1:27 pm
Tue August 4, 2015

Map: Austin's Traffic Fatalities So Far in 2015

With five months left in the year, there have been 65 traffic fatalities on Austin roadways, compared to 63 in all of 2014.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr/KUT

Late last week, the number of traffic fatalities surpassed the total number of fatalities on Austin roads in all of last year. Currently, there have been 65 deaths with five months left in the year, compared to 63 in all of 2014. The previous peak for traffic fatalities over last few decades was in 2012, when the city saw 78 road deaths, but, this year, Austin is on track to exceed 100 deaths before the end of the year.

Below, you can view a map of the traffic deaths so far this year.

Read more
Texas Standard
12:32 pm
Tue August 4, 2015

Sandra Bland's Case Highlights Problem Of Jail Suicides

A photo of Danarian Hawkins is seen as his mother, Jacqueline Smith, Dr. James Douglas, and Amin Alehashem, address the media during a news conference, Wednesday, July 29, 2015, in Houston.
Cody Duty/Houston Chronicle

From Texas Standard:

Sandra Bland’s case has made international headlines. But as the Houston Chronicle reported this week, Bland’s suicide is hardly a one-off incident in Texas county jails. Since 2009, 140 inmates in Texas jails have died by suicide; that’s when the state started tracking those numbers. Journalist Sinjin Smith has been following the issue for some time. His most recent article on this issue focuses on the methods and ways that inmates complete suicide in jail. He investigated the case of Danarian Hawkins, who was found last year hanging from a noose he’d made from a bed sheet tied to his cell’s sprinkler system.

Read more
Texas Standard
12:14 pm
Tue August 4, 2015

What Obama's Clean Power Plan Means For Texas

Central Texas windmills at dawn.
Flickr/Beth Cortez-Neavel (CC BY-NC 4.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Obama administration announced what it calls the Clean Power Plan — an ambitious plan to dramatically reduce carbon emissions. From an international perspective, the plan could give the United States more weight in future discussions on curbing so-called greenhouse gases. But there’s some politics here as well: The move is seen by many analysts as legacy-building, and there’s no doubt Texas is in the crosshairs.

Travis Bubenik of Marfa Public Radio has been following this for Inside Energy. Bubenik sat down with The Texas Standard to discuss President Obama's new Clean Power Plan.

Read more
Texas Standard
12:07 pm
Tue August 4, 2015

Why Some Women Are Staying Away From Uber And Lyft

Uber and Lyft drivers pick their own hours and work only when they want to. But the job also requires allowing strangers in your car, a detail that may be overlooked by some, but not all – especially women.
Flickr/ Eirik Johan Skeie (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Sarah Millender wasn’t too concerned about her safety when she signed up as a driver four months ago. Today, she spends around 50 hours a week in her car, working full time for both Uber and Lyft. As she begins her Saturday night shift, she picks up a couple headed to dinner. They make small talk, and eventually ask Millender what it’s like being a female driver.

As she begins to tell the couple about her less-than-positive encounters, she mentions that she “didn’t realize how much the comments would get to [her].”

Read more
11:50 am
Tue August 4, 2015

City Decides to Go Low-And-Slow on Barbecue Smoke Regulations

Only three complaints have been filed against bbq restaurants in Austin, so the city council decided not to regulate smoke emissions, for now. Pictured here: Franklin Barbecue, which has had no formal complaints filed against it.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Neighbors filed a lawsuit against Terry Black’s barbecue last week, saying the smoke from its pits was disruptive. But in a Health and Human Services Committee meeting Monday, city staff argued that complaints like these are mostly isolated incidents.

Vince Delisi with the city’s Health and Human Services Department talked to the Texas Commission on Environmental Equality, which tracks air pollution complaints such as barbecue smoke.

“That report was a little bit disappointing," Delisi says.

Read more
10:43 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Children of Color Disproportionately Represented Among Drowning Victims

Nearly two-thirds of child drowning victims last year were children of color.

Seventy-three children died in Texas last year from a single cause. And so far this year, 52 children have died as a result of that same cause: drowning, the top killer of healthy toddlers in the U.S.

And, while there are efforts at both the statewide and local levels to educate adults on how to avoid drowning deaths, children of color are disproportionately represented among the victims.

Read more
2016 Presidential Campaign
7:21 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Much Like Speed Dating, Republicans Try Their Best, Short Pitches

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former CEO Hewlett-Packard Carly Fiorina, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, former New York Gov. George Pataki, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum (PA), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stand on the stage prior to the Voters First Presidential Forum.
Darren McCollester Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 9:37 pm

The crowded field of GOP presidential hopefuls got their first chance to face-off this week — just not really against each other.

The two-hour long rapid-fire interviews at the "Voters First Forum" in at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H., had the feel of a speed-dating session as the 14 Republicans in attendance fired off their talking points in what amounted to abbreviated stump speeches, hoping voters would want a second date.

Read more
The Two-Way
4:40 am
Tue August 4, 2015

Oil Prices Tumble Again, Hurting Drillers But Helping Drivers

Falling oil prices have put downward pressure on gasoline prices, now averaging $2.65 a gallon — about 85 cents cheaper than a year ago.
Gene J. Puskar AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 5:49 pm

Oil prices took another drop Monday, rattling the stock market and putting more downward pressure on gasoline prices.

For oil companies, the price slump is hitting hard at profits, but for U.S. motorists, the downshift has brought savings at the pump.

Read more
12:26 pm
Mon August 3, 2015

Have Lyft and Uber Made Traffic in Austin Worse? The City Wants to Find Out

Transportation networking apps Uber and Lyft both have higher rates in Austin, but the companies could release their closely held data to the city, allowing for a closer look at possible traffic impacts of the services.
Photo Illustration by Todd Wiseman/TexasTribune

This year, the city allowed hundreds of thousands of new car trips when it legalized the ride service companies Lyft and Uber.

But, while these companies may be filling in a gap in transportation options, are they making traffic better or worse in Austin? And does the demand for ride services mean higher prices here than elsewhere in the country? 

Read more
Ken Paxton
10:57 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Texas Attorney General Booked on 3 Felony Counts

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton's mugshot from the Collin County Jail on August 3, 2015.
Collin County Jail

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton turned himself in to authorities in Collin County this morning. He's charged with three felonies relating to his solicitation of investments in a technology company.

He was immediately released from Collin County Jail on $35,000 bond after booking.

Two of the charges — first-degree felony securities fraud — carry the possibility of hefty jail sentences. 

Read more
9:53 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Black Business Owners in Austin Area Outperform State

An analysis shows that, despite waning population growth, African-American-run businesses in Austin have outperformed their counterparts across the state.
Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor

Despite Austin being the country’s only large, fast-growing city with a waning African-American population, businesses owned by black residents in the greater area appear to be outperforming those in the rest of the state.

According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics that Greater Austin Black Chamber board member Hopeton Hay presented in July, Travis County topped the state in average receipts for firms owned by black residents in 2007, with $131,400 per company. That is more than double the average for Dallas County, which came in second place at $63,200 per company.

Read more
8:13 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Program Hopes to Bring Back-To-School Supplies, Normalcy to Foster Children

Volunteers distribute supplies for the a program that provides Texas foster children with back-to-school necessities.
Charlotte Carpenter

Back-to-school shopping is not for the faint of heart.

To the uninitiated, it may seem like total madness.

But, really, it's family time: parents read school lists out loud while children run around in search of items. It's also a time children in foster care rarely experience, but, for the first time, a non-profit is trying to provide children in foster care with a similar experience.

Read more
It's All Politics
7:17 am
Mon August 3, 2015

Get Ready For The Biggest Week Yet In The GOP Race For President

Billionaire businessman Donald Trump has surged to the top of GOP presidential primary polls despite a slew of controversial comments since he launched his campaign in June.
Scott Heppell AP

Originally published on Mon August 3, 2015 2:04 pm

The inaugural 2016 debate for the White House on Thursday will be the first time many voters will be tuning into the volatile GOP campaign, and candidates are praying they'll get a boost and not a bust from the face-off.

"The level of engagement has been very low," said Rick Wilson, a Florida-based national GOP strategist. "This will be a week where we will probably have record viewership on Fox News for a primary debate, and it's going to get a lot of attention and a lot of focus."

Read more
Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun August 2, 2015

Best of Higher Ed: The Impact of 'Unlearning' on Learning

This summer, KUT is revisiting episodes of the podcast "Higher Ed." This episode was originally posted on March 15, 2015.

Read more
2:00 pm
Sat August 1, 2015

Reports: Texas AG Ken Paxton Indicted by Collin County Grand Jury

Several media outlets are reporting that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton will be indicted by a Collin County grand jury.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

From our political reporting partners at The Texas Tribune

Read more
Get Involved
5:00 am
Sat August 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

From Mother's Milk Bank at Austin, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:  

The Mothers’ Milk Bank at Austin is a community-based non-profit organization whose mission is to save babies’ lives by providing prescribed donor human milk, primarily to premature and ill infants.

You can contribute your time and talent to help improve the health and lives of preterm and ill infants.

You can join our Pour Team! Work on the front lines with our pour team!  You will work in groups of 3-4 in our lab, mixing and pouring donated milk for pasteurization. Involves standing for several hours at a time and lifting flasks of milk. Bonus: You get to “scrub in” and wear cool garb that makes you feel like you have a medical degree.

Read more
KUT Weekend
4:12 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

3:29 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

What 'Sharing the Road' Means for Cyclists and Drivers in Texas

Cyclists may have their own lanes in certain stretches of Austin roads, but they also have the right to ride in the center of lanes in some cases.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin's roads are busier than ever, and there’s more than just cars and trucks on them. As more and more Austinites choose bikes to get around, where exactly are they allowed to ride?

It can be a little confusing knowing where it’s okay to ride your bike. For instance, you’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk in parts of downtown Austin. But when it comes to the road? Well, a bike is welcome pretty much everywhere. It’s right there in the Texas Transportation Code.

Read more
Energy & Environment
2:18 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

'No Explosions Here!' What We Learned from Austin Resource Recovery's Reddit AMA

Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit to answer questions on Austin's recycling program.

Have you ever wondered about if you could recycle your paper coffee cup? Or if the cap from that Topo Chico you had would gum up the recycling sorter? Have you wondered the fate of that plastic bag you filled with recyclables and tossed into the blue bin with trepidation? 

Well, today was your lucky day, Internet user. 

This morning Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) to answer Austinites' burning recycling questions — offering a glimpse of a possibly forthcoming composting program and tips on what exactly to do with all those plastic bags you've been hoarding. Check out the highlights below.

Read more
Two Guys on Your Head
12:24 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

How On-The-Go Eating Takes the Fun & Flavor Out of a Good Meal

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Food can be delicious, heart-warming and life-sustaining. So, how did eating become a constant battle with the refrigerator?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Arthur Markman discuss the challenges in maintaining a healthy diet and how changing our perspectives on food may be a vital approach to solving these problems.

Read more