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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Texas Legislature
12:18 pm
Tue February 8, 2011

Gov. Perry: "The State of our State is Strong"

Governor Rick Perry delivered his State of the State address this morning.
Image by Chris Kosho for KUT News

Texas Governor Rick Perry just gave his State of the State speech before a joint session of the Legislature. He was optimistic and praised the comparative strength of Texas’ economy.  And he had a message for those who’ve been painting a doom and gloom picture for Texas because of the state’s multi-billion dollar budget hole, "The core elements of our economy are strong and Texas is still the envy of the nation."

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News Brief
5:33 am
Tue February 8, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 8, 2011

The former GM of the PEC was sentenced to jail time and probation Monday.
Image courtesy Devil's Rancher http://www.flickr.com/photos/cvreeland/

Former PEC Exec Sentenced


The former general manager of the Pedernales Electric Cooperative has been sentenced to 300 days in jail.  A state district judge Monday also sentenced Bennie Fuelberg to five years of probation.  He's required to do community service and to pay $126,000 in restitution.  


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Health
12:13 pm
Mon February 7, 2011

Comptroller: Obesity May Cost Texas Businesses $32.5 Billion a Year by 2030

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released a new report Monday detailing how much obesity could cost Texas businesses in about 20 years.
Report logo courtesy of the Texas Comptroller's Office.

Obesity in Texas could cost businesses in the state more than $30 billion a year by the year 2030, if obesity rates and health care costs continue to increase as expected.  That’s according to a report released Monday morning by Texas Comptroller Susan Combs.

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News Brief
6:05 am
Mon February 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 7, 2011

Jury selection starts today for a former TYC official accused of sexually abusing inmates in 2004 and 2005.
Photo by KUT News

Former TYC Administrator Headed for Trial 

Jury selection is expected to start today in Lubbock for a former Texas Youth Commission official accused of sexually molesting teenage inmates.  John Paul Hernandez was the principal at the West Texas State School in Pyote.  The Associated Press reports Hernandez pleaded not guilty.  His trial comes six years after the investigation began into sex abuse at the TYC.

Texas Education Budget Cuts Back in the Spotlight Today

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snow day
12:15 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

Snow Closures, Delays for February 4, 2011

Travis Heights residents woke up to a blanket of snow this morning Photo courtesy of KUT Listener Mary Parmer

Updated at 12:15 pm: People are out in the streets playing in the snow this morning! A winter storm warning is in effect until noon today.  Austin police say there is ice on some roads and that some cars are slipping and sliding.  APD says there are more accidents out there this morning than usual.  Police have closed eastbound SH 71 in the 19500 block, due to icy conditions.  APD have also barricaded the intersection of East 8th St. and San Jacinto Blvd., because of icy condition at that hilly intesection

Most streets in Austin are clogged with compacted snow and ice, making for very slick conditions. In the past 12 hours, Austin Fire Department has responded to about 100 collisions.

AFD reports 50 alarm activations, many of which were related to broken water pipes.  Learn how to shut off the water to your home by watching this video.

There are some flight delays and cancellations at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as well.  Check with ABIA or your carrier for up-to-date information.  Capital Metro busses are operating on a Sunday service level.  No MetroRail or UT shuttles service today.

Read our list of closures here:

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Energy
1:01 pm
Thu February 3, 2011

City Says it Can't Give Neighborhoods Advance Notice During Those Rotating Energy Cutoffs

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT.

People are being urged to continue conserving energy, as temperatures remain below freezing.  ERCOT, the state's grid operator, says the state's electric emergency situation has ended.  Energy generation reserves are in better shape today than they were yesterday.  Still, folks have a lot of questions about Wednesday's rolling power outages.  Specifically, some KUT listeners thought Austin Energy did a bad job of communicating what was going on Wednesday. 

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Energy
6:18 am
Thu February 3, 2011

City: No Power Outages Expected Today, But Just in Case Find Austin Energy's Map Here

Photo courtesy of Miranda Martin/via Flickr

**Update @ 7: 20 a.m.: ERCOT says the state's grid condition is improving but it's still urging people to conserve energy, especially before 9 a.m.  From the press release: "Although immediate concerns for the possibility of rotating outages this morning are reduced, ERCOT will be monitoring the grid closely because additional unexpected major losses of generation could force operators to begin emergency procedures to avoid an uncontrolled statewide blackout."


Earlier:

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News Brief
5:30 am
Thu February 3, 2011

School Delays February 3, 2011

Photo by KUT News.

*updated 7:25 a.m. for weather conditions*

The Austin Independent School District will hold classes as usual at their regular start times .  UT Austin and St. Edwards University will be operating as normal.  All Austin Community College campuses will also be open today and on a regular schedule.  That includes the Rio Grande Campus. ..  .  .  .  .

A wind chill advisory is in effect until 11 a.m.  And a winter weather advisory is in effect from tonight at 6 until Friday at noon.  The cold weather has prompted some Central Texas schools to delay classes Thursday.

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News Brief
5:35 am
Wed February 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 2, 2011

Folks on the UT campus this morning are bundled up for the cold weather.
Photo by KUT News.

Statewide Power "Emergency" Means Rolling Power Outages in Austin

You may be wondering why your lights are out this morning.  Austin Energy is doing rotating cut offs.  The state’s power grid operator ERCOT is requiring this.  The state’s power grid couldn’t keep up with demand early this morning because some power plants went offline.  Austin Energy says the lights are expected to be out for about 45 minutes at a time in certain neighborhoods.

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News Brief
5:36 am
Tue February 1, 2011

Top Morning Stories February 1, 2011

Thousands of people were left without power early this morning.
Logo courtesy of Austin Energy.

Austin Power Outages

It's a windy, rainy morning as a cold front moves through Central Texas.  A wind advisory is in effect until 6 p.m.  Highs will only reach the mid 30s today.  Over 2,000 Austin Energy customers were without power as of about 8 a.m.  That's according to Austin Energy's Storm Map.  The outages are spread out across the city.  Crews are working to restore power.

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News Brief
5:24 am
Mon January 31, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 31, 2011

Texas school district leaders are meeting in Austin today to call on lawmakers to make education funding a priority.
Photo by KUT News

Texas Schools Calling Out to State Lawmakers

School districts across the state are planning to lay off teachers and considering school closures.  Districts say they're left with few options as the state proposes to cut back billions of dollars in public education spending.  Today superintendents and school board members from across the state are meeting at Austin's Convention Center

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News Brief
6:06 am
Fri January 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 28, 2011

The City of Austin has approved an agreement with TXDOT for some transportation improvements at the Y in Oak Hill.
Photo courtesy of the City of Austin.

City Green Lights Mobility Projects

Remember that transportation bond voters approved back in November? The Austin City Council has approved the first two projects from the $90 million dollar 2010 Mobility Bond.   

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Texas Legislature
5:57 am
Thu January 27, 2011

Texas Senate Approves Voter ID

Voter ID legislation has passed the Texas Senate.
Photo by KUT News.

Senate Approves Voter ID


The Texas Senate passed controversial voter ID legislation last night. The Senate speedily passed the bill that Democrats had blocked in previous sessions.   As expected, the vote came down along party lines. 

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News Brief
8:05 am
Wed January 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories for January 26, 2011

Senate Committee OKs Voter ID

For the third consecutive session, Texas GOP members are trying to get a Voter ID bill through the Senate. A Committee of the Whole Tuesday voted in favor of the bill, which would require voters to show photo ID, such as a driver’s license, military ID, personal ID card, or passport, before voting.

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News Brief
6:26 am
Tue January 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 25, 2011

The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Senate Releases Its Draft Budget Proposal

First the House, now the Senate has released its projected cuts. The Texas Senate released its first draft state budget proposal yesterday, following the House's first draft budget released last week.  It's $2.3 billion bigger than the House proposal at $158.7 billion. 

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News Brief
6:15 am
Mon January 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 24, 2011

The Texas Senate is scheduled to debate voter ID legislation today.
Photo by KUT News.

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News Brief
5:26 am
Fri January 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 21, 2011

Fire expert Craig Beyler testifies before the Texas Forensic Science Commission at a meeting earlier this month. Today the Commission is reviewing testimony from Beyler and other fire experts on the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

Willingham Probe Continues

The Texas Forensic Science Commission will once again take up the Cameron Todd Willingham arson case today.  The panel will consider testimony it heard earlier this month from fire experts who differed on whether the original investigation was sound.  Some experts say investigators relied on flawed science and that the fire should not have been ruled arson. 

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News Brief
5:09 am
Thu January 20, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 20, 2011

The Texas Senate has voted to keep its 2/3 rule in place.
Photo by KUT.

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News Brief
5:36 am
Wed January 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 19, 2011

A draft state budget released Tuesday would make deep cuts to almost every area of state spending.
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

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News Brief
5:24 am
Tue January 18, 2011

Top Morning Stories January 18, 2011

Governor Rick Perry will be sworn-in to a third full term in office Tuesday.
Photo by KUT News

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