Texas
9:41 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

As Flood Waters Recede, Wimberley Residents Start to Pick Up the Pieces

Wimberley residents walk and survey the town after Monday's storms.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The community in Wimberley is finding some sort of normalcy after record flooding over the weekend. Seven homes there were destroyed, and 1,400 were damaged. But even before the waters had receded, community members started looking for ways to help their neighbors.

A steady flow of customers came into Brookshire Brothers, Wimberley's local supermarket, on Tuesday. Customers were buying extra water and groceries that supermarket employees would then pack up for neighbors in need. A sign-up sheet by the door encouraged residents to write down how they could help others. Some people offered their cars; others, their cell phones.

Read more
Politics
5:59 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

U.S. Supreme Court to Hear Texas Redistricting Case

Credit Todd Wiseman/Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a case that centers on how Texas draws its political districts, a longtime point of dispute between the state and voting rights advocates.

The high court said it will take up Evenwel v. Abbott, which involves whether Texas should use total population or voting age population when composing districts. The debate is especially pertinent in Texas, where some districts include many people living in the country illegally who are not eligible to vote. 

Read more
Memorial Day Floods
5:10 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Despite Floods, Stage 2 Water Restrictions Remain in Place For Now

Even though Austin had torrential rains that flooded Lady Bird Lake, water usage restrictions forced by the drought may not be lifted.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The lakes that supply Austin with water - Travis and Buchanan - have risen dramatically over the past few days, but city of Austin officials are not ready to lift water restrictions just yet.

Before this most recent round of rains, the lakes were 39 percent full, combined. Now, they're 55 percent full

The Lower Colorado River Authority's vice president for water, John Hoffman, says they're happy the reservoirs are rising, but they still see it as a glass half empty. 

Read more
The Two-Way
2:54 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Federal Appeals Court Leaves Hold On Obama's Immigration Orders

Originally published on Tue May 26, 2015 5:26 pm

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will not lift a hold that has stalled President Obama's plan to shield millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The president sought to give temporary protection to people who were brought to the U.S. as children, and to the parents of people who live in the U.S. legally.

The decision blocks an executive action the White House issued late last year and leaves in place a hold that was issued in February by District Judge Andrew Hanen in South Texas.

Update at 4:35 p.m. ET: White House Evaluating Options

Read more
Memorial Day Floods
11:14 am
Tue May 26, 2015

At Least 2 Dead, 13 Missing in Hays County After Floods

A home in Wimberley swept away by record flooding on the Blanco River.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took a helicopter tour of the areas devastated by weekend floods yesterday, which culminated in a disaster declaration in 24 counties in Texas. Hundreds of families in Wimberley lost everything, and more than 1,000 were in shelters Monday night. Two are confirmed dead in Hays County.

Update 3:30 p.m. Earlier today, 30 were still unaccounted for in the county, but sources are starting to report that most of those have been contacted. Thirteen are supposedly still missing.

Update 3 p.m. Gov. Abbott has added 8 more counties to the state disaster declaration. You can view a full list of counties, and the governor's statement, here.

Update 1:15 p.m. In a press conference in Wimberley this afternoon, Hays County officials said that there are still 30 people unaccounted for in the wake of the weekend's storms. Hays County Commissioner called the storm a "tsunami." President Obama declared Texas an official disaster area, which opens the door to the state receiving federal funding for recovery.

Original story: Still, after a record flood of the Blanco River, more rain is expected to fall throughout the week as those in the town continue rescue and clean-up efforts.

But, yesterday, one family celebrated Memorial Day as they always do – together – in spite of the floods that ravaged their home.

Read more
Austin
8:49 am
Tue May 26, 2015

With More Rain In Sight, Austin Begins Clean-Up After Memorial Day Floods

The intersection at Ninth Street and Lamar yesterday after Shoal Creek flooded.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Storms swept through the Austin area Monday afternoon, causing businesses and roadways to flood. The National Weather Service says Austin should expect more rain and thunderstorms this week, with chances as high as 50 percent on Friday.

Storms across the state resulted in a total of seven dead in Texas, including one in San Marcos, one in Wimberley, one in Cameron, one in San Antonio and three more in Houston. At least 30 people are still unaccounted for in Hays County.

Meanwhile in Austin, clean-up efforts are underway. You can get the latest information from the city of Austin here.

4 p.m. The body of one man, still unidentified, has been recovered in northeast Travis County.

1 p.m. CapMetro says its rail service will be restored as of 3:44 this afternoon. Its buses are running normally, say CapMetro officials.

12:45 p.m. You can call Austin Disaster Relief Network if you're affected by the flood and still need help.

12 p.m. An update from CapMetro says that MetroRail is offering partial service today:

11:15 a.m. The North Austin Red Cross shelter housed five people last night, and the South Austin shelter housed two. The shelters in San Marcos housed 80 overnight. Updated Red Cross shelter information for those in need Tuesday:

10:45 a.m. ATXfloods is reporting that nearly all of Austin's roads are open.

Read more
Texas
3:55 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Storms Cause Widespread Flooding in Austin (Updated)

Onlookers watch a swollen Shoal Creek with APD officers nearby.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Update Tuesday 4:30 a.m. Several additional area school districts have announced changes to their schedules for today because of flooding and road conditions:

  • Classes at Taylor High School have been canceled because of flooding in the building. All other Taylor ISD schools will operate on a two hour delay.
  • The following districts are operating on a two hour delay: Hutto, Jarrell, Luling, Lockhart, Manor (two hour delay for students; staff report at regular time).

Because of some track washouts, Capital Metro's MetroRail will operate only between the Howard and Downtown stations on Tuesday. Cap Metro says road conditions may also cause some bus route detours.

Earlier: After storms wreaked havoc through Central Texas Sunday, the area was hit again Monday afternoon, flooding roadways and causing power outages in Austin and surrounding areas. After reported tornado touchdowns mid-afternoon in several Central Texas counties, storms deluged the already-saturated Austin area with rain, causing flooding all over the city.

Read more
2015 Legislature
3:54 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Bill Restricting Abortion for Some Minors Gets First Approval from Texas Senate

The Texas Senate gave a first OK to HB 3994 on May 25, 2015. The bill restricts how certain minors can get an abortion in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

A bill (House Bill 3994) that would add restrictions to how minors can bypass the state’s parental consent law to get an abortion was approved by the Texas Senate today.

What’s called the judicial bypass bill received plenty of roadblocks from opponents, however. 

Before the bill was even brought up for a vote, opponents in the Senate had hours’ worth of questions about what the bill would require a minor and a judge to do.

Read more
Politics
9:33 am
Mon May 25, 2015

House Will Take Up Abortion Insurance Coverage Ban

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: In a dramatic turn of events, the House Calendars Committee on Sunday night reversed course and sent a controversial bill prohibiting health insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act's marketplace from covering abortions to the full chamber for a vote.

Earlier in the night, the committee voted not to place Senate Bill 575 by Republican Sen. Larry Taylor on the lower chamber’s calendar for Tuesday — the last day a Senate bill can be passed by the House. After fireworks on the House floor instigated by a lawmaker who believed he had entered into an agreement to get the bill to the full chamber, the committee reconvened and reconsidered its vote. 

Read more
Weather
8:04 am
Sun May 24, 2015

One Confirmed Dead; Flooding in Central Texas as the Blanco River Rises to Historic Levels

Downed and damaged trees, property in Central Austin
Lizzie Chen

One fatality has been reported, officials say. The man's identity has not been released publicly.

Update Monday 8 a.m. We are reporting Monday's news here. A flash flood watch and a tornado watch are in effect for large parts of Central Texas as more severe weather is expected this afternoon and evening. Governor Greg Abbott is traveling to storm- and flood-damaged areas today, and we'll be covering his press conference in Wimberley at 1 p.m.

For information on how you can find or donate assistance, we are compiling a list here

Read more
Arts Eclectic
6:00 am
Sun May 24, 2015

Ethan Azarian: 'Survive Yourself'

'The Warhols,' Ethan Azarian

For many years, musician and painter Ethan Azarian staged an annual show of his works in his own home; his "In-House Galleries" became a well-known holiday event in Austin. These days, the home-based shows are no more, and Ethan has started putting together a quadrennial solo show at what he calls "a real gallery," by which he means a gallery space that's not also his own living room.

Read more
Education
5:50 pm
Sat May 23, 2015

Updated: UT Campus-wide Commencement Cancelled; Fireworks Ceremony Tentatively Rescheduled

The UT Tower glowed orange in honor of the 2015 graduates, under rainy skies that led to the campus-wide commencement ceremony's cancellation
Trey Shaar KUT News

Update Sunday 3:30 p.m. University officials say that the commencement fireworks ceremony has been rescheduled for 10 p.m. tonight (Sunday), weather-permitting. Check back here for updates.

The University of Texas at Austin has cancelled the outdoor commencement ceremony planned for 8 p.m. Saturday due to inclement weather. UT said just before 5 p.m. that lightning had impeded the set-up for the outdoor event and that the threat of continuing inclement weather led the university "regretfully" to cancel the ceremony. 

Read more
2015 Legislative Session
10:44 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

After One More Gun Fight, Open Carry Passes Senate

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita, Falls, center, and Sen. Don Huffines, R-Dallas, speak to Karina Davis the Senate Parliamentarian on March 16th, 2015.
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

After more than six hours — and a testy debate that escalated dramatically when unusual alliances formed between a few Democrats and a group of Tea Party-backed Republicans — the Texas Senate approved a measure loosening state restrictions on handguns Friday.

The legislation allowing Texans with licenses to carry handguns openly eventually passed on a final 20 to 11 vote along party lines.

Read more
KUT Weekend
1:30 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Texas Standard
1:29 pm
Fri May 22, 2015

Pixar Director Reveals Inspiration, Music for New Short

“Lava” screens before the new Pixar feature film “Inside Out.” It premieres June 19 – but Texas Standard has a sneak peek (or listen…)
Courtesy Pixar Animation Studios

From Texas Standard.

Pixar has produced hit after award-winning hit. Films including the “Toy Story” series, “Cars” and many others. The company has arguably set the standard for computer-generated animation.

Jim Murphy has been at Pixar since 1996. He’s been an animator for Academy Award-winning films including “Finding Nemo “ and “The Incredibles."

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
11:24 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Why Seeing Isn't Believing

Credit catalog.flatworldknowledge.com

Philosophers have long proposed that there is no objective reality. And now science agrees — at least as far as our personal experiences are concerned.

Perception is the process of interpreting our present environment through the lens of our past experiences. Everything we sense, think, feel, and even remember, actually arises in response to a combination of what is currently happening and our stored long-term memories. 

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Art Markman discuss the evolutionary advantages of flexible perception, and how this process can influence both our behavior and modern day society.

Read more
2015 Legislature
10:27 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Bill Protecting Pastors Who Refuse to Marry Same-Sex Couples Gets First OK

A bill, SB 2065, that would protect churches and clergy who don't want to marry a same-sex couple, is one step short of heading to Gov. Greg Abbott for a signature.
Morguefile/flickr

Religious objections to gay marriage would be protected from lawsuits, if a bill passed by the Texas House becomes law.

It got a first OK Thursday by the House and is expected to get final passage today. 

Read more
The Two-Way
6:56 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Uneasy Rider: The Origins Of Motorcycle Gangs And How They Remain A Force

Police officers observe the scene at Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco, Texas, the site of the recent motorcycle gang-related shooting.
Jerry Larson AP

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 10:52 am

Updated at 10 a.m. ET

The shootout involving motorcycle gangs last weekend in Waco, Texas, resulted in 170 arrests and put a spotlight on the gangs' history, which dates back to the 1940s.

Read more
Shots - Health News
5:18 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

You And Yeast Have More In Common Than You Might Think

This fungus among us — baker's yeast, aka Saccharomyces cerevisiae — is useful for more than just making bread.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri May 22, 2015 3:02 pm

Rip open a little package of baker's yeast from the supermarket, peer inside, and you'll see your distant cousin.

That's because we share a common ancestor with yeast, and a new study in the journal Science suggest that we also share hundreds of genes that haven't really changed in a billion years.

Edward Marcotte, a biologist at the University of Texas at Austin, knew that humans and yeast have thousands of similar genes. But, he wondered, how similar are they?

Read more
Texas Standard
3:35 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

UT Austin Says Longhorns Still Rule When it Comes to Fandom

flickr.com/cavalierhorn

From Texas Standard.

Are “Texas Football Fans Trending Away From Burnt Orange“… UT Austin Athletic Director Steve Patterson says 'no way.'

Read more

Pages