News Brief
5:58 am
Thu July 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 07, 2011

Perry, UT Dean at Odds over Higher Ed Changes

Texas Governor Rick Perry is responding to a report from a dean at UT Austin.  The dean’s report criticizes proposals from an Austin-based think tank.  The governor backs those proposals which include splitting research and teaching budgets and giving state higher education funding directly to students instead of universities. 

UT Dean Randy Diehl says these business-style policies would hurt UT’s standing as a top tier university and wouldn’t be in the best interest of students.  Governor Perry says changes have to be made to address rising tuition costs and to improve four-year graduation rates.

APD Enforcing Move Over Law

Starting today Austin police are stepping up enforcement of the state’s so-called “move over law. ”  It requires drivers to either move over a lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights on, or to slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.  Police will be cracking down on violators for the next two weeks.

Austin Fire Chief Fires Keeper of Firefighter Exam

 The Austin American-Statesman reports Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr has fired a civilian employee who was responsible for the confidential questions and other secret material for recent interviews for firefighter applicants.

Human resource specialist Kathryn Riley was terminated from her $46,000-a-year job Friday after Kerr said she went missing for several hours during the May interviews and was later found in a hotel workout room in her pajamas, according to city memos obtained Wednesday.

Officials conducted the interviews at an Austin hotel and rented a room for Riley to guard testing materials left there overnight.

Department officials became so concerned about her whereabouts that they planned to call hospitals to see if Riley had a medical emergency, records show. Others had hotel security let them in Riley's room so they could retrieve testing materials and start the interviews for 2,500 applicants on time.

 

Partial Cesar Chavez Street Closure         

If you’re driving downtown today, take note-- the City of Austin is closing the two right turn lanes on eastbound Cesar Chavez at South First Street from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The two other eastbound lanes will stay open. City crews will be inspecting a wastewater line in that area.