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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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. for KUT Austin

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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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.

Austin
3:17 pm
Tue April 7, 2015

Austin Has No Craigslist 'Safe Zone,' So We Tried the Police Station

Police departments have opened their doors to sellers in online transactions on sites like Craigslist.
KUT News

Craigslist and other online forums are all about connections. Some are hilariously missed. But other times those connections go horribly awry, and one party is left with less than they bargained for — or worse.

So to combat scams, robberies and assaults resulting from online transactions, Craigslist suggests that people make “high-value” exchanges at local police stations. And police departments across the country have started opening up their doors to buyers and sellers and creating so-called Craigslist safe zones.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:50 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Look Back at Texas' Unfunniest April Fools' Jokes

The Texas House recognized Albert DeSalvo's work in "applied psychology" and "population control" in 1971.
Credit Wikipedia

It’s April Fools' Day, the holiday that not only celebrates but encourages folks to play jokes and pranks on their loved ones and coworkers.

Sometimes, those jokes and pranks don’t turn out so well. So in honor of April Fools' Day, this Wayback Wednesday looks back on the jokes and pranks in Texas’ history that, even if they landed at the time, would likely fall flat today.

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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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Austin
10:30 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Map: In Austin, Noise Complaints are on the Rise

Austinite Kingston Arbor, 3 months old, hangs with his father Ryan Arbor at an Austin music festival in 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Despite the best efforts by Austinites to dissuade out-of-towners from moving here, they are. The city’s grown more than any other metropolitan area over the last five years, and with all that growth comes plenty of noise. That's not to mention the additional noise brought about by events like SXSW, which draw thousands of party-happy visitors from all over the world.

So it's not surprising that as Austin grows larger, it might also be growing louder. Over the past five years, noise complaints in Austin have gone up by 470 percent, from 2,782 total complaints in 2010 to 13,100 in 2014. Still, only 1.5 percent of those have faced citation – 515 out of 33,107, according to city data obtained by KUT. Below you can view the increase in noise complaints from 2010 to 2014 in an interactive map.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:03 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

In Photos: A Look Back at the Early Days of SXSW

Roland Swenson at the second installment of SXSW.
Austin History Center

Today marks the beginning of SXSW Music — the final stretch of the three-headed chimera of a festival that draws in droves of music-loving revelers and fills the streets of downtown Austin with both music and traffic.

Education
4:23 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

Map: If the Voucher Bill Passes, How Much Would Travis County Private Schools Cost?

Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels), who filed the school vouchers bill in the 2015 legislative session. The bill would allow students and their families to use state dollars to attend private schools.
Ryan Loyd/TPR

For the 61 percent of economically disadvantaged students who attend Austin Public Schools, private school tuition might seem impossible for their families to afford. Sometimes public school is the only option for parents or guardians, and they are forced to keep their children in schools that are struggling academically.

Some Republican state lawmakers say that shouldn’t be the case.

“Not just the wealthy who can send their children to private school, and not just those who have the mobility to move to the suburbs," Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick said at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.  "But for parents in the inner cities where their children are trapped in failing schools, it is their right to have those same opportunities.”

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Wayback Wednesday
2:36 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

The Portrait LBJ Never Wanted the World to See

A screenshot from a 1967 news story on the presidential portrait that LBJ rejected.
US National Archives and Records Administration

For today’s Wayback Wednesday, we look back at a portrait by famed landscape artist Peter Hurd that Lyndon B. Johnson wished nobody would’ve ever seen:

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Technology
10:43 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Hacker Group Anonymous Calls for Boycott of Austin-Based Blog

Hacker group Anonymous recently launched a campaign against Austin-based website the Daily Dot. The hacktivist collective released a video Monday night encouraging netizens and advertisers to boycott the site on social media after it was revealed the site had published articles written by Hector “Sabu” Monsegur, a former Anonymous hacker turned FBI informant.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:15 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Looking Back: When The Drag Wasn't Such a Drag

This photo, taken some time in the early 1950s, shows Guadalupe looking south. To the right is the Varsity Theater.
PICA 26827, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Today's Wayback Wednesday takes a look back at Guadalupe Street, before it was awash in the glow of stop lights and rush hour brake lights.

SXSW 2015
1:48 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Here's a Look at Some of the Brand-Backed Buildouts Planned for SXSW

Ketel One will be building a windmill over South By similar to this one built at the Art Basel Festival in 2013.
YouTube

Many predict this year’s South By Southwest will be pared down compared to years past. While the days of giant Doritos vending machines are gone, there are still a couple of corporate-backed buildouts and events to lure in fest-goers.

So, we decided to rummage through city permits to preview some of the stranger requests from South By sponsors.

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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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