Austin
12:29 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Council Plays Fast and Loose on Garza Tract Vote

Credit Liang Shi/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

Those familiar with the previous City Council’s strict adherence to procedural rules have been left dizzy by the new Council’s first few meetings. Last week, during the Garza Ranch discussion about the maximum allowable number of vehicle trips per day on the tract, that confusion reached new heights — and after some investigation, the Austin Monitor remains unable to determine who, if anyone, made the final amendment to the motion that was approved on first reading.

In the video of the meeting (available here), it appears that adjusting the daily trip limit to 13,000 was first suggested by Council Member Ann Kitchen, though she made no motion (or amendment) that contained that number. In an attempt to clear things up, the Monitor contacted the offices of Council Members Ellen Troxclair, Kitchen and Mayor Steve Adler, as they were the three parties who might have made an amendment off the microphone.

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Texas Standard
11:09 am
Tue March 3, 2015

How to Raise a Texan Long Distance

Jake Silverstein is trying to raise his five- and eight-year-olds in New York with some semblance of their Texan heritage.
flickr.com/zeldman

Loving Texas is one thing. Teaching your children to do the same when they no longer live here is something else altogether.

Jake Silverstein left his post as editor of Texas Monthly to head up a little outfit called The New York Times Magazine - a tough job but someone’s gotta do it. But back when he was at the helm of Texas Monthly, he was responsible for one of its most popular issues: It featured babies in cowboy boots under a banner asking, “How Do You Raise a Texan?”

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2015 Legislature
10:36 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Without Medicaid Flexibility, Texas Republicans Say No to Program's Expansion

The Texas Senate Republican Caucus has sent a letter to President Barack Obama saying that without flexibility in the current Medicaid program, they won't support any type of expansion of the program in the future.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Leaders of the Texas Senate have sent a letter to President Barack Obama [read a PDF of the letter here] about Medicaid. It says that if Texas can’t make changes to how it runs Medicaid now, there’ll be no Medicaid expansion for Texas in the future.

The Affordable Care Act gives states the option to expand Medicaid to cover more people, or in the case of Texas and some other states, not expand it.

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2015 Legislature
10:34 am
Tue March 3, 2015

Why Texas Deletes Vaccine Records from State Registry

A group of doctors visited State Rep. Ken Sheets, R-Dallas, to discuss the ImmTrac vaccine registry in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

With vaccines in the news the past couple months, you might have got to wondering about your own.

Remember that card with a record of all of your shots on it? If you’re past your college days, it might’ve been a while since you’ve seen it – if you even have at all. If you didn’t tell your doctor at age 18 that you want Texas to keep that record electronically, chances are your records are gone, but some state lawmakers are trying to change that. 

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Education
9:37 am
Tue March 3, 2015

#BeSomebody Speaker Draws Controversy at Austin High School

It all started with a high school assembly on the first day back from winter break. The guest speaker was the founder of an Austin-based company with a positive message about following your dreams. But what was supposed to be a motivational speech turned into a war of words between high school students and staff and Kash Shaikh, the founder of #BeSomebody, that played out on blogs and social media.

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SXSW 2015
8:55 am
Tue March 3, 2015

The Austin 100: A SXSW 2015 Mix

Emma-Lee Moss, a.k.a. Emmy The Great, will perform at the SXSW Music Festival later this month.
Joseph Okpako Redferns via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 7:26 am

There's a lot of music on this page — 100 songs, to be exact, each from an artist worth discovering at this year's SXSW Music Festival. It's more than six genre-defying hours of music.

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Economy
6:23 am
Tue March 3, 2015

In Houston, Falling Oil Prices Spark Fears Of Job Cuts Beyond Energy

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 7:03 am

In recent weeks, the price of gasoline has ticked up but regular unleaded still costs about a dollar less than it did a year ago. That's good for consumers, who have more money to spend. But in Houston, one way or another, the paychecks consumers depend on come from the oil business.

The world's three biggest oilfield service firms — Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes — have announced a combined 22,000 layoffs in recent months. Those job cuts are worldwide, but many are falling in Houston, where all three companies have headquarters.

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Music
6:59 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Remembering Kent Finlay, 'A Stealth Legend of Texas Music'

Kent Finlay in 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotosbyjimbo/6859126234

He was a songwriter who nurtured Texas music for decades from his honky tonk in San Marcos. Kent Finlay lost a battle to cancer Monday at the age of 77. He passed away at home. 

In 1974, Finlay opened the Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos and hosted performances by artists such as Willie Nelson, Towns van Zandt, Guy Clark, George Strait and Stevie Ray Vaughan. 

"Kent is one of the stealth legends of Texas music," Texas music writer Joe Nick Patoski says. "As an arts patron, I don't think I've ever met anyone better." 

Listen to our conversation with Patoski about Finlay's life and legacy.

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Health
2:53 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Over-the-Counter Birth Control Could Reduce Unintended Pregnancies, Research Says

A new study published in 'Contraception' suggests the number of low-income women using birth control pills would jump if they were covered by insurance and made available without a prescription.
Monik Marcus/flickr http://bit.ly/ODQleE

About half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, and low-income women are more likely to have an unintended pregnancy.

A new study suggests that if birth control pills were covered by insurance and made available over the counter, the rate of unintended pregnancies would drop anywhere from seven up to 25 percent. 

The study, published in the journal Contraception, found that the number of low-income women using birth control pills would jump between 11 and 21 percent if they were both covered by insurance and made available without a prescription.

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Texas Standard
1:45 pm
Mon March 2, 2015

Five Things All Texans Need To Experience

Texas wildflowers make Aasen's short list of the ultimate Texan experiences.
https://www.flickr.com/photos/texaseagle/

To celebrate Texas Independence Day, Texas Standard spoke to KERA’s Eric Aasen to get the top five experiences every Texan should try.

Why him?

It’s safe to say one of KERA‘s most popular blog posts ever was Eric Aasen’s 39 Things to Do In Texas Before You Die. People came out of the woodwork with reactions and recommendations for ventures he left off the list.

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Ebola
7:16 am
Mon March 2, 2015

Nurse Treated For Ebola To Sue Texas Hospital

Nina Pham, 26, who became the first person to contract Ebola within the United States, tells the Dallas Morning News that she worries about continued health issues and will sue the hospital where she contracted Ebola.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Mon March 2, 2015 4:09 am

Nurse Nina Pham tells the Dallas Morning News that while she is Ebola free, she suffers residual effects from contracting the disease from a patient she cared for last fall at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas.

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Texas Women's History
5:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Texas Women's History Month (Week One)

Credit Gerald W. Williams Collection-2008

This month, KUT is partnering with the Ruthe Winegarten Foundation to celebrate Women's History Month. Every day, we'll bring you a short feature spotlighting a historic woman, movement, or group of women in Texas. 

In our first week, we'll look at the African-American women's suffrage movement in Texas; trailblazing writer Molly Ivins; Mollie Bailey, the "Circus Queen of the Southwest;" Ruthe Winegarten herself, and more. 

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Sun March 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Creative Action

From Creative Actionthis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit: Our MissionThe mission of Creative Action is to spark and support the academic, social and emotional development of young people.

Creative Action serves more than 20,000 youth annually in seven area school districts. As the largest provider of creative youth development programs in the Central Texas area, Creative Action uses the arts to activate the academic, social, and emotional development of young people. Through interactive classroom performances, after school, summer camp, and teen programs, Creative Action's team of professional teaching artists inspire youth to be creative artistscourageous alliescritical thinkers and confident leaders in their community. By discovering their own voice, gaining confidence in sharing their perspectives, wrestling with big ideas, and deeply engaging in the world around them, youth become better prepared to work through social, emotional and academic challenges to become the next great thinkers, doers, and makers in our world.

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Winter Weather
8:50 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Possibility of Freezing Precip Prompts Central Texas Delays, Closures

12:30 p.m. update: The winter storm warning in effect for Travis and Williamson counties has been extended until 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Light freezing rain and freezing drizzle may still fall and continue to impact roads until then.

9:00 a.m. update: Austin Community College has now canceled all activities and closed all campuses for Saturday. Williamson County officials say that Ih-35 through Georgetown is closed in both directions because of icy conditions. The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department has announced that all of their department's facilities will open at noon today.

Saturday morning update (7:30 a.m.): A winter storm warning is in effect for Travis and Williamson counties until noon on Saturday. Freezing drizzle and freezing temperatures are expected to continue until noon today, making for hazardous driving conditions. Multiple accidents have been reported in Austin due to icy conditions. Austin and Travis County public safety officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads until temperatures start warming up.

Austin Community College campuses and centers will open at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. All classes and activities scheduled prior to then are canceled. Many area school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, have postponed or canceled events for today.

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Two Guys on Your Head
3:21 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Harnessing the Power of the Placebo

Credit ephedrasinica.org

There are a lot of factors that help to regulate our overall heath and wellness. If we are content in our life and relationships, we are more likely to be healthy.

If we exercise and eat well, we reap the benefits in our mind and body. And, as recent studies by Ted Kaptchuck and others show, if we take medications or supplements, even if they're nothing but rice powder and sugar, we can feel better.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about why taking placebos somehow makes us feel healthier.

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Austin
3:16 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Austin Coffee Shop Debacle Draws Attention to Public Breastfeeding Issue

A photo of James and Sandy Hughes taken Thursday. The couple hopes to let Austin know that they do, in fact, support breastfeeding mothers.
Courtesy of the couple

Stouthaus Coffee Pub in Sunset Valley faced major social media backlash this week when one of the owners asked a nursing mother to cover herself while dining with her friends Wednesday morning.

Afterwards, one of the women’s companions posted a one-star Yelp review of Stouthaus, calling out the owner Sandy Hughes for “shaming” her friend for breastfeeding.

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KUT Weekend
2:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

The Two-Way
11:37 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock On 'Star Trek,' Dies At 83

Actor Leonard Nimoy died Friday in Los Angeles at the age of 83.
Matt Sayles AP

Originally published on Fri February 27, 2015 3:02 pm

Updated at 1:16 p.m.

Actor Leonard Nimoy, best known for his role as Mr. Spock, the logical half-Vulcan, half-human in the original Star Trek series and several movies, has died at his home in Los Angeles, his granddaughter, Madeleine, told NPR. Nimoy was 83.

The cause was end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, she said.

NPR's Neda Ulaby, who is reporting on the story, tells our Newscast unit:

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Business
8:38 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Why the Central Texas Construction Boom Isn't Benefitting Everyone

Unlike many workers, Armando Guerrero, 42, says he's staying with a smaller contractor because, while his wages are less than those at larger firms, his work is consistent.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

It seems like everywhere you look, there's a construction site in Austin, complete with the unofficial state bird of Texas, the construction crane.

Some are calling it a boom, but it's a boom that’s not exclusive to Austin. Whether you drive south to San Marcos or north to Georgetown, there are new buildings popping up all over Central Texas.

That boom has certainly been good for the economy and overall employment numbers, but, for some smaller construction firms it’s been tough-going trying to compete with larger outfits that can afford to pay workers up to $35 an hour.

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Technology
2:42 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Why the FCC's Net Neutrality Vote Matters for Tech Start-Ups

The logo from a Battle for the Net campaign to protect net neutrality.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of regulations which enact so-called "net neutrality." The vote allows the agency to penalize “throttling” — leveraging Internet speeds to clients on a case-by-case basis — by broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T.

The FCC’s order prohibits a broadband provider from blocking (legal) content, slowing any speeds on the basis of content or providing “fast lanes” for preferred customers on any Internet-enabled device. As nearly 4 million public commentators argued, if left unabated, throttling could limit the ability of the “little guys.”

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