News

This weekend marks Austin’s first People of Color Comedy Festival. But while the fest is brand new, it’s been a dream for founder Leng Wong for several years.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, May 24, 2019

1 hour ago

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Most Fridays, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition.

the moon
Christopher Dart/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The first lunar landing was almost 50 years ago, and NASA is making plans to return to the moon. This time around, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine says, the agency plans to stay there.

The space agency is planning to build a “lunar gateway,” or a space station, that will orbit the moon and make it easier for astronauts to come and go. It’s part of its long-term plan to develop a lunar outpost.

Medication bottles
Alan Levine/Flickr (CC0 1.0)

From Texas Standard:

Americans pay some of the highest prices in the developed world for prescription medication: On average, each individual spends $1,200 per year. But now, some states are trying to change that. On Wednesday, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis signed into law a bill that would implement a price cap on insulin, the first law of its kind in the nation.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

Plenty of data show that the population of older Texans - and specifically, older Central Texans - is growing.  The numbers certainly tell one story about seniors. But it does not show how our society regards and treats them. Older Americans Month is a time to take a closer look at stereotypes, misconceptions and even jokes commonly aimed at seniors.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin has firmed up rules of the road for people riding rentable, dockless e-scooters. The city council unanimously approved the rules Thursday.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Susan Morrison was two years old when her dad left.

Her mother, Eleanor, was left to care for Susan and her two siblings. The experience led Susan on a journey to change the Texas Constitution to make sure other kids didn't have the same experience she did growing up.

State Rep. Jonathan Stickland, R-Bedford, has tried to kill several bills this session.
Juan Figueroa / The Texas Tribune

A major mental health bill prioritized by the state's top leaders as a way to help prevent school shootings was partially revived late Tuesday night hours after it appeared to have been abruptly killed on a technicality during a dramatic night in the Texas House. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

Texas has the highest percentage of uninsured women between the ages of 18 to 44, according to a new study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.

Eric Culver, one of the co-founders of the online marketplace ArtStartArt, got a degree in art and later went to business school, so starting a business that helps art students sell their works online was a natural use for all of his schooling. “Yes, it’s certainly kind of the culmination of all my both education and professional experiences,” Culver says. “This definitely makes sense, at least on paper.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

A surprise medical bill may be a thing of the past for many Texans. In a unanimous vote, the Texas House approved a Senate bill banning health care providers from sending steep medical bills to insured Texans in emergencies.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

More than 100 Austin ISD teachers and staff rallied before Monday’s school board meeting, demanding a 10 percent raise as the board prepares to pass its budget next month.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From Texas Standard:

Momentum for one of Gov. Greg Abbott's priority issues this legislative session appears to have dwindled. Ordinances passed in Dallas, Austin and other Texas cities, which require private employers to offer paid sick leave to employees, will remain on the books now that an attempt to prohibit them failed to pass in the legislature.

Gabriel C. Pérez

The Austin School Board approved its guidelines for closing and consolidating schools last night, but much of the discussion ahead of the vote just before midnight centered on increasing equity in Austin public schools.

Miguel Gutierrez / Texas Tribune

Over the tearful opposition of the Legislature’s first-ever LGBTQ Caucus and several failed attempts at a procedural block, the Texas House passed a religious liberty bill Monday that LGBTQ advocates fear would license discrimination against their communities.

“I had done some productions for KLRN prior to [Carrascolendas]… without budgets, you know,” says Aida Barrera. “But then I decided that maybe the time had come to go out and look for some funding and do a series that would have a different kind of goal. That turned out to be Carrascolendas.”

Photo courtesy of Denson Carman Fontenot

From Texas Standard:

On Valentine’s Day this year, Denson Carman Fontenot walked into All Faiths Funeral & Cremation Services in Austin to make arrangements for his daughter Courtney Meeks. Meeks was a mother of two girls. She was 32, and she struggled with her mental health, addiction and homelessness.

a Whataburger restaurant
Carlo Nasisse /KUT

From Texas Standard:

Whataburger ranks No. 7 among the country's Top 10 burger chains. But here in Texas, few brands, burger or otherwise, inspire as much loyalty. News that the company has hired investment bank Morgan Stanley to "explore our options," which it said in a statement to the San Antonio Business Journal, has many fans worried about its future. Whataburger's motivation isn't clear, but expansion could be on the menu.

YouTube

Robert F. Smith’s speech at Sunday’s Morehouse College graduation ceremony started like most. The billionaire entrepreneur and Austin resident extolled the virtues of hard work and the benefits of a college education, then the speech took a turn. 

“This is my class, 2019,” Smith said. "And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Immigration is likely to be a key issue in the 2020 presidential election, but so far Democratic candidates have largely shied away from the issue in their campaigns.

Julián Castro hasn't.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants you to know something.

A "Higher Ed" listener who teaches English in Osaka, Japan wrote in requesting a discussion of what the listener characterizes as "the tension between servicing the local community near an institution and appealing to international elements (students, partnerships, etc.)." In this episode of the KUT podcast "Higher Ed," KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss how campuses view their role in the local community and how that is balanced with farther flung connections.

KUT Weekend brings you some of our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Come Monday, the Austin Independent School District will be one step closer to closing or consolidating schools. Facing declining enrollment, a budget shortfall and aging schools, the district says the move will help it avoid bankruptcy and better utilize its property.

Still, it's a move that will require some tough decisions. So, Monday night, the school board will approve its rubric to decide which schools will stay open. So how did the district get to this point?

We might think the idea of happiness and joy are interchangeable, but as Dr. Art Markman and Dr. Bob Duke discuss on this episode Two Guys on Your Head they are very different.

Joaquin Castro On Insulin Prices And The President's New Immigration Plan

May 17, 2019
Photo courtesy of RAICES

From Texas Standard:

U.S. Congressman Joaquin Castro is focused on two very different issues right now: convincing drug companies to drop the price of insulin, and speaking out against President Donald Trump's new immigration plan.

Austin Price for KUT

Do you love your local library? Well, the Austin Library Foundation and KUT are looking for personal stories of how local libraries impact Austinites and their families – and we'd like to hear your story.

The Best Songs Ever ... This Week, May 17, 2019

May 17, 2019
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The staff at our sister station KUTX scour the earth to bring listeners the best music. Most Fridays, they share three of their favorite songs on Morning Edition.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is refusing to cooperate with two separate congressional investigations, arguing Congress lacks the authority to investigate the state. It’s a move that constitutional law experts say is both unprecedented and is likely inspired by President Trump’s recent refusals to comply with congressional investigations.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

STAAR testing is just about over for this school year. The State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness have been part of Texas students' lives since 2012, but questions raised this year about the reading test have brought renewed attention to the efficacy of the test – and standardized testing in general.

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