Texas

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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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
10:56 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Liveblog: The 2014 Austin City Council Runoff Elections

Mayor-elect Steve Adler shakes a young supporters hand at his Election Night party.
Joy Diaz/KUT

After years of build-up and build-out, tonight the Austin City Council will finally transfer from an at-large, seven-member council to a geographically elected council with 10 members. Two of the council seats were decided on Election Day in November – Delia Garza won the District 2 seat and Ann Kitchen won District 5. Council Member Kathie Tovo, after nearly beating fellow Council Member Chris Riley with 49 percent of the vote, won the District 9 seat after Riley’s November concession.

The remaining seven races, and the race for Mayor of Austin, will be decided by today’s runoff elections.

UPDATE: The final numbers are in. Here’s a look at the Austin City Council runoff winners according to the Travis County Clerk's unofficial voting totals:

District 1 – Ora Houston wins with 74.25 percent of the vote over opponent DeWayne Lofton

District 3 – Sabino “Pio” Renteria wins over Susana Almanza 59.76 percent over 40.24 percent

District 4 – Greg Casar wins the seat over opponent Laura Pressley with 64.62 percent of the vote. Pressley garnered 35.38 percent of the vote

District 6 – Don Zimmerman defeats Jimmy Flannigan with 51.21 percent in a close race. Flannigan carried Election Day, but his 48.79 percent in total runoffs wasn’t enough to win the seat.

District 7 – Leslie Pool wins with 66.23 percent over Jeb Boyt’s 33.77 percent.

District 8 – Ellen Troxclair wins the seat by less than 60 votes, earning 50.23 percent of the vote against opponent Ed Scruggs, who got 49.77 percent of the vote.

District 10 – Sheri Gallo defeats Mandy Dealey with 54.76 percent of the vote. Dealey got 45.24 percent of the vote.

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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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Texas
7:50 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Update: Missing Denton Boy Believed in Danger

Suspect and missing boy.

Update: Denton Police have discontinued an AMBER Alert for a missing 4-year-old boy. But Ricardo Lara has not been found yet.

Police say the investigation no longer fits requirements to continue the Amber Alert – though they are still pursing all leads to find the child.

Police still believe Lara is with his father – 23-year-old Ricardo Martinez. The two were last seen in Denton on Friday afternoon. Martinez is also a suspect in the murder of Lara’s mother.

Original Story (Dec. 15, 2014, 6:04 a.m.): Law enforcement officers across the state are keeping an eye out for a missing 4-year-old boy.

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Same-Sex Marriage
6:25 pm
Fri December 12, 2014

Federal Court Holds Off on Decision Against Texas' Same-Sex Marriage Ban

In October, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review same-sex marriage cases from five other states, allowing gay marriage in Utah, Indiana, Oklahoma, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Texas' gay marriage ban will remain in effect for now. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declined today to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas. 

In February, Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas’ same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal treatment under the law, but placed a hold that prevented same-sex couples from immediately getting married. Today, Judge Garcia declined a request to lift that stay on marriages, citing an impending appeal in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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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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Texas Standard
3:13 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Interview: Steve Jobs Biographer Walter Isaacson on the Internet's Wild 'Innovators'

Patrice Gilbert

Tech maestro Elon Musk worries too much.

That seems to be Walter Isaacson’s conclusion – at least when it comes to artificial intelligence.

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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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Texas
4:42 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Texas Prisons Make Family Visits Easier

Credit Sean Hobson via Texas Tribune

Hoping to weave stronger social safety nets for inmates after they are released, the Texas prison system is making it easier for family members to visit loved ones behind bars.  

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Texas Standard
12:45 pm
Fri December 5, 2014

Setting A New Standard, Texas Style

In the 21st century, as Texas goes, so goes the rest of the nation?

Many think so – and not just Texans. As a Time magazine cover story proclaimed, "it's not an accident that three of the five fastest growing cities are in Texas. It's more like destiny."

Perfect timing, it would seem, for public radio's first daily news program from Texas, for Texas and beyond: Texas Standard.

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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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Texas
4:51 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Remembering Former Lawmaker Ray Farabee's Life of Service

Credit KUT

The Texas Capitol will take on a somber mood Friday, as friends and family take time to honor the life of Former Texas State Senator and KUT Board Member Kenneth "Ray" Farabee. A memorial will be held in the Senate chamber Friday, December 5 at 2 pm. Farabee died at his Austin home on November 20. He was 81.

Farabee was born and raised in Wichita Falls, Texas, at the base of the High Plains.

But it was in Austin where he would make his mark, first as a leader in student government at the University of Texas at Austin and later in the Texas Senate.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:14 pm
Wed December 3, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Meet Sam, the First Austinite in Space

Credit NASA

Fifty-five years ago, on December 4th, 1959, the U.S. launched the Mercury spacecraft which contained a scared little rhesus monkey.

The silent news footage above chronicles the pre-launch preparations of that monkey, Sam, the third primate in space, who was born in 1957 at the Austin animal colony of the now-defunct Brooks Air Force Base -- his name was an acronym representing Brooks' School of Aviation and Medicine. Sam's flight was a test of the Mercury's launch escape system, a precursor to space capsule systems used in manned flight. On that fateful December morning in 1959, Sam went up on a small Little Joe rocket, soared 51 miles into the air and experienced three minutes of weightlessness before plummeting back down to earth. Unlike many early animal astronauts, Sam was retrieved safely several hours later by a U.S. Navy destroyer after landing in the Atlantic Ocean in a floating drum.

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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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Texas
11:03 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Appeals Court Halts Tonight's Execution of Texas Man Thought to be Mentally Ill

Credit TDCJ via Texas Tribune

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has halted tonight's scheduled execution of Scott Louis Panetti, who killed his wife's parents in Fredricksburg more than 20 years ago.

His attorneys argued his mental illness has worsened and he needs to undergo new mental competency tests because he's too delusional to understand why he's being punished.

Panetti represented himself at his trial and attempted to subpoena the Pope and Jesus. A group of prominent conservatives, including former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asked Governor Perry to intervene. 

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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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