2:27 pm
Thu October 20, 2011

Texas Sets Wind Power Record

Photo by the russians are here http://www.flickr.com/photos/therussiansarehere/

Texas generated the most wind power in its history earlier this month, as more coastal wind farms come online. On October 7, the state generated 7,400 megawatts of wind power, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

Fifteen percent of all electricity on the ERCOT grid, which covers 85 percent of Texas, was coming from wind power on that day. The previous record, set in June, was 7,355 megawatts.

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1:46 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

ICE Removes Record Number of Immigrants in FY 2011

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Immigration and Customs Enforcementannounced this week it deported more immigrants during the 2011 fiscal year than it did in any year since the agency's 2003 inception. The total includes more than 216,700 people convicted of felonies and misdemeanors.

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1:45 pm
Wed October 19, 2011

Lubbock Cleans Up From Dust Storm

The dust storm turned daylight an ominous red in Lubbock.
Photo by timandkris http://www.flickr.com/photos/timandkris/

Life is getting back to normal in Lubbock after a dust cloud shrouded the city on Monday. The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal newspaper described it as an “end-of-the world sight”, and when you check out this video, you can see why.

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4:56 pm
Tue October 18, 2011

Where's the Wildfire Benefit Money Going?

Photo by KUT News

Monday night's star-studded concert at the Erwin Center benefiting Central Texas wildfire victims raised more than $500,000. 

We sat down with MariBen Ramsey of the Austin Community Foundation – the beneficiary of the fundraising proceeds -- and asked Ramsey to explain where this money's going to go.

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12:59 pm
Mon October 17, 2011

Wildfire Benefit Tonight, McCaul Blasts Federal Response

Firefighters putting out hot spots last month in Bastrop County
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Want to help Central Texas wildfire victims and hear “On the Road Again” performed by the Red Headed Stranger himself? A fundraiser tonight at the Frank Erwin Center will feature Willie Nelson, George Strait, the Dixie Chicks, Lyle Lovett and Asleep at the Wheel.

Also on the stage will be Eric Johnson, Joe Satriani, Christopher Cross, the Texas Tornados, Randy Rogers and Terri Hendrix.

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4:16 pm
Fri October 14, 2011

Property Tax Relief For Some Travis County Wildfire Victims

Travis County homes destroyed by wildfires, like this one in Steiner Ranch, may qualify for a partial property tax exemption.
Photo by Erika Aguilar, KUT News

Was your home obliterated by wildfires this year? If the answer is "yes," Travis County and Pflugerville ISD say they will “grant property tax relief. ”  In other words, they won’t tax you for something that no longer exists.

Well, sort of.

You will have to pay tax on 18 percent of the home’s value, if it was burned down to the foundation. You also have to pay tax on the land. The discount is calculated according to the number of days your home existed before it was razed by nature’s wrath.

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4:24 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Morton Conviction Reversed

Today the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals agreed to overturn Morton's conviction.
Photo by Keith Burtis/http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

Last Tuesday, Michael Morton walked out of jail a free man after being declared innocent of his wife's murder in 1986. After an independent review, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals announced today that it has approved the agreement to reverse Morton's conviction. The agreement was jointly presented by Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley, and Morton's attorneys.

3:58 pm
Wed October 12, 2011

Parole Changes for Foreign-Born Inmates

The new state law would mean more foreign-born Texan inmates would be eligible for parole if they are immediately deported.
Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

A new law that took effect on September 1st may make it easier for foreign-born criminal offenders in Texas to meet parole eligibility requirements, if they are subsequently deported. The law, authored by Representative Jerry Madden, R-Richardson, is designed to ease the state’s financial burden by deporting non-citizens instead of supporting their parole.

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4:22 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Aggie Conservatives Petition Against Perry's DREAM Act

Conservative students from Texas A&M, Rick Perry's alma mater, want the governor to call a special legislative session to repeal the Texas DREAM act.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

The Aggie Conservatives at Texas A&M University have posted an online petition demanding that Governor Rick Perry call a special session in the Texas legislature to put an end to the Texas law that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition at the state's colleges and universities. According to the student organization, over 200 have signed as of last night.

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12:13 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Cap Metro Train Hits Pedestrian

A MetroRail commuter train struck a man near Mopac and Parmer Lane late Monday afternoon.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

A man was hit by the MetroRail train yesterday. Officials say the man was walking on the tracks near Parmer Lane and Mopac at around 5:45 pm. Capital Metro spokesman Adam Shaivitz says that this is the first train-pedestrian incident since MetroRail opened in March 2010.

"The most important thing here is the rail safety reminder. It is illegal and highly dangerous to walk on or near railroad tracks, and this was a very serious example that demonstrates these dangers," said Shaivitz.

9:22 am
Sun October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup for October 9

Good news: It's raining. Bad news: It may be too much rain for extremely dry ground. A Flash Flood Watch remain in effect over Central Texas until 6:00 tonight.
Image courtesy National Weather Service

The broken heat records, the endless months of dry weather are gone...at least for today.

Flash Flood Watch for Central Texas

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5:36 pm
Sat October 8, 2011

Farmers Insurance Plans To Increase Homeowner Premiums

Farmers Insurance Group plans to increase homeowner premiums in Texas by 10 percent next year because the high cost of claims the company has received over the last three years.

Texas homeowners insured by Farmers Insurance Group could see their premiums increase by almost 10 percent next year. The Houston Chronicle reports the insurance company says the cost of claims in Texas has risen over the last three years.

The state's third-largest insurer needs the increase because of rising claims costs, said John Henle, state executive director of southern Texas for the company.

"Our losses over the past three years in Texas have been over $250 million, not including Hurricane Ike or the wildfires in Bastrop," he said.

The premium change would affect 350,000 people in Texas. The Texas Department of Insurance is reviewing the increase including another one by Farmers announced last month that would increase homeowner insurance rates and change deductibles.

williamson county
2:27 pm
Fri October 7, 2011

Emergency Ban On All Watering In Round Rock, Georgetown

Photo by flick3r&fade http://www.flickr.com/photos/rltherichman/

Round Rock and Georgetown are moving to their highest level of drought emergency because of the mechanical failure of two pumps that move water from a lake in Bell County to Lake Georgetown, a major source of water for people who live in the area.

“Basically, any [Georgetown resident] on the west side of I-35, their water is coming from Lake Georgetown,” city spokesman Keith Hutchinson told KUT News. “It’s our primary water supply.”

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News Brief
8:31 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 6, 2011

Flames from the Old Potato Fire in Bastrop County on Tuesday.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Garrett Gilbert to Transfer

Garrett Gilbert has been released from his UT athletics scholarship. This leaves the former Longhorn starting quarter back free to transfer. Gilbert has not announced where he will go, but says he will finish this semester at UT while he makes his decision.

Some Bastrop Evacuees Return Home

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11:54 am
Wed October 5, 2011

Bastrop County Fire’s Growth Slows

An image of the fire just hours after it broke out on October 4. The blaze is now 25 percent contained.
Photo by Matt Largey, KUT News

Update at 12:45 p.m.: Bastrop County's Office of Emergency Management reports on their Facebook page that the Old Potato Road fire apparently hasn't burned as much land as earlier thought.

County officials quote the Texas Forest Service, saying the fire has only consumed 315 acres.  Earlier estimates had the fire consuming 1,000 acres.

The fire is now listed as 50 percent contained. 

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