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. 

Spc. Carlynn Knaak/Wikimedia Commons (public domain)

From Texas Standard.

A pair of developments over the weekend have all eyes on Texas Democrats. Just before midnight on Friday, the Dallas County GOP filed a lawsuit seeking to remove 128 Democratic candidates from the county ballot. Republicans say the candidates’ paperwork didn’t include an authentic signature of Democratic party chair, Carol Donovan.

Gromer Jeffers, a political writer for the Dallas Morning News, says there’s evidence that someone other than Donovan signed the candidates’ filing petitions.

Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman/POOL

From Texas Standard.

The Austin American-Statesman reports that the state of Texas has billions of dollars of uninsured property. When catastrophe strikes – like, say, a hurricane – who pays for the damage? Eric Dexheimer, an investigative reporter for the Austin American-Statesman, has been doing the numbers.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

From Texas Standard.

Long seen as a symbol of Texas, the pickup truck is a valuable commodity in the automotive marketplace. It isn’t unusual for more pickups to be sold in two Texas cities – Houston and Dallas – than in the entire state of California.

Texans are loyal to their favorite manufacturers, but Bloomberg reporter Kyle Stock says automakers are spending serious money to change their minds.

San Antonio Police Department

From Texas Standard.

Two days before Christmas, on the east side of San Antonio, police made a discovery – one that had echoes of earlier incidents involving undocumented immigrants being smuggled into Texas and suffocating in tractor trailers.

This time there were no deaths. The driver of the truck was charged under a state human smuggling law, and the 12 people in the trailer were questioned and released.

Now Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to investigate whether San Antonio police may have violated Texas law.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. /KUT News

From Texas Standard.

A 2014 report found that five of the 10 psychiatric hospitals in Texas were in such disrepair that they needed to be replaced. Lawmakers and state health officials have since been debating what to do about the aging facilities. One part of that debate has included perhaps relocating the hospital in Austin – the state’s oldest psychiatric hospital – and selling the valuable land.

The Texas Legislature approved $300 million last year to overhaul the hospitals, and the state Health and Human Services Commission announced yesterday that the first chunk of that money will be doled out to start the process.