Olivia Gordon

News intern

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Transportation
1:07 pm
Tue July 3, 2012

DPS Increasing Patrols This Independence Day; APD Sets 'No Refusal' Enforcement

The Department of Public Safety will increase DWI checkpoints for nine days surrounding July 4th.
Daniel Reese, KUT News

The Texas Department of Public Safety is reminding Fourth of July revelers to plan ahead before they party.

“If you are drinking, make sure you have a designated driver or some other form of transportation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Otherwise, you could be making a very expensive or even fatal mistake.”

DPS has ramped up DWI patrols and will continue to increase enforcement through July 8. The department will focus their patrols on areas they consider to be high-risk during holiday weekends.

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AM Update 6/29/12
7:26 am
Fri June 29, 2012

AM Update: Drought Improves Texas Beaches, Another Ft. Hood Trial Delay?, Deep Eddy Re-Opens

The Deep Eddy Pool closed in November to undergo renovations.
Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Less Rain is the Texas Beach-Goer’s Gain?

Turns out, there may be a positive side to the state's historic drought. Less rain means less polluted runoff – so Texas beaches are cleaner than they have been in years. It's all detailed in a report released this week by the National Resources Defense Council.

The report details the testing done on hundreds of state beaches around the nation and evaluates the levels of certain bacteria found in the water. Texas’ South Padre Island was rated one of the nation’s twelve cleanest beaches, though Nueces, Matagorda, Kleberg, Harris and Aransas beaches exceeded the daily maximum bacteria standard. 

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Environment
2:04 pm
Thu June 28, 2012

Hold On to Your Butts: Fire Department Sees Six Cigarette Fires in One Day

The Austin Fire Department responded to six small grass fires along major roads yesterday afternoon.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The Austin Fire Department is reminding everyone to be extra careful to prevent grass fires.

Fire crews responded to 12 calls about small grass fires yesterday afternoon, mostly along major roads. The fire department says the flare-ups were probably caused by cigarette butts.

Travis County Commissioners put a burn ban back in effect on Tuesday. Cigarettes are not included in the burn ban, but the Austin Police Department will issue tickets for littering to anyone they see improperly dispose of their butts.

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police
5:07 pm
Wed June 27, 2012

Austin NAACP Calls for Justice Department to Resume Police Investigation

Austin NAACP President Nelson Linder has called for another federal investigation of local police.
.naacp-austin.org

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo refuted claims the department uses excessive force against minorities at a press conference this afternoon.

The chief’s heated speech came after the Austin NAACP formally filed a complaint with the Department of Justice against APD for alleged mistreatment of Hispanics and African-Americans.

Acevedo said that occasional use of force is an ugly reality of the job for many police officers. “We can’t change law to take away officers’ rights to defend themselves or others,” he said.

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Arts and Culture
2:07 pm
Fri June 22, 2012

Magnificent: Local Sculpture Skates to National Acclaim

Chris Levack’s “Iron Wave,” at the Austin BMX and Skate Park.
flickr.com/loudtiger

Two Austin public art projects were named among the nation's 50 best in Americans for the Arts2012 Public Art Year in Review.

James Edward Talbot’s “Your Essential Magnificence” on South Congress, and Chris Levack’s “Trilobite Shade” and “Iron Wave” for the Austin BMX and Skate Park at House Park were selected from hundreds of entries across the country.

Americans for the Arts announced its selected projects at their annual convention in San Antonio earlier this month.

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Amber Alert
7:40 am
Fri June 22, 2012

Amber Alert for Live Oak Boy

Authorities issued an Amber Alert for 6-year-old Simon Weyman.
Courtesy of Nation Center for Missing and Exploited Children

Update: The suspects, one black male and one white male, are in a red 1990 Toyota Celica GT with Texas license plate# CG5G973, according ot the Selma Police Department.

Original post (7:40 a.m.): The Live Oak Police Department issued an Amber Alert this morning for six year-old Simon Colby Weyman. Simon is a white male, 4’ 0” tall, about 90 pounds with blonde hair and brown eyes.

Simon was last seen wearing a white t-shirt with black cars on it, khaki shorts and no shoes.

The suspects are unknown but police believe they are driving a black 4-door compact Mazda or Toyota with a green and white bumper sticker on the rear.

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AM Update 6/22/12
7:29 am
Fri June 22, 2012

AM Update: Cesar Chavez Closure, a Slew of Quirky Festivals, Heat Take NBA Finals

Admirers of Leslie Cochran marched through downtown in memory following his death.
lesliefest.com

Cesar Chavez Traffic Closures

Traffic on Cesar Chavez Street will be disrupted this morning as crews repair a broken water main.

Early this morning, the water main that serves businesses on Cesar Chavez between Brazos Street and Trinity Street burst. Eastbound traffic between Congress Avenue and Red River Street is down to one lane. Westbound traffic will be detoured northbound on Brazos Street, then westbound on Second Street.  

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Formula One
3:09 pm
Fri June 15, 2012

Austin Ponders the Winning F1 Formula

One of the racers on display at this weekend's Formula One expo.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Get your helicopter permits in now.

That was one of the takeaways from a presentation to the Austin City Council yesterday, regarding planning underway for the Circuit of the Americas’ inaugural Formula One race this November – displaying the size, scope and expense of hosting the Grand Prix.

“We don’t know where to direct them,” council member Mike Martinez said of entrepreneurs inquiring about helicopter permits to chauffeur high-rolling F1 attendees. “They’re asking us questions that we’ve never heard of before, like where do we land a helicopter in downtown.”

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City Council
11:29 am
Fri June 15, 2012

Imagine That: Council Approves New Comprehensive Plan

An Austin resident shares her views on what she wants to see for the future of Austin.
flickr.com/austintexasgov

Austin City Council members voted unanimously early this morning to adopt the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, a blueprint for the city's growth in decades to come.

A public hearing on the plan lasted past 1 a.m.

The Imagine Austin plan was created from thousands of ideas submitted by residents about how Austin should develop over the next 30 years.

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AM Update
8:06 am
Fri June 15, 2012

AM Update: Texas Earthquake, Juneteenth Celebrations, Heat Burn OKC

Juneteenth 2010 parades through Austin; Earthquake strikes north Texas; Kevin Durant leads Thunder with 32 points.
Mose Buchele, KUT News; Photo courtesy US Geological Survey; Photo by Layne Murdoch NBAE

North Texas Tremor

An earthquake shook part of North Texas early this morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.1 magnitude earthquake happened about 16 miles south of Fort Worth and just over 150 miles north of Austin.

The local sheriff’s office says so far there are no reports of injuries or damage.

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ROT Rally
12:59 pm
Sat June 9, 2012

Street Closure Map for ROT Rally 2012

Motorcycles lined up for the 2010 ROT Rally.
Nasha Lee for KUT News

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally begins tonight and the Austin Police Department expects it to affect downtown traffic.

A motorcycle procession beginning at 8 p.m. will cause partial road closures along the route from the Travis Country Exposition Center, traveling downtown along E. MLK Boulevard, Webberville Road, Oak Springs Road and west on E. 11th Street.

The parade will conclude on Congress Avenue, where full road closures will take place until 3 a.m. between Cesar Chavez and East 11th Street, and between Colorado and Brazos streets.

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AM Update
7:54 am
Fri June 8, 2012

AM Update: EPA May Approve Clean Air Plan, Free Life Jackets, New Disc Golf Course

Texas power plants face new air quality controls; LCRA promotes water safety with life jacket giveaway; New disc golf course opens Saturday.
KUT News; Photo courtesy Flickr.com/jaako; Photo courtesy Flickr.com/heartlover1717

EPA Hints at Approval of TCEQ Air Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency  has signaled it will likely approve changes to the state’s clean air plan.

A revised plan from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality establishes site-wide emission caps with specific monitoring at units for existing major sources of air pollution. The EPA said the proposal gives the industry more flexibility in day-to-day operations.

The agency will seek public comment on the approval for 30 days before it makes a final decision. You can read more over at StateImpact Texas.

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Health
2:25 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Gunshot Wounds to the Face Not As Lethal As You Might Think

Photo by kcdsTM http://www.flickr.com/photos/kcdstm/2220683741/

Though shocking and disturbing, many gunshot wounds to the face are not as serious as they appear, Harvard surgery professor and trauma surgeon George Velmahos reminded an audience of trauma surgeons and nurses this morning.

Velmahos joined several other surgeons in giving quick lessons about surgical techniques or advancements as part of the Austin Trauma and Critical Care Conference at the AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center on the University of Texas Campus.

In between surgeon-centered jokes, Velmahos showed provocative photos of patients with gunshot wounds to the face because he said he knew they would elicit a strong response.

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Health
2:01 pm
Fri June 1, 2012

Expert: Trampoline Safety Devices Don't Help Much

Photo by rbbaird http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbbaird/4711842910/

The classic backyard entertainment may be more dangerous than assumed warned University of Oklahoma professor of surgery Roxie Albrecht today at a conference focused on trauma and critical care.Her lecture, called “Trampolines are Fun?” explained to surgeons how to treat patients afflicted with a trampoline related injuries.

She said most injuries come from jumping with more than the recommended amount of people on the trampoline. Most trampolines are made for one person.

Albrecht cited research showing children are more likely to get hurt on trampolines in the early evening when guardians are too busy or distracted to watch over them.

“They are more into making dinner and the kids are out on the trampoline trying to hurt themselves,” she said.

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AM Update
8:05 am
Fri June 1, 2012

AM Update: Hurricane Season Begins, Spurs Lose to Thunder, Houston Gets Replica Rocket

The Johnson Space Center is set to receive a replica shuttle; The 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season may or may not bring a storm like Irene; Tony Parker scored 16 points for The Spurs in last night's defeat.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/bwmicklejr; Image courtesy National Weather Service; Photo courtesy San Antonio Spurs

Hurricane Season Could Bring Texas Much Needed Rain

Today is the official start to hurricane season.

So far this year we’ve seen two named tropical storms – Alberto and Beryl. Neither caused widespread damage. The 2011 season brought seven named hurricanes.

Regional climatologists tell KUT News that a good amount of rain from a tropical storm or hurricane this summer could be the quickest way for Texas to recover from the worst drought in state history.

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Health
4:20 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Group Says Review of Health Insurance Hikes is Just What the Doctor Ordered

A petition is calling for the Texas Department of Insurance to be more proactive in reviewing health insurance rate hikes.
Photo by Wells Dunbar for KUT News

President Obama’s signature healthcare reforms calls for an automatic review of any increase in health insurance costs ten percent or higher.

But an organization promoting better health care access across Texas says the agency in charge of monitoring and reviewing these hikes isn’t doing its job.

The Texas Department of Insurance is responsible for determining whether or not price increases for insurance premiums are justified. This is supposed to help protect consumers from overpaying for insurance.

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Austin
2:48 pm
Wed May 30, 2012

Is That Coop Up to Code? City Reminds Urban Chicken Owners of Rules and Regulations

Hens and a rooster bide their time at Boggy Creek Farm.
Photo by Olivia Gordon for KUT News

Which came first: The chicken, or the city code?

The growing popularity of backyard chicken coops in Austin neighborhoods has prompted the City of Austin to release guidelines helping urban chicken owners from running afoul of the law.

It’s a reminder to chicken keepers of city codes restricting where and how owners can plant their coops.

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