The Lead
8:57 am
Thu January 10, 2013

The Lead: Confusion Over UT Assault Investigation; Whither the Planetarium; ABIA’s Busy Month

Good morning. Don’t be scared by that bright stuff outside – it’s called sunshine, and you’re forgiven for forgetting it after this week’s rainy weather. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a mild day, with a high in the mid-60s.

Lead story: There are conflicting reports this morning on whether charges will be brought against two UT football players accused of sexually assaulting a woman in San Antonio last month.

In a statement yesterday, UT linebacker Jordan Hicks’ lawyer says the investigation is now closed and no charges will be filed in the matter. But a San Antonio Police spokesperson told KUT News yesterday that the investigation is still open.

Hicks and backup quarterback Case McCoy were suspended from the team when the police report was filed two days ahead of the Alamo Bowl.

Planetarium collides with Capitol plans:  A group planning to build a planetarium as part of a mixed use development on state land near the Capitol has vowed to keep trying, after a powerful state commission voted yesterday to stop the planetarium and all commercial projects in the Capitol Complex.

“The Austin Planetarium is not going to fold, let’s put it that way,” says planetarium principal Torvald Hessel. “We still have high hopes that we will build at this location – it’s the location that makes most sense.”

Hessel says his group went to the state two years ago with the planetarium idea, and that the state suggested combining the planetarium project with condos. But now the state Sunset Commission says condos in the Capitol Complex – portions of which turn into a veritable ghost town after 5 p.m. – are a bad idea. State Senator John Whitmire tells KUT News that legislators made a mistake in asking developers to propose projects on what Whitmire calls the “sacred ground” of the Texas Capitol.

Cleared for departure: Austin Bergstrom International Airport had the busiest November ever, according to statistics released yesterday.  

Passengers flying in or out of ABIA on scheduled flights totaled 807,000 in November. That’s an increase of 6.5 percent from the previous year. One major reason why? November’s Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas.