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Top Morning Stories August 9, 2011

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Photo by KUT News
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Sentencing Phase of Warren Jeffs Trial Winding Down

The Associated Press reports closing arguments are expected today in the sentencing phase of the trial against polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs.  He was convicted of sexually assaulting two underage girls. The AP reports prosecutors rested their case Monday after showing photos of Jeffs kissing the young girls with whom he had so-called "spiritual marriages".

They also played what an FBI agent said was a 2004 audio recording of Jeffs preparing five young girls to have sex with him. The 55-year-old Jeffs has led the FLDS since 2002. He is considered God’s spokesman on Earth among more than 10,000 church followers.

Jeffs faces up to life in prison.Relentless Heat Prompts Another Heat Advisory

No surprise to Central Texans, the National Weather Service has issued another heat advisory.  It's in effect from noon today through midnight Thursday night. Afternoon and early evening temperatures will reach or exceed 105 each day.

Austin Educators Get $5 Million in Bonuses

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting the Austin Independent School District again handed out millions of dollars in bonus checks to teachers and administrators as part of AISD's performance pay program.

In late July, the district wrote about $5.1 million in bonus checks — about $3,800 per teacher — to 1,330 educators at 19 schools participating in the program, known as Reach, which is in its fifth year in Austin schools. Encouraged by data showing student improvement, the program will continue to expand in the 2011-12 school year, this time to 27 of the district's 124 campuses, with an even greater focus on East Austin schools.

City Council Calls Special WTP4 Meeting

The Austin City Council will have special called meeting tomorrow at the Water Treatment Plant 4 construction site to get briefing on the project. Last week, the Council voted to have city staff evaluate what it would cost Austin to postpone construction for five or ten years.  

The meeting is open to the public but the Council will take neither public comments nor action.

The $508 million Water Treatment Plant Four has been the center of debate for the last couple of years in Austin over construction costs, water needs and conservation.