Ozone action days start up

Tue, Apr 26, 2016 - 8:00am

While summer’s heat is a ways off (we hope), today is the first ozone action day of the season.

Ground-level ozone forms when sunlight meets combustion sources (in North Texas, that comes from vehicle engines, natural gas compressors and coal and cement plants) mixed with volatile organic compounds (gasses that come from trees and plants, as well as oil and gas facilities).

Ozone’s three oxygen atoms make it a superoxidant. Ozone burns the lining of our lungs similar to the way sunlight burns skin, except we cannot see our airways get raw and swell from the burn.

Healthy people might not feel the burn until...

The Austin Fire Department Could Soon Be Using Search-and-Rescue Drones

Fri, Apr 22, 2016 - 8:00am

The drone idles on a small runway at the Austin Radio Control Association, just east of the city. It’s got a grey body and a white nose, across which someone has painted a sinister smile. The controls are tested, and then the small aircraft takes off.

“They’re going through with their first search,” says University of Texas senior Sterling Maynard. “So what they’re going to do is they’re going to basically do a lawnmower pattern and go around and cover this entire area with the camera.”

That camera sends live video back to computers hooked up inside a small trailer aside the runway. There, four students crowd four...

City Council approves water utility loans, drone research and accepts Smart City grant

Fri, Apr 22, 2016 - 8:00am

The city of Austin is set to ask a state agency for a loan to begin a “smart meter” program at Austin Water after an April 21 City Council vote.

Austin Water is proposing an upgrade to city water meters that would allow meter readings to be collected digitally instead of manually with the goal of improving reading accuracy, according to city documents. City Council approved an application for an $80 million low-interest loan from the Texas Water Development Board to fund the program at its April 21 City Council meeting.

If the application is accepted and City Council approves the loan, it will...

After bridge gets designation, Stribling retiring

Sat, Feb 13, 2016 - 11:37pm

By Julian Gill 

More than 50 people packed the First Christian Church of Aubrey on Saturday afternoon for a ceremony to dedicate the Elm Fork Bridge Historical Marker, which recognizes the bridge as a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark.

It was the 39th and final marker dedication ceremony for Beth Stribling, marker chairwoman for the Denton County Historical Commission. She will be retiring from the position Monday.

“This is very significant for us — that we were able to get this bridge marker in,” Stribling said. “It has been in storage for quite a while, and I wanted to get it up before I left the...

Four Texas Colleges Reach Carnegie "Tier One" Status

Tue, Feb 2, 2016 - 3:14pm

By Matthew Watkins

Four Texas universities — Texas Tech University, the University of North Texas, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of Texas at Dallas — have reached a major milestone in their quests to join the top tier of the nation's colleges. 

The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education listed the universities among 115 schools designated in its highest ranking for research activity. The designation, often referred to as "Carnegie Tier One," was previously held only by four Texas schools — the...