Flooding casualties climb: The death toll from the Halloween floods rose to five as authorities in Comal County discovered the body of Samuel Gene Rosson Jr., 26, of Canyon Lake, near where he was last seen on the banks of the swollen Guadalupe River early Thursday. One man was swept away in a fast current in Caldwell County, and three others died in Onion Creek in Travis County.
Damage reaches disaster level: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell declared a local state of disaster from the Halloween floods as city and county crews tagged 531 homes as unsafe or downright dangerous. “The damage is really widespread,” said Bristel Bowen, communications director for the Red Cross of Central Texas. “We’re going to need a lot of help.”
Voters pass housing, water proposals: Austin voters approved a $65 million affordable housing bond to build or repair 2,800 apartments, condos and homes for lower income residents. Local voters also helped approve state Proposition 6, which will take $2 billion out of the state’s savings account to finance water projects.
Sound of victory: The Leander school district saw a clean sweep of the 4A UIL state marching band competition in San Antonio, with Vandegrift High School taking first, Cedar Park High School finishing second and Vista Ridge High School coming in third. The three schools, which all chose challenging musical arrangements by Russian composers, shut out 25 of the best marching bands in Texas.
Driver pleads in fatal lake plunge: Madeline Rackley pleaded guilty to aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for the July 2012 death of Jarrett Ryan Whittington, who was a passenger in her car the night she drove into Lady Bird Lake. Rackley, 27, will serve 10 days in jail and 10 years of probation.
Districting map revised: The districting commission approved its second draft map to divide Austin into 10 City Council districts, spending hours addressing concerns with the first draft. Residents can offer feedback at public hearings before the final map is drawn later this month or in December.
Woman convicted of murder: A Travis County jury convicted Kaitlyn Ritcherson of murder in the death of collegiate track star Fatima Barrie following more than eight hours of deliberations. Her case, which in May resulted in a mistrial when a jury could not reach a unanimous decision, was a difficult one for jurors as no downtown Austin security cameras captured the December 2011 fight between the women, and their friends have given varying testimony as to who was the aggressor.
Girl jumps from bus: A teenage girl was injured after she reportedly jumped out from the back of a moving Round Rock school bus in far Northwest Austin, officials said. The bus was taking students to Westwood High School when the girl, estimated to be 16 or 17, jumped. It remains unclear why she jumped. She was taken with critical injuries to St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center.
City to buy flooded homes: Officials announced that the city will buy 115 homes along Onion Creek that saw the worst damage in last week’s flooding. The announcement came just days after residents packed a Southeast Austin elementary school asking officials why the city didn’t buy the houses before the largest flood ever to hit the area washed them out. The homes — and others in the 25-year flood plain around the creek that reached a record height of 41 feet on Oct. 31 — would likely already have been purchased if federal money hadn’t dried up over the past four years, city officials said.
Ex-Williamson County judge sentenced: Former Williamson County district attorney Ken Anderson will serve 10 days in jail and give up his law license to settle accusations that he hid favorable evidence in the 1987 trial of Michael Morton, who served almost 25 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. During an afternoon hearing in Georgetown, District Judge Kelly Moore found Anderson in contempt of court for telling Morton’s trial judge, during a 1987 hearing, that he had no favorable evidence to give to Morton’s lawyers. Anderson must turn himself in to the jail by Dec. 2.