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Protest, confrontation, death threat herald end of legislative session

The last day of the Legislature on Monday was marred by a confrontation between lawmakers on the Texas House floor that involved death threats, shoving and a call to immigration authorities. The incident occurred as protesters were being removed from the House gallery after briefly shutting down proceedings by chanting their opposition to the new law banning so-called sanctuary cities, local...


Hundreds amass on south steps of state Capitol to protest SB4

Hundreds amass on south steps of state Capitol to protest SB4

1 p.m. update: Organizers estimate that 1,000 people have now descended on the state Capitol to protest Senate Bill 4, a state law that bans so-called sanctuary cities, on the final day of the legislative session. At least 150 came to Austin by car and bus for the gathering, which has now amassed on the south steps of the Capitol. Maria Bilbao, 51, said she traveled more than 2,000 miles from Miami...
Gov. Abbott will decide on special session later this week

Gov. Abbott will decide on special session later this week

Gov. Greg Abbott said he will announce later this week whether to call a special session, resolving a standoff between the Texas Senate and House. “I’ll be making an announcement later this week on a special session,” Abbott said. “When it gets to a special session, the time and topics are solely up to the governor in the state of Texas. If we have a special session, we...
OVERNIGHT: Senate filibuster kills annexation bill at midnight deadline

OVERNIGHT: Senate filibuster kills annexation bill at midnight deadline

Update 12:01 a.m.: Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, successfully spoke for almost two hours and 20 minutes Sunday night, killing an annexation measure by keeping the Texas Senate from voting on Senate Bill 715 until after a midnight deadline. Update 10:45 p.m.: On the eve of the final day of the 140-day regular legislative session, a filibuster in the Texas Senate has entered...
A birth defect gave him a gift: a nearly impossible-to-hit curveball

A birth defect gave him a gift: a nearly impossible-to-hit curveball

When he was young, Dylan Rosnick just wanted to play baseball, a simple enough request for a child growing up in the Loudoun County exurbs.  He wanted to tie his shoes, too, and hold a pencil the right way, and button his shirt, and brush his teeth. There's not a lot of guidance, though, for a child with Proteus syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects fewer than one in 1 million births worldwide...
20 years after deadly tornado, Jarrell trying to not awaken memories

20 years after deadly tornado, Jarrell trying to not awaken memories

Charline Adams is still finding reminders of the storm that tore through this small town, 20 years later. She was not home when the Jarrell tornado, as it’s come to be known in Central Texas, ripped her home apart. But a few weeks later, Adams said, she found the church bulletin announcing her marriage — a memento she had kept in a closet — more than 2 miles away, on her uncle&rsquo...

Community news: Exhibition benefits Carver Museum

TRAVIS COUNTY EAST AUSTIN Fundraiser benefits Carver Museum The George Washington Carver Ambassadors Inc. and Jerry’s Artarama are sponsoring the 11th annual 100% Community Exhibition and Silent Auction fundraiser to help benefit the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center. Artist packs will be available for pickup during regular business hours through Wednesday at the...
AFFIDAVIT: Man arrested in shooting that seriously injured one Sunday

AFFIDAVIT: Man arrested in shooting that seriously injured one Sunday

Austin police arrested a man who shot and injured another man on Sunday night at a North Austin apartment complex, court records show. Raymond Tremond Allen, 24, was charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for allegedly shooting another man during a fight at the Silver Springs Apartments on Interstate 35 on Sunday. According to an arrest affidvait, the two men had been fighting in a hallway...

Omaha hands Round Rock 10-8 defeat

Dean Anna hit a run-scoring single to spark a four-run sixth inning as the Omaha Storm Chasers beat the Round Rock Express 10-8 in a Pacific Coast League game Monday at Papillion, Neb. Al Alburquerque got Jurickson Profar to fly out with a runner on first to end the game for his third save of the season. The single by Anna started the scoring and gave the Storm Chasers a 7-6 lead. Later in the inning...

Texas Digest: Fleeing man caused $1 million in damage, officials say

WEST TEXAS Chase leads to nearly $1 million in damage A man fleeing from sheriff’s deputies caused nearly $1 million in damage at a chemical plant when he crashed a pickup through several gates and ran inside, according to authorities in Hutchinson County. Sheriff Kirk Coker told the Amarillo Globe-News that 22-year-old Angel Vasquez slammed into the gates Sunday at a Chevron Phillips plant...
‘Suspicious activity’ detected on Seton hospital computer network

‘Suspicious activity’ detected on Seton hospital computer network

Ascension Health said Monday it had detected suspicious activity on its network of computers, which includes the Seton family hospitals. Representatives for the hospital did not provide details on Monday about the possible security breach or when it occurred but said that they had not identified any issues with patient safety. Here is the statement from Ascension Health: “We recently identified...
Major child welfare reforms advance to Gov. Abbott

Major child welfare reforms advance to Gov. Abbott

Keeping their word to address the state’s troubled child welfare system, Texas lawmakers passed major reforms including one that would continue stripping the state of its foster care responsibilities. Lawmakers on Sunday sent to Gov. Greg Abbott Senate Bill 11 filed by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, which would expand so-called community-based foster care to at least two additional areas...
Texas lawmakers pass bill to change how the state grades schools

Texas lawmakers pass bill to change how the state grades schools

Heeding the concerns of school officials, the Legislature passed a bill that would scale back the way the state grades school districts and schools. The changes will happen for districts next year and for schools in 2019. “You know that most of the schools and districts in your districts were not happy with the implementation, not because it was inaccurate but because it did not account the...
Hundreds protest SB 4 on final day of 85th Legislature

Hundreds protest SB 4 on final day of 85th Legislature

The state Capitol turned red on Monday as hundreds of people from across the state and country arrived on the last day of the 85th legislative session in crimson shirts to protest Senate Bill 4, a new law that bans so-called sanctuary cities. Throngs of people lined the balconies inside the Capitol Rotunda chanting and waving signs that said, “No human is illegal.” The fervor in the main...
Senate filibuster kills annexation bill

Senate filibuster kills annexation bill

By talking for almost two hours and 20 minutes late Sunday night, a San Antonio Democrat used the Texas Senate’s filibuster rules to kill a bill that would have changed the annexation policies for the state’s largest cities. Sen. José Menéndez kept the Senate from voting on Senate Bill 715 by speaking beyond the midnight deadline for final passage of bills before the session&rsquo...
McDonald’s flag briefly causes outrage in Austin

McDonald’s flag briefly causes outrage in Austin

A man and his son saw an American flag briefly hung upside down outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Austin on Memorial Day. “It was an absolute shocker,” said Russell Noga, an Austin insurance broker. “Anyone who lives in this country and has the benefit of being able to earn a wage should know how to hang that flag up right,” said Noga. He said his 12-year-old son noticed...
Lyft and Uber return to Austin as Abbott signs ride-hailing bill

Lyft and Uber return to Austin as Abbott signs ride-hailing bill

As of 8:30 a.m. Monday, the Lyft app in Austin was still carrying this message: “Lyft is not yet available here.” Yet. Then, a few minutes after 10 a.m., Gov. Greg Abbott used four pens to affix his signature to House Bill 100, taking ride-hailing regulation statewide in Texas and rendering moot the Austin ordinance that Lyft and its chief competitor, Uber, disliked so much they shut down...
SINE DIE: Protest, confrontation, death threat herald end of legislative session

SINE DIE: Protest, confrontation, death threat herald end of legislative session

The last day of the Legislature on Monday was marred by a confrontation between lawmakers on the Texas House floor that involved death threats, shoving and a call to immigration authorities. The incident occurred as protesters were being removed from the House gallery after briefly shutting down proceedings by chanting their opposition to the new law banning so-called sanctuary cities, local...
On Sine Die, Jonathan `Kill Bill’ Stickland takes credit for ‘bad bills’ that died

On Sine Die, Jonathan `Kill Bill’ Stickland takes credit for ‘bad bills’ that died

  Happy Sine Die Austin: Having finished its business – or not  – the House and Senate on the last day of the 140-day session, generally devote themselves to thanking their staffs, thanking each other, a literal floor fight, and various groupings of legislators honoring the most outstanding legislator from among their ranks.
Death threats, a call to ICE and a near fistfight on the House floor

Death threats, a call to ICE and a near fistfight on the House floor

3 p.m. update: Following his confrontation with Democrats on the Texas House floor, Rep. Matt Rinaldi, R-Irving, issued a statement confirming that he reported protesters at the Capitol to federal immigration authorities and saying that he is under police protection after being “physically assaulted” and threatened by other legislators. Rinaldi said that Rep. Poncho Nevárez, D-Eagle...
MEMORIAL DAY FORECAST: Cloudy skies, cooler temps and rain likely for Central Texas on Monday

MEMORIAL DAY FORECAST: Cloudy skies, cooler temps and rain likely for Central Texas on Monday

Your Memorial Day forecast: Happy Memorial Day, Central Texas! The rain has stopped — briefly — and cooler temperatures can be expected Monday. The National Weather Service says we should see a high of 80 today (a nice dip from Sunday's high of 93 at Camp Mabry), along with a 40 percent chance of scattered rain and thunderstorms under cloudy skies, though no hail or severe weather is forecast...

UT scientists might have found key to stopping hospital infections

Hundreds of thousands of people in the United States, if not more, suffer infections each year from medical devices that have developed microbial films — sticky mats of bacteria that are hard to find and clean off. But University of Texas researchers say they have figured out why the film develops, a finding that could lead to a way to prevent such mats from forming on catheters, breathing tubes...
MEMORIAL DAY: Where to honor those who sacrificed

MEMORIAL DAY: Where to honor those who sacrificed

No matter where you are in Central Texas, there will be a place nearby to remember those who died while serving the country’s armed forces. The following are among the places to go on Memorial Day. TRAVIS COUNTY East Austin: Ceremony, 10 a.m., Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota St. South Austin: Ceremony, 10:30 a.m., Assumption Cemetery, 3650 Interstate 35. East Austin: Ceremony for Johnston...
Bill scaling back the way the state grades schools goes to Gov. Abbott

Bill scaling back the way the state grades schools goes to Gov. Abbott

A bill that would scale back the way the state will grade school districts starting next year has advanced to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The state will grade campuses under the A-F accountability system starting in 2019 under House Bill 22. “If any of you have been in contact with your school districts in the interim, you will know that the implementation of A-F did not go well,” said...

PCL: Garcia, O’Hearn spur Omaha to 7-5 win over Round Rock

Ryan O’Hearn homered and had three hits, and Onelki Garcia allowed just two hits over five innings as the Omaha Storm Chasers beat the Round Rock Express 7-5 Sunday in a Pacific Coast League game at Papillion, Neb. Round Rock had runners on first and second in the top of the ninth, but Cesar Puello flied out to end the game. Garcia (1-0) got the win, striking out three and walking two while...
Lightning strikes northeast Austin home, three displaced

Lightning strikes northeast Austin home, three displaced

Three people were displaced Sunday night after their house in northeast Austin was struck by lightning and caught on fire, the Austin Fire Department said. The fire was reported in the attic of a home on 1142 Delores Avenue around 7 p.m. Sunday. Investigators determined that a lightning strike had caused the blaze, which firefighters confined to the attic. No one was injured in the fire. Officials...
Major child protective services reforms head to Gov. Abbott’s desk

Major child protective services reforms head to Gov. Abbott’s desk

Major bills to address the state’s troubled child welfare system are now headed for Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Both the House and the Senate on Sunday gave final approval on changes to Senate Bill 11 filed by Sen. Charles Schwertner, R-Georgetown, which would expand “community-based foster care” to at least two additional areas in the state over the next two years. The state...
LEGISLATURE DIGEST: Voter ID bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

LEGISLATURE DIGEST: Voter ID bill heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

VOTER ID Legislature approves voter ID bill A reworked bill that would relax the state’s embattled voter ID restrictions passed the Texas House on Sunday and now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. Senate Bill 5 had emerged from conference committee Saturday with many of the House amendments intact — but with a compromise on the criminal penalty for lying on a document that allows...
Texas House, Senate spat signals that special session is likely

Texas House, Senate spat signals that special session is likely

The long-simmering contest of wills between Republican leaders of the Texas House and Senate exploded Sunday as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick rejected a House fix designed to keep five state agencies functioning, including the board that licenses the state’s medical doctors. Calling the House solution woefully inadequate, Patrick said the only recourse remaining is a special session to begin sometime...
Abortion-related amendment removed, pet-cruelty bill passes

Abortion-related amendment removed, pet-cruelty bill passes

An animal-cruelty bill was sent to Gov. Greg Abbott on Sunday after a conference committee removed an abortion-related amendment that would have gutted the measure. Senate Bill 762 was requested by prosecutors who were having difficulty pursing “the most vile animal cruelty cases” under existing law, said Sen. Jose Menéndez, D-San Antonio, author of the bill. The legislation creates...
Texas Digest: Toddler missing for 24 hours in forest found safe

Texas Digest: Toddler missing for 24 hours in forest found safe

SOUTHEAST TEXAS 3-year-old missing in forest found safe A 3-year-old boy missing for 24 hours in the Sam Houston National Forest was found safe Sunday afternoon. Jimmy Williams of the New Waverly Fire Department said the child was alert and smiling. The boy, identified only by his first name, Ezra, was found by searchers in heavy brush about 400 yards from his family’s campsite. The family was...
Texas lawmakers approve high school STAAR reprieve, rejects others

Texas lawmakers approve high school STAAR reprieve, rejects others

A bill that would continue for two more years a policy that allows high school students to graduate even if they fail up to two state standardized tests is headed for Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. A high school senior who has failed up to two end-of-course State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness but has passed all classes and fulfilled other requirements can graduate as long as a committee...
Bill to crack down on cyberbullying in schools heads to Gov. Abbott

Bill to crack down on cyberbullying in schools heads to Gov. Abbott

The Legislature has advanced a bill to Gov. Greg Abbott that would crack down on cyberbullying in Texas schools. Senate Bill 179, filed by Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, would require public schools to create cyberbullying policies and establish methods for students to anonymously report cyberbullying. School administrators would have up to three business days to tell an alleged...

Small plane crashes into tree in Lakeway

LAKEWAY A small plane crashed into a tree in Lakeway Sunday afternoon, Lakeway police officials said. The call came in at 12:45 p.m. Sunday at the 115 block of Flying Scot Street in Lakeway. The pilot ran off the runway at the Lakeway Airpark, drove through a driving range and struck a tree and a mailbox, the dispatcher said. Lakeway Police Sgt. Jason Brown said there were initial reports of minor...
Reversals at Legislature have spelled an unhappy tale for Austin

Reversals at Legislature have spelled an unhappy tale for Austin

The story of Austin and this year’s legislative session wouldn’t end with the fairy tale trope “and they lived happily ever after.” A better conclusion to this saga could come from Revelation 12:12: “For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” In the four months since the 85th legislative session opened...
Texas voter ID bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk

Texas voter ID bill heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk

A reworked bill that would relax the state’s embattled voter ID restrictions passed the Texas House on Sunday and now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. Senate Bill 5 had emerged from conference committee Saturday with many of the House amendments intact — but with a compromise on the criminal penalty for lying on a document that allows registered voters to cast a ballot without...
‘Buy American’ legislation heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk

‘Buy American’ legislation heads to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk

A measure that prods state agencies to buy iron and steel from the United States will head to the governor’s office after its passage in both the Texas House and Texas Senate over the weekend. Senate Bill 1289 would require state entities with projects relating to the construction, remodeling, or altering of a building or infrastructure, including a road or highway, or who supply a material...
Effort in Texas to legalize daily fantasy sports appears dead

Effort in Texas to legalize daily fantasy sports appears dead

The latest effort to legalize for-profit fantasy sports leagues in Texas appears to be dead. State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond had proposed legislation that would designate fantasy sports as legal, skill-based games, in direct contradiction to an opinion handed down by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last year deeming fantasy sports illegal gambling. With his own fantasy sports bills unable...

Road reopened after small plane crash in Lakeway

4:45 p.m. update: A small plane that crashed in Lakeway has been moved back onto the airport property and there are no further road closures, Lakeway police said. Earlier this afternoon, the pilot ran off the runway at the Lakeway Airpark, drove through a driving range and hit a tree and a mailbox, a Lakeway Police Department dispatcher said. Lakeway Police Sgt. Jason Brown said there were initial...
House, Senate squabble points to special session

House, Senate squabble points to special session

The long-simmering contest of wills between Republican leaders of the Texas House and Senate exploded Sunday as Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick rejected a House fix designed to keep five state agencies functioning, including the board that licenses the state’s medical doctors. Calling the House solution woefully inadequate, Patrick said the only recourse remaining is a special session to begin sometime...
Amid Capitol drama, Speaker Joe Straus says he’ll run for reelection

Amid Capitol drama, Speaker Joe Straus says he’ll run for reelection

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus will run for reelection next year and in 2019 will seek to become the longest-serving leader of the lower chamber in Texas history, Straus spokesman Jason Embry said. Straus, who won his House seat in 2005 and was elected speaker in 2009, would move past Democrats Gib Lewis and Pete Laney on the all-time list if voters in his northwest San Antonio district send him back...
Texas school employees may soon be able to store guns in their cars

Texas school employees may soon be able to store guns in their cars

An education measure to allow guns in school parking lots is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The Texas Senate on Saturday approved the education measure that the House had tacked onto Senate Bill 1566, which addresses school board operations. Under the provision, school employees would be allowed to store guns in their cars parked on school property. It was originally proposed in standalone...
Bill to crack down on cyberbullying in schools advances to Gov. Abbott

Bill to crack down on cyberbullying in schools advances to Gov. Abbott

The Legislature has advanced a bill to Gov. Greg Abbott that would crack down on cyberbullying in Texas schools. Senate Bill 179, filed by Sen. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, would require public schools to create cyberbullying policies and establish methods for students to anonymously report cyberbullying. School administrators would have up to three business days to tell an alleged...
Measure to address ‘school lunch shaming’ heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

Measure to address ‘school lunch shaming’ heads to Gov. Abbott’s desk

An education measure to address so-called school lunch shaming is headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. The Texas Senate on Saturday approved the education measure that the House had tacked onto Senate Bill 1566, which addresses school board operations. An amendment to stop school lunch shaming by Rep. Helen Giddings, D-DeSoto, would require school boards to adopt a policy allowing a two-week grace...
Thunderstorm warnings expire in Central Texas, light rain continues

Thunderstorm warnings expire in Central Texas, light rain continues

9:30 p.m. update: Severe thunderstorm warnings in Bastrop and Caldwell counties were allowed to expire Sunday night, as the National Weather Service determined there was no longer a threat in the region. Additionally, the flash flood warning for Burnet, Blanco and Gillespie counties was also cancelled. There is still a flash flood watch in effect for Travis County until 10 p.m. However, late Sunday...
Legislature approves strict caps for unpaid tolls

Legislature approves strict caps for unpaid tolls

The Texas House and Senate Saturday approved a compromise version of Senate Bill 312, the must-pass Texas Department of Transportation sunset bill, sending it on to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. That final version of the bill, worked out by its sponsor Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, and a House-Senate conference committee in recent days, retains some of the changes imposed by the House...

Community news: Youth Innovations Showcase on Tuesday

TRAVIS COUNTY DOWNTOWN AUSTIN Innovations Showcase on Tuesday EcoRise Youth Innovations and the city of Austin’s office of sustainability will host the third annual Student Innovation Showcase from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 301 W. Second St. Middle and high school students from local public, private and charter schools will demonstrate the sustainability projects they have created...
What shape is Austin in heading into summer? Better than you think

What shape is Austin in heading into summer? Better than you think

The gloomy skies and downpours that finally arrived eight days ago might not have been ideal spring weather. But they have left Central Texas in great shape heading into summer. The area’s lakes are full. The soil is moist. The plants are generally a well-hydrated shade of green. Those rains that began falling on Central Texas two Sundays ago — 1 to 2 inches in most places in a single...
Surge in patients at new Austin VA clinic prompts review

Surge in patients at new Austin VA clinic prompts review

Four years after the Department of Veterans Affairs outpatient clinic in Austin opened as the largest in the country, skyrocketing growth in the number of veterans using it has officials already looking at ways to prevent overcrowding and extend the life span of the facility. The Austin clinic is five years ahead of growth projections, said Christopher Sandles, hired in February to oversee the Central...
Feds go quiet on push to protect rights of citizen-soldiers

Feds go quiet on push to protect rights of citizen-soldiers

Six months ago, members of Congress asked the Department of Labor to change rules that were shielding the identity of employers who routinely run afoul of a landmark law meant to protect the jobs of U.S. service members and reservists when they are called to duty. The House Veterans Affairs Committee opened an inquiry into the matter last year after an American-Statesman investigation into violations...
7 things you need to know about SB 4, the ‘anti-sanctuary’ law

7 things you need to know about SB 4, the ‘anti-sanctuary’ law

Senate Bill 4, the measure banning so-called sanctuary cities by punishing jurisdictions that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials, was signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott earlier this month. As Austin and other cities across the state prepare to challenge it in court, local officials, law enforcement agencies and immigration attorneys continue to study what changes the new law...

Traffic report for May 29, 2017

Interstate 35 (Travis County): The outside lane on the southbound access road will be closed between Williamson Creek and Stassney Lane from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday. The outside lane on the northbound access road will be closed just past The Lakes Boulevard from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. The inside lane on the southbound access road will be closed between 290/71 Ben White...
Texts, Uber and tolls: Transportation’s session in the shadows

Texts, Uber and tolls: Transportation’s session in the shadows

Transportation was always destined to be something of a sideshow for the 85th Legislature, which with any luck will complete its business Monday. The center ring, it became obvious months ago, was to feature such matters as school potty protocols, and which jail guests Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez must out to federal authorities. That 82,000-mile network of state highways and bridges? Pshaw...
Where to honor those who sacrificed

Where to honor those who sacrificed

Memorial Day events No matter where you are in Central Texas, there will be a place nearby to remember those who died while serving the country’s armed forces. The following are among the places to go this Memorial Day weekend. TRAVIS COUNTY West Austin: World War II close assault re-enactments, 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sunday at Camp Mabry, 2200 W. 35th St. East Austin: Ceremony, 10 a.m. Monday,...
Round Rock WW II veteran still remembers disastrous plane crash

Round Rock WW II veteran still remembers disastrous plane crash

First the B-29 bomber got hit by anti-aircraft guns and lost one of its four engines. Then it ran out of gas at night over the Indian Ocean during a rainstorm. When the plane crashed into 8- to 10-foot waves, it felt as if it were “running up against a solid wall,” Elwin Hudson said. Hudson, a 95-year-old Round Rock resident and World War II Army Air Forces pilot, still has a photo of...
Legislature approves $216.8 billion state budget

Legislature approves $216.8 billion state budget

Both houses of the Texas Legislature approved a $216.8 billion state budget for 2018 and 2019 on Saturday that does little to improve the state’s widely criticized school finance system, boosts funding for scandal-plagued child protection agencies and maintains the state’s $800 million commitment to border security. The House voted 135-14 to approve the budget, with all “no&rdquo...
Gov. Greg Abbott signs court safety law named for Judge Julie Kocurek

Gov. Greg Abbott signs court safety law named for Judge Julie Kocurek

Nearly 19 months after state District Judge Julie Kocurek was shot outside her West Austin home, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law named in her honor that aims to boost security for judicial officers. “The craven attack against Judge Julie Kocurek is deeply troubling, and Texas must be committed to protecting those who uphold the rule of law in this state,” Abbott said Saturday in a statement...
Chipotle: Breach compromised payment data at 22 Austin-area locations

Chipotle: Breach compromised payment data at 22 Austin-area locations

An investigation into a previously disclosed data breach at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. revealed security breakdowns in about 2,250 of its restaurants — including 22 in the Austin metro area. The company said hackers installed malware “designed to access payment card data” from the restaurants’ registers between March 24 and April 18. The malware could pull cardholder names...
WWII reenactment at Camp Mabry depicts battle for better weapons

WWII reenactment at Camp Mabry depicts battle for better weapons

Machine guns take out infantry rifles, but are disabled by tanks. Bazookas eviscerate tanks, but not armored half-tracks. This technological standoff of anything-you-can-build-we-can-build-better is the subject of a World War II reenactment going on this weekend at Camp Mabry. A few hundred people — some of them war veterans, some of them elementary school students with a passion for American...

Teens accused of burglaries in Round Rock, Florence

WILLIAMSON COUNTY Teens accused of burglaries in Round Rock, Florence Police have accused four men, including two they interviewed at Florence High School, of being involved in a burglary at a Florence business, according to arrest affidavits. Three of them were also accused of being involved in a burglary at a Round Rock pawnshop, the affidavits said. Florence residents Miguel Vences, 17 , his brother...
In its 85th session, the Texas Legislature marched farther right

In its 85th session, the Texas Legislature marched farther right

When state Rep. Jason Villalba was first elected to the Legislature in 2012, he was described as the future of the Texas Republican Party. Five years later, representing an affluent North Dallas district that Hillary Clinton carried and whose constituents include former President George W. Bush, Villalba is one of only three Hispanic Republicans in the Legislature. During his years in Austin, he has...
Legislature approves $216.8 billion state budget

Legislature approves $216.8 billion state budget

Both houses of the Texas Legislature approved a $216.8 billion state budget for 2018 and 2019 on Saturday that does little to improve the state’s widely criticized school finance system, boosts funding for scandal-plagued child protection agencies and maintains the state’s $800 million commitment to border security. The House voted 135-14 to approve the budget, with all “no&rdquo...
Most Texas House changes kept in voter ID bill

Most Texas House changes kept in voter ID bill

The voter ID bill emerged from conference committee Saturday with many of the House amendments intact — but with a compromise on the criminal penalty for lying on a document that allows registered voters to cast a ballot without a government-issued photo ID. The reworked bill will next be presented to the Senate and House for approval. If granted, Senate Bill 5 would go to Gov. Greg Abbott,...
Gov. Greg Abbott signs court safety law named for Judge Julie Kocurek

Gov. Greg Abbott signs court safety law named for Judge Julie Kocurek

Nearly 19 months after state District Judge Julie Kocurek was shot outside her West Austin home, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a law named in her honor that aims to boost security for judicial officers. “The craven attack against Judge Julie Kocurek is deeply troubling, and Texas must be committed to protecting those who uphold the rule of law in this state,” Abbott said Saturday in a statement...
Texas Senate resurrects school finance, ‘school choice’ bill

Texas Senate resurrects school finance, ‘school choice’ bill

House Bill 21, the school finance and school choice bill that was declared dead earlier this week, might have been resurrected. Without much discussion, the Texas Senate on Saturday appointed senators to a conference committee to hash out differences in the bill with members of the House, who were appointed on Wednesday. Without a compromise by midnight Saturday, HB 21 is dead — again. Senate...
Fear of lawsuits prompts late change to Senate bill

Fear of lawsuits prompts late change to Senate bill

Language was stripped out of a relatively minor bill that would allow businesses to sue over local ordinances that affect their operations, including bars and strip clubs impeded by zoning or noise regulations, the Texas Municipal League said in an alert issued Saturday morning. Soon after, the Senate author of the bill — intended to void local regulations on what seeds can be planted &mdash...
Dan Patrick, Joe Straus share stage amid ‘bathroom bill’ showdown

Dan Patrick, Joe Straus share stage amid ‘bathroom bill’ showdown

Amid the legislative showdown over the so-called bathroom bill, the Republican “big three” of Texas state government — Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker Joe Straus — shared the stage in the House on Saturday morning for a Memorial Day weekend event honoring Texans who have died while serving in the armed services. None acknowledged publicly what had happened...
Police: SB I-35 frontage road at Parmer Ln. reopens after body found

Police: SB I-35 frontage road at Parmer Ln. reopens after body found

11:45 a.m. update: Southbound I-35 frontage road at Parmer Lane has reopened, Austin police officials said. The road was closed while police investigated a body found at a nearby transient camp, police said. According to their preliminary investigation, the death does not appear to be suspicious. Earlier: The southbound Interstate 35 frontage road at the intersection of Parmer Lane is closed while...
Public needs data to know if SB 4 increases racial profiling

Public needs data to know if SB 4 increases racial profiling

With the 2017 legislative session all but over, Texas police departments have begun the tough job of figuring out how to address one of the session’s most controversial laws: Senate Bill 4, aimed at eliminating so-called sanctuary cities and counties. Republican lawmakers passed the legislation over the objections of Democrats and police chiefs of major cities who said a certain provision of...
Greg Kelley’s sex abuse trial, like many, hinged on one child’s word

Greg Kelley’s sex abuse trial, like many, hinged on one child’s word

When Greg Kelley went to jail in 2014 after being convicted of super aggravated sexual assault , it was on the word of a 5-year-old child. There was no eyewitness, no physical evidence, no confession. But when the little boy told his story of molestation at a Cedar Park in-home day care center, he told it in graphic detail. The jury believed him. Kelley went to jail. ...
Trump budget may slash aid to Austin housing, elderly, flood recovery

Trump budget may slash aid to Austin housing, elderly, flood recovery

Child care help so minimum-wage parents can work and earn a paycheck. Social workers to care for elderly people who need help getting through their daily lives. After-school programs for kids who’d be left to their own devices otherwise. Housing vouchers for people who’d be on the streets. Those are the programs targeted in a 2018 budget proposed by President Donald Trump. It would eliminate...
Several Texas cities use sirens, but Austin is not one of them

Several Texas cities use sirens, but Austin is not one of them

Several North Texas cities use outdoor sirens to warn citizens of impending threats, including dangerous weather events. But Austin doesn’t have such sirens. So why do North Texas towns have sirens? They are specifically designed to warn those outdoors to find shelter during severe weather and other major emergencies. Kevin Oden, Dallas assistant emergency manager, said his city’s 156...
Latinitas celebrates 15 years of media, tech training for girls, teens

Latinitas celebrates 15 years of media, tech training for girls, teens

After recently receiving a tech-focused city grant for marginalized communities, Latinitas co-founder and CEO Laura Donnelly looked around her East Austin office and felt proud. Latinitas, the nonprofit group she started 15 years ago to empower young girls, received the grant recognition alongside some bigger organizations and some of the community’s most respected nonprofits. “I feel...
At 25 years old, an arts awards event learns to adapt

At 25 years old, an arts awards event learns to adapt

Described as the kind of awards show where you can take your drink up on the stage, the Austin Critics Table Awards has served as an annual night of camaraderie and recognition for local artists in theater, dance, design, classical and visual arts for 25 years. But as both the arts and the art-critics communities have changed amid industry turbulence in recent years, the event has adapted to fit the...

Are the robots eating our lunch?

I was leaving my dry cleaner’s when I saw her — our local meter maid writing a parking ticket. She smiled. I grimaced. Had she hit my car too? I instinctively drew my cellphone and checked my Park Boston app. Relief. My car was good for another half-hour. No longer worried about me, I started worrying about her. Would she still be working in six months? Surely, they’ll put cameras...
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

Top Local Business Stories of the Week

BACK IN AUSTIN Uber, Lyft say they are coming back to Austin: National ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft say they will return to Austin on Monday. Drivers who have worked for Lyft in the past were notified of the company’s return in a text message sent this past Thursday, while an Uber spokesman confirmed his company’s return in an email to the American-Statesman. Lyft and Uber pulled...
Teenagers accused of burglaries in Round Rock, Florence

Teenagers accused of burglaries in Round Rock, Florence

Police have accused four men, including two they interviewed at Florence High School, of being involved in a burglary at a Florence business, according to arrest affidavits. Three of them were also accused of being involved in a burglary at a Round Rock pawnshop, the affidavits said. Florence residents Miguel Vences, 17 , his brother Juan Vences, 19, and their cousin Javier Vences, 17, were each charged...
Cedar Park gold coin company owner accused of stealing from client

Cedar Park gold coin company owner accused of stealing from client

A Cedar Park man who owns a gold coin company has been accused of stealing from one of his clients, according to an arrest affidavit. Donald McBride, 47, was charged with theft, a state jail felony punishable by up to two years in jail. McBride is the owner of David Maxwell Gold Advisors LLC, the affidavit said. One of his customers bought 500 Silver American Eagle Coins from him on Oct. 7, the affidavit...
Joe Straus, Dan Patrick snipe on bathroom bill, special session

Joe Straus, Dan Patrick snipe on bathroom bill, special session

Speaker Joe Straus said the House will budge no further on transgender bathroom legislation and that the Senate can take the measure the House passed Sunday, which Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick did not feel went far enough, or leave it. “The House approved language last Sunday night that required schools to make private accommodations for students who want them,” Straus said Friday at a brief press...
Police seeing uptick of phone scam reports in South Austin

Police seeing uptick of phone scam reports in South Austin

An increasing number of people in South Austin are falling victim to a phone scam, in which the caller pretends to be a family member in desperate need of money to bail them out of jail, Austin police said. In some instances, the scammer tells the person receiving the call that his or her voice sounds different because they have a cold. In other instances, the caller is posing as a government...
Legislature keeps cuts to program for poor kids with disabilities

Legislature keeps cuts to program for poor kids with disabilities

Over Democratic objections and against Texas House Speaker Joe Straus’ wishes, the Legislature this year won’t undo severe cuts adopted in 2015 to a program that serves low-income children with disabilities. The House on Friday voted 115-21 to go along with a Senate budget plan that declines to alter the dramatic reductions — totaling about $350 million in state and federal money...
Sweeping abortion regulations sent to Gov. Abbott

Sweeping abortion regulations sent to Gov. Abbott

Eleven months after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned abortion regulations that would have left only nine clinics open in Texas, sweeping new restrictions are on their way to Gov. Greg Abbott for his signature. Voting 22-9, the Texas Senate on Friday gave final approval to Senate Bill 8, which requires fetal tissue to be buried or cremated, restricts the most common procedure for second-trimester...
Former nurse accused of killing dozens of kids in 1980s

Former nurse accused of killing dozens of kids in 1980s

A Texas nurse who is in prison for the 1982 killing of a toddler has been charged with murder in the death of an infant a year earlier, and authorities said Friday that they think she might have killed as many as 60 young children around that time. Genene Jones, 66, is serving concurrent 99-year and 60-year sentences at a Gatesville prison for the 1982 killing of 15-month-old Chelsea McClelland and...
1 shot, 1 stabbed, 1 hit by car in melee between families, police say

1 shot, 1 stabbed, 1 hit by car in melee between families, police say

SOUTHEAST AUSTIN Police: 1 shot, 1 stabbed, 1 hit by car in melee A fight between two families in Southeast Austin on Friday morning left one man shot, another stabbed and a third injured after being hit by someone driving a car, Austin police said. No one had injuries that were life-threatening, police said. One man was arrested, but a police spokesman at the scene did not have information about...
Mark the bicentennial of Jane Austen's death by visiting Bath, a city she called home

Mark the bicentennial of Jane Austen's death by visiting Bath, a city she called home

BATH, England - Shortly after our late-afternoon arrival in Bath, we took a promenade along its storied gravel walk, the same one where Anne Elliot and Captain Frederick Wentworth found themselves "exquisitely happy" at the end of Jane Austen's "Persuasion."  This year marks the bicentennial of Austen's death, and our party of four had come to Bath to follow in the footsteps...
Then, a vibrant Jewish hub. Now, a culinary hotbed.

Then, a vibrant Jewish hub. Now, a culinary hotbed.

On a wet Friday evening on the south side of Dublin, near the Portobello neighborhood’s busy and unfashionable Leonard’s Corner, eight lanes of traffic crisscrossed near a halal grocer, takeout shops, the fluorescent tube lighting at Washers Laundry, and the year-old modern Irish restaurant Bastible.  Inside the restaurant, three sure-footed chefs led by Barry FitzGerald, who is also...
Florida man with AK-47 opens fire while driving on highway

Florida man with AK-47 opens fire while driving on highway

A man in Miami was arrested Monday morning after police said he shot at cars with an AK-47 rifle while driving on the highway.  The incident happened around 1 a.m. when the 37-year-old man fired his rifle at two passing cars in his red Toyota Corolla on the Palmetto Expressway, CBS Miami reports. He then lost control of his car and crashed into the concrete median. The suspect was able...
Finding my Florida

Finding my Florida

Long before hanging chads and headlines like “Lakeland Woman Treats 6-Foot Gator Like a Baby,” my splintered family shared a unifying dream: Florida, where true happiness was to be found among palm trees and miles of beaches. It was where everything would be OK. It was our promised land.  That may sound surprising. In an increasingly confused country, the Sunshine State is the place...
Cheapo Travel: Save big money at Legoland

Cheapo Travel: Save big money at Legoland

How much do you like Legoland?  If you buy three regular annual passes right now, you get one free. So that’s $597 for one year of admission to Legoland in Carlsbad, the aquarium, water park and also other Merlin North America attractions, free parking, in-park discounts and more. Here’s why it’s such a good deal — because you also get in free to the Florida parks, to...
Early success puts Twins on the spot

Early success puts Twins on the spot

The baseball schedule stretches so long that most teams, in time, reveal their true selves. The Chicago White Sox and the Philadelphia Phillies reached Memorial Day last season with winning records, only to sink to fourth place in their divisions. They looked like pretenders, and that is what they were. Every now and then, though, an upstart team will sustain its hot start, allowing players and fans...

We tried that: Working on a food truck for a day

What we tried: It seems like everyone and their mother wants to open a food truck. Literally. On my way to meet Stephanie Swanz, owner of the Empamamas empanada food truck, my Starbucks barista said that her mom wanted to open one.  When I mentioned this to Swanz, she smiled knowingly and nodded. She gets that a lot, she said. Swanz has owned Empamamas for about a year and a half, and has quickly...
Inside Curry's inner circle: Three mentors share their stories

Inside Curry's inner circle: Three mentors share their stories

In a high school office 3,000 miles from Oracle Arena, Shonn Brown and Chad Fair typically begin their chats by marveling at Stephen Curry's latest feat. The exchanges quickly veer in directions unlike those of any other Curry conversations on the planet. "Have you talked to him lately?" "How's his state of mind?" "That facial hair is something else." Any commentary on...
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