Emilie Mutert

Senior Editor, Online News

Emilie was born and raised in Kansas City and educated primarily in California. She earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Southern California and a philosophy degree from Pomona College. She's worked as a reporter, contributor, web producer and editor for various outlets including but not limited to Marketplace, KCUR, San Francisco Weekly, The San Francisco Examiner, The Los Angeles Times and KQED. 

She also has worked as a teacher in an alternative middle & high school and as a writer for a website that promotes Las Vegas events. She likes documentaries, comedy, the forest, nice dogs, and bodies of water. 

Ways to Connect

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The City of Austin announced Thursday that Mayor Steve Adler declared a Local State of Disaster to remain in effect until taken up at an upcoming special called City Council meeting.

At the meeting, to take place this Sunday, the ratification and extension of the declaration has been added to the agenda. Adler stated the declaration in a memo to council:

Travis County Commissioner's Court

In a very narrow race, unofficial results indicate Travis County voters came out against the proposed $287 million bond to fund a new civil and family courthouse in downtown Austin. The numbers were a hair's breadth apart: 50.73 percent against and 49.27 percent in favor. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The results of Austin’s annual SXSW economic impact study are in, and according to the findings, the festival once again served as an economic boon to the city.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

Hole in the Wall, a 41-year-old bar and music venue on The Drag that’s provided a stage for local performers for decades, may be the next venue in Austin to shut its doors forever, according to the Hole in the Wall’s manager Will Tanner.

Courtesy of Mike Kriegshauser

Few state flags are more recognizable than the Lone Star State's, but the City of Austin's municipal flag is much less of a standout. It's even hard to find a picture of the Austin city flag online.

So, when Austin graphic artist Michael Kriegshauser saw a TED Talk on municipal flag design, he made it his priority to create a new flag concept for Texas’ capital city.

This afternoon, two of Austin's City Council committees decided to drop the issue of fluoridated water.

The Public Utilities Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee met this afternoon to discuss the possibility of discontinuing the practice of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, an issue raised in a resolution by District 6 Councilmember Don Zimmerman. 

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves announced Thursday morning that the school would move a statue of Confederate leader Jefferson Davis from the Main Mall to the Briscoe Center for American History. University students and community members had been protesting the Davis statue's location on the Main Mall of the campus because of his prominent historical status as President of the Confederacy.

Earlier this summer Fenves convened a committee of students and faculty to determine options for relocating or removing the Davis statue, along with several other statues of Confederate figures. The report released by the committee outlined five options, most of which advocated relocating the statues.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton avoided contempt of court charges this week by issuing a death certificate to the surviving member of a same-sex married couple that was amended to refer to the men as one another’s husbands, rather than significant others. The AG also said the state would acknowledge same-sex marriages on death certificates and list both same-sex parents on birth certificates going forward.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

In an emergency motion filed Monday in federal court in San Antonio, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton asked that the court rescind the order requiring the AG to appear in court Wednesday to face possible contempt charges for disobeying a ban on state same-sex marriage bans in a case involving a death certificate for a same-sex couple.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera for the Texas Tribune

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton may face contempt of court charges next week for his part in denying a married same-sex couple a death certificate acknowledging their marriage.

A lawsuit was filed against Paxton today in federal court in San Antonio by James Stone-Hoskins, on behalf of himself and his partner, John Allen Stone-Hoskins, who died in January. James wants the death certificate to note that he and John Allen were married — the couple wed in New Mexico in 2014 — but as of now it lists him as a 'significant other.'

Charlotte Carpenter/KUT

Last week marked the surprise return of one of the preeminent voices of 1980s newspaper comics: Berkeley Breathed, the artist and author behind Bloom County — and University of Texas alum. The strip, for which Breathed was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1987, was put to rest — supposedly for good — in 1989. Breathed followed that strip with others, featuring some of the same characters, like Outland in the ‘90s and Opus in the mid-aughts.

John Jordan/Texas Tribune

Brenham, Texas-based Blue Bell Creameries is getting a cash infusion that the company says will "ensure" the return of its ice cream to the market. The creamery announced Texas businessman Sid Bass has become a partner, though it did not say how much he’s investing.

“We are pleased Sid Bass has made a significant investment with our company. The additional capital will ensure the successful return of our ice cream to the market and our loyal customers,” said Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and President, in a press statement posted on bluebell.com.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Adelaide, the capital city of the state of South Australia, was designated in 1983 as one of Austin's sister cities. That's why, 32 years ago this Saturday, Adelaide officials gifted a $50,000 opal to Austin — a gift that the Australian city now wants back.

Adelaide newspaper The Advertiser reported back in May that the opal, which was worth $10,000 at the time, was “donated” to Austin as a result of an Adelaidian feud. Papers from the area report “mysterious” circumstances surrounding the gift. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

After the Supreme Court decision Friday legalizing same-sex marriage in all 50 states, some county clerks around the U.S. began issuing licenses right away, including Travis County in Texas. Other counties held out, though, citing a need for updated forms that incorporated the new rule.

Those forms had been distributed by Monday, so more counties opened up marriage licenses to both same- and different-sex couples Monday morning. This is despite a statement from Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that called the Supreme Court's decision "lawless" and said that Texas county clerks could opt-out of issuing licenses to same-sex couples if it violates the clerk's religious beliefs. They'd still face lawsuits if they did so, he said, but the state would provide pro bono representation in those cases.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Rev. Richard Bates, a retired Methodist minister, began performing marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples today on the fifth floor of the Travis County Courthouse, including Ted Burton and Darin Upchurch. 

First, they had to get their marriage license at the Travis County Clerk's Office. They wore tan linen jackets and brightly colored checkered shirts to the clerk's office. It was an emotional moment.

DEA

Since May 29, the number of patients hospitalized with bad reactions to "K2," the catch-all term used to refer to synthetic marijuana-like substances, has spiked dramatically. Austin-Travis County EMS reports that they've responded to 156 K2 calls since then. Yesterday, more than 12 patients were treated for K2 symptoms at University Medical Center Brackenridge. ATCEMS only responded to one call Tuesday night, which may indicate a waning surge.

Texas lawmakers passed a bill during the most recent session that has updated language sufficient to outlaw the substance, which is essentially plant matter — dried herbs, dried leaves — sprayed with unknown chemical compounds. The bill was signed by Gov. Abbott, but the law doesn't kick in until September 1, and right now hospitals are having to deal with a dramatic influx of bad K2 reactions. 

Texas Tribune

Update Tuesday, June 9: More K2 cases were called in Monday night, bringing the total for this past week and a half to 147 calls.

Update Monday, June 8, 12 p.m. ATCEMS reports that K2-related emergency calls continued to come in frequently over this weekend.

Original story from Thursday, June 4: Since Friday, Austin/Travis County EMS has responded to 56 incidents involving 64 people who’d taken K2, the synthetic cannabinoid that comes up in the news periodically when there’s a sudden dramatic uptick in emergency calls, like this one.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The City of Austin today released results from its first comprehensive census of the local music industry. The data backs up what many local musicians have been saying lately: It’s tough, and seems to be getting tougher, for musicians to support themselves in the Live Music Capital of the World.

“I think it’s common knowledge that it’s really hard to make money as a musician,” says Don Pitts, who manages the city’s music and entertainment division. “But I think when you see it in this data-only context, at first, it takes the emotion out of it. But then you see the actual numbers, and it brings the emotions back in.”

City of Austin

Austin city officials gathered for a press conference today to respond publicly to news, first reported by the Austin American-Statesman, about a training that city staff attended in March on how to work and interact with women. The training session, called "The Changing Dynamics in Governance: Women Leading in Local Government," apparently attempted to address "techniques" for working with the city's new majority-female city council.

City staffers attended the session, led by Jonathan Allen, now-former City Manager of Lauderdale Lakes, Florida, in which he taught that "if you attempt to use the same communication techniques, management techniques, that you use or attempted to use in a predominantly male environment, you will be making a serious error in your professional development. Because they don't process things in the same way."

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Two years ago today, Cody Wilson received a letter from the State Department asking him to take something off the internet.

In short, the letter asked Wilson to take some design files offline and suggested he may be aiding and abetting enemies of the United States. He complied, agreeing to take down the computer-aided design (CAD) files. Still, being the ex-law student he is, he held out hope for his day in court.

But like most things on the internet, the files in question — Wilson's designs for the world's first 3D-printed readymade pistol — weren't easily deleted. And two years later, Wilson's expanded his enterprise, known as Defense Distributed, creating a gun-manufacturing machine known as the Ghost Gunner — so called because the machine aids in the production of untraceable firearms that don't bear serial numbers. This week, his hope for a day in court got one step closer to reality: He filed a lawsuit against the State Department.

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