Kate Groetzinger | KUOW News and Information

Kate Groetzinger

Kate Groetzinger is an intern at KUT. She comes to us from Quartz, a digital media publication based in New York City, where she served as an Atlantic Media fellow. Prior to working at Quartz, Kate graduated from Brown University with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Brown, Kate served as an intern at Texas Monthly. Her work has been published online by Texas Monthly, CultureMap Austin, The Atlantic, Quartz, The Gotham Gazette, and Paste Magazine, and in print by Rhode Island Monthly. She is happy to be back in her home state reporting on news for her fellow Texans. 

Interim Police Monitor Deven Desai opened negotiations between the city and police last week with a nod to a crowd of activists gathered in one corner of the room. 

From Texas Standard:

Stephanie Garcia is a high school student. She’s also a 24-year-old inmate at the Lockhart Correctional Facility, a minimum-security women’s prison in Central Texas. Outside, her life was hectic, but here, every day is the same.

From Texas Standard:

"What goes up must come down” is Newton's Third Law of Motion – and part of a 1960s song that you may now have spinning in your head. But the truth of those words is being tested right now in Waco, Texas.

I can tell you from experience that as soon as something good happens in Waco, something else sets the city back again. But that pattern of ups and downs changed with the arrival of “Fixer Upper,” the wildly popular HGTV show featuring local house-flipping team Chip and Joanna Gaines.

Shaun Jackson worked at HEB for eight and a half years until one day a customer in the checkout line told him about the Goodwill Career and Technical Academy.

“She told me that Goodwill is a good place to get some help, and they actually helped me," Jackson, 25, says. "I’ve been with them for maybe about two and a half years now, and they gave me some tools. They’re good." 

For children who get free meals at school, summer can mean going hungry. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Parks and schools across Austin are serving free meals to children under 18 while school's out, thanks to funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Central Texas Food Bank.

The Contemporary Austin has been making headlines lately – first with the installation of two sculptures by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, then with news that it will transfer its indoor art collection to the Blanton Museum.

It turns out, this is all part of a larger project meant to turn Austin into a "museum without walls."

The City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department will present the latest version of its Aquatics Master Plan to the public in two meetings this week.

Pharmacists who refuse to fill prescriptions based on their religious beliefs may soon be protected from disciplinary action thanks to a bill passed this legislative session. 

Austin Energy responded Friday to accusations raised by the Travis Audubon Society that it was knocking down Monk parakeet nests from energy poles during the birds' nesting season.

“When we do remove a nest, our crews will only be working on nests that are up in the energized space," Chief Operating Officer Elaina Ball told reporters gathered at the intersection of Pleasant Valley and Riverside Drive, where the parakeets have built a cluster of nests.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler joined mayors across the country in drawing attention to mental health as part of the National Mayors' Mental Health Day of Action on Wednesday. He called on Congress to protect mental health services in the American Health Care Act, which, if passed in its current state, would leave many people without access to mental health care in Travis County.

A bill aimed at ending the practice of “lunch-shaming” in Texas public schools died at the hands of Freedom Caucus members earlier this month. But state Rep. Helen Giddings, who filed the bill, isn’t giving up on the issue. 

Giddings, D-DeSoto, filed House Bill 2159 in February after learning that some public schools in Texas won’t feed schoolchildren whose parents cannot or have not paid for their lunches. In some of these schools, hot meals are thrown away in front of students.

Tim League, the founder and owner of Alamo Drafthouse, has been quietly collecting film prints of obscure movies from the 1960s and '70s for the past two decades. This year, League will begin producing DVDs based on prints from the collection.

The bus stop at the southeast corner of 12th Street and Chicon once featured vibrant plaques commemorating the history of East Austin. But the plaques have fallen into disrepair since being installed in 2003. Now, Capital Metro wants to redo the bus stop to honor the area's African-American legacy.

Social service providers didn’t need a survey to tell them there is a substance abuse problem among the homeless community in Austin, as the 2017 Point in Time count shows.

Results of a survey show a drop in the population of Austinites experiencing homelessness.

The annual tally, released yesterday by Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), counted 2,036 people during the January survey.

Police say progress has been made in reducing the prevalence of K2 in recent weeks, following a pledge from city officials to double down on efforts to combat the cheap synthetic street drug.

It’s no secret that the tech sector – which accounts for 13 percent of jobs in Austin, according to the Austin Chamber – is predominantly male and white. But coding boot camps, which have multiplied in Austin in recent years, are making headway on increasing female and minority representation in tech.

The sight of red bicycles with bulky baskets is familiar to anyone who spends time in downtown Austin. B-cycle, which operates the rentable bikes, has had the bike-sharing market cornered here since it launched in 2013. But South by Southwest has brought some competition to town in the form of new rentable bikes that can be unlocked with an app and don’t have to be parked at stations.

As farm-to-table food and restaurants have grown in popularity across the country, the idea of locally sourcing food has become especially popular in Austin. Farmers markets are popping up, and families are subscribing to community-supported agriculture programs, or CSAs. Fueling this trend are small-scale farms in and around the city.

But as Austin spreads out and real estate prices go up, starting a small farm has become more expensive. Legislators are hoping to help small farmers by passing legislation this session that makes it easier for them to get agriculture property tax exemptions.

In 2009, Tea Party protests across the country energized a segment of conservative voters, enabling Republicans to take control of both chambers of Congress.

Inspired by Tea Party tactics, progressive groups today are organizing to put pressure on Republican congressmen in town hall meetings. While the events have been grassroots efforts, many people are organizing under the umbrella of a movement called Indivisible, which, it turns out, has roots in Austin.

Austin City Council approved $200,000 in emergency funding for immigration legal services Thursday, while immigrants and advocates took to the steps of City Hall outside to protest ICE raids and national anti-immigrant policies. 

If you've never watched the Texas legislative process before, heading to the Capitol for the first time can be daunting. Connecting with existing groups could be the best way to get involved with the process.

“Don’t feel like you have to become an expert yourself,” said Ann Beeson, director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a left-leaning state policy think tank. “There are lots of organizations out there that that’s their job, and they can help you both really understand policy issues and develop talking points.”

President Donald Trump is butting heads with the tech industry over his recent actions on immigration. Nearly 100 tech CEOs, including some of the biggest players in Silicon Valley, signed an open letter saying the president’s policies threaten their ability to recruit, hire and retain some of the world’s best employees. How could the president’s policies affect Austin’s tech industry?

Republican lawmakers in Texas have been inundated with messages over the past few days from constituents both supportive and concerned with President Donald Trump’s nominations and executive orders. So many people called into the Washington offices of Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn over the weekend and Monday that staffers say they couldn’t keep up, leaving constituents frustrated by busy signals and full voicemail boxes.

When the Blanton unveils its reinstalled permanent collection in February, a 10-foot-tall, three-dimensional portrait made of 3,840 hair combs is sure to capture visitors’ attention.

The portrait depicts Madam C.J. Walker, an African-American entrepreneur who’s often called the first self-made female millionaire in U.S. history.

In the days after the presidential election, a group of immigration attorneys in Austin started talking about what they could do to address concerns among Austin's immigrant community.  Ultimately, they formed a group called Texas Here To Stay and have been working to naturalize immigrants.

In a room at the Austin Congregational Church, Terry Cole talks with 10 young adults. They’ve come to see Cole, but also to eat. 

Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz chatted with six Reagan Early College High School students as they gathered at the ACC Highland Mall campus' early voting center on Monday afternoon to cast their ballots on their way to class. The students are among 1,963 young adults in AISD schools that are age 18 or older this month.

Last week we launched TXDecides, our collaborative project with public radio newsrooms across the state. The goal was simple: Answer Texas voters' questions ahead of Election Day. Y'all had lots of questions. So many, in fact, that we had to pare down the questions to a scant five.

Luckily, we culled some of the remaining questions and decided to answer them as best we could. 

Since 1972, Texas has had a lower voter turnout rate than the national rate for presidential elections.