Mose Buchele | KUT

Senior Reporter, Energy & Environment

Mose is KUT's energy and environment reporter, previously under the StateImpact Texas project. He has been on staff at KUT since 2009, covering local and state issues.  He's has also worked as a blogger on politics and an education reporter at his hometown paper in Western Massachusetts. He holds masters degrees in Latin American Studies and Journalism from UT Austin.

Ways to Connect

Photo by Jeff Garvin.

He's too young for a driver's license, but old enough to dominate in NASCAR, at least on the local and regional level

Austin Wayne Self became the first 15-year-old to win two premier division NASCAR races in the same night in Kyle on Saturday.  The Austin native first took the checkered flag in the Pro Modified division race, a division with specific rules about car components and modifications.

But the real excitement came in the Late Model race.  After a high-speed accident on the track, Self came back to win in dramatic fashion according to a press release:

Research by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity suggests that Texas could make college tuition more affordable by increasing faculty emphasis on teaching. 

The report is sure to provide ammunition to some lawmakers and policy experts, who want professors to teach more and cut down on research.  It has already come under fire from UT faculty representatives who say it does not provide an accurate picture of academic duties.

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The City of Austin interviewed about 2,300 applicants earlier this year for jobs as Austin firefighters. Now, they’re going to have to conduct those interviews all over again. That’s after allegations that some applicants were secretly given the interview questions in advance.

Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr says she received an anonymous letter on Tuesday claiming that the quesitons and the scoring grid for AFD’s “structured oral interview” had been given in advance to certain applicants.

Kerr says she’s not sure that the allegations are true, but the letter did contain copies of the questions and the scoring grid. That raises enough concern that the City will have to retest all of the applicants.

Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News.

The $528,400 price tag for a City of Austin runoff election is money worth spending, City Council Member Randi Shade argued in a press conference today.

Shade came in second to challenger Kathie Tovo in Austin's May 14th elections. She got 33 percent of the vote to Tovo's 47 percent.  Because no candidate won a simple majority, the race will go to a runoff unless one candidate bows out. 

In an interview with KUT News, Shade re-affirmed that she had no intention of conceding defeat.  Some political observers say they can't see a way for Shade to overcome her deficit at the polls.

Screen shot of the Austin's New Bike Map.

The City of Austin creates about 20 miles of new bike lanes a year, and that all goes towards the goal of 750 miles of bike lanes outlined in the City's Bicycle Plan

It's been a few years since Austin updated its bike lane map, so this week it unveiled a new one. Annick Beaudet with Austin's Public Works Department said the new lanes were just one reason to pick up the map.

Image courtesy of Michael Coté http://www.flickr.com/photos/cote/4592105938/

Happy Mother's Day! It was in 1908 that the first Mother's Day was celebrated in Grafton, West Virginia by Anna Jarvis.

Image courtesy City of Austin

One thing about Austin City Council votes on Water Treatment Plant Four, they are always tight.  So what would happen if that balance shifted after the May 14th City Council elections?

Maybe nothing.

In an interview with KUT, Council Member Laura Morrison, who consistently votes against the project, said continuing that opposition would be "a situation that [she] will have to look at" if more Council Members opposed the to the project are elected.

The announcement that the Texas Comptroller's Office accidentally made public the personal information of about 3.5 million people online got us wondering in the KUT newsroom. How is online security different in the US from in other countries? 

Paolo Cunha Martins was happy to show us. 

Screen shot by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Visitors to the City of Austin's website were surprised to be re-directed this afternoon to a page saying the "US Locality domain you are searching for has been given back to Neustar Registry to manage." The City's Public Information Office quickly followed up on a phone call to their office with this Tweet:

If you're experiencing difficulties viewing our website, try www.austintx.gov Thank you for your patience as we work on this!

Photo by KUT News.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport was ranked the third-best airport in North America by the Airport Service Quality Awards.  According to a press release from ABIA, this is the fifth consecutive year that the airport has been recognized.

Photo by Don Hankins http://www.flickr.com/photos/23905174@N00/1594411528/

Today, the Texas State Comptroller's Office starts mailing out letters to everyone affected by the security breach that left 3.5 million personal information files publicly accessible online. 

The breach means everyone who is a member of the Teachers Retirement System of Texas, the Public Employees Retirement System of Texas,  or the Texas Workforce Commission likely had their information made public,  Comptroller of Public Account's spokesperson Allen Spelce confirmed in an interview with KUT.

To find out if your information was compromised call 1-855-474-2065.

Mose Buchele for KUT News.

It's that time of year again. 

April 1 to October 31 is ozone season in Central Texas.  These are the months when we expect the highest amounts of ground level ozone in the air. Last year, the Austin area came dangerously close to falling out of attainment of the federal clean air standard of 74 parts of ozone per-billion.  With the Environmental Protection Agency set to announce even stricter standards, it could be even harder for the region to stay in attainment this year.

Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Earlier this month KUT News blogged about an ethics complaint filed by the Taxi Driver Association of Austin. The association alleged that city council members violated the city charter by accepting donations from owners and managers of Austin Yellow Cab, which hold franchises for taxi operations in the city.

Image Courtesy of Texas A&M University and Michael R. Waters

It's a find that gives new meaning to the expression, "I'm not from Texas, but I got here as fast as I could."

Researchers have discovered artifacts that could push back the arrival of man in the Lone Star State by over 2,000 years.  The arrowheads, from the Buttermilk Creek excavation site 40 miles north of Austin, are different from the type associated with the Clovis people, once thought to be Texas' earliest human inhabitants.

Photo by Nathan Bernier

The epic ten-day party that crashed down on Austin last week has grown to the point where it needs to be scaled back, according to City of Austin Music Programs Manager, Don Pitts.  "We need to curtail it, and I think dial it back some," Pitts said in a phone interview with KUT News.

"Some tougher standards should take place, and a lot of the events that we saw, the promoters or event producers were pretty inexperienced in handling those sizes of crowds," Pitts told KUT News.

Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Capital Metro's Red Line train service turns one year old this Tuesday. Officials are pointing to higher rider numbers in recent months as proof that the commuter rail is catching on.

"Most of last year our average daily boarding were in the 800 to 900 range. In January that bumped up to about 1000, February to 1,200, and in March with some of the special service and huge crowds for South By Southwest we've seen much higher numbers just looking at the daily estimates so far," said Adam Shaivitz a spokesperson for the Transit Agency.

Mose Buchele for KUT News.

The Taxi Drivers Association of Austin [TDAA] has filed a complaint against Mayor Lee Leffingwell and "several council members" for accepting campaign contributions from owners and managers of the Yellow Cab Company, according to a TDAA press statement released today.

The Drivers Association claims that, by accepting the contributions, council members have violated a provision of the Austin City Charter that prohibits office holders from accepting "any wage, commission, fee, gift, favor or payment" from any person "holding or seeking to hold" a City of Austin franchise.

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

You may have wondered why you didn't hear our talented John Aielli on the radio asking you to support KUT for a brief part of this morning. That's because he was outside of the KUT studios along with a large crowd of people that were evacuated from our cozy home in Communications Building B on the UT-Austin campus.

A fire alarm went off before 10:00 a.m., less than an hour after Aielli took the airwaves. So he improvised.

Image by KUT News/Mose Buchele

It was a packed house at Austin City Hall this morning, as Mayor Lee Leffingwell gave his state of the city address.  KUT’s Mose Buchele reports a lot of what the mayor talked about could be labeled, "Coming Attractions."

Image courtesy cliff1066 at flickr.com

Fifteen previously unknown short stories by Dashiell Hammett have been found in the archives of UT's Harry Ransom Center.  Hammett, who penned such classics as "The Maltese Falcon" and "The Thin Man" is considered by many to be the father of the American "hard boiled" detective fiction.  The discovery of the new stories by Andrew F.

Image from Austin Energy. Map enhanced by Torrie Hardcastle for KUT News

Not all parts of Austin are created equal when it comes to rolling blackouts. 

As you may have heard, the power outages that hit the city on February 2nd left some parts of town in the dark for hours, while other areas were spared completely. 

Then try a City Council Work Session!

In what may become a regular feature of Austin city business, the City Council meets today for a pre-council meeting "work session." The sessions, which may precede every Thursday council meeting, allow members to discuss council business in a public forum.

Matt Largey for KUT News

With Austin in the midst of an uncommon cold spell, and rolling blackouts striking parts of Central Texas, Meals on Wheels and More is calling clients to ensure that they won't be trapped in the cold.

"We'll just call [clients] and ask them how they're doing, how their homes are being affect by the temperatures, if they're feeling OK, if they need anything," Sarah Andrews with Meals on Wheels and More told KUT.

Andrews said that a lot of people receiving food are "elderly" or have "critical health needs."

Erik Reyna

Before organizers can take a census of Austin's homeless community, they count volunteers.

This year they're coming up short.

One-hundred more people are needed Sunday from 1 pm to 7 pm to gather demographic information on who is homeless in Austin and Travis County.  Homeless advocates say the annual count is essential to show the city, county and nonprofit groups where to allocate their resources to best serve the area's most vulnerable community.  The numbers are also used to calculate the amount of federal funding Austin receives for certain aid programs.

Armadillo
Sue Clark www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/

Austinites have until the 24th to check out the City's annual holiday market. It's happening this year at the Palmer Events Center, but it wasn't  always so.

Check out a history of the Armadillo Bazaar here.

Crushed Cans
Thomas Hawk www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/

Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously endorsed the so-called  "Texas Bottle Bill" today, a statewide proposal that would introduce redeemable deposits on bottles and cans in Texas.  

The proposal evoked fond memories of childhood among Commissioners. 

"As a kid, it dawned on me that if I would go out and collect empty bottles, and just take them home and collect the deposit, that would be a little business!" mused County judge Sam Biscoe.

"We all did that!" interjected Commissioner Ron Davis, as other commissioners present murmured in agreement.

gavel
Image courtesy Keith Burtis http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithburtis/

The two men charged in a string of church fires last year in East Texas have announced their plan to plead guilty, reports the Associated Press. 

Nathan Bernier / KUT News

Austinites have two chances to meet the finalists for the role of Police Monitor today. At 3 p.m. and again at 6 p.m., the four contenders for the job will answer questions at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex. 

The Police Monitor's office takes complaints about police from the public, and offers policy recommendations to the Chief of Police on some matters.  It does not have the authority to investigate police behavior.

Pages