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KUT News Roundup: Austin Energy Rates, Weekend Rail Service, Fact Checking Lamar Smith

Public health, online piracy and the Texas primaries: KUT's broadcast stories on these topics and more are available online.
Photo by KUT News
Public health, online piracy and the Texas primaries: KUT's broadcast stories on these topics and more are available online.

KUT Radio’s broadcast news reporting is also available online. Here’s a mid-week look at what we’ve been following.

Austin Energy Rates Get Another Hearing This Week:

“The rate increase would be cut into two phases — most of the increase starting this year, the rest in 2014; $105 million would be transferred from Austin Energy’s budget to the city’s general fund;  and churches and small businesses would get a discount. So would customers outside the city limits. People using 200 kilowatt-hours of energy or less each month would get the smallest bill. The changes were meant to address some criticism of the utility’s first proposal. But some critics say the changes don’t go far enough.”

City to Vote Soon on Weekend Night Rail:

“The City of Austin and Capital Metro are getting closer to hammering out a deal on weekend Red Line rail service. The Red Line commuter rail service that connects downtown Austin with the city’s northern suburbs runs weekdays from about 6 in the morning to about 6:30 at night. A new proposal would have it run in the evening on Fridays and Saturdays.”

City Wants Input on Public Health Goals:

“The city of Austin wants your input on a plan to improve the overall health of the community. Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services is holding a series of forums to develop goals for improving public health. The first one is on February 23rd. In this week’s Changing Austin, Filip Gecic with the city of Austin talks with KUT’s Matt Largey about the process of creating the comprehensive health plan that will set goals for HHSD for giving specific targeted health services to the community.”

Checking Rep. Smith’s Numbers on Online Piracy:

“KUT’s Nathan Bernier spoke with Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texasabout U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith’s claim that online piracy costs the U.S. economy $100 billion a year that would otherwise be spent on software and entertainment. Smith, R-San Antonio, was a chief author of the Stop Online Piracy Act that provoked widespread online protests last month.”

Gingrich Setting Sights on Texas Primary:

“Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is trying to push Texas back into the spotlight of the GOP primary contest. Texas is a winner-take-all state, and it has 155 delegates up for grabs. Only California has more. In an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday, Gingrich said his path to victory leads straight through the Lone Star State. “We want to get to Georgia, to Alabama, to Tennessee. We want to get to states, Texas,” Gingrich said. “We believe that when Texas is over, we’ll be very, very competitive in delegate count.”

A compilation of some of these stories can be downloaded as the KUT Morning Newspod for February 8, 2012.

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.