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Jen Austin

It's fun to pick on the boys in the office, fun to play music, and fun to talk to you all day at work. Thanks for listening! I grew up in a one-stoplight town in rural Nebraska. My whole family still lives there and I love going back to visit them, but I also love Texas. Barbecue, fajitas, and great live music....it's the place to be. I've lived in Texas for 16 years now. Austin, Dallas, and here. I've worked in radio from the moment I graduated from college. (The University of Nebraska...Go Huskers!) I've been on a hundred stations at one point or another. I just love radio. Other things I love....let's see. Blue ink. Black bores me a bit. I love cheddar cheese and barbecue sauce and anything that the two happen to touch. I fall asleep in almost every movie I attempt to watch I have made it through Eat, Pray, Love and Mr. Wright. I like chick flicks. I have an awesome family and love spending time with them. You'll probably hear me talk about my daughters on the air. They're toddler girls who exhaust me, crack me up, and amaze me because I don't think I was ever that smart. I have two miniature schnauzers too. Thanks for stopping by. Now tell me about you.
John Moore/Getty Images
John Moore/Getty Images
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Longview Church Remembers Newtown Victims

Many images are imprinted on our minds after the Newtown, Connecticut shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary, but perhaps one of the most impressive and peaceful images is that of the 26 wooden angels that were erected on a hillside, in memory of the twenty students and six adults that were shot and killed December 14th.

One Longview church has put up a display of their own to honor the Newtown victims.

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Gift Cards
iStockphoto, Thinkstock
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Get a Gift Card You Don’t Want? Trade it for Cash!

Gift cards are more popular than ever it seems. They were an easy gift this year for many of us, and quite a few of us received them too.

The research firm CEB TowerGroups says around $110 billion worth of gift cards were sold this year in the United States, up ten percent over 2011.

But if you received one you don't want, you can exchange it for cash.

Here's how it works.

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Category: Family, News Tags: ,
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images
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If You’re Returning Gifts, Know the Rules

As Christmas winds down, your family may be setting some gifts aside to be returned. It happens to us all. And some stores prep by stacking up 12-packs of Coke and making a maze, anticipating an onslaught of returns. They want to keep the lines orderly as we stand there waiting to exchange a bad sweater.

If you have items to return, it's important to know the rules. Some stores have tightened their return policies.

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Category: Family, Lifestyle Tags: ,
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images
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Dreaming of a Wet Christmas?

So it's not white. It's a wet Christmas.

The rumbles of thunder make it seem more like April than December, and if you're traveling today expect the rain showers to continue until around 3pm. Rain chances decrease after that, but are still possible through tonight. If there is precipitation falling tonight when the temperatures turn even colder, a smidge of snow hasn't been ruled out.

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NORAD
NORAD
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Kids Get Ready to Track Santa

If your kids are anything like mine, every time they look up into the sky right now and see anything that's not a cloud, the moon, the sun, or the stars, they think it's Santa. If they see a white tail behind an airplane, they think it must be the dust left behind by Santa's reindeer. Young kids across the globe may be hovered around a computer soon with their parents, tracking Santa's every move.

A couple of weeks ago, Amy Austin reminded us that we'll be able to track Santa today with the Official Norad Santa Tracker. How did the Santa Tracker start anyway?

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Scott Barbour-Getty Images
Scott Barbour-Getty Images
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Longview Restaurant Patrons Burst Into Song

We've heard of flash mobs, that pop up suddenly in public places and dance.

Now perhaps East Texas is starting a new trend of song mobs. Those eating dinner inside a Longview Restaurant Saturday night sang a Christmas song together.

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christmas tree_slideshow bob_flickr
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City of Tyler to Offer Christmas Tree Recycling

This weekend your Christmas tree is probably well-lit and gorgeous, standing watch over a multitude of neatly-wrapped gifts and providing a warm holiday glow in the living room. This is the best weekend of the year for the tree.

On Wednesday, the tree will be bare of gifts and the kids will be playing their new Wii games while you start thinking about the task of taking down the decorations and tossing the tree.

Extension agents remind us that the trees are living, breathing things (the real ones anyway, not the fake ones), and they can be turned to mulch and help landscaping this spring.

Here's how Tyler plans to recycle Christmas trees.

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traffic light
grendelkhan, flickr
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New Traffic Signal is Going Up in Tyler

Tyler is getting a new traffic light right after the Christmas holiday.

This is a busy travel weekend, and the constant buzz on the roads should hit a lull between Christmas and New Year's Eve. That will give drivers in Tyler a chance to ease into the habit of stopping at one extra place near TJC and UT Tyler.

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Cars Traveling on Highway
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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Category: East Texas News Tags: ,

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