Ian Crawford, KUT News

News Editor

Ian Crawford joined KUT as News Editor in 2008, after spending over four years as a reporter/anchor at KLBJ Radio in Austin.  He began his broadcasting career while still in high school in Southern Oregon.  During high school and college at the University of Oregon, he worked at times as a reporter, news anchor, sports play-by-play reporter, music host and commercial producer before moving to Texas in 2003.

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Amber Alert
6:30 pm
Tue October 11, 2011

Amber Alert Canceled for Alvin Boy

Police in Alvin have canceled an Amber Alert for Gerardo Olvera, Jr.
Image Courtesy Alvin Police Dept.

UPDATE 10:20 p.m.: Authorities in Alvin have canceled the Amber Alert for Gerardo Olvera, Jr. Police say the boy has been located, and that he is safe.

Police in Alvin have issued an Amber Alert for Gerardo Olvera, Jr.

Gerardo is six years old Hispanic boy. He's three feet tall, weighs 45 pounds, has black hair and brown eyes. He was last seen Monday afternoon.

2012 Presidential Election
1:49 pm
Mon October 10, 2011

Perry Jobs Plan May Get Partial Reveal Friday

A spokesman says MSNBC that Gov. Rick Perry will discuss a "major pillar" of his jobs plan this Friday morning in Pittsburgh.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News.

The Houston Chronicle is reporting that Gov. Rick Perry may be unveiling what's being called a "major pillar" of his jobs plan this Friday in Pittsburgh.

Ray Sullivan, the Perry campaign's communications director told MSNBC's Chuck Todd this morning that the speech wouldn't be the full reveal, but he said the speech would be a "significant policy rollout." He said it concern how job creation, energy independence and "how to reduce our dependence on hostile countries supplying energy and oil to our country."

Texas
9:22 am
Sun October 9, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup for October 9

Good news: It's raining. Bad news: It may be too much rain for extremely dry ground. A Flash Flood Watch remain in effect over Central Texas until 6:00 tonight.
Image courtesy National Weather Service

The broken heat records, the endless months of dry weather are gone...at least for today.

Flash Flood Watch for Central Texas

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Sports
1:09 pm
Thu October 6, 2011

Big 12 Conference Invites TCU

Texas Christian University has been invited to join the Big 12 Conference.
Image courtesy glenharper http://www.flickr.com/photos/glennharper

And the college football conference shuffle continues.

The Big 12 college athletic conference would like Texas Christian University to join them. Presidents and chancellors of the conference's nine remaining member schools formally invited TCU to join this morning. If the school accepts the invitation, they would fill the gap left by the departure of Texas A&M from the Big 12 next summer.

The Horned Frogs currently play in the Mountain West athletic conference. A year ago, the school decided they would leave that conference for the Big East. But in a release on the TCU's athletic website, Chancellor Victor Boschini, Jr. said that joining the Big 12 would rekindle old in-state rivalries with Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas. He says he looks forward to more conversations with the conference before accepting the invitation.

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weather
6:22 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Central Texas

The weather outside could be a little frightful tonight, as a line of thunderstorms passes through Central Texas this evening. Most of the storms should clear out by midnight.
Photo by Emily Donahue for KUT News.

Dark clouds hover Austin this evening...and they apparently aren't kidding.

The National Weather Service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Central Texas this evening. A warning for Northwest Travis County until 6:30 p.m. Other warnings are expected through the evening as the line of storms moves eastward through the region.

wildfires
3:33 pm
Tue September 27, 2011

Bastrop Homeowners Sue Bluebonnet Electric Co-Op

Photo by Linnea Nasman

The first suit has been filed against Bluebonnet Electric Co-op over the Bastrop County Complex wildfire.  The Texas Forest Service has isolated two of the fire's origin points to trees that knocked Bluebonnet power lines into dry brush.

Attorney Bill Rossick is representing three homeowners who lost their houses in the wildfire. He claims that Co-op management knew the danger of downed power lines in these conditions as early as their annual meeting in May.

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sunday morning roundup
9:11 am
Sun September 25, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup

High winds and higher temperatures Sunday have fire watchers looking at conditions similar to Labor Day weekend. That's when several wildfires, including the massive Bastrop County Complex fire, started.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

Good morning and happy Sunday!  Looking for relief from the heat may be the most popular activity in Central Texas today. Fall officially began early Friday morning, but today's weather will be a continuation of the summertime heat.

Fire Danger High Today

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Wildfire
6:31 pm
Sat September 24, 2011

Hays Co. wildfire threatens subdivision

A smoke plume from a wildfire north of San Marcos was visible from I-35 late Saturday afternoon.
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

UPDATE: 7:55 p.m.:  Authorities on the wildfire burning north of San Marcos are optimistic that rising humidity and dropping temperatures overnight will halt the fire's progress. The fire is about 50 percent contained, but air crews and firefighers will remain on the scene overnight to make sure the blaze doesn't spread. Sunday's forecast is for temperatures over 100 degrees again, with southwesterly winds between 10 and 20 mph.

UPDATE 6:35 p.m.:  The Hays County Sheriff's Department issued this update on the wildfire on Post Road:

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Politics
6:18 pm
Sat September 24, 2011

Cain Causes Perry Pain in Florida

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks to Michigan GOP faithful Saturday. Perry finished a distant second in what observers say was a pivotal straw poll in Florida.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News.

The results are in from a Florida straw poll held today, and Rick Perry wasn't the winner.

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Politics
12:39 pm
Sat September 24, 2011

Budget Debate Could Impact Bastrop

Bastrop County wildfire victims have been making applications to FEMA for disaster relief. But the government's emergency aid program could run out of money sometime this coming week.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath

A growing impasse on Capitol Hill could have ramifications for victims of the Bastrop County wildfires.

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CITY COUNCIL
12:40 pm
Thu September 22, 2011

Austin City Elections Staying Put...For Now

Mayor Lee Leffingwell was one of three Austin City Council members to oppose a resolution not to move the date of Austin city elections.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

The Austin City Council gave initial approval this morning to keeping city council elections in May. Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Members Mike Martinez and Chris Riley cast the dissenting votes.

Council members who supported the measure, including Bill Spellman and Laura Morrison, argued for keeping city elections in May rather than November would to prevent city issues from being overwhelmed by state ballot measures.  They also said that holding city elections in November ran the risk of disenfranchising certain voters by extending the terms of current city council members without a vote of the people.

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WILDFIRE
2:43 am
Mon September 5, 2011

Steiner Ranch Evacuations Expected to Last Till Noon

Evacuees check in with Red Cross volunteers at a shelter set up at Bastrop Middle School. This was a familiar scene for people from Bastrop County and parts of Travis County, ordered out of their homes ahead of fast-moving wildfires Sunday.
Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News

Austin city officials issued a statement early this morning, updating evacuation conditions around Steiner Ranch.

Travis County evacuees, including those from Steiner Ranch, can receive the latest evacuation information by calling (512) 974-6199.

Residents who have evacuated their homes in the Steiner Ranch area will not be allowed to return until notified. Officials estimate this will not occur until at least noon on Monday, Sept. 5.

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wildfire
12:44 am
Mon September 5, 2011

Evacuation Information for Bastrop, Steiner Ranch Fires

Bastrop Middle School became shelter from the firestorm for people living in the way of a massive wildfire that burned at least 14,000 acres of brush, wildlands and rural subdivisions. As of late Sunday night, there was no containment of the fire at all.
Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News

Several shelters have opened up throughout Central Texas for people forced to evacuate their homes becuase of the wildfires in Bastrop County and near Steiner Ranch, west of Austin.

The fire is burning between Smithville and the City of Bastrop,  in and around Tahitian Village, The Colony, Colavista, Pine Forest and Circle D subdivisions, K-C Estates, La Riata, Pine Valley Estates and Pine Loop subdivisions.

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Breaking
6:30 pm
Sun September 4, 2011

Bastrop Fire Forces Hundreds to Evacuate

Smoke can be seen for miles as fire sweeps through Bastrop County. Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

12:00 a.m. UPDATE: More from KUT's Matt Largey at Bastrop Middle School:

"The folks sitting here, looking around, they look like they're kind of in shock. Obviously this is a difficult situation for them. They look exactly as you'd expect somebody to look like, who's just had to flee their home because of a wildfire."

Bastrop Middle School is one of several shelters set up for Bastrop County residents who've been forced to evacuate.

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Electric Power
12:15 pm
Sun August 28, 2011

ERCOT Makes Push for Conservation

ERCOT set a weekend record for peak-hour use Saturday and expects to break the all-time record Monday or Tuesday.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Yesterday's record 110 degrees at Camp Mabry and the prospect of an equally hot day today has the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) calling for more conservation today and into the new week.

"ERCOT broke a new record yesterday for peak weekend usage and it's likely that we'll hit a new all-time peak demand record on Monday or Tuesday," according to a prepared statement issued this afternoon. "We can't stress this enough; we need everyone to conserve electricity from 3-7 p.m."

Texas
3:22 pm
Wed August 24, 2011

Update: ERCOT Shuts Down Industrial Users To Save Power

ERCOT is urging consumers to ease off electricity usage, as high temperatures and low power reserves strain the grid operator's delivery system.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News.

Texas' electric grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, has moved from Energy Emergency Alert Level 1 to Level 2. That means shutting down industrial customers who are paid for the inconvenience.

Moving to Level 3 would require local utilities, like Austin Energy, to implement rotating outages to avoid  uncontrolled, cascading blackouts that could damage the grid.

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Morning Update
8:39 am
Mon August 22, 2011

Monday Morning Headlines

Rebels in Libya appear to have control of most of the capital city, Tripoli. But the whereabouts of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi are unknown this morning.
Image courtesy NPR

Libyan Rebels Enter Tripoli

The 42-year reign of Moammar Gadhafi may be in its final hours today, as rebel troops flowed into Tripoli, Libya Sunday and early this morning. NPR reports that scattered opposition forces are trying to maintain the capital city, as fighting between them and forces loyal to Gadhafi continues in some parts. No one seems to know where Gadhafi is, but two of his sons have reportedly been captured by rebel soldiers.

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Sunday Roundup
9:14 am
Sun August 21, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup

Gov. Rick Perry greets supporters at a Lake Austin restaurant in his first Texas appearance since announcing his run for the White House
Photo by Justin Dehn for the Texas Tribune

Students have reached summer's end, though you couldn't tell by the weather.  The beginning of school year brings changes in some Capital Metro bus schedules. That includes the elimination of three bus routes that circulated MetroRail passengers throughout downtown from the Austin Convention Center.

Rick Perry Returns to Texas

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Texas
9:53 am
Fri August 19, 2011

Amber Alert Canceled for Galveston County Teen

Authorities in Galveston County have canceled the Amber Alert issued Wednesday morning for Andrea Love Fox. The 14-year-old girl from League City has been found safe. She had been last seen late Monday night. Law enforcement officials located her earlier this morning.

Developing: Fort Hood
2:47 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Soldier Arrested Near Fort Hood

Killeen Police released this photo of Nasser Abdo, the AWOL soldier suspected in a attack plot at Fort Hood.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

 

UPDATE 12:45pm:  Fort Hood officials have released information from the Department of the Army’s Public Affairs office about the Soldier arrested near Fort Hood yesterday.

“Private 1st Class Naser J. Abdo, age 21, was arrested on July 27. The Killeen Police Department is handling all information requests. The incident occurred in the Killeen community. U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, the KPD, and the FBI are involved in the ongoing investigation.

In June 2010, he submitted a Conscientious Objector packet that was approved in May 2011. The discharge was placed on hold pending disposition of charges of possession of child pornography that were preferred on May 13. His Article 32 hearing was completed June 15, and the investigating officer recommended referral of the charge to trial by General Court-Martial. On July 4, the Soldier’s status changed from present for duty to AWOL.

Since he is in the custody of civilian authorities, jurisdiction over any potential new charges is yet to be determined. If returned to military control, he may face additional charges including AWOL.

The Army lists Abdo as an infantryman who’s been stationed at Fort Campbell since July 2009.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m. US Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison released the following statement:

“I know that all Texans -- and Americans – are proud of the Killeen community and the Killeen Police Department for their vigilance and their quick response that led to the arrest of an AWOL soldier.  His arrest is a perfect example of how alert citizens and dedicated law enforcement personnel can work together to prevent a potential terrorist attack in our own backyard.”

EARLIER:  Killeen police arrested a soldier near Fort Hood yesterday afternoon. Fox News reports that the soldier had bomb-making equipment in his car. Authorities at Fort Hood say the soldier wasn't stationed there.

Pvt. Nasser Jason Abdo, an AWOL soldier from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, was arrested by the Killeen Police Department near Fort Hood and remains in custody there. Authorities, however, will not say if Abdo is the one who raised security concerns.

Abdo was allegedly found with weapons and explosives at the time of his arrest, a senior Army source confirms to Fox News. He was arrested at around 2 p.m. Wednesday after someone called authorities to report a suspicious individual. 

The Killeen Daily Herald says the man was arrested on a warrant related to child pornography.

In a written statement, officials at the world's largest U.S. Army installation say they are keeping their force protection at "appropriate levels."

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