Andy Uhler

Freelance reporter

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Austin
11:27 am
Sun February 19, 2012

Sunday News Roundup

Bob Daemmrich of the Texas Tribune

Kenyan Edward Kiptum and American Shannon Bixler win the Livestrong Austin Marathon. Roads will be closed throughout the afternoon. Check out the Livestrong website for complete closure information. Also, Austin Energy is having billing system problems and records show Rick Perry doesn't check in at the Capitol very often. Let’s take a look at some top news stories across Texas today.

Austin Energy Has Billing Issues

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Austin
3:54 am
Sat February 18, 2012

Heavy Rains in Central Texas

KUT News

UPDATE - 9:00 am:

The National Weather Service has issued an Urban and Small Stream Flood Advisory for minor flooding of poor drainage areas in parts of Hays County, Comal County, northwestern Caldwell County, Travis County, and west central Bastrop County. That advisory is in effect until 10:30 am. Heavy rainfall across the advisory area has produced up to 3 inches of rain an hour.

All roads in and around Austin that were closed for a short time have been reopened.

3:35 am:

A Flash Flood Warning remains in effect until 5:00 this morning for Williamson and Travis counties – that’s according to the National Weather Service. The service has extended a Flash Flood Watch until noon.

Though the heaviest rains are thought to have left the Austin-metro area, scattered showers and thunderstorms are expected to last throughout the morning. Overnight rain gauge readings indicate that over an inch and a half of rain has fallen in and around Austin since midnight.

Locations where creeks, streams and road intersections have experienced flooding include Sun City, Liberty Hill, and the Georgetown dam.

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Weather
7:09 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Central Texas Severe Weather

Central Texas School Closures (As of 8:00 a.m.)

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News Brief
8:28 am
Mon January 16, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/16/12: MLK Celebrations, SWAT Negotiations in NW Austin, Perry Appeals Ruling

The statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the UT campus.
Photo by Gregor_Bug on Flickr

MLK Day March and Road Closures

A march celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. begins at 9 am at the MLK statue on the UT campus at the corner of 24th and Speedway. It will continue to the Capitol along Congress Avenue. The march concludes at Huston-Tillotson University, where festivities will continue until 3pm.

You can expect some road closures in downtown Austin this morning as a result. The southbound off ramp of I-35 at MLK may be closed from 9am until 11am, depending on traffic. Chalmers Avenue and East Eighth Street will be closed from 7am to 6pm.

Capital Metro will be running a Saturday schedule today with no rail or UT shuttle service.

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Texas
4:43 pm
Thu January 12, 2012

Stream the GOP US Senate Debate Tonight

Photo by Herzogbr/Flickr

Candidates in the Texas Republican primary for the U.S. Senate will debate formally in Austin for the first time tonight at 7pm. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced one year ago that she would not seek a fourth term.

Tonight marks the first appearance in a general debate by front runner, Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. ESPN college football analyst Craig James, who announced his bid for the seat last month, will also make his debate debut.

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Texas
12:45 pm
Wed January 4, 2012

State Health Services To Reevaluate Hiring Practices Amid Scandals

Photo by National Register of Historic Places

A state hospital psychiatrist has been fired for violating terms of a settlement he had reached with the Department of State Health Services. Alejandro Munoz was hired at Terrell State Hospital – thirty miles east of Dallas – in 2006. This despite the fact that he had signed an agreement in 1998 stating that he would not again seek employment at a state-run hospital after he was fired from a facility just northwest of Fort Worth. Carrie Williams, spokesperson for the Department of State Health Services, says the recent firing has led to some reevaluation at the department.

"We are going through our processes with a fine-tooth comb, and trying to really scrutinize the way we do things, given the situation. You know, settlement agreements barring someone from seeking employment with us are just not that common, but it's something we should have caught on the way. We should have picked up on the history and that's definitely what we're looking at."

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Austin
1:16 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Funeral for Austin Teen To Be Streamed Online

Westlake High School student Ben Breedlove will be laid to rest today.
Photo from YouTube

Westlake High School student Ben Breedlove, who died of a heart attack on Christmas Day, has gained international fame on the internet through a pair of inspirational YouTube videos. Today, Breedlove's fans will be able to stream the 18-year old's funeral online through local news channel KXAN.

KXAN says Breedlove's father asked that his son's funeral be made available to fans after receiving "requests from people around the world who want to watch." The funeral will take place at 3 p.m. at Gateway Church.

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Central TExas
12:24 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Where to Get Your Fireworks On

KUT News

It's illegal for Austin residents to set off fireworks inside city limits, but a public event on New Year's Eve may quell your appetite for explosives.

Austin's New Year takes place at Auditorium Shores (South 1st and Riverside) and will showcase art, films, live music and, of course, fireworks. The event starts on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. and finishes with the fireworks show at 10:30.

Fans of fireworks were let down over the summer when the city's Fourth of July show was canceled due to the burn ban.

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Business
10:09 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Gas Prices Rise in Texas, Austin

KUT News

If you're hitting the road for the New Year's holiday you'll be paying a bit more for gas this week. AAA Texas is reporting that gasoline prices are four cents higher across the state as compared to last week.

The average price for a gallon of regular unleaded is $3.09. That's up from $2.90 last year.

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Sports
4:43 pm
Wed December 28, 2011

A&M 2012 Football Schedule Released

Photo by ColorblindPicasso on Flickr

The Aggies 2012 schedule should prove to be a significant test in their first year in the Southeastern Conference.  The SEC released its first 14-team schedule this morning. It was announced earlier this year that A&M and other former Big 12 stalwarts Missouri would leave behind Texas and the other Big 12 schools in favor of the SEC.

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Austin
1:44 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Representative Calls Energy Rate Increase 'Taxation without Representation'

KUT News

State Representative Paul Workman has submitted a letter to Austin Energy rate increase.  Workman says for those customers that live within the utility's service area, but outside of the city limits, the rate increase amounts to "taxation without representation."

Austin Energy has asked the City Council to approve a 12.5 percent rate increase that would go into effect in April. It would be the first rate increase for the utility in 17 years. 

"What I had asked the City Council to do was to consider a two-tiered rate structure for people within the municipal limits and those who are outside the municipal limits but inside the service area," Workman says.

Business
1:24 pm
Tue December 20, 2011

Austin Home Sales Up

KUT News

According to a report put together by the Austin Board of Realtors, home sales were up 11% over last November.  The median price for homes was just under $190,000, which is a 3 percent increase over last year.

This is the sixth month in a row Austin sales have outpaced last year's numbers. The inventory of active single-family home listings is also down by 18 percent, and home sales so far this year are up 7 percent over 2010.

2012 Presidential Election
10:35 am
Tue December 20, 2011

Poll: Ron Paul Leads in Iowa

Photo by Gage Skidmore/Texas Tribune

In a poll released a couple of days ago by Public Policy Polling, Ron Paul has emerged as the leader among prospective Iowa voters.  Paul is polling at 23%, trailed by Mitt Romney at 20%.  Newt Gingrich, who was the front-runner in Iowa a few weeks ago, has taken a hit in the polls recently and is currently polling in third.

A recent New York Times article notes that the Paul campaign has essentially been in place, but dormant, after he dropped out of the race in '08. The veteran volunteers, along with a web-based calling system, have helped keep the campaign organized in Iowa.

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energy
2:44 pm
Wed December 14, 2011

Austin Energy Pitches Increases To Council

An Austin Energy worker conducts repairs on a power line. The public utility is proposing a 12.5 percent rate hike.
Photo by I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Representatives from Austin Energy met with the City Council today to discuss a 12.5 percent rate and fee increase to be implemented in April of next year. Much of the discussion centered on how churches and schools will pay for the rate increase. 

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Politics
9:10 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Supreme Court Sets Redistricting Hearing

A panel of three federal judges in San Antonio issued this map for Texas's 36 congressional seats in the 2012 election. The U.S. Supreme Court has stayed the map and wants to hear from both sides in person on January 9
Image courtesy Texas Legislative Council

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.:  Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is asking a three-judge federal panel in San Antonio to stay the deadline for candidates to file for primary elections in the state House and Senate, as well as Texas's 36 congressional seats. The deadline is Thursday, but last week's ruling by the Supreme Court that putting redistricting maps for the state's legislative and congressional districts on hold until the justices can review them rendered that essentially moot. The high court won't hear oral arguments on that case until January 9.

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Texas
4:16 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

State Comptroller Says Tax Revenues Are Up

There could be a modest surplus in Texas revenues for the biennium.
Photo by KUT News

According to a Certification Revenue Estimate released today by the Comptroller's office, "revenue collections in fiscal 2011 were stronger than expected, coinciding with the Texas economy moving more fully into recovery and significant job growth in the state."

The report, written for Governor Rick Perry and members of the Texas legislature, says the state will have access to an estimated total of $82.7 billion in general revenue, yielding a surplus of about $1.6 billion over the 2012-2013 biennium.

Austin
12:21 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

I-35, Ben White Flyover Opens

Traffic at I-35 and Ben White Blvd is expected to loosen a little, with the opening of new flyover ramps connecting the two freeways.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

Austin drivers were granted a bit of traffic-flow relief this morning when a flyover connecting westbound Ben White and I-35 South opened just after 10:30am.  Mayor Lee Leffingwell and State Senator Kirk Watson were on hand for a ribbon cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the last of the four new flyovers at the intersection.  The three other flyovers opened this fall.

Wildfires
4:49 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Travis County Releases Report on Labor Day Fires

Travis County officials released a report on how emergency services responded to September's wildfires.
Photo by KUT News

The Travis County Office of Emergency Management released an after-action report on the Labor Day weekend fires.  Travis County's emergency management coordinator, Pete Baldwin, says given the number of fires and the resources that were allocated, firefighters did an adequate job.

“We had six major fires burning that one day, that Sunday, and we had fires all around us.  Bastrop was burning, Williamson County, Burnet County were all running fires," Baldwin told KUT News. "If we had had access to state resources, such as air assets or ground assets, we could have done a much better job.  But all of those assets were tied up on other fires throughout Texas that day.”

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Health
4:06 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

Austin Marks World AIDS Day

Photo by Graham via http://www.flickr.com/photos/gragsie/

Tomorrow is World AIDS Day. Since 1988, December 1st has been observed around the globe as a day to draw attention to the continuing battle against HIV and AIDS, as well as to those who've lost that battle.

According to Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, about 200 people contract HIV in Central Texas each year. There are a handful of events around Austin Thursday, giving people a chance to learn about the struggles of living with HIV and also to honor those who have died of AIDS.

One all-day event, World AIDS Day: Austin Remembers, Austin Responds, will take place at the For the City Center at 500 E. St Johns Ave. from 8:30 am until about 9:00 pm. 

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Arts and Culture
3:53 pm
Mon November 21, 2011

Baboon, 112 Monkees Find New Home

Photo Courtesy of Born Free USA

A U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruled today that 112 macaques and one baboon from the now defunct Wild Animal Orphanage in San Antonio will be relocated to the Born Free USA primate sanctuary in Dilley, Texas - a town a little more than 70 miles southwest of San Antonio.

"This is a heartbreaking situation particularly for this large group of primates who would otherwise likely be euthanized without our humane intervention," Born Free's Executive Vice President Adam Roberts said in a statement.  

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