BG Note | News - What We're Reading (March 14, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Friends remember Austin bomb victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Friends and acquaintances of Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old who was killed in one of Monday’s package explosions in Austin, remembered him as a kind young man a and talented musician.

Mason’s mother also was injured in the explosion first reported around 6:44 a.m. Monday, authorities said. She remained in the hospital on Tuesday and was in stable condition. Authorities haven’t released her name yet...

Austin Suburbs Use SXSW To Promote Moving South And Southeast (KUT) LINK TO STORY 

It's not uncommon for cities, states – even countries – to highlight their workforce, investment opportunities, or visitor and tourism offerings at South By Southwest.

There are booths for places like Mexico, Ireland ... and Bastrop.

“You know, there's what, however many thousands of people that fly into Austin for this two-week event, right?” said Sarah O'Brien, the hospitality and downtown director for the City of Bastrop. “And they get to the airport and then take a left, and they go to downtown Austin. And what we're trying to let them know is there's opportunities to take a right.”...

Precourt: $326 million ‘direct community benefits’ for McKalla stadium (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Precourt Sports Ventures sent a letter to Austin City Council on Tuesday afternoon detailing a community benefits package it says is worth in excess of $326 million over the next 25 years in exchange for landing a possible Major League Soccer stadium site at McKalla Place.

Anthony Precourt, owner/operator of Columbus Crew SC, has narrowed his stadium search to the 25-acre tract of city-owned land near the Domain in North Austin. PSV’s wide-ranging plan put forward to City Council includes a pledge of $4 million in charitable donations, direct cash contributions to local nonprofit organizations, scholarship programs and putting together youth soccer camps and clinics along with donating gear...


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Opposed Controversial 'Bathroom Bill,' State Legislator Says (KUT) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott himself was opposed to the controversial “bathroom bill” that dominated debate at the Texas Capitol for much of 2017, according to a state representative involved in keeping the legislation from passing the Texas House.

State Rep. Byron Cook, R-Corsicana, the chairman of the House State Affairs committee that blocked the bill from reaching the House floor for a full vote, said Tuesday that Abbott “did not want that bill on his desk.”...

Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, Democrats vying to take on Abbott, debate about debates (Texas Tribune) LINK TO STORY

The Democratic primary runoff for governor ramped up Tuesday with a debate over debates between Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, the two candidates still standing from the nine-way primary a week ago. Within the span of a few hours, White, the son of late Gov. Mark White, called for debates with Valdez, the former Dallas County sheriff, ahead of the May 22 runoff and Valdez signaled an openness to sparring but with far less urgency. White was the runner-up in the March 6 primary with 27 percent of the vote behind Valdez, who drew 43 percent...

Speaker Straus concerned about enterprise fund overseen by Gov. Abbott (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

House Speaker Joe Straus expressed concern Tuesday over an economic development fund overseen by Gov. Greg Abbott, questioning if it’s actually used to close deals and whether areas beyond North Texas are given proper consideration. “I remain concerned about aspects of the program ... specifically the lack of geographic diversity in grant recommendations and the true competitiveness of some of these projects,” Straus, R-San Antonio, said in a letter to Abbott. An Abbott spokesman called Straus’s comments “bizarre,” pointing out that grants from the Texas Enterprise Fund must be approved by the speaker and lieutenant governor. “It’s strange that the speaker is now criticizing the very grants he approves,” said Mac Walker, Abbott’s deputy press secretary...


Trump’s CIA pick is career spymaster, oversaw secret prison (Washington Post) LINK TO STORY

President Donald Trump’s pick to be the next director of the CIA is a career spymaster who oversaw torture at a secret prison during one of the darkest chapters in the agency’s history.
If confirmed, 61-year-old Gina Haspel would become the first female head of the CIA.
She’s described by colleagues as a seasoned veteran with 30-plus years of intelligence experience who would lead the agency with integrity. But it’s the few years she spent supervising a secret black site that will be closely scrutinized at her confirmation hearing...

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