Wells Dunbar

Social Media Host & Producer, Texas Standard

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.

Before joining KUT, Wells served as staff writer and news blog editor at The Austin Chronicle, and covered the Texas Legislature for Gallery Watch. Hailing from El Paso, Wells is a longtime Austin resident whose interests include technology and social media, film and music, and spending quality time with his wife, child and cat.

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Texas Elections 2014
7:58 am
Wed November 5, 2014

Abbott, GOP Best Davis and Democrats in Texas Elections

Republican Greg Abbott celebrates his victory in the 2014 Texas Gubernatorial election.
Mengwen Cao/KUT

Updated throughout with Final Totals.

Republicans swept statewide offices on Election Day, with Attorney General Greg Abbott assuming the Governorship over Fort Worth State Sen. Wendy Davis. The final total was 59.28 percent for Abbott and 38.88 percent for Davis.

The Governor's Office was up for grabs after Gov. Rick Perry decided not to seek re-election last July. Lieutenant Governor was also for the taking this year; Houston State Senator Dan Patrick defeated Democratic State Sen. Leticia Van de Putte by a healthy margin – 58.16 percent to 38.68 percent. 

Denton Passes Ban on Hydraulic Fracturing

In the final tally, 58.64 percent of voters in the north Texas town approved a measure to make it the first municipality in Texas to ban fracking within city limits. However, experts suggest the ban won't be that simple. Up next: litigation.

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Texas Standard
4:37 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

How Marshall, Texas Became Ground Zero for 'Patent Trolls'

A Texas company has claimed the patent for podcasting – and it's gone after some of entertainment's biggest names.
Flickr user Patrick Breitenbach, https://flic.kr/ps/rNSVJ

A courtroom in Marshall, Texas – population 25,000 – is deciding patent cases with implications for some of entertainment's biggest names.

Marshall was the setting for a court case against CBS this week. A small company, Personal Audio, has sued media giants including Apple, Sirius XM, and CBS for damages related to alleged infringement of their podcast patent. (Podcasts are digital files on the Internet that can be downloaded to a computer or media player.)

A jury found CBS did infringe the patent – awarding Personal Audio $1.3 million.

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Texas Standard
3:42 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

The Dark Corners of the Web That Hacked Nude Celebrity Photos

Flickr user Marco Manna, https://flic.kr/ps/mRKBS

It's being called Celebgate: private photos of some of entertainment's most famous women, ricocheting around the web.

Jennifer Lawrence, Kirsten Dunst and Lea Michele are among the female entertainers targeted. And the anonymous hacker claims to have private images of dozens more celebrities.

Fernando Alfonso III is a reporter with the Austin-based website The Daily Dot. He tells Texas Standard most photos appear to be gleaned from the performers' cloud storage accounts online. The photos were then posted to what the Dot describes as "the seediest corners of the Web," including the infamous, unmoderated image board called 4chan.

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The Franklin Fist Bump
3:04 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Listen: Why Obama's Austin Fist Bumper Made a Call for Gay Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama fist bumps Daniel Webb at Franklin Barbecue. Webb called for gay equality in his exchange with the president.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters /Landov

By now, you've probably seen the photo from President Barack Obama's recent Austin visit: the president smiling and extending a fist bump to a cashier at Franklin Barbecue.

If you've followed the story further, then you may be familiar with what prompted the exchange: the cashier, comedian and performer Daniel Webb, exclaimed "Equal rights for gay people!" when the president approached the counter. When Obama asked Webb if he was gay, he answered, "Only when I have sex."

Originally reported by The Austin Chronicle, the story has been written up everywhere online.

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Obama in Austin
10:29 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Austin Says 'Thanks Obama!' for All the Traffic

Pres. Obama speaking at UT in 2010.
Caleb Bryant Miller/KUT

Normally the "Thanks Obama" meme is reserved for things beyond the president's control: paper cuts and infomercial disasters, to name a few.

But Pres. Obama's visit to Austin today – and its effect on morning traffic ­– has more than a few Twitter users directing their gridlocked ire at the president. To the surprise of no one stuck in traffic, #ThanksObama is trending in Austin this morning.

Here's a roundup of what's out there:

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Anniversay of Davis Fillibuster
1:27 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Listen: When Wendy Davis and a Deafening Roar Slowed Texas' New Abortion Law

Sen. Wendy Davis suring her 11-hour filibuster last June 25.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

June 25 marks the one-year anniversary of Sen. Wendy Davis' historic filibuster on the Texas Senate floor.

It was one year ago that Democratic Sen. Davis began an 11-hour filibuster intended to derail Senate Bill 5, a bill containing several new restrictions on abortion. While Davis' filibuster ended before the legislature adjourned, a supportive crowd in the Senate gallery erupted in cheers and screams minutes before the midnight deadline to pass SB 5 – squashing Republican efforts to pass it that night.

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Visions for Plaza Saltillo
9:39 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Hotel or Grocery Store? Two Visions to Redevelop East Austin's Plaza Saltillo

The 11-acre Plaza Saltillo region as it is today. Two teams of developers are vying for the right to develop the area.
Credit Endeavor Real Estate/Columbus Realty Partners/Capital Metro

Update: Capital Metro has chosen a developer for its Plaza Saltillo project, spanning 11-acres that used to be a downtown rail yard.

The team led by Austin-based Endeavor Real Estate and Dallas’s Columbus Realty was awarded the project at the Capital Metro Board of Directors meeting yesterday. Capital Metro will have the final say on the design. Read below for more.

Original story (May 21): What does the future hold for East Austin's Plaza Saltillo? This week, the city came a few steps closer to finding out. 

For years, Austin's Capital Metro has held 11 acres of land in central east Austin. The Plaza Saltillo region – bound by Interstate 35 on the west, Comal Street on the east, and between E. Fourth and E. Fifth Streets – sits adjacent to Cap Metro's commuter MetroRail line.

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Totally Overrated?
12:00 pm
Mon June 23, 2014

Listen: The Worst Yelp Reviews of Barton Springs and Mount Bonnell

Is Barton Springs totally overrated? According to these contrary Yelp reviews, apparently so.
Flickr user David Ingram, flickr.com/dingatx

Mount Bonnell and Barton Springs are two of Austin's eternal treasures –unblemished reminders of Austin's natural beauty.

But to a handful of reviewers on Yelp, they're totally overrated.

Mount Bonnell's scenic overlook rates a solid four stars on Yelp; Austin's crown jewel, Barton Springs Pool, clocks in at four-and-a-half.  But proving you can't please everyone, a collection of contrary reviews offer an antithetical take on these two Austin institutions.

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Austin
2:58 pm
Mon June 9, 2014

How to Sound Like You're From Austin (in 90 Seconds)

Daniel Johnston's famous mural "Jeremiah the Innocent" by Guadalupe Street.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

What do you think of when you think of Austin?

Live music, hot summers, breakfast tacos and the people come to mind for starters. But spend a little time here, and another thing jumps out at you – the "Austin correct" pronunciation of local streets and landmarks.

Take Guadalupe Street across from the UT Campus ­– pronounced Gwad-a-loop by generations of students and residents.

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Austin
10:05 am
Mon June 2, 2014

Seen These Signs in Downtown Austin? We Met the Guy Behind Them

You may have seen them on your morning commute: handmade signs, around Lamar and Barton Springs, offering services and sentiments that seem more than a little bit off.

Public Notice: That Rash Won't Just Go Away

R.I.P. Weird, 1969 – 2014. We Will Miss You!

If You Lived Here, You'd Be Homeless By Now

Some even have a phone number attached:

I Buy Broken Dreams: 512-333-1984

They're the work of one person – a homeless man in his 30s named David. Not that he refers to himself by that name. "I go by the name of Liar, which has nothing to do with the instrument," he says.

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Pedestrian Safety Study
2:14 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Report: Austin's One of the Country's Most Dangerous Areas for Pedestrians

Austin-Round Rock ranks 24th out of the 51 most dangerous metro areas in a new nationwide report released today.
flickr.com/keoni101

Austin is the country's 24th most dangerous metro area for pedestrians, according to a new report.

"Dangerous by Design 2014" [PDF], a study from the National Complete Streets Coalition and Smart Growth America, examines pedestrian deaths in the country's 51 biggest metro areas.

The study factors five years of data on pedestrian deaths (2008-2012) with the percentage of area commuters that walk to work to create a Pedestrian Danger Index. The Austin-Round Rock index is 78.6, well above the national average of 52.2. The area averages 1.44 pedestrian deaths for every 100,000 residents, which is actually somewhat below the national average of 1.56. Overall, the Austin-Round Rock area had 251 pedestrian deaths from 2003 to 2012.

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Sriracha
11:58 am
Tue May 13, 2014

The Texas-California Sriracha Brawl is Now a Taiwanese Cartoon

Governors Jerry Brown & Rick Perry hold a pho showdown over Sriracha in this animated clip.
youtube.com/NMAWorldEdition

Attempts to lure the makers of Sriracha to Texas aren’t going unnoticed – although this latest round of attention may not be what the popular hot sauce is after.

Yesterday, a bipartisan group of Texas politicians, business people and agricultural representatives visited Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale, California – the company that makes Sriracha sauce.

The company is staying in California for now, despite complaints from neighbors. But it may open a second plant in the Lone Star State.

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Austin
2:59 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Austin Police Detective Indicted in Larry Jackson Jr. Shooting Death

KUT News

A Travis County grand jury is indicting a now-retired Austin Police detective in the shooting death of Larry Eugene Jackson Jr.

Detective Charles Kleinert is reported to have said that his gun discharged accidently in a struggle with Jackson in July 2013. As KUT reported at the time:

Brian Manley, assistant chief at APD, says the incident began as a detective was inside the Benchmark Bank at 1508 W. 35th Street, investigating a robbery that occurred at 8:19 A.M. Friday. The subject came to the front door and tried to open it, but the door was locked, Manley said.

"The subject walked away for a minute and then came back to the front door and attempted to open the door again … At this point, he got the attention of the bank management staff that was inside."

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Seaholm District
2:47 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Building Austin's New Central Library Takes 1,000 Concrete Trucks. They're All Coming This Weekend.

Approximately 1,000 concrete trucks are needed to pour a five-foot foundation for Austin's new central library. The 24-hour pour starts tonight at 10 p.m.
Reddit user TheKnitro, http://redd.it/252o03

Here's a reason to avoid the Seaholm area near Cesar Chavez Street tonight: over 1,000 concrete trucks from Austin and surrounding cities constantly rotating through the area for over 24 hours.

The City of Austin is building a new central library at 701 W. Cesar Chavez, near the former Seaholm power plant. Tonight, construction crews are putting in a five-foot deep concrete slab to create the building’s foundation. That’s a big project – requiring a total of 1,020 concrete trucks.

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Transportation
11:53 am
Fri May 2, 2014

As Austin Nears Urban Rail Decision, Proof Traffic's Always Been Awful

Yes, this qualified as problem traffic on I-35 back in the 1960s.
Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Austin is inching its way towards the creation of a possible new rail line.

Later today, Project Connect, a group of regional transportation officials including the City of Austin and Capital Metro, is widely expected to unveil a proposed route for urban rail.

The announcement is a further refinement of preliminary findings tapping the East Riverside and Highland Mall regions as prime corridors for investment – a finding many Austin transit advocates found fault with. Once set for the ballot by the Austin City Council, citizens will vote on whether to approve rail funding in an election this November. 

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Austin
10:53 am
Mon April 28, 2014

Five Things You May Not Have Known About Eeyore’s Birthday

The scene at Eeyore's 2013 celebration in Peace Park.
Marissa Barnett for KUT News

Update: See some photos from Eeyore's 2014 bash below.

Original story (April 25):  It doesn’t get much more Austin weird than Eeyore’s Birthday Party – the annual Pease Park bacchanal known for outrageous costumes and booming drum circles.

This Saturday, April 26 is the 50th anniversary of the party. To mark the occasion, KUT News puts down the turkey leg to bring you five things you may not have known about the long-running festival.

  • It started as a UT thing.

Scott Sexton is the president of the Friends of the Forest foundation, the Austin nonprofit that puts on Eeyore’s birthday. He notes that the first celebration was dreamt up by UT English major Lloyd Birdwell Jr. and his fellow students.

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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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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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Killeen
2:01 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Fake Explosive Found & Destroyed in Killeen; Police Say No Known Link to Fort Hood

The evacuation radius in Killeen, Texas, bounded from North Second Street east to North 10th Street and from East Dunn Avenue to East Harrison Avenue.
facebook.com/KilleenPD

Update: Device an 'Intentional Fake'

KWTX-TV News in Waco reports that what appeared to be an improvised explosive device was an "intentional fake:"

The device, a piece of pipe with wires attached, was intentionally made to look like a pipe bomb but was, in fact, inert and contained no explosive hazard, Carroll Smith, Killeen police spokeswoman said.

Original story (1:38 p.m.): The town of Killeen, Texas – on high-alert after yesterday's shooting at nearby Fort Hood left four dead – evacuated an area north of downtown after police found what they say "appears to be an Improvised Explosive Device." On Facebook, Killeen Police shared initial details. Police say "there is no known connection between this incident and the recent tragedy on Fort Hood."

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SXSW 2014
1:49 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After SXSW Tragedy, Austin Seeks 'Full Evaluation' of Crowds, Alcohol

Crowds during the seventh day of the SXSW Music Festival. City officials are calling for a full accounting of public safety issues related to the festival.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUTX

Questions raised by this year's South by Southwest festival and conference aren't restricted to think pieces: The Austin City Council is now asking for "a full post-event evaluation" of the ever-growing event. The findings could result in changes to the way Austin deals with safety, crowds, permits, and even alcohol during SXSW and other events. 

Coming off its 27th year, the SXSW event itself generated as many headlines as its performers and conference breakouts. 

Read more

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