Business
2:04 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Whole Foods is Facing a Bunny Meat Backlash

Whole Foods is selling rabbit meat in some stores.
Credit flickr.com/chiotsrun

Whole Foods has come under fire for launching a pilot program to sell rabbit meat in some of its stores. The Austin-based company says it's spent four years developing humane rabbit farming practices in response to consumer demand.

But regardless, some animal rights activists are hopping mad.

change.org petition asking Whole Foods to suspend its sale of bunny meat has garnered more than 13,000 signatures. A group calling itself the House Rabbit Society staged demonstrations at 44 Whole Foods Markets across the country. And PETA has announced it's joining the movement

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Perry Indictment
12:20 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Perry Lawyers Will File Motion to Dismiss Indictments

Governor Rick Perry speaks to the press and supporters outside the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex on August 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

A Travis County judge is giving Governor Rick Perry’s criminal defense attorneys until next Friday to file a motion to dismiss the two felony charges against him.

Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin on felony charges for abuse of his office. He allegedly threatened to veto funds for Travis County's Public Integrity Unit, an anti-corruption unit, unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, didn’t resign in the wake of drunk driving arrest in 2013.

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Arts Eclectic
12:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

See 'Twin Infinity' at the Long Center

Austin's own homegrown science fiction epic The Intergalactic Nemesis has seen several incarnations over the years. It began life as a live show staged in a coffee shop, paying homage to '30s and '40s era radio serials. Later, audio recordings of the live show became actual radio serials (airing here on KUT in the late '90s).

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Austin ISD
10:32 am
Fri August 22, 2014

'Alarm' Over Texas School Finance, But Changes Not Expected Soon

Despite a possible decision in the school finance case next week, it could be years before local school districts see a change to the way public schools are financed in Texas.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A decision in the latest school finance lawsuit is expected next week, but it could be years before school districts see any changes to the way education is paid for in Texas.

Right now, the school finance system is largely characterized by something called recapture, or  Robin Hood. If a school district collects more local property taxes than the state has determined it needs using a set of formulas, it has to give the difference back to the state. Then, the state puts that money in a big pot and uses it to fund other school districts, especially those that can’t raise enough local property taxes on their own.

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Aging
7:39 am
Fri August 22, 2014

As Austin's South Asian Community Swells, Seniors Seek More Interaction

The growing community of South Asian seniors in Austin are pushing for more opportunities to cook and eat together as their numbers swell.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

South Asian Indians make up the largest portion of Asian Americans in Austin, and within that group, seniors need meals and social interaction as much as anyone else. Many are isolated at home, however, and say free meal delivery programs don’t follow dietary restrictions.

As a result, a growing group of seniors of South Asian descent want a community kitchen to help meet their needs.

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Perry Indictment
9:09 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Rick Perry's Attorneys Dismiss Claim Veto Had Link to Cancer Agency Probe

Gov. Rick Perry arrives at the Travis County criminal justice center to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken on Aug. 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry's legal team is fighting back against allegations from his political opponents, who have suggested the reason Perry vetoed funding for a legal unit that investigates public corruption was because it was investigating him.

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Energy & Environment
2:57 pm
Thu August 21, 2014

Texas Buys Conservation Land with Oil Spill Money

An aerial view of fringe marshes around Powderhorn Lake.
Earl Nottingham / Texas Parks and Wildlife

A deal that was decades in the making has finally closed on the largest conservation land purchase in Texas history: Just over 17,000 acres of undisturbed coastal prairie in Calhoun County for $50 million.

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Austin ISD
10:50 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Here's Why Austin ISD Won't Keep All the Tax Money It Collects

Under the current school finance system, property wealthy school districts must return some of their local property taxes to the state under what's called recapture. Next week, a judge is expected to rule whether the system is constitutional.
flickr.com/alamosbasement

Within the next couple weeks, an Austin judge is expected to rule whether the state’s school finance system is constitutional. Meanwhile, Austin Independent School District officials are worried about how much money the district will have to educate students next year—and five years down the road. 

The reasons for that go back to something called “recapture," a process that means some school districts don’t get to keep all the money they collect. And it's extremely complicated.

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Texas Standard
9:31 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Would You Eat an Energy Bar Made of Crickets?

Would you eat an energy bar made out of this guy?
flickr.com/gemmastiles

Wake up, make yourself some coffee … and eat an energy bar made out of crickets?

One Austin company is betting that you'll change your habits, just as long as you don't mind eating bugs. John Tucker is the owner of Hopper Foods, which makes a protein-rich, gluten-free energy bar made out of cricket flour. 

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Politics
9:19 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Perry Will Tap Campaign Account to Pay Attorneys

Governor Rick Perry speaks to the press and supporters outside the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex on August 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry, who has been using taxpayer dollars to pay his defense lawyers, will tap campaign funds from now on to compensate the attorneys who are fighting his felony indictments, his spokesman said Wednesday night.

Perry spokesman Felix Browne said the governor, who has blasted the indictments as a "farce," did not want to saddle taxpayers with the cost of a wrongful prosecution.

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LCRA
8:25 am
Thu August 21, 2014

LCRA Delays Vote on Water Plan

Extreme drought and releases to farmers have lowered levels in Lakes Buchanan and Travis (pictured) in Central Texas. Now a state agency is saying more study is needed into how the reservoirs are managed.
Courtesy of LCRA

Water from the Highland Lakes is important to everyone in Central Texas — from urban Austinites to rural rice farmers downstream. Wednesday, the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority was set to vote on a much-delayed plan to manage that water, but the authority's board postponed that vote to gather more public input. 

The proposed plan, which would ensure that more water stays in the lakes in times of drought, is widely supported by upstream stakeholders, namely the City of Austin.  But it’s unpopular downstream with agricultural interests that would likely see themselves cut off from water more often. The plan must ultimately be approved by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

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Austin Film Scene
8:15 am
Thu August 21, 2014

PHOTOS: Two Big Directors and a Rock Legend at Austin Premiere of New 'Sin City'

'Sin City' Director Robert Rodriguez and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler.
Cody Rea for KUT

Austin Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez shared his latest film with his hometown Wednesday night. "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" hits theaters across the country Friday but Austin audiences can see it today.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is Rodriguez's second collaboration with comics artist Frank Miller. The two first teamed up to co-direct the first "Sin City" back in 2005. On the red carpet Wednesday night, Rodriguez told reporters a third part to to the series could come if audiences respond well to this release.

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2014 Elections
5:29 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

Can Ballot Placement Influence an Election Outcome?

City Clerk Jannette Goodall randomly draws candidate names by district and announces the order in which candidate names will appear on the ballot.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

For the 78 people running for Austin City Council and Mayor this fall, where their name is on the ballot can make a real difference on Election Day. And that was determined by a random drawing on Wednesday.

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Arts Eclectic
4:51 pm
Wed August 20, 2014

'Wall Dependent?' at O2 Gallery

Charlotte Smith, "Wavelation II" (detail)

The group show "Wall Dependent?" is now in its final week at 02 Gallery and Project Space at the Flatbed Building. Curated by Troy Campa, the exhibition features the works of four Texas artists, Orna Feinstein, Jonathan Leach, Edward Lane McCartney, and Charlotte Smith.

After retiring from a successful career as an architect in the Houston area, Campa decided to follow an earlier passion of his, and embark on a career in the visual arts. Now living in Austin, he's partnered with Rene Ibarra to curate this show at the O2 Gallery. 

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2014 Elections
11:44 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Lack of Connections & Savvy Block Some Would-Be Candidates in Council Races

A crowded ballot may be one hindrance, but some cite a lack of political influence and savvy as a barrier in running for office.
Credit Photo by KUT News

Now that the ballot is set for Austin City Council elections, we've got a clear picture of what the races will look like heading into November. Seventy-eight candidates will be featured on the ballot. Though that may seem like a crowded field overall, some districts have as many as 12 candidates, while other districts could only have a few candidates.

That kind of disparity has some asking whether the new, for-the-people-by-the-people ethos of the 10-1 system can help political neophytes overcome the hurdles and trappings of political campaigns.

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Perry Indictment
11:15 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Perry Pleads Not Guilty to Felony Charges

Gov. Rick Perry addresses a gathered crowd of media, supporters and protesters at the Travis County Courthouse where he surrendered himself to county authorities to be fingerprinted and have his mug shot taken.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry has pled not guilty to charges of abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant, both felonies. The charges stem from Perry's threat to veto funding for the Travis County District Attorney's anti-corruption unit, unless DA Rosemary Lehmberg resigned.

The governor and his lawyers decided to waive Friday's scheduled arraignment at the Travis County courthouse. Perry's private lawyer David Botsford submitted the waiver of arraignment to the court yesterday when he was booked at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on Tuesday.

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Arts Eclectic
9:41 am
Wed August 20, 2014

See a Chekhov Double Bill at the Rollins Studio Theater

Breaking String Theater was founded several years ago with the mission of bringing the works of Anton Chekhov to the stages of Austin. But depending on which Chekhov scholar you ask, the author wrote either only four or five full-length plays, and Breaking String has now staged all of them.

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Perry Indictment
6:00 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Governor Perry Booked on Two Felony Counts

Gov. Rick Perry's booking photo on August 19, 2014.
Travis County Sheriff's Office

Texas Governor Rick Perry has been booked at the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Complex in Austin on two felony counts: Abuse of Official Capacity and Coercion of a Public Servant.

Perry was fingerprinted and photographed and then left the courthouse.

The charges stem from Perry’s threat to veto state funding for a Travis County based investigative unit with jurisdiction over state officials, unless District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg resigned in the wake of a DWI conviction.

Speaking at the courthouse today, Perry called his indictment a political witch hunt.

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Life & Arts
5:41 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

PHOTOS: Exhibit at Bullock Museum Memorializes Texas' Fallen in Vietnam

Patriot Guard Riders walk under the bronze star in the the Bullock Texas State History Museum's plaza.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Yesterday, veterans of the Vietnam War came from around the state to commemorate the arrival of 3,417 dog tags at the Bullock Texas State History Museum for the forthcoming "Texas Vietnam Heroes Exhibit," which will honor Texans that perished in the war.

The procession of the tags paused under the museum's iconic bronze star and concluded in the lobby for a ceremonial presentation of an American flag to Linda Kaplon, the widow of fallen Vietnam serviceman Cpl. Phillip Felix Kaplon, Jr.

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2014 Elections
12:58 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

Long Hours & No Pay Make School Board Hopefuls a Rare Find in Election Season

Candidates for the Austin School Board face long hours and late-night meetings.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Eighteen candidates are running for the five open seats on the Austin School Board this fall, which is nearly double the average number of people who have run for the school board in every election since 2002.

But, compared to the 78 candidates who have filed to run for the city council and the mayoral races this fall, the Austin school board doesn’t seem like the most popular place to spend your free time.   

That’s because being an Austin School Board Trustee isn’t easy.

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