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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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.

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.

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.”

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.

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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