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Winter Weather
8:50 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Possibility of Freezing Precip Prompts Central Texas Delays, Closures

9:00 a.m. update: Austin Community College has now canceled all activities and closed all campuses for Saturday. Williamson County officials say that Ih-35 through Georgetown is closed in both directions because of icy conditions. The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department has announced that all of their department's facilities will open at noon today.

Saturday morning update (7:30 a.m.): A winter storm warning is in effect for Travis and Williamson counties until noon on Saturday. Freezing drizzle and freezing temperatures are expected to continue until noon today, making for hazardous driving conditions. Multiple accidents have been reported in Austin due to icy conditions. Austin and Travis County public safety officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads until temperatures start warming up.

Austin Community College campuses and centers will open at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. All classes and activities scheduled prior to then are canceled. Many area school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, have postponed or canceled events for today.

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Two Guys on Your Head
3:21 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Harnessing the Power of the Placebo

Credit ephedrasinica.org

There are a lot of factors that help to regulate our overall heath and wellness. If we are content in our life and relationships, we are more likely to be healthy.

If we exercise and eat well, we reap the benefits in our mind and body. And, as recent studies by Ted Kaptchuck and others show, if we take medications or supplements, even if they're nothing but rice powder and sugar, we can feel better.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke talk about why taking placebos somehow makes us feel healthier.

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Austin
3:16 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Austin Coffee Shop Debacle Draws Attention to Public Breastfeeding Issue

A photo of James and Sandy Hughes taken Thursday. The couple hopes to let Austin know that they do, in fact, support breastfeeding mothers.
Courtesy of the couple

Stouthaus Coffee Pub in Sunset Valley faced major social media backlash this week when one of the owners asked a nursing mother to cover herself while dining with her friends Wednesday morning.

Afterwards, one of the women’s companions posted a one-star Yelp review of Stouthaus, calling out the owner Sandy Hughes for “shaming” her friend for breastfeeding.

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KUT Weekend
2:00 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Business
8:38 am
Fri February 27, 2015

Why the Central Texas Construction Boom Isn't Benefitting Everyone

Unlike many workers, Armando Guerrero, 42, says he's staying with a smaller contractor because, while his wages are less than those at larger firms, his work is consistent.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

It seems like everywhere you look, there's a construction site in Austin, complete with the unofficial state bird of Texas, the construction crane.

Some are calling it a boom, but it's a boom that’s not exclusive to Austin. Whether you drive south to San Marcos or north to Georgetown, there are new buildings popping up all over Central Texas.

That boom has certainly been good for the economy and overall employment numbers, but, for some smaller construction firms it’s been tough-going trying to compete with larger outfits that can afford to pay workers up to $35 an hour.

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Technology
2:42 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

Why the FCC's Net Neutrality Vote Matters for Tech Start-Ups

The logo from a Battle for the Net campaign to protect net neutrality.

Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 in favor of regulations which enact so-called "net neutrality." The vote allows the agency to penalize “throttling” — leveraging Internet speeds to clients on a case-by-case basis — by broadband providers like Comcast and AT&T.

The FCC’s order prohibits a broadband provider from blocking (legal) content, slowing any speeds on the basis of content or providing “fast lanes” for preferred customers on any Internet-enabled device. As nearly 4 million public commentators argued, if left unabated, throttling could limit the ability of the “little guys.”

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Texas Standard
11:31 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Texas Football: The Black Quarterback's Battle Against Racism

Vince Young, James Brown and Donnie Little talk to an LHN commentator about their experiences with the Texas Longhorns football team.
Courtesy of Longhorn Network

The quarterback is sacred in football. It's a job that wasn't entrusted to a black man at UT-Austin until 1978.

UT's first black quarterback was Donnie Little.

"It's more prevalent now in the last 10 years. You see more black quarterbacks in the NFL, all over. It wasn't like that when I came through," Little says.

Little sort of dismisses the racism he faced. He talks about it in a special Longhorn Network program in recognition of Black History Month.

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Austin
11:17 am
Thu February 26, 2015

Adler Seeks Public’s Help in Lobbying for More Staff

Credit Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

Mayor Steve Adler is trying to boost the chances that his 10 City Council colleagues will vote for a resolution directing the city manager to identify funding options for five new members of the mayor’s staff — at a projected annual cost of $490,645.

Even if Council approves the resolution today, it does not guarantee that his colleagues will vote to spend the money when the answers come back.

Last night, employing a tactic heretofore unseen by the Monitor, Adler sent out an email asking his supporters for help in approving a larger staff for his office. Adler took the unorthodox step of requesting that his supporters email other Council members to promote his plan.

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Texas
9:43 am
Thu February 26, 2015

How Many Construction Workers Die in Texas Every Year?

Workers rights' supporters gathered at the J. J. Pickle Federal Building to commemorate construction workers who died while working.
Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

Advocates for workers' rights say that Texas leads the nation in construction deaths. Some believe the majority of accidents, and even deaths, go unreported due to the legal status of many construction workers.

One of the few studies on the topic is from the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning think-tank in Austin. In 2007, the CPPP found 142 documented deaths of construction workers in Texas. The second state with the most deaths was California with 81.

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Arts Eclectic
2:56 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

See 'Monochrome for Austin' on the UT Campus

Monochrome for Austin
Credit Paul Bardagjy

Since 2008, the folks at Landmarks have been commissioning and installing public art across the University of Texas campus. Piece by piece, they're turning the university into a self-guided outdoor museum space.

The latest piece in the Landmarks series is also the largest. Monochrome for Austin, by artist Nancy Rubin, stands nearly 50 feet high and stretches across 24th street. It comprises around 75 kayaks, canoes, and small boats, arranged together to form an impressive whole that almost resembles a giant, otherworldly tree. The piece is so large that, when assembling it, considerations had to be made to ensure that it wouldn't block the path of any firetrucks.

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Technology
2:18 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

FedEx, UPS Say They Won't Ship 'Ghost Gunner' Machines

Ryan Dixon, 35, is Managing Director of Defense Distributed, a pending status nonprofit corporation in Austin, Texas that manufactures machines designed to produce firearm parts.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

While the technology now exists for people to 3D print parts and build untraceable “ghost guns” in their own homes, they need to order some of the manufacturing equipment from companies or organizations like Austin-based Defense Distributed.

Which means Defense Distributed needs to ship that equipment. But in the past week, both FedEx and UPS have said they refuse to allow DD's founder Cody Wilson to ship orders for Ghost Gunners, machines that allow people to manufacture firearms components.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:16 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Remembering William B. Travis' Alamo Letter

William Barret Travis famously signed his letter "Victory or Death," which brought worldwide attention to the Texas revolution.
Tyler Pratt/KUT

In today’s Wayback Wednesday, we remember the 179th anniversary of William Barret Travis’ letter from the Alamo. The letter, in which the garrison commander requested reinforcements to the besieged Bexar mission, was sent on February 24, 1836, and he famously signed his letter “Victory or Death.”

It served the purpose of rattling the sabers of Texas rebels before Santa Anna’s massacre of around 200 troops on March 6.

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Austin
1:07 pm
Wed February 25, 2015

Plans for Lamar Beach? New Council Says: Not So Fast

Renderings of former plans for the Lamar Beach area.
Austin Aquatic Center/flickr

The area around Lamar Beach, along Cesar Chavez near MoPac, is beautiful but hard to redevelop. It floods, and there are utilities running under and over it.

But the YMCA, the animal shelter now run by Austin Pets Alive and a sports organization are still able to use it.

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Transportation
9:24 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Now You Can Find Out Where Your Bus is in Real Time

Starting today, real-time location information is available for every bus and train in Capital Metro's fleet through apps like Instabus.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Starting today, there's a big change in Austin's transit system. It's not a big new train or shiny new buses, it's something much smaller, so small you can fit it in your phone. And this tiny new product could mean big improvements for Capital Metro riders.

It's called real-time info, and what it means is that riders will now know exactly where their bus is. If it's early, if it's late, or if it's on time – now you'll know.

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Austin
9:00 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Council Wonders How to Pay for Additional Staff

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to hire more staff. The rationale for his request: The city's needs are great and need more people to be solved. City Council members agree with that. What they don't agree on is how to pay for additional staff.

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StoryCorps
5:30 am
Wed February 25, 2015

Megan Trout and Audrey Hukari on Finding Your Calling

Audrey Hukari recently sat down in the StoryCorps mobile booth with her friend Megan Trout, who works as a hospice chaplain. While Megan loves her job and feels that she has found her calling in her life, she didn’t enter the seminary planning to work with the dying. 

 

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In Black America Podcast
11:28 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Four Who Made A Difference

Dr. Bobby Jones

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Gospel Recording artist, radio and TV host, Dr. Bobby Jones; Wil Haygood, Washington Post reporter and author of “The Butler: A Witness to History;” Natalie Madeira Cofield, President & CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce, located in Austin, TX; and the late Robert C.

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Austin
5:55 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Does Austin's Economic Segregation Threaten Its Charm?

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Austin-Round Rock is the third most economically segregated metropolitan area in America, according to a University of Toronto study released this week. It ranks highest among the country’s large metro areas.

The study, led by urban researcher Richard Florida, measures how much residents concentrate by income, occupation and educational attainment. Only Tallahassee and Trenton are more segregated than Austin.

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Crime & Justice
2:17 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

Judges Now Required to Allow Juries to Consider Seat Belt Use in Accident Settlements

Last week's Texas Supreme Court ruling allows juries to consider how seatbelt use impacts accident victims in civil lawsuits.
ffion atkinson/flickr

Nothing puts the brakes on Austin drivers like winter weather. In a freeze last year, emergency services responded to more than 250 accidents, none of which were fatal, in one day. While the late starts at schools and offices across the city this morning preempted a slew of pileups, drivers in North Texas could see as much as four inches of snow from a cold snap that’s expected to last until tomorrow morning.

Suffice to say, there are sure to be a few accidents in Texas over the next few days, but, snow or no, a recent ruling from the Texas Supreme Court could affect court cases handling everything from fender benders to fatal accidents to faulty airbag lawsuits in courts.

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Austin
11:34 am
Tue February 24, 2015

Professor Lectures Adler on Austin Government

Mayor Steve Adler announced that he would no longer try to use a nonprofit foundation to add up to 15 new members to his office staff, which currently has five. He's pictured here at KUT studios.

From the Austin Monitor:

Terrell Blodgett, professor emeritus at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has written to Mayor Steve Adler and his City Council colleagues expressing concern about the mayor’s plan to add more staff for his office and lecturing him on the fact that the mayor has no more power than any of his Council colleagues or mayors before him.

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