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
12:53 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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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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