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The Lead: Minority Students and AISD, Kansas City Tragedy’s Austin Ties

Good Monday morning. The National Weather Service says unseasonably warm weather is headed our way once this morning's clouds burn off. Here’s some of KUT News’ weekend stories:

“Essentially, white kids are doing better than most non-white kids, and the AISD school board wants to fix it. Here’s one example. 90 percent of white high school seniors in AISD graduated on time in 2011, according to Texas Education Agency data. African Americans and Hispanics were more than 10 percentage points behind. That disparity defies strategic plans adopted by the school board in 2005 and again in 2010, both of which called for eliminating those gaps. ‘So while it was what some people might argue was an impossible goal to achieve, I completely support the perspective that we should be working towards elimination,’ superintendent Meria Carstarphen said.”

“There aren’t many coal plants under construction in Texas, and one of the few still being planned is facing new setbacks. KUT’s Terrence Henry reports for StateImpact Texas.”

“’Since we put the pay stations in, our violations went from 115,000 down to 89,000,’ says Steve Grassfield with the city’s Transportation department. ‘And we feel like the reason for that is because now you’re able to pay by credit card, and most people don’t carry that much change all the time.’ City pay stations have processed more than 3 million transactions this year. And now that the stations are electronic, they average less than one malfunction per month.”

“The U.S. Postal Service unveiled new stamps Friday honoring Lady Bird Johnson. The First Lady would have celebrated her 100th birthday next month. The set features Johnson’s official White House portrait along with adaptations of five stamps first issued in the 1960’s.” 

And here’s more stories from the region:

  • Kansas City Shooting Victim a Recent Austin High School Grad (KVUE)
“Kasandra Perkins spent a lot of her childhood in the Dallas area but graduated from Anderson High School. Perkins is the cousin of former Longhorn football player Jamal Charles' wife. Charles' is a player for the Kansas City Chiefs, the same team Belcher played for. The 22-year-old moved to Kansas City to be with boyfriend Jovan Belcher.”

  • Straus, Critics Both Stronger for House Speaker’s Race (Statesman)
“Activists might not be descending on the Capitol right now, but [Texas House Speaker Joe Straus] is once again hearing from the same ultra-conservatives who wanted him out of the leadership role. And in a demonstration that the ideological split in the GOP is as strong as ever, Rep. Bryan Hughes, R-Mineola, has become the current favorite of many conservative activists and groups. … But this speaker’s race won’t look like the last one, people on both sides of the issue said. The speaker has had more time to consolidate his power, while the activists who oppose him have become more organized.”

  • Fast Growing Brewery Calls Austin Home (KXAN)
“Austin Beerworks brews four different craft beers. And for owner William Golden, testing out the beer is just another day in the office. ‘We've had a 400 percent explosion this first full calendar year of production,’ said Golden. Golden says this year has been outstanding year for beer. After moving into their new 6500 square foot warehouse, they'll be able to get even closer to keeping with their orders.”

  • Zilker Holiday Tree Lit For The Season (KVUE)
“The 46th Annual Zilker Holiday Tree lighting took place Sunday night. Hundreds were there to ‘spin’ under the 155-foot tower while looking up at the 39 streamers, each with 81 lights.”

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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