Arts Eclectic
2:36 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

7 Towers Theatre Gets 'Closer'

Last year, the folks at 7 Towers Theatre company made a decision to try and focus on smaller, more intimate shows this season. The result of that decision is their current production of Closer, a four-character dramatic comedy about, as director Amanda Gass says, "human relationships and the way that people are kind of messed up and treat each other poorly."

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Texas Standard
1:03 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Review: Should You Get The New Dr. Seuss Book?

What Pet Should I Get?
Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

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Education
9:55 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Program Aims to Give College Credit Where it's Due

Many community college students have actually earned enough credits for an associate's degree, but they don't even know it.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Texas Tribune: Across Texas, tens of thousands of students have earned enough college credit for an associate degree without knowing it. A new project led by the University of Texas at Austin hopes to track them down. 

The program to be announced Tuesday, known as Reverse Transfer, will attempt to get those students their degrees — and maybe convince them to continue their schooling. If successful, there could be benefits for the students and the state, its creators say. And officials hope its use will extend beyond Texas. 

"It's a win-win-win solution all the way around," said UT-Austin Registrar Shelby Stanfield, who led the initiative. 

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Energy & Environment
9:18 am
Tue July 28, 2015

Austin's First Triple-Digit Day Arrives Late, With More to Follow

Austin experienced its first 100-degree temperature day yesterday.
flickr.com/mrgarin

Austin’s seen its first triple-digit day of the summer. Just before 1 p.m. yesterday, Central Texas thermometers cracked the triple-digit seal, according to the National Weather Service. While the thermostat has thankfully stayed pretty low so far this year in Austin, that’s going to change.

When it comes to triple-digit days in Austin, the best way to describe what’s happening is, “Never would’ve been better than late.”

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Austin
2:03 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Council Plans Improvements for Austin's 'Eastern Crescent'

A city council group plans to tackle development and economic issues in what they're calling the city's 'Eastern Crescent' region.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The challenges of economic development and gentrification facing East Austin are nothing new. But they will get some new attention from a group of city council members convened by Mayor Steve Adler.  The group will be focusing on a part of the city some council members are calling the “eastern crescent.”

The exotic, almost alluring term “eastern crescent” was introduced recently into the city council lexicon. Council member Leslie Pool threw it out in a June audit and finance meeting. She was talking to city staff about a public improvement district in East Austin.

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Austin
12:26 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Report Calls for Action on 'Repeat Offender' Properties

A report argues the city isn't doing enough to hold owners of properties frequently cited for code violations to task.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

There are thousands of rental properties in Austin – after all, most people who live in Austin rent – and of those thousands, there are more than two dozen that have racked up 300 code violations from the City of Austin. A new study provides suggestions on how to handle the so-called “repeat offenders.”

The study’s author argues that the city could be focusing more on these violations, rather than dedicating more Code Compliance resources towards the policing of short-term rentals.

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News
12:09 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

More Women Than Men Now Emigrating to U.S. From Mexico, Study Says

Google Maps

When you hear the words "Mexican immigrant," what image pops into your head? 

Maybe you're picturing a male day laborer. But Rogelio Saenz from the University of Texas at San Antonio says the latest data does not reflect that.

"Women are becoming​ much more a part of the Mexican immigrant population," Saenz says.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun July 26, 2015

Best of Higher Ed: Teaching Happiness

This summer, KUT is revisiting episodes of the podcast "Higher Ed." This episode was originally posted on March 8, 2015.

Each week, KUT's Jennifer Stayton talks with Dr. Ed Burger, President of Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, about higher education, lifelong learning, and exercising the brain.  This week, Ed and Jennifer discuss the intriguing idea of teaching happiness in the classroom. Not as a separate subject, but as part of just about all subjects students already study.  Could that work? How would it work?

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The Two-Way
9:36 am
Sat July 25, 2015

Pentagon Asks 'Armed Citizens' Not To Stand Guard At Recruiting Centers

Zachary Gallegos, 23, stands guard outside the Armed Services Recruiting Center on Thursday in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The Pentagon has asked such self-appointed "armed citizens" to leave, citing security concerns.
Kevin Burbach AP

Originally published on Sat July 25, 2015 12:12 pm

Updated at 1:10 p.m. ET

The Defense Department, reacting to armed citizens appearing in front of military recruiting offices around the country since last week's fatal shootings of five U.S. servicemen in Chattanooga, Tenn., has asked that "individuals not stand guard" on federal property.

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Immigration
9:35 am
Sat July 25, 2015

Judge Says Detaining Immigrant Children Violates Agreement

A detention facility in Karnes City, Texas, designed to house mothers and children aprehended at the border
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

A federal judge ruled Friday in favor of immigrant rights lawyers who have said the current detention of immigrant children violates a court settlement from 1997 known as the Flores vs Meese Agreement. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee issued her decision in California.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has yet to announce how it will proceed. DHS recently changed the rules of how it releases mothers and children currently in detention. 

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KUT Weekend
2:38 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Texas Standard
2:07 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Could Better Mental Health Care Have Saved Sandra Bland's Life?

Screenshot via Facebook video/1168639983152111

From Texas Standard:

As officials further investigate Sandra Bland’s case, the Standard continues to ask questions. Tuesday we talked about the legalities of the arrest itself. Here we look at mental health procedures for Texas inmates. This interview discusses suicide and provides some details of Bland’s death.

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Energy & Environment
1:13 pm
Fri July 24, 2015

Oil Prices Don't Jibe With Texas Budget Forecasts

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

This week, oil prices dropped below $50 for the first time since February, a development that could upend the state's predictions of oil revenue for this year.

Estimates from the Comptroller of Public Accounts put oil prices at an average of just over $64 per barrel in 2015 and 2016. And, as of now, those predictions are rosier than the reality of the market, meaning the state's loss in oil and gas tax revenue could impact the Texas budget going forward.

In January, when Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar released his estimate of how much tax revenue the state would bring in for the Texas budget, he did so with a caveat.

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Politics
9:06 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Appeals Court Rejects One Count in Perry Indictment

Former Gov. Rick Perry during a press conference with his legal team on Jan. 28, 2015.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: A state appeals court on Friday ruled against one of two counts in the indictment against former Gov. Rick Perry

The 3rd Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin specifically found a problem with the second count, which alleges Perry coerced a public servant. The court upheld the first count, which accuses Perry of abusing his power.

Perry's legal team called the ruling a "clear step towards victory for the rule of law."

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Austin
8:57 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Photos: Sandra Bland March From East Austin Ends in Silent Vigil at the Capitol

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT

Demonstrators gathered last night for a vigil remembering Sandra Bland in a march that ran from Victory Grill in East Austin and ended in a silent vigil at the Texas State Capitol. Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell on July 13 after being arrested for an altercation with police that stemmed from a traffic violation.

Her case has drawn national attention after her family suggested her death wasn’t the result of a suicide, though an autopsy report has suggested there was no evidence Bland’s death was a homicide.

Above you can view a photo gallery of the march through East Austin and the vigil at the Capitol.

The Two-Way
8:41 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Police Identify Louisiana Theater Shooter As 59-Year-Old 'Drifter'

This undated photo provided by the Lafayette Police Department shows John Russel Houser.
AP

Originally published on Fri July 24, 2015 11:10 am

Police say the man who opened fire at a movie theater in Lafayette, La., on Thursday was a 59-year-old "drifter."

During a press conference this morning, Lafayette Police Chief Jim Craft said that John Russel Houser was from Alabama, had moved around quite a bit, but had been living in Lafayette since early July. At the time of the shooting, Houser was living in a local motel. Craft said Houser was at a showing of the comedy Trainwreck when he stood up and unloaded at least 13 rounds into the audience, killing 21-year-old Mayci Breaux and 33-year-old Jillian Johnson.

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The Two-Way
4:47 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Autopsy Of Sandra Bland Doesn't Suggest Homicide, Texas County Officials Say

A guard motions to a medic (left) who arrived with a stretcher to Waller County Jail in Hempstead, Texas, on July 13, the day Sandra Bland died at the jail. Officials said Thursday that an autopsy did not find signs that Bland's death was a homicide.
Waller County Sheriff's Office Landov

Originally published on Thu July 23, 2015 5:17 pm

Releasing details — and photographs — from the autopsy of Sandra Bland, officials in Waller County, Texas, say that the cause of death for Bland, a black woman who died in the county's jail, was suicide by hanging. Officials also say she had marijuana in her system.

The case has drawn national scrutiny as Bland, who had driven to Texas from Illinois, died in police custody three days after she was pulled over by a state trooper for allegedly failing to signal a lane change. She was 28.

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The Ticket
4:30 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

The Ticket: The Summer of Trump

Donald Trump has raced to the top of the GOP polls.
Courtesy the Donald Trump for President Campaign

This week on The Ticket: It's our ALL-TRUMP episode. KUT's Ben Philpott and The Texas Tribune's Jay Root will spend the entire show examining the Republican candidate that's taken over the 2016 race. We'll interview Des Moines Register Reporter Josh Hafner about his coverage of Trump in Iowa. And we'll speak with the chairman of the Federation of Hispanic Republicans, about how Trump's campaign has damaged the relationship between Hispanics and the GOP.

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Two Guys on Your Head
4:28 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Virtual Or No, Therapy Can Be Beneficial

Credit Nejron Photo/Shutterstock

Therapy can be life-changing. However, anyone who’s ever seen a bad therapist likely agrees, on at least some level, that virtual therapy may be a step in the right direction. But is it actually effective?

Virtual therapy offers a true judgment-free zone. It also removes much of the shame and fear associated with telling even (or perhaps especially) the kindest of therapist one’s deepest and darkest secrets. It’s also much more convenient and, likely, inexpensive.

However, a good therapist can sense what’s going on beneath the surface. Due to the way the brain is structured, we can rationalize our emotional problems in a way that fits into the context of our current environment and feels safe, which can have little to do with accuracy. A good therapist also provides advice on how to face these issues, as we become ready to hear it.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss the purposes of therapy and provide some perspective on the roles virtual therapy can and can’t fill.

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Texas Standard
3:02 pm
Thu July 23, 2015

Meet the South Texas Man Who Found Out He Was Dead

DeFriend shares his story with The Victoria Advocate.
Image courtesy Frank Tilley/Victoria Advocate

From Texas Standard:

85-year-old Wharton County rancher Mark DeFriend was living his life as usual and was shocked to learn that he’d been declared dead. DeFriend first contacted The Victoria Advocate to talk about his life-after-death experience. Now, he joins the Standard to share his story.

On how the mix-up happened:

“The lady that waited on me was very helpful and considerate and I said, ‘I can’t understand how somebody can say…’ and she said, ‘Mr. DeFriend, there is a delete on the computer and a dismiss and a demised – and in a hurry sometimes they’ll hit that demise.’ So she said this happens all the time is what she told me.”

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