Texas Standard
1:37 pm
Mon March 30, 2015

How Texas Summers Inspired a Novel Change to the Water Balloon Fight

Check out the world's "only self-sealing water balloons."
Laura Rice, Texas Standard

This story comes from Texas Standard.

The weather is warming up and kids across Texas are finding ways to stay cool as they play outside. One longtime favorite is a good old-fashioned water balloon fight. But a Texas man may have changed the game forever.

“Where I’m from in West Texas originally, it’s very hot and dry in the summers, and there’s very much a lack of things to do,” Kendall Harter says.

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Texas
11:45 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Report: Health Commission Was Found to Be 'in Quiet Turmoil'

Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Kyle Janek whispers to an aide at a hearing of the Sunset Advisory Commission on Jan. 14, 2015.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Leadership problems at the Texas Health and Human Services Commission in the wake of a contracting scandal that resulted in forced resignations leave the agency too vulnerable to consolidate at this time, according to a report released Monday by Gov. Greg Abbott's handpicked "strike force."

The report found that too often decisions at the committee are reactive and that when the strike force team came to the agency in January, the agency found it "in quiet turmoil."

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2016 Presidential Election
11:19 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Are New Hampshire GOP Primary Voters Tired of Texas Candidates?

Ted Cruz speaks in New Hampshire; Rick Perry appears on Fox News earlier this year.
Ben Philpott/KUT News; YouTube screenshot

From George W. Bush to Ron Paul to Rick Perry — and now Ted Cruz and, presumably, Perry together — the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary has had a Texan on the ticket for a while. And while Republicans in Texas may say that with pride, how do the people of New Hampshire feel about Texans in the race?

By and large, most New Hampshire residents said they weren’t feeling the “Texas fatigue” one might expect with the continual stable of Lone Star candidates. In the case of Cruz, who was there last weekend kicking off his campaign, his proposals outshone any regional biases. In the case of Perry, some primary voters showed surprising support for a candidate who placed sixth in the 2012 contest.

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U.S.
10:57 am
Mon March 30, 2015

How Many Crimes Do Your Police 'Clear'? Now You Can Find Out

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 4:22 pm

Violent crime in America has been falling for two decades. That's the good news. The bad news is, when crimes occur, they mostly go unpunished.

In fact, for most major crimes, police don't even make an arrest or identify a suspect. That's what police call "clearing" a crime; the "clearance rate" is the percentage of offenses cleared.

In 2013, the national clearance rate for homicide was 64 percent, and it's far lower for other violent offenses and property crimes.

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Gender Divide
9:02 am
Mon March 30, 2015

For History Teachers, It's Not Always Easy to Get Students of Color to Connect with Curriculum

Candace Hunter teaches U.S. History at the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. She says the struggle to connect history with young students has less to do with race and more to do with socioeconomics.
Credit Filipa Rodrigues, KUT

James Brewster and Candace Hunter have tough jobs.

They teach U.S. history at the new single-sex middle schools in Northeast Austin: Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy and Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. Both schools are located in low income neighborhoods with majority minority students.

Teaching students in low income neighborhoods brings its own set of challenges, but teaching social studies brings more difficulties. Many times their students have had little to no exposure to U.S. history before entering their classrooms.

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Life & Arts
8:21 am
Mon March 30, 2015

Trevor Noah Will Replace Jon Stewart As Host Of 'The Daily Show'

Trevor Noah, 31, will become the new host of The Daily Show later this year.
Comedy Central

Originally published on Mon March 30, 2015 10:13 am

South African comedian Trevor Noah will become the new host of Comedy Central's The Daily Show, stepping into the role Jon Stewart has filled for 16 years.

Confirming reports of his new job Monday morning, Noah tweeted, "No-one can replace Jon Stewart. But together with the amazing team at The Daily Show, we will continue to make this the best damn news show!"

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

Higher Ed: The Meaning and Nuance of Numbers

Credit creative commons

From pre-K and all the way through graduate studies in math, we learn about numbers. But think about it - what is a number, really? What does the concept of  "four" or a "million" of something actually mean? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger try to define what numbers really are and how we make meaning of them. It's tougher than you might first think. Listen on to hear their attempt!

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Austin
1:11 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

AT&T Outage in Austin Reportedly Caused by Cut Fiber Optic Line

Kent Chen/flickr

An AT&T outage affecting Austin and surrounding areas was caused by a fiber optic line cut, officials say.

Update 1:30 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS sent out a final situation alert tweet stating that most if not all service has been reinstated.

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2016 Election
8:11 pm
Sat March 28, 2015

Ted Cruz Wraps Up New Hampshire Trip

Sen. Cruz speaks to the Young America's Foundation dinner in Nashua, NH
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Texas Senator Ted Cruz ended his first official week as a Presidential candidate in the snow in New Hampshire. As the skies spit small flakes, the kind that shut down most Texas towns but are barely noticed in New England, Cruz turned up the heat indoors with a rousing 40-minute speech that drew six standing ovations.

Tom Fergus was in the crowd of more than 200 people attending the brunch at the Portsmouth Country Club. While national media and some Republican pundits have said Cruz's campaign doesn't have the broad appeal needed to make a successful run, Fergus says Cruz's message fits right in with the "rugged individualist Yankees that we are."

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Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Warning: Wildflower Picture Season is Also Snake Season

For most Texans, spring time gives us a small window of opportunity to trek outside in some bearable weather. It's almost become a tradition for Texans to use this precious time to take photos in patches of bluebonnets. But just as we humans are beginning to shake off winter and go outside into the sun, so are are the snakes.

Anyone who's spent a significant time in the southwest can tell you, snake bites are a real danger. So what do you do if you encounter one?

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Texas Standard
2:44 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Kidnapped Texas Journalist Could Be In Negotiations For Release

It's no shock that the increased tension in the Middle East has made it tough for Western journalists to cover stories there. That trek didn’t deter Austin Tice, a former Marine from Houston turned freelance journalist, who went to Syria to cover the ongoing civil war. Now, Tice finds himself in trouble.

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KUT Weekend
2:37 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Arts Eclectic
1:30 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

A Dance Among 'The Trees of Govalle'

Forklift Danceworks specializes in dances starring people who don’t consider themselves dancers – firefighters, baseball players, sanitation workers, and now, members of the City of Austin’s Urban Forestry Division. 

Staging a large scale dance with the people and machinery of Urban Forestry is a natural fit for Forklift; they've already undertaken similar projects with the city's sanitation and power departments.

The piece, The Trees of Govalle, is more tied to place than some of Forklift's previous works. It's about the people of Urban Forestry, the work they do, and the trees they service, but it's also about a particular area of town: the Govalle neighborhod in East Austin. As such, it'll take place in Govalle Park. And, in addition to the Urban Forestry workers who will be dancing and participating, The Trees of Govalle will also feature Govalle resident and bona fide musical treasure Manuel "Cowboy" Donley, who will perform along with his daughter Sylvia Donley.

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2016 Election
12:21 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Cruz Kicks Off Presidential Run in New Hampshire

Sen. Ted Cruz takes his official campaign to New Hampshire this weekend.
KUT News

First came the announcement: Sen. Ted Cruz launched his Presidential run on Monday in front of the student body of Liberty University.

Then it was time to make some money. Cruz had a big online push and headed to New York for a couple of days of fundraising.

Now it's time for him to meet the people as an official Presidential candidate.

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Education
11:19 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Map: The Cost of Private Schools Under Two Different Voucher Bills

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

This week, the Texas Senate Education committee started to tackle multiple bills that would create school voucher programs. The proposals are strongly supported by conservative lawmakers, especially Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

One bill filed by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would create a grant giving parents 60 percent of the annual cost for maintenance and operations per student, or about $5,200, through the proposed Taxpayer Savings Grant. Another bill would give 75 percent of that annual per-student funding to parents, or just over $6,500 though the so-called Education Tuition Grant.

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Two Guys on Your Head
11:18 am
Fri March 27, 2015

How, and Why, We Should Identify Bias and Harness the Power of Diversity

Credit northcollege/equality-and-diversity/pinterest

When it comes to bias, we as a species have a long way to go. Even when we know the importance of diversity and we’re aware of our own biases, we still need help overcoming our preferential treatment toward certain groups and people.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about a study that points to how our biases effect our decisions, even when we have the best of intentions.

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The Two-Way
7:31 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Sen. Harry Reid Says He Won't Seek Re-Election

YouTube

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 5:16 pm

Updated at 12:34 p.m.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Democratic leader in the Senate, said he won't seek re-election next year.

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The Two-Way
11:32 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Official Report: Nuclear Waste Accident Caused By Wrong Cat Litter

Workers at Los Alamos National Laboratory used organic cat litter to clean up nuclear waste. The litter triggered chemical reactions that later caused a drum to burst.
Department of Energy/Flickr

Originally published on Fri March 27, 2015 7:35 am

A yearlong investigation by government scientists has concluded that a major accident at a nuclear waste dump was caused by the wrong brand of cat litter.

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Austin
5:13 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Co-owner of Former Jumpolin Property Forced Out as CEO of Status Labs

The Jumpolin site shortly after the demolition.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Jordan French, the landowner responsible for the Cesar Chavez piñata store teardown that rocked Austin in February, resigned Thursday as CEO of Austin-based reputation management and PR company Status Labs. The company's employees asked French to resign, according to a press release they sent out Thursday afternoon.

Their request for French's resignation appears to be a direct result of the actions he took in ordering the demolition of Jumpolin, an East Austin party supply store, with all the merchandise still inside. 

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Transportation
2:26 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

One Dead After Partial Bridge Collapse, I-35 Shut Down Near Salado

I-35 was closed after a truck hit the beam of a bridge that was under construction. This image shows the traffic around the area at 2pm.
TxDOT

I-35 is closed in both directions just south of Salado, a town about 60 miles north of Austin, after an oversized tractor-trailer struck the FM 2484 overpass bridge under construction. The Texas Department of Transportation says the impact caused several beams to fall onto the highway. 

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