Luke Quinton

News intern

I'm a freelance writer for the Austin American Statesman and others. 

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Texas
9:40 am
Wed July 17, 2013

New Branch of Texas A&M Could Shake up Fort Hood's Economy

The new building for Texas A&M-Central Texas under construction in July 2013. It's scheduled for completion in 2014.
Luke Quinton for KUT News

The Army announced recently that it plans to eliminate combat brigades at 12 military bases. That’s a total of 80,000 soldiers. The cutbacks come as communities are already dealing with government furloughs. But military towns are trying to keep the old boom and bust economy a thing of the past.

Fort Hood is like a city. When it became a base in the 1940s, it cleared out 1,200 farms. Now it’s home to more than 40,000 assigned soldiers and tens of thousands of civilian workers. The base brings $25 billion to the Texas economy each year.

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Education
5:14 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

What’s in Texas' $500 Million Testing Contract with Pearson?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40964293@N07/4728093020/

Update: The Texas State Auditor has uncovered problems with the $462 million contract between the Texas Education Agency and the testing company, Pearson. The auditor released a report Tuesday. It found TEA doesn’t have a process or the training in place to monitor the contract.

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Politics
12:13 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

After Rallies, 3 Signs of Ramped Up Security on Capitol Grounds

Abortion-rights supporters gather in the morning of the first day of the second special session of the 2013 Texas Legislative Session.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In the wake of last week and yesterday's rallies at the Capitol, the security detail under the dome has made some distinct changes to deal with large scale protests as the second special session begins.

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Voting Rights Act
5:39 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Voting Rights Act Partially Overturned; Texas Implements Voter ID Law

flickr.com/tabor-roeder

The Supreme Court has overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says this morning’s decision means a Texas voter ID law "will take effect immediately." Scroll down for updates. 

The high court struck down Section 4 of the act, which establishes a formula to identify portions of the county (primarily the South) where changes to elections must be approved by the Department of Justice. That was to ensure minority voting rights weren’t infringed upon.

From the court's opinion:

"Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in covered States have risen dramatically."

The court didn’t do away with Section 5 of the act – the portion that allows the Department of Justice to reject state laws it sees as discriminatory. Instead, the court says the new standards should be created, instead of the expanded coverage called for under Section 4.  

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Education
5:26 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

HB 5 Passes, but Number of High-Stakes Tests? Still High

Rune Mathisen, Texas Tribune

When Gov. Rick Perry signed House Bill 5 this week, it signaled that the waves of complaints from parents opposed to high stakes testing, had caught hold. But one irony is that most people — even most journalists — still don’t know the actual  number of test students take.

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Austin
5:48 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Chamber of Commerce Looks to Reinvigorate Austin's 'Brand'

Members of the Austin Chamber of Commerce met on June 6 to discuss the city's future.
Luke Quinton, KUT News

Is Austin's "brand" being diluted? 

The Austin Chamber of Commerce had a round-table discussion today that asked exactly that. The consensus was upbeat, but Jack McDonald, CEO of Silverback Enterprise Group, said a lack of affordable housing will be a more serious concern this decade ahead.

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Health
11:15 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Austin's Uninsured Food Workers Might Get Some Relief

Diners enjoy a fundraiser crawfish boil at Lenoir in April, part of a series of events raising money for uninsured service industry workers.
Courtesy Austin Food For Life

The story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM.

Austin's food scene is booming, but how are its workers faring?

The city has long had HAAM (Health Alliance for Austin Musicians) as a stopgap for musicians without health care. As Austin’s food scene rises to national prominence, Karla Loeb and her partner Brian Stubbs have seen a similar need for the city's chefs, busboys, servers and even farmers.

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Austin
4:39 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Austin Police Cracking Down on Hazardous Driving Memorial Day

APD Chief Art Acevedo said motorists should " obey the law, wear their seatbelts, not drink and drive."
Daniel Reese

 

Last year’s Memorial Day weekend saw 191 car crashes, one death and 99 injuries, said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. 

This year, APD, state police, and nearby counties are collaborating to counter hazardous driving, in an effort to make holiday weekends less destructive on Central Texas roads.

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Austin
5:08 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

Mayor Ponders Privatizing Airport to Shoulder Cost of Urban Rail

Not many public airports have successfully gone private, but Austin may give it a try to pay for other projects.
courtesy flickr.com/dawilson/

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says he’s considering a plan to lease out the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to help pay for future urban rail projects.

The list of airports that have successfully gone private is a short one.

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Texas
12:42 pm
Thu April 18, 2013

Map: Where Are Fertilizer Plants in the U.S.?


View Larger Map

If the astounding explosion in West caught most Texans off-guard, it might be because they weren't aware that a chemical facility holding tremendous amounts of a deadly explosive fuel could operate within the confines of a town, incredibly close to homes and schools.

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Texas
4:51 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Freeze May Have Hurt Peach Crop

Peach growers around Fredericksburg are waiting to see what the recent cold did to their orchards.
courtesy flickr.com/photos/46523905@N00/

After predictions of a bumper crop, freezing temperatures hit Fredericksburg this week, forcing peach growers to use drastic measures to protect the fragile blooms.

Some lit hay bale fires and paid for helicopters to push warmer air down onto their crops.

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Business
6:37 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Why Fredericksburg Could Be In For a Great Peach Crop This Year

The cool winter may mean sweeter peaches this summer.
@Cevola Flickr/http://flickr.com/21444245@N00

Fredericksburg peach trees are just starting to bloom, and growers in the Hill Country are cautiously optimistic about this year’s crop.

The cool weather early in the year that can lead to especially sweet peaches also can ruin them if there’s a cold snap too late in the season.

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Science
5:51 am
Fri March 8, 2013

What This Ten Pound Satellite Can Accomplish Will Surprise You

The Armadillo satellite from UT's Satellite Design Lab will examine space dust in Earth orbit.
Luke Quinton/KUT News

How big is a satellite? Well, that depends. The University of Texas’s Satellite Design Lab just won a competition for its “cube satellite.” So just how small is a cube?

“The dimensions of the spacecraft are essentially the size of a loaf of bread,” said Katharine Brumbaugh, a Ph.D. student at the satellite lab. Her team’s cube satellite, Armadillo, just won a competition run by the Air Force, beating out nine other universities in the “cubesat” category.

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Texas
12:50 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Bodybuilding Champ Turned Austin Attorney Feels Burn in Racketeering Trial (Update)

Attorney Marc G. Rosenthal faces more than a dozen allegations in a Corpus Christi trial.
flickr.com/joegratz and rosenthalwatson.com

Update: Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal was convicted by a federal jury late last week. 

A statement from the Southern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office reads in part

After a four-week trial, jurors convicted Rosenthal of conspiring to bribe a state district judge, bribe witnesses in both state and federal court cases, file fraudulent personal injury cases in both state and federal courts, and deprive the citizens of Cameron County, Texas, of the right to honest services of an elected official.

Rosenthal's sentencing is scheduled in June. 

Original Post (1:49 p.m.): The ongoing saga of Marc G. Rosenthal continues winding its way down the rabbit hole. The Austin attorney, and former Mr. Texas bodybuilding champion, is currently on trial in Corpus Christi, accused of leading a conspiracy that turned trials in his favor.

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Texas
5:12 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Killeen, Fort Hood Brace for Cutbacks

Thousands of civilian workers at Fort Hood may have to work reduced hours if Congress doesn't act.
KUT News

The automatic federal spending cuts set to take effect tomorrow could have a big impact on Texas. Specifically, cuts to army bases could cost the state’s economy nearly $2.5 billion.

For many people in Killeen, next to Fort Hood, the spending cuts are just abstract numbers. For Cheryl Eliano, president of the Fort Hood branch of the American Federation of Government Employees, they’re all too real.

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