Erika Aguilar, KUT News

Reporter

I started working at KUT November 2007. If you're a weekend NPR listener, you may have caught my reports on KUT during "Weekend Edition" or "All Things Considered". I keep tabs on what happens on Saturdays in Austin and other environment, science and development  news.

I came to KUT after working behind scenes in the newsroom at KEYE-TV in Austin. I'm a proud Texas State Bobacat. I love to write, be creative, clicking away on the internet, reading history books, anything outdoors, and I always love a rich conversation. Drop me line if you've got an interesting story to tell.

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Austin
8:54 am
Fri February 17, 2012

Top Morning Stories 2/17/12: Fracking and Groundwater, $90 Million More for F1 Track

An image from the UT Energy Institute's report on fracking.
Image courtesy Chesapeake Energy

UT Study Says Fracking Doesn’t Directly Contaminate Groundwater

A new report by the University of Texas at Austin released this week says there’s no direct link between groundwater contamination and hydraulic fracturing – a controversial method of extracting natural gas and oil from shale formations.

The research was done by UT's Energy Institute. The report’s authors say contamination is often the result of above ground spills or mishandling of wasterwater, but not caused directly by fracking. 

Fracking involves blasting water, mixed with sand and chemicals, underground to fracture rock and improve the flow of natural gas and oil. The practice is used at the North Texas Barnett Shale.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency is also studying the environmental effects fracking may have on groundwater. Its preliminary results differ from the UT study.

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Austin
5:29 pm
Sat January 14, 2012

Honoring MLK With Community Service

Al Lemon (left) and Bruce Johnson volunteer to move furniture at the Austin Groups for the Elderly as part of the annual MLK Day of Service event.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

Some Central Texas volunteers gave up their Saturday morning to clean bathrooms and move furniture at Austin Groups for the Elderly. It was part of today’s MLK Day of Service.

“It’s a great way to help the elderly because they’ve done so much in the past to make it possible for us now," said Gwen Blackburn.

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Austin
9:12 am
Wed January 4, 2012

Top Morning Stories 1/4/12: Perry Comes in Fifth, Paul Moves to New Hampshire

Gov. Rick Perry showing Iowa supporters where his hometown of Paint Creek, Texas is. Now the governor is returning to Texas to reassess his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

Perry Comes Back To Texas For Now

Texas Governor Rick Perry is coming back home. After a disappointing fifth-place finish in yesterday’s Iowa caucus, far behind Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, Perry told supporters that he is giving his bid for the White House a second look.

“With the voters decision tonight in Iowa,” Perry told supporters. “I decided to return to Texas, assess the results of tonight’s Caucus, determine whether there is a path forward for myself in this race.”

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Austin
5:36 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

Some Homeless Start 2012 With New Thermal Underwear

House the Homeless gives away thermal underwear each New Year's Day to homeless people living in shelters and in the streets of Austin.
Photo courtesy of House the Homeless.

Austin’s House the Homeless is hoping to keep the homeless warm with its annual Thermal Underwear Drive. On Monday, the non-profit will hand out free thermal underwear to the homeless. Thermals are easier than blankets for homeless people to carry with them.

Richard Troxell, president of House the Homeless, estimates there are about 4,000 homeless people in the Austin metropolitan area.

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Austin
3:08 pm
Sat December 31, 2011

City Welcomes 2012 at Auditorium Shores Tonight

Performers with Discovery Circus give a sneak-peek at their show planned for the City of Austin's New Year's Eve party at Auditorium Shores tonight.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

Austin styled music, film screenings, hula-hooping performers and, of course, fireworks – that’s what the city is offering tonight.

Mayor Pro-Tem Sheryl Cole revealed details in a Wednesday news conference of the city's Austin' New Year's party to ring in 2012. 

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Austin
1:42 pm
Fri December 30, 2011

Getting Home Safe On NYE

Weather forecasters expect mostly cloudy skies in Austin to begin 2012, with temperatures in the lower to mid 50s at midnight.
Image courtesy flickr.com/pixajen

It's no secret: Downtown Austin on New Year's Eve is like Halloween all over again on Sixth Street. Austin public safety officials are urging New Year's Eve revelers to play it smart Saturday night.

“If you have plans to go out drinking, be safe and be mindful of the alternative methods to get home," warned Assistant Police Chief Patrick Oclketree.

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2012 Presidential Election
4:57 pm
Thu December 29, 2011

Judge Denies Perry's Requests in Virginia Primary Ballot

Gov. Perry's request to add his name or stop the Virginia primary ballots from being printed was denied today by a federal judge. Photo by Ben Philpott/KUT News.

Governor Rick Perry lost a bid to get his named added to the Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot. He needed 10,000  signatures, with at least 400 signatures from the state's 11 congressional districts to qualify.

Governor Perry filed an emergency motion Wednesday in the U.S. District Court in Richmond for an injunction to get his name on the ballot or to stop the state from printing them. He argued the signature requirements were burdensome and unconstitutional.

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Austin
9:08 am
Wed December 21, 2011

Top Morning Stories for Wednesday, December 21th

Photo by Ben Philpott/KUT News

Occupy Austin Protesters Sue the City of Austin

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Austin
6:00 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Austin's Traditional Holiday Events This Weekend

Decorations from the Trail of Lights will be on display at the Long Center's city terrace. The first day of the light show begins Saturday night.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

Austin is getting a good steady soaking this weekend. Light rain showers and patchy drizzle started this morning and have continued this afternoon. Downtown Austin got about half an inch of rain over the last 24 hours. A cold front arrives in Central Texas overnight. We’ll wake up to temperatures in the 50s tomorrow morning with a greater chance for isolated thunderstorms.

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Austin
5:10 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

Occupy Austin Expands To State Capitol

Occupy Austin protesters marched from the State Capitol to the UT-Austin campus and back against bank bailouts and tuition increases.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

Although some larger cities have cleared Occupy protesters out of public spaces, people with Occupy Austin say they are trying to expand. Some Occupiers at a march and rally Saturday told KUT News they are planning on having daily protests at the south steps of the State Capitol.

Occupy Austin continues to take place in the city plaza at City Hall.

Saturday, Occupy Austin demonstrators slowed traffic for a short time, as they marched on Guadalupe Street to protest bank bailouts. The march ended at the State Capitol. Debbie Staat is a nurse who participated.

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Austin
4:59 pm
Sat December 3, 2011

City Wants To Returf Auditorium Shores

After years of delay, the City of Austin wants to finish developing Butler Park and Town Lake Park. A public meeting Saturday gave an update to where the city last left off in this project.
Photo by Erika Aguilar/KUT News.

The wet weather turned Auditorium Shores a muddy pit this weekend, but it was good demonstration of why the city of Austin wants to returf the park. Marty Stump is a landscape architect with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. They held public meeting Saturday on the Town Lake Park Master Plan to finish developing Butler Park and Auditorium Shores.

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police
12:43 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

APD Chief Delays Disciplinary Action Against Officer

Local civil rights activists want Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo to fire Nathan Wagner, an APD officer who shot and killed 20-year old Byron Carter, Jr. May 2011. Carter was a passenger in a car that struck and injured a police officer. The teen driver was shot in the arm but survived.

Chief Acevedo has 180-days from the incident to make a decision. That deadline is Saturday. Acevedo today notified the State Attorney General that he is delaying a disciplinary decision until a criminal investigation into Wagner’s actions is completed.

In a press release, Acevedo said the delay was intended to protect “the ongoing criminal investigation and the integrity of the criminal justice process."

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Austin
4:34 pm
Thu November 17, 2011

Money To Build Boardwalk For Hike and Bike Trail

An artist's rendering of the boardwalk to be constructed on Lady Bird Lake.
Photo courtesy of the Trail Foundation

The planned 1.1 mile boardwalk to be constructed over Lady Bird Lake received a $2.4 million dollar commitment today from the Trail Foundation.

The organization announced it’s almost done raising $3 million needed as part of the construction cost to build the boardwalk in one phase. The City of Austin will spend another $14.4 million in mobility bond money approved by Austin voters last year to build the boardwalk. 

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Environment
11:06 am
Wed November 9, 2011

Jollyville Salamander Could Be Adapting To Drought

The Jollyville Plateau Salamander lives in the plateau it gets its name from, as well as the Brushy Creek areas of the Edwards Plateau in Travis and Williamson County.
Photo courtesy of the City of Austin by Mark Sanders.

A city biologist told the Austin City Council yesterday that the Jollyville Plateau Salamander has the potential to delay construction on the city's Water Treatment Plant Four.

At its work session Tuesday, city staff briefed the Council on what the construction and planning team of WTP4 is doing to lessen environmental impacts caused by the Jollyville transmission main and the four access shaft sites.

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Education
5:30 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

College Bound, But Debt Bound?

Con Mi Madre, a non-profit that encourages Hispanic mothers to seek a college education for their daughters, hosted a college fair at Travis High School in Austin Saturday.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Some Austin parents such as Norma Sanchez worry a college education will be the most costly expense for their families. A college fair Saturday at Travis High School was hosted by Con Mi Madre, a non-profit active in Austin schools that encourages Hispanic mothers to seek a college education for their daughters.

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Austin
5:02 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Dog Park Etiquette Lessons Coming To A Park Near You

The Off-Leash Area Advisory Committee is hosting free dog training and park etiquette lessons at various city parks as a way to educate dog owners.
Photo courtesy of the Off-Leash Area Advisory Committee

Austin area dog trainers are volunteering to help give free training and park etiquette lessons. The first one was held Saturday morning at Zilker Park. It’s an initiative from the new citizen-led Off Leash Area Advisory Committee (OLAAC).

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Arts and Culture
3:45 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

Andy Rooney's Papers In Austin

Transportation
3:46 pm
Fri November 4, 2011

Revived Group Aims To Coordinate Regional Public Transit

A new transportation working group has reconvened to find a way to connect regional mass transit lines in Central Texas that include highway managed lanes and rail lines.
Daniel Reese

As if awaking from a two year hibernation, a sub-committee of the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) held its first meeting this afternoon with a new leader and new members. The Transit Working Group (TWG) was restored in time to prepare for Austin’s soon-to-come vote on an urban rail system.

The working group was first established in 2007 under Austin Mayor Will Wynn. He decided the city needed an urban rail or street car system. But nothing really came out of it. Now, Mayor Lee Leffingwell is leading the TWG.

“The big difference between this group and the one of that before is our focus is going to be regional,” Leffingwell said.

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Texas
5:17 pm
Sat October 22, 2011

Immigration Changes Get Mention at Citizenship Workshop

Photo by KUT News

Austin residents looking to become U. S. citizens got some help Saturday navigating the system. Immigrant Services Network of Austin, a coalition of immigrant service organizations, hosted a free workshop.

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Austin
10:48 am
Sun October 16, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup for October 16

Texas Loses to Oklahoma State

The Longhorns lost to the Cowboys Saturday afternoon in Austin, 38-26. This is the first time Head Coach Mack Brown has lost following the OU game.

QB David Ash took all the snaps. It was the first game that offensive coaches did not rotate quarterbacks throughout of the game. Longhorn running backs DJ Monroe and Malcom Brown carried the running game in the first half. Freshman Malcom Brown  had 135 yards on 19 carriers with two touchdowns.

Texas doesn't have a game this week. They’ll play Kansas Oct. 29.

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