Austin

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

Image courtesy bcostin http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcostin/

A taste of the audio news we've produced the last 24 hours.

Homicides Up 80 Percent in Austin

The death of a three-year-old child last week put the number of homicides in Austin this year at 36. As KUT's Mose Buchele reports, when you start looking into what that means, things start to get a little murky.

Revealing Hidden Fees

Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez.

Mental Exam Scheduled for Hasan

A Handful of Texas Teams are Going Bowling

AFD battling car fire
Image courtesy Sheeshoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheeshoo/

Whether it's the coolness of being a firefighter or the higher-than-average unemployment rate in Travis County, the Austin Fire Department is being deluged with applications as it seeks to hire a record number of firefighters.

UT Students at the "die-in" honoring the Bhopal tragedy.
Photo by Nick Robertson for KUT News

UT students gathered at the West Mall today to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy that claimed the lives of 8,000 and affected over 100,000 others.

Local media are all over Louanne Aponte's court appearance today. She's the 52-year-old former director of Family Connections who fled to Venezuala after she was accused of siphoning funds from a number of local charities and spending the cash on a home in Circle C, a Mercedes, and a 20-foot boat.

Marbridge Victory Hall Athletic and Events Center floor plan
Image courtesy Marbridge Ranch

The non-profit residential community Marbridge in deep south Austin helps adults with intellectual disabilities live independent lives. The facility has been around for more than 50 years, and now it's trying to raise money to build a gym and events center for its 240 residents.

A charitable wing of the Austin Police Association yesterday donated $10,000. But Marbridge still has a long way to go; estimated cost of the project is more than $2 million.

On The Air sign
Image courtesy rochelle, et. al. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinfoilraccoon/

Check out some of the audio news we've produced over the last 24 hours.

Education Cuts on the Horizon

School funding formulas are so complicated in Texas that the Comptroller has ordered a study to compare school district finances on a level playing field.  KUT's Ben Philpott previews the report, due out later this month.

German Ambassador in Austin

Howard Wins Recount

The recount is over for the Texas House District 48 race.  The recount shows Incumbent Democrat Donna Howard won re-election to her seat by just 12 votes.  That's a narrower win than the original vote tally, which had her ahead by 16 votes after Election Day.  Howard's Republican challenger Dan Neil requested the recount.  But the race may still not be over.  Neil has another option to challenge the results. 

Aponte Indictments Reveal More Theft

People at computers
Image courtesy stetted http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunlitrain/

The City of Austin is sending out 15,000 surveys to randomly selected people across town to find out what kind of technology they use.

The survey is not available online, only as a paper questionnaire, so that the results won't skew towards people with home internet access.

Dog at TLAC
Image courtesy s myers http://www.flickr.com/photos/puppiesofpurgatory/

Just hours before a public forum to meet candidates for Austin's new Chief Animal Services Officer, the city announced Abigail Smith was dropping out of the race. Today, the city says Smith is back in.

Smith dropped out because her father was critically ill. She notified the city of her tenuous situation during interviews in November. After her father died, the city requested that she reconsider entering the race.

Image courtesy Roadsidepictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/

A look at some of the audio pieces KUT produced in the past 24 hours.

Plans for MoPac on Display

The City of Austin plans to revamp MoPac and yesterday, KUT's Mose Buchele reported on the options and the politics behind them.

Hospice, Housing for People Living With Aids

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

HD 48 Recount Underway

A Travis County committee has started recounting the votes in the House District 48 race.  The recount could be done by this afternoon.  Initial voting results showed Incumbent Democrat Donna Howard won re-election by just 16 votes.  Her Republican challenger Dan Neil requested the votes be counted again.

Residents Returning to Ciudad Mier

Austin 10th and Brazos
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin is the 26th most dynamic city in the post-recession world, according to a new report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

The Global MetroMonitor report looks at cities' economic output and employment and ranks them based on how much they "punch above their weight."

Austin was the only American city in the top 30. Istanbul topped the list.

Austin-branded Camel Cigarettes
Image courtesy Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

As we told you last week, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says RJ Reynolds will start selling limited edition Camel cigarette packs this winter. The packaging will feature the symbols of America's hippest locales, Williamsburg, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and of course, Austin, Texas.

That's not sitting well with many elected officials from those municipalities. Now you can add Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell to the list of disgruntled public authorities.

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.

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