News http://kut.org en Hear Rising Stars Play With the Austin Civic Orchestra http://kut.org/post/hear-rising-stars-play-austin-civic-orchestra <p>This Saturday night at Bates Recital Hall on the University of Texas&nbsp;campus, the Austin Civic Orchestra is partnering with UT's Butler School of Music to present a free spring concert. Called the "Texas Risings Stars" concert, the event will feature four award-winning UT music students playing with Austin's own non-profit orchestra.</p><p>The first half of the concert will feature music students Benjamin Penzner, Grace Youn, Roman Yearian, and Eun-Mi Lee (no relation to the host of this program) leading the orchestra in selections of their choosing. For the second half of the presentation, the orchestra will branch out on its own, featuring two pieces chosen by orchestra director Lois Ferrari.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146297559&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 21:27:35 +0000 Mike Lee 10294 at http://kut.org Hear Rising Stars Play With the Austin Civic Orchestra Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas? http://kut.org/post/could-europe-put-stop-death-penalty-texas <p>This week, Oklahoma's Supreme Court <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/stay-cancels-oklahoma-death-row-inmates-execution-23427309">stopped the executions</a>&nbsp;of two convicted murderers. At issue: where the state gets its execution drugs. The state does not want to reveal its source. &nbsp;</p><p>Texas also has long kept its lethal drug suppliers secret, although Attorney General Greg Abbott&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/statesman/posts/366329253416649?comment_id=4005104&amp;offset=0&amp;total_comments=3">recently issued an opinion</a>&nbsp;stating it's time to go public. &nbsp;But as death penalty opponents increase the pressure to expose suppliers and to disrupt the supply of the drug, some states are reviewing their options on capital punishment.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146116983&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:53:15 +0000 David Brown & Emily Donahue 10285 at http://kut.org Could Europe Put a Stop to the Death Penalty in Texas? UT Professor Jeremi Suri: 'The Best Way to Think of Putin is Mussolini' http://kut.org/post/ut-professor-jeremi-suri-best-way-think-putin-mussolini <p>U.S. troops began joint military exercises in Poland this week, in response to Russia's continued incursion into Ukraine.&nbsp; The Pentagon says troops will also be deployed to Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Kiev on Monday as a show of support for the pro-Western Ukrainian government. As he met with the nation's leaders he called on Russia to "stop talking and start acting" to defuse the crisis.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">So far, that doesn't seem to be happening.&nbsp;</span><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146135968&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 17:15:35 +0000 Rhonda Fanning 10288 at http://kut.org UT Professor Jeremi Suri: 'The Best Way to Think of Putin is Mussolini' Are Common Core and Texas Teaching Standards Really That Different? http://kut.org/post/are-common-core-and-texas-teaching-standards-really-different <p>Elgin Middle School sixth grader Allison Graves sits at a computer in math class, using a program called Think Through Math to practice fractions.</p><p>“Your friend gave you a bag of candy," she reads. "There are 36 red candies and 27 green candies. What is the ratio of green candies to red candies?”</p><p>The online math program takes Graves through each lesson step by step. She collects points for correct answers and competes against classmates and other Texas students.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146249322&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 14:00:11 +0000 Kate McGee 10290 at http://kut.org Are Common Core and Texas Teaching Standards Really That Different? Audit Finds Problems With How APD Stores, Destroys Old Drug and Weapons Evidence http://kut.org/post/audit-finds-problems-how-apd-stores-destroys-old-drug-and-weapons-evidence <p><em>This article is written by KUT's Austin City Hall reporting partner, the</em>&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.austinmonitor.com/">Austin Monitor</a>.</em></p><p>A city audit found that drugs and firearms confiscated by the <a href="http://www.austintexas.gov/department/police" target="_blank">Austin Police Department</a> are in some cases not adequately protected, with drugs sometimes stored in cardboard boxes outdoors.</p><p>In response, APD officials say they are re-evaluating the department’s evidence control policies.</p><p> Thu, 24 Apr 2014 13:47:24 +0000 Elizabeth Pagano 10292 at http://kut.org Audit Finds Problems With How APD Stores, Destroys Old Drug and Weapons Evidence Austin Restoring Banks, Paving Trails Along Shoal Creek http://kut.org/post/austin-restoring-banks-paving-trails-along-shoal-creek <p>After years of erosion, Austin is shoring up the downtown banks of the Shoal Creek trail starting Monday. Running <a href="https://www.google.com/maps/place/Shoal+Creek+Trail/@30.2896106,-97.7508344,16z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x8644b57079fea8f3:0x8b0bd8c05d893fe6">from 15th Street to 28th&nbsp;Street</a>, the project includes the eastern boundary of Pease Park.</p><p>According to Morgan Byars, supervising engineer for the project at the Watershed Protection Department, the erosion hasn’t only caused safety hazards, but an overall loss of greenspace.</p><p>“Severe bank erosion [is] affecting large heritage trees that potentially will fall into the creek,” Byars says. “We’ve got erosion very close to the trail system which presents a safety hazard for pedestrians and bikers, but also it’s just a general loss of parkland.”</p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 22:16:54 +0000 Andrew Huygen 10289 at http://kut.org Austin Restoring Banks, Paving Trails Along Shoal Creek On the Bard's Birthday, Who Wrote It: Shakespeare or a Rapper? http://kut.org/post/bards-birthday-who-wrote-it-shakespeare-or-rapper <p>It's happened to all of us: just when you're ready to deliver the perfect rebuttal, &nbsp;last word or final point, your tongue trips up and you slaughter your English.</p><p>Don't fret about it, says author Ammon Shea. The man who&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/02/arts/02iht-idbriefs2C.14946374.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0">spent a year reading the Oxford English Dictionary</a>&nbsp;is taking on grammarians and nitpickers alike.</p><p>Shea's new book "<a href="http://www.amazon.com/Bad-English-History-Linguistic-Aggravation/dp/0399165576">Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation</a>" (out this June) is an eye-opening look at how language mistakes have become accepted as correct usage.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/146123452&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 20:22:37 +0000 David Brown & Emily Donahue 10286 at http://kut.org On the Bard's Birthday, Who Wrote It: Shakespeare or a Rapper? ACL Fest Organizers on What's In Store for 2014 http://kut.org/post/acl-fest-organizers-whats-store-2014 <p>In Austin, many see live music not just as an opportunity, but as a way of life.</p><p>Every day brings the possibility to see a variety of talents – both from music’s biggest and brightest, to up-and-coming acts in Austin’s live music scene.</p><p>For many outside Central Texas, Austin’s “Live Music Capital of the World” status is summed up by two of the city’s biggest music festivals:&nbsp;South by Southwest&nbsp;and the Austin City Limits Music Festival.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">The latter, now in its </span>13th<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> year, carries the brand of the historic Austin City Limits television show, which has a rich and storied history all its own.</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 18:43:26 +0000 Tyler Pratt 10281 at http://kut.org ACL Fest Organizers on What's In Store for 2014 Governor Perry Facing Possible Grand Jury Indictment http://kut.org/post/governor-perry-facing-possible-grand-jury-indictment <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A Travis County grand jury is considering whether or not to indict Gov. Rick Perry over his veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.</span></p><p>Gov. Perry could be charged with several offenses, including bribery, coercion of a public servant, and abuse of power after vetoing more than $3 million in state money for the unit that investigates political corruption.</p><p>Perry's veto came as the result of an ultimatum given by Perry to Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg.&nbsp;<span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last April, </span>Lehmberg<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> was arrested for drunk driving. She </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/travis-county-da-lehmberg-pleads-guilty-gets-45-jail-days-0" style="line-height: 1.5;">pleaded guilty</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and served jail time, but </span><a href="http://kut.org/post/judge-allows-lehmberg-stay-district-attorney" style="line-height: 1.5;">refused to step down</a><span style="line-height: 1.5;">.</span></p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 14:48:58 +0000 Ben Philpott & Kelly Krupa 10282 at http://kut.org Governor Perry Facing Possible Grand Jury Indictment Investigation: Disaster at West Fertilizer Plant Was 'Preventable' http://kut.org/post/investigation-disaster-west-fertilizer-plant-was-preventable <p><em><a href="http://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/2014/04/22/investigation-fire-and-explosion-at-west-fertilizer-plant-was-preventable/">From StateImpact&nbsp;Texas:</a></em></p><p>A year after a deadly explosion at a fertilizer plant in Texas, a federal agency is releasing a&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.csb.gov/assets/1/19/West_Preliminary_Findings.pdf" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">report</a>&nbsp;saying the disaster was preventable.</p><p style="font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; color: rgb(51, 51, 51); margin-bottom: 15px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: rgb(0, 0, 0); vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">The&nbsp;<a data-mce-="" href="http://www.csb.gov/" style="line-height: 1.5; color: rgb(96, 120, 144); margin: 0px; padding: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: rgb(153, 153, 153);">Chemical Safety Board</a>, which investigates chemical accidents and issues recommendations to ensure public safety, is presenting its preliminary findings tonight in the town of West, Texas, where the fire and subsequent explosion last year took 15 lives, injured hundreds, and destroyed homes and schools.</p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 13:12:40 +0000 Terrence Henry 10278 at http://kut.org Investigation: Disaster at West Fertilizer Plant Was 'Preventable' Mayor Leffingwell Gets a Breakfast Taco Intervention http://kut.org/post/mayor-leffingwell-gets-breakfast-taco-intervention <p></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Last month Austin Mayor Lee&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Leffingwell</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;made a much-debated statement&nbsp;<a href="http://kut.org/post/mayor-leffingwell-hosts-reddit-ask-me-anything-thread">while answering questions on&nbsp;Reddit</a>:&nbsp;He said Taco Cabana makes some of his favorite breakfast tacos.</span></p><p>Mando&nbsp;Rayo, a self-described “<a href="http://tacojournalism.blogspot.com/">taco journalist</a>” in a city that takes its breakfast tacos very seriously, decided to press the issue. On Tuesday,&nbsp;Rayo&nbsp;picked up breakfast tacos from one of his favorite Austin taco spots, Veracruz All Natural, and hand-delivered them to Mayor&nbsp;Leffingwell’s&nbsp;office.&nbsp;</p><p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:40:25 +0000 Ilana Panich-Linsman 10277 at http://kut.org Mayor Leffingwell Gets a Breakfast Taco Intervention Mental Health Support for Texas Inmates on Lawmakers' Agenda http://kut.org/post/mental-health-support-texas-inmates-lawmakers-agenda <p>Texas lawmakers are looking into whether more should be done to provide mental health services for inmates at state prisons.</p><p>Prison officials say inmates already have access to medication and individual or group counseling for mental illness. <a href="http://tdcj.state.tx.us/" target="_blank">Texas Department of Criminal Justice</a>&nbsp;Executive Director Brad Livingston says the legislature has provided enough mental health funding in recent years for prisoners and parolees. And, he says, it shows.</p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 21:22:23 +0000 Veronica Zaragovia 10276 at http://kut.org Mental Health Support for Texas Inmates on Lawmakers' Agenda A Little League Sports Complex is Causing a Major Ruckus in Westlake http://kut.org/post/little-league-sports-complex-causing-major-ruckus-westlake <p>After three years,&nbsp;Eanes school officials and residents are still deadlocked over a proposed sports complex.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>In 2011,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.eanesisd.net/">Eanes&nbsp;ISD&nbsp;</a>board members agreed to lease 50 acres of district land to the nonprofit Western Hills Little League. The league agreed to pay $10,000 annually for the first four years, and then $50,000 annually (adjusted for inflation)<em>,</em> for the remainder of the 50-year lease.</p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 19:34:47 +0000 Lynn Romero 10274 at http://kut.org A Little League Sports Complex is Causing a Major Ruckus in Westlake See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival http://kut.org/post/see-100-comedians-moontower-festival <p></p><p>Now in its third year, the Moontower Comedy and Oddity Festival is quickly becoming one of the largest comedy festivals in America. For this year's fest, around 100 comedians will come together from Austin and around the world to perform dozens of shows, including sketch, improv, and lots of standup comedey.</p><p>Headliners include The Kids in The Hall, Hannibal Buress, Mike Birbiglia, Maria Bamford and more. They'll perform at the Paramount Theatre, while several smaller venues host shows nearby.</p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 16:23:19 +0000 Mike Lee 10269 at http://kut.org See 100 Comedians at the Moontower Festival Superintendent Meria Carstarphen Says Goodbye to Austin http://kut.org/post/superintendent-meria-carstarphen-says-goodbye-austin <p>Wednesday will be Austin School Superintendent Meria Carstarphen’s last day with the district before she leaves for <a href="http://kut.org/post/austin-school-superintendent-carstarphen-leaving-atlanta">the same position in Atlanta</a>.</p><p>Carstarphen attended her final school board meeting in Austin Monday night, where she was recognized for her contributions to the district over the past five years.</p><p> Tue, 22 Apr 2014 14:08:21 +0000 Kate McGee 10270 at http://kut.org Superintendent Meria Carstarphen Says Goodbye to Austin