Marissa Barnett

Intern for KUT News

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Austin
2:21 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

No Waiting Until Midnight: Austin Postal Service Gives Up Tax Day Hours

With a tight budget and fewer snail-mail filers, the Postal Service is cutting midnight hours this April 15.
flickr.com/oldrebel

The days of procrastinating until midnight to mail your taxes are over. For the first time in years, Austin's U.S. Postal Service will not have extended hours on tax day. 

Due to increases in electronic filing, the agency's spokesperson in Austin said that it can no longer justify staying open until midnight on April 15.

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Austin
5:02 pm
Mon April 8, 2013

Celebrating One of APD's Finest: A K-9 Enters Retirement

KUT News

After nearly seven years of service, 164 arrests, a handful of trips to the vet for stitches and one bout with a skunk, Vuk has hung up his harness.

Vuk—a Belgian Malinois canine commissioned by the Austin Police Department in 2006—celebrated his retirement Sunday at the Happy Tails Pet Resort in Cedar Park.

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Criminal Justice
6:21 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Cartels a Concern for DPS, But Not the Only One

Pink wooden crosses are placed where the corpses of eight murdered women were found in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
Alfredo Estrella / AFP/Getty Images

The Texas Department of Public Safety calls Mexican cartels the most significant organized crime threat in the state. In its 2013 report, the agency said six cartels are operating in Texas by moving drugs, people, cash and weapons across the border.

"It is a top DPS priority to severely obstruct the range and power of Mexican drug organizations to affect the public safety of Texas citizens," said DPS Director Steven McCraw at the Texas Emergency Management Conference in San Antonio this week.

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Education
4:43 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Changes Could Come for State's Charter School Cap

Sen. Dan Patrick proposed SB2, which could increase the number of charter schools in the state
Marjorie Kamys Cotera, Texas Tribune

Thirty-five new charter school permits could be issued every year under the newest version of a bill that aims to improve accessibility to open enrollment charters. An earlier version of Senate Bill 2 would have allowed for unlimited growth of charter schools.

The amendments to Sen. Dan Patrick’s (R-Houston) bill were offered during this morning’s senate hearing on education. 

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Food
10:39 am
Sat March 16, 2013

An Uncertain Future Awaits the South Congress Food Trailers

Food trailers at this popular South Congress spot may be getting pushed out soon by the construction of a hotel.
Marissa Barnett for KUT News

South Congress could be missing some visitors by the end of this weekend, and not just because the last of Austin’s South by Southwest visitors have fled to the airport: the land between East Milton and East Monroe streets on South Congress Avenue where nearly a dozen food trailers are parked each day could be vacated any day now.  

When KUT News visited the park on Friday, almost every trailer offered a different closing day: “this Sunday,” “by the end of March,” “sometime around April” or “nothing is certain yet.”

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Football
8:34 am
Thu March 7, 2013

Bill Lets College Football Playoffs Tap Major Events Trust Fund

The Major Events Trust Fund might be altered to include NCAA football playoffs.
KUT News

Public subsidies could attract college football playoffs to Texas.

A public hearing will be held Thursday on a bill that would modify the language of the major event trust fund to include the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football post-season playoff or championship game.

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Texas
5:35 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Advocates Rally for More Mental Health Funding

NAMI and other mental health groups joined lawmakers and advocates at the capitol to rally for increased funding
Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Advocates and lawmakers rallied at the Texas Capitol today to urge more state funding for mental health services.

Texas now ranks 49th in per capita spending for mental health care services. 

In the last session, the legislature made few changes to mental health funding. But as Texas’ population grows, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) policy coordinator Greg Hansch says mental health spending also has to increase.

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Immigration
5:21 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

At the Capitol, Activists Rally for Immigration Reform

Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Several hundred people marched to the Texas Capitol today with a message for state legislators and President Obama: “Listen, we are in the struggle.”

For those who rallied Friday, the struggle is for immigration reform.

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Politics
3:52 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Strama on Sequestration: Enormous Cuts to Texas

Texas could face millions in spending cuts if Congress does not pass a deficit reduction bill by March 1.
flickr.com/tabor-roeder

We’re just one week away from across-the-board budget cuts known as “sequestration” and State Representative Mark Strama (D-Austin) is warning of the impact it could have on Texas.

“If we have to suffer the cuts of sequestration on top of the cuts we just made last biennium, it would be really harmful to the state economy,” he said after a Friday press conference at the Capitol.

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Public Safety
5:12 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

APD Gets Technological Alternative to High Speed Chases

Officers have completed their training and some patrol cars will begin using the StarChase devices today.
Marissa Barnett, KUT News

Some Austin Police Department patrol cars are starting to use a new vehicle-locating system today called StarChase.

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says the units will only be used during suspect vehicle pursuits. The device, he says, will allow police officers to track suspects without engaging in high-speed chases and will hopefully avoid accidents and fatalities. 

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Crime
1:12 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

Something Fishy About a Virtual Valentine? BBB Says Beware

Online dating sites may be a new medium for con artists.
flickr.com/tonguetyed and Ashley Siebel, KUT News

If you’re meeting an online sweetheart for a first-time Valentine’s dinner tonight, make sure catfish isn’t on the menu.

The Better Business Bureau is offering some love advice today: beware of scammers, heartbreakers and money-takers.

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Guns
4:57 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

'American Sniper' Chris Kyle To Be Interred in Texas State Cemetery

Retired Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle will be buried in Austin's state cemetery.
flickr.com/austincameraguy

Services were held for Chad Littleton today at the First Baptist Church in Midlothian, Texas. He, along with former Navy SEAL and best-selling “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle were killed Saturday at a gun range outside of Fort Worth. Kyle was reportedly killed by a fellow veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kyle will be buried Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, following a Monday service at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Thousands are expected to attend the public ceremony Monday to remember the man widely recognized as “America’s deadliest sniper.”

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Sports
4:33 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

New Armstrong Lawsuit: Dallas Company Wants Prize Money Back

Credit flickr.com/aspensnowmass

Dallas-based sports insurance and promotion company SCA Promotions is suing former cyclist Lance Armstrong for more than $12 million.

The damages, the company says, are for prize money paid to Armstrong for his 2002, 2003 and 2004 Tour de France wins, and for legal costs accrued during a previous lawsuit.

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AISD
3:10 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

What's In a Name? AISD Facility Naming Deadline Tomorrow

The Austin school board is taking recommendations for the names of a bus stop and new elementary school.
Credit KUT News

The deadline for naming two Austin school facilities is Feb. 8. And while “Southeast Bus Terminal” and “North Central Elementary School #1” aren’t without their charms, AISD hopes Austin can do better.

The AISD Board of Trustees began taking suggestions for the names of both a bus stop and a new elementary school in mid-January. The achool board will then decide on names during its March meeting and announce its selection March 19. 

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SXSW
2:23 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

SXSW Update: Film 'Midnighters' Announced; Badge Prices Rising

A still from horror auteur Rob Zombie's "The Lords of Salem." Just as spooky: SXSW is only four weeks away.
robzombie.com

Alien spiders, endangered vampires and – perhaps most horrifically – family reunions. These are among the many terrors contained in South by Southwest Film’s “Midnighters” series.

SXSW starts four weeks from tomorrow, which means Friday is the last day to buy badges before prices jump. It also means the lineups for its provocative after-dark Midnighters series and short films are out.

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