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.

Pages

Austin
11:50 am
Tue August 20, 2013

The Average City Pool is 40 Years Old - Give Your Input on a Reboot

Swimmers take a lap in the Northwest Park (Beverly S. Sheffield) Pool.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The City of Austin wants to hear from people who use the city’s pools and splash pads – and from those who don’t.

The city is putting together an assessment of its aquatics facilities. The average age of one in Austin is about 40 years old.

Read more
Austin
2:22 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Over 62,000 New STD Cases Estimated in Travis County

Condoms can drastically reduce the risk of several sexually transmitted diseases.
flickr.com/robertelyov

Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services says sexually transmitted diseases are costing Travis County residents lots of money.

The department says more than 62,000 new cases of STDs were diagnosed in Travis County in 2011 alone. That’s estimated to cost over $83 million in lifetime medical costs.

Read more
Environment
4:34 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Today's an 'Ozone Action Day' – What You Need to Know

If required, the TCEQ will issue another air pollution watch by 3 p.m. today.
flickr.com/StuSeeger

Update: Today's the third Ozone Action Day of the year. Austin remains dangerously close to falling out of attainment of the clean air standard of 75 parts of ozone per billion. At last check, Austin was at 72.

“Being a non-attainment area it’s much harder to recruit business. It also accounts for a lot of absenteeism in schools because a lot of children have asthma and air pollution has been found to directly exacerbate asthma in children," Deanna Altenhoff, Executive Director of Clean Air of Central Texas, said.

Read more
Amber Alert
4:01 am
Thu August 15, 2013

Amber Alert: Missing Central Texas Tot Found

Jaelyn Gucciana Johnson was last seen Aug. 5.
BeyondMissing.com

Update: Authorities say Jaelyn Johnson has been found safe and is back in the custody of her guardians.

Original Story (Aug. 14, 5:57 a.m.): Police in Copperas Cove, TX – just west of Killeen – have issued an Amber Alert for a missing toddler.

Jaelyn Gucciana Johnson is almost 3 years-old. She’s black and has black hair and brown eyes. She weighs about 40 pounds.

Read more
Business
8:57 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Dell Vote Delayed Again: New Deal Includes Higher Offer, Voting Changes

Dell

A Dell Special Committee has reached a deal with founder Michael Dell. It raises his bid to buy the company by 10 cents per share but also changes some of the voting rules.

Instead of counting votes not cast as “no” votes, only votes that are submitted will be counted. This gives Michael Dell a better chance of getting his deal passed.

Read more
City Budget
2:20 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

'Not Able to Keep Up:' Taxes, Fees Rise in Austin's Proposed City Budget

Construction cranes are a familiar sight in Austin nowadays. But despite record development revenue, taxes and fees will likely rise for Austin residents.
flickr.com/dingatx

A proposed budget for the City of Austin has the cost of living on the rise – again.

The proposed city budget for 2014, unveiled today, would mean about a $4 monthly increase for owners of a $185,000 home. And that doesn’t include additional rate and fee changes.

Read more
Texas
12:21 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Judge in Fort Hood Case Rules on Evidence as Trial Nears

Bell County Sheriff's Department

The trial of the alleged Fort Hood shooter is set to start next week.

Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others in a shooting rampage at the Army post in 2009.

The military judge in the trial ruled Wednesday the government can’t use some evidence in opening statements. The prosecution wanted to use three alleged e-mails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki – a man described as an al-Qaeda recruiter.

Read more
Wildfires
6:43 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

200 Acre Wildfire Prompts Evacuations in Smithville (Update)

Smoke from the wildfire illuminated by a sunset
Kate McGee, KUT News

Update: Bastrop County officials say the STAR Flight helicopter is being brought back out to help extinguish some flare ups in the area. Earlier this afternoon, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative said it had restored power to all its customers.

The fire, now 252 acres, is 75 percent contained, according to Bastrop officials.

Read more
Austin
8:09 am
Mon July 29, 2013

APD Detective Shoots, Kills Man

Police have blocked off roads in the area so crime scene investigators can gather evidence.
Trey Shaar, KUT News

Update: Over the weekend, Austin Police identified the man killed as 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. The Austin Police officer who shot him was Detective Charles Kleinert. Kleinert has been an officer for almost 20 years.

APD is looking for a witness who might have seen what happened between Jackson and Kleinert.

Original Story (July 26, 7:58 p.m.): A man is dead after he was shot by an Austin police detective Friday afternoon near the intersection of 34th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard. Police describe the man only as African American. Police had not yet established his identity. No officer was injured in the incident.

Read more
Police
12:37 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

APD Investigates Report of Gunmen at North Austin Movie Theater

Roads aren't closed around the theatre but traffic may be delayed.
Map Data @2013 Google

Update: Austin Police say a SWAT situation at the Tinseltown Theater has ended. No suspects were located.

Police are allowing employees of surrounding businesses to return to work.

Original Story (7:08 a.m.): Austin Police are asking people to avoid the Tinseltown Theater in far *North Austin. They’re investigating a report of two armed people in the theater.

Police say they got a call around 3:45 Monday morning from the theaters' cleaning crew. The three staff members say they saw two people dressed in all black enter the theater carrying long items – possibly weapons.

Read more
Politics
11:19 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Gov. Perry Signs Texas' Sweeping Abortion Bill Into Law

Gov. Rick Perry shakes hands with State. Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, one of the sponsors of House Bill 2, on July 18, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a controversial bill into law this morning.

"It is a happy, celebratory day, and so many of you in this audience are the reason we're here today," Perry said. "In signing House Bill 2, we celebrate and further cement the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon."

Read more
Business
8:30 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Dell Decision Day: Today's Vote on Buyout Delayed (Update)

Dell employs about 14,000 people in Central Texas.
flickr.com/philschatz/

Update: Dell is delaying a vote on founder Michael Dell’s offer to buy the company and make it private. The vote was scheduled to happen this morning – but is being pushed back – likely because major shareholders don’t support the deal.

Reports say the vote has been rescheduled for later this month.

Original Story (6:14 a.m.): It is decision day for Dell shareholders.

They are scheduled to meet this morning and vote on whether to accept a buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Management that values the computer maker at $24.4 billion.

Read more
Austin
6:29 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Austin Rep. Mark Strama Resigns to Run Google Fiber Rollout (Update)

State Rep. Mark Strama is leaving politics for a tech job.
Spencer Selvidge via Texas Tribune

Update: Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced a special election to fill the State House of Representatives seat formerly held by Austin State Rep. Mark Strama will be held Nov. 5.

Strama resigned late last month to become the head of Google Fiber in Austin. The person elected will serve out the rest of Strama’s term – which expires in January 2015.

Original Story (June 26): Democratic Austin State Representative Mark Strama is leaving politics to become the head of Google Fiber in Austin.

Strama announced earlier this year that he’d be resigning his seat in the Texas House. At the time, he was considering running for Austin mayor.

Read more
Transportation
6:22 am
Thu July 11, 2013

MetroRail Service Behind Schedule After Tech Problems (Update)

Trains weren't running because of "a technology issue this morning in Capital Metro’s IT server room."
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Update: Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is back up and running this morning. But trains are running behind schedule because of a technology problem earlier this morning.

Capital Metro says the first train will depart from Leander at about 6:50 a.m.

A Capital Metro spokesperson says crews will work hard this morning to get back on schedule.

Original Story (6:22 a.m.): Capital Metro’s MetroRail Service is down this morning because of a technology problem.

Read more
Austin
2:33 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Study: Families Need At Least $67,000 to 'Get By' in Austin

The money needed for a family of four to live modestly in Austin is $4,000 more than the national median.
flickr.com/fiftypercentchanceofrain

A family of four needs to bring in around $67,000 a year to get by modestly in the Austin area.

That’s according to the recently-updated budget calculator put together by the Economic Policy Institute. The calculator takes into consideration things like housing, food, childcare and transportation.

Read more
Arts and Culture
5:35 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Heard of Tugg? Austin Startup Changes How People Go to Movies

Gonda says movie theatres like Tugg because many screenings are on weeknights – when they're more likely to have open seats.
tugg.com

There’s a screening tonight in Austin for a movie you probably haven’t heard of.

It’s not part of a film festival or a private event. It's happening in prime time at the Alamo Drafthouse on Research Boulevard.

"’GrowthBusters' is an independent documentary film that brings attention to the fact that we’ve outgrown the planet and it’s time to embrace the end of growth," Director Dave Gardner said.

"GrowthBusters" is Gardner's first big documentary. As a small fish in the big pond of the movie industry, he has limited options for getting it on movie screens. So he turned to an Austin-based startup: Tugg.

Read more
Politics
6:53 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Senate Committee Wraps Testimony on Texas Abortion Bill

The line of those wishing to testify in the Capitol Extension. DPS estimates over 1,700 people waiting in line, some of whom have been waiting since early this morning.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Update: The Senate Health & Human Services Committee public hearing on Senate Bill 1 wrapped up just before 2 a.m. Tuesday. Senators did not vote on the bill.

Original Story (July 8, 10 a.m.): The Senate Health & Human Services Committee is holding a public hearing today on a bill that would limit access to abortions in Texas.

Read more
Texas
6:06 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Texas National Guard Furloughs Go Into Effect Today

Texas Military Forces officials say furloughs could 'negatively affect essential capabilities that state officials and first responders rely on in disaster situations.'
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

Update: Furloughs start today for full-time employees of the Texas Army and Air National Guard.

The employees will have to take 11 non-consecutive unpaid days off between now and Sept. 30 as part of federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

The National Guard has announced that, along with the furloughs, most military commissaries will be closed on Mondays through the end of September.

Read more
Politics
12:01 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

House Committee Cuts Off Debate, Passes Texas Abortion Bill (Update)

Stephanie Argos, left, and Griselda Melgares of Katy, Texas, came to the Capitol to support House Bill 2 on July 2, 2013.
Veornica Zaragovia for KUT News

Update: A Texas House panel voted early this morning along party lines to pass a bill to put more restrictions on abortion in the state. While the committee heard hours of testimony, more than one thousand people who signed up to speak, weren’t given the opportunity.

Read more
Austin
6:00 am
Fri June 28, 2013

Austin Study Highlights LGBT Housing Discrimination

Michael McCrory says his former landlord wanted him to apply for disability benefits for being transgender.
Laura Rice, KUT News

The City of Austin and the Austin Tenant’s Council are hosting a community forum Saturday focused on housing discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

Read more

Pages