Jackie Wattles

Politics
3:15 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Payday Lenders In the Spotlight, As Industry Becomes an Issue in Texas Governor's Race

A payday lending business in Texas. While some states ban the practice of high-interest short-term lending, Texas' payday lending industry has proliferated in recent years.
Credit James Malone, Texas Tribune

Signs offering promises of “quick cash” can be seen all over Texas. So-called payday lenders offer short-term loans under $700, but those loans have been criticized for interest rates that can climb to 500 percent.

For some customers, taking one on leaves them in a never-ending cycle of debt. It’s controversial, and the practice is actually banned in 12 states.

Recently, it’s become an issue in this year’s governor’s race.

The topic was kicked up after the chairman of the Texas Finance Commission – William White – made comments to the El Paso Times suggesting payday lenders should be able to charge whatever fees they want. Previously unheard of, White’s comments put him in the spotlight among payday loan regulation advocates.

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Transportation
3:45 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Despite Student Protests, Cap Metro to Discontinue North Campus Bus Lines

A Capital Metro shuttle on UT's campus. Route CR will be shortened and renamed CLC, which will operate for one semester before shutting down.
Credit Image courtesy Cap Metro

Tight budgets could leave some UT Austin commuters without a bus line in the upcoming semester, according to Cap Metro. 

The Wickersham Lane (Route WL) shuttle will be eliminated this semester and the Cameron Road route (Route CR) will be shortened this semester, renamed Route Camino La Costa (Route CLC) and then eliminated after the spring semester.  

The transit authority attributes the cutbacks to a persistent lack of funds from UT's Student Services Budget Committee.

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Sports
9:44 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Austin Natives to Square Off in NFL Wild-Card Round

Drew Brees during a 2008 matchup of the Saints and Redskins.
Credit photo courtesy flickr.com/dbking

When the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night, many Texas football fans hung their heads. 

But with an Eagles victory comes an NFC wild-card game that could answer a definitive question for Central Texas high school football fans: Who was the greatest Westlake quarterback?

A decade apart, New Orleans Saints' quarterback Drew Brees and the Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles both led the Westlake Chapparals to state championships and remain among the most storied players in the school's history. But tomorrow's NFC wild-card game could prove, at least this season, who the best Chap in the NFL really is.

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Austin
11:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Austin Offers Christmas Tree Disposal Options; Authorities Say Do It Soon

The City of Austin is offering curbside pick up for Christmas trees.
Credit flickr.com/jonny2love

Once the presents are opened and the ornaments are packed away, you may be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree. According to fire safety experts, it's important to get rid of it as soon as possible. 

Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee says Christmas trees pose a serious fire hazard, and the holiday season marks an annual spike in the number of house fires. In addition to keeping trees well-hydrated and away from heat, Lee says they shouldn't stick around the house long after the holidays. 

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