AM Update
9:02 am
Fri March 9, 2012

AM Update: Leslie's Memorial Weekend, Arne Duncan's Meeting With Perry, Win for UT Men's Basketball

Leslie's Public Visitation and Memorial This Weekend

Austin is still feeling the loss of one of its weirdest (and most beloved) public figures.  This weekend, the public will have two opportunities to bid farewell to the street-walking, heels-wearing, public-office-seeking Leslie Cochran, who passed away on Thursday morning

A public visitation for Leslie will be held in the Colonial Chapel at Cook-Walden Funeral Home (6100 N. Lamar) from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight, followed by a private funeral service and burial.  The family requests this to be a dignified occasion of remembrance and prayer.

On Sunday at 2 p.m., a public service celebrating Leslie's colorful life will be held near the Fannie Davis Gazebo on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, north of the South First Street and Riverside Drive intersection. Friend Valerie Romness said attendees are encouraged to pen memories and messages to Leslie, which will be released at the service in biodegradable balloons.

Arne Duncan Meets With Gov. Perry

It’s been somewhat of an awkward trip to Austin for U.S. Sec. of Education Arne Duncan.

His speech at Austin Community College yesterday was interrupted by Occupy Austin protesters opposed to charter schools. And the Texas Tribune reports that yesterday, Duncan met with Gov. Rick Perry, who named the Department of Education as one of three federal agencies he would eliminate in his infamous “Oops” moment.

It sounds like the pair had lots to talk about, including the No Child Left Behind act. The Tribune writes:

So far, Texas has not joined the almost 40 states that have asked for relief from the federal law's 2014 goals for student academic achievement. The state has held back from requesting a waiver because of concerns about adhering to the associated federal guidelines for academic standards and teacher evaluations.

Duncan is also a proponent of the DREAM act, which would allow the children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship through higher education.The Trib says:

Earlier in the day, though, Duncan praised a Perry-backed Texas policy that became a liability for the governor during his failed presidential bid. Speaking with reporters after a town hall event at Austin Community College, Duncan commended the Texas law Perry signed that allows illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at public universities.

Duncan said he, along with Obama, will continue to push for the federal DREAM Act, which would create a path to permanent residency status via higher education. The decade-old policy in Texas — which allows students to pay in-state tuition if they graduated from a Texas high school, have lived in the state for three years before applying and sign an affidavit indicating their intent to apply for permanent residency as soon as possible — is sometimes referred to as the "Texas DREAM Act."

A Win for UT Men's Basketball

The Texas Men’s basketball team held on to a late second-half rally Thursday night to beat Iowa State in the Big 12 Tournament quarterfinals, 71 – 65.

At one point during the game the Longhorns trailed the Cyclones 40 – 29, but with a kick start from junior guard J’covan Brown, the Horns rallied to overcome their conference rivals. Brown – who was recently awarded the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) District VII Player of the Year award – finished the night with 23 points.  

The win secures a trip to the conference semifinals, where the horns will play Big 12 rivals Missouri. The game is tonight at 9 p.m. CT. A win could mean many things for the horns.

If the horns outplay Mizzou, they’ll be heading to the Big 12 Championship game, which will be held March 10 at 5 p.m. CT on ESPN.

The next couple of games will also prove crucial for the burnt orange squad, as they remain contenders for NCAA tournament. A win could potentially secure the Horns’ selection for the coveted tournament.  

Selections for the tourney begin this Sunday, March 11.