AM Update: 8/30/12
9:01 am
Thu August 30, 2012

AM Update: MoPac Flyover to Open, E-book Refund for Texans, Fried Cactus at the State Fair

Good morning. Central Texas winds have slowed down today as Isaac has been downgraded to a tropical storm.

Traffic Relief for Some Austin Commuters

Some northbound Austin drivers should see traffic relief starting tomorrow.

Texas Department of Transportation spokesperson John Hurt tells KUT News that the flyover from northbound MoPac to eastbound U.S. 290 will open up sometime late tonight or early tomorrow morning – before most commuters head to work.

Right now, those drivers have to go through a traffic light and down a frontage road before getting on Ben While Boulevard.

Hurt says the other part of the project – a flyover from westbound 290 to southbound MoPac – won’t be complete until around Thanksgiving.

Texans to Receive $5.5 Million in E-book Refunds

Texas consumers are expected to receive up to $5.5 million in refunds for what Texas State Attorney General Greg Abbott calls overpriced electronic books.

Abbott, along with the attorneys general across the country, has announced an antitrust settlement with three of the largest book publishers in the United States.

The multistate antitrust investigation against Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc. was for price-fixing and collusion in the E-book market. The three publishers have agreed to pay $69 million to customers nationwide who overpaid for E-books after the publishing houses conspired to artificially inflate prices. The publisher also must modify their product distribution model.

“Unlawful collusion and price-fixing not only violates antitrust laws, it is anti-competitive and inconsistent with the free market approach that is critical to our economy,” Attorney General Greg Abbott says in a statement.

The settlement agreements were filed with and must be approved by – the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Texas also has its own antitrust lawsuit on the same allegations against publishers Macmillan, Penguin and Apple, Inc. That suit remains pending.

Want to Try Some Chicken Fried Cactus?

The Texas State Fair has announced the finalists for this year’s zany food choice. Among the nominees are Fried Bacon Cinnamon Rolls, Deep Fried Mac-N-Cheese Sliders and Chicken Fried Cactus Bites.

The Fried Cactus Bites are hand-picked prickly pear cactus pads, thinly sliced, chicken battered and deep fried "to perfection." The bites will also be served with a combination of sweet & spicy secret jalapeno ranch, and agave nectar dipping sauce.

If Fried Cactus Bites don’t make you salivate, then perhaps Deep Fried Jambalaya or Pork Wings will.

Other finalists taking the dip into oil include Tres Leches Cake, Mexican Fire Crackers (a spicy chicken, cheese, jalapeno concoction) and Picnic on a Stick.

Creators of these delicious treats will be competing in the categories including Best Taste and Most Creative. The State Fair kicks off Sept. 28 at Fair Park, east of downtown Dallas.