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Tales from the Texas cold: Struggles didn't stop when power returned

AUSTIN, Texas — Cold but undaunted, Courtney Flores thought her family was doing moderately well after almost two days without power to their South Austin home. But then the water started pouring down from the attic. It was Tuesday, about an hour before sunset, as they scrambled to limit the already extensive damage while packing up for an escape to a friend's house, knowing that the driving conditions would worsen after dark. They made it safely, finally warm but — like many other Texans — facing uncertainty. "For the next who knows how long, we have to figure out a lot of unknowns, like wher...

Winter storm damage may rival Hurricane Harvey's price tag: experts

As thawing temperatures begin to release Texas from the record-breaking deep freeze that has gripped the state over the past week, the devastating financial toll from broken water pipes, downed trees, wrecked automobiles and related weather-induced destruction is becoming clear. Insurance industry executives say they anticipate the price tag for recovery could approach that of Hurricane Harvey in 2017 — which resulted in $19 billion in insured losses in Texas, primarily along the Gulf Coast, and is considered the costliest storm in the state's history. One big difference between then and now i...

Managers of Texas' electrical grid still can't say when power will be restored

AUSTIN, Texas — With roughly a quarter of Texans still without power, the managers of the state's electrical grid Wednesday declined to say exactly when electricity would be fully restored, saying that the main factor in coming days would be the weather. Warmer weather could allow frigid power facilities to roar back to life, restore natural gas production, open up roads for skilled workers to make power repairs and cut demand from consumers, they said. "The best case is that today or tomorrow we’re able to get back to the point that all consumers are experiencing outages no longer than 30 min...

New book explores the mind-blowingly diverse world of Black food in America

To fully understand the complexity of Blackness, a good place to start is food, Marcus Samuelsson says. The Ethiopian-born, Sweden-raised, Harlem-based chef has teamed up with co-writer Osayi Endolyn and a pair of recipe developers, Yewande Komolafe and Tamie Cook, to publish “The Rise: Black Cooks and the Soul of American Food.” The book profiles dozens of culinary professionals who are shaping the future of Black food in America, including Tavel Bristol-Joseph, the award-winning chef behind Emmer & Rye, Hestia, Kalimotxo and TLV in Austin. Austin chef Tavel Bristol-Joseph, who is from Guyana...

Judge blocks Texas plan to remove Planned Parenthood from Medicaid

AUSTIN, Texas — Responding to an emergency lawsuit filed hours earlier, a Travis County judge issued an order Wednesday blocking Texas from removing Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid health care provider beginning Thursday. The 14-day temporary restraining order, granted by state District Judge Maya Guerra Gamble after a brief hearing Wednesday afternoon, allows Planned Parenthood to continue providing health care to about 8,000 low-income Texans. The judge also set a Feb. 17 hearing to determine whether a temporary injunction should be issued to keep Planned Parenthood in Medicaid. In its laws...

2 found dead in Austin after police enter building in reported hostage situation: officials

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin police said two people were found dead after authorities made entry into a building involved in a reported hostage situation in Central Austin on Tuesday night. The hostage situation was reported around 4:30 p.m. Central time and took place at a doctor's office near the intersection of 35th Street and Jackson Avenue. After several hours of trying to reach the people inside the building, the Austin Police Department had a robot unit go inside, where it identified a victim, officials said. The SWAT team then decided to enter the building and found two people dead inside, o...

Dave Chappelle's Austin shows canceled after comedian tests positive for COVID-19

AUSTIN, Texas — Just a couple days after photos that show Dave Chappelle hanging out in Austin with other celebrities went viral, the legendary comedian has tested positive for COVID-19, leading to the cancellation of his upcoming comedy shows at Stubb's this week. A spokeswoman for Chappelle confirmed the positive coronavirus test results to The Associated Press, which reported the news on Friday, adding that the performer is asymptomatic currently. That means that Chappelle's residency at Stubbs, with shows set for Thursday-Sunday and Tuesday, have been called off. They're marked as canceled...

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Alex Jones claims he paid for rally that preceded Capitol riot

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin-based conspiracy theorist Alex Jones claimed his company paid for the rally that preceded the riots at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Jones explained his role in a video posted a day after unprecedented violence at the Capitol when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building to disrupt proceedings to formalize the presidential election results. The riot lead to evacuation of lawmakers, more than 50 arrests and five deaths. Supporters had gathered nearby for two days of Trump rallies before a march to the Capitol turned into a riot. Multiple photos from the day show Jones, the foun...

SolarWinds breach could reshape cybersecurity practices

As investigations continued into the massive data breach linked to Austin-based software company SolarWinds, experts say the attack could lead to long-term changes in cybersecurity policies and procedures for government entities and private companies alike. News of the cyberattack broke on Dec. 13, with Reuters news service reporting that a sophisticated hacking group backed by a foreign government might have stolen information from U.S. government agencies, including email traffic. The breach appears to have affected nearly every level of government, as well as potentially hundreds of private...

Abbott says vaccine doses 'sitting on hospital shelves' instead of being given to Texans

AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday that "a significant portion" of the more than 600,000 coronavirus vaccines delivered to health care providers in Texas "might be sitting on hospital shelves" rather than being administered to Texans. Saying "no vaccine should be kept in reserve," the state's chief health official ordered providers Tuesday to begin offering vaccinations to people over 65 and those with medical conditions, including pregnancy, that put them at greater risk of a severe case of COVID-19. Dr. John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Service...

Dreamers' fate remains in limbo with ruling delayed in Texas case challenging DACA

AUSTIN, Texas — Diego Abelar Morales came to Texas from Puebla, in central Mexico, when he was just 2 years old. His parents sought a better future for him, and later his sister, and moved into a home in North Austin. Morales, now 24, is a graduate of Texas State University and works as a cloud engineer at Oracle, the Austin-based software giant. But his success would not be possible without his parent’s decision to come to the United States, and the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. “My parents made the choice to search for a better life elsewhere...

Teslas, other electric vehicles could face new fee under Texas proposal

The first electric vehicles built at the Tesla plant under construction in Travis County, Texas are expected to start rolling off the factory floor late next year — just in time for Texans who buy them to get saddled with a $200 annual fee from the state if a proposed new law wins approval. The idea for the fee has been prompted by concerns that revenue from gasoline taxes will drop if electric vehicles made by Tesla and other manufacturers become more popular. A major portion of the 38.4 cents-per-gallon state and federal gas tax collected from drivers is used for road upkeep, but electric ve...

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