Katherine Jacobsen http://kut.org en Whooping Cough Cases On the Rise http://kut.org/post/whooping-cough-cases-rise <p>The Austin-Travis County health department has released its <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/sites/default/files/files/Health/News_-_Home_Page/2012_critical_health_indicators.pdf">Critical Health Indicator Report</a>, which examines the community&rsquo;s major health problems.</p><p>The report shows a sharp rise in the cases of whooping cough disease &mdash; also known as pertussis &mdash; from 2006 to 2010. There were 908 reported whooping cough cases in 2010 in the Austin-area.&nbsp;</p><p>While these statistics might make it look like Austin is on the edge of epidemic, Dr. Philip&nbsp;Huang with the Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department says pertussis numbers are likely part of the disease&rsquo;s natural cycle. Tue, 24 Jul 2012 20:34:03 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4752 at http://kut.org Whooping Cough Cases On the Rise Austin’s 10 Most Serious Police Incidents in 2011 http://kut.org/post/austin-s-10-most-serious-police-incidents-2011 <p>The Office of the Austin Police Monitor <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/402953-opm-annual-report-for-2011.html">2011 annual report</a> is filled with sobering statistics. &nbsp;</p><p>Minorities, particularly blacks and Hispanics, are more likely to be searched during a traffic stop than whites, <a href="http://kut.org/2012/07/police-search-more-minorities-cars-report-says/">the report found</a>.&nbsp;Traffic stops <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/402953-opm-annual-report-for-2011.html#document/p26" target="_blank">resulted in a search</a> one out of eight times for black drivers and one out of ten times&nbsp;for Hispanics, but only one out of 28 times for white Austinites. The report also shows that there was an <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/402953-opm-annual-report-for-2011.html#document/p20">increase in formal complaints</a> against police, from 316 cases in 2010 to 344 in 2011.&nbsp;</p><p>But separate from the statistics is the <a href="https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/402953-opm-annual-report-for-2011.html#document/p11" target="_blank">OPM's Serious Incident Review</a>, highlighting "the more serious cases" the office addressed in 2011.&nbsp;While ethnicity and incident location are omitted in these write-ups, they include a detailed sequence of events, as well as the cases’ outcomes.</p><p> Fri, 20 Jul 2012 20:39:35 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen & Wells Dunbar 4732 at http://kut.org Austin’s 10 Most Serious Police Incidents in 2011 West Nile Virus Found in Central Texas Mosquitoes http://kut.org/post/west-nile-virus-found-central-texas-mosquitoes <p>The Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services Department recently announced that West Nile virus has been detected in area mosquito samples.</p><p>&quot;The last two or three years ago with the drought, we haven&#39;t had a big mosquito problem,&rdquo; says Health and Human Services employee Eda Gowdy. But the West Nile reprieve&nbsp;seems to be at an end.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;This year, due to the recent rains, we have had mosquito pulls that are coming back West Nile virus positive,&rdquo; says Gowdy.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 19:49:02 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4704 at http://kut.org West Nile Virus Found in Central Texas Mosquitoes How Many Dead People Are On Travis County's Voter Rolls? http://kut.org/post/how-many-dead-people-are-travis-countys-voter-rolls <p>Closing arguments in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/controversial-texas-voter-id-law-begins-federal-trial">Texas voter ID trial</a> took place in Washington D.C. today.</p><p>If implemented, the law would require voters to show a government-issued photo ID at the polls.&nbsp;The state argues that the new law is needed to decrease incidents of voter fraud. U.S. Attorney General has argued that Texas&rsquo; ID requirements (and others like it) are <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/attorney-general-holder-calls-voter-id-laws-poll-taxes">tantamount to &ldquo;poll taxes.&rdquo;</a></p><p>During the trial, state attorneys cited Travis County as one of the 18 counties that did not properly maintain voter registration records.&nbsp;They further claimed that over 50,000 deceased voters remain on the registry &ndash; an open door to voter fraud.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 13 Jul 2012 21:42:27 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4685 at http://kut.org How Many Dead People Are On Travis County's Voter Rolls? Workers Defense Project Holding Vigil for Construction Worker http://kut.org/post/workers-defense-project-holding-vigil-construction-worker <p>A vigil will be held tomorrow to honor the life of José Lainez, who died helping build bridges between Highways 183 and 290.&nbsp;</p><p>Lainez, who was originally from Honduras, had worked as a construction worker in Austin for the past twelve years. He was 54 at the time of his death, and in reportedly good health.&nbsp;</p><p>The deceased&rsquo;s family contends that his death was caused by heat exhaustion, brought on by a lack of rest and water breaks.&nbsp;</p><p>An Austin City Council ordinance, passed in July 2010, requires employers to provide construction workers with water and rest breaks. There is no state law that requires such breaks.</p><p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:44:14 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4658 at http://kut.org Workers Defense Project Holding Vigil for Construction Worker As Elderly Population Increases, So Do Senior Disappearances http://kut.org/post/elderly-population-increases-so-do-senior-disappearances <p>Summer is often a time to sit back, relax, and lather on the sunscreen. But those with elderly family members might want to think twice before letting their summer routines go lax.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.seniorhelpers.com/">Senior Helpers</a>, an in-home care service for the elderly, recently released a &ldquo;Senior Lost and Found Plan&rdquo; to combat the increase in senior disappearances.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Nationwide, there&rsquo;s an uptake in senior disappearances,&rdquo; said Frank Hayes with the Austin-area Senior Helpers. Hayes attributes the increase in senior population at a national level with the rising rate of missing elderly.&nbsp;</p><p>The Capital Area Council of Governments recently released a <a href="http://txsdc.utsa.edu/search.aspx?q=population%20projections">survey</a> showing that the aging population in Central Texas will nearly double in the next two decades. The survey projects that the number of Austinites over the age of 65 will double to make up nearly 20 percent of the population by 2040.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 20:32:07 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4656 at http://kut.org As Elderly Population Increases, So Do Senior Disappearances Map: Street Closures for Saturday's Iraq Veterans Parade http://kut.org/post/map-street-closures-saturdays-iraq-veterans-parade <p><iframe frameborder="0" height="350" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" scrolling="no" src="https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msa=0&amp;msid=201079182274657105434.0004c42fc9f1bd99a9774&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;t=m&amp;ll=30.269112,-97.741799&amp;spn=0.012973,0.019054&amp;z=15&amp;output=embed" width="445"></iframe> Fri, 06 Jul 2012 21:50:40 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4632 at http://kut.org Parade, Career Fair for Iraq Veterans this Saturday http://kut.org/post/parade-career-fair-iraq-veterans-saturday <p>A <a href="http://welcomehomeiraqveterans.org/">parade</a> to honor Iraq War Veterans is scheduled to take place this Saturday, July 7.&nbsp; The event was <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/austin-honor-those-who-ve-served-iraq">inspired by a parade</a> in St. Louis, Missouri.</p><p>&ldquo;We figured that if St. Louis could do it, we could do it,&rdquo; said Conor Kenny, the event&rsquo;s head organizer. &ldquo;This plan was hatched over beers one night, and that&rsquo;s when we decided to do this whole thing.&rdquo;</p><p>The team of Austinites that organized the event is expecting a wide range of people to participate in the parade, reflecting the diversity and &ldquo;weirdness&rdquo; of Austin.</p><p> Wed, 04 Jul 2012 16:15:34 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4611 at http://kut.org Parade, Career Fair for Iraq Veterans this Saturday Austin Vigil for Lesbian Teens Shot in Portland, Texas http://kut.org/post/austin-vigil-lesbian-teens-shot-portland-texas <p>Recent high school graduates Mollie&nbsp;Olgin, 19, and&nbsp;Kristene&nbsp;Chapa, 18, were recently shot in the head while walking through a community park in Portland, Texas &ndash; a tragedy that has set off a nationwide <a href="http://getequaltx.org/vigil">series of vigils</a>.</p><p>The lesbian couple was found Saturday morning by park visitors, with wounds to their heads from a large caliber weapon.&nbsp;Olgin&nbsp;died at the scene of the crime; Chapa&nbsp;is in critical but stable condition at a local hospital.</p><p>An Austin vigil for Olgin&nbsp;and&nbsp;Chapa, organized by grassroots&nbsp;LGBT&nbsp;advocacy group&nbsp;<a href="http://getequaltx.org/">GetEQUAL</a>, is happening tonight.</p><p> Fri, 29 Jun 2012 21:28:43 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4592 at http://kut.org Austin Vigil for Lesbian Teens Shot in Portland, Texas Burn Ban Back in Effect for Travis County http://kut.org/post/burn-ban-back-effect-travis-county <p>With the Fourth of July just nine days away, residents of Travis County can rest assured that fireworks will still be part of their holiday celebrations. But Travis County Commissioners are urging people to use caution.</p><p>That&#39;s after commissioners voted today to put a burn ban back in effect for unincorporated areas on the advice of fire marshal Hershel Lee.&nbsp;</p><p>While fireworks can still be used and sold for the Fourth of July, they are still banned inside city limits, as is outdoor burning without a permit.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 21:11:46 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4554 at http://kut.org Burn Ban Back in Effect for Travis County Airport Commission Mulls New Customs Capacity http://kut.org/post/airport-commission-mulls-new-customs-capacity <p>The Austin Airport Advisory Commission votes tonight on the construction of a $5 million temporary customs building at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.</p><p>The proposed add-on would open in November of this year, and is scheduled to close 24 months later.&nbsp;</p><p>An airport spokesman says the extension is necessary to keep traffic flowing smoothly through the airport during this fall&rsquo;s Formula 1 race and beyond.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 18:11:17 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4552 at http://kut.org Airport Commission Mulls New Customs Capacity Calculate The Increase Coming to Your Austin Energy Bill http://kut.org/post/calculate-increase-coming-your-austin-energy-bill <p>Austin Energy rates are set to increase this September for the first time in 18 years. &nbsp;If you&#39;re wondering how much your electric bill will go up, Austin Energy wants you to know about a new version of its online <a href="https://my.austinenergy.com/wps/portal/rr/!ut/p/c5/rZDJcoJQEEW_xQ-w3mN-LJlBGQQfMmwsBGQUEEhEvz5UZZMskmzSd9nndt9uEINVXfJeFclc9V3SghDE7JkXINRpRCJHs3hoCAyNyT1LSQwEAQghfT7Wz8F4NS-vho-XNSoQj9HDktUDxha0cU4KpoF9xrYbmjg2KyKfTJgu8KS6muMz6rLuidgz_KEE-GeK-BuhSQyzEgaSKcWgEEl_9n-ZH4GY--J3FHH1y4ykW4jQKQjwP925A3HR9pf1s4GZ9pw8GQ9FCb0xFqtgQmOvKW0pxc-mVKOq3j677f6RE6KS-fySZXjBccK5tshlpOZcptZLLXe2fW3IvWDqBvYa9Ua7I-7VoUEpYeRFPt9bsmQniRiLCzlv3-oO5Xw42-5yLUltPgqbDbD1_paD4fZush4iEFVsPgA5YazH/dl3/d3/L2dBISEvZ0FBIS9nQSEh/">&ldquo;Electric Rate Calculator.&rdquo;</a></p><p>&ldquo;It will help customers start to understand the new rates,&rdquo; Carlos Cordova with Austin Energy said.&nbsp; With the online calculator, customers can see how prices will change after the new energy rates go into effect this September.&nbsp;</p><p>You can simply select a month, your total energy consumption in kilowatts, and in an instant, the program calculates the electric cost under the current billing system, and the new system, side by side.</p><p> Fri, 22 Jun 2012 21:04:35 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4539 at http://kut.org Calculate The Increase Coming to Your Austin Energy Bill Bye Bye Buddy: AISD's First Police Dog Retires http://kut.org/post/bye-bye-buddy-aisds-first-police-dog-retires <p>After an 11 year career on the Austin ISD police force, Buddy&rsquo;s career as a canine detective has concluded.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>The 13 year-old English Springer spaniel, who is trained to detect marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamines&nbsp;and powder used in firearms, will now spend his days as a house dog.&nbsp; But he leaves behind some big paw prints.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;He has quite the resume,&rdquo; says Detective Travis Pickford, Buddy&rsquo;s handler. &quot;Over the past 11 years, Buddy has located murder weapons and helped on numerous felony narcotics investigation.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 15 Jun 2012 21:50:30 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4495 at http://kut.org Bye Bye Buddy: AISD's First Police Dog Retires Texas Named the Ninth Fastest-Warming State http://kut.org/post/texas-named-ninth-fastest-warming-state <p>Are those Texas summers feeling increasingly warmer? Don&#39;t worry, it&#39;s not just you.&nbsp;</p><p>According to a <a href="http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-heat-is-on/">report </a>released today by the<a href="http://www.climatecentral.org/"> Climate Central </a>research group, Texas is ranked as the 9th Fastest Warming State, with average state temperatures increasing at a rate of .575 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The survey was based on temperatures in the continental United States between 1912 and 2011.&nbsp;</p><p>Though the increase might not seem huge, the Southwest, including Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, is the fastest warming region in the country.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;That&#39;ll translate into increased wildfire risk, make droughts more severe because of the increased heat, and have lots of other adverse effects on the region,&quot; said Richard Wiles from Climate Central. &nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 22:07:14 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4465 at http://kut.org Texas Named the Ninth Fastest-Warming State Are Extra Permits the Answer to Improving Taxi Service? http://kut.org/post/are-extra-permits-answer-improving-taxi-service <p>The City of Austin&nbsp;<a href="http://kutnews.org/post/secret-shopper-reports-expose-austin%E2%80%99s-taxi-problems">received a&nbsp;survey&nbsp;</a>in September 2011 on the city&#39;s taxi issues.&nbsp; Nearly a year later, the headaches continue.&nbsp;</p><p>At last week&rsquo;s Austin City Council meeting, members again debated how to get the right amount of taxis to the right places at the right time, while ensuring an even playing field for the city&#39;s three taxi companies and their drivers. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>In the end, council approved &ndash; on first reading only &ndash; the issuance of more permits to the city&#39;s two smaller companies: Lone Star Cab and Austin Cab. This week, Lone Star Cab&rsquo;s franchise renewal returns to council, and Yellow Cab &ndash; which dominates the market with 400-plus permits &ndash; is also up for renewal, and additional permits.</p><p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 16:21:10 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4442 at http://kut.org Are Extra Permits the Answer to Improving Taxi Service? ROT Riders Silence Engines in Honor of Fallen Service Members http://kut.org/post/rot-riders-silence-engines-honor-fallen-service-members <p>Republic of Texas Rally riders shared a moment of silence this morning, in a memorial service honoring military and law enforcement members before gearing up for the day&#39;s ride. &nbsp;</p><p>The ceremony took place at the Cook-Walden home in Pflugerville. After a blessing of the bikes, riders revved up their engines and took to the highway for this weekend&#39;s events. &nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 22:08:35 +0000 Mario Jacinto, Filipa Rodrigues & Katherine Jacobsen 4441 at http://kut.org ROT Riders Silence Engines in Honor of Fallen Service Members APD Gears Up For ROT Rally http://kut.org/post/apd-gears-rot-rally <p>The Austin Police Department announced a series of safety measures focused on drunk driving for the&nbsp;annual <a href="http://www.rotrally.com/">Republic of Texas Biker Rally.&nbsp;</a></p><p>The ROT Rally kicks off this Thursday and runs through Sunday&nbsp;at the Travis County Exposition Center in Northeast Austin.&nbsp;Over 40,000 people have registered to attend, and over 100,000 on-lookers are anticipated, according to APD.&nbsp; ROT is the fourth-largest biker rally of its kind in the United States.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>A &ldquo;No-Refusal&rdquo; policy will go into effect at 9 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. on Sunday. Under the policy, police can issue blood search warrants on suspects who refuse to give a breath or blood sample. &nbsp;Art Acevedo, the Austin Police Chief, hopes that the stringent policy will deter rally goers from making poor decisions while drinking.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 05 Jun 2012 22:35:58 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen 4409 at http://kut.org APD Gears Up For ROT Rally Street Foods Go Upscale, But is Something Lost in Translation? http://kut.org/post/street-foods-go-upscale-something-lost-translation <p>Traditional chicken al carbon – chicken grilled over a charcoal-fired flame – has gotten a makeover.&nbsp;</p><p>Austin-owned Fresa's Chicken al Carbon – an upscale take on the Mexican street-food staple found at modest establishments like El Pollo Rico – opened this April.</p><p>"I'm a big fan of El Pollo Rico, which is an existing concept in East Austin, and I thought it would be really wonderful to provide a similar product," said Margaret Vera, one of the restaurant's three partners.&nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 01 Jun 2012 20:09:38 +0000 Katherine Jacobsen & Wells Dunbar 4386 at http://kut.org Street Foods Go Upscale, But is Something Lost in Translation?