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.

Ways to Connect

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT news.

Most of the lanes closed around the W Hotel have been reopened.  The streets were shut down due to safety concerns after glass started falling from hotel balconies.   

The falling glass not only snarled traffic around the hotel and forced the closure of the W itself, for a day or two it turned the building into a site for local curiosity seekers. (OK, it was no Congress Street "Bat Bridge," but the "W" can probably count itself as the most photographed Downtown Austin building of the summer).

Photo by Bob Daemmrich for the Texas Tribune.

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Friday that Texas Governor Rick Perry's travel plans and itineraries can be kept secret, overturning the rulings of two lower courts. The original case centered on whether DPS travel vouchers, normally subject to open records requests, should be made public in the case of the Governor's trips, reports the Houston Chronicle.

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News.

Special Session Nearing an End

Screen shot by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Austinites will have to wait till next week to know the fate of a planned Formula One racetrack in Southeastern Travis County, but its not just Austinites paying attention.  People from around the world are voicing their opinions on the racetrack in online forums, op-eds and emails to City Hall. 

The debate is driving a lot more traffic to the City's TV station as well.

Channel Six, the station that broadcasts city meetings, normally attracts between 300 to 400 viewers to its websites during council meetings. But not on Thursday.

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Want to load up on the latest Formula One paraphernalia? Race over to Austin City Hall.

F1 baseball caps, water bottles and bumper stickers were distributed today in a public relations blitz ahead of City Council's vote on the race track project. So many were given out that white caps speckled the capacity audience in City Council Chambers -- a dramatic image for City Council members from their seats on the dais.

Courtesy of Full Throttle Productions.

A lawsuit filed today against the Texas State Comptroller in Travis County District Court seeks to block  $25 million in state funding for the Formula One racetrack planned for Southeast Travis County. The lawsuit, filed by three Travis County residents, takes aim at whether F1 qualifies for state subsidies, according to a press release sent by Bill Aleshire, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

Photo courtesy of the LCRA.

Remember those urban legends about about alligators in the sewers?

How about 'gators in Lake Travis?

A fisherman came across a dead alligator on the shores of Lake Travis Tuesday. A spokesperson for the LCRA said the creature measured three to four feet in length (other reports put its size at six feet). It looked as though it was struck by a boat propeller.

Photo courtesy of the LCRA.

When LCRA General Manager Tom Mason announced his resignation last week, some observers cried foul, claiming he had been pressured out for political reasons.  State Senators  Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay)  Glenn Hegar  (R-Katy) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin) -- all of who represent regions that use water sold by the LCRA -- said they would carefully monitor the hiring of Mason's replacement.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

A presentation to Austin City Council on Tuesday focused on plans for urban rail, but that didn't stop people from talking roads.

When asked what could be done to ease traffic congestion, Austin's Transportation Director Robert Spillar said his department was looking at adding toll lanes to the source of some of Austin's worst traffic: Interstate 35.

"When we look at I-35, traffic engineers both within our department as well as in the community believe that we can get some more capacity out of I-35," said Spillar.  "Can we add another lane of capacity within the existing footprint? I think we can."

Photo courtesy of Kieth Burtis:

Walter Demond, a former attorney for the Pedernales Electric Cooperative, was found guilty of theft and other charges by a Kendall County jury on Tuesday. He was sentenced to ten years probation  and a $10,000 fine according to the Austin American Statesman.

Photo courtesy of Full Throttle Productions.

A proposed Formula One racetrack southeast of Austin is not a done deal, but that hasn't stopped F1 from helping to fund upgrades to a road that would lead to the track.

Tuesday, Travis County Commissioners voted to accept $375,000 from Circuit of the Americas LLC, to use for improvements to FM 812. Those upgrades would prepare the road for heavier traffic on race days at the as-yet-unbuilt racetrack.

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

On Tuesday, Gov. Rick Perry vetoed legislation aimed at collecting more tax from online sales in Texas. The bill would have tightened rules on when online vendors must charge sales tax in the state. Under the proposed rules, retailers who maintain distribution centers in Texas would have had to charge sales tax on goods sold in Texas. In a statement Perry said:

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT news.

The popular Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park re-opened on Memorial Day after about six months of renovation. The fountain had become so popular that the high number of  children frolicking in its waters strained its filtration system.

A city plan to reopen the fountain, but make it off limits to children, met with opposition last year.

Image courtesy of the Texas Legislative Council

Leaders of the Texas House and Senate Redistricting Committees would split Travis County into six congressional districts in a map  proposed Tuesday (for a PDF click here). Many, like Jason Embry over at the Statesman,  see the redistricting as an attempt to leave Austin with four Republican Representatives in the U.S. Congress and one Democratic Representative.

Photo courtesy of the Texas Trubune.

Friday might not have gone exactly as Houston State Senator Dan Patrick planned. 

In the morning he was on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham's talk show announcing a possible run for the US Senate.   He quickly followed that up with a press release, all in caps, quoting his statement from the show:

U.S. Army

A Texas soldier died this week in Kunar Province, Afghanistan during in his first deployment overseas. Private Andrew M. Krippner was an infantryman from Garland, Texas. He was 20. A family friend told KUT he had enlisted in the Army last July. Krippner had been in Afghanistan for about a month and a half when his unit was attacked with an improvised explosive device. He and three other soldiers died of wounds they suffered in the attack. 

Photo courtesy of US Senator Christopher Coon's on Flickr

Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reportedly suffered a heart attack while attending his son's graduation from the University of Texas on Sunday.

Fayyad's future as prime minister has been up in the air following a reconciliation deal struck this month between the Fatah Palestinian faction that governs the West Bank and the Hamas Islamist faction that holds sway in the Gaza Strip.

Photo by KUT News.

A note to those students (and maybe some teachers and staff) who were celebrating a snow day in Austin last February 4th: It's time to pay the piper.

Memorial Day, May 30th, is a "bad weather make-up day" for the Austin School District. All district schools will be open to make up for the day that was lost during the epic around-an-inch of snowfall that hit the area last February.

The family of Michael Grant Cahill was set to receive a Secretary of the Army Award for Valor in his honor on Monday. Cahill was the only civilian killed in the Fort Hood shooting on Nov. 5, 2009 that claimed the lives of 13 people.

In a hearing last fall, witnesses reported that Cahill rushed at Army Maj. Nidal Hasan clutching a chair over his head before he was shot.  Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.

Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

Austin-based Meals on Wheels and More relies on volunteers to deliver ninety percent of the one-million meals it delivers annually. But this summer, the group is scrambling to find people to fill open routes across Central Texas.

The aid organization says it normally loses volunteers as summer approaches, but this year is worse.