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Jen Austin

Hi! I grew up in a one-stoplight town in rural Nebraska and my whole family still lives there with three churches, a bar, and a courthouse. I left because I like lots of people and taller buildings, and I don't like cold weather. On those rare days in Texas when it gets snowy and icy, you'll find me inside Googling beach vacations. I don't plan to leave Texas now that I've been here for most of my adult life because the barbecue and fajitas are just way too addictive. I've worked in radio from the moment I graduated from college at the University of Nebraska, and besides getting the hang out with cool people like you every day, I love sports, great restaurants, self improvement, and meeting new people. I love all movies starring Melissa McCarthy or Julia Roberts, and all TV shows with home improvements or food in them. You'll probably hear me talk about my three daughters on the air, along with the challenges of being a single mom. I'm on several of the dating apps, because trying to meet someone in person these days is way too creepy.
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‘Fiscal Cliff’ and ‘Bucket List’ Among Phrases That Need to Go

Every year, Michigan's Lake Superior State University asks people which words and phrases have been so overused that they should be essentially banished from the English language.

Tired of the phrase "Fiscal Cliff?" That makes the new list. What about "boneless wings?"

The new list was released Monday, and we'll post all of the words that should be banished, according to Lake Superior State University. See if you agree.

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Category: Weird News
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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Starting the New Year With the Flu? You’re Not Alone

Maybe it's not just the effects of the New Year's Eve drinks that you're feeling today. Many people in East Texas are sick with something other than the "brown bottle flu" right now.

Flu cases are up in Texas. Emergency rooms from Dallas to Tyler to Houston are saying they're seeing more flu cases right now, with fevers of 102 to 103 and that yucky, awful, achey feeling. And of course the other pleasantries associated with the flu that we don't need to mention.

With flu cases on the rise, what can be done?

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Would You Ever Name Your Child ‘Hashtag?’

Seriously. The name Hashtag is on the list of baby name possibilities in 2013, according to one website.

I did grow up in Nebraska with a boy named Tag. Perhaps Tag's parents were just ahead of the curve, and knew that someday Twitter would keep conversations going with that # symbol, and the hashtag would reach new heights in popularity. They just decided to shorten it.

What about Android? Would you give your child that name?

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Category: Family, Weird News Tags:
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
David Paul Morris/Getty Images
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Forest Service Says Be Careful With New Year’s Eve Fireworks

Got your fireworks yet? There are just two opportunities each year to buy fireworks in Texas – near the 4th of July, and new New Year’s Eve. Business is good right now at local fireworks stands with the holiday fast approaching. Our own Leslie Reynolds offered tips on where to get the fireworks in a recent blog.

Even though there has been some recent moisture, it’s been another dry year and we shouldn't let the recent rain and snow give us a false sense of security, according to Texas A&M Forest Service officials. Fireworks and piles of dry leaves don’t mix.

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Doug Pensinger, Getty Images
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Travelers Hit the Road for Christmas

By Monday and Tuesday we'll be sitting comfortably around the Christmas tree, sipping egg nog with family and trying to figure out how in the world a Furby really works.

In the meantime, it's a big ole traffic jam! Today and tomorrow are two of the busiest travel days of the year.

Triple A estimates 7.7 million Texans will be traveling more than 50 miles from home between Saturday and January 1. Millions of packages are on their way too, but they may not get here by Christmas.

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Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Joe Raedle, Getty Images
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Holiday Travelers Get the Gift of Lower Gas Prices

Have you driven by a Tyler gas station lately and done a double take to make sure you're not seeing things? Prices at some stations have dropped below the $3 mark. It seems odd to cheer for gas, but it kinda makes ya wanna say, "Woohoo!" Especially if you're traveling for Christmas.

In mid to late November, gas prices in East Texas were about 15 cents higher than they are now. A gallon of gas averages about $3.10 in Texas, down from $3.25 around Thanksgiving.

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Thinkstock
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Tyler Charter School to Add a Middle School in Addition to Elementary

Most students right now are thinking about Christmas break, but one Tyler school is thinking about its new classes, and an upcoming expansion.

The Tyler charter school, Cumberland Academy currently serves K-6th grade students, and just announced plans to open a middle school in fall 2013.

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