Mose Buchele

Senior Reporter, Energy & Environment

Mose is KUT's energy and environment reporter, previously under the StateImpact Texas project. He has been on staff at KUT since 2009, covering local and state issues.  He's has also worked as a blogger on politics and an education reporter at his hometown paper in Western Massachusetts. He holds masters degrees in Latin American Studies and Journalism from UT Austin.

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Image Courtesy of Texas A&M University and Michael R. Waters

It's a find that gives new meaning to the expression, "I'm not from Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

Researchers have discovered artifacts that could push back the arrival of man in the Lone Star State by over 2,000 years.  The arrowheads, from the Buttermilk Creek excavation site 40 miles north of Austin, are different from the type associated with the Clovis people, once thought to be Texas' earliest human inhabitants.

Photo by Nathan Bernier

The epic ten-day party that crashed down on Austin last week has grown to the point where it needs to be scaled back, according to City of Austin Music Programs Manager, Don Pitts.  "We need to curtail it, and I think dial it back some," Pitts said in a phone interview with KUT News.

"Some tougher standards should take place, and a lot of the events that we saw, the promoters or event producers were pretty inexperienced in handling those sizes of crowds," Pitts told KUT News.

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Capital Metro's Red Line train service turns one year old this Tuesday. Officials are pointing to higher rider numbers in recent months as proof that the commuter rail is catching on.

"Most of last year our average daily boarding were in the 800 to 900 range. In January that bumped up to about 1000, February to 1,200, and in March with some of the special service and huge crowds for South By Southwest we've seen much higher numbers just looking at the daily estimates so far," said Adam Shaivitz a spokesperson for the Transit Agency.

Mose Buchele for KUT News.

The Taxi Drivers Association of Austin [TDAA] has filed a complaint against Mayor Lee Leffingwell and "several council members" for accepting campaign contributions from owners and managers of the Yellow Cab Company, according to a TDAA press statement released today.

The Drivers Association claims that, by accepting the contributions, council members have violated a provision of the Austin City Charter that prohibits office holders from accepting "any wage, commission, fee, gift, favor or payment" from any person "holding or seeking to hold" a City of Austin franchise.

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

You may have wondered why you didn't hear our talented John Aielli on the radio asking you to support KUT for a brief part of this morning. That's because he was outside of the KUT studios along with a large crowd of people that were evacuated from our cozy home in Communications Building B on the UT-Austin campus.

A fire alarm went off before 10:00 a.m., less than an hour after Aielli took the airwaves. So he improvised.

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

It was a packed house at Austin City Hall this morning, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell gave his state of the city address.  KUT’s Mose Buchele reports a lot of what the mayor talked about could be labeled, "Coming Attractions."

Image courtesy cliff1066 at flickr.com

Fifteen previously unknown short stories by Dashiell Hammett have been found in the archives of UT's Harry Ransom Center.  Hammett, who penned such classics as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man" is considered by many to be the father of the American "hard boiled" detective fiction.  The discovery of the new stories by Andrew F.

Image from Austin Energy. Map enhanced by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

Not all parts of Austin are created equal when it comes to rolling blackouts. 

As you may have heard, the power outages that hit the city on February 2nd left some parts of town in the dark for hours, while other areas were spared completely. 

Then try a City Council Work Session!

In what may become a regular feature of Austin city business, the City Council meets today for a pre-council meeting "work session." The sessions, which may precede every Thursday council meeting, allow members to discuss council business in a public forum.

Matt Largey for KUT News

With Austin in the midst of an uncommon cold spell, and rolling blackouts striking parts of Central Texas, Meals on Wheels and More is calling clients to ensure that they won't be trapped in the cold.

"We'll just call [clients] and ask them how they're doing, how their homes are being affect by the temperatures, if they're feeling OK, if they need anything," Sarah Andrews with Meals on Wheels and More told KUT.

Andrews said that a lot of people receiving food are "elderly" or have "critical health needs."

Erik Reyna

Before organizers can take a census of Austin's homeless community, they count volunteers.

This year they're coming up short.

One-hundred more people are needed Sunday from 1 pm to 7 pm to gather demographic information on who is homeless in Austin and Travis County.  Homeless advocates say the annual count is essential to show the city, county and nonprofit groups where to allocate their resources to best serve the area's most vulnerable community.  The numbers are also used to calculate the amount of federal funding Austin receives for certain aid programs.

Armadillo
Sue Clark www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/

Austinites have until the 24th to check out the City's annual holiday market. It's happening this year at the Palmer Events Center, but it wasn't  always so.

Check out a history of the Armadillo Bazaar here.

Crushed Cans
Thomas Hawk www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously endorsed the so-called  "Texas Bottle Bill" today, a statewide proposal that would introduce redeemable deposits on bottles and cans in Texas.  

The proposal evoked fond memories of childhood among Commissioners. 

"As a kid, it dawned on me that if I would go out and collect empty bottles, and just take them home and collect the deposit, that would be a little business!" mused County judge Sam Biscoe.

"We all did that!" interjected Commissioner Ron Davis, as other commissioners present murmured in agreement.

gavel
Image courtesy Keith Burtis http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

The two men charged in a string of church fires last year in East Texas have announced their plan to plead guilty, reports the Associated Press. 

Nathan Bernier / KUT News

Austinites have two chances to meet the finalists for the role of Police Monitor today. At 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., the four contenders for the job will answer questions at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex. 

The Police Monitor's office takes complaints about police from the public, and offers policy recommendations to the Chief of Police on some matters.  It does not have the authority to investigate police behavior.

WTP4
Image courtesy City of Austin

Not a drop of rain in the sky, but it was a wet day at City hall, with the debate over Water Treatment Plant 4 flooding out other items set for the morning’s agenda. 

With a series of close votes, City Council dedicated $300 million dollars to the completion of Water Treatment Plant 4. It effectively gives the project a final green light.  The votes came after hours of sometimes emotional public comment and council discussion. Water Utility Director Greg Mazaros said it made sense for council to approve the remaining funds all in one go.

Just hours before a public meet-and-greet scheduled for this evening, the City of Austin announced one of the five candidates for Chief Animal Services Officer has dropped out of the race.

City spokesperson Patricia Fraga told KUT News that Abigail Smith withdrew her name for "personal reasons." As executive director of a "No Kill" shelter in Ithaca, New York, Smith was a favorite of some "No Kill" advocates.

Austin police badge
Image courtesy APD

Updated 5:15 pm:  An Austin police officer shot and killed a 26-year-old man this morning. Police say the man killed had already taken one person's life and was aiming an assault rifle at police. 

A suspect opened fire on police from a house at 5:17 a.m. this morning. The officers were responding to reports of a medical emergency on the 12300 block of Tomanet Trail in Northwest Austin. 

Travis County eSlate voting machine
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

As Austinites head to the polls tomorrow, political campaigns around the county are already handicapping the election, based on turnout for early voting.  KUT News spoke with Democratic political consultant Mark Littlefield to learn about his analysis of early voting trends in Travis County.

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