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Top Morning Stories 1/4/12

Gov. Rick Perry at a rally on the morning of the Jan. 3, 2012, Iowa caucuses
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune
Gov. Rick Perry at a rally on the morning of the Jan. 3, 2012, Iowa caucuses

Esme Barrera’s Family Visits Crime Scene

The family of Esme Barrera, a woman well known in Austin’s music scene who was killed on New Year’s Day, walked through the crime scene yesterday. Police are still investigating the 29-year-old’s mysterious slaying.

“She had a sole purpose of making the world better and she did that by helping with special needs kids,” Marlene Barrera told KXAN.

Tributes keep pouring in for Barrera, including from musicians like Ted Leo, YACHT, and Okkervil River. The Austinist is maintaining a list of tributes and benefits being held in Barrera’s honor. Wanted posters of the suspect have been placed around campus. So far, police do not have a suspect in custody.

The El Paso Times has also been covering the story. Barrera was originally from El Paso. The paper reports that Barrera’s funeral is scheduled for Tuesday at Our Lady of Assumption Church in El Paso with a public viewing Monday at Sunset Funeral Home.

Perry Has No Experience Losing

Why did Governor Perry not give up after suffering a bruising fifth place defeat in the Iowa caucuses on Tuesday? Perhaps it’s because quitting is not in his DNA, the Texas Tribune’s Jay Root reports.

Time and time again, he has won seemingly unwinnable elections. His biggest test came in 1990, when pundits and even many Republicans thought the cotton farmer and former Air Force pilot had no chance to beat liberal icon Jim Hightower for Texas agriculture commissioner.

Top advisors, on a condition of anonymity, told the Tribune that Perry’s wife Anita and his son Griffin were strongly opposed to him ending the campaign.

“He’s never lost, and I don’t think he or the campaign intend to lose this time,” political consultant Reggie Bashur told the Tribune. “He plays to win. He won’t let up.”

John Aielli Still Recovering After Heart Attack

KUT announced via Twitter yesterday that Eklektikos host John Aielli suffered a heart attack Tuesday and was recovering in hospital. Aielli is the longest serving host still on the air at KUT. He also drops by the newsroom regularly after his show to shoot the breeze about current events.

Jody Denberg is hosting the show this week. We’re still not sure if he’ll be back in the swing of things next week. But we're pulling for him to make a speedy recovery.

The Statesman followed up on the story last night and warm remarks wishing John well have flooded the comment section of their post.  

Invasion of the Tiger Prawns

They can grow over a foot long and they’re showing up in nets all over the Gulf Coast. It might sound like a tasty surprise, but as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, it’s also a mystery at sea that could threaten the ecosystem of the entire Gulf of Mexico.

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 Twitter @KUTnathan.