Nathan Bernier

Host, All Things Considered

Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008. 

Nathan has won numerous journalism awards including a National Edward R. Murrow Award, Texas Associated Press Awards, Lonestar Awards from the Houston Press Club, and various other awards and recognitions.  Nathan's hobbies outside work include producing music and enjoying Austin's many food and drink establishments.

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Texas
7:28 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

A UN Takeover of the Alamo? 'Horse Hockey' Says Texas Land Commissoner

http://www.flickr.com/photos/imcom/7186596299/

The Texas Land Commissioner is responding to Internet rumors that the Alamo could be handed over to the United Nations if the San Antonio mission is designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In a statement issued today, Commissioner Jerry Patterson said reports that a UN flag would fly over the Alamo are "horse hockey," by which he means nonsense. 

The rumor gained steam when it was posted this week to InfoWars, the website owned by nationally syndicated radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. It was picked up by other sites including Liberty News and Universal Free Press. And it appeared on forums like SurvivalistBoards and the Fal Files. But other bloggers were expressing concern about the UN designation at least since September.  

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real estate
7:24 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

Austin Home Sales Jumped 34 Percent in September

Photo courtesy http://www.flickr.com/photos/bunchesandbits/4714938136/

Austin-area home sales grew by 34 percent in September compared to a year earlier. A new report from the Austin Board of Realtors says almost 2,391 single-family homes were sold last month.

Homes are spending an average of 44 days on the market, which is 22 days fewer than a year ago.

In many cases, homes are being sold by word of mouth before they’re even listed, according to housing economist Jim Gaines at the Texas A&M Real Estate Center.

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Music
1:03 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

How Austin's Anderson High School Got Phoenix to Play Their Gym

Phoenix performing in the Anderson High School gym last night.
Jenna Macaroni http://instagram.com/p/fMOLxAjT29/

When you were in high school, wouldn’t you have loved to have a cool band play in your gym? I remember trying to get the band Karp to play my high school in the 1990s, but the teacher who sponsored the student council balked once he heard what they sound like. Instead, they spent the money on a Top 40 video dance party with fog machines. 

But last night, Anderson High School in Austin ISD did what my high school could never do: They hosted a secret show for the French dance-rockers Phoenix. (While considerably more accessible than any post-hardcore band, it's a remarkable achievement nonetheless.)

“Seriously how the hell does Anderson book Phoenix to play a gig at their school and Pflugerville gets Granger Smith #injustice,” tweeted one envious teen.

“Phoenix at Anderson? Lucky bastards,” said another.

Indeed. So, how did it happen?

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Death Row
6:17 pm
Mon October 7, 2013

Execution Drug Maker Wants Texas to Give It Back

Barbed wire outside the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, which houses the state's death chamber
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The owner of a compounding pharmacy outside Houston says he was told it was "unlikely" that his business would be revealed as the source of the state's lethal injection drug, pentobarbital.

Now that his Woodlands Compounding Pharmacy is known to be manufacturer of the drug intended for use in this week's scheduled execution and beyond, Jasper Lovoi has sent a letter to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), demanding the drug's return.

Lovoi's letter says he finds himself "in the middle of a firestorm" that he "was not advised of and did not bargain for." The identities of Lovoi and his pharmacy were originally revealed by the Associated Press, which obtained the information through an Open Records Request for its story on the new source of pentobarbital.

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economy
7:30 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Austin Popular Place to Relocate, But Good Luck Finding a Home

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcostin/101701289/

People across America really want to live in Central Texas. So many people, that Williamson County had the ninth largest growth in households of any county in the nation last year, according to a new report by the Texas Association of Realtors. Travis County was number eleven.

The "net inflow" of households to Williamson County was 4,436 last year. In Travis County, it was 4,045. 

“Texas continues to be an attractive place for people who are considering to be relocating," said Stacey Armijo with the Texas Association of Realtors, "and I think, in particular, those who are looking for job opportunities and a high quality of life."  

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2014 Governor's Race
1:48 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

Anatomy of a Leak: How Wendy Davis Gains From Reports of Governor Run

Sen. Wendy Davis, at a rally folllwing her famous filibuster this summer. Supporters are leaking word Davis will run for governor.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

The word is out: Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis will run for governor.

News of Sen. Davis’ run, attributed to anonymous Democratic sources, shot around newsrooms yesterday; a formal announcement is expected next week. But it’s unlikely the story was an inadvertent leak from the Davis camp. 

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Public Transit
2:10 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Work on 'Bus-Only' Street Lanes Could Start in Austin Next Week

Capital Metro's new fleet of MetroRapid buses, pictured above, wouild
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Road construction that will result in bus-only lanes on Guadalupe and Lavaca streets could begin as soon as next week.

The “transit priority lanes” are part of the MetroRapid project by Capital Metro. Capital Metro will prohibit cars on the right-most lanes of Guadalupe and Lavaca Streets between Cesar Chavez Street and MLK Jr. Boulevard. Cars will be allowed to use the bus-only lanes to make right turns.  

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Military
4:11 pm
Mon September 9, 2013

Texas National Guard Won't Process Benefits for Same-Sex Couples (Update)

Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 141st Infantry Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard participate in a parade in Laredo earlier this year. The Texas National Guard won’t process benefits for same-sex couples despite a Pentagon directive.
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

Update: Sixteen Democratic state lawmakers have signed a letter asking the head of Texas Military Forces to process benefits claims for same-sex spouses.

“We call on you to respect Texas’ military families, to reconsider your position, and to follow the lead of virtually every other Adjutant General for the National Guard of the United States by, without further delay, enrolling all eligible spouses of National Guard service members at facilities operated by Texas Military Force,” the letter reads.

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Weather
7:55 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

This Was Austin's 40th Day of Triple Digit Heat in 2013

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrgarin/3381707791/

When the temperature at Camp Mabry ticked up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit sometime after 2 p.m. this afternoon, it marked the 40th day this year of triple digit temperatures in Austin.

That’s more than the 35 triple digit days we saw last year but still not as high as the record-breaking 90 triple digit days in 2011. The average number of triple digit days recorded annually at Camp Mabry is 13.

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Politics
7:31 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Austin Congressman Opposes Military Action in Syria

A view of Damascus in more peaceful times, before the Syrian uprising began
flickr.com/sharnik

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams (R-Austin) is apparently the first Central Texas member of Congress to announce publicly his views on whether the U.S. should strike Syria for its alleged use of chemical weapons. While he calls the use of chemical weapons "reprehensible," Williams doesn't support U.S. military intervention, because he believes Syrian president Bashar al-Assad has had enough time to prepare for one.  

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Business
6:49 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

'Limited Number' of Dell Employees Laid Off

Dell's corporate headquaters in Round Rock. The company has announced layoffs, but hasn't said how many employees are affected.
Dell Computers

One of the largest employers in the Austin area is shedding a "limited" number of jobs.

According to company spokesperson David Frink, the layoffs affected people in Central Texas and around the world. Dell employs about 14,000 people in the region, mostly at its corporate headquarters in Round Rock. 

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Education
1:45 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

AISD Head Talks Challenges, Successes and Changes in Austin's Public Schools

KUT News

Today is the first day of school for Austin ISD, and that means nearly 90,000 students filling hallways. Meria Carstarphen, AISD’s superintendent, sees the biggest challenges in a successful year as student safety, school funding, and STAAR testing.

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Politics
6:39 am
Thu August 22, 2013

Listen: Lt. Gov. Dewhurst Calls to Get Relative Out of Jail (Update)

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: A spokesperson for Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says he was acting out of concern for a family member when he called Allen Police to see what he could to get a female relative out of jail. He says Dewhurst was careful not to ask Allen Police to do anything outside of their normal protocol.

But State Sen. Dan Patrick (R-Houston) released a statement calling the move an "abuse of power." 

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Education
5:01 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

AISD Could Offer Domestic Partner Benefits by the End of the Year

After postponing domestic partner benefits, AISD now says they will ofter domestic partner benefits to all qualified individuals based on a new set of criteria
KUT News

Austin ISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen says the district hopes to offer open enrollment for domestic partner benefits as soon as this fall.

"While we still have a few obstacles to overcome, legal and otherwise, a clear path forward has emerged,” Carstarphen said in a recorded video as part of AISD's annual convocation on Wednesday. “Employees will have the opportunity to add new, qualifying individuals to their coverage as part of a separate enrollment period as soon as October 2013."

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food
7:45 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

You Are Paying More For Beef Than Ever Before

http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarale/6688989961/

The price Americans pay for beef hit a record high last month, according to a federal report quietly released Thursday morning. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly "beef values and price spreads" report shows a pound of beef at the grocery store averaged $5.36 across the country. That's an increase of more than a dollar over the past five years. 

So it's all because of the drought making feed ridiculously expensive, right? Well, that's part of it. But there's more to it, according to David Anderson, an agricultural economist at Texas A&M University. 

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Austin
7:40 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

Family of Man Killed by APD Detective Hires Lawyer

Police blocked off the area where the shooting occurred Friday.
Trey Shaar, KUT News

The family of a man shot to death last week by an Austin Police detective has hired a high-profile attorney. The family of 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. has hired Adam Loewy, who has represented three families of men killed by APD officers’ gunfire.

“I’ve handled several of these police shootings and I’m very selective in the cases that I take, and this one strikes me as being very suspicious," Loewy said.

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Wildfires
6:43 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

200 Acre Wildfire Prompts Evacuations in Smithville (Update)

Smoke from the wildfire illuminated by a sunset
Kate McGee, KUT News

Update: Bastrop County officials say the STAR Flight helicopter is being brought back out to help extinguish some flare ups in the area. Earlier this afternoon, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative said it had restored power to all its customers.

The fire, now 252 acres, is 75 percent contained, according to Bastrop officials.

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Austin
8:09 am
Mon July 29, 2013

APD Detective Shoots, Kills Man

Police have blocked off roads in the area so crime scene investigators can gather evidence.
Trey Shaar, KUT News

Update: Over the weekend, Austin Police identified the man killed as 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. The Austin Police officer who shot him was Detective Charles Kleinert. Kleinert has been an officer for almost 20 years.

APD is looking for a witness who might have seen what happened between Jackson and Kleinert.

Original Story (July 26, 7:58 p.m.): A man is dead after he was shot by an Austin police detective Friday afternoon near the intersection of 34th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard. Police describe the man only as African American. Police had not yet established his identity. No officer was injured in the incident.

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Real estate
8:02 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Report: Austin Apartment Rents at All Time High

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ashley_brown/4256127642/

Apartment prices are at a record high in the Austin-area, averaging $1.15 per square foot, according to a report by Austin Investor Interests.

More people are moving to Austin and there hasn’t been a lot of new apartments constructed, although that is changing. But many of the new apartments being constructed are centrally located and aren't cheap.

“A lot of these units average a much higher price, $1.39 a square foot, with at least a third of these units being in the 78704 zip code or in the Central Business District, which averages $1.70 up to $2.50 a square foot," said Robin Davis with Austin Investor Interest. "These new units will raise average rents fairly significantly, but rents are also rising on average 5 percent anyway without these units."

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real estate
7:03 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Five Reasons Why Austin Home Sales Dipped in June

flickr.com/bcostin/

Home sales in the Austin area fell from May to June. The drop was unexpected because of the strength of the housing market in Central Texas and because June is a prime time to buy homes.

The Real Estate Center at Texas A&M University analyzed MLS listings and found there were 3,085 sales of single-family homes, townhomes and condos in June. That's down from 3,157 sales in May.

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