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. 

Ways to Connect

Seton Healthcare Family and Dr. Mateo ZIu

When Pope Francis gives a speech to a joint meeting of Congress on Thursday, an Austin doctor will be listening from nearby.

The Seton network of hospitals has chosen a group of locals to watch the televised speech on the west front of the U.S. Capitol. One of the locals is Dr. Mateo Ziu. He got a call from a Seton official about a week ago with the good news. 

KUT News

More people in Texas had health insurance in 2014 than 2013 – the number of insured Texans went up by more than 700,000 people.

Still, according to numbers released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Wednesday, Texas had the highest rate of uninsured people in the U.S. in 2014. And now, it has the highest number of uninsured people, too. 

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The way people in Texas define sexual assault has broadened quite a lot over the last ten years. Texas law prohibits not only physical sexual assault, but also forcing someone to participate in photos or movies and unwanted sexual experiences while intoxicated and unable to consent.

According to a new study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, sexual assault in Texas is much more common now than it was about 10 years ago.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The results of Austin’s annual SXSW economic impact study are in, and according to the findings, the festival once again served as an economic boon to the city.

U.S. Army,

The unemployment rate for veterans dropped a bit in 2014, but still, veterans are more likely to be unemployed than non-veterans.

The unemployment rate among women veterans, for example, was 8.5 percent in 2014, compared to 6.2 percent among non-veteran women, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics

A program from the Texas Veterans Commission is trying to change that, by teaching veterans and their spouses how to be small business owners — something Duncan McGhee loves to do.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

For many of the people who survived the Memorial Day weekend flood last May, the destruction isn’t yet a part of the past.

So this weekend, volunteers started going out to the hard-hit areas to help out, and they're asking for help from anyone able to join them.

Sci-Tech Preparatory

The principal at an Austin school is sharing memories of an art teacher who was murdered in Nepal. Dahlia Yehia taught art for a semester at Sci-Tech Preparatory, and the students there really liked her.  

Flickr/thomashawk (CC BY-NC 2.0)

We’ve been hearing a lot lately from politicians and public figures about crimes committed by immigrants to the U.S., but a new study by a group of researchers, including a University of Texas at Austin professor, suggests foreign-born teens are actually much less likely to commit crimes than those born in the U.S.

Photo by Jarekt/wikimedia commons

A group of health care providers is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review its challenge against a Texas abortion law. Earlier this year, a federal appeals court upheld two provisions of the 2013 law, but the Supreme Court allowed the provisions to go on hold while the plaintiffs appealed the lower court’s decision.  

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

People struggling with alcoholism can trace their addiction to a population of neurons in the brain that, when stimulated, influence whether one drink leads to two.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Austin has a new synagogue — well, it's new to Austin. It’s actually the oldest synagogue built in Texas.

Orthodox Jews who emigrated from Lithuania to Brenham gathered in this synagogue built in 1893. Over the decades that followed, the Jewish community in that area dwindled. 

Todd Wiseman/Texas Tribune

The Texas agency that handles child abuse and neglect cases started using a system this week aimed at identifying the riskiest cases.

Housing Works via YouTube

The new school year starts today for thousands of students across Austin, but a growing number of students in Austin public schools don’t have a home. Last year, more than 2,600 students in the Austin Independent School District were counted as homeless, which is up from just over 2,000 in 2012.

Last week, members of the Austin City Council heard a proposal to halt the practice of putting fluoride in the city’s water supply, but, ultimately, they found no persuasive evidence of any harm from the practice.

However, the City of San Marcos is still very much in the middle of a battle over its water fluoridation program – a battle that’s gotten all the way to the Texas Supreme Court.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr/KUT

A University of Texas task force has a decision to make: Will statues on campus that honor Confederate figures stay or go?

To help it decide, the university invited the public to have a say for the second time this month ahead of a deadline to provide input on the statues' ultimate fate.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

We don’t often hear about the Medicaid 1115 waiver in Texas, but this waiver gives Texas billions of federal dollars to provide some pretty expensive care.

This waiver expires in 2016, though. Texas is in the process of asking the federal government to extend and renew the money, but that renewal isn't guaranteed.

Google Maps

This evening, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will meet with the Mexican Secretary of Foreign Affairs José Antonio Meade.

This meeting has been months in the making. Texas and Mexico put so much effort into their relationship, and not just because they’re geographically close. Between exports and imports, the amount of money that crosses the Mexico-Texas border is nearly $1 billion a day.

The total traded between the two in 2014 was $336 billion, according to the U.S.-Mexico trade report from the Texas Center for Border Economic and Enterprise Development at Texas A&M International University in Laredo. [Read a pdf of the report here.]

Isaac Sanchez/flickr

Some conservative groups are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove the golden-cheeked warbler from the list of endangered species.

But environmentalists say the species, which thrives here in Central Texas, should remain on the list because its numbers aren’t strong.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

It doesn't matter if it's 100 degrees out or it's raining – if you want to eat at Austin's Franklin Barbecue you have to wait in a line for an average of about five hours. That's no secret.

But in the last year, a growing number of people, like Desmond Roldan, have started making money off of that line. And for them, the longer the line, the better.

KUT News

Vaccines have been in the news yet again lately. On June 30, 2015, California’s Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that requires almost all school children to be fully vaccinated in order to go to school, allowing only some medical exemptions.

Meantime, a health care company in Central Texas says it will no longer treat children who don’t get fully immunized. The company cites a measles outbreak that started in Disneyland last year as a chief reason for the policy change. Texas does allow parents to opt out of vaccinations if they use religious or personal beliefs.