Ben Philpott

Eclipse Week: For Austin-area porta potty purveyors, the total eclipse is big business

The eclipse is coming to Texas! And so are millions of people hoping to catch a glimpse. All this week, the KUT Newsroom will be reporting on this once-in-a-lifetime event and what it means for central Texas. You may have heard concerns about how hard it will be to find a place to stay…or how we might get stuck in traffic for hours. But when all those people flood local businesses, parks and outdoor spaces…they’re also gonna need a place to, you know, use the bathroom. KUT’s Olivia Aldridge reports from the eclipse sanitation beat.

Eclipse Week: Central Texas could make millions because of the eclipse. Will businesses be ready?

A total solar eclipse will cross North America on April 8th. Central Texas cities, including Austin, will be some of the best places to watch in the country. All this week, the KUT Newsroom will be reporting on this once- in- a-lifetime event in Morning Edition, All Things Considered and of course at KUT-dot-ORG. This morning, we’ll kick off our coverage by looking at how Central Texas businesses are bracing for a large influx of people. Larger cities are excited about the economic benefits…  but smaller ones may not be able to handle the crowds. 

KUT’s Maya Fawaz and Luz Moreno-Lozano having been checking in to see how central Texas cities are handling it. We’ll start with Maya out in Hays County.

Driven Out: Progress Coffee’s fresh start in Austin cut short by I-35 expansionDriven Out:

Imagine spending three years turning an old gas station into a cafe. And then right when you’re about to open, you realize the place will be torn down to make room for a highway.
That’s what’s happening to Progress Coffee on I-35 in Austin next to the upper decks. TxDOT has the green light to widen the highway, and more than a-hundred homes and businesses will be forced to move. We have an ongoing series about those displacements called Driven Out.
For this edition, KUT’s Nathan Bernier takes us to the locally owned coffee joint that’s had a long-brewing relationship with I-35.

An Austin-area school district is struggling to find teachers, so it’s going to train its own

It’s a familiar story across the country, fewer people want to be public school teachers. Teacher shortages escalated from crisis to catastrophe in the wake of the pandemic. But the number of people interested in the profession has been trending down for more than a decade. KUT’s Becky Fogel reports on one Central Texas district that’s trying to turn around that trend by creating its own pipeline of future teachers.

Austin area braces for eclipse traffic surge

Some Central Texas roads could be jam packed with eclipse watchers on April 8th. That’s the first time in over a century the moon will completely block the sun in Texas. As KUT’s Nathan Bernier reports, no one knows exactly how bad traffic will be. But in 2017, a total eclipse caused historic gridlock. 

Austin’s only snow this winter likely came from power plants

Well, Spring is almost here and we’ve had virtually no snow in Austin this winter. That is, unless you live in a narrow stretch of East Austin between Decker Lake and the Austin Airport. It did snow there, and pretty much only there, one Monday morning in mid January. This week, as the KUT Newsroom has been focusing on water issues in the area, KUT’s Mose Buchele brings this update on that highly localized snowfall, and it’s surprising likely source.

Why Austinites should embrace a ‘summer blonde’ lawn during a drought

A mild February, especially the last couple of weeks, may have you dreaming of Spring. But that means, if you have a yard, it’s time to start work on flower beds and other landscaping. But with increasingly unpredictable rainfall and extended droughts, you may be thinking about what to plant to survive our new weather reality. Over the last few days the KUT newsroom has been focusing on water and all it means to our area. Today a story from the Texas Standard’s Alexandra Hart about ways you can cut water use without simply letting your lawn die.

What is an aquifer?

Over the last few days, the KUT Newsroom has been focusing on water. We’ve talked about droughts, strained water infrastructure, and even our history of using water to generate electricity. Today…we’re going to explain one of the key components of our water system – the aquifer. You’ve probably heard the word used a lot…but may not know exactly what one is, or how it works. KUT’s Maya Fawaz explains:

Just six years from now, Georgetown may not have enough water for everyone

The city Georgetown is one of the fastest growing places in the country. That rapid growth has lead to lots of issues…specifically when trying to get city infrastructure like roads and utilities to keep up with increased demand. That includes water! The KUT newsroom is spending a few days focusing specifically on water and all it means for our area. So KUT’s Williamson County reporter Kailey Hunt decided to check out what’s going on with Georgetown’s stressed water infrastructure.

Bill hopes to connect the Texas grid to the rest of the country

Three years ago, a winter storm plunged Texas into a deep freeze. Everyone who lived here remembers what followed. Millions went without power for days. Hundreds, maybe more, died. Of the many vulnerabilities exposed by that blackout, one caught people’s attention in particular: Texas exists as an energy island. It is relatively cut off from neighboring electric grids. Now, as KUT’s Mose Buchele reports, that could end — if a bill to be filed in Congress becomes law.