Laura Rice, KUT News | KERA News

Laura Rice, KUT News

Laura joined the KUT team in April 2012. She works with Jennifer Stayton each weekday morning to bring you the latest local news during Morning Edition, hosts the noon newscast and reports for on-air and online. You'll also hear Laura with the morning news headlines on KUTX and filling in for Jennifer during the morning drive-time. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.

From Texas Standard:

President Barack Obama delivered his final State of the Union Address this week – and yet still there are those in this country who would argue he was never eligible to be president. These so-called "birther" arguments are now haunting GOP Presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother and a Cuban father. Cruz says it's a non-issue, but one particularly outspoken opponent disagrees.

 


From Texas Standard:

Tonight, President Barack Obama will speak and take questions at a televised town hall hosted by CNN.

The topic? Guns – specifically, the administration's new executive orders on gun control.

 


From Texas Standard:

As the new year gets off to a start, many folks are looking for that "new year new you" combination of resolutions.

From Texas Standard:

If you attended the Texas Craft Brewers festival earlier this year, you saw the work of more than 60 of those craft brewers. It was an opportunity for these breweries to get their brands and their beers in front of the drinking public because many haven’t been around for very long.

From Texas Standard:

About one million Texans get health insurance through exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Texans account for one-tenth of all Americans insured through the exchanges, a total of 10 million new customers and $84 billion in additional revenue for insurers.

 


From Texas Standard:

A group made up of professors, and a few others, rallied behind their common goal of a gun-free UT on Monday at the University of Texas at Austin. This pushback against a state campus carry law passed last session has been building for months. The new law is set to take effect next year.

The protesters' message was loud and clear: ban guns or we could sue. Law professor Ken Williams from South Texas College of Law in Houston says their main claim will center around how universities will ensure a safe environment for both students and faculty.

 


Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

From Texas Standard:

A story about a protest on a campus a few states away could have implications for one of the biggest industries in Texas – college football. At the University of Missouri, there were protests going back to September against racism on campus, a social media campaign called Concerned Student 1950, and a hunger strike by a graduate student. But most folks outside of Missouri did not know about any of this until last weekend.

From Texas Standard:

While it's no longer news that some law enforcement officers abuse the power that comes with the badge, the numbers revealed in a new Associated Press report are shocking: a thousand officers lost their badges in a six-year period for rape, sexual assault, possession of child pornography and propositioning citizens. In his investigation, reporter Matt Sedensky found that the reported rate is much lower than what's actually happening.


From Texas Standard:

If you're naming off great sports films, "Rudy" and "Hoosiers" are probably high on that list.

A new film called "My All American" is coming out this fall. Written by the same screenwriter of those films, Angelo Pizzo, this time his focus is Texas football – more specifically Freddie Steinmark.


From Texas Standard:

Lady Gaga is just as well known for her fashion as she is for her music.


From Texas Standard.

Texas has a state bird, a state flower — even a state insect. What most Texans don’t know, however, is that the state also has an official play, and this year marks its 50th anniversary. And, though millions around the world have seen the musical, many Texans have yet to experience it.

It happens six nights a week for three months every summer. Crowds gather at an outdoor amphitheater at Palo Duro Canyon State Park outside of Amarillo, as they have for the past 50 years. They come to see a musical they won’t see anywhere else.

It’s called ‘Texas.’ It’s kind of like the more-famous ‘Oklahoma,’ except it’s about, well, Texas.

From Texas Standard:

The U.S. Drought Monitor puts out a map every week that updates drought conditions in Texas. This week’s map looked mostly white – which indicates no drought at all – with some peach, orange and red in the center – indicating moderate to exceptional drought.

Last year at this time, only small parts of the state were in the clear. Two years ago, 99 percent of the state was in some level of drought.

Texas singer-songwriter Steven Fromholz died after a hunting accident this weekend near Eldorado, Texas. He was 68.

The Schleicher County Sheriff's Office told the Associated Press Fromholz was shot when a rifle discharged as it fell to the ground while being transferred from one vehicle to another.

Steven Fromholz was well-known in the Austin music scene and among fans of 1970s outlaw country. He was named a Texas Poet Laureate in 2007.

Agriculture is big business in Texas. Statewide, it has a $100 billion dollar economic impact.

But the industry may be at risk. The average age of a Texas farmer or rancher is 59. And fewer young people are taking over the labor-intensive work.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has set up a program to assist aging agricultural workers in Texas. They’ve also identified a population that may be well-suited for taking over the work – veterans.

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Actors, writers and directors will be making their way to Central Texas over the next week for the Austin Film Festival.

The 20thannual festival will screen more than 180 films and feature more than 80 panels with industry pros.

About a dozen staffers work year-round to make it all happen. But the Austin Film Festival also relies on hundreds of volunteers. A contingent of those volunteers have been doing this for years – and donate countless hours to the fest.

Sara Ricke has been volunteering with the Austin Film Festival for the past seven years. And it’s safe to say, she loves it.

The government shutdown has halted the federal investigation into the West Fertilizer Plant explosion. The explosion in April killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others.

“Some of the brightest scientists in the world are home today rather than doing their work to protect, and give us information so that we can have the right rules and regulations to protect our environment,” Sen. Ben Cardin, D-MD, said during a press conference yesterday. “The monitoring and enforcement is not being done as it should be done.” Cardin chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife.

The ranks of furloughed workers includes most employees on the Chemical Safety Board, which investigates industrial accidents such as the West Fertilizer Plant explosion.

The U.S. Postal Service unveiled new stamps Friday honoring Lady Bird Johnson. The First Lady would have celebrated her 100th birthday next month.

The set features Johnson’s official White House portrait along with adaptations of five stamps first issued in the 1960’s. Those commemorate her legacy for preserving nature and beautifying cities.

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center hosted a dedication ceremony for the stamps today. The center's officials say it's an important honor for Johnson and one that she deserves.

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