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Top Morning Stories February 16, 2011

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News.
State lawmakers Donna Howard, Kirk Watson, and Paul Workman provided Eanes ISD parents with an update on the state budget last night at the Westlake High School Performing Arts Center.

Eanes ISD Parents Hear about Budget Woes

One of the wealthiest school districts in Central Texas is not exempt from state budget cuts.  Some state lawmakers delivered a reality check to more than a hundred parents at the Westlake Performing Arts Center last night.  The Eanes Independent School District is estimating a budget deficit of $6.3 million. That’s about 10 percent of its budget. KUT's Nathan Bernier was at last night's meeting; you can hear his report below. 

Round Rock ISD Gets Public Input on Budget

Round Rock ISD parents also attended a public meeting yesterday to discuss budget cuts.  Parents were divided into groups to crunch the numbers and decide what they would cut or save. Some parents told KVUE News that they liked the opportunity to write down their suggestions and felt as if their input would really matter. 

Texas Executes First Inmate of the Year

Michael Wayne Hall of North Texas was executed last night for the slaying of a 19-year-old woman with mental disabilities.  This happened 13 years ago and the victim was Amy Robinson.  Another man, Robert Neville, was also executed for her murder five years ago.

Austin Investor Indicted on Fraud, Money Laundering Charges

A federal grand jury Tuesday indicted Kurt Barton, the former CEO of an Austin based investment firm, on criminal charges including money laundering, wire fraud and securities fraud.  That's according to the Austin American-Statesman:

Starting in 2002, Barton accumulated a series of companies and partnerships based around Triton Financial. At one time, he employed former football greats Ty Detmer and Chris Weinke to sell clients on investing in his deals. Earl Campbell lent his name to a Triton-owned car dealership. Many of Barton's investors were members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to which Barton also belonged. According to court documents, Barton collected more than $50 million from investors, and for a time he lived well. He drove expensive cars and motorcycles, owned a house in a gated community and a ranch in Hays County, flew in private planes and watched University of Texas football games from a luxury box.  ... in 2009, several investors filed lawsuits accusing Barton of misleading them about how their money was being used. In mid-December of that year, a Wimberley woman showed up at Triton's Bee Cave Road offices with a handgun and demanded her money back — unsuccessfully    

Barton's attorney told the Statesman he would plead not guilty on the charges.

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