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Scuffle with man, Austin officer leads to lawsuit against city

A man who was arrested last year has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Austin and the police sergeant who took him into custody saying that the officer attacked him without provocation. According to the lawsuit, Austin police Sgt. Gregory White “cold-cocked” Justin Scott, 25, when Scott didn’t answer some of White’s questions and when Scott repeatedly asked White...
Trump picks fast food executive Andrew Puzder for Labor

Trump picks fast food executive Andrew Puzder for Labor

President-elect Donald Trump plans to add another wealthy business person and elite donor to his Cabinet, saying he would nominate fast-food executive Andrew Puzder as labor secretary. Puzder heads CKE Restaurants Holdings, the parent company of Carl's Jr., Hardee's and other chains. In 2010, he published a book called "Job Creation: How it Really Works and Why Government Doesn't Understand It...
Gaffes at Austin DNA lab could cost taxpayers up to $14 million

Gaffes at Austin DNA lab could cost taxpayers up to $14 million

Travis County and the city of Austin will be forced to spend up to $14 million, according to some estimates, to review and reopen thousands of DNA samples from the shuttered Austin police crime lab — an unexpected cost so high it could result in a significant hike to taxpayers, the American-Statesman has learned. Officials are still trying to estimate how much it will take to ensure that faulty...
PolitiFact: Does Austin’s campaign finance system create a loophole?

PolitiFact: Does Austin’s campaign finance system create a loophole?

Seeking re-election, Austin City Council Member Sheri Gallo says in a mailer to voters in West Austin’s District 10 that challenger Alison Alter “exploited a campaign loophole to obtain over $64,000 in public dollars to fund her campaign.” Alter, an adviser to philanthropic donors, who is making her first bid for office, received $64,171.19 in public financing toward her runoff campaign...
Police question person of interest in East Side Pies 'Pizzagate' case

Police question person of interest in East Side Pies 'Pizzagate' case

10 a.m. update Meanwhile, Pflugerville Assistant Police Chief Jim McLean on Wednesday confirmed “an active investigation” by Austin police of James Christian Lowery of Pflugerville. The American-Statesman obtained the arrest warrant affidavit for Lowery, who was arrested Tuesday on a charge of deadly conduct after firing a weapon in the air at his home on Dec. 2.   A Facebook...
Lawyer sanctioned $175,000 for phony email, offensive comments

Lawyer sanctioned $175,000 for phony email, offensive comments

A federal magistrate judge sanctioned Austin lawyer Omar Rosales and ordered him to pay more than $175,000 in penalties for fabricating an email he presented in court and for making offensive comments against a civil rights attorney with whom he’s embroiled in a disabilities lawsuit. A 49-page order signed Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane says Rosales filed pleadings in which he...
Large-scale fixes proposed for state’s troubled foster care system

Large-scale fixes proposed for state’s troubled foster care system

A Georgetown lawmaker has filed the first large-scale bill for the upcoming legislative session to fix pressing issues within the state’s troubled foster care system. Republican state Sen. Charles Schwertner also called on Gov. Greg Abbott to address foster care and Child Protective Services problems as emergency items within the first 60 days of the session, which begins Jan. 10. “Ensuring...
Grand jury: No charges for Austin cop who pepper-sprayed detained man

Grand jury: No charges for Austin cop who pepper-sprayed detained man

A Travis County grand jury declined to indict an officer caught on video during a violent arrest in which he used pepper spray on a handcuffed man. Jurors had considered a possible indictment against Officer Cameron Caldwell on assault. The case stems from the arrest of a man visiting from Chicago during the South by Southwest Music Festival in March. Officers had detained the man and placed him inside...
The InfoWar on pizza: On Alex Jones, Donald Trump and fact-free toppings

The InfoWar on pizza: On Alex Jones, Donald Trump and fact-free toppings

I will begin today with a confession. Well, not actually a confession, because I am not guilty of anything, but some full disclosure before I get into what I’m going to write about today.

Season for Caring

Learn more about the families in the 2016 Statesman Season for Caring campaign.
Special Presentation
Special section: Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 years later

Special section: Remembering Pearl Harbor, 75 years later

Subscribers have access to a 43-page special commemorative section on the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Bundle up and enjoy these weekend family events, Dec. 9-11

Bundle up and enjoy these weekend family events, Dec. 9-11

The arctic blast has come, but it hasn’t taken away the holiday-themed fun for families happening this weekend.
Man faces drug charges after found with 600 doses of ‘bath salts’

Man faces drug charges after found with 600 doses of ‘bath salts’

NORTHWEST AUSTIN Man found with 600 doses of ‘bath salts’ Austin police arrested a man on multiple drug charges on Wednesday after finding more than 60 grams of “bath salts” and numerous other drugs during a search in Northwest Austin, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Kaleib Kyle Ahart, 22, was booked into the Travis County Jail on three charges of manufacture or delivery...

Buda City Council candidates take different tack to woo runoff voters

Runoff candidates tend to have a tough time bringing out the vote. And after an overall election season as explosive as this year’s, the final two Buda City Council candidates said they know they face an uphill battle mobilizing voters for the Dec. 13 runoff. Project manager Lee Urbanovsky said he’s sticking with the same campaign strategy, as he said it seemed to have worked well for...
East Side Pies responds to ‘Pizzagate’ with anti-bullying fundraiser

East Side Pies responds to ‘Pizzagate’ with anti-bullying fundraiser

East Side Pies pizzeria owners Noah Polk and Michael Freid, who have been the target of harassment sparked by the fake online news story known as “Pizzagate,” appeared at their Airport Boulevard location Thursday to announce an anti-bullying partnership with East Austin nonprofit Creative Action. With every purchase from East Side Pies, customers can donate $1 to Creative Action, which...
Atlanta Falcons treat guests to preview of Mercedes Benz Stadium food

Atlanta Falcons treat guests to preview of Mercedes Benz Stadium food

The Atlanta Falcons showcased the new restaurants coming to Mercedes Benz Stadium during a preview event in downtown Altanta on Wednesday. Participants were treated to favorite standbys such as The Varsity’s chili dogs and Chick-fil-A’s chicken sandwiches to pork cheek tacos from The Iberian Pig and curry chicken salad from Snackology 101. “We decided to take a different approach...
Old paintbrushes, new business cards for Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez

Old paintbrushes, new business cards for Jacob Rodriguez-Lopez

Just a few months after his wife’s death, 26-year-old His wife, Adriana, died in August of cervical cancer. His daughter, Emely, has Down syndrome and a hole in her heart. A problematic surgery when Emely was a baby left her without the ability to eat normally. She is fed every three hours through a tube in her stomach. As a bubbly 4-year-old who is eager to hug every stranger she sees, Emely...
Los Angeles sues 4 big retailers over alleged deceptive ads

Los Angeles sues 4 big retailers over alleged deceptive ads

Los Angeles prosecutors on Thursday sued four national retailers, accusing them of duping shoppers into believing they got bigger discounts than they actually did. The separate lawsuits alleging deceptive advertising were filed against J.C. Penney, Sears, Kohl’s and Macy’s, according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office. “Customers have the right to be told the truth about...
Austin officer who pepper-sprayed handcuffed man won’t face charges

Austin officer who pepper-sprayed handcuffed man won’t face charges

A Travis County grand jury declined to indict an Austin officer who was Jurors had considered a possible indictment against officer Cameron Caldwell on an assault charge. The incident has already led to internal Austin police disciplinary action against three other officers, including two supervisors, who top police officials said conducted a shoddy review of the case, fueling questions about how...
Austin still searching for city manager search firm

Austin still searching for city manager search firm

Austin’s search for a search firm to find a new city manager continues. City Council members Thursday opted to pass on proposals to conduct the search and try again, Earlier in the week, council members had floated the idea of seeing if two different search firms would agree to work together, one to focus on governmental candidates and one to focus on private industry candidates. A few community...

Business digest: Sales, profit at Sears continue downward spiral

Sears, the one-time standard bearer for U.S. retail, has posted quarterly losses for more than a year now, and sales continue to slide as the company shutters poorly performing stores. The company’s cash situation, which has led in the past to clashes with suppliers, is an ongoing concern. Cash and cash equivalents fell another 12 percent from last year at this time...
U.S. home price gains lift household wealth to $90.2 trillion

U.S. home price gains lift household wealth to $90.2 trillion

A healthy increase in home values and higher stock prices drove up U.S. household wealth in the July-September quarter, though the gains are largely concentrated among wealthier Americans. The Federal Reserve said Thursday that real estate values increased $554 billion in the third quarter, while Americans’ stock and mutual fund portfolios rose $494 billion. Total household wealth, which includes...
Iowa man accused of sexual assault of 16-year-old Georgetown girl

Iowa man accused of sexual assault of 16-year-old Georgetown girl

An Iowa man who came to Georgetown to see a 16-year-old girl he met on Facebook is accused of sexually assaulting her while he was staying with her family, according to an arrest affidavit. Corbin Gast, 20, was charged with aggravated sexual assault, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison. The girl’s mother told an investigator with the Williamson County sheriff’s...
Rollback of truck safety rules may be just the beginning

Rollback of truck safety rules may be just the beginning

The trucking industry scored a victory this week when Republican lawmakers effectively blocked Obama administration safety rules aimed at keeping tired truckers off the highway. But there’s more coming down the road. The American Trucking Associations is pledging to come back next month, when Republicans will control the White House and Congress, and try to block state laws that require additional...
Could thirsty Austin turn to faraway Fort Stockton for water?

Could thirsty Austin turn to faraway Fort Stockton for water?

On a weedy patch of dirt in dusty West Texas, a veteran water man named Alan Murphy and Fort Stockton City Manager Raul Rodriguez were examining the product of their partnership: a lonely looking water well on a bit of forsaken city property. Recent rains had filled up the shallow pit around the stoppered well; last time, they’d had to fish out a dead rodent. Now the men were explaining that...
Delta will upgrade free snacks in the economy-fare cabin

Delta will upgrade free snacks in the economy-fare cabin

If it’s true that an army travels on its stomach, will better snacks keep passengers loyal to one airline? Delta Air Lines is rolling out new free snacks for customers in the main cabin, including brand-name yogurt bars and pretzels. Some will come in larger portions than before because, Delta has figured out, that’s what customers crave. The menu move comes about a year after United Airlines...
Affidavit: Suspect says he's 'just hungry' as he punches pizza delivery driver

Affidavit: Suspect says he's 'just hungry' as he punches pizza delivery driver

Austin police have accused a man of assaulting a pizza delivery driver and holding a gun to the head of a convenience store clerk in two separate robberies. According to court records, Antonio Ezekiel Durio, 19, was arrested Tuesday and faces charges of robbery, aggravated robbery and harassment of a public servant. An arrest warrant affidavit for Durio said a Pizza Hut delivery driver called police...

Man sentenced to life for 2015 sexual assault

A man who had served time for sexual assault of a child was given a life sentence Thursday after a Travis County jury found him guilty of aggravated sexual assault. The two convictions triggered an automatic life sentence for Clyde Reed, 51, whose DNA was found on a shirt at a Central Austin apartment that police said he broke into on April 15, 2015, and forced a woman living there to perform oral...
Fayette Co. crime dog Lobos helps find 25 pounds of marijuana, authorities say

Fayette Co. crime dog Lobos helps find 25 pounds of marijuana, authorities say

Fayette County sheriff's office crime dog Lobos and his handler, Sgt. Randy Thumann,  discovered a 25-pound bundle of marijuana during a traffic stop Wednesday morning, authorities said. According to a statement from Sheriff Keith Korenek, Thumann had stopped a Ford F-150 pickup traveling east on Interstate 10, about five miles west of Schulenburg, just before 11 a.m. for a traffic violation...
Man faces drug charges after found with 600 doses of 'bath salts'

Man faces drug charges after found with 600 doses of 'bath salts'

Austin police arrested a man on multiple drug charges on Wednesday after finding more than 60 grams of "bath salts" and numerous other drugs during a search in Northwest Austin, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Kaleib Kyle Ahart, 22, was booked into the Travis County Jail around 3:38 p.m. on three charges of manufacture or delivery of a controlled substance, jail records show. Officers...

University: Suspicious package destroyed at Texas A&M; no bomb found

12:50 p.m. update A police bomb squad destroyed the suspicious package and university officials said no explosive was found. The building has been reopened, the university said. Earlier The building off Agronomy Road has been closed and evacuated, forcing about 500 to 600 people to leave. Employees were given the option to go home, the university said. The university is urging the public to avoid...

Community news: Stuff the Bus food drive runs through Sunday

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN Stuff the Bus food drive begins Capital Metro, with partners Whole Foods Market and Central Texas Food Bank, will host the fifth annual Stuff the Bus food drive from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday in order to collect meals to help residents in need during the holidays. Capital Metro buses will be parked outside of Whole Foods Market downtown, 525 N. Lamar Blvd., and at...
Coca-Cola’s new push: Pair Coke with lobster, paella, ramen

Coca-Cola’s new push: Pair Coke with lobster, paella, ramen

What beverage goes best with lobster rolls, a bagel sandwich stuffed with whitefish, or a bowl of ramen? Coke wants you to think of soda. Coca-Cola is trying to sell more of its flagship beverage by suggesting the cola can accompany a wide range of meals, rather than just the fast food and pizza with which it’s a mainstay. It’s why a recent TV ad featured a young couple grabbling mini-Cokes...
Banking on change: Tech startups target financial services

Banking on change: Tech startups target financial services

It may not be much longer before bank branches join video-rental stores and record shops as relics of a bygone era. Silicon Valley is pressuring banks to change their ways or risk becoming the latest industry overtaken by technology. Hundreds of startups are offering easier and cheaper ways to save, borrow, spend and invest. They are doing it by shifting the battleground to smartphone apps and websites...
Sid Miller: ‘I’m not a news organization’

Sid Miller: ‘I’m not a news organization’

Sid Miller defended his factually flawed posts on Facebook in a Miller, the Republican Texas state agriculture commissioner Reporter Nathan Bernier asked Miller directly about Miller replied: “I didn’t manufacture that picture, I didn’t make that up.” Also, he said, “how do I tell he’s not wearing that T- shirt? I don’t know that. I don’t have the...
Austin City Council seeks other options in city manager search

Austin City Council seeks other options in city manager search

Affordable housing, library cost overruns and tugs-of-war over the city manager search and pet sterilization are all on today’s Austin City Council agenda. Here are the items we’ll be watching at today’s meeting, which starts at 10 a.m.:
More than $150,000 donated to Season for Caring this year

More than $150,000 donated to Season for Caring this year

Season for Caring, the Statesman’s holiday charity program, has raised $153,615.71 in its first 11 days.
Freeze warning issued for Austin area from midnight to Friday morning

Freeze warning issued for Austin area from midnight to Friday morning

2:55 p.m. update Affected areas for the freeze warning include Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson counties. Forecasters said temperatures will be in the mid-20s to the lower 30s Friday morning across the Hill Country and Central Texas.  A freeze warning is issued when sub-freezing temperatures are imminent or highly likely, the weather service said. Such conditions will kill plants...
Lawyer ordered to pay $175k for fabricating email, offensive comments

Lawyer ordered to pay $175k for fabricating email, offensive comments

A federal magistrate judge sanctioned Austin attorney Omar Rosales and ordered him to pay more than $175,000 in penalties for fabricating an email he presented in court and making offensive comments against a civil rights attorney with whom he’s embroiled in a disabilities lawsuit. A 49-page order signed Wednesday by U.S. Magistrate Judge Mark Lane says Rosales filed pleadings in which he accused...
Travis County judges: Separate forensic lab from Austin Police Dept.

Travis County judges: Separate forensic lab from Austin Police Dept.

All criminal court judges in Travis County have signed a letter addressed to county and city of Austin officials requesting the separation of the city’s forensic lab from the Austin Police Department to make it independent. “The integrity of the APD DNA lab has been so compromised that future use is deemed unreliable,” the 15 judges wrote to Mayor Steve Adler, the Austin City Council...

Five things to know before Austin’s first hard freeze of the season

Parts of the Hill Country could experience a hard freeze early Thursday, but
Arkansas takes queso crown in cheesy D.C. taste-test

Arkansas takes queso crown in cheesy D.C. taste-test

This is a miscarriage of justice the likes of which we haven’t seen since it was insinuated that San Antonio has better breakfast tacos than Austin.
Is demand for travel to Cuba flattening?

Is demand for travel to Cuba flattening?

Demand for travel to Cuba may be flattening, with soaring hotel prices on the island, American Airlines cutting some flights, and uncertainty over whether new travel restrictions could be imposed when Donald Trump takes office. Gregory Geronemus, co-CEO of smarTours, a tour company that’s taken 3,000 Americans to Cuba, confirms there has been a softening in demand. In part he blamed hotel prices...
Starbucks to boost number of shops, add more food to menu

Starbucks to boost number of shops, add more food to menu

Starbucks, looking to the future as its longtime CEO moves to other projects, plans to open 12,000 new locations within five years to boost its number of coffee shops worldwide by almost 50 percent. The Seattle-based chain is also adding more food to its menu next year, including organic soups, gluten-free breakfast sandwiches and a wheat-free cooked egg product. And sometime in 2017, customers will...

Affidavit: Woman struck pedestrian in Central Austin, drove away

CENTRAL AUSTIN Woman accused in hit-and-run A 20-year-old pedestrian was injured after a driver hit him in Central Austin and drove away, according to an arrest warrant. Sophie Corak, 28, is wanted on a charge of failing to stop and render aid after she hit the victim Monday around 6:20 p.m. near 38th and Cedar streets, according to her arrest affidavit. The victim, a man, was taken to the hospital...
U.S. employers post fewer jobs, though openings stay healthy

U.S. employers post fewer jobs, though openings stay healthy

U.S. employers posted fewer jobs in October than the previous month, but job openings are still at a mostly healthy level that points to steady hiring ahead. Job openings slipped 1.8 percent to 5.5 million, the Labor Department said Wednesday. Hiring also fell to just under 5.1 million, while the number of people quitting declined to about 3 million. While solid, the data weakened from September,...
Bills target high rates of Texas schoolchildren lacking vaccinations

Bills target high rates of Texas schoolchildren lacking vaccinations

Among the state’s most populous counties, Travis County has the highest percentage of schoolchildren who are exempted from vaccinations for nonmedical reasons, according to a report released Wednesday. The Immunization Partnership, an Austin-based nonprofit that promotes vaccinations, reported that in the 2015-16 school year, 3,844 kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Travis County, or...
Texas State won’t report undocumented immigrants, its president says

Texas State won’t report undocumented immigrants, its president says

Trauth made the statement in an email to faculty, staff and students on Wednesday. She said several fliers that had encouraged people to report undocumented immigrants to federal authorities were found and removed from different locations on campus. “The university, following current law, does not and will not report undocumented immigrants to authorities,” Trauth wrote....
Innovation or monopoly? Panel looks at ATT-Time Warner deal

Innovation or monopoly? Panel looks at ATT-Time Warner deal

Senators questioning the logic of a proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner turned their focus to the nickels and dimes of the issue, at least as to how the $85.4 billion mega-deal would affect Americans. OK, you say this huge merger will enhance, not quash, competition and benefit consumers. Will it actually reduce prices that consumers pay? AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson assured the members...
Mothers Milk Bank reaches 1,000 donors this year

Mothers Milk Bank reaches 1,000 donors this year

When you’re nursing, think about banking extra milk. Tuesday, Austin’s Mothers’ Milk Bank signed up its 1,000th donor for the year.
Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Alex Torrez announces resignation

Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Alex Torrez announces resignation

Pflugerville school district superintendent Alex Torrez announced in a statement Wednesday that he will resign at the end of his contract term, which runs through September 2017. “This is a good time to make a change — not only for me, but also for the district, which can begin preparation for new leadership,” Torrez said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with...

Business digest: Securities commission fines Georgetown agent

The Texas State Securities Board has finalized a probe into Georgetown agent Michael Delao with a fine and reprimand. Delao was fined $7,500 for not disclosing two felony charges filed against him in 2014 that were later dropped. Delao, 55, said he had purchased a gun at an expo event in Bell County and learned during a traffic stop that it was stolen. Delao said he was...
Bill would create 9th-grade class on interacting with police

Bill would create 9th-grade class on interacting with police

Hoping to reduce violent confrontations during traffic stops and other encounters with police, an influential Texas senator filed a bill Wednesday to require all public high school freshmen to take a course in how to interact with law officers. Sen. John Whitmire, chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, said the legislation was “an important part of our efforts to reduce escalated...
Austin Founder Lions Club donates glasses, eye exam to Terry Markland

Austin Founder Lions Club donates glasses, eye exam to Terry Markland

It was the story of This incredible story, which was featured on Nov. 27 when the American-Statesman launched the 18th Season for Caring, caused the Markland will get that exam and glasses. “That’s what we do,” said the club’s immediate past president, J.P. Kirksey, who read Markland’s story and brought it to his fellow Lions. But the club wasn’t done. Members...
New boutique hotel planned behind Guero’s in SoCo neighborhood

New boutique hotel planned behind Guero’s in SoCo neighborhood

The owners of Guero’s Taco Bar on South Congress Avenue are adding a three-story hotel behind the well-known restaurant, a project planned amid a new wave of change sweeping Austin’s storied avenue. The hotel, currently named Kimber Modern SoCo, will be a new boutique prototype by Austinite Kimber Cavendish. Eight years ago, Cavendish developed the first Kimber Modern hotel, which is located...
Want to talk to Santa? He’s got a conference line

Want to talk to Santa? He’s got a conference line

Santa can send your child back a letter through the U.S. Postal Service. Of course, you can find Santa hanging out at our local malls and stores, but if don’t have time to wait in line or fear that your kid might be the kid who sits on his lap and starts screaming or crying, there’s a different way your kids can talk to Santa.
Is the Alamo crumbling because of this man’s grandpa?

Is the Alamo crumbling because of this man’s grandpa?

Hand out photo of the Alamo. — The Alamo seems spooky enough, but its curator and historian neither acknowledges nor denies ghosts.
Texas death sentence voided over phone texts obtained without warrant

Texas death sentence voided over phone texts obtained without warrant

Giving text messages the same legal protection long afforded to written letters and other mail, the state’s highest criminal court tossed out a death sentence Wednesday over texts that were obtained without a search warrant. Prosecutors had admitted into evidence more than 1,600 text messages to and from Love in an attempt to show jurors that he was with two other men when more...
Gov. Greg Abbott grants $8 million for 1,000 neediest foster children

Gov. Greg Abbott grants $8 million for 1,000 neediest foster children

Gov. Greg Abbott is giving the Department of Family and Protective Services an $8 million grant to improve emergency and long-term placements for up to 1,000 of the state’s neediest foster children. The money — which comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act — will fund a pilot program intended to help bring stability to foster children by attempting to keep them out of psychiatric...

New, smaller Target to open near UT campus

In what’s being called a “gamechanger” for the Drag near the University of Texas campus, Target confirmed Thursday that it will open a smaller version of its department store next to the campus next year. The 22,000-square-foot store will be at West 21st and Guadalupe streets in Dobie Twenty21, a 27-story residential and retail tower. The store is scheduled to open in July, Target...
Plenty of nonprofits looking for holiday help

Plenty of nonprofits looking for holiday help

For many nonprofit, charity and community organizations, the December holiday season is a very busy time of giving as well as fundraising. This December, you can help out the groups that help out so many others. Here are some of the groups that need help. ...
For second year, Cookies for Caring sells out

For second year, Cookies for Caring sells out

The Driskill Hotel is taking part in the American-Statesman’s Season for Caring 2015 campaign by creating Cookies for Caring.
Round Rock police: Prior wreck led them to fatal hit-and-run suspect

Round Rock police: Prior wreck led them to fatal hit-and-run suspect

A man accused in the hit-and-run death of a Stony Point High School teacher and coach had been involved in a previous wreck that helped lead police to his vehicle, according to an arrest affidavit. Javier Morales-Ramirez, 33, was charged with failure to stop and render aid, a second-degree felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Police say he struck a pedestrian, 43-year-old Sean Kelley, Friday...
Trump snubs Texans with latest Cabinet picks

Trump snubs Texans with latest Cabinet picks

President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of retired Marine Gen. John Kelly as homeland security secretary means that U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, an Austin Republican who was considered for the job, will likely be staying in the U.S. House, at least for now. The president-elect so far has passed over Texas Republicans eager to join his administration. He picked former Goldman Sachs executive Steven...
Texas death sentence overturned over warrantless texts

Texas death sentence overturned over warrantless texts

Giving text messages the same legal protection long afforded to written letters and other mail, the state’s highest criminal court tossed out a death sentence Wednesday over texts that were obtained without a search warrant.

Community news: Libraries host holiday activities Saturday

TRAVIS COUNTY AUSTIN Libraries host holiday activities Austin Public Library branches will host various holiday activities Saturday. Book sales, crafts and treats will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Yarborough Branch, 2200 Hancock Drive; from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Southeast Branch, 5803 Nuckols Crossing Road; and from noon to 4 p.m. at the Manchaca Road Branch, 5500 Manchaca Road, which also...
Texas Gov. Abbott gives $8 million for 1,000 neediest foster children

Texas Gov. Abbott gives $8 million for 1,000 neediest foster children

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is giving the Department of Family and Protective Services an $8 million grant to improve emergency and long-term placements for up to 1,000 of the state’s neediest foster children. The money — which comes from the federal Victims of Crime Act — will fund a pilot program intended to help bring stability to foster children by attempting to keep them out of psychiatric...
Fight to honor Dorie Miller’s Pearl Harbor, WWII heroism continues

Fight to honor Dorie Miller’s Pearl Harbor, WWII heroism continues

It has been 75 years since Doris “Dorie” Miller, a black mess attendant, grabbed control of a machine gun he had never been allowed to use so he could help defend the USS West Virginia during the Pearl Harbor attack. In the decades since, Miller has become one of the most well-known black heroes of World War II. As the war continued, Miller was depicted on a poster used to sell war bonds...
New mid-manager at Travis DA’s office has two sanctions from Texas Bar

New mid-manager at Travis DA’s office has two sanctions from Texas Bar

A local defense lawyer who has accepted a key position in Travis County’s District Attorney’s office has twice had his law license suspended — once for giving poor legal advice and again for poor legal advice and for mixing his money with a client’s trust fund, records from the State Bar of Texas show. D.A.-elect Margaret Moore confirmed to the American-Statesman on Tuesday...
Red flag: Sid Miller posts fake photo of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Red flag: Sid Miller posts fake photo of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson

Sid Miller, the Texas agriculture commissioner, recently posted a That photo shakes out to be the result of a photo manipulation, the fact-checking PolitiFact Texas has concluded. That is, Johnson hasn’t been photographed wearing the shirt depicted by Miller, a Republican PolitiFact Texas teams three newspapers; it’s headquartered at the Austin American-Statesman.
Big freeze coming to Bastrop County

Big freeze coming to Bastrop County

The coldest weather of the season is expected soon in South Central Texas, according to the National Weather Service. And the first drop in temperatures should come Wednesday night. The service this morning issued a special weather statement warning of the arctic front, which will move through Bastrop County Wednesday evening. Temperatures Thursday are expected to reach highs only in the upper 40s...
How Austin’s East Side Pies became target of fake #pizzagate

How Austin’s East Side Pies became target of fake #pizzagate

East Side Pies co-owner Noah Polk first heard of the conspiracy theory known as “pizzagate” around the time of the presidential election. The fake news story was started by an online community, fueled by misinterpretations of emails released by WikiLeaks, that claimed associates of Hillary Clinton were behind a child sex-trafficking ring  Now, Austin police are investigating harassment...
Weather alert: Wind advisory for Austin area will be in effect Thursday

Weather alert: Wind advisory for Austin area will be in effect Thursday

3:15 p.m. update: Sustained north winds of 20 to 25 mph, with gusts as strong as 35 mph, are expected to blow through the affected area, which includes Travis, Hays, Williamson, Bastrop and Caldwell counties. The weather service issues a wind advisory when winds of at least 35 mph are expected. Forecasters say winds that strong can make driving on open roads more difficult, especially for...
This year, October weather in Austin showed up in November instead

This year, October weather in Austin showed up in November instead

Weatherwise, November was the new October. The rains that tend to fall before Halloween finally showed up in Central Texas a few days after the costumes were packed away. This November wasn’t particularly wetter than usual — 3.11 inches fell at Camp Mabry in Central Austin, We didn’t see any extended deluges, but last month’s rainfall totals were a notable increase from an...
White nationalist Richard Spencer at Texas A&M: What people are saying

White nationalist Richard Spencer at Texas A&M: What people are saying

Richard Spencer, a white nationalist and leader of the so-called “alt-right” movement, gave a speech at Texas A&M University Tuesday night where he stated that the word “racist” is “a fake word” and laid out the tenants of the alt-right movement.
A&M president, chancellor speak at ‘Aggies United’ rally

A&M president, chancellor speak at ‘Aggies United’ rally

Texas A&M President Michael K. Young and system Chancellor John Sharp are among the speakers who have, implicitly or explicitly, condemned the message white nationalist Richard Spencer is delivering a few blocks away. They spoke during the “Aggies United” rally the university is holding at Kyle Field. Sharp, a former lieutenant governor of Texas, recounted a story his father told about...
Travis County reviews unlimited vacation accrual policy for officers

Travis County reviews unlimited vacation accrual policy for officers

Thanks to an unusually generous unlimited vacation policy for Travis County’s law enforcement officers, a sheriff’s office employee recently retired with more than 2,000 unused vacation hours banked away, nearly a year’s worth of leave never taken. The case is an extreme example, and Travis County law enforcement employees — which include corrections officers...
Mayor Adler wants Austin to look its best for Dolly Parton

Mayor Adler wants Austin to look its best for Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton is coming to the Frank Erwin Center tonight in her latest stop on her “Pure & Simple” tour.
Man charged with murder in Del Valle car fire, records show

Man charged with murder in Del Valle car fire, records show

Travis County investigators have found one of several people they believe were involved in Aaron Lee Rogers, 27, was shot and killed in the trunk of a car Oct. 30 before someone doused the car in gasoline and set it on fire, the affidavit says. Austin-Travis County EMS responded to the vehicle fire around 9 a.m. in the 4000 block of Buck Lane and found Rogers’ body inside. Leon “Big Moe&rdquo...
Texas Republicans push for convention of states on Constitution

Texas Republicans push for convention of states on Constitution

Texas would call for a convention of states to propose constitutional amendments limiting the federal government’s power if resolutions proposed Tuesday by Republican state lawmakers are adopted in the next legislative session. To mark the occasion, Gov. Greg Abbott led a pep rally-like event at the Capitol on Tuesday with activists with the tea party-aligned group Citizens for Self-Governance...

Business Digest: U.S. factory orders up 2.7 percent

WASHINGTON — Orders to U.S. factories rose in October by the largest amount in 16 months but a key category that tracks business investment posted an anemic gain. Factory orders increased 2.7 percent in October, the best showing since a 2.9 percent rise in June 2015, the Commerce Department said Tuesday. The strength came from a 93.8 percent surge in the volatile...
Should Austin’s city manager search seek government or corporate types?

Should Austin’s city manager search seek government or corporate types?

Austin hasn’t yet selected a search firm to bring in candidates for city manager, but already the selection of the selectors has drawn second-guessing. Should city leaders be looking for career city managers or private-sector executives? Should they be advertising for a wide pool of applicants or headhunting for particular candidates? Should they pick a traditional government-job search firm...
Travis DA-elect Margaret Moore ousts 27 employees amid shakeup

Travis DA-elect Margaret Moore ousts 27 employees amid shakeup

Four weeks before officially taking office, Travis County district attorney-elect Margaret Moore’s vision for restructuring the agency is taking shape with a flurry of personnel moves and firings that include the ousters of several prosecutors who are well-regarded at the criminal courthouse. Seventeen attorneys, 12 investigators and six administrative staff are retiring or have been told they...
Stolen necklace containing daughter’s ashes returned to Va. couple

Stolen necklace containing daughter’s ashes returned to Va. couple

The truck of Robert and Yvonne Avila
Alabama executes man for 1994 murder of store clerk

Alabama executes man for 1994 murder of store clerk

Ronald Bert Smith Jr., 45, was put to death by lethal injection,
Make a stew using your winter vegetables growing in your garden

Make a stew using your winter vegetables growing in your garden

Unlike the northern United States, where snow and hard freezes make winter gardening difficult if not impossible, winter gardening in Central Texas is relatively easy and enjoyable. There are many cold-hardy vegetables that, if cared for properly, survive our soft freezes and even benefit from them. With lower temperatures come few if any pests, and mild weather makes winter...
Austin-based Packit Gourmet makes meals fit for the back country

Austin-based Packit Gourmet makes meals fit for the back country

Lunchtime at Packit Gourmet headquarters today takes place outdoors, on a sawed-off stump that doubles as a table. Sarah Welton and her mother carefully pour boiling water into what looks like a bowl of confetti but quickly blooms into a piping hot bowl of chicken and dumplings. In 10 minutes, they dig into a dish that tastes surprisingly like something Grandma would make — which is why it&rsquo...

Krauthammer: Tweets and theater entertain, but Congress is main event

The most amusing part of the Trump transition has been watching its effortless confounding of the media, often in fewer than 140 characters. One morning, after a Fox News report on lefty nuttiness at some obscure New England college — a flag burning that led a more-contemptible-than-usual campus administration to take down the school’s own American flag — Donald Trump tweets that...
These holidays, extend love of family to different faith traditions

These holidays, extend love of family to different faith traditions

Holiday gatherings, at their best, are occasions for happiness. Although family members are often quite different, they come together based on what they have in common — ancestry. On a larger scale during the holiday season, greater numbers of people often join in giving to support others in need, such as through the Salvation Army or toy collection initiatives. Emphasizing commonality through...
More things to do, Saturday, Dec. 10

More things to do, Saturday, Dec. 10

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 10, 2016

Letters to the Editor: Dec. 10, 2016

Re: Dec. 2 article, Bravo to Mayor Steve Adler and City Council Member Sabino Renteria for adding Austin’s clout to the C40 Mayors Summit in Mexico City. As the Trump administration threatens to undermine our federal government’s commitment to combating climate change, municipal programs like Austin’s — which aims for carbon neutrality by 2050 — are all the more essential...
Tea with teddybears, a loveable “Elf” and more things to do this weekend

Tea with teddybears, a loveable “Elf” and more things to do this weekend

Monuments that deal with contentious issues of race and ethnicity

Monuments that deal with contentious issues of race and ethnicity

TULELAKE, Calif. — On a late October afternoon, as icy shards of rain pellet the high desert, Angela Sutton pries open the metal door that seals off the old jail that once belonged to the Tule Lake war relocation camp. The door swings open and we step into the pitch darkness, into air redolent of musty concrete. Tule Lake, in a rural community in Northern California just a few minutes shy of...
Free events this week include Conspirare’s Big Sing, FloTrack Beer Mile

Free events this week include Conspirare’s Big Sing, FloTrack Beer Mile

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