Top Morning Stories November 17, 2010
Back to Class in RRISD Following Bomb Threat
Students at Deerpark Middle School and Live Oak Elementary School in the Round Rock Independent School District are having classes as usual today. The schools were evacuated yesterday after a bomb threat was made on the Internet. Superintendent Dr. Jesus H. Chavez posted this update online last night:
We have been notified by the Williamson County Sheriff's Office that they have completed the extensive search of both Deerpark and Live Oak schools, and both campuses have been cleared with nothing of danger discovered by search teams.
Ending Earmark Spending
Last night Republican Senators endorsed a nonbinding moratorium on earmark spending. Fiscally conservative groups call this kind of spending “pork”. Texas Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and John Cornyn followed their party in support of the ban even though they both have used earmarks to send millions of dollars back to Texas. KUT and the Texas Tribune's Ben Philpott reports Texas received more than $400-million in earmarks this year.
New Braunfels Dam Projects Gets Financial Boost
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith has announced Comal County will be getting a $10 million federal grant to help prevent flooding in New Braunfels. The New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reports the money is going to the Krueger Canyon Dam project to be built on Dry Comal Creek. The Comal and Guadalupe Rivers were closed temporarily this summer because of flood waters.
Makers of Four Loko Axing the Caffeine
Phusion Projects, the maker of the caffeinated alcoholic drink Four Loko, has announced it plans to remove caffeine, guarana and taurine from its products. Four Loko has been making national headlines as some question whether its mix of alcohol and caffeine is safe. In a release, Phusion’s founders said they made the decision amid a "politically charged" environment:
We have repeatedly contended – and still believe, as do many people throughout the country – that the combination of alcohol and caffeine is safe. If it were unsafe, popular drinks like rum and colas or Irish coffees that have been consumed safely and responsibly for years would face the same scrutiny that our products have recently faced.
The FDA was already looking into the safety of Four Loko and almost 30 other similar beverages. Other caffeinated alcoholic beverages haven't received the same level of scrutiny Four Loko has attracted.
Morrison Seeking Re-election
Austin City Council member Laura Morrison has announced she will seek re-election to her place 4 seat in 2011. She joins Council members Chris Riley and Randi Shade, who made their re-election campaign announcements earlier this week. Here's part of Morrison's statement:
"I am honored and grateful every day for the responsibility that Austinites have entrusted me with," Morrison said. "I have worked tirelessly -- on and off the dais – to create an environment of accountability and transparency to our citizens.”