Rhonda Fanning

Producer, The Texas Standard

Rhonda  joined KUT in late 2013 as producer for the station's new daily news program, Texas Standard. Rhonda will forever be known as the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the first full-time hire for The Texas Standard?”  She’s an Iowa native who got her start in public radio at WFSU in Tallahassee, while getting her Master's Degree in Library Science at Florida State University. Prior to joining KUT and The Texas Standard, Rhonda was a producer for Wisconsin Public Radio. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT Austin

From Texas Standard:

Soon, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will begin billing local police departments across Texas for any lab work done by the agency. The service used to be free but DPS is now charging in order to make up for budget cuts to its lab system made during the regular legislative session.

Photo courtesy of Stefano de Stefano

From Texas Standard:

With election day 2018 more than a year away, a Houston-area energy attorney appears to be the first to throw his hat in the ring as a primary challenger to fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz.

Raymond Wambsgans/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The men and women of law enforcement are known for putting themselves at risk to protect their communities, but the Austin Police Department is now facing a new, invisible danger.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The Legislature’s special session begins this Tuesday. It’s 30 days long with 20 items on the agenda and Gov. Greg Abbott is calling the shots.

Bob Daemmerich/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

Just four days before the start of the special legislative session, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has spelled out plans to give longevity bonuses to public school teachers, and boost benefits for retired teachers.

Spencer Selvidge / KUT News

From Texas Standard:

As Senate Republican leaders reveal another version of their plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, taking politics out of the health care picture may be just the medicine needed. Political noise aside, the fact remains that health care costs are still too high, and many individuals can’t afford coverage. Experts say the political debate is essentially moot until the financial barriers to care are sorted out.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

A week after the Fourth of July, independence is still on the minds of Texans. But two-and-a-half centuries after the U.S. became a nation, Texas lawmakers, rather than a king, are the despot in some eyes.

Aindrila Mukhopadhyay/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump addressed thousands of people in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, focusing, in part, on the nation's dependence on Russian energy. He said Poles will not be "held hostage" anymore by the Russian energy market, and pitched U.S. energy as an alternative.

Stefan Krasowski/Flickr [CC BY 2.0]

From Texas Standard:

North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile capability over the weekend. It launched a guided missile with a range of at least 3,400 miles. It landed in the Sea of Japan. Experts say such a missile could reach Alaska, but North Korea does not yet have the capability to arm one with a nuclear warhead.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

An article by New Yorker staff writer and Texas resident Lawrence Wright makes the case that Texas is a political bellwether. In "America's Future Is Texas," Wright argues that, indeed, as Texas goes, so goes the nation — politically speaking, at any rate.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

At airports in big cities across Texas and around the country, part of the president's new travel ban is taking effect, in the wake of this week's Supreme Court ruling that some aspects of the ban could be enforced. The court will fully consider the ban, and the lower court rulings that blocked portions of it, when its new term begins in October. For now, travelers from the six predominantly Muslim countries included in the ban will be barred from the U.S. unless they can show a "bona fide relationship" with someone in this country. That includes relatives and employers, and other unspecified connections to the U.S.

Leif Hinrichsen/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The White House warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad publicly Monday night that if his regime carried out another chemical weapons attack, it would pay a “heavy price.” The statement by White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the “United States has identified potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack by the Assad regime.” It said the preparations were similar to those before the April 4 sarin gas attack that killed dozens of Syrians.

Jeff Kubina/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

There aren’t many restraints on the life-tenured Supreme Court justices, but they are bound by traditions, one of which is to wrap up their work for the year by the end of June. This week, the Supreme Court will release its final orders of the term before the justices begin their long summer break.

U.S. Navy Airman Michael Arteaga/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard:

On Monday, Russia threatened to shoot down any coalition jets flying west of the Euphrates river, after the U.S. shot down a Syrian warplane over the weekend. Russia is also suspending its use of the hotline between the U.S. and Russia that was set up to prevent accidents in the Syrian combat zone. The U.S. has also suspended talks with Russia over resolution of the Syrian conflict.

 

Karen/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Weather watchers are tracking ominous activity in the Gulf of Mexico. An Air Force Reserve helicopter is on standby, ready to fly to a spot off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula where a storm system is building steam.

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Gov. Greg Abbott vetoed 50 bills Thursday – the largest number of bills vetoed by a governor since 2007.

Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From Texas Standard:

Have you voted yet? We're looking at you Pasadena, and you, El Paso, and you, too, San Antonio. Tomorrow there are runoff elections in all three cities. And in each city, the top job in city government is at stake.

Beth Cortez-Neavel/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Austin Mayor Steve Adler released a letter yesterday addressed to “All Good People in the World” following two U.S. Senators’ call for South by Southwest to relocate their annual festival out of Texas until Senate Bill 4 is repealed or overturned by the courts.

Jon Wiley/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

What The New York Times is calling one of Texas’ “most tumultuous political moments in decades” is set to play out in a special session announced by Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday.

Lawmakers will return to the Capitol on July 18 for a 30-day special session, the first one Abbott has called during his time as governor.

Shell/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Seven countries severed ties with Qatar on Monday. Not only did Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Yemen, Libya and the Maldives suspend diplomatic relations with the Gulf state, they also cut off land, air and sea travel to and from Qatar. They also ordered their citizens to leave Qatar.

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