5:31 pm
Sat August 25, 2012

Neil Armstrong, First Man To Walk On The Moon, Dies

Armstrong in the lunar module after the historic moonwalk.

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 4:28 pm

Former astronaut Neil Armstrong, known for his words, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," has died. The first man ever to walk on the moon was 82.

Update at 5:15 p.m. ET:

Armstrong's family has released a statement, saying he died following cardiovascular procedures. NASA published it here. They say, "Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

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12:47 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Wildfires Have Burned Nearly 7 Million Acres So Far, Up 6 Percent From Last Year

A photograph from June 8, 2002 shows flames from the Hayman wildfire, which burned in in the Rocky Mountains southwest of Denver.
Bryan Dahlberg/FEMA Getty Images

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 4:08 pm

There's word this morning of another wildfire, this time outside the community of Manton in Northern California, where "dozens of buildings, many of them likely homes, have been destroyed," as The Associated Press reports.

Wildfires out West have been a constant topic this summer, it seems, on The Two-Way and other news outlets.

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8:05 am
Wed August 22, 2012

Texas Sheriff: Sacred White Buffalo Was Not Slaughtered

Lightning Medicine Cloud, a sacred white buffalo, last June.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:51 am

The mystery surrounding the death of a rare white buffalo and the claim by some Lakota Sioux in Texas that it had been killed by other Native Americans deepened Tuesday. A local sheriff announced that investigators believe the animal died of a bacterial disease and said the case is now closed.

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5:37 pm
Tue August 21, 2012

Tropical Storm Isaac Forms In Atlantic, Puerto Rico Under Storm Watch

The National Hurricane Center's five-day forecast of Tropical Storm Isaac.

Originally published on Tue August 21, 2012 5:02 pm

The National Hurricane Center says we have a new named tropical storm in the Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Isaac has winds of 40 mph, but it is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday afternoon.

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11:06 am
Mon August 20, 2012

DWI Labor Day Crackdown Already Underway

The Texas Department of Public Safety has already stepped up DWI patrols for Labor Day.

For the next few weeks, DPS troopers are focusing on high-risk locations where alcohol-related crashes happen most often.

DPS says during Labor Day enforcement last year, troopers made more than 2,000 DWI arrests.

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4:10 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Tax Free Weekend Getting Underway

It's that time of year again: As the summer ends for Texas students, the state's annual sales tax-free weekend gears up again. 

Items receiving tax-free status this weekend include clothes, shoes, backpacks and school supplies.  You can find a complete list of items going untaxed this weekend here.

As KUT News reports, Texas Sen. Rodney Ellis, who sponsored the measure originally in 1999, is cognizant of the impact on the state of foregoing those tax dollars, estimated at $65 million this year. 

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5:45 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

A&M Trying to Distance Itself from Shooting Incident

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

A shooting that left three dead in College Station on Monday did not occur on the campus of Texas A&M University or involve members of the A&M community. Yet in headlines around the country, it is being referred to as the "Texas A&M shooting."

With new students scheduled to move into A&M's residence halls on Sunday, this has left the university with a bit of a public relations problem that officials are scrambling to rectify.

"It’s extremely important for us that our new students coming into campus and their families understand that this is a very safe campus," said A&M spokesman Jason Cook. "We truly care about the safety of our students and we have many, many safety measures in place."

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12:30 pm
Tue August 14, 2012

Fort Hood Shooting Trial Starts Next Week

Jury panel selection in the trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan begins Monday, Aug. 20.
courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

The trial of Maj. Nidal Hasan – accused gunman in the 2009 shooting rampage at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas – should begin next week as scheduled.

The Associated Press reports that military judge Col. Gregory Gross denied a request from Hasan’s attorneys today requesting a delay:

Hasan's attorneys had argued that they needed more time to look through 26 boxes of documents, including some of his medical records and jail logs.

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11:16 am
Tue August 14, 2012

After Six Decades, Slain Texas POW ID'd Through DNA

A passenger aboard SFC Barker's flight captured this photo on the Dallas-Ft. Worth tarmac.
Donna Wasielewski

As American athletes come home from competing against the Chinese in the 2012 Summer Olympics medal count, it’s hard to remember that a few decades ago, American soldiers were fighting the Chinese Army in the Korean War.  

In late 1950, General Douglas MacArthur mobilized American forces for a military campaign that he called "Home by Christmas,” because the objective was to quickly win the war and get the troops home for the holidays. Instead, the Chinese attack at the Ch’ongch’on River led to the retreat of American forces and a protracted war in Korea.

In the midst of that battle on December 1, a 21-year-old medical supervisor from Rockwall County, Texas was taken prisoner.

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1:32 pm
Mon August 13, 2012

Shooting Near A&M Campus in College Station

The update from Texas A&M's website.

Update 5 (4:48 p.m.): An afternoon shooting in College Station has left three people dead, including a law officer, the shooter, and an apparent bystander. 

Constable Brian Bachman was killed while serving an eviction notice at a home near the Texas A&M campus. Neighbors heard the gunshots and called College Station police. An ensuing shootout left two more officers wounded.  

The suspect, whose name has not been released, died later of his injuries. Reports of gunfire led University officials to issue a Code Maroon -- alerting students of the shooting and telling them to take cover until the situation was under control.

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4:14 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

Reports: Commander Out at Lackland Air Base

Colonel Glenn E. Palmer has been relived of command at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio
U.S. Air Force

In the wake of a sexual assault scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, the commander of the Air Force’s sole basic military training group has been dismissed.

Colonel Glenn E. Palmer served as commander of Air Force Basic Military Training at the 737th Training Group at Lackland. In his tenure overseeing operations there, the base has been rocked by allegations of sexual assault from female trainees.

The Associated Press reports:

Officials familiar with the decision said Palmer has been relieved from those duties, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement was not yet public.

The officials said there was no indication Palmer was facing any criminal charges. In all, six instructors have been charged with offenses ranging from rape to adultery.

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10:25 am
Fri August 10, 2012

Life Sentence for Naser Abdo in Ft. Hood Bomb Plot

Army Pfc. Abdo represented himself at his trial.
Matt Largey for KUT News

Update: The Austin American-Statesman notes that Abdo received two life sentences today, plus an additional 60 years in prison. 

The daily reports that Abdo expressed no remorse at sentencing: 

“I don’t ask the court for mercy because Allah is the one who gives me mercy,” Adbo said, referring to God in Arabic. He said he was motivated by what he called crimes committed by the U.S. and the U.S. military against Muslims.

“I have continued to answer the call of jihad and will continue to the day I am called to account for my deeds,” he continued.

Original post: This morning, a  federal judge sentenced the AWOL soldier convicted of plotting to blow up a restaurant popular with Fort Hood troops to life in prison.

Private First Class Naser Jason Abdo was found guilty in May of charges including attempting to use a weapon of mass destruction. Killeen police arrested Abdo last July with bomb-making materials.

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10:23 am
Thu August 9, 2012

TABC Changes What it Means to Be a Beer

Thomas Hawk, Texas Tribune

Until recently, beer drinkers who took their time to read the labels on their bottles or cans may have encountered some head-scratching fine print concerning Texas.

Underneath the name of Brooklyn Brewery’s Brooklyn Lager, for instance, was the note “In Texas, malt liquor.” Even closer inspection would reveal that the word “beer” did not appear on the label.

The labeling quirks were the result of a law that required all malt beverages (read: beer) containing more than 4 percent alcohol by weight to be labeled as either “ale” or “malt liquor” to be sold in Texas. The same law also prevented any drink with an alcohol content of more than 4 percent from being advertised in Texas as a “beer.” 

“It made for a very awkward label,” said Eric Ottaway, the general manager of Brooklyn Brewery. “Try writing a description without using the word ‘beer.’”

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6:59 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Could IQ Score Could Halt Texas Execution?

State lawyers believe Wilson's IQ is higher than 61.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Update: Wilson was executed. The lower courts agreed with state lawyers that the results of the IQ test were faulty. The Supreme Court denied the request to stop the execution. Wilson was the seventh prisoner executed in Texas so far this year.

Earlier: Attorneys for a Texas man scheduled to die Tuesday evening are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the execution.

Marvin Wilson, 54, was convicted for the 1992 abduction and shooting death of a police informant – 21-year-old Jerry Williams – in Beaumont.

A psychological test found Wilson’s IQ was 61 – which defense lawyers say indicates mental impairment and makes him ineligible for execution. State lawyers argue that the test result was faulty and that all other tests showed his IQ above the impairment threshold of 70.

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AM Update: 8/3/12
8:10 am
Fri August 3, 2012

AM Update: Boardwalk Groundbreaking, State Budget Lesson, Ice Cream Festival

The boardwalk project will close a 1.1-mile long gap in the trail around Lady Bird Lake.
City of Austin

City to Break Ground on Boardwalk

Today the City of Austin and The Trail Foundation will officially launch the Boardwalk Trail Completion Project for the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake.

The project will close a 1.1-mile gap in the trail. The boardwalk will be over land and over the lake. Construction could be done by early 2014.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, city officials and Trail Foundation officials will take part in today's groundbreaking. The ceremony will take place at International Shores Park near the trail. The Austin Fire Department will shoot off celebratory water cannons at the park to commemorate the project’s launch.

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3:26 pm
Thu July 26, 2012

Confusion Over Release of 'Final' Bastrop Fire Case Study

The case study examines why some homes burned in the Bastrop Complex Wildfire while others did not.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

A recent case study examines the details of last September’s Bastrop wildfire. The fire destroyed 1,600 homes and burned 32,000 acres.

But there seems to be some confusion over whether the report of the fire that’s being released by Bastrop County is the final version.

Bastrop County Emergency Management Coordinator Mike Fisher helped author the case study. Earlier this month, he presented the report to county commissioners. And he plans to release it to the public later this week.

But the Texas Forest Service – another partner in putting the study together – says the version that Fisher has released is not the final version. And, it says, it may not be completely accurate.

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2:24 pm
Wed July 25, 2012

Contempt of Court Charge for Accused Ft. Hood Shooter

An undated photo of Maj. Nidal Hasan. His facial hair goes against military tribunal protocols.
courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

Today, alleged Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan was found in contempt of court, fined $1,000 and told he could be forcibly shaved if he didn’t remove his beard in time for his pending trial date.

Hasan’s facial hair has been a focal point throughout several recent court appearances. Army psychiatrist Hasan and his attorneys contend his beard is an expression of his Muslim faith; Army protocols, however, demand the beard be removed, which Hasan has so far refused to do.

The AP reports:

Hasan's defense attorneys argued that he had not shaved in observance of the holy Islamic month of Ramadan, KWTX-TV reported. Ramadan is expected to end just before the trial starts.

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10:07 am
Mon July 23, 2012

13 Dead in South Texas Pickup Truck Crash

A truck carrying 23 passengers crashed in South Texas Sunday night, killing 13.
Courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

Thirteen people are reported dead and 10 others injured, after a pickup truck carrying 23 passengers crashed into a tree in South Texas Sunday evening.

“This is the most people I've seen in any passenger vehicle, and I've been an officer for 38 years,” Gerald Bryant, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety told the Associated Press.

Officials believe the passengers may be illegal immigrants. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol Agents were called in to assist with the investigation. “It's unknown whether or not (the victims) were illegal, but it's possible,” Bryant told the AP.

Austin police have noted the popularity of similar trucks in the transport of undocumented immigrants before.

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AM Update 7/23/12
7:58 am
Mon July 23, 2012

AM Update: Former Austinite Killed in Aurora, A&M Biodefense Center Dedication, Early Voting Starts

Gordon Cowden, 51, was killed Friday in Aurora, Colorado.
Courtesy Cowden Family

Texans Victims of Colorado Shooting

An Austin native was one of the 12 people killed in Friday’s shooting at a Colorado movie theater.

Gordon Cowden, 51, of Aurora, took his two teenage children to the midnight premiere. They were not injured.

Cowden’s family described him as a “true Texas gentleman.” They say he was a “loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner.”

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12:40 pm
Fri July 20, 2012

Read the FBI Report on the Fort Hood Shooting

"Nidal Malik Hasan's transformation into a killer underscores the dilemma confronting the FBI," the report states.
U.S. Army

The Federal Bureau of Investigation released its report on the incidents surrounding the 2009 mass shooting at Fort Hood which left 13 dead and dozens wounded.

“The investigation did not probe the shootings, which are the subject of a U.S. Army-led inquiry and military criminal proceeding against Major Nidal Hasan,” a press release states. Rather, the report, drafted by Judge William H. Webster, considers whether the FBI missed warning signs that shooting suspect Hasan would launch an attack against fellow service members.

Discussion of the report has focused on competing assessments of army psychiatrist Hasan from separate FBI field offices – specifically whether correspondence with slain terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki was work-related or something more. 

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