Laura Rice

Producer, Morning Edition

Laura joined the KUT team in April 2012. She works with Jennifer Stayton each weekday morning to bring you the latest local news during Morning Edition, hosts the noon newscast and reports for on-air and online. You'll also hear Laura with the morning news headlines on KUTX and filling in for Jennifer during the morning drive-time. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.

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Austin Film Scene
1:45 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Why 'The Hunger Games' Filmmakers Came to Austin With 'Mockingjay - Part 1'

'Hunger Games' Director Francis Lawrence, right, with actress Julianne Moore.
Lionsgate Publicity

The third film in the popular “Hunger Games” series hits theatres on Friday. To drum up anticipation for “Mockingjay Part-1," the filmmakers are traveling the globe for special premieres. So far they’ve been to London, L.A. and Austin. 

KUT sat down with Director Francis Lawrence and Producer Nina Jacobson to talk about the film and why they made a stop in Central Texas.

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Austin Film Scene
1:39 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Oscar-Nominated Costume Designer Talks Dressing Superman and Amy Adams

Michael Wilkinson created a new Superman suit for the film "Man of Steel."
Michael Wilkinson

Oscar-nominated costume designer Michael Wilkinson is making his first-ever trip to Austin this weekend. He's the subject of a special event with the Austin Film Society on Sunday.

Wilkinson is known for his work on films including "American Hustle", "Man of Steel" and "Noah". He's also working on the upcoming film "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Wilkinson spoke with KUT about his varied collection of work and some of his favorite past projects.

On His Goals for Superhero Costumes:

With superhero films, you want people to come out of the theatre and talk about the costumes and how inspiring they are and how cool they look when they're on a billboard that's like 10 stories high and you want to show people different creative worlds that they haven't seen before and take them to new inspiring, compelling places."

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Austin Film Scene
4:25 am
Fri November 7, 2014

Get Lost With an 'Indian Cowboy' Searching for His Identity – and His Gun

Chaske Spencer, known for his roles in the "Twilight" films, stars in "Winter in the Blood."
"Winter in the Blood"

The Austin Film Society is screening “Winter in the Blood” this evening.

The film’s been on the festival circuit for more than a year – and has been picked up for national distribution. Some of the attention it’s gotten is thanks to its star – Chaske Spencer – who fans of the “Twilight” movies know as an ab-bearing werewolf.

In this film, Spencer plays Virgil First Raise – an Indian cowboy who struggles with questions of identity and heritage while on a mission to get his gun back from his runaway wife.

The filmmakers describe “Winter in the Blood” as a neo-noir – mixing dream elements and flashbacks with the modern tale. But much of the focus and coverage of the film has actually not been on the film itself but over issues of race. That’s because “Winter in the Blood” is based on a book by Native American author James Welch and it features a mostly Native American cast. But it was written and directed by white men – including Austin-based filmmaker Alex Smith.

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Texas Elections 2014
10:19 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Election Results Roundup: Final Numbers From Texas and Austin Races

Governor-elect Greg Abbott celebrates at the ACL Live Moody Theater on Tuesday night with his fellow Republicans. They swept statewide offices on Election Day.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Election Day totals are in.

Republicans swept the statewide elections, with Greg Abbott winning the gubernatorial race and Dan Patrick besting San Antonio Democrat Leticia Van de Putte for Lieutenant Governor in the top two races.

Citywide races weren't so clear-cut. There will be nine run-offs in races for Austin City Council and for Mayor of Austin. Council Member Mike Martinez trails Austin attorney Steve Adler 29.63 percent to his nearly 37 percent. Delia Garza and Ann Kitchen were the only two Austin City Council candidates to win their districts with more than 50 percent of the vote in Districts 2 and 5, respectively. The rest of the races will be decided in run-off elections in December. 

Additionally, three Austin School Board elections went to run-offs; Sarah Eckhardt became the first female Travis County Judge; and Texas passed a statewide road improvement bond.

While Austinites couldn't forge consensus on council candidates, they did vote down by a wide margin a billion-dollar proposition to build a light rail system and accompanying road improvements, with 57 percent of Austinites voting against and nearly 43 percent voting for it.

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Ebola
11:26 am
Tue November 4, 2014

In Texas, No Mandatory Quarantine For All Health Workers Returning From Areas Affected by Ebola

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response has issued guidelines for dealing with health workers returning from "Ebola-Endemic" areas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

The task force put together by Texas Governor Rick Perry to evaluate the state’s response to Ebola has come out with a list of recommendations for how to handle health care workers exposed to the virus.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response has outlined four categories of exposure – from no identifiable risk to high risk. Those at a lower risk would just take their temperatures twice a day while high risk people would be restricted in their movement for the 21-day incubation period.

The task force says it "does not support mandatory government-imposed strict quarantine" for those who are cooperative and not showing symptoms – unless they meet the high risk description.

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Austin Film Festival
2:29 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Antonia Bogdanovich Opens Up About Her Famous Family and Her First Feature Film

Antonia Bogdanovich on the set of the short film "Phantom Halo" was based on.
"Phantom Halo"/Station 8 Films

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Antonia Bogdanovich is filmmaking royalty.

Her dad is Peter Bogdanovich – the director of films including “Paper Moon” and “The Last Picture Show.” Antonia’s mother – the late Polly Platt – also worked on that film among many others. She produced “Bottle Rocket” – the movie that launched Wes Anderson's award winning career.

But while Antonia Bogdanovich has worked in and around the film business for decades – it took her a while to get behind the camera.

She's making her feature directorial debut at the Austin Film Festival with “Phantom Halo.”

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Austin Film Festival
5:35 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

Special Operations Soldiers Share Their Stories of PTSD in New Documentary

Tyler Grey (center) shares his story of reintegration in "That Which I Love Destroys Me."
"That Which I Love Destroys Me"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Austin-based filmmaker Ric Roman Waugh got his start in the stunt business. His film credits include "Gone in 60 Seconds," "Total Recall," and "Hook." He then went on to work with tough guys including Val Kilmer and Dwayne Johnson as a director and screenwriter.

"That Which I Love Destroys Me" is Waugh's first documentary. It follows two special operations soldiers as they explore the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It screened at the Austin Film Festival.

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Austin Film Festival
4:00 pm
Mon October 27, 2014

New Documentary Explores Whether Texas is Keeping its Public Education Promise

"The Texas Promise" is about the state funds - and cuts funding - to public education.
thetexaspromisemovie.org

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

“The Texas Promise” is screening at the 2014 Austin Film Festival. It tells the story of the $5.4 billion in cuts to education that the Texas Legislature made in 2011 and follows the ongoing legal challenge to that cut and efforts to restore some of that funding.

It’s an ongoing issue Texans ought to be very familiar with but producer/director Vanessa Roth came to this story from the outside.

Roth's documentary work has mainly focused on education and the foster care system. She says the story about how Texas is funding education is one the country needs to know about.

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Austin Film Festival
7:30 am
Thu October 23, 2014

TV, Marquee Screenings and Performing Animals at This Year's Austin Film Fest

Jon Stewart's "Rosewater" shows Oct. 30 at the Austin Film Festival.
"Rosewater"

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

The 21st Annual Austin Film Festival Starts today. The fest celebrates screenwriting and is equal parts conference, competition and screenings.

AFF Executive Director Barbara Morgan sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about what's exciting to her about this year's fest.

On Television at the Fest:

"We have been doing television for a long time at the festival and, like everybody I think, I too, have become quite obsessed with a lot of different TV shows. We've really done a lot this year with marrying that television into both the conference and the festival. We've got panels with Noah Hawley, who created this year 'Fargo' for television - which was a really cool show. And then, of course, Cary Fukunaga of 'True Detective.'

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Ebola
5:38 am
Wed October 15, 2014

Second Texas Health Worker Tests Positive for Ebola as Official Tries to Calm Fears (Update)

Dallas Hazmat workers begin decontaminating the apartment of the second Dallas health care worker who has tested postitive for Ebola.
Dallas Police Department, @DallasPD

Update: The Texas Department of State Health Services this morning confirmed a second health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas has tested positive for Ebola. The worker reported a fever on Tuesday and DSHS says he or she was immediately isolated at the hospital.

No information about the health care worker's identity is being released at this time but, like the first health care worker at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital to be diagnosed with Ebola, this person took care of Thomas Eric Duncan – the first Ebola patient to die in the U.S. of the virus.

DSHS officials say they've already reached out to people who made have had contact with this second health worker. Those people will be monitored for potential symptoms.

The second diagnosis of a Texas health care worker comes a day after DSHS Chief David Lakey made statements in an effort to calm fears among health workers about the possible spread of Ebola.

Original Story (Oct. 14, 7:38 p.m.): The chief of the Texas Department of State Health Services says the team in Dallas is committed to containing the Ebola virus, and he says he understands the high level of anxiety among health care workers.

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Life & Arts
12:12 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Slideshow: The Posters, Vinyl and Toys at The First-Ever MondoCon

Mondo's vinyl for “Music for 2001: A Space Odyssey.” Artwork and package design by Jay Shaw. Featured on the “2001: A Lost Score” panel at MondoCon.
Mondo

If you’ve heard of Austin-based Alamo Drafthouse offshoot Mondo – you probably know them for their film posters. They’re artistic alternatives to the stuff pushed out by the film industry.

But Mondo has become much more than that as of late – also producing throwbacks with a focus on design including VHS tapes and vinyl records. Now, they’ve starting making toy collectibles.

They’re showing off all of this and inviting people to learn more about what they do in the first ever MondoCon. It’s this weekend in Austin.

Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

On What's Special About Mondo's Posters:

"I think, first, the place where they're coming from is completely different from what's coming out of Hollywood. A lot of times, ours are not promoting a film that's actively trying to make money so I think there's a lot of liberties that we can take with them that studios can't... Some of our posters rely on having seen the movie to evoke an emotion."

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Fantastic Fest
8:29 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Interview: Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League on Horror, South Lamar and Leonard Maltin

Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League presents the "Fantastic Awards" at last year's fest.
Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest is underway in Austin. The festival celebrates genre filmmaking – including horror, fantasy and sci-fi. This year is the festival’s 10th – so organizers are literally going hog wild with the lineup and events.

Fantastic Fest Founder and Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League sat down with KUT's Laura Rice to talk about it.

Tim on Fantastic Fest:

“It started out that we just wanted to have a showcase for international genre films in Austin, TX for the community here, and it’s evolved into a decent-size industry event. Right now, we try to make a lot of opportunities happen for young filmmakers.”

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Weather
6:39 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Central Texas Downpours: Flash Flood Watch Canceled in Central Texas

A screenshot of last night's rain.

Update: The National Weather Service has extended flood advisories for rivers and creeks in central Travis County and south central Williamson County until 9:30 a.m.

Flooding at Bull Creek at Loop 360 is minor, but has reached 7 and a half feet. Officials advise drivers to be cautious when approaching the F.M. 2222 bridge.

Waters may run high at Gilleland Creek, Shoal Creek, Walnut Creek and Wilbarger Creek for the next few hours.

Update (5:35 a.m.): The National Weather Service has issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for Central Travis County and South Central Williamson County until 7:30 a.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service canceled a flash flood watch that been in effect for Central Texas through the early morning hours of Friday. However, there is still a 40% chance of rain in the forecast for today.

The combination of heavy rains again and an already-saturated ground could potentially produce some problems with flooding. Thursday's downpours brought several inches of rain to parts of the region and caused low-water crossing closures across the area. Thirty-one low water crossings are still closed Friday morning

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Film
1:23 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Actor Mark Duplass on Austin, Linklater and His New Film – 'The One I Love'

Mark Duplass plays one half of a married couple with relationship problems in 'The One I Love.'
Courtesy Radius-TWC

Mark Duplass is an actor best known for his role in television's "The League" and a director/producer made famous by "The Puffy Chair" – a film he made with his brother Jay.

He produced and stars in a new film in theatres now  – "The One I Love."

KUT's Laura Rice had a chance to talk with Duplass about the film, about his ties to Austin and about one of his heroes: Austin-based filmmaker Richard Linklater.

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Film
5:33 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Austin Filmmaker Shows Dock Ellis Was More Than Just a Pitcher on LSD

Dock Ellis on the field.
Ron Mrowiec

Austin-based filmmaker Jeffrey Radice's first feature film is now in theaters.

"No No: A Dockumentary" follows the life of Dock Ellis, a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates from the late '60s through the mid '70s who is best known for pitching a no-hitter on LSD.

KUT's Laura Rice spoke with Radice about about Ellis' life on and off the field, the use of drugs in the MLB before the steroids era and Ellis' impact on the game.

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Film
6:12 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Documentary Explores the Bond Between Military Dogs and Their Handlers

Dogs and handlers are deployed together as a unit.
Canine Soldiers Film

A dog is more than a man’s best friend on the battlefield.

Nancy Schiesari, a radio-television-film professor at The University of Texas at Austin, is working on Canine Soldiers, a documentary that investigates the relationship between American soldiers and their canine partners.

KUT’s Laura Rice talked with Schiesari about exploring the bond between handlers and their canine companions and why Schiesari chose to make the documentary in 3D.

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Austin Film Scene
8:15 am
Thu August 21, 2014

PHOTOS: Two Big Directors and a Rock Legend at Austin Premiere of New 'Sin City'

'Sin City' Director Robert Rodriguez and Aerosmith rocker Steven Tyler.
Cody Rea for KUT

Austin Filmmaker Robert Rodriguez shared his latest film with his hometown Wednesday night. "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" hits theaters across the country Friday but Austin audiences can see it today.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is Rodriguez's second collaboration with comics artist Frank Miller. The two first teamed up to co-direct the first "Sin City" back in 2005. On the red carpet Wednesday night, Rodriguez told reporters a third part to to the series could come if audiences respond well to this release.

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Austin
12:52 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

First Burn Ban of Summer Now in Effect for Travis County

The scorched earth after the Bastrop Wildfires of 2011. Fire Marshal Lee says this summer has not been nearly as dry.
Mose Buchele, KUT News

Travis County is under a burn ban for the first time this summer.

Fire Marshal Hershel Lee says the area has been getting drier over the past few months and yesterday’s rain just wasn’t enough to make a significant different in the soil moisture.

“There’s very little moisture in the top eight inches of soil for plants to grow so the plants have lost their fuel moisture and are more susceptible to fire starting easily," Lee said. "With all of these factors taken into consideration, long-term forecast of 10 to 12 days of 100 degree weather, we felt it was time to implement a burn ban.”

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Life & Arts
7:17 am
Tue July 29, 2014

'Two Step' Is An Intense Texas Thriller (Update)

James Landry Hébert plays a convincing con man in "Two Step."
Courtesy "Two Step"

Update: Austinites have another chance to see "Two Step" on the big screen. After showing at SXSW and the Little Rock Film Festival, the Austin Film Society is screening Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's dark feature.

KUT talked with Johnson about the film back in March.

Original Story (March 10, 2014): The Texas drama "Two Step" debuts at SXSW Film. It is Austin-based writer/director Alex R. Johnson's first feature-length film. It has a "No Country for Old Men" vibe – along with a memorable villain who you're better off not running into.

Johnson is pretty new to Austin. He talked with KUT about "Two Step" and how moving here inspired him to make it.

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Housing
3:36 pm
Mon July 28, 2014

Under 10% of Austin Landlords Accept Vouchers. This Rule Could Change That.

Austin's "source of income" discrimination rule could require landlords accept vouchers and other housing subsidies.
flickr.com/milestonemanagement

The rental market in Austin is hot. The Austin Board of Realtors says more units are being leased than last year and the prices are higher.

But the City of Austin says it can be hard for people who use housing vouchers to find a place to live. Now, some city commissions are considering adding “source of income” discrimination [PDF] to a list of banned landlord behavior.

A study found fewer than 10 percent of rental units in Austin currently accept vouchers – a move that critics say contributes to a concentration of poverty in the northern and eastern parts of the city.

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