Ebola
9:05 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Texas' Infectious Disease Task Force Listens to Experts on Viruses like Ebola

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The newly formed Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease listened to hours of testimony yesterday from experts in the state who know how viruses like Ebola could be handled in Texas.

In fact, that hearing has already yielded many lessons.

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Station Information
3:00 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Seeking First-Time Donors to KUT!

Our Fall Membership Drive has seen an unprecedented number of KUT listeners become first-time donors. It’s not too late to make your first-time gift – and when you do it today by 9 a.m. you can be part of something special!  

One long-time KUT donor has contributed $5,000 to encourage even more new donors. This donor is very enthused about KUT’s campaign to get more people involved in Austin-based public radio. This generous donor has challenged all of us to make a positive difference here in Austin.  

So here’s the goal: We are trying have 150 people become first-time donors today by 9 a.m.!

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Texas Book Festival
5:07 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Like the Movie, This 'Boyhood' Book was 12 Years in the Making

"Boyhood" actor Ellar Coltrane through the years.
Matt Lankes / University of Texas Press

Richard Linklater’s "Boyhood" is unlike any other film. Over the course of 12 years, the cast and crew gathered to create the critically acclaimed coming-of age-story chronicling the journey of a young boy, played by Ellar Coltrane, from childhood to adulthood. And over the course of those 12 years, photographer Matt Lankes worked behind the scenes, shooting moments the making of "Boyhood" and the transformation of its characters. 

Lankes captures those moments from the film’s production in his new book, "Boyhood: Twelve Years on Film." He tells the story of the creation of the movie through stills from the film, behind-the-scenes shots, and intimate black and white portraits of the cast during each year of filming.

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Austin Energy
12:12 pm
Thu October 23, 2014

Decker Decommissioning Faces Complex Hurdles

Replacing Decker could cost the city up to $150 million to replace transmission lines.
Credit Austin Monitor

From The Austin Monitor:

A key Austin Energy reserve fund that would be used to pay for the potential decommissioning of the Decker Lake gas generation plant has no money that could be used in that effort, according to Austin Energy.

Utility spokesman Carlos Cordova told the Austin Monitor in an email that a City Council-approved Austin Energy fiscal policy for funding such a decommissioning of a non-nuclear plant “should occur four years before the start of plant closure.”

Cordova continued: “The amount to set aside should be based upon a decommissioning study of the plant site. There are currently no funds in that decommissioning reserve and a decommissioning study has not been done. Council resolution 20140828-157, which includes replacing Decker with 600 megawatts of contracted utility-scale solar, will require funding of this reserve in the near future.”

Austin Energy officials would not hazard a guess at the full cost of decommissioning the plant. However, should the utility elect to replace the facility, it has estimated the cost of the construction of new transmission lines to be in the neighborhood of $150 million.

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10-1
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Commercial Vacancies Could Provide a Foundation for Growth in District 4

KUT

Austin's new city council District 4 is one of the city's most compact districts, geographically speaking. It's easy to define as North Central Austin. One recognizable spot is Highland Mall, most of which closed years ago, starting a chain of building closures and subsequent vacancies in the area.

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Texas
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Here Are 12 Interviews With 2014 Texas Book Festival Authors

The Texas Book Festival will take place on October 25 and 26.
Texas Book Festival

Are you going to the Texas Book Festival?

Some 250 authors are descending on Austin for the festival this weekend. And Texas Standard and KUT have sat down with a dozen of them.  Here's a roundup of authors appearing at the festival, both big literary names and under-the-radar authors.

(Editor's note: This post used to contain nine interviews – but we've since recorded a few more and updated accordingly.)

Lawrence Wright:

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2014 Elections
9:28 am
Thu October 23, 2014

UT/TT Poll: Abbott Holds Commanding Lead Over Davis

University of Texas/Texas Tribune

From The Texas Tribune:

Republican Greg Abbott has a 16-point lead over Democrat Wendy Davis in the closing days of this year’s general election for governor, according to the latest University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll.

Abbott has the support of 54 percent of likely voters to Davis’ 38 percent. Libertarian Kathie Glass has the support of 6 percent, and the Green Party’s Brandon Parmer got 2 percent.

“The drama of the outcome is not who wins, but what the margin will be,” said Jim Henson, co-director of the poll and head of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin. “Wendy Davis has not led in a single poll in this race.”

Among men, Abbott holds a 61-32 lead in this survey. And he leads by 2 percentage points — 48 to 46 — among women.

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Austin Film Festival
7:30 am
Thu October 23, 2014

TV, Marquee Screenings and Performing Animals at This Year's Austin Film Fest

Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" shows Oct. 30 at the Austin Film Festival.
"Rosewater"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 21st Annual Austin Film Festival Starts today. The fest celebrates screenwriting and is equal parts conference, competition and screenings.

AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about what's exciting to her about this year's fest.

On Television at the Fest:

"We have been doing television for a long time at the festival and, like everybody I think, I too, have become quite obsessed with a lot of different TV shows. We've really done a lot this year with marrying that television into both the conference and the festival. We've got panels with Noah Hawley, who created this year 'Fargo' for television - which was a really cool show. And then, of course, Cary Fukunaga of 'True Detective.'

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Voter ID
4:45 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Justice Ginsburg Revises Texas Voter ID Dissent, Then Announces It

In her revised dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg clarified that photo ID cards issued by the Veterans' Affairs are "an acceptable form of photo identification for voting in Texas."
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 5:45 pm

Once again the U.S. Supreme Court is correcting its own record, but Wednesday marks the first time that the court has called attention to its own mistake with a public announcement. And it was the erring justice herself, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who asked the court's public information office to announce the error.

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Texas Standard
4:13 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Why Ireland's Opening a New Consulate in Austin, Texas

A different type of Hill Country: Ireland is opening a consulate in Austin to focus on trade and development.
flickr.com/georgiesharp

Ireland is getting ready to do something it hasn’t done that often in the past century: open some new consulate offices. Hong Kong, Bangkok and São Paulo are among the cities selected. Oh, and one more – Austin, Texas.

Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with Consul General Adrian Farrell about plans for the new office, trade between Ireland and Texas, and efforts to reach out to Irish Texans and Americans.

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Austin ISD
3:59 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Who Is Running for the Austin School Board?

There are five Austin ISD school board races up for election in November.
Photo by KUT News

Early voting is underway and while state and city races make up most of the very long ballot, many people will see at least one Austin ISD School Board race at the bottom. There are five school board races this November. KUT's Nathan Bernier sat down with KUT's education reporter Kate McGee to talk about the candidates in each race. 

District One and At-Large District Nine:

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2014 Elections
1:18 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Austin-Grown Voting App Looks to Test Here and Expand Nationally

The Voting App aims to "empower" voters by providing information on local, county, state and national candidates.
Andrew Weber/KUT

Joe Santori was never a particularly political guy. He designed videogames.

The most he worried about fair representation or mapping data was whether or not the Green Lantern Corps was properly represented or if a map would clutter users’ screens in “DC Universe Online,” a massively multiplayer online role-playing game he worked on in 2011.

But in 2012, Santori got a gig working on the Texas Secretary of State’s Vote Texas app. It was, he says, remarkably similar: data for multiple parties had to be readily available on a screen, like in MMORPGs, and that data had to be specific to where that user was.

Santori decided that kind of data would be useful to Austin voters, and he set out on his own project: The Voting App.

Today, Santori’s firm ThinkVoting debuted The Voting App, a resource to view mock ballots, the League of Women Voters’ voting guide and candidate information across all of Austin’s 10 new geographic districts.

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Canada
1:14 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Soldier Killed, Suspect Dead In Shooting Near Canadian Parliament

A Canadian soldier who was shot outside the war memorial on Parliament Hill in tended to in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Daniel Thibeaut/CBC Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 7:44 pm

A gunman opened fire at Canada's National War Memorial on Wednesday, killing one soldier, Ottawa police said in a statement.

Witnesses in the Canadian capital, Ottawa, say the gunman then ran into the main Parliament building, where dozens of shots were fired.

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10-1
12:48 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Gentrification Challenges the Long-Held Character of District 3

KUT News

Austinites have begun casting votes in the city's first election based on newly drawn geographic districts.

To help voters make their choice at the polls, we're looking at each of the city's 10 new districts and at some of their needs.

Today, we’ll look at District 3 – which includes big portions of Central Austin, but also goes east of I-35 and stretches into the Montopolis area –which is desirable, centrally located and one of the most gentrified areas of Austin.

Eliot Tretter is a former Austinite who teaches geography in Canada at the University of Calgary. But, before he left Austin a year ago, he published several articles and a book about the gentrification of East Austin. Tretter says gentrification – like many things – can’t be viewed in absolute terms of good or bad. What's clear, he says, is that it disproportionately hurts communities of color.

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Austin Community College
10:41 am
Wed October 22, 2014

ACC Hopes to Tackle Nursing Shortage With Bachelor's Degree Program

Credit Spencer Selvidge/KUT

Austin Community College wants to offer graduates with an associate’s degree in nursing a chance to earn a bachelor of science in nursing.
The proposal comes as more healthcare providers increasingly require nurses to have more advanced degrees and the state deals with a nursing shortage.

The program would let students with an associate’s degree take 10 extra courses to receive a bachelor’s in nursing. Studies show facilities that have more nurses with baccalaureate degrees often have better patient outcomes, and the Institute of Medicine is recommending 80 percent of bedside staff at hospitals have a bachelor’s in nursing by the year 2020.

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The Salt
4:42 am
Wed October 22, 2014

From NFL To 'Scandal,' Whole Foods Buys TV Ads To Boost Its Brand

Whole Foods' new ad campaign is part of its effort to brand itself as America's Healthiest Grocery Store.
Whole Foods youtube

Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 3:34 pm

If you tune into Game 1 of the World Series tonight, you may catch this ad for Whole Foods Market.

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10-1
2:07 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Austin's New District 2 Council Member Faces an Old Problem: Infrastructure

As Austin voters head to the polls this Election Day they'll choose a city council candidate to represent their own geographic district.

So far, many of the candidates have promised to be the "voice" of their district and to fight for district-specific needs at City Hall. All this week and next, we’re looking at each of the city's ten districts to look at each district's unique needs.

Circuit of the Americas is one of the landmarks of District 2 – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is in there too.

The district is long, stretching from Southeast Austin off of Highway 71 and
east of I-35. Last summer Ron Potts, who had recently retired from the city's Code Compliance Department, took KUT on a tour of the district.

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2014 Elections
1:48 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

District 4 Candidate Greg Casar Rejects Tea Party Endorsement

Credit Austin Monitor

Though early voting started on Monday, the race to City Council hasn’t come to a halt. Over the weekend, an endorsement from the Austin Tea Party had District 4 candidate Greg Casar crying foul and issuing allegations that the whole thing was a stunt to help his opponent win.

The Austin Tea Party sent out a flurry of messages on Twitter Saturday proclaiming their endorsement of Casar for District 4. Austin Tea Party Organizer Dean Wright also sent an email directly to Casar.

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Arts Eclectic
9:34 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Celebrate 75 Years of 'The Grapes of Wrath'

Musician Rob Halverson has long been a fan of John Steinbeck's classic 1939 novel The Grapes of Wrath. So when it occurred to him last year that the book's 75th anniversary was quickly approaching, he decided to commemorate the occasion with a little help from Austin's artistic community.

Halverson's Grapes of Wrath 75 Project is a far-reaching and ongoing endeavor. It includes a cd and dvd of performance pieces and interviews about and inspired by the novel, as well as a journey undertaken by Halverson (in partnership with the National Steinbeck Center) in which he retraced the Route 66 journey of the novel's Joad family.

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Energy & Environment
9:29 am
Tue October 21, 2014

Voters Cast Ballots in First Ever Push to Ban Fracking in Texas

A natural gas well is drilled in the city of Denton, Texas.
Mose Buchele/KUT

From StateImpact Texas:

For Cathy McMullen, the reasons to ban fracking in Denton are as obvious at the drilling rig that sits on the corner of Masch Branch and Hampton Road on the northwest side of town. It’s big, it’s noisy, and she believes it vents toxic emissions into the community. The site is, however, not very close to any houses.

“I’ll show you where this exact same thing was sitting by someone’s home,” she says.

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