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.


News Brief
5:20 am
Wed November 23, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/23/11: Thanksgiving Travel

Thanksgiving Travel Up in Texas

If you’re flying out of Austin’s airpor todayt, officials suggest you arrive two hours early. At Austin Bergstrom International Airport things have quieted down. But there were long lines at security checkpoints around 5:30 a.m. And passenger traffic is expected to pick up at noon and again at 3 p.m.

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News Brief
5:49 am
Tue November 22, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/22/11: IDEA Proposal Facing Opposition, Georgetown Suspends Dog Adoptions

One of many signs on display at Monday night's AISD Board meeting. The signs showed opposition to a plan that would create some in-district charter campuses.
Photo by Nathan Bernier/KUT News

AISD Charter IDEA Facing Opposition

Emotions ran high at last night’s Austin Independent School District Board meeting. Some teachers and parents passionately told the board they don’t want the district to partner with a charter school.

AISD is considering collaborating with IDEA Public Schools to run in-district charter programs at some struggling East Austin campuses. The board is scheduled to vote on the plan December 12th. KUT's Nathan Bernier was at last night's meeting; you can read or listen to his report here.

Georgetown Puts Dog Adoptions on Hold

The City of Georgetown Animal Shelter has temporarily suspended the adoption of dogs. The city says a significant number of dogs at the shelter have flu-like symptoms and are being quarantined.

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News Brief
6:44 am
Fri November 18, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/18/11: More Occupy Austin Protesters Arrested, ABIA Expecting Heavy Traffic

Austin Bergstrom International Airport's security checkpoint in November 2010. ABIA officials say passenger traffic should start increasing Friday for the holiday weekend.
Photo by KUT News.

Expect ABIA to be Busy Starting Today

You may want to get to Austin's airport two hours early if you're flying anywhere for Thanksgiving. Austin Bergstrom International Airport officials expect passenger traffic to increase starting today. People may notice some changes at ABIA. The airport now has some body scanners running at security checkpoints.

Also, people picking up passengers can wait in a new free cell phone area until friends and relatives call for pick-up. The airport no longer has free 30-minute parking in its garage.

Occupiers Arrested After Chaining Themselves to Tree

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News Brief
6:10 am
Thu November 17, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/17/11: Texas Executes Child Murderer, Arraignment in Killeen Bomb Plot

Photo by KUT News.

Texas Executes Man who Murdered Child

The State of Texas executed a man last night for killing a child in June 1999. Guadalupe Esparza was put to death for raping and strangling seven year-old Alyssa Maria Vasquez after kidnapping her in San Antonio. Esparza was the 13th Texas inmate put to death this year. No more executions are scheduled until January.

Arraignment Today in Killeen Bomb Plot

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News Brief
5:03 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/16/11: AISD Charter Proposal Mtg, Post Office Could Be Named After Soldier

AISD East Austin Facilities Meeting Tonight

The Austin Independent School District is holding a community meeting tonight to continue discussion on its button Facilities Master Plan. Tonight's meeting will focus on college readiness for schools in East Austin. AISD is considering in-district charter programs for some East Austin campuses.

The meeting is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Martin Middle School. KUT News recently interviewed the CEO of IDEA Public Schools, which is in talks with district officials to run the in-district charter programs. You can listen to that interview here.

Resolution Passed to Name Post Office After Fallen Soldier

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News Brief
5:20 am
Tue November 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/15/11: 1 Yr Since Wildfire Season Started, ACC Breaking Ground in Elgin

Charred car in Bastrop County in September. The Texas wildfire season has lasted one year since November 2010.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Wildfire Season Turns A Year Old

Today marks one year since the first of the many wildfires broke out across Texas. The Texas Forest Service says fires have burned nearly 4 million acres statewide since November 2010. That includes the 34,000 acre Bastrop County Complex fire that started Labor Day weekend. Despite the rain overnight, fire bosses are bracing for another active fire season this winter.

State Assistance to Rebuild Fences Destroyed by Wildfires Extended

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5:35 am
Mon November 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/14/11: Report on UT Faculty Productivity, Bluesman Bramhall Dies

A new report out of UT Austin says the university reaps twice as much as it pays for faculty.
Photo by KUT News.

Report: UT Professors Provide Good Return on Investment

In the midst of an ongoing debate about how efficiently Texas colleges and universities manage taxpayer money, UT Austin has released a report saying its instructors generate nearly twice as much revenue through research funding and educational dollars as they cost the state in salary and benefits.

The report, authored by College of Liberal Arts Associate Dean Marc Musick, analyzes data released earlier this year by the UT System. A UT press release highlights some of the report's key findings:

  • All instructors generated about $658 million in teaching and research-related revenue in 2009-10. They were paid about $318 million in salary and benefits from state funds.
  • On average, tenured and tenure track faculty members earn $129,000 in salary and benefits from state funds, and each generates $280,000 in educational and research funding.
  • Among the one-fifth of instructors who teach the most semester credit hours, 56.8 percent are tenured and tenure track faculty members. Of those who teach the fewest semester credit hours, 77.2 percent are graduate students or non-tenured faculty.

While the report points out some successes, it also says UT can do better. It lists recommendations to push productivity higher, such as providing incentives to reward faculty who apply for grants and reconsidering the teaching mix to make sure there is a good balance of large and small classes.

Bluesman Doyle Bramhall Sr. Passes Away

Singer, songwriter and blues drummer Doyle Bramhall Senior passed away over the weekend at his home in Alpine. Bramhall was a key figure in helping establish Austin’s blues scene in the 70's. He wrote and co-wrote several songs for Stevie Ray Vaughan and released three of his own albums.

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News Brief
6:01 am
Fri November 11, 2011

Top Morning Stories November 11, 2011: It's Veterans Day, Penn State Scandal Reaches San Antonio

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Veterans Day Closures, Parade

City of Austin offices are closed today in observance of Veterans Day. That includes City Hall, public libraries, and all recreation, cultural and senior centers. Garbage, recycling and yard trimmings will be picked up as usual.

The City of Austin and Travis County Veterans Day Parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Ann Richards Congress Avenue Bridge and will make its way up to the Capitol. 

Two Texas Soldiers Killed Overseas

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News Brief
8:09 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Top Morning Stories November 9, 2011: Nationwide EAS Test, 2011 Elections Wrap, Water Main Fixed

Nationwide Test of Emergency Alert System Today

This afternoon at one the Federal Emergency Management Agency will conduct the first nationwide Emergency Alert System (EAS) Test.

You're more than likely familiar with the Emergency Broadcast System and the tests that break into programming on TV and the radio. Today's test will be a nationwide check of the entire system.

Tell friends and family there's no need to be alarmed or to call 911 when they hear it today.

2011 Elections Wrap

Texans approved seven state constitutional amendments in Tuesday’s election. One allows the state to issue bonds to fund low-interest student loans and the governor was given more power to issue pardons. Three state propositions were rejected including one that would have given tax breaks to landowners for water conservation.

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News Brief
5:05 am
Tue November 8, 2011

Top Morning Stories November 8, 2011: Election Day, Police OT for Occupy Austin

Photo by KUT News.

Election Day is Here!

What's on the Ballot?

Today Texans will decide the fate of ten amendments to the state constitution. You can find KUT's reports on all of the state propositions here. Travis County voters are also voting on two bond propositions for transportation and park projects.

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News Brief
6:06 am
Mon November 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories November 7, 2011

The Texas Longhorns moved up in the latest college football polls after a win against Texas Tech over the weekend.
Photo by Teresa Vieira for KUT News.

Horns Move up in College Football Rankings

Texas has moved up in college football rankings after stomping Texas Tech Saturday. The Horns started the weekend unranked, and ended at 21 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll. Texas is ranked 16th in the latest BCS Standings.

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12:18 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Chip Maker AMD Undergoing Big Restructuring

Photo courtesy of Advanced Micro Devices.

Computer chip maker Advanced Micro Devices announced major changes in its product management, to keep up with the way people are using technology. The Sunnyvale, California-headquartered company is cutting 1,400 jobs nationwide, including 320 jobs in Austin.

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News Brief
5:12 am
Fri November 4, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/4/11: Sentencing in Investment Fraud Case, AMD Cutting Jobs

Photo by KUT News.

Sentencing Set in High Profile Investment Scheme Case

The Associated Press reports sentencing is set for today for the former CEO of an Austin-based investment firm that used former NFL stars to defraud hundreds of investors. People lost more than $50 million in investments they thought were legitimate.

Kurt Branham Barton, founder of Triton Financial, was convicted on 39 counts, including wire fraud and money laundering. The AP reports the charges could carry up to life in prison:

Prosecutors said Barton wanted to hang out with NFL players and used money that investors thought was for real estate deals and short-term business loans to pay for a luxury box at University of Texas football games, a $150,000 car and family trips on private jets. None of the athletes, including some who lost millions, was accused of wrongdoing.


AMD Cutting Global Workforce by About 10 Percent

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1:35 pm
Thu November 3, 2011

Report: 32,000 School Jobs Eliminated By State Budget Cuts

State lawmakers trimmed about $5 billion from education spending in the last legislative session, which led to the elimination of 32,000 school jobs, according to a report.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

Texas public school districts have an estimated 32,000 fewer employees than they may have had if the state hadn’t cut more than $5 billion in public education spending during the legislative session. That includes almost 12,000 fewer teachers.

The numbers are from this report released by an Austin-based school finance consulting firm. Moak, Casey & Associates recently surveyed school districts across the state. 60 participated.

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News Brief
5:49 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/3/11: Early Voting, Bike Trail Vote & Freeze Warning

Friday, November 4th is the last day of early voting for the November 8th elections.
KUT News

Time is Running Out to Cast an Early Ballot

Tomorrow is the last day of early voting for the November 8th elections. Texans are voting on ten state constitutional amendments. KUT has been reporting on each of these propositions; you can check those stories out here.

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