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Texas Standard
2:49 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Warning: Wildflower Picture Season is Also Snake Season

For most Texans, spring time gives us a small window of opportunity to trek outside in some bearable weather. It's almost become a tradition for Texans to use this precious time to take photos in patches of bluebonnets. But just as we humans are beginning to shake off winter and go outside into the sun, so are are the snakes.

Anyone who's spent a significant time in the southwest can tell you, snake bites are a real danger. So what do you do if you encounter one?

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Texas Standard
2:44 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Kidnapped Texas Journalist Could Be In Negotiations For Release

It's no shock that the increased tension in the Middle East has made it tough for Western journalists to cover stories there. That trek didn’t deter Austin Tice, a former Marine from Houston turned freelance journalist, who went to Syria to cover the ongoing civil war. Now, Tice finds himself in trouble.

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KUT Weekend
2:37 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

KUT Weekend brings you our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays!

Arts Eclectic
1:30 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

A Dance Among 'The Trees of Govalle'

Forklift Danceworks specializes in dances starring people who don’t consider themselves dancers – firefighters, baseball players, sanitation workers, and now, members of the City of Austin’s Urban Forestry Division. 

Staging a large scale dance with the people and machinery of Urban Forestry is a natural fit for Forklift; they've already undertaken similar projects with the city's sanitation and power departments.

The piece, The Trees of Govalle, is more tied to place than some of Forklift's previous works. It's about the people of Urban Forestry, the work they do, and the trees they service, but it's also about a particular area of town: the Govalle neighborhod in East Austin. As such, it'll take place in Govalle Park. And, in addition to the Urban Forestry workers who will be dancing and participating, The Trees of Govalle will also feature Govalle resident and bona fide musical treasure Manuel "Cowboy" Donley, who will perform along with his daughter Sylvia Donley.

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2016 Election
12:21 pm
Fri March 27, 2015

Cruz Kicks Off Presidential Run in New Hampshire

Sen. Ted Cruz takes his official campaign to New Hampshire this weekend.
KUT News

First came the announcement: Sen. Ted Cruz launched his Presidential run on Monday in front of the student body of Liberty University.

Then it was time to make some money. Cruz had a big online push and headed to New York for a couple of days of fundraising.

Now it's time for him to meet the people as an official Presidential candidate.

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Education
11:19 am
Fri March 27, 2015

Map: The Cost of Private Schools Under Two Different Voucher Bills

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

This week, the Texas Senate Education committee started to tackle multiple bills that would create school voucher programs. The proposals are strongly supported by conservative lawmakers, especially Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick.

One bill filed by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) would create a grant giving parents 60 percent of the annual cost for maintenance and operations per student, or about $5,200, through the proposed Taxpayer Savings Grant. Another bill would give 75 percent of that annual per-student funding to parents, or just over $6,500 though the so-called Education Tuition Grant.

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Two Guys on Your Head
11:18 am
Fri March 27, 2015

How, and Why, We Should Identify Bias and Harness the Power of Diversity

Credit northcollege/equality-and-diversity/pinterest

When it comes to bias, we as a species have a long way to go. Even when we know the importance of diversity and we’re aware of our own biases, we still need help overcoming our preferential treatment toward certain groups and people.

In this episode of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about a study that points to how our biases effect our decisions, even when we have the best of intentions.

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Austin
5:13 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Co-owner of Former Jumpolin Property Forced Out as CEO of Status Labs

The Jumpolin site shortly after the demolition.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Jordan French, the landowner responsible for the Cesar Chavez piñata store teardown that rocked Austin in February, resigned Thursday as CEO of Austin-based reputation management and PR company Status Labs. The company's employees asked French to resign, according to a press release they sent out Thursday afternoon.

Their request for French's resignation appears to be a direct result of the actions he took in ordering the demolition of Jumpolin, an East Austin party supply store, with all the merchandise still inside. 

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Transportation
2:26 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

One Dead After Partial Bridge Collapse, I-35 Shut Down Near Salado

I-35 was closed after a truck hit the beam of a bridge that was under construction. This image shows the traffic around the area at 2pm.
TxDOT

I-35 is closed in both directions just south of Salado, a town about 60 miles north of Austin, after an oversized tractor-trailer struck the FM 2484 overpass bridge under construction. The Texas Department of Transportation says the impact caused several beams to fall onto the highway. 

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Texas Standard
2:25 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Population Growth: Big Texas Keeps Getting Bigger

Texas has gotten used to topping lists about booming business and population growth. And while the headline of today’s Census Bureau data is all about Florida, don’t be fooled. Texas is still leading the way in a lot of areas.

“In a lot of cases, Texas leads a lot of the growth area statistics primarily because Texas itself is very, very large,” U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates Branch Chief Ben Bolender says.

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Austin
12:23 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Housing Prices are Rising Faster than Wages in Austin, But Maybe Not for Long

flickr.com/gjmj

Austin home values are going up much faster than wages, according to a new report. But experts say it likely won’t continue that way for long.

If you own a home in the Austin-Rock Rock area, it's probably worth a lot more now than it was two years ago: Median home prices here have gone up by almost 23 percent over the last two years, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm based in California. 

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Austin
10:27 am
Thu March 26, 2015

MoPac Boulevard Project Completion Delayed

Officials have pushed back the MoPac construction completion date.
Courtesy of MoPac Improvement Project

From the Austin Monitor:

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority officials announced Wednesday that a fully operational MoPac Boulevard may not happen until the end of the year. While the announcement currently delays construction only three-and-a-half months, officials said they were not confident they could complete the work even then.

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2015 Legislature
9:32 am
Thu March 26, 2015

Texas Bill Would Ensure that Only Secretary of State Can Issue Marriage Licenses

A bill from State Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) would give all power to grant marriage licenses to the Texas Secretary of State. A judge granted an order earlier this year that allowed a county clerk to issue a license to a same-sex couple.
Courtesy of Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant

On Wednesday, a panel of House lawmakers discussed a proposal to change how marriage licenses are issued in Texas, giving that power to one appointed official: the Secretary of State.

The bill comes after the Travis County clerk issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple last month, after being ordered to do so by a judge.

State Rep. Cecil Bell (R-Magnolia) says his bill would take away the ability of the state’s 254 county clerks to issue marriage licenses, instead giving that power only to the Secretary of State.

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In Black America Podcast
5:49 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

The Tenth Annual Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Salute To Excellence Awards

These coaches were among many who were selected as Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. Salute to Excellence Honorees.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 10th Annual Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. Salute To Excellence Awards held during Super Bowl XLIX week.

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Education
2:46 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

Texas House Wants to Tackle School Finance During Session

Texas' school finance system, which a district court judge ruled is unconstitutional, is currently tangled up in the appeals process at the State Supreme Court.
Nathan Bernier/KUT

In a somewhat surprising move, the state House Public Education committee Chair announced Wednesday that the house will try to tackle the state’s school finance system this legislative session.

The school finance system, which a district court judge ruled is unconstitutional, is currently tangled up in the appeals process at the Texas Supreme Court. Many people familiar with education politics in Texas believed the legislature wouldn’t make any decisions before the court ruled. But at a press conference this morning, House Education Committee chair Jimmie Don Aycock said the state must act now.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:11 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

A Look Back at Texas Relays' Long Run in Austin

This week's Wayback Wednesday marks the Texas Relays weekend, an 88-year-old tradition that brings some of the country's finest track-and-field athletes to the 40 acres.

With that in mind, we've cobbled together a collection of gifs to mark the occasion, taking a look at highlights from past years' competitions.

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Austin
10:10 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Boot Camp Helps Small Business Owners Build Entrepreneurial Strength

PCW, a small construction business in Austin, Tex.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Hispanics are twice as likely to start a small business as any other group in the United States, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

But the failure rate for small businesses is high – nearly 50 percent don't make it. An organization in Austin hopes it can train small business owners the skills to succeed.

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Texas Standard
3:47 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Water Fight in Wimberley Could Have Statewide Implications

A sign in Wimberley protesting the Electro Purification plan.
Laura Rice/Texas Standard

About 60 percent of the water we use in Texas comes from aquifers – natural underground reservoirs that often aren’t easily replenished. In Hays County, aquifers have raised a critical question: Who has the right to draw from the Trinity Aquifer, how much they can draw – and can anyone stop them?

A private company based out of Houston – Electro Purification (EP) – plans to pump groundwater from around the city of Wimberley and pipe it to other thirsty communities. EP has contracts to pipe more than 5 million gallons of water a day from this part of the Trinity Aquifer through the year 2036.

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News
3:27 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

ISIS Now Doxxing Members of US Military

The group claimed it hacked several military servers, databases and emails to obtain the information.

Doxxing — derived from the word 'documents' — is a common tactic used by online hacktivist groups such as Anonymous, wherein personally identifiable information about targets is posted on the internet. Over the weekend, about 100 U.S. military servicemen and women were doxxed by the group that calls itself the Islamic State.

The posting included soldiers' names, addresses, photos and other information, and it asked sympathizers to, "Kill them in their own lands, behead them in their own homes, stab them to death as they walk their streets thinking that they are safe."

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News
2:07 pm
Tue March 24, 2015

Texas Leads the Push Against Obama's Immigration Action

Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at a Texas Tribune panel in 2013. Paxton is leading a fight against President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

From The Texas Standard:

After a federal judge in Brownsville ruled to temporarily block the president's executive order on immigration in February, 25 other states signed on to the lawsuit.

The 26-state coalition, led by Texas, claims the Obama administration's actions were unconstitutional in that they represent an overreach by the executive and impose an "undue burden" on the state.

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