Jennifer Stayton

Chronicling and celebrating the history of Black rodeos in Texas in the new “Juneteenth Rodeo” photo and essay collection

Austin author Sarah Bird was new to Texas in the 1970’s. She took photojournalism classes at UT- Austin back in the day when taking pictures meant a lot more equipment, film, and time in darkrooms than it does now. Bird got interested in photographing all kinds of Texas events and eventually made her way to all kinds of rodeos. But it was Black rodeos that captured her attention the most. Bird has now compiled those photos and her recollections – and an essay by sports historian Demetrius Pearson – into a book called “Juneteenth Rodeo.” KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talked with Bird recently about her path to the “Soul Circuit” and what she experienced when she got there.

Civics 101: Unsure or intimidated by the voting process? The Travis County Clerk walks us through the basics.

School is almost over for the summer, but not at KUT – where our “Civics 101” series continues. We are exploring the institutions and governments that shape our lives and how we can be involved.

“I’m too busy. I didn’t have time, I was sick. I didn’t know what was on the ballot.” Those are some of the reasons people give for not voting. Travis County Clerk Dyana Limon Mercado also believes people are a bit intimidated by the process and may be unsure about how to participate. She talked recently with KUT’s Jennifer Stayton at the Travis County Clerk’s office in Austin all about elections and voting. But they started by first discussing what the County Clerk’s office actually does:

Civics 101: Game show meets city budget in “The Price is Right: How the City of Austin Spends Your Money”

The KUT newsroom is focusing some coverage this week on helping people better understand how government works. We are calling it “Civics 101,” and as part of our effort, we are hosting some special events to take an ever deeper dive into how things work and what our role is in a functioning democracy. One of these events is modeled on a popular game show. “The Price is Right: How the City of Austin Spends Your Money” is happening Tuesday night, May 21, at Austin PBS in conjunction with the local news and civics website The Austin Common, Austin PBS and Good Politics. The announced candidates for Mayor of Austin this year have also been invited to attend. KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talked recently with The Austin Common Editor-in-Chief Amy Stansbury about this game-show-meets-city-budget event:

KUT Morning Newscast for May 21, 2024

Central Texas top stories for May 21, 2024. UT’s Frank Erwin Center site will next host a medical center but there’s still lots of work to do. Del Valle ISD Board of Trustees approved a three percent salary increase for teachers, staff and administrators. And animal shelters in the Austin area are offering free or discounted pet adoptions.

KUT Morning Newscast for May 20, 2024

Central Texas top stories for May 20, 2024. The Austin Independent School District is still trying to make a dent in its growing budget deficit. A new initiative in Texas would help teens get better access to mental health services in their communities. And there may be a small silver lining to the big problem of leaky water pipes in Austin.

The City of Austin wants your input on who decides what counts as “history” and what parts of that history get protected and preserved

The City of Austin’s historic preservation plan dates back to 1981. But an effort is underway to change who participates in that planning and what gets preserved. People can give their input on a draft of the city’s new Equity-Based Preservation Plan through May 31st. KUT’s Jennifer Stayton recently talked with the city’s Planning Department Program Manager Cara Bertron and two members of the working group that helped draft the plan: historian Julia Brookins and architect JuanRaymon Rubio. They talked at Austin’s Parque Zaragoza, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, about why the city’s current plan needs a reboot.

Austin artist and author chronicles journey of telling her son about her traumatic experience – and how it changed them both

Marian Henley is a cartoonist, artist and author who lives in Austin. She was raped twice in her life. Once at the age of 19. The second time at the age of 35. Later on, Henley adopted a son. In her recent graphic memoir “Finding the Light: A Mother’s Journey from Trauma to Healing,” she chronicles sharing that information with her son – and how it impacted both of their lives. KUT’s Jennifer Stayton talked with Marian Henley recently about her journey – beginning with how, and why, she told her son. ( A note: this interview includes discussion of a work that deals with sexual assault).

Henley will be speaking about her graphic memoir Thursday, April 25, at 7:00 p.m. at BookPeople in Austin.

KUT Morning Newscast for April 12, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 12, 2024. The Austin City Council could soon extend the contract for the Marshalling Yard – a temporary homeless shelter in Southeast Austin. Advocates for ethnic studies classes in Texas public schools urge the State Board of Education to approve an American Indian-Native Studies course.

Disinformation: Why some people cling to it (and how to help them maybe loosen that grip)

This week’s total solar eclipse was really spectacular – even with the cloudy skies. It turns out even a beautiful, natural phenomenon like the eclipse is not immune from conspiracy theories and disinformation. Why are some people eager to embrace information that is wrong – and sometimes really reluctant to let it go? KUT’s Jennifer Stayton put that question recently over Zoom to Central Texas neuropsychotherapist Bella J. Rockman, MA, LPC, LCDC-i. She says a mix of factors is at play- especially when it comes to politics:

KUT Morning Newscast for April 9, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 9, 2024. Cloudy skies didn’t keep hundreds of thousands from experiencing Monday’s total solar eclipse. Austin Independent School District students were among those impressed by the rare event. Austinites who qualify can still get help filing their federal income taxes before next week’s deadline.

KUT Morning Newscast for April 5, 2024

Central Texas top stories for April 5, 2024. The Austin City Council makes official the hiring of a new City Manager. Get ready for clogged roads before, during and after Monday’s total solar eclipse. And a long-planned pedestrian bridge at the east end of the Butler Trail around Lady Bird Lake can finally go ahead.

Author and activist for nonviolence urges people to “do hopeful things” in face of multiple wars around the world

Violence has been flaring in Haiti as gangs have attacked government facilities after elections were delayed. There is still no ceasefire agreement in the Israel-Hamas war. Concerns persist about potential Russian aggression in Europe two years after the invasion of Ukraine. It can be easy to feel overwhelmed or even hopeless in the face of multiple ongoing wars. The Reverend John Dear has devoted his adult life to nonviolence and is the author of the new book The Gospel of Peace: A Commentary on Matthew, Mark and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence. He talked with KUT about his life’s work – starting with what the word “nonviolence” means to him.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 9, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 9, 2024. State-appointed monitors say AISD is making significant progress in improving its special ed services. Ongoing APD staffing shortages mean the City of Austin is paying millions more in overtime than before. Marking the start of the Lunar New Year.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 8, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 8, 2024. The Austin-Round Rock area unemployment rate stays super low. The Austin City Council gets a final report on improving Austin Water’s performance. Central Texas likely won’t meet new, stricter EPA standards for potentially deadly fine particulate matter.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 7, 2024

Calls to investigate a recent stabbing near the UT-Austin campus as a hate crime. Austin ISD warns of a scam involving fake AISD police officers. Austin’s policy over decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana has changed how officers prioritize patrols.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 6, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 6, 2024. Austin Police promise to better serve people with disabilities. Free tax help for eligible people in Travis and Williamson counties. The City of San Marcos wants more input on its long-term development plan.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 5, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 5, 2024. Today is the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming Texas primaries. Travis County backs out of a deal for a review of local homeless service programs. Texas state officials and the world’s largest investment firm meet this week to talk about the state’s electric grid.

KUT Morning Newscast for February 2, 2024

Central Texas top stories for February 2, 2024. New rules for euthanizing dogs at the Austin Animal Center with a bite history. Austin-area high school students get ready to vote for the first time. A new hospital option in North Austin.

KUT Morning Newscast for January 26, 2024

Central Texas top stories for January 26, 2024. The Austin Independent School District names a permanent superintendent. The City of Austin announces work on another affordable housing complex. What an upcoming Supreme Court case about policing people experiencing homelessness could mean for Austin and Texas.