Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Louanne Aponte
Image courtesy Family Connections

The former executive director of the local non-profit Family Connections, Louanne Aponte, is in Travis County police custody and headed back to Austin. Aponte is accused of misappropriating more than $327,000 from the organization between 2004 and 2009.  She is also accused of stealing from other local charities.

Antiretroviral drug illustration
Photo illustration courtesy Pigi Mazzoli http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigi/

Here's a grim statistic to chew on this World AIDS Day: Austin has the third highest percentage of people living with HIV in Texas. We used to fourth, behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, respectively. But as of 2009, we've displaced San Antonio for the third spot.

Here are the HIV infection rates from 2009, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

Image courtesy Zeetz Jones http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeetzjones/

Some of the local audio news we've produced in the last 24 hours.

Incentive Funds Under Fire

KUT's Ben Philpott reports on growing criticism of two economic development funds under Governor Perry's control.

Photo courtesy of Sully Pixel, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathansull/68997406/

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. People around the world will be raising awareness of the disease and remembering those who have died from it. NPR reports on a new drug that appears to help prevent HIV infection in men. Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies reports new Texas research shows Hispanic men may be more vulnerable to an AIDS related cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma. 

Extreme Makeover Home Edition bus
Image courtesy Nan Palmero http://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/

Want to help someone in need and be on national television? The ABC show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is shooting an episode in Georgetown and looking for volunteers.

Zilker Tree
Image courtesy Flickr user That Other Paper http://www.flickr.com/photos/austins_only_paper/

If you're excited about Sunday's lighting ceremony for the Zilker Tree, don't freak out if you're driving down MoPac tomorrow and you see the 155-foot tall structure already illuminated. It's just a test.

Austin Energy just sent us this email under the subject line, "In case you get calls…"

The Zilker Tree will be switched on tomorrow morning (Wednesday, December 1) beginning at 6 a.m. until about 8 a.m. to allow Austin Energy crews to replace any lights that may be burned out and for any other adjustments that may be needed.

vintage radio
Image courtesy Brandon Christopher Warren http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandoncwarren/

Take a listen to some of the local audio news we've produced over the past 24 hours.

Wikileaks Fallout

KUT's Ben Philpott talks to the researchers at the LBJ Library at the University of Texas who decide whether to declassify White House documents from President Johnson's tenure. They have some interesting opinions about the mishandling of classified diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks.

After hometown football hero Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to their first Superbowl victory in franchise history, the Westlake native has now been named Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year.

Photo by KUT News.

Planning the Future of Buda

The City of Buda, just south of Austin in Hays County, is growing fast.  City officials are looking for input on Buda’s long range comprehensive plan.    Think of it as a “blue print” for the future of the city.  People can give their input at a public workshop tonight at Buda Elementary starting at six thirty. 

Domestic Violence Shelter Full

Daniel Hamermesh
Image courtesy Daniel Hamermesh

Take a look at our reporting partners the Texas Tribune's story on what lawmakers are telling constituents about the carnage coming to state government. In a post entitled, "There Will Be Blood,"  Ross Ramsey writes about State Rep. Jim Pitts (R-Waxahachie) speaking to a Tea Party group last week.

Wall of Gatorade
Image courtesy Jeremy Brooks http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremybrooks/

If you loaded up on Thanksgiving food over the long weekend, you might be thinking about how to work off those extra ounces before the next round of holiday binging begins in December.

University of Texas scientist Dr. Lisa Ferguson-Stegall just conducted a study as part of her dissertation work, and it revealed that guzzling sugar-rich sports drinks while working out might not be helping your waistline.

Photo by KUT News.

Houston Going Green?

When it comes to "green" cities, Houston may not be the first city to come to mind.  But as our political reporting partner, the Texas Tribune reports, the oil capital is embarking on several environmentally friendly initiatives.  Houston has opened a weekly farmers market, is the nation’s largest municipal buyer of green power, and has a competitive program to encourage businesses to save water and energy.

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Heavy Travel Day

Today is another heavy travel day at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport. And travelers who didn't have to go through tough security screening on the way out of town, likely will have to go through a body scanner or enhanced pat down if they're flying home from a big city airport.

Urban Rail

http://www.flickr.com/photos/atmtx/4164741015/

The annual Chuy's Children Giving to Children Parade will tie up traffic downtown Saturday morning. The parade kicks off at 11 a.m.

Streets will close as early as 6 a.m. and will reopen around 2 p.m

San Jacinto Blvd. will close at 6 a.m., as will East 15th through East 10th and the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge.

Congress Avenue between 11th Street and the River will close at 9 a.m.

Photo by KUT News.

Lines varied from store to store but people were out in force getting a start to their Christmas shopping.  Shoppers told KUT the lines depended on what store you went to…and at what time.

La France Yarbrough said checkout was pretty fast at an Austin Walmart at about 3:30 a.m. He bought a new 42 inch TV before heading to Best Buy to look for a bluetooth.

Austin Camel Cigarettes
Image courtesy Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

The maker of Camel Cigarettes, RJ Reynolds, will start selling limited edition cigarette packs later this year that feature the symbols of America's hippest locales, Williamsburg, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and of course, Austin, Texas.

That’s according to Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has posted imagery of the marketing campaign on its website.

Photo courtesy of LS Power.

The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that the on-going construction of the Sandy Creek coal plant near Waco violates the Clean Air Act. The ruling reverses a previous court decision that the coal plant permit issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality includes proper air pollution controls.

The Sandy Creek 800 MW coal plant is being built in Riesel, Texas by Sandy Creek Energy Associates. Construction began in 2008.  Since then, the plant has been hit with a series of lawsuits, primarily from the Sierra Club and Public Citizen.

Photo by KUT News

A report from CQ Press shows the Austin-Round Rock Metro area is one of the safest in the U.S.

The most dangerous? St. Louis, Missouri.

Safest? El Paso, Texas.

Photo by KUT.

Black Friday may be the biggest day of the year for retailers. In Austin and surrounding areas, shoppers lined up almost before the Thanksgiving dishes were done, looking for deals at stores that opened as early as 10 p.m. Thursday.

Photo courtesy of MackBrown-TexasFootball.com

Horns Lose to the Aggies

The Texas Longhorns wrapped up a losing season with a loss to Texas A&M last night.  The no. 17 Aggies beat Texas 24-17.  The loss means the Horns more than likely will not play in a bowl game.  With a 5-7 finish this year, Head Coach Mack Brown has a lot of evaluating to do of his players... and coaches.

Brrr! It's Cold Out There

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