KLRU NewsBriefs: Drought impacts state’s freshwater supply

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This weekend during PBS NewsHour we have two stories that’ll make you appreciate your local swimming hole over the holiday weekend. Both stories come from our partners at The Texas Tribune.

Labor Day tubers heading for the Guadalupe River may want to watch our story from the Tribune’s Alana Rocha on Saturday. Riders are seeing slower currents and at some spots they have to get out and walk.

“With the reduced spring flow, the speed of the current is so slow that what normally a float trip would require a six-pack – now will require a case,” Bill West of the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority quipped.

A longer version of this story is available on The Texas Tribune’s website.

On Sunday, our story travels further south from Austin, all the way to Matagorda Bay. The state’s second largest estuary is at the intersection of the inter-coastal waterway and the Colorado River. Less rain means less freshwater flowing into the area, which is harming seafood and the businesses that depend on it.

“For the Bay to recover we need several things: we need a lot of rain. Also we need to look for cooperative management of our freshwater inflows into the bay,” Leslie Hartman, Matagorda Bay Ecosystem Leader for Texas Parks and Wildlife said. “Certainly people in Austin need fresh water but our bays need fresh water as well.

You can see an extended version of that story here.

 KLRU NewsBriefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend at 6:30pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

KLRU NewsBriefs: Expanding Health Education in Austin and Harris County Jail program helps female inmates

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On Saturday during PBS NewsHour Weekend, we hear about an Austin based non-profit establishing innovative techniques in the realm of healthy living education.

KLRU intern Bria Lott brings us the story about WeViva, an organization dedicated to promoting healthy eating and regular fitness habits to adults living in Austin’s low income communities. They provide a team of traveling nutritionists and fitness instructors to people who might not have access to these resources otherwise.

“We bring it to locations that may not have that supportive environment built in. Maybe they’re typically unsafe neighborhoods or people don’t want to go outside, but by bringing something to them that’s fun and enjoyable and free they’ll want to come out for it,” Founder Carolyn Haney said.

In the beginning stages WeViva started in only one neighborhood. They now serve 14 communities across Austin with intentions for growth in the near future.

On Sunday, our story comes from our partners at The Texas Tribune. Reporter Alana Rocha went inside the Harris County Jail to talk to female inmates participating in the “We’ve Been There Done That” rehabilitation program.

Most of the women have been charged with prostitution and those sentenced to the program must serve a minimum of 90 days, time that counts toward their sentence. The program has been so successful that the 83rd state legislature passed a law to establish prostitution courts elsewhere in Texas.

You can learn more about the program in the Tribune’s story here.

KLRU NewsBriefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend at 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday evening. 

KLRU NewsBrief: East Side Company Puts New Spin on Compost

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This Sunday during PBS NewsHour Weekend we’ll preview a Central Texas Gardener story about an East Austin company offering a fossil fuel-free way to compost.

Since 2012, East Side Compost Pedallers has cycled through 5 neighborhoods to collect residential and commercial compostables. Residential customers pay $4 a week, each opting to spare the landfill and instead nourish their neighborhood farms and urban microgrowers.

East Side Pies pays the Compost Pedallers to pick up their vegetable scraps. They say they’ve even attracted more customers as a result.

“We have a lot of vegetable scrap and instead of it going into a dumpster it goes back into soil and our local community and gets more food for everybody. The fact that we’re taking several hundred pounds of waste out of the landfill I think more than makes up for the small cost that we pay,” Randall Holt of East Side Pies told us.

East Side Compost Pedallers recently won the Austin Green Business Leaders Communication and Outreach award.

KLRU NewsBriefs air locally during PBS NewsHour Weekend. An extended version of “Will Pedal for Compost” will air during Central Texas Gardener on July 12 at noon.

KLRU NewsBriefs: Austin’s First Public Montessori School & Huston-Tillotson Receives Largest Donation Ever

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This weekend during PBS NewsHour we have two East Austin education stories.

On Saturday, we’ll introduce you to one of Austin’s newest charter schools and the city’s only public Montessori school: Magnolia Montessori for All. Founder and Principal Sara Cotner told KLRU about why she chose to locate the school in East Austin.

“In Austin there are more than 20 Montessori schools and they’re all private and they’re all west of I-35. East Austin is this beautiful opportunity where there’s a lot of diversity, a lot of different kinds of families, a rich history of commitment to the community,” Ms. Cotner said. “We feel really honored that we were able to find land that was available here and connect with families who were really interested in this vision.”

The school opens August 4th with 3-year-olds through 3rd graders in portable classrooms. They plan to add a grade level every year through 8th grade. Construction is still underway at the site.

On Sunday, we’ll air our conversation with Ada Anderson, an Austin Civil Rights pioneer who donated $3 million this week to Huston-Tillotson University – the largest gift the school has ever received. The funds will be used to build the Sandra Joy Anderson Community Health and Wellness Center (pictured above), a facility which will serve students and surrounding residents. It is named for Mrs. Anderson’s daughter.

“We all know more and more the need for mental health and the plans for the building just fit so perfectly to what [my daughter and her husband] did,” Mrs. Anderson told us. “There are a lot of people [in East Austin] who don’t have a lot of money who I think will be served there so that’s one of the really exciting things to me.”

HT tells us work will begin on the new building very soon.

These stories air on KLRU at 6:30 on Saturday and Sunday evening during PBS NewsHour Weekend. 

 

KLRU NewsBriefs: Celebrating Juneteenth with Bell County History

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This week during PBS NewsHour Weekend, we’ll air excerpts from Juneteenth Jamboree, a 30 minute special about Bell County’s African-American history.

On Saturday, we introduce you to some famous names who have called Bell County home, including “Mean Joe” Greene and Alvin Ailey. Stephanie Turnham of the Bell County Museum told us Ailey’s first creation of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in 1958, “Blues Suite,” was inspired by his early childhood in Rogers, Texas.

“It starts out with the train whistle, way in the background and, of course, that tells us that work is over for the day. So, all of these characters come out to this juke joint, or whatever you want to call it, and light up the night,” Turnham said. “Alvin remembers beautiful women dressed up and men with their .38 Specials and that sort of thing.”

On Sunday, we hear why Killeen is known as one of the most diverse cities in Texas – thanks in large part to Fort Hood. When it was called Camp Hood during World War II, the all African-American 761st Tank Battalion was stationed on post. Also known as the Black Panther Battalion, the group included baseball legend Jackie Robinson.

Racial segregation policies of the times initially kept them out of the conflict overseas, but the 761st, nonetheless, achieved a superior combat rating and were deployed to the European theater, where they performed with precision and bravery. Today, a monument on post is dedicated to them.

Wilbert Byrd, President of the Central Texas Memorial Chapter of the 761st Tank Battalion & Allied Veterans Association tells us that before the memorial was built, the group was largely forgotten.

“They said the 761st? Who? Everybody knows about the Tuskegee Airmen, everybody knows about what they did, but nobody had ever heard of the 761st Tank Battalion even with all the things that they had done,” Byrd said. “We think we came up with something that was not only appropriate, not only was it elegant, but it was simple and it did what we wanted to do, it informed the public about the 761st Tank Battalion and their exploits during WWII.”

You can see both of these stories during PBS NewsHour weekend this Saturday and Sunday at 6:30pm. You can see Juneteenth Jamboree tonight, June 19 at 7:30pm and Tuesday, June 24 at 10:30pm.

KLRU News Brief: Austin Students Learn Importance of Water

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This Sunday during PBS NewsHour Weekend, we go inside the Austin Water Utility’s 20th annual Water Science Expo. Area 5th and 6th graders attended the event on Tuesday and Wednesday to learn about the importance of responsible water use. Austin Water employees did demonstrations for the kids in an interactive event which was fun and educational.

“We take it very seriously to educate this generation and future generations about the value of taking your water very seriously,” Austin Water spokesperson Jill Mayfield said. “It’s no secret that we’re in a very severe drought and that we need to be mindful and aware of how we use water every day.”

Mayfield said the event also served as a way to educate parents, because the kids go home and tell their families what they learned.

On Saturday, we’ll air an Arts in Context Short about #ATXFreeArtFriday, an Instagram art treasure hunt. You can see that piece online here.

 KLRU News Briefs air locally on Saturday and Sunday during PBS NewsHour Weekend. 

KLRU Kids @ The Thinkery on El Día de los Niños

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On the evening of April 30, KLRU unveiled several new playground games, one of our design and two from the fertile minds of the Connally HS (Pflugerville ISD) Advanced Game Design Class. “Order Up!/A La Orden” asked kids to work with each other and adults to build menu choices that met requirements for price, food groups, caloric content, protein, and distance from farm to table. “Story Safari” had kids scaling The Thinkery’s Backyard to find and recreate story elements nabbed by a pesky monkey. And “Last Animal Standing” had kids play the role of animals who had to both cooperate and compete to obtain a limited food supply. The game designers were hoping to spark complex thinking and real-world connections; these games will be sent to PBS Kids national for use in promoting the new PBS Kids Virtual World this fall, where similar themes will be explored.
Thanks to The Thinkery and the Texas Book Festival for their collaborative efforts! ¡Que vivan los niños!

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KLRU News Brief: ACL Hall of Fame Inducts Inaugural Class

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On Sunday evening during PBS NewsHour Weekend, our News Brief is a glimpse inside last week’s Austin City Limits Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Darrell Royal and Bill Arhos were inducted in a ceremony in KLRU’s Studio 6A, the original home of Austin City Limits.

All have a storied history with the program. Nelson appeared on the pilot in 1974 and Vaughan & Double Trouble performed in 1984 and 1990. Bill Arhos is credited with creating Austin City Limits. Coach Darrell Royal was known for hosting “pickin parties” at his home with Austin musicians, and was an early supporter and fan of the show. Seats were always reserved for Coach Royal and his wife Edith. She accepted the induction on his behalf.

The ceremony featured performances by the inductees as well as Doyle Bramhall II, Mike Farris, Buddy Guy, Emmylou Harris, Lyle Lovett, Lukas Nelson, Robert Randolph and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

The Hall of Fame induction is part of KLRU’s recognition of Austin City Limit’s 40th Anniversary Season. Portions of the induction ceremony will air in a primetime PBS special in the fall.

KLRU News Briefs air every Saturday and Sunday during PBS NewsHour Weekend. 

 

 

 

 

May 2014 Family Choice

KLRU chooses three programs each month for your family to enjoy and view together. In April 2014, we will have some thought provoking family viewing opportunities beginning with Vamos Al Baile (Let’s Go To the Dance) highlighting stellar Mexican-American musicians. In the middle of the month is Nature “Leave It To Beavers” where the viewer will see this rodent in a new role, and honoring our men and women in uniform through the National Memorial Day Concert.

Vamos Al Baile
Sunday, May 4th at 3pm
A stellar lineup of Mexican-American musicians take the stage in front of a live audience. Enjoy performances by award winning artists Little Joe y La Familia, Ruben Ramos and the Mexican Revolution, and Joel Guzman with Sarah Fox plus special guests. Interspersed with interviews, Vamos al Baile (Let’s go to the Dance) captures the different styles of Mexican-American music and the family atmosphere of the dance halls in which they are performed.

Nature “Leave It To Beavers”
Wednesday, May 14th at 7pm
A growing number of scientists, conservationists and grass-roots environmentalists have come to regard beavers as overlooked tools when it comes to reversing the disastrous effects of global warming and world-wide water shortages. Once valued for their fur or hunted as pests, these industrious rodents are seen in a new light through the eyes of this novel assembly of beaver enthusiasts and “employers” who reveal the ways in which the presence of beavers can transform and revive landscapes. Using their skills as natural builders and brilliant hydro-engineers, beavers are being recruited to accomplish everything from finding water in a bone-dry desert to recharging water tables and coaxing life back into damaged lands.

National Memorial Day Concert
Sunday, May 25th at 7pm
Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise co-host the 25th anniversary broadcast of the NATIONAL MEMORIAL DAY CONCERT, a night of remembrance honoring the service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, their families at home and all those who have given their lives for our country. They are joined by an all-star line-up in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of top pops conductor Jack Everly. Featuring a unique blend of uplifting musical performances and dramatic readings, the program airs from the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol before a concert audience of hundreds of thousands, millions more at home, as well as to our troops serving around the world on the American Forces Network. Mantegna and Sinise, two acclaimed actors who have dedicated themselves to veterans’ causes and supporting the troops in active service, are co-hosting for the ninth consecutive year.

 

Science Night 5/7

Wednesday is Science Night on KLRU!

Nature Shark Mountain at 7 pm
Underwater filmmakers Howard and Michele Hall have spent 25 years diving and documenting the most remote and beautiful underwater locations, always learning something new about the fantastic creatures that live there. Yet even these remote places and creatures are at risk in today’s world, and being able to share their experiences with the rest of us is increasingly important to the Halls, and to us. They take us along on the dive of a lifetime, to a tiny outpost 300 miles off the coast of Central American – Shark Mountain.

NOVA Why Sharks Attack at 8 pm
In recent years, an unusual spate of deadly shark attacks has gripped Australia, resulting in five deaths in 10 months. At the same time, great white sharks have begun appearing in growing numbers off the beaches of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, not far from the waters where Steven Spielberg filmed the ultimate shark fright film, Jaws. What’s behind the mysterious arrival of this apex predator in an area where they’ve rarely been seen for hundreds of years? Are deadly encounters with tourists inevitable? To separate fact from fear, NOVA teams up with leading shark experts in Australia and the United States to discover the science behind the great white’s hunting instincts. Do sharks ever target humans or is each attack a tragic case of mistaken identity? Can a deeper understanding of shark senses lead scientists to design effective deterrents and help prevent future attacks? With shark populations around the world plummeting, scientists race to unlock the secrets of these powerful creatures of the deep in their quest to save people — and sharks.

Nazi Mega Weapons Jet Fighter Me262 at 9 pm
Explore the most technologically advanced plane of World War II, the Messerschmitt Me262, a fighter jet that inspired a revolution in aerial warfare. Learn the remarkable story of an awe-inspiring aircraft, the subterranean bat-cave where it was built and the battle for air supremacy that decided the fate of the war.