Oak Hill
8:00 pm
Sun April 17, 2011

Oak Hill Brush Fire Threatens Homes

Smoke from the Oak Hill brush fire can be seen from the highway. Photo by KUT's Crystal Chavez.

8:30 p.m.  Austin Homeland Security and Emergency Management have updated the list of areas that will remain evacuated overnightHere is a map of the affected area.  Austin Community College says classes will run on normal schedule at the Pinnacle campus, located near the area of today's brush fire.

Read more
Texas
5:12 pm
Sun April 17, 2011

Perry Issues Disaster Declaration

Governor Rick Perry issued a disaster declaration Sunday, as wildfires char parts of Texas
Photo by Jim Reese for KUT News

Governor Rick Perry is asking President Obama for a major disaster declaration, as wildfires continue to scorch sections of Texas.

From a news release issued Sunday by Governor Perry's office:

"A Major Disaster Declaration makes the state eligible for response and recovery assistance from the federal government. Texas' request includes:

Read more
Texas
9:48 am
Sun April 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Update for April 17

Wildfires, like this one near San Angelo, continue to plague parts of North and West Texas
Image by Firefighter Daniel Hinckley, courtesy of the San Angelo Standard-Times

A calm, sunny Sunday in Central Texas, except if you're among the last-minute tax filers scrambling to meet tomorrow night's deadline income tax returns. Here are the other items making news this morning:

Wildfires Eat Up More Acreage, Structures

Read more
Texas
4:00 pm
Fri April 15, 2011

Texplainer: How Will High Gas Prices Affect the Budget?

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Hey, Texplainer: What do high gasoline prices mean for the state budget?

Oil prices have risen recently, as unrest in the Middle East continues. Gasoline prices have gone up in tandem. In Texas, a gallon of gas costs a dollar more than a year ago. For state policymakers, a crucial question is how higher prices at the pump will affect Texas' estimated $15 billion to $27 billion budget gap. The answer, of course, is that it's complicated.

Read more
Education
12:07 pm
Fri April 15, 2011

Austin Children Receive Free Eye Exams and Glasses

Designer eyeglasses donated to Kids Vision for Life
Photo by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

More than 100 students at Campbell Elementary received free eye exams today, and around 45 received new glasses, as part of a pilot program in Austin.

The project, called Kids Vision for Life, is a collaboration between local and statewide entities organized by the Austin Community Foundation, and seeks to provide children with free eye exams and glasses. The designer glasses were all donated by a company in Italy to the Essilor Vision Foundation, which is donating the lenses and eye exams.

Read more
Austin
10:24 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Even with Council Reshuffle, WTP4 Could be a Done Deal

WTP 4 is planned near the intersection of RR 2222 and RR 620.
Image courtesy City of Austin

One thing about Austin City Council votes on Water Treatment Plant Four, they are always tight.  So what would happen if that balance shifted after the May 14th City Council elections?

Maybe nothing.

In an interview with KUT, Council Member Laura Morrison, who consistently votes against the project, said continuing that opposition would be "a situation that [she] will have to look at" if more Council Members opposed the to the project are elected.

Read more
News Brief
6:15 am
Fri April 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 15, 2011

Wildfires continue to burn in West Texas. Central Texas is under a red flag warning Friday meaning the wildfire threat is high here today.
Photo courtesy of Austin firefighter Jimmy Taylor.

Red Flag Warning as Texas Wildfires Continue Burning

A red flag warning is in effect in Central Texas until 7 p.m today.  Dry, windy conditions, coupled with low humidity, mean any outdoor fires would spread quickly.  Firefighters are still battling blazes across the state including one of the biggest ones in West Texas, the Rockhouse fire.  It's burned 166,000 acres in the Ft. Davis area.  You can keep track of the state's wildfire situation with updates from the Texas Forest Service here.

Read more
The Federal Budget Crunch
7:06 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Congress Sends Budget Compromise To Obama

Congress has sent President Obama bipartisan legislation making $38 billion in spending cuts to see the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

The Senate voted 81-19 to approve the measure Thursday, not long after the House gave its approval, 260-167.

The bill was the product of negotiations involving the White House, House Republicans and Senate Democrats, who reached agreement last week in barely enough time to avert a threatened government shutdown.

The legislation drew support from lawmakers in both parties, but little if any enthusiasm.

Read more
Texas
2:27 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Internet Security in Other Countries

The announcement that the Texas Comptroller's Office accidentally made public the personal information of about 3.5 million people online got us wondering in the KUT newsroom. How is online security different in the US from in other countries? 

Paolo Cunha Martins was happy to show us. 

Read more
Texas
2:25 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Ag Commissioner Sets Up Fire Relief Fund

Wildfires have devastated ranches and grasslands across West Texas
Photo courtesy Firefighter Jimmy Taylor, Austin Fire Department

After a tour of West Texas ranches and rangeland burned by wildfires, Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples has set up a public donation fund to help ranchers whose land has been devastated.  He said the State of Texas Agricultural Relief Fund, or STAR Fund, is the best place to donate and give help.

Read more
Texas
1:02 pm
Thu April 14, 2011

Forensic Science Commission Meets

The Walls Unit of the Huntsville Penitentiary, where Cameron Todd Willingham was executed in 2004. The state's Forensic Science Commission considers a final report on evidence in that case this week.
Image courtesy flickr.com/BizarreRecords

The state's Forensic Science Commission begins two days of meetings.  On their agenda will be discussion of a final report on the case of Cameron Todd Willingham.  A 1991 arson ruling convicted Willingham of setting fire to his Corsicana home and killing his three daughters. He was executed in 2004.

Several expert reviews of the evidence have indicated that the fire was an accident. 

Texas
7:43 am
Thu April 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories April 15, 2011

Favorable wildfire conditions are spreading east, according to the Texas Forest Service
Image courtesy Austin Fire Department

Wildfires Threaten More Areas of Texas

The Texas Forest Service says more parts of the state now need to be worried about the threat of wildfires. The agency says the area with significant fire potential will expand today to include parts of Central, North, and South Texas. That includes all areas west of line that curves down from just west of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, to Fredericksburg, to Del Rio. 

Read more
Texas
4:25 pm
Wed April 13, 2011

Eminent Domain Passes House Test

The Texas House has tentatively approved a bill that changes some eminent domain rules
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The Texas House has unanimously voted to pass a bill to place stricter limits on government seizure of land through eminent domain.  But it still has one more test before it heads to Governor Rick Perry's desk.

The bill would require governmental bodies to make a "bona fide" offer to land owners and to send a letter to the State Comptroller, detailing what the land would be used for.

Austin
4:00 pm
Wed April 13, 2011

Technical Difficulties with City of Austin Website

A partial screen shot of where visitors to Austin's City Website were taken when they tried to visit the city site today.
Screen shot by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Visitors to the City of Austin's website were surprised to be re-directed this afternoon to a page saying the "US Locality domain you are searching for has been given back to Neustar Registry to manage." The City's Public Information Office quickly followed up on a phone call to their office with this Tweet:

If you're experiencing difficulties viewing our website, try www.austintx.gov Thank you for your patience as we work on this!

Austin
2:13 pm
Wed April 13, 2011

ABIA Ranked Among Best Airports in World

A security checkpoint at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.
Photo by KUT News.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was ranked the third-best airport in North America by the Airport Service Quality Awards.  According to a press release from ABIA, this is the fifth consecutive year that the airport has been recognized.

Read more

Pages