Texas

Memorial Day Floods
7:36 am
Fri May 29, 2015

Volunteers Help Rebuild San Marcos, One House at a Time

After the 2015 Memorial Day floods, sidewalks in San Marcos are full of ruined furniture and appliances.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

We’ve been reporting on the damage caused to communities like San Marcos and Wimberley after record flooding along the Blanco River.

Since then, volunteers have come out in force to help people dealing with the aftermath.

At a former Target in San Marcos, instead of aisle after aisle of merchandise, table after table is covered in donations. Diane Insley, the coordinator at this donation center, lists off all of the donations they have.

"Cleaning supplies, mops, tools to rip out sheet rock that’s been damaged. We also have basic food, non perishable food items, a lot of bottled water, some brand new clothing, some basic shoes and then we have baby items, personal hygiene, deodorant soaps, Clorox bleach, laundry detergent...," she points out. 

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Texas Standard
4:11 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Drought 'Effectively' Over, But Aquifers Are Slow to Recharge

In many parts of Texas, water restrictions are not likely to stop anytime soon.
hellamike81/flickr

From Texas Standard:

The ground is saturated, the grass is green and the state climatologist has declared the statewide drought as we’ve known it since 2010 effectively over.

But there’s at least one piece of the puzzle that’s not quite there yet: some of the state’s water supplies – including the lakes that supply much of the Austin area.

John Hoffman is with the Lower Colorado River Authority. He says the lakes are now more than 50 percent full – that’s up about 20 percent from where the lakes were earlier this year – but it isn’t enough.

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2015 Legislature
10:24 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Why Statewide Officers Might Pack Up and Leave Austin

A constitutional amendment that will show up on the November 2015 ballot would remove the requirement for certain statewide officers to live in Austin for the entire four years of their terms.
Liang Shi for KUT News

Under a measure passed by the Texas House and Senate (SJR 52), statewide office-holders would be able to live outside of Austin — but voters will have a say first.

Since 1876, the Texas Constitution has required certain statewide officials to live in the state capital, and that hasn’t changed. On Wednesday, however, the Texas House approved a measure that would allow statewide officials to live somewhere other than Austin if they want to. While they would likely reside in Austin during lawmaking sessions, they wouldn't have to keep a permanent residence in Travis County for the duration of their four-year terms.

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2015 Legislature
9:34 am
Thu May 28, 2015

Texas Open Carry Bill Faces Looming Deadline Before Sine Die

A bill, HB 910, that would allow the open carry of handguns in Texas temporarily stalled in the Texas Legislature on May 27, 2015.
Erika Rich/Texas Tribune

Law enforcement groups from across the state got what they wanted, temporarily. They were against language added to a bill (House Bill 910) from State. Rep. Larry Phillips (R-Sherman) that would allow licensed gun owners to openly carry handguns, but a controversial amendment would keep officers from asking someone who’s openly carrying to show their license.

The amendment was added by the Senate last week. 

Supporters of the amendment say it would prevent police from racially profiling people who do choose to open carry. One of those supporters is State Rep. Harold Dutton, a Houston Democrat.

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Memorial Day Floods
3:30 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

As San Marcos Residents Clean Up Flood Damage, Many Wonder What Comes Next

Erik Adams cleans out his family's San Marcos apartment Tuesday.
Mose Buchele/KUT News

Victims of the deadly floods that struck Central Texas over Memorial Day weekend are sorting through the physical wreckage of the storms. In San Marcos, they’re also trying to make sense of what happened and what comes next.

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Memorial Day Floods
10:42 am
Wed May 27, 2015

How to Help Central Texas Flood Victims

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Organizations throughout Central Texas are looking for money, for donations of goods and for volunteers to help with flood relief efforts.

The city of Wimberley opened a hotline both for volunteers and for residents in need – that number is 512-754-2275. They also have a facebook page here, where they're updating information about what they need.

Update Thursday May 28, 10:45 a.m.

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Texas
9:41 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

As Flood Waters Recede, Wimberley Residents Start to Pick Up the Pieces

Wimberley residents walk and survey the town after Monday's storms.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The community in Wimberley is finding some sort of normalcy after record flooding over the weekend. Seven homes there were destroyed, and 1,400 were damaged. But even before the waters had receded, community members started looking for ways to help their neighbors.

A steady flow of customers came into Brookshire Brothers, Wimberley's local supermarket, on Tuesday. Customers were buying extra water and groceries that supermarket employees would then pack up for neighbors in need. A sign-up sheet by the door encouraged residents to write down how they could help others. Some people offered their cars; others, their cell phones.

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Texas Standard
3:44 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

John Wayne is (Finally) An Honorary Texan

Today would have been John Wayne's 108th birthday.
Photo via Flickr/martin55 (CC BY-SA 2.0)

From Texas Standard.

In case you missed it, Texas House Concurrent Resolution 130 is now law.

“WHEREAS, John Wayne is the prototypical American hero, symbolizing such traits as self-reliance, grace under pressure, resolve, and patriotism be it resolved that the State of Texas hereby resolves May 26th as John Wayne Day.”

John Wayne’s son, Ethan Wayne, is an actor himself – he joins the Texas Standard to talk about his father’s career.

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Texas
3:55 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Storms Cause Widespread Flooding in Austin (Updated)

Onlookers watch a swollen Shoal Creek with APD officers nearby.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Update Tuesday 4:30 a.m. Several additional area school districts have announced changes to their schedules for today because of flooding and road conditions:

  • Classes at Taylor High School have been canceled because of flooding in the building. All other Taylor ISD schools will operate on a two hour delay.
  • The following districts are operating on a two hour delay: Hutto, Jarrell, Luling, Lockhart, Manor (two hour delay for students; staff report at regular time).

Because of some track washouts, Capital Metro's MetroRail will operate only between the Howard and Downtown stations on Tuesday. Cap Metro says road conditions may also cause some bus route detours.

Earlier: After storms wreaked havoc through Central Texas Sunday, the area was hit again Monday afternoon, flooding roadways and causing power outages in Austin and surrounding areas. After reported tornado touchdowns mid-afternoon in several Central Texas counties, storms deluged the already-saturated Austin area with rain, causing flooding all over the city.

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2015 Legislature
3:54 pm
Mon May 25, 2015

Bill Restricting Abortion for Some Minors Gets First Approval from Texas Senate

The Texas Senate gave a first OK to HB 3994 on May 25, 2015. The bill restricts how certain minors can get an abortion in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

A bill (House Bill 3994) that would add restrictions to how minors can bypass the state’s parental consent law to get an abortion was approved by the Texas Senate today.

What’s called the judicial bypass bill received plenty of roadblocks from opponents, however. 

Before the bill was even brought up for a vote, opponents in the Senate had hours’ worth of questions about what the bill would require a minor and a judge to do.

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Weather
8:04 am
Sun May 24, 2015

One Confirmed Dead; Flooding in Central Texas as the Blanco River Rises to Historic Levels

Downed and damaged trees, property in Central Austin
Lizzie Chen

One fatality has been reported, officials say. The man's identity has not been released publicly.

Update Monday 8 a.m. We are reporting Monday's news here. A flash flood watch and a tornado watch are in effect for large parts of Central Texas as more severe weather is expected this afternoon and evening. Governor Greg Abbott is traveling to storm- and flood-damaged areas today, and we'll be covering his press conference in Wimberley at 1 p.m.

For information on how you can find or donate assistance, we are compiling a list here

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2015 Legislature
10:27 am
Fri May 22, 2015

Bill Protecting Pastors Who Refuse to Marry Same-Sex Couples Gets First OK

A bill, SB 2065, that would protect churches and clergy who don't want to marry a same-sex couple, is one step short of heading to Gov. Greg Abbott for a signature.
Morguefile/flickr

Religious objections to gay marriage would be protected from lawsuits, if a bill passed by the Texas House becomes law.

It got a first OK Thursday by the House and is expected to get final passage today. 

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Texas Standard
11:59 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Coming To a Keyboard Near You: Texas Emojis

Photo via Flickr/theusfalcao (CC BY-NC 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Emojis — small graphics of items, symbols, and faces used in texting and web messaging — have become a major form of communication. You can hold entire conversations with them and even, if you have a lot of time on your hands, transcribe entire books with them.

But a lot of Texas icons — armadillos, Shiner beer, Whataburger — are regrettably missing from your smartphone keyboard. No more! A Texas company will make your ‘Texmoji’ dreams come true.

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Small Town Texas
10:10 am
Wed May 20, 2015

Will Regional Growth Wake Up Sleepy Horseshoe Bay?

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

Horseshoe Bay sits on the southern end of Lake LBJ in the Texas Hill country. Like every other Hill Country town, it has beautiful views, amazing wildflowers and a relaxed atmosphere. But the similarities end there: Horseshoe Bay isn’t like any other Hill Country town.

The median home price is $525,000. Fifty-three percent of the town is at least 60 years old. Only about 25 percent of the town lives there full-time, and most of the homes in town are second, or even third, homes.

Older folks with money in a sleepy lakeside town — but there might be more to Horseshoe Bay than meets the eye.

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Texas Standard
2:38 pm
Tue May 19, 2015

This Mosquito Will Make You Run Out And Buy Bug Spray

The Aedes aegypti mosquito is in Texas and it can carry a painful disease called Chikungunya.
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

From Texas Standard:

Walking out to get the mail? Put on some repellant. Seriously.

One type of mosquito you really want to avoid right now is one that is out and about in the middle of the day. It is the type that carries a painful disease that’s spread from South and Central America into Mexico and, perhaps soon, Texas.

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Small Town Texas
10:34 am
Tue May 19, 2015

Could Artists Revive Downtown Florence?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

If you’re heading north on I-35, just past Georgetown you’ll find Florence, Texas.

The town of a little more than a thousand people is experiencing big changes.

It used to be a vibrant little town, in part because drivers needed to go through it on their way to Killeen. About 18,000 cars used to drive through Florence’s Main Street everyday — but not anymore.

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Small Town Texas
4:34 pm
Mon May 18, 2015

Why This Couple Moved from Big City Mexico to Small Town Texas

Sergio Gon moved with his family from Mexico to Giddings so he could teach bilingual kindergarten classes.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Driving around the town of Giddings, it's hard to miss the yellow 'Giddings football' flags flying in front of many homes.

“Football is really big with any small town. The school is the hub of the community, so everyone gets involved,” says Shane Holman, assistant Superintendent for Giddings ISD.

Holman’s lived in Giddings for most of his life. Six years ago, he says, there was a community push for something new: a soccer program.

To him, that’s just one sign of the changing demographics in Giddings’ schools.

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Texas
6:52 pm
Sun May 17, 2015

9 Dead In Waco Following Biker Gang Shootings

Waco police say nine people were killed Sunday afternoon after a shootout involving rival biker gangs.
Waco Police Department Facebook

Waco police say nine people have been killed and others injured after gunfire erupted between rival biker gangs at a restaurant.

Waco police Sgt. W. Patrick Swanton says eight people died at the scene of the shooting at Twin Peaks restaurant about noon Sunday and another person died at a hospital.

Swanton says the fight began with punches and then escalated to knives and firearms. It's not immediately clear if bystanders are among the dead. The severity of injuries to others was not immediately known.

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Texas
2:59 pm
Fri May 15, 2015

Blue Bell Creameries to Lay Off 1,450 Workers in Wake of Listeria Recall

sarowen/flickr

Brenham-based Blue Bell Creameries announced today it will lay off more than one-third of its workforce, as it struggles to bring its production back online after listeria contamination was found in its ice cream products and at several of its plants.

Three deaths have been linked to the contamination.

750 full-time and 700 part-time workers will be laid off. That represents 37 percent of the company's 3,900 employees.

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Texas Standard
11:23 am
Fri May 15, 2015

Why Mad Max Might Really Be a Texan

tricks ware/flickr

He's just a Texan posing as a Brit posing as an Aussie.

Is Mad Max a crypto-Texan? About as much as a character played by an English actor in an Australian film shot in the African desert can be. Director George Miller has said he's making a "western on wheels." And Max is a character straight out of the American West. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the fourth part of the dystopian series.

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