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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Texas
5:34 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Texas Joins Suit Against EPA

Attorney General Greg Abbott is one of 12 attorneys general who want the Supreme Court to review the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gasses
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott was among the state AG's with an Earth Day gift for the Environmental Protection Agency: A lawsuit.

Abbott is one of 12 attorneys general asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case that claims the agency created “absurd” regulations of greenhouse gasses under the Clean Air Act.

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West Plant Explosion
3:02 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

For West First Responders, Much-Needed Relief in Sight

American Red Cross volunteers in West on April 18, one day after the explosion.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Of the 14 confirmed fatalities in the West fertilizer plant explosion, 10 were first responders. Most were from West, but some were from nearby service districts like Abbott, Mertens and Navarro Mills, and one was a fire captain in the Dallas Fire Department who lived in West.

Of the town's 33 volunteer firefighters, five were killed and 11 were hospitalized in the explosion.

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Austin
10:54 am
Mon April 22, 2013

The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists

The Internet's list makers ceretainly haven't given up on Austin.
flickr.com/dingatx

If you asked the Internet, it might tell you that Austin's a hipster-loving, small business-starting, traffic-riddled, undiscovered yet overrated place that keeps it weird. The web's traffic-baiting list-makers rank Austin as a leader in categories from fitness friendliness to porn consumption per capita.

But you're not asking the Internet, you're asking KUT News. And, as has been done a couple times now, KUT News has compiled a list of lists honoring, tweaking and trashing Austin over the past few months. Here's the third installment of The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists:

  • Big time for small business: Business website Thumbtack.com saluted Austin for business-friendly regulations and low licensing fees, ranking the city tops in the U.S. for small businesses. But the crowning stems partially from the state’s spartan regulation, as the survey also named Dallas-Fort Worth and San Antonio in its top 10.
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Austin
5:08 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Austin Police on 'Heightened Alert' for MotoGP

Police Chief Art Acevedo advises Austinites to stay "vigilant" in light of the attacks in Boston.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

Austin Police say they will step up security this weekend as the city gets ready to host a major international sporting event.

Moto GP comes to the Circuit of the Americas for three days, and organizers say they expect tens of thousands of people to show up. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says the explosions at the Boston Marathon will lead to more awareness this weekend as the motorcycle racing fans roll in.

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2013 Legislature
3:41 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

Texas Nursing Homes Seeking More From Medicaid

Nursing Home professionals and some of their elderly patients gathered today at the Capitol to ask state lawmakers to give more for Medicaid funding.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

Nursing home professionals from all over Texas gathered today at the Capitol, asking lawmakers to expand Medicaid funding to care for more of the state’s seniors.

Paul Gerharter is director of nursing at Touchstone Communities, a provider of nursing home care in Central and South Texas. He says state budgets have lessened the number of nursing homes in the midst of a growing need for long-term care.

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2013 Legislative Session
6:20 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Could Your Elected Officials Be Next in Line for Drug Testing?

Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr. authored a bill that would require drug tests for newly elected officials.
flickr.com/animalvegetable

Lawmakers could be the next group on the state payroll to undergo drug screenings.

The Senate Committee on State Affairs heard testimony on SB 612 today, which would require drug testing for elected officials.

State Sen. Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville,  told fellow Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Houton, in committee this morning that his bill would serve as a counterpoint to bills that would drug test citizens who get state benefits.

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Texas
5:25 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Amazon Gives Texans Their Wine Online

Now the close to 300 vineyards in Texas can ship wine in and out of state on Amazon's massive online marketplace.
flickr.com/dionnehartnett

Ordering the most recent Jodi Picoult novel or maybe a nice throw blanket on Amazon?

Now you can get a robust, full-bodied cabernet to complement them both.

Today, Amazon opened up their wine delivery service up to the Lone Star state, offering over 350 wines and 2,200 labels from across the world.

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Austin
11:21 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Has the Austin Backlash Begun?

An ACL fest goer in 2012. Michael Corcoran compares Austin growth to a popular nightclub: “Next thing you know it’s so crowded that it’s not fun anymore.”
Tamir Kalifa for KUT News

Has the afterglow worn off?

The doting South by Southwest masses have slinked back to Williamsburg and Echo Park, doubtless telling tales about this “locals only” barbecue joint called The Salt Lick. But as they stumble out of their Austin-induced atrophy, some might ask the harsh question: Is Austin really that great?

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Texas
1:45 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Five Smaller, Stranger Events That Tapped Texas' Events Trust Fund

The Texas Events Fund draws events to Texas every year, like the American Miniature Horse Association Championship in Fort Worth.
flickr.com/bsterling

Texas’ official motto is “friendship.” And the state’s long drawn on its welcoming ways to attract tourism and convention crowds from all over.

One example of Texas hospitality is its event trust funds: the Major Events Trust Fund and the Events Trust Fund. (And that’s not counting the Motor Sports Events Trust Fund and the Special Events Trust Fund.)

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2013 Legislative Session
2:46 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Texas Senate Considers School 'Voucher' Bills, Despite House Ban (Update)

State Sen. Patrick's bill does not involve funds that would go to the Texas Education Agency.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

UPDATE 5:59 The Senate Committee on Education heard SB 1575 this afternoon from educators and parents supporting the so-called voucher program that would give parents money to move their children from public to private schools. 

The bill’s author Senator Donna Campbell of New Braunfels said that parents and students should have a choice in schooling and claim that failing public schools set back children across the state.

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Texas
1:43 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

At Least 11 Injured in Stabbings at Houston-area Lone Star College

Authorities locked down the Lone Star campus today in Cypress after 11 students were stabbed on campus.
lonestar.edu

Authorities in Cypress, just outside Houston, say at least 11 students at the Lone Star College campus were stabbed this morning at the Cy-Fair campus.

Authorities say they have arrested one man suspected of the attacks and may be searching for another suspect. The school's website says that campus police and the Harris County Sheriff's Department are searching vehicles exiting area parking lots.

So far, 4 victims have been airlifted to a nearby hospital.

Technology
11:23 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Austin is Getting Google Fiber

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell made the official announcement this morning.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

In a hugely anticipated announcement this morning, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell made it official: Google Fiber is coming to Austin.

The ultra-fast Internet service -- offering speeds more than 100 times faster than connections available now -- will "change how we live and how we work in ways we don't even know about yet," said Leffingwell.

Google says its first Fiber customer in Austin will get service sometime in the middle of 2014.

In a hugely anticipated announcement this morning, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell made it official: Google Fiber is coming to Austin.

The ultra-fast Internet service -- offering speeds more than 100 times faster than connections available now -- will "change how we live and how we work in ways we don't even know about yet," said Leffingwell.

Google says its first Fiber customer in Austin will get service sometime in the middle of 2014.

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Guns
2:59 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Gun Show Ban Bill Passes Without a Bang

The Texas Senate passed a bill that would restrict county and city officials' ability to restrict gun sales and gun shows.
flickr.com/disrupsean

Today, all the eyes of Texas are upon the House, which is debating the budget in what is probably one of the busiest (and longest) days for the Texas legislature.

But all that hustle and bustle on the east end of the Capitol isn’t all that’s going on.

A bill that passed today in the Senate targets the Austin City Council and Travis County by proposing limits to a city’s ability to limit gun purchases or ban including gun shows.

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Texas
12:54 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Pecan Pie Named Texas State Pie, Plus 8 More Official State Oddities

Lawmakers proposed that only Texas pecans can be used in pecan pies statewide.
flickr.com/h-bomb

The Texas House of Representatives named pecan pie as the state's official pie on Wednesday.

State Rep. Marsha Farney (R-Georgetown) sponsored the resolution. She's a first-year representative and this was her first bill.

So, despite the simplicity of the topic, other lawmakers gave her a hard time in a sort of rite of passage. They asked for amendments including making it illegal to use chocolate in the recipe and requiring only Texas pecans be used in pecan pies statewide.

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Texas
11:53 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Gov. Perry Offers $100,000 Reward for Information on Kaufman Shootings

Gov. Perry called the recent shootings in Kaufman County "insidious" and offered a reward for any information on those responsible.
KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is offering a $100,000 reward for information that leads to those responsible for the shootings of Kaufman County Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse, District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia.

At a press conference today, Gov. Perry vowed that those responsible would be caught.

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Austin
10:49 am
Wed April 3, 2013

North Lamar DPS Office Vandalized (Updated)

The North Lamar DPS office will be closed until further notice due to a break-in last night.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

UPDATE: The Texas Department of Public safety has arrested the man responsible for breaking into a DPS license office last night.

DPS spokesman Tom Vinger says 40-year-old Kenneth James Vanlue was arrested on charges of criminal mischief and burglary of a building.

“Both charges are felonies. No evidence that sensitive information was compromised. However, there was extensive property damage inside the building," Vinger said.

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Texas
3:45 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Rebranded 'Don't Mess With Texas' Targets Young Litterbugs

The famous "Don't Mess With Texas" campaign underwent a retro makeover to dissuade younger drivers from littering.
dontmesswithtexas.org

The Texas Department of Transportation is reinvigorating its perennial “Don’t Mess with Texas” campaign this year to reduce littering among younger Texans.

A 2009 survey from the agency showed that over half of all “active litterers” in Texas were between the ages of 16 and 34, despite 95 percent levels of campaign awareness across all Texas drivers.

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Austin
5:10 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Grants Would Help Revamp Austin Landmarks

The State Theatre would use a city-funded grant to renovate its iconic sign.
Andrew Weber for KUT News

The Historical Landmark Commission of Austin meets tonight to decide the future of four grants to preserve historical landmarks.

And every project may not get their slice of the $126,000 that’s been requested this year.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
5:53 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Hearing for Bill That Could Fell Austin's Heritage Tree Ordinance

The Legislature is considering making it harder for Austin to preserve its urban forest.
flickr.com/spoons

Another battle is brewing in the Texas Legislature over local control, this time over trees. The city of Austin’s ability to regulate heritage trees on private land may be in jeopardy.

House Bill 1377 received a hearing in the house Urban Affairs committee yesterday. Dubbed an "Austin bashing" bill by the City Council, HB 1377 would limit a city’s power to regulate and preserve trees by making a uniform law for all Texas cities to follow. 

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2013 Legislature
2:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Senate Moves to Block Capitol Complex Developments

The State Senate will soon vote on a bill that would require developers wishing to build in the Capitol Complex to submit a bill in the legislature to gain approval.
Liang Shi for KUT

UPDATE (4/4/13): Senate Bill 507 by State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) passed the Senate unanimously today.

The bill would limit public private partnerships, or P3’s, in the area around the Capitol grounds.  The bill is closely related to SB 894 by State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).

Last month Watson even likened his bill to a failsafe for Whitmire’s initial bill in a committee hearing last month. 

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