Emily Mathis

St. John's Lodge #1 A.Y.M.

A more than 200-year old piece of history is on display today at the LBJ Presidential Library. George Washington’s presidential Bible, which was famously used in his inauguration on April 30, 1789, will be on display for one day only.

Jorge Corona for KUT News

Over 100 students, faculty, staff community supporters gathered at the University of Texas campus this afternoon to protest a so-called “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” game that was originally planned for today.

The event, proposed by the UT chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas, called for students to track down and return volunteers wearing shirts reading “illegal immigrant” in exchange for a gift card.

The group called off the event earlier this week in the wake of widespread condemnation. But people gathered on campus today to protest the motivation behind the game.

Emily Mathis for KUT News

The sound of masking tape being stretched and torn, cardboard boxes being folded, and students laughing and chattering filled Gregory Plaza on Friday morning, as more than a hundred students gathered to build the first cardboard box castle at the University of Texas.

The box building comes as a part of America Recycles Day, and the project is quickly becoming a national fad. In universities across the country, students gather to build a temporary structure made entirely of cardboard boxes and held together with masking tape.

Matthew Alvarez for KUT News

new study reported by the military news outlet Stars and Stripes ranks Houston as the number one city in the country for job-seeking veterans. Dallas and Austin rank second and fifth among major metropolitan cities.

The rankings, put together by the USAA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, are the sunnier side of an issue affecting many veterans: finding employment after service ends. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Veterans Day Parade:

Travis County and the City of Austin are holding the annual Veterans Day Parade on Monday to honor service men and women.

The Grand Marshal of this year’s commemoration and parade is Austinite Richard Arvine Overton, who, at age 107, is the oldest living World War II veteran in the United States.

Photo by KUT News

Tomorrow is Election Day, and in addition to the much-publicized voter I.D. law, a weather forecast of thunderstorms tomorrow and recent flooding events could hurt voter turnout. Some voters have also expressed concern about the need to sign an affidavit if the name on their photo I.D. does not exactly match the name on their voter registration.

Some worry that the affidavit is one more hoop to jump through in order to get to the vote itself. Travis County Clerk, Dana Debeauvoir, told KUT News the voter I.D. law and affidavits may throw off some voters at the polls, which requires voters to initial next to their names as proof of identification.


Updated Friday, November 1 at 7:37am: Early voting ends today for the Nov. 5 election.

There are 19 early voting locations in Travis County and several mobile locations.

What's On the Ballot:

Photo by KUT News

It’s festival season, y’all – and with autumn weather cooling the city, it’s the perfect time to get outside and enjoy a good book, film, or concert.

There are a number of exciting events this weekend, including the Texas Book Festival, the Austin Film Festival, a Halloween Children's Concert by the Austin Symphony Orchestra, the Run for the Water 5K and 10-mile race, and the 5th Annual Pittie Pride parade and festival ("pittie" is apparently short for pitbull dogs).

While this means that this weekend will be a great opportunity to pack up the family and head out for some quality fun, it also means that thousands of people will be pouring into the city. You can expect ample road closures in and around the Capitol and Congress Avenue area.

Jorge Corona for KUT News

Proposed changes to Auditorium Shores – and specifically, changes to the area available to dogs and their owners – have people talking.

As part of a $3.5 million renovation, the city’s proposed moving the off-leash dog area closer to the Lady Bird Lake shoreline – and away from joggers and cyclists using the trail. And while the change would shrink the current off-leash area, it would also restrict dogs entirely from the largest portion of Auditorium Shores – the so-called “Event Lawn.” (See a map of the proposed changes in the slideshow above.)

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: The final Sunday of ACL's second weekend has been canceled due to weather.

For more, including information on refunds see: Heavy Rains Soak Austin, Central Texas; ACL Festival Cancels Final Day  

Update (Oct. 11): Traffic could be a bigger problem in the Austin area for weekend two of the Austin City Limits Music Festival. Road closures around Zilker Park and Republic Square Park will be in place just like last weekend (see below). But the highways may also be packed.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The government shutdown has halted the federal investigation into the West Fertilizer Plant explosion. The explosion in April killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others.

“Some of the brightest scientists in the world are home today rather than doing their work to protect, and give us information so that we can have the right rules and regulations to protect our environment,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, said during a press conference yesterday. “The monitoring and enforcement is not being done as it should be done.” Cardin chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.

The ranks of furloughed workers includes most employees on the Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial accidents such as the West Fertilizer Plant explosion.

KUT News

It’s week two of the government shutdown. And while thousands of government workers have been furloughed, members of congress continue to collect their pay.

Some congress members recognize the bad optics of the situation. As reported by the Washington Post, more than a hundred congressmen are refusing their salaries, or donating their salaries to charity, for the duration of the shutdown. Rep. Pete Gallego (D-Texas) has even filed a bill, the Shutdown Member of Congress Pay Act of 2013, that would suspend members' salary during the shutdown. 


Although the Affordable Care Act is now the law of the land, the fight is far from over. Yesterday's launch of insurance marketplace websites saw some hiccups, including long wait times as people jammed onto the sites to sign up for coverage.

Now, the state says, there's another problem: for some families, using the marketplace sites could lead to a delay in children’s healthcare coverage.


Update: The federal shutdown has happened and it's affecting some Central Texans.

All three presidential libraries in the state are closed – including the LBJ Presidential Library in Austin. The San Antonio Missions and Big Bend National Park are also closed.

At Fort Hood, some civilian workers are now on furlough and many services on the post are either shut down or scaled back – including the commissary. Right now, the medical center at Fort Hood will be open at least through the rest of this week.

NASA employees – including those at the Johnson Space Center are also being affected.

KUT News

Is a Pike Place-style permanent farmers market a perfect fit for downtown Austin? The Austin Downtown Alliance held a meeting this morning exploring the possibility.

David O’Neill with the Project for Public Spaces spoke about the concept earlier today. He tells KUT News that permanent farmers markets are cropping up all over the country.

Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released preliminary costs for health insurance in the marketplaces opened under the Affordable Care Act.

The marketplaces are slated to open Oct. 1. These numbers are expected to change in the coming months after the marketplaces open, and before the Affordable Care Act goes into effect on Jan. 1.


Where will you go this Museum Day?

Sunday, September 22, the Austin Museum Partnership has coordinated a day of free museum admission for Austinites. More than forty Austin-area museums will be participating, many with extended hours and special events. Highlights include:


The Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas has been ranked third in the country for graduation rates among minorities, according to Diverse Issues in Higher Education. In 2012, 41 percent of the school’s graduates, or 441 students, were minorities.

Efforts by the Equal Opportunity in Engineering program at UT contributed to the gain. Program director Enrique Dominguez cites the organization’s close involvement in the academic progress of minority students. 

Texas Book Festival

The Texas Book Festival has revealed its 2013 lineup. Headliners include three writers who currently sit on the New York Times best seller list: Reza Aslan (Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth), Mark Leibovich (This Town), and Scott Anderson (Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East).

Other big names include:

  • Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson – Unflinching Courage: Pioneering Women Who Shaped Texas
  • Lawrence Wright – Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
  • R.L. Stine – A Midsummer Night's Scream
Roy Varney for KUT News

When the Longhorns prepare for their game against Ole Miss this Saturday, they’ll do so without Manny Diaz. Defensive coordinator Diaz was fired Sunday after the Longhorns suffered a 40-21 defeat against unranked Brigham Young University this weekend.

"Our performance on defense last night was unacceptable, and we need to change that," Longhorns head coach Mack Brown said in a statement on Sunday. The loss stung particularly given Brown’s preseason confidence in the Horns this season.