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Top Morning Stories 01/18/12

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St. David's to Assist Low-Income Moms

The Central Health board is preparing to close Austin's Women's Hospital on February 9. St. David's medical center has a pending contract with the Central Health board to help moms affected by the closure. If the contract is granted, St. David's will help deliver babies and perform sterilization services.  That contract is up for approval today.

From the Austin American-Statesman:

The agreement would solve a problem that started late last year when the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston said it would not renew a $3.9 million annual contract to continue performing deliveries and sterilizations that low-income moms request at the 8-year-old Austin Women's Hospital. Over time, deliveries declined below a target of 1,600 babies, and UTMB officials said they lost $1 million last year. It will be much cheaper to move the services. Central Health expects to pay St. David's $480,000 for the eight months and one week remaining in this fiscal year. The annual cost would be an estimated $700,000 for about 850 patients. St. David's, at 919 E. 32nd St., has an option to renew the lease annually for three years.

Park Renamed for Fallen San Marcos Soldier

The San Marcos City Council voted yesterday to rename a city park after fallen soldier Captain Paul Peña.

Peña was killed by a roadside bomb nearly two years ago in Afghanistan.  He was 27.

Peña grew up near Hill of Hays Park, became an Eagle Scout, and served with the 82nd Airborne Division in both Iraq and Afghanistan during his military service.

A date has not been set yet to dedicate the park in his name, but San Marcos City Manager Jim Nuse said the city is working with Peña's family to schedule one.

SXSW Answers Sound Permit Questions

Tomorrow, the City of Austin's Music Division and Office of Special Events will co-host an open house to address SXSW sound permit issues.

Last week, the city announced changes to its application process for 24-hour and multi-day sound permit applications.

Last year’s South by Southwest brought lots of complaints about huge crowds and traffic jams in some neighborhoods close to downtown.

The city also says it’ll be increasing code enforcement during this year’s festival.

Georgetown to Host Bike Race

Georgetown city streets will be transformed into a race course for cyclists the weekend of May 19th. Holland Racing will stage The Georgetown Grand - a one-mile downtown course that will pass by the courthouse square and will include several high-speed turns in a double-loop circuit. Riders are said to average speeds of 30 to 35 miles per hour, with high speeds of up to more than 40 mph.

Professional cyclists and Olympians are expected to compete in the race. There will also be a non-competitive ride for hundreds of amateur cyclists.