Lakebeds exposed: Residents along the northwest bank of Lake Buchanan can walk across the exposed lakebed without splashing through a puddle. The lake has been lower at a few points, including two years ago, but it has never been this low at the beginning of summer. Many residents blame the Lower Colorado River Authority, the quasi-governmental body that manages a 600-mile stretch of the river, but the agency says the severe drought and other complex factors have shaped the situation.
Home sales ‘scorching hot’: Austin home sales in June were up nearly 8 percent over June 2012, according to figures released Monday. Overall, the sales from January to June were up 19 percent over the same period last year, with the ongoing demand for homes pushing up home prices, the Austin Board of Realtors said. “It’s scorching hot,” said real estate agent Adam Zell.
Third man charged with assaulting girl: Austin police say Donald Ray Lewis, 49, sexually assaulted the 13-year-old girl hours after she was assaulted by up to 10 men at a North Austin apartment near Rundberg Lane and Meadow Vale. Two men were charged last week in the group attack, which occurred after the girl ran away June 29 from her foster residence.
Health improvements coming quickly: The nonprofit Community Care Collaborative outlined an aggressive time frame Tuesday for transforming health care for 50,000 uninsured or low-income Travis County residents. Plans for the integrated health system — including expanding clinic hours, creating a registry to track patients with chronic illnesses and better using technology in patient consultations — are slated to be done by Nov. 15.
Homeless village proposed: Mobile Loaves & Fishes is planning a 27-acre development in eastern Travis County that would house a few hundred chronically homeless people in RVs, small homes and tepees. The nonprofit, which faced neighborhood opposition at previous sites, may have success with this site at 9301 Hog Eye Road because it is beyond the reach of most land-use rules that apply within the city limits.
Lehmberg donating to MADD: Travis County district attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, who went to jail for a few weeks in late April and early May after pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated, said she plans to donate her earnings while incarcerated to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “This, to me, seems like a good way to pay back the community,” said Lehmberg, whose gross monthly salary in April was about $13,358.
Man convicted in beating death: Jurors convicted Billy Ray Byers in the death of 65-year-old Rosemary Lorraine Borges, whose body was found in a South Austin field two years ago. The motive for the attack remains unclear, but forensics experts said a blood-spattered pair of shoes found in a nearby Dumpster tied Byers to the crime. Byers, who was featured in a 2008 American-Statesman series about his life as a teenage father and parolee of a troubled state school, was sentenced the next day to life in prison.
TSU team finds undersea treasure: Researchers led by a Texas State University team spent the past week 170 miles off the coast of Galveston, extracting about 60 well-preserved artifacts from the 200-year-old “Monterrey shipwreck.” The team, which mapped two other vessels discovered Wednesday, docked Thursday to share their findings, which included a ceramic jar from the Yucatan, stacks of muskets and a spyglass wrapped in leather.
Man shot by officer: An Austin police detective shot and killed a man Friday afternoon on 34th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard. The man, who was not identified Friday evening, had tried to enter the Benchmark Bank branch at 1508 W. 35th St. while it was closed for an investigation, police said. A detective went out to speak to the man, who took off running, and when the detective caught up to him, a struggle ensued. The detective has been placed on leave, which is standard procedure when the department reviews an officer’s use of deadly force.