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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Education
3:29 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Leander ISD Middle School Evacuated

Google Street View

Running Brushy Middle School in the Leander school district was evacuated this afternoon because of a bomb threat phoned into the campus. The call came in at about 2 p.m., according to Leander ISD spokesperson Veronica Sopher.

"We are taking the evacuation as a precautionary measure," Sopher said, adding that LISD officials were working with the Cedar Park Police Department to determine the nature of the bomb threat and whether it posed any risk. 

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Hunger
7:32 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Non-Profit Asks Travis County for Money to Deliver 10,500 Meals

http://facebook.com/mealsonwheelsaustin

A non-profit organization that provides food to elderly and homebound people is asking Travis County for money to help deal with the sequester. Those across-the-board federal spending cuts include about $120,000 that would have gone to a local Meals on Wheels program that pays for food to be delivered to senior centers run by the city or the county. 

The organization is requesting $61,000 from Travis County to pay for the "Congregate Meals Program." 

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Education
6:54 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

UT Football Great Vince Young Graduates

Vince Young during his glory days with the Longhorns
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28181671@N03/2814028021/

Former Longhorn quarterback Vince Young graduated from the University of Texas at Austin Friday with a bachelor’s degree in Youth and Community Studies. He Tweeted a blurry photo of himself receiving his diploma and thanked "everyone who supported me through the good and bad."

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economy
2:30 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Austin Jobless Rate Dips to 5.1 Percent

flickr.com/jimnix

Austin’s economy added 30,500 jobs over the last year. The latest employment report shows the jobless rate dropped to 5.1 percent last month from 5.6 percent in April 2012. 

The recent job growth happened as more people were moving to the Austin-area looking for work. The civilian labor force grew by more than 27,000 in the past 12 months.

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Austin
7:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Asbestos Slows Down Holly Power Plant Demolition

Crews tear down a building housing a turbine generator at the Holly Street Power Plant.
Austin Energy

Tearing down the Holly Street Power Plant in East Austin will take about eight months longer than originally scheduled.

Austin Energy’s deputy general manager Cheryl Mele says one major reason is asbestos. The company hired to disassemble the plant, TRC Environmental, found more of the hazardous mineral than expected.

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Education
5:45 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

AISD Opens 'First of a Kind' Outdoor Learning Center

The quarter-acre center is next to Pleasant Hill Elementary School.
courtesy Austin ISD

The Austin school district is opening a district-wide outdoor learning center this evening next to Pleasant Hill Elementary school in South Austin. The quarter-acre center (PDF) includes 150 species of native plants, 22 habitat sites and a rainwater harvesting system.

Marya Fowler with the National Wildlife Federation says it’s the first of its kind in Central Texas.

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Politics
4:11 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

IRS Out of Control, Cornyn Says

Sen. John Cornyn says the IRS overstepped its bounds.
flickr.com/musicfirstcoalition

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says the FBI's criminal investigation of the Internal Revenue Service could include potential civil rights violations, false statements and potential violations of the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in some partisan political activities.

President Obama is meeting with Treasury officials today to discuss the IRS targeting of conservative groups for special review.

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Families
5:08 am
Wed May 15, 2013

New Center Can Supervise Court-Ordered Parental Visits

Flickr/Camilla Nilsson http://www.flickr.com/photos/49365126@N07/5489383908/

Victims of spousal abuse in Austin have a new option if their children are to receive supervised visits with the other parent. Travis County has opened PlanetSafe at 11th and Nueces, a supervised visitation and safe exchange center.  Its grand opening is today. 

The facility is operated by the local non-profit Safe Place, and was established with the help of $600,000 in federal grants from the Office of Violence Against Women. Travis County supplied the use of the building for a nominal rent and is paying for staffing. 

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Education
6:43 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

What Does AISD Bond Vote Mean?

Money for school buses was one measure approved by voters Saturday
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Interview with education reporter Laura Heinauer

Austin voters rejected two out of four school bonds on Saturday. At $892 million, it was the largest proposed bond in AISD history.

We spoke with local education reporter Laura Heinauer to learn more. Click the player above to hear our conversation as it aired on KUT. 

FOOD
3:52 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Where Else Could Pres. Obama Have Eaten BBQ in Austin?

The President could have enjoyed these slabs of brisket at John Mueller BBQ.
flickr.com/lidocaineus

Interview with Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam

President Obama visited Austin yesterday and had lunch at Stubb's BBQ, a choice that some food nerds found surprising, given the growing list of choices on offer in Austin.

So where else could the President have dined on brisket and pork? To help answer that question, we asked Austin American-Statesman restaurant critic Matthew Odam.

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FOOD
5:13 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

The Artisan Tradition of Barbecue

"Barbecue Crossroads" looks beyond the brisket.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

We love our barbecue in Texas, and one Texan who knows a lot about it is Robb Walsh, a James Beard Award-winning writer from Houston. He has a new book out, Barbecue Crossroads, and for the book he traveled across the South, documenting various barbecue styles, not just the food but the history behind the food and the restaurants that he ate at. We spoke with Beard about the real appeal of barbecue.

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Texas
4:53 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Sales Tax Holiday to Give You a Break on Efficient Appliances

Energy Star appliances aim to save on the electric bill.
courtesy flickr.com/hubgoat

If you’re thinking of buying an appliance anytime soon, you might want to circle Memorial Day weekend on your calendar. The state’s annual Energy Star sales tax holiday runs May 25- 27.

Dub Taylor with the State Energy Conservation Office says they want to encourage people with the idea that after you save on sales tax, you’ll also save on your electric bill.

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Austin
4:07 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

Sales Tax Revenue Up 5 Percent in Austin

Statewide, the sales tax brought in 4 percent more last month.
courtesy flickr.com/dborman2

The growth of Austin means people are spending more money; today we got a measure of that. Sales tax collections in the city grew almost 5 percent in April compared to the same month last year.

Some cities around Austin saw a major jump in sales tax collections.

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PolitiFact
5:27 am
Wed May 8, 2013

PolitiFact: Rep Claims Global Warming Not a Problem

A state representative told The Austin American-Statesman last month that science has "not shown gases to be a problem."
flickr.com/virgomerry

The story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

Update: PolitiFact Texas received a barrage of emails accusing the fact-checkers of being misleading in their fact check of Rep. Wayne Smith.

Readers asserted that Rep. Smith’s claim was not untrue because there has yet to be a scientific consensus on the correlation of carbon emissions and climate change. Because the representative’s claim was not false, readers claim that labeling Smith with the “Pants on Fire” ranking and urge that PolitiFact Texas’s pants are aflame.

Original Post: A state representative recently claimed that science has yet to confirm that greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, have a hazardous effect on the environment.

In an Austin American-Statesman article last month Rep. Wayne Smith of Baytown said that “science has not shown greenhouse gases to be a problem,” which caught the eye of Gardner Selby and the PolitiFact Texas fact checkers. Click the player above to hear our conversation about it. 

University of Texas
5:01 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

UT Mines APD Brass for New Police Chief

APD Chief of Staff David Carter will take over UTPD on July 1.
APD

The University of Texas has a new police chief. It’s David Carter, who is currently Chief of Staff at the Austin Police Department.

UT criminal justice professor Mike Lauderdale led the search committee for the new chief, and recommended the appointment to UT Austin President Bill Powers, who made the final decision.

Lauderdale says one of Carter’s major challenges will be dealing with high turnover at the department.

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Politics
6:58 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Texas House Honors Slain APD Officer

Pallbearers move Officer Jaime Padron's casket into a hearse in April 2012.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

An Austin Police Officer who was killed in the line of duty was honored Monday in the Texas House of Representatives. Jaime Padron was shot to death in April 2012 when he responded to a disturbance call at a Walmart on I-35 near Parmer Lane.

State Representative Dawnna Dukes, D-Austin, filed House Concurrent Resolution 85. It was passed unanimously after a ceremony at the Capitol to honor all 25 Texas police officers killed in the last two years. 

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Technology
4:57 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Interview: U.T. Law Student Fires First 3D-Printed Gun

Cody Wilson succesfully test fired a mostly plastic gun created with a 3D printer.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Interview with Cody Wilson

 A University of Texas law student has become the first person to fire a bullet from a gun made with a 3D printer. Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg recorded a video of the test shooting, then wrote about it. 

Wilson says he did it partly to make a political point about gun control.

“Especially at a time when all these actors on the Hill are pretending that we can control firearms and we can better regulate them. I’m seeing a future, a vision of the future where that’s not really possible," he told KUT News. 

Listen to our interview with Wilson by clicking the player above. 

Austin
7:06 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Community Walk Through 12th and Chicon Saturday

The area around 12th and Chicon Streets has been known as an open air drug market for decades, says APD commander Fred Fletcher.
aaronisnotcool at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cavalierhorn/4073578979/

Austin police are hosting a "community walk" Saturday through an area of the city infamous for its open-air drug market. APD has targeted the area of 12th and Chicon Streets since last year with a so-called Drug Market Intervention program modeled after an effort in High Point, North Carolina.  

The program allows non-violent drug dealers to have their criminal cases suspended if they agree to work with family members or community groups to receive drug treatment and job training. The program got up and running last year after local law enforcement saw it had been used across the country with impressive results, the Austin Chronicle reported in an extensive piece last July. 

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Food
5:33 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

A Permanent Farmers Market, and 5 Other Ways Austin Can Become A Foodie Capital

City of Austin officials visited Pike Place Market in Seattle to see how a permanent farmer's market might operate.
flickr.com/stilli00

Interview with Margaret Shaw of the City of Austin's Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office

The City of Austin is thinking about helping to create a permanent farmers' market that would operate seven days a week. It was the first recommendation in a recent report produced for the city by Texas Perspectives, a local economic analysis and consulting firm. 

"Permanent food markets and food hubs could well speak to all the major findings of this report," TXP wrote, "as they offer the possibility of enhancing the Austin food sector in a way that appeals to both tourists and locals." 

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