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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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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Austin
8:21 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Public Safety Commission Recommends Gun Control Measures (Updated)

The commission recommends not leasing facilities for gun shows.
flickr.com/glasgows

Update: Austin’s Public Safety Commission voted unanimously Monday to send a resolution to local leaders aimed at reducing gun violence.

The resolution encourages the Austin City Council, Travis County Commissioners, the Austin Independent School Board and Austin Community College to stop leasing facilities for gun shows—or to require those shows to conduct background checks.

The commission also wants local law enforcement to hold gun buyback programs and to collect data on guns used in crimes.

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Austin City Council
4:11 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

One-Way or Another, Parking, Bike Lanes Coming to Rainey Street

Mobility improvements to the Rainey district are coming, along with an option to make the street one-way.
City of Austin

Transportation and Public Works officials briefed the Austin City Council today on proposed renovations to Rainey Street, the popular entertainment district plagued with more than its fair share of parking and transportation problems.

Officials said converting Rainey Street to a one-way street could add metered parking spaces, two bike lanes, and increased accessibility for those with disabilities, but also presented another, less drastic, proposal that would keep the street a two-way. 

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Public Safety
7:30 am
Wed January 30, 2013

Texas Lawmakers, Families Push for Texting While Driving Ban

Jeanne Brown shares the story of daughter's texting and driving death.
KUT News

State lawmakers gathered Tuesday at the Capitol in support of a bill that would outlaw texting while driving. 

Both Senate Bill 28 and House Bill 63 would ban all forms of cell phone use while driving a vehicle—including texting, emailing and talking. This is the second attempt at a texting ban for both State Sen. Judith Zaffirini (D-Laredo) and State Rep. Tom Craddick (R-Midland). Gov. Rick Perry vetoed the last attempt in 2011

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Education
7:49 pm
Mon January 28, 2013

Expert: Arming Teachers Could Make Them Targets

Non-public safety responders carrying guns are "at a high risk of being shot," says one expert.
flickr.com/wmode

Allowing teachers to carry concealed handguns could make them targets in a school shooting, according to one law enforcement expert who testified before lawmakers Monday. State Senators held a joint committee hearing to hear ideas on improving safety in public schools in the wake of a school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut that claimed 26 lives. 

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Technology
8:22 am
Thu January 24, 2013

Austin AT&T U-verse Customers Without Phone, TV & Internet (Updated)

Thousands of AT&T U-verse customers have been without service since Monday.
flickr.com/cytosine

Update: AT&T U-verse says service has been restored to most customers affected by the outage. The company posted the following on its facebook page this morning:

U-verse service has been restored for the vast majority of our customers affected by the outage. We expect any remaining customer issues will be resolved this morning. We will provide a credit to customers who were affected. We know our customers count on their U-verse service and we apologize for the inconvenience.

Are you still without service? Leave us a comment or send us an email—news@kut.org—that is, of course, if you can track down some internet access.

Original post: (Jan. 23, 4: 59 p.m.) Some AT&T U-verse customers across Texas and throughout the southern U.S. are experiencing TV and Internet outages.

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Austin
3:50 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Get to the Chopper: Suggestions May Smooth Helicopter Service

Helicopter operations could change in time for Austin's 2013 F1 race.
twitter.com/Austin_Police

Whirlybirds, eggbeaters, choppers — whatever you want to call them — helicopters brought some kind of ruckus over 2012’s Formula 1 weekend. And now a group is looking at what can make for a less turbulent 2013.

Over 265,000 attendees descended on the Formula 1 track over race weekend, according to the Circuit of the America's count. And as F1 attracts its fair share of uber-wealthy racing fans, many skipped ground transportation altogether in favor of helicopters.

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Downtown
4:22 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Planning Commission to Discuss Rainey Street Development

Lustre Pearl, one of the first bars to open on Rainey Street. A proposal would require new bar to apply for a conditional use permit before opening.
flickr.com/honeyroastd

In the past few years, once quaint and quiet Rainey Street has become a haven for the hip, with businesses ubiquitously flipping the neighborhood's historic bungalows into bars.

Tonight, the City of Austin Planning Commission will discuss two possible changes along Rainey Street: one that would encourage the relocation of historic homes, and another measure that would require new bars to seek permits, including public hearings.

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Texas
1:01 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Today Marks the 40th Anniversary of LBJ's Death

LBJ in the Oval office shortly after assuming office in 1963.
LBJ Presidential Library at the University of Texas

It was 40 years ago today that Lyndon B. Johnson passed away at his family ranch in Stonewall at his family ranch.  

Johnson served as the 36th President of the United States, Vice President to John F. Kennedy, and served in both houses of Congress as well. 

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Politics
10:19 am
Tue January 22, 2013

Inauguration Wrap-Up: Bring on the Weirdness

President Obama was sworn in Monday amidst a flurry of activity
flickr.com/jeffreylowy/

Inauguration day is a day of pomp and circumstance. It’s when the president assumes the position of Commander-in-Chief to resounding applause and throngs of admirers. For some presidents it’s a breeze. Yet, even on his second go of an inauguration, President Barack Obama still managed to draw a frenzy of action, insanity, and triviality to accompany his second Oath of Office.

Obama’s speech clocked-in at just over 2,400 words, which was almost equal to his 2008 word count (but nowhere near as brief as George Washington’s second inauguration at 135-words). But for Obama's second inauguration, the weirdness ran long.

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Arts and Culture
12:02 pm
Mon January 21, 2013

Circuit of the Americas Opening Music Venue in Spring

The Tower Amphitheater will have a capacity for over 15,000 fans
http://toweramphitheater.com/

The Circuit of the Americas announced today that they will debut their shiny new music venue, the Tower Amphitheater, this spring with a concert featuring country music star Kenny Chesney on April 5.

COTA officials say the festival will bring new opportunities to the complex largely known for motorsports, and that they plan on scheduling 15 to 20 shows a year to keep the circuit occupied between race days.

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