AM Update
8:20 am
Tue May 8, 2012

AM Update: Voter ID Trial Delayed, Longhorns Arrested Downtown, Paul Qui Wins James Beard Award

In 2011, Gov. Rick Perry signed SB14, Texas' Voter ID law.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/texasgovernor

Texas’ Voter ID Law in Legal Limbo

Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that if Texas does not hand over requested documentation by Wednesday, the trial on Texas’ Voter ID Law will most likely be delayed. A delay in the trial means that Texas will not see the law implemented in time for the November election, according to the Texas Tribune.

The trial was scheduled to start July 9, until yesterday’s decision. The DOJ is specifically requesting information on voters and state databases; the state has until Wednesday to comply, says the Tribune.

KUT News previously reported that the DOJ had previously used demographic and census data to argue the  law would have a disproportionate impact on minority citizens.

Read more
City Council Elections
4:57 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

No Joy in This Bundle: Shea, Leffingwell Trade Fundraising Barbs

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea holds a list of contributors to Lee Leffingwell's campaign.
Photo by Mose Buchele

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea accused her opponent, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, of breaking city campaign donation rules in front of City Hall today. 

At issue are thousands of dollars Mayor Leffingwell received at an event attended by supporters of Austin’s Formula One racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas.

Shea says because he received those checks at the same event he should have listed the host as a “bundler,” someone who solicits donations for a candidate and hands them over to a campaign in a “bundle.”

Read more
Weather
4:44 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Flash Flood, Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Central Texas

A flash flood watch is in effect tonight through tomorrow afternoon for much of Central Texas. Heavy rain is expected –  with totals as high as five inches in some areas.

The National Weather Service writes:

Scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms will continue through the overnight hours. Some of these storms could become severe, with large hail and damaging winds. Expect lows to be in the mid-60s to low 70s. Winds will start out at southeast, 10 to 15 mph, but will become east to northeast, at about 5 to 10 mph.

Read more
Immigration
4:25 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Perry Urges Obama to Address Surge in Immigrant Minors

Photo illustration by Todd Wiseman / Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Citing an unprecedented level of unaccompanied illegal-immigrant minors breaching the U.S.-Mexico border, Gov. Rick Perry sent a letter Friday asking the Obama administration to address the “humanitarian crisis.”

Calling the issue a byproduct of Obama’s failed effort to secure the border, Perry cites recent media reports that indicate 5,200 unaccompanied and illegal-immigrant minors crossed in to the country during the first six months of the 2012 fiscal year, including 1,300 in March alone. It is unclear from the letter how many minors crossed into Texas.

“To be clear, Texas has been working diligently to protect the immediate health and safety of our citizens and the unaccompanied minors now in our state. However, by failing to take immediate action to return these minors to their countries of origin and prevent and discourage others from coming here, the federal government is perpetuating the problem,” Perry wrote.

Read more
Special Coverage
4:13 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

CIA Thwarts New, More Sophisticated Underwear Bomber

Originally published on Tue May 8, 2012 10:05 am

The CIA has thwarted a new plot that sought to blow up an American airliner using a new, more sophisticated underwear bomb. The plot was hatched by an al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen.

The Associated Press was the first to report the story and Reuters, CNN and NPR are now confirming. Both CNN and Reuters are running the story quoting unnamed government officials.

Here's the AP with the meat of it:

Read more
Transportation
1:22 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

Early Report: U.S. Highway Deaths Fall to Lowest Number Since 1949

Skid marks left by a van are visible on a highway after a van plunged over both the concrete and iron railing, killing three generations of a Bronx family, in New York.
Louis Lanzano AP

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:59 am

If a preliminary report holds true, the number of road deaths fell again in 2011. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 32,310 people died on highways last year, down almost 2 percent from the 32,885 people who died in 2010.

The Detroit News reports:

Read more
Education
12:16 pm
Mon May 7, 2012

AISD Board Members Face Deadline on Tax Hike Decision

Photo by Nathan Bernier, KUT News

If the Austin school board wants to adopt its budget in June, it has only until May 25 to decide whether to ask for permission to raise property taxes on the November ballot. That’s the timeline the nine trustees will consider at a board work session tonight.

A proposal would cost the owner of an average Austin home an extra $100 a year.

Austin ISD has been trying to get in the habit of adopting its budgets in June, rather than leaving the work until August, just days before the new school year starts. The change would create “considerable benefits”, according to an AISD budget FAQ, because of a one-time accounting change that “effectively generates a two-month expenditure credit for payroll and other liabilities.”

Read more
Health
11:46 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Even A Small Slowdown In Obesity's Rise Would Save Big Money

iStockphoto.com

Originally published on Mon May 7, 2012 11:04 am

Slowing the rising rates of obesity in this country by just 1 percent a year over the next two decades would slice the costs of health care by $85 billion.

Keep obesity rates where they are now — well below a 33 percent increase that's been expected by some — and the savings would hit nearly $550 billion over the same 20 years.

Read more
City Council Elections
11:07 am
Mon May 7, 2012

Early Voting Weekend Totals: Past Performance is No Indicator of Future Results (Except When It Is)

Austin's early voting patterns follow a similar pattern.

With early voting drawing to a close, turnout in the Austin city elections saw an expected uptick.

Friday turnout – 2,449 votes in all – broke this election’s previous best of nearly 2,200 on the first day of early voting. Turnout was similar on Saturday, with a total of 2,358 votes, before dropping off on Sunday, with only 897 ballots cast. Total overall turnout for early voting is now 13,713, or 2.87% of registered voters.

KUT News had previously described turnout as on track to beat 2011, Austin’s last City Council election, but possibly not 2009, Austin’s last mayoral election. And as depicted in the graph above, that prediction looks about right. Plotting the first seven days of early voting from 2009, 2011 and 2012, this election cycle’s turnout is solidly lodged between Austin’s last two contests.

Read more
Texas
8:48 am
Mon May 7, 2012

New Driver's License Requirements in Effect

The new requirements are focused on proving residency.
Image courtesy Department of Public Safety.

Starting today, new applicants for Texas driver’s licenses and IDs will have to meet stricter residency requirements.

First-time applicants have to meet all of the previous requirements, as well as present two additional documents that prove they live in Texas — like a current mortgage or lease agreement and a vehicle registration or title. You can view a complete list of acceptable documents to prove residency here

Read more
AM Update
7:42 am
Mon May 7, 2012

AM Update: Central Texas Flood Watch, Sheriff Race Centers on Immigration, Lege Revisits Medicaid

South-Central Texas can expect storms in the area, beginning Monday night until Tuesday afternoon.
Photo Courtesy of National Weather Service

South-Central Texas Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for South-Central Texas, beginning today and lasting into Tuesday evening.

The flash flood impact should be highest overnight tonight into Tuesday morning. According to the advisory, average rainfall is estimated between one and two inches, with higher totals reaching into three to five inches.

“A flash flood watch is in effect for Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon for the area North and West and I-35 and HWY 90. There is a chance for locally heavy rain and flash flooding Thursday and Friday. Otherwise no hazardous weather is expected at this time.”

Read more
Science
12:22 pm
Sat May 5, 2012

Look Up: Tonight, 'Supermoon' Is Closer To Earth

The statue of Freedom, atop of the U.S. Capitol Building, is pictured against a "supermoon" on March 19, 2011.
Jewel Samad AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 9:49 am

Head outside at sunset tonight and look up at the sky. If the full moon seems a tad larger than normal to you, that means one of two things: You are exceptionally perceptive, or you were already expecting to be dazzled, after hearing some of the buzz about this year's "supermoon."

It turns out that all full moons are not created equal. That's because the moon's orbit around the Earth isn't a perfect circle — it's an ellipse. And tonight, we're in luck.

Read more
Police
4:46 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Police Ramping Up Traffic Enforcement Around Schools

APD is on the lookout for unsafe drivers near area schools.
Image courtesy Austin Police

The Austin Police Department is cracking down on traffic violations around schools.

Today, APD announced an initiative to focus on drivers who speed or use their cell phones in school zones. They also want to make sure drivers don’t pass school buses or ignore crossing guards.

In 2009, Austin passed a ban on texting or using the internet while driving. This week, KUT News learned officers have only given out 26 tickets under that law since January of 2010.

Read more
Women's Health
4:33 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Court Rules Planned Parenthood Must Stay in Texas Women's Health Program

A Central Texas-area Planned Parenthood.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kellycree

A federal judge says the state of Texas cannot exclude Planned Parenthood from the Medicaid Women’s Health Program.

The program provides contraceptives and basic health screenings for more than 100,000 low income women in Texas. A state rule aimed at preventing Planned Parenthood from providing services under the program was put in place earlier this year.

A federal appeals judge today said there is evidence that the rule is unconstitutional – and upheld a lower court’s order that temporarily blocks the state from enforcing it.

Read more
Austin
3:37 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Cap Metro Bus Crashes Foam Sword Brawl at UT

The scene after the accident this afternoon.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Video captured earlier today on the UT Campus shows an incident that injured one student, albeit not seriously.

The video below captures a scene from Foam Sword Friday, an end-of-semester tradition of sorts, where students relieve finals anxiety by engaging in faux battle.  As you can see, one participant received a blow from a Cap Metro bus instead.

The Daily Texan tweeted the student suffered only minor injuries.

Read more
Austin
2:46 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Map: Multiple Road Closures This Weekend

View May 5th/May 6th Road Closures in a larger map

If it’s a weekend in Austin, there must be some special events. And special events mean road closures. Five big events are happening this weekend, and KUT News has mapped the closures above. Here’s more on what’s happening:

  • Chuy’s Hot to Trot 5K and Kid-K: Chuy’s Arbor Trails location is sponsoring a 5K run Saturday, May 5. The Kid-K is approximately a half-mile and everyone receives a medal as they cross the line. Online registration for the event is closed, but in-person registration is available Friday until 8 p.m. and Saturday beginning at 6:30 a.m.
Read more
Education
1:57 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Vince Young Encourages Teens to Go to College

Former UT football star Vince Young is the spokesperson for a group encouraging Texas high school graduates to go to college.
Photo courtesy Generation Texas

UT Austin football great Vince Young is back in town today to promote higher education.

Young is the spokesperson for Generation Texas — a group that asked everyone to wear their favorite college t-shirt today in hopes of inspiring high school grads to pursue a college degree.

Young, of course, is sporting a Longhorns t-shirt. He spoke to students at Del Valle High School this morning and told KUT they seemed excited about the possibility of going to college.

Read more
Pakistan
1:27 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Why is Critical Media Important for Pakistan's Tribal Region?

A bustling street in Pershawar.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/heston55

Tayyeb Afridi is a journalist from the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, a region that borders Afghanistan. He visited KUT in May 2011 on a US Pakistan Journalism Exchange through the International Center for Journalists. You can read more of KUT News’ Pakistan coverage.

In Peshawar, I met a radio talk show listener Haji Noor Zaman, who is 60 years old and is displaced from Khyber Agency due to operation against militants. I asked: Do you still listen to radio? He said yes, he is listening but only to news bulletins from Radio Deewa.

Radio Deewa is U.S. government-sponsored radio. I asked what’s new. He said America has diverted its cannon facing Baluchistan and has built up its human rights case against Pakistan.

Read more
Arts and Culture
12:39 pm
Fri May 4, 2012

Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch Has Died

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys during a 2001 performance in New York City.
Scott Gries Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 4, 2012 2:26 pm

Update at 2:30 p.m. ET: The news that Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys has died has now been confirmed by the group's public relations firm.

Our original post:

Read more
City Council Elections
11:53 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Early Voting Totals, Day Four: More of the Same

Early voting totals for Thursday were consistent with what was seen all week.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Early voting in the Austin City Elections continue apace. A total of 1,893 ballots were cast yesterday, between in-person voting and voting by mail.

Those numbers are eerily consistent with what we’ve seen all week, in-person totals being just two votes off what we saw yesterday, and three off what we saw Monday. With a total of 8,010 ballots cast, Austin has now seen 1.68% of its registered voters go to the polls.

It’s safe to say totals look on track to beat 2011 turnout, from Austin’s most recent (but non-mayoral) City Council contest. That saw a total of 14,871 early votes, or 3.35% percent of registered voters. 

Read more

Pages