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Three Georgetown teens have won an international student rocketry competition, beating out two teams from France and the United Kingdom.

This morning at the International Rocketry Challenge, Daniel Kelton and brothers Mark and Matthew Janecka launched their rocket, successfully propelling it to 750 feet in the air within seconds and landing their cargo, a single egg, safely at Le Bourget Airport in Paris. 

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A new poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune shows that many Texans are not familiar with some of the highest profile politicians in the state, particularly the Democratic ones.

flickr.com/carlos

Paying for transportation infrastructure is big part of the special session underway now at the Texas Capitol. But, for some lawmakers, it's not a big enough part.

Senate Joint Resolution 2 would send some oil and gas tax money into a new fund, but everyone agrees that much more money is needed.

A business in Austin is laying off hundreds of employees. OneWest Bank has notified the Texas Workforce Commission that intents to lay off more than 700 employees in Austin.

The California-based company is a mortgage services provider with offices in the Domain complex.

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the nation. About 75 percent of Americans will contract the virus during their lifetime, and younger populations face the greatest risk.

Research indicates that almost three quarters of new HPV infections occur in people between 15 and 24 years old. But a recent study conducted by researchers at Texas State University found that many college students are unaware of or misinformed about the risks posed by HPV.

flickr.com/bgottsab

Texas added almost 19,000 jobs last month, the most of any state in the country - according to a report by the payroll and benefits company ADP.

More than 1,800 jobs will be added to June’s total.

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The Alamo Bowl could soon be the biggest game in the Big 12 bowl season under a new six-year deal with the Pac-12 announced Friday.

Next year, top ranked Big 12 and Pac-12 contenders outside the new four-team college football playoff will face off in the bowl game that started in 1993. The Cotton Bowl had previously been the signature game for Big 12 teams that didn't make the Bowl Championship Series.

Barton Springs Pool
flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

The Austin Parks and Recreations Department is reviewing policies and procedures after an apparent drowning at Barton Springs Pool Wednesday night. It was the first drowning at the pool since 1990.

Parks and Recreation spokesperson Victor Ovalle said lifeguards immediately administered CPR on 21-year-old Timothy Guerra when his friends removed him from the spring's deep end.

KUT News

Scientists say Texas could have a bigger wildfire problem this year as drought conditions persist.

Hotter temperatures and drier conditions are lengthening the fire season, leading to larger, more frequent wildfires.

flickr.com/kasiaflickr

The Texas Department of Public Safety is part of a nationwide commercial vehicle inspection program going on this week.

The overall Roadcheck initiative will have specially trained troopers and investigators inspecting commercial vehicles for serious equipment violations involving brakes, tires, lights and drivers that aren’t in compliance with state and federal requirements.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd is returning to the Travis County Commissioners Court.

County Judge Sam Biscoe has selected Todd to be interim Precinct 2 Commissioner, an office Todd held before he was elected Mayor of Austin in 1991. 

National Weather Service

A flash flood watch in effect for Austin and Central Texas has been extended until midnight tonight.

The National Weather Service says showers and thunderstorms are expected today through the evening as an upper level storm system enters the area.

Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

The 140th day of the 83rd session -- the last day at the Texas Capitol -- was mostly about pomp and circumstance, but that doesn’t mean nothing got done.

In the House, members brought their families and thanked their staff. They also passed resolutions to correct errors in bills’ language.

State Rep. Trey Martinez-Fischer, D-San Antonio, is the chair of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus. He honored State Rep. Mary González, D-Clint, the caucus freshman of the session.

National Weather Service

A flash flood warning is in effect for Travis County and to the south in Hays and parts of Caldwell, Comal and Guadalupe counties.

The National Weather Service says thunderstorms over those same areas are likely to produce flash flooding across the warning area.

Wikimedia Commons

Central Texas is helping those in Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding areas in relief and rescue efforts.

Last night, Texas Task Force 1 was dispatched to Oklahoma, an elite search and rescue team which includes 5 members from the Austin Fire Department.

Kendall James, U.S. National Guard

Members of an elite search team from Texas were dispatched to Oklahoma last night. The team is already on the field helping with recovery following the massive tornado that hit Moore on Monday afternoon. 

Gov. Rick Perry announced the activation of Texas Task Force 1 last night. The rescue group includes 70 first responders specialized in victim extraction and medical treatment, also including rescue dogs, hazardous material specialists and structural engineers.  Five members of Texas Task Force 1 are from the Austin Fire Department. 

flickr.com/gjmj

Last November, Austin voters were asked to approve almost $80 million for affordable housing.

They chose not to.

As the city considers putting the question to voters again this fall, KUT News asks: just how does affordable housing work in Austin?

Ben Philpott, KUT News

President Barack Obama's trip to Austin is creating quite the conversation on social media. The KUT Staff is curating a Storify timeline of President Obama's trip. Visit often for new updates. 

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There’s road closures in place this morning for the Texas Peace Officers’ Memorial Parade.

The South Congress Avenue Bridge will be closed from 9 a.m. to noon.  Congress Avenue will be closed from Cesar Chavez to 11th Streets from 10:30 to 11 a.m. , and Colorado Street from 11th to 13th Streets will be partially closed until 2 pm. Here’s a map of closures.

Update: More signs from the City of Austin that Attorney General Greg Abbott's opinion won't mean any changes for now: a memo from City Manager Marc Ott on the matter. It reads, in part: 

While we will continue to evaluate the Attorney General’s opinion, it continues to be our belief that the City’s domestic partner group benefits program is not prohibited by the Texas Marriage Amendment, and that the Texas Legislature did not intend the Amendment to have that effect when it was placed before the voters in 2005.

The Attorney General’s opinion does not require the City to take any specific action, and we do not intend to change domestic partner eligibility for our benefits program at this time. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

More than 9,000 people gathered at Baylor University yesterday to honor the twelve firefighters and first responders who died in the West Fertilizer Plant Explosion.

KUT’s Terrence Henry traveled to Waco to tell us about the memorial service Thursday.  

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry says a lack of state oversight is not to blame for the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in the town of West.

Gov. Perry told the Associated Press the explosion would not have been prevented if the state had earmarked more money for inspections. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality inspected the West Fertilizer Company for an air quality permit in 2007.

Marissa Barnett for KUT News

Update: Students in the town of West are back in class today for the first time since Wednesday’s deadly fertilizer plant explosion. Some school buildings were destroyed or damaged by the blast.

Older students are taking classes at an old school building in a nearby district. Some younger students are in portable classrooms. STAAR exams scheduled for Tuesday there are being delayed. For those who'd like to donate, the West Independent School District says monetary donations are best

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Update (Saturday): As of 3 p.m. today, some residents of West, the site of a major explosion at a fertilizer plant Wednesday, will be allowed back into their homes in part of the severely damaged neighborhood in the north section of town. 

Residents 18 and over living in the area from Walnut street southward will be allowed to enter until 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., the city will have a curfew, and residents will need to either stay in their homes or leave the neighborhood. North of that area, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Vanek said at a press conference this afternoon that the city will work "as quickly as possible"to allow people back to their homes. More information for residents is available at the City of West's website.

Cedar Hill police are searching for 12-year-old Sommer Brown, a black female, 5’ 6", about 90 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes, last seen wearing a black tank top and black basketball shorts.

Suspected in the abduction is 43-year-old Lisa Elizabeth Brown, black female, 5’ 8", 120 pounds, black hair and brown eyes, last seen wearing a black blazer and a light green shirt.

National Weather Service

Some severe weather is bearing down on Central Texas.

The National Weather Service currently has a severe thunderstorm warning in effect for northwestern Travis County and Southwestern Williamson County. Some locations in that area include Lago Vista, Lakeway, Mansfield Dam, Bee Cave and Cedar Park. There are reports of large damaging hail up to golf ball size. The storm earlier produced baseball sized hail in Marble Falls. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The Austin Independent School District Board last night decided not to lease the Allan elementary school building to IDEA public schools. Allan is closing down at the end of the school year.

That’s because both Allan Elementary and Eastside Memorial High School were part of a plan involving charter school operator IDEA Public Schools. The board canceled the contract with IDEA in December.

Funky Chicken Coop Tour

Mar 29, 2013
Flickr, Todd Dwyer http://www.flickr.com/photos/ret0dd/5656222910/sizes/m/in/photostream/

How about farm fresh eggs without leaving your yard?

Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., it’s the Funky Chicken Coop Tour, the fifth annual tour of local neighborhood chicken dwellings in Austin.

Elizabeth Day (courtesy BGK Architects)

Austin Community College is breaking ground today at a vacant JCPenney store in Highland Mall. The store will be converted into a learning environment for ACC.

"This is a really big day for ACC as well as the surrounding neighborhood and in fact all of the communities that we serve," ACC spokesperson Alexis Patterson said. "It’s great for the area. It brings new life, new people coming to the mall. And the mall’s still in operation, so we’re excited about the boost this is going to give to the mall as a whole.”

KUT News

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments today over same sex marriage, it was Family and Faith Day on the Texas Capitol grounds.

State officials, including Governor Rick Perry, joined hundreds of people who support what they call “Texas values.”

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