Andrew Weber

Freelance reporter

Andrew Weber is a freelance reporter and associate editor 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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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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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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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
2:10 pm
Mon February 23, 2015

Apartment Complex Turns to DNA Database to Solve Dog Waste Problem

Credit Screengrab via the City of Austin's YouTube

Cleaning up after four-legged friends is a paramount part of dog ownership.

As many can attest, there’s nothing worse than stepping in a canine’s gastrointestinal afterthoughts, not to mention the host of health hazards to other pups that could be transmitted by not picking up after one’s dog.

Being the dog-friendly city it is, many an Austin apartment manager struggles with those who refuse to clean up after their pets. Now, one apartment complex is taking fecal matters to the next level by using DNA testing to sniff out irresponsible owners.

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Life & Arts
2:36 pm
Thu February 19, 2015

Here Are Austin's 2015 James Beard Award Semifinalists

Olamaie was nominated for Best New Restaurant in the 2015 James Beard Foundation Awards.
Credit Via flickr/megmccarron

The James Beard Foundation has announced the semifinalists for its coveted culinary Awards, and six Austin chefs and one new Austin restaurant have earned nods from the prestigious foundation.

Mark Buley and Sam Hellman-Mass of Odd Duck (Rising Star of the Year)

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Wayback Wednesday
1:19 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Rediscovering Barbara Jordan

Jordan during a meeting on February 13, 1967 with President Lyndon B. Johnson about the Civil Rights Act.
Yoichi R. Okamoto, via Texas Southern University

Today’s Wayback Wednesday honors the birthday of Barbara Jordan. Born on February 21, 1936 in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Jordan went on to become the first African-American woman to serve in the Texas Senate, the first woman to represent Texas in the House of Representatives and was nearly nominated to the United States Supreme Court by then-President Bill Clinton before her death in 1996.

Below you can listen to KUT’s award-winning hour-long documentary on Jordan’s life and legacy, “Rediscovering Barbara Jordan,” which was produced in association with Public Radio International. Above, you can view photos from her life and the exhibit at the Capitol honoring her legislative career.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:56 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: The Capitol Fire of 1983

On February 6, 1983, a fire caused damage to the east wing of the Texas Capitol.
Austin Fire Department Museum

Today’s Wayback Wednesday marks the 32nd anniversary of the 1983 fire at the Texas Capitol. The electrical fire started in the early morning hours of February 6, 1983, marring then-Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby’s apartment behind the Senate chambers and killing a guest, a horse trainer from New Caney named Matt Hansen, who was staying in the apartment.

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Sports
12:12 pm
Wed February 4, 2015

News Roundup: National Signing Day

Credit KUT News

It’s national signing day and, admittedly, the Texas Longhorns are in a rebuilding period.

Ahead of signing day Charlie Strong had done a good job securing some of those bricks to rebuild the program. Just before Christmas, the Longhorns snagged the top-ranked prospect in the state, Mesquite Poteet’s Malik Jefferson. Still, the Longhorns lost four-star quarterback Kyler Murray to the Aggies, leaving them without a viable quarterback recruit in the 2015 class.

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Austin
12:29 pm
Mon February 2, 2015

Two Years After His Death, Why Doesn't Chris Kyle Have a Gravestone?

Gov. Greg Abbott has declared today Chris Kyle Day, in honor of the U.S. military's deadliest sniper who was fatally shot in February 2013.
Marshall Tidrick/KUT

Today, while others are celebrating Groundhog Day and still others are celebrating Armadillo Day, Gov. Abbott is asking Texans to remember former U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle on the second anniversary of his death. 

Kyle served four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is the deadliest sniper in United States military history and was recently played by Bradley Cooper in the Oscar-nominated film adaptation of Kyle’s autobiography “American Sniper,” which quickly became the highest-grossing war film of all time.

But still, nearly two years after his funeral and burial at the Texas State Cemetery, Kyle still doesn’t have a grave marker.

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Drone Zone
3:02 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Federal Foot-Dragging Allows Some Drone Photographers to Take Flight, Grounds Others

Despite federal bans on commercial uses of drones, many are using the gadgets for aerial photography.
YouTube

Earlier this week, the Secret Service fetched a drone flown by a tipsy government employee off the White House Lawn, and yesterday the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) asked football fans to keep the Superbowl game a “No Drone Zone” in a PSA.

While drone popularity has soared among hobbyists, it hasn’t stopped there. Though it doesn't seem super legal for them to be flown by fans spying on the Patriots’ equipment staff on Sunday or toasted staffers looking to check in on the Obamas at 3 a.m., that staffer wasn’t charged

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Wayback Wednesday
1:51 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Meet Hyde Park's First Eccentric Artist

Elisabet Ney in her studio at Formosa in 1892, shortly after moving to Austin.
Austin History Center

Today's Wayback Wednesday marks the 182nd birthday of Elisabet Ney. The renowned sculptor was born in Munster, Germany on January 26, 1833, and was the first female sculpting student at the Munich Academy of Art and became a celebrated sculptor throughout Europe in the 1850s and 1860s, crafting busts of philosopher Arthur Schoepenhaur, Germany's first chancellor Otto von Bismarck and even Jacob Grimm, one of the two eponymous fairy tale-writing brothers.

In 1872, Ney and her husband Dr. Edmund Montgomery moved to Texas, buying land near in Waller County outside of Houston and later moving to Hyde Park in 1892. Her home and studio, originally called "Formosa," now houses a museum commemorating her art. Her sculptures adorn the Texas State Capitol, the United States Capitol and, perhaps most famously, the Smithsonian National Museum of American Art.

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Wayback Wednesday
12:13 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Wayback Wednesday Video: Perry's First Day as Governor

Rick Perry applauds at the end of then-Gov. George W. Bush's speech announcing his resignation.
YouTube

To mark yesterday's gubernatorial passing of the torch, this edition of Wayback Wednesday hearkens back to the days when James Richard "Rick" Perry was Texas' lieutenant governor, waiting in the wings to take George W. Bush's seat after his political ascension to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Below is a video, courtesy of the Texas Politics Project, showing George W. Bush's final speech under the Capitol dome as governor on December 21, 2000, in which he announces his resignation and passes the reins to the longest-serving governor in the state's history.

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Austin
10:26 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Here's Some of the Armadillo Memorabilia Being Auctioned Off This Weekend

A poster from the Armadillo's 1971 opening night with art by Michael Priest.
Burley Auction Group

This Saturday, Eddie Wilson, longtime proprietor of Threadgill’s and former owner of the Armadillo World Headquarters, will auction off a massive 500-item horde of memorabilia from the famous venue, which closed its doors in 1980.

Though the days of quarter-cup, dollar-pitcher beer prices may be bygone, Austinites looking to relive those cloudy memories can pick up plenty of classic concert posters with art from Austin luminary Michael Priest; an abundance of neon signs for now-defunct beers like Falstaff, Grand Prize, and Southern Special; and even the club’s house piano played by Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and Randy Newman.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:06 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Meet Austin's Gunslinging Lawman, Ben Thompson

Thompson was a gunslinger, professional gambler, Confederate cavalier, a mercenary in Mexico and a convict before taking over the office of City Marshal in 1881.
Credit Austin History Center

Today’s Wayback Wednesday recognizes the 134th anniversary of Ben Thompson’s assumption of the position of City Marshal. The 134th anniversary of what was ostensibly a city police chief may not seem like an auspicious anniversary to revisit, but Thompson wasn’t your typical police chief.

In his life, Thompson was a gunfighter and professional gambler, served as a member of the Confederate Cavalry, was a hired gun for the first (and only) Emperor of Mexico and was indicted (and later acquitted) for murder while serving as the city’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer.

Thompson was born in Knottingly, England in 1843, and his family moved to Austin in 1851. Six years later, while working as a newspaper typesetter, Thompson shot somebody – presumably for the first time. His friend, 14-year-old Joe Brown, bet Thompson that he couldn’t shoot.

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Life & Arts
11:16 am
Tue January 13, 2015

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey's Audition for 'Dazed and Confused'

Wiley Wiggins and Matthew McConaughey audition for Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused."
Screengrab via Criterion Collection's YouTube channel

Last night, as lawmakers were polishing up their boots for the 84th Texas Legislature’s kickoff and Richard Linklater was, presumably, spit-shining his Golden Globe for Boyhood he won on Sunday, the Internet, as it often does, produced a nugget of gold.

As the Wall Street Journal writes, the Criterion Collection released Matthew McConaughey’s audition from Linklater’s seminal Austin-based comedy Dazed and Confused on YouTube. The film launched McConaughey’s career, proved Linklater could be both a commercially and critically successful filmmaker, and educated those outside of Austin on moontowers and Top Notch hamburgers.

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Austin
1:44 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Where to Find the Cheapest Gas in Austin

Gas prices have droped drastically in Austin over the last month.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today, for the first time since 2009, oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel. Crude oil has shed nearly half of its value in the second half of 2014. While plummeting oil demand may throw the global economy off kilter, the falling prices have given drivers across the country reason to celebrate: cheap gas.

Nationally, the average gas price is around $2.19 per gallon, compared to $2.72 just a month ago, according to industry monitor GasBuddy.com. Austin’s average price is currently hovering around $1.98 a gallon. Still, some retailers have slashed prices below $1.99 and others are still charging well over $2 per gallon. With that in mind, here’s a list of where to find the top five cheapest, and most expensive, gallon of gas in Austin.

Wayback Wednesday
12:18 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Remembering the Armadillo World Headquarters

An archive photo of the 'Dillo. Threadgills North Lamar location holds most of the memorabilia from the Armadillo World Headquarters. Owner Eddie Wilson is set to auction off a portion of the memorabilia sometime next year.
Steve Hopson, via WikiMedia Creative Commons

Today’s New Year’s Eve edition of Wayback Wednesday looks back at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Thirty-four years ago today, Eddie Wilson's legendary club closed its doors after its decade-long run as a fixture in the Austin music scene.

The club hosted some of the most influential performers of the last fifty years, including Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Hancock, the Velvet Underground, Dr. John, Devo, Jose Feliciano, Bill Withers, Bette Midler, the Ramones and many others. The ‘Dillo was also a booster for many Texas artists – Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, Freddie King, Kinky Friedman, Doug Sahm and even a beardless ZZ Top all performed at the club regularly in its heyday.

Below, we’ve got a playlist of the Armadillo’s final show – featuring Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Commander Cody – along with a set from the Talking Heads in 1979, a video of Armadillo regular Freddie King performing at the Travis County Jail after his April 1976 show, a performance from Frank Zappa in 1973 and a legendary 1972 Thanksgiving set from Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, with Doug Sahm and Leon Russell.

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Austin
12:11 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

How to Have a Safe, DWI-Free New Year's Eve in Austin

Capital Metro will be offering free rides after 6 p.m. and extended service hours for MetroRail, MetroRapid and Night Owl buses.
Credit Capital Metro

While the city may have postponed its annual family-friendly fireworks due to possible inclement weather tonight, that's not likely to stop hordes of revelers descending on downtown to ring in 2015.

If you've ever been downtown on New Year's Eve after the clock strikes midnight, then you know it can be difficult to get home. On top of that, it's a No-Refusal night, so you'll want to plan ahead to get home safe. Check out our rundown of options below for overnight parking, safe rides home and, if you're staying in, a host of apps that'll deliver everything you need right to your door.

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Austin
11:18 am
Mon December 29, 2014

New Year Brings Expansion for Austin's Tinkering School

Typically, children and power tools don't mix.

But, for Kami Wilt, founder of the Austin Tinkering School, it’s been her mission over the last few years to help kids get messy – putting power tools and paintbrushes in students’ hands, while supervising and providing instruction when it’s needed.

Wilt hosts tinkering classes out of her backyard workshop, but, after a Kickstarter campaign that netted the school over $20,000 in contributions last month, she hopes to find a dedicated space in 2015 to continue to bring DIY-minded education to kids in Austin.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
10:56 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Liveblog: The 2014 Austin City Council Runoff Elections

Mayor-elect Steve Adler shakes a young supporters hand at his Election Night party.
Joy Diaz/KUT

After years of build-up and build-out, tonight the Austin City Council will finally transfer from an at-large, seven-member council to a geographically elected council with 10 members. Two of the council seats were decided on Election Day in November – Delia Garza won the District 2 seat and Ann Kitchen won District 5. Council Member Kathie Tovo, after nearly beating fellow Council Member Chris Riley with 49 percent of the vote, won the District 9 seat after Riley’s November concession.

The remaining seven races, and the race for Mayor of Austin, will be decided by today’s runoff elections.

UPDATE: The final numbers are in. Here’s a look at the Austin City Council runoff winners according to the Travis County Clerk's unofficial voting totals:

District 1 – Ora Houston wins with 74.25 percent of the vote over opponent DeWayne Lofton

District 3 – Sabino “Pio” Renteria wins over Susana Almanza 59.76 percent over 40.24 percent

District 4 – Greg Casar wins the seat over opponent Laura Pressley with 64.62 percent of the vote. Pressley garnered 35.38 percent of the vote

District 6 – Don Zimmerman defeats Jimmy Flannigan with 51.21 percent in a close race. Flannigan carried Election Day, but his 48.79 percent in total runoffs wasn’t enough to win the seat.

District 7 – Leslie Pool wins with 66.23 percent over Jeb Boyt’s 33.77 percent.

District 8 – Ellen Troxclair wins the seat by less than 60 votes, earning 50.23 percent of the vote against opponent Ed Scruggs, who got 49.77 percent of the vote.

District 10 – Sheri Gallo defeats Mandy Dealey with 54.76 percent of the vote. Dealey got 45.24 percent of the vote.

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