Lucia Duncan


9:04 am
Tue March 6, 2012

AM Update: SXSWedu Starts, Juvenile Justice System Studied, MoPac Open House Tonight

SXSWedu speakers include (left to right) S. Craig Watkins, Mike Feinberg and Arne Duncan.
Watkins photo courtesy, Feinberg photo courtesy, Duncan photo courtesy U.S. Dept. of Education

SXSWedu Starts Today

South by Southwest edu starts today. The conference, in its second year, brings together education professionals and business and policy leaders to discuss innovations in learning. U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is one of this year’s keynote speakers.

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9:07 am
Mon March 5, 2012

AM Update: Leslie in Hospice, Bastrop Judge Resigns, More Police at SXSW

Austin Homeless Icon Leslie Transferred to Hospice

Local transgendered celebrity, Leslie Cochran, was transferred out of hospital care and into an area hospice provider this weekend says community activist and friend, Debbie Russell. Russell says Leslie remains in critical condition and is receiving comfort care.

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9:35 am
Mon February 27, 2012

WikiLeaks Publishes Stratfor Emails

Wikileaks has partnered with international news agencies in the publication of Stratfor emails.
Image courtesy

Today WikiLeaks began releasing "The Global Intelligence Files" – more than five million emails from Austin-based global security think tank Stratfor Global Intelligence.

In a statement on its website, WikiLeaks says the files, which date from July 2004 to late December 2011, contain details of the inner workings of the private intelligence agency, links between government and private intelligence, and commentary on WikiLeaks itself. Wikileaks says it partnered with 25 media organizations and activists in publicizing the files.

WickiLeaks has not disclosed the source of the emails, but the publication follows the hacking of Stratfor's servers last December by individuals aligned with cyber-activists Anonymous.

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8:21 am
Mon February 27, 2012

AM Update: AISD Budget Talks, Health Reform Hits Texas House, Advances in Nerve Repair

The Austin ISD school board meets tonight to discuss a budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
KUT News

Austin ISD's Preliminary Budget for 2012-2013

At tonight's Austin ISD School Board meeting, administrators will present a 2012-13 preliminary budget that increases spending slightly while assuming the district will lose $8.7 million in federal money and $53.6 million in state funding. The Austin-American Statesman reports:

The preliminary $724 million spending plan increases expenses 2.9 percent over the current budget and holds the property tax rate steady at $1.242 per $100 of valuation. It includes $14.2 million for an across-the-board 3 percent pay raise and $1.1 million to jump start an early childhood center at Linder Elementary School in Southeast Austin, among other goals. To hit those targets, budget officials say the district plans to dip into reserves for $32.5 million.

Austin ISD will present a revised budget on April 16th and a public hearing is scheduled for April 23rd. The board will vote on the budget on June 18th.

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9:05 am
Thu February 2, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/2/12: SXSW Wristbands For Grabs, Spicewood Water Woes

A 2011 SXSW attendee pleased with his wristband collection. Wristbands for SXSW Music 2012 go on sale this morning.
Photo courtesy

SXSW Wristbands For Sale this Morning at 10 am

South by Southwest begins wristband sales for its music festival this morning. Purchases can only be made online to people with an Austin area zipcode:

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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.