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.  

Pages

Transportation
4:55 pm
Mon May 27, 2013

Border Crossings Could Charge Admission to U.S. Visitors

Fees at border crossings like this one in Montreal could raise millions for infrastructure.
flickr.com/xiaozhuli

The federal government is mulling a possible entry fee to cross the border into the U.S.

The Department of Homeland Security wants to study if, and how much, it could charge people on the millions of trains, buses, personal vehicles and even pedestrians crossing the U.S. border every year.

The idea would be to use the money for infrastructure repairs and maintenance at the ports of entry.

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Texas
10:01 am
Mon May 27, 2013

For One Austin Man, Every Day Is Worth a Memorial

Rick Smith began his Memorial Day morning just like he does every day – by ceremoniously raising the U.S. flag.
Joy Diaz for KUT News

Every Memorial Day we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of duty.

But Rick Smith doesn’t wait on any specific day of the year. He has made it his mission in life to honor the U.S. flag every morning and night – and plans on doing so for the rest of his life.

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Austin
5:57 am
Thu May 23, 2013

First 8 Members Chosen for Austin Redistricting Commission

A city worker rolls the barrel with the names of commission contenders.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The city of Austin is one step closer to drawing new geographic district maps for the city council. Eight names were drawn yesterday at City Hall to serve on the city’s new redistricting commission, and they have already received their first assignment.

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AFFORDABLE HOUSING 101
6:05 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Under One Roof: Who Develops Affordable Housing for Austin?

Scott Wilson says affordable housing is built to last. "At a commercial project, the owner often may only be there for four or five years.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

It’s early morning – still dark outside – and Walter Moreau is already done with his morning run. When I meet him he’s downtown, getting ready for his workout.

“I think there’s a lot of things here in the gym that translate to work,” he says.

Moreau leads Foundation Communities – Austin’s largest non-profit builder and manager of affordable housing.   

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Affordable Housing 101
6:05 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Under One Roof: Who’s Using Affordable Housing in Austin?

A home in the Blackland neighborhood of East Austin. A neighborhood development corporation helps create homes affordable to low-income families.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

If you’re going on a tour through the world of affordable housing, it’s good to have one of Austin’s most knowledgeable experts as your tour guide.

Meet Stuart Hersh. He’s a consultant with non-profit organizations that help produce affordable housing. During the last 30 years, Hersh has worked in a variety of fields that have to do with writing and enforcing building codes to writing affordable housing regulations.

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Austin
1:55 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Report Asks: Why Aren’t Hispanics Sharing in Austin's Boom?

A mural outside the Mexic-Arte Museum downtown.
flickr.com/monad68

A five-year effort from a group of Hispanic community leaders is about to wrap up. In 2008, the Austin City Council asked the group to evaluate the quality of life for Hispanics in the city. They found big disparities between Hispanics and their peers in areas including education, health care, even access to cultural institutions.

Last night, about fifty people came together at City Hall to share ideas on how Hispanics in Austin could bridge those gaps.

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Transportation
8:26 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Transportation Group Seeks Input on Changes to CAMPO 2035 Plan

The Capital Are Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is adjusting its 2035 plan.
CAMPO

Starting tomorrow, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization – better known as CAMPO – begins asking for the public’s ideas on a series of projects.

Some projects are being dropped, while others are being picked up for consideration. 

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Texas
9:02 am
Mon May 13, 2013

From Austin to Boston: Artificial Limb Company to Help Marathon Bombing Victims Run Again

Courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.

It’s been a month since the Boston Marathon bombings that injured more than 250 people. At least fourteen lost limbs.

Experts say it takes healthy, strong people about six weeks to recover enough from an amputation to begin considering their prosthetic choices. Austin-based Hanger Orthopedics, one of the largest prosthetics and orthotics companies in the US, says it’s ready to help.

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Austin
12:53 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

APD Officer Shoots At, Misses Driver of Car That Ran Red Light

APD Chief Art Acevedo at the scene of this morning's officer-involved shooting.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

No one was injured this morning when an Austin Police officer shot at a 58 year-old man at the corner of 12th Street and Airport. But the incident is likely to, once again, raise questions about the use of lethal force by Austin police.

APD says the incident started as a routine traffic stop just a few minutes before 8 o'clock when a truck ran a red light. After the truck was pulled over, police say the driver got out of the vehicle and walked towards the officer making the stop.

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Austin
5:10 am
Fri May 3, 2013

This Air Force Vet Makes Socks for Austin's Homeless. Here’s Why.

Tim Scott named his company MitScoots, a tough name to pronounce, which comes from Scott’s childhood.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

As you got ready this morning, how much did you think about which socks to wear? Socks are one of those items most people don’t dwell on. But an Austin Air Force veteran learned the importance of a pair of good, clean socks the hard way -- which led him to start his own socially conscious sock company.

Tim Scott named his company MitScoots, a tough name to pronounce, which comes from Scott’s childhood. As a 5-year-old with dyslexia, he was learning to write his name. Tim became Mit. And Scott became Scoot.

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Austin
11:24 am
Thu May 2, 2013

African-Americans Are Austin's Only Shrinking Ethnic Group. Here's What Some Are Doing About That

The historic Victory Grill in central east Austin. Gentrification of once traditionally black neighborhoods has helped shrink Austin’s African-American population.
flickr.com/wallyg

To say that Austin is growing is an understatement. But amid Austin’s exponential growth, one group is declining – and fast. The African-American community in Austin is shrinking, due to two major factors: moving out of the city’s core, and a mortality rate higher than any other group.

Last night, a diverse group of people met on the UT campus to discuss if there’s a future for black life in Austin.

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Austin
11:40 am
Tue April 30, 2013

What Will it Take for Austin to Become a Bicycling Capital?

Several bike projects hope to create a safe and friendly biking culture.
City of Austin

Austin is steadily pedaling its way to becoming one of the bike-friendliest cities in the country.

With more than two percent overall of Austinites biking to work – and in some parts more than eight percent – the city has surpassed commuter goals set in its bike master plan. (The plan’s linked here.)

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Austin
10:06 am
Mon April 29, 2013

How Sequestration Threatens Austin's Most Vulnerable Seniors

Meals on Wheels and More delivers food to area seniors.
facebook.com/mealsonwheelsaustin

Little by little, the effects of sequestration are becoming more tangible in the everyday lives of some Americans. And though the federal government has reinstated some agencies’ funds, cuts are coming to the programs destined to feed some of the country’s most vulnerable adults.

But there’s at least one Austin non-profit that’s looking for ways to keep feeding adults in need.

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Austin
11:47 am
Tue April 23, 2013

The Austin Program That Offers Down Payment Cash for Homes

Guadalupe Alcalá bought her home with assistance from a city program. She was recently able to refinance her home without having to pay a penalty to the city.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

There’s a little-known program run through the City of Austin that provides down payment money to low-income people free of charge. Of course, there's a catch: homeowners must live in the property for 10 years, or pay the city back.

Those who bought in when interest rates were almost twice what they are today, now wonder how can they refinance their mortgage without having to repay the city.

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Texas
11:28 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Why This Austin Divorce Attorney Works on Death Row, Pro Bono

Mary Felps guides reporter Joy Diaz through a visit at the Huntsville Cemetery. At this point, Felps' doctors had not OKd her to go back to death row.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News.

Getting married nowadays can be really pricey. But getting divorced can be just as expensive.

In Austin, a good divorce attorney can charge anywhere between $150 and $500 an hour. When parties disagree, cases can drag on, and raise costs into the thousands of dollars. But there is one divorce attorney in Austin who offers her services for free – to a very exclusive clientele.

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Austin
11:03 am
Fri April 19, 2013

Travis County DA Lehmberg Pleads Guilty, Gets 45 Jail Days

Travis County Sheriff's Office

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg pleaded guilty this morning to a Class A misdemeanor for drunk driving.

She was arrested last Friday night after she was reportedly driving erratically. Travis County Sheriff’s officers say they found an open bottle of vodka in her car.

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Austin
5:21 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Austin’s Next City Council: Primarily Made of Newbies

Most of the present council will hit the city's term limit and won't be able to run in 2014.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

This May, Austinites will learn the names of the people who will be drawing the city’s 10 new district maps, and then the redistricting process will start to take shape. After the maps are drawn, Austinites will learn the district boundaries. Then people interested in running for City Council will know which district they can represent. 

Seems like a lot of changes. And the biggest one is that the next Austin City Council is likely to be made up of rookies.

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Austin
3:50 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Austin’s Affordable Housing Backers Trying for Bond Again

A bond to help fund affordable housing lost in the November 2012 election.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

Housing advocates in Austin and local religious and political leaders want to try again with a measure on November’s ballot for affordable housing dollars. So today they kicked off a Keep Austin Affordable campaign.

“As you know, the voters of Austin narrowly voted against the housing bonds last fall – not out of spite, or malice or unkindness,” said Marshall Jones with the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition.

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Austin
12:22 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

After Kansas City, ISPs Watch Google's Austin Plans Closely

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell at yesterday's Google Fiber announcment.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Austin has been tapped by Google to be the second city in the U.S. to get Google Fiber, the search giant’s super fast gigabit internet service. Kansas City was the first city to dive in with Google. And it’s learned some lessons.

Some of Central Texas’ largest Internet providers also serve Kansas City, Missouri. Think Time Warner and AT&T, among others. Kansas City Assistant City Manager Rick Usher says as soon as word spread that Google was getting some deals –  waived fees, right-of-way access and more – his phone wouldn’t stop ringing.

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