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.

Ways to Connect

From Texas Standard

Rehabilitation after a health issue or accident can be a long and painful process. For people recovering from a stroke or spinal cord injury, the challenges are unique. One side of the body can be affected more than the other, and damage to the brain can also cause roadblocks to regaining movement. But some Texas researchers have developed a new way to help stroke and spinal cord injury patients move again.

CC0 Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Seventy years ago this week, the United States dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Mike Cox is an author and award-winning journalist, he writes that Texas’ Padre Island was on the short list for testing the bomb.

On how close Padre Island was to becoming a test site:

“South Padre Island was one of eight sites that the U.S. Military considered as a place to explode the first atomic bomb. And it actually came down to about three sites that were pretty high on the list: one was in California, one was the Alamagordo site in New Mexico and the other one was South Padre Island — which, admittedly, at the time was pretty remote. But eventually they decided on blowing up that first device in New Mexico.”

Courtesy Penguin Random House

From Texas Standard:

By now, you've probably heard about the latest book – newly discovered and rushed to publication — by Dr. Seuss. It's been about as well-kept a secret as Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman," which came out a few weeks ago. We decided to call in our resident Texas expert on literature to find out whether you should get "What Pet Should I Get?"

Claiborne Smith is the editor-in-chief of Austin-based Kirkus Review.

Image courtesy Frank Tilley/Victoria Advocate

From Texas Standard:

85-year-old Wharton County rancher Mark DeFriend was living his life as usual and was shocked to learn that he’d been declared dead. DeFriend first contacted The Victoria Advocate to talk about his life-after-death experience. Now, he joins the Standard to share his story.

On how the mix-up happened:

“The lady that waited on me was very helpful and considerate and I said, ‘I can’t understand how somebody can say…’ and she said, ‘Mr. DeFriend, there is a delete on the computer and a dismiss and a demised – and in a hurry sometimes they’ll hit that demise.’ So she said this happens all the time is what she told me.”

From Texas Standard.

The Texas Legislature officially named Dripping Springs the “Wedding Capital of Texas” this spring. Chances are good that when Texas lawmakers cast their votes for the designation they probably weren’t contemplating the Supreme Court docket. So how is the big wedding industry in the small city of Dripping Springs adjusting?

Kim Hanks owns Whim Hospitality and the wedding venue Camp Lucy. She’s been serving couples in the area for more than a decade.

Photo via Facebook/TEXASshow

From Texas Standard.

Texas has a state bird, a state flower — even a state insect. What most Texans don’t know, however, is that the state also has an official play, and this year marks its 50th anniversary. And, though millions around the world have seen the musical, many Texans have yet to experience it.

It happens six nights a week for three months every summer. Crowds gather at an outdoor amphitheater at Palo Duro Canyon State Park outside of Amarillo, as they have for the past 50 years. They come to see a musical they won’t see anywhere else.

It’s called ‘Texas.’ It’s kind of like the more-famous ‘Oklahoma,’ except it’s about, well, Texas.


From Texas Standard.

The U.S. Supreme Court just wrapped up a momentous term. Last month alone brought decisions on upholding the Texas ban on confederate license plates, provisions of the Affordable Care Act (or as Justice Scalia likes to call it “SCOTUS-care”), and then that little matter of same-sex marriage.

But now that the court is in recess we can calmly reflect on a few things at least. Whatever happened to that 5-4 conservative court? And what’s going to happen in a few months when the 2015 term gets underway? NPR’s Nina Totenberg discussed it all with the Texas Standard.

Photo via Flickr/plong (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

For the first time in a long time, the Fourth of July in Texas will be red, white, blue – and green. That's thanks to abundant rain so far this year.

The lower risk for wildfires means vendors across the state have the option to sell more types of fireworks. And they say they are also seeing more people interested in lighting up the night sky for this year's fourth.

Photo via Cody Rea/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Actor Jason Schwartzman is a Californian through and through. He was born in LA and is part of the storied Coppola film clan – led by Schwartzman’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola. Before he turned to film, he was a musician. And his band Phantom Planet’s most famous song? “California.”

But Schwartzman is Texan by association. He’s best known for his work with Houstonian Wes Anderson – and North Texas brothers Luke and Owen Wilson. One of the two films he was promoting at this year’s South by Southwest was filmed in Austin.

Allyson Holley/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The game is tied. There’s five seconds left on the clock. A hush comes over the crowd and the defense seems to part as you make your way to the basket. You jump up and – your fantasy ends there.

Who are you kidding? Even in your wildest dreams you can’t dunk a basketball.

Or can you? That’s what Asher Price wanted to know. He writes about energy and the environment for the Austin American-Statesman, so he took a scientific approach to his quest to dunk a basketball. He stopped by the Texas Standard to talk about his book Year of the Dunk.


Photo via San Antonio Charter Moms/(CC BY 3.0)

From Texas Standard:

For more than 130 years, a mill has been a landmark of the Johnson City community. It’s served as a steam grist mill, cotton gin, feed mill and even a restaurant. But it was vacant for a while, until its latest tenant moved in: a science museum.


From Texas Standard:

There are at least three things every Texan knows about Austin. 1) It's the state capitol. 2) It calls itself the live music capitol of the world. And 3) It seems like there's a festival nearly every weekend.

One of those festivals is all about television – a segment of the entertainment industry that used to have a Rodney Dangerfield complex – it "never gets no respect."

But as the Texas Standard's Laura Rice found out at this year's ATX Fest, the real story here is how much that's changed.


From Texas Standard:

The ground is saturated, the grass is green and the state climatologist has declared the statewide drought as we’ve known it since 2010 effectively over.

But there’s at least one piece of the puzzle that’s not quite there yet: some of the state’s water supplies – including the lakes that supply much of the Austin area.

John Hoffman is with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the lakes are now more than 50 percent full – that’s up about 20 percent from where the lakes were earlier this year – but it isn’t enough.

Photo via Texas Tribune/Flickr

From Texas Standard:

The man who leads the flagship campus of the University of Texas is in his final week of the job.

University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers is stepping down June 2.

Powers spoke with Texas Standard about his upcoming plans, his journey to Texas and his own quest of perseverance.

Photo via Flickr/martin55 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In case you missed it, Texas House Concurrent Resolution 130 is now law.

“WHEREAS, John Wayne is the prototypical American hero, symbolizing such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism be it resolved that the State of Texas hereby resolves May 26th as John Wayne Day.”

John Wayne’s son, Ethan Wayne, is an actor himself – he joins the Texas Standard to talk about his father’s career.

Photo via Flickr/ryantron (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In a new report from the University of Texas at Tyler, a trio of researchers asked nearly 1,000 undergraduates to keep track of their time. And to keep track of what they were doing when they were also doing something else.

“We basically found that multitasking is somewhat of a myth. People think that they are able to do it, but they really are not able to do it well," Kouider Mokhtari says.

Mokhtari co-authored with Julie Delello and Carla Reichard. He says one of the surprising findings of their study is that students know multitasking doesn’t work – but they do it anyway – and so, admittedly, do most all of us.

Courtesy Pixar Animation Studios

From Texas Standard.

Pixar has produced hit after award-winning hit. Films including the “Toy Story” series, “Cars” and many others. The company has arguably set the standard for computer-generated animation.

Jim Murphy has been at Pixar since 1996. He’s been an animator for Academy Award-winning films including “Finding Nemo “ and “The Incredibles."

From Texas Standard.

Are “Texas Football Fans Trending Away From Burnt Orange“… UT Austin Athletic Director Steve Patterson says 'no way.'


This story comes from Texas Standard.

Remember the movie Minority Report? It’s kind of like that…

Imagine you’re doing a little window shopping and suddenly the ad on a screen in front of you changes… a cold front has blown through, so instead of showing iced coffee, it shows a steaming cup of hot chocolate.

This is the type of advertising that a Dallas Startup is at the forefront of. Glass-Media’s technology also has some ability to recognize you – or at least tell your age and gender.

Daniel Black is the company’s co-founder and CEO.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Walking out to get the mail? Put on some repellant. Seriously.

One type of mosquito you really want to avoid right now is one that is out and about in the middle of the day. It is the type that carries a painful disease that’s spread from South and Central America into Mexico and, perhaps soon, Texas.