Texas

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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Fort Hood Shootings
4:44 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

First Day of Jury Selection in Fort Hood Trial Complete

At Tuesday's pretrial hearing, Maj. Nidal Hasan told the trial judge he is being forced to wear his military uniform.
Brigitte Woosley, sketch artist

Update: Six of the first 20 potential panelists in the trail of Major Nidal Hasan were dismissed today in the first day of jury selection. The court will resume tomorrow and split the remaining panelists into groups for individual questioning. The first group will begin at 9 a.m. and the second group will be questioned at 2:30 p.m. Hasan is accused of killing 13 people and wounding more than 30 in a shooting at the Fort Hood army post in 2009. 

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Texas
11:27 am
Tue July 9, 2013

Listen: The Day of the Fort Hood Shooting - And Years of Aftermath

Fort Hood soldiers stand at attention before a 2009 address from Pres. Obama, shortly after the fatal shooting there.
KUT News

It’s been more than three years since a gunman walked into a military processing center at Fort Hood – about an hour north of Austin – and began shooting people at point blank range. Thirteen people were killed and more than thirty were wounded. After years of delays, the trial of Army Maj. Nidal Hasan begins today with jury selection.

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Texas
7:11 pm
Mon July 8, 2013

Former Texas State President, LBJ Speechwriter Dead at 82

Speechwriter Robert Hardesty listens to President Johnson aboard Marine One in 1968
LBJ Library Photo by Yoichi Okamoto

A prolific and eloquent writer whom President Lyndon Johnson called "one of the best" has died at 82. Robert Hardesty was a speech writer for Johnson and served as president of what was then known as Southwest Texas State University, now Texas State. 

Hardesty in recent years called his time in the White House, "the most significant," and his time as President of Southwest Texas State University, "the most exciting," because he was able to make "such a difference."

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library and Museum in Austin has more about Hardesty's life.

Texas
10:40 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Will He Or Won't He? Gov. Perry Expected To Tell Texas Today

Shelley Kofler KERA News

Originally published on Mon July 8, 2013 7:36 am

Texas Republicans are holding their collective breath. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to announce whether or not he'll seek a fourth consecutive term at 1 p.m.

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Texas
6:06 am
Mon July 8, 2013

Texas National Guard Furloughs Go Into Effect Today

Texas Military Forces officials say furloughs could 'negatively affect essential capabilities that state officials and first responders rely on in disaster situations.'
flickr.com/texasmilitaryforces

Update: Furloughs start today for full-time employees of the Texas Army and Air National Guard.

The employees will have to take 11 non-consecutive unpaid days off between now and Sept. 30 as part of federal budget cuts known as sequestration.

The National Guard has announced that, along with the furloughs, most military commissaries will be closed on Mondays through the end of September.

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West Plant Explosion
9:22 am
Fri July 5, 2013

West ISD Demolishing Schools Damaged by Plant Explosion

West Middle School sustained the least damage to the ISD’s buildings following April’s fertilizer plant explosion. The school will house grades six through 12 when school begins this August.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

April’s fertilizer plant explosion left three of the four schools in the town of West, Texas destroyed or irreparably damaged, with the intermediate school completely flattened by the blast.

But, when school starts in August, the district says students won't have to be bused to other districts.

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Texas
3:41 pm
Thu July 4, 2013

Activists Against U.S. Surveillance Programs Rally at Texas Capitol

Bo Dresner from San Antonio, left, and Mona Medy from Austin were among the people at the Texas Capitol for a rally against U.S. surveillance programs on July 4, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia for KUT News

More than 100 people rallied today on the south steps of the Texas Capitol, demonstrating against recently-publicized U.S. intelligence gathering methods such as PRISM, the digital surveillance program of the National Security Agency.

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Texas
7:04 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Texas Highways Are Getting Better

Texas roads, bridges, and other paved byways scored well in a recent report.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/emdot/

While Texas lawmakers work on ways to set aside more money for transportation projects, the state has been moving up in the ranks of an annual report on highway conditions.

The report from the Reason Foundation rates Texas 11th in the nation over 11 indicators, including soundness of bridges, urban and rural pavement conditions, and total spending per mile of state roads.

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Texas
6:38 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Travis County Looks at Funding Options for Public Integrity Unit

After the governor's announcement to de-fund the Public Integrity Unit in Travis County — an investigative unit with cases across the state. County Commissioners discussed future funding options at their meeting today.
Image by Matt Largey for KUT News

The future of the Public Integrity Unit - an arm of the Travis County's District Attorney's Office with about 600 statewide fraud cases open that was recently defunded by Gov. Rick Perry - is anything but certain. 

Today, the Travis County Commissioners Court  looked at some alternatives to fund the office, which could shutter its doors on Sept. 30 and leave 31 employees jobless. 

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Texas
4:44 pm
Tue July 2, 2013

Hidden For Years, African-American Statues Find Home at Carver Center

The Carver Museum already has a set of statues. This piece is called "Go Forth".
Joy Diaz, KUT News

A scene of five statues, originally intended to go on the Texas Capitol grounds, have finally been dedicated.

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Texas
1:07 pm
Wed June 26, 2013

After 500th Execution, a Huntsville Death Row History

In 1923, the electric chair became the preferred method of execution in Texas.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Kimberley McCarthy was put to death via lethal injection Wednesday evening, becoming the 500th prisoner to be executed in Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982, following a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court. McCarthy was condemned for the murder of her neighbor, 71-year-old Dorothy Booth, during a robbery.

Earlier: Kimberly McCarthy is scheduled to die by lethal injection in Huntsville, Texas this evening. Her upcoming death has caught national and international attention because – if the execution is carried out – she will be the 500th person executed in Texas since the death penalty was reinstated and the fourth woman.

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Voting Rights Act
5:39 pm
Tue June 25, 2013

Voting Rights Act Partially Overturned; Texas Implements Voter ID Law

flickr.com/tabor-roeder

The Supreme Court has overturned a portion of the Voting Rights Act. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says this morning’s decision means a Texas voter ID law "will take effect immediately." Scroll down for updates. 

The high court struck down Section 4 of the act, which establishes a formula to identify portions of the county (primarily the South) where changes to elections must be approved by the Department of Justice. That was to ensure minority voting rights weren’t infringed upon.

From the court's opinion:

"Coverage today is based on decades-old data and eradicated practices. The formula captures States by reference to literacy tests and low voter registration and turnout in the 1960s and early 1970s. But such tests have been banned for over 40 years. And voter registration and turnout numbers in covered States have risen dramatically."

The court didn’t do away with Section 5 of the act – the portion that allows the Department of Justice to reject state laws it sees as discriminatory. Instead, the court says the new standards should be created, instead of the expanded coverage called for under Section 4.  

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