AISD Awards Belated Diplomas to War Veterans

It’s a graduation that’s been years in the making.  On Veterans Day, the Austin Independent School District awarded 11 veterans with diplomas from their respective high schools.  It’s a ceremony that AISD has held since 2002, offering veterans who did not finish high school and who served in any formally declared war or military engagement a chance to don the cap and gown.  For some, it’s a chance they’ve waited years to take.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted,” said Air Force veteran Doyle Hobbs.  ”It seemed like a gift from heaven.”

“I completed my G.E.D.,” recalled U.S. Military veteran Eugenio Gaona.  ”But I always wished I could get it converted so I could have a diploma from my hometown.  Now I’m happy. I have a high school diploma from my high school.”

Click here for more information on the AISD Diploma Award Ceremony and eligibility requirements.

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

 

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

Health and Wellness Center 11X17-C

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 News Brief: Austin Students Learn Importance of Water

Water Sci Expo Photo

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. 

This week on Overheard: Novelist Jonathan Lethem

On this episode of Overheard, Jonathan Lethem discusses his writing process. Lethem is an award winning, best-selling novelist, essayist, and short story writer. His most recent novel, released in September, is Dissident Gardens.

Jonathan Lethem explains how he drew from his real life in order to create the setting and characters for his most recent novel. He explains how his grandmother and mother inspired the way his characters act and think. His characters in Dissident Gardens, he explains,”are passionate believers that they are on some kind of committed course the change the world.”

He also discuss modern publishing, how technology is changing publishing and the new idea of marketing yourself. Plus, he tells Evan what’s next in his career.

Tune in November 21 at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Lethem on Overheard with Evan Smith. Watch the video above for an excerpt from our interview.

This week on Overheard: Author & Commentator Jonathan Alter

In this episode of Overheard with Evan Smith Jonathan Alter discusses his new book The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies. Alter previously worked for Newsweek for close to three decades. He’s written three New York Times best sellers on American presidents.

Alter tells Evan how he must get inside of the minds of leaders in order to write. He also touches on the Obama “haters” who took part in the so-called Birther Movement as well as the haters of former presidents. Alter explains how Obama is often criticized for not accomplishing what he said he would.

But, not all of his comments about the president are negative. He also explains the legacy Obama will leave behind with healthcare. He says while many people are unhappy with it now in 2016 it will be something celebrated by future candidates. Alter explains, although people were scared of what the healthcare reform would do that “America is not Texas and is not going to be Texas anytime soon,” citing the state’s decision not to implement parts of the law.

Alter gives insight to the government shutdown. He explains the “effort by the Tea party, essentially, to put a gun to the head of the government and of the global economy” which he notes was “utterly defeated.” He explains that the party failed and Ted Cruz himself had to acknowledge he was “defeated.”

Tune in tonight at 7 p.m. to see Jonathan Atler on Overheard with Evan Smith. You can see a preview in the video above.

Overheard with Evan Smith: Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson is a Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist. He writes for The Washington Post and appears as a panelist on NBC’s Meet the Press. His 2008 coverage of the election of the first African American president earned him the Pulitzer.

In this episode, Robinson give us his take on the “broken government” and how the United States should focus on moving forward with the economy. Robinson also explains how the Tea Party has influenced the government.

The subject of race comes up as Robinson address Obama and how the race factor affects the people’s view of him. He explains that race plays an important part of how the Obama administration and it’s decisions are viewed. He also contrasts how different racial issues are currently compared to when he was growing up.

Robinson gives insight to government issues and compares them to the issues of past administrations, including the Clinton era. He explains how President Obama can look back on what mistakes he has made and how the president has transformed while in office.

Evan and Robinson also discuss his career at The Washington Post and his reaction to Jeff Bezos’ purchase of the paper. He shares his hopes for how technology can transform newsrooms.

Don’t miss this informative and timely episode of Overheard airing November 7th at 7:00 p.m. on KLRU.

The Texas Rundown: Now Online

Last week was an historic week in Texas: an 11-hour filibuster by State Sen. Wendy Davis drew national attention, and two Supreme Court cases with deep ties to Texas were decided. In light of the recent news, KLRU aired a special thirty minute news and analysis program Friday evening called The Texas Rundown. The program was aired statewide, in cooperation with Texas PBS.

Joining us for analysis was Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter, The Texas Tribune. She moderated a discussion with Ben Philpott, host KUT’s Agenda Texas, Dave Mann, editor The Texas Observer, Becca Aaronson, health reporter The Texas Tribune, and Erica Greider, senior editor Texas Monthly.

You can watch the show in the video above.

KLRU news special: The Texas Rundown

The Texas Rundown

Between the end of the Legislative special session and two Supreme Court rulings with major Texas ties, this has been a busy news week.  As your public television station we feel it is our duty to be a source of trust worthy information so we are putting together a special news program called The Texas Rundown that will air Friday 6/28 at 7:30p recapping the news of the week.

Joining us for this analysis will be Alana Rocha, multimedia reporter, The Texas Tribune. She will moderate a discussion with Ben Philpott, host KUT’s Agenda Texas, Dave Mann, the editor The Texas Observer, Becca Aaronson, health reporter The Texas Tribune, and Erica Greider, senior editor Texas Monthly.

This special will preempt Need to Know.

After Newtown Specials Feb. 18-22

PBS and KLRU will air a week-long series of programming on school violence, mental illness and security issues on Feb. 18-22. PBS NewsHour, Washington Week, Frontline, Nova and other PBS shows will include special coverage on these topics.  KLRU will feature an interview with members of Austin’s National Alliance on Mental Illness during Need To Know on Feb. 22. Need To Know airs at 7:30 pm Fridays and the complete local interview will be featured online.

Other special After Newtown coverage includes:



After Newtown: Guns In America at 8 pm Feb. 19
AFTER NEWTOWN: GUNS IN AMERICA is an unprecedented exploration of America’s enduring relationship with firearms. From the first European settlements in the New World to frontier justice; from 19th-century immigrant riots to gangland violence in the Roaring Twenties; from the Civil War to civil rights, guns have been at center of our national narrative. Americans have relied on guns to sustain communities, challenge authority and keep the peace. Efforts to curtail their distribution and ownership have triggered epic political battles. This program traces the evolution of guns in America, their frequent link to violence and the clash of cultures that reflect competing visions of our national identity.

Frontline: Raising Adam Lanza at 9 pm Feb. 19
In the wake of the mass killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, FRONTLINE investigates a young man and the town he changed forever. Adam Lanza left behind a trail of death and destruction, but little else. He left no known friends, no diary. He destroyed his computer and any evidence it might have provided. His motives, and his life, remain largely a mystery. In collaboration with The Hartford Courant, FRONTLINE looks for answers to the central-and so far elusive-question: who was Adam Lanza? Also this hour: In the aftermath of the tragedy, President Obama called for a national conversation about guns in America. Nowhere is that conversation more intense than in Newtown, where FRONTLINE finds a town divided and explores how those closest to the tragedy are now wrestling with our nation’s gun culture and laws.


NOVA: Mind of a Rampage Killer at 8 pm Feb. 20th
What makes a person walk into a theater or a church or a classroom full of students and open fire? What combination of circumstances compels a human being to commit the most inhuman of crimes? Can science in any way help us understand these horrific events and provide clues as to how to prevent them in the future? As the nation tries to understand the tragic events at Newtown, NOVA correspondent Miles O’Brien separates fact from fiction, investigating new theories that the most destructive rampage killers are driven most of all, not by the urge to kill, but the wish to die. Could suicide and the desire to go out in a media-fueled blaze of glory be the main motivation? How much can science tell us about a brain at risk for violence? Most importantly, can we recognize dangerous minds in time — and stop the next Newtown?

Path To Violence at 9 pm Feb. 20th
Ever since the wake-up call that was Columbine, schools and law enforcement have developed multiple strategies to prevent attacks. Indeed, the horror of Newtown needs to be seen in a context that’s not defined by defeat. Remarkably, more than 120 school assaults have been thwarted in the past ten years. But, while security hardware and physical barriers can play a deterrent role, it’s been psychologists working hand in hand with law enforcement officers who have come up with the most helpful tools to prevent violent attacks. The Path to Violence tells the story of a powerfully effective Secret Service program – the Safe School Initiative – that’s helped schools detect problem behavior in advance. Yet, despite the progress made, recent attacks reveal a gaping hole in our safety net. Shooters like Adam Lanza, Jared Loughner and James Holmes all executed their attacks after they’d left their respective schools. In such cases, parents may be the first and only line of defense parents who are terrified of their own children and who receive inadequate help from the mental health and legal systems. Can the hard-won gains made by social psychologists and law enforcement be extended to encompass the parents and families of some of the nation’s most violent individuals? Further, is the country ready to have a national conversation about the balance between school safety and civil liberties that any such interventions – including gun control – require?

PBS Newshour selects UT students to cover inauguration

Instead of merely watching the Inauguration on Jan. 21, two graduate students and a senior lecturer from the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin will be running through Washington, D.C., covering the event for PBS NewsHour. The school is part of the College of Communication.

They will participate in a PBS NewsHour multimedia short course, which will take place Jan. 18-22 in Washington, D.C. The goals of the course are to give rising journalism stars an opportunity to be a part of history and collaborate with their peers from across the country, said PBS NewsHour Extra director Imani Cheers.

Second-year graduate students David Barer and Efren Salinas are among 14 student-reporters selected from a nationwide search. After being nominated by a professor, applicants were each asked to submit a cover letter, résumé, references, letter of recommendation, short biography, news clips and three story pitches.

“It was a great feeling to be selected for this short course,” Salinas said. “I’ve been working very hard since arriving at the School of Journalism, and I feel this is not only a validation of my hard work but an excellent opportunity.”

After visiting one of senior lecturer Kate Dawson’s classes in 2012, PBS’s Cheers invited Dawson to help lead the short course.

Instructors and student-reporters will arrive at the PBS NewsHour headquarters Jan. 18.

“It will be hectic,” Dawson said. “We’ll watch the show live on Friday, have a working dinner and then it’s a litany of 12- to 14-hour days.”

Barer will serve on a print team, writing stories about corporate donations and how the Obama administration plans to respond to environmental issues.

Salinas will serve on a film team led by Dawson. He will work on a video piece about the Hispanic vote, with a focus on the Dream Act and “Dreamers,” young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

To follow the multimedia short course blog, visit inaugblog.com. On Twitter, student-reporters will post under #newshouru and #inaugblog.

“Going through this boot camp will be tough but really rewarding,” Dawson said. “We’re working on some really innovative ways to tell stories, including some amazing shooting techniques. This will be like a mini multimedia course for students — a semester rolled into six days. We’ll just need some rest when it’s done!”