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Austin
2:04 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

Easily See Average Income, Education, Racial Makeup Of Your Neighborhood

The New York Times has produced this map that plots data from the US Census Bureau's American Community Survey on a map. It lets you see the results of your neighborhood down to the census tract, providing a fascinatingly high level of granularity.

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Austin
1:38 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

Local Man Pleads For Help To Find Missing Bilingual Parrot

Mino the parrot speaks English and Cantonese.
Image courtesy Will Zhang

This missing pet notice was too unusual to ignore.

Downtown resident Will Zhang is trying to find his beloved African Grey Parrot, Mino. Zhang bottle fed Mino since he was a baby in 1995. Cutest of all, the parrot speaks both English and Mandarin.

"He just gets freaked out by moving objects and sudden sounds," Zhang told KUT News. "We had some guests over and he wasn't familiar with them, and opening the door, he just took off out the glass window."

Zhang says it's been emotionally difficult for him.

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obituary
12:22 pm
Wed December 15, 2010

LBJ School Internet Policy Expert Gary Chapman Dies Suddenly At 58

Image courtesy LBJ School of Public Affairs

The LBJ School of Public Affairs is reporting that senior lecturer Gary Chapman died of an apparent heart attack yesterday during a kayaking trip in Guatemala.

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music
11:43 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Austin's Connection To The "Blind" Willie Johnson Historical Marker

"Blind" Willie Johnson

If you don't know who "Blind" Willie Johnson is, take a second to listen to this seminal piece, Dark Was The Night (Cold Was The Ground).

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Health
11:15 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Texas And 38 States Make Dannon Pay $21 Million For Dubious Yogurt Claims

Image courtesy Activia

Ever see one of these Activia Yogurt commercials starring Jamie Lee Curtis?

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News Brief
5:02 am
Wed December 15, 2010

Top Morning Stories December 15, 2010

Republican John Kuempel won yesterday's special election for the House seat vacated by his father.

Kuempel's Son Wins HD 44

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Politics
4:47 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Two State House Democrats Defect To Texas GOP

The Republican majority in the Texas House is swelling to 101.   State Representatives Allen Ritter of Nederland and Aaron Pena of Edinburg both announced today that they were both leaving the Democratic Party. 

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Business
3:33 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Fireworks Vendors Voluntarily Ban "Stick Rockets and Missiles"

A Thor Delta Missile sold by Quantum Fireworks. Travis County fireworks vendors have voluntarily stopped selling these types of fireworks because of exceptionally dry conditions.
Image courtesy Quantum Fireworks

Companies that sell fireworks in Central Texas are adopting a voluntary ban on some flying fireworks because of the dry conditions.  Chester Davis owns American Fireworks and is president of the Texas Pyrotechnic Association.

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Education
3:15 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Austin ISD Fails To Meet Federal Academic Standards For Second Year

Image by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

We already knew the Austin Independent School District missed federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) standards this year, but the district held out hope it could appeal and improve its ranking.

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Sports
2:47 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Sources: Austin Headed to Austin

UT's Mack Brown appears to have chosen a new defensive coordinator
Photo by KUT News

Multiple sources have indicated to orangebloods.com as well as hookem.com that former University of Florida football defensive coordinator, Teryl Austin, will take over the recently vacated defensive coordinator position at UT.  If hired, Austin would take over for Will Muschamp, who accepted the head coach position at the University of Florida on Saturday.

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Environment
2:28 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Bottle Deposit Vote Sends Commissioners Down Memory Lane

In eleven states cans and bottles are redemable for a deposit of five to ten cents.
Thomas Hawk www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously endorsed the so-called  "Texas Bottle Bill" today, a statewide proposal that would introduce redeemable deposits on bottles and cans in Texas.  

The proposal evoked fond memories of childhood among Commissioners. 

"As a kid, it dawned on me that if I would go out and collect empty bottles, and just take them home and collect the deposit, that would be a little business!" mused County judge Sam Biscoe.

"We all did that!" interjected Commissioner Ron Davis, as other commissioners present murmured in agreement.

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Music and Arts
2:21 pm
Tue December 14, 2010

Alamo Drafthouse Unveils New Logo

After 12 years, the Alamo Drafthouse is upgrading its logo design.
Image courtesy Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

Here it is! The local chain of beer and burger-serving movie theaters hired local design firm Guerilla Suit to create the new brand.  This is the first logo change for the Drafthouse in 12 years.

Check out their video to hear a history of the logo and the rationale behind the new design.

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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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