Veronica Zaragovia

State Reporter

Veronica Zaragovia reports on state government for KUT. She's reported as a legislative relief news person with the Associated Press in South Dakota and has contributed reporting to NPR, PRI's The World, Here & Now and Latino USA, the Agence France Presse, TIME in Hong Kong and PBS NewsHour, among others. She has two degrees from Columbia University, and has dedicated much of her adult life to traveling, learning languages and drinking iced coffee. 

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Texas
8:03 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Volunteers Caring for Texas Children Need Financial Support, Report Suggests

A new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities says more than 250,000 children in Texas are living with volunteer caregivers who need financial support.
Filipa Rodriques/KUT News

In Texas, more than 250,000 children are living with grandparents or other volunteer caregivers, but a new report from the Center for Public Policy Priorities suggests that many of them are not up to the task financially and could use more support and guidance.

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2014 Elections
7:11 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Majority of Texas Voters Chose 2014 Candidates Based on Political Party

Straight ticket voting in Texas reached an all-time high in the 2014 elections, according to a new report.

Straight ticket voting in Texas reached an all-time high in last month’s elections, according to a new report released by the Austin Community College Center for Public Policy and Political Studies.

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Affordable Care Act
9:37 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Finding Health Care for Uninsured Latinas to Reduce ER Visits

Seton Survivorship Nurse Navigator Veronica Serrano, right, helps a purposely unidentified former cancer patient on Nov. 19, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

We've all heard the stories about how a lack of health insurance can force someone to ignore small health issues, until they end up in the emergency room with a more traumatic, and sometimes untreatable, problem. This is happening frequently with the country's uninsured Latina population.

In Austin and across the U.S., nonprofits are helping connect them with health care resources in their communities.

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2015 Legislature
5:18 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Public Can Comment on Whether Texas Should Merge Its Health Agencies Into One

On Dec. 10, 2014, the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission voted unanimously to approve a merger of the state's five health agencies into one.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission is recommending that all Texas health agencies be consolidated into one “mega-agency," but the move would need approval from Texas lawmakers next legislative session.

Back in 2003, Texas lawmakers passed a measure that reduced the number of health and human services agencies from 12 to five. Now, the Sunset Advisory Commission has approved merging those five agencies into one.

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Texas
10:08 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Petition Seeks to Get Posthumous Degree for Texas Man Cleared by DNA

An online petition has more than 12,000 signatures in support of asking Texas Tech University to grant a posthumous degree to Timothy Cole.
thepetitionsite.com

Timothy Cole was the first person to receive a Texas posthumous pardon for a crime he didn’t commit. That happened in 2010. Now, a Texas resident wants Texas Tech University to grant Cole an honorary degree.

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Austin
8:33 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Program Extends to Seniors in Greater Austin

This year, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will provide gifts for seniors in the greater Austin area for the first time.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

The population of seniors in the greater Austin area is growing dramatically, and with that growth comes an increase in a number of services for the elderly. One example of that increased need takes place around Christmas time.

This year, more than 500 seniors in the greater Austin area, from South Austin up to Georgetown, will feel a little less alone during the December holidays because the for the first time, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will distribute gifts here.

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Texas
8:21 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Gov.-Elect Abbott Lays Out His Priorities for His Term in Office

Attorney General Greg Abbott, seated next to his wife, Cecilia Abbott, lists his priorities for his term in office as future governor of Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott says his staff is ready to get to work when the 2015 legislative session begins in January. At a press conference on Monday, he laid out his priorities.

Education started off the list. Abbott says he wants more pre-kindergarten classes and improved reading and math skills by the time students reach the third grade. He says he also wants to elevate the quality of Texas universities.

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Ebola
5:49 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Texas Infectious Disease Experts Recommend Google App For Fighting Ebola

The Dec. 1, 2014 report of the Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease has been released, and contains 17 issues and recommendations for the state to follow.
Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A group of Texas experts on infectious disease has submitted a report with advice on how to handle any future outbreaks of viruses like Ebola.

The Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease chose technology as one of its priorities. Dr. Brett Giroir, the task force director, says they ended up working with Google on an app, which allows someone being monitored to enter his or her temperature and a public health official would have access to that.

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Border & Immigration
5:40 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Texas Border Security Surge Is Combating Criminal Activity, Official Says

Posters on Texas-Mexico border operations were displayed at the Texas State Capitol this week.
KUT News

The Department of Public Safety says the number of people crossing the Texas-Mexico border has fallen dramatically since DPS expanded its operations there earlier this year.

Steve McCraw, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, told a panel of House lawmakers that monthly apprehensions have dropped by about 25,000 people between June and now.

"Clearly we’ve had an impact," McCraw said. "There’s no question we’ve had an impact in the Rio Grande Valley."

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Border & Immigration
1:35 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Gov. Perry Orders Most State Agencies To Use E-Verify For Checking Legal Status

Gov. Rick Perry and Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw address Texas-Mexico border operations at a press conference on Dec. 3, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is ordering all state agencies under control of the governor's office to use E-Verify to check the residency status of employees and prospective employees. According to his office, 17 state agencies already use it. This announcement is something of a change of heart.

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Affordable Care Act
7:23 am
Wed December 3, 2014

If You're Signing Up For An Obamacare Plan, Keep These Dates In Mind

In order to sign up for a 2015 plan on the Affordable Care Act's health insurance marketplace, you need to sign up by Feb. 15, 2015.
healthcare.gov

Enrollment for plans on the health insurance exchange has started, but not many people know this.

"A recent Kaiser study reflected that less than 20 percent of those eligible to enroll in the marketplace exchange is aware that open enrollment is taking place today," says Jeff Hudson who works with UnitedHealthcare, one of the insurance providers on the marketplace in Texas this time around. "So it’s very important that you take the time to get connected, become aware and get enrolled by Feb. 15."

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Texas
1:08 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

Efforts in Texas to Reach Minority Donors Grow as Transplant Waiting List Lengthens

A critical shortage of organ donors exists in Texas and across the U.S., especially minority organ donors.
Donate Life Texas

More than 120,000 people in the U.S. are awaiting an organ transplant, and of those, 13,000 live in Texas.

One Texas-based nonprofit is trying to educate people, particularly minorities, about the critical shortage of organ donors.

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Immigration Reform
9:02 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Do More Moderately Governed Cities Have Much Sway in Republican States Like Texas?

Long Beach, Calif., Mayor Robert Garcia, center, joins a group of mayors at the Austin Convention Center to speak out in support of President Barack Obama's executive action on immigration on Nov. 21, 2014.
KUT News

When mayors from across the U.S. gathered in Austin last month for the National League of Cities annual convention, a group of them took time during the event to express support for President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration.

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Austin
7:38 am
Thu November 27, 2014

Thanksgiving Means Thousands of Tamales for One Mexican-American Family in Austin

Each year, Beatriz Jaimes makes pork and chicken tamales at her and her husband's construction company in Austin.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

In Austin, one Mexican-American family has been celebrating Thanksgiving with a traditional feast for decades. The Jaimes family doesn’t make turkey or stuffing or even pumpkin pie, however. They celebrate with hundreds of tamales from scratch, all for their employees.

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Ferguson Decision
10:53 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

Ferguson Protests Across U.S. Include Rally and March in Austin

A protester in Austin expresses grief on Nov. 25, 2014 over a decision by a St. Louis County grand jury not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Jenna VonHofe/ KUT

Hundreds of people packed the area outside of the Austin Police Department headquarters Tuesday night for a rally and march in support of Michael Brown, the Ferguson, Mo., teenager shot and killed by a police officer earlier this year. They shouted slogans like "justice for Mike Brown" and "hands up, don't shoot."

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Life & Arts
4:46 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Archives of Literary Giant García Márquez to Live On in Austin

Documents belonging to Nobel laureate Gabriel García Márquez have been acquired by the Harry Ransom Center on the UT-Austin campus.
Harry Ransom Center

Nobel Prize winning Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez died earlier this year, but documents belonging to the literary giant will soon live on at the Harry Ransom Center on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

The materials include literary works with hand written corrections, a number of his computers, more than 2,000 pieces of correspondence and even the manuscript of his final unpublished novel.

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Same-Sex Marriage
4:26 pm
Mon November 24, 2014

Texas Same-Sex Couples File Motion Asking Judge to Allow Gay Marriage

Two same-sex couples in Texas filed a motion on Nov. 24, 2014 asking a federal court to lift a stay on its ruling against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.
flickr.com/madhausfrau

Two same-sex couples here in Texas are asking a federal court to lift a stay on its ruling against the state’s ban on same-sex marriage

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Affordable Care Act
11:10 am
Mon November 24, 2014

Why Obamacare Falls Short for Some Living With HIV, AIDS in Central Texas

L-R: Layne Box, Brad Franklin and Canaan Hoffmann participated in the AIDS Walk Austin on Oct. 19, 2014.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Part of President Barack Obama’s signature health care law is a provision that protects people with pre-existing conditions from being denied insurance coverage, including people who are HIV positive.

Still, the Affordable Care Act hasn’t solved everything for HIV patients.

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Health Care
9:16 am
Fri November 21, 2014

New Wellness Center Helps Fill Health Care Void in Dove Springs

Central Health has opened the Southeast Health and Wellness Center in the Dove Springs neighborhood, traditionally an underserved community.
Courtesy of El Mundo Newspaper

On Saturday, Congressman Lloyd Doggett, State Sen. Kirk Watson and a number of community leaders will gather at a new southeast Austin health center that’s been years in the making.

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Border & Immigration
6:45 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Dewhurst Says More DPS Officers Will Patrol Border as National Guard Goes Home

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said at a Nov. 19, 2014 Capitol press conference that the Texas National Guard will leave the Texas-Mexico border by next March or April.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst says President Barack Obama's expected announcement tonight on immigration policy will do nothing more than encourage more people to try and come into Texas illegally. Lt. Gov. Dewhurst says that's why he supports boosting the number of law enforcement officers along the Texas-Mexico border.

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