Chip Skambis http://kut.org en AM Update: DOJ Defends UT in Race Case, Win for Texas Over EPA, A&M Shooting Update http://kut.org/post/am-update-doj-defends-ut-race-case-win-texas-over-epa-am-shooting-update <p class="MsoNormal"><b style="mso-bidi-font-weight:normal">Justice Department Supports UT&rsquo;s Admissions Process</b></p><p class="MsoNormal">The Obama Administration says the University of Texas at Austin&#39;s consideration of race in admitting students is constitutional.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes">&nbsp; </span></p><p class="MsoNormal">The U.S. Justice Department revealed its support <a href="http://sblog.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/11-345-US-amicus-8-10-12.pdf">in a brief</a> filed yesterday with the U.S. Supreme Court. The Department says UT does not use race as an absolute deciding factor and that it comes into play in relatively few admission decisions.</p><p class="MsoNormal">Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on the case, known as <em><span style="font-family:Cambria;mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin">Fisher v. University of Texas</span></em><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;"> <em><span style="font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin">at Austin</span></em> </span>in October.<span style="mso-spacerun:yes"> </span>Abigail Fisher is challenging the university&rsquo;s admission policy, <span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;">claiming that she was denied admission to UT in 2008 because she is white.</span> Tue, 14 Aug 2012 13:35:48 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4873 at http://kut.org AM Update: DOJ Defends UT in Race Case, Win for Texas Over EPA, A&M Shooting Update AM Update: Can Ban Backlash, Record Cap Metro Ridership, UT Olympics Update http://kut.org/post/am-update-can-ban-backlash-record-cap-metro-ridership-ut-olympics-update <p class="MsoNormal"><strong>Business Can Sue New Braunfels Over Can Ban</strong></p><p>The Associated Press <a href="http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/06/4699222/judge-new-braunfels-can-be-sued.html">reports</a> that a judge has ruled that tourism businesses and others can sue New Braunfels over the city&#39;s so-called &quot;can ban.&quot; The city says it will appeal the decision and that the ban remains in effect.</p><p>Floating on area rivers is a longstanding tradition during hot Texas summers &ndash; one often enjoyed with a few adult beverages in tow. But turnout on local rivers has been&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/2011/07/drought-causes-tubing-troubles/" target="_blank">down over the last several years</a>, attributable to flooding, drought and, according to ban opponents, a recent prohibition on disposable containers.<img alt="Description: &lt;--break-&gt;" border="0" height="1" src="file:///C:\Users\wd285\AppData\Local\Temp\msohtmlclip1\01\clip_image001.gif" width="1" /></p><p>The ban was approved last summer by the New Braunfels City Council over concerns about the cost of cleaning up after visitors. Voters affirmed the ban last November when it was brought to a ballot referendum by opponents.&nbsp; The ban went into effect this summer.</p><p> Tue, 07 Aug 2012 13:27:32 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4827 at http://kut.org AM Update: Can Ban Backlash, Record Cap Metro Ridership, UT Olympics Update How the Blind Play Ball: Austin in Beep Baseball World Series http://kut.org/post/how-blind-play-ball-austin-beep-baseball-world-series <p>Imagine a baseball diamond.</p><p>Now imagine that first and second base are tall, buzzing, blue-foam pillars, and that third base is gone.</p><p>Now imagine six fielders and a couple &quot;spotters,&quot; who direct fielders toward a beeping ball &mdash; because everyone except the spotters, the pitcher and catcher are blind and/or blindfolded.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what a beep baseball game looks like.&nbsp;</p><p>The <a href="http://www.nbba.org/world_series/index.htm">2012 National Beep Baseball Association World Series</a> is underway in Ames, Iowa, where several teams of blind and visually impaired players will compete. Representing Austin, the Blackhawks added another win in their fight for the pennant Thursday. &nbsp;</p><p> Fri, 27 Jul 2012 17:45:47 +0000 Chip Skambis 4772 at http://kut.org How the Blind Play Ball: Austin in Beep Baseball World Series Chuy’s Stock Offering Easy to Swallow http://kut.org/post/chuy-s-stock-offering-easy-swallow <p>That&rsquo;s a lot of Chimichangas: The parent company of Austin restaurant chain <a href="http://www.chuys.com/">Chuy&rsquo;s</a> made its <a href="http://investor.chuys.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=694407">initial stock offering Monday</a>, raising $75.8 million.</p><p>Chuy&#39;s Holdings Inc. will begin trading shares today on the NASDAQ exchange, under the <a href="http://www.nasdaq.com/symbol/chuy">trading symbol CHUY</a>. It makes Chuy&rsquo;s Austin&#39;s newest publicly-traded company.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.statesman.com/business/austin-based-chuys-raises-75-8-million-with-2421075.html"><em>Austin-American Statesman</em> reports</a> that the company originally filed for an initial public offering in August of last year, amid a market downturn when few companies were making IPOs. But the market has since strengthened, and the IPO window has reopened.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 15:35:02 +0000 Chip Skambis 4747 at http://kut.org Chuy’s Stock Offering Easy to Swallow AM Update: West Nile in Travis Co., Barton Springs Reopens, Oil Drilling Improvements http://kut.org/post/am-update-west-nile-travis-co-barton-springs-reopens-oil-drilling-improvements <p><strong>Local West Nile Virus Case Confirmed</strong></p><p>The Texas Department of State Health Services confirms there have been <a href="http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/updates.shtm">32 cases</a> of West Nile neuroinvasive disease in Texas so far this year. One case has been confirmed in Travis County.&nbsp; The individual has been hospitalized.</p><p>The neuroinvasive form of the disease can affect a person&rsquo;s brain or spinal cord, and can be fatal. The first deadly case of the disease was confirmed in Texas <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/am-update-ut-kidnapping-scam-texas-west-nile-virus-death-senate-education-committee-meets">earlier this month,</a> but there are reports of as many as three deaths in the state. West Nile virus, carried by mosquitoes, causes the disease.</p><p>West Nile fever, also caused by the virus, is generally considered less serious because it does not invade the nervous system. The <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvbid/westnile/surv&amp;controlCaseCount12_detailed.htm">CDC reports</a> that roughly half the cases that states have reported so far this year are of the the more serious form of the disease.</p><p> Tue, 24 Jul 2012 12:54:24 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4743 at http://kut.org AM Update: West Nile in Travis Co., Barton Springs Reopens, Oil Drilling Improvements Worker Rights Consortium to Monitor UT Apparel Factories http://kut.org/post/worker-rights-consortium-monitor-ut-apparel-factories <p>The University of Texas at Austin is joining the <a href="http://www.workersrights.org/" target="_blank">Worker Rights Consortium</a>. The WRC will monitor working conditions of factories that make UT apparel.</p><p>The move comes after recent <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/no-arrests-second-ut-sweatshop-protest" target="_blank">protests by student activists</a> who denounced conditions in these factories and called for closer monitoring.</p><p>Tara Doolittle is a spokesperson for UT. She says joining the consortium can <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/am-update-student-occupiers-arrested-ut-honoring-walter-cronkite-discussing-wildfire-response" target="_blank">offer consumers peace of mind</a> about where UT products come from.</p><p>&quot;We are certainly concerned about the working conditions of the folks who make the apparel that bears our name &mdash; and we now have two agencies helping us make sure those conditions are what they should be,&quot; said Doolittle. Thu, 19 Jul 2012 19:08:00 +0000 Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4723 at http://kut.org Worker Rights Consortium to Monitor UT Apparel Factories Hungry? Four Feasts You Could Buy for the Cost of an Obama Ticket http://kut.org/post/hungry-four-feasts-you-could-buy-cost-obama-ticket <p>Tickets to President Barack Obama&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/obama-austin-road-closures-and-detours-ahead?nopop=1" target="_blank">Austin fundraising events</a> range from $250 to $25,000. And while his campaign expects to net millions in contributions, that&rsquo;s only an appetizer compared to overall costs of the 2012 presidential campaign.</p><p>Money is the fuel that feeds political campaigns, making these fundraising stops a little like going out to eat &ndash; except with speeches and hordes of reporters following you, some of whom recently noted <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2012/07/obama-eats-ice-cream-cone-with-spoon.html" target="_blank">President Obama eats ice cream cones with a spoon</a>.</p><p>But in the interest of keeping it weird, we looked at what Austin food this fundraising money could buy.</p><p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 19:01:59 +0000 Chip Skambis & Wells Dunbar 4703 at http://kut.org Hungry? Four Feasts You Could Buy for the Cost of an Obama Ticket Obama in Austin: Road Closures and Detours Ahead http://kut.org/post/obama-austin-road-closures-and-detours-ahead <p>President Barack Obama will campaign in San Antonio and Austin today, where he has four fundraisers planned <a href="http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=156889843">to raise money big money.</a>The visit is expected to <a href="http://kut.org/2012/07/obama-visit-will-snarl-downtown-traffic/">cause traffic </a><a href="http://kut.org/2012/07/obama-visit-will-snarl-downtown-traffic/">problems</a>&nbsp;in Austin during this evening&rsquo;s rush hour.</p><p>While Air Force One is scheduled to touch down in Austin around 4:25 p.m., the exact route of the president&rsquo;s motorcade is classified for security reasons. Consequently, no one&rsquo;s sure just how bad any resultant traffic tie-ups will be.</p><p>Capital Metro <a href="http://www.capmetro.org/news-item.aspx?id=1398">service will be detoured</a> within the following perimeters: Fifth Street, Congress, Lamar and Riverside.</p><p> Tue, 17 Jul 2012 15:13:12 +0000 Chip Skambis 4699 at http://kut.org Obama in Austin: Road Closures and Detours Ahead AM Update: UT Kidnapping Scam, Texas West Nile Virus Death, Senate Education Committee Meets http://kut.org/post/am-update-ut-kidnapping-scam-texas-west-nile-virus-death-senate-education-committee-meets <p><strong>UT Students and Families Victims of Scam</strong></p><p>The University of Texas at Austin is <a href="http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/07/16/investigate-student-kidnapping-scam/" target="_blank">warning students and their families</a> about a kidnapping scam.</p><p>Relatives of at least four students have received phone calls in the past six weeks claiming their child or grandchild had been kidnapped or is in need of medical care. The caller then asks for money.</p><p>UT Police say the perpetrator has an accent and demands that funds be placed into a foreign bank account. &nbsp;</p><p>UT police is investigating the scam along with the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Tue, 17 Jul 2012 13:13:35 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4696 at http://kut.org AM Update: UT Kidnapping Scam, Texas West Nile Virus Death, Senate Education Committee Meets Driving a Hard Bargain: Changes Coming for Valet Parking? http://kut.org/post/driving-hard-bargain-changes-coming-valet-parking <p>At a meeting tonight, the <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/utc">Urban Transportation Commission</a> will hear a presentation on potential changes to Austin&rsquo;s valet parking ordinance.</p><p>Currently, a valet business can lease the use of a public parking spot for $250 a year. And approximately 180 parking spots are used for valet parking downtown.&nbsp;But as the city grows and parking becomes more scarce, calls have emerged to reconsider the fee, which hasn&rsquo;t been modified since 1999.</p><p>Talks between the city and valet operators have been going on since August of last year. Both the city and the valet operators favor a change to an hourly rate.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 21:16:28 +0000 Chip Skambis & Wells Dunbar 4657 at http://kut.org Driving a Hard Bargain: Changes Coming for Valet Parking? Austin DirecTV Customers May Lose Viacom Channels http://kut.org/post/austin-directv-customers-may-lose-viacom-channels <p>Certain DirecTV channels may go off the air at midnight as the company&rsquo;s contract with Viacom expires.</p><p>The current state of negotiations between the companies indicates those channels &mdash; which include Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV &mdash; will go black for DirecTV subscribers at that time.</p><p><a href="http://blog.viacom.com/2012/07/directv-to-drop-26-viacom-channels-at-midnight-on-tuesday-july-10/">In a blog post</a>, Viacom&nbsp;says that talks &quot;have reached an impasse&quot; and that it deserves higher fees, while DirecTV says the company is looking for <a href="http://www.directvpromise.com/latest-updates/#.T_xDFUeQ3-8">an increase of more than 30 percent</a>.</p><p>Viacom says that DirecTV is offering to pay less than &ldquo;any other distributor in the industry.&rdquo;</p><p> Tue, 10 Jul 2012 16:50:47 +0000 Chip Skambis 4651 at http://kut.org Austin DirecTV Customers May Lose Viacom Channels AM Update: Deadly Overnight Fires, Fallen Soldier, Armstrong Lawsuit Dismissed http://kut.org/post/am-update-deadly-overnight-fires-fallen-soldier-armstrong-lawsuit-dismissed <p><strong>Overnight Fires Claim At Least 3 Lives</strong></p><p>Austin firefighters responded to two deadly fires early this morning. Crews removed two children from a structure at <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=5311+Chico+Austin&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=0x8644b66f68671a61:0xd104ec0886c267a9,5311+Chico+St,+Austin,+TX+78721&amp;gl=us&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=WBX8T56hCony2gXH_cXKBg&amp;ved=0CAgQ8gEwAA">6226 Wagon Bend Trail</a> in Southeast Austin. The two young boys, ages five and seven, were later pronounced dead at the scene.</p><p>Investigators believe the fire started in a car and spread to the home. But AFD Spokesperson Lt. Jim Baker says the scene is still under investigation. Baker says investigators have not yet been able to enter the building.</p><p>One person was killed in a second overnight fire at <a href="http://maps.google.com/maps?oe=utf-8&amp;rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&amp;client=firefox-a&amp;q=5311+Chico+Austin&amp;um=1&amp;ie=UTF-8&amp;hq=&amp;hnear=0x8644b66f68671a61:0xd104ec0886c267a9,5311+Chico+St,+Austin,+TX+78721&amp;gl=us&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=WBX8T56hCony2gXH_cXKBg&amp;ved=0CAgQ8gEwAA">5311 Chico Street</a> in East Austin. Fire crews were able to rescue four other people. Three of the fire victims were transported to University Medical Center Brackenridge for treatment.&nbsp; A firefighter also suffered minor burns. Tue, 10 Jul 2012 12:37:02 +0000 Chip Skambis, Margaret Nicklas & Laura Rice 4649 at http://kut.org AM Update: Deadly Overnight Fires, Fallen Soldier, Armstrong Lawsuit Dismissed Why Newest Teen Sexting Study May Be the Most Accurate http://kut.org/post/why-newest-teen-sexting-study-may-be-most-accurate <p>Twenty-eight percent of high school students have sent naked pictures of themselves through email or text, according to <a href="http://archpedi.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1212181">a study</a>&nbsp;led by the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.</p><p>The researchers also found that teens who sexted were more likely to have had sex than those who did not send out nude photos of themselves.</p> Tue, 03 Jul 2012 19:15:08 +0000 Chip Skambis & Wells Dunbar 4608 at http://kut.org Why Newest Teen Sexting Study May Be the Most Accurate Watch Your Car: Austin Police Offer Free VIN Etching, More http://kut.org/post/watch-your-car-austin-police-offer-free-vin-etching-more <p>The temperature isn&rsquo;t the only thing rising this July: So is auto theft.</p><p>July is one of the more popular months for car thieves in Texas, according to the Austin Police Department.</p><p>This month, police are taking part in a &ldquo;Watch Your Car&rdquo; campaign, which aims to educate Austinites on ways they can prevent their cars from being stolen.</p><p>APD will be at the Barton Creek Mall today from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to offer community services designed to curb car thefts.</p><p> Tue, 03 Jul 2012 16:07:13 +0000 Chip Skambis & Wells Dunbar 4606 at http://kut.org Watch Your Car: Austin Police Offer Free VIN Etching, More AM Update: ‘No Sit, No Lie,’ Finishing Touches at Governor's Mansion, Free Pet Adoptions http://kut.org/post/am-update-no-sit-no-lie-finishing-touches-governors-mansion-free-pet-adoptions <p><strong>No Vote on &lsquo;No Sit, No Lie&rsquo;</strong></p><p>Austin&rsquo;s Public Safety Commission decided to <a href="http://austintx.swagit.com/play/07022012-507" target="_blank">push back </a>until August a decision on expanding the city&rsquo;s &ldquo;No Sit, No Lie&rdquo; ordinance to the 12th Street and Chicon Street area.</p><p><a href="http://kutnews.org/post/should-no-sit-no-lie-ordinance-cover-east-austin" target="_blank">The ordinance</a> bans anyone from sitting or sleeping on streets near businesses, banks, and ATMs. Right now, it&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/no-sitno-lie-ordinace-passed-austin-council" target="_blank">in effect downtown</a>.</p><p>The Blackshear and Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association has been trying to bring the ordinance east of Interstate 35 in hopes of combating drug and prostitution problems.</p><p>But the Public Safety Commission isn&rsquo;t convinced &ldquo;No Sit, No Lie&rdquo; is the best option. Tue, 03 Jul 2012 13:00:11 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4604 at http://kut.org AM Update: ‘No Sit, No Lie,’ Finishing Touches at Governor's Mansion, Free Pet Adoptions Franchisors Help Vets Get Down to Business http://kut.org/post/franchisors-help-vets-get-down-business <p>Austin military veterans and Texas-based entrepreneurs have launched an online portal to connect vets and their spouses to openings in franchise employment and ownership.</p><p>The initiative aims to help improve the high unemployment rate among veterans, which has reached 7.2% in Texas.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.childrenslighthousefranchise.com/">Texas Children&rsquo;s Lighthouse Learning </a><a href="http://www.childrenslighthousefranchise.com/">Center</a>and <a href="http://www.dwyergroup.com/">The Dwyer </a><a href="http://www.dwyergroup.com/">Group</a>announced their support and collaboration with the International Franchise Association in creating <a href="http://www.vetfran.com/veterans-toolkit-signup/">The Veterans Franchise (VetFran) Toolkit</a>.</p><p> Thu, 28 Jun 2012 21:37:56 +0000 Chip Skambis 4581 at http://kut.org Franchisors Help Vets Get Down to Business AM Update: Record Electric Demand, Child Car Safety, New Tar Sands Pipeline http://kut.org/post/am-update-record-electric-demand-child-car-safety-new-tar-sands-pipeline <p><strong>Electricity Demand Hit New June Record Yesterday</strong></p><p>The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, reported hitting a new June record for peak electric demand Monday. Electricity use peaked from 4-5 p.m., when 65,047 megawatts were needed.</p><p>A previous record occurred last June, when 63,102 megawatts were used. ERCOT&rsquo;s all-time peak demand, at 68,379 megawatts, occurred last August.</p><p>Triple digit temperatures are forecast for the remainder of the week in Austin.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 26 Jun 2012 13:41:33 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Wells Dunbar 4549 at http://kut.org AM Update: Record Electric Demand, Child Car Safety, New Tar Sands Pipeline Three Things Parents Can Do to Increase Pool Safety http://kut.org/post/three-things-parents-can-do-increase-pool-safety <p>The Dell Children&rsquo;s Medical Center dealt with five drowning incidents last weekend, including one confirmed fatality. Doctors say the incidents serve as a powerful reminder of the need for water safety, especially for children.</p><p>&ldquo;Having been in the ER now for almost 32 years, watching the parents and feeling and sharing their pain, I can say these events are just tragic&mdash;and, for the most part, preventable,&rdquo; Dell Children&rsquo;s&nbsp;chief of emergency medicine&nbsp;Dr. Pat Crocker&nbsp;says.</p><p>Crocker noted three steps parents could take to prevent drowning incidents. One is simply keeping an eye on their kids in the pool, because most children don&rsquo;t have a chance to make any noise before going under.</p><p> Tue, 19 Jun 2012 21:27:46 +0000 Chip Skambis 4512 at http://kut.org Three Things Parents Can Do to Increase Pool Safety AM Update: STAAR Heads to Public Ed Committee, Hasan Trial Delay, Juneteenth Celebration http://kut.org/post/am-update-staar-heads-public-ed-committee-hasan-trial-delay-juneteenth-celebration <p><strong>Lawmakers to Hear Testimony on&nbsp;STAAR&nbsp;Implementation</strong></p><p>State lawmakers will get an update today on how the rollout of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, known as&nbsp;STAAR, went this spring. The exam is the state&rsquo;s latest school accountability test.</p><p>Figures released this month indicated that many Texas ninth graders performed poorly on the test. As the Texas Tribune <a href="http://kut.org/2012/06/texas-schools-foot-big-bill-for-staar-retakes/">previously reported</a>, &ldquo;This year, the scores on the exams don&rsquo;t count toward high school students&rsquo; final grades or toward school districts&rsquo; accountability ratings. But a requirement that students retake a test if they do not achieve a minimum score remains in place.&rdquo; So due to low scores,&nbsp;many students will retake exams this summer.</p><p> Tue, 19 Jun 2012 11:46:46 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Chip Skambis & Laura Rice 4505 at http://kut.org AM Update: STAAR Heads to Public Ed Committee, Hasan Trial Delay, Juneteenth Celebration AM Update: Cap Metro Readies Layoffs, Arts Patron Umlauf Dies, Grants for Cleaner Fleets http://kut.org/post/am-update-cap-metro-readies-layoffs-arts-patron-umlauf-dies-grants-cleaner-fleets <p><strong>Cap Metro Preps Layoffs in Labor Transition; Says Most Employees Will Be Offered Jobs</strong></p><p>Capital Metro is laying off more than 800 union employees as it prepares to outsource those jobs to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/cap-metro-staff-makes-contractor-recommendations" target="_blank">two contractors</a>.</p><p>The transit agency says the union workers&nbsp;<a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/cap-metro-workers-should-keep-jobs-under-contractors" target="_blank">will be offered jobs</a>&nbsp;under the new operators, as long as they can pass driving and drug tests.</p><p>More than 50 supervisors are also being laid off. They are not part of the union so they are not guaranteed new jobs, but will be given first consideration, Cap Metro says.</p><p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 12:33:28 +0000 Chip Skambis, Margaret Nicklas & Laura Rice 4458 at http://kut.org AM Update: Cap Metro Readies Layoffs, Arts Patron Umlauf Dies, Grants for Cleaner Fleets