Bobby Blanchard

Intern for KUT News

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Education
5:21 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

UT Votes Against Fall Break

The general faculty voted against a fall break proposal Monday afternoon.
KUT News

At a special meeting Monday afternoon, the general faculty of the University of Texas at Austin voted "no" on a proposal that would have given students a "fall break" of two more days off in October.

The proposal was fueled by student support, including from UT's Student Government and UT's Graduate Student Assembly. Diane Bailey, chair of UT's Academic Calendar Committee, said the proposal would have started the fall semester two days earlier to give students two days off in the middle of the semester. 

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Transportation
11:56 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Texas Business Signals Concern Over Air Traffic Tower Closures

Georgetown and San Marcos are losing their air traffic control towers, and some are concerned this will impact the private aviation industry.
courtesy city of San Marcos

With Georgetown and San Marcos losing their air traffic control towers due to sequestration-related budget cuts, one private aviation business owner is concerned the impact could be harmful to Austin and Central Texas.

Last week, the FAA announced 149 air traffic control towers across the country would be closed down. This does not mean entire airport closures. But Jay Carpenter, secretary of the Texas Aviation Association, told KUT News last week that the closures just make the airports less safe. 

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Austin
6:13 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Mighty Texas Dog Walk Celebrates 15th Anniversary This Weekend

The Mighty Texas Dog Walk is happening this weekend, where dog owners will try and break world recorders.
Texas Hearing and Service Dogs

On Saturday, pups, canines and pooches will swarm Auditorium Shores and Riverside Drive in the 15th annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk.

Dog owners will gather this weekend at Auditorium Shores in order to try and catch some world records, including "Most Dogs Eating the Same Treat” and “Most Dogs Wearing the Same Bandana”. There will also be dog food samples, a "dog psychic" and advice from veterinarians.

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Health
1:04 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Tuberculosis Rates Falling in Travis County, Texas and Nation

Scanning electron microscope image of mycobacterium tuberculosis, responsible for tuberculosis.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/sanofi-pasteur/

This Sunday is World T-B Day, a day to help raise awareness about the health and economic affects of tuberculosis.

The rate of tuberculosis cases in Texas is going down by an average of 4 percent annually. In Travis County, the number of cases has dropped steadily over the past few years after a recent rise in cases.  There were 37 cases in 2012, 52 cases in 2011 and 67 in 2010.

Travis County Clinic Manager Rosalinda Castaneda says tuberculosis is treatable, as long as the proper medication is taken.

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Sports
10:11 am
Fri March 22, 2013

March Madness Comes to Austin

The Frank Erwin Center is hosting games from the second and third round of the NCAA tournament this weekend.
flickr.com/photos/cavalierhorn

The UT Men's Basketball team may have lost their last game of the season Wednesday following a season resulting in a NCAA shutout, but that does not mean Austin residents have to miss out on March Madness fun.

UT's Frank Erwin Center is hosting second and third-round games of the NCAA tournament Friday and Sunday. The University of Miami is playing the University of the Pacific Friday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. Following the end of that game, the University of Illinois will play the University of Colorado. 

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Austin City Council
6:20 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Council Delays Vote on Project Duration Ordinance (Update)

At a press conference on Wednesday, Save Our Springs Alliance director Bill Bunch said repealing expirations could harm Austin.
KUT News

Update: The Austin City Council decided to delay their vote Thursday night, citing concerns that they did not have enough information.

City staff will return next week with a sampling of how many properties repealing the Project Duration Ordinance would affect. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the only council member against the delay last night.

Original Story (March 20, 7:22 p.m.): Permits for building projects may lose their expiration dates, depending on a vote at Thursday’s City Council Meeting.

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Texas
4:57 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

50th Anniversary of Court Appointed Legal Council Celebrated at Capitol

Gideon v. Wainwright determined courts have to supply legal counsel in criminal cases when requested.
flickr.com/safari_vacation

The Texas Capitol celebrated the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright today, the Supreme Court case that determined courts have to supply legal counsel in criminal cases when requested.

Bruce Jacob, a professor at the Stetson University College of Law, presented the history at the Capitol Monday. Jacob was the Assistant Attorney General of Florida during the Gideon v. Wainwright case. He argued against Gideon, on behalf of Wainwright.

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2013 Legislative Sesssion
3:40 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Lawsuit Lenders Facing Regulation

Doug Miller addresses members of the press at the Captiol on Monday. Miller has filed a bill that would regulate the lawsuit lending industry.
Bobby Blanchard for KUT News

Supporters say a new bill in the Texas Legislature would help protect consumers and regulate a quiet but burgeoning industry.

House Bill 1595 from Rep. Doug Miller (R-New Braunfels) would regulate the growing industry of lawsuit lending. Lawsuit lending companies provide loans to plaintiffs who need money while waiting on a settlement. But many of these loans come with high interest rates, some as high as 150 percent.

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Transportation
3:05 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Map: St. Patty's Day Road Closure

Watch out – part of 4th Street will be closed this weekend for a St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
flickr.com/atmtx

Hopefully you're wearing green tomorrow – and not planning to drive along 4th Street.

All day on Sunday, West Fourth Street from Colorado to Lavaca is fully closed to car traffic for a St. Patrick's Day Festival. Fado's Irish Pub is hosting the festival, and attendees will enjoy music, food, some liquor and a lot of beer.

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Alamo Drafthouse
10:55 am
Fri March 15, 2013

What’s Up With the Alamo Drafthouse's New Menu?

The Alamo Drafthouse has changed their menu — and not everyone is happy about it.
flickr.com/chrisgallevo

The Alamo Drafthouse has a new menu. And critics are not abiding by the theater’s “no talking” rule

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Transportation
7:55 am
Fri March 15, 2013

MetroRail Sees Record Usage During SXSW 2013

MetroRail ridership for South by Southwest 2013 has topped ridership for last year's festival.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Capital Metro is reporting more record high ridership numbers from this year's South by Southwest Festival.

Capital Metro says boardings were up from last year by almost 7,000 on MetroRail for the first several days of SXSW. Capital Metro even had to operate an additional train after hours to carry more than 100 passengers still waiting on the platform. The trains on Saturday are starting at 10 a.m. – a few hours earlier than usual.

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Politics
2:35 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Equality Texas Lobbies Lawmakers at Capitol

Rep. Mary Gonzalez speaks to LGBTQ advocates at Equality Texas' lobby day on Monday.
Bobby Blanchard KUT News

Members and supports of Equality Texas, a lobbying group that advocates for LGBTQ rights in Texas, are spending their Monday lobbying at the state Capitol.

More than 20 anti-discrimination and pro-LGBTQ bills have been filed in the 83rd Legislative Session, and more than 500 advocates spent their Monday having “face-to-face” conversations with lawmakers about these bills and the rights they would guarantee.

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Politics
3:05 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

Poll: More Texans Now Support Gay Marriage Than Oppose It

According to a new survey, more Texans support gay marriage than oppose it.
flickr.com/sigmaration

New data from Equality Texas, a lobbying organization that advocates on behalf of LGBTQ issues, shows there are now more Texans who support gay marriage than oppose it.

According to the new numbers, 47.9 percent of Texas voters polled support gay marriage and 47.5 percent are opposed to it. The support is up from a prior Equality Texas survey from 2010 that showed 42.7 percent of Texans supported gay marriage and 52.7 percent opposed it.

Chuck Smith, the executive director of Equality Texas, said this is the first survey that, to his knowledge, has found more Texans in support of gay marriage than against it.

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SXSW
1:40 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

A Stress & Scam-Free SXSW: Tips

Parking, towing, dropped signals and lost friends sully any SXSW.
flickr.com/redux

Parking woes, scammers, thievery and lost friends are all issues that can ruin a South by Southwest experience. The Austin Police Department, AAA Texas and Better Business Bureau of Central Texas are all offering tips on how to best avoid those pitfalls.

APD Commander Bill Manno says anytime there is a big event, parking can be a challenge. He said parking close to the festival has been labeled "event-parking" only—violators will be towed. He also said the Guadalupe neighborhood, which is the area between I-35 and the State Cemetery, will be closed to public parking this year.

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Austin City Council
7:09 am
Fri March 8, 2013

National Instruments Gets $1.7 Million to Expand (Update)

National Instruments

Update: The Austin City Council voted 7-0 Thursday night to give National Instruments almost $1.7 million in incentives. In exchange, the company will expand and create at least 1,000 jobs . 

National Instruments representatives spoke at the council meeting Thursday night, outlining the benefits the city would see. But some local citizens were not convinced, claiming it is not fair to give large companies incentives but to not offer them to local citizens. They also claimed the money could be used elsewhere, something Mayor Lee Leffingwell contested:

"The fact is, if we didn't approve this agreement we couldn't spend that money somewhere else because it wouldn't be there," Leffingwell said. "This money comes from that agreement."

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