Mary Mattia http://kut.org en Seasonal Changes to Cap Metro, UT Shuttle Routes http://kut.org/post/seasonal-changes-cap-metro-ut-shuttle-routes <p></p><p>Starting this Sunday, Capital Metro and UT shuttle bus routes are changing with the seasons. Cap Metro says the changes are an attempt to improve the system and make it more efficient.</p><p>Major route adjustments will include changes to 30 Barton Creek, which will no longer serve the Barton Hills/Hollow Creek neighborhood, and the 323 Anderson lines, which changes alignment from Ed Bluestein Boulevard to Springdale Road and Tuscany Way.</p><p>Minor schedule adjustments will made to the following routes to improve&nbsp;reliability: 4&nbsp;Montopolis, 7 Duval/Dove Springs, 19 Bull Creek, 30 Barton Creek, 101 N. Lamar/S. Congress, 151&nbsp;Allandale, 243 Wells Branch, 323 Anderson, 338 Westgate/45<sup>th</sup> and 383 Research. Several Night Owl routes will also be realigned.</p><p> Fri, 17 Aug 2012 15:58:57 +0000 Mary Mattia 4900 at http://kut.org AM Update: West Nile Death in Williamson Co., Water Restriction Changes, Funeral for Slain Constable http://kut.org/post/am-update-west-nile-death-williamson-co-water-restriction-changes-funeral-slain-constable <p><strong>West Nile Death in Williamson County</strong></p><p>West Nile virus is being blamed for the <a href="http://www.wcchd.org/news/press_releases/docs/2012_West_Nile_News_Release_UPDATE.pdf" target="_blank">death of a Williamson County woman</a>. It’s the county’s first West Nile virus related death of the year. One person in Travis County <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/west-nile-virus-claims-one-central-texan" target="_blank">died late last month</a>.</p><p>Both patients were over 60 years-old; the woman in Williamson County was over 90. A total of six people in that county have been infected with West Nile virus. At least 16 people in Travis County have contracted the disease.</p><p>So far this season, Texas has seen the worst of the West Nile virus outbreak. Ten people have died from the disease in Dallas County. <a href="http://keranews.org/post/eleven-cities-will-spray-air">Eleven cities in Dallas County</a> have agreed to fight the mosquitos via aerial spraying. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins declared a state of emergency. Fri, 17 Aug 2012 13:32:11 +0000 Laura Rice & Mary Mattia 4898 at http://kut.org Spraying for West Nile Begins in Dallas http://kut.org/post/spraying-west-nile-begins-dallas <p>Starting today, <a href="http://www.dallascounty.org">Dallas County</a> and the <a href="http://www.dallascityhall.com">City of Dallas</a> will begin spraying for mosquitos in an attempt to combat <a href="http://www.dallascounty.org/department/hhs/home.html">West Nile virus</a>.</p><p>Officials in Dallas County have declared a public health emergency after the virus has <a href="http://diseasemaps.usgs.gov/wnv_tx_human.html">killed nine people and infected more</a> than 180 in the area.</p><p>Local leaders resisted spraying at first but now the mayors of Dallas, Highland Park and University Park <a href="http://keranews.org/post/update-dallas-mayor-supports-plan-aerial-mosquito-spraying">all agree</a> with truck spraying and additionally support aerial spraying. <a href="http://www.dallascounty.org/department/comcrt/cjenkins.php">Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins</a> is urging surrounding cities to approve these safety measures.</p><p> Mon, 13 Aug 2012 15:42:55 +0000 Mary Mattia 4862 at http://kut.org Spraying for West Nile Begins in Dallas AM Update: Perry Sends Wildfire Aid, Texas Pols on Paul Ryan, Longhorn Olympic Wrap http://kut.org/post/am-update-perry-sends-wildfire-aid-texas-pols-paul-ryan-longhorn-olympic-wrap <p><strong>Perry Sends Military Aid to Combat North Texas Wildfires</strong></p><p>Governor Rick Perry is <a href="http://governor.state.tx.us/news/press-release/17529/" target="_blank">sending Texas Military Forces aircraft</a> and personnel to help fight wildfires in North Texas. Fourteen local and volunteer fire departments have been fighting the fires.</p><p>Two large fires are burning in Palo Pinto County, about 75 miles west of Ft. Worth. Together, they&rsquo;ve burned more than 3,000 acres. The <a href="http://texasforestservice.tamu.edu/main/article.aspx?id=1991" target="_blank">dry conditions</a>, terrain, and high winds have allowed the wildfires to spread quickly.</p><p>As of yet, there are no reports of injuries or homes lost. Mon, 13 Aug 2012 13:33:53 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4861 at http://kut.org AM Update: Perry Sends Wildfire Aid, Texas Pols on Paul Ryan, Longhorn Olympic Wrap AM Update: Food Recall Affects Texas, LCRA Won't Lower Lake Levels, Another Longhorn Gold http://kut.org/post/am-update-food-recall-affects-texas-lcra-wont-lower-lake-levels-another-longhorn-gold <p><strong>Watch What You Eat</strong></p><p>A <a href="http://www.fsis.usda.gov/News_&amp;_Events/Recall_053_2012_Release/index.asp" target="_blank">Minnesota company is recalling</a> more than 15,000 pounds of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products &ndash; some of which was sent to a distribution center in Texas.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.activepacks.com/" target="_blank">meat products</a> may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.</p><p>The recall affects:</p><ul style="margin-top: 0em; margin-bottom: 0em"><li>5.6 oz. packages of &quot;Armour Active Packs Turkey &amp; Cheese Wrap&quot; Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17994</li><li>5.6 oz. packages of &quot;Armour Active Packs Ham &amp; Cheese Wrap&quot; Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17995</li></ul><p> Mon, 06 Aug 2012 13:33:58 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4821 at http://kut.org AM Update: Food Recall Affects Texas, LCRA Won't Lower Lake Levels, Another Longhorn Gold Google Poses Challenge to the Austin Tech Community http://kut.org/post/google-poses-challenge-austin-tech-community <p>The <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/edims/pio/default.cfm">City of Austin</a> has agreed to participate in the first ever Google Place API Developer Challenge.</p><p>If you&rsquo;re a developer, designer or generally tech-savvy, you&rsquo;re officially invited to the challenge. But there&rsquo;s something quite different about this event. It is specifically designed to help communities and governments run more efficiently through the use of technology. The idea is to make public information more accessible and useful, so developers will have access to Google&rsquo;s database to make it easier to build applications on services like <a href="https://maps.google.com">Google Maps</a>.</p><p> Thu, 02 Aug 2012 18:08:02 +0000 Mary Mattia 4806 at http://kut.org Google Poses Challenge to the Austin Tech Community Texas 'Tooth Fairy' Studies Triggers for Autism http://kut.org/post/texas-tooth-fairy-studies-triggers-autism <p>A San Antonio scientist looking for possible causes of autism is taking an unusual approach. <a href="http://www.uthscsa.edu">University of Texas Health Science Center</a> epidemiologist <a href="http://profiles.uthscsa.edu/?pid=profile&amp;id=0V71EUE7K">Dr. Raymond Palmer</a> is using baby teeth to try to root out some answers.</p><p>The project is nicknamed &ldquo;the tooth fairy studies&rdquo; because to conduct his research, Dr. Palmer collects old, donated baby teeth from kids with and without autism. He is trying to discover how environmental effects&nbsp; -- from as early as conception &ndash; can determine whether a child develops autistic traits. Thu, 02 Aug 2012 17:02:24 +0000 Mary Mattia 4805 at http://kut.org Texas 'Tooth Fairy' Studies Triggers for Autism AM Update: Speed Limit Increase on 183A, Learning from Lackland?, Long-Awaited Medal for UT Alum http://kut.org/post/am-update-speed-limit-increase-183a-learning-lackland-long-awaited-medal-ut-alum <p><strong>Speed Limit Increase on 183A Toll Road</strong></p><p>You&rsquo;ll soon be able to drive faster on the <a href="http://www.mobilityauthority.com/projects/183a.php" target="_blank">183A toll road</a>.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.mobilityauthority.com/monkeewrench/files/resources/MA_Spd_Lmt_Incr_071112_REV.pdf" target="_blank">speed limit is going up</a> from 70 to 75 miles per hour this morning. The new speed limit goes into effect as soon as the new signs are installed.</p><p>The speed limit increase affects more than 11 miles of highway stretching from RM 620 in Northwest Austin through Cedar Park and Leander. Thu, 02 Aug 2012 13:12:45 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4803 at http://kut.org AM Update: Speed Limit Increase on 183A, Learning from Lackland?, Long-Awaited Medal for UT Alum Free Birth Control Insurance Coverage Takes Effect Today http://kut.org/post/free-birth-control-insurance-coverage-takes-effect-today <p>Starting today, millions of women are going to receive birth control coverage&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/08/01/157674061/under-health-law-no-cost-birth-control-starts-today">at no upfront cost</a>, a change supporters say gives women greater access and control over their own health care.</p><p>Through a provision in the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.healthcare.gov/law/index.html">Affordable Care Act</a>, &ldquo;non-grandfathered&rdquo; insurance plans must provide eight new, free prevention-related health services for policies renewed or issued on or after September 23, 2012.</p><p>The new services, provided with no cost-sharing, include: well-woman exams, screening for gestational diabetes,&nbsp;HPV&nbsp;DNA testing, domestic violence screenings and counseling, HIV screenings, breastfeeding supplies, contraception and family counseling services.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 17:17:28 +0000 Mary Mattia 4799 at http://kut.org Free Birth Control Insurance Coverage Takes Effect Today AM Update: New Record For Power Usage, Texas Ex Wins Gold, C-130s to Stay in Texas http://kut.org/post/am-update-new-record-power-usage-texas-ex-wins-gold-c-130s-stay-texas <p><strong>New Record Set for July Power Usage</strong></p><p>Keeping the A.C. on all day may be a good way to stay cool, but not to help Texas&#39; electric grid.</p><p>A new July record was set yesterday when the <a href="http://www.ercot.com/">Electric Reliability Council of Texas</a> (ERCOT) reported that demand on their electric grid peaked at 65,790 megawatts (MW). The previous record was set last July, during one of the hottest summers on record, at 65,432 MW.</p> Wed, 01 Aug 2012 12:39:11 +0000 Mary Mattia & Margaret Nicklas 4796 at http://kut.org AM Update: New Record For Power Usage, Texas Ex Wins Gold, C-130s to Stay in Texas Possible Flaw in State Standardized Testing http://kut.org/post/possible-flaw-state-standardized-testing <p>A UT professor has released research that could be a big problem for state testing.</p><p>Walter&nbsp;Stroup is a UT professor in charge of a pilot math program for middle school students in Dallas. The&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/design-flaw-suspected-texas-standardized-tests/">Texas Tribune&nbsp;</a></em><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/public-education/design-flaw-suspected-texas-standardized-tests/">writes</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;Stroup and two other researchers have compiled studies on the&nbsp;TAKS&nbsp;standardized test, which they say demonstrates an error related to the statistical method used to assemble the tests &ndash; suggesting that the tests are essentially useless at measuring effective classroom instruction.</p><p>Education company <a href="http://www.pearson.com/">Pearson</a>&nbsp;has a $468 million contract to write the state&rsquo;s standardized tests through 2015. It is also responsible for <a href="http://kutnews.org/post/school-districts-take-advantage-staar-rule-change">the controversial&nbsp;STAAR&nbsp;test</a>.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 15:54:59 +0000 Mary Mattia 4777 at http://kut.org Possible Flaw in State Standardized Testing AM Update: KUT's New Digs, Texas Exes Earn Olympic Hardware, Houston Releases Shooter Survival Video http://kut.org/post/am-update-kuts-new-digs-texas-exes-earn-olympic-hardware-houston-releases-shooter-survival <p><strong>KUT Has Officially Moved</strong></p><p>After more than three decades, KUT has emerged from Communications Building B on the University of Texas-Austin campus &ndash; to a brand new building right across the street.</p><p>The new <a href="http://kut.org/support/the-new-kut-public-media-studios/">KUT Public Media Studios</a> is on the corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton. Finally visible, with windows and with an environmentally responsible building, the new location is home to a 72-seat performance studio, outdoor stage, and production studios.</p><p>We&rsquo;re happy to finally have a space to match what we strive for in innovation, responsibility, and interaction &ndash; and to be able to see outside! Mon, 30 Jul 2012 13:07:04 +0000 Mary Mattia 4775 at http://kut.org AM Update: KUT's New Digs, Texas Exes Earn Olympic Hardware, Houston Releases Shooter Survival Video Are Texas' New License Plates Catering to Hipsters? http://kut.org/post/are-texas-new-license-plates-catering-hipsters <p>Texas license plates are receiving a retro makeover.</p><p>Called the “<a href="http://ftp.txdmv.gov/pub/txdot-info/vtr/news/2012/txdmv-newplaterelease.pdf">Texas Classic</a>,” the new plate is decidedly basic: white with black text, the Texas star, a state silhouette and “Lone Star State” emblazoned at the bottom.</p><p>Many of those design decisions are driven by security: The Texas Classic has bigger letters and a new pattern – letters and numbers group together instead of interspersed – which makes for easier reading. There are also two anti-counterfitting&nbsp;threads embedded into the plates.</p><p>But there’s something about the monochromatic design that goes beyond security. With its throwback design, the plate arguably falls into the realm of “hipster branding.”</p><p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 16:26:58 +0000 Mary Mattia & Wells Dunbar 4754 at http://kut.org Are Texas' New License Plates Catering to Hipsters? AM Update: Fire Dept. Hiring Spree, Unlawful Immigration Services, Juvenile Transfers Continue http://kut.org/post/am-update-fire-dept-hiring-spree-unlawful-immigration-services-juvenile-transfers-continue <p><strong>AFD Gets Money to Hire More Firefighters</strong></p><p>The Austin Fire Department is getting more than $5 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire 36 firefighters.</p><p><a href="http://www.fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-veterans" target="_blank">The FEMA grant</a> will help AFD staff four people on every engine &ndash; that&rsquo;s the standard set by the <a href="http://www.nfpa.org/index.asp" target="_blank">National Fire Protection Agency</a>.</p><p>The money will cover the salaries of the firefighters for the first two years. AFD will take over the cost in year three.</p><p><strong>Austin Organization Charged With Providing Unlawful Services</strong></p><p><a href="https://www.oag.state.tx.us/">Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott</a> has charged an Austin group with providing unlawful immigration services and defrauding its clients. Thu, 26 Jul 2012 13:25:00 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4761 at http://kut.org AM Update: Fire Dept. Hiring Spree, Unlawful Immigration Services, Juvenile Transfers Continue AM Update: The Future of The Colorado, TaxMasters Client Information, Border Fences Get Green Light http://kut.org/post/am-update-future-colorado-taxmasters-client-information-border-fences-get-green-light <p><strong>Stakeholders Consider Colorado River&#39;s Future</strong></p><p>A <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/event/austin-bastrop-river-corridor-partnership-quarterly-meeting-0" target="_blank">public meeting</a> today will focus on the <a href="http://kut.org/2012/06/life-by-the-drop-down-the-colorado-river/" target="_blank">future of the Colorado River</a> in Travis and Bastrop Counties.</p><p><a href="http://kut.org/2012/07/colorado-river-oxygen-levels/" target="_blank">Data released</a> by Austin Youth River Watch earlier this month suggests that the health of the river&rsquo;s ecosystem might be in jeopardy. The group discovered low levels of oxygen in the water and that could be bad for fish and other wildlife. Wed, 25 Jul 2012 13:13:24 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4753 at http://kut.org AM Update: The Future of The Colorado, TaxMasters Client Information, Border Fences Get Green Light Drought Conditions Improve Across Central Texas http://kut.org/post/drought-conditions-improve-across-central-texas <p><a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/recent-rain-barely-boosts-lake-levels" target="_blank">Recent rain</a> has lifted much of the Austin area from &ldquo;severe&rdquo; to &ldquo;moderate&rdquo; drought.</p><p>The <a href="http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/archive.html" target="_blank">latest U.S. Drought Monitor map</a> shows an improvement across almost all of Central Texas. Williamson County went from extreme drought down to severe. And areas around Bastrop have improved to abnormally dry.</p><p>In fact, 12 percent of the state &ndash; much of Eastern Texas &ndash; is now classified as completely out of drought conditions.</p><p>Victor Murphy is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. He says it will still be a while before all of Texas sees long-term drought recovery. Thu, 19 Jul 2012 18:36:57 +0000 Laura Rice & Mary Mattia 4724 at http://kut.org Drought Conditions Improve Across Central Texas TABC Trying to Speed Up Alcohol Licensing http://kut.org/post/tabc-trying-speed-alcohol-licensing <p>The House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures <a href="http://www.legis.state.tx.us/tlodocs/82R/schedules/html/C3502012071810001.htm">met Wednesday</a> to take a look at streamlining the alcoholic licensing and permitting process.</p><p>According to the <em><a href="http://www.texastribune.org/texas-state-agencies/texas-alcoholic-beverage-commission/tabc-wants-more-streamlined-alcohol-permitting-pro/">Texas Tribune</a></em>, interim Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) director Sherry Cooke&nbsp;told the <a href="http://www.house.state.tx.us/committees/committee/?committee=350&amp;session=81">committee</a> that her agency wants to consolidate the processes for beer and liquor licenses.</p><p>The issue is that there are two separate <a href="http://www.tabc.state.tx.us/licensing/license_and_permit_description.asp">processes</a> for receiving a beer license and liquor licenses. Some of the applications for those permits can be processed through TABC, but others have to involve county courts.</p><p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:49:57 +0000 Mary Mattia 4719 at http://kut.org TABC Trying to Speed Up Alcohol Licensing AM Update: Inmate Executed With Single Drug, Juvenile Inmate Violence, Dewhurst and Cruz's History http://kut.org/post/am-update-inmate-executed-single-drug-juvenile-inmate-violence-dewhurst-and-cruzs-history <p><strong>Texas Inmate Put to Death Using Single-Drug Concoction</strong></p><p>The State of Texas executed <a href="http://www.tdcj.state.tx.us/death_row/dr_info/hearnyokamon.html" target="_blank">Yokamon Hearn</a> yesterday evening. He was put to death for the 1998 carjacking and murder of 23-year-old Frank Meziere in Dallas.</p><p>Hearn was the sixth prisoner executed in the state so far this year.</p><p>He was the first put to death using a <a href="http://www.kutnews.org/post/texas-changing-its-lethal-injection-protocol" target="_blank">single drug lethal injection procedure</a>. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice switched to the single drug because of a shortage of the two other drugs normally used in lethal injections. Thu, 19 Jul 2012 14:00:50 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4715 at http://kut.org AM Update: Inmate Executed With Single Drug, Juvenile Inmate Violence, Dewhurst and Cruz's History AM Update: Leppert Endorses Dewhurst, Governor's Mansion Re-Opens, 'Linsanity' Returns to Houston http://kut.org/post/am-update-leppert-endorses-dewhurst-governors-mansion-re-opens-linsanity-returns-houston <p><strong>Leppert Endorses Dewhurst Following Debate</strong></p><p>Former Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert endorsed Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst after last night&#39;s debate between Dewhurst and former Solicitor General Ted Cruz.</p><p>Cruz and Dewhurst are in a runoff for the Republican nomination to vie for retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison&#39;s seat.</p><p>During the <a href="http://keranews.org/post/leppert-endorses-dewhurst-following-senate-debate">debate in Dallas</a>, Dewhurst and Cruz traded barbs about each other&rsquo;s honesty and fitness for the senate seat. While they found some common ground in their disapproval of the current federal healthcare reform, Dewhurst, unlike Cruz, expressed support for providing assistance to the &ldquo;elderly, frail, disabled and children.&rdquo; Wed, 18 Jul 2012 13:11:39 +0000 Margaret Nicklas, Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4707 at http://kut.org AM Update: Leppert Endorses Dewhurst, Governor's Mansion Re-Opens, 'Linsanity' Returns to Houston AM Update: Storm Wrap-Up, Lawmakers on Veterans and Foster Care, Reduced Water Restrictions http://kut.org/post/am-update-storm-wrap-lawmakers-veterans-and-foster-care-reduced-water-restrictions <p><strong>Sunday&#39;s Storm Affects Austin Roads, Power</strong></p><p>As much as four to five inches of rain fell over Austin and Round Rock last night.</p><p>About two and a quarter inches were recorded in downtown Austin.</p><p>Heavy rains required the <a href="http://www.lcra.org/water/conditions/river_report.html" target="_blank">Lower Colorado River Authority to open some floodgates</a> at the Tom Miller Dam to keep Lake Austin within its operating range.</p><p>About 20 <a href="https://my.austinenergy.com/outages/" target="_blank">Austin Energy customers remained without power</a> late this morning. At 8 p.m. Sunday, the storm knocked out power to as many as 5,000 Austin Energy customers. Mon, 16 Jul 2012 12:51:50 +0000 Mary Mattia & Laura Rice 4687 at http://kut.org AM Update: Storm Wrap-Up, Lawmakers on Veterans and Foster Care, Reduced Water Restrictions