Texas
11:17 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Is Texas Prepared for a Public Health Emergency?

Credit Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

A man who may have had contact with 100 other people is in isolation at a Dallas hospital after being diagnosed with Ebola, a deadly virus that has killed more than 3,000 people in West Africa. Two weeks ago, El Paso officials said more than 700 infants may have been exposed to a hospital aide with tuberculosis. And in July, the first case of chikungunya, a virus spread by mosquitoes, arrived in Texas.

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Affordable Housing
11:02 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Austin Bans Discrimination Against Voucher-Holding Renters (Update)

City council will vote on an ordinance that would make it illegal for landlords to deny rental applicants on Section 8 housing vouchers.
Wells Dunbar/KUT News

Austin’s long on housing stock, but the city's still struggling to expand affordable housing options across Austin.

Today, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance to “create” more affordable housing units by requiring existing apartments to accept Section 8 housing vouchers – subsidies from the Department of Housing and Urban Development that can pay up to 70 percent of rent for low-income, disabled and elderly tenants.

The ordinance increases options for Section 8 holders ninefold, but some landlords aren’t happy about it.

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Arts Eclectic
10:54 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Nettie Reynolds Celebrates the Big 5-0

Writer and storyteller Nettie Reynolds has been performing in public for the past twenty years or so, and this weekend she'll be presenting her second full-length sort-of-one-woman show.

Though Reynolds is doing most of the heavy lifting, it's not exactly a solo show, as she'll be joined by a few of her friends -- Walter Daniels and Kacy Crowley will each sing a song, and Cate Berry and Bernadette Noll will each tell a story. 

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Austin Energy
10:14 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Audit Finds 9 of 10 Austin Energy Customers Are Overcharged on Water Bills

More oversight is expected on water bill charges after an audit revealed nine of 10 customers were overbilled for water.
Austin Monitor

From The Austin Monitor:

The City Auditor’s Office has found that the customer billing system that generates the City of Austin’s combined utility bills does not routinely scrutinize the readings on the majority of water bills, leading to the possibility of overcharges for nine out of 10 customers.

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Texas Standard
8:48 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Kasim Reed on the Need for Bipartisan Politics

Texas Standard Host David Brown, left, with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

The United States continues to lead the world as the center of the global economy and the sole international superpower, according to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Those who disagree with that statement are simply uninformed, he says.

“I think those people are flat out wrong and that they don’t know what they’re talking about,” he says.

Reed says for the U.S. to maintain its standing in the world, Democrats and Republicans need to consistently strive to work together for America’s betterment. He sat down with Texas Standard host David Brown during The Texas Tribune Festival to discuss the political center, the value of bipartisan politics, and his own political future.

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College Sexual Assault
6:03 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Victims at UT Face Many Paths in Reporting Sexual Assault

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Dealing with a sexual assault is a traumatic process. Especially on college campuses, many victims are unsure of what to do or where to turn, and it can be overwhelming. 

As sexual assault moves further into public discussion, KUT is taking a look at how UT-Austin deals with sexual assault on campus. Today, we’re focusing on the reporting process, which is aimed at helping victims in the wake of sexual assault grapple with the legal, personal and academic fallout.

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ACL 2014
5:36 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

How to Have a Carefree, Car-Free ACL Weekend

With Austin City Limits comes traffic, but there are plenty of options to avoid the
KUTX

ACL is here. That means – whether you’re a native Austinite or an out-of-towner – there will be traffic.

I-35, MoPac, Congress Avenue, Barton Springs, South Lamar and any other stretch of paved road remotely near the downtown area will likely begin to resemble a parking lot by the time things kick-off this weekend. While there's plenty of parking, we can pretty much guarantee that none of it will be free.

So, with that in mind, here’s a guide to help you get from point A to point B without getting behind the wheel.

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Ebola
5:19 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Ebola Case in Austin Unlikely, But Officials Say City's Prepared

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services Director Ernesto Rodriguez speaks at a press conference on Oct. 1, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Austin officials say the city has a plan to address any cases of Ebola, now that the first confirmed case in the U.S. is up the road in Dallas.

Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services says it's been ready since the Ebola outbreak in West Africa began.

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Texas Standard
4:41 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Inside the Texas Poll Looking at Abbott, Davis and Obama

University of Texas

Texans will be asking themselves a lot of questions come November, when Texas heads into its general elections. Between the battle for governorship, an indictment, and growing concerns over immigration, Texan’s have a lot on their plate.

So where does the average Texan stand in the middle of the political whirlwind? Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with University of Texas associate professor Darren Shaw, who conducted a poll on behalf of the non-partisan Texas Lyceum group. So after the numbers have been tallied, what do the polls show us?

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NPR Story
12:45 pm
Wed October 1, 2014

Dallas Patient Told Hospital During First Visit He Was Visiting From Liberia

Gov. Rick Perry spoke at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Wednesday.
Doualy Xaykaothao KERA News

Originally published on Thu October 2, 2014 11:00 am

[For Thursday Ebola updates, click here.] The sister of the first Ebola patient diagnosed in the United States says he told officials the first time he went to the Dallas hospital that he was visiting from Liberia.

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Politics
10:37 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Court of Criminal Appeals Declines to Reinstate Tom Delay's Conviction

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (left) and his defense lawyer Dick DeGuerin at the Travis County Criminal Justice Center on November 1, 2010.
Matt Largey, KUT News

The state’s highest criminal appeals court is refusing to reinstate the 2010 convictions of former House Majority Leader Tom Delay on money laundering and conspiracy charges.

Prosecutors alleged Delay illegally funneled $190,000 in corporate campaign contributions to several candidates for the Texas Legislature in 2002.

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Transportation
9:06 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Why Austin's ‘Rail Fail’ in 2000 Still Resonates Today

If things had gone differently 14 years ago, instead of the bus service you see here on Guadalupe there'd be a light rail line today.
Spencer Selvidge/KUT News

This November, Austin voters will decide on one of the biggest expenditures in city history: a $1 billion proposal for a new light rail line and road improvements. It’s not the first time light rail has come before Austin voters: 14 years ago, in 2000, rail was narrowly voted down. How and why that plan failed has informed the latest plan voters will decide on this year.

If the light rail plan had passed back in 2000, one thing’s for sure: Austin's transit network would look very different today. The 15-mile line would have gone from Ben White and South Congress through downtown on Guadalupe and Lamar, all the way up past Parmer Lane. Think of it this way: if it had been built, you could have a burger at Hopdoddy on South Congress, then hop on a train up to Anderson Lane and Lamar, where it'd be a short hike or bike ride for another burger at the other Hopdoddy.

"2000 was kind of a pivotal moment, I think, in planning for rail transit in Austin," says Jeff Wood with The Overhead Wire, a transit consulting firm in San Francisco. He's studied the 2000 vote closely. "You had this huge election, and George Bush was on the ballot, and it lost by less than 2,000 votes."

While a slight majority of voters within city limits cast ballots in favor of the plan, the vote was in all of Capital Metro's service area at the time. Suburban voters were seen as pivotal in defeating the measure. That failure has informed the proposal Austinites are considering today.

How? To start with, just take a look at the name. 

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2014 Elections
7:46 am
Wed October 1, 2014

Abbott & Davis Land Jabs, Offer Few Policy Specifics in Final Debate

Credit KERA via Texas Tribune

Republican Attorney Greg Abbott and Democrat State Sen. Wendy Davis met for a second and final debate in Dallas last night.

There was plenty of sniping: Abbott alleged Davis profited from an incentive while she served on Fort Worth's city council and Davis vilified Abbott for his alleged lack of oversight of the Texas Enterprise Fund.

But both made sure voters understood their ideological differences – even if their policy specifics remained a little fuzzy – and tried to use the night to gain momentum ahead of Election Day next month.

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Austin
7:36 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Muslim Group's Adopt-A-Highway Sign Vandalized

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's Adopt-A-Highway sign was vandalized over the weekend. It's in Round Rock on A.W. Grimes Boulevard between Old Settlers and University Boulevards.
Yasir Mirza

An Austin-area Muslim community that helps maintain a stretch of road in Round Rock had its official Adopt-A-Highway sign vandalized. The sign is on A.W. Grimes Boulevard between Old Settlers and University Boulevards. 

Someone over the weekend sprayed black paint over the part of the sign that said "Ahmadiyya Muslim," the name of the community that cleans litter from the stretch of highway every three months or so.

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Child Protective Services
5:36 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Experts Say Texas Child Protective Services Needs Help from Community Members

State Reps. Cindy Burkett, R-Garland, left, and Jessica Farrar, D-Houston, are members of the Texas House Select Committee on Child Protection. The committee hosted a public hearing on Sept. 30, 2014.
KUT News

A federal commission is researching how the U.S. can reduce the number of deaths from child abuse and neglect.

Today, a member of that group told Texas lawmakers that no one state agency is to blame for these child fatalities.

The Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities is working on a report for Congress and the President on how the U.S. can fight child deaths. The commission’s Susan Dreyfus says more people like doctors, police officers and caretakers need to call Child Protective Services when they see a child at risk.

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Ebola
5:12 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

First U.S. Case Of Ebola Confirmed In Dallas

A patient at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has a confirmed case of Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. He is being treated and kept in strict isolation.
LM Otero AP

Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 2:10 pm

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Tuesday that the first case of Ebola has appeared in the U.S.

A man in Dallas has tested positive for the virus, the agency said. The man flew to the U.S. from Liberia, arriving on Sept. 20, NPR has learned. He wasn't sick on the flight, and had no symptoms when he arrived.

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College Sexual Assault
4:34 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

UT Austin Combats Sexual Assault With Focus on Consent

Audience members watch the skit and then are asked question about what they have just seen. The Voices Against Violence group reherses the skit "Get Sexy, Get Consent." The performers' friends were audience members, giving the actors a chance to practice
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Three actors are standing in a room in UT’s Counseling and Mental Health center, talking about sex.

It’s part of a performance called “Get Sexy, Get Consent," a series of skits put on by the Theatre for Dialogue program that are performed in front of everyone from freshmen at orientation to new athletes.

The program seeks to educate students on sexual assault in what's called the "red zone" – the peak reporting time between the first day of school and Thanksgiving, when reports of sexual assault reach their peak on many college campuses in the United States.

It's part of a larger effort by the University of Texas to prevent sexual assault amid national concern that many cases go unreported.

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ACL 2014
2:41 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Map: Austin City Limits Parking & Street Closures

It’s that time of year. The weather’s (kind of) cooling down and the vacation rental beds are about to warm up with music-loving out of towners.

Austin City Limits is upon us and while some may forego the fest, it’s safe to say many Austinites will join the revelry both at Zilker Park and downtown for the after-shows.

With that in mind, here’s a map of the street closures over the festival weekend and some of the parking spots in the downtown area suggested by the festival organizers and the City of Austin.

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2014 Elections
9:25 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Lt. Gov. Candidates Trade Barbs on Taxes, Education & Immigration in Debate

State Sens. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, the candidates for lieutenant governor, debated in Austin on Sept. 29, 2014.
Eric Gay/AP

The two candidates for the state's second highest statewide office met last night at KLRU studios in Austin in their first and only debate before Election Day in November.

State Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, spent much of his time on stage trying to paint his opponent, as a tax-and-spend liberal who would wreck the Texas economy, while State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, spent much of the night trying to paint Patrick as out of step with the mainstream.

Patrick set his sights on Van de Putte’s legislative support of a bill providing in-state tuition to undocumented immigrants, questioning whether the law gave deference to immigrants in admissions. Van de Putte singled out Patrick's support of $5.4 billion cuts in the state's education budget during the 2011 legislative session.

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Life & Arts
8:39 am
Tue September 30, 2014

Lena Dunham's New Book, and the Finalists for the First Ever Kirkus Prize Announced

Kirkus Editor, Clay Smith
Photo by Michael Thad Carter

Many fans of the HBO series Girls are eagerly awaiting today's doorstep delivery of producer, creator, and lead actress Lena Dunham's first book. In Not That Kind of Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She's "Learned," Dunham pens a series of essays that is part memoir, part advice book. 

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