The Lead: Planned Parenthood Funding Cut, AISD Debt, Texas State Threat Suspect Arrested
Good morning. Looks like Austin's entering a cool down! There may be some light showers today, but it looks like clear skies all weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some stories KUT News has been working on:
Governor Rick Perry says the state is moving to immediately to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood. The announcement came after a federal appeals court said Thursday it will not reconsider a decision that says Texas can withhold funds under the Women’s Health Program.
As the Austin Independent School District gets ready to ask voters to approve hundreds of millions of dollars in borrowing next May, figures published by the Texas Comptroller show the district has one of the the lowest per-student debt rates among Austin-area school districts. That said, AISD also has the most debt of any district in the area, at $809,435,850. But, calculated on a per-student basis, AISD’s outstanding debt it is $9,492. AISD also has the lowest debt per capita.
A former Texas State University student, 19-year-old Brittany Henderson, has been arrested for making a bomb threat at the school last week. Several buildings were evacuated because of the threat. Henderson was arrested in Bryan on Tuesday and charged with making a terroristic threat, which is a third-degree felony, and making a false alarm, which is a class A misdemeanor.
If you’re looking forward to the colder weather this weekend, chances are your electric bill is, too. But new rules could mean higher power bills for many Texans even when things cool down. The Public Utility Commission of Texas voted yesterday to raise the limit on how much power providers can charge. That price, known as the offer cap, happens when the grid gets stretched to capacity. It’s essentially the maximum amount companies can charge for wholesale power.
As you may know by now, Big Tex, the 52-foot tall talking cowboy statue that welcomed visitors to the State Fair for 60 years was destroyed in what was determined to be an electrical fire last Friday. Yesterday, State Fair staff began to plan his comeback. They’re trying to determine if his steel frame can be reused and what options they’ll have for rebuilding his famous face.
And here’s some more Austin and Texas stories from around the web:
Drivers hit wild hogs on SH 130 (KXAN)
The 85 mph stretch of SH 130 just opened on Wednesday and has already become a dangerous combination of fast-moving vehicles and wild hogs. Four crashes between vehicles and hogs have already been reported. Three of the crashes were in the Lockhart city limits and a fourth occurred in Caldwell County. One of the crashes totalled a vehicle, but no serious injuries were reported
A Death Row Struggle Between Advocates and Lawyers (Texas Tribune)
Preston Hughes III, a death row inmate, is 46 but seems much older, with white hair, thick glasses and a quiet, slow voice that rises only when the subject of his lawyer comes up. Hughes, convicted in 1989 of fatally stabbing two youths, has tried multiple times to fire his court-appointed lawyer, Patrick McCann. He said that McCann, who has been his lawyer for 14 years, has not raised his claims of innocence and is “helping the state cover this up.”
Texas Doomsday Exhibit to Demystify Maya Calendar (ABC News)
The Houston Museum of Natural Science is launching an exhibit designed to demystify the Maya and debunk the myth that the ancient culture predicted doomsday on Dec. 21, 2012.
A new Village of Spicewood Canyon? (Statesman)
A plan to create a new village in western Travis County has met opposition from some residents. Supporters see it as a way for several hundred residents to take control of the community's zoning. Those opposed don’t want any change.