Kelley Shannon

Freelance Reporter

Veteran Texas journalist Kelley Shannon is the founder and owner of Shannon has worked for multiple news organizations and spent 22 years with the Associated Press based in Austin, San Antonio and Dallas. Among the major news stories she covered for the AP were the Branch Davidian standoff in Waco and the ensuing federal trial of surviving sect members; the massacre at a Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen; the Democratic boycott over congressional redistricting in the 2003 Texas Legislature; and the presidential election of then-Gov. George W. Bush.

Named an AP sportswriter, she covered the San Antonio Spurs NBA team during the David Robinson and Tim Duncan era. Shannon also reported on Houston Oilers training camps and the annual Alamo Bowl football game.

Her San Antonio assignments frequently involved coverage of the Texas-Mexico border and the free trade agreement known as NAFTA. She served as one of the news agency’s go-to reporters in Texas for spot news ranging from oil spills to prison riots to hurricanes.

In Austin she managed the news agency’s capital bureau for a decade and served as lead political reporter, covering the 2000 presidential race by George W. Bush and the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Texas governor’s races won by Republican Rick Perry. Amid the rise of the tea party movement in early 2009, Shannon was the reporter who asked Perry his views on secession, generating comments from the governor that swept national news reports and talk shows and that continue to be referenced in coverage of Perry as a potential national candidate.

Shannon is devoted to telling the unique stories of Texas – its politics, its land and its people.

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Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A state committee on Alzheimer’s disease that heard from former Texas football coach Darrell Royal and his wife has recommended the Legislature increase Alzheimer’s research funding, if possible.

It stressed that consistent funding can help make inroads in combating the disease and suggested tapping outside money to supplement what state government provides.

“There are significant opportunities for external funding sources,” concluded a report of the Joint Interim Committee to Study Alzheimer’s Disease. “These opportunities should be fully explored.”

KUT News

Local farm and food enthusiasts already have sown some seeds at the Texas Capitol, and they’re pressing for more legislation in 2013 that could help their industries grow.

Proposals likely to come before lawmakers once they convene in January will address food sampling at farmers’ markets, expanding last session’s “cottage foods” law and reducing barriers for small farms seeking the agricultural property tax exemption.

As bill filing began Nov. 12 for the upcoming session, Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, proposed legislation easing restrictions on the sale of raw milk, a measure some small farmers backed unsuccessfully in 2011.

Photo by KUT News

Facing a severe drought and dwindling water sources, Texas is moving toward adopting its next five-year state water plan.

Drafting the plan is never easy, and this time it grew difficult because of a reservoir dispute in northeast Texas; questions about climate change science; and the sheer population growth of the state.

Amid that scenario, the Texas Water Development Board is expected to consider approving the water plan Dec. 15 after postponing a decision at its last meeting, agency officials said.  

Photo by KUT News.

Texas longhorn cattle descended from cattle brought in by Spanish explorers. Today some make their home at state parks and historic sites. But budget cuts and the drought could send state-owned longhorns off to market.

Talks are under way on the fate of nearly 400 longhorns living on state lands, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials say. The herds may be removed or reduced this fall, a prospect that upsets longhorn enthusiasts.

Photo by Kelley Shannon for KUT News

Texas restaurants are slowly recovering from the recession, but difficult conditions remain because of rising food and utility prices and consumer spending caution, industry officials say.

“It’s still really tough out there,” said Wendy Saari, vice president for marketing with the Texas Restaurant Association.

However, Texas is doing better than some states, with sales projected to grow this year.