Austin’s Top News – August 13, 2020

Austin's Top News from News Radio KLBJ

Technical glitch at Leander school district

Today is the first day of school for the Leander school districts, but that won’t be the case for all students. A technical glitch has led to the cancellation of all high school classes for today and tomorrow. The district says it made an upgrade to its system over the summer and learned only yesterday it doesn’t work. Elementary and middle school kids, though, will begin class as scheduled this morning. 

Austin budget talks carry over to today

The Austin City Council was carrying over last night’s budget talks and possible vote into this morning. The vast majority of the speakers had been hammering the Austin Police Department as racist and competent or just ill equipped and demanded deep cuts into APD. Council member Greg Casar responds. 

“People aren’t calling for vengeance. People are calling for change. We’ve heard so many people testify, and they’re talking about safety for other people, even if they’ve endured really unjust things. People are talking about making things better for everyone,” says Casar. 

Council could cut APD’s $430+ million budget by about $150 million in today’s session. 

Fresh Plus grocery store vandalized by anti-masker

Fresh Plus grocery store in Hyde Park had to spend most of Wednesday cleaning up a mess caused by a man who threw Topo Chico water bottles through the store windows because he didn’t want to wear a mask. This employee named Laura tells CBS Austin she thinks that man is homeless. 

“This is the second time you come in without wearing a mask. Same thing happened-hey, buddy, you gotta wear masks. He didn’t like that. Had a few choice words for us,” says Laura.

He stole two cases of the bottle of water and started hurling that at the store from outside. Damage is said to be in the thousands of dollars. That man was later arrested.

COVID-19 update

Another big milestone is met in Travis County in terms of recoveries from COVID-19. That number has broken through the 22,000 mark for the first time, now standing at 22,069 recoveries. There are only 1,352 more total cases confirmed in the county since March then there have been recoveries. 275 people are currently hospitalized, which is a slight drop from yesterday.

There’s been some upward movement this week for Williamson Counties coronavirus numbers, even as its positivity rate has continued to go down. 1,291 cases air active. That represents a rise of 12 from a day ago. 79 or in the hospital; that’s up by three. But in terms of recoveries, there’ve been 5,689. That’s 52 more than a day ago. Since March, 7,075 cases have been found. 

University of Texas researchers are working on a way to stabilize the COVID-19 spike protein, which is the way that virus enters the human cells. Molecular bioscience grad student Daniel Wrapp says some of the works being incorporated into some of the leading vaccine candidates .

“They have conserved mechanisms that we can take advantage of and apply our stabilising mutations to each of these spikes. So what we’re hoping for is that we can eventually translate this research into sort of a universal coronavirus vaccine,” Wrapp says. 

A lot of this research began five years ago. 

Tim Kelly social media controversy

Cedar Park City Councilman Tim Kelly is still in the hot seat following a social media post last month where he called for teachers who won’t go to campus to be fired and replaced by teachers who will. A citizen led petition has been filed to recall Kelly and the council will talk about that tonight. Kelly has tried to clarify that statement. He says he was really taking aim at the leaders of teacher unions more than individual teachers themselves.

Tesla factory in construction

Shovels have officially hit the dirt in Del Valle for Tesla’s $1 billion gigafactory. County Commissioner Jeff Trevelyan tells FOX 7 it’s an exciting time because the supply chain is headed back to America.

“We will have the most modern car manufacturing facility in the world. In Travis County,” says Trevelyan. 

Along with the 5,000 jobs promised by Tesla, the Austin Chamber of Commerce estimates an additional 4,000 jobs will be created toward related projects.

Kinder Morgan pipeline construction

The City of Kyle has slapped Kinder Morgan with a notice of noncompliance due to noise coming from the construction of the permian highway pipeline. Some people in the post Oak neighborhood say the noise has been so loud it sounds like a jet airplane has been parked next to their homes. Dozens of complaints have been filed by citizens.  Kinder Morgan has apologized saying the noise was coming from compressed air that was being blown through the pipe of line for inspection. However, they say that that part of the construction has now wrapped up.

This news and more on News Radio KLBJ:

https://omny.fm/shows/klbjam-flash-briefing-1/am-newscast-8-13-20

 

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