AISD
8:08 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin School Board Names Paul Cruz Temporary Superintendent

Paul Cruz will run the largest school district in Central Texas while the school board searches for a long-term replacement for Meria Carstarphen.
AISD http://powerofusinaustinisd.blogspot.com/2010_08_26_archive.html

Austin school trustees unanimously appointed Paul Cruz as interim superintendent Tuesday night. They also accepted Superintendent Meria Carstarphen's resignation, as she heads to Atlanta to lead that city's public school system.

Carstarphen will remain superintendent until April 23, when her resignation goes into effect. The school district can have a superintendent and an interim superintendent at the same time, as Carstarphen helps Cruz assume his temporary position.

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Texas
7:48 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Amber Alert for Missing Teen from Montgomery County

Elizabeth Rex, 14, may be travelling with Randy Johnson, 51.
Photos from Texas Department of Public Safety

A 14-year-old girl is missing from Magnolia, Texas. The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office has issued an Amber Alert for Elizabeth Rex.

Here's her description.

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Politics
7:20 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

REWATCH: Dan Patrick and Julian Castro Immigration Debate

State Senator and GOP Lt. Governor candidate Dan Patrick faced off against San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro in a televised debate over immigration tonight at 6pm.

The debate was moderated by the Texas Tribune's Evan Smith.

Education
4:49 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Calculator Directive for 8th-Graders Draws Concerns

Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

As the state integrates a directive that requires eighth-graders in Texas public schools to have graphing calculators for STAAR testing, some poorer Texas school districts say that such mandates ignore the financial crunch that many districts are already facing.

In February, Texas Education Agency Commissioner Michael Williams wrote to Texas superintendents to instruct them that they must ensure that eighth-grade students have graphing calculators for STAAR assessments, starting in the 2014-15 school year. The directive comes after the State Board of Education increased the algebra content on the exam, said Debbie Ratcliffe, a TEA spokeswoman.

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Arts Eclectic
1:52 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Be a Part of the Latest Version of 'The Intergalactic Nemesis'

There have been many incarnations of The Intergalactic Nemesis over the years. The 1930s era science fiction story started life as a live radio serial staged in a coffee shop, then became an actual radio serial that ran right here on KUT many years ago. Then there was a revised version of the stage show, then a comic book series, and finally a live action graphic novel, which combines all the previous elements into a large-scale show that has toured the world.

But it’s never been captured for the screen until now. This Saturday at the old Austin City Limits Studio, The Intergalactic Nemesis will tape its newest incarnation before a live audience. The show will go back to its radio serial roots in a way, as it becomes a series of short web videos produced by KLRU and PBS. It'll also be available as a TV broadcast and a DVD.

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Affordable Care Act
1:12 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Details On Abortion Coverage Still Elusive In Some Health Plans

Abortion coverage was a key sticking point during the congressional debate on the new health law. Lawmakers eventually agreed to let states decide.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 3:29 pm

If you bought health coverage through one of the online insurance marketplaces, you might have a tough time determining whether your plan covers abortion services.

Though Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius got an earful from members of Congress about the problem at a hearing last November, little's been done yet to clear up the confusion in some states.

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Halloween Floods
12:40 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed?

Rescue teams in Southeast Austin assist people stranded in rising flood waters in the early hours of Oct. 31, 2013. A city report faults officials for late activation of an emergency response center, among other shortcomings.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

In Austin, it’s almost certain a flood will hit in the future. What we don’t know is when.

In preparation for the next flood, the City of Austin evaluated the last one – the deadly 2013 Halloween flood that hit the Onion Creek neighborhood the hardest. Travis County and the City of Austin emerged from that report with a list of over 100 items deserving greater scrutiny.

The report, available here, cites dozens of instances of miscommunication among flood responders. 

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University of Texas at Austin
11:08 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Bill Powers on Regents Drama, Civil Rights Summit & Those Mysterious Maroon Bluebonnets

UT-Austin President Bill Powers welcomes guests to a panel at the LBJ School & Museum's Civil Rights Summit, on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Rodolfo Gonzalez, American-Statesman

Reports over the past week suggest that the screws are tightening on one of the biggest critics of William Powers, Jr., President of the University of Texas at Austin.

University Regent Wallace Hall likely committed impeachable offenses, according to a 176-page report prepared for legislators looking into Hall's campaign to oust Powers. Among the charges: that Hall leaked confidential student information in apparent violation of state and federal law, that he attempted to coerce UT administrators to alter testimony to investigators, and that he abused his position as regent.

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Arts Eclectic
10:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Soubrette Productions Presents 'Assassins'

For only their second outing, young theater company Soubrette Productions is taking on a challenging show: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Assassins, a musical that examines the motivations behind the actions of attempted and successful assassins of American presidents. It's long been a controversial work, as it examines the history of and parallels between the men and women who were convinced that their violent actions were justified or even necessary.

The subject matter isn't the only difficult aspect of Assassins. It's also a pretty elaborate production, with a large principal cast and detailed costuming, sets, and props. All of this makes the production a challenge for the folks of Soubrette, but a challenge they were eager to undertake.

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Austin
9:55 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin Post Offices Won't Be Open Late for Tax Day 2014

Fewer people are mailing in tax returns.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today is the IRS tax filing deadline.  

But, like last year, Austin area U.S. Post Offices will not stay open until midnight. Post offices across the country are cutting down on late hours for tax day.  That’s because most people now file online.

"According to the Internal Revenue Service, this year over 90 percent of tax returns nationwide have already been electronically filed online," USPS said in a press release. "Of the 148 million returns the IRS expects to be filed this year, only 23 million will be paper returns, down seven percent from last year."

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Science
9:05 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Did You See It? If Not, Here's The 'Blood Moon'

The "blood moon" as seen from Koreatown, west of Los Angeles, early Tuesday. The next total eclipse of the moon comes on Oct. 8.
Joe Klamar AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 8:34 am

There were "whistles, cheers and howls" early Tuesday on the grounds of the Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles as the moon turned red during a total lunar eclipse.

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Life & Arts
6:00 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin Author's New Thriller Links Love, Mystery and World War I

A young man about to go to war meets a young woman. They fall in love. A reckless, passionate affair follows. It lasts just a week, but it reverberates through six lifetimes.

That's just one layer of the narrative in a new novel by Austin author Justin Go. “The Steady Running of the Hour” includes a race against time and crosses two centuries and multiple continents – from the drawing rooms of London to the horror of World War I battlefields – through Europe, Asia and the U.S.

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UT Austin
5:35 am
Tue April 15, 2014

UT Engineering School Receives $5M from ExxonMobil CEO

The UT Engineering School is receiving $5 million from the CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex W Tillerson, and his wife, Renda.
Photo by KUT News

Chairman and CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex W. Tillerson and his wife, Renda, are donating $5 million to the Cockrell School of Engineering. The money is slated to go toward the Engineering Education and Research Center which is expected to open in 2017.

It's a 430,000 square-foot facility that will allow UT Austin to expand its teaching, research and student project space.

Tillerson graduated from UT Austin in 1975 with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering and serves on the school's Engineering Advisory Board and UT Development Board.  His sons, Robert and Michael, are also graduates.

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West Plant Explosion
4:41 am
Tue April 15, 2014

A 'Roller Coaster' Year For Texas Town Rocked By Blast

Firefighters search for survivors at a West, Texas, apartment building in April 2013. The breadth of destruction in West has raised questions about what, if any, new state laws should be passed to help prevent similar accidents in the future.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 5:42 pm

When firetrucks blew through the small town of West, Texas, on the evening of April 17, 2013, sirens screaming, naturally everybody was curious. People got in their cars and went to see the fire at the West fertilizer plant. For 10 minutes, they watched from cars and backyards as the fire grew ever bigger. A few moved as close as they could because they were filming on their smartphones. At no time did it occur to anybody that they might be in danger.

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AISD
8:03 pm
Mon April 14, 2014

Paul Cruz to Lead Austin Schools As Interim Superintendent

AISD's chief schools officer Paul Cruz is expected to be named interim superintendent Tuesday.
Image courtesy AISD: http://powerofusinaustinisd.blogspot.com/2010_08_26_archive.html

Update: KUT has learned from multiple sources that AISD Chief School Paul Cruz is expected to be named interim superintendent at Tuesday's school board meeting.

This comes one day after Superintendent Meria Carstarphen was unanimously approved to lead Atlanta Public Schools district Monday.

Cruz receives high marks from Drew Scheberle, the vice president of education for the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce.

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