News Roundup: Austin’s Central Library Is A Finalist For Best New Library In The World

Our daily look at Texas headlines.

By Alexandra HartJune 29, 2018 2:10 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

The Austin Central Library is a top 5 finalist for best new library worldwide.

The International Federation of Library Associations announced the finalists Thursday, and Austin has the only U.S. library on the list.

Other libraries to make the cut are located in Brazil, Norway, the Netherlands and Singapore. The winner will be announced August 28.

Regulators in Texas say they’re looking into misleading pricing practices from electricity providers.

In a meeting Thursday, Public Utility Commission of Texas Chairperson DeAnn Walker questioned the companies’ cost estimates on the state’s Power to Choose website. That’s the site set up by the commission, where the public can compare prices for different electricity plans. “This concerns me. I know we have a competitive market and people can come up with their prices for their products, but it does concern me that we have things on the power to choose that, have while maybe not deceptive … is at least misleading,” Walker said.

Walker said the commission has received numerous public complaints about prices. A study by the commission found that price estimates from providers didn’t reflect typical consumer usage patterns. Since household power consumption fluctuates between warm and cold months, and many plans charge higher rates when more energy is used.

Walker is asking companies to reexamine pricing “and I’m going to ask [JP] to open something looking into Power to Choose and what we can do as far as transparency on it.”

The commission hopes to conclude its inquiry in August.

The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services – better known as RAICES – made national headlines after making tens of millions of dollars in a viral Facebook fundraiser.

Now, the San Antonio-based nonprofit is starting a hotline in Texas to help reunite families separated at the border under President Donald Trump’s so-called “zero-tolerance policy.”

TPR’s Joey Palacios has more:

RAICES is launching what it calls a National Families Together Hotline at the number, 866-ESTAMOS.

RAICES Communications Director Jennifer Falcon says volunteers on the phone line have been trained in gathering information from detention facilities to help with family reunification.

“including searching for a parent with all known variations of their names or other indicators that are on their intake form when they are detained by ICE,” Falcon says.

Once located, pro bono attorneys can then be appointed to represent them in immigration proceedings.

In almost two weeks, Facebook fundraising campaigns for RAICES have received more than $20 million in donations to help reunite separated parents and children.