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AM Update: 9/11 Memorials, Travis County Tourism Tax, UT Helping Students Make the Grade

Liang Shi for KUT News

Today marks 11 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. Here's information on remembrance events and other stories making news today:

Local 9/11 Memorial Events

There are several events scheduled today across Central Texas to mark the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

At 10 a.m., Austin firefighters will climb the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower. Wearing full gear, they’ll climb up and down the equivalent of the height of the World Trade Center.

At noon, there will be a 9-11 Memorial and pipe and drum performance in the Texas Capitol Rotunda.

A few area cities are also holding their own Patriot Day parades and ceremonies – including Taylor and San Marcos.

Travis County Commissioners Mull Taxes

Travis County Commissioners are holding the first of two public hearings this morning on proposed property tax increases.

Commissioners are looking at increasing property taxes by about a cent and a half per $100 valuation.

But it’s another set of taxes that is getting even more attention – what some are calling a “tourism tax.” Commissioners are considering implementing both a hotel occupancy tax and a rental car tax. While both the City of Austin and the state currently tax visitors, Travis County does not.

Today’s meeting starts at 9 a.m. in the Commissioners Courtroom.

UT Wants to Help Students Pass Introductory Classes

University of Texas at Austin students are back in class and settling into the fall semester. For many of those students, their schedule includes introductory courses. And, unfortunately, many of them may struggle with those classes.

UT is confronting the problem with the Course Transformation Program (CTP). The program aims to increase success in classes by adding more educational technology and added online features to the curriculum.

The program has already been implemented in several introductory science courses, now its being added to English and economics.

The end goal for UT is helping students graduate on time. The university has set a goal of raising four-year graduation rates from 50 percent to 70 percent by 2016.

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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