Mose Buchele

Senior Reporter, StateImpact Texas

Mose Buchele is the Austin-based broadcast reporter for KUT's NPR partnership StateImpact Texas . He has been on staff at KUT 90.5  since 2009, covering local and state issues.  Mose 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

USACE

This is part three of a series looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here, and part two here.

In 1978 a massive storm hit the West Texas town of Albany. It dumped 23 inches of rain in just eight hours. Waters caused 9 deaths, flooded hundreds of homes, and broke through a local dam. Troy Henderson, who now works on the Brownwood Texas Lake Patrol, says since then he’s followed a simple rule.

“If I were to build a home somewhere, I’d make sure that if it was downstream from a lake that their dam is property maintained,” he told StateImpact Texas, “and the reason I say that is, I lived in Albany in 1978.”

TCEQ

This is part two of a series devoted to looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it. You can find part one here.

In 2008, the Texas State Auditor’s office released the kind of report that keeps public officials awake at night.  It found that state regulators were not ensuring the proper maintenance of thousands of dams in Texas. The audit found that state inspectors had never visited hundreds of dams that could cause loss of life if they failed.

TCEQ

This is part one of a StateImpact Texas series devoted to looking at the infrastructure of dams in Texas, and what can be done to improve it.

Of the 1,880 dams inspected by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality since 2008, 245 were found to be in bad condition, according to the TCEQ. Around 2000 of the state’s dams were built with federal help in the wake of the great drought of the 1950s. Almost all of those are now past or nearing their projected 50 year lifespan, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Statistics like these don't come as a surprise to the people who work with dams in the state of Texas.

Mose Buchele, KUT News

Public radio listeners were first introduced to Michael Cahill just days after his death.

In a story that aired November 2009, we learned about Cahill, who was working as a physician’s assistant at Fort Hood when he became the only civilian killed in the shooting there.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Even before the President’s State of the Union Address was over last night, some environmental and renewable energy groups were sending out congratulatory emails.

“We thank President Obama for his leadership” read one from the Solar Energy Industries Association. The speech outlined “clean energy solutions”  said the group Environment Texas.

Eddie Seal, Texas Tribune

In the latest report on state sales tax revenues, some towns are reporting huge increases in sales tax collections.

Asherton, for example, saw its January sales tax grow by 191 percent. Asherton is near the Eagle Ford Shale, an area being transformed by the oil and gas drilling boom.

As Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, a new bipartisan group of state lawmakers hoping to guide that transformation hosted its first meeting today at the Capitol.

courtesy flickr.com/dayland

The science linking oil and gas drilling activity and earthquakes has been established for decades. And with the current boom in domestic drilling, more earthquakes are happening and states are taking action to fight them. But not in Texas, where the most drilling is taking place. For StateImpact Texas, KUT’s Mose Buchele reports.

U.S. Drought Monitor

A new reading on the Texas drought shows rains from last week helped drought severity fall for the first time since October. But it wasn’t a large decline, and as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports for StateImpact Texas, the long-term outlook is not good.

Daniel Reese for KUT News

After the brutal drought of 2011, welcome rains this year put minds at ease in many parts of Texas. But any respite may be short-lived.

The best hope Texas had for a full recovery from its long drought was a wet upcoming winter. But recent weather models show that’s growing less and less likely. The reason? The El Niño weather pattern meteorologists expected is not forming in the Atlantic.

State Climatologist John Neilsen-Gammon tell StateImpact Texas the bad news doesn’t end there.

Austin Youth River Watch

The Colorado River not only supplies much of Central Texas with its drinking water, it’s also a cherished destination for summer recreation seekers. But new data suggests that the health of the river ecosystem might be in jeopardy.

And authorities might not have known about the scope of the problem without the help of some teenage naturalists.

For about 20 years, Austin Youth River Watch has organized groups of teens to monitor the water quality of the Colorado. Every week they check water at different parts of the river and its tributaries. Lately they’ve been getting some unusual readings.

Photo by Mose Buchele

Mayoral candidate Brigid Shea accused her opponent, Mayor Lee Leffingwell, of breaking city campaign donation rules in front of City Hall today. 

At issue are thousands of dollars Mayor Leffingwell received at an event attended by supporters of Austin’s Formula One racetrack, the Circuit of the Americas.

Shea says because he received those checks at the same event he should have listed the host as a “bundler,” someone who solicits donations for a candidate and hands them over to a campaign in a “bundle.”

Sunday News Roundup

Feb 26, 2012
Photo courtesy of Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Cedar Park DA, Police Investigate Officer Involved Shooting

The officer who shot and killed a robbery suspect in Cedar Park Friday night has been moved to administrative duties pending an investigation of the shooting, a standard procedure in such cases.  Cedar Park policy dictates that officer-involved shootings are investigated by the District Attorneys Office, reports the Austin American Statesman.

KUT News

The thirteenth annual African American Community Heritage Festival took place on the campus of Huston-Tillotson University today. It includes food vendors, merchants and information tables. The Regan High School drum line kicked off the festivities this afternoon with a salute to Mardi Gras.

Photo by Flickr user Loozrboy/Creative Commons

Transcanada will be able to start building a portion of the the Keystone XL pipeline on land owned by Texas farmer Julia Trigg Crawford as early as March 1.  A temporary restraining order banning the Canadian pipeline builder from starting construction was dissolved Friday. Trigg Crawford had filed the order to stop the company from trenching on her family farm.

Linda Curtis is the director of Independent Texans, a group that supported Trigg Crawford. She told KUT the trial in April is a test of existing property law.

Sunday Brief

Jan 8, 2012

Carolina in His Mind

The ABC News debate in New Hampshire last night was Texas Governor Rick Perry’s first debate  since a dismal 5th place finish in the Iowa caucuses. KUT's Ben Philpott reports from New Hampshire why the the Governor  used the debate to appeal to voters not in the Granite State, but in South Carolina.

Austin Bag Ban May Come Early

APD

APD Officers Under Investigation

Some Austin Police Department Officers have been moonlighting for a wealthy Mexican man, who paid them to look after his daughter while she attended college in Austin - the Austin American Statesman reports.  Federal and local investigators are saying their interest was sparked because officers were paid in cash.

When Wells Blow Out in Pennsylvania, Texas Step In

Photo by Callie Richmond/Courtesy of The Texas Tribune.

Judge Formally Dismisses Charges Against Michael Morton

Photo by Daniel Reese/KUT News

Cooler temperatures and more rain have lifted much of the state out of the most serious level of drought. In early October, 88 percent of Texas was in exceptional drought, as of Tuesday – that was down to 41 percent. That might sound like progress, but as Hydrologist Mark Wentzel told the Board, there is still more of Texas in exceptional drought today than at any other time this century.

“So as good as this look relative to early October,” Wentzel told the panel, “it’s still more than twice as bad as the conditions of 2009.”

Ben Philpott for KUT News.

Candidates Showcase their Faith in Iowa

Six of the 8 top tier candidates were at a forum last night hosted by the conservative Christian group The Family Leader in Des Moines.  Moderators promised to allow complete answers and no questions that would put the candidates at odds with each other. The night was focused on how the faith would guide them as President.  Texas Governor Rick Perry, never shy about his religious views, didn’t blank on any of his answers, as KUT's Ben Philpott reports.

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