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Sunday News Roundup for February 27, 2010

Image courtesy evmaiden

Weekend traffic felt more like rush hour for many people who had to drive through South Austin on Saturday.  The Texas Department of Transportation closed I-35 at Ben White to work on completing an interchange.  KVUE reports this morning that everything has now been reopened. 

The release of revealing email exchanges among Austin City Council Members has sent a shockwave through municipal politics.  YNN reports on how after a full day of silence, Mayor Leffingwell yesterday apologized for his comments.

“With regard to the emails released by my office this week, I've talked to and left messages for the Fire Chief, Bobby Johns and others to apologize for comments I made in the emails that were critical of them," Leffingwell said. "I regret those comments and apologize to anyone else who took exception to them, or anything else I wrote. My commitment moving forward is to stay focused on issues, like the city budget, that are critical to Austin's future.”

The Statesman leads its Sunday print edition with a look at how proposed cuts in state Medicaid funding could limit health care access in rural Texas.  

Entire rural hospitals could go out of business. And that could make it difficult for tens of thousands of Texans to get obstetric care, emergency room access and general medical help.  

We keep hearing how Austin’s population has been exploding over the past few years and people from across the country flock to the Live Music Capitol. But in Dallas, new US Census figures show a meager one percent growth over the last decade. Our political reporting partners the Texas Tribune report today on how the Big D may need a new nickname.

City and county officials blame the low growth on Dallas’ topography: The third-largest city in Texas is simply built out. With little empty land ripe for new development, they say, the bulk of the growth must naturally be outside the county line — that is, until their efforts to lure business professionals and retiring suburbanites into a newly remodeled, newly trendy downtown fully pay off.

It’s Oscar night! And more than a few Texans may be cheering for the movie that was filmed in Austin, Granger, and Blanco:  “True Grit.” The Coen brothers received 10 nominations for their film, including best picture. Austin 360 reports on the connections the Coens have to Texas.

The brothers, who also serve as producers on their films, say they chose Texas for the terrain and congenial atmosphere for production talent as well as its tax incentives — which are under attack in the current legislative session.

Austin City Limits held its first ever taping at its new Moody Theater location downtown on 2nd St. The guest of honor, KXAN reports, was the Steve Miller Band.

The crowd answered the call: chic was all over the venue's three floors -- from sequins and pearls to blue jeans and tattered hats. Austinites defined "chic" in their own unique ways, coming together to eat, drink and be part of history as the new backdrop for the TV show was unveiled for the first time to the public.

Finally, Austinite and Internet celebrity Zach Anner most likely spent the weekend celebrating the fact he won his own show on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network. Anner reportedly watched the winning episode Friday night at the Alamo Drafthouse’s South Lamar location.  Here’s coverage from Anner’s hometown TV station in West New York State.

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. He covers the big projects that are reshaping how we get around Austin, like the I-35 overhaul, the airport's rapid growth and the multibillion-dollar transit expansion Project Connect. He also focuses on the daily changes that affect how we walk, bike and drive around the city. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on X @KUTnathan.