Crystal Chavez, KUT News

Morning Edition Producer

Crystal Chavez has been at KUT since January 2007.  She currently produces the Central Texas content for Morning Edition and starts her day in the newsroom at 4:30 a.m.  Crystal is a 2005 graduate of the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Communication.  Her hometown is Corpus Christi, Texas.

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Education
10:03 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Manor High School Evacuated, Bomb Squad On Scene (Updated)

Update: The following announcement is posted on the Manor ISD website:

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News Brief
5:32 am
Thu January 12, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/12/12: Stratfor Chief on Hacking, State Parks Get Financial Boost

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT News

Stratfor Chief Lays Out Hacking Ordeal

Austin-based intelligence analysis firm Stratfor's website is back up and running after hackers, who claimed to be with the group Anonymous, stole thousands of credit card numbers and other personal information belonging to Stratfor customers.

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News Brief
5:55 am
Wed January 11, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/11/12: Commission Taking Up Bags Ban, Recovery Work Resumes in Bastrop

Tonight a City of Austin commission will review the city's proposed single-use bags ban.
Photo by KUT News.

City Commission to Review Proposed Bags Ban

The City of Austin’s Solid Waste Advisory Commission is scheduled to take up a proposed plastic bags ban tonight. The draft ban would ban single-use plastic and paper bags starting in January 2013. And from this June to December businesses would have to charge ten cents a bag.

Tonight’s Solid Waste Advisory Commission meeting starts at six thirty at City Hall. The Austin City Council would still have to vote on the ban before it could take effect.

Recovery Work Resuming in Bastrop

Recovery work will resume in wildfire-damaged Bastrop County. Federal officials yesterday cleared Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative to get back to work clearing trees, picking up debris and putting up electric lines and meters in burned areas.

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News Brief
5:53 am
Tue January 10, 2012

Top Morning Stories 01/10/12: Tx Primary Could be Delayed, Police Meet with Community about Murder

Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

Texas Primaries Could be Delayed Further

The Texas Primary Election is scheduled for April 3rd but the U.S. Supreme Court could delay it. The Court heard arguments Monday in a case that could determine what Texas’ legislative and congressional districts look like for the upcoming primaries.

Legal wrangling over proposed redistricting maps already delayed the state's primaries by a month. As KUT's Matt Largey reported during Morning Edition, Monday’s Supreme Court hearing left open the possibility the primaries could be delayed further.

Police Meet with Neighbors about Central Austin Murder

Austin Police met with residents last night concerned about their safety after the New Year's Day murder of 29-year-old Esme Barrera.

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News Brief
6:16 am
Mon January 9, 2012

Top Morning Stories 12/09/12: Supreme Court Hears TX Redistricting, Texas Drug Trial to Begin

Photo by KUT News.

Supreme Court Hears Texas Redistricting Case Today

Today the U.S. Supreme Court takes up Texas' redistricting maps. Legal teams from Texas are gathered in Washington for oral arguments over which redistricting maps should be used for this year’s primary elections.

At stake are the congressional and legislative boundaries the state of Texas will use for the next decade. And as KERA’s Shelley Kofler reports, the impact on minority voters is at issue.

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Austin
12:54 pm
Thu January 5, 2012

Gov. Perry Cautious with the Media

Texas Governor Rick Perry speaking to reporters the morning after the 2012 Iowa Caucus.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News.

Texas Governor Rick Perry is taking his campaign to New Hampshire and South Carolina, which hold GOP presidential primary elections this month. Perry had members of the press corps scratching their heads after Iowa over the mixed messages from his campaign staff.

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News Brief
5:18 am
Thu December 29, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/29/11: Horns Win Holiday Bowl, Stratfor Offering ID Protection After Breach

Logo courtesy of the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl.

Longhorns Top Cal in the Holiday Bowl

The UT Tower was lit burnt orange this morning. The Texas Longhorns won last night’s Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Texas beat the Cal Golden Bears 21-10. The Horn’s defense forced five turnovers. Quarterback David Ash threw one touchdown and caught a touchdown pass.

The win brings Texas’ overall record this season to 8-5. This was a return to a bowl game for the Horns who weren’t bowl-eligible last season.

Next Up, the Alamo Bowl...

Another Big 12 team plays tonight. The Baylor Bears will take on the University of Washington in the Alamo Bowl. The Bears finished up the regular season 9-3. The Washington Huskies finished 7-5.

Baylor’s going into the game with this year’s Heisman Trophy winner- quarterback Robert Griffin III. The Alamo Bowl starts at 8 p.m. in San Antonio.

Stratfor Providing Free ID Protection Services Following Security Breach

The Austin-based intelligence company Statfor is providing one year of identity protection services for free to its members whose personal information may have been compromised.

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Austin
5:45 am
Wed December 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/28/11: Holiday Bowl Tonight, Teen Leaves Inspiring Video Before Passing Away

The Texas Longhorns and California Golden Bears meet in the 2011 Holiday Bowl tonight at San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium.
Photo courtesy of holidaybowl.com

Holiday Bowl Time!

Texas and California clash tonight in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego. The Texas Longhorn football team is looking for its eighth win of the season. A lot’s at stake for the Horns and the California Golden Bears. Both ended the regular season 7-5. And both teams are making a return to a bowl game after not qualifying last season.

Tonight’s game starts at 7:00 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.

Free Pet IDs Ahead of New Year's Eve

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Austin
6:05 am
Tue December 27, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/27/11: Final Stretch in Iowa, AFD Searching for Arson Suspect

Gov. Rick Perry resumes his bus tour of Iowa this week. He's hoping to change the minds of more Hawkeye State Republicans. The Iowa caucuses, the first test of the 2012 GOP presidential nominating process, are a week from today.
Photo by Ben Philpott/KUT News.

The Final Stretch in Iowa

There's just one week to go until the Iowa Republican presidential caucuses. An average of recent polls shows Texas Congressman Ron Paul leading the field of GOP candidates in Iowa. Governor Rick Perry comes in at fourth place. Perry will continue trying to win over voters, as he resumes his bus tour of Iowa this week.

Perry Dominates Most-Read Trib Stories

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Austin
12:53 pm
Mon December 19, 2011

Occupiers Helping Out IDEA Charter Opponents

Photo by KUT News.

The Austin Independent School District says all 30 slots are filled to speak at tonight’s specially-called board meeting. The board is scheduled to vote on a contentious proposal to partner with a charter school operator to run programs at two East Austin schools. Members last week delayed a vote to partner with IDEA Public Schools amid some questions on the contract and pushback from some teachers and parents.

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economy
1:15 pm
Fri December 16, 2011

Holiday Hiring Helps Lower Austin Jobless Rate

Photo by KUT News

New figures show the unemployment rate in Texas dropped slightly from this time last year. Texas’ jobless rate was at 8.1  percent last month, compared to 8.3 percent in November 2010.  The Texas Workforce Commission released the numbers today.

The Austin metro area’s unemployment rate was 6.6 percent last month. It was 7.1 percent in November 2010. Austin lost 600 jobs last month, many in construction and professional and business services.

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News Brief
8:03 am
Fri December 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/16/11: ACC Accreditation on Warning, Perry Compares Himself to Tebow

Austin Community College's Rio Grande campus. ACC's accreditation has been put under a warning status.
Photo by KUT News.

ACC Accreditation on Warning

A warning has been placed on Austin Community College's accreditation status for the next six months. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS) says it issued the public sanction because ACC violated rules for reporting significant changes to its academic programs. ACC is still accredited.

The SACS Board will review ACC's status again in June 2012. At that time it could lift the warning, keep it in place, or as a last resort remove the college's membership. Accreditation is used to determine eligibility for federal financial aid and gives colleges a reputable standing.

ACC responded to the warning in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman:

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News Brief
7:05 am
Thu December 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/15/11: State Water Plan, Final Vote on Austin Parks Smoking Ban

The Texas Water Development Board will vote on the 2012 Water Plan at their meeting today.
Photo by Reshma Kirpalani/KUT News

Vote Today on State Water Plan

We may not be thinking about the drought as much with the rain we've seen in Central Texas. But the prolonged dry spell is still going on, the state’s population is growing, and water supplies are getting tighter. Today the Texas Water Development Board is scheduled to vote on its 2012 State Water Plan. The report calls for billions of dollars in water infrastructure projects and conservation- to meet water needs over the next half century.

The board is limited in power. It does give out loans and grants to local governments, but it would ultimately be up to local officials to carry out the state water plan.

You can read the plan and check out a power point presentation on it here.

Final Vote on Parks Smoking Ban

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News Brief
5:25 am
Wed December 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/14/11: TX Election Maps, Dates Still in Limbo, Floods Possible after Fires

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder (right) with LBJ Presidential Library and Museum director Mark Updegrove on December 13, 2011. Holder vowed to fight the redistricting maps passed by the Texas Legislature.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

Texas Redistricting Maps, Election Dates Still Up in the Air

Lawyers for the Texas Republican and Democratic parties plan to meet with a mediator to figure out primary election dates for next year. It appears candidates will have until Monday to file to run for state legislative and congressional seats. Texas elections are in limbo because the U.S. Supreme court blocked interim maps drawn by a San Antonio court. And maps drawn by the Texas Legislature still haven’t been approved by a Washington court.

It's still unclear if all primary elections will be held in March as regularly scheduled, whether they will be pushed back or whether we could have two split primaries on separate days. Ross Ramsey, with our political reporting partner, The Texas Tribune, has more on those possibilities in his article here.

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News Brief
6:07 am
Tue December 13, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/13/11: AISD Board Delays IDEA Vote, Court Hearing on Texas Elections

People protested Monday outside the AISD's headquarters. They spoke out against a proposal for in-district charter programs at some East Austin schools.
Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

AISD Delays Vote on Partnership with IDEA Charter Operators

The Austin Independent School District’s Board put off a controversial vote last night on whether to partner with a charter school operator from South Texas to run in-district college prep programs in East Austin.

Three board members took issue with the latest version of the proposed contract with IDEA Public Schools. Those three board members have been skeptical about partnering with the charter school. The board delayed a vote until next week. KUT's Nathan Bernier was at last night's meeting and reported dozens of people showed up to protest the IDEA charter proposal.

The board did vote last night to reject all bids from those interested in buying two AISD administrative centers, including district headquarters on West Sixth Street.

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