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Top Morning Stories 11/18/11: More Occupy Austin Protesters Arrested, ABIA Expecting Heavy Traffic

Photo by KUT News.
Austin Bergstrom International Airport's security checkpoint in November 2010. ABIA officials say passenger traffic should start increasing Friday for the holiday weekend.

Expect ABIA to be Busy Starting Today

You may want to get to Austin's airport two hours early if you're flying anywhere for Thanksgiving. Austin Bergstrom International Airport officials expect passenger traffic to increase starting today. People may notice some changes at ABIA. The airport now has some body scanners running at security checkpoints.

Also, people picking up passengers can wait in a new free cell phone area until friends and relatives call for pick-up. The airport no longer has free 30-minute parking in its garage.

Occupiers Arrested After Chaining Themselves to Tree

A handful of Occupy Austin protestors were arrested at city hall last night. KXAN reports they were arrested after chaining themselves to a tree and refusing to leave when city crews were scheduled to do their cleaning. Here's what the police chief told KXAN:

"We really don't want to have to take people to jail," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. "But when they don't want to go with the process that has been established here, that's their choice, and we're going to enforce the law." Chief Acevedo pointed out how dozens of other people an the Occupy site complied with officers, and were not arrested.

Several pictures of last night's arrest were posted on the Occupy Austin Facebook page.

Austin Musician & DJ Passes Away

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting Joe Gracey, a key figure in the development of Austin's music scene, died Thursday in Houston after a battle with cancer.

Gracey, who turned 61 on Monday, was a music producer, writer and bass guitar player with his wife Kimmie Rhodes' band. He began making his mark in Austin in the 1970s as a young radio disc jockey with a preternaturally deep voice who took a new format called progressive country music and ran with it. "To me, his heart resonated to the ears of Austin," said his longtime friend, Austin attorney and musician Bobby Earl Smith. "He could make you feel like he was playing that song for you."

The Statesman reports Joe Gracey was the first talent coordinator for Austin City Limits and the voice for Armadillo World Headquarters radio ads.