2:37 pm
Wed February 16, 2011

Texas Grid Operator Updates List of Plant Failures

ERCOT released an updated list of power plants that failed, leading to rolling blackouts February 2.
Image by KUT News

Officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas continue to identify more power plants that went offline during the power emergency that struck the state two weeks ago. Normally, details on plant failures would be confidential for 60 days, because of market rules set up by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.  But ERCOT has asked power generators to agree to a waiver of that period. 

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10:56 am
Wed February 16, 2011

State Officials Warn Pilots about Eagle's Nest

Game wardens say some ultralight aircraft have been getting too close to a Central Texas eagle's nest
Image courtesy of Pen Waggener on flickr.com

Texas state game wardens are concerned that some ultralight airplanes have been flying too close to a nest of bald eagles in a pecan tree along the Llano River, about eight miles east of Llano.

Mike Cox, a spokesman with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD), says wardens think photographers on the planes are trying to get close-up pictures of the two bald eagles and the eaglet that live in the nest.  But planes buzzing that close to the nest could do serious harm to the birds.

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9:23 am
Sat February 12, 2011

Texas Produced Okra Is Recalled

Breaded okra made in McAllen, TX is being recalled because the food contains whey, a milk ingredient, that was not properly labeled.
Photo courtesy of the FDA.

A frozen food company baed in McAllen is voluntarily recalling its breaded okra because the food may contain whey, a milk ingredient. Magic Valley Fresh Frozen Inc. makes okra under the HEB label and sells in Texas grocery stories.

The 24-ounce and five-pound breaded okra bags under the HEB brand label were made from July 1, 2010 to Jan. 31 of this year.

No one has reported an allergic reaction because of the okra.

2:02 pm
Thu February 10, 2011

Texas Sets New Power Consumption Record, Power Watch Cancelled

Warm weather is ahead, but patches of ice remain. The cold weather prompted Texans to set a new winter power consumption record, according to ERCOT.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The state's power grid regulator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says Texas set a new record for winter peak demand. Between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., the state was consuming 57,282 megawatts. That's almost 1,000 megawatts higher than the previous record from February 2nd.

At the same time, ERCOT is cancelling its request to consumers to reduce their energy consumption during peak hours.

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10:50 am
Wed February 9, 2011

Record Electricity Usage Expected In Texas Tomorrow

Photo courtesy of Miranda Martin/via Flickr

The state's electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), says it's expecting to set a winter record for power demand Thursday morning between 7 and 8 a.m. ERCOT is asking people to conserve power to help minimize the risk of rolling blackouts like the ones that swept across Texas last week.

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3:51 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

ERCOT Asks for Power Conservation Ahead of Cold Front

ERCOT urges Texans to cut back on electricity tonight and tomorrow morning during the peak times.
Image Courtesy Cath in Dorset http://www.flickr.com/photos/cathwalker-hillygroundphotography/

Freezing weather is returning tonight and tomorrow morning. ERCOT, the agency that runs the state's power grid, is asking consumers to cut back on electricity usage, to avoid another round of rolling blackouts. Officials say the peak times for usage are 6:00-9:00 am and 4:00-8:00 pm, and that's when they need the help most.

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1:39 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Blackouts Pushed Electricity Prices to the Limit

Photo by Nasha Lee/KUT.

It's been reported that last week's rolling blackouts that left parts of the state in the dark for 15 minutes or more--in some cases, a lot more)--made for sky-high wholesale electric prices.

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9:05 am
Sun February 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Brief

Governor Rick Perry will lay out his legislative agenda Tuesday
picture courtesy of The Texas Tribune

You know what they say, if you don't like the weather in Texas...just wait a minute.  After 72-hours below freezing in Austin, we got into the upper 60's Saturday with another nice day ahead today.  BUT, we've got freezing temperatures and rain (or sleet or whatever) in the forecast this week.  So, don't pack your heavy coats yet.

On to the news of the day:

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2:19 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Report: 2009 Fort Hood Massacre Could Have Been Prevented

Soldiers bow their heads at a memorial ceremony held days after the Fort Hood shootings in Nov. 2009. A new report suggests the FBI and Army failed to act on information that may have prevented the attack.
Image by KUT News

A new report issued today by two US Senators says the FBI and military officials repeatedly ignored signs that Nidal Hasan was a "ticking time bomb".  Hasan is facing court martial over the November 2009 shootings at Fort Hood, an army post

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cold weather
1:05 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

Live Blogging ERCOT News Conference

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas is holding a news conference to discuss yesterday's events. Follow it live here.

cold weather
3:49 pm
Wed February 2, 2011

Steps You Can Take To Reduce The Likelihood Of Rolling Outages

Image by KUT News

The rotating power outages that afflicted Austin today are over for now, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), but the energy regulator says there is a strong likelihood they could resume tomorrow.

"Without this safety valve," ERCOT said in a statement, "generators would overload and begin shutting down to avoid damage, risking a domino effect of a state-wide outage."

Here are measures ERCOT says you can you can take to lower your power consumption and help reduce the need for rolling outages.

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3:02 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

CASA Day at the Capitol

Display at the State Capitol of Texas children who died last year of neglect and abuse.
Photo by Kenn Zuniga for KUT News

Today was CASA Day at the Capitol.  A memorial was also displayed at the Capitol today, showing the names and ages of the Texas children that died of abuse and neglect in 2010.  Funding for CPS workers and services for children in foster care was the most pressing issue at today’s event for the CASA volunteers.

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2:33 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Poll: 70 Percent of Texans Favor Smoke-Free Workplace

A survey shows 70 percent of Texans approve of a smoke-free workplace
Image by Audrey Morton for KUT News

A poll released this morning claims 70 percent of Texans in favor of smoke-free bars, restaurants and workplace.  The survey, conducted for the Smoke-Free Coalition of Texas, also showed a majority would support political candidates who reflected their views.

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2:15 pm
Tue February 1, 2011

Feb. 1 Marks the 150th Anniversary of Texas Secession

Texas is expected to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Texas Secession Feb. 1, 2011.
Image courtesy Tom Gill, http://www.flickr.com/photos/lapstrake/2843067726/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the resolution that allowed Texas to leave the United States and join the Confederacy in the weeks before the outbreak of the Civil War.

While there are no commemorations today of that decision that led to a sixth national flag flying over Texas, groups across the state will stage various events to mark the Civil War's 150th anniversary over the next four years.

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2:22 pm
Mon January 31, 2011

Judge Rules in Healthcare Lawsuit brought by Texas and 25 Other States

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott helped spearhead a lawsuit over the Healthcare Law adopted last year. A Florida federal judge ruled in favor Texas and 25 other states this afternoon
Image by Christopher Kosho for KUT News

A federal judge in Pensacola, Florida ruled today that a key element of the health care law passed by Congress last year is unconstitutional.

3:25 pm
Fri January 21, 2011

102-Year-Old UT Alumnus Dies In Weatherford, Texas

Jack Borden, a Texas lawyer and UT grad, passed away this week at the age of 102.
Image courtesy Rick McKee http://charlestonphotographer.com/

A lawyer from North Texas who was heralded as being "America's oldest worker" has passed away in Weatherford at the ripe old age of 102.

From the Associated Press:

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12:30 pm
Tue January 11, 2011

Travis Commissioners Extend Burn Ban

A burn ban remains in effect in Travis County and several Central Texas counties to guard against wildfires, like last year's burn in Bastrop County (pictured).
Erika Aguilar/KUT

Cold weather, no matter.  Recent rain, no matter.  Conditions are still dry enough for Travis County Commissioners to extend the current outdoor burn ban another month.

According to a release from Travis County Fire Marshal Herschel Lee,

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1:51 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

DPS Makes More Than 1,100 Holiday DWI Arrests, 35 Percent Increase

Image courtesy Texas Department of Public Safety

The Texas Department of Public Safety says it arrested 1,106 impaired drivers over the holidays.  That's a 35 percent increase over last year's 818 arrests.

DPS partially credits a Texas Department of Transportation grant targeting high risk locations for the increase.  Of this year's arrests, 442 were made in areas where drunken driving accidents were statistically more likely to occur.

The $2 million grant will fund increased patrols throughout 2011, meaning more troopers will be on patrol during Spring Break, Independence Day, and Labor Day.

12:30 pm
Fri January 7, 2011

State Panel Reviews Willingham Case

Fire expert Craig Beyler testifies before the Texas Forensics Science Commission on Friday reviewing the Cameron Todd Willingham.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

A state panel in Austin has been hearing today from fire experts about the high profile Cameron Todd Willingham arson conviction.  Willingham was convicted and put to death for setting the fire that killed his three daughters in 1991.  He was executed in 2004, But some experts have said the conviction was based on bad science. 

The Texas Forensic Science Commission reviewed the science that was used in the investigation and whether or not investigators were negligent. KUT's Matt Largey is covering panel.

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10:05 am
Wed January 5, 2011

FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs Back In San Angelo Court On Child Rape Charge

Warren Jeffs, ecclesiastical head of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, in a photo dated December 1, 2010. Jeffs is facing a pre-trial hearing today in San Angelo.
Image courtesy Reagan County Sheriff's Department

A pre-trial hearing is scheduled today in the West Texas town of San Angelo for Warren Jeffs, a spiritual leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (FLDS).

The FLDS practices polygamy, and its Yearning For Zion Ranch in West Texas was raided by Texas child welfare authorities in April 2008.  More than 400 children were seized by the state, but most were eventually returned to their families under a Texas Supreme Court ruling that found the state overstepped its authority by treating the entire community as a single family.

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