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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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Health
5:00 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

H1N1 Causes Early Spikes in Flu Cases

Five deaths have been attributed to the flu in Texas, one of the hardest hit states in the nation.
CDC

The flu season has hit unusually early this year, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, Texas is one of the states hardest hit. Physicians are urging everyone to get a flu shot. 

Typically, the flu season peaks in January, but so far this year at least five deaths have already occurred in Texas. At a press conference Monday, medical experts at Seton Medical Center Austin said the number of positive flu tests has doubled over the past two weeks.

Dr. Irfan Hydari, the medical director of emergency services at Seton, said the flu strand that is responsible for the vast majority of illnesses is H1N1, or swine flu. That strand became notorious in 2009 when it caused a flu pandemic

But Hydari said vaccine technology continues to improve, and this year it has been adapted to combat H1N1.

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University of Texas
4:50 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

UT President Bill Powers Survives Regents' Scrutiny, Keeps Job

Callie Richmond, flickr.com/thetexastribune

Bill Powers, president of the University of Texas at Austin, is staying in that job for the time being.

UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa announced his recommendation at this afternoon’s meeting of the Board of Regents in Austin. Cigarroa said he has had conflicts with Powers, but hopes that they can be overcome.

“There are problems,” he said. "I’ve addressed these problems. And it is my hopeful expectation that together President Powers and I will work towards resolving them and moving ahead.”

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Libya
3:16 pm
Thu December 5, 2013

Teacher Slain in Benghazi Has Austin Ties

The International School Benghazi, photographed Dec. 5, 2013. Gunmen shot dead an American chemistry teacher working at the international school, medical and security sources said on Thursday.
Reuters/Esam Omran Al-Fetori

Update: Smith's Austin Church in Mourning; Listen to One of Smith's Sermons

The Austin Stone Community Church say they are grieving the loss of their friend Ronnie Smith, who was killed jogging in Benghazi, Libya this morning. 

The church says Smith was preparing to fly home this month to spend time here over the Christmas holidays. Smith grew up in Detroit and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan.

The church confirms Smith's wife and son were not in Libya when he was shot. The church says Smith remained in Libya to help his students with their midterm exams. Smith and his family moved to Libya in December 2011.

Several archives of Smith's sermons are housed on the community church website. Below is one recording dated June 2010; in its beginning, he discusses a health scare his family faced just before their move to Austin. 

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County Primaries
2:01 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

In Fact Daily & KUT News Present: Travis County Candidates Forum, Monday, Dec. 9

In Fact Daily, its parent group The Capital of Texas Media Foundation and KUT News are pleased to present a forum for candidates in contested Travis County Democratic primaries. The forum is Monday, Dec. 9 at The North Door, just east of downtown Austin.

The event begins with a 6 p.m. happy hour. At 7 p.m., the forum begins.

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Affordable Care Act
4:02 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Under 3,000 Texans Sign Up for Insurance on Obamacare Website

Fewer than 3,000 people in Texas signed up for health plans in the first month of enrollment through the Affordable Care Act website, according to data released today [PDF] by the Health and Human Services department.

Other Texas findings in the data:

  • 11,682 Texans were determined to be eligible for CHIP and/or Medicaid through the federal health care marketplace, HealthCare.gov.
  • Almost 54,000 Texans actually completed applications. Those applications would cover more than 108,000 individuals.
  • Most of those applicants – over 80,000 – are eligible to enroll in a health insurance plan available through the federal marketplace– but they haven’t done so yet.  
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Halloween Floods
8:08 am
Wed November 13, 2013

Where To Get Help If You've Experienced Flood Damage (Update)

City crews help clean up the Dove Springs neighborhood on Monday Nov. 4 after over 600 homes were damaged in flooding over the weekend.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update (Wednesday): State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez and State Sen. Judith Zaffirini are hosting the second of two Austin-Travis County flood relief fund town halls tonight. The event is at Mendez Middle School in Dove Springs, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.  

On Facebook, Rep. Rodriguez writes a warm dinner will be served, and that Capital Metro shuttle service between Mendez Middle School and Perez Elementary School will be available. 

Travis County is hosting a meeting on home buyouts for the Timber Creek area tonight. “Buyout applications are used to seek additional funding, apply for grants, and advise the Commissioners Court on budgetary needs for buyout,” the county says.

The meeting, for Timber Creek residents only, is tonight at the South Rural Community Center in Del Valle, at 6:30 p.m.

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Philippine Typhoon
10:43 am
Tue November 12, 2013

How Austin Can Aid Philippines Typhoon Survivors (Update)

The coastal town of Ormoc in Leyte province, Philippines.
European Commission, Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection, http://flic.kr/ps/24ujFF

Update (Tuesday): A typhoon being called one of the  worst in recorded history has rocked the Philippines, with officials fearing as many as 10,000 people dead and  tens of thousands of homes destroyed.

The southeast Asian country is home to nearly 100 million people, and nearly one-in-four families live in poverty. Super-typhoon Haiyan reportedly destroyed between 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path. The destruction has caused many relief organizations to mobilize.

Make a Local Contribution:

Austin-based Circle of Health International works with women in crisis areas to provide access to family, newborn and reproductive care, ensure womens’ safety and combat sexual assault and sex trafficking. 

Circle of Health International founder Sera Bonds recently spoke with KUT about their plans to assist in the Phillipines following typhoon Haiyan.  You can donate here.

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Halloween Floods
6:38 am
Mon November 11, 2013

How You Can Help Austin's Flood Victims (Update)

Anna Vallejo cries as she looks at the damage to her flooded house on Bluff Springs Road in Austin, Texas, on Thursday October 31, 2013. She lost all her belongings in the flood.
Jay JannerMCT /Landov

Update (Monday): The city has released new information regarding the Halloween floods that claimed five lives. Here’s some numbers conveying the extent of the damage:

  • 659: Number of homes damaged
  • 259: Number of homes that received major damage                           
  • 15:  Number of homes destroyed
  • 1,300: Tons of debris removed from the affected area

Residents of southeast and southwest Austin are still in need of help. Fortunately, there’s several ways you can lend a hand.

Volunteer:

The Austin Disaster Relief Network is looking for volunteers to help with demolition and cleanup of affected areas. Volunteers are asked to wear jeans, gloves, masks, and hard sole shoes, and bring shovels, utility knives, and hammers if possible.

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Election 2013
11:09 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

HD 50 Special Election Headed for a January Runoff (Update)

Dr. Mike VanDeWalle could be headed towards a run-off against Democrat Celia Israel who leads Democrats with 31 percent in early voting numbers.
Ben Philpott for KUT News

Update: Mike VanDeWalle lead a crowded field in the race to finish out Mark Strama's (D-Austin) term as State Representative. But the local chiropractor only hovered around 40 percent of the vote.

VanDeWalle was the only Republican in the race. So even though he came in first he’s still easily trails the cumulative Democratic vote. That’s something VanDeWalle knows his team will have to address during the runoff.

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