Margaret Nicklas

Intern

Intern for KUT News

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AM Update 7/3/12
8:00 am
Tue July 3, 2012

AM Update: ‘No Sit, No Lie,’ Finishing Touches at Governor's Mansion, Free Pet Adoptions

The iconic painting 'Fall of the Alamo' returns to the Governor's Mansion.
Governor's Office

No Vote on ‘No Sit, No Lie’

Austin’s Public Safety Commission decided to push back until August a decision on expanding the city’s “No Sit, No Lie” ordinance to the 12th Street and Chicon Street area.

The ordinance bans anyone from sitting or sleeping on streets near businesses, banks, and ATMs. Right now, it’s in effect downtown.

The Blackshear and Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association has been trying to bring the ordinance east of Interstate 35 in hopes of combating drug and prostitution problems.

But the Public Safety Commission isn’t convinced “No Sit, No Lie” is the best option.

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AM Update 6/27/12
8:05 am
Wed June 27, 2012

AM Update: DPS Completes 'Roadcheck 2012,' Sewage Spill in SE Travis Co., Colorado Wildfires

DPS troopers recently completed a three day effort to crackdown on unsafe commercial vehicles.
KUT News

Texas Department of Public Safety Completes ‘Roadcheck 2012’

Earlier this month, DPS troopers and civilian inspectors joined forces to make the roads safer in Texas. Inspecting more than 8,000 commercial vehicles, over a three-day period, the department issued thousands of citations and removed 1,763 vehicles and 243 drivers from the roads, according to a statement issued yesterday.

The program checks 18-wheelers, buses, and other commercial vehicles for things like unsafe brakes and tires. Drivers’ logs, driving time limits and licenses are also inspected.

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AM Update 6/26/12
8:41 am
Tue June 26, 2012

AM Update: Record Electric Demand, Child Car Safety, New Tar Sands Pipeline

The ERCOT grid control center. ERCOT saw record demand for June.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Electricity Demand Hit New June Record Yesterday

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid operator for most of Texas, reported hitting a new June record for peak electric demand Monday. Electricity use peaked from 4-5 p.m., when 65,047 megawatts were needed.

A previous record occurred last June, when 63,102 megawatts were used. ERCOT’s all-time peak demand, at 68,379 megawatts, occurred last August.

Triple digit temperatures are forecast for the remainder of the week in Austin. 

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Transportation
8:47 am
Wed June 20, 2012

Overnight Truck Accident Closes Lanes on I-35

A cameraphone picture taken early this morning showing the overturned truck,
dirtybad.imgur.com

Update (8:53 a.m.): Police say all southbound lanes of I-35 are now open.

Traffic was diverted for several hours this morning after an 18-wheeler jackknifed on I-35, trying to avoid hitting a pedestrian. The pedestrian died. The accident occurred at 2 a.m. today, Austin police said.

While both northbound and southbound lanes were closed for about an hour this morning around the 5500 block of the highway, all northbound lanes were said to be open by 8:30 this morning. Southbound lanes were expected to be opened by approximately 9 a.m.

AM Update 6/20/12
7:50 am
Wed June 20, 2012

AM Update: Unemployment Benefits Ending for Some, Border Patrol Changes, Summer Solstice Arrives

A job search center at Austin's Carver Branch Library.
Texas State Library and Archives, flickr.com/tslac

Unemployment Benefits Changing for Some Texans

The Texas Workforce Commission announced on Tuesday that certain groups of unemployed Texans won’t be eligible for unemployment benefits after 60 weeks starting in July.

Previously, claimants could receive benefits for up to 73 weeks. Those already receiving benefits based on the older criteria will continue to be eligible. The commission estimates that about 22,453 individuals may be affected going forward.

The changes come due to Texas’ improving unemployment rate, resulting in revisions to the length of Emergency Unemployment Compensation offered to job searchers.

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Business
10:03 am
Tue June 19, 2012

Whole Foods Opens in South Austin

Employees literally broke bread at a Whole Foods opening this morning.
Mike Martinez, facebook.com/ElGalloMike

A new Whole Foods opened in South Austin this morning, the second location of the Austin-based chain to open within the region in as many months.

The original Whole Foods market opened in Austin in 1980 with a staff of only 19 employees.  Today its Austin locations number four, out of 310 locations internationally.

The store will reflect the “laid back, at home feel of the South Austin community” store team leader Steph Steele said in a statement. The store aims to provide “an intimate community grocery store experience,” Steele added – a seeming contrast to Whole Foods' bustling flagship location downtown (now complete with  self-driven shopping carts).

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AM Update 6/19/12
6:46 am
Tue June 19, 2012

AM Update: STAAR Heads to Public Ed Committee, Hasan Trial Delay, Juneteenth Celebration

The House Public Education Committee will discuss the STAAR exam today.
KUT News

Lawmakers to Hear Testimony on STAAR Implementation

State lawmakers will get an update today on how the rollout of the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness, known as STAAR, went this spring. The exam is the state’s latest school accountability test.

Figures released this month indicated that many Texas ninth graders performed poorly on the test. As the Texas Tribune previously reported, “This year, the scores on the exams don’t count toward high school students’ final grades or toward school districts’ accountability ratings. But a requirement that students retake a test if they do not achieve a minimum score remains in place.” So due to low scores, many students will retake exams this summer.

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AM Update
8:24 am
Wed June 13, 2012

AM Update: Austin Ties in Zetas Arrests, Millions of Latinos Not Registered to Vote, OKC Wins Game 1

Officials have tied drugs seized in Austin to Mexican cartels; untapped Latino voters could swing Texas' next election; and the OKC Thunder beat Miami in the NBA Finals' Game 1.
Mose Buchele, KUT News; Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News; Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Fourteen Indicted for Alleged Ties to Drug Cartel

A Central Texas grand jury indicted 14 people with alleged ties to the Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas.  The cartel’s leader, Miguel Angel Trevino Morales, and two of his brothers were among those indicted.

Federal investigators say the defendants were involved in a money laundering scheme for the cartel involving the horse racing business.

Authorities arrested seven of the indicted individuals on Tuesday. One person was arrested in Austin.

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AM Update
7:33 am
Tue June 12, 2012

AM Update: Cap Metro Readies Layoffs, Arts Patron Umlauf Dies, Grants for Cleaner Fleets

Local artist and philanthropist Angeline Umlauf dies at 97; Texas moves to cut diesel emissions; Cap Metro staff changes underway.
(clockwise from left) Umlauf Gallery; photo courtesy flickr.com/environmentblog; photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Cap Metro Preps Layoffs in Labor Transition; Says Most Employees Will Be Offered Jobs

Capital Metro is laying off more than 800 union employees as it prepares to outsource those jobs to two contractors.

The transit agency says the union workers will be offered jobs under the new operators, as long as they can pass driving and drug tests.

More than 50 supervisors are also being laid off. They are not part of the union so they are not guaranteed new jobs, but will be given first consideration, Cap Metro says.

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Austin
2:25 pm
Mon June 11, 2012

More Deaths on Austin Roads This Year

The streets of Austin are dangerous this year.
Emily Donahue for KUT News

Fatalities from traffic crashes in Austin are up this year – especially in incidents involving pedestrians.

After the deaths of three motorcyclists and one pedestrian over the weekend, the number of people killed in Austin crashes has reached 36 on the year. Those deaths coincided with the Republic of Texas Biker Rally.

Half of this year's 36 deaths have been accidents involving pedestrians. That’s up from 41 percent (22 deaths) in 2011 and 20 percent (10 deaths) in 2010. Austin Police say 10 of the pedestrians killed this year were under the influence of drugs or alcohol and one driver was impaired. 

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AM Update
7:39 am
Wed June 6, 2012

AM Update: Lady Bird Lake Study, F1 Tickets Going On Sale, Texans Divided On Planned Parenthood

Experts reveal initial plans for Austin's south shore; Tickets for Austin's F1 Grand Prix on sale Sunday; Texans have opposing views of Planned Parenthood.
Photo by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News; Photo by Lucia Duncan for KUT News; Photo by Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Initial Findings Announced for Lady Bird Lake

Tonight, a team of riverfront planners, landscape architects and green builders will share their vision for the future of Lady Bird Lake’s south shore.

The team has spent the last few days studying what they call “South Shore Central”—which is the area around Congress and First Street. The city says the area is lacking in infrastructure.

Austin won a grant for sustainable development that covers the consulting fees. The team toured the shoreline by land and by boat and listened to recommendations from Austinites.

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AM Update
8:34 am
Tue June 5, 2012

AM Update: Animal Shelter Achieves No-Kill, Controversial Tax Considered, Thunder Rolls on Spurs

Despite crowding, the Austin Animal Shelter met its no-kill benchmarks in May; The Texas House Ways & Means Committee will take a closer look at a tax today; The Spurs are down 3-2 in the NBA Western Conference Finals.
Photo by KUT News; Photo by Lizzie Chen for KUT News; Photo by D.Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty

Austin Animal Center Achieves 90 Percent Live Outcome Rate

The Austin Animal Center put down 10 percent of animals in May, achieving a 90 percent live outcome rate. That is up two percent from this time last year, but down one percent from April.

The shelter took in more than 2,237 animals last month, including hundreds of kittens. The shelter expects to be just as busy this month.

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