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Austin metro area tops list of cities in study

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Austin metro area tops list of cities in study


Central Texas has come out on top in a recent study of cities.

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The Milken Institute put the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area at number on in this year’s Best Performing Cities Index.

Amazon expanding last-mile distribution facility to Round Rock

They cite investments in tech, health care and education, as well as a diverse economy.

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North Texas also did well on the list, with part of the Dallas area coming in at number eight.



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Austin, TX

UT regents name Dr. Neal Weaver as sole finalist for president of Stephen F. Austin State University | SFA

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NACOGDOCHES, Texas — The University of Texas System Board of Regents has unanimously voted to name Neal Weaver, PhD, the sole finalist to become the next president of Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Weaver has served as president of Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) — a member of the University of Georgia System based in Americus, Georgia — for the past seven years.

Per state law, the UT Regents now must wait 21 days before officially naming Weaver president. Once approved, he would succeed Interim President Gina Oglesbee to become the 11th president in SFA’s 100-year history and first as a member of the UT System. SFA, which has six colleges that offer more than 80 bachelor’s degree programs, 40 master’s degree programs, and four doctoral degrees that cover more than 120 areas of study, officially became the 14th member institution of the UT System last September.

With an impressive 33-year career in higher education administration across four public university systems, Weaver has demonstrated his leadership prowess at GSW. Under his guidance, the university experienced notable growth in enrollment, student retention and fundraising. GSW’s fall 2023 enrollment of 3,300 marked a historic high for the university and included an 18.5% increase in freshman enrollment, as well as 16.8% increase in graduate enrollment. Additionally, first-year student retention rose by more than 7%, and annual giving to the GSW Foundation more than doubled.

“The Regents met with outstanding candidates, and Dr. Weaver’s ability to lead in a thriving academic environment, coupled with his commitment to innovation and strategic growth, make him an ideal appointment to serve Stephen F. Austin State University as it enters its new era as a UT institution,” said UT System Board Chairman Kevin P. Eltife. “We are grateful for the thorough work of SFA’s presidential search advisory committee and the UT System leadership whose guidance and recommendations helped us arrive at today’s final selection.”

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Weaver’s candidacy was recommended to the board of regents by a presidential search advisory committee that was chaired by UT System Chancellor James B. Milliken. The search committee included representation from the SFA faculty, students, alumni and community leaders, as well as UT presidents and regents.

Milliken praised Weaver’s ability to maximize the potential of the institutions he has served throughout his career.

“Dr. Weaver’s accomplishments in fostering student success, driving enrollment growth, and spearheading successful fundraising efforts position him to guide Stephen F. Austin State University into new opportunities as a member of the University of Texas System,” Milliken said. “I am pleased with the regents’ unanimous support of his candidacy and appreciate the efforts of everyone that helped us navigate this historic search.”

Before his role at GSW, Weaver served as the vice president for university advancement and innovation at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana. In this capacity, he provided leadership in fundraising, enrollment management and athletics while generating new revenue and improving retention, operating efficiencies and customer service. Weaver’s previous roles include vice president for institutional advancement at West Texas A&M University and vice president for university relations at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma.

Weaver earned a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from The University of Oklahoma, a Master of Business Administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and a bachelor’s degree from Oklahoma Panhandle State University. He is a native of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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ABOUT STEPHEN F. AUSTIN STATE UNIVERSITY
Stephen F. Austin State University, the newest member of The University of Texas System, began a century ago as a teachers’ college in Texas’ oldest town, Nacogdoches. Today, it has grown into a regional institution comprising six colleges — business, education, fine arts, forestry and agriculture, liberal and applied arts, and sciences and mathematics. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, SFA enrolls approximately 11,000 students while providing the academic breadth of a state university with the personalized attention of a private school. The main campus encompasses 421 acres that include 37 academic facilities, nine residence halls, and 68 acres of recreational trails that wind through its six gardens. The university offers more than 80 bachelor’s degrees, more than 40 master’s degrees and four doctoral degrees covering more than 120 areas of study. Learn more at sfasu.edu. 

ABOUT THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM
With 14 institutions that enroll over 256,000 students overall, the UT System is the largest university system in Texas and one of the largest public university systems in the United States. UT institutions produced over 63,000 graduates last year and awarded more than one-third of the undergraduate degrees in Texas, as well as 60% of the state’s medical degrees. The combined efforts of UT-owned and affiliated hospitals and clinics resulted in over 10.6 million outpatient visits and more than 2 million hospital days in 2023. UT’s $4.3 billion research enterprise is one of the nation’s most innovative, ranking No. 1 in Texas and No. 2 in the U.S. for federal research expenditures. With an operating budget of $29.1 billion for fiscal year 2024, UT institutions collectively employ more than 122,000 faculty, health care professionals, support staff and students.





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Austin, TX

DeErick Williams II Killed in Rear-End Collision on US 183 [Austin, TX]

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DeErick Williams II Killed in Rear-End Collision on US 183 [Austin, TX]


Raymond Garza Killed in Car Crash on Avenue 424 [Tulare County, CA]
DeErick Williams II Killed in Rear-End Collision on US 183 [Austin, TX]

10-Year-Old Boy Pronounced Dead after Rear-End Accident near Horseshoe Loop

AUSTIN, TX (February 22, 2024) – Monday evening, DeErick Williams II was killed in a rear-end collision on US 183.

Authorities arrived to the 200 block of southbound US 183 near Horseshoe Loop around 7:20 p.m., on February 12th.

According to reports, a sedan was stopped in the middle lane with its hazards on. There, the driver of a southbound hatchback rear-ended the sedan, causing injuries to two children inside.

Despite life-saving efforts, medics later pronounced 10-year-old Williams II dead at the scene. Meanwhile, the other child was transported to a nearby hospital in serious condition.

Investigators say the driver of the hatchback remained at the scene and cooperated with the officers. He also sustained minor injuries.

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At this time, an active investigation to determine further information is still currently underway. Once available, more details will be provided.


No words can mend the broken hearts and sorrow felt during this delicate moment. Our deepest condolences and sympathies are with the family and friends of DeErick Williams II.


The sudden loss of a loved one is an extremely difficult time for the surviving family. At Sweet James, we understand that legal decisions have to be made. We are here to provide you with unmatched legal representation during this trying time. Rest assured, you have an enthusiastic attorney on your side. We will fight to hold the responsible party accountable and help you receive compensation to pay for the high costs of medical, funeral, and legal expenses. Call us today at 1-800-900-0000. Need help after hours? Reach out to us by online chat, email, or text message.







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What is the path of the 2024 solar eclipse in Texas? See interactive map

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What is the path of the 2024 solar eclipse in Texas? See interactive map


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Soon Texans will get to see something that rarely happens. 

The total solar eclipse is set to be seen on April 8, according to NASA. The path of the eclipse will be along a southwest-to-northeast line through North America. Scientists say it will be the last total solar eclipse visible to the world until 2044.

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What happens during a total solar eclipse? 

A total solar eclipse happens when the moon shifts between the sun and Earth, blocking the face of the sun. 

“People viewing the eclipse from locations where the Moon’s shadow completely covers the Sun – known as the path of totality – will experience a total solar eclipse. The sky will become dark, as if it were dawn or dusk,” a synopsis from NASA said. 

More: It might shock you to learn when Austin’s last total solar eclipse was

Where is the 2024 solar eclipse path of totality in Texas? 

According to TravelTexas, the path of totality will begin before 1:30 p.m. near Del Rio, TX, and trace a line northwest across the entire state. For those living in more remote areas like Hill Country,  you can find viewing spots in places like Boerne, Bandera, or Kerrville. 

More: Delta Air Lines is offering 2024 solar eclipse flight from Austin to Detroit

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2024 solar eclipse watch parties

Major cities in Texas will have watch parties for this scientific event. For those planning to be outside for the eclipse, be sure to have weather-appropriate clothing, water, snacks, and camp chairs.  It is highly recommended to bring a safe viewing option such as a pinhole viewer or ISO-12312-2 certified solar/eclipse glasses.  

Here are some watch party locations: 

  • Hilton Austin (500 East 4th Street, Austin, TX) — Hilton Austin will have eclipse-themed cocktails and mocktails, as well as free eclipse viewing glasses on April 8. This event runs from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m., and admission is free.
  • Levy Event Plaza (501 E Las Colinas Blvd, Irving, TX)  — Irving is offering a Total Eclipse in the Park Party. The event will feature food trucks, music and free eclipse glasses. The event is from noon to 3 p.m. 
  • Space Center Houston (1601 E NASA Parkway, Houston, TX) — The Space Center of Houston is having a three-day event April 6-8. The event includes eclipse glasses giveaway, eclipse and space expert lightning talks in Independence Plaza with emcee Gary Jordan of NASA’s “Houston We Have a Podcast,” and more. Tickets for that event can be purchased here. 
  • Dam 2024 Eclipse (507 Hi-Line Dr., Buchanan Dam, TX) — The event will feature presentations by scientists, eclipse glasses, and music. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m.
  • The Alamo Eclipse Watch (300 Alamo Plaza San Antonio, TX) — Watch the total solar eclipse from the iconic Alamo at this free event with complimentary solar eclipse glasses. The event runs from noon to 3 p.m.

More: Some Texas schools are canceling classes for the solar eclipse on April 8. Is yours?

How to see the total solar eclipse safely

It is not safe to look directly at the sun without specialized eye protection for solar viewing. You could permanently damage your eyes. 

Here are some safety tips provided by NASA: 

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  • View the sun through eclipse glasses or a handheld solar viewer during the partial eclipse phases before and after totality.
  • Although not recommended to watch the eclipse without specialized eye protection, it’s possible to view the eclipse directly without proper eye protection only when the moon completely obscures the sun’s bright face – during the brief and spectacular period known as totality. (You’ll know it’s safe when you can no longer see any part of the sun through eclipse glasses or a solar viewer.)
  • As soon as you see even a little bit of the bright sun reappear after totality, immediately put your eclipse glasses back on or use a handheld solar viewer to look at the sun.



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