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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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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Business
8:30 am
Thu July 18, 2013

Dell Decision Day: Today's Vote on Buyout Delayed (Update)

Dell employs about 14,000 people in Central Texas.
flickr.com/philschatz/

Update: Dell is delaying a vote on founder Michael Dell’s offer to buy the company and make it private. The vote was scheduled to happen this morning – but is being pushed back – likely because major shareholders don’t support the deal.

Reports say the vote has been rescheduled for later this month.

Original Story (6:14 a.m.): It is decision day for Dell shareholders.

They are scheduled to meet this morning and vote on whether to accept a buyout offer from company founder Michael Dell and the private equity firm Silver Lake Management that values the computer maker at $24.4 billion.

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Formula 1
7:33 pm
Mon July 15, 2013

Is Driving on Austin's F1 Track Worth $55,000?

flickr.com/oxherder

If you ever wanted to ride an Formula 1 track in your own car, the Circuit of the Americas is now selling the opportunity. A full-day private track rental goes for $55,000. Group rates are available at $2,500 per person.

"Response has been strong with more than 250 people expressing interest within the first few days of offering the experience online," Circuit Executive Vice President Bruce Knox said in a press release. 

For a sport that caters to people who commute by helicopter and drop $10,000 on bottle service, it's probably not shocking to see a $55,000 price tag attached to a single day of entertainment. But how does it stack up against the competition? We poked around and found out. 

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Health
7:22 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Does Better Access to Fresh Vegetables Make People Healthier?

The Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand pilot project is open for three hours a week for much of the summer.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States. More than three times as many children are obese today compared to a generation ago. 

In Central Texas, some of the highest childhood obesity rates can be found in the Southeast Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs. The area has attracted the attention of social scientists who are looking at everything from the built environment, to the number of parks, to the socio-economic demographics, to the availability of healthy food.

It’s that last item – access to fresh produce in particular – that is the focus of an effort by Austin’s Sustainable Food Center. The non-profit has partnered with other groups to set up a temporary produce stand at the Dove Springs Recreation Center for three hours on Wednesdays for part of the summer.

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West plant explosion
6:46 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

After West Blast, U.S. Senator Calls for Safer Fertilizer Storage

A building destroyed by the fertilizer plant explosion in West
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A U.S. Senator who oversees environmental regulation is urging state governors to increase safety standards for the storage of ammonium nitrate in the wake of the explosion in West.  Fifteen people were killed in April when a fertilizer plant exploded in the town just north of Waco.

California Democrat Barbara Boxer chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“If there’s even one more tragic death from improper storage of ammonium nitrate, we’ll have lost this opportunity. We have the information. The information is power. And the people who have power need to do something about this," Boxer said during a news conference Tuesday. 

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Texas
11:27 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Listen: The Day of the Fort Hood Shooting - And Years of Aftermath

Fort Hood soldiers stand at attention before a 2009 address from Pres. Obama, shortly after the fatal shooting there.
KUT News

It’s been more than three years since a gunman walked into a military processing center at Fort Hood – about an hour north of Austin – and began shooting people at point blank range. Thirteen people were killed and more than thirty were wounded. After years of delays, the trial of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan begins today with jury selection.

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Environment
7:18 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Grim Milestone Looms for Lake Travis: A 50 Year Low

Aerial view of Lake Travis in June
Lower Colorado River Authority

Lake Travis could drop to a  50-year low this weekend, possibly falling below 626.1 feet. 

“When that does occur, that would be the third lowest level ever on record for Lake Travis, and the lowest since November of 1963," Meteorologist Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service said. "It tells us the drought is persistent and ongoing."

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