Texas

Fort Hood Shootings
8:14 am
Wed August 7, 2013

What You Need to Know From Day One of the Fort Hood Trial

Sketch of Staff Sgt. Alonzo Lunsford testifying in Tuesday's trial.
Brigitte Woosley, sketch artist

Today marks Day Two in the trial of Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 at Fort Hood on Nov. 5, 2009. The trial is expected to take months – only twelve of the nearly 300 witnesses testified Tuesday. More of the prosecution’s witnesses will testify today as prosecutors continue to build a case against Hasan. 

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Fort Hood Shootings
1:46 pm
Tue August 6, 2013

Hasan at Fort Hood Trial: 'I Am the Shooter'

Maj. Nidal Hasan (center) compared himself to a holy warrior "trying to establish a perfect religion" today.
Brigitte Woosley

Update: Testimony is underway in the Maj. Nidal Hasan case. Eight witnesses have testified so far, including employees at Guns Galore, a local gun shop where Hasan purchased ammunition and weapons.

Fredrick Brennan, one of the employees at Guns Galore, said Hasan regularly purchased 200 to 300 rounds of ammunition for shooting practice.

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Texas
7:09 pm
Fri August 2, 2013

Giant Lion May Be King Of All Football Field Logos

At 50 yards wide, a new lion dominates the new field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium.
Lion Athletics

Originally published on Fri August 2, 2013 10:28 am

"That's a big ol' lion." How else to describe the new golden cat on the field at Texas A&M University-Commerce's Memorial Stadium that stretches from sideline to sideline, dominating the area between the 25-yard lines?

That description of the giant cat, which may be the largest on-field logo in America, comes from Mark Haslett of NPR member station KETR, which is based at the school in eastern Texas.

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West Plant Explosion
11:30 am
Fri August 2, 2013

Federal Disaster Declaration Approved for West, Texas

A home devestated by the blast in West, Texas, a month after the April blast. A federal disaster declaration should mean the release of rebuilding funds to West.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It looks like a denial of federal aid to West, Texas will be overturned.

This morning, Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement saying West – the site of a devastating fertilizer plant explosion that claimed 15 lives and flattened entire city blocks – would benefit from a Major Disaster Declaration.

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Texas
12:21 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Judge in Fort Hood Case Rules on Evidence as Trial Nears

Bell County Sheriff's Department

The trial of the alleged Fort Hood shooter is set to start next week.

Army Maj. Nidal Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding dozens of others in a shooting rampage at the Army post in 2009.

The military judge in the trial ruled Wednesday the government can’t use some evidence in opening statements. The prosecution wanted to use three alleged e-mails between Hasan and Anwar al-Awlaki – a man described as an al-Qaeda recruiter.

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Wildfires
11:30 am
Thu August 1, 2013

The Best Sources For Central Texas Wildfire Info

An unidentified fire crew tamps down the very last of the Bastrop wildfires, in September 2011. Central Texas is in a heightened time for wildfire risk.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Wildfire season is in full swing. And due to Texas’ ongoing drought, the state remains at exceptional risk for wildfires.

Wildfires spring up quickly and spread unexpectedly – making real-time information important. Twitter is an important resource for wildfire updates. And Facebook is an information clearinghouse for area residents in times of disaster.

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Wildfires
6:43 pm
Tue July 30, 2013

200 Acre Wildfire Prompts Evacuations in Smithville (Update)

Smoke from the wildfire illuminated by a sunset
Kate McGee, KUT News

Update: Bastrop County officials say the STAR Flight helicopter is being brought back out to help extinguish some flare ups in the area. Earlier this afternoon, Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative said it had restored power to all its customers.

The fire, now 252 acres, is 75 percent contained, according to Bastrop officials.

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West Plant Explosion
3:17 pm
Mon July 29, 2013

Explosion Could Leave West, Texas Students in Portables For Years

A scene in West, Texas, following April’s fertilizer plant explosion. West school district officials say they'll have to house students in temporary structures as they repair or rebuild three of the four schools in the district.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Federal emergency officials have approved a $2.9 million grant for temporary structures to house students in schools devastated by the West, Texas fertilizer plant explosion. 

The blast on April 17 killed 15 people and injured dozens others. 

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Texas
9:02 am
Fri July 26, 2013

Why The Justice Department's Eyes Are Upon Texas

Despite a Supreme Court ruling that gutted a key part of the Voting Rights Act, Attorney General Eric Holder wants a court to use another section of the 1965 law to require Texas to get the federal government's approval before changing its voting laws.
Matt Rourke AP

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 7:48 pm

In the war over the right to vote in the U.S., the Justice Department's choice of Texas as the battleground for its first legal action following the Supreme Court's weakening of the Voting Rights Act has a feeling of inevitability.

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Texas
6:45 pm
Thu July 25, 2013

Eric Holder: Texas Should Still Clear Election Changes With U.S.

After a decision weakening the Voting Rights Act, Texas implemented a controversial Voter ID law.
Texas Dept. of Public Safety

Update: (6:43 p.m.) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s speech Thursday mark the beginning of a new fight over the Voting Rights Act.

“It’s clear that Texas is the big test case for what may be a potentially broader effort to use the bail in mechanism to patch some of the damage caused by Supreme Court in Shelby v Holder into our voting rights regime," UT Law Professor Joseph Fishkin says.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act unconstitutional. It’s the formula that determines which states need federal approval to change their voting laws or practices. Without the formula, there are no guidelines to determine which jurisdictions need their voting laws and practices pre-approved. Now the federal government is arguing Texas requires pre approval under another provision—section three. 

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Texas
4:38 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Food Stamps Policy Made Clear for Homeless Youths in Texas, US

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has clarified policies to ensure homeless minors can access the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
KUT News

The U.S. Department of Agriculture wants homeless teens to know what they need to qualify for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP -- also known as food stamps. 

"For a lot of our unaccompanied homeless youth, these are youths not living with a parent or guardian, it’s been difficult to access the SNAP program, the food stamp program," said Barbara Ward James, director of Texas Homeless Education Office at the University of Texas. "Now the federal government has made it easier to understand the rules and regulations."

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food
2:24 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

Texas Pit Masters Bask In Moment Of Barbecue Glory

The Pecan Lodge's combination plate, a meat lover's dream.
Wade Goodwyn NPR

Originally published on Thu July 25, 2013 2:18 pm

It's not even noon yet but every table out front of the Pecan Lodge in downtown Dallas is filled with veterans with barbecue heaped on their plates, smirking at the gobsmacked newbies. First timers are easily discernible by the stunned looks on their faces when they walk in and see the line.

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Texas
2:33 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

Texas Women Ask: What Does It Mean to Be Empowered?

Fawn Jackson takes notes during the introductory speeches at the Women’s Health, Motivation & Empowerment Conference. Jackson planned to attend the health workshops offered at the meeting.
Reshma Kirpalani for KUT News

The ink had barely dried on Gov. Rick Perry's signature on House Bill 2, a controversial law restricting abortions in Texas, when 200 women filed into the Austin Community College Eastview campus to attend the Women’s Health, Motivation & Empowerment Conference

A free, daylong event presented by the Positive Women’s Coalition and sponsored by Austin Community College, it featured workshops focused on women’s career development, relationships and health.

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Texas
6:33 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Regional Bias And How NPR Covers America

istockphoto.com

Originally published on Thu August 1, 2013 1:28 pm

It is a persistent complaint among listeners: NPR has a regional bias, and it favors the East and West coasts.

"It is past time that NPR relocated its headquarters away from Washington, D.C.," admonished Gregory Elmes, a professor at West Virginia University, where he teaches geology and, fittingly, geography. "Somewhere like St. Louis, Mo. or Denver, Co. might provide your reporters, analysts and hosts with a wider perspective representative of a much broader sweep of the United States."

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Texas
12:39 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

While Texas Restricts Abortions, Mexico Braces for a Boom

Women and girls cross the U.S. border into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico every day trying to put an end to their pregnancies. The one room clinic of Dr. Celia Gomez is one of the first clinics people find right across the border checkpoint.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

This week, Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed a law banning abortions after 20 weeks.

It also increases requirements for clinics and doctors that provide abortions. Clinics have a little over a year to upgrade to ambulatory surgical centers. Several clinics are expected to close, leaving women in poor and rural areas the most affected.

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Texas
9:40 am
Wed July 17, 2013

New Branch of Texas A&M Could Shake up Fort Hood's Economy

The new building for Texas A&M-Central Texas under construction in July 2013. It's scheduled for completion in 2014.
Luke Quinton for KUT News

The Army announced recently that it plans to eliminate combat brigades at 12 military bases. That’s a total of 80,000 soldiers. The cutbacks come as communities are already dealing with government furloughs. But military towns are trying to keep the old boom and bust economy a thing of the past.

Fort Hood is like a city. When it became a base in the 1940s, it cleared out 1,200 farms. Now it’s home to more than 40,000 assigned soldiers and tens of thousands of civilian workers. The base brings $25 billion to the Texas economy each year.

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Texas
1:29 pm
Tue July 16, 2013

Five Legal Documents Same-Sex Couples Need in Texas

Those supporting expanded rights for same-sex couples gathered at the Texas Capitol this March. In Texas same-sex partnerships are not recognized by law.
Tyler Pratt, KUT News

A recent story of a North Texas man that took social media by storm has unique legal issues for same-sex couples across Texas.

Lon Watts says he was forced to move from his home of 12 years, and was banned from caring for his partner who suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease, after a legal battle with his partner’s family.

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Texas
5:20 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Sales Tax Holiday Set for Second Weekend in August

The tax-free weekend could give Texans a $74 million break.
Todd Wiseman & Mikhail Popov, Texas Tribune

The state’s annual sales-tax-free weekend is a little earlier this year, but there’s still time to get ready.

Coming up on the weekend of August 9 to 11, Texas shoppers can save the sales tax on most clothing and back-to-school stuff priced under $100.

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Texas
7:14 pm
Thu July 11, 2013

Anonymous Person Posts $500,000 Bond To Free Texas Teen

An undated photo of Justin Carter, who's facing a felony "terroristic threat" charge in Texas.
Courtesy of Jack Carter

Originally published on Thu July 11, 2013 4:06 pm

Justin Carter, the 19-year-old who was arrested and jailed in February after making a Facebook comment about a school shooting, is out of jail. An anonymous donor posted the $500,000 bond to allow Carter to go home. Carter plans to stay near New Braunfels, Texas, to await his trial on a felony terroristic threat charge.

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West plant explosion
6:46 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

After West Blast, U.S. Senator Calls for Safer Fertilizer Storage

A building destroyed by the fertilizer plant explosion in West
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A U.S. Senator who oversees environmental regulation is urging state governors to increase safety standards for the storage of ammonium nitrate in the wake of the explosion in West.  Fifteen people were killed in April when a fertilizer plant exploded in the town just north of Waco.

California Democrat Barbara Boxer chairs the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

“If there’s even one more tragic death from improper storage of ammonium nitrate, we’ll have lost this opportunity. We have the information. The information is power. And the people who have power need to do something about this," Boxer said during a news conference Tuesday. 

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