Kelli Ainsworth

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Transportation
4:15 pm
Wed December 19, 2012

ABIA and AAA Hope These Travel Tips Make for Happy Holidays

Holiday travelers are told to arrive early for flights at ABIA.
KUT News

If you’re flying out of Austin for the holidays, be ready to arrive at the airport early and expect long lines.  Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is advising travelers to arrive 90 minutes before their departure time from today through Dec. 21.

Checkpoints open at 4 a.m. to give passengers on the earliest flights ample time to get check their bags and get through security. ABIA has also temporarily opened a fourth security checkpoint to handle the high volume of holiday travelers and reduce security wait times.  

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AISD
10:38 am
Wed December 19, 2012

AISD Releases List of Schools Frozen to Transfers

Locked up: Bowie High School, pictured above, is one of five high schools frozen for transfers.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Independent School District has released its list of schools that are frozen to transfers for the 2013-2014 school year.

Over two dozen campuses are  frozen to transfers, while another 17 will be reevaluated after requests for priority transfers are approved.

Beginning Jan. 7, parents will be able to submit their transfer requests by mail or in person at AISD's Office of Student Services.

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2012 Presidential Election
10:30 am
Mon December 17, 2012

A Month After the Election, Texas Casts Its Electoral Votes

Texas members of the electoral college will cast their presidential ballots at the Capitol this afteroon
Liang Shi

Though the election was called for President Barack Obama over a month ago, members of the Electoral College will officially cast their votes today.

Texas electors will meet to cast the state’s electoral votes this afternoon at the Capitol.Texas has 38 electoral votes – the second highest of any state, behind California – which were won by Mitt Romney. 

Each party selects 38 potential electors who promise to vote for that party’s candidate, should they win the state’s popular vote.  Because Mitt Romney won Texas, the 38 Republican electors will cast their votes for him today.

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Sports
10:44 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Sorry, A&M Fans: The UT Tower Wasn’t Lit Up for Johnny Football

Aggie fans got a little overzealous about the UT Tower's configuration this weekend.
utexas.edu

On Saturday night, following Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel’s Heisman win, some Aggies got so carried away by their excitement that they saw the man called “Johnny Football” everywhere.

The University of Texas’s December graduation also took place on Saturday.  It’s the university’s tradition to light the clock tower orange, with the windows lit to form the class year of the graduates.  So Saturday night, the clock tower bore a giant 12, in honor of the 2012 graduating class.

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ABIA
9:58 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Austin-Bergstrom Reports 32nd Straight Month of Growth

ABIA has reported a record number of August travellers
KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport had a record August, according to data released by the City of Austin over the weekend. 

A total of 838,994 passengers traveled through ABIA in August, up six percent from the same time last year. (August is the last month for which the airport has full data.)

United Airlines and its regional carriers saw the most growth in August. They flew 47 percent more passengers than in August 2011.

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Education
9:49 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Fulmore Middle School Choir Invited to Carnegie Hall

Fulmore Middle School Advanced Girls Choir may perform in Carnegie Hall next month
flickr.com/wallyg

Fulmore Middle School’s Advanced Girls Choir has been invited to participate in the Distinguished Concert Singers International performance at Carnegie Hall in January.

Composer Francisco Nunez asked the choir to perform his “Music for Treble Voices.”  Nunez, Director of the Youth Choir of New York heard the Fulmore Advanced Girls Choir perform while attending the Texas Music Educators Convention in Dallas. He was impressed with both the girls and their director, Yvette Carroll.

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Austin
8:34 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Construction and Closures Ahead for Hike and Bike Trail

Hike and bike trail joggers will be detoured opposite Seaholm Power Plant downtown.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Two separate projects on Lady Bird Lake may temporarily get in the way of folks using part of the hike and bike trail.

The city is getting ready to begin work along the Shoal Creek peninsula near the Seaholm Power Plant. Construction begins soon, and is expected to last six months. Portions of the hike and bike trail near the peninsula and the parking lot west of Shoal Creek and South of Cesar Chavez will be closed and those using the trail will be detoured to Cesar Chavez.

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Education
2:59 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

Gov. Perry Wants to Fast Track Vocational Certification in Texas

Gov. Rick Perry announced the creation of a Skilled Workforce Initiatve Tuesday.
KUT News

Governor Perry announced his intention Tuesday to launch a Skilled Workforce Initiative in Texas to address demand for certified, highly-skilled workers in the manufacturing sector.

The initiative would reduce the time it takes for students to earn vocational certification in certain high-demand fields, such as manufacturing and industrial business. Under the initiative, certification programs will award credit to students who enter the program already possessing some experience and skills necessary for certification.  Backers hope the program will allow students to get certified and begin filling jobs more quickly, while also saving them time and money by allowing them to bypass lessons on subjects they’ve already mastered.

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Health
8:49 am
Thu November 22, 2012

Texas Researchers Developing New HIV Vaccine

A single-dose vaccine against HIV is being patented by a Texas group.
Amanda Mills, Centers for Disease Control

The San Antonio-based Texas Biomedical Research Institute has applied for a patent for a new genetically engineered HIV vaccine. This new vaccine would provide lifelong protection from the disease with a single dose.

The vaccine is designed to target the cells that line the body’s surface structures. which are the point of entry into the body in approximately 90 percent of HIV cases. Once HIV enters the body through these cells, it quickly spreads to the lymph nodes and other organs, where it replicates throughout the body. The new vaccine would stimulate the body’s outer layers and cells to generate cells that produce antibodies to HIV. 

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Environment
7:47 am
Wed November 21, 2012

Kyle Wastewater Plant Spills Sewage

The City of Kyle says the wastewater system has about 2,127 manholes and 119 miles of sewer mains.
City of Kyle

More than 100,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater, which contained solids, was discharged from the City of Kyle wastewater treatment plant.

Aqua Texas, Inc. operates the plant. The company said in a press release that it’s still reviewing the conditions that caused the spill but "an upset of the sludge blanket in the clarifier" occurred.

The company is trying to clean up Plum Creek downstream of the spill using mobilized vacuum trucks.

So far, the company says, no fish kill has been seen, and live fish have been observed.

Homelessness
2:47 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Five Ways to Fight Hunger and Homelessness This Week

A "hunger banquet," featuring portion sizes based on the luck of the draw, is one event this Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.
Flickr user Still_life88_second, bit.ly/TvWSHM

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) kicked off its annual Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week this past weekend. ECHO will host daily community events through Nov. 18 to educate Austin residents on the causes of homelessness and hunger. ECHO hopes community education spurs community action to help end local homelessness.

To that end, several events are being hosted by ECHO and other community groups this week. Here's a rundown: 

  • Oxfam Hunger Banquet, Tuesday, Nov. 3: Meals are served based on the luck of the draw.  While some attendees will be served filling meals,others will have relatively bare plates. The banquet is aimed at raising awareness of inequalities in food distribution in the world.
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2012 Election
9:35 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Following a Technical Delay, Unofficial Results From Williamson County Are In

A technician was called to fix a voting machine in Williamson County.
flickr.com/mattblaze

Williamson County released its unofficial elections totals early this morning, following a technical delay that required one of the voting machines to be read by a technician.

Following poll closures last night, one of the iVotronic machines at a Williamson County precinct malfunctioned and election administrators at the precinct were unable to access the results from that machine. Administrators called a technician to obtain the results from the machine. 

"The backlight went out on one of our voting machines and so the election judge couldn't see the screen in order to get it properly closed. And so we had a technician that had come down from Dallas to repair the machine so that we could get the votes counted from that machine," Connie Watson, Public Affairs Manager for Williamson County, says.

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UT Longhorn Football
8:11 am
Wed November 7, 2012

Former UT Coach Darrell K Royal Passes Away

Former UT Football Coach Darrell K Royal.
texassports.com

Longtime University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal passed away this morning. He was 88-years-old.

Royal coached the Longhorns from 1957 to 1976 and led the team to three National Championships. Royal also served as athletic director from 1962 to 1979.

The University honored Royal in 1996 by renaming the football stadium, Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium. During the announcement, UT System chancellor William Cunningham said, “No individual has contributed more to athletics at UT-Austin than Darrell Royal. He is a living legend.”

Royal was the all-time winningest coach of the Longhorns.  KUT spoke with Royal's wife, Edith, last month. She said Royal enjoyed attending UT football games long after he retired from coaching the team.

A friend of the Royal family told KUT News that plans for his memorial services are underway. The LBJ Presidential Library has set up a memorial page for Royal with photos and a phone conversation between Royal and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. 

After the news of Royal's passing broke this morning, fans used Twitter to express their reactions and condolences:

Richard Justice, an MLB.com correspondent (@richardjustice): "RIP Darrell Royal.  Man of integrity and humor, intimidating and kind, absolutely brilliant with people."

Brian Jones (@BJ_CFB), a former UT football player and current football analyst for CBS Sports: "Thoughts and prayers to the Darrell Royal family and Longhorn Nation!  We lost a great one!"

Cole Constien (@ColeConstien): "Thank you for the memories Darrell Royal.  You have a place in every true sports fan's heart.  Rest in peace."

Yvette (@YLoTexas): "Rest in peace Coach Darrell Royal.  A great man, champion and Texan.  The Eyes of Texas shed a tear today.  Hook 'em."

Jeff Howe (@JeffHowe247), a football reporter for 247Sports.com:"Somber start to the day with the passing of Darrell Royla at age 88.  He's responsible for why so many cheer for the Longhorns."

Here's a statement from Governor Rick Perry on the passing of Darrell Royal:

“Darrell Royal was a coaching icon and the face of football in the Lone Star State for a generation of Texans. His legacy can be counted in national championships, but also in his unending devotion to his university and in the Darrell K Royal Research Fund for Alzheimer’s Disease. Anita and I join Texans everywhere in mourning his loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Edith, son, Mack, and his extended family and friends.”

Current UT Football Head Coach Mack Brown also shared his thoughts:

"Today is a very sad day. I lost a wonderful friend, a mentor, a confidant and my hero. College football lost maybe its best ever and the world lost a great man. I can hardly put in words how much Coach Royal means to me and all that he has done for me and my family. I wouldn't even be at Texas without Coach. His council and friendship meant a lot to me before I came to Texas, but it's been my guiding light for my 15 years here.

"Coach gave so much more to the State of Texas and college football than he took away. He forgot more football than most of us will ever know, including me. His impact on the game, the coaches and players, the community and the millions of lives he touched, is insurmountable. He will be missed in so many ways.

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2012 Presidential Election
2:04 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

The 2012 Elections Cost $6 Billion. Here’s What You Could Do With That Money

The cost of the 2012 election is higher than many countries' GDP.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Here’s an eye-opening number: The total spending by candidates, political parties and Super PACs on this year’s presidential and congressional elections will be just shy of $6 billion. 

So say money-in-politics watchdogs The Center for Responsive Politics. A report on its OpenSecrets blog predicts combined spending for the 2012 elections is on track to exceed its already astronomical prediction of $5.8 billion.

While the CRP notes that direct spending on the presidential election is actually down slightly from 2008 (going from $2.8 million last cycle to an estimated $2.6 million), spending by congressional candidates is up, as is the wave of Super PAC spending and advocacy advertisements funded in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision allowing corporate contributions.

“What remains unknown – and may never fully be accounted for – is how much money secretive ‘shadow money’ organizations spent, with some investing massive sums on ads, but also on unreported and purportedly ‘non-political’ activities, as the election neared,” the CRP writes.

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Austin
11:00 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Austin Animal Center Hopes Residents Elect to Adopt

"Yes, We Can" adopt a pet for free at the Austin Animal Center.
Austin Animal Center

Austin Animal Center is urging residents to “cast a ballot for companionship” on Election Day this Tuesday.

Tomorrow marks the final day of the center’s “Elect to Adopt a Homeless Animal” campaign, which launched on Thursday, November 1. As a part of the campaign, Austin Animal Center is waiving adoption fees for all dogs and cats. Adopted animals will be spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and equipped with a collar and tag.  

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