AM Update
8:28 am
Tue April 3, 2012

AM Update: Shoplifting Ring Busted, Keystone XL Pipeline, New Coach for Lady Longhorns

Austin Shoplifting Ring Busted

The Associated Press reports an Austin shoplifting ring has been caught selling stolen goods and smuggling them to Mexico. The list of stolen goods includes multiple household items: detergents, shampoos, batteries, cosmetics and razors.

The Austin Police Department began their investigation of this shoplifting scheme more than a month ago, leading them to identify the group involved and an alleged ringleader, 40 year-old Maria Villegas, says KVUE.

Villegas is accused of employing individuals to steal from stores such as Target and H-E-B, according to KVUE. APD Officer Dustin Smart said that Villegas “was selling this stolen property from various flea markets in the South Austin area."

A house in south Austin was found to contain $35,000 in stolen goods after a raid by police, said the AP. The stolen goods are valued at an estimated $50,000.

At Summit, Leaders Downplay Disagreement over Keystone XL Pipeline

A North American summit of U.S. President Barack Obama, Mexican President  Felipe Calderón and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper occurred at the White House yesterday. One item of discussion was the Keystone XL Pipeline, a 1,700 mile pipeline designed to transport oil sands from Canada to Texas ports at the Gulf of Mexico.

Speaking after the trio’s meeting, Prime Minister Harper downplayed any disagreements over the pipeline. The San Antonio Express-News writes:

At a separate event hosted by the Woodrow Wilson Center on Monday, Harper said, “President Obama has told me repeatedly that this decision will ultimately be made on the basis of its merits, and I have no reason not to believe him on that.”

The pipeline's approval wouldn't change Canada's plans to diversify its exports potentially by building the Northern Gateway pipeline to the Pacific Coast, Harper said, adding that Canada's oil has suffered from price discounts because it is a “captive supplier” to North America. “To not diversify to Asia, when Asia is the growing part of the world, simply makes no sense,” Harper said.

The pipeline construction has been delayed as its builders, TransCanada, look for alternate routes around environmentally-sensitive regions of Nebraska region. However, TransCanda recently announced it would begin building the southern portion of the pipeline, which stretches through Texas, a move the Obama administration apparently agrees with.

UT Women to Get New Head Coach

According to The Daily Texan, the University of Texas will name a new women’s head coach for basketball.

Yesterday, the Board of Regents gave a green light to naming a new head coach, vesting the hiring authority in President Bill Powers and women’s athletic director Chris Plonksy.

A press conference is scheduled this morning to officially announce a hiring decision.

The Texan reports the apparent frontrunner is Karen Aston, head coach for North Texas. She previously served as assistant coach for University of Texas for eight years as well as a recruiting coordinator for the school.

Aston left Texas to serve as associate coach at Baylor, and then moved to North Carolina to accept her first head coaching position. She left North Carolina after four years to North Texas, and began working in her current position, the Texan notes. Her record with North Texas this year is 15-16.

UT’s old head coach, Gail Goestenkors, resigned on March 19 after five seasons with the school.