Energy & Environment
1:21 pm
Thu January 1, 2015

Report: Texas Not Doing Enough to Keep Track of Its Water

A report from Texas A&M found fracking isn't such a drain on Texas' water resources, but suggested the state revamp water rights policies.
Lower Colorado River Authority

Texas is not doing a good enough job of tracking and managing its water resources, according to research from Texas A&M University.

Researchers looked at water used for the H2O-intensive drilling process called fracking in Texas, and how the practice could be draining resources. They found that only a small fraction of the state’s water supply goes to fracking, but tracking that water use itself is devilishly difficult. 

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Austin
11:48 am
Thu January 1, 2015

How Will Austin Police Enforce the Hand-Held Device Ban? (Update)

The Austin City Council approved a ban on hand-held devices last week, which will take effect at the beginning of next year.
Credit via Xconomy

Starting today, you won't be able to have your phone in your hands while driving your car, or while riding your bike.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance in September prohibiting use of devices unless drivers are at a complete stop, or if there is an emergency. Those caught in the act by Austin police face a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, which will carry a fine of around $300.

While some studies suggest devices with hands-free capability doesn't necessarily reduce safety risk or increase reaction times, the move is an extension of the city's current ban on using devices while on the road. But what do Austin drivers think of the ban, and how Austin police plan to enforce it?

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Austin
6:22 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree in Austin

This year’s Christmas tree recycling location has changed due to an event at Zilker Park.
via flickr.com/wiredfornoise

As the holidays come to an end, it's likely that old tannenbaum might be looking a little tired. But there are plenty of options to help put that old evergreen to use.

This year, Austinites can drop off their Christmas tree between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the new location, 2304 Rollingwood Dr., Austin, TX, on the following days:

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Get Involved
6:00 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Get Involved Spotlight: Hill Country Conservancy

From Hill Country Conservancythis month’s Get Involved spotlight non-profit:

Hill Country Conservancy (HCC) is an accredited regional nonprofit land trust that works every day to preserve open space in the Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer region and the Colorado River Basin of the Texas Hill Country. Since 1999, HCC has preserved large strategic natural areas that conserve critical water features and wildlife habitat, provide outdoor recreation opportunities and help maintain the Hill Country’s character and unique quality of life for all to enjoy and cherish.

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MUSIC
6:53 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Cactus Cafe Celebrates 35 Years

Dale Watson performing with his band at the Cactus Cafe in 2011
KUT

A legendary Austin music venue, the Cactus Café, celebrated its 35th anniversary this year. For the past few years, the Cactus has been operated by KUT. But the famous listening room at the University of Texas at Austin got its start in February 1979.

In the beginning, the venue mostly hosted student bands playing a lot of cover songs. But over the years, the Cactus Café became known as a place where you could hear some of the biggest names in Texas music such as Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and Jimmie Dale Gilmore.

"It became sort of the premier place for the singer-songwriter," Gilmore says. 

But everyone I spoke to for this story says the Cactus was only able to gain its status because of the die-hard Texas music fan who started booking bands there in the 1980s: Griff Luneburg.

Listen to the full story here: 

Music
1:07 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

In Memoriam 2014

Duffy-Marie Arnoult WireImage

Originally published on Wed December 31, 2014 7:09 am

Many musical voices went silent in 2014. We lost singers, instrumentalists, composers, conductors, producers, DJs and other visionaries. Explore their musical legacies here.



Claudio Abbado

June 26, 1933 — Jan. 20, 2014

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Wayback Wednesday
12:18 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Remembering the Armadillo World Headquarters

An archive photo of the 'Dillo. Threadgills North Lamar location holds most of the memorabilia from the Armadillo World Headquarters. Owner Eddie Wilson is set to auction off a portion of the memorabilia sometime next year.
Steve Hopson, via WikiMedia Creative Commons

Today’s New Year’s Eve edition of Wayback Wednesday looks back at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Thirty-four years ago today, Eddie Wilson's legendary club closed its doors after its decade-long run as a fixture in the Austin music scene.

The club hosted some of the most influential performers of the last fifty years, including Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Hancock, the Velvet Underground, Dr. John, Devo, Jose Feliciano, Bill Withers, Bette Midler, the Ramones and many others. The ‘Dillo was also a booster for many Texas artists – Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, Freddie King, Kinky Friedman, Doug Sahm and even a beardless ZZ Top all performed at the club regularly in its heyday.

Below, we’ve got a playlist of the Armadillo’s final show – featuring Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Commander Cody – along with a set from the Talking Heads in 1979, a video of Armadillo regular Freddie King performing at the Travis County Jail after his April 1976 show, a performance from Frank Zappa in 1973 and a legendary 1972 Thanksgiving set from Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, with Doug Sahm and Leon Russell.

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Austin
12:11 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

How to Have a Safe, DWI-Free New Year's Eve in Austin

Capital Metro will be offering free rides after 6 p.m. and extended service hours for MetroRail, MetroRapid and Night Owl buses.
Credit Capital Metro

While the city may have postponed its annual family-friendly fireworks due to possible inclement weather tonight, that's not likely to stop hordes of revelers descending on downtown to ring in 2015.

If you've ever been downtown on New Year's Eve after the clock strikes midnight, then you know it can be difficult to get home. On top of that, it's a No-Refusal night, so you'll want to plan ahead to get home safe. Check out our rundown of options below for overnight parking, safe rides home and, if you're staying in, a host of apps that'll deliver everything you need right to your door.

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In Black America Podcast
1:24 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

In Black America Podcast: The Life and Legacy of Dr. John Hope Franklin

The late Dr. John Hope Franklin
Tim Dillon, USA TODAY

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with the late Dr. John Hope Franklin.

Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma, in 1915, only fifty years after slavery had been abolished. His father practiced law, and his mother taught elementary school, and from an early age he learned the power of words and ideas. Following his father’s lead, Franklin spent every evening reading or writing. From his parents he also learned how to survive and thrive in a time when the color line was indelibly drawn.

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NYE 2015
1:09 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Wintry Forecast Forces Cancellation of Austin's New Year Celebration

The City of Austin is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The City of Austin says it is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park, due to the potential for winter weather in the forecast.

There is a possibility of freezing temperatures and rain Wednesday night into Thursday.

The Two-Way
12:17 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Former President George H.W. Bush Is Released From Hospital

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 11:55 am

Former President George H.W. Bush has left a Houston hospital and is now "resting at home, grateful to the doctors and nurses for their superb care," his spokesman Jim McGrath said on Twitter.

Bush, 90, was taken to a hospital in Houston a week ago after he experienced shortness of breath.

Bush had previously spent a month at Houston Methodist Hospital back in January of 2013.

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Texas
7:17 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Texas' Voice in Washington Will Get Louder Through House Committee Chairs

Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees when the 114th U.S. Congress starts in January 2015.
Photo by jmtimages http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/

The 114th U.S. Congress is getting attention for how few women will chair committees in the House, but when it comes to Texans – they won’t be under-represented. Texas Republicans will chair six of the 21 U.S. House committees.

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AirAsia
5:59 am
Tue December 30, 2014

AirAsia Crash: Rescue Crews Pull Bodies, Find Plane Wreckage In Java Sea

Relatives of passengers of the missing AirAsia Flight 8501 react upon seeing the news on television about the findings of bodies on the waters near the site where the jetliner disappeared in Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, on Tuesday.
Trisnadi AP

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 8:36 am

Rescue crews scouring the waters off Indonesia say they have found dozens of bodies and have spotted wreckage that belongs to AirAsia QZ8501, the jetliner that went missing Sunday, carrying 155 passengers and seven crew members.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. quotes an Indonesian navy spokesman:

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Health
5:30 am
Tue December 30, 2014

Big Question For 2015: Will The Supreme Court Rule On Abortion?

Protesters rally outside the Supreme Court during the March for Life on Jan. 25, 2013, in Washington, D.C.
Brendan Hoffman Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 30, 2014 12:56 pm

The new year is expected to bring yet another round of state laws to restrict abortion — and 2015 could also be the year a challenge to at least one of these laws could reach the Supreme Court.

The ongoing spike in abortion laws started after 2010, when Republicans won big in the midterms. Since then, state lawmakers have passed more than 200 abortion regulations — more than in the entire decade before. And with more statehouse gains in the fall elections, abortion opponents expect another good year.

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Station Information
12:17 pm
Mon December 29, 2014

Is Your 2015 Resolution to Make More Music? Enter NPR's Tiny Desk Contest!

NPR Music's Tiny Desk Concert series is coming to a desk near you. Yours, in fact, if you've got an undiscovered penchant for performance.

NPR Music is accepting submissions for their Tiny Desk Concert Contest through Jan. 19. All you need is a desk, a camera, an original song and, of course, talent. Videos must be shorter than 10 minutes and contestants must be 21 or older.

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2014 Elections
11:41 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Early Voting Starts Today to Fill Texas House District 17 Seat

Early voting starts on Dec. 29, 2014, for a state representative, District 17, special election.

Early voting starts today in several special elections, including one to fill a State House seat vacated by State Rep. Tim Kleinschmidt, R-Lexington.

Voters in Bastrop, Caldwell, Gonzales, Karnes and Lee Counties are casting a ballot once again. They’re choosing a new Texas House member to represent House District 17, a seat that opened up after Rep. Kleinschmidt resigned to work for the Texas Department of Agriculture.

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Austin
11:18 am
Mon December 29, 2014

New Year Brings Expansion for Austin's Tinkering School

Typically, children and power tools don't mix.

But, for Kami Wilt, founder of the Austin Tinkering School, it’s been her mission over the last few years to help kids get messy – putting power tools and paintbrushes in students’ hands, while supervising and providing instruction when it’s needed.

Wilt hosts tinkering classes out of her backyard workshop, but, after a Kickstarter campaign that netted the school over $20,000 in contributions last month, she hopes to find a dedicated space in 2015 to continue to bring DIY-minded education to kids in Austin.

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Austin ISD
8:00 am
Mon December 29, 2014

Meet the New Austin School Board Trustees

The Austin School Board will have four new trustees in January. Many of the districts have been represented by the same person for more than a decade.
Photo by KUT News

Early next year, the Austin School Board will swear in four new trustees. Most of the trustees are replacing school board members who have served on the board for more than a decade. The new trustees are diverse group who represent the diverse student body in Austin ISD: an African American, Hispanic and two women.  Here's a brief summary of each of the new trustees:

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AirAsia
11:33 pm
Sat December 27, 2014

AirAsia Plane Missing After Takeoff From Indonesia

Relatives of passengers of AirAsia flight QZ8501 comfort each other Sunday at Juanda International Airport in Surabaya, Indonesia.
Trisnadi AP

Originally published on Sun December 28, 2014 1:48 pm

Updated at 1:00 p.m. ET

Search operations have been suspended for the night for an AirAsia plane with 162 aboard that lost contact with air traffic control after takeoff from Indonesia on a flight to Singapore, the Singapore Civil Aviation Authority reports.

The plane, en route from Surabaya, Indonesia, lost contact about an hour before it was due to arrive in Singapore. It was scheduled to land at 8:30 a.m. Singapore time (7:30 p.m. ET Saturday), Hadi Mustofa, an official with the Indonesian air ministry, said on Indonesia's MetroTV.

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Austin
9:55 am
Sat December 27, 2014

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Austin's 175-Year History?

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT; logo design by GSD&M

The City of Austin is having a birthday today.

It's one of the hardest anniversaries to pronounce – it's not a centennial or a bicentennial — or even a sesquicentennial, for that matter. But, outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell made it his mission earlier this year to memorize a 28-letter word used for the city’s 175th anniversary: a septaquintaquinquecentennial. 

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