Education
9:41 am
Tue September 2, 2014

As School Begins, Two High Schools Mark Early College Program Program Expansions

Reagan High School is one of two early college programs in Austin ISD.
Photo by KUT News

While the school year is just beginning, for Reagan High School and LBJ High School the end of the year will mark the first graduating classes in their Early College programs.

The programs offer free tuition and books to students looking for a leg up in college, or to earn an associate’s degree while still in high school. For Reagan, the program has revitalized the East Austin school given 90 percent of economically disadvantaged students a chance to pursue higher education.

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Get Involved
9:31 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Get Involved Spotlight: Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

From Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, this month's Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

HAAM provides access to affordable health care for Austin’s low-income, uninsured working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness.

Inspired musical performances happen every day of the year in Austin.  We pride ourselves on being the Live Music Capital of the World and are fortunate to have over 8,000 working musicians contributing to our city’s culture and economy.  We have seen firsthand the dedication and generosity of Austin’s musicians.  They inspire us to do more, do it better and perform at a level worthy of their talent and contribution.  Since 2005, HAAM has provided over $30 million in healthcare services to over 3,000 Austin musicians.  We can’t do it alone, HAAM’s staff, volunteers, network of service providers, sponsors and individual supporters are dedicated to keeping music in Austin alive and well.  We hope you will join us. 

HAAM Eligibility:  To be eligible for HAAM services applicants must be uninsured, working Austin musicians earning $29,175 or less annually (250% of federal poverty level).

 

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Education
2:03 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

Austin ISD Secures $3 Million for Science Center at Anderson High School

The AusTIN CANs robotoics club from Anderson High School won the Engineering Inspiration Award, besting 400 other teams in the international FIRST Robotics World Championship.
Credit facebook.com/austincans

Last week, the Austin School Board accepted a nearly three million-dollar donation from a private donor to build a new applied technology center at Anderson High School. The new 14,000-square foot building will hold two computer labs dedicated to computer sciences as well as a manufacturing workshop to help in building robots for the school's nationally-recognized robotics program.

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In Black America Podcast
11:17 am
Mon September 1, 2014

In Black America Podcast: Paulette Brown, President-elect of the ABA

Paulette Brown, President-elect American Bar Association

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Paulette Brown, Partner and Chief Diversity Officer of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, and President-elect of the American Bar Association.

In August 2014, Brown will become the first African American woman to serve as President of the American Bar Association (ABA). Brown will serve as president-elect for one year before taking over as president in August 2015.

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Austin
10:41 am
Mon September 1, 2014

How Will Austin Police Enforce the Hand-Held Device Ban?

The Austin City Council approved a ban on hand-held devices last week, which will take effect at the beginning of next year.
Credit via Xconomy

Starting in January, you won't be able to have your phone in your hands while driving your car, or while riding your bike.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance Thursday prohibiting use of devices unless drivers are at a complete stop, or if there is an emergency. Those caught in the act by Austin police face a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 – though, the city has not yet finalized a fine structure for the ban.

While some studies suggest devices with hands-free capability doesn't necessarily reduce safety risk or increase reaction times, the move is an extension of the city's current ban on using devices while on the road. But what do Austin drivers think of the ban, and how Austin police plan to enforce it?

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Perry Indictment
7:46 am
Mon September 1, 2014

Perry Calls Lehmberg-Bashing Tweet ‘Unauthorized’

Perry outside the Travis County Justice Complex on the day of his booking.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Last night at around 7 p.m. Gov. Rick Perry tweeted an image from the blog the Patriot Post, which included a meme calling Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg “the most drunk democrat in Texas.”

The meme, which you can view below, reads “I don’t always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit…but when I do, I indict Gov. Perry for calling me out about it.” Perry since walked back the retweet but, it seems, not quickly enough. The tweet was picked up by screen-grabbers nationwide, garnering coverage from Mashable and the Huffington Post among others.

Shortly after, Perry deleted the tweet, saying he didn’t condone its message.

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Politics
1:35 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

What to Expect Now That Greg Abbott's Dropped Out of the Gubernatorial Debate

Attorney General Greg Abbott says he won't participate in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate against his opponent Wendy Davis.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune for KUT News

Republican candidate Greg Abbott has reversed his decision to appear in the only gubernatorial debate to be broadcast on statewide television. 

Abbot and his Democractic opponent, Wendy Davis, had both agreed to participate in a roundtable debate in Dallas on Sept. 30 broadcast on WFAA.  But Abbott's team reversed an earlier decision and said it will not participate because of disagreements with the round-table format. 

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss Abbott's decision and whether the 2016 presidential election speculations are over-shadowing the Texas governor's race.  

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Education
12:00 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

Why Texas Says It's Not Prime Time to Give Deion Sanders' Charter School State Money

Sanders as an NFL Network analyst in 2008.
Michael De Jesus Wikimedia Commons

Football legend Deion Sanders is used to the media spotlight. The two-time Super Bowl winner earned the nickname "Prime Time" for his flashy style and aggressive speed. But it's his Prime Prep Academy that's been grabbing headlines lately. 

The charter school founded by the former Dallas Cowboys cornerback suffered a string of setback, including allegations that led the Texas Education Agency to revoke its charter. The school is currently appealing the decision, but it's in hot water once again for opening a second campus without TEA approval. 

Texas Standard host David Brown spoke to Dallas Morning News reporter Jeff Mosier about the state of the charter school and its outspoken founder. You can read some of the interview highlights below. 

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Mental Health
3:08 pm
Sat August 30, 2014

How This County Program Keeps Mental Health Patients Out of Jail & In Treatment

The MCOT program kept 80 percent of patients in mental health crises out of county jails and emergency rooms.
Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

Ben Johnson is combing through a list of names, addresses and mental health histories in the driver seat of a Jeep Compass. He works for Austin’s Mobile Crisis Outreach Team, MCOT, a branch of Austin Travis County Integral Care comprised of 18 licensed mental health counselors who respond to mental health crises across the county.

Johnson is deciding who to visit today. Another patient has paranoia. In addition, she's having problems at home, and is in danger of losing her housing. 

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HB2
5:02 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Federal Judge Strikes Down Provisions of Texas Abortion Law

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

A federal judge in Austin has struck down several parts of House Bill 2, the controversial abortion law passed by the Texas Legislature last year.

The provisions were set to go into effect on Monday.

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KUT Weekend
2:35 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

10-1
2:11 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Ballot Boxing: The Austin City Council District Forums

Join KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums. All forums begin at 7 P.M. They are free and open to the public.
RSVP is recommended. 

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2014 Elections
10:35 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Why 10-1 Isn't Austin's First Go-Around with Geographic Representation

A map of Austin from 1873 by Augustus Koch.
Wikimedia Commons

Let's go back in time. It's 1839. Austin’s a brand new baby, the capitol is a one-story building at the corner of 8th Street and Colorado, the Austin City Gazette costs $5 for a yearly subscription, and Lamar is the President of the Republic of Texas, not an overly-congested thoroughfare.

While all that may sound antiquated, there was something else in Austin that only recently has been considered a fresh, previously unheard of idea: geographic representation.

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Two Guys on Your Head
8:58 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Why School Can Be So Boring

If you’ve seen "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" or ever been in a classroom, you know that school can sometimes be very boring. However, learning and coming up with ideas in an environment with others in our social group should be fun! So why do schools get such a bad rap?

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Robert Duke talk about some of the historical and present day factors that contribute to why school is so boring, and offer a few suggestions for a brighter future.

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Austin
7:32 am
Fri August 29, 2014

City Council Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving

The Austin City Council banned use of hands-free devices yesterday. The ban starts in January of 2015.
via http://www.flickr.com/photos/indyplanets/

Holding a phone while rolling on Austin streets is about to become against the law, but not just for Austinites driving cars and trucks.

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Education
3:13 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Judge Strikes Down Texas School Finance System

Judge John Dietz issued a ruling calling the state's school finance system constitutionally inadequate.
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Today, Travis County District Court Judge John Dietz issued a ruling that finds the way Texas pays for public schools unconstitutional, calling it a de facto statewide property tax.

The case was brought by hundreds of Texas school districts after the state legislature cut $5 billion from public school funding in 2011.

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Eanes ISD
1:54 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Eanes ISD Approves Sports and Community Complex (Update)

An image from the Westlake Neighborhood Alliance website opposing Western Hills Little League's proposed complex. The proposed center's also been fought in court, but the builders say they don’t understand the concern.
nottherightsite.com

Update: The Eanes School Board last night approved an agreement with a private contractor to build a 60-70,000 square foot facility next to Westlake High School. 

The proposed complex includes five to six basketball courts, nearly a dozen volleyball courts and an indoor turf field. There are also plans to build an aquatic facility and it will used for other sports and activities, like band, karate, yoga or gymnastics. There will also be space for video conferencing and camps. The company, Westlake Athletic Center (WAC), will build the complex and pay for constructions. Ten years after it's built, WAC will also pay Eanes ISD $60,000 per year as  rent the school, with escalation costs of 2.5 percent.

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Austin ISD
12:17 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Single Sex Schools Breathe New Life into Failing East Austin Middle Schools

Principal Savina at the all-girls school says she still believes her school will provide female students with a better experience.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Seventh graders are gathered in the cafeteria of the Gus Garcia Young Men’s Leadership Academy. They’re all dressed in white button down shirts and khaki pants. In their hands, they hold silver ties—which they are learning how to tie by themselves.

"Put it through the front hole and pull it down," instructs counselor, Sabrina Brown. "Okay. And start fixing it. Oh, there you go! Pull it, pull it!”

“This is so weird," says seventh grader Martin Gonzales. "I look like I’m going to work!”

Gonzales moved to Austin this summer and says he enrolled at Gus Garcia because his brother wanted to attend.

“But now that I’m here, it’s pretty cool," he says, despite the fact that it's all boys. "It’s pretty weird. I’m not used to it. Regularly my teachers call me a ladies man.”

Well, that won't matter as much at this school.

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2014 Elections
10:05 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Candidates Talk Transportation at Mayoral Forum

KUT's Jennifer Stayton moderated the panel of five mayoral hopefuls at KLRU's forum.
Sam Butler/KLRU

This story from our city hall reporting partners, the Austin Monitor.
You can hear the entire mayoral debate on KUT 90.5 FM tonight at 8 p.m.

Though Austin residents can only vote for one Council member to represent their geographic district this Election Day, everyone in the city gets a say in who becomes the next mayor. Five of those in the running showed up for the Civic Summit Mayoral Candidate Forum, Wednesday, presented by KLRU, Austin’s PBS station and the Urban Land Institute.

Moderator Jennifer Stayton, host of KUT’s Morning Edition, grilled candidates Todd Phelps, Mike Martinez, Randall Stephens, Sheryl Cole and Steve Adler about how they would govern the city, focusing specifically on what each candidate would do to alleviate Austin’s traffic congestion.

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Austin
7:58 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Austin's Experimental 'Micro-Housing' Project for Chronically Homeless Breaks Ground

The interior of one of the micro-homes. Some can be rented for as low as $180 per month.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Yesterday, a decade-long dream took root for Alan Graham of Mobile Loaves and Fishes. Graham and the organization celebrated the groundbreaking of Community First, a self-sustaining, employment-focused village for chronically homeless Austinites on the mend near Decker Lane.

The experiment aims to end homelessness by cheaply renting out up to 240 colorful cottages, offering tenants homegrown produce, employment services and a roof over their head in northeast Austin.

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