Lucia Duncan


11:35 am
Wed January 25, 2012

Austin Storm Update

Students braving the rain on campus yesterday.
Photo by Huma Munir for KUT News

Storms that blew into Austin early this morning are still affecting the city. The National Weather Service is reporting a 24-hour rainfall total of 5.74 inches at Austin Bergstrom Airport.

Power Outages

Austin Energy had several outages to contend with this morning, including one at South Congress and Annie St. Five-hundred customers were without power at that location. Council member Mike Martinez said on Twitter that the South Congress and Annie St. area “is hardest hit right now.” The outage was caused by tree limbs falling on power lines. But according to Austin Energy's outage map, power to the area has been restored. 

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12:56 pm
Wed January 18, 2012

Austin Gives: New Corporate Philanthropy Program Announced

Several Austin businesses are joining Austin Gives, a charitable program where companies donate a portion of their profits.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Austin Chamber of Commerce announced a new program today aimed at supporting corporate philanthropy. Austin Gives encourages local businesses to give at least one percent of their pre-tax earnings to charities and nonprofits, and recognizes them at a community celebration event.

The chamber held a press conference this morning, along with businesses that have signed on as founding partners.  These include both national corporations with local branches and homegrown outfits.  Mayor Lee Leffingwell said he hopes Austin Gives will change the perception of Austin as a low-giving city.

“We have been ranked recently as a low giving city. And it really doesn’t fit our profile. We’re a caring community. And it’s kind of an enigma to figure out what that is. But I think we’ve got to make the effort to reach out to the public and make them aware of that fact. And make them aware that there is a great need and they can help,” said Leffingwell.

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News brief
8:49 am
Tue January 17, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/17/12

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell shown at a 2011 City Council Meeting. The mayor said Monday that he has problems with a proposed rate hike by Austin Energy.
Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

D.C. Court  Reviews Redistricting Case

A three-judge panel in Washington will hear arguments today to determine whether to give “preclearance” to election maps originally drawn by the Texas Legislature last year. Texas must get federal approval before altering voting districts, according to the Voting Rights Act. New maps are drawn every decade to reflect the population growth in Texas.

The federal trial in DC comes little more than a week after the Supreme Court heard arguments about which maps Texas should use for the upcoming primary elections. There are two sets of maps at play:  The maps drawn by the Legislature and a set of alternate maps drawn by District Court judges in San Antonio. The Texas primary elections have already been delayed from March 6th to April 3rd. And the April date is by no means set in stone. It’s been suggested that the election date could be pushed back as far as June, because of the legal wrangling.

Border Patrol to Toughen Policy

The AP reports the U.S. Border Patrol is moving to halt a revolving-door policy of sending migrants back to Mexico without any punishment.

The “Consequence Delivery System,” a key part of the Border Patrol’s new national strategy, divides border crossers into seven categories, ranging from first-time offenders to people with criminal records. Punishments vary by region, and children and the medically ill will still be released at the nearest border crossing.

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8:21 am
Fri January 13, 2012

Top Morning Stories 1/13/12

Over 100 people signed up to sound off on Austin Energy's proposed rate increase.
Photo courtesy City of Austin

Public Speaks out on Energy Rate Hikes

More than a hundred people signed up to speak last night at the Austin City Council public hearing on a proposed electricity rate change. This is Austin Energy's first rate increase in 17 years, but some consumer groups say the rate hike is flawed.

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2:15 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Classical Music Program Launched in East Austin

Students from Philadelphia Youth Orquestra, an El Sistema-inspired program. Local groups are launching a similar program in Austin for Hispanic and Latino youth.
Photo Courtesy

A new group is trying to generate more interest in classical music among Hispanic children. The Hispanic Alliance for the Performing Arts is launching Austin Soundwaves, with help from U.T. ’s College of Fine Arts and Teresa Lozano Long Institute for Latin American Studies.

The orchestral music program is based on El Sistema, a Venezuelan music program that's been copied around the world. Dr. Juan Sanchez, founder and board chair of the East Austin College Prep charter school, says Austin Soundwaves isn't just designed to help students develop careers in classical music.

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4:48 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Morial: Recession Reversed Economic Gains For Many Blacks

Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News

The recession has stripped African-Americans of thirty years of economic gains, according to the president the National Urban League. Marc Morial was in Austin today to speak to a leadership summit hosted by the National Forum for Black Public Administrators.

"It has been difficult for white, Latino, Asian, all people.  But African-Americans have taken the toughest brunt of this,” Morial said.

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4:33 pm
Fri September 23, 2011

Zilker's Great Lawn Set To Re-Open

Rows and rows of bikes parked at the Austin City Limits Music Festival last weekend. City crews expect to have the Great Lawn at Zilker Park reopen by next Friday.
Photo by KUT News

It's only been a week since the Austin City Limits Music Festival enveloped the Great Lawn of Austin's Zilker Park. In past years, the weeks after ACL Fest have found the city and promoter C3 Productions working to restore the field to its normal verdant state.

This year, things are moving a bit quicker.

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Great Lawn will reopen next Friday, September 30th.  Until the lawn is ready, Austin's Parks and Recreation Department is asking people to avoid using the area, while maintenance crews complete their work.