Bobby Blanchard

Intern for KUT News

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/

This Sunday is World T-B Day, a day to help raise awareness about the health and economic affects of tuberculosis.

The rate of tuberculosis cases in Texas is going down by an average of 4 percent annually. In Travis County, the number of cases has dropped steadily over the past few years after a recent rise in cases.  There were 37 cases in 2012, 52 cases in 2011 and 67 in 2010.

Travis County Clinic Manager Rosalinda Castaneda says tuberculosis is treatable, as long as the proper medication is taken.

flickr.com/photos/cavalierhorn

The UT Men's Basketball team may have lost their last game of the season Wednesday following a season resulting in a NCAA shutout, but that does not mean Austin residents have to miss out on March Madness fun.

UT's Frank Erwin Center is hosting second and third-round games of the NCAA tournament Friday and Sunday. The University of Miami is playing the University of the Pacific Friday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. Following the end of that game, the University of Illinois will play the University of Colorado. 

KUT News

Update: The Austin City Council decided to delay their vote Thursday night, citing concerns that they did not have enough information.

City staff will return next week with a sampling of how many properties repealing the Project Duration Ordinance would affect. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the only council member against the delay last night.

Original Story (March 20, 7:22 p.m.): Permits for building projects may lose their expiration dates, depending on a vote at Thursday’s City Council Meeting.

flickr.com/safari_vacation

The Texas Capitol celebrated the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright today, the Supreme Court case that determined courts have to supply legal counsel in criminal cases when requested.

Bruce Jacob, a professor at the Stetson University College of Law, presented the history at the Capitol Monday. Jacob was the Assistant Attorney General of Florida during the Gideon v. Wainwright case. He argued against Gideon, on behalf of Wainwright.

Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Supporters say a new bill in the Texas Legislature would help protect consumers and regulate a quiet but burgeoning industry.

House Bill 1595 from Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) would regulate the growing industry of lawsuit lending. Lawsuit lending companies provide loans to plaintiffs who need money while waiting on a settlement. But many of these loans come with high interest rates, some as high as 150 percent.

flickr.com/atmtx

Hopefully you're wearing green tomorrow – and not planning to drive along 4th Street.

All day on Sunday, West Fourth Street from Colorado to Lavaca is fully closed to car traffic for a St. Patrick's Day Festival. Fado's Irish Pub is hosting the festival, and attendees will enjoy music, food, some liquor and a lot of beer.

flickr.com/chrisgallevo

The Alamo Drafthouse has a new menu. And critics are not abiding by the theater’s “no talking” rule

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Capital Metro is reporting more record high ridership numbers from this year's South by Southwest Festival.

Capital Metro says boardings were up from last year by almost 7,000 on MetroRail for the first several days of SXSW. Capital Metro even had to operate an additional train after hours to carry more than 100 passengers still waiting on the platform. The trains on Saturday are starting at 10 a.m. – a few hours earlier than usual.

Bobby Blanchard / KUT News

Members and supports of Equality Texas, a lobbying group that advocates for LGBTQ rights in Texas, are spending their Monday lobbying at the state Capitol.

More than 20 anti-discrimination and pro-LGBTQ bills have been filed in the 83rd Legislative Session, and more than 500 advocates spent their Monday having “face-to-face” conversations with lawmakers about these bills and the rights they would guarantee.

flickr.com/sigmaration

New data from Equality Texas, a lobbying organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ issues, shows there are now more Texans who support gay marriage than oppose it.

According to the new numbers, 47.9 percent of Texas voters polled support gay marriage and 47.5 percent are opposed to it. The support is up from a prior Equality Texas survey from 2010 that showed 42.7 percent of Texans supported gay marriage and 52.7 percent opposed it.

Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, said this is the first survey that, to his knowledge, has found more Texans in support of gay marriage than against it.

flickr.com/redux

Parking woes, scammers, thievery and lost friends are all issues that can ruin a South by Southwest experience. The Austin Police Department, AAA Texas and Better Business Bureau of Central Texas are all offering tips on how to best avoid those pitfalls.

APD Commander Bill Manno says anytime there is a big event, parking can be a challenge. He said parking close to the festival has been labeled "event-parking" only—violators will be towed. He also said the Guadalupe neighborhood, which is the area between I-35 and the State Cemetery, will be closed to public parking this year.

National Instruments

Update: The Austin City Council voted 7-0 Thursday night to give National Instruments almost $1.7 million in incentives. In exchange, the company will expand and create at least 1,000 jobs . 

National Instruments representatives spoke at the council meeting Thursday night, outlining the benefits the city would see. But some local citizens were not convinced, claiming it is not fair to give large companies incentives but to not offer them to local citizens. They also claimed the money could be used elsewhere, something Mayor Lee Leffingwell contested:

"The fact is, if we didn't approve this agreement we couldn't spend that money somewhere else because it wouldn't be there," Leffingwell said. "This money comes from that agreement."

Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Bill Gates – philanthropist, billionaire, entrepreneur and former chief executive of Microsoft – visited the University of Texas campus today to take part in the opening ceremonies of UT's new computer science building.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall – or GDC for short –  cost the university $120 million to build. The Gates Foundation donated $30 million to the project and the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation donated $10 million. The new complex is 140,000 square feet and contains "research clusters" to encourage collaborative work.

City of Austin

Earlier today, Austin's City Auditor held a public drawing today to select the three accountants that will serve on the 10-1 Applicant Review Panel. The three accountants are Martha Parker, Michelle DeFrance and Carolyn Limaye – all women.

The review panel will select the 60 most qualified applicants for potential service on Austin's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That's the group which will ultimately draw district lines for city council members. (Click here for an overview of the district-drawing process.)

flickr.com/smorchon

The University of Texas at Austin is now officially, 100 percent smoke free. 

The policy takes full-effect today. But it started last year when the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas announced it would not fund research for any institution that allowed smoking on-site. In April, UT set up 15 temporary smoking locations. But those go away today.

City of Austin

Today is the grand opening of Austin’s new African-American Cultural and Heritage Facility. The center is housed in a historic structure at 912 East 11th Street. The Dedrick-Hamilton house was home to the family of one of the first freed slaves in Travis County.

The center was paid for with $1.5 million from the 2006 city bond, along with about $3 million in federal grants, according to the city.

savetxschools.org/photo-gallery

"Save Texas Schools" will march to the Texas State Capitol tomorrow morning. The group hopes to encourage Texas lawmakers to support public education by restoring funding cut from Texas schools last legislative session.

The march will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive. The group will march north on Congress to the capitol.

flickr.com/mr-pi

While it is no secret gay men and straight women get along and form close friendships, a new study from the University of Texas has looked into why that might be.

Eric Russell, the lead author on the study called "Friends with Benefits, but Without the Sex: Straight Women and Gay Men Exchange Trustworthy Mating Advice", said the study found a possible source of straight women and gay men's friendship is their trust in each other's unbiased relationship and mating advice.

Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition

Austin drivers can expect traffic delays later this morning because of an immigration reform march downtown.

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is putting on what it calls the "first Texas statewide march in 2013 for Humane Immigration Reform." The coalition promotes human rights and economic justices for immigrants.

Partner organizations from El Paso, Dallas, Houston and other cities will be in attendance. According to a Facebook event, more than 400 people are coming to the march.

courtesy Port of Houston

The deputy head of mission of the British Embassy is in Austin this week trying to raise support for a free-trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union.

At the Texas Capitol today, the official, Phillip Barton, said he and the United Kingdom want to make sure the deal is as comprehensive as possible.

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