Joy Diaz

City Reporter

Joy Diaz has been a reporter with KUT on and off since 2005. Since joining KUT, Joy has covered education, healthcare and immigration. She is now the station’s city reporter.

Originally from Mexico, Joy moved to the U.S. in 1998 when her husband Luis was transferred from his job in Mexico City to train workers in a telecommunications plant in Virginia. While there, Joy worked for Roanoke's NPR station WVTF.

Joy speaks English and Spanish, which is a plus in a state like Texas. She graduated from Universidad de Cuautitlán Izcalli in Mexico City with a degree in journalism. In 2008 she took a break to devote herself to her two young children, before returning to the KUT studios. She loves reading, painting and spending time engaging with the community.  

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Austin
12:46 am
Thu November 20, 2014

A Marriage in Transition

Greg Abbink and Joan Henke were married in 2012. Greg was born a female. This summer, he decided to transition.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Tonight, in cities all around the world, people will gather together to remember those from the transgender community who have died. It's called the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Austin's memorial will be at 6:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Tonight's speaker is Greg Abbink, the first transgender police officer in the Austin Police Department. He joined the force after serving in the Army. Back then, his name was Emily Abbink. This summer, Emily decided to transition her appearance to that of a male.

"Because even at five years old, I vividly remember asking my parents, 'Why did God make me a girl?'" he says. "I used to pray at night that I would wake up as a boy."

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Austin
10:41 am
Thu November 13, 2014

Looming State School Closure Leaves Austin's Most Vulnerable in Limbo

Judi Stonedale visits her 42 year-old daughter Julie Isbell at least once a week. Stonedale says her daughter gets outstanding care at ASSLC.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Eviction notices have gone out to 77 people who live at Austin's State Supported Living Center on 35th Street and MoPac. The state’s Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended closing the facility which opened in 1917 and services 28 counties in Central Texas.

All of the people who live at the center have serious developmental disabilities, and a handful have already moved out.

As the eviction notices come in, residents and their families are searching for new housing alternatives as the state prepares for a likely sale that could turn the 94-acre property into a mixed-use development. But some say the commission doesn’t have the final word in the facility’s closure, and promise to fight.

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2014 Mayoral Runoff
11:29 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Adler and Martinez Look to Ramp Up Fundraising Ahead of Mayoral Runoff

Both Mike Martinez and Steve Adler have sunk over $100,000 into their campaigns for Mayor of Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

There was a time when it didn't cost a whole lot to win a race for Austin mayor.

Up until the election of outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell, mayoral elections in Austin were typically won with less than $300,000 – sometimes with much less.

But with the city's rapid expansion and efforts to combat low voter turnout, this year's mayoral election has produced the most expensive campaigns in the office's history -- and it's not over.

For the next six weeks, run-off candidates Mike Martinez and Steve Adler are poised to ramp up their fundraising efforts in the hopes of luring voters to the polls for the Dec. 16 runoff.

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Austin
6:00 am
Tue November 4, 2014

Amid Unprecedented Number of City Candidates in Austin, You Only Need to Vote for Two

If you've felt overwhelmed by the unprecedented number of candidates running this political season, fear not.

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10-1
9:05 am
Mon November 3, 2014

In District 10, Worry on Both Sides of Debate Over Private Wells

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Filipa Rodrigues for KUT, flickr.com/photos/atmtx , Filipa Rodrigues for KUT and flickr.com/photos/bougher7

This election, Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts. So, we’ve been taking a look at each of the city's 10 new districts.

In the final installment in our series, KUT's Joy Diaz takes a look at District 10, which covers Tarrytown, Spicewood Springs Road, Northwest Hills and ends just at U.S. Highway 183.

There are many issues District 10 neighbors would like the new Austin City Council to address, but water is one that gets folks here pretty animated. Specifically, how the city addresses the drilling of private wells.

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Austin
6:42 pm
Sat November 1, 2014

A Story of Survival: One Year After the Halloween Floods

From left to right: Lawrence Joiner, Acelee Joiner, Kailynn Childers, Alyssa Joiner, Natalie Lindsey, Isaac Jacobs, and Bene Jacobs.
Ilana Panich-Linsman, KUT News

It was still dark the morning of Halloween 2013 when hundreds of families in Onion Creek, a neighborhood in South East Austin, woke up to rising water in their homes.

Bene Jacobs and her family survived the flood by taking refuge on their neighbor's roof.

She remembers that morning clearly.

Bene and her partner Lawrence waded through the waters with their three children in tow. Ten-year-old Isaac was in Lawrence's arms. Isaac was born with special needs. His wheelchair would have been swept by the fast moving waters. Alyssa was five at the time and Acelee, a toddler.

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10-1
1:33 pm
Thu October 30, 2014

The Long-Term Problems of Short-Term Rentals in District 9

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT, City of Austin, Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT, flickr.com/photos/gold41 and Filipa Rodriguex for KUT.

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election. We’ve been taking a look at each of those districts.

Today, we’ll a look at District 9, a compact district that touches Oltorf and goes up through downtown and the UT campus to just south of U.S. Highway 290.

At its heart is the Clarksville neighborhood, with its historic freedman's homes. It’s one of many district neighborhoods dealing with a problem some say robs the city of revenue, disrupts neighborhoods and lowers property values in the much-coveted, centrally-located district: short term rentals.

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10-1
1:15 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

In District 8, Years of Growing Frustration Over Elusive Traffic Solutions

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): Filipa Rodrigues for KUT, Mary Kang/KUT, Patrick Dentler/KUT, flickr.com/photos/danatx and flickr.com/photos/dawilson

This week, KUT is continuing its look at each of the city's 10 districts and at some of their unique needs.

Today, we're looking at District 8, which includes “the Y” at Oak Hill, where State Highway 71 and U.S. Highway 290 intersect, and stretches from Brodie Lane to Circle C and then goes all the way to Southwest Parkway.

The population in the district and surrounding areas has grown 200 percent from 1990 to 2010, according to city estimates, causing traffic along major roadways here to grow in tandem.

For years, many in District 8 have pushed for an extension of State Highway 45, saying that the southwestern extension of the highway could serve as a pressure valve to relieve congestion in Southwest Austin. Others have argued against the project, citing environmental concerns.

While the project shows signs of moving forward after years in limbo, some say more innovative, less costly solutions could do the job.

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10-1
3:33 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

In District 7, Concerns About Land Use and Affordable Housing

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): flickr.com/photos/jimnix, flickr.com/photos/ryry9379, Erik Reyna for KUT and Wikimedia Commons

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election year. It’s a big change from the former at-large system.

This week, we’re continuing our look at each of the city's districts and their needs. Today, we’ll take a look at District Seven; a district that incorporates the hustle and bustle of the Domain, stretches as far south as 45th Street and as far north as Wells Branch Parkway, and includes Parmer Lane.

The district also borders a huge piece of land with a history older than the State of Texas.

The so-called Bull Creek tract has been on the minds of many in District 7 after the state indicated it would sell the land earlier this year. 

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Affordable Housing
12:14 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

For Some, Housing Vouchers a Needed Hand Toward Self-Sufficiency

Latoya Satterwhite started working at the Capital City Kids Daycare in 2011, but left the daycare. She came back after earning an associate's degree and now runs the daycare, and doesn't need Section 8 assistance anymore.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Thousands of people in Austin have applied for low-income housing vouchers from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Section 8 program since the city's waitlist reopened last week.

It’s been eight years since the subsidized housing program's wait list has accepted new applicants. That's because of limited affordable housing stock in Austin and demand for the program.

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10-1
1:28 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

After a Boom in Traffic, Commuters Hope District 6 Can Find a Cure for Congestion

Photo credits (L to R, top to bottom): flickr.com/craigallenphotography, flickr.com/byeagle, flickr.com/lemonfilmblog, Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this election year. It’s a big change from the former at-large system.

This week, we’re continuing our look at each of the city's districts and their needs. Today, we look at District 6, a district that is geographically one of the longest, stretching from Lake Travis all the way to Jollyville on the Austin-Round Rock border.

Ranch to Market Road 620 follows the rocky canyons and rolling hills of District 6, snaking through most of the district's western edge the district.

But District 6 is much more than postcard scenery. It's a district made largely of commuters.

And what’s a marquee issue those voters care about? Traffic.

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10-1
12:22 pm
Fri October 24, 2014

Ever-Present Development Divides a Transforming District 5

All photos courtesy of the City of Austin except for the bottom left and top right photos, which are courtesy of Anna Gonzalez and flickr.com/Bill78704

Austinites are voting in 10 different geographically drawn city council districts this fall. And, with such a big change, we've been taking a closer look at each district.

Today, we look at District 5, which stretches from Onion Creek in South Austin to parts of Auditorium Shores downtown. At its heart is South Lamar, where lots of new construction is coming up, but this flurry of development is just the beginning.

The district and surrounding areas are currently planning to re-develop each of its neighborhoods into something called the "South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan,” which hopes to plan for inevitable future development, while preserving South Austin neighborhoods.

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10-1
11:44 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Commercial Vacancies Could Provide a Foundation for Growth in District 4

Photo are courtesy of (counter clockwise) flickr.com/annharkness, Audrey McGlinchy for KUT, John Shapley for KUT, Joy Diaz/KUT

Austin's new city council District 4 is one of the city's most compact districts, geographically speaking. It's easy to define as North Central Austin. One recognizable spot is Highland Mall, which, after its closure, started a chain of building closures and subsequent vacancies in the area.

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10-1
2:07 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Austin's New District 2 Council Member Faces an Old Problem: Infrastructure

Photos courtesy of (counter-clockwise) John Shapley/KUT, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon (top left and middle left), Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT, Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT, Bryan Winter/KUT

As Austin voters head to the polls this Election Day they'll choose a city council candidate to represent their own geographic district.

So far, many of the candidates have promised to be the "voice" of their district and to fight for district-specific needs at City Hall. All this week and next, we’re looking at each of the city's ten districts to look at each district's unique needs.

Circuit of the Americas is one of the landmarks of District 2 – Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is in there too.

The district is long, stretching from Southeast Austin off of Highway 71 and
east of I-35. Last summer Ron Potts, who had recently retired from the city's Code Compliance Department, took KUT on a tour of the district.

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10-1
2:24 pm
Mon October 20, 2014

How Transportation & Investment Could Bring New Opportunities to Austin's District 1

All photos are courtesy of Filipa Rodrigues for KUT except the bottom center which is courtesy of Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today, KUT starts taking a look at each of Austin's ten districts -- and their unique needs.

This is the first time Austinites will elect their council members from the city's newly drawn geographic districts.

District One stretches from Central Austin, north to Howard Lane and into the vast open fields east of State Highway 130.

It's also called the "African American Opportunity District," because it's the district with the largest share of African American voters in the city.

Eric Tang with UT Austin's Institute for Urban Policy, Research and Analysis released a report earlier this year detailing why Austin is the only major US city that over the last decade has seen a decline in its African American population. Tang says African Americans "face persistent inequalities" in three major areas: public education, policing and the job market.

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Ebola
2:02 pm
Fri October 17, 2014

UT-Austin Student Being Monitored for Ebola Symptoms, Has Low Risk of Infection (Update)

Credit Todd Wiseman/Phil Moyer via Texas Tribune

Officials from the University of Texas at Austin and Travis County say a female UT-Austin student was on board the Frontier Airlines flight from Cleveland to Dallas which carried the Dallas area Ebola-affected nurse Amber Vinson.

The Travis County Health and Human Services Department is monitoring for symptoms of Ebola.  The student was not in close contact with Vinson and she is not showing symptoms of the virus. Officials urge there’s a “low risk” she contracted the virus because she was out of the three-foot radius around Vinson referred to as the "zone of concern" by officials.

The student will not attend classes at UT-Austin until after Nov. 3, according to UT Campus Safety and Security.

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Austin
4:43 pm
Mon October 13, 2014

Austin’s Female Illusionists Becoming Socially, and Economically, Empowered

Both Kimberly and Gisette Deseo identify as female illussionists. They are "drag sisters." While their transformations can cost a bundle, their spending also contributes to a growing, economically-empowered drag and trans community in Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Traditional wisdom and cultural tropes might lead you to believe that women in Texas outspend their male counterparts when it comes to personal care items, clothing, and accessories.

That stereotype is mostly true, but in Austin there’s a growing group of men that might be bucking that trend: female illusionists. Some are transitioning into another gender. Others dress like females for fun or for show. 

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Border & Immigration
9:10 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Report: 'Systemic' Problems in Groups Overseeing Central American Migrants

A report calls problems within the Karnes County Residential Center "systemic," and expresses concern about a forthcoming immigrant detention facility opening in Dilley next month.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

A report released yesterday documents what it calls "systemic" problems in the two private prison companies the federal government hires to house undocumented Central American mothers and their children.

The report alleges detainees are being sexually harassed by guards in the recently-opened Karnes County Residential Center, which is run by the GEO Group, and expresses concern about a forthcoming center opening in Dilley next month, which will be run by CCA.

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Crime & Justice
11:17 am
Wed October 8, 2014

Big Impact and Little Payouts in Austin's Small Claims Courts

A judge awarded Veronica Avila Zavala $6,900 of the $12,000 she claimed a fake attorney stole from her, but has so far only received $900.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Most probably couldn't articulate what a justice of the peace exactly does.

Television shows like “Judge Judy” and “The People’s Court” often trivialize the role of justices of the peace and the small claims courts they preside over.

Five small courtrooms of the Travis County justices of the peace handle settlements of $10,000 or less. In the grand scheme of things, the settlements are miniscule, hence the moniker of “small claims," but for some the rulings in these courts have huge implications.

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Austin
2:06 pm
Mon October 6, 2014

Efforts Gear Up to Reconnect Owners with Stolen Bikes

Ausitn Police hope a planned registry will reduce the number of recovered, but unclaimed, bikes that are later sold at city auctions.
KUT

Just as Austin has a thriving bicycling community, it's also home to bike thieves. Both groups stay pretty active. 

The city is perennially one of the worst cities nationwide when it comes to bicycle thefts, and the Austin Police Department wants to change that by beginning a program to register bikes, allowing the city to track stolen bikes and bolster reports of bike theft.

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