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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News Brief
6:06 am
Wed August 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 24, 2011

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People downstream of the Colorado River are asked to stay away from the water following the release of possibly untreated wastewater into the River, near the airport.

South Austin Wastewater Treatment Plant Back Online

The Austin Water Utility said the plant was back in service at ten last night. The plant had been shut down earlier Tuesday because of a chlorine leak. The utility said about 300,000 gallons of what was believed to be untreated wastewater entered the Colorado River.

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News Brief
5:34 am
Fri August 12, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 12, 2011

Governor Rick Perry will be in South Carolina and New Hampshire this weekend. The Perry campaign says he will seek the Republican presidential nomination.
Photo by KUT News.

Perry: A Presidential Profile

Now that Rick Perry's spokesman has made clear that the Texas Governor will be running for president, people across the country want to know more about him. During Morning Edition today, KUT News took a look back at how Perry got to where he is today, and how he may campaign for president:

“He’s got a tremendous personality. He likes people. He can talk to an individual one on one,” political operative Reggie Basher said. “He gives a good speech. He carries a strong message, and that’s all proven by his success that he’s had,  never losing an election.”

You can read or listen to KUT's Ben Philpott's entire profile on Gov. Perry here. Perry will be in South Carolina and New Hampshire tomorrow. Ben will bring us the latest coverage over the weekend on KUT 90.5 and KUT.org.

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News Brief
5:34 am
Thu August 11, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 11, 2011

Over 13,000 arrest warrants are being recalled for misdemeanors in Travis County. A justice of the peace says there were inequities in how the warrants were being handled.
Logo courtesy of Travis County

Travis Justice of the Peace Recalling Misdemeanor Warrants

Travis County Justice of the Peace Precinct Two Judge Glenn Bass is recalling about 13,500 outstanding arrest warrants for class C misdemeanors. Judge Bass said he is recalling the warrants because he learned that the constable for Precinct Two was offering payment plans to some defendants, but not all of them. Bass also said the constable's office has slowed down working on the warrants because it has already met its budget for this year.

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News Brief
7:57 am
Tue August 9, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 9, 2011

Photo by KUT News

Sentencing Phase of Warren Jeffs Trial Winding Down

The Associated Press reports closing arguments are expected today in the sentencing phase of the trial against polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs.  He was convicted of sexually assaulting two underage girls. The AP reports prosecutors rested their case Monday after showing photos of Jeffs kissing the young girls with whom he had so-called "spiritual marriages".

They also played what an FBI agent said was a 2004 audio recording of Jeffs preparing five young girls to have sex with him. The 55-year-old Jeffs has led the FLDS since 2002. He is considered God’s spokesman on Earth among more than 10,000 church followers.

Jeffs faces up to life in prison.

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Austin
10:23 am
Wed August 3, 2011

What Were You Doing On 9/11?

9/11 World Trade Center Flag repaired as a tribute with other retired American flags
Photo by Nicholas Vinacco http://www.flickr.com/photos/nvinacco/

What were you doing the day of the 9/11 terror attacks? Did you call in to KUT 90.5? If so we want to hear from you again for a special report on the anniversary of 9/11.  Send us an email at news@kut.org.

We will be recording Austinites' memories of that day Sunday, August 7 at noon here at the KUT studios on the University of Texas campus. 

Here are some of the comments we've received on Facebook:

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News Brief
5:48 am
Wed August 3, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 3, 2011

Extreme temperatures continue in Central Texas. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory until Sunday night.
Photo courtesy of The National Weather Service

Local Heat Advisory Extended

The National Weather Service has extended a heat advisory for Central Texas until Sunday night. Afternoon and early evening temperatures will reach or exceed 105 degrees each day.

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Austin
12:30 pm
Tue August 2, 2011

Austin Airport Traffic: Up, Up and Away!

Passenger traffic was up 4 percent at Austin Bergstrom International Airport June 2011 compared to the same month last year.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News.

More passengers are flying into and out of Austin. Passenger traffic was up 4 percent this June compared to last June.

 "We had 9 million passengers in 2008 and then we went back down to 8.2 and then 8.7 the last two years. So right now we’re looking to be closer to 9 million,” Austin Bergstrom International Airport spokesman Jason Zielinski said. 

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News Brief
5:59 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 2, 2011

Daytime high temperatures will continue to rocket past the 100-degree mark for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin’s Heat Wave is Breaking Records 

Camp Mabry reached a record 107 degrees yesterday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from noon today until 10:00 pm Friday night. The Weather Service says too much physical activity outdoors could cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

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Developing
5:31 am
Mon August 1, 2011

Debt Deal Reached, Vote Expected Soon

President Barack Obama at a fundraiser in Austin in May. The president announced Sunday night that Congressional leaders have reached a deal on the long debated debt ceiling issue.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News.

President Barack Obama and congressional leaders reached an agreement Sunday night on the debt ceiling. Both chambers could vote on the deal Monday. 

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Texas
12:14 pm
Fri July 29, 2011

AG Ends Investigation into Willingham Arson Case

The Texas Attorney General has issued a ruling that essentially prohibits the Texas Forensic Science Commission from further investigating the Cameron Todd Willingham case.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott today has ended further investigation into the high-profile Cameron Todd Willingham arson case. Willingham was executed in 2004 for a 1991 fire that killed his three daughters. Fire experts have since discredited much of the evidence used to prove Willingham set the fire. 

Austin
5:56 am
Thu July 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 28, 2011

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Don May Bring Austin Rain

Central Texas may soon get some relief from the hot and dry weather. Tropical Storm Don is expected to make landfall late tomorrow night or early Saturday near Corpus Christi. Austin has a 30 percent chance for rain tomorrow, but YNN Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons says our best chance is on Saturday.

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Environment
1:48 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Mayor and City Council Members Propose Plastic Bag Ban

Photo by KUT News

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley  announced a proposal this morning to phase out free plastic bags at retail stores.

They criticized plastic bags for littering rivers and streams, harming wildlife and too often ending up in landfills.  Consumers who reuse the bags to carry their lunches to picking up after their pets disagree.  At a news conference this morning, Mayor Leffingwell acknowledged it’s going to take some convincing to get people to change their habits.

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News Brief
5:52 am
Thu July 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 21, 2011

Texas executed Mark Stroman late Wednesday night. Stroman went on a racially motivated shooting spree shortly after 9/11, leaving two people dead and one injured.
Photo courtesy of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

Texas Executes Man Convicted in Post 9/11 Shootings

The State of Texas executed a man last night who went on a shooting spree after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.  Mark Stroman was put to death for killing Dallas-area convenience store clerk Vasudev Patel. Stroman also killed Waqar Hasan and injured Rais Bhuiyan. Stroman said he was targeting people who he thought were of Middle Eastern descent. 

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News Brief
5:45 am
Wed July 20, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 20, 2011

Rais Bhuiyan (center) was shot by a stranger shortly after 9/11. He's trying to stop the shooter's execution scheduled for Wednesday.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

Hate Crime Victim Trying to Delay Attacker's Execution

A federal court in Austin this morning will hear the case of a man who is trying to stop the execution of his attacker. Rais Bhuiyan survived a hate crime shooting after 9/11. He’s suing the State of Texas to halt the execution of Mark Stroman, who also shot and killed two people in the Dallas area in October 2001.

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News Brief
6:13 am
Tue July 19, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 19, 2011

Texas border patrol agents are on alert for suspected illegal immigrants who may become overheated by the sun.
Photo by KUT News.

Border Patrol Helping Heat Distressed Immigrants

Border Patrol agents in South Texas have stepped up efforts to search for and rescue suspected illegal immigrants who may be under heat stress.  The Associated Press reports the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector has launched "Operation Heat Wave." 

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News Brief
6:14 am
Fri July 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 15, 2011

Meghan Saucedo, 21, and her sister Maggie Saucedo, 11, took a break to pose for a portrait during Potter Mania at the South Lamar Alamo Drafthouse Thursday afternoon. Some fans arrived as early as 4:30 am to watch the entire film series.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News.

Fans Enjoy Final Harry Potter Film in Austin

Folks lined up outside of the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar for the midnight premier of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.

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News Brief
5:46 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 14, 2011

The UT Board of Regents is scheduled to vote Thursday on an item to increase the 2012 distribution from the Permanent University Fund.
Photo by KUT News.

UT Regents To Consider Increasing Endowment Payout

The University of Texas System Board of Regents is scheduled to vote  today on whether to increase the payout rate for the state's largest higher education endowment, the Permanent University Fund.  It's a 13.65 percent increase for a total of more than $575 million.  The UT System and the Texas A&M System share the funds, but UT gets more. 

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News Brief
6:51 am
Wed July 13, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 13, 2011

Austin Police Monitor Margo Frasier, who started on the job in January, has released a report reviewing APD.
Photo courtesy of CityofAustin.org.

Police Monitor's Report Gives APD a Mixed Review

Austin’s police monitor has released an annual report for 2010. The report says complaints filed against APD officers are down. 753 complaints were filed last year compared to 913 in 2009. 

The report says data on traffic stops show police don’t pull people over based on race and ethnicity, but what happens after the stop is different.  African-Americans are almost three times as likely as whites to be searched, while Hispanics are over twice as likely as whites to be searched. Despite the disparity, APD did not find minorities had contraband at a rate significantly higher than whites.

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News Brief
5:59 am
Tue July 12, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 12, 2011

George Korbel is a Travis County-hired consultant assisting with redistricting.
Photo by KUT News.

State Office Building Closed

UPDATE 9:00 am: DPS officials have reopened the William P. Clements building, after issuing an all clear.

EARLIER:  The William P. Clements building at 15th and Lavaca is closed as well as the parking lot.  The Texas Department of Public Safety says this is a precautionary measure. DPS says a suspect has been detained and his vehicle searched.  Officials did not release other details.  DPS did say an 'all clear' is expected soon.

Public Weighing in on Travis County Redistricting

Travis County is holding a public hearing this morning on its redistricting plans. The county is redrawing boundary lines for county commissioners, justices of the peace, constables and election precincts, following last year's US Census. County officials are trying to get more public input before Commissioners adopt the final maps next month. 

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Devil's Cove
12:15 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

New Rules for Devil's Cove

The City of Jonestown has issued some new boating rules for Devil's Cove on Lake Travis.
Photo courtesy of tonguetyed at Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonguetyed/14791382/

New rules are in place for the popular Devil’s Cove on Lake Travis.

The City of Jonestown, which has jurisdiction over that part of the Lake, issued the new ordinance. Party barges (those big party boats with an upper deck) are no longer allowed in the cove, unless they have special permission.  Also, no more than five boats can tie up together now.  

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