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The Del Valle ISD school board approved an economic incentives agreement with Tesla, which has proposed to build a $1.1 billion Gigafactory in Southeast Travis County, at a meeting on July 9.
Under the 10-year deal, Tesla will pay property taxes on only 20% of the factory's assessed value—a savings of around $50 million—to the school district. In exchange, the electric carmaker has promised 5,000 new jobs, most of which are middle-skill positions that do not require a college degree, and a fleet of workforce development programs.
Construction could begin as soon as this fall, according to Tesla's application for the incentives agreement.
Tesla is also negotiating a separate economic incentives agreement with Travis County, whose Commissioners Court is scheduled to vote on whether to approve the terms this Tuesday.
A Tesla representative said June 23 that Austin is at the top of its list but that economic incentives are required "to make the economics of a factory work."
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Hospitals are facing a "significant" increase in admissions of pregnant women due to COVID-19 complications as the Delta variant surges, Austin-Travis County health officials say, revealing what could be a long-term side effect of the virus.
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes met with three maternal medicine specialists on Monday morning to warn of yet another COVID-19 concern: severe cases of the disease affecting unvaccinated mothers-to-be.
The doctors said 79% of hospitalized pregnant women have been unvaccinated. Unvaccinated pregnant women face an increased risk of preterm births, long-term effects, preeclampsia, ICU stays, stillbirths, being put on life support and even death if they are unvaccinated.
"We are really concerned that we are not getting that population of folks to hear this message of the safety of vaccines, so today we're assembled, one and all to say, wear a mask and please get vaccinated," Walkes said. "Vaccinations are the way to prevent severe disease and hospitalizations and death."
Medical Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. David's Women's Center of Texas Dr. Kimberly DeStefano said 95% of pregnant women admitted with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, stressing that all pregnant and lactating women should get the vaccine not only to protect themselves but to protect their babies from infection, which can be passed through breastmilk or birth.
"We know that the earlier in pregnancy you are vaccinated, the more antibodies are present at the time of birth for the infant," DeStefano said. "This is something that's very important, both during the pregnancy and postpartum."
Catching COVID-19 while pregnant can cause adverse effects on the baby, particularly because it increases the risk of preterm births. Baylor Scott & White Maternal Obstetrics Chief of Maternal Medicine Dr. Jessica Ehrig, said that preterm births are one of the "biggest impacts" on childhood development.
"We know that (preterm births) can have long-term effects depending on how early a baby's born," Ehrig said. "It increases the risk for long term respiratory issues, for blindness sometimes (and) for neurologic development delays."
Since mid-July, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on a steep rise that sent the city back to recommending Stage 4 guidelines. As the seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations surpassed 50 admissions, Stage 5 guidelines could be on the horizon. The city reported 54 new admissions and 546 total new cases on Friday.
Delta is more contagious than chickenpox, Walkes said, and even vaccinated individuals can catch and spread the virus without symptoms. The group of doctors asked everyone, especially pregnant women, to mask while in public as local hospitals pass the Stage 5 threshold.
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Everyone wants to be in Austin—tech, celebs and now sports. At least that's what it looks like.
In the midst of a first season for Austin FC, the city's first major league professional sports team, the Buffalo Bills are reportedly looking at a possible move to Austin.
The news comes from ESPN's Seth Wickersham, who reports the NFL team is saying it is considering a move from New York to Austin, possibly to push public funding of its new $1.5 million stadium.
An ownership source tells me that Austin is a possible destination—or threat—as one of the “other cities elsewhere that desire an NFL franchise and would pay handsomely for it." https://t.co/zMf1oChO8K
— Seth Wickersham (@SethWickersham) August 1, 2021
Austin was without a major pro team until Austin FC came to town. While all eyes have been on Austin's "boomtown" status, the city isn't exactly expected to get an NFL team with two other major teams in the state—the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans.
Nevertheless, the governor and mayor responded to the rumor.
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After storms rolled in last night, the Austin area is expected to mostly clear up and return to the mild summer it's been having the rest of the week.
Before that, expect rain on Monday with high chances lasting all day. A flood advisory is in effect until 1 p.m. today.
Today will be the coolest day of the week with a high of just 88 degrees—temperatures are forecast to peak at 97 degrees through Sunday, with a low of 72 degrees.
The rain will mostly settle starting Tuesday, bringing partly cloudy and sunny skies. You might still want to have your umbrella handy though—a small chance of thunderstorms will linger throughout the week.
6am - Scattered to Numerous showers and thunderstorms will be possible today throughout South Central Texas. Localized heavy rainfall may lead to pockets of flooding concerns. Rain chances continue into mid-week before decreasing Friday into the Weekend. pic.twitter.com/Leql4akQFT
— NWS Austin/San Antonio (@NWSSanAntonio) August 2, 2021
If you're planning on jumping on a flight before the afternoon, delays at the airport may be possible with an Airport Weather Warning for lightning in effect until 1 p.m.
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