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Top Morning Stories May 13, 2011

Election Day is Saturday for several Central Texas cities and school districts.
Photo by KUT News
Election Day is Saturday for several Central Texas cities and school districts.

Election Day is Saturday

Tomorrow is Election Day for some Central Texas cities and school districts. Austinites will be voting on three city council seats. The Del Valle, Eanes, Round Rock, Leander and Manor Independent School Districts are holding board elections. 

Click here to see Travis County's sample ballots.  Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Find information on polling locations here.

KUT's city reporters Mose Buchele and Matt Largey did a lot of reporting on the Austin city council elections. Here are their stories for the Place 1, Place 3, and Place 4 elections.

All Power Now Restored Following Storms

Austin Energy said it finished restoring power overnight to people affected by yesterday's storms.  The last repair was finished at about 3:00 a.m. Austin Energy says tree limbs on power lines and lightning strikes caused the majority of outages. Repairs had to be made at more than 260 locations across town.

Texas House Passes Security Pat-Down Bill

The Associated Pressreports the Texas House has passed a bill that would ban 'offensive' security pat-downs at airports.  The measure makes it a criminal offense to touch anyone's private parts, including through clothing, during a search. The bill's sponsor, Republican Rep. David Simpson, said the bill is about dignity but it may be superseded by federal law.

UT Regents Express Support for Chancellor Cigarroa

The UT System Board of Regents has expressed unanimous support for System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. The Austin American-Statesmancalled the Chancellor's speech Thursday a "watershed moment."

"I need your support, and I need your confidence, and I need your authority to accomplish the important work ahead," Francisco Cigarroa said during a 34-minute speech in which he pledged to pursue excellence in research and teaching, higher graduation rates and a careful expansion of online learning. That Cigarroa felt compelled to seek the endorsement of the Board of Regents after more than two years on the job — and to insist that the regents refrain from micromanaging the system's academic and health campuses — spoke volumes about the politics of higher education in Texas.

On Tuesday, Texas A&M University System Chancellor Mike McKinney announced his retirement.  KUT's political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, has a write up this morning looking at why so much attention is on UT and A&M's chancellors and boards right now:

Interest in the actions of the university system regents has reached an unusual level, among the public and in the halls of the Texas Capitol, as distrust and acrimony have spread through the higher education community in recent months. And it seems that neither board’s actions this week are likely to lessen that scrutiny.

You can read the Tribune's entire article here