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The Lead: On Track to Texas' Hottest Year; Apple Update

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for yet another unseasonably warm day, ahead of a cold front blowing in overnight. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on:

“Earlier this fall 2012 was projected to be Texas’ fourth hottest year on record when it comes to average temperature. That surprised many of our readers, and it’s no wonder.  After 2011, this year seemed like a welcome relief. But, if you take average temperatures from the entire year, it now turns out 2012 wont likely be the fourth hottest year. It will likely be the hottest year, on average, in Texas history.”

“IDEA says it will announce the location of its new campus in January or February. Founder and CEO Tom Torkelson would not say whether it will be in East Austin, where the IDEA Allan campus is located, but he did say the location ‘would be very accessible to the students and families who attend’ the Allan campus.  Relations between IDEA and AISD board members did not appear to be improving, prior to Monday night's vote that end their year-long relationship.”

“As more car makers add electric and natural gas vehicles to their offerings and more people buy them, the need for alternate fueling stations is increasing, and the state is responding. There are basically two markets for electric and natural gas vehicles: private and commercial. On the commercial side, it’s all about natural gas. But when looking at electric vehicles, that’s where concerns about costs creep into lawmakers’ heads — especially over whether the state’s electric grid would be strained by an increase in electric car use.”

And here’s more Austin stories:

  • Apple Breaks Ground on 1-Million-Square-Foot Texas Outpost (Wired)
“Apple has run an operations center in Austin for years now. It already employs about 3,500 hardware engineers, support staff and operations people there. But the new buildings will add another 1 million square feet of office space in Austin. And within 10 years, that should mean another 3,600 jobs for the company, bringing Austin’s headcount to 7,100. ‘To put it in perspective, prior to the Apple announcement, the largest single job creation from one project was 1,000,’ says Brian Gildea, Austin’s economic development manager.”

  • TSA Paying Out For Damaging Austin Traveler's Luggage (KEYE)
“Since 2011, the Transportation Security Administration has paid out more than $4,000 to people who reported having lost or damaged luggage through security checkpoints at Austin Bergstrom International Airport. ... [Additional claims between 2006 and 2009] were filed by passengers, heading through TSA checkpoints at ABIA. According to TSA documents, for those three years the TSA paid out more than $18,000 in claims.”

  • Cliff Fire Threatens Lake Austin Homes (KVUE)
“A fire on a cliff threatened Lake Austin homes overnight. Flames broke out near Mansfield Dam at Low Water Crossing Road just south of RM 620 around 8:30 p.m. Thursday. AFD says the fire was 80 percent contained around 9 p.m., and firefighters worked to extinguish hot spots near area homes.”

“Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master’ took the most prizes – for Anderson’s direction, Joaquin Phoenix’s stunning lead actor performance, and Mihai Malaimare Jr.’s cinematography – while Benh Zeitlin’s ‘Beasts of the Southern Wild’ was singled out for Best First Film and Breakthough Performance by its pint-sized lead Quvenzhané Wallis … Richard Linklater’s slice of Texas true-crime ‘Bernie’ was recognized as Best Austin Film, while a Special Honorary Award was given to Bernie costar Matthew McConaughey in recognition of his truly bang-up year; in addition to ‘Bernie’, he turned out diverse and stellar work in ‘Magic Mike,’ ‘Killer Joe,’ and ‘The Paperboy’.”

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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