Border & Immigration
11:14 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Migrant Children Have State, Federal Foster Care Competing for Parents

On June 24, 2014, volunteers gather at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in McAllen, where the Rio Grande Valley Catholic Charities have a makeshift shelter to help handle the surge of immigrants who have crossed into the U.S. in recent weeks.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

The influx of children from Central America arriving at the Texas-Mexico border has many people asking how they can help.

One way people can help is by becoming foster parents – but acting as a foster parent for the federal government is different than being a foster parent for the state.

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Border & Immigration
10:02 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Can National Guard Troops Make Arrests Along the Texas Border?

Texas Adjudant General John Nichols speaks at a press conference on the deployment of the Texas National Guard to the border on July 21, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Can the National Guard troops being deployed to the border arrest and detain people? Only if Gov. Rick Perry says they can. But experts do have some concerns about giving law enforcement powers to a reserve military force.

From a legal standpoint, the National Guard has no authority to enforce federal immigration law, because the troops will be operating under the governor’s authority. In this case, Gov. Perry has called them up, and not President Barack Obama.

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Austin ISD
9:19 am
Mon July 28, 2014

At Blackshear Elementary, Students' Choices Help Build Their Future Portfolios

Students at Blackshear Elementary will choose which artistic elective they can study in the second half of their school day.
Courtesy of Blackshear Elementary

This fall, Blackshear Elementary will become Austin Independent Shool District’s first fine arts elementary school. The school offers students a choice in their daily lesson plans, with one half of the day focusing on academics and the other half focusing on arts education.

Tonight, the district will host an open house for parents interested in enrolling their students at the traditionally under-enrolled school.

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Foster Care
7:59 am
Mon July 28, 2014

What's the Difference Between Federal & State Foster Care in Texas?

While the state's foster care program may find homes for the neediest of children, the federal programs offer more in stipends for parents.
Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman / Karolina Michalak / Felipe Hadler

As scores of unaccompanied minors come across the U.S.-Mexico border, some may look to adopt refugee children through foster care.

But foster care is delineated between two systems: state and federal-sponsored care.  While both require the same qualifications from potential parents, including extensive background checks and training, they differ in the systems of financial support provided to parents.

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Israel and Gaza
7:36 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Conflict In Gaza: Here's What You Need To Know Today

Palestinian Saeb Afana, 12, stands on the edge of a large crater from an Israeli missile strike that destroyed several graves, as he carries flowers at a cemetery in Gaza City on Monday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Mon July 28, 2014 12:25 pm

(This post was last updated at 1:24 p.m. ET.)

In a resolution overnight, the United Nations Security Council called for an "immediate and unconditional" cease-fire in Gaza.

As USA Today reports, the Security Council called on both Israel and Hamas "to accept and fully implement the humanitarian cease-fire into the Eid period and beyond."

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Immigration
8:56 am
Sun July 27, 2014

One Woman, 817 Children: Caring For Kids Of Undocumented Parents

Nora Sandigo sits with Ronald Soza and his sister Cecia in 2009, while the children were on a hunger strike to protest the deportation of their mother. Sandigo is the legal guardian of the Soza children (now 15 and 18) — and 815 other American children of undocumented immigrants.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Sun July 27, 2014 10:26 am

The recent increase in the number of unaccompanied, undocumented minors immigrating across the border has left tens of thousands of children waiting in limbo. But thousands of children who are already American citizens also face an uncertain future — because their parents are not in the country legally.

If their parents get deported, those minors could end up in foster care, or adopted by strangers.

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Life & Arts
10:23 am
Sat July 26, 2014

How Much Has Texas Shaped Modern Art?

Ben L. Culwell, Now II, 1960-1963.
University of Texas Press

When you think of modern art, does Texas come to mind? According to Katie Robinson Edwards, curator of Austin's Umlauf Sculpture Garden and Museum, it should.

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Libya
9:06 am
Sat July 26, 2014

U.S. Embassy Compound In Libya Shut Down Amid Fighting

In a photo taken on Thursday, smoke rises from a residential area in Tripoli, Libya. Deadly clashes erupted between Islamist fighters and pro-secular militias earlier this month.
Hamza Turkia Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Sat July 26, 2014 9:42 pm

Updated at 9:05 a.m. ET.

The U.S. has temporarily closed its embassy in Libya and evacuated diplomats amid what is being described as a significant deterioration in security, with rival militant factions battling in the capital, Tripoli.

"Due to the ongoing violence resulting from clashes between Libyan militias in the immediate vicinity of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, we have temporarily relocated all of our personnel out of Libya," State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said.

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Border & Immigration
4:40 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Can You Measure the Success of National Guard Troops on the Border?

Members of the Texas National Guard
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

The eyes of the nation are focused on the Texas-Mexico border, due to the humanitarian crisis involving undocumented and unaccompanied minors. This week, Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard Troops to the border.

Politically speaking, Gov. Perry’s message is that the Federal Government is failing in its duties. But in a story set to be published in Sunday’s Austin American-Statesman, investigative reporters Jeremy Schwartz and Eric Dexheimer pose a question: just what constitutes “mission accomplished?” 

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KUT's Summer School
4:32 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Don't Get it Twisted: Making Balloon Animals Takes Lots of Practice

Kristen Crandall and Michael Hale work for Austin Kids Parties, a small business that does balloon twisting and face painting at birthday parties, festivals and corporate events.
Joe Capraro/KUT

It’s time for another edition of KUT’s Summer School! Every Friday this summer, we head out to learn new skills from people in Austin who are experts in their field. Today’s subject? Balloon Twisting.  

KUT’s Kate McGee teaches us how to learns the squeaky, yet delicate art of creating shapes out of balloons.

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Border & Immigration
3:58 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Austin Can Help Unaccompanied Minors at the Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Unaccompanied minors and other immigrants continue to arrive at the border, creating a national dialogue on immigration reform.

President Obama is expected to meet with the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras today to discuss the humanitarian crisis along the border.

Organizations and faith-based groups around the country are doing what they can to assist the minors. Austin is no exception – several organizations and churches are currently accepting donations. Here’s a roundup:

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Arts Eclectic
3:23 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

See 'Bright Now Beyond' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

Starting July 31, Salvage Vanguard Theater will present the world premiere of the new musical Bright Now Beyond. It's an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1904 book The Marvelous Land of Oz (which was the second in the author's long-running series of Oz books).

Bright Now Beyond is set decades after the events of The Wizard of Oz, and features a few characters  from that story (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Glinda the Good all make appearences) along with many  new characters not seen in the classic film. Co-writer Daniel Alexander Jones sees all the characters — the familiar and the new — as being at a crossroads in their life; that's one of the things that drew him to the story.

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KUT Weekend
2:17 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

UT Austin
11:45 am
Fri July 25, 2014

UT System Expected to Name New Chancellor on Tuesday

The Board of Regents of the UT System is expected to name William McRaven to succeed Francisco Cigarroa as chancellor.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, when they are expected to name the sole finalist to be the system's next chancellor. Sources with knowledge of the search told the Tribune that Admiral William H. McRaven is likely to be chosen.

McRaven is a Navy Seal best known for coordinating the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden. He is currently the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, which is headquartered in Florida. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:43 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Why Some Beliefs Are Beyond Debate

Credit onewithnow.com

I am absolutely certain that I’m right and you’re wrong, so because of this certainty, I will argue my belief, which I believe to be correct, however long it takes to convince you to submit to my superior correctness. 

Have you ever encountered such a fixed and inflexible perspective of a belief in a person who disagrees with you on something?  Of course you have.  We’re only human, and it’s part of the nature of our cognitive patterns to want to hold onto certain beliefs with a very firm intellectual grip.

On this week’s episode of Two Guys On Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke analyze the differing approaches to holding a belief and how those different approaches affect interaction in society. Essentially, this comes down to two fundamental ways of holding a belief: You can have a firm grip, or a loose one.

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Education
9:55 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Despite Campaign Focus, Texas Pre-K Won't Likely Expand Soon

Robert W. Hart

Over half of Texas children between the ages of three and four don't go to preschool, according to the annual Kids Count report released this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Texas schools offer free pre-K programs to 4-year-olds, but primarily only offer programs for 3-year-olds on a tuition basis. Those low numbers and access have drawn scrutiny from education advocates, lawmakers and even the candidates running for governor.

Despite the recent focus on preschool access for Texas children, efforts to expand access may to wait until after the upcoming legislative session.

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Texas Foster Care
7:17 am
Fri July 25, 2014

After Child Deaths, Texas Lawmakers Examine Foster Care Practices

State lawmakers have had several committee meetings to discuss possible reform to the state's foster care system. Yesterday's meeting was the third in the past two months.
Credit David Garzon

Texas lawmakers have already convened several times this year to discuss rampant – and persistent -- problems in the state’s foster care system. On Thursday, another hearing at the Capitol took place to look into what can be changed.

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Israel And Gaza
4:07 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Gaza Conflict: What To Know For Friday

Smoke and flames from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on Thursday.
Adel Hana AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:34 pm

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET.

As the conflict between Israel and Gaza approaches the three-week mark, the fighting seems to have only intensified. At least 119 Palestinians were killed Thursday, making it the bloodiest day of the war.

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Arts Eclectic
6:07 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

See 'Oklahoma!' Free in Zilker Park

 

  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway 71 years ago, and has remained a popular classic ever since. It was a huge hit in its original Broadway run, spawned an Oscar-winning movie version in 1955, and has been performed countless times in theaters worldwide.

In addition to being crowd-pleasing, though, it was also a ground-breaking production, an important work in the development of the 'book musical,' in which the songs and musical numbers progress the story. That's more or less taken for granted in the modern musical, but it wasn't often the case before Oklahoma! took the stage. 

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Border & Immigration
4:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Who Are The Kids Of The Migrant Crisis?

Volunteers such as this woman — who's with a group that calls itself "Las Patronas" — throw bags of food and water to migrants in Veracruz, Mexico, who are headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
Courtesy of Deborah Bonello

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:23 pm

Since October, a staggering 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been apprehended at the southwestern U.S. border. Sometimes, they've been welcomed into the country by activists; other times they've been turned away by protesters.

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