News Briefs: Final Days to Enroll in Obamacare, Supreme Court to Hear Immigration Case

Open enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s marketplace closes January 31st. A number of Austin-area nonprofit groups are busy signing up as many people as possible before the deadline, especially people who are not native English speakers or who are low income.

The Center for Healthy Communities is one of those groups. Isabel Lopez spends her days crisscrossing Austin, dropping off information at elementary schools and doing Spanish-language presentations and TV interviews. Her goal is to reach an often under-served, and therefore often misinformed, community.

“Misconceptions are that everybody will be fined if they don’t have health insurance,” Lopez says. “The other thing is that it’s really expensive and I don’t think they understand how big the subsidy can be.”

She says there is also a lot of fear, especially from documented immigrants who may have family members who are undocumented.

“There is a lot of fear of deportation and because of the immigration status, but a lot of these families do qualify,” Lopez explains. “I think we need to do way more outreach to the hard to reach populations. Not only Spanish speaking, but we have a big population of Arab-speaking, Vietnamese, Burmese.”

To qualify for Obamacare you must be a U.S. citizen, or have legal status, such as legal residents or registered aliens.

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In Washington this week the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a challenge from Texas, and 25 other states, to President Obama’s 2014 executive order on immigration. The Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, has been on hold for nearly a year after a Texas-based federal judge blocked the measure.

DAPA would allow more than four million undocumented immigrants to apply for a renewable work permit and avoid deportation. The case is expected to go before the court in April, with its decision issued in June. Our weekly Texas Political Roundup comes from Alana Rocha with our reporting partner The Texas Tribune.

KLRU News Briefs: Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Boardwalk to Open June 7, 2014

This weekend during PBS NewsHour we take a look into the new Boardwalk that is opening right on Austin’s very own Lady Bird Lake. The call to action was made by The Trail Foundation in 2007. The first task they had to overcome was funding, which they partially achieved with the 2010 mobility bond package. The Trail Foundation then committed $3 million in private funds in order to match the public money that was put into it.

The hard work and effort that was put into the boardwalk is very visible as Marty Stump, Project Management Supervisor for the City of Austin, proudly boasts about during his interview.

“It is really the result of a lot of people working over a long, long time, and obviously the construction nearing completion is very exciting for the department,” Stump states. “And, I know a lot of the trail users are anxious to get on the trail.”

The Trail Foundation speaks highly about the hope for an “increased distribution” that the Boardwalk will allow for trail users. Susan Rankin, the Executive Director of The Trail Foundation, shows how pleased she is with the finished product.

“It is really different to be out over the water… it is totally different than the experience of walking or running on the trail,” Rankin attests. “It’s going to be a beautiful, beautiful destination.”

The opening of the new Boardwalk is occurring on June 7, 2014. It will start at 10am and includes entertainment, music and a ceremonial ribbon cutting, followed by a festive march across the Boardwalk itself.

This story airs on KLRU Saturday, May 24, 2014 during PBS NewsHour Weekend. 

KLRU News Brief: ACL Hall of Fame Inducts Inaugural Class

NEWSHOUR ACL HOF

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.