AM Update 7/23/12
7:58 am
Mon July 23, 2012

AM Update: Former Austinite Killed in Aurora, A&M Biodefense Center Dedication, Early Voting Starts

Texans Victims of Colorado Shooting

An Austin native was one of the 12 people killed in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado movie theater.

Gordon Cowden, 51, of Aurora, took his two teenage children to the midnight premiere. They were not injured.

Cowden’s family described him as a “true Texas gentleman.” They say he was a “loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner.”

Cowden’s father, George Cowden, is an Austin attorney and former Texas state representative.

Other shooting victims also had Texas ties. Jessica Ghawi, 24, had moved from San Antonio to Colorado about a year ago.

Rebecca Wingo, 32, was also killed in the shooting. She was from North Texas.

A&M to Dedicate Biodefense Center

Texas A&M University will formally dedicate its new biodefense center today.

The university received a contract from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last month to construct a facility for researchers to develop pandemic flu vaccines and prepare responses to bioterrorist threats.

The A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development is one of three similar national centers announced last month. The other facilities are in North Carolina and Maryland.

The $285 million dollar contract includes an investment of about $176 million investment from the federal government. The rest will come from private and academic donations.

Texas A&M University officials, the director of the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison are expected to participate in today’s dedication.

Early Voting Starts for Runoff

Today, the Travis County Clerk’s office opens polling places in grocery stores, libraries and other public places for early voting for Texas' primary runoff elections.

Early voting locations and hours are listed on the county clerk's website.

The office will also open its mobile voting locations this week. The mobile voting locations include senior activity centers, rural areas and the UT campus.

The early voting period lasts until Friday, July 27. Election day for the runoff will take place Tuesday, July 31.