Mark Gwin

Health
11:03 am
Mon February 24, 2014

112 Years Later, Seton Hospital Founders Daughters of Charity Are Moving On

After building and opening Seton Infirmary in 1902, the Daughters of Charity respond to a variety of health crises, including the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic.
Seton Healthcare Family Archives Division

The Daughters of Charity came to Austin in 1902, in response to a letter writing campaign by a group of local women. Their mission: to build and operate a first-class medical facility.

At the time, Austin’s existing hospital was decidedly less than first-class.

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Austin
1:35 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Will Occupancy Limits Aimed at 'Stealth Dorms' Hurt Austin Affordability?

Austin's Planning Commission voted last night to lower occupancy limits for unrelated roommates from six to four.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

A fight pitting affordable housing against neighborhood quality is headed to the Austin City Council.

Austin’s Planning Commission is recommending a reduction in the number of unrelated adults allowed to live together in single-family homes: the maximum would fall from six down to four.

Last night’s action was in response to complaints that neighborhoods were suffering from what opponents call “stealth dorms.”

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Austin Police
12:35 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Report: Austin Police Search Blacks 3 Times More Often Than Whites

The Austin Police Monitor’s Office released an analysis of police activities in 2012.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Police Monitor's Office finds racial disparity continued in police activity during 2012.

According to a recent report, almost 1,300 people contacted the independent Monitor’s Office to make a complaint, a decrease of 11 percent from 2011. But concern about racial profiling remains: African-Americans and Hispanics are still more likely to be searched by police, with blacks three times as likely to be searched as whites.

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Crime & Justice
3:59 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Bastrop Student in Coma Days After Being Tased by Sheriff's Deputies

Noe Nino de Rivera is in a coma after being tased by a Bastrop County Sheriff’s Deputy at Cedar Creek High School on Wednesday.
Adam Loewy

Some Cedar Creek High School students walked out of class today in protest of the tasing of a fellow student on Wednesday. That student, 17-year-old Noe Nino de Rivera, has been in a coma ever since the incident.

Officials and Rivera’s family members are far apart in their descriptions of the incident.

Bastrop County Sheriff’s Deputies Randy McMillan and Timothy Stalcup, who work as school resource officers for the Bastrop school district, were called Wednesday morning to a fight between two female students.

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Toll Roads
12:19 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

TxDOT Pressuring Toll Offenders: Pay Up or Be Named (Update)

With more than $27 million in uncollected tolls, the Texas Department of Transportation is hoping that harsher punishments – including releasing names of the 28,000 drivers with more than 100 unpaid tolls – will improve collections.
SH 130 Concession Company

Update: Central Texas residents owe the state more than $27 million in unpaid tolls, and Texas is trying out a new method to collect the dough.

On Thursday, the Texas Department of Transportation released its list of the top 25 toll violators in the state. Topping the list was a Pflugerville resident who had 14,358 unpaid toll transactions, which totaled $236,026. Second place went to a Hutto resident with 10,566 unpaid tolls that added up to $217,619.

Violators were from six cities: Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock, Austin, Taylor and Leander. If violators do not pay up, Senate Bill 1792, which passed earlier this year, gives TxDOT the authority to possibly deny the offender’s vehicle registration and ban them from using TxDOT toll roads. 

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Politics
1:52 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Government Shutdown Freezes UT Research Projects in Antarctica

An Antarctic researcher inspects a block of frozen ground (permafrost) that has tumbled down into the Garwood River, where it will melt rapidly. Because of the shutdown, researchers haven’t been able to complete the third and final year of their study.
Joseph Levy/University of Texas

Science is another casualty of the federal government shutdown. But for Antarctic scientists the effects will linger even after the Congressional impasse is resolved.

University of Texas research associate and Antarctic geologist Joseph Levy was supposed to get on a plane Thursday headed south for the third and final year of a study about ancient ice.

But last week he was told to cancel his plans because of a lack of funding, and he says the government shutdown could jeopardize time sensitive scientific research.

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Texas-OU Game
5:24 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

Shutdown Cancels Naval ROTC’s Long-Running Texas-OU Tradition

The University of Texas Naval ROTC program's annual run to Dallas is canceled due to the government shutdown. In this file photo from 2012, a group of midshipmen carry the game ball for the Red River Shootout.
UT Naval ROTC

For 30 years the Naval ROTC unit at the University of Texas has run the Texas-OU game ball from Austin to Dallas. Their counterparts at the University of Oklahoma did the same.

But neither will be making the trip this year. It’s not the death of a tradition – just another temporary casualty of the government shutdown.

The UT Naval ROTC unit is normally a part of the annual torchlight parade, part of a huge pep rally in anticipation of the Red River Shootout in Dallas. As part of the ceremonies at the base of the UT Tower, Coach Mack Brown would normally hand the game ball to the commanding officer  of the Naval ROTC student battalion.

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Auditorium Shores
4:40 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

Should Auditorium Shores Move the Off-Leash Area for Dogs?

Improvements to Auditorium Shores, scheduled to begin in 2014, including moving the area's off-leash zone.
flickr.com/leftymgp

Update: A final public meeting on proposed changes to Auditorium Shores takes place tonight. And the plans have some dog lovers howling.

With a $3.5 million donation, the city plans to realign the hike and bike trail, put in new turf grass and redesign the off-leash area for dogs – moving it along the shoreline and adding a series of “dog launches” into Lady Bird Lake, but shrinking it in the process.

The donation comes from C3 Presents, the entertainment company that puts on the ACL Music Festival and the Austin Food and Wine Festival. (Its 2012 edition of the Food and Wine Fest, held at Auditorium Shores, was marred by dust.)

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Geographic Representation
7:25 am
Mon October 7, 2013

MAP: Here's the Rough Draft of Austin's New City Council Districts (Update)

A detail of initially proposed city council districts for Austin. Feedback on the districts will be incorporated into a final map drafter later this year.
City of Austin

Update: The group of Austinites in charge of drawing geographic city council districts is meeting this evening for the first time since approving a preliminary map.

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission is splitting the city into ten parts – each will be represented by a city council member.

But some people have expressed concerns that the districts the commission has drawn so far don’t accurately represent communities. For example, right now, District 7 runs along Mopac from North of Parmer Lane to Lady Bird Lake.

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Veterans
9:28 am
Fri October 4, 2013

America's Oldest Veteran Lives in Austin. What Happened to Him Yesterday Will Make You Smile

107-year-old Richard Overton relaxes on his front lawn. Yesterday, dozens of volunteers fixed the East Austin home Overton’s lived in since 1945.
Mark Gwin for KUT News

A diverse group of volunteers braved the heat Thursday to upgrade the residence of 107-year-old World War II veteran Richard Overton – the country’s oldest living World War II veteran.

The East Austin house has been Overton's home since he built it in 1945, when he returned from war. And though he’s done some upgrades over the years, it was beginning to have some serious issues: broken windows, a failing refrigerator and more.

But then a team of several dozen volunteers came to fix it all.

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Energy & Environment
8:24 am
Thu September 26, 2013

Why Are Texas Children Suing Environmental Regulators?

Children are suing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, saying the agency should regulate air pollution under the Public Trust Doctrine.
KUT News

Texas children are suing the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, claiming the TCEQ should have to protect the quality of the air the same way it’s required to protect the quality of water.

As part of a nationwide movement, the youth are asking the agency to protect water under the public trust doctrine – the historic idea that the state is responsible for the quality of a shared resource.

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Del Valle
9:56 am
Tue September 24, 2013

County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)


View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

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