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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Update: Travis County Commissioners effectively ended their contract with Saxet Gun Show today by refusing to renew their contract to operate at the Travis County Expo Center.

The majority of commissioners declined to renew the contract after the promoter refused to allow background checks for all purchases, not just purchases from federally licensed vendors, which already require checks. The term would have closed the so-called gun show "loophole," says Judge Sam Biscoe. He estimates 10 percent of purchases at Saxet shows are done without background checks.

"So far we have been unwilling to give them a new contract without background checks as a term,” Biscoe tells KUT. “So as long as they insist on not doing background checks on this 10 percent, unless we change our minds, they’re still without a contract.”

Eleanor Hasken,

The University of Texas announced Sunday it is hiring Charlie Strong as its head football coach, replacing the outgoing Mack Brown, who announced last month that he was leaving the team after 16 years. 

Strong, 53, will become the first black coach of a men's sport at UT in the university's history, the San Antonio Express-News reported.

"To follow a future Hall of Fame coach like Mack Brown, who built a program that had great success and a reputation of doing it with class and integrity, is extra special," Strong said in a statement released by the university. 

Strong will receive a salary of $5 million per year for five years, Sports Illustrated reports, citing an unnamed athletics official.  

Photo via

All the holiday stress, dehydration and alcohol consumption at this time of the year can lead to something called “holiday heart syndrome.” It’s an irregular heartbeat that often presents in people who are otherwise healthy.

If someone collapses around you, you might be able to save their lives with an automated external defibrillator, or AED. But public health experts say there aren’t nearly enough of them out there.

Update: Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell says Apple’s local manufacturing of the Mac Pro means about 800 new jobs.

“I think it’s another day in the life of a growing city,” he tells KUT News, “but it’s a big day in the life of Austin, because as you know, Apple is a premiere company around the world. When they make an important step like this here in our city, that’s going to be heard around the world to our advantage.”

Apple has already announced it’s building a $300 million operations center in Northwest Austin. For that project, Apple is receiving a $21 million grant from the state, over $8 million from the city and $6 million from Travis County

Original story (11:58 a.m.): Apple’s new Mac Pro is being manufactured in Austin.

Texas homeowners may be paying among the highest insurance rates in the country– but at least they’re no longer the highest. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' latest report says while premiums for Texas homeowners have dropped to third in the nation, they’re still above the national average. 

Rates in other states are higher, in part, because the figures now include the cost of windstorm insurance. Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas says the states with the top rates have something else in common.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Dan Keller walked out of the Travis County Jail this afternoon after 21 years in prison. He was greeted with an embrace from his wife Fran, released from her own imprisonment last week.

As the two left the jail, Dan Keller denied any bitterness over his two­-plus decades in prison. 

“I forgave everybody,” Keller said. “It’s no use to hate somebody … man ain’t supposed to do that. Lord didn’t hate anybody when they put him on the cross. He said ‘I forgive you,’ and I forgave them. It’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on anybody.”

Original story (Nov. 27): A Central Texas woman is now free after spending more than 20 years behind bars.

Fran Keller and her husband Dan were both sentenced to 48 years for so-called “satanic ritual abuse” at their Austin-area day care.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport set a one-day passenger record on Monday, as people streamed out of the city following the U.S. Formula 1 Grand Prix.

A record high 22,759 passengers departed ABIA yesterday. That figure’s just about 1,000 passengers higher than the previous record – set the Monday following last year’s F1 race.

Update: Controversial Event Called Off

The Young Conservatives of Texas has canceled its “Catch an Illegal Immigrant” event, originally scheduled for Wednesday. 

Citing the university’s condemnation of the event, UT chapter chair Lorenzo Garcia claims he canceled the event out of fears the university would retaliate against the group’s members, “and that the protest against the event could create a safety issue for our volunteers.”

You can read Garcia’s full remarks here.

Original Story (Nov. 19): The news that the University of Texas chapter of the Young Conservatives of Texas is planning a campus "Catch an Illegal Immigrant" game for this week has taken the political blogosphere by storm.

In case you haven’t heard: The group’s UT chapter has stated on Facebook that it’s planning to hold the “Catch an Illegal Immigrant game” this Wednesday. (Here’s a screen grab of the invitation in case it’s taken down.)

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Austin's second Formula 1 weekend has come and gone. Now comes the exodus of fans and visitors.

Read more here: Record Airport Travel Expected as Austin F1 Ends; Downtown Road Closures Persist (MAP)

Original story: It’s Grand Prix weekend in Austin, and that means tens of thousands of visitors coming to Central Texas. It also means a free downtown festival focused on racing activities, vintage vehicles and live music.

Austin Fan Fest starts today and runs through midnight every day, except Sunday when it ends at 8 p.m.

Road closures for the festival began Wednesday and will continue through Sunday. Street closures stretch from Congress Avenue to San Antonio Street and between Second and Fifth Streets.

National Weather Service

Austin is expected to get its first freeze of the season tonight, with temperatures dropping as low as the upper 20s overnight.

The National Weather Service says a strong Canadian cold front is moving across the Hill Country and the Austin metro area. A freeze warning has been issued for Austin, from midnight through 9 a.m. tomorrow.

“It’s not going to be that long-lived of a freezing temperature, maybe an hour or two, so I would not worry about pipes at this time,” says National Weather Service meteorologist Pat McDonald. “But if you have any tender vegetation, you may want to cover or cover them tonight.”

Spencer Selvidge/KUT News

Austin’s new express bus service has a launch date.

On Jan. 26. Capital Metro’s MetroRapid service will begin offering bus service at least every 15 minutes – and even more during rush hour.

The first route starts in January: it runs along North Lamar to Guadalupe to South Congress. The second route will launch later in 2014. It will run along Burnet Road to Guadalupe to South Lamar. (See a map of the routes below.)

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.  

Photo courtesy

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.

Jenna Macaroni

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?

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.

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."  

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. 

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.

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.

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.