KUT Weekend
2:53 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

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KUT Weekend brings you our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays!

Texas
2:42 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

What the Heck is the Texas State Guard Anyway?

Maj. Gary Sherman, 3rd Battalion, 4th Regiment, Texas State Guard, uses a compass to determine his bearing during a Land Navigation joint training exercise in Henrietta, Texas, October 11, 2014.
CW2 Janet Schmelzer, PAO, 4th Regiment, TXSG

This week, a lesser-known unit of the Texas Military Forces got some attention when Governor Greg Abbott called on them to “monitor” U.S. military training exercises planned for this summer.

Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to ensure that Texans’ rights were not being infringed and help facilitate communication with residents during the exercises designated “Operation Jade Helm 15.” The operation is set to take place in Bastrop and several other locations across Texas and in some neighboring states between July 15 and September 15.

Exactly how that monitoring will be carried out is still unclear. When asked for details, the Governor’s office told us to call the Texas State Guard. In an email response, the Guard said “we are always ready to answer the call of the Governor and currently leadership from our Texas State Guard are in the process of examining the best way to meet the Governor's intent.”

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Austin
2:15 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

City Seeks to Improve Demolition Permit System

Jumpolin Rentals store owner Monica Lejarazul (right) and neighbor Diane Ontiberos (left) look on as a fence is erected around the remains of the storefront in February.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

A City Council committee is directing staff to look at adding requirements to the demolition permit system that would ensure tenants are notified of planned tear-downs.

During a review of the city’s demolition permits, the Planning and Neighborhoods Committee heard from Sergio Lejarazu, the former owner of Jumpolin, the East Austin piñata store that was torn down in February with the merchandise still inside. 

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Texas Standard
12:08 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Is the Texas Economy Headed Towards a Recession?

85552770/flickr

From Texas Standard:

When a leading economist warned Texas that it should brace for a recession, the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank wasn’t rattled. Then-President Richard Fisher said, if anything, the state might experience a downturn in economic growth. But here we are on the first day of May – after months of negative workforce and economic data. Dan Zehr with the Austin-American Statesman spoke with the Texas Standard to answer the question: Is the Texas economy in the middle of a recession?

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:31 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Debunking the Myths About Different Learning Styles

Credit crunchadeal.com

Are you an auditory learner or a visual learner?  If you answered, "yes," you'd be right. That's because we use all our senses to learn and process information.

In this edition of Two Guys On Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke dispel the myths behind learning styles preferences: In fact, they don’t really exist. 

Our reliance on the theories of learning styles to explain our success or failure of understanding certain information is actually more about serving our human need to put things into categories – combined with our need to explain things when they don’t work. 

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Austin
10:16 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Downtown Austin Trader Joe's Opens Its Doors

Trader Joe's opened its third store in the Austin area today, this one in the Seaholm development.
Bill Shaner/flickr

Trader Joe’s is opening a new location in downtown Austin today. The popular grocery chain is known for its quirky offerings and laid-back, tropical styling.

The supermarket is going to anchor the retail stores at the multi-million dollar Seaholm development, part of the city’s plan to transform downtown into a mixed residential-commercial district.

“Grocery has been one of the gaps for downtown living, and we see Trader Joe’s as helping fill that gap in addition to the Whole Foods and Royal Blue,” says Fred Evins, a Project Manager at the City of Austin Economic Development Department. “We’d like to see more,” he adds.

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The Two-Way
10:15 am
Fri May 1, 2015

Charges Against 6 Officers In Freddie Gray's Death Range From Murder To Assault

Marilyn Mosby, state's attorney for Baltimore City, announced criminal charges against all six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, who suffered a fatal injury while in police custody.
Alex Brandon AP

Originally published on Fri May 1, 2015 4:30 pm

The death of Freddie Gray was a homicide, and six Baltimore police officers now face criminal charges that include second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter, Baltimore chief prosecutor Marilyn J. Mosby says.

Mosby announced the charges Friday morning, citing her office's "thorough and independent" investigation and the medical examiner's report on Gray's death. She said warrants were issued Friday for the officers' arrest.

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Texas Standard
1:51 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Why Can't My iPhone Speak Spanglish?

Siri's response to why she doesn't speak Spanglish? 'I've never really thought about it.'
mirandagranche/flickr

A lot of Texans switch back and forth between English and Spanish effortlessly, without even thinking about it. But if you’re typing on an iPhone, switching between the language keyboards mid-sentence is a big hassle. With more and more multilingual users, why isn’t one of the top smartphones up to the task?

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Texas
12:36 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Unlike Other Coming-of-Age Celebrations, Quinceañeras Remain Mostly Offline

Jennifer Santillan was born in the year 2000, meaning that this year she celebrated her Quinceañera.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

A lot was going on in the year 2000: Computer experts were trying to fix Y2K, and it was the first time a Latino artist topped the charts: Ricky Martin with the song "Livin' La Vida Loca."

It was also a big year for births: Nearly 400,000 girls were born to Hispanic parents that year. This year those girls are turning 15, and they'll be celebrating their Quinceañeras.

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In Black America Podcast
12:31 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

From Daddyless to Destiny

Tunette Powell, award-winning motivational speaker and author, is Co-Founder and CEO of The Truth Heals – a nonprofit for individuals and families affected by fatherlessness

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Tunette Powell, motivational speaker, author, education consultant and co-founder of The Truth Heals.

Powell has made it her mission to be a voice of hope and healing for some of the world’s most despaired and underserved populations. She currently serves as the CEO of The Truth Heals and sits on a host of nonprofit boards.

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News
12:15 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

One Year Later, is San Antonio's Promise Zone Delivering?

76771463@N02/flickr

From Texas Standard:

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro announced the latest cities to be designated "promise zones" this week. This is the second set of cities to take part in the federal program that seeks to reduce poverty and crime, increase economic and educational opportunities and attract private investment.

None of the eight announced this week are in Texas, but we thought this was a great opportunity to check in with one of the inaugural five.

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Austin
12:03 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

How You Can Help Earthquake Victims in Nepal

Students at the UT-Austin campus accepting donations for those affected by the earthquake outside Kathmandu.
Credit via Facebook

Last week's 7.9-magnitude earthquake in Nepal has left thousands dead and even more displaced across the country — from remote rural towns to the country's capital, Kathmandu, the quake's epicenter.

Despite the best efforts of those on the ground and in the air, authorities need all the help they can get as they battle both the elements and problematic terrain that have hampered both rescue and cleanup efforts.

Below you can find a list of local and national organizations that are accepting donations to help those affected in Nepal.

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2016 Election
10:00 am
Thu April 30, 2015

The Ticket: Episode 2

The Ticket, produced by KUT and the Texas Tribune, is our new podcast focused on the 2016 presidential race.

In the second episode of The Ticket, KUT's Ben Philpott and the Texas Tribune's Jay Root break down the presidential campaign announcement speech of Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) in another edition of “Stump Interrupted.”

They also talk with Mathew Dowd, who directed President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

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Austin
8:18 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Love Letter to a Landmark: Highland Mall Closes its Doors For Good

Highland Mall, a North Austin landmark, is shutting down the last of its shops. ACC is taking over the space.
Sarah Jasmine Montgomery/KUT

This week, it finally ends for the handful of shops still operating in what’s left of Highland Mall. The mall closes to the public for good Thursday after years of decline. Austin Community College will soon take over the rest of the site.

Walking around the giant, mostly empty space, with Captain and Tennille playing in the background, you might think this is a relic of conspicuous consumption’s past.

But this isn’t about what Highland Mall is now. This story is about what it used to be.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders Jumps Into The Presidential Race

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to formally announce Thursday that he is a Democratic presidential candidate.
Win McNamee Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 29, 2015 7:34 pm

Bernie Sanders, the independent senator from Vermont, tells the AP and USA Today that he will seek the Democratic nomination for president in 2016.

Sanders, a socialist and a liberal darling, is a long-shot candidate but is expected to pull front-runner Hillary Clinton left.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:51 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

William Sydney Porter and Austin's Original 'Rolling Stone'

The cover of The Rolling Stone's final issue from April 25, 1895.
Austin History Center

Today's Wayback Wednesday looks back at Austin's onetime Victorian-era literary magazine, The Rolling Stone. The DIY-minded rag published short stories, cartoons and other Onion-esque items, but it is largely known as the first creative sandbox for its publisher, William Sydney Porter.

Porter, a North Carolina transplant who moved to Austin in the late 1880s, worked as a druggist and as a clerk at the General Land Office before he took a job at the First National Bank as a teller. It was during his time as a teller that he started The Rolling Stone in 1895. A year later, in April of 1896, Porter printed the last issue after being fired from the bank for embezzling money. Turns out he was using the money to support his enterprise, a crime that would land him time in federal prison, where he would continue writing under his now-famous pseudonym: O. Henry.

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Texas
1:10 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

International Group Aims to Help Children of Incarcerated Parents

Texas has one of the highest incarceration rates in the nation.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

More than half of U.S. prison inmates are parents of children under 18 years old, according to U.S. Department of Justice statistics from 2007. A new international group is looking to help the children of those incarcerated parents in the U.S. and abroad.

No matter the crime, children of those sent to jail are affected in big ways — often sharing the attitudes and behaviors of their imprisoned parents.

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Texas Standard
12:07 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

Why Terlingua Doesn't Want Reality TV Cameras in Their Town

A National Geographic film crew has come to town.
jbparrott/flickr

Terlingua, a small town in Brewster County, West Texas, near the Rio Grande, used to be a mining town. Now it's mainly a tourist destination on the way to Big Bend — but pretty soon, Terlingua might attract a different kind of tourist.

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Texas
11:41 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Why SCOTUS' Hearing on Midazolam May Affect Texas Executions

The U.S. Supreme Court is considering today whether the lethal injection drug Midazolam, which is not currently used in Texas, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. The drug has not been proven to deliver a pain-free execution experience.
Calif. Dep. of Corrections and Rehabilitation

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the three-drug combination used in Oklahoma executions.

At issue is whether the use of one of the drugs, Midazolam, constitutes cruel and unusual punishment, since it is not proven to prevent the person being executed from feeling pain.

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Energy & Environment
10:32 am
Wed April 29, 2015

Could Texas Be Doing More to Protect Against Manmade Earthquakes?

A dozen smaller earthquakes have struck Dallas in the last few weeks, following a SMU study that showed a connection between disposal well sites and earthquakes.

There have been earthquakes in almost every corner of Texas since the start of the state's most recent oil and gas boom. One swarm that really captured people’s attention started in the town of Azle in 2013.  When oil and gas regulators at the Railroad Commission of Texas visited the town, local people suggested ways to handle the waste water disposal wells thought to be causing the quakes. One idea came up over and over again.

“Why is it we can't shut the wells down around here for a period of time?” asked resident Gale Wood. "If nothing happens after a while, that would be one way to determine what’s going on."

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