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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CDC

Nine deaths from influenza in Travis County this flu season represent just one measure of how severe the season has been.

Dr. Phil Huang, Medical Director of the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, notes that cases started showing up earlier in the season, toward the end of 2013, and that patients under the age of 60 were among the most severely affected. 

"Definitely what we're seeing is worse than what we've seen in some past seasons," Dr. Huang said, "and also the population that's being affected with some of the more severe illness is a younger population than what we were seeing." 

flickr.com/matthewholland

Black Friday isn’t quite what it used to be. More stores are trying to get the jump on others by opening not only on Thanksgiving, but earlier and earlier on Thanksgiving.

This year, there may have been even more incentive to open early. That’s because there’s less time than usual before it’s time to start the pre-Christmas sales.

You might have heard that a quirk of the calendars had Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah on the same day this year. That once-in-several-lifetimes coincidence is a combination of a couple of things: an early Hanukkah and a Turkey Day that was as late in the calendar as it could be.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUTX

Antone’s has new owners. The Austin blues venue that was a launching pad for Stevie Ray Vaughan left downtown for East Riverside Drive earlier this year. 

“Antone’s has been such an integral part of Austin’s music history and we’re just happy to be carrying the torch to the next level,” said Tayloe Emery, one of the investors.  

He says the goal is to move Antone’s back into downtown Austin and the hope is to have that done in time for South by Southwest in March.

Founder Clifford Antone’s sister Susan Antone will stay on as part of the club's operations. 

Two people are recovering from gunshot wounds after related incidents in North Austin Friday afternoon.

Police say one person was struck by gunfire and then the person who fired that shot was hit by a shot fired by an Austin Police Officer.

It happened in the area of the 10300 block of Quail Ridge Drive, which is near Cook Elementary.

The school was briefly locked down as authorities assesed the situation. 

I-Hwa Cheng for KUT News

Swimmers and salamanders can continue their peaceful coexistence at Barton Springs Pool.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is granting the City of Austin a new 20-year permit, keeping the pool open to the public while protecting the habitats of both the Barton Springs Salamander and the Austin Blind Salamander.

National Weather Service/National Hurricane Center

A tropical system is developing in the Gulf of Mexico that could have an affect on Austin weather in the days ahead.

Aaron Treadway, a forecaster at the National Weather Service, says computer models have been "all over the place" in recent days – but data now suggests the system’s heading toward the Texas coast, somewhere from Northern Mexico to Louisiana.

Trey Shaar, KUT News

The family of a man shot to death last week by an Austin Police detective has hired a high-profile attorney. The family of 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. has hired Adam Loewy, who has represented three families of men killed by APD officers’ gunfire.

“I’ve handled several of these police shootings and I’m very selective in the cases that I take, and this one strikes me as being very suspicious," Loewy said.

Trey Shaar, KUT News

Update: Over the weekend, Austin Police identified the man killed as 32-year-old Larry Eugene Jackson Jr. The Austin Police officer who shot him was Detective Charles Kleinert. Kleinert has been an officer for almost 20 years.

APD is looking for a witness who might have seen what happened between Jackson and Kleinert.

Original Story (July 26, 7:58 p.m.): A man is dead after he was shot by an Austin police detective Friday afternoon near the intersection of 34th Street and Shoal Creek Boulevard. Police describe the man only as African American. Police had not yet established his identity. No officer was injured in the incident.

Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov/Texas Tribune

The state’s annual sales-tax-free weekend is a little earlier this year, but there’s still time to get ready.

Coming up on the weekend of August 9 to 11, Texas shoppers can save the sales tax on most clothing and back-to-school stuff priced under $100.

LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

A prolific and eloquent writer whom President Lyndon Johnson called "one of the best" has died at 82. Robert Hardesty was a speech writer for Johnson and served as president of what was then known as Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State. 

Hardesty in recent years called his time in the White House, "the most significant," and his time as President of Southwest Texas State University, "the most exciting," because he was able to make "such a difference."

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin has more about Hardesty's life.

Google Maps

Austin Police are asking for help solving a case of kidnapping and sexual assault. A woman says she was abducted by two men in the 900 block of West 26th Street at about 2:00 a.m. Monday.

She says they blindfolded her and drove her away, releasing her about four hours later in the 2200 block of Stephen F. Austin Dr.

KUT News

The Austin Independent School District says it will not offer insurance coverage to domestic partners of district employees in the 2013-14 school year, but may decide to do so in the future. 

AISD announced in February it would offer benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex partners, following the lead of the Pflugerville Independent School District. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Texas Senate voted, about 30 minutes before midnight, to pass an abortion bill, Senate Bill 5, with a vote of 20 to 10.

Before debate began roughly 6 hours earlier on the Senate floor, SB 5 got a significant change.

The bill's sponsor, State Sen. Glenn Hegar, R-Katy, filed a substitute version, removing the provision that would prohibit abortion after 20 weeks of gestation.

That may be to give other provisions a better chance of passing the Legislature.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A member of the Texas House of Representatives is calling on his fellow lawmakers to look for ways to pay for the Public Integrity Unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office.

Governor Rick Perry used a line-item veto to cut off the Unit’s state funding, citing D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg’s DWI conviction.

Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

With just two days before the Sunday deadline for Rick Perry to veto bills passed by the state legislature, the Texas Governor has blocked more than two dozen pieces of legislation that passed both chambers and made it to his desk.

Public Integrity Unit

courtesy Bell County Sheriff's Department

The judge has scheduled another hearing today in the case of the Fort Hood shooting suspect.

It’s unclear what the trial judge, Col. Tara Osborne, will rule at the hearing, but a statement from Fort Hood says she is “expected to announce rulings from matters litigated at past hearings.”

Liang Shi, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry ceremonially signed a bill today making clear that it’s okay to say things like “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” at public schools.

The law also says religious symbols may be displayed, as long as more than one religion is represented.

Liang Shi, KUT News

One of the matters Gov. Rick Perry is having lawmakers take another look at this month is money for transportation infrastructure.

Today the Senate Finance Committee took up a constitutional amendment that would divert part of the oil and gas taxes from the Rainy Day Fund into a state highway fund.

KUT News

Governor Rick Perry's office announced late Monday that the focus of the current special session of the Texas Legislature is being expanded to include funding for transportation infrastructure.

"Texas' growing economy and population demand that we take action to address the growing pressure on the transportation network across the state," Gov. Perry said in an emailed statement. "As we enjoy the benefits of a booming economy, we have to build and maintain the roads to ensure we sustain both our economic success and our quality of life."

U.S. Drought Monitor

Good news and bad in the latest drought forecast from the federal government: The situation is expected to improve in the next few months east of Central Texas, but it’s expected stay bad and even get worse in parts of South Texas.

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