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Top Morning Stories December 2, 2010

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News
State Rep. Donna Howard (D-Austin) sits and watches results trickle in at the Driskill Hotel where the Democratic Party was holding its Election Night party Nov. 2nd. Howard won by 16 votes, but Republican challenger Dan Neil asked for a recount.

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

The Associated Press reports residents of the Mexican town of Ciudad Mier are slowly returning home.  Drug cartel violence had forced many to flee the city.  The military is reportedly patrolling the town.  While schools have reopened, only about half the students are back in class.    

Hundreds of people were staying in a nearby city at what is being called the first shelter for refugees of Mexico's drug war.  KUT's Matt Largey reported last month on efforts in Texas to help the refugees with food and supplies.

Sam Acho Awarded for Sportsmanship

Some good news for the UT football team: DE Sam Acho won the 2010 ARA Sportsmanship Award.  It's given out every year to an NCAA Division 1 football player who exemplifies sportsmanship both on and off the field.  In a statement Acho explained what the award means to him:

I am honored. I’m really shocked, amazed and proud to be in this category. This has been going on for six years - I looked at some of the previous winners and for me to be in a class with those guys is a huge honor for me. I want to also thank this entire team, because without this team, I wouldn’t be where I am at

Texas Head Coach Mack Brown said Acho was positive throughout the team's struggling season and described him as a man of integrity. Brown even joked he would adopt Acho if his family would let him. 

Mopac Mobility

If you have ideas on how to improve traffic flow on MoPac, there's another open house today.  Transportation officials are studying different projects including one that would add express lanes.  Tonight's meeting is from 6 to 8 at Murchison Middle School.  KUT's Mose Buchele has more details on the plans for MoPac here.