Border & Immigration
4:40 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Can You Measure the Success of National Guard Troops on the Border?

Members of the Texas National Guard
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

The eyes of the nation are focused on the Texas-Mexico border, due to the humanitarian crisis involving undocumented and unaccompanied minors. This week, Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of 1,000 Texas National Guard Troops to the border.

Politically speaking, Gov. Perry’s message is that the Federal Government is failing in its duties. But in a story set to be published in Sunday’s Austin American-Statesman, investigative reporters Jeremy Schwartz and Eric Dexheimer pose a question: just what constitutes “mission accomplished?” 

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KUT's Summer School
4:32 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Don't Get it Twisted: Making Balloon Animals Takes Lots of Practice

Kristen Crandall and Michael Hale work for Austin Kids Parties, a small business that does balloon twisting and face painting at birthday parties, festivals and corporate events.
Joe Capraro/KUT

It’s time for another edition of KUT’s Summer School! Every Friday this summer, we head out to learn new skills from people in Austin who are experts in their field. Today’s subject? Balloon Twisting.  

KUT’s Kate McGee teaches us how to learns the squeaky, yet delicate art of creating shapes out of balloons.

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Border & Immigration
3:58 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

How Austin Can Help Unaccompanied Minors at the Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Unaccompanied minors and other immigrants continue to arrive at the border, creating a national dialogue on immigration reform.

President Obama is expected to meet with the presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras today to discuss the humanitarian crisis along the border.

Organizations and faith-based groups around the country are doing what they can to assist the minors. Austin is no exception – several organizations and churches are currently accepting donations. Here’s a roundup:

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Arts Eclectic
3:23 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

See 'Bright Now Beyond' at Salvage Vanguard Theater

Starting July 31, Salvage Vanguard Theater will present the world premiere of the new musical Bright Now Beyond. It's an adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1904 book The Marvelous Land of Oz (which was the second in the author's long-running series of Oz books).

Bright Now Beyond is set decades after the events of The Wizard of Oz, and features a few characters  from that story (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and Glinda the Good all make appearences) along with many  new characters not seen in the classic film. Co-writer Daniel Alexander Jones sees all the characters — the familiar and the new — as being at a crossroads in their life; that's one of the things that drew him to the story.

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KUT Weekend
2:17 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

UT Austin
11:45 am
Fri July 25, 2014

UT System Expected to Name New Chancellor on Tuesday

The Board of Regents of the UT System is expected to name William McRaven to succeed Francisco Cigarroa as chancellor.
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System Board of Regents has scheduled a meeting for Tuesday, when they are expected to name the sole finalist to be the system's next chancellor. Sources with knowledge of the search told the Tribune that Admiral William H. McRaven is likely to be chosen.

McRaven is a Navy Seal best known for coordinating the successful operation to kill Osama bin Laden. He is currently the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, which is headquartered in Florida. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree from the Naval Postgraduate School.

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Two Guys on Your Head
10:43 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Why Some Beliefs Are Beyond Debate

Credit onewithnow.com

I am absolutely certain that I’m right and you’re wrong, so because of this certainty, I will argue my belief, which I believe to be correct, however long it takes to convince you to submit to my superior correctness. 

Have you ever encountered such a fixed and inflexible perspective of a belief in a person who disagrees with you on something?  Of course you have.  We’re only human, and it’s part of the nature of our cognitive patterns to want to hold onto certain beliefs with a very firm intellectual grip.

On this week’s episode of Two Guys On Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke analyze the differing approaches to holding a belief and how those different approaches affect interaction in society. Essentially, this comes down to two fundamental ways of holding a belief: You can have a firm grip, or a loose one.

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Education
9:55 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Despite Campaign Focus, Texas Pre-K Won't Likely Expand Soon

Robert W. Hart

Over half of Texas children between the ages of three and four don't go to preschool, according to the annual Kids Count report released this week from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. Texas schools offer free pre-K programs to 4-year-olds, but primarily only offer programs for 3-year-olds on a tuition basis. Those low numbers and access have drawn scrutiny from education advocates, lawmakers and even the candidates running for governor.

Despite the recent focus on preschool access for Texas children, efforts to expand access may to wait until after the upcoming legislative session.

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Texas Foster Care
7:17 am
Fri July 25, 2014

After Child Deaths, Texas Lawmakers Examine Foster Care Practices

State lawmakers have had several committee meetings to discuss possible reform to the state's foster care system. Yesterday's meeting was the third in the past two months.
Credit David Garzon

Texas lawmakers have already convened several times this year to discuss rampant – and persistent -- problems in the state’s foster care system. On Thursday, another hearing at the Capitol took place to look into what can be changed.

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Israel And Gaza
4:07 am
Fri July 25, 2014

Gaza Conflict: What To Know For Friday

Smoke and flames from an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City on Thursday.
Adel Hana AP

Originally published on Fri July 25, 2014 4:34 pm

Updated at 5:35 p.m. ET.

As the conflict between Israel and Gaza approaches the three-week mark, the fighting seems to have only intensified. At least 119 Palestinians were killed Thursday, making it the bloodiest day of the war.

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Arts Eclectic
6:07 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

See 'Oklahoma!' Free in Zilker Park

 

  The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! debuted on Broadway 71 years ago, and has remained a popular classic ever since. It was a huge hit in its original Broadway run, spawned an Oscar-winning movie version in 1955, and has been performed countless times in theaters worldwide.

In addition to being crowd-pleasing, though, it was also a ground-breaking production, an important work in the development of the 'book musical,' in which the songs and musical numbers progress the story. That's more or less taken for granted in the modern musical, but it wasn't often the case before Oklahoma! took the stage. 

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Border & Immigration
4:15 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

Who Are The Kids Of The Migrant Crisis?

Volunteers such as this woman — who's with a group that calls itself "Las Patronas" — throw bags of food and water to migrants in Veracruz, Mexico, who are headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border.
Courtesy of Deborah Bonello

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:23 pm

Since October, a staggering 57,000 unaccompanied migrant children have been apprehended at the southwestern U.S. border. Sometimes, they've been welcomed into the country by activists; other times they've been turned away by protesters.

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Health
3:35 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

U.S. Teens Still Lag In Getting Vaccinated Against HPV

Dr. Donald Brown inoculated Kelly Kent with the HPV vaccine in his Chicago office in the summer of 2006 — not long after the first version of the vaccine reached the market.
Charles Rex Arbogast AP

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 5:11 pm

Though the vaccine against human papilloma virus is highly effective in preventing certain forms of cancer, the number of preteens getting the vaccine is still dismally low, doctors from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday.

"One of the top five reasons parents listed is that it hadn't been recommended to them by a doctor or nurse," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters at a press briefing.

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Business
3:19 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

What's Next for Austin's Creative Economy?

Rooster Teeth Founders (pictured left to right) Matt Hullum and Bernie Burns
ChinLin Pan/KUT

According to Forbes.com, since 2001 tech firms like Apple, Google, and Facebook have expanded employment by 41 percent. This has lead to Austin resembling a smaller Silicon Valley – and Texas as a whole altering the face of its economy.

In keeping with Austin's renowned music scene, many of the region's exports are less about tangible services and more about entertainment and innovative ideas and applications. Economist and author Richard Florida christened such a move to a arts and knowledge-based economy as "The Rise of the Creative Class."

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Israel And Gaza
1:16 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

UT Students Stay in Israel Despite Ongoing Violence

UT-Austin hopes to allow students to finish their summer studies in Israel.
flickr.com/raondo

As the conflict between Israel and Palestine in Gaza continues, officials with the University of Texas International Office say they've been in close contact with graduate students and faculty conducting research in Israel.

“None of our students are anywhere near the Gaza Strip or the West Bank,” UT International Office risk analyst Erin Wolf says.

Wolf says six graduate students and a handful of faculty are doing research projects in Israel and that in addition to providing academic support, local universities are also giving them direction.

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Education
12:20 pm
Thu July 24, 2014

How Austin Turned a Dead Department Store Into a Community College

At ACC's new campus, workers cut a 170-foot-long skylight in what was once a J.C. Penney department store. Natural light formerly came through only two front doors.
Audrey McGlinchy/KUT

To Veronica Escobedo, it resembled a fancy hotel – not quite a college campus.

But the first-year radiology student said the stylish and comfortable furniture, much of it still wrapped in plastic, would encourage her to stay on Austin Community College’s new campus between classes.

“There are bigger areas to actually study with people,” Escobedo said. “Most of the time I found myself studying with people off campus. The design and architecture make it really feel like a home.”

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Austin
9:20 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Why Kids' Summer Activities Could End Up Saving Parents Money

Isabelle DiCarlo rides a horse at Switch Willow. The money her mother Julie spent on activities this summer is around $5,000, which she could write off as a deduction in next year's taxes.
Filipa Rodigues for KUT News

For busy parents, the dog days of summer are less about beating the heat, and more about finding a way to keep the kids preoccupied.

Activities can range from summer camps to soccer leagues or stints at daycare, but they all have one thing in common: they cost money. But, while there's no such thing as a free summertime preoccupation, the money parents spend on their kids' activities could return later in the form of a welcome tax deduction.

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Traffic
7:19 am
Thu July 24, 2014

How Much Do Bad Roads & Texas Traffic Cost Drivers Every Year?

Deteriorating roadways and traffic congestion costs Austin drivers $1,700 every year.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Believe it or not, the state of Texas needs to spend money every year just to maintain current and ever-growing levels of traffic.

The Texas Department of Transportation needs at least $4 to 5 billion in additional funds to maintain roads and keep traffic from getting worse. In November, Texans will take to the polls to decide the fate of the agency's request via a constitutional amendment for the roadway funding.

While the sticker shock of that may not sit well with some, a new study says shaky infrastructure has an annual statewide cost of over $25 billion and Austin drivers an average of $1,700 a year.

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Border & Immigration
6:38 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Amid Wave Of Child Immigrants, Reports Of Abuse By Border Patrol

Thousands of young immigrants, many of them from Central America, have crossed illegally into the United States this year, causing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis on the U.S.-Mexico border.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:21 pm

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

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Air Algerie
6:00 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Wreckage Of Air Algerie Flight With 116 Aboard Found In Mali

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 9:21 pm

Updated at 10:05 p.m. ET.

The Air Algerie MD-83 en route from the capital of Burkina Faso to Algiers with 116 passengers and crew aboard has been found with no survivors.

NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton, reporting for our Newscast team, that a presidential aide in neighboring Burkina Faso says the remains of the missing aircraft have been found just across the border in Mali, in an isolated area about 60 miles south of the town of Gao.

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