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

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

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

Raw turkey
Image courtesy Aunt Owwee

In case you were considering deep frying your turkey tomorrow, here's some advice from the Austin Fire Department on how to avoid burning your house down.

Image courtesy Monica's Dad

Wondering when to put out your trash or if you need to plug a parking meter? Here's a look at what's open and closed for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Garbage, recycling, and yard trimmings pickup will be pushed back one day for customers who have service on Thursday or Friday. That means Thursday customers will get their trash collected on Friday and Friday customers will receive pickup service on Saturday.

Recreation centers, cultural centers, senior centers, and the Dougherty Arts Center, will be closed Thursday and Friday.

 Neil Seeking a Recount

Republican Dan Neil is asking for a recount. Neil lost the race for the Texas House District 48 seat to incumbent Donna Howard by 16 votes.  Neil’s campaign manager told KUT he filed the paperwork for the recount yesterday. 

Jury Deliberations Day 3

Today will be the third day of jury deliberations in former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's trial.  Before going home yesterday, jurors said they were making progress. 

Mighty Fine burger
Image courtesy Matt Scoggin

The people behind a couple well-known Austin restaurant chains are getting a positive review from the the Obama administration. K&N Management - the company that owns Rudy’s Country Store & Bar-B-Q and Mighty Fine Burgers, Fries and Shakes - is one of seven recipients of the 2010 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award.

What is the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, you may ask? Why it's only the "the nation’s highest Presidential honor for performance excellence through innovation, improvement and visionary leadership," according to a press release.

Image courtesy Google Maps

One of the largest charitable Thanksgiving efforts in town starts tomorrow morning in the parking lot of Bikini's off I-35.  Operation Turkey started in Austin in 2000 and has since expanded to 29 cities across the country.

solar panels
Image courtesy SunPower

SunPower Corporation announced today that it would build a new U.S. operations center in Austin. It would bring $10 million in capital investment and create 450 jobs. But the city must first cough up $90,000 per year over ten years in economic incentives.

Photo by Gretch Sanders for KUT

Many Austinites will be celebrating Thanksgiving a little early today.  The 21st annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing is from 4- 8 p.m. at the Palmer Events Center.  The event is free and open to the public.  Santa himself is rumored to be making an appearance.

Thousands are expected to attend.  So what does it take to feed that many people? H-E-B says there will be:

Foreclosure sign
Image courtesy Jeff Turner


Austin foreclosures increased 10 percent so far this year, according to a report from Foreclosure Listing Service. The Austin Business Journal took a look at the numbers.

Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Superintendent Meria Carstarphen
Photo by KUT News.

AISD Action on Superintendent Bonuses, Student Transfers

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen could get a bonus of up to 25-thousand dollars if she meets certain performance measures this school year.  The school Board approved those measures during their meeting last night.  To get the bonus, Carstarphen would have to meet objectives including:

Thanksgiving meal
Image courtesy KK+

If you haven't done it, you've seen it on TV: People serving Thanksgiving meals to the less fortunate. Many families make it a holiday tradition. But if you don't know what you're doing, you might show up to a charity already overwhelmed with volunteers, while other organizations are struggling to find last-minute help.

One of the hottest tickets in town is the Salvation Army Social Service Center on East 8th Street. Their spokesman Bob Cox says they were booked solid by Labor Day.

Hex Rally
Photo courtesy RODAN1

University of Texas football loyalists will gather in burnt orange tonight for a mega-pep rally aimed at cursing their fierce rivals, Texas A&M University. The "Hex Rally", as it is known, is a 25 year tradition held before the customary Thanksgiving Day game between UT and A&M.

The Texas Exes explains what to expect:

Cowboys Stadium
Image courtesy Cliff Baise

HKS, an architectural firm in Dallas, announced this morning that it will lead the team assembled to build a new Formula One track in Austin. HKS designed and built the Cowboys Stadium in Arlington and the Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

Criminal Justic Complex
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Lawyers to Make Final Pitches in DeLay's Trial

Closing arguments are set for today in Tom DeLay's money laundering trial in Austin.  Prosecutors say the former U.S. House majority leader helped illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate money to Texas candidates in 2002.  DeLay's attorneys say the money swap at the center of the case was legal.  He faces up to life in prison if convicted.

Dallas Firm to Design Formula 1