Carlos Morales

Intern

Intern for KUT News

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Austin
5:19 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Are Minority Students Being Targeted in UT-Austin’s West Campus?

Students marched to the MLK statue on campus to protest bleach balloon attacks in the West Campus.
KUT News

Racial issues are one again simmering the University of Texas at Austin.

Students marched on the UT campus earlier this week to protest what some are calling racially motivated attacks, where balloons allegedly filled with bleach were dropped from apartment balconies in the West Campus area near UT.

While the perpetrator or perpetrators of the attacks is unknown, and therefore their intentions are unclear, KVUE reports Austin police “have spoken to victims who were involved in four separate and similar incidents involving liquid-filled balloons dropped on people of color.” And the incidents have once again created a focus on racial climate for African-American students on campus.

“I won’t say that it’s easier being on campus, because people still look at you like you don’t belong here,” says Reva Davis, vice president of the Black Student Alliance. “And you can walk into a classroom and you’ll still feel uncomfortable — whether you’re a freshman or senior — being a person of color. It doesn’t get easier, you just find ways to deal with and cope with it.”

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Health
1:45 pm
Mon August 20, 2012

The Best Way for Texans to Fight Mosquitoes

With one confirmed West Nile virus-related death in Travis County, and spraying for mosquitos in Dallas, many Central Texans are wondering what they can do to keep mosquitos away.

Some have turned to some quirky alternatives to make sure mosquitos keep away – including a bracelet makers say acts as a mosquito repellent.

According to one product’s website, these bracelets essentially work by producing an “aura” of plant-based oils that act like a protective shield – something they say mosquitos won’t like at all. But according to Dr. Phil Huang, the medical director for the Travis County Health and Human Services, such bracelets might not be that effective.

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Texas
10:59 am
Fri July 20, 2012

How the Midwest Drought is Affecting Texas Farmers

Texas corn suffered from drought in 2011, but conditions have eased somewhat in 2012.
Robert Burns for Texas AgriLife Extension Service

While Texas has partially recovered from drought conditions thanks to heavy rain, the Midwest is going through one its worst drought years in decades. And conditions may impact some  – but not all  – Texas farmers’ pocketbooks.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the nation is going through the worst agricultural drought since 1988. For corn and soybean growers it’s been especially harmful, since more than three-quarters of those crops are considered to be in a drought area. But that could actually prove to be beneficial for Texas.

“With the Midwest suffering from drought, that’s driving prices up," says Bob Rose, chief meteorologist with the Lower Colorado River Authority. "So that means the market price for the corn, for many of the farmers in Texas and our area, is going to be very good."

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Business
4:43 pm
Fri June 29, 2012

Amazon Sales Tax Charges Texas

Amazon will begin charging sales tax this Sunday.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

In less than 48 hours, online retailer Amazon.com will start charging Texas sales tax on products you buy from its site.

Texas will become only the sixth state to charge sales tax on Amazon purchases. The switch comes after an agreement was made between the Texas Comptroller’s office and the online retailer. In 2010, the comptroller’s office claimed Amazon owed the state $269 million in uncollected sales tax. Under the new agreement, Amazon will create at least 2,500 jobs  in the state and will also bring at least $200 million in capital investment. 

For many brick-and-mortar operations the move will level the playing field. Jason Brewer is with the Retail Industry Leaders Association, a national trade group.

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Austin
3:25 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Contract OK'd for Lady Bird Lake Boardwalk

Conceptual art for the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk.
City of Austin

The Austin City Council approved a $21.7 million construction contract for the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk today.

The project, largely funded via a bond election back in 2010, will close a 1.1-mile gap in the hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake with a boardwalk that's both partially over land and over water.

To help allay costs, which were initially pegged at $17.4 million, the city will reallocate $5.8 million from the 2010 Bond Street Reconstruction Program. The city will also receive a $3 million donation from the Trail Foundation, a trail advocacy group.

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Austin
2:59 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

After Long Wait, City Panel Moves to Sell East 12th Street Properties

View E. 12th Street Properties in a larger map

Two tracts of land on East 12th Street were the focus of a special meeting today by the Urban Renewal Board, a panel whose responsibility is to "eliminate slum and blighting influence" in parts of the city.  The board took possession of the properties years ago in an effort to revitalize the neighborhood. Critics have accused the board and other agencies of taking too long to turn over the properties, and have questioned their role in the face of Eastside gentrification.

The  board voted to sell two tracts of property on East 12th Street two completely different ways. The stretch of land on the 1100 hundred block will be sold to the highest bidder.

The lot on the 1300 hundred block will be opened for a request of proposals. That means the board will take into consideration not only the how much money is being offered for the land, but also what the developer plans on doing with it and how that could affect the neighborhood. The board could take a lower bid if they think the development plan is a better fit for the area.

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Austin
12:21 pm
Mon June 18, 2012

Map: Juneteenth Parade in East Austin

Austin's 16th annual Juneteenth Parade gets underway Tuesday.
KUT News

Tuesday, June 19th marks the 147th anniversary of Juneteenth, marking the abolition of slavery in Texas.

To celebrate the day, when enforcement of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas, a parade will wind its way through east Austin.

It’s the 16th annual parade put on by the volunteer-based Juneteenth Committee. For coordinator Gwendolyn Doyle, the event is more than a simple celebration.

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City Council
5:04 pm
Thu June 7, 2012

City Council Update: A Seaholm Change at Council

Council allowed for office space at the iconic Seaholm building, but stipulated publicly-accessible space.
Filipa Rodrigues

City Council unanimously approved changes to the development agreement governing the renovation of the historic Seaholm Power Plant and its surrounding area.

The revisions come at the request of Seaholm Power LLC, the group overseeing the site’s redevelopment. As Seaholm Power managing partner John Rosato told City Council, the biggest change will allow the plant to build office space at the site.

Under the original 2008 master development agreement, ground-floor office space in the iconic, Art Deco building was prohibited. But developers argued the location and economic changes since 2008 made the space more conducive to retail. Several citizens spoke against the change, arguing the public should have greater access to the unique structure.

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AM Update
7:54 am
Fri May 11, 2012

AM Update: City Elections Tomorrow, Central Texas Weather Rundown, World's Longest Guitar Solo

Who will work here come June? You decide on Saturday.
Photo courtesy KUT News

City Elections Tomorrow

Election Day is tomorrow for the Austin municipal elections. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. Fourteen candidates are running for four seats on the Austin City Council, including mayor.

Perhaps the most closely watched aspect of the election is the challenge to Mayor Lee Leffingwell by former council member Brigid Shea. Shea accused Leffingwell earlier this week of violating campaign finance laws, and throughout the campaign, has maintained that Austin is becoming more unaffordable

That's a common refrain among political challengers – that they will protect the citizenry's collective pocketbook better than the last guy.  But in the case of Shea, currently a community strategist and consultant, the arrival of huge companies like Apple and Formula One cast her position in a different light. 

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City Council Elections
12:01 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Video: The Five Weirdest Austin Election Commercials

Lee Leffingwell is as surprised as you are by some of these clips.
Image courtesy youtube.com/TheLeeTeam2012

With early voting in the Austin city elections finished, and a scant four days left until Election Day, campaign ads are increasingly ubiquitous.

But where’s the fun in what's on the airwaves? Most broadcast spots are feel-good, soft-focus spots that have been focus-grouped within an inch of life. No, it’s in the wilds of the Interwebs the Austin politico finds the most entertaining (if not exactly illuminating) clips.

KUT News has combed the digital wastelands to find the strangest campaign ads for this Saturday’s City Council contest. And since sometimes, the WTF? is hiding in plain sight, we’ve including some broadcast spots in this roundup of the five weirdest videos in the Austin city election:

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AM Update
8:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

AM Update: Border Patrol Overhaul, Radioactive Texas Dump Questioned, Austin Budget Talks Continue

A Texas judge has called for a hearing over a radioactive waste site in West Texas.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/kmart

New Border Patrol Strategy Focuses on Intelligence

The U.S. Border Patrol unveiled a new plan for tightening America’s borders yesterday.

The 2012-2016 Border Patrol Strategic Plan includes tactics and technologies developed over the past few years like unmanned aircraft systems – aka, drones – but also more focus on preventing risk.

The past few years have been a period of unprecedented growth in resources for the Border Patrol. Right now, there are more law enforcement officers on the border – more than 21,000 – than at any time in Border Patrol history.

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AM Update
7:42 am
Mon May 7, 2012

AM Update: Central Texas Flood Watch, Sheriff Race Centers on Immigration, Lege Revisits Medicaid

South-Central Texas can expect storms in the area, beginning Monday night until Tuesday afternoon.
Photo Courtesy of National Weather Service

South-Central Texas Flood Watch

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for South-Central Texas, beginning today and lasting into Tuesday evening.

The flash flood impact should be highest overnight tonight into Tuesday morning. According to the advisory, average rainfall is estimated between one and two inches, with higher totals reaching into three to five inches.

“A flash flood watch is in effect for Monday evening through Tuesday afternoon for the area North and West and I-35 and HWY 90. There is a chance for locally heavy rain and flash flooding Thursday and Friday. Otherwise no hazardous weather is expected at this time.”

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AM Update
8:51 am
Fri May 4, 2012

AM Update: H-E-B Recall, Crash Investigation Clears MetroRail, New Driver's License Requirements

H-E-B has recalled 19 products due to salmonella concerns.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/djwhitebread

H-E-B Recalls Meals

Central Texas-based grocery store H-E-B has announced a “voluntary and precautionary recall” for its Asian Ready-to-Eat meals. According to the grocer:  

The recall involves 19 Ready-to-Eat entrées and meals sold in 40 stores in Texas including one store in Houston. The product was available at the Grab 'N Go section in H-E-B Delis. The product(s) come in a 4 ounce, 8 ounce, 12 ounce, 24 ounce black plastic containers with a clear lid, single serve sizes and to-go containers … Any product sold prior to 5/3/12 is affected and should be returned to any H-E-B store for a full refund.

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AM Update
8:03 am
Wed May 2, 2012

AM Update: Tuition Rising at UT, A&M, Cameras Fail in Train Crash, Help Decide Bond Spending Tonight

University of Texas and Texas A&M are both considering tuition hikes.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Tuition Going Up at UT, Texas A&M

Tuition at schools in the University of Texas and Texas A&M systems could have their tuition raised this week.

The University of Texas System regents will meet today to consider increasing rates (page 37 of agenda) at all nine of its campuses over the next two years. If the recommendations are approved, tuition for in-state residents at UT Austin would increase 2.6 percent annually for two years. Out-of-state tuition would increase 3.6 percent. The raise in tuition would raise an estimated $25 million. Rates at Texas A&M's main campus in College Station would not go up (page 14), but all other A&M campuses would see a ten dollar per credit hour increase for undergraduate classes.

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AM Update
8:19 am
Mon April 30, 2012

AM Update: Early Voting Starts, Education Committee Meets, Toros Win Title

Early voting begins today for four positions on the Austin City Council, including mayor.
KUT News

Early Voting Begins Today

Early voting begins today in the Austin city election. There are a total of 14 candidates running for four different positions, including mayor and three city council seats.

You can find information on the candidates and their views on Austin’s pressing issues at kutnews.org. You can stream interviews with candidates for the Place 5Place 2 and Place 6 seats, and beginning today, interview with Austin’s mayoral candidates. The City of Austin has also put videos for the council candidates including those vying for mayor.

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