Brandon Mulder

Intern for KUT News

Business
2:53 pm
Wed January 9, 2013

Dell Loses Senior Executive

The 2011 Dell World conference, during Dave Johnson's tenure at the company.
flickr.com/dellphotos

Until yesterday, Dave Johnson was a part of computer company Dell’s strategy to turn the once-dominant company around. But Dell declared yesterday that Johnson is ditching the tech industry altogether to take a senior position with an investment company.

In 2009 Johnson jumped ship from IBM to Dell as senior vice president for corporate strategy. The company’s intention was to catapult from personal computers into the tech service market, alongside giants like IBM and Hewlett-Packard. 

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Weather
4:36 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Flash Floods, Hail, and Strong Winds Possible Tomorrow

Austin may see the most rain in a half a year beginning tonight and through Wednesday.
National Weather Service

A powerful storm system is headed into Austin, projected to bring the area its heaviest rainfall in six months. A low-level pressure system rolling in from California is expected to combine with moisture generated from the Gulf of Mexico. That means Austin can expecting three to five inches of rain, with isolated spots possibly receiving even more.

Scattered showers are expected to begin overnight, building in intensity Tuesday afternoon and lasting through Wednesday afternoon. And damaging winds, hail and flash flooding are all a possibility.

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Weather
3:39 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

Texas Insurers Tally Their Losses in the 'War on Hail'

Hail that fell in Grand Prairie over the summer proved everything's bigger in Texas.
flickr.com/yumievriwan

Insurance companies doing business in Texas have counted their losses after reviewing the state’s  catastrophic weather events last year.

According to the Insurance Services Office, a catastrophic event is a weather or man-made event that causes at least $25 million or more in insured property losses and affects a significant number of people. Texas had seven catastrophic events in 2012, and it cost insurance companies some $2.3 billion in losses.

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Gun Laws
8:50 am
Thu December 20, 2012

Where Texas Gun Laws Stand Now

flickr.com/thomashawk

In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting, state governments across the nation are re-examaning their gun laws.

No license is required for purchasing and owning a firearm there is no licensing requirement. All that is required is a state-issued ID that says you are at least 18 years to purchase a rifle, or at least 21 years to purchase a handgun. 

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Lottery
4:57 pm
Wed November 28, 2012

What Would You Do With $550 Million in Powerball Winnings?

A standard Powerball ticket.
Brandon Mulder for KUT News

As of Wednesday afternoon, the interstate Powerball lottery has reached a total of $550 million – the second largest lotto jackpot in history. This amount has caught the eyes (and wallets) of many.

First-time players and regulars alike are dreaming of what they would do with the winnings if they draw the lucky numbers. KUT News spoke with one Powerball player, Abbie Garcia, who had an easy attitude: “When you win the lottery it leaks through your fingers anyway, so I wouldn’t want to be too caught up in trying to hold onto it.”

Many players have practical hopes of quitting their daytime jobs, paying off debts, sending their kids to college, vacationing in Europe, etc. But when it comes to pipe dreams, a half-billion dollar jackpot permits endless fantasizing.

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UT Longhorn Football
4:48 pm
Mon November 26, 2012

Longhorns Limping Into Final Game

Mack Brown's Nov. 26 press conference.

The University of Texas Longhorns have what could be their toughest game of the year Saturday against seventh-ranked Kansas State. But the team is still dealing with a deflating loss to Texas Christian University on Thanksgiving night.

Hopes of a Big 12 title this season have now been reduced to playing the spoiler against Kansas State. If the Wildcats win Saturday, the team will claim it's first Big 12 title since 2003.

Each of the Longhorns' losses this season has been a blow from another Big 12 member (Oklahoma, West Virginia, TCU).

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Alamo Drafthouse
2:13 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

New Alamo Drafthouse Rule: Arrive On Time, Or Miss the Movie

Talk about a first world problem: Meme makers are having fun with the Drafthouse's new policy.
Brandon Mulder

The Alamo Drafthouse has taken yet another step to craft their image as a place for cinephiles, where politeness and respect for movie purists is of upmost importance. Their “Don’t Talk/Don’t Text” ethos has adopted another degree of enforced manners -- punctuality. 

On its blog, the Drafthouse writes:

“Quite simply, no one will be seated once the film has begun. If you show up after the feature starts, you have missed it. The plane has left the terminal.”

House lights dim, theater doors shut. And this includes pre-show trailers. Caught behind some congestion on the way to the Drafthouse to catch a flick? Might as well turn around. In a traffic-riddled town, public feedback on this major decision has been mixed. 

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Formula 1
6:20 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Here's All the Permits Vendors and Promoters Need for F1 Weekend - Deadline Today!

Brandon Mulder for KUT News

Update (Nov. 5, 6:20 a.m): If you are planning to sell t-shirts, handmade necklaces or anything else around town during Formula 1, you need to have a permit. And, as a friendly reminder, the deadline to apply for one is today.

Original Story (Oct. 17)As Austin’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix rounds the corner, city officials are reminding business owners and entrepreneurs that permit applications are fast approaching.

At a press event today, city officials emphasized public safety as their main goal, saying F1 will be an event unlike any the region has ever experienced. With that in mind, they spoke to the importance of permitting, running though several upcoming deadlines. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Temporary Use Permit [PDF]: If you want to sell merchandise over events like downtown’s Fan Fest, vendors will need a Temporary Use permit. This allows sales in private commercial zones; selling within public right of ways, like sidewalks, is not allowed. The application deadline is Nov. 5.
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Farming
4:26 pm
Wed October 31, 2012

Exporting Texas Tastes to China

http://flic.kr/p/aUAH9z

This year’s timely rains are bringing Texas a fruitful recovery of its pecan industry. So much so, Texas is expecting a pecan yield two times bigger than last year’s. Agricultural officials expect Texas to produce 65 million pounds of nuts!

Under usual economic circumstances, a greater supply would mean a lower cost. But this will not be the case this holiday season. The nut indigenous to Texas land and pivotal to Thanksgiving Day feasts has a new market—China. In fact, last year the U.S. exported roughly 80 million pounds of pecans to China. The increase of international interest in the pecan is expected to keep demand high, and thus retail prices up for the American consumer.

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Texas A&M
4:40 pm
Mon October 29, 2012

Texas A&M Aims to Measure Student Success and Cost Effiency

Sen. Kel Seliger (R-Amarillo), Chairman of Senate Higher Education Committee
Brandon Mulder

Today Texas A&M officials announced EmpowerU, a program aimed at monitoring the system’s efficiency at graduating its students.

Essentially, EmpowerU is A&M’s new public analytical website. It aggregates statistics of all student progress, and presents its data online. The idea is that individual institutions will set their own goals for improvement. EmpowerU’s website will publicly hold them accountable to quality of education and cost efficiency, benchmarking peer institutions against each other.

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Bond Election
2:52 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Legal Battle Brewing Over Medical School Ballot Language?

A legal battle is brewing over the ballot language for Central Health's Prop 1.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Early voting began in Travis County today, including voting on Central Health's Prop 1. Designed to bring a medical school and a new teaching hospital to Austin, if approved Prop 1 would raise the Central Health district's tax rate from 7.98 cents to 12.9 cents per $100 of accessed property value. (The average Travis County homeowner would pay an additional $107 a year.)

The measure is facing opposition from the Travis County Taxpayer's Union. Today, the group filed a lawsuit claiming Central Health improperly augmented the language printed on the ballot. The group argues that Central Health added language that encourages voters to vote for the measure.

The original proposition is recreated below, with the district's addendum in bold:

Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $0.129 per $100 valuation in Central Health, also known as the Travis County Healthcare District, for the 2013 tax year, a rate that exceeds the district's rollback tax rate.  The proposed ad valorem tax rate exceeds the ad valorem tax rate most recently adopted by the district by $0.05 per $100 valuation; funds will be used for improved healthcare in Travis County, including support for a new medical school consistent with the mission of Central Health, a site for a new teaching hospital, trauma services, specialty medicine such as cancer care, community-wide health clinics, training for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals, primary care, behavioral and mental healthcare, prevention and wellness programs, and/or to obtain federal matching funds for healthcare services.

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music
5:42 pm
Wed October 17, 2012

Austin Music Memorial Names Six New Inductees

The Long Center is home to the Austin Music Memorial. Six new inductees were named today.
flickr.com/photos/guvnah

Today the Austin Music Memorial accepts six new members into its ranks.

The Austin Music Memorial posthumously recognizes Austinites who have contributed to the city's musical and cultural community. After accepting nominations throughout the summer, the City of Austin Music Division has decided on its new inductees.

The Music Division describes what’s remarkable about each of the six new inductees below:

Donald Ray Walser (1934-2006)
Vocalist, guitarist and songwriter Don Walser performed at the Grand Ole Opry in 1999 and 2001, received a lifetime "Heritage" award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000, and played with his “Pure Texas Band” at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.  Heserved for 39 years as a member of the Texas National Guard, retiring in 1994.  Walser was affectionately known as “The Pavarotti of the Plains” for his unique voice and memorable yodeling ability.

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Environment
12:58 pm
Mon October 1, 2012

Apartments, Offices Required to Offer Recycling Starting Today

Rules requiring recycling at large apartment complexes and businesses take effect today.
KUT News

New recycling rules, aiming to divert 90 percent of waste from Austin landfills by 2040, go into effect today.

The new ordinance requires more office buildings and apartments to provide recycling opportunities to employees and tenants. Apartments with 75 or more units, and commercial buildings 100,000 square feet and larger, now have to offer recycling in addition to waste disposal.

Each year, this ordinance will tighten to include smaller properties. By October 2013 it will encompass apartments with 50 or more units, and commercial properties of 75,000 square feet and larger. By 2014, it will include apartments with 26 or more units and properties 50,000 square feet and up.

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Austin
1:25 pm
Mon September 17, 2012

Waller Creek Design Finalists Go on Display

The four finalists in the Waller Creek design competition are on display around the city for the next few weeks.
Brandon Mulder for KUT News

At an excavation rate of 15 feet per day, the Waller Creek Tunnel Project is well underway beneath downtown Austin. 

Meanwhile, the Waller Creek Conservancy has reached the third and final stage of the Waller Creek design competition that will guide renovations on the above ground portion of the project from Waterloo Park to Lady Bird Lake, when the tunnel is finished in 2014.

The competition has been narrowed down to four finalists who have submitted design concepts and graphics to a jury appointed by the conservancy.

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Sports
3:49 pm
Mon September 10, 2012

From Special Forces to Special Teams: Iraq Vet Newest Longhorn

Iraq veteran Nate Boyer had his Texas Longhorns debut this weekend.
Boyer photo mackbrown-texasfootball.com; stadium photo KUT News

Green Beret Staff Sgt. Nate Boyer fulfilled a long-time dream during last Saturday’s Longhorn football game against New Mexico. Boyer joined the team as a walk-on after his tour with the Special Forces in Iraq. Now he represents the Longhorns’ special teams as a deep snapper.

Boyer is a unique figure on the team. Being ten or so years older than his teammates, he brings a certain sense of maturity and imbues a breath of enthusiasm into the new season.

Having gone to a high school without a football team, Boyer said at today's Mack Brown press conference that his only advantage was his work ethic and his ‘no-regrets’ mentality. “I just felt confident that going through what I’d gone through, I could make the team and help out in any way and at least be a part of it,” Boyer said. 

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