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Texas
1:00 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

DPS Chief: Resume Border Security Contract Inquiry

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw gives testimony during the joint Interim Committee to Study Human Trafficking in La Joya, Texas July 24th, 2014.
Credit Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Looking to clear the Texas Department of Public Safety's name, the agency’s top official is asking the head of the state's anti-corruption unit to renew a halted investigation into $20 million no-bid border security contracts.

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In Black America Podcast
12:31 pm
Thu April 16, 2015

The 2014 NFL Season and Super Bowl XLIX

Credit The National Football League

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. presents highlights of the 2014 NFL season and Super Bowl XLIX. Featured on today’s program are Jarrett Bell, USA Today Sports NFL columnist, Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, and Newy Scruggs, Sports Director with KXAS-TV.

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2015 Legislature
10:42 am
Thu April 16, 2015

Texas DREAM Act Repeal Vote Delayed, As Supporters Continue Protests

Supporters of the Texas Dream Act gather on the steps of the Capitol on April 15.
Sarah Montgomery for KUT

Today, the Senate won’t vote on a bill that would repeal in-state tuition for undocumented students, known as the Texas DREAM Act. The bill from New Braunfels Sen. Donna Campbell seemed to have enough support for a floor vote yesterday, but the bill was taken off the chamber’s intent calendar today.

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Energy & Environment
10:38 am
Thu April 16, 2015

How Austin Gardeners Can Unearth the Mysteries of Their Own Backyards

Clarence Jackson, an Environmental Scientest from the EPA, tests soil with an X-ray fluorescence analyzer as a part of The Soil Kitchen, a three-day opportunity for backyard gardeners to receive free soil tests in Austin.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

The City of Austin recently offered free soil testing so people could see what contaminants and nutrients they have in their yards. But, so many people wanted the testing – myself included – that the city was overwhelmed with samples.

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2015 Legislature
9:13 am
Thu April 16, 2015

'Marlise's Law' on Pregnant Women's End-of-Life Directives Gets Hearing at Capitol

The Texas House State Affairs Committee heard testimony on April 15, 2015 regarding a bill known as "Marlise's Law," about pregnant women's end of life directives.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

When Marlise Muñoz was hospitalized in 2013 with a pulmonary embolism, she was 14 weeks pregnant. Though she had told her family that she never wanted to be on life support, doctors at a Fort Worth hospital kept her on life support until a judge ruled that because she was brain dead, the medical team could take her off of the machines.

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Arts Eclectic
4:08 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

See 'Jacob's Ladder' at the Boyd Vance Theatre

Theatre en Bloc is currently staging the world premier production of Jacob's Ladder by local playwrights Dennis Bailey and David Mixner. Set in 1944 Washington, it's the story of a young Jewish staff member in the FDR White House who discovers that there is much he does not know about the war effort and what's really happening in Europe at the time.

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Austin
3:26 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Update: Immigrant Affairs Commission Appointee Steps Down

Rebecca Forest speaks at a 2011 anti-immigration rally.
Screenshot from Youtube.

Update Wednesday, April 15, 2015, 3:30 p.m. Council member Don Zimmerman confirmed that Rebecca Forest has stepped down from her appointment to the Immigrant Affairs Commission.

Of Forest's remarks, made at the 2011 rally (see the youtube video below), Zimmerman said, "I don't judge Rebecca Forest by a clumsy remark. I judge her based on ten years of knowing her, and she's not a bigoted person."

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Texas Standard
2:26 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

For Innovations in the Funeral Industry, Look No Further Than Houston

Credit Brenda Salinas

From Texas Standard:

As the demand for natural burials grows, industry experts say innovation is likely to come from Houston.

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Texas Standard
1:32 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Visiting the Deep South of the '60s — Through a Teacher's Journal

Credit Alain Stephens

Jo Ivester joins Texas Standard to talk about life in Mount Bayou, Mississippi, and what she learned through her mother’s work.

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Texas Standard
12:50 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

A Brit’s ‘Modern English’ Journey to Becoming an Austinite

Steven Walker (second from left) played guitar for 'Modern English' before moving to Austin to open a gallery.
Simon Crow/Colchester 101 Magazine

This story comes from Texas Standard.

Steven Walker has thick-rimmed glasses and full beard. He’s wearing a pearl snap shirt with a Western pattern sewn on the pockets. He looks right at home in artsy East Austin.

“People are shocked when they come in and they see all these amazing American artists on the wall and then the guy in the beard and the cowboy shirt comes up to them and says, ‘yuh alright?’ (in a British accent). It is a bit weird for them I guess,” Walker says.

Walker’s journey to Texas wasn’t direct.

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Austin
12:11 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

Austin Energy Deregulation Bill Sent to Senate

Daniel Hoherd/flickr

This story has been updated since it was originally published and corrected due to an editing error.

From the Austin Monitor: A bill that could have major implications for Austin Energy and the city budget passed its first hurdle on Tuesday and now goes to the Senate floor. It could give certain Austin Energy customers the ability to break away from the utility and buy energy on the deregulated market.

The Senate Committee on Natural Resources & Economic Development passed Senate Bill 1945 on a six-vote majority, with Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) casting the sole opposing vote.

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Wayback Wednesday
12:06 pm
Wed April 15, 2015

A Look at Austin City Limits Through the Years

Credit ACL via YouTube

Today’s Wayback Wednesday looks back at some memorable performances of the 41-year-old music program. One of ACL's creators, Bill Arhos, passed away last Saturday at the age of 80. So as a tribute of sorts, we’ve compiled videos from the show’s four-decade run, with a song from the show’s inaugural broadcast in 1974 with Willie Nelson, a 1982 set from Emmylou Harris, a cut from what would be Stevie Ray Vaughan’s final performance at Studio 6A, and a recent tune from Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Check out the full video playlist below.

Texas
11:02 am
Wed April 15, 2015

How One Family is Preparing for the Closure of Austin's State Supported Living Center

Judi Stonedale visits her daughter Julie last year.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Almost 100 years after the day it opened, the Austin State Supported Living Center (SSLC), a home for adults with severe developmental disabilities, is scheduled to close in 2017.

The Legislature's Sunset Commission ordered its closure during the last legislative session. But the order still needed legislative approval.

That approval came from the Senate this week, in the form of Senate Bill 204. And the House is expected to follow suit.

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2015 Legislature
8:17 am
Wed April 15, 2015

Texas Senate Passes Two-Year Budget Bill

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

On a vote of 30-1, the Texas Senate has passed a two-year budget that would spend more than $211 billion dollars on everything from education and healthcare to border security, and would include cuts to property and business taxes. 

The debate didn’t take nearly as long as the 18 hours on the House side, but Democrats did voice their opposition. State Sen. Sylvia Garcia (D-Houston), the only member to vote against the budget bill, criticized the $811 million that would go to policing the border.

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Food
7:31 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

What Were Austinites Eating in 1890?

A bird's eye illustration of Austin in 1890, the year before the city's first cookbook was published
Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection

Austin is becoming known for a lot more than just barbecue and Tex-Mex these days, but what were people in this city feasting on 125 years ago? The first cookbook published in Austin is helping to answer that question. 

The cookbook was compiled in 1891 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which still exists. Mike Miller, director of the Austin History Center, dug it out of the archives and researched some of the people behind it for his new book, Austin’s First Cookbook: Our Home Recipes, Remedies and Rules of Thumb

"Cookbooks at that time, they weren't the recipes of everyday food," Miller says. "Most of the women who did that knew the recipes, and they were passed down orally from mother to daughter."

"These [recipes] are for special occasions," he says. Listen to our interview with Miller and read on to see some of the recipes. 

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Texas Standard
3:06 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Group Gathers in Austin to Talk Private Space Business

The cancellation of government-backed space missions is sparking a private industry push into skies over Texas.
gsfc/flickr

From Texas Standard:

When you think of space, what do you see? Planets, stars, maybe a satellite or a shuttle? Well, some business people are seeing green. A group of space entrepreneurs is meeting in Austin this week to lay the framework for how Texas could be the launch pad for the private space industry.

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Texas Standard
2:14 pm
Tue April 14, 2015

Is the Tea Party Losing Momentum in Texas?

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's announcement that he will seek the Republican Presidential nomination marks the third GOP candidate in the race so far with Tea Party ties.
Gage Skidmore/wikimedia commons

From Texas Standard:

The first three Republican contenders for president — Senators Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and now Marco Rubio, all have Tea Party ties. Rubio is the latest to announce candidacy and, despite being considered a Tea Party darling not long ago, his current views on immigration have driven a wedge between the two.

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Austin City Council
11:39 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Adler's First State of the City Breaks With the Past in More Ways Than One

Mayor Steve Adler delivered his first State of the City address last night.
Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

It's been 100 days since the new Austin City Council and Mayor Steve Adler took office, and last night Adler delivered his first State of the City address.

It was a packed and very diverse event — with nearly a thousand in attendance — which was a change of pace from the typically subdued addresses of the past.

While the event was free and open to the public, it wasn't free for the Mayor. As he told reporters afterwards, he and his wife paid to rent AISD's Performing Arts Center for the occasion. While he didn't say how much it cost, he did say he also footed the bill for a set from Austin musician Max Frost, who performed "White Lies," perhaps a curious choice for a political event.

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Texas
11:39 am
Tue April 14, 2015

Go Ahead, Pick the Bluebonnets — Just Leave Some for the Rest of Us

Go ahead: Pick 'em.
Callie Hernandez/KUT

Alix Crunk says that as a child growing up in Texas, she never questioned it when adults told her, “Don’t pick the bluebonnets.”

“Made sense — so I didn’t think to question it. And then when we had a state trooper come in, he mentioned it…I’ve heard it from so many credible sources, so it just kind of made sense, and I never thought to question it,” says Crunk, a teacher at Mills Elementary School.

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Energy & Environment
4:01 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Texas Haze, The ‘War on Coal,’ and How Lawsuits Shape Environmental Policy

Photographer Melton says that there are days at Big Bend when haze, partially from coal power plants, makes it tough to photograph.
Mary Ann Melton

One week remains for the public to comment on an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reduce smog in one of Texas most beloved national parks. The EPA's plan to limit so-called 'regional haze' is one of a slew of new air quality rules that have critics accusing the Agency of waging a 'war on coal.' The reality, of course, is more complicated.

To see how, look no farther than the hazy skies over Far West Texas.

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