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Elections

Travis County Constable Danny Thomas wins nomination to keep seat
Charlotte Carpenter

Travis County Constable Danny Thomas wins nomination to keep seat

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Travis County Constable Danny Thomas said the next four years look good.

Unless another challenger jumps into the ring before November, Thomas is set to keep his precinct 1 seat for a third term. He clinched the Democratic nomination over challenger Janie Serna 65 percent to 35 percent Tuesday night, according to unofficial results. There is no Republican contender.

Thomas said he was excited about the results and is looking forward to making changes within the office to raise public awareness of what it does.

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NUCLEAR RESEARCH

UT, A&M in consortium bidding for nuclear weapons lab contract
Ralph Barrera

UT, A&M in consortium bidding for nuclear weapons lab contract

A consortium that includes the University of Texas System and the Texas A&M University System announced Tuesday that it will compete for the contract to operate one of the nation’s nuclear weapons labs.

The two university systems, along with the University of New Mexico, the Boeing Co. and the Battelle Memorial Institute, will bid to run Sandia National Laboratories, based in Albuquerque, N.M. Sandia, which is owned by the federal government, has a $2.9 billion annual budget and more than 10,000 employees. It is currently operated by a unit of Lockheed Martin Corp. under contract with the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

elections

Wayne Christian defeats Gary Gates for Railroad Commission

In the Republican primary runoff to join the three-member Texas Railroad Commission, Wayne Christian, a former state representative from East Texas, defeated Houston-area businessman Gary Gates.

The Associated Press called the race for Christian around 9:20 p.m. Tuesday, when he was leading by less than two percentage with 91 percent of precincts reporting — reversing a lead Gates had held for much of the night.

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ken herman

Herman: Landmark Nau’s Drug caught in West Austin historic home fight
Ken Herman

Landmark Nau’s Drug caught in West Austin historic home fight

The future of a longtime retail landmark in West Austin is tied up in what could be the endgame of a 16-year fight over an eyesore of a vacant old house a few blocks south of the store.

Nau’s Enfield Drug has been at 12th and West Lynn streets since 1951. Lambert Labay began working there in 1963. He bought it and has run it since 1971. There’s a soda fountain and grill, a pharmacy and the kind of miscellaneous merchandise findable in most any drug store.

austin schools

Austin school board removes Robert E. Lee’s name from elementary campus
Shelby Tauber

Austin school board removes Robert E. Lee’s name from elementary campus

The Austin school board on Monday night voted to rename Robert E. Lee Elementary, the first time the district has changed the name of a school because of its ties to the Confederacy.

In an 8-1 vote, trustees chose Russell Lee Elementary, the name favored among the school’s parents and teachers. Trustee Paul Saldaña cast the dissenting vote.

public safety

Police accuse 2 Austin men of dealing in Chinese-made opiate fentanyl
Ricardo B. Brazziell

Police accuse 2 Austin men of dealing in Chinese-made opiate fentanyl

Authorities have accused two men living in Austin of selling a laboratory-made heroin alternative, produced in China, that led to the deaths of at least two people in the city.

The drug, fentanyl, is a synthetic opiate similar to heroin, but much more powerful. In total, it has killed at least five people in Austin since December. Fentanyl is being sold in both powder and liquid forms throughout Austin, police said.


baylor

Baylor regents reviewing report amid speculation about Starr’s future
Rod Aydelotte

Baylor regents reviewing report amid speculation about Starr’s future

The Baylor University Board of Regents is in the midst of reviewing a report compiled by an independent law firm about how the school handled multiple sexual assault allegations made against its football program over the past five years.

And on Tuesday, as speculation grew that university President Ken Starr would not survive the scandal, school officials announced they would make public their recommendations by early next month.

austin energy

Austin Energy hits pause on plans for new gas plant at Decker
Deborah Cannon

Austin Energy hits pause on plans for new gas plant at Decker

Austin Energy has further delayed plans to construct a new half-billion-dollar natural gas power plant at its Decker Creek facility, citing slumping natural gas prices.

The delay, an Austin Energy executive said, likely will mean the utility will continue to operate two old, less efficient generators at Decker that the new unit was supposed to replace.

Courts

Lawyers call for city ban on jailing residents who can’t pay fines
Laura Skelding

Lawyers call for city ban on jailing residents who can’t pay fines

Civil rights lawyers are calling for Austin City Council members to rewrite municipal court policies to ban judges from jailing people who cannot pay their fines for low-level offenses.

At a Monday meeting of the Austin Public Safety Committee, attorneys and advocates said jailing residents for money owed on Class C misdemeanors, such as traffic infractions and city ordinance violations, is unconstitutional.


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