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The Lead: Austin Homeless Question Police Push Downtown

Good morning. After a chilly start, Austin should warm to highs in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Violent crime in Austin’s downtown area has risen by nearly 17 percent, according to the latest FBI statistics, although Austin police say the city remains one of the safest in the nation.  Police have ramped up their downtown presence. And that’s raising its own set of concerns among advocates for the city’s homeless."

"Texas Governor Rick Perry has given his support to a bill that would have recipients of unemployment benefits submit to drug tests. Those failing a test would be denied benefits for 12 months, or until they completed a drug treatment program."

"Today the Lower Colorado River Authority may make a crucial vote that could determine whether water will be released for downstream agriculture next year. If the LCRA releases the water, it could put a serious dent in Central Texas’ already diminished water supply."

"State Sen. Kirk Watson says the Texas’ population will double in 50 years or so, while the state will have about the same amount of water. KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas about Watson’s argument for fully funding the State Water Plan."

And here’s more local and state stories that have folks talking:

"The company issued the following statement: ‘AMD's board and management believe that the strategy the company is currently pursuing to drive long-term growth by leveraging AMD’s highly differentiated technology assets is the right approach to enhance shareholder value. AMD is not actively pursuing a sale of the company or significant assets at this time.’"

  • Texas Set to Execute 14th Prisoner This Year (Reuters)
"Ramon Torres Hernandez, 41, was convicted in the 2001 death of 37-year-old Rosa Maria Rosado. … He has also been linked to the rapes and murders of two teenage girls in the 1990s and was considered the prime suspect in the killings of two others in a nearby county."

  • UT Law's Forgivable Loans to Faculty ‘Not Appropriate’ (Texas Tribune)
"The process Larry Sager, the University of Texas School of Law's former dean, used to secure a $500,000 forgivable loan for himself was not transparent, created 'an impression of self-dealing that cannot be condoned,' and should be permanently suspended, according to a University of Texas System report released Tuesday." 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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