Education
1:54 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Analysis: Half of Recent College Grads Jobless or Underemployed

Students from John Moores' University celebrate graduation.
Christopher Furlong Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 23, 2012 12:54 pm

It's hard out there for a college grad.

The AP analyzed government data and came up with this stunning figure: "Half of young college graduates [are] either jobless or underemployed in positions that don't fully use their skills and knowledge."

The whole story is worth a read, so we encourage you to click over, but here is the meat of the AP's analysis:

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Education
1:04 pm
Mon April 23, 2012

Adults in College: A Steady Trend

Enrollment data from across the nation shows many believe it's never too late to hit the books.
Photo by KUT News

A new report shows 38 percent of U.S. students who were enrolled in postsecondary classes during the Fall of 2011 semester were adults (under the definition of the study, an adult was at least 25 by October 15). That percentage is down slightly from 2010 but went up by more than 4 percent from 2009 to 2010. 

The study by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center shows adults looking for education are consistently choosing to enroll on a full-time basis over part-time. Adult students also prefer 4-year, public institutions. The center looks at data from more than 3,300 college institutions—representing 93 percent of student enrollment.

Meanwhile, the average age of a student at the University of Texas at Austin (22.5) is actually getting younger. 

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Arts and Culture
10:22 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Check Out Photos of Willie Nelson and His New Statue

The bronze likeness of Nelson is presented to the public.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

Austin got its long-awaited glimpse at the new Willie Nelson statue on Friday.

The April 20th unveiling of the statue was captured by photographer Jeff Heimsath for KUT News. On hand for the commemoration of the eight-foot tall, one-ton statue was the Red-Headed Stranger himself, who treated the audience to a song.

AM Update
8:56 am
Mon April 23, 2012

AM Update: AISD Budget, Medical School Funding, and Ron Paul's Austin Appearance

The AISD Board is holding a hearing on the budget and its arrangement with teacher unions.
Photo by KUT News

AISD Budget Meeting Tonight

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees will meet tonight to discuss the 2013 budget, and policy on consulting with employee unions.

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Business
8:18 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Report Says Wal-Mart Hushed Bribery Campaign In Mexico

A van covered by a mural sits parked outside a Walt-Mart Super Center in Mexico City. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. hushed up a vast bribery campaign that top executives of its Mexican subsidiary carried out to build stores across Mexico, according to a published report by the New York Times.
Dieu Nalio Chery AP

Originally published on Sun April 22, 2012 7:17 am

In a massive investigation, The New York Times reported Saturday that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. silenced a vast bribery effort that top executives of Mexican subsidiary Wal-Mart de Mexico carried out in order to build stores across the country.

According to the report:

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Environment
5:16 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Earth Day Weekend Roundup

Starting tomorrow and lasting through Monday, Austin celebrates Earth Day.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/usnationalarchives

Once a hippie holiday, now a fully mainstream observance (especially in Austin), Earth Day 2012 is coming this Sunday.  Get your credit card and your Djembe drum ready, because here in town, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Mother Earth, and give a little something back.

SHOPPING

Over 110 Austin businesses will donate five percent of their profits to environmental causes, such as Friends of Barton Springs Pool and the Hill Country Conservancy.  That makes Sunday a great time to do grocery shopping (Whole Foods and Wheatsville Food Co-Op are participating), go to the cleaners (at Eco Clean Garment and Laundry), or take your pet to the vet (at Austin Vet Care), to name a few participants. 

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Special Coverage
3:40 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

In Tribal Pakistan, Radio is a Lifeline

Locals listen to Radio Miransh in the North Waziristan Agency.
Photo by Tayyeb Afridi

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.

An international media development organization in Pakistan trained broadcasters from the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on public service announcements during a training program held in Islamabad, Pakistan. Broadcasters from local radio stations attended the five-day, hands-on training exercise.

While PSAs are widely used elsewhere in the world, they have never been used by these stations in Pakistan.

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Capital Metro
2:09 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Cap Metro Staff Makes Contractor Recommendations

Cap Metro staff has proposed separate contractors for regualr bus routes and its paratransit services, pictured above.
Photo courtesy Flickr user i-Ride Capital Metro

Today, Capital Metro staff met with the agency Board of Directors to make recommendations on new contractor bids. Monday, the board will make a final decision.

These are the last few steps towards a new labor structure for Capital Metro. The changes are required to comply with a new state law that requires transit employees to either become employees of the state or to become employees of a private contractor. The union that represents most of the employees chose the latter option so they could retain collective bargaining rights.

The board will need to choose one contractor for employees of fixed-route bus services and another for employees of paratransit services (door-to-door services for people with disabilities). The board could also choose to have one contractor employ workers of both services.

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Economy
1:37 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Austin Area Unemployment Rate Down to Six Percent

While the Austin-Round Rock area added jobs in March, construction jobs went down.
Photo by KUT News

The unemployment rate is down again in the Austin area.

According to Workforce Solutions, the unemployment rate for March dropped to six percent — that’s just a tenth of a percent lower than in February but remains well below the state and national averages.

Workforce Solutions Capital Area Executive Director Alan Miller says things are moving in the right direction at a slow and steady pace.

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City Council Elections
12:36 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Video: Place 2 City Council Candidate Laura Pressley

Early voting for city elections begins next Monday, April 30. There are 14 candidates running for four positions on the Austin City Council. Over the next week or so, we’ll hear from each of them.

For Place 2, Laura Pressley is running to unseat incumbent Mike Martinez. You can listen to the interview we aired with Pressley on KUT’s Morning Edition online; above, we present an extended version of our conversation.

KUT’s Matt Largey talks to Pressley about a few topics she thinks are priorities for the city, including the city’s corporate subsidies, the impact this has on Austin’s affordability, the rate increase proposed by Austin Energy, and whether to send Urban rail to voters this November.

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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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