Texas

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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Texas
10:07 am
Tue November 26, 2013

Refusal To Pay Claims Casts Doubt On Texas Windstorm Insurer

Galveston Island in 2008 after Hurricane Ike. Lawsuits over damages are the latest challenge for the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association.
Staff Sgt. James L. Harper Jr., U.S. Air Force via flickr.com/chucksimmins

A refusal to pay losses caused by Hurricane Ike has again thrust the bedraggled Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) into the courthouse, while raising doubts over the agency’s process for resolving claims.

The city of Galveston sued TWIA Friday. It claims the agency is refusing to pay almost $14 million for damage caused by the storm, even after agency and city appraisers agreed on the cost.

League City is also suing TWIA over $3.4 million in unpaid damages it says the agency agreed it would pay.

TWIA declined to comment on the lawsuits. State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, is representing the city of Galveston. Houston trial lawyer Steve Mostyn, who has secured millions for TWIA policyholders, is representing League City.

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Texas
11:20 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Central Texas Remembers Staff Sergeant Richard Vazquez

Staff Sergeant Richard Vazquez.
Courtesy of the U.S. Army Special Forces.

The Seguin community is honoring a fallen soldier.

Staff Sergeant Richard Vazquez died Nov. 13 after he was wounded in Afghanistan. As a child, his family moved a lot, but his high school years in Seguin gave definition to his early life. That’s why, after each of his multiple tours of duty, he always came back to Central Texas to spend time with the people he loved.

Staff Sgt. Richard Vazquez and his older brother Romario were inseparable as children - in part because they were only 11-months apart.

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One Day in Dallas
6:00 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Inside Parkland Hospital & Aboard Air Force One the Day JFK Was Killed

The front page of The Dallas Times Herald after President Kennedy's assassination, on display by the Texas State Archives and Library Commission.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Before that afternoon fifty years ago, neither Sid Davis nor Julian Read could have expected what they’d be called upon to do – much less that they’d both be eyewitnesses to history. 

Davis was a young radio reporter based in Washington D.C.

Read was on the other side of the journalistic fence, serving as press aide for Texas Gov. John Connally.

But they were both on a press bus in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 – the day President John F. Kennedy was shot.

After 50 years of virtual silence, Austinite Julian Read recently opened up to KUT about his experience that day. 

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Weather
6:15 am
Fri November 22, 2013

Cold, Wet Weather in the Forecast

A winter weather advisory is in effect from noon Friday until noon Saturday for parts of the Hill Country.
National Weather Service

Parts of the Northern and Western Hill Country are under a winter weather advisory beginning at noon today. This includes the cities of Kerrville and Fredericksburg.

The National Weather Service says an Arctic blast of cold air is bringing near-freezing temperatures and light rain to the area. That could turn into light freezing rain tonight and into tomorrow morning. The weather service doesn’t expect the ice to accumulate – but still warns roads could be slick – especially bridges and overpasses.

The winter weather advisory is in effect for parts of the Hill Country through noon on Saturday.

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Abortion
5:12 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

SCOTUS Won't Intervene in Texas Abortion Case

Todd Wiseman / Kjetil Ree for Texas Tribune

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday rejected a request by abortion providers to intervene in their lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of new abortion regulations in Texas that took effect in November.

"Reasonable minds can perhaps disagree about whether the [U.S. 5th Circuit] Court of Appeals should have granted a stay in this case," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the 5-4 opinion. "There is no doubt that the applicants have not carried their heavy burden of showing that doing so was a clear violation of accepted legal standards — which do not include a special 'status quo' standard for laws affecting abortion."

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