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. 

Image via Flickr/Texas Comptroller (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Even though the Texas Legislature failed to pass measures to reform property taxes or the school finance system during the regular and special sessions, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says the Texas economy continues to grow at a solid pace.

Comptroller Glenn Hegar is the chief tax collector, accountant and revenue estimator for the state government. Among his responsibilities is providing the legislature with an estimate of state revenue before each regular legislative session.

 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News`

From Texas Standard:

President Trump put himself back into the debate over Confederate monuments Thursday. In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, he tweeted in defense of the monuments, saying the country is “being ripped apart” with their removal.

Michael Vadon/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

President Donald Trump staged one of the most memorable press conferences in U.S. history Tuesday afternoon: a combative exchange about last weekend's violence in Charlottesville, Va. It was an opportunity to reinforce his heavily scripted message from Monday, condemning neo-Nazis and white supremacists. Instead, he went off script, reiterating talking points of the self-described “alt-right.”

Michael Femia/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It's not unheard of for an obituary to be published by mistake. A few years ago, People.com put up an obit for actor Kirk Douglas, who – at 100 – is still alive.

Something similar happened to Dallas-based Half Price Books chain, Austin’s BookPeople and independent bookstores across the country when the first e-reader made its debut. The death knell never rang so loud.

But it turns out bookstores aren't dead after all, at least not some of the best-known ones in Texas.

Elvert Barnes/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In a series of blockbuster tweets this morning, President Donald trump wrote that transgender individuals won’t be allowed to serve in the U.S. military.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Legislature’s 30-day special session is moving through an ambitious agenda at a rapid-fire pace, at least in the Senate.

Hamza Butt/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington are taking on the fake news of the world.

The project, aptly named “Bot versus Bot: Automated Detection of Fake News Bots,” will develop tools to detect online social bots that create and spread fake news.

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

From Texas Standard:

Texas law prohibits members of the Legislature from accepting campaign contributions during a regular session. The restriction came about after poultry magnate Lonnie Pilgrim handed out $10,000 checks on the Senate floor in 1989 – just two days before a vote on a workers' compensation bill that Pilgrim had an interest in.

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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

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.

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