Andrew Weber

Web Producer

Andrew Weber is a web producer for KUT News. A graduate of St. Edward's University with a degree in English, Andrew has previously interned with The Texas Tribune, The Austin American-Statesman and KOOP Radio.

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Energy & Environment
2:18 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

'No Explosions Here!' What We Learned from Austin Resource Recovery's Reddit AMA

Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit to answer questions on Austin's recycling program.
flickr.com/criminalintent

Have you ever wondered about if you could recycle your paper coffee cup? Or if the cap from that Topo Chico you had would gum up the recycling sorter? Have you wondered the fate of that plastic bag you filled with recyclables and tossed into the blue bin with trepidation? 

Well, today was your lucky day, Internet user. 

This morning Austin Resource Recovery took to Reddit for an "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) to answer Austinites' burning recycling questions — offering a glimpse of a possibly forthcoming composting program and tips on what exactly to do with all those plastic bags you've been hoarding. Check out the highlights below.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:07 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

When the Dallas Cowboys Called Austin Their Summer Home

Then-Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders takes a ride in a custom golf cart in front of St. Edward's main building.
Milton Hinnant/The Dallas Morning News

Tomorrow, the Dallas Cowboys start a month-long training in Oxnard, Calif., ahead of the 2015-2016 season. The state of California has long been a staple base of operations for the Cowboys – California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks served as the team’s longest-serving venue for camp from 1963 until 1989, and the state’s hosted 10 camps since 2001.

But, before the Cowboys migrated back to California for camp, the team spent its most productive (and controversial) summers right here in Austin, when the team used St. Edward’s University as a base of operations during their Super Bowl runs of the 1990s.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:15 pm
Wed July 15, 2015

That Time Austin's Airport Hosted the Crown Prince of Iran

Then-Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi in front of an F-4 Phantom fighter jet at Bergstrom Air Force Base
Austin History Center

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, the Iranian government and six other nations, including the U.S., agreed to a deal that would limit the country’s nuclear program in what some see as a historic moment for the country’s foreign relations.

Since country’s regime change, relations between Iran and the U.S. have been peppered with crises. However, shortly before the overthrow of the Shah in January of 1979, the U.S. hosted his family and Austin’s Bergstrom Air Force Base (now Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, even hosted the exiled Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi in 1978.

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Wayback Wednesday
4:33 pm
Wed July 1, 2015

Austin's Referendum That Would've Legalized Sexuality-Based Housing Discrimination

Jim Obergefell (second from left) celebrated the legalization of same-sex marriage last week. Still, he said, housing discrimination remains an issue for the LGBTQ community.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Last week’s Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges represents a monumental step in the movement for LGBTQ equal rights, but it wasn’t the final footfall in Texas. As the case's lead plaintiff Jim Obergefell put it last week in a rally at the State Capitol, issues surrounding employment and fair housing protections aren’t codified in Texas state law.

But, in Austin, the city council passed a sexual preference employment protection in August of 1975, and a “public accommodations ordinance” that banned discrimination based on sexual preference in 1976. So why, despite those progressive policies, did an Austin organization lead an initiative to allow discrimination on the basis of sexual preference? 

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Wayback Wednesday
2:52 pm
Wed June 24, 2015

The Once and (Possibly Future) 'Dillo

The Armadillo Express, known affectionately as the 'Dillo, ran from the 1970s until 2009.
Austin City Council

This week’s Wayback Wednesday looks simultaneously back at and forward to a one-time staple of Austin life: the ‘Dillo. The once-beloved bus line transported folks around town from its inception in the 1970s until the lines hit their last stops in 2009.

The bus was, as Richard Linklater might say, a “spiritual sequel” to the streetcar lines that traversed the Downtown corridor as early as the 1870s, but, like the city’s first gamble with mass transit, the ‘Dillo could soon see a resurgence with the help of private sector backing.

The lines started initially as a downtown-circulating park-and-ride program in the 1970s. The city officially backed the program known as the “Armadillo Express” in 1983, allocating $88,650 from the budget for five buses. Backed by downtown businesses and the Downtown Austin Alliance, the Armadillo Express was officially dedicated in May of 1984.

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Juneteenth
4:38 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

A Look Back at the 150-Year History of Juneteenth in Texas

A shot from the Juneteenth celebration in 1900 at Eastwoods Park.
Grace Murray Stephenson, Austin History Center, PICA 05476

Friday marks the 150th anniversary of the day that brought freedom to 250,000 African-Americans from slavery in Texas, commonly known as Juneteenth.

While President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 is recognized as the declaration that freed U.S. slaves, Confederate states didn’t recognize the Union decree. So, even after the war ended at Appomattox in April of 1865, Texan slaves weren’t freed until June 19, 1865, when Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger read aloud a Union proclamation that officially ended slavery in Texas.

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Austin
2:26 pm
Wed June 17, 2015

Study Will Examine Affordability and 'Youthification' of Austin

A study is looking to examine the housing, earning, spending and transit habits of Austinites.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

Affordability and Austin aren’t necessarily synonymous, especially when it comes to housing.

The city’s seen an unprecedented level of growth over recent years, much of that due to the oft-maligned cohort known as millennials, of which, according to a Fannie Mae survey, Austin has the largest concentration in the U.S. at 27 percent.

Austin’s not alone. More and more millennials are flocking to urban cores in cities across North America, and one researcher from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, chose to investigate housing, labor and lifestyle issues surrounding millennials in Austin, and other cities, with a survey called "Generationed City."

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Wayback Wednesday
2:44 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

Texas's 150-Year-Old Cold Case

A band of robbers stole over half of the state's gold reserves in an 1865 robbery. They nearly made off with $25,000 more in treasury warrants.
via crutchwilliams.com

One hundred fifty years ago this week, the city of Austin, and a large portion of Texas, was effectively lawless. As news of the Confederacy’s loss of the Civil War hit Texas in the spring of 1865, many state and municipal officials abandoned their posts out of fear they’d be prosecuted by the Union. One of these officials was Pendleton Murrah, the state’s governor, who fled to Mexico and died in August of that year.

With that in mind, a fortuitous band of former Rebels decided to ride on the state’s capital, perpetrate the largest raid in Texas’s history and ride off to Mexico with all the gold in the state’s coffers.

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Austin Police
2:24 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

When Can Austin Police Officers Use Pepper Spray?

A screenshot of a video showing an Austin Police officer spraying pepper spray at a bystander went viral over the weekend.
Credit YouTube

The YouTube video that surfaced last weekend of an Austin Police officer pepper-spraying a suspect on Sixth Street has many questioning use of force by APD. In 2014, the department documented 147 incidents of the use of pepper spray, but when can they use it, how is it justified and how exactly does the review process work?

Let's take a look at APD's guidelines.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:04 pm
Wed June 3, 2015

Looking Back at Aqua Fest, One of Austin's Early Festivals

A young skier during the Austin Aqua Festival in the 1970s.
Texas Archive of the Moving Image

In light of the descending extreme sports — or "action" sports, if you're partial to that label — festival coming into town this week, today's Wayback Wednesday looks back at Austin's first sports-music hybrid festival, the Austin Aqua Festival. 

Founded by the city's chamber of commerce, the annual festival, which ran from 1962 to 1998, aimed to boost tourism during the slower summer months. As the years went on, Aqua Fest drew huge crowds (more than 200,000 at its peak in the '80s) and drew national acts and local favorites, like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

But, it also enraged some communities along Lady Bird Lake, most notably Hispanic communities in East Austin, who protested noisy speedboat races near Festival Beach, and those in Bouldin Creek, who didn't like the idea of motorcycle races careening through their neighborhood. Ultimately, the fest ended in 1998 after years of declining attendance, but below is a look at the proto-X-Games, proto-ACL known as Aqua Fest.

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Austin
2:17 pm
Mon June 1, 2015

How Bird Flu Has Grounded Your Late-Night Whataburger Taquito Addiction (Updated)

Due to an egg shortage, Whataburger's cut back its breakfast hours.
Carlo Nasisse for KUT News

Update June 20: Whataburger announced that its restaurants have returned to normal breakfast hours of 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. 

The company said in its press release that it's secured "additional egg supply" and that they no longer have an egg shortage. This story will be updated with any new information.

Original story: Last night, Whataburger, the beloved Texas bastion of burger-dom, announced in a statement that it will cut its breakfast hours by more than half, after a recent outbreak of avian influenza threatened its egg suppliers.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:27 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

Austin's History of Floods

Starting in 1869, the timeline below chronicles past floods that hit the Austin area.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:37 pm
Wed May 20, 2015

The Paving of Congress Avenue and the Last of the Austin Streetcars

Congress Avenue in the 1880s, when mule-drawn streetcars were the only form of public transportation in Austin.
Austin History Center, PICA 02530

In 1905, 110 years ago this week, the City of Austin began paving the city’s main street: Congress Avenue. The paving was meted out in segments – the stretch of Sixth Street to what’s now Cesar Chavez getting the rollout first.

While the pavement signaled a new era in Austin, it also meant the beginning of the end for Austin’s streetcar system, Austin Electric Railway – the latest corporate iteration in a revolving door of companies with Congress Avenue right-of-way – which had been operating at a loss since 1891 and, at the city’s insistence, had to pay for and implement a good portion of the buildout.

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Twin Peaks Shooting
12:41 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

The Outlaw Biker Gangs Behind Sunday's Deadly Shootings in Waco

The Bandidos biker gang was at the center of Sunday's shooting at a Twin Peaks.
KUT

Authorities in Waco are still on alert after Sunday's shootout at a Twin Peaks restaurant, which involved five biker gangs and ultimately left nine dead and 18 injured. The gun battle centered around two Texas motorcycle clubs: the Bandidos and the Cossacks, an upstart gang that crashed a Bandidos meetup at the restaurant.

While the news stunned many in Texas and garnered national attention, the news was especially shocking to Texas Monthly's Skip Hollandsworth, who wrote about the Bandidos for the magazine in 2007.

Hollandsworth spoke with KUT's Nathan Bernier about his experiences with the Bandidos, the fierce loyalty and business savvy of its members and the impact Sunday's shooting will have on the group in the future.

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Austin
12:41 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

A Look Back at B.B. King's Legacy in Austin's Blues Scene

B.B. King and Clifford Antone with Lucille, King's famous Gibson guitar.
YouTube

Last night marked the end of an era in music with the passing of B.B. King. The quintessential bluesman and last of the blues’ “Three Kings” died at the age of 89 last night. From his earliest days. King was perennially on the road. Some of his earliest shows were in East Austin at the Victory Grill, back when the city was still segregated, and he continued to be a fixture in the Austin music scene throughout his prolific career.

Take a look back at Austin’s history with the King below.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:46 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

The Union-Bustin' Origins of the Texas State Capitol

A look at the construction site of what would become the Texas State Capitol.
Austin History Center, via Portal to Texas History

This week marks the 127th anniversary of the Texas State Capitol’s dedication. Well, not necessarily. May 14 marked the completion of the Capitol, along with a week-long celebration to dedicate it, but the state didn’t accept Pomeranian builder Gustav Wilke’s granite-domed monument to Texas because of structural issues — chiefly, the copper roof leaked.

The building was officially dedicated seven months later, but Wilke’s architectural prowess wasn’t blamed for the building’s initial shoddiness — he would later go on to build some of the world’s first skyscrapers. Ultimately, the capitol building’s inconsistencies, exacerbated by a Chicago-based syndicate bankrolling Wilke’s operation, a years-long labor strike and a handful Texas convicts and Scottish strike-busters, contributed to the project’s hamstringing.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:50 pm
Wed May 6, 2015

A Look Back at the Dicey Days of Beef, Before Brisket Was King

Brisket's hot now, but it wasn't always the hip, award-winning cut of beef it is today.
KUT News

Pitmasters across Texas may have mixed feelings about Aaron Franklin winning the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Southwest this week, but it does mark the first time the prestigious culinary award’s honored a barbecue pitmaster.

But brisket, for which Franklin is well known, was not always so revered. This Wayback Wednesday looks back on the days before beef became haute cuisine, when you used the whole cow because you had to, not because you wanted to — back when beef was used for everything from "beef tea" to bread pudding.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:51 pm
Wed April 29, 2015

William Sydney Porter and Austin's Original 'Rolling Stone'

The cover of The Rolling Stone's final issue from April 25, 1895.
Austin History Center

Today's Wayback Wednesday looks back at Austin's onetime Victorian-era literary magazine, The Rolling Stone. The DIY-minded rag published short stories, cartoons and other Onion-esque items, but it is largely known as the first creative sandbox for its publisher, William Sydney Porter.

Porter, a North Carolina transplant who moved to Austin in the late 1880s, worked as a druggist and as a clerk at the General Land Office before he took a job at the First National Bank as a teller. It was during his time as a teller that he started The Rolling Stone in 1895. A year later, in April of 1896, Porter printed the last issue after being fired from the bank for embezzling money. Turns out he was using the money to support his enterprise, a crime that would land him time in federal prison, where he would continue writing under his now-famous pseudonym: O. Henry.

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Austin
3:09 pm
Mon April 27, 2015

Why Some Downtown Austin Buildings Sit Vacant for Years

920 Congress is one of four buildings on Congress Avenue that's had little activity over several years.
Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT

For the past 10 years, the Austin skyline’s been in a state of constant flux. In the past year alone, two towers have gone up in the downtown area: the Colorado Tower and the IBC Bank Plaza. Those two buildings, which combine for nearly 570,000 square feet in office and retail space, were all but leased by the time they opened their doors.

But, for some buildings, the wait is a little longer.

For some buildings – like the former headquarters of La Bare on Riverside Drive, the boxy little historic building at Congress and Riverside just down the road, and even some properties in the heart of Downtown Austin, just a few blocks from the Capitol – the wait is seemingly interminable, leaving daily passersby wondering why such high-value real estate lies vacant in the middle of a Austin’s development boom.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:55 pm
Wed April 22, 2015

Why Texas' First Attempt at a Statewide Police Force Was a Crooked, Bloody Mess

A Texas State Police badge that sold for $4,000 last month in New Braunfels.
Credit Burley Auction Group

Today marks the 142nd anniversary of the state’s repeal of the Texas State Police. Like all states, Texas has a statewide law enforcement agency in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s state troopers, but the first iteration of the concept, which lasted only three years, was as unabashedly radical as it was a bloodstained, crooked and altogether haphazardly assembled endeavor.

The group of white, black and Hispanic men who fought on both sides of the Civil War – some were criminals, others were law enforcement who went on to serve in the Texas Rangers – were an incredibly effective force.

In their first month, the police made 978 arrests, according to the governor, of which 239 were for murder or attempted murder – the year prior, the state handily led the nation in deaths. They also enforced Reconstruction-era policies designed to protect African-Americans that were largely derided statewide, like guarding polling locations. However, they were also accused of murdering suspects, were essentially an illegal military extension of the state’s top office and were led by a corrupt, embezzling Adjutant General.

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