Austin

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

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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/respres

 

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.

pertussis
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+ http://www.flickr.com/photos/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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/68686644@N00/

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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/cliffbaise/

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

Image from KUT news.

UT Longhorns Back on Winning Track

vintage radio
Image courtesy monogatari http://www.flickr.com/photos/monogatari/

Here are some of the audio stories we've produced over the last 24 hours.

KUT's Erika Aguilar reports on body scanners at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. We don't have 'em yet, but most Texas airports do. And we'll be getting them soon.

gowalla disney pins
Image courtesy Gowalla

Austin-based Gowalla announced this morning that it's teaming up with Disney Parks to create a bunch of unique Disney themed locations for the social networking service.

Gowalla is an app that runs on smartphones and allows people to "check in" when they visit any location, from a restaurant, to a park, to a long line at a movie theater. Anyone can create locations, but some are custom made by Gowalla and have their own unique symbol. Checking in earns you a stamp on your virtual Gowalla passport.  Users can also earn pins and various other digital rewards.

KUT News called Gowalla today to talk about the new deal. We spoke with Andy Ellwood, their director of business development.

Four Loko
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning yesterday to the makers of potent caffeinated alcoholic drinks like Four Loko. The New York Times says the FDA warned them to remove the caffeine in 15 days or stop selling the products.

These popular bevearges are marketed heavily at college students. KUT News took a stroll outside our studios and talked to some undergrads about their impressions regarding the ban. Check out the video below.

The Round Rock Independent School District says a bomb threat that led to the evacuation of two schools earlier this week originated in the Saudi Kingdom.

Homeless woman
Image courtesy Arty Smokes http://www.flickr.com/photos/artysmokes/

How Domestic Violence Often Leads to Homelessness

It's National Homelessness and Hunger Awareness Week, and the local non-profit SafePlace is hosting a discussion this afternoon about the relationship between domestic violence and homelessness. 

WTP4
Image courtesy City of Austin

Not a drop of rain in the sky, but it was a wet day at City hall, with the debate over Water Treatment Plant 4 flooding out other items set for the morning’s agenda. 

With a series of close votes, City Council dedicated $300 million dollars to the completion of Water Treatment Plant 4. It effectively gives the project a final green light.  The votes came after hours of sometimes emotional public comment and council discussion. Water Utility Director Greg Mazaros said it made sense for council to approve the remaining funds all in one go.

Vintage radio
Photo courtesy bricolage.108 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bricolage108/

Stories you may have heard on 90.5 FM over the past 24 hours.
KUT's Matt Largey reports on how people fleeing drug violence from the Mexican border town of Ciudad Mier are asking for help from Texas.

Meanwhile, KUT's Crystal Chavez spoke with Julian Aguilar with our reporting partner the Texas Tribune about his recent visit to a shelter housing people who fled drug violence in Ciudad Mier.

KUT's Mose Buchele tells us how shabby roads in Texas are damaging our cars to the tune of more than $20 billion a year.

Dinosaur bones under I35 in downtown Austin
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Thousands of people drive over the I-35 bridge in downtown Austin everyday, and many are probably wondering about the large metal beams poking from underneath. Some people have compared them to dinosaur bones or whale bones.

Travis Justice Complex
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

TCEQ Sunset to be Released

The Freebirds Expansion will bring 1,000 new jobs to the area
Photo Courtesy of Jeff Kramer

Traveling Austinites with a taste for “Monster” burritos can rejoice as Freebirds World Burritos will be opening twenty more locations in Texas by the end of next year. The expansion of the Austin-based (although it was founded in Santa Barbara, CA) Mexican food chain will add in between 1,000 to 1,500 jobs to the state, the company stated in a press release.

City Officials are Wondering What to do with MoPac
Photo courtesy of Google Maps

Many Austin motorists have found themselves stopped on MoPac Expressway, the North-South road that is intended to alleviate traffic on its cross-town alternative, Interstate 35.

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