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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ROT Rally
10:08 am
Mon June 13, 2011

APD Make 37 DWI Arrests Over ROT Rally Weekend

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

The Austin Police Department held another “No Refusal” weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, meaning officers can request a warrant to draw blood by force if a driver refuses a breathalyzer. It was the first time during the Republic of Texas motorcycle rally that APD implemented the policy. Last year, there were three alcohol-related fatal motorcycle accidents during the ROT Rally.

Here are the numbers from APD:

There were a total of 37 DWI's over the No refusal weekend.

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Austin
11:39 am
Sun June 12, 2011

Sunday Update for June 12, 2011

Photo by TheCulinaryGeek http://www.flickr.com/photos/preppybyday/

The Republic of Texas Rally is winding down, but there’s another party tonight to raise money for Oak Hill wildfire victims, and Perry presidential speculation reaches a fever pitch. Break out the syrup and waffles, here is your Sunday news roundup.

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Texas
4:33 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Personal Information of 4,900 State Workers Compromised

As many as 4,900 current and former employees of the Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) may have had their personal information exposed in the latest data security breach involving state workers. The news comes two months after the Texas Comptroller announced that the personal information of 3.5 million employees was potentially compromised.

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ROT Rally
3:19 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Put Down That Cheeseburger And Watch Out For Motorcyclists

Photo by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

Thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts are rumbling into town for the Republic of Texas Rally this weekend. At least three traffic accidents involved motorcycles yesterday, so we called Motorcycle Safety Foundation vice president Robert Gladden to get some tips on how to stay safe during the ROT Rally.

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Education
1:11 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Austin School Board To Discuss Redistricting Process Monday

One of two proposed maps to redraw AISD Trustee boundaries in Austin. The red line shows existing boundaries and the colors reflected possible changes.
Image provided by Austin ISD

While it is unlikely to be as politically contentious as the Congressional redistricting process playing out at the State Capitol, the Austin Independent School District is nevertheless tasked with having to redraw boundaries for the seven regional seats on the school board.

The process has to happen before the 2012 general election, and it will not have any effect on school attendance zones.

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Politics
11:52 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Watch Randi Shade and Kathie Tovo Debate Online Tonight

Photo by KUT

Only 3 percent of Austin voters cast ballots in this city council matchup, but tonight, the two candidates in the runoff race for Place 3 will go head-to-head in an hour-long debate at City Hall. Incumbent Randi Shade and challenger Kathie Tovo square off at 6:30 pm.

You don’t even need to hunt for downtown parking to watch it. The entire forum will be streamed live online and broadcast on Time Warner Cable Channel 6.

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Austin
11:22 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Downtown Police Cameras Delayed Until October

Surveillance cameras atop the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Like these camera's, APD's system will have powerful zoom capabilities.
Photo by Chris-Håvard Berge http://www.flickr.com/photos/chberge/

The Austin Police Department had planned to install 23 crime surveillance cameras downtown by the end of March this year. But that date has now been pushed back until October, in part because APD wanted to wait for the firm with which it is contracting to upgrade its video surveillance technology.

“It’s like the commercial where the guy buys the 3D TV, and then the truck pulls up with the sign saying, ‘New 4D TV,” Austin police commander Troy Gay told KUT News. “We want to make sure that we’ve got at least the most current of today, so we’re not automatically a year or two obsolete.”

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Arts and Culture
5:21 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Alamo Drafthouse Founder Responds To "Don't Text" Viral Video

Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League was apparently shocked by how much attention he got from a "Don't Text During the Movie" PSA that used a voicemail from an ejected patron to make its point. The video was quickly picked up by the national media after its release. CNN's Anderson Cooper joked that League deserves the Nobel Prize. The story was also posted to Yahoo! News and was mentioned by the ladies on The View.

Someone even started selling "Magnited We Stand" t-shirts online, a reference to a mispronunciation of "United States of America" during the voice mail. Proceeds from the shirts will go to an "Austin-based education charity."

League says he's pleased the video sparked national discussion about appropriate behavior in movie theaters, but he thinks some people crossed the line by attacking the person who left the voicemail.

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economy
4:44 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Gas Prices Drop 7 Cents In A Week

Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Gasoline prices in the Austin metropolitan area are down seven cents from last Thursday, according to a report from AAA Texas. A gallon of regular unleaded is selling for $3.583. Last week, it was $3.654. However, that’s still up substantially from a year ago, when the price was $2.625.

Last week, we talked to an oil analyst who said he expects gas prices to drop by as much as 35 cents this summer.

OPEC, however, may have different plans. The oil cartel signaled yesterday that it would not boost oil production. That sent prices for crude oil back above $100 per barrel.

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ROT Rally
3:39 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

What to Expect at ROT Rally 2011

The Republic of Texas motorcycle rally gets started tonight and lasts through the weekend. But the major event will be tomorrow's parade into downtown Austin. Last year, we sent out photographer Caleb Bryant Miller to capture the sights and of that parade. Here's what it looked like.

Austin
2:33 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

IRS Revokes Non-Profit Status of Hundreds of Austin Organizations

IRS headquarters in Washington, DC
Photo by S.E.B. http://www.flickr.com/photos/brendel/

More than 1,200 Austin organizations have had their non-profit status revoked by the Internal Revenue Service because they failed to file tax returns for three consecutive years. The IRS revoked the status for more than 275,000 organizations nationwide.

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Texas
1:37 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Arizona Wildfires Threaten Electric Grid Supplying West Texas

Smoke from the Arizona wildfire is visible from almost 200 miles away, as shown in this picture from the Albuquerque, NM region.
Photo by bobthemtnbike http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobthemtnbiker/

The second largest wildfire in Arizona’s recorded history could cause cascading power outages that would leave El Paso and other parts of West Texas in the dark. NPR reports that the 600-square mile fire is expected to reach large electrical transmission lines by Friday.

The fire prompted Texas-based El Paso Electric to issue warnings of possible power interruptions for its customers in southern New Mexico and West Texas.

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Austin
12:38 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Confusion Over Oak Hill Brush Fire Benefit Prompts Second Fundraiser

A car burned by the wildfire in Oak Hill on April 17
Photo by KUT News

Some people whose homes were destroyed in an April 17 brush fire in Oak Hill are upset that none of the more than $11,000 collected at a fundraiser sponsored by the Red Cross went directly to the families affected. The blaze destroyed eleven homes and damaged several others. In one jarring anecdote, Oak Hill resident Doug Todd, hooked up to an oxygen tank, speaks in this YouTube video about how he received only about $300.

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Environment
4:09 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

LCRA Boss Quits

Tom Mason will step down as LCRA general manager at the end of June.
Photo by Lower Colorado River Authority

The man who has been in charge of the Lower Colorado River Authority for the past three-and-a-half years is resigning. LCRA general manager Tom Mason’s last day on the job will be June 30, according to a news release from the agency.

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Austin
3:41 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

These Neighborhood Pools Could Be Closed To Save $405,000

View City of Austin Pools Proposed for Closure in a larger map

Six neighborhood pools could be closed by the City of Austin, as it looks for ways to reduce expenses in the face of a budget deficit as high as $28 million. Two more pools could be closed from September to April to save on water heating costs. The total estimated savings from the closures would be $405,626, according to the Parks and Recreation department.

The pools are Kennemer, Gillis, Civitan, Kealing, Reed, and Shipe. Balcones and Dick Nichols Pools would be closed from September to April.

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Austin
2:26 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

F1 Organizers Want City to Pay $4 million a Year into Trust Fund

Artist's rendering of Circuit of the Americas
Photo provided by Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee

Austin City Council members heard a presentation today on Formula One Austin, that asks the city to contribute $4 million per year to a fund that would be managed by the group.  The money would come from additional tax revenues generated by people visiting Austin for F1 events.

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Education
12:25 pm
Tue June 7, 2011

Austin ISD Will Close for a Week in July to Save Energy

A view from Austin ISD's headquarters on W. 6th St.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

No one really needs an excuse to take a week off in the summer, but the cash-strapped Austin Independent School District says it will save $471,000 by shutting schools and offices for five workdays in July.

All schools and offices will be closed from July 4-8. They will otherwise be on a four-day work week from June 27 to July 25. Employees will still have to put in their 40 hours during that time frame by working flexible ten-hour shifts.

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Texas
11:44 am
Tue June 7, 2011

DPS Fires Top Official After Criminal Investigation Into Homeland Security Grants

The Texas Department of Public Safety has started a process to fire a top official who used to be in charge of administering Homeland Security Grants in the state. DPS said in a statement that the move follows a five-month investigation of Janice Bruno and alleged criminal misconduct involving a grant issued to the North Central Texas Council of Governments.

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Education
10:55 am
Tue June 7, 2011

Report: Harmony Charter Schools Favor Turkish Contractors

A teacher instructs a student at a Harmony Charter School in North Houston.
Photo by Wenjing Zhang, Texas Tribune

The largest charter school operator in Texas, Harmony Charter Schools, has come under the scrupulous microscope of the New York Times.  The paper published a front page, top-of-the-fold blowout on Harmony’s links to the Gulen movement, a Turkish religious group.

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Politics
4:56 pm
Mon June 6, 2011

Teacher Pay Cut Bill Advances In Texas Senate

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

A bill that would give school districts the power to furlough teachers and unilaterally cut their pay cleared a major hurdle in the Texas Senate today. SB 8 was approved on second reading 18-12.  The proposal will require a final vote to move out of the Senate.

Many Texas school districts have already been planning on such measures clearing the Senate to help them deal with $4 billion in cuts to public education.  Chief Financial Officer Nicole Conley-Abram with the Austin Independent School District said in this budget presentation that enacting two unpaid furlough days would save the district about $4.2 million. 

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