Andy Uhler

Freelance reporter

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Lance Armstrong
9:04 am
Mon August 13, 2012

What's Next for Lance Armstrong's Injunction Case?

Jurisdiction is at issue in Lance Armstrong's most recent court case, held late last week in Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Lawyers for seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong argued for more than two hours in federal court in Austin Friday afternoon. But in lieu of a decision, Judge Sam Sparks gave both sides a week to submit final claims in the case.

The case should boil down to jurisdiction. Armstrong’s lawyers asked District Judge Sam Sparks for an injunction against the US Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA. The USADA claims that Armstrong was a part of a doping conspiracy that led to Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005. They want to ban Armstrong from competition for life and take away his titles.

Armstrong has consistently denied doping. His lawyers claim that the International Cycling Union, or UCI, holds jurisdiction in this case. If any body is to charge Armstrong with doping, his attorneys argue, it would have to be the UCI.

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Austin
4:49 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

Short Term Rentals Making for a Long Council Meeting

The memo in question: The city stated a previous short term rental vote occurred in error, but later found that wasn't the case.
City of Austin

The Austin City Council is expected to take action on new regulations for short term rental properties this Thursday.

The decision comes after some confusion about whether the council would postpone action until August 23. As KUT News previously reported, the city inadvertently muddied the waters last week by posting a memo stating the council’s initial vote on the matter would be disregarded as notice of the meeting was not publicly posted. But later that day, city staff realized the action was publicly posted, and its previous statement was in error.

Council Member Kathie Tovo expressed concern over whether the public knows that council will be moving forward on short term rentals this Thursday. But Council Member Mike Martinez doesn’t think it’s an issue.

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Health
1:16 pm
Tue July 31, 2012

West Nile Virus Claims One Central Texan

At least five people in Travis County have been sickened with West Nile - but health officials say 80 percent of those infected show no symptoms.
flickr.com/jamesjordan

The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department says one local person has died from the West Nile virus. It's the first reported case of death from the virus in Central Texas since 2003.

To date, a total of five people in the area have had the virus this year. One has fully recovered from it.

The virus is in the Travis County mosquito population and health officials say everyone should take precautions to prevent mosquito bites.

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Austin
3:09 am
Fri June 29, 2012

Will the November Ballot See A Pair of Geographic Representation Plans?

Andy Uhler

Right now - every member of the Austin city council runs city-wide. But early this morning, the council voted to put the so-called ten-one plan on the November ballot. That plan would divide Austin into ten geographic districts represented by individual council members, with only the mayor running at-large. Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole and Council Member Mike Martinez decided earlier in the day that they would support a ballot measure containing the exact language of a group called Austinites for Geographic Representation. That group says it has gathered 30,000 signatures in favor of its 10-1 plan. Council Member Martinez noted that this is not the first time city council has been tasked with this issue.

"There's a fundamental difference this time," Martinez said. "And that is a movement has occurred and that there are thousands and thousands of signatures. The work has been done. And it should be respected and honored."

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Crime
5:52 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Report: Daniel Indicted On Capital Murder Charge in APD Officer Death

Booking Photo of Brandon Daniel
Austin Police Department

The Austin American-Statesman is reporting that a grand jury has returned a indictment charging Brandon Daniel with the April shooting death of Austin police officer Jaime Padron at a North Austin Wal-Mart.

Crime
4:38 pm
Thu June 21, 2012

APD: Jovita's Owner at Center of Heroin Ring; Sold Drugs in Restaurant

The 19 suspects in today's heroin bust, "Operation Muerte Negra."
Austin Police Department

Regional officials alleged today that Amado Pardo, the owner of Jovita’s Mexican Restaurant in South Austin, led a prison-gang connected heroin ring that moved between $3,400 and $6,250 worth of drugs daily.

Officials from the Austin Police, the FBI, the Texas Department of Criminal Justice’s Office of the Inspector General and other agencies announced 18 arrests and the seizure of over $1.5 million in assets in a press conference this afternoon, “including a well-known restaurant on South First Street, Jovita’s,” said APD Assistant Chief Sean Mannix.  

Patrick Loll, an FBI assistant special agent for Central Texas, said Pardo lead a “heroin distribution network that has operated here for over a decade.”

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Economy
4:07 pm
Wed June 20, 2012

Austin Sees Full Year of Increasing Home Sales

Jobs, population growth and a tight rental market are sending home sales upward.
KUT News

The Central Texas housing market continues to be a strong one, according to numbers released today by the Austin Board of Realtors.

May 2012 was the 12th straight month of sales increases. It’s also the fourth consecutive month of price increases.

“That has to do with our shrinking inventory,” says Board of Realtors chairman Leonard Guerrero, crediting the shrink to “the jobs that have been created in our state and in our local area, Austin, in particular. And the number of people that are coming into the state to fill those positions.”

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Austin
12:59 pm
Tue June 19, 2012

Video and Pictures: Austin's 2012 Juneteenth Parade

A couple younger participants in today's Juneteenth parade.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Thousands of residents lined Chicon Street this morning to celebrate Juneteenth, when the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves came to be enforced in Texas.

Nathan Robertson was one participant. He’s lived in East Austin all his life. Robertson says it’s important for him to acknowledge the historical importance of the day, and that the parade offers a chance to catch up with old friends.

“We see people we haven’t seen in a while because of work and church and school,” Robertson says. “You know, you get in your routine and don’t see people. But we come out here and we can see people we haven’t seen in a year.”

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Austin
5:01 pm
Tue June 12, 2012

Wal-Mart Employees Honored for Conduct During Padron Shooting

Police chief Art Acevedo lauded Wal-Mart employees Archie Jordy and Lincoln Le Mere today.
Photo by Andy Uhler for KUT News

Today, family members of Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron joined Police Chief Art Acevedo in paying tribute to Wal-Mart employees whose quick reaction likely prevented further bloodshed in the incident that claimed Officer Padron’s life.

Chief Acevedo gave certificates of recognition to several Wal-Mart employees before recognizing Archie Jordy and Lincoln Le Mere specifically for stepping in and helping tackle the shooter. 

The two were presented with glass trophies which included Officer Padron's badge number. Since the shooting, Acevedo has called the actions of the two men the silver lining in a tragic event.

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Austin
2:59 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

Pet Adoption Fee Doesn't Pay for Much at City Shelter

KUT News

The Austin Animal Center is running a promotion throughout June, reducing its adoption fees for all animals to $20. Normally, it runs you $75 to adopt a pet through the city. The center is running the promotion in order to get more people adopting. 

Abigail Smith, Austin’s Chief Animal Services Officer, says even the full $75 doesn’t come close to paying for the care of an animal that gets dropped off.

“It’s hundreds of dollars when you consider the stray holding period, the intake vaccines that we do. This year we’re seeing a particularly bad flea season, so everybody is getting flea and tick medicine," says Smith. "There’s a very high incidence of heartworm dogs that come in here, and that’s extremely expensive to treat. So, $75, which is basically our standard fee, doesn’t even cover hardly any of it.”

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Austin
3:32 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Slideshow: East Austin Community Garden Groundbreaking

Volunteers plant the first crops in the new community garden on Austin's east side.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

East Austin is getting a new community garden. The Sustainable Food Center of Austin broke ground today on Martin Luther King Boulevard, just west of Airport Boulevard. The community center will be equipped with gardens, a tool shed and a teaching pavilion.

Earl Maxwell is the CEO of the St. David’s Foundation, a non-profit partner in the construction of the garden. "It's about getting people outside, and getting their hands dirty and kids knowing that vegetables don't come from hands, they come from gardens," he says. "And so, we're just so happy to be a part of this."

The Sustainable Food Center says plots in the community garden will be available to the public in the fall.

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Austin Energy
11:12 am
Wed May 30, 2012

Council Wraps Up Work on Austin Energy Rates

Austin City Council members gave preliminary approval to a new rate package for Austin Energy customers.
Paulo Martins for KUT News

Yesterday, the Austin City Council unanimously came out in favor of what is called a moderate plan for increasing Austin Energy electric rates – and against a potential discount to customers outside the city limits.  

The proposal would see an overall increase of seven percent, spaced over five years  – an effort to “spread the pain” of rising rates, as council member Bill Spelman put it.

“At this point it feels like it’s a little bit more an art than a science,” council member Laura Morrison said before council voted to adopt the moderate plan over other proposals. “And since we don’t have any one single, definitive reason to go in another direction. There’s so many different things that we’re trying to juggle.”

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Williamson County
11:30 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Howdy Duty!

Photo illustration by Brandi Grissom, Todd Wiseman for the Texas Tribune

Update 11:33 p. m.:

Challenger Jana Duty has unseated incumbent John Bradley, garnering 55% of the vote.

Original Post:

Early voting results are in for Williamson County, where the Republican primary race for District Attorney is arguably the one to watch.

Challenger Jana Duty has 53 percent of the vote compared to incumbent John Bradley’s 47 percent. Less than 700 votes separate the candidates. A little more than 1,500 votes were tallied in early voting.

Duty has made Bradley’s handling of the Michael Morton case a central plank of her campaign.

She told YNN last night: "The policies and procedures have to change because those procedures that was in place 25 years ago in the Michael Morton case, are still in place today,” Duty said. “We have to have an open discovery policy, we have to have fairness."

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Politics
9:49 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Doggett Takes Victory in District 35

Photo illustration by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Longtime Central Texas congressman Lloyd Doggett enjoyed a resounding victory over Democratic primary  challenger Sylvia Romo in newly drawn Congressional District 35.

With 33 percent of precincts reporting, Doggett has 68 percent of the vote. Opponent Romo called him earlier in the evening to concede.

Doggett pointed to overwhelming numbers in Travis and Hays County as key to his victory, running in a new district that winds into downtown San Antonio.

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University of Texas
4:18 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Powers Outage on the 40 Acres: What Would it Take to Fire the UT President?

UT Austin President Bill Powers' job security has been the subject of much speculation.
Photo by Crystal Chavez for KUT News

Is UT Austin President Bill Powers’ job in jeopardy?

Those rumors started circulating last week, following a post from Texas Monthly’s Paul Burka. Powers had recently and publicly clashed with the UT Board of Regents after a proposed tuition hike at the system’s flagship institution was voted down.

Despite denials from those involved, the rumors continue. But what exactly would it take to oust Powers?  

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