BG Note | News - What We're Reading (April 27, 2018)

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[Austin Metro]

Council votes to clarify the road ahead for Austin’s $482M corridor plan (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

Austin voters now have a clearer road map for a slate of bond-funded projects intended to relieve congestion and improve city infrastructure on a massive scale.

With little more than a guarantee from City Council, voters overwhelmingly approved a $720 million mobility-focused bond in 2016. Council voted Thursday to approve a construction plan for some of those projects, which will build out new bike lanes, sidewalks and road redesigns...


Onyeri guilty on all 17 counts in case tied to Judge Kocurek shooting (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A federal jury returned guilty verdicts on all 17 counts against the Houston man accused of shooting Travis County state District Judge Julie Kocurek to preserve a white-collar criminal enterprise that swept up victims in Southeast Texas, Louisiana and Austin. The verdict that could send 30-year-old Chimene Onyeri to prison for the rest of his life came down Thursday after four hours of jury deliberations — a swift conclusion to a 19-day trial that included more than 800 government exhibits. Kocurek, who has presided over felony cases in Travis County since 1999, declined to comment, but she passed along a message through District Attorney Margaret Moore to “tell this community how much she appreciates the jury’s verdict.” Kocurek — who lost a finger from an infection caused by injuries from the shooting and has needed more than 20 surgeries — testified that at her lowest point she considered walking away from her career as a jurist...

Red River's Outdoor Music Can Go An Hour Later Permanently (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Outdoor music venues in Austin's Red River Cultural District will be allowed to have amplified music an hour later on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights indefinitely. This follows a pilot program that lasted more than year and allowed outdoor music till midnight Thursdays and till 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
The Austin City Council today voted to make the trial permanent after receiving an analysis from the city’s economic development department that found the extra hours resulted in more money for music venues, venue staff and local musicians...

PayPal among investors as Austin fintech startup Dosh raises $44 million (Austin Business Journal) LINK TO STORY

Already boasting a stable of elite Austin software engineers and several reputed national and local investors, Dosh Inc.’s Ryan Wuerch latest feat is redefining the boundaries of a series A funding round.
The founder, president and CEO of the Bee Cave-based retail technology startup announced on Thursday that the company brought in $44 million of capital from investors including Goodwater Capital LLC and PayPal Inc. Although totals may vary, series A rounds typically range from $2 million to $15 million.
Other developments at Dosh indicate that the wave of its success has yet to crest.
Wuerch said he turned down more money during the oversubscribed round because “we don’t need more capital than that; we have more than enough capital to execute every initiative.”...

[STATE]

UT to lead drone project for U.S. Department of Defense (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas said Thursday it will be leading a $7.5 million U.S. Department of Defense project to create artificial intelligence technology for military drones. UT researchers will try to develop AI that can help drones to more thoroughly learn information as they fly and to possibly maneuver themselves during emergency situations. Such technology, the school said, could help the defense department lower the number of drones lost due to system failures or damage while flying. Ufuk Topcu, an assistant professor at UT’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and Engineering Mechanics , said developing the AI technology will be a challenge...

Paxton-led coalition in pursuit of Obamacare repeal seeks injunction by year's end (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

Attorney General Ken Paxton is urging a federal court to eliminate Affordable Care Act regulations in Texas before the end of the year. Paxton and Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel are leading a 20-state coalition that sued in February, challenging the constitutionality of the law. On Thursday, the coalition asked the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas to grant a preliminary injunction by Jan. 1, 2019. Rolling back the health care law's requirements "will prevent unlawful federal regulation of healthcare markets and re-establish state sovereignty," the coalition wrote...

Texas lawmaker aims 'Muslim' as epithet against Euless City Council candidate (Dallas Morning News) LINK TO STORY

A leading conservative in the Texas House has drawn fire for highlighting the fact a Euless City Council candidate is a Muslim who he warns would bring "massive changes" to the suburban Tarrant County city. On Monday, Bedford Republican Rep. Jonathan Stickland said on Facebook that Euless residents should "beware" that Salman Bhojani is part of "a slate of progressive liberals in our non-partisan city council elections." Stickland said Bhojani is "a Muslim, lawyer, and a lifelong Democrat who supports raising your taxes." Stickland, who is a member of the Texas Freedom Caucus in the House, linked to a video that he said in a brief interview Thursday is posted on Bhojani's campaign website...

TX women’s program makes gains after years of waning participation (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A state health program for low-income women served more patients, attracted more providers and put more women on long-acting reversible contraception last year than in prior years, according to a report released Thursday. Even with the improvements, it’s unclear whether the program, called Healthy Texas Women, is serving more women than before 2011 when large cuts by the Legislature were enacted. The number of women served in the program continued to decline including in 2013 when Planned Parenthood was kicked out as a provider. After the state pursued a multi-million dollar marketing campaign to enroll more women in the program, the number of women served in 2017 increased by 29 percent since last year, from 70,336 to 122,406, according to the new report, which was mandated by the Texas Legislature last year...

[San Antonio] Council to discuss GOP convention bid (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

San Antonio has the capacity to host the next Republican National Convention with its abundance of downtown hotels, a renovated Alamodome and an open calendar for August 2020. But local leaders will soon have to decide whether pursuing the massive event is too costly. Mayor Ron Nirenberg said Thursday that the City Council will discuss the matter in a private session next week and stressed the importance of objectively weighing the impacts...

[NATION]

Kim, Moon Pledge End To Korean War And Denuclearization Of Peninsula (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Following a historic meeting between North Korea's Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the leaders appeared side-by-side to make an extraordinary announcement: the two sides — technically in a state of war for more than six decades — would work toward a permanent peace treaty and the elimination of nuclear weapons from the peninsula.
"I am very proud to say that I pay tribute to the bold and courageous decision taken by Chairman Kim," Moon said, saying the two sides had agreed to a peace treaty and the "complete denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula.
"We have long hoped for this moment to arrive," Kim, standing next to Moon, said...

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