Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As East 11th Street Bustles, Revitalization Stalls One Block Away

It’s lunchtime at the Quickie Pickie on East 11th Street. Customers fill the patio tables and several others line up to order food inside. Manager Mohammad Walid describes the business as part restaurant, part convenience store.

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Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has a message for members of Congress who are citing the possibility of protests as a reason not to hold town meetings: "Have some courage."

Giffords, wounded in a 2011 shooting outside a Tucson supermarket where she was meeting with constituents, was responding to a statement by Republican Congressman Louis Gohmert of Texas. Asked why he wasn't holding public meetings, Gohmert said:

President Trump has promised to build a wall along the 2,000 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

A third of the border already has a barrier, thanks to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was signed by then-president George W. Bush. That initiative ran into issues with landowners near the Rio Grande. If the wall goes forward as Trump promises, more lawsuits may be coming.

Amid deep strains in the U.S. relationship with Mexico, a country that's been a favorite target of President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security chief John Kelly took part in talks in Mexico City on Thursday that were aimed at smoothing out tensions.

"That's going to be a tough trip," the president said Thursday morning at the White House. Some of the key issues between the two countries: immigration, border security, trade and U.S. aid to Mexico.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Between 16,000 and 17,000 Texans who said they had trouble getting a voter ID were able to sign an affidavit and vote in the last presidential election, thanks to a court order. Now lawmakers want to make it a felony if a voter signing such a form “knowingly makes a false statement or provides false information.”

President Trump wants to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to enforce his executive orders on immigration.

It wont be easy.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was blunt when asked by a member of Congress about it. He said he will add to the ranks "as fast as we can."

But he quickly added, "we will not lower standards and we will not lower training." Kelly then said he didn't believe "we're going to get 10,000 and 5,000 on board within the next couple of years."

The future of a residential facility for adults with autism is in limbo after a vote by a city of Austin commission.

The Trump administration is rescinding protections for transgender students in public schools.

The move by the Justice and Education departments reverses guidance the Obama administration publicized in May 2016, which said a federal law known as Title IX protects the right of transgender students to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities.

Death of a Salesman is considered by many to be the quintessential America play, so it might not seem like a natural fit for Irish director Peter Sheridan. But Sheridan is excited about the opportunity to direct the play for Austin Playhouse. "They were talking to me about Bloomsday, because obviously the fit between me and Bloomsday seems kind of perfect -- it's a play set in Dublin... but I wasn't available for those dates," Sheridan says. "And they just happened to say to me, 'We're doing Death of a Salesman next,' and I said, 'God, I'd love to do that!'."

And when he learned that Austin Playhouse was planning to do the play with an African-American cast as the Loman family, Sheridan grew even more eager. "I thought... that could be a really, really interesting take on the story," Sheridan says. Directing Death of a Salesman also meant that he'd get to work with Austin actor Marc Pouhé, who's playing Willy Loman in this production. "This is a great, great stage actor," Sheridan says of Pouhé. "He's as good as I've worked with in forty years."

On This week’s program, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr speaks with Margot Lee Shetterly, author of ‘Hidden Figures: The American Dream And The Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Help Win the Space Race.’

A small, faint star relatively close by is home to seven Earth-size planets with conditions that could be right for liquid water and maybe even life.

The discovery sets a record for both the most Earth-size planets and the most potentially habitable planets ever discovered around a single star.

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