News

Molly Sarle
Amarachi Ngwakwe for KUTX

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.

Residents hold signs during an AISD school board meeting
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Juan and Rachael Torres bought their house two and a half years ago, they chose a specific neighborhood in Southwest Austin, Oak Parke, not just because of the quality of the schools, but because their three children would attend schools with the same kids until they graduated from high school. 

Republican U.S. Rep. Will Hurd of Helotes
Bob Daemmrich for The Texas Tribune

Retiring U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Helotes, is spearheading a new group to elect a more diverse slate of Republicans across the country, the latest sign that he plans to remain politically involved as he leaves office.

Julia Reihs/KUT

From Texas Standard:

As high school football season moves into playoffs, another kind of competition is taking place: the Texas University Scholastic League’s marching band contests. And though most people are familiar with what’s called “corps band” – those half-time shows with catchy pop tunes and elaborate props –  another marching tradition is part of the competition, too.

A diaper-changing station in a men's restroom.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council members are requiring any new restaurants, theaters, stores and similar establishments to ensure they provide enough diaper-changing stations.

The affidavit says the incident happened about two months before state Rep. Poncho Nevárez announced he was retiring from the Texas House.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Authorities on Thursday issued a warrant for the arrest of state Rep. Poncho Nevárez, an Eagle Pass Democrat, on felony drug possession charges. A state special investigator claims in the warrant, which was obtained by The Texas Tribune, that Nevárez was caught on surveillance footage in September dropping an envelope with cocaine as he was leaving the Austin airport.

torbakhopper/Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

Many Texas political watchers would agree that the 2019 legislative session was surprisingly tame. Legislation about divisive social issues – especially about bathroom access for transgender people, which dominated the session in 2017 – seemed to be a thing of the past. But recently, a custody case in Texas involving a 7-year-old child whose mother identifies the child as transgender has divided some along political lines.

A "vote here" sign
Eddie Gaspar / The Texas Tribune

A federal appeals court has overturned a previous ruling that could have opened the door to online voter registration in Texas.

A woman gets a flu shot
Mary Mathis / KUT

The Austin area has been seeing an increase in the number of flu cases in recent weeks.

"Between the first week of October and the first week of November, we've seen about a 500% increase in positive tests for flu," Dr. Mark Escott, medical director for Austin Public Health, said.

Alan Trammel

Mark Pickell, the artistic director of Capital T Theatre company, has long been a fan of Chicago-based playwright Mickle Maher, so he was eager to produce Maher’s new work here in Austin.

“He wrote this new one – it just premiered in Chicago this summer – and he sent it [to me], and it was brilliant,” Pickell says.

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Dr. Aldon D. Morris, the Leon Forrest professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Northwestern University, author of The Scholar Denied: W.E.B. Du Bois and the Birth of Modern Sociology and president-elect of the American Sociological Association.

Morris talks about the American Sociological Association, growing up in Chicago, race issues, social inequality and social movements.

A neighborhood in West Austin
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s new land use code, which determines what can be built in the city and where, is one step closer to being finalized – but first, one city body is asking that the plan encourage development farther west instead of in gentrifying areas.

Defense Distributed had been in a years-long legal battle in federal court in Austin over the legality of publishing the plans online.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A federal judge in Washington state is overturning a settlement between the federal government and Austin-based Defense Distributed that allowed the company to publish plans for 3D-printable guns online last year. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is no longer pursuing a 100-bed shelter in South Austin and could opt instead to provide housing in motels for homeless Austinites.

Is There A New Bock in Town? Shiner Says No.

Nov 12, 2019
Karen /Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The name Shiner is synonymous with the bock beer that's been brewed at the Spoetzl Brewery in the small Texas town of Shiner for more than 100 years.

But now, the name of another bock is appearing around town, plastered onto large billboards promoting Karbach, a beer produced in Houston. The Anheuser-Busch InBev conglomerate – also the parent company of Budweiser -- recently acquired Karbach, and that's not sitting well with some folks in Shiner.

Erin Douglas is a business reporter for the Houston Chronicle. She says the Spoetzl Brewery responded to the new billboards with an open letter to Karbach.

Austin City Council Member Delia Garza
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza announced Tuesday she will not seek reelection next fall, leaving the Southeast Austin seat open and setting the stage for a possible run for Travis County attorney.

A map with zoning information
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin has spent almost eight years and roughly $11 million rewriting its land use code; that’s the set of rules dictating what you can build in the city and where you can build it.

Jan Lance and Rene Lara walk down a street in Southeast Austin
Julia Reihs / KUT

A group of about 20 people gathered in Southeast Austin on a chilly Saturday morning to knock on doors in nearby neighborhoods. The #SickOfItTX event was one of seven across the state aimed at organizing Texans around the state's uninsured rate, which is the highest in the country.  

The new play AFTERSHOCK/La Réplica aims to give a voice to military veterans and their family members. That’s a natural choice of subject matter for Johnny Meyer and Karen Alvarado, the married co-creators of the piece – he’s a military veteran and she’s the wife of a veteran. AFTERSHOCK/La Réplica draws from their own experiences to an extent, but is largely based on the writings of other U.S. veterans. 

A rally at the governor's mansion in support of Rodney Reed
Julia Reihs / KUT

In his five years as Texas' governor, Republican Greg Abbott has overseen the execution of nearly 50 prisoners while only once sparing a condemned man's life.

Most of us have the best of intentions when we graduate from high school or college to make our way in the world and lead meaningful and productive lives. But the minutiae of everyday life can eat into our plans to exist outside our comfort zone. In this episode of KUT's podcast "Higher Ed," Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger and KUT's Jennifer Stayton explore one way to keep those dreams alive.

With 'Mucho Mucho Amor,' Astrologer Walter Mercado Is Laid To Rest At 87

Nov 8, 2019
Courtesy, Walter Mercado Documentary

From Texas Standard:

To close every show, astrologist and TV personality Walter Mercado used a special and genuine catch phrase: “Bendiciones para todos y que Dios me los bendiga a todos y que reciban de mi paz, mucha paz - pero sobre todo - mucho, mucho amor!” 

He wished his audience peace and lots and lots of love. 

Eddie Gaspar for KUT

At 1 a.m. Oct. 11, 52-year-old Sylvia Figeroa lost control of her sedan in Lubbock. At 8 a.m. in Midland County, 44-year-old Gerardo Pérez couldn’t stop in time and collided with a semi towing a tractor. Later, at 11:20 a.m., Nedward Davidson, 62, crashed against a Freightliner truck southeast of Valley Mills. And at 2 p.m., Deputy Matt Jones of the Falls County Sheriff’s Office was struck by a car while helping another vehicle that had slid off the highway.

Martin do Nascimento for KUT

The City of Austin hired a third-party investigator to look into allegations of racism against former Austin Police Assistant Chief Justin Newsom, who abruptly retired from the department last week after 23 years with APD.

Georgetown resident Kalena Powell has our final Library Love Story.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Libraries can be many things. A place of learning. Of relaxation. Of belonging.

We teamed up with Austin's Library Foundation to collect people's stories about what libraries mean to them for a series called Library Love Stories.

In our last story, Kalena Powell tells the story of finding support throughout her life at her local library.

The intersection of 12th and Chicon streets.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Families affected by gentrification in certain Austin neighborhoods can now get a point in their favor when applying for low-income housing through a new city program.

El edificio nuevo de la escuela primaria T.A. Brown, una escuela consolidada y "modernizada," esta en construcción en el norte de Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The school day is over, and a group of teachers from T.A. Brown Elementary and Webb Primary are standing outside a construction trailer, wearing safety vests, hard hats and protective glasses. They are about to get a tour of their new school. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Para leer una versión de este artículo en Español haga click aqui.

The Austin Independent School District announced in September a plan to close and consolidate schools. I spent almost every day after that announcement talking with parents, teachers, community members and students about these possible changes.

Of the 12 schools on the initial list for closure, a good portion have a community of parents who speak only Spanish.

A house is flooded in Houston after Hurricane Harvey.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

About 2% of U.S. homes are at risk of being flooded by the end of the century, thanks to rising sea levels. And the reason for rising sea levels, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is climate change. But flood risk is not translating into lower property values in some areas along the coast.

Caroline Covington/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

Did you know that the monarch butterfly is the Texas state insect? They flutter through the state this time of year when they migrate from Canada to Mexico. But their populations are dwindling. What's more, entomologists are finding masses of dead monarchs, with their unmistakable black and orange wings, on the side of Texas highways.

Texas A&M University professor Robert Coulson led a study about monarch roadkill deaths, and says cars are just one more threat to the insect, in addition to changes in weather, pesticides and more. His team is tracking the number of dead monarchs in order to try to find ways to protect them in the future.

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