Trey Shaar

Producer, All Things Considered

Austin resident, on and off, mostly on, since 1986. Covering news of Central Texas and beyond since 1994. Father since 2010. Maker of sounds, informational and otherwise, since longer ago than any of the above.

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Border & Immigration
2:35 pm
Thu July 3, 2014

Perry Calls for Security & Federal Funds in a Congressional Hearing on Border Crisis

The Texas-Mexico border has become the focal point of a national debate on immigration after a surge in Central American immigrations.
Lorne Matalon Marfa Public Radio

The ongoing surge of Central American immigration into Texas was the focus of a field hearing Thursday of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security. Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R - Austin) invited Governor Rick Perry to testify at the hearing in the Rio Grande Valley.

The governor laid out a four-point plan for handling the situation, including increasing National Guard operations, screening immigrants for medical conditions and federal reimbursement of the money Texas has spent on border security.

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Texas
7:20 pm
Mon June 30, 2014

Two Texans Weighing White House Bids Applaud Supreme Court Ruling

Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz at an April 2014 news conference at Fort Hood addressing a deadly gunfire incident
Sgt. Ken Scar Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System

The offices of U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Governor Rick Perry were quick to release statements lauding Monday’s Supreme Court decision on contraception. The ruling said family-owned and other closely held companies can opt out of an Affordable Care Act provision requiring they provide insurance coverage of birth control.

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Border & Immigration
4:16 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Latest Surge at Texas Border: Politicians Cruz, Abbott, Davis & Perry

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (foreground, L, R) were joined by U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Flower Mound, (background, R) in touring Joint Base Lackland San Antonio today.
Ben Philpott/KUT

Texas politicians are getting a close-up look at how border authorities are handling an influx of Central American immigrants – many of them children who came here without family members.

Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott got a tour Monday of one facility housing immigrant children after they’re processed near the border: Joint Base San Antonio, where children wait for judicial hearings or to be placed with relatives.

Both Abbott and Cruz blame the increase in immigrants on the Obama administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals policy, which offered a delay of immigration proceedings for children brought to the U.S. before 2007.

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Austin
7:16 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

Justice Department Announces Settlement With Austin Over Firefighter Discrimination Claims

Credit Callie Hernandez for KUT

The City of Austin and the U.S. Justice Department have agreed to a settlement in a complaint over hiring practices at the Austin Fire Department (AFD).

The settlement follows an investigation finding that the AFD selection process had the effect of unfairly discriminating against African-American and Hispanic applicants.

Under the agreement, which still needs approval by a federal court, the Austin Fire Department would change its hiring process to bring it in compliance with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Title VII forbids the use of employment practices such as written tests resulting in disparate impact against any group, based on factors like race or national origin. 

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Medical Marijuana
6:23 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Why a Conservative Christian Group Joined Austin Marijuana Marchers

A conservative Christian organization is calling for legalized medicinal marijuana as a treatment for autism.
flickr.com/eggrole

Marijuana advocates will march on the Texas Capitol Saturday as part of the annual Worldwide Marijuana March. In Austin, the marchers will include members of Mothers Advocating Medical Marijuana for Autism (MAMMA), a newly-founded organization which describes itself as a conservative Christian group calling for the legalization of medicinal marijuana use in Texas.

“We are working now with Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition. They’re a group out of Harris County. They are drafting a bill,"  says MAMMA co-founder and executive director Thalia Michelle. "We believe that Marijuana Policy Project will also be introducing a medicinal cannabis bill."

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UT Board of Regents
4:32 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

Travis County Opens Criminal Investigation of UT Regent Wallace Hall

The Travis County District Attorney’s office is opening a criminal investigation of University of Texas Regent Wallace Hall.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall is now the subject of a criminal investigation.

The Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office has opened an investigation into Hall after receiving a complaint from a legislative committee considering impeachment proceedings against the regent.

Hall is accused of improper handling of student records as part of extensive open records requests of UT-Austin documents. Critics have accused Hall of conducting a "witch hunt" on behalf of Gov. Rick Perry to oust UT-Austin President Bill Powers.

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Crime & Justice
11:40 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Report: Central Texas Home to Some of the State's Most Established Gangs

The report shows that Central Texas has a high concentration of gang activity.
DPS 2014 Texas Gang Threat Assessment

The Texas Department of Public Safety released its annual report on criminal gang activity in Texas this week.

This year’s Texas Gang Threat Assessment found that gangs continue to pose a substantial threat to public safety. Central Texas is home to some of the most established gangs in the state. The report estimates that with more than 4,600 gangs, overall gang membership in this state is more than 100,000.

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LBJ Civil Rights Summit
7:28 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Bill Clinton Speaks at UT Austin's LBJ Summit

Former President Bill Clinton addresses the audience during the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library on the University of Texas campus on Wednesday, April 9, 2014.
Deborah Cannon, American-Statesman

Former President Bill Clinton spoke Wednesday night at the Civil Rights Summit at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum in Austin. The summit, gathering four U.S Presidents and dozens of other speakers, marks the 50th anniversary of Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson’s Civil Rights Act.

Clinton lamented last year’s decision from the U.S. Supreme Court to weaken another part of the LBJ legacy, the Voting Rights Act. Clinton singled out the Texas law requiring voters to show photo ID.

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Fort Hood
4:08 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Fort Hood Update: Timeline, Overview of Shooting Released by Army

Fort Hood officials released this map showing the route Spc. Ivan Lopez took during a shooting that killed four, including himself.
Fort Hood Public Affairs

Investigators probing last week's shooting at Fort Hood presented their first clear narrative today of what they think happened.

U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command's Chris Gray confirmed the shooting spree started after Spc. Ivan Lopez had a verbal altercation with a colleague over a request for leave.

"Within minutes of the altercation, the subject brandished a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun and fired multiple rounds, killing one soldier and wounding 10 additional soldiers," Gray said.

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Wildflower Season
1:54 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Snakes or No Snakes, Safety Tips for Texas Bluebonnet Pictures

While you probably won’t find a six-foot rattler among the bluebonnets, there's still precautions you can take.
menoutdoors.com via imgur

With spring in full swing, it's time for wildflower pictures – including photos among Texas' iconic state flower, the bluebonnet.

But something's taking the bloom off this wildflower season: images of snakes among the flowers.

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Crime & Justice
5:34 am
Wed April 2, 2014

15-Year-Old Found Safe After Search (Update)

Sianna Gholson
Photo released by Blanco Police Department

Update: An Amber Alert for a 15-year-old Blanco girl has been canceled. Blanco Police say Sianna Gholson was found safe.

Gholson was believed abducted Tuesday morning from Blanco High School.

But, again, she’s now been found and is safe.

Original Story (April 1, 5:53 p.m.): Authorities issued an Amber Alert Tuesday for a 15-year-old girl believed abducted from Blanco High School in Blanco, Texas at about 7:45 Tuesday morning.

SXSW 2014
4:31 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Accused Driver in SXSW Crash Faces 20 Aggravated Assault Charges

Rashad Owens faces capital murder and aggravated assault charges for allegedly speeding into and killing SXSW attendees.

The man charged with capital murder in the crash into a crowd at South by Southwest is now also charged with 20 counts of aggravated assault.

21-year-old Rashad Owens has been jailed since the March 13 crash. Police say Owens was speeding away from a traffic stop when he drove through a barricade onto a street crowded with pedestrians.

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Law
6:53 pm
Thu March 27, 2014

U.T. Sports Law Expert Says Student Athletes Deserve Compensation

No shortage of fans willing to pay to be in these seats on game days
KUT News

This week, a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Northwestern University athletes can legally form a union.

Here in Austin, UT Law professor Dr. Lucas Powe sees it as a change that can be expected for elsewhere.

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Austin Police
6:35 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

Man Shot by Austin Police Sgt. This Week Was Armed with BB Gun

Police surrounded the scene of a sergeant-involved shooting on Berkman Drive on March 18, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Update: Austin Police made clear Thursday that the weapon in the hand of man who was shot this week by an APD sergeant was a pistol that fires BBs or pellets. Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo spoke about that pistol in the hours after Tuesday’s shooting.

“When the sergeant sees it, he sees the suspect put it behind his back, allegedly, and then puts it back forward. The suspect at one point yells, ‘it’s a bb gun,’ or says, ‘it’s a bb gun, it’s a bb gun.’”

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Politics
6:23 pm
Thu February 27, 2014

President Obama Coming to Austin for Civil Rights Summit

President Obama speaking on the U.T. Austin campus about the importance of education, August 9, 2010
Marsha Miller, University of Texas at Austin

President Obama is planning to be in Austin on April 10 to deliver the keynote address at a Summit on Civil Rights. The event at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum commemorates 50 years since President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act. 

“I think we see the Obama Administration has taken active part in the national dialogue about the progress we’ve made over the past 50 years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act," says Ranjana Natarajan, a civil rights expert and professor at the University of Texas School of Law. "They’ve been working on policies to further that process, whether it’s healthcare or criminal justice reform."

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Austin City Council
4:54 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

Austin OKs Economic Incentives for Dropbox, Websense (Update)

Websense is a San Diego-based Internet security firm. It's looking to relocate to Austin, contingent on city and state economic incentives.
websense.com

Update: Dropbox and Websense will receive economic incentives to expand in Austin.

The Austin City Council voted 5-2 today to offer the two tech companies approximately $700,000 in incentives. The money comes on top of $6 million from the Texas Enterprise Fund. 

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Health
7:19 pm
Wed February 19, 2014

Weather May Be Behind Travis County Infant Death Increase

AAP recomends that infants sleep in a crib without hazards such as pillows or blankets

In the first six weeks of 2014, the Travis County Medical Examiner's Office has had five cases of infants dying while on the same sleep surface as one or more adults. Forensic Nurse Leanne Courtney says that's more than in all of each of the previous two years.

"There were four, both for 2013 and 2012; however, the total amount of infant deaths last year were eight, but so far this year, we're creeping up towards that number, so we really want to emphasize to parents and caretakers about the risks of unsafe sleeping environments," Courtney said.

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Winter Weather
4:08 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Another Winter Blast for Austin; Freezing Drizzle a Possibility

Austin could be looking at freezing precipitation on Thursday, although roads are expected to remain in decent shape.
Credit National Weather Service

Austin's looking at another chance of frozen precipitation Thursday morning.

Air temperatures are expected to go below freezing overnight in the wake of the region's latest cold front. National Weather Service forecaster Pat McDonald says there’s a chance of freezing drizzle. But the chance is low – about 10 percent, and accumulation isn't expected.

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Austin
5:23 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Steady Increase in Number of Travis County Residents Living with HIV

The Austin area has seen a 41% increase in the number of residents living with HIV/AIDS from 2006-2012
CDC

More people are living with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in Travis County.

Between 2006 and 2012, the number of people with HIV has increased 41 percent -- to 5,084 people. During those years, the overall population of Travis County increased only by about 17 percent.

Dr. Phillip Huang, Medical Director of Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services, says much of the increase is because of life-sustaining HIV drugs.

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Weather
4:55 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Delays & Closures Mount as Winter Weather Tangles Austin Traffic (Update)

National Weather Service

Update: Temperatures went up above freezing this afternoon, giving the roads a chance to thaw out and dry up. Skies have cleared, setting us up for another cold night with a hard freeze, but with no precipitation in the forecast. 

Earlier: UT Austin has announced it will remain closed the rest of the day.

"Student and employee safety is our top concern and we understand the frustration that many on the Forty Acres feel about today’s weather-related delays," UT said in a statement published on its Tumblr page. "We’re very sorry for any trouble, inconvenience or problems that our students and employees faced related to our decisions."

Read on for more information on closures and delays.

Previously: Freezing rain began falling on the Austin area this morning after local school and government officials had announced their initial decisions about whether to operate today and when. In some cases, people already had set out on the roads for work and/or school when officials reconsidered earlier decisions and announced closures and delays.

Austin Police reported responding to 80 crashes between 5:00 and 7:30 A.M. By later in the morning, that number had grown to 214 crashes – about 40 per hour, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. At last check, that number had rose to 260.

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