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Breaking
4:55 pm
Wed February 26, 2014

Texas Same-Sex Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

Same-sex marriage supporters rallied at the Texas Capitol as the Supreme Court began hearings on the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013. Today, a federal judge in San Antonio declared Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional.
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

A federal judge in San Antonio has declared the Texas ban on same-sex marriage in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Today, Judge Orlando Garcia granted a motion for a preliminary injunction enjoining the state of Texas from enforcing the ban. However, the ruling is on hold until Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott appeals the decision to the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Update: Travis Co. Clerk Says It's 'A Joyous Day'

Travis County Clerk Dana DeBeauvoir, whose office issues marriage licenses, is fielding questions on what today's ruling means for gay couples wanting to marry. Although the ruling finds Texas' same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, the decision is on hold pending appeal.  

DeBeauvoir released a written statement this afternoon lauding the decision: “Because of the stay order in the ruling, the County Clerk cannot issue marriage licenses to gay couples at this time. This is a joyous day, but we will have to wait a little longer to actually deliver the justice and equal rights gay couples so deserve.” 

Update: Wendy Davis 'Pleased' With Ruling

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis is "pleased" with today's ruling.

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Austin City Council
10:13 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Austin City Council Votes to Lower Occupancy Limits

The Austin City Council passed regulations to limit occupants in single-family homes from six to four last night on first reading.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The Austin City Council had a long day at the dais yesterday, with a meeting that sputtered along for the better part of 15 hours.

"Stealth dorms," fee waivers, economic incentives, an officer-involved shooting, the MoPac sound wall and  even a proclamation for KUT's own Cactus Cafe. 

With that in mind, here's a rundown of the council action, and inaction, from yesterday.

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Sports
10:17 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Openly Gay NFL Prospect Michael Sam is a Texas Native

A screenshot from Michael Sam's interview with The New York Times. If drafted this May, Sam will become the NFL history.
youtube.com/TheNewYorkTimes

Last night, former Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam announced he is gay. Sam came out during an interview with The New York Times. If a team drafts Sam this spring and signs him, he will become the first openly gay active player in National Football League history.

There's a Texas connection to this national story: Sam is a native Texan, who attended Hitchcock High School in Galveston County. Sam earned first-team All-District honors as a senior in 2008, as both a defensive end and an offensive lineman.

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Winter Weather
3:55 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Central Texas' Latest 'Snow Day' Ending as Winter Advisory Expires

A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect from until noon today.
National Weather Service

Update: As Austin's winter weather advisory is set to expire, Austin roads are all clear. (See an interactive map from TxDOT.) 

The National Weather Service says Saturday morning will be mostly cloudy, but skies clear and grow sunny during the afternoon. Warm winds will bring highs to up into the low 70s Saturday afternoon.

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Energy & Environment
11:05 am
Wed February 5, 2014

KUT's StateImpact Texas Talks Keystone XL Pipeline on 'The Takeaway'

flickr.com/shannonpatrick17

The controversial Keystone XL Pipeline is taking over national headlines again. 

Last week, the State Department released an environmental review of the pipeline, finding tar sands extraction would have little impact on greenhouse gas emissions. 

As KUT's StateImpact Texas reports, "tar sands oil will be extracted regardless of whether or not the pipeline is built."

KUT's Mose Buchele talked with The Takeaway this morning about the impact that the largest oil producer in the world is having in Texas.

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Crime & Justice
3:14 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Report: Texas Led Nation in Exonerations Last Year

The watchtower at Huntsville Prison. Texas lead the nation in the number of exonerees last year.
Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Texas exonerated more prisoners – 13 – than any other state last year.

A report out today shows a nationwide push by prosecutors to re-examine possible wrongful convictions contributed to a record number of exonerations in 2013. The National Registry of Exonerations says 87 people were exonerated last year.

The Texas Tribune has more:

Thirteen Texans were officially absolved of wrongdoing last year for crimes ranging from murder to drug possession. Some had spent more than a decade in prison, and others a few months. The state with the second-most exonerations was Illinois, with nine, followed by New York, with eight. 

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Texas
1:54 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Photos: Mack Brown & Wife Sally Honored by City

Mayor Lee Leffingwell proclaims January 30th as "Mack and Sally Brown Day." A small ceremony was held for the couple in the council chambers at City Hall.
Sam Ortega for KUT News

Former Longhorns head coach Mack Brown and wife  Sally were honored by the City of Austin last night.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell issued a proclamation marking Thursday, Jan. 30 as “Mack and Sally Brown Day” in the capitol city. Brown resigned in December after 16 seasons with 158-48 record, being replaced by Louisville’s Charlie Strong.

See photos of the event in the slideshow above.

Life & Arts
3:05 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Austin Film Society Names New Texas Hall of Fame Inductees

Five inductees have been named to the Texas Film Hall of Fame.
Jerry Hayes, Austin Film Society

The Austin Film Society has announced its 2014 inductees into the Texas Film Hall of Fame.

The honorees will be awarded at the 14th annual Texas Film Awards kicking off the South by Southwest Film festival, for contributions that have “placed Texas on the world stage of film excellence.”

Austin actress Amber Heard will be recognized with the Rising Star Award. Ms. Heard first gained recognition for her role in the 2004 film “Friday Night Lights.” She's since gained recognition for racy roles in movies such as Machete Kills and “Paranoia,” starring opposite some of the biggest names in Hollywood.

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Winter Weather
12:05 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Winter Weather Snarls Austin; Schools and Universities Cancel Classes

An overnight freeze brought much of Austin to a standstill this morning. Here, pedestrians brave the Congress Avenue bridge over Lady Bird Lake.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: The winter weather advisory for the region has expired. While temperatures are rising about freezing this afternoon, and freezing temperatures are expected again tonight, which will re-freeze any leftover wet spots.

While emergency services say they’ve responded to more than 250 crashes since the freeze began, no fatal crashes have been reported.

Capital Metro will remain on a Saturday schedule for the rest of the day.

The Austin school district says it will resume normal operations at 5 p.m.  The district also says it will make up today’s cancellation on June 6. Austin Community College says it will reopen tomorrow. 

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Health
4:44 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Call the Midwife: Natural Childbirth Available at Seton Medical Center

Women can now give birth with the guidance of a certified midwife at Seton Medical Center in Austin.
Morgue File

Austin women looking for a natural childbirth now have another option: they can give birth at Seton Medical Center with the guidance of a midwife.

Today, Seton announced a collaboration with the Austin Area Birthing Center welcoming certified nurse midwives into the delivery room.  

Some women want to give birth with little medical intervention – but sometimes complications arise, requiring a hospital delivery. Others want the guidance of a midwife – but prefer the peace of mind a being in a hospital. Now, this is possible at Seton Medical Center.

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Austin
4:19 pm
Sat January 18, 2014

Former KUT DJ Larry Monroe Has Passed Away (Update)

After a life-long career in Central Texas radio, Larry Monroe passed away on Jan. 17, 2014.
KUT

Update:  KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal confirmed to KUT News that Larry Monroe died from complications due to the lung disease chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) early Friday morning.

A funeral will be held Thursday, January 23 at Keplinger Funeral Home in Hartford City, Indiana, according to KDRP. Pastor Gary Hall will officiate. Monroe will be buried at Hartford City Cemetery

Below you can listen to our remembrance of Monroe from KUT's Ben Philpott.

 

 

Original Post: We are sad to report long-time broadcaster and former KUT host Larry Monroe has passed away at the age of 71. Monroe worked for nearly 30 years at KUT and during his tenure he helmed the popular "Phil Music," "Blue Monday,"  "Texas Radio" and "Segway City" programs. 

Monroe became a fixture in Austin radio and in the music scene, as well — singing gospel songs on Easter Sunday with Willie Nelson, hanging out with Townes Van Zandt at The Hole in the Wall and, of course, providing eager audiences a constant source for Texas Music.   

Monroe was a native of Hartford City, Indiana, and began working in radio since the age of 13. In 1977, he came to Texas. He started his popular "Phil Music" program as a way to kill time during KUT broadcasts of Austin City Council meetings — filling time and keeping listeners enthralled between council sessions. 

After leaving KUT in 2010, Monroe went on to host at KDRP in Dripping Springs, continuing his much-loved programming with his signature style. KDRP founder Daryl O'Neal says they don't make broadcasters like Monroe anymore.

"He was an absolute legend and our patriarch," O'Neal says. "He was the patriarch of our radio station. If it weren't for Larry Monroe, KDRP would not exist in the vein that it does today."

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Austin
4:01 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Valerie L. Phillips, KUT and KUTX Fundraiser, Dies After Battle With Cancer

Valerie Phillips, KUT's Leadership Circle Manager, with her longtime partner Bob Mann in a November 3, 2012 photo.
Paul Woodruff/KUT

Valerie Louise Phillips, KUT and KUTX's major gifts officer and a popular personality in Austin’s philanthropic and political circles, died Tuesday, after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

As leadership circle manager at KUT, Valerie dealt daily with Austin’s best, brightest and most powerful -- always with a touch of joy, efficiency and enthusiasm.

Originally from Fort Worth, she was a talented writer, arts and literature lover and noted for a keen and quick wit.    

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Free Week
4:00 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

20 Surefire Shows to Check Out During Austin's Free Week

The Mowawk will host plenty of free shows this week on both the inside and outside stages.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/rogerho

It's a new year with plenty of new resolutions. And, if your resolutions involve saving money, getting active and/or catching more live music, we've got just the thing: Free Week, a magical time of year when free music fills the streets of Austin for half a fortnight. 

With that in mind, we've put together a list of the shows to check out in this year's annual installment. 

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Austin
9:09 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Austin's Sizzling Housing Market May Cool in 2014

The number of Austin homes on the market in 2013 were at a 13-year low, while home buying was at an all-time high.
Credit KUT News

Austin's housing market had one of its hottest years on record in 2014, but some economists are looking for things to slow down in 2014.

Even without December's numbers, the Austin area recorded more home sales than ever in 2013 — almost 31,000 single-family homes, condos and townhomes were sold, a 20 percent increase over 2012. The average home sales price was higher than ever as well at $286,000. 

But as the city continues to grow, the market is becoming more competitive and some say a 2014 dip in sales will benefit Austin's market in the long term.

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Sports
9:58 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Longhorns Fall to Oregon in Mack Brown's Final Game as Head Coach

UT Head Coach Mack Brown at a press conference in 2012.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Longhorns got trampled 30-7 by the University of Oregon Ducks tonight in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. 

The Ducks ran two interceptions for touchdowns, spoiling what was the farewell game for Longhorns' Head Coach Mack Brown, who is retiring after 16 seasons with UT.

Despite the loss -- and a 30-21 record in his final four seasons -- the crowd gave Brown a warm send-off. UT athletic director Steve Patterson has said the team intends to name Brown's successor by January 15th. 

Original story: It's not unusual for the University of Texas at Austin's football team to appear in a post-season bowl game. But tonight, when the Longhorns take on Oregon in the Alamo Bowl, there is one twist: it is the last game as Head Coach for Mack Brown.

Brown became the Longhorns' 28th head football coach on December 4, 1997.

On December 15, 2013, after months of speculation, Brown made the announcement that he will retire at the end of the 2013 season.

After a few disappointing seasons since 2010, many fans and observers have considered the team to be underperforming and were clamoring for change.

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