Nathan Bernier

Host, All Things Considered

Nathan Bernier a KUT reporter and the local host during All Things Considered and Marketplace. He grew up in the small mountain town of Nelson, BC, Canada, and worked at commercial news radio stations in Ottawa, Montreal and Boston before starting at KUT in 2008. 

Nathan has won numerous journalism awards including a National Edward R. Murrow Award, Texas Associated Press Awards, Lonestar Awards from the Houston Press Club, and various other awards and recognitions.  

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ABIA
courtesy flickr.com/dawilson/

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are scrambling to deal with longer security lines brought on by the continued growth in passenger traffic. Meanwhile, the Transportation and Security Administration began implementing more "thorough" pat-down procedures at the beginning of the month.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

Two first-term Austin City Council members announced they will seek reelection in May 2011. Place 3 council member Randi Shade was first to market with her press release at 2:15 p.m. today. Less than an hour later, at 3:11 p.m., Place 1 council member Chris Riley announced that he too would be seeking reelection.

Texas State Capitol Building
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Sen. Kirk Watson is getting some face time in the local media today because of a legislative preview he held this morning at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. KXAN says Watson called on Texas Comptroller Susan Combs to release detailed numbers on the state's finances.

Four Loko and Joose
Image courtesy Kyle James http://www.flickr.com/photos/jameskm03/

The national hysteria over the caffeinated alcoholic beverage Four Loko is reaching a fever pitch with bans looming or already enacted in Boston, New York, Michigan, Washington state, and Pennsylvania.

Now there's speculation that the controversial drink may have been consumed by the driver of an SUV that crashed and killed a 14-year-old girl in North Texas, reports My Fox Dallas-Fort Worth:

Aston Kauai Beach at Makaiwa
Image courtesy promotional video (below)

Local real estate firm JMI Realty is pitching in to buy a Marriot hotel on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. The Austin Business Journal first reported it today based on a news release issued this morning, although the deal was first announced back in late-October.

JMI Realty is acquiring the 10 acre property in what is its first joint venture with Dallas-based Behringer Harvard. The price was not disclosed.

George W. Bush Presidential Center
Image courtesy George W. Bush Presidential Center

George W. Bush and his wife Laura will be wielding the golden shovels tomorrow as they dig symbolic dirt for a groundbreaking ceremony on the country's newest Presidential Library.

Capital Area Food Bank cans
Photo by Katie Hayes for KUT News

A new report today by the United States Department of Agriculture found Texas has the second lowest rate of "household food security" in the United States.  Household food security is defined as a family having "access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members."

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

An AP investigation published in several papers this morning found that dozens of "property-wealthy" school districts held on to money they were supposed to send to the state under the so-called Robin Hood law.

Five Mile Dam Park
Image courtesy Flickr urser ret0dd http://www.flickr.com/photos/ret0dd

People who live in the Austin exurb of Kyle have an opportunity to meet their future city manager tonight. Four people are finalists for the job. They'll be shaking hands tonight at 7 p.m. at Kyle City Hall.

Here are the names of the finalists and links to their biographies:

Fort Hood memorial soldier
Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News

It took military prosecutors nine days to present their evidence in the pre-trial hearing for Maj. Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people at Fort Hood on November 5, 2009.

Today, it was the defense's turn to present evidence in the Article 32 hearing, but Hasan's lawyers rested after just four minutes.

People voted all Republican or all Democratic at the highest rate of any gubernatorial election in twelve years, according to a study by Austin Community College's Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS).

Texas is one several states that allows people to check one box for a political party, which prompts the electronic voting machine to fill in the "X" automatically for every race on the ballot.  The CPPPS study showed almost 58 percent chose that option in the most recent election.

The Austin Independent School District will officially dedicate its newest elementary school on Sunday at 2 p.m. Ross F. Baldwin Elementary was constructed over the course of a year at 12200 Meridian Park Blvd.

Waste Control Specialists facility
Image from Waste Control Specialists' Facebook page

A hearing in Midland, Texas tomorrow will move foward on adopting a process that could allow a low-level radioactive waste facility in West Texas to accept toxic waste from states other than just Texas and Vermont.

The hearing will be held by the Texas Low Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Compact Commission, an organization with representatives from Texas and Vermont. There are about ten such compacts across the US involving two or more states cooperating on radioactive waste disposal.

Image courtesy Twitter user @severestudios

Old Man Winter paid a visit to the Texas panhandle today and dumped heavy, wet snow on the Amarillo area.

KFDA TV in Amarillo reports downed trees and "widespread" power outages.

Xcel Energy says around 5,000 customers are without power right now and it's not expected to come back on for at least the next few hours.

The ninth annual East Austin Studio Tour (also known as E.A.S.T.) kicks off tomorrow. It's a free, self-guided tour of more than 150 artist studios east of I-35. E.A.S.T. runs from Saturday, November 13 until Sunday, November 21.

homeless man in austin
Photo by Erik Reyna for KUT News

Austin City Manager Marc Ott made news this week when he revealed that he voluntarily went homeless for 24 hours a few months ago. Ott said he wanted to experience firsthand what it was like to live on the streets.

Ask someone with a University of Texas email account to speak honestly about the service, and they might struggle to contain their frustration. While major web-based email services like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Hotmail have quickly advanced their features and storage capacity, the University of Texas and its Microsoft Exchange service has fallen behind.

Undergrads, for example, get only 150 MB of storage, which means they often have to delete old emails to send new ones. The features offered by UT's web-based email are also limited.

On Thursday, we'll take a minute to pause in appreciation for the men and women who put their lives on the line for the United States without asking any questions. 

Veterans are never immune to aging or poverty, and as we see in this video produced by KUT News intern Sobia Lodhi, local agencies like Meals on Wheels are there to lend a helping hand when others are not.

LifeWorks East Austin Youth and Family Resource Center
Image courtesy LifeWorks

The Austin non-profit LifeWorks broke ground today on a new East Austin family resource center. The social services organization says it will increase its ability to serve young people and families in crisis by 25 percent.

LifeWorks already helps about 10,000 families a year through housing programs, counseling and education. They have surpassed their capacity to serve more people, so this will allow them to expand in a community with increasing need.

UT Shuttle
Image courtesy Cap Metro

Many observers would be surprised if Austin's public transit agency did not adopt the third fare hike in three years today. Capital Metro has already calculated the fare increase into its FY2011 budget.

"The approved budget also increases our long-term sustainability by lowering costs [and] boosting revenue through a fare increase," Cap Metro president and CEO Linda Watson wrote in the budget document.

Austonian
Photo courtesy Visualist Images http://www.flickr.com/photos/visualistimages/

People who live at the Austonian can now enjoy an exclusive distinction beyond the downtown condo's luxurious modeling. The Austonian has been granted a four-star energy ranking under Austin Energy's Green Building program. It's the first downtown condo to earn the recognition.

A statement issued today by the developer, Benchmark Development, lists the reasons why. Here are some highlights:

Newsweek is the latest national publication to give Austin's economy high praise for being pretty awesome compared to everywhere else.

In its list of the 10 American cities best situated for the recovery, Newsweek repeats the familiar refrain of reasons why Austin's economy rules.

Austin Memorial Park Cemetary
Photo courtesy City of Austin

Someone walked through Austin Memorial Park Cemetery last night kicking over gravestones and smashing amenities like a park bench, according to Austin police and Austin Parks and Recreation.

Preliminary estimates peg the damage at $20,000, according to Parks and Rec spokesman Victor O'Valle. He said about 25 gravestones were damaged.

"I think the emotional damage is probably the greatest damage that those vandals are causing," O'Valle told KUT News. "A lot of people spend their hard earned money to provide memorials for their loved ones."

Texas House District 44
Image of HD 44 courtesy Texas Legislative Council

Texas Governor Rick Perry has ordered a special election for December 14 in House District 44.  State Representative Edmund Kuempel (R-Seguin) died of a heart attack Thursday after being reelected there on November 2.

DREAM Act rally at University of Texas at Austin
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Undocumented immigrant students attending the University of Texas at Austin took the risky step of coming out before news cameras today to announce their status and call for swift passage of the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act (DREAM Act).

The DREAM Act would provide a six-year conditional path to citizenship for young people who qualify. They would need to complete a college degree or perform two years of military service.

George W. Bush isn't the only high profile Texas Republican on a book tour. Texas Governor Rick Perry, fresh off his reelection victory last week, is touring the East Coast in support of his new critique of the federal government, Fed Up! Our Fight to Save America from Washington.

Last night he appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Here's the segment.

Spalding Gray's Swimming to Cambodia notebook
Image courtesy Harry Ransom Center

Writer and performance artist Spalding Gray's archives will be available to researchers at the University of Texas' Harry Ransom Center, the museum announced yesterday.  Gray died of an apparent suicide in 2004. He was 62.

The Ransom Center says the collection includes more than 90 handwritten performance notebooks and 100 private journals.

George W. Bush
Official photograph portrait of former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Former President George W. Bush's presidential memoir goes on sale today. The Dallas Morning News reports that hundreds are lined up this morning at a Border's store about a mile from Bush's home in Dallas.

More than 500 people, some of whom camped out overnight, had shown up this morning at the Borders at Preston Road and Royal Lane for a chance to meet the former commander in chief and buy his new memoir, Decision Points.

Democratic incumbent Donna Howard has defeated her Republican challenger Dan Neil in House District 48.

Travis County Elections released final results tonight including provisional ballots (such as those cast by service members overseas):

Howard (DEM) 25,026 48.54%

Neil (REP) 25,010 48.51%

Ben Easton (LIB) 1,1518 2.94%

Travis County says results will be presented to the County Commissioners Court for final canvass on Wednesday at 1 p.m.

SXSW 2010 Geeks band
Photo courtesy JTImages http://www.flickr.com/photos/jmtimages/

South by Southwest's 2010 conference injected $113 million dollars into the city's economy, mainly from people who traveled to Austin to attend. That's according to a new economic report from GreyHill Advisors, whom SXSW commissioned to conduct the study.

You can read a five page executive summary of the report on GreyHill's website. Here are some highlights:

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