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The Lead: Austin’s Charter Election, Real Estate Prices Rising

Good Friday morning. The National Weather Service is forecasting warm days and mild evenings this weekend. Here’s a look at KUT News’ top stories:

And here’s some more stories from around the web:

  • 10-1 District Plan Backers Say They’ll File DOJ Complaint if Competing Plan Wins (Statesman)
Austin’s black population is small and dispersed, making it tough to draw a district that will encompass them. The larger the number of districts, the more likely that at least one district will have a large number of African American residents, giving them a fair shot at electing candidates they prefer, [Austinites for Geographic Representation] said. David Butts, a member of Austin Community for Change, the group supporting the 8-3 plan, said African Americans would likely still be elected under that plan either to a district seat or a citywide seat. Austin has a long history of Hispanic and white voters voting for black candidates in local and state races, even in districts that have small populations of African-Americans, he said.

  • Dallas Billionaire One of Three Texans Among Romney's Top Five Donors (AP)
Dallas billionaire Harold Simmons is the second-largest donor to Mitt Romney and organizations supporting his presidential bid, according to an analysis of campaign contributions by the Associated Press. Simmons, 81, owner of Contran Corp., a Dallas-based conglomerate worth an estimated $9 billion, has put $16 million toward helping Romney get elected, the AP reports. 

  • Southwest Airlines Plans to Cut Expenses Without Layoffs (Star-Telegram)
Southwest Airlines plans to cut operating costs and look for new revenue sources in 2013, but CEO Gary Kelly said that does not mean there will be layoffs or that it will end its "bags fly free" campaign. The cost-cutting announcement came as the Dallas-based carrier eked out a small third-quarter profit of $16 million and posted flat revenues of $4.3 billion.

  • UT-Austin Researchers’ ‘Very Important Invention:’ Oral Strip to Soothe Hot Coffee and Food Burns (PopSci)
Users can apply the strips directly to the burn for a dose of benzocaine and therapeutic polymers. It essentially acts the same as a breath strip, sticking to your mouth and dissolving in your saliva.

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