Arts and Culture
11:25 am
Fri April 20, 2012

13 Reasons To Visit Your Local Record Store Day On Saturday

Toledo, Ohio's Culture Clash Records is one of the many stores opening their doors this Saturday with exclusive new vinyl.
Courtesy of Roger Zender

Originally published on Sat April 21, 2012 8:24 am

Record Store Day is like a one-day-a-year time machine. On Saturday, April 21, independent record stores around the country will be mobbed by music fans anxiously lining up to get their hands on actual pieces of plastic with musical information etched onto either side. We can't help it. After spending the rest of the year getting access to just about any piece of music we want without ever interacting with another human being, Record Store Day brings out the collector in us all.

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Texas
9:55 am
Fri April 20, 2012

Texas Military Forces Open House This Weekend

The Texas Military Forces Open House returns this weekend.
Photo courtesy txmf.us

Camp Mabry is hosting its annual Texas Military Forces Open House April 21 and 22. It's a high-powered display of U.S. military technology, from the World War II-era to today. But the organizers say it's more than that.

The event initially occurred in the fall, which drew less than 5,000 people yearly, until Camp Mabry officials moved the event to spring in 2006. Last year, the attendance increased to 17,000 people, said Garrison Commander Major John Davis. 

"It's gotten really big and really popular in Austin and Central Texas area," Davis says. 

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AM Update
8:14 am
Fri April 20, 2012

AM Update: Willie Nelson Immortalized, Cap Metro Fatality, LCRA Reduces Staff

Willie and a friend get a sneak peek at his bronze likeness.
Photo courtesy willienelson.com

Willie Nelson Statue Unveiled

A statue of famed country musician Willie Nelson will be unveiled today.

The eight-foot tall, one-ton statue will stand on the plaza located on Willie Nelson Boulevard (aka Second Street) and Lavaca Street, at the foot of the Austin City Limits Live Theater. Capital Area Statues has worked on the project over the past several years and as board president Lawrence Wright describes it, the statue will be another fixture of Austin’s culture.

“This gift to Austin will become an instant, iconic representation of our great city and its love affair with music.” 

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Arts and Culture
5:49 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Legendary Rangers Catcher Ivan Rodriguez Will Retire After a 23-Year Career

In this Sept. 13, 2009, photo, Texas Rangers catcher Ivan Rodriguez pauses during a baseball game against the Seattle Mariners in Arlington, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 2:48 pm

Next Monday, Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez, considered one of Major League Baseball's greatest catchers, will announce his retirement.

The news was first reported by the AP and confirmed today by the Texas Rangers, the team where Rodriguez made his debut.

Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, won a record 13 Gold Golves. The AP reports:

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Environment
3:50 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

How to Opt Out of Receiving Phone Books and Junk Mail

Austinites can opt-out of receiving mailings like phone books.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/19melissa68

It’s often remarked that in the Internet age, the phone book is obsolete. And now, with a few keystrokes, Austinites can opt out of receiving them.

Austin Resource Recovery has partnered with the nonprofit organization Catalog Choice to offer a registry where citizens can elect to stop receiving phone books and certain types of junk mail – the dead-tree version of a “Do Not Call” list. You can register at https://austin.catalogchoice.org.

Aside from the environmental impact, the city notes the cost savings it may realize from saving on cleanup of unwanted litter. “More than 100 billion pieces of unsolicited mail are received by Americans each year—and municipalities foot the bill for waste collection and disposal,” the city notes in a release announcing the initiative.

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Austin
2:50 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Piece by Piece: City Wants Help Creating African-American Mosaic Mural

A draft image of the mosaic, by artist Reginald C. Adams
Image courtesy mocah.org

The City of Austin is encouraging citizens to participate in creating a mosaic mural for the  African American Cultural and Heritage Facility tonight.

The mosaic will feature iconic individuals from the African American community. Art and Public Places Coordinator Carrie Brown said her department is working closely with the African-American Resource Advisory Commission to gather input from the community for the design concept. The mosaic will feature distinguished members of the African-American Community such as Willie Ray Davis, who was the first black firefighter in Austin, and Dr. Connie Yearwood, a medical leader for Austin's black community.

"We asked community members to give us names and give us photographs," Brown said. "They helped us create the design concept and now they will help us create the mosaic."

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2012 Presidential Election
12:17 pm
Thu April 19, 2012

Obama Campaign Begins Push for Another Latino-Vote Landslide

President Obama's re-election campaign has released four new Spanish-language ads, each ending with the phrase: "Esta eleccion si importa," which in English means, "This election does matter."
barackobama.com

Originally published on Thu April 19, 2012 10:42 am

In 2008, Barack Obama captured two-thirds of the Hispanic vote, winning in crucial swing states with large Hispanic populations like Colorado, Nevada and Florida.

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Capital Metro
11:48 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Countdown to New Contractor for Cap Metro

A looming labor switchover means Capital Metro will only have about 200 direct employees.
Photo by Emily Donahue for KUT News

This summer, some 850 workers will no longer be directly employed by transit authority Capital Metro, or its non-profit contractor StarTran — instead, they’ll be contracted out to a soon-to-be named private company.

It’s a change that has to be made because of a state law passed last year, requiring transit employees to either become state employees or employees of a private contractor. The union that represents most of the workers chose the contractor option, as to maintain collective bargaining rights.

Tomorrow, staff will recommend to the Capital Metro Board of Directors which of the contractor bids it believes is best. They may recommend one contractor for fixed route services (regular bus lines), and another for paratransit services (door-to-door service for people with disabilities). Staff may also recommend a single contractor for both.

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Gov. Perry
10:12 am
Thu April 19, 2012

Rick Perry Fuels Speculation About Re-election Bid

Gov. Rick Perry unveils his "Texas Budget Compact" in Houston on Monday, April 16. On stage with Perry, from left to right: state Reps. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, and Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, and conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan.
Photo by Jay Root, Texas Tribune

Ambitious Republicans have been waiting in the wings for years, anticipating when Gov. Rick Perry will step out from under the spotlight they crave. 

But the longtime governor may not be ready to move off the stage just yet.

Despite carrying the wounds from his gaffe-prone presidential campaign, Perry showed this week he still knows how to dominate the political conversation. He urged all Republican candidates for state office this year to sign on to his pledge to cut spending and oppose all tax increases — and many of them are rushing to embrace it. (And even if they're not embracing it, they're talking about it).

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AM Update
8:04 am
Thu April 19, 2012

AM Update: Student Occupiers Arrested at UT, Honoring Walter Cronkite, Discussing Wildfire Response

Protesters were arrested for occupying UT President Bill Powers' office yesterday.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

UT Students Protest for Workers Rights

The Daily Texan reports a total of 19 protesters, not all of them students, were arrested yesterday for occupying UT President Bill Powers’ office. They were there in protest against alleged sweatshop-like conditions where UT apparel is produced.

The protesters are members of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition and included 17 students and two members who are not students.

According to the Texan, the demands of the protestors was a request for the University to switch to the Workers Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories. A statement on the WRC homepage specifically mentions their goal to protect the rights of workers who make clothes.

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City Budget
4:42 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Proposed City Budget: $25 Million in Unmet Needs, Even With Property Tax Increase

Offsetting housing cuts and expediting development services are two prominent topics in budget talks.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The city is proposing a 1.8 cent increase in property taxes. That’s just a hair under the maximum increase allowed – 1.85 cents – without a special tax election.

That’s one of the findings in the City of Austin’s preliminary, proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2013, presented to the City Council this morning.

Going off current median home values – approximately $182,000, but due to change once the county sets new property valuations – that’s a $33 annual increase.

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Austin
2:29 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

ABIA Makes List of Best Airport Restaurants

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport's The Salt Lick is included on a list of top airport restaurants.
KUT News

Austin has made yet another “best of” list. This time, it’s Austin-Bergstrom International Airport that’s getting the accolades — or more precisely, the ABIA outpost of The Salt Lick.

That’s right — the website Food Republic ranks The Salt Lick at ABIA as Number Four on its list of “The World’s Best Airport Restaurants.”

The website says:

Texas barbecue doesn’t get much better than Salt Lick BBQ and an outpost of the preternaturally popular 800-seat restaurant in Driftwood is located in the West Terminal (but fills the entire airport with the bewitching scent of brisket). Try a sloppy, but satisfying, pulled pork sandwich topped with slaw and Original Recipe barbecue sauce for a taste of Hill Country on the tarmac.

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Environment
1:57 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Poll: Most Americans Link Climate Change To Unusual Weather Events

In this Aug 3, 2011 file photo, Texas State Park police officer Thomas Bigham walks across the cracked lake bed of O.C. Fisher Lake, in San Angelo, Texas.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Wed April 18, 2012 1:25 pm

Most Americans believe that global warming has played a role in a series of unusual weather events during the past year.

A poll released today by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication found that 72 percent of Americas believe global warming played a role in the very warm winter the United States just experienced.

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Business
12:55 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Trader Joe's to Open Austin Location in 2013

Rendering courtesy of Trader Joe's

Austinites woke up this morning to the news, first reported by the Statesman, that Trader Joe's plans to open a location at the soon-to-be-constructed Seaholm Development downtown.

The Monrovia, California-based specialty grocery retailer first revealed its Texas expansion almost a year ago, but announced stores in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, the Woodlands and Plano before saying it would open a store in the city that spawned Whole Foods. 

Here are some details on the planned Austin location:

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Health
11:51 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Texas Planned Parenthood Branches Will Vote on Merger

Planned Parenthood supporters rally at the Capitol on Tuesday morning.
Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

The boards of three regional Planned Parenthood branches — North TexasCentral Texas and the Capital Region — will vote today on a proposed merger designed to form a $29 million-per-year mega-organization with 26 clinics up and down the Interstate 35 corridor.

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Arts and Culture
11:21 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Tonight: 'Party Down' at the Bob Bullock

The lost 'Party Down' pilot screens tonight, with UT grad and co-creator Rob Thomas in attendance.
Photo courtesy starz.com/partydown

In June 2010, cable channel Starz canceled Party Down after just two seasons.  The critically revered but little seen show, which depicted Hollywood hopefuls working dreary day jobs for a catering company, was co-created and co-written by UT grad (and former San Antonio high school teacher) Rob Thomas.

Tonight, Thomas returns to Austin to screen the show's unaired pilot.

Shot at Thomas' house, the pilot was used to sell the show to Starz network.  Besides Lizzy Caplan, the spot included the whole original cast, including Jane Lynch (who would eventually leave to join the cast of Glee) and Adam Scott (who got snatched up by Parks & Recreation). 

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Arts and Culture
10:45 am
Wed April 18, 2012

Kat Edmonson 'Just Wasn't Made For These Times'

"As usual, the party in my imagination is much grander than the actual one," Kat Edmonson says of the song "Champagne."
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue April 17, 2012 5:30 pm

A lot of the songs on Kat Edmonson's new album, Way Down Low, have a timeless sound, due in part to her own timeless-sounding voice. But she isn't above revealing her influences: The song "Champagne," she admits, was crafted with a particular American songsmith in mind.

"I was trying to write a song like Cole Porter," Edmonson tells NPR's Melissa Block. "Me and a million other people are trying to write a song like Cole Porter."

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AM Update
7:55 am
Wed April 18, 2012

AM Update: APD's Cisco Statement, Houston Baby Abduction, Trader Joe's (Finally) Comes to Austin

National attention continues to focus on the APD shooting of Cisco, a pet blue heeler.
Photo courtesy facebook.com/JusticeForCisco

APD's Official Statement on Cisco the Dog 

The Austin Police Department has issued a statement regarding the controversial shooting of Cisco the dog on Saturday.

The incident, which drew national press and inspired a Justice for Cisco Facebook page that currently holds over 60,000 likes, led both Cisco's owner Michael Paxton and APD Chief Art Acevedo to speak with KLBJ-FM yesterday. In the interview, Paxton says: "Obviously there's a breakdown of training here.  You don't approach an unarmed man in his driveway with weapons drawn." (In March, KUT News reported on ramped up weapons training at APD, set to start in April).

Acevedo said: "I'm sorry on behalf on all the members of the department.  We know the pain's real."

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Texas
6:34 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Amber Alert for Three-Day Old Boy Canceled

UPDATE 9:05PM: Authorities say the three day old boy reported missing earlier today has been found and is safe.

EARLIER: An Amber Alert has been issued for a three-day old boy last seen in the town of Spring, TX.

Keegan Schuchardt, a white male only weighing 5 pounds, was last seen around 2:40pm Tuesday.

Authorities describe the suspect as a thin, black female wearing a gray sweatshirt and blue jeans. She apparently fled the scene in a light blue 4 door vehicle, possibly a Lexus.

Women's Health
3:17 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Texas Asks for Time Transitioning to New Women's Health Program

Texas is asking for federal assistance transitioning to its own women's health care program.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/dennissylvesterhurd

Today, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission delivered a proposal to the Obama administration outlining plans for transitioning the state's Women’s Health Program from a mostly federally funded program to one that runs on state money.

In it, the state has asked that the federal government pay for the program through October. Federal funds were initially supposed to be phased out by April 30.

Thanh Tan is a reporter with KUT’s political reporting partner The Texas Tribune. Expanding on a report the Tribune published today, Tan says the plan outlined today still doesn’t account for where Texas is going to get the money to fund the Women’s Health Program.

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