Texas

Texas Standard
2:38 pm
Fri June 12, 2015

Does Your Water Bottle Really Need to be 'Smart?'

Photo via Flickr/minutesalone (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Imagine a world where you could count every sip of water you took – and your boss could see it too. That’s the idea behind brothers Jac and Davis Saltzgiver’s new invention, Trago.

“We allow coaches and teams, or even parents, to monitor an entire group of people with multiple bottles, so a coach or trainer could make sure their entire team is well hydrated before a game,” Davis Saltzgiver says.

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HB2
2:18 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

Texas Abortion Providers Ask Appeals Court to Suspend Order Upholding HB2

The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a provision of a 2013 Texas abortion law, HB2, which requires abortion physicians to receive admitting privileges at nearby hospitals.
Daniel Reese/KUT News

Abortion providers in Texas want a federal appeals court to block its own ruling. They’re asking the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to stay its decision upholding a 2013 abortion law, because allowing the law to go into effect would leave Texas with no more than eight clinics. [Read the stay request here.]

On Tuesday, the Fifth Circuit upheld the Texas law (HB 2) requiring abortion physicians to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. 

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Texas
2:14 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

Texas Wildfire Experts Predict Weaker Threat Level This Year

Texas A&M Forest Service experts don't expect the 2015 wildfire season in Texas to be anything like the 2011 one, which caused the Bastrop fires pictured here.
Photo by Matt Largey/KUT News

The 2015 wildfire season is fast approaching. In Colorado yesterday, federal officials talked about the growing threat of catastrophic wildfires across the country.

Here in Texas, the threat of wildfires is not as high as in other states, but that’s because of recent flooding. 

Experts like Tom Spencer, who heads the predictive services department at the Texas A&M Forest Service, say this year, the upcoming wildfire season is causing them less stress.

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Affordable Care Act
12:01 pm
Wed June 10, 2015

How Obamacare's Doing in Texas, by the Numbers

President Barack Obama is touting the effects of the Affordable Care Act this week.
Jeff Heimsath/KUT News

On Tuesday, the White House released numbers illustrating the effect of the Affordable Care Act here in Texas — numbers that came out on the same day that President Obama delivered a speech in which he described his signature health care law as a success.

President Obama spoke Tuesday at the Catholic Hospital Association conference in Washington, D.C. He told the audience the Affordable Care Act has turned out better than even its supporters expected.

"Nearly one in three Americans have already been covered," he said, receiving applause. "More than 16 million people driving our uninsured rate to its lowest level, ever. Ever."

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HB2
12:52 pm
Tue June 9, 2015

Appeals Court Upholds Most of Texas HB2 Abortion Law

Credit Alexa Ura/Texas Tribune

A federal appeals court is allowing several disputed elements of Texas’ HB2 abortion law to go into effect.

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Texas Standard
12:12 pm
Mon June 8, 2015

Could Texas Ever Pass Canada's No Tampon Sales Tax Law?

forgery/flickr

No taxation with menstruation — that’s what 75,000 Canadians said in a petition to lobby the federal government to remove sales tax from feminine hygiene products. 

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Memorial Day Floods
11:27 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Texas Employees Have One Month to Apply for Disaster Assistance Money

People who've lost work in Texas after the Memorial Day Floods could qualify for Disaster Unemployment Assistance through the Texas Workforce Commission.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

In the roughly 13 years that Tom Keyser has owned Ino’z Brew & Chew in Wimberley, he’s been flooded three times, and last month’s flooding was the worst.

"This water level inside the building and in the restaurant itself was the highest it’s ever, ever been," he said. 

The restaurant got 18 inches of water in areas including the kitchen and main dining area, which meant Keyser and his partner had to close down the restaurant for five days. That was tough for him, his partner and their 35 employees.

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Memorial Day Floods
8:13 am
Wed June 3, 2015

Attorney General Warns Texans in Disaster Zones Against Scammers

Residents of Hays, Harris and Van Zandt Counties may be eligible for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the Memorial Day Floods.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

In May, Texas had the highest monthly rainfall total in its history, but the hundreds of people affected by flash flooding are finding out that they may not have had the right type of insurance coverage. The Insurance Council of Texas is warning Texans that a homeowner policy doesn’t cover everything.

"A lot of people think this homeowner policy is good for flooding. It’s not," says Mark Hanna, a spokesperson for the  Insurance Council of Texas. "You need to get a separate flood insurance policy. That’s going to protect you against any type of rising waters."

Meanwhile, residents of Hays, Harris and Van Zandt Counties may be eligible for help from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Residents can register online at disasterassistance.gov.

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Affordable Care Act
5:08 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

More Texas Women, Hispanics Insured Under ACA, Report Suggests

A June report from the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute suggests the uninsured rates among Texas Hispanics and women have dropped the most since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
KUT News

Some Texans may have benefited more than others from the Affordable Care Act, according to research by the Episcopal Health Foundation and Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the rate of uninsured Hispanics has dropped 38 percent. As of March this year, less than a quarter of Hispanics still didn't have health insurance.

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Texas Standard
2:46 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

A Wimberley Summer Camp Rushes to Recover from Floods Before Campers Arrive

Photo via Brenda Salinas/Texas Standard

This Sunday, 150 girls ages six to 16 will say goodbye to their parents, grab their trunks and move into their summer cabins at Rocky River Ranch. The 50-year-old camp is a place preserved in time. When alumni drop off their little sisters and daughters, director Shanna Watson asks them if anything looks different.

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Memorial Day Floods
7:53 am
Tue June 2, 2015

As San Marcos Flooded, Two Men Risked Their Lives to Save a Stranded Family

Chris Gutierrez (left) and Daniel Navarro found a woman and her three children stuck in their car in the San Marcos floodwaters.
Mose Buchele/KUT News

It’s been about a week since devastating floods swept through Texas, bringing destruction and even death.

The floods also set the scene for acts of heroism.

As the waters have receded, some of those stories have surfaced. One of them took place early Sunday morning on Memorial Day weekend on River Road in San Marcos.

Daniel Navarro and his stepfather Chris Gutierrez were searching for a family member and came across a woman and her three children stranded in their car in the floodwaters. Navarro and Gutierrez tell us what happened next.

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Texas
12:34 pm
Sun May 31, 2015

As Rain Finally Clears in Central Texas, Clean-up Continues

A flooded home in San Marcos right after Memorial Day floods.

Central Texas just had one of its wettest Mays on record. The heavy rainfall, storms and flooding became deadly and destructive, causing 23 deaths. Crews continue to search for those who are still missing in Hays County, where storms and flooding destroyed homes and property of many residents.

President Obama gave Texas a federal disaster declaration Saturday, allowing affected counties access to federal aid for relief efforts.

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2015 Legislature
7:00 am
Sat May 30, 2015

Texas Open Carry Bill Approved by State Legislature

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

Update, May 30, 2015:

An open carry bill was approved by the Texas Legislature on Friday, and the measure now heads to Gov. Greg Abbott's desk for his signature.

Texas is one of few states where open carry is prohibited, but the bill approved by state lawmakers on Friday would change that. License holders would be allowed to openly carry in a hip or shoulder holster.

Right now, Texans can only carry concealed handguns.

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Texas Standard
12:28 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

In Texas, Lucky Dogs Go to This Pet Retirement Home

daphenator/flickr

If you go to the Stevenson Companion Animal Life Care Center at Texas A&M, you’ll be greeted by a posse of dogs that includes a 10-year-old Boston Terrier named Patty. She has short little legs and an irresistibly smooshed face. She was running in circles around my legs.

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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/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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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.

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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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