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
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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Texas
10:28 am
Tue April 9, 2013

After Months of Silence, the UT Tower Rings Again

After months of restortation, bells in the main building will ring once more.
flickr.com/wallyg

Construction workers will be leaving the top of the UT tower today.

For almost six months, the university’s famous carillon bells were silent while the crew performed some pretty extensive renovations. All 56 bells were taken down and re-cast. Now that the largest carillon in Texas is reassembled, it just needs to be fine-tuned.

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Transportation
5:46 am
Thu March 28, 2013

Austin Traffic Calming Seeks to Soothe Neighborhood Traffic – And Aggrieve Speeding Drivers

A combination of new street islands and speed bumps are meant to deter drivers from speeding. This project is off of Woodward Street, across from the St. Edwards University campus.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

More than a dozen streets in Austin are about to be invaded with bulldozers whose mission is to re-shape them. Once the streets are re-worked, the hope is they will in turn help slow down the drivers who use them. On the first week of April, the city will unveil which so-called “traffic calming” projects it will fund.

Twice a year, Austin’s Transportation Renee Orr reviews dozens of applications from Austinites who believe their streets would be safer if there were a way to make drivers slow down.

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Texas
5:34 am
Mon March 25, 2013

Where Are All the Texas Bluebonnets?

flickr.com/thecrazysquirrel

If you are one of those parents who drag your kids all over town to find the picture-perfect patch of Texas bluebonnets in the spring, then brace yourself: There aren’t as many flowers this year.

That’s, in part, because 2012 was the hottest year on record and the long drought continues. That has many native species feeling the heat.

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Transportation
5:42 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Visiting UT by Bike? Register Your Ride

Steve Saugey and other visitors to campus are supposed to get a registration sticker for their bikes.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

On any given day, thousands of bicyclists ride through and park their bikes at the congested UT Austin campus. Some people choose to ride their bikes because finding parking for a car when there are more than 50,000 students plus faculty and staff competing for limited space is tough - so tough in fact, that even some visitors choose to bike to campus.

But many are unaware of a new restriction on visiting cyclists.

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Transportation
5:04 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Should Burnet County Join CAMPO? Council Votes Today

Thousands commute between Burnet County and Austin every day.
Daniel Reese

The capital area’s transportation planning authority, known as CAMPO, is made up of representatives from Austin and five counties of Central Texas. Now CAMPO is considering bringing on a seventh member, Burnet County.

The Austin City Council will vote today on whether it wants to approve Burnet County’s request to join (PDF). The equation might seem simple: As part of the region, Burnet County should have a say in the region’s transportation needs. But with a cacophony of voices speaking for CAMPO, no decision is straightforward.

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Austin
9:49 am
Wed March 20, 2013

With Austin In the AG’s Sights, Will the City Grandfather Its Building Permits?

Austin may be forced to do away with an ordinance that rescinds buidling permits if progress hasn't been made.
flickr.com/dingatx

There’s an old rule in Austin that the City Council will revisit Thursday.

A 1997 ordinance gives building permits an expiration date of between three and five years, regardless of whether the project has been completed or not. Oftentimes, builders need to re-apply for permits and adhere to any new construction rules. But, a recent opinion by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has moved the ordinance front and center at City Hall because Abbott says the ordinance contradicts state code. 

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Austin City Council
5:37 am
Tue March 19, 2013

How the City Council Decides Which Event Fees to Waive

The Mighty Texas Dog Walk is one event that might get a fee waiver this Thursday.
facebook.com/Ilikeservicedogs

When planning to book a public venue in Austin, keep in mind the city is going to charge a bunch of fees, some are for permits, maintenance and cleanup. Organizers of large and well-attended gatherings have no problem paying those fees. But non-profits sponsoring smaller events sometimes ask the city to waive them.

This week, the city council will vote on five such waivers. With so many of these smaller events taking place, what happens when fees are waived?

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Austin
10:15 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Can the Lowly Alleyway Transform Downtown Austin?

An art installation called “20ft Wide” is planned for an alley on Ninth Street between Congress and Brazos Streeets.
Art Alliance Austin/Creative Action and TBG/Dan Cheetham (Fyoog) and Michelle Tarsney

When you think about downtown Austin, do you ever think about the spaces between the buildings?

Probably not, and you're not alone. That’s may be because alleyways – in movies, and sometimes in real life – are usually shady, dirty and even dangerous places. But some local leaders want to bring the city’s alleys back into the light.

In an alley downtown, I met with Meredith Powell and Dan Cheetham. Powell is with the Art Alliance Austin. The alley, she says “was laid out in the original 1839 map by Edwin Waller and it is on Ninth Street between Brazos and Congress.”

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SXSW
5:23 am
Thu March 14, 2013

Over SXSW, 'Street Treats' Snack Carts Put Homeless to Work

Coffee and snack wagons are giving some homeless people in Austin a source of income.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Can homeless people pedal their way into a home? An Austin nonprofit certainly hopes so. 

It also hopes to capitalize on the large crowds drawn to town for South by Southwest. So, during the festival, the nonprofit Mobile Loaves and Fishes equipped a group of homeless people with foot-powered snack-vending carts and uniforms. The new business is called Street Treats, and the vendors get to keep the profits.

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Immigration
12:46 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

New Border Trend: Undocumented Immigrants Want to Get Caught

A Border Patrol truck in Nogales, AZ. There appears to be an upswing of undocumented immigrants voluntarily surrendering to authorities.
flickr.com/cbpphotos

In Texas, Border Patrol Agents are among those affected by Washington’s across-the-board budget cuts known as the “sequester”. The men and women guarding the more than 12 hundred miles of Texas’ border say that brings good news and bad news at a time when illegal border crossings from Mexico are slightly up.

Sequester-related furloughs for border patrol agents start next month. Meaning, there will be fewer agents at the border at any given time and agents will not get paid for the fourteen days they are furloughed.

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SXSW
2:13 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Bill Gates Delivers SXSW Edu Closing Remarks

Bill Gates closed out the third annual South by Southwest Edu conference.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Microsoft founder Bill Gates says tougher standards and more testing have not helped American students get a better ranking against their peers in other developed countries.

South by Southwest edu wrapped up today with a keynote from Bill Gates. In his remarks, Gates encouraged the hundreds in attendance to invest in technology as way to improve education in the U.S., while retaining educational fundamentals.

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Education
5:05 am
Thu March 7, 2013

SXSW Touts Teaching Tech (But Implementation's Another Thing)

Digital education isn't easy to put into action.
Carlos Morales/KUT News

It’s no longer unusual to see mobile devices in American classrooms. But while many teachers now use them as tools for instruction, others find themselves completely at odds with technology. Questions on how best to bridge that gap keep cropping up at SXSW’s education conference this week.   

One of the messages at the conference was that even economically disadvantaged school districts that are starting to educate students digitally are seeing positive results for students.

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Austin
8:40 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Officer Involved Shooting in North Austin (Updated)

APD says there's been an officer involved shooting in the 10000 block of Lanshire Drive.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

This morning's shooting death of a North Austin man is under investigation. 

At a press conference earlier today Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said it all started at 7:23 this morning, when the deceased man, who has yet to be identified by name, called 911 saying he had shot a pitbull that attacked him.

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austin
5:15 am
Fri March 1, 2013

Plastic Bag Ban Now in Effect

Say goodbye to the old-style plastic shopping bag.
courtesy flickr.com/adav

If you’re going to the grocery store or planning a quick stop at the convenience store today, you’ll need to bring your own bag. Most businesses within the Austin city limits will have to abide by a new rule that prohibits them from providing paper or plastic single-use bags to customers.

While it will take getting used to, the switch to reusables that goes into effect today is good news to some Austinites.

Longtime environmentalists celebrated the end of an era with a party at Cherrywood Coffeehouse in Austin this week. Featured artist Bill Oliver pushed for a bag ban for decades.

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Education
10:13 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The Veterinary Clinic Inside an Austin High School

A matted puppy gets some relief from high school seniors at Akins new Pet Clinic.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

With so many care options for the four-legged family members, how do you determine where to take yours for a check-up? There are high-end pet spas, plain vet clinics and everything in between. And still, there is a new player in the nearly saturated market.

One of the dogs at this clinic is Frida. She is blonde, tall and beautiful. But, according to her doctor’s report delivered by Mr. John, Frida has some weight problems. 

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Education
5:24 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Ed Commissioner Answers Eastside Memorial's Call - But Threat of Closure Remains

Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams visited with students at Eastside Memorial High School.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Last week, students at Eastside Memorial High School delivered a letter inviting the state’s top education administrator for a visit to hear how the threat of the school’s closure for poor academic performance affected them. It was a long shot, but yesterday Michael Williams spent almost two hours at Eastside Memorial. Students welcomed his visit, but the threat of closure remains.

As Williams’ visit approached, school administrators darted through the impeccable hallways shooting instructions to each other over walkie-talkies. Some students wore ties and sported fresh haircuts.

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