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Top Morning Stories February 24, 2011

Photo and caption courtesy of NASA/Bill Ingalls
The space shuttle Discovery is seen shortly after the Rotating Service Structure was rolled back at launch pad 39A, at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011.

Discovery Launching Final Time Without Austin Astronaut

All eyes will be on the sky on this historic day for space flight.  Austin Astronaut Timothy Kopra is not taking part in Discovery’s final flight.  Kopra suffered injuries from a bicycle accident last month.  NASA replaced him with another astronaut for the mission.  Discovery’s launching this afternoon from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Report: Border Apprehensions Down

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says apprehensions at the nation's borders were down last year.  New data show more than 460,000 people were apprehended in 2010.  That’s down 36 percent from two years ago.  The federal government says that shows fewer people are attempting to illegally cross into the U.S.  In the report, the feds also said they have historic levels of personnel, technology and resources at the Southwest border.

Dell Children's Seeing Increase in Severe Flu

Dell Children's Medical Center says over the past few weeks it's seen an uptick in the number of severe flu cases known as RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) in children less than a year old.  The Seton Family of Hospitals says this is a trend happening throughout Central Texas.  From a Seton press release:

While nearly every child will be infected by RSV before two years of age, it may cause very serious illness in some children particularly young or premature infants, and/or children with immune system problems. Affected children of these groups are at risk for severe illness and hospitalization.   While there is no vaccine for RSV, there are ways to prevent being infected or spreading infection.  

The CDC has some tips for preventing the spread of RSV here.

Austinites Paying More at the Pump

The price at the pump continues to creep up in Austin.  AAA Texas reports the average price of a gallon of regular unleaded in Austin this morning is averaging $3.06.  That’s up almost a nickel from yesterday.  The statewide average is  $3.08.