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11:20 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Freescale Semiconductor Closing Japan Plant Early Due to Quake

Austin-based microchip maker Freescale Semiconductor is closing a Japan plant ahead of schedule because of the disaster in March.
Photo by Freescale Semiconductor

One of the largest companies based in Central Texas, Freescale Semiconductor, says it is closing a manufacturing plant in earthquake ravaged Sendai, Japan.

The company made the announcement in a statement posted on its website:

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Austin
8:28 am
Wed April 6, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 5, 2011

The Texas A&M women's basketball team beat Notre Dame Tuesday night to win the NCAA Women's Basketball title.
Logo courtesy of Texas A&M.

Texas A&M Wins First NCAA National Title

The Aggies' women's basketball team beat Notre Dame last night 76-70 to win its first NCAA national championship. A&M's Danielle Adams scored 22 of her 30 points in a strong second half, leading the team to the title. Both A&M and Notre Dame beat the No. 1 seeds to get to the national championship game.

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Politics
4:55 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Senate to Pass Bill Regulating Homeonwners' Associations

The Texas Senate has passed a bill to restrict HOA's potential abuse of foreclosing on homeowners.
Photo by KUT News

Homeowners’ associations might not be able to turn the heat anymore on homeowners.

The Texas Senate passed SB 142, which restricts associations from exercising their rights to foreclose homeowners who didn’t pay dues and fees.

The bill, filed by State Senator Royce West (D-Dallas), aims to protect homeowners from potential abuse of foreclosure, especially on the families of soldiers serving overseas.

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Austin
4:03 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Austin Gears Up for Texas Relays

The 84th-annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays will be held on the UT Campus this weekend.
Photo by KUT News

City officials are working together on this year’s Texas Relays to improve how visitors are welcomed to Austin. The track and field event is held on the University of Texas campus and attracts high school and college athletes from throughout Texas and across the country.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

School Finance Pops Up in House Committee

Lawmakers will have to change the school funding system to mach the billions cut in public ed.
Photo by KUT News

So what does cutting the state's public education budget by about $7.8 billion dollars look like?

Based on a bill by Rep. Scott Hochberg (D-Houston), it looks pretty ugly. But he says with the amount of money lawmakers in the House just voted to give to schools during the state budget debate, there's not a pretty way to get money to schools.

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Politics
12:35 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Football Helmet Bill Working Its Way Through the Texas House

The helmet bill hopes to keep unsafe equipment off the field.
Photo by KUT News

A bill in the Texas House that hopes to reduce head injuries in middle and high school athletics received initial approval today. The bill by Rep. Eddie Lucio III (D-San Benito) would prohibit the use of all football helmets in use 16 years.  It would also require any 10-year-old helmets to be reconditioned at least once every 10 years.

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Texas
12:23 pm
Tue April 5, 2011

Supreme Court Blocks Texas Execution

The Walls Unit at the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, where the state conducts executions. A death row inmate's scheduled execution has been stayed by the US Supreme Court.
Image courtesy flickr.com/BizarreRecords

The US Supreme Court has blocked tonight's scheduled execution of Texas inmate Cleve Foster. 

The high court agreed this morning to consider a review the grounds for Foster's appeal of his death sentence.

Foster's execution would have been the first in Texas to use pentobarbital as part of its lethal three-drug mix. 

"This stay does not have to do with the litigation surrounding the lethal injection and the new protocol adopted by the TDCJ [Texas Department of Criminal Justice]," said Maurie Levin, one of Foster's attorney in the appeals process.

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News Brief
7:10 am
Tue April 5, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 5, 2011

Photo courtesy of Leanderisd.org

Leander ISD Raising Awareness of Teen Suicide

Leander High School will have more counselors on hand today for students coping with the loss of a fellow student who took her life yesterday.  School officials believe it was an isolated incident. The school was also evacuated because of a bomb threat yesterday; officials say that was unrelated and nothing was found. 

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Austin
6:50 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Fake Weapons Cause Real Scare

University of Texas authorities were on heightened alert for a time this evening, after a man was believed to be carrying two shotguns on campus. He wasn't.
Photo by KUT News.

University of Texas police--and the rest of the campus, for that matter--are breathing a little easier this evening.

UTPD issued a safety alert about 6:25 p.m., saying that a man had been seen between 5:30 & 6:00 near the Rec Sports Building on San Jacinto Blvd., carrying what were believed to be two shotguns.

Police caught up with the man a few moments later. The weapons he was carrying were replicas. Authorities have canceled the safety alert.

Education
3:07 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Leander High School Evacuated

Image by KUT News

Students at Leander High School got out a little early today.

According to the Leander ISD website, Leander High School evacuated its students at about 2:30 this afternoon on the advice of Leander Police. According to websites for both the school and the district, the evacuation was only a precautionary measure. District officials say there is no reason to believe that the evacuation is related to an incident that happened on the Leander High campus an hour earlier.

Politics
1:41 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Texas Lawmaker Tackle Feral Hog Legislation

A bill up in the House could allow Texans to hunt feral hogs from helecopters.
Photo by flickr.com/pierceplace532/

O.K...Maybe "tackle" was NOT the right word to use on this bill, because the bill passed without ANY debate. Rep. Sid Miller's bill passed 137 - 9.

The proposal wasn't exactly a new idea. The bill passed the House in 2009, but never got a hearing in the Senate, according to Rep. Miller (R-Stephenville).

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Education
12:29 pm
Mon April 4, 2011

Texas Higher Ed Leaders Higher Paid

UT President William Powers, Jr (center) is among the highest-compensated college presidents in the nation, according to one report
Photo by KUT News

The Chronicle of Higher Education has released a report on the compensation that higher education leaders, and the University of Texas ranks very high.

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Texas
7:32 am
Mon April 4, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 4, 2011

The Texas House passed its budget bill for 2012-2013 late last night.
Photo by KUT News

Texas House Approves Budget Bill

The House approved a budget of $164.5 billion last night for the next biennium with a 98-49 vote, largely along party lines. The budget is around $23 billion smaller than the state's current two-year budget. As expected, the House budget makes deep cuts to public education and health and human services spending.  The legislation now heads to the Senate where changes are expected.

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Politics
5:31 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Texas House Budget Debate - Part II

Debate today is going much faster than Friday/Saturday.
Photo by Ryland Barton for KUT News

If you're watching the Texas House budget debate today - don't blink.  

While it took about 16 hours to get through the first three articles of the budget Friday, lawmakers are zooming through their debate on the remaining parts of the budget.  

Many amendments are simply being withdrawn - or moved to Article XI in the budget.  That's the place were projects without funding go to hang out just in case money can be found to fund them.  

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Austin
12:01 pm
Sun April 3, 2011

Sunday News Roundup 4/3/11

It's wildflower season in Central Texas
Photo By Emily Donahue

The Texas House gets back to work on the next state budget today. Lawmakers worked late Friday and into Saturday on the $164 billion dollar bill. And though there were passionate debates over which programs to save, the Texas Tribune's Ross Ramsey reminds us the next state budget won't be pretty - for anyone,

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