Transportation
12:26 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

High Demand for Lyft and Uber Has Pushed Up Fares in Austin. But What About Traffic?

Transportation networking apps Uber and Lyft both have higher rates in Austin, but the companies could release their closely held data to the city, allowing for a closer look at possible traffic impacts of the services.
Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

This year, the city allowed hundreds of thousands of new car trips when it legalized the ride service companies Lyft and Uber.

But, while these companies may be filling in a gap in transportation options, are they making traffic better or worse in Austin? And does the demand for ride services mean higher prices here than elsewhere in the country? 

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Ken Paxton
10:57 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Texas Attorney General Booked on 3 Felony Counts

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's mugshot from the Collin County Jail on August 3, 2015.
Collin County Jail

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in to authorities in Collin County this morning. He's charged with three felonies relating to his solicitation of investments in a technology company.

He was immediately released after booking.

Two of the charges — first-degree felony securities fraud — carry the possibility of hefty jail sentences. The details of the charges are expected to be unsealed at noon today.

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Austin
9:53 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Black Business Owners in Austin Area Outperform State

An analysis shows that, despite waning population growth, African-American-run businesses in Austin have outperformed their counterparts across the state.
Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor

Despite Austin being the country’s only large, fast-growing city with a waning African-American population, businesses owned by black residents in the greater area appear to be outperforming those in the rest of the state.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics that Greater Austin Black Chamber board member Hopeton Hay presented in July, Travis County topped the state in average receipts for firms owned by black residents in 2007, with $131,400 per company. That is more than double the average for Dallas County, which came in second place at $63,200 per company.

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Education
8:13 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Program Hopes to Bring Back-To-School Supplies, Normalcy to Foster Children

Volunteers distribute supplies for the a program that provides Texas foster children with back-to-school necessities.
Charlotte Carpenter

Back-to-school shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To the uninitiated, it may seem like total madness.

But, really, it's family time: parents read school lists out loud while children run around in search of items. It's also a time children in foster care rarely experience, but, for the first time, a non-profit is trying to provide children in foster care with a similar experience.

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It's All Politics
7:17 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Get Ready For The Biggest Week Yet In The GOP Race For President

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has surged to the top of GOP presidential primary polls despite a slew of controversial comments since he launched his campaign in June.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 10:33 am

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on FOX News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Best of Higher Ed: The Impact of 'Unlearning' on Learning

This summer, KUT is revisiting episodes of the podcast "Higher Ed." This episode was originally posted on March 15, 2015.

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Texas
2:00 pm
Sat August 1, 2015

Reports: Texas AG Ken Paxton Indicted by Collin County Grand Jury

Several media outlets are reporting that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be indicted by a Collin County grand jury.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From our political reporting partners at The Texas Tribune

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Sat August 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

From Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save babies’ lives by providing prescribed donor human milk, primarily to premature and ill infants.

You can contribute your time and talent to help improve the health and lives of preterm and ill infants.

You can join our Pour Team! Work on the front lines with our pour team!  You will work in groups of 3-4 in our lab, mixing and pouring donated milk for pasteurization. Involves standing for several hours at a time and lifting flasks of milk. Bonus: You get to “scrub in” and wear cool garb that makes you feel like you have a medical degree.

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KUT Weekend
4:12 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Transportation
3:29 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

What 'Sharing the Road' Means for Cyclists and Drivers in Texas

Cyclists may have their own lanes in certain stretches of Austin roads, but they also have the right to ride in the center of lanes in some cases.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin's roads are busier than ever, and there’s more than just cars and trucks on them. As more and more Austinites choose bikes to get around, where exactly are they allowed to ride?

It can be a little confusing knowing where it’s okay to ride your bike. For instance, you’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk in parts of downtown Austin. But when it comes to the road? Well, a bike is welcome pretty much everywhere. It’s right there in the Texas Transportation Code.

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Energy & Environment
2:18 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

'No Explosions Here!' What We Learned from Austin Resource Recovery's Reddit AMA

Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit to answer questions on Austin's recycling program.
flickr.com/criminalintent

Have you ever wondered about if you could recycle your paper coffee cup? Or if the cap from that Topo Chico you had would gum up the recycling sorter? Have you wondered the fate of that plastic bag you filled with recyclables and tossed into the blue bin with trepidation? 

Well, today was your lucky day, Internet user. 

This morning Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) to answer Austinites' burning recycling questions — offering a glimpse of a possibly forthcoming composting program and tips on what exactly to do with all those plastic bags you've been hoarding. Check out the highlights below.

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Two Guys on Your Head
12:24 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

How On-The-Go Eating Takes the Fun & Flavor Out of a Good Meal

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Food can be delicious, heart-warming and life-sustaining. So, how did eating become a constant battle with the refrigerator?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Arthur Markman discuss the challenges in maintaining a healthy diet and how changing our perspectives on food may be a vital approach to solving these problems.

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Energy & Environment
11:22 am
Fri July 31, 2015

Study Aims to Predict Bird Deaths from Wind Turbines

A new study looks to predict deaths of species like the Golden Eagle as a result of colliding with wind turbines.
Wikimedia Commons

Texas leads the nation in wind power, but some environmentalists worry about bird deaths cause by wind turbines – typically, birds fly into the blades of the turbines.

Now, a new approach pioneered by the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hopes to decrease those fatalities by trying to calculate the probability of bird-turbine collisions, while recognizing the inherent uncertainty of the phenomenon.

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Austin
5:36 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

City Council Takes First Look at Proposed Budget

Courses on budgeting and responsible credit use is getting underway.
Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin today presented its proposed budget for FY 2015-16 to the new 10-1 City Council, which will work on finalizing the proposal before the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.  [View the proposed budget in full here.]

The proposal calls for spending a total of $3.5 billion, a $39-million increase from last year. The increase in property tax revenue for the city would total about $36 million.

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The Ticket
4:17 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

The Ticket: John Kasich Joins the Race

Kasich is hoping for a bump in the polls to get him into the 1st GOP debate.
Picture courtesy Kasich Presidential Campaign

This week on The Ticket: We welcome Ohio Governor John Kasich to the GOP primary field with a review of his announcement speech. And with just days until the first GOP primary debate, we'll talk with senior writer and analyst Harry Enten from FiveThirtyEight.com about the latest polls and who's on or off the debate stage.

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Austin
2:30 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Why Plans to Move Austin's Monk Parakeets Could Get Nest-y

Janet Reed of Travis Audubon at the Whitaker Intramural Fields in Central Austin, home to hundreds of monk parakeets. Reed says plans to move the birds in order to refurbish the fields may not work.
Terrence Henry/KUT

Austin’s well-known as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it’s also becoming known as a place that’s running out of room. There's one neighborhood in town where old-time residents are probably going to be moved out in order to make way for new development. And it’s ruffling some feathers.

We're talking, of course, about monk parakeets. In particular, the two hundred of them that live at the University of Texas at Austin Whitaker Intramural Fields, in Central Austin on Guadalupe. Head there at dusk, and you'll see not just soccer or lacrosse scrimmages, but you'll see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds. 

And the most colorful and charismatic of them are the monk parakeets. But soon they're likely going to have to move out of their longtime home. 

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The Write Up
1:26 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Sarah Hepola on 'Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank To Forget'

Credit Zan Keith

Sarah Hepola’s new memoir, Blackout: Remembering Things I Drank to Forget, chronicles her addiction to alcohol with brutal honesty and brilliant humor.  The book is gaining critical acclaim from reviewers in The New York Times, The Washington Post, LA Times, and Kirkus Reviews. Entertainment Weekly observed, “It’s hard to think of another memoir that burrows inside an addict’s brain like this one does.”

Blackout was named one of Amazon.com’s Best Books of June 2015, People Magazine’s Best Books of the Summer, and won a spot on the New York Times Best Sellers List.

Hepola recently joined us on The Write Up to discuss the memoir. We also chat about her work as an editor at Salon and as a freelance writer, and the complicated ways alcohol affected her writing and life.

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Music
10:56 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Advocates Offer Suggestions to an Austin Music Scene That 'Needs Improvement'

Protesters gathered to speak out against a Hyatt development near Cheer Up Charlies.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin music leaders are suggesting changes the city could make to protect and enliven its live music industry. On Wednesday, they presented their recommendations at Holy Mountain, a downtown venue closing its doors later this year – partly because of rising rent.

The recommendations are aimed at five issues advocates say are plaguing Austin’s music scene, including affordability of commercial space, stagnant event revenues, venue preservation, permitting and code enforcement complications and a gap in community engagement.

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Transportation
9:49 am
Thu July 30, 2015

CTRMA Announces MoPac Project Delay, Again

The Mopac Improvement Project originally budgeted about $20 million for bumps in the road during construction; it currently has about $6.5 million left. There is a chance the transportation authority will have to find additional funding for the road.
MoPac Improvement Project

From our city reporting partner, the Austin Monitor: Mike Heiligenstein, the executive director for the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, told board members Wednesday that the MoPac Improvement Project is expected to be fully operational sometime in the second half of 2016, a far cry from its originally stated Sept. 17, 2015, completion date.

Lead contractor CH2M Hill is responsible for the design and construction of CTRMA’s express lane project, which affects MoPac from Cesar Chavez Street to Parmer Lane. But the originally budgeted $200 million proposal has seen numerous delays because of labor shortages, drilling problems, weather issues, continual run-ins with unidentified utility infrastructure and debatably differing site conditions than those originally agreed upon, Heiligenstein said.

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Transportation
9:41 am
Thu July 30, 2015

What You Need to Know About Changes to Vehicle Inspection and Registration

The state Department of Motor Vehicles has a new system for vehicle registration and inspection.
twostepsonesticker.com

If you drive a car in Texas, every year you need to do two things: get your vehicle inspected and renew its registration. Until this year, those were two separate stickers on your windshield.

But that’s changing now – which means a few new steps you'll want to be aware of.

Starting this year, the two stickers on your windshield are becoming one. Now Texans will get their vehicles inspected before renewing their registration, and then get just one sticker for both when they’re done.

It’s a big change that will eventually affect nearly every vehicle in the state. And it can be kind of confusing.

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