University of Texas at Austin

KUT News

Save Our Springs Ordinance Celebrates Twenty Years

20 years ago today, Austin voters approved a historic ordinance that changed the way the city handles growth.  The Save Our Springs water quality ordinance marked the first in a series of battles between environmentalists and developers.

A proposed development project by the international mining company Freeport McMoRan catalyzed a grassroots movement to protect the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs.

The Save Our Springs group gathered signatures and drafted an ordinance that limited construction along the Edwards Aquifer such that only 15 percent or less of the land could be paved.  The ordinance was put on the ballot and voters passed it.

KUT News

Business Can Sue New Braunfels Over Can Ban

The Associated Press reports that a judge has ruled that tourism businesses and others can sue New Braunfels over the city's so-called "can ban." The city says it will appeal the decision and that the ban remains in effect.

Floating on area rivers is a longstanding tradition during hot Texas summers – one often enjoyed with a few adult beverages in tow. But turnout on local rivers has been down over the last several years, attributable to flooding, drought and, according to ban opponents, a recent prohibition on disposable containers.

The ban was approved last summer by the New Braunfels City Council over concerns about the cost of cleaning up after visitors. Voters affirmed the ban last November when it was brought to a ballot referendum by opponents.  The ban went into effect this summer.

Liang Shi for KUT News

The University of Texas at Austin filed a brief Monday with the U.S. Supreme Court defending its use of race as a factor in admissions.

An applicant to UT filed the suit because she says she was denied admission in 2008 because she’s white.

The university says race is just one of many factors considered in admissions and that its use is necessary and constitutional.

UT-Austin President Bill Powers released a short video discussing the case. In it, he says officials are “confident the university will prevail.”

twitter.com/SanyaRichiRoss

Watch What You Eat

A Minnesota company is recalling more than 15,000 pounds of ready-to-eat meat and poultry products – some of which was sent to a distribution center in Texas.

The meat products may be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

The recall affects:

  • 5.6 oz. packages of "Armour Active Packs Turkey & Cheese Wrap" Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17994
  • 5.6 oz. packages of "Armour Active Packs Ham & Cheese Wrap" Package Code 1026090112 or Case Code 27815-17995

flickr.com/countylemonade

Speed Limit Increase on 183A Toll Road

You’ll soon be able to drive faster on the 183A toll road.

The speed limit is going up from 70 to 75 miles per hour this morning. The new speed limit goes into effect as soon as the new signs are installed.

The speed limit increase affects more than 11 miles of highway stretching from RM 620 in Northwest Austin through Cedar Park and Leander.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

New Record Set for July Power Usage

Keeping the A.C. on all day may be a good way to stay cool, but not to help Texas' electric grid.

A new July record was set yesterday when the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) reported that demand on their electric grid peaked at 65,790 megawatts (MW). The previous record was set last July, during one of the hottest summers on record, at 65,432 MW.

Rune Mathisen/Texas Tribune

A UT professor has released research that could be a big problem for state testing.

Walter Stroup is a UT professor in charge of a pilot math program for middle school students in Dallas. The Texas Tribune writes that Stroup and two other researchers have compiled studies on the TAKS standardized test, which they say demonstrates an error related to the statistical method used to assemble the tests – suggesting that the tests are essentially useless at measuring effective classroom instruction.

Education company Pearson has a $468 million contract to write the state’s standardized tests through 2015. It is also responsible for the controversial STAAR test.

Laura Rice, KUT News

KUT Has Officially Moved

After more than three decades, KUT has emerged from Communications Building B on the University of Texas-Austin campus – to a brand new building right across the street.

The new KUT Public Media Studios is on the corner of Guadalupe and Dean Keeton. Finally visible, with windows and with an environmentally responsible building, the new location is home to a 72-seat performance studio, outdoor stage, and production studios.

We’re happy to finally have a space to match what we strive for in innovation, responsibility, and interaction – and to be able to see outside!

flickr.com/kcivey

Last Day to Vote Early

Today is the last day to cast your ballot early in the primary runoff election.

You can click here to find a list of early voting locations in Travis County. Most locations close at 6 p.m. The polling place at the Travis County Offices on Airport Boulevard is open until 7 p.m.

Less than three percent of registered Travis County voters have cast a ballot so far.

Election Day for the primary runoff is Tuesday. On Election Day you’ll only be allowed to vote at your precinct.

Colorado Shooting Victim Remembered in Austin

A funeral for the former Austinite killed in the Aurora movie theater massacre will take place in Austin today.

KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in October in a case challenging the use of affirmative action at the University of Texas at Austin.

Abigail Fisher filed a lawsuit against UT-Austin in 2008. She says she wasn’t admitted to the university because she’s white.

The Supreme Court will hear the case October 10.

Officer William Pieper courtesy of UTPD Facebook page

UT Students and Families Victims of Scam

The University of Texas at Austin is warning students and their families about a kidnapping scam.

Relatives of at least four students have received phone calls in the past six weeks claiming their child or grandchild had been kidnapped or is in need of medical care. The caller then asks for money.

UT Police say the perpetrator has an accent and demands that funds be placed into a foreign bank account.  

UT police is investigating the scam along with the FBI and the Joint Terrorism Task Force.

flickr.com/atmtx

Update (6/12): The helicopter filming has been rescheduled for Saturday from 5:30-8:30 a.m. and 6-9 p.m.  UT communications now says the illuminated "1" is to celebrate the Longhorn Men's Golf Team winning the NCAA Championship.

The UT Tower will be lit up orange tonight and tomorrow not to celebrate a sports win or major academic achievement – but to get its picture taken.

UT-Austin's marketing branch contracted with a company that plans to fly around the tower in a helicopter to shoot what is likely to become promotional video.

UT Tower photo courtesy University of Texas at Austin; all other photos by KUT News.

Attracting Great Educators to Texas

The Texas Senate Committee on Education is holding a public hearing this morning to find out how the state can improve preparation programs for teachers and principals.

The committee plans to look at and make recommendations for programs at traditional colleges of education and alternative certification programs.

They also want to find out what the state can do to improve the recruitment of high-quality educators and how to keep them in Texas schools.

Photos courtesy University of Texas at Austin

Glenn Chandler, the director of the burgeoning University of Texas Butler School of Music, has stepped down. The resignation comes at the encouragement of Douglas Dempster, dean of the College of Fine Arts

Chandler had served as the Butler School’s director since 2001.

Dempster says he and Chandler had different visions of the role and the future of the school of music. The core issue was that Chandler wanted the school to become its own entity separate of the College of Fine Arts. Instead, Dempster wants the school to become more integrated into the College of Fine Arts.

Protesters were arrested for occupying UT President Bill Powers' office yesterday.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

UT Students Protest for Workers Rights

The Daily Texan reports a total of 19 protesters, not all of them students, were arrested yesterday for occupying UT President Bill Powers’ office. They were there in protest against alleged sweatshop-like conditions where UT apparel is produced.

The protesters are members of the Make UT Sweatshop-Free Coalition and included 17 students and two members who are not students.

According to the Texan, the demands of the protestors was a request for the University to switch to the Workers Rights Consortium, an independent monitoring organization that conducts investigations of working conditions in factories. A statement on the WRC homepage specifically mentions their goal to protect the rights of workers who make clothes.

Photo by breahn http://www.flickr.com/photos/rueful/

Services for sexual assault victims are significantly lacking in Texas, according to a new survey out of the UT-Austin. 

The study said, for example, that emergency room wait times for sex assault victims are so long that they often leave before receiving treatment and reporting the assault.

"Sexual assault crimes persist as a social problem in Texas and the need to propel this issue to the public's attention is pressing," the study's lead investigator, Dr. Noël Busch-Armendariz said in a press release.

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