Texas

Politics
8:01 am
Mon March 11, 2013

Should Texas Use 'Rainy Day' Fund for Water Projects?

Ongoing drought has Texas lawmakers paying attention to the state's water needs.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Should Texas take money from the state’s so-called Rainy Day Fund for water projects? It’s an idea that will get a closer look today.

Lawmakers in the House Appropriations Committee are holding a public hearing this morning on the proposal. The bill would set aside $2 billion from the economic stabilization or "Rainy Day" fund for water projects.

The bill’s author – Rep. Allan Ritter (R-Nederland) – says prolonged statewide drought has revealed the importance of developing a dedicated source of revenue for the state’s water plan.

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Environment
7:56 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Free Tree Seedlings at the State Capitol Today

East Texas has nearly 12 million acres of commercial forest land.
flickr.com/dhwright

The Texas Forestry Association is giving away 5,000 hardwood seedlings near the south steps of the Capitol this morning. The association will begin handing out the trees at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 11:30 a.m. or until the supply runs out.

The seedling giveaway is a biennial tradition. The TFA began their seedling giveaway during the 72nd legislative session to raise public awareness of the tree planting efforts that take place across the state.

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Health
6:13 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

March for Texas Expanding Medicaid

Austin City Council Member Mike Martinez was one of the lawmakers speaking in support of Medicaid expansion today.
Mike Martinez via Facebook

Supporters of Texas expanding access to Medicaid, among them representatives of Planned Parenthood, marched up Congress Avenue Tuesday to the Capitol steps.

They’re calling on Texas lawmakers to accept Federal money as part of the Affordable Care Act to get healthcare to more than a million Texans who otherwise would not have it.

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Arts and Culture
2:34 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

'Thank You For That Gift': Memories Of Van Cliburn From Medalists

Van Cliburn in concert in 1993.
Ron Jenkins

Originally published on Tue March 5, 2013 3:42 pm

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Texas
12:50 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Bodybuilding Champ Turned Austin Attorney Feels Burn in Racketeering Trial (Update)

Attorney Marc G. Rosenthal faces more than a dozen allegations in a Corpus Christi trial.
flickr.com/joegratz and rosenthalwatson.com

Update: Austin attorney Marc G. Rosenthal was convicted by a federal jury late last week. 

A statement from the Southern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office reads in part

After a four-week trial, jurors convicted Rosenthal of conspiring to bribe a state district judge, bribe witnesses in both state and federal court cases, file fraudulent personal injury cases in both state and federal courts, and deprive the citizens of Cameron County, Texas, of the right to honest services of an elected official.

Rosenthal's sentencing is scheduled in June. 

Original Post (1:49 p.m.): The ongoing saga of Marc G. Rosenthal continues winding its way down the rabbit hole. The Austin attorney, and former Mr. Texas bodybuilding champion, is currently on trial in Corpus Christi, accused of leading a conspiracy that turned trials in his favor.

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Texas
7:06 am
Sun March 3, 2013

Remembering Van Cliburn

Van Cliburn playing the Moscow Conservatory in 1958's Tchaikovsky Competition
Van Cliburn Foundation

Funeral services will be held today for one of Texas' most famous classical musicians, Van Cliburn. He died last week at age 78.

Austin author Prudence Mackintosh wrote a beautiful memory of her attempts to contact the pianist before his death, which follows below. Mackintosh came to KUT to talk about Cliburn's legacy.  

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Texas
12:27 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

Jeb & George P. Bush Talk Texas Education Reform (Update)

Jeb Bush speaking to the Texas Senate Committee on Education this morning.
Ben Philpott, KUT News

Update: This morning, Jeb Bush had much to say on education reform and potential strategies Texas can use to ensure student achievement. His main point was, basically, if you want success, you have to fund it.

“A lesson we learned is put money behind the reforms and you’ll get better results," Bush said. "There’s enough money in the system. This whole argument that somehow we’re not funding schools adequately and I know it’s a big debate here. I would argue that maybe we should be funding the first things first. Put the priorities where you want to see the results and you’ll get a significantly better result.”

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in memoriam
11:40 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Van Cliburn, The 'American Sputnik' Of Piano, Dies At 78

Van Cliburn Foundation

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 11:48 am

Legendary pianist Van Cliburn has died at his home in Fort Worth, former CEO of the Cliburn Foundation Richard Rodzinski confirms. Cliburn was diagnosed with bone cancer in August. 

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Texas
9:30 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Texas Lawmakers Renew Push on Statewide Texting and Driving Ban

The Alex Brown Memorial Act would ban texting while driving in Texas.
flickr.com/indyplanets

Texas lawmakers are trying again to pass a statewide law banning texting while driving. A similar measure passed in the Texas House and Senate last legislative session, but was vetoed by Gov. Rick Perry.

Today, Texas Rep. Tom Craddick’s House Bill 63 is getting its first public hearing. The bill is going before the House Committee on Transportation.

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Texas
6:58 am
Tue February 26, 2013

Central Texas Cleaning Up After High Winds (Update)

A downed tree on the UT campus.
Emily Donahue, KUT News

Update (6:58 a.m.): About 1,200 Austin Energy customers remain without power this morning. High winds yesterday broke tree limbs and brought down power lines.

At one point yesterday afternoon, around 18,000 Austin Energy customers were without power.

Right now, Austin Energy repair and tree trimming crews are working to fix harder-to-reach problems. An Austin Energy spokesperson tells KUT News that power should be restored to most customers by early this afternoon.

Customers should report outages by calling (512) 322-9100.

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Politics
1:39 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

For Cornyn, Right Turn Could Be Defensive Play

SInce the arrival of Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. John Cornyn seems to be shifting discernibly right.
Gage Skidmore, Texas Tribune

After more than a decade representing blood-red Texas in the U.S. Senate, John Cornyn finds himself in an unusual spot: burnishing his conservative credentials.

One would think the senior Texas senator’s reputation would be secure: Cornyn, who has ascended to minority whip, spent two election cycles as chairman of the Senate’s Republican campaign fundraising arm, and National Journal last week ranked him second in its 2012 list of the most conservative senators.

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Education
4:30 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

'Save Texas Schools' March Heads to Capitol Saturday Morning

The group plans to march to the capitol on Saturday.
savetxschools.org/photo-gallery

"Save Texas Schools" will march to the Texas State Capitol tomorrow morning. The group hopes to encourage Texas lawmakers to support public education by restoring funding cut from Texas schools last legislative session.

The march will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Congress Avenue and Riverside Drive. The group will march north on Congress to the capitol.

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The Lead
8:45 am
Thu February 21, 2013

The Lead: Red Flag Warning, European Trade & Texas, State’s Most Endangered Places

Strong winds are expected to decrease by early evening.
National Weather Service

Lead Story: A Red Flag Warning is in effect for Travis County late this morning through this afternoon, due to strong winds. Outdoor burning is strongly discouraged.

The warning is due to the critical fire weather conditions expected today: a pacific cold front bringing breezy winds and dry air to Central Texas. The warning will be in effect from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. You can find more information via the National Weather Service.

Texas Push for European Trade Deal:  Texas stands to benefit from a potential free trade deal between the U.S. and the European Union. That’s according to a study by Waco economist Ray Perryman.

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Austin
10:33 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Handbag Drive Gives Domestic Violence Victims Handle on Hope

Each handbag is equiped with a discreet purse tag featuring the Project's hotline number before being delivered to shelters across Texas.
Texas Advocacy Project

The Texas Advocacy Project and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office are launching its annual “Handbags for Hope” drive.

The sixth annual installment of the drive asks Austin-area residents to donate new and gently used handbags to give to domestic violence victims.

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Texas
10:05 am
Mon February 18, 2013

Two Bryan Firefighters Killed, Two Expected to Survive Injuries

Eric Wallace, left, and Greg Pickard, right, died battling a fire in Bryan.
City of Bryan

Two Bryan Firefighters remain in serious but stable condition today after a deadly fire on Friday. Two other Bryan firefighters were killed.

Fire Lieutenant Eric Wallace, 36, died in the line of duty and Fire Lieutenant Greg Pickard, 54, passed away late Saturday afternoon as a result of his injuries. Firefighters Ricky Mantey and Mitch Moran are being treated for burns at a Galveston hospital.

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The Lead
8:46 am
Mon February 18, 2013

The Lead: CPRIT’s Trickle-Down Funding Troubles, Oil Field Thefts

A moratorium on CPRIT grants is affecting other cancer-fighting agencies.
Texas Tribune

Good morning, and happy Presidents Day. KUT News has a look at what’s open and closed today: all City of Austin’s administrative offices and other city are closed today, but trash, recycling and yard trimmings pick up will proceed as normal.  

The National Weather Service says Austin’s in for a warm, muggy day with a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon. High winds will make for elevated fire conditions, so be careful out there. 

Lead Story: The troubles roiling the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) are spreading to other research groups, The Texas Tribune reports.

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Texas
11:29 am
Thu February 14, 2013

'It Could Be A Lot Worse,' Triumph Passenger Says; Cruise Ship Docking At Ala. Port

Makeshift tents are seen on the deck of the Carnival cruise ship Triumph, in a photo taken Sunday, the first day it spent without engine power. The image was provided by Kalin Hill of Houston.
Kalin Hill AP

Originally published on Fri February 15, 2013 1:21 am

The Carnival cruise ship Triumph docked in Mobile, Ala., late Thursday night, as the job of towing the stricken 100,000-ton ship hundreds of miles across the Gulf of Mexico took longer than expected. The ship's 3,143 passengers had coped with sewage problems and a lack of ventilation since Sunday, when the Triumph was crippled by an engine room fire.

Updated 2:15 a.m. ET Friday: All Passengers Disembarked

A spokesman for Carnival says all passengers have left the cruise ship that was stranded for days without power and running water.

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Texas
2:24 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Photos: The Chris Kyle Funeral Procession Arrives in Austin (Update)

Supporters outside the Texas State Cemetery waited for Kyle's motorcade to arrive.
Luke Quinton for KUT News

Update: The funeral procession of Chris Kyle arrived in Austin around noon. Crowds of watchers lined  Interstate 35 and the Texas State Cemetery with flags and signs.

The procession was escorted by a motorcade which included 200 motorcycles, motor coaches, police cruisers, military personnel and first responders.

At least two Patriot Guard Riders who were riding ahead of the procession on its way to Austin were involved in an accident near Bell County according to Texas Department of Public Safety officials. They remain hospitalized.

Original Story:
Former Navy SEAL and "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle will be buried in Austin today.

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Texas
12:27 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Cruise Ship Drifts In Gulf Of Mexico, Will Be Towed To Port

In a photo from 1999, the Carnival Cruise line Carnival Triumph, foreground, arrives in Miami. Measuring 893 feet in length, the ship has been adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for more than 24 hours, after a fire hit its engines.
Andy Newman AP

Originally published on Mon February 11, 2013 11:49 am

More than 3,000 cruise ship passengers who thought they'd be heading home today have instead been told they'll remain in the Gulf of Mexico until Wednesday, stranded by an engine fire that set their ship, the Triumph, adrift. Onboard power and sewer system outages have been reported. The ship, which was 150 miles north of the Yucatan Peninsula when the fire struck early Sunday, has a crew of more than 1,000.

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Guns
4:57 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

'American Sniper' Chris Kyle To Be Interred in Texas State Cemetery

Retired Navy SEAL and sniper Chris Kyle will be buried in Austin's state cemetery.
flickr.com/austincameraguy

Services were held for Chad Littleton today at the First Baptist Church in Midlothian, Texas. He, along with former Navy SEAL and best-selling “American Sniper” author Chris Kyle were killed Saturday at a gun range outside of Fort Worth. Kyle was reportedly killed by a fellow veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Kyle will be buried Tuesday at the Texas State Cemetery in Austin, following a Monday service at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. Thousands are expected to attend the public ceremony Monday to remember the man widely recognized as “America’s deadliest sniper.”

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