Mark Dewey

KUT News

Update: Austin is getting regular, nonstop service to Europe.

British Airways announced today that it will begin offering transatlantic Boeing 787 flights five days a week, beginning March 2014. The company says it plans to offer daily flights later in the year.

You can read more from British Airways

Austin-based Whole Foods Market says it will revisit its policy on speaking foreign languages after two Albuquerque employees claimed they were suspended for speaking Spanish to each other while on the job.

Whole Foods said, in a bilingual statement on the company's website, that the two were not suspended for speaking Spanish. Instead, the company claims they were actually disciplined for "rude behavior."  The company says the two erroneously believed that they had been told not to speak Spanish by a manager, and became upset.


The Susan G. Komen Foundation says it is canceling many of its three-day fundraising walks next year, because of low participation, but the Austin one-day run scheduled for November will go on. In fact, Jenn Hatch of the Austin Race for the Cure says registrations and fundraising here are both strong for the 15th annual race. Registration opened Monday.

Financial advisor S. Mark Powell ran the Austin office of money management firm Atlantic Trust until his death on May 16.

Powell's body was found in a cemetery in Mason County, where the cause of death has not been determined.  Sheriff Buster Nixon says that a final ruling will be made after toxicology tests come back, but that "everything (he's) seen is consistent with a self-inflicted wound."

Mark Dewey

Windmill farms that generate electric power are now a familiar site across west Texas. But before the giant turbines took over, their little cousins ruled the plains. Small windmills pumped water to settlers, pioneers, and ranchers in the Lone Star state. The biggest windmill company, Aermotor, started in Chicago in the 1800s, and now pumps out windmills from its San Angelo headquarters and factory.

Photo courtesy of TrackingPoint, Inc.

An Austin-based company, TrackingPoint, has developed a high-powered, long-range computerized rifle that can turn anyone into an expert marksman. But some wonder whether putting that technology in the hands of everyday people is a wise idea. 

At shooting range just outside of Austin, I’m holding one of TrackingPoint’s top-of-the-line, $22,000 rifles. I have some shooting experience. But I’ve never shot a big rifle before. Three company representatives walk me through it.

Michael Dell may be the last man standing as he fights to take his company private.  Today, rival bidder The Blackstone Group dropped out.

It was David Johnson, formerly Michael Dell’s key turnaround executive, who led the Blackstone offer.  Johnson left Dell in January.  Today his group withdrew its bid, saying in a letter obtained by the Wall Street Journal that Dell’s outlook and finances are worse than they thought.

University of Texas at Austin

Longhorn basketball star Myck Kabongo is leaving school to join the NBA, the University announced today, making himself eligible for the 2013 draft.

The point guard played in the team's last 11 games, after serving an NCAA suspension for the season's first 23 games. According to the NCAA, Kabongo broke the rules by accepting a trip to Cleveland that he didn't pay for, and then lied about it twice while speaking with investigators. 


Texas law enforcement could be tracking you right now.  And you might never know.

Complex and fast-changing laws regulating how law enforcement can monitor people’s locations have legislators working to close loopholes and perhaps get ahead of new technologies, while advocacy groups warn of the dangers of secrecy.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update (Jan. 21. 2013): Outbox has announced it is ceasing operations. Read more here.

An Austin company is expanding its concept of undoing the work of the United States Postal Service. 

Outbox picks up its customers’ mail, scans it, and makes it available online. The company announced today that it will start serving San Francisco and parts of Silicon Valley, after testing its service in Austin since 2011.

Outbox workers open and scan letters, catalogs and flyers. Customers log in to Outbox’s website to see their – now-digital – mail. You never have to go to your mailbox. The cost? About 5 bucks a month.

Shares of Dell stock closed today at $13.92.

That’s 27 cents per share higher than the price Michael Dell and his co-investors have offered, in their efforts to purchase the computer and IT services company. Why would anyone pay more for the stock than Dell has offered?


As many as half of Texas construction workers could be undocumented immigrants, according to a study released today.

In the study, the Workers Defense Project examined building permits in five big markets across the state, including Austin. They visited random residential and commercial building projects to survey 1,200 construction workers during lunch breaks or after their shifts.

Erik Reyna/KUT News

Gas prices are up. Across Texas, regular is up 14 cents this week, according to AAA's Fuel Gauge Price Report. In Austin, average prices were up by almost 15 cents to $3.36.

Oil analyst Tom Kloza says prices often rise and fall with the seasons, but these are the highest gas prices Americans have seen for this time of year.

courtesy Dell Inc.

If you’re spending $24 billion to buy a company, it’s important to know that that company also has $14 billion in cash. That’s Dell’s situation exactly, according to its most recent financial filings. But there’s a catch: it’s in overseas accounts.

Company founder Michael Dell, who’s trying to buy the company, can touch that money, but he’ll pay a steep price, according to Lillian Mills, chairwoman of the Accounting Department at UT’s McCombs School of Business. She says that money was earned outside the United States, and if it comes home, it’s subject to U.S. taxes.

JD Hancock/Flickr

There’s an ongoing dispute in and around Pflugerville about how much fire and emergency services protection the area wants, and how much it’s willing to pay. The firefighters local wants to meet a number of national standards for service levels.

“We’re just trying to meet those standards and possibly exceed them,” said firefighters association spokesman Trevor Stokes. “We’re not doing that currently.”

KUT News

Today was college football’s nationwide signing day. All 11 expected Longhorn recruits signed letters of intent to play at UT, Coach Mack Brown said at an afternoon news conference. Those players, along with four who enrolled midyear, make up this year’s recruiting class of 15 new players.

courtesy SH 130 Concession Co.

If you drive on I-35, state transportation officials hope you’ll see fewer big trucks next month than you do today.

The state Transportation Commission approved a substantial toll reduction for 18-wheelers that circumnavigate the city on the Texas 130 and Texas 45 toll roads. Instead of paying $33 to bypass Austin, trucks will pay $11 or less.

University of Texas at Austin

A University of Texas chemist has been honored with a $500,000 prize for inventing a key technology used to produce virtually all modern computer chips. The Japan Prize is awarded annually to people who make major contributions to the fields of science and technology. 

C. Grant Willson, along with a colleague and a grad student, figured out how to print complex computer circuits on silicon wafers. Chris Mack, an expert in lithography, says Willson’s work is everywhere.


The Federal Reserve Bank in Dallas sees some signs that the Texas economy could be softening. The Dallas Fed’s monthly report on service businesses shows a decline in expectations about business growth.

Dallas Fed economist Jesus Canas says that there’s less optimism among service business owners than there was a year ago, and that’s mostly because of conditions in the national economy.

KUT News

A new survey of Texas voters reveals support for a ban on assault weapons: 49 percent of those surveyed supported a ban on military-style rifles, while 41 percent opposed a ban, according to an automated telephone survey of 500 Texas registered voters, conducted by the North Carolina firm Public Policy Polling.