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In the 21st century, as Texas goes, so goes the rest of the nation?

Many think so – and not just Texans. As a Time magazine cover story proclaimed, "it's not an accident that three of the five fastest growing cities are in Texas. It's more like destiny."

Trey Shaar/KUT

A former Austin Police detective has pled not guilty to manslaughter charges in the 2013 death of Larry Jackson, Jr. Charles Kleinert entered a plea of not guilty in a Travis County courtroom this morning and was released on bond after being indicted by a grand jury earlier this year.

His trial is set to begin on Apr. 20.

Jackson’s mother, Billie Mercer, was at the hearing, and said she didn’t want the trial of her son’s death to become a lightning rod for racial divides in Austin.

“I don’t like all the violence,” Mercer said in response to the recent flare-ups after high-profile cases in which officers weren’t indicted after involvement in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in New York. “I’m glad this isn’t a bunch of. . . fighting and tearing up the neighborhood. No, I’m not for that. I just want justice in the court system.”

Jenna VonHofe/KUT

At the Texas Capitol Thursday night, protestors gathered to show solidarity with demonstrators in New York, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities around the nation, demanding police be held accountable in several high-profile deaths at the hands of officers.


Fifty-five years ago, on December 4th, 1959, the U.S. launched the Mercury spacecraft which contained a scared little rhesus monkey.

The silent news footage above chronicles the pre-launch preparations of that monkey, Sam, the third primate in space, who was born in 1957 at the Austin animal colony of the now-defunct Brooks Air Force Base -- his name was an acronym representing Brooks' School of Aviation and Medicine. Sam's flight was a test of the Mercury's launch escape system, a precursor to space capsule systems used in manned flight. On that fateful December morning in 1959, Sam went up on a small Little Joe rocket, soared 51 miles into the air and experienced three minutes of weightlessness before plummeting back down to earth. Unlike many early animal astronauts, Sam was retrieved safely several hours later by a U.S. Navy destroyer after landing in the Atlantic Ocean in a floating drum.

Sure, Thanksgiving might be a little difficult at times for some. When you get that many relatives together all in one place, there are bound to be some familial flare-ups. But, if things get a little tense at tomorrow's festivities, remember this: Nobody is throwing knives at you.

Jenna VonHofe/KUT

The day after it was announced a grand jury had chosen not to indict the police officer who shot and killed 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August, University of Texas at Austin students held a march and a rally to protest the decision.

More protests are planned for tonight in Austin and other cities around the country.

Paul Woodruff

Kenneth “Ray” Farabee died at his home in Austin on Thursday, November 20, 2014.  He was 81.

Farabee was born in Wichita Falls, Texas in 1932. He graduated from Wichita Falls High School before attending the University of Texas at Austin. Ray was elected Student Body President at UT and served with the National Student Association where he traveled the nation working with other university student government organizations.

Join John Aielli, host of “Eklektikos” on sister station KUTX 98.9, on Saturday, Dec. 6, for the KUT/KUTX Holiday Sing-Along and Tree Lighting at the Capitol, followed by the Downtown Austin Alliance Congress Avenue stroll.

The free, family-friendly event begins at 6 p.m. on the south steps of the Capitol with the crowd singing songs of the season. Rusty on the lyrics? We’ll be passing out free commemorative songbooks.

At 7 p.m. we count down to the lighting of the Capitol tree, then we’ll stroll down Congress Ave. where shops, restaurants, galleries and museums will be open late to celebrate. The stroll will feature special activities, such as classic holiday cartoons, photos with Santa, live music, a special holiday Farmers’ Market with Sustainable Food Center and much more.

Changes are coming to the Morning Edition and All Things Considered broadcast clocks.

Starting this week, you'll hear more local coverage from KUT News every hour.

KUT and NPR member stations across the country are changing schedules to bring more local stories to our audience during morning and afternoon programming.

Joy Diaz

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

The race to be Austin's next mayor is not over yet. It's headed to a Dec. 16 run-off election because neither of the top two vote-getters received more than 50 percent of the total. Just two city council members have been elected – the top two candidates from the other districts will also head to the run-off.

A total of 78 candidates campaigned in the city’s first election under the 10-1 system of geographic representation.

Mayor of Austin: Steve Adler came out on top in the race for mayor with 36.76 percent. Mike Martinez garnered 29.63 percent of the vote. The run-off election is Dec. 16.

District 1: Ora Houston was just short of the votes needed to win District 1 outright. She received 49.12 percent of the vote. DeWayne Lofton came in second with 14.41 percent of the vote. This race will head to a run-off.

District 2: Delia Garza won District 2 with 65.76 percent of the vote.

District 3: Susana Almanza led the race with 20.99 percent of the vote. She will face her brother, Sabino "Pio" Renteria, in a  run-off. Renteria earned 18.80 percent of the vote.

It’s a busy weekend in Austin, with Halloween and Formula 1 festivities. That means downtown road closures.

Trinity between Cesar Chavez and 4th Street will be closed until midnight for Formula One. So will 2nd and 3rd Streets between Trinity and San Jacinto. Neches between 4th and 5th Streets will also be closed all day.

KUT partnered with the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums to allow voters to get to know the candidates running in the new 10-1 geographic representative system.

Below you can listen to recordings of each of the 10 City Council candidate forums and view archived video of the forums courtesy of KXAN.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The Ballot Boxing series came to a close last night with our mayoral forum at the Belo Center for New Media on the University of Texas at Austin campus.

Six candidates for Austin mayor were joined KUT's Nathan Bernier and co-moderators Shannon Wolfson of KXAN and Michael Kanin of The Austin Monitor for a 90 minute forum to discuss transportation, property taxes, city-backed incentives, public safety and the future of the Austin City Council.

KUT would like to thank our partners at Rock N Roll Rentals for supplying sound equipment and setup for all of the 11 Ballot Boxing forums, as well as our media partners at The Austin Chronicle, The Austin Monitor, KXAN and Univision 62 for their help throughout the series.

You can listen to a recording of the forum below and view photos from the event above.

Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

Last night, KUT's Views & Brews partnered with the Austin Monitor at the Cactus Cafe to take a look at the past, present and future of transportation in Austin.

From roads, to buses, round-a-bouts to rail, guest host Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor spoke with some of the historians, policy makers and analysts in town, including the Director of the Center for Transportation Research at the University of Texas at Austin Dr. Chandra Bhat, political consultant Mark Littlefield, Greg Hartman of the Let’s Go Austin political action campaign supporting Proposition 1, Roger Cauvin of Austinites for Urban Rail Action, which opposes the plan.

You can listen to the entire discussion below.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

As quickly as it arrived, Austin City Limits Fest has come and gone.

So, with that in mind, we've put together a gallery of some of the best images, performances and moments of the fest captured by KUT and KUTX photographers.

You can view full photo albums of both ACL weekends, ACL aftershows and even Ditch the Fest on KUTX's Flickr page, or head over to KUTX.org for full coverage of the fest, including live performances from the KUTX sets at the Four Seasons.

Matthew Yake

Our KUTX family is always working on interesting things. This week, in the short lull between the two weekends of Austin City Limits, host John Aielli did an interview we just had to share.

Aielli sat down with three throat singers from Tuva – a republic of about 300,000 people that's a subject of Russia, and is near Mongolia. The members of the group Alash Ensemble have trained in this style of song since their youth.

Though the group has gotten some broad attention, including collaborations with artists such as Béla Fleck, we'll bet you've never heard anything quite like this before.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The three District 9 candidates met last night in another installment of the Ballot Boxing, a series of in-district City Council candidate forums hosted by KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Gov. Rick Perry announced an executive order that will create a task force to handle the recent case of Ebola diagnosed in Dallas.

The 17-member Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response will enhance the state's readiness to handle pandemic disease, the governor’s office said in a press release. The head of the Texas A&M Health Science Center Dr. Brett P. Giroir will lead the task force.

“Over the past several days we have learned a lot about the unique challenges of situations like this,” Perry said. “And it’s important that we continue to adapt our responses to these realities.”


Over 90,000 pounds of HEB ground beef products have been recalled by the U.S. Department of Agriculture after four consumers complained of metal in their ground beef, which was shipped from Sam Kane Beef Processing in Corpus Christi.

The USDA cautions consumers against four batches of ground beef:

  • Three-pound packages of “HEB Ground Chuck" with the location identification number 337.
  • Five-pound packages of “HEB Ground Beef” with 73 to 29 percent lean-to-fat ratio and the identification number 337 and a production date of Sept. 15, 2014 and a use by date of  Oct. 5, 2014.
  • 10-pound packages of “HEB Ground Beef” with 73 to 29 percent lean-to-fat ratio and the identification number 337 and a production date of Sept. 18, 2014 and a use by date of  Oct. 8, 2014.
  • 10-pound packages of pre-formed patties with the identification number 337 and a production date of Sept. 9, 2014 and a use by date of  Sept. 29, 2014.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/sarowen

Today is the deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 4 local, state and federal elections.

More than a decade ago, around 80 percent of the state's voting age population registered to vote, but now that's closer to 70 percent.

While some argue online voter registration could boost turnout, others worry about the security risks and the chance to give the “other” party a leg up at the ballots.