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.

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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.

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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.

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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.
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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.

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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.

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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:

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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. 

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Austin
9:48 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Deep Eddy Pool Reopens

Deep Eddy Pool before closing for renovations last April.
KUT News

Deep Eddy Pool is back open today — or at least part of it.

The deep end of Deep Eddy is open today. The shallow end opens up tomorrow at 10 a.m. The oldest swimming pool in Texas, Deep Eddy has been shut down since last year for a full round of renovations.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department says the pool bottom has been replaced and the west end now features a zero depth entry. Visitors will also notice new decks and new retaining walls with seating. 

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AM Update
8:51 am
Fri May 4, 2012

AM Update: H-E-B Recall, Crash Investigation Clears MetroRail, New Driver's License Requirements

H-E-B has recalled 19 products due to salmonella concerns.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/djwhitebread

H-E-B Recalls Meals

Central Texas-based grocery store H-E-B has announced a “voluntary and precautionary recall” for its Asian Ready-to-Eat meals. According to the grocer:  

The recall involves 19 Ready-to-Eat entrées and meals sold in 40 stores in Texas including one store in Houston. The product was available at the Grab 'N Go section in H-E-B Delis. The product(s) come in a 4 ounce, 8 ounce, 12 ounce, 24 ounce black plastic containers with a clear lid, single serve sizes and to-go containers … Any product sold prior to 5/3/12 is affected and should be returned to any H-E-B store for a full refund.

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2012 Presidential Election
8:09 am
Fri May 4, 2012

Do Campaign Ads Seem More Negative? It's Not Just You

Originally published on Wed May 9, 2012 9:43 am

If you thought the presidential primaries were extraordinarily negative, now there's statistical evidence that you were right.

A new analysis of TV ads finds that 70 percent of the messages were negative — a trend spearheaded by the heavily financed superPACs supporting the candidates. At this point in the 2008 election, 91 percent of TV ads were positive.

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Special Coverage
4:55 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Bin Laden Papers Show Him Frustrated, Marginalized

Pakistanis walk past the rubble of bin Laden's demolished compound this week.
Sajjad Qayyum AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 1:50 pm

Documents found at Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan reveal an al-Qaida leader who had come to feel marginalized and frustrated with actions taken by affiliated terror groups he had helped inspire.

The man responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks is seen struggling to limit attacks that killed mostly Muslims, and to keep the international jihad movement focused on what he viewed as the main target: the United States.

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Austin
4:27 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Anchors Aweigh: New Waller Boathouse Opens

Preparations being made before the Waller Boathouse's opening today.
Photo courtesy facebook.com/WallerCreekBoathouse

The city’s nascent plans for re-envisioning Waller Creek took another step forward today, in the form of a new, $3.4 million boathouse on the north side of Lady Bird Lake.

In March of this year, city officials authorized Austin Rowing Club to operate the facility. Boat storage and office areas of the new boathouse will be reserved for the ARC, but according to KXAN , “builders say it is designed to be accessible to the public, with a scenic observation deck, vending area, and public restroom.”

The 10,800 square foot, two-story boathouse was built new, in part, because previous facilities had to gain way for construction of the Waller Creek tunnel.

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Austin
4:07 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Gas Leak at The Domain

The Westin Hotel, photographed in 2009.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/cote

Reports spread quickly this afternoon that construction damage to a natural gas pipe at The Domain had caused a gas leak.

Reports from news outlets stated that building evacuations occurred near the site of the leak, the under-construction Westin Hotel on Domain Drive, inside the sprawling mixed-use development in North Austin.

Texas Gas Service spokesperson Lori Moreno tells KUT News it wasn’t the gas company that called for evacuations.

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Arts and Culture
3:16 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

A 'Big Ass Canvas,' and a Cause

A project asked random Austinites to paint on a "Big Ass Canvas" today, with the results to be auctioned off for charity.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Outside Tyler’s clothing store on The Drag, anyone could try their hand at painting on a “Big Ass Canvas.”

Big Ass Canvas offered its first community canvas painting today, outside the Guadalupe Street store. The project encourages passersby to pick up a paintbrush and help fill a large canvas (8.5 by 6 feet). It was launched a week and a half ago by Zach Horvath and Travis Chafin.

Aside from the action on The Drag, canvases will also be available at spots on South Congress and the pedestrian bridge over Lady Bird Lake, as well as at a final celebratory event. Then, the four canvases will be auctioned off to raise money for Explore Austin, a mentoring program with an emphasis on the outdoors.

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First Person
2:58 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

First Person: Young Organic Farmer

First Person is an ongoing series from KUT News where Central Texans tell their own stories, in their own words.

KUT News freelancer Jeff Heimsath filmed Marissa Lankes, an organic farmer at Austin’s Boggy Creek Farms. While passionate about her work, Lankes dispels the romanticism of farming, and argues that interest in artisan fields like organic farming may be a product of dimming career prospects for young citizens and recent college graduates. 

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Austin
12:53 pm
Thu May 3, 2012

Distinctive Honors for Hispanic Austin Women

From left: Ana Yáñez-Correa, Maria Luisa "Lulu" Flores and Lupe Morin are three Austinites honored by TAMACC
Photos courtesy tamacc.org

The Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers of Commerce (TAMACC) is honoring female business and community leaders at its first annual Women of Distinction luncheon – and three honorees hail from Austin.

TAMACC has previously awarded a Woman of the Year award to women in the Hispanic community who show exceptional service in a leadership role. But this year the group will bestow multiple awards to “Hispanic women [who] have taken such a prominent role in business and in various leadership roles,” according to TAMACC Board Executive J.R. Gonzalez. Gonzalez remarked that it was so difficult to narrow the applicants down to the original 10 awardees that the board had to settle on 13.

 Three Austinites are among the 13 women being honored for their excellence and contribution to their community. 

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Technology
11:55 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Congressman Calls for Hearing on Google Street View Data

The camera mounted on a Google Street View car used to photograph whole streets obscures part of the U.S. Internet giant's logo.
Daniel Mihailescu AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 3, 2012 11:59 am

Google may be facing new investigations into its Street View program, which collected 600 gigabytes of personal data including e-mails, passwords, pictures and web searches while its vehicles roamed the streets.

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Health
11:43 am
Thu May 3, 2012

UT Pledges $25 Million Annually for Medical School

UT pledged funding for an Austin medical school today.
KUT News

This morning, the University of Texas Board of Regents proposed approximately $25 million in annual funding for an Austin medical school, plus an extra $5 million for the first eight years, dependent on matching operational funds.

The move is a sign of rising momentum for a local medical school. The announcement comes soon after Seton Hospital announced a $250 million investment in the project.  

Austin state Senator Kirk Watson has lead the governmental push for a medical school. “The estimates have been up to two billion dollars in economic activity by having a medical school and affiliated activity around that,” he told the regents today. “We will expand access and options for treating the uninsured, and we’ll provide new therapies that are designed to improve the health of everyone in this region.” 

City Council Elections
8:43 am
Thu May 3, 2012

Early Voting Totals, Day Three: We Are the One Percent

UT's Flawn Academic Center saw 65 votes yesterday.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Congratulations, Austin. You’ve cracked one percent!

Yesterday’s early voting totals in the Austin city election were in line with what we’d seen all week, with 1,918 ballots cast. That covers both in-person voting and voting by mail. And it brings the total count to 6,117 – or 1.28% of registered voters.

The Northwest Austin Randalls, at Research and Breaker, led the day again, delivering 221 votes. Meanwhile, the Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center in East Austin served as low vote-getter, with a scant 19 ballots cast.

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