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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Austin
4:35 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

SXSW Transplants: Coming for the Tech, Staying for the Weird

A couple SXSW participants relax outside the Austin Convention Center. SXSW Interactive registration skyrocketed again this year.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Another South by Southwest has come and gone – and in its wake comes the inevitable cry from some local natives: “Don’t move here.”

Pulling up the drawbridge on SXSW visitors isn’t anything new: back in 1997, one local band minted t-shirts telling folks they could go back home when the music’s over. But as SXSW Interactive continues its explosive growth – with a 25 percent surge this year and over 30,000 attendees – it attracts a different set of attendees than music-loving spring breakers. And some of those attendees may not be going back.

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Affordable Housing
1:58 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A Minimum Wage Job in Austin Gets You a Two-Bedroom Apt. – And a 111-Hour Work Week

In order for housing to be considered affordable, it shouldn’t cost tenants more than 30 percent of their income.
flickr.com/milestonemanagement

Austin has the highest average rent in the state of Texas. And Austinites trying to afford housing on minimum wage need to work close to three full-time jobs.

That’s according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The non-profit looked at the average fair market rent for Austin apartments and calculated how many hours minimum wage workers need to work so their rent is affordable – meaning it’s no more than 30 percent of their earnings.

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SXSW
2:47 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

From Doritos to Playtex to the Fader Fort, the SXSW Question Is: What Brand Are You? (Update)

A pedicabber moves SXSW Interactive passengers with his Oreo-branded cab.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: With South by Southwest Music in full swing, throngs of music fans have descended upon Austin. And that gives marketers more crowds to pitch their products and experiences to.

"The whole experience is more like social media,” says GSD&M’s Matthew Childs. "It’s not to actually sell something. It’s to get people talking about you, to position your brand with the Venturi effect of the community at South By. If you’re inauthentic to the community, you’re going to get called out pretty quickly."

Companies attempting to ingratiate themselves to the SXSW community have been on display all week: everything from the edgy (like HBO’s Game of Thrones pedicabs) to the decidedly less so (brands like Oreo and Cap’n Crunch advertising at SXSW Interactive).

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Religion
5:39 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

New Pope Francis a Mystery for Many Austinites

Area Catholics will be learning more about Pope Francis in coming days.
courtesy flickr.com/postmoderngirl/

The eyes of much of the world were on the Vatican this afternoon for the announcement that a new pope had been elected.

Pope Francis of Argentina is the first pope from the Americas. Here in Austin, Bishop Joe Vasquez says that origin suggests someone with a perspective popes of the past have not had.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
4:35 pm
Wed March 13, 2013

Should Pols Running for Higher Office Pay Their Own Security?

A Michigan crowd watches Gov. Rick Perry during his presidential campaign. Perry had the state pay for his security as he traveled the country campaigning.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Future presidential candidates from Texas may have to foot the bill for their own security on the campaign trail.

Gov. Rick Perry’s unsuccessful run at the White House last year cost taxpayers $3.7 million. And state Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, said at a House committee meeting today that the cost of non-state-related security is a burden to Texans.

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Science
4:43 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Pan-STARRs Comet Streaks Across Texas Sky Tonight

The Pan-STARRs comet will be visible for the next few days over Central Texas skies
flickr.com/chrissamuel

Tonight is one of a few chances Austinites will have to see a passing comet.

The PAN-STARRS comet, or C/2011 L-4 as it’s known by stargazers, will make its way across the Austin skies around 30 to 40 minutes after sunset tonight – which is at 7:37 p.m, according to the National Weather Service.

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Life in Austin
4:13 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

The (Mis)Pronunciations That Keep Austin Weird

Public art on Guadalupe Street, pronounced "Gwad-A-Loop" by countless generations of Austinities.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Sure – Austin’s weird.

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SXSW
11:59 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The RSVP Economy: SXSW, Marketing and Your Email

SXSW 2012 attendees lined up to get into a unofficial, RSVP-required party. RSVP services will now automatically register customers for dozens of parties.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

If you’ve ever attended South by Southwest, then you know: Invitations to private events come fast and furious, and it’s hard to keep on top of them.

That’s where RSVPster comes in. It charges customers 30 to 40 bucks to respond to invitations to unofficial events during the SXSW Interactive and Music conferences. Though it’s the company’s third festival, founder Jennifer Sinski says it’s gotten its fair share of criticism since the service started.

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Austin
3:41 pm
Wed March 6, 2013

Could Bergstrom Expressway Be Cure-All for Airport Congestion?

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority is asking for community input on the proposed toll road tomorrow night at East Austin College Prep.
Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

A new expressway between US Highway 183 and Ben White Boulevard could “eliminate” traffic between the two congested roadways.

But it’ll cost you.  

The Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA) hopes to complete the “Bergstrom Expressway” by 2020 – complete with a six-lane toll road, quicker access to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and shared-use paths for walkers and cyclists. But before the transit agency puts work boots on the ground, they want your opinion.

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Austin
9:28 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Austin Amps Up Giving: Non-Profits Net $2.8 Million

The Capital Area Food Bank is one of over 300 non-profits participating in Amplify Austin.
KUT News

Update: Amplify Austin ended its 24-hour fund drive with nearly $2.8 million in donations. 

Original Post (2:48 p.m.): Non-profit funding initiative Amplify Austin doubled its initial goal of raising $1 million in 24 hours – with time to spare.

Donations to more than 300 non-profits in Austin passed the seven-figure mark around 9 a.m., with the amount still climbing as the donation drive rolls on.

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Health
2:02 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Senators’ Diagnosis: State Health Head Janek Fit to Lead

The Senate Nominations committee met today to confirm Dr. Kyle Janek as head of the Department of State Health Services.
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The Texas Senate's Nominations committee confirmed Gov. Rick Perry’s appointment of Dr. Kyle Janek as the head of the state’s largest healthcare service provider for low-income and aging Texans – the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

Janek spoke to Sen. Jane Nelson about the future of funding and providing Medicaid services for Texans, asserting that the state should take a more streamlined approach to providing and funding healthcare.

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Austin
4:52 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

City Previews Pitfalls Before Development Plan Rewrite

The new land development code will impact Austin's urban growth for years to come and city planners talked to four national city planners to make certain their plan won't fall flat.
KUT News

Nationally recognized city planners descended on Austin today with a bit of advice for the city as it begins to retool its land development code: Don’t screw it up. 

Planning experts from Raleigh, N.C; Madison, WI; Denver, CO; and Dallas briefed members of the Land Development Code Advisory Board in preparation for their first meeting on Tuesday, when they'll begin  to rewrite the code for the first time since 1984. They emphasized that the city needs to get the code right, or prepare for perpetual litigation and complications that come with a sloppy development code.

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Austin
1:58 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Dillo Dirt Fire: It Smolders, Smells, and Stifles Sales

The (in)famous Dillo Dirt mud at Austin City Limits Fest 2009. Officials are unsure how much a plant fire could affect fertilizer production.
flickr.com/plutor

Austin firefighters are still battling compost fires at a waste processing plant near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

The fire burned at least an acre of Dillo Dirt at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, which will impact sales to over 70 Austin area vendors.

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Politics
7:39 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Farmers Market Bills Cropping Up at Texas Legislature

Vendors at the Austin Farmers Market could see lower permitting fees.
flickr.com/cbroders

Lawmakers are thinking locally at the Capitol.

Texas House members will hear two bills today that seek to loosen rules on local agriculture by lowering restriction of raw milk sales to consumers and placing a cap on the amount of taxes levied on farmers at local markets.

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FOOD
1:25 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Torchy's Secret Taco Menu, Revealed

Torchy's "trailer park" location off of South First Street. The taco purveyor has rolled out a new "sacred" menu of little-known items.
flickr.com/wallyg

Torchy’s Tacos has been keeping Austinites fed since 2004. Back then, they had little more than a trailer and some taco fixings. Now, Torchy’s has opened locations in both Dallas and Houston, and is literally slinging tacos with its famous Taco Cannon.

But despite statewide success, Torchy's is still keeping secrets.

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Politics
5:32 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

CPRIT to Review Grants Despite Moratorium

The state's leading cancer research grant provider will continue reviewing applications despite a ban on providing funding
Todd Wiseman, Texas Tribune

The Cancer Research and Prevention Institute of Texas, known as CPRIT, is moving forward with its oversight committee’s grant-vetting process.

That’s despite a lockout by the state legislature that’s holding up nearly $182 million in funding to cancer-fighting organizations.

The institute’s interim executive director, Wayne Roberts, said CPRIT will keep moving ahead with reviewing nearly 300 grants, with hope that the state will lift the allocation ban.

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Geographic Representation
2:13 pm
Mon February 18, 2013

First Step in Austin's Redistricting Process: A Diverse Commission

A detail of a map released by the City Auditor's office, plotting where redistricrting commission applicants live.
KUT News

This summer, Austin will begin drawing its first city council districts.

The long slog towards geographic representation has been an uphill one: a fight to get the measure on the ballot, a hard-fought campaign and, once the measure was approved, fear an all-volunteer committee to draw council districts would fail to attract diverse and representative candidates. But with the help of the city auditor and community groups, the list of applicants has swelled from fewer than a hundred nearly two weeks ago to just under 250 at last count on Feb. 14.

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Austin
3:08 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

City Council Update: Austin Energy Hearing; Vets Board, Music Venue Program Approved

flickr.com/ennuiislife

Update: The council gave preliminary approval to an independent Austin Energy board Thursday night. You can read more here.

Original Post:The Austin City Council has made short work of today’s agenda, passing most items early.

One agenda item is still outstanding, and should create some sparks: a resolution calling for an independent governance board to oversee operations at Austin Energy.

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Texas
2:41 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Veterans Expo Offers Support in Fight Against Benefit Backlog

The Veterans Expo offered classes on securing employment and education benefits, as well as meetings with disability case workers
KUT News

The theme of this year's Texas Veterans' Expo was simple: Answering the call.

But meeting that call has been difficult.

The Texas Veterans Commission's job is to connect veterans with benefits. But the TVC's Executive Director Thomas Palladino said disabled veterans in this state have had a hard time getting their requests answered.

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Transportation
5:29 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Austin Traffic: Slow and Growing

The high traffic costs also mean more carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.
flickr.com/rutlo

A new study reveals what most Austin drivers could tell you anyway: Traffic here is bad. But the study says Austin’s traffic has grown worse than any large metropolitan region in the last 20 years.

The yearly Urban Mobility Report from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute says Austin drivers have wasted the most time in traffic since they began collecting data, more than any other city surveyed in the national study.

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