Texas

Texas
9:55 am
Wed January 1, 2014

Don't Bid Auf Wiedersehen to Texas German Just Yet

The Saengerrunde Damenchor began singing in 1959 at the Austin Saengerrunde. The women usually rehearse on Monday evenings.
David Weaver

Texas is the only place in the world where you can find an unusual hybrid of German and English. 

This Texas-German dialect stretches back to the 1800s, before Texas was even a state, when German immigrants arrived here. While the number of speakers dwindles, Texas-German pride hasn't. 

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Texas
3:15 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Mixed Drinks Could Be Served With Higher Price, As New Texas Law Goes Into Effect

A mixed drink in Texas could cost you more starting Jan. 1, 2014 in Texas.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

If you order a mixed drink in Texas tomorrow, you might see the price on your bill higher than what you’re used to. That’s because of a new state law that goes into effect on Jan. 1.

In Texas, if a bar sells you a mixed drink, it has to give 14 percent of what you pay back to the state. And that tax doesn’t show up on your receipt.

If the bar only sells beer and wine, it doesn't pay that tax. In that case the customer pays a sales tax of 8.25 percent. And that does show up on the receipt.

Tomorrow – on Jan. 1 – a new law goes into effect, which changes that. 

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Texas
11:23 am
Tue December 31, 2013

New Year Brings Good and Bad News For Texas Wind Power

Wind turbines in West Texas create power for population centers in the east.
Credit Photo by Mose Buchele

By New Year's Day, the network of transmission lines that comprise Texas' "Competitive Renewable Energy Zone" [CREZ] will be fully operational, bringing electricity from wind turbines in West Texas and the Panhandle to points east. Many of the lines are already active (and have contributed to record-breaking percentages of Texas electricity coming from wind), but the Jan. 1 deadline is cause for celebration among those who have long prided Texas' role as a leader in wind power.

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Texas
11:14 am
Mon December 30, 2013

New Texas Law Protects Collateral Victims of Domestic Violence: Pets

The Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies say pets can also be victims of domestic violence.
flickr.com/tudor

The holidays are a time for gift-giving and celebration but, for some, it's also a time of increased family and financial pressure. Some mental health health professionals say this pressure can lead to a spike in domestic violence. 

In Texas, domestic violence victims who find the courage to leave an abusive situation can now have their pets included in protective orders.

Patt Nordyke of the Texas Federation of Animal Care Societies fought for eight years to pass the law in the Texas legislature.

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Texas
10:12 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Feds Pick Texas As One of Six Drone Testing Sites

A MQ-1 Predator drone, presented to the Texas Air National Guard in Houston, Texas in 2009.
flickr.com/e06158

Update 12/30/13: The Federal Aviation Administration has selected Texas A&M - Corpus Christi as one of six drone testing sites across the U.S. The FAA says the Corpus Christi site "plans to develop system safety requirements for UAS vehicles and operations with a goal of protocols and procedures for airworthiness testing." 

Sites in Alaska, Nevada, New York, North Dakota and Virginia were also chosen.

Hear more about A&M's drone plans in the interview below.

Original story 10/09/13: From Manhattan to Afghanistan, drones have become big news and big business. Now, there’s a move to turn the skies over Texas into one of the world’s leading drone test sites. 

KUT’s David Brown talks with Ron George, a senior research development officer at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi , and one of the planners of a new drone development center.

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Abortion
1:19 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

State Agency Finalizes Abortion Regulations

Activists on either side of the abortion debate clash inside the Capitol on June 12, 2013. The Texas Senate approved new abortion restrictions that night.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

The Texas Department of State Health Services finalized strict new abortion regulations on Friday, claiming that none of the 19,000 public comments on the rules provided evidence that they are unconstitutional.

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Texas
12:39 pm
Mon December 23, 2013

Camels Trek In The Texas Desert, Just Like Old Times

The camel trek guides insist everything Americans think they know about camels is wrong.
Wade Goodwyn NPR

Originally published on Sat December 21, 2013 9:28 pm

At 10 on a crisp West Texas morning, five camel-trekkers stand under the open sky of the Davis Mountains. A few feet away, guide Doug Baum and Jason Mayfield load up five camels.

Baum, a former zookeeper, runs the Texas Camel Corps. The group guides camel treks around the world. In the Big Bend region, camels were for a brief time widespread, and the guides have brought them back.

'As Good As They Come'

You have to like a man who brings his own camel to a camel trek. On Mayfield's arm is a tall, beautiful blond named Butter.

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Affordable Care Act
3:35 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Testimony Begins on Proposed Texas Rules for Obamacare Navigators

Texas Insurance Commissioner Julia Rathgeber listened to testimony at a public hearing on proposed rules for health insurance navigators in Austin on Dec. 20, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Lawmakers and members of the public testified on new Texas-only rules for the Affordable Care Act on Dec. 20 in Austin.

The new rules would restrict who can become a health insurance "navigator" under the Affordable Care Act. These proposed rules have caused controversy: critics say they're meant to impede the success of the federal health care law, whereas supporters say they will teach navigators how to safeguard consumers' information.

The Texas Department of Insurance wrote the proposed rules to regulate navigators. They're already required to go through a federal training before they help people sign up for insurance through the new federal healthcare exchange.

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Texas
11:05 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Amber Alert: Police Seek Woman Driving Lexus Who They Say Took 5 Year-Old Boy

Police believe Jagger Curry may be in danger.
DPS

Police across the state are looking for a missing five year-old boy and the woman who they believe took him. She was last seen in North Richland Hills – near Fort Worth.

Five-year-old Jagger Curry is white. He has brown hair and brown eyes. He was last seen wearing a blue shirt, grey-and-white striped pajama pants and cowboy boots.

Police believe he’s with 30-year-old Jennifer Lynne Echeverria. She’s also white with brown hair and brown eyes. She’s about 5-foot-9 and weighs around 140 pounds. She was last seen wearing a black short-sleeved t-shirt and jeans. She has a tattoo of angel wings with eyes on the inside of both arms. The back of her head is shaved.

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Texas
11:28 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Amber Alert Canceled for Baby Girl Abducted Near Corpus Christi

Photos of Natalie and Ronnie Jasso were not provided.

Update: The Amber Alert for Natalie Jasso has been canceled. Information about her condition was not immediately available.

Original Story: (6:03 a.m.): Law enforcement agencies across the state are looking for a two week-old baby girl who they believe was abducted by a male family member.

There’s an active Amber Alert for Natalie Jasso. The infant was last seen last night in Robstown, Texas – near Corpus Christi.

Natalie is Hispanic and has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a white beanie and a white onesie with pink flowers on it.

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Texas
4:43 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

Texas Homeowners Insurance Rates Down, Still Above National Average

Texas homeowners didn't pay the highest insurance rates in 2013, but rates still exceeded the national average.
flickr.com/59195512@N00

Texas homeowners may be paying among the highest insurance rates in the country– but at least they’re no longer the highest. 

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners' latest report says while premiums for Texas homeowners have dropped to third in the nation, they’re still above the national average. 

Rates in other states are higher, in part, because the figures now include the cost of windstorm insurance. Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas says the states with the top rates have something else in common.

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UT Regents
1:37 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

UT Regent Hall Declines Invitation to Testify

UT Regent Wallace Hall could face impeachment in an investigation of whether or not he abused his power in his investigation of UT President Bill Powers
Callie Richmond for Texas Tribune

University of Texas System Regent Wallace Hall has declined an invitation to testify this week before the legislative committee that is conducting an investigation of his actions as a regent — an inquiry that could result in a recommendation that he be impeached.

The House Select Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations is scheduled to meet on Wednesday and Thursday. They have subpoenaed UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa and University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers to testify. They opted not to issue a subpoena for Hall, though they hoped to hear from him.

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Music
11:04 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Remembering Ray Price, Voice Of The Nashville Sound

Ray Price on the Dean Martin Comedy Hour in 1973.
NBC NBC via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

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UT Football
4:40 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

Likely and Unlikely Replacements for Mack Brown as Longhorn Coach

Baylor coach Art Briles is an unlikely candidate for Brown's position, as he signed a 10-year contract extension
flickr.com/goiowastate

Now that Mack Brown's officially resigning, Longhorn fans can breathe a sigh of relief, or of sorrow, after four years of lackluster play from UT football. But, despite latter day streakiness as a coach, Brown leaves the program second in all-time wins and an overall record of 158-47, including the 2005 BCS championship.

Brown's shoes won't be easy to fill, but there are plenty of high profile coaches in the running to do just that. Here's a list of the rumored replacements. 

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Weather
1:21 pm
Mon December 16, 2013

There’s a Solution to Power Outages During Texas Storms, But You Won’t Like It

Two trees couldn't withstand the storm in this backyard near Lower Greenville in Dallas. They tore apart a fence and damaged a roof and tore down a power line.
Courtesy of Jerome Weeks / KERA News

From StateImpact Texas: 

Against the backdrop of a debate over whether Texas has enough power generation (i.e. power plants) to meet growing demand, two instances of large-scale outages in the past few weeks show a more common vulnerability: power lost to fallen or damaged power lines during storms. Could anything have been done to prevent the outages? The short answer is yes. But chances are you won’t like the full explanation.

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Texas Volleyball
11:42 am
Mon December 16, 2013

UT Volleyball Defeats Nebraska, Will Move on to the Final Four

UT Volleyball defeated Nebraska on Saturday to move on to the Final Four for the fifth time in six years.
University of Texas Athletics

UT fans might have missed the bit of good news from Longhorn athletics this weekend. With the bad news of Mack Brown's retirement comes a bit of good news: the Longhorns Volleyball team will head to the Final Four tournament. 

In an impressive shutout win against Nebraska, the top-ranked Horns extended their playoff match win streak to 23, the second longest in school history, according to UT Athletics

Texas Football
3:02 pm
Sun December 15, 2013

Mack Brown Discusses Decision to Step Down as Texas Football Coach

After sixteen years wearing burnt orange, Mack Brown has decided to leave his post as the head coach of the University of Texas Longhorns football program. At a press conference Sunday, Brown explained his decision to step down after the Bowl Game against Oregon in two weeks.

“There are just too many distractions too many negatives, and players and coaches shouldn’t have to deal with negativity about me or the university,” he said.  “The university is so much bigger than any person.”

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Texas
6:55 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Why Texas Can't Withold 911 Tapes

A makeshift memorial to the victims of the Sandy Hook mass shooting.
Voice of America via Wikimedia Commons

On Dec. 14, it will have been exactly one year since the school massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut that killed a total of 28 people, including 20 children.

Over the past several days, national news media organizations have been struggling with the question of whether to publish the recently released 911 calls. Clearly, many victims' families simply want to be left alone – to not be forced to relive the horror. And yet a Connecticut judge ruled to release those tapes, citing state law. 

Other states specifically prohibit the release of 911 tapes. What about Texas? 

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Weather
7:24 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Update: Winter Weather Advisory Issued, Roads May Be Hazardous

A Winter Weather Adivsory has been extended for the Austin area.
National Weather Service

Update, Saturday PM: Late Saturday evening, the National Weather Service issued a Winter Weather Advisory for Austin and the surrounding area. Light ice accumulation and freezing drizzle are making road conditions hazardous. The Austin Police Department is urging people to stay off the roads as much as they can, and if you must drive, to do so slowly and with caution, avoiding bridges and overpasses. APD is reporting nearly two dozen crashes. The weather advisory is in effect until 6 a.m. Sunday. 

DELAYS:

  • The Austin Independent School District is delaying classes & bus routes by two hours. The district says tardies due to weather will be excused.
  • Other area districts on two-hour delays: Manor, Eanes, Del Valle, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Hutto and Leander -- all morning Pre-K has also been canceled at Leander.
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Author Interviews
8:57 am
Fri November 29, 2013

'Dallas Noir' Explores the City's Alluring Shimmer and Seedy Underbelly

The cover of Dallas Noir, a new collection of fictional stories.
Akashic Books

While Pulitzer Prize winner Larry McMurty described Dallas in Texas Monthly as “a second-rate city that wishes it were first-rate,” literary agent and editor David Hale Smith prefers a different description. This one’s found in the lines of Jimmie Dale Gilmore’s song “Dallas:"

Dallas is a rich man with a death wish in his eyes

A steel and concrete soul in a warm-hearted love disguise.

“It’s one of the great lyrics of all time. The song is a poem, but it really nails Dallas, and of course nails the essence of this book we put together,” Smith says. He sat down with KUT's David Brown to discuss that new book, “Dallas Noir." 

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