Austin
9:07 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Central Texas Students Fight 'Summer Melt' Between High School and College

amslerpix/flickr

High schools like to brag about how many students they graduate and how many of those students are headed to college in the fall. 

But once those graduating seniors receive their diploma, for many schools, their work is done. The support these students have grown accustomed to throughout high school disappears. 

 

Read more
Business
7:39 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Enduring Barbecue Line at Franklin Sprouts New Businesses

Desmond Roldan (right) is the 13-year-old behind BBQ Fast Pass, the line-sitting service. He's pictured here with his friend, Jiovani Acosta, on July 3, 2015.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

It doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or it's raining – if you want to eat at Austin's Franklin Barbecue you have to wait in a line for an average of about five hours. That's no secret.

But in the last year, a growing number of people, like Desmond Roldan, have started making money off of that line. So for them, the longer the line, the better.

Read more
Austin
7:26 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Google Testing Self-Driving Vehicles in Austin

Google's confirmed that it's testing a self-driving car system in Austin. The project is working independently from the City of Austin and the Texas Department of Transportation, both of whom have expressed support for the project.

From the Texas Tribune:

After years of experimenting with its groundbreaking autonomous vehicle technology almost exclusively in California, Google confirmed Monday that it has begun testing one of its self-driving vehicles in Austin.

A white Lexus RX 450h SUV outfitted with the company’s sensors and software began making trips without the aid of a driver in the city within the past week, said Jennifer Haroon, head of business operations for the Google self-driving car project. Another vehicle will join it in the area for testing this week.

Read more
U.S.
4:29 am
Tue July 7, 2015

In Rio Grande Valley, Some Campaign Workers Are Paid To Harvest Votes

Mary Helen Flores (center) is the founder of Citizens Against Voter Abuse.
John Burnett NPR

Originally published on Tue July 7, 2015 8:26 am

This week, NPR examines public corruption in South Texas. The FBI has launched a task force to clean up entrenched wrongdoing by public servants in the Rio Grande Valley. In the final part of this series, we examine vote-stealing and election fraud.

Read more
Texas Standard
5:16 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Texas Observer Reports Mass Graves Investigation May Have Been Botched

Grave markers next to a Brooks County burial plot marked for exhumation in May 2013 by the Baylor University forensics team.
Texas Observer

From Texas Standard:

John Carlos Frey, a reporter with the Texas Observer, joins the Texas Standard to talk about the wrong-doings he found while looking into an inquiry led by the Texas Rangers.

Read more
U.S.
1:13 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

Corruption On The Border: Dismantling Misconduct In The Rio Grande Valley

Jonathan Treviño shows seized contraband. The former police narcotics squad leader is currently serving 17 years in prison for reselling narcotics back to drug dealers.
Courtesy of Jonathan Treviño

Originally published on Mon July 6, 2015 10:57 am

This week, NPR examines public corruption in South Texas. The FBI has launched a task force to clean up pervasive misconduct by public servants in the Rio Grande Valley. But as NPR's John Burnett and Marisa Penaloza report, the problems are entrenched.

The Rio Grande Valley of Texas is a world apart, isolated by empty ranch land to the north, the Gulf to the east, and Mexico to the south. A million-and-a-half people live there amid dazzling wealth and stark poverty.

Read more
Texas
12:59 pm
Mon July 6, 2015

In So-Called 'Mix-Up,' Detained Immigrant Kids Get Adult Dose of Hepatitis A Vaccine

Children detained at immigration centers, like the ones in the towns of Dilley and Karnes (pictured) in Texas, are administered a series of immunizations after they arrive.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

About 250 children at a South Texas immigrant detention center were administered adult-size doses of a Hepatitis A vaccine, officials say. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is calling the mistake a "mix-up." ICE spokesperson Richard Rocha said this weekend health professionals are monitoring the children who received the wrong dosage of the vaccine.

The kids are detained at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, southwest of San Antonio. The facility is an immigrant detention center for mothers and their children, and it's run by a private prison company called Corrections Corporation of America.

Read more
Education
11:25 am
Mon July 6, 2015

ACC Opens Center to Help Reduce 'Summer Melt'

A new center at ACC looks to help students navigate the process of college enrollment.
Austin Community College

Students heading to college have many steps to take before they can enroll. Some of those steps, like navigating the financial aid system, choosing which courses to take and finally scheduling classes, can be daunting for some students. 

Austin Community College is trying to make the process easier for students by establishing a new center to help shepherd struggling students through the process.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
10:13 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Why Emotional Pain Feels Different from Physical Pain

With all types of pain, addressing it from both the physiological and affective ends may be the best solution until the actual root of the problem is uncovered.
Credit flickr/creative commons

Pain can range from barely noticeable to excruciating. Yet pain, in all its forms, is important. It is how the body communicates there is a problem.

Physical pain in the ankle may ask us to stop walking so fast or demand a pair of crutches immediately. Likewise, emotional pain may indicate that we need to talk about a problem with our partner or severe the relationship entirely.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke, add to the series on pain and the brain, with a discussion on emotional pain and memory.

Read more
Health
7:42 am
Mon July 6, 2015

As More Parents Opt Out of Vaccinations, More Texas Doctors Require Them

Dr. Alison Ziari with the Austin Regional Clinic announces the company's new policy requiring pediatric patients to get immunized on June 30, 2015.
KUT News

Vaccines have been in the news yet again lately. On June 30, 2015, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires almost all school children to be fully vaccinated in order to go to school, allowing only some medical exemptions.

Meantime, a health care company in Central Texas says it will no longer treat children who don’t get fully immunized. The company cites a measles outbreak that started in Disneyland last year as a chief reason for the policy change. Texas does allow parents to opt out of vaccinations if they use religious or personal beliefs. 

Read more
Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon July 6, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Urban Roots

From Urban Roots,  this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Urban Roots uses food and farming to transform the lives of young people and inspire, engage, and nourish the community. Originally founded in 2007 as a program of YouthLaunch, in 2011 Urban Roots became its own thriving, independent non-profit agency.

Read more
KUT Weekend
2:34 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Texas
1:20 pm
Fri July 3, 2015

Three Tips to Stay Safe In and Around Water

Just like responsible drinkers assign a 'designated driver,' responsible swimmers should also have someone assigned to 'watch duty' on a rotating basis
Joy Diaz/KUT News

Most drownings are among those "preventable" tragedies. And yet, not everyone knows which precautions to take to prevent such accidents. In Texas alone, 73 kids died last year in the water. And adults are just as vulnerable. So, here are 3 tips to make your water gatherings more enjoyable.

Read more
Politics
11:21 am
Fri July 3, 2015

Lawyers Threaten to File Complaint Against Paxton For Same-Sex Marriage Response

Texas attorneys are threatening to file a complaint against state Attorney General Ken Paxton for his statement that county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples could get pro bono legal representation.
Laura Buckman/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Roughly 150 Texas attorneys have signed on to a letter threatening to file a complaint with the State Bar of Texas against Attorney General Ken Paxton for his response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.

"It seems to us that your edict to encourage Texas clerks to violate a direct ruling of the United States Supreme Court violates" the State Bar's rules requiring attorneys to uphold the U.S. Constitution, the letter states. 

Paxton’s office did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment on Friday morning. After the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage nationwide, he issued an opinion telling Texas clerks they did not have to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples if it violated their religious beliefs — though he suggested that they could face litigation.

Read more
Energy & Environment
10:23 am
Fri July 3, 2015

U.S. Sees a Net Gain of Oil Rigs for the First Time in 2015

The Baker Hughes oil fields services firm says the U.S. saw a net gain of three rigs last week.
Eddie Seal/Texas Tribune

For the first time this year, the number of oil rigs operating in the U.S. went up, according to oil field services company Baker Hughes. But what does that mean for the largest oil producing state in the country?

For Texas, and the U.S., the increase is more of a bellwether, but after months of declines it could signal a stabilizing of the U.S. oil markets. According to Baker Hughes, there was a net gain of only three rigs – a loss of nine gas rigs was offset by the addition of 12 oil rigs.

Star Spencer is a senior editor for Platts Energy Information Service. She says it looks like the industry is betting that U.S. crude has settled around $60 a barrel.

Read more
Austin
8:15 am
Fri July 3, 2015

How to Enjoy the Fireworks (and Get Home Safely) This 4th of July

The city's fireworks celebration will begin as early as 5 p.m. on Saturday. It's the first time the event's been held at Auditorium Shores in two years.
Mengwen Cao for KUT

It’s nearly time for the Fourth of July celebration in Austin.

There’ll be warm weather and probably plenty of sun, all capped off by fireworks at Auditorium Shores for the first time in years. But there’s also going to be plenty of traffic, road closures and scarce parking. Here's a look at when and where to see the fireworks, closures and alternate ways of getting around. 

Read more
Austin
4:25 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

How Could Austin Become More Welcoming to People From Other Countries?

An Austin commission is compiling a report trying to gauge how welcoming the city seems to new people.
Jessica Wright/flickr

What does it mean to be a "welcoming" city?

More specifically, what would Austin need to do to become more welcoming toward people from other countries? Perhaps it would need to implement signage in different languages, or perhaps, it'd need to do other things.

In order to find out what those other things are, a team of advisors recently surveyed Austinites and is compiling the answers into a report.

Read more
Energy & Environment
3:24 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Texas Will Use Some of BP Settlement Money to Prepare for Future Disasters

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded in 2010, and today, state governments and BP announced they'd reached a settlement agreement.
Marc Morrison

Texas will receive more than $750 million of the $20 billion BP oil spill settlement announced this week. The state will use some of that money to prepare for future disasters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Five years ago, oil was still pouring into the Gulf after an offshore rig exploded, killing 11 people and causing the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Florida State University oceanographer Ian McDonald, like a lot of researchers, felt frustrated at the time that civilian experts weren’t being included in the government’s emergency response.

“There’s a terrific brain trust of academics and professionals in the Gulf Coast region, and there are none of them that are not prepared at any time to go and try to fight this thing,” McDonald said.

Read more
Texas Standard
1:54 pm
Thu July 2, 2015

Why You Can Expect More Fireworks This July 4

Photo via Flickr/plong (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in a long time, the Fourth of July in Texas will be red, white, blue – and green. That's thanks to abundant rain so far this year.

The lower risk for wildfires means vendors across the state have the option to sell more types of fireworks. And they say they are also seeing more people interested in lighting up the night sky for this year's fourth.

Read more
Politics
10:30 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Prosecutors Developing Criminal Case Against Paxton

Prosecutors plan to start presenting evidence next month to a grand jury in pursuit of a first-degree felony securities fraud indictment of state Attorney General Ken Paxton.
Callie Richmond/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: The potential criminal case against Attorney General Ken Paxton is apparently growing more serious, with the state's top lawyer hiring heavyweight legal counsel of his own as special prosecutors prepare to take felony charges before a Collin County grand jury.

Late Wednesday, special prosecutor Kent Schaffer said he and co-counsel Brian Wice plan to start presenting evidence to the grand jury in less than a month that Paxton violated the Texas Securities Act. 

"We'll be pursuing an indictment for first-degree felony securities fraud," Schaffer said, confirming a WFAA report.

Read more

Pages