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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A new study from Standard & Poor’s suggests that income inequality is leading to lower state tax revenues in Texas. The study also finds inequality weakens overall economic growth, with a stronger effect in states like Texas that depend on sales tax revenues.

Still, the state has seen expanded growth in average tax revenue, the study said – 5.48 percent revenue growth from 2000 to 2009 compared to the 4.07 percent in sales tax-dependent states and 5.25 percent growth in income tax-dependent states.

The credit-rating agency says the growing gap slows potential growth and lowers the growth of the state's overall tax base, which is “stronger and only statistically significant” in sales tax-reliant states. The inequality could prove problematic in future budgeting, as S&P says Texas can’t correct the problem by simply raising taxes.

Texas currently has the sixth highest level of income inequality, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, and the state’s lowest earners have seen their incomes drop 10 percent in the last decade. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Last night at around 7 p.m. Gov. Rick Perry tweeted an image from the blog the Patriot Post, which included a meme calling Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg “the most drunk democrat in Texas.”

The meme, which you can view below, reads “I don’t always drive drunk at 3x the legal blood alcohol limit…but when I do, I indict Gov. Perry for calling me out about it.” Perry since walked back the retweet but, it seems, not quickly enough. The tweet was picked up by screen-grabbers nationwide, garnering coverage from Mashable and the Huffington Post among others.

Shortly after, Perry deleted the tweet, saying he didn’t condone its message.

flickr.com/dingatx

Update: Council approved a study to turn the Barton Springs Pool spillway into a city park.

Original Post (Aug. 27, 2014): The Austin City Council will consider whether or not to turn the "free side" of Barton Springs Pool – some call it "Barking Springs" – into a city park.

A proposal from Council Member Chris Riley on tomorrow's agenda calls for studying the idea of turning the spillway that bridges the springs and Lady Bird Lake into an off-leash dog park, as well as allowing swimming there. Riley's resolution would direct City Manager Marc Ott to ask the Parks and Recreation Board and the Animal Advisory Commission what city code would need to be changed to make the park a possibility.

Earlier this month, the Austin Police Department banned drinking at the spillway after a rise in crime in the Barton Springs and Zilker Park areas.

Bryan Winter/KUT News

Nearly two years after Austinites passed the 10-1 plan – which allows voters to elect city council members from their respective geographic district while the mayor is still elected by all voters – the plan has arrived at its penultimate step: The ballot is set. 

In total, 78 candidates submitted their names for voter approval ahead of the city and county elections in November. The ballot features some familiar faces, with current council members Chris Riley and Kathie Tovo pitted against each other in District 9 as well as a Sheryl Cole vs. Mike Martinez match up in the at-large race for mayor. 

Below you can find a full list of the candidates on the ballot listed by filing date:

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Last night, 31 protestors were arrested in Ferguson, Missouri in the latest batch of demonstrations – some have turned violent – in the weeks following the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, by Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson.

The event, and the controversy surrounding it, has inspired protests across the nation.

David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

This past weekend was the deadliest of the two-week-long combat operations in the Gaza Strip. Yesterday, 95 Palestinians were killed in fighting along with 13 soldiers fighting in the Israeli Defense Force, according to the Associated Press.

One of those soldiers killed in the conflict was 21-year-old South Padre, Texas native Sean Carmeli. Carmeli moved to Israel four years ago after finishing high school and was a member of the country's elite Golani Brigade along with California native Max Steinberg, who also died in fighting on the Gaza Strip. Both held American-Israeli citizenship.

KUT News

Update: Water service is still not fully restored at Fort Hood. The post is on limited supply because of a problem with its main water line.

Military personnel will report to the Central Texas Army post today a little later than usual and physical training is canceled.

Other parts of the post are starting to get back to work. Child care centers at Fort Hood and the Darnall Army Medical Center will be open today as usual.

Fort Hood is under Stage 4 water restrictions until the supply problem is resolved. And people there should boil water before drinking it or cooking with it – until the quality can be tested.

Original Story (July 14, 7:04 a.m.): Fort Hood is in an extreme, but temporary, water shortage. The Central Texas Army post's water supply has been interrupted as a result of a Stage 4 critical emergency conservation order from the Bell County Water Control and Improvement District.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT and Ben Philpott/KUT

Update: Gov. Perry will meet with President Obama, according to KUT's reporting partner the Texas Tribune. 

“Gov. Perry is pleased that President Obama has accepted his invitation to discuss the humanitarian and national security crises along our southern border, and he looks forward to meeting with the president tomorrow,” Perry spokesman Travis Considine told the Tribune in an email.

Original Post: President Barack Obama has offered to meet Gov. Rick Perry on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing influx and detainment of unaccompanied Central American child immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Texas Raiders have descended upon Austin. No, it's not a football team. It's the codename for a group of  B-17 pilots who have brought four renovated World War II-era planes to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport this weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July.

The exhibition of rare planes including the P-51, a C-47 and a B-25. Tours and low-altitude flights over Austin are open to the public all weekend from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.at Atlantic Aviation

Check out our gallery above for a view from KUT's flight on the "Flying Fortress."

Wikimedia Commons user Bull-Doser

South By Southwest brings a lot of things to Austin: film premieres, start-ups, newsmakers, bands, traffic and tech savvy out-of-towners.

It's that last group that might take umbrage with the city's ride-sharing policy, which outlaws apps like UberLyftSideCar and since-shuttered Austin-based Hey Ride. 

The city contends these services have unregulated – and potentially unsafe – drivers.

Jon Shapley for KUT News

He's everyone's favorite cardio-loving community activist — a relatively new emissary of Austin weird.

His name is Broderick James, but he's better known as the Rundberg Running Man, a local fixture you can find dancing, running and freestyle rapping on the corner of Lamar and Rundberg on a daily basis. While many Austinites know him for his daily exploits, most people outside the city would simply peg him as a typical fitness freak.

James wants to change that, only there's a problem: money. 

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These days, "cedar fever" is nothing to sneeze at. The severity of the cedar allergy season we’re in right now is near record-highs, with a count of over 21,400 parts per million on Wednesday – the second highest reading in history. In Austin, it’s common to experience a bout of cedar fever in winter months. But  allergist Dr. Seth Hollander says the weather over the past few years has made it even worse.

Obama is expected to announce changes to the NSA after revelations of a massive domestic surveillance program on US citizens and others around the globe. Obama's been fielding critics since the first of former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's leaks last June.

You can watch livestream of the announcement below: 

A ruling will be issued today on the school finance trial.
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For some, the combination of student debt and the post-grad blues is a crushing weight – one that comes swiftly, and without warning. But now, for prospective Texas college students, a forecast of post-grad life is a click away.

flickr.com/photos/newmediadaysdk/

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange will speak via satellite at SXSW Interactive in March. In a rare public interview, Assange will discuss the "pervasive spread of surveillance, advantages and abuses of the digital age, and the future of democracy," according to a statement from the festival. 

Assange will speak with Benjamin Palmer of New York-based web marketer The Barbarian Group at 11 a.m. on Mar. 8, the second day of the Interactive portion of the festival. 

Palmer told KUT that his conversation with Assange at South By will be more of a conversation about the future of the Internet and international communication, and less of a formal interview. 

"This is where everyone that's inventing all the next platforms goes to kind of hear thought leadership, you know?" Palmer said. "And I feel like Julian's point of view — where the Internet has come from, where it's going and what's generally happening — is a really important conversation to have at a place like South By Southwest."

Mary Mang/KUTX

Transmission Events announced their annual Fun Fun Fun Fest will stay at Auditorium Shores this year, despite the city's ongoing renovation of the park that initially put the fest's location up in the air. 

The ninth annual fest will be held Nov. 7 to Nov. 9 this year.  

Spencer Selvidge for KUT News

It's official: University of Texas Regents approved Charlie Strong's contract today. Strong will be paid $25.4 million over 5 years — $5 million per year with a $100,000 bonus available after every year. 

Image courtesy courtesy of the Trail Foundation, townlaketrail.org

The City of Austin will host a walking tour of the south shore of Lady Bird Lake tomorrow to get public input on future development along the shore from Auditorium Shores to the area near I-35. The tour of the roughly 100-acre strip is open to the public and will feature a dozen experts on development, cultural and environmental issues that could arise over the next 20 to 30 years of development.

Alan Holt, a planner with the Planning and Development Review Department, says the tour will begin a long process of public outreach as the area develops, but that it will also highlight connectivity issues that won't necessarily be mitigated by the boardwalk project, which is nearing completion. 

"Right now, if you would walk down to the shore, or to the lake or to the boardwalk, you have to hop fences to get into gated communities to do that, or walk through acres and acres of parking lots," Holt says. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT

In 1974, a group calling themselves the Austintatious Artists wanted to express themselves. So, they found a wall in West Campus and painted what would become a venerated piece of Austin public art. Since then, that mural has lived on. They even painted another one in 2003 on the south wall of the same building.

Now, younger graffiti artists are laying claim to the same walls in droves. While it's something that's happened a lot over 40 years, the University Co-Op and the artists say the murals desperately need repair or they could be lost. 

Credit flickr.com/therefore

The federal government and the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education released guidelines encouraging school to use fairness and equity in their discipline policies and warning of potential punishment, if they don't.

The U.S. Department of Education says African-American students make up 15 percent of the nation’s population but account for more than one-third of those who have been suspended from school at least once.

Education advocate Deborah Fowler, with Texas Appleseed, says minority students, especially African-American students, are more likely to experience discipline more frequently, both from administrators and from school resource officers.

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