Memorial Day Floods
7:53 am
Tue June 2, 2015

As San Marcos Flooded, Two Men Risked Their Lives to Save a Stranded Family

Chris Gutierrez (left) and Daniel Navarro found a woman and her three children stuck in their car in the San Marcos floodwaters.
Mose Buchele/KUT News

It’s been about a week since devastating floods swept through Texas, bringing destruction and even death.

The floods also set the scene for acts of heroism.

As the waters have receded, some of those stories have surfaced. One of them took place early Sunday morning on Memorial Day weekend on River Road in San Marcos.

Daniel Navarro and his stepfather Chris Gutierrez were searching for a family member and came across a woman and her three children stranded in their car in the floodwaters. Navarro and Gutierrez tell us what happened next.

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Austin
4:16 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

One-Fifth of Austin's Musicians Live Below Federal Poverty Level, Census Says

A musician busks on South Congress in Austin.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The City of Austin today released results from its first comprehensive census of the local music industry. The data backs up what many local musicians have been saying lately: It’s tough, and seems to be getting tougher, for musicians to support themselves in the Live Music Capital of the World.

“I think it’s common knowledge that it’s really hard to make money as a musician,” says Don Pitts, who manages the city’s music and entertainment division. “But I think when you see it in this data-only context, at first, it takes the emotion out of it. But then you see the actual numbers, and it brings the emotions back in.”

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Austin
2:17 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

How Bird Flu Has Grounded Your Late-Night Whataburger Taquito Addiction

Due to an egg shortage, Whataburger's cut back its breakfast hours.
Carlo Nasisse for KUT News

Last night, Whataburger, the beloved Texas bastion of burger-dom, announced in a statement that it will cut its breakfast hours by more than half, after a recent outbreak of avian influenza threatened its egg suppliers.

Social media-wise, it went about as well as one might expect — Blue Bell + flooding + Whataburger = apocalypse.

But, while the chain’s shortage of eggs may ruffle feathers of late-night taquito fiends, it’s a byproduct of a recent outbreak of nearly 200 avian flu cases resulting in the “depopulation” of 40 million chickens, mostly in Minnesota and Iowa, the latter of which is the country’s biggest poultry producer.

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Austin
12:27 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

Most DWI Arrests Occur in Central, East Austin

James Palinsad/flickr

There have been at least 41 traffic fatalities so far this year in Austin, which is nearly double the number during the same period last year. And, in many of these crashes, alcohol and impaired driving are factors. A new analysis of DWI data is providing a better picture of where the problem spots are.

Over the last decade, there have been nearly 200 deaths in Austin due to drunk driving. A new analysis by Civic Analytics shows suspects in 724 of the 6,033 DWI arrests live in District 3, which includes East Austin and parts of South Austin. 

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Get Involved
5:00 am
Mon June 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Sustainable Food Center

From Sustainable Food Center, this month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

 

Sustainable Food Center cultivates a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food.  SFC envisions a food secure community where all children and adults grow, share and prepare healthy, local food.

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Higher Ed
2:00 pm
Sun May 31, 2015

Higher Ed: More Rest = Better Learning

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

Caffeine-fueled all-nighters to finish up that paper or cram for a final exam: For some students, that's a regular part of their studying routine in higher education. They come to equate intense periods of hard work with more successful achievement and learning. But some research indicates slowing down that work flow might actually be the best recipe for deeper learning. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger have a lively discussion about the benefits of a slower pace.

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The Two-Way
12:38 pm
Sun May 31, 2015

Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's Son, Dies After Cancer Battle

Beau Biden and his father, Joe Biden, at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Mark Wilson Getty Images

Originally published on Mon June 1, 2015 9:03 am

Beau Biden, Vice President Joe Biden's older son, has died after battling brain cancer, the vice president announced Saturday. Beau Biden, a former attorney general of Delaware, was 46.

"It is with broken hearts that Hallie, Hunter, Ashley, Jill and I announce the passing of our husband, brother and son, Beau, after he battled brain cancer with the same integrity, courage and strength he demonstrated every day of his life," Joe Biden said in a statement issued by the White House. Hallie Biden is Beau Biden's wife; Hunter and Ashley are his brother and half-sister.

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Texas
12:34 pm
Sun May 31, 2015

As Rain Finally Clears in Central Texas, Clean-up Continues

A flooded home in San Marcos right after Memorial Day floods.

Central Texas just had one of its wettest Mays on record. The heavy rainfall, storms and flooding became deadly and destructive, causing 23 deaths. Crews continue to search for those who are still missing in Hays County, where storms and flooding destroyed homes and property of many residents.

President Obama gave Texas a federal disaster declaration Saturday, allowing affected counties access to federal aid for relief efforts.

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2015 Legislature
7:00 am
Sat May 30, 2015

Texas Open Carry Bill Approved by State Legislature

A bill, HB 910, that would allow the open carry of handguns in Texas temporarily stalled in the Texas Legislature on May 27, 2015.
Erika Rich/Texas Tribune

Update, May 30, 2015:

An open carry bill was approved by the Texas Legislature on Friday, and the measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.

Texas is one of few states where open carry is prohibited, but the bill approved by state lawmakers on Friday would change that. License holders would be allowed to openly carry in a hip or shoulder holster.

Right now, Texans can only carry concealed handguns.

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Two Guys on Your Head
3:41 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Why Scientists Don't Give Yes or No Answers

Credit www.newyorker.com

When you think of science, what comes to mind? Maybe you think about launching rockets into space, or antibiotics, or the electric car?

Maybe not. But let's say you do. If that is the case, it's more accurate to say you love what scientific developments have brought us, but not necessarily science itself.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about what science is, why the scientific process is important to understand and why it's so difficult to communicate science to the general public.

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KUT Weekend
1:40 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Politics
1:37 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Agenda Texas: The End of the 84th Legislative Session

Liang Shi/KUT News

The Texas legislative session ends Monday, and there's not a bunch left for lawmakers to do between today and next week. No more bills can be voted on. Now it's all about conference committees. Those are the groups made up of five House members and five Senators who will be huddled together in meeting rooms and hallways around the Capitol this weekend, trying to come to an agreement on bills that the House and Senate each passed different versions of.

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Education
9:42 am
Fri May 29, 2015

As Public Housing Availability Dwindles, A Family Struggles to Stay in Travis Heights

Victoria Hernandez, 27, and her five-year-old son Jayden wait for the bus that takes them daily to his pre-K class in Travis Heights.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Victoria Hernandez and her son Jayden wake up at 5 a.m. each day for Jayden’s pre-kindergarten class at Travis Heights Elementary School. They get ready at their apartment complex on Stassney Lane, four miles away from Travis Heights. Then, they walk to the bus stop to wait for the number one bus.

By the time they embark, it’s about 6:30 in the morning — the sun has just started to rise.

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Memorial Day Floods
7:36 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Volunteers Help Rebuild San Marcos, One House at a Time

After the 2015 Memorial Day floods, sidewalks in San Marcos are full of ruined furniture and appliances.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

We’ve been reporting on the damage caused to communities like San Marcos and Wimberley after record flooding along the Blanco River.

Since then, volunteers have come out in force to help people dealing with the aftermath.

At a former Target in San Marcos, instead of aisle after aisle of merchandise, table after table is covered in donations. Diane Insley, the coordinator at this donation center, lists off all of the donations they have.

"Cleaning supplies, mops, tools to rip out sheet rock that’s been damaged. We also have basic food, non perishable food items, a lot of bottled water, some brand new clothing, some basic shoes and then we have baby items, personal hygiene, deodorant soaps, Clorox bleach, laundry detergent...," she points out. 

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Weather
9:16 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Flash Flood Watch Expires

National Weather Service

UPDATE: 7:44 a.m.: The flash flood watch for Central Texas has expired.

Overnight storms brought over an inch of rain to pockets of East Austin, but the majority of the rain fell northwest of the Austin area, forcing LCRA to open up flood gates at both the Starcke and Wirtz dams. The National Weather Service has issued a flood warning for Llano County until early Saturday morning. Last night's rains have brought the Llano River up to 11.95 feet, though officials say the rise won't cause any damage to properties in the area. 

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Texas Standard
4:11 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Drought 'Effectively' Over, But Aquifers Are Slow to Recharge

In many parts of Texas, water restrictions are not likely to stop anytime soon.
hellamike81/flickr

From Texas Standard:

The ground is saturated, the grass is green and the state climatologist has declared the statewide drought as we’ve known it since 2010 effectively over.

But there’s at least one piece of the puzzle that’s not quite there yet: some of the state’s water supplies – including the lakes that supply much of the Austin area.

John Hoffman is with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the lakes are now more than 50 percent full – that’s up about 20 percent from where the lakes were earlier this year – but it isn’t enough.

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Texas Standard
12:24 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Slashes Film and Video Game Incentives, Everyone Loses

Photo via Flickr/wallyg (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The entertainment industry was shocked when state legislators slashed $63 million from the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentives Program from the state’s budget. It’s a program that was created in 2008 to attract businesses by giving companies grants for hiring Texas workers to develop film, tv, commercial or video game projects in the state. Now the film and video game industries are trying to figure out what went wrong.

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2015 Legislature
10:24 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Why Statewide Officers Might Pack Up and Leave Austin

A constitutional amendment that will show up on the November 2015 ballot would remove the requirement for certain statewide officers to live in Austin for the entire four years of their terms.
Liang Shi/KUT News

Under a measure passed by the Texas House and Senate (SJR 52), statewide office-holders would be able to live outside of Austin — but voters will have a say first.

Since 1876, the Texas Constitution has required certain statewide officials to live in the state capital, and that hasn’t changed. On Wednesday, however, the Texas House approved a measure that would allow statewide officials to live somewhere other than Austin if they want to. While they would likely reside in Austin during lawmaking sessions, they wouldn't have to keep a permanent residence in Travis County for the duration of their four-year terms.

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NPR Story
9:26 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Lab Doing Defense Work Received Dangerous, Live Anthrax

A rod-shaped bacteria known as Bacillus anthracis can cause anthrax, serious infectious disease.
cdc.gov

Originally published on Thu May 28, 2015 8:06 am

A San Antonio research company confirms one of its Texas subsidiaries received potentially dangerous anthrax spores accidentally shipped by U.S. Department of Defense workers.  

A company spokesman says the live anthrax spores received by Signature Science in Austin, were frozen and the containers hadn’t been opened. 

Signature Science is a for-profit subsidiary of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. The company website says Signature Science works on a variety of government projects including those that provide “national and homeland security.”

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Memorial Day Floods
8:27 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Is Texas Doing Enough to Regulate Floodplain Development?

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The deadly flooding that hit central Texas this week struck in one of the most rapidly growing parts of the county. And it’s reignited a debate over whether the state is doing enough to regulate development in floodplains.

Professor Nicolas Pinter teaches environmental science at Southern Illinois University.  He says a big study back in the late ‘90s put Texas at number two in the country in number of properties that have flooded repeatedly and the number of properties that have received repeated flood insurance payouts. And Texas is second to Florida in flood insurance, with just over 681,000 policies to Florida's 2.1 million, according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The reason for that's simple: Texas gets a lot of floods.

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