Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Image courtesy Scorch07 http://www.flickr.com/photos/scorch07/

Some of the audio news we've produced in the past 24 hours.

Public Hearing Will Address Shipping Radioactive Waste to Texas

A public hearing in Austin tomorrow will address a proposed rule allowing 36 other states to ship their low-level radioactive waste to west Texas. As KUT's Erika Aguilar reports, the rule has environmentalists and the new governor of Vermont raising their eyebrows.

State Looks To Preserve World War II Internment Camps

69 years ago yesterday, the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor propelled the US into World War II. The War also led to the internment of thousands of Japanese, German and Italian Americans. As KUT's Matt Largey reports, researchers are now trying to preserve and memorialize those sites in Texas.

Photo by Crystal Chavez for KUT News

Update at 9:40am: Apologies for the ill-timed site maintenance, our hosting service chose the wrong time to take the site offline.  Power has been restored to the UT campus and KUT is back on the air.  Thanks for bearing with us while we dealt with the situation.  UT says the cause was an animal getting into the switching gears at the University power plant.

Photo by Tiffany Jenkins for KUT.

Elizabeth Edwards Passes Away at 61

Elizabeth Edwards, the estranged wife of former Senator and Vice Presidential hopeful John Edwards, died Tuesday at her home in North Carolina.

Mrs. Edwards was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004, the day her husband’s running mate conceded defeat to George W. Bush in that year’s presidential election.

JetSuite
Image courtesy JetSuite

It might be too down market for the ultra-rich who read magazines like Elite Traveler and JetSet, but those who live off a mere seven-figures a year may be interested in a new service coming to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Women owned business Census Bureau map
Image courtesy US Census Bureau

Texas has the second highest number of women-owned business in the country, according to new US Census Data released this afternoon. But the percentage of women-owned businesses in Texas still falls slightly below the national average.

Jason Brady
Image courtesy NFT

A man from Hutto is appealing for public help to pay for the double lung and kidney transplant he needs to survive. Jason Brady was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when he was just 3 months old.

CF is a "life-threatening genetic disease that causes mucus to build up and clog some of the organs in the body, particularly the lungs and pancreas," according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

Doris Miller
Image courtesy National Archives

Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, and one of the celebrated American sailors who fought the surprise Japanese attack on the US Naval Base was from the Central Texas town of Waco.

War historians will have to pardon the pop culture training wheels, but many people may know Doris Miller best from Cuba Gooding Jr.'s portrayal of the Pearl Harbor hero in the 2001 film about the attack.

Nathan Bernier / KUT News

Austinites have two chances to meet the finalists for the role of Police Monitor today. At 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., the four contenders for the job will answer questions at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex. 

The Police Monitor's office takes complaints about police from the public, and offers policy recommendations to the Chief of Police on some matters.  It does not have the authority to investigate police behavior.

Michael Hamilton booking photo
Image courtesy APD

Austin Police Department sent us this statement from Chief Art Acevedo about the arrest of an APD SWAT officer last week on DWI charges:

The Austin Police Department is currently investigating the crash and subsequent arrest for DWI of APD SWAT officer Michael Hamilton on Friday, December 3, 2010. The Department’s zero tolerance stance on DWI is well known throughout the APD and the community we serve. Consistent with our stance, we are investigating Officer Hamilton’s actions leading up to and following the crash.

Image courtesy bcostin http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcostin/

A taste of the audio news we've produced the last 24 hours.

Homicides Up 80 Percent in Austin

The death of a three-year-old child last week put the number of homicides in Austin this year at 36. As KUT's Mose Buchele reports, when you start looking into what that means, things start to get a little murky.

Revealing Hidden Fees

Sketch courtesy of Pat Lopez.

Mental Exam Scheduled for Hasan

A Handful of Texas Teams are Going Bowling

AFD battling car fire
Image courtesy Sheeshoo http://www.flickr.com/photos/sheeshoo/

Whether it's the coolness of being a firefighter or the higher-than-average unemployment rate in Travis County, the Austin Fire Department is being deluged with applications as it seeks to hire a record number of firefighters.

UT Students at the "die-in" honoring the Bhopal tragedy.
Photo by Nick Robertson for KUT News

UT students gathered at the West Mall today to commemorate the 26th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy that claimed the lives of 8,000 and affected over 100,000 others.

Local media are all over Louanne Aponte's court appearance today. She's the 52-year-old former director of Family Connections who fled to Venezuala after she was accused of siphoning funds from a number of local charities and spending the cash on a home in Circle C, a Mercedes, and a 20-foot boat.

Marbridge Victory Hall Athletic and Events Center floor plan
Image courtesy Marbridge Ranch

The non-profit residential community Marbridge in deep south Austin helps adults with intellectual disabilities live independent lives. The facility has been around for more than 50 years, and now it's trying to raise money to build a gym and events center for its 240 residents.

A charitable wing of the Austin Police Association yesterday donated $10,000. But Marbridge still has a long way to go; estimated cost of the project is more than $2 million.

On The Air sign
Image courtesy rochelle, et. al. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tinfoilraccoon/

Check out some of the audio news we've produced over the last 24 hours.

Education Cuts on the Horizon

School funding formulas are so complicated in Texas that the Comptroller has ordered a study to compare school district finances on a level playing field.  KUT's Ben Philpott previews the report, due out later this month.

German Ambassador in Austin

Howard Wins Recount

The recount is over for the Texas House District 48 race.  The recount shows Incumbent Democrat Donna Howard won re-election to her seat by just 12 votes.  That's a narrower win than the original vote tally, which had her ahead by 16 votes after Election Day.  Howard's Republican challenger Dan Neil requested the recount.  But the race may still not be over.  Neil has another option to challenge the results. 

Aponte Indictments Reveal More Theft

People at computers
Image courtesy stetted http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunlitrain/

The City of Austin is sending out 15,000 surveys to randomly selected people across town to find out what kind of technology they use.

The survey is not available online, only as a paper questionnaire, so that the results won't skew towards people with home internet access.

Dog at TLAC
Image courtesy s myers http://www.flickr.com/photos/puppiesofpurgatory/

Just hours before a public forum to meet candidates for Austin's new Chief Animal Services Officer, the city announced Abigail Smith was dropping out of the race. Today, the city says Smith is back in.

Smith dropped out because her father was critically ill. She notified the city of her tenuous situation during interviews in November. After her father died, the city requested that she reconsider entering the race.

Image courtesy Roadsidepictures http://www.flickr.com/photos/roadsidepictures/

A look at some of the audio pieces KUT produced in the past 24 hours.

Plans for MoPac on Display

The City of Austin plans to revamp MoPac and yesterday, KUT's Mose Buchele reported on the options and the politics behind them.

Hospice, Housing for People Living With Aids

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

HD 48 Recount Underway

A Travis County committee has started recounting the votes in the House District 48 race.  The recount could be done by this afternoon.  Initial voting results showed Incumbent Democrat Donna Howard won re-election by just 16 votes.  Her Republican challenger Dan Neil requested the votes be counted again.

Residents Returning to Ciudad Mier

Austin 10th and Brazos
Image by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin is the 26th most dynamic city in the post-recession world, according to a new report by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.

The Global MetroMonitor report looks at cities' economic output and employment and ranks them based on how much they "punch above their weight."

Austin was the only American city in the top 30. Istanbul topped the list.

Austin-branded Camel Cigarettes
Image courtesy Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

As we told you last week, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids says RJ Reynolds will start selling limited edition Camel cigarette packs this winter. The packaging will feature the symbols of America's hippest locales, Williamsburg, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and of course, Austin, Texas.

That's not sitting well with many elected officials from those municipalities. Now you can add Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell to the list of disgruntled public authorities.

Louanne Aponte
Image courtesy Family Connections

The former executive director of the local non-profit Family Connections, Louanne Aponte, is in Travis County police custody and headed back to Austin. Aponte is accused of misappropriating more than $327,000 from the organization between 2004 and 2009.  She is also accused of stealing from other local charities.

Antiretroviral drug illustration
Photo illustration courtesy Pigi Mazzoli http://www.flickr.com/photos/pigi/

Here's a grim statistic to chew on this World AIDS Day: Austin has the third highest percentage of people living with HIV in Texas. We used to fourth, behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio, respectively. But as of 2009, we've displaced San Antonio for the third spot.

Here are the HIV infection rates from 2009, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.  

Image courtesy Zeetz Jones http://www.flickr.com/photos/zeetzjones/

Some of the local audio news we've produced in the last 24 hours.

Incentive Funds Under Fire

KUT's Ben Philpott reports on growing criticism of two economic development funds under Governor Perry's control.

Photo courtesy of Sully Pixel, http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonathansull/68997406/

World AIDS Day

Today is World AIDS Day. People around the world will be raising awareness of the disease and remembering those who have died from it. NPR reports on a new drug that appears to help prevent HIV infection in men. Texas Public Radio's David Martin Davies reports new Texas research shows Hispanic men may be more vulnerable to an AIDS related cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma. 

Extreme Makeover Home Edition bus
Image courtesy Nan Palmero http://www.flickr.com/photos/nanpalmero/

Want to help someone in need and be on national television? The ABC show Extreme Makeover Home Edition is shooting an episode in Georgetown and looking for volunteers.

Zilker Tree
Image courtesy Flickr user That Other Paper http://www.flickr.com/photos/austins_only_paper/

If you're excited about Sunday's lighting ceremony for the Zilker Tree, don't freak out if you're driving down MoPac tomorrow and you see the 155-foot tall structure already illuminated. It's just a test.

Austin Energy just sent us this email under the subject line, "In case you get calls…"

The Zilker Tree will be switched on tomorrow morning (Wednesday, December 1) beginning at 6 a.m. until about 8 a.m. to allow Austin Energy crews to replace any lights that may be burned out and for any other adjustments that may be needed.

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