starts at 7:00 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.</p><p><strong>Free Pet IDs Ahead of New Year&#39;s Eve</strong></p> Wed, 28 Dec 2011 11:45:55 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3316 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/28/11: Holiday Bowl Tonight, Teen Leaves Inspiring Video Before Passing Away Top Morning Stories 12/27/11: Final Stretch in Iowa, AFD Searching for Arson Suspect http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-122711-final-stretch-iowa-afd-searching-arson-suspect <p><strong>The Final Stretch in Iowa</strong></p><p>There&#39;s just one week to go until the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses. An <a href="http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2012/president/ia/iowa_republican_presidential_primary-1588.html#polls">average of recent polls</a> shows Texas Congressman Ron Paul leading the field of GOP candidates in Iowa. Governor Rick Perry comes in at fourth place. Perry will continue trying to win over voters, as he resumes his bus tour of Iowa this week.</p><p><strong>Perry Dominates Most-Read Trib Stories</strong></p> Tue, 27 Dec 2011 12:05:31 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3310 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/27/11: Final Stretch in Iowa, AFD Searching for Arson Suspect Occupiers Helping Out IDEA Charter Opponents http://kut.org/post/occupiers-helping-out-idea-charter-opponents <p>The Austin Independent School District says all 30 slots are filled to speak at tonight&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.boarddocs.com/tx/austinisd/Board.nsf/Public">specially-called board meeting</a>. The board is scheduled to vote on a contentious proposal to partner with a charter school operator to run programs at two East Austin schools. Members last week delayed a vote to partner with IDEA Public Schools amid some questions on the contract and pushback from some teachers and parents.</p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 18:53:38 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3255 at http://kut.org Occupiers Helping Out IDEA Charter Opponents Holiday Hiring Helps Lower Austin Jobless Rate http://kut.org/post/holiday-hiring-helps-lower-austin-jobless-rate <p>New figures show the unemployment rate in Texas dropped slightly from this time last year. Texas&rsquo; jobless rate was at 8.1&nbsp; percent last month, compared to 8.3 percent in November 2010.&nbsp; The <a href="http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/press/2011/121611epress.pdf">Texas Workforce Commission</a> released the numbers today.</p><p>The Austin metro area&rsquo;s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month. It was 7.1 percent in November 2010. Austin lost 600 jobs last month, many in construction and professional and business services.</p> Fri, 16 Dec 2011 19:15:10 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3239 at http://kut.org Holiday Hiring Helps Lower Austin Jobless Rate Top Morning Stories 12/16/11: ACC Accreditation on Warning, Perry Compares Himself to Tebow http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-121611-acc-accreditation-warning-perry-compares-himself-tebow <p><strong>ACC Accreditation on Warning</strong></p><p>A warning has been placed on Austin Community College&#39;s accreditation status for the next six months. The <a href="http://www.sacscoc.org/2011%20December%20Actions%20and%20Disclosure%20Statements/Austin%20Community%20College.pdf">Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges</a>&nbsp;(SACS) says it issued the public sanction because ACC violated rules for reporting significant changes to its academic programs. ACC is still accredited.</p><p>The SACS Board will review ACC&#39;s status again in June 2012. At that time it could lift the warning, keep it in place, or as a last resort remove the college&#39;s membership. Accreditation is used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid and gives colleges a reputable standing.</p><p>ACC responded to the warning in a statement to the <em><a href="http://www.statesman.com/news/local/accs-accreditation-put-on-warning-status-2035279.html">Austin American-Statesman</a>:</em></p><p> Fri, 16 Dec 2011 14:03:13 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3231 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/16/11: ACC Accreditation on Warning, Perry Compares Himself to Tebow Top Morning Stories 12/15/11: State Water Plan, Final Vote on Austin Parks Smoking Ban http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-121511-state-water-plan-final-vote-austin-parks-smoking-ban <p><strong>Vote Today on State Water Plan</strong></p><p>We may not be thinking about the drought as much with the rain we&#39;ve seen in Central Texas. But the prolonged dry spell is still going on, the state&rsquo;s population is growing, and water supplies are getting tighter. Today the <a href="http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/board/2011/12/board/">Texas Water Development Board</a> is scheduled to vote on its 2012 State Water Plan. The report calls for billions of dollars in water infrastructure projects and conservation- to meet water needs over the next half century.</p><p>The board is limited in power. It does give out loans and grants to local governments, but it would ultimately be up to local officials to carry out the state water plan.</p><p>You can read the plan and check out a power point presentation on it <a href="http://www.twdb.state.tx.us/wrpi/swp/draft.asp">here</a>.</p><p><strong>Final Vote on Parks Smoking Ban</strong> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 13:05:32 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3223 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/15/11: State Water Plan, Final Vote on Austin Parks Smoking Ban Top Morning Stories 12/14/11: TX Election Maps, Dates Still in Limbo, Floods Possible after Fires http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-121411-tx-election-maps-dates-still-limbo-floods-possible-after-fires <p><strong>Texas Redistricting Maps, Election Dates Still Up in the Air</strong></p><p>Lawyers for the Texas Republican and Democratic parties plan to meet with a mediator to figure out primary election dates for next year. It appears candidates will have until Monday to file to run for state legislative and congressional seats. Texas elections are in limbo because the U.S. Supreme court blocked interim maps drawn by a San Antonio court. And maps drawn by the Texas Legislature still haven&rsquo;t been approved by a Washington court.</p><p>It&#39;s still unclear if all primary elections will be held in March as regularly scheduled, whether they will be pushed back or whether we could have two split primaries on separate days. Ross Ramsey, with our political reporting partner, <em>The Texas Tribune</em>, has more on those possibilities in <a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-redistricting/redistricting/more-time-no-maps-or-election-dates-candidates/print/">his article here</a>. Wed, 14 Dec 2011 11:25:01 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3212 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/14/11: TX Election Maps, Dates Still in Limbo, Floods Possible after Fires Top Morning Stories 12/13/11: AISD Board Delays IDEA Vote, Court Hearing on Texas Elections http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-121311-aisd-board-delays-idea-vote-court-hearing-texas-elections <p><strong>AISD Delays Vote on Partnership with IDEA Charter Operators</strong></p><p>The Austin Independent School District&rsquo;s Board put off a controversial vote last night on whether to partner with a charter school operator from South Texas to run in-district college prep programs in East Austin.</p><p>Three board members took issue with the latest version of the proposed contract with IDEA Public Schools. Those three board members have been skeptical about partnering with the charter school. The board delayed a vote until next week. KUT&#39;s Nathan Bernier was at last night&#39;s meeting and reported <a href="http://kut.org/2011/12/austin-school-trustees-delay-idea-charter-school-deal/">dozens of people showed up to protest the IDEA charter proposal</a>.</p><p>The board did vote last night to reject all bids from those interested in buying two AISD administrative centers, including district headquarters on West Sixth Street. Tue, 13 Dec 2011 12:07:17 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3206 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/13/11: AISD Board Delays IDEA Vote, Court Hearing on Texas Elections Top Morning Stories 12/12/11: AISD to Vote on IDEA Charter Programs, New Performing Arts Center http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-121211-aisd-vote-idea-charter-programs-new-performing-arts-center <p><strong>AISD</strong> <strong>Board to Vote on In-District Charter, Dual Language Programs</strong></p><p>The Austin Independent School District&rsquo;s Board has a long agenda and is scheduled to take several important votes tonight. The board is voting on whether to partner with a charter school to run programs at some East Austin campuses. Some teachers and parents are opposed to the proposed contract with IDEA Public Schools.</p><p>The board is also voting on adding more dual language programs, in which students are taught in two different languages at the same time. The goal is for students in those programs to become bilingual.</p><p>Here are more of the district&#39;s so-called <a href="http://www.austinisd.org/announcements/annual-academic-and-facilities-recommendations-vote-dec-12">Annual Academic and Facilities Recommendations</a> being voted on tonight:</p><blockquote><ul><li class="last">Address overcrowding in north-central elementary schools in the 2012-13 school year by: eliminating the sixth grade at Barrington, Brown and Walnut Creek elementary schools; creating a Pre-K center at Dobie Middle School and moving pre-K programs at Graham and Hart to Dobie; making Webb a pre-K-8 school, and reassigning part of the Barrington attendance zone to Webb; and moving remaining Barrington Pre-K to Reilly.</li></ul><ul><li class="first">Establish an in-district charter agreement with Responsive Education Solutions to operate a graduation pathway program at Lanier and Travis high schools for students who have dropped out or are at risk of dropping out.</li></ul></blockquote><p>Also on the agenda: whether to keep or sell the district&rsquo;s headquarters on West Sixth Street and the Baker Administrative Center in Hyde Park. Staff is recommending the board reject all submitted bids.</p><p><strong>Board to Review Design for AISD Performing Arts Center </strong> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 11:27:31 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3194 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/12/11: AISD to Vote on IDEA Charter Programs, New Performing Arts Center Specialty Plates Spark Controversy http://kut.org/post/specialty-plates-spark-controversy <p>The <a href="http://www.txdmv.gov/about_us/board.htm">Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board</a> has approved a specialty license plate that reads &ldquo;One State Under God.&quot; It has three Christian crosses on it.</p><p>The DMV board voted 4-3 yesterday to approve the plate.</p> Fri, 09 Dec 2011 18:41:03 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3186 at http://kut.org Specialty Plates Spark Controversy Top Morning Stories 12/9/11: City Misses Deadline for Stimulus Money, UT Law Dean Resigns http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-12911-city-misses-deadline-stimulus-money-ut-law-dean-resigns <p><strong>City Losses Out on Federal Weatherization Money</strong></p><p>More than 50 low income households in Austin won&rsquo;t get federal stimulus money to make their homes more energy efficient. $600,000 in federal weatherization funds were on the table. But the city of Austin missed a deadline to get $400,000 of that money because of a lack of communication among city leaders and staffers. The council did vote yesterday to approve the remaining $200,000.</p><p>Council members spent a great amount of time questioning department heads and the city manager to see where the breakdown in communication happened. You can watch that interaction in the video <a href="http://austintx.swagit.com/play/12082011-508">archive from yesterday&#39;s council meeting here</a>.</p><p> Fri, 09 Dec 2011 12:08:17 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3180 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/9/11: City Misses Deadline for Stimulus Money, UT Law Dean Resigns Top Morning Stories 12/08/11:Council Voting on Parks Smoking Ban, Water May be Cut Off for Farmers http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-120811council-voting-parks-smoking-ban-water-may-be-cut-farmers <p><strong>City Council to Vote on Permanent Parks Smoking Ban</strong></p><p>The Austin City Council is scheduled to vote today on an <a href="https://austin.siretechnologies.com/sirepub/cache/2/yewvse55calewyioabclq045/17636112082011045104605.PDF">ordinance to permanently ban smoking at all city parks</a>. That includes athletic fields, nature preserves and swimming pools. Golf courses would be exempt from the ban. There could also be exemptions for some special events. The proposed ordinance includes several reasons for the ban including:</p><blockquote><p>Tobacco related litter is the most common form of litter and over 40,000 cigarette butts have been collected from 39 Parks and Recreation Department sites this year. Cigarettes also pose a significant fire risk. According to the Austin Fire Department, 9 out of 10 fires along our roadways are caused by cigarettes and at least 25% of all wildfires have been caused by cigarettes.</p><p>Tobacco use is the number one cause of death and disability in Austin and Travis County. By restricting smoking in City parks, the Department is protecting the health, safety and welfare of community members</p></blockquote><p>Smoking in city parks is prohibited right now because of a city-issued burn ban still in effect. But if this ordinance is passed, smoking would not be allowed at parks even after the burn ban is lifted.</p><p>While we&#39;re talking about parks, KUT&#39;s Matt Largey reported during <em>Morning Edition</em>, on the <a href="http://kut.org/2011/12/parks-struggle-without-dedicated-funding/">struggle state parks officials are having </a>in funding state parks. Texas Parks &amp; Wildlife says it needs more than $4 million to keep parks running.</p><p><strong>TCEQ</strong> <strong>Approves Plan that Could Cut Off Water for Farmers</strong> Thu, 08 Dec 2011 11:22:32 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3172 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/08/11:Council Voting on Parks Smoking Ban, Water May be Cut Off for Farmers Top Morning Stories 12/7/11: Austin's Formula One Race is On, TX Parks & Wildlife Asking for Help http://kut.org/post/top-morning-stories-12711-austins-formula-one-race-tx-parks-wildlife-asking-help <p><strong>Austin&#39;s F1 Race is On</strong></p><p>Local organizers told KUT News this morning that an agreement has been reached over a contract with Formula One management. Also today in New Dehli, India the <a href="http://www.fia.com/en-GB/mediacentre/pressreleases/wmsc/2011/Pages/wmsc-071211.aspx">World Motor Sport Council </a>officially approved the 2012 F1 calendar. It includes Austin&rsquo;s U.S. Grand Prix next November. F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone had set today as the final deadline to reach a deal for Austin&rsquo;s race after the contract had been in dispute.</p> Wed, 07 Dec 2011 11:53:59 +0000 Crystal Chavez, KUT News 3160 at http://kut.org Top Morning Stories 12/7/11: Austin's Formula One Race is On, TX Parks & Wildlife Asking for Help