Reporting Texas
News and features from UT-Austin's School of Journalism
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Jun 01, 2021

Before QAnon, Satanic Panic Gripped Central Texas

Thirty years ago, Oak Hill daycare owners Dan and Fran Keller were convicted and sentenced to 48 years in jail — a likely death sentence for Dan, 50 at the time, and Fran, then 42. Their supposed crime: sexually abusing children during satanic rituals. The Kellers were accused of forcing children to drink blood-laced Kool-Aid and to watch Dan and Fran dismember people with a chainsaw. Today, the claims are believed to have been false memories planted in children’s minds by the suggestive questioning of parents, law enforcement and therapists. But the damage was done.

The Kellers’ case is not new. Theories about satanic conspiracies have erupted periodically through American history starting with the Salem Witch Trials in the 1690s. A new satanic witch hunt — the far-right conspiracy theory QAnon — has gained steam in the last few years. Once again, fear and anxiety over a rapidly changing world have expressed themselves in what looks like a delusion.

May 21, 2021

Austin Sumo Wrestlers Prepare for National Competition

Over the past 20 years, the male-dominated sport has found increasing popularity outside of Japan among wrestlers of different genders, weight classes and racial backgrounds. In 2022, the sumo World Games will be held in the U.S., in Birmingham, Ala — an opportunity to put American sumo on the map. 

May 05, 2021

Homeless People Face Waitlist for Services at Downtown Austin Community Court

About 200 unsheltered people are on a waiting list for the kind of intensive case management services at the Downtown Austin Community Court, which is temporarily located in the Terrazas Library at 1106 E. Cesar Chavez St. The court attempts to divert people charged with petty crime from the criminal justice system and to provide them with help getting their lives in order. 

The community court was established in 1999 and was the eighth community court in the U.S. and the first in Texas. Many of its clients are experiencing homelessness and tend to cycle through the criminal justice system. Initially, the court focused its efforts downtown, but it has since added East Austin and the West Campus area to its jurisdiction.

Apr 30, 2021

Austinites Engaging in the Profitable Fetish of Financial Domination

In financial domination, a financial submissive, “finsub,” pays a financial dominant, “findom,” often without expecting anything in return, and often without meeting in person. In some findom arrangements, dominants hurl insults online at submissives. Submissives get aroused from the loss of control and surrendering of power, sex experts say.

Apr 07, 2021

Central Texas Food Bank A Godsend for Residents During Pandemic

Food banks around Texas are seeing skyrocketing demand.

Apr 07, 2021

A year into COVID-19, UT’s non-white, low income students feel left behind

Yliana Roland, an 18-year-old student University of Texas at Austin student, was raised in Houston in a low-income community of color in which mental health was a taboo topic often swept under the rug. It wasn’t until she first arrived on campus during the pandemic this year that she was formally exposed to mental health […]

Apr 07, 2021

Cricket’s Popularity Reflects Central Texas’ Changing Demographic

Cricket, a team sport using a bat and hard ball, is thriving in Central Texas. Immigration from countries where cricket is popular, such as Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and South Africa, has fueled the rise of the sport. 

Apr 06, 2021

Six Square Aims to Provide Brighter Future For Austin’s Black Residents

Austin’s Black population is dwindling, and formerly Black neighborhoods are gentrifying rapidly. Some residents worry about losing connection to African-American history and culture. The organization Six Square aims to protect that connection. 

Apr 01, 2021

Advocates: Austin Must Shift to Financially Responsible, Long-Term Approach to Homelessness

At the corner of Goodness Way and Peaceful Path sits a garden, park and dozens of chickens within a permanent housing community for those experiencing chronic homelessness. The hills are covered in colorful tiny homes with decorative flags and lights hanging from welcoming entryways. Formerly homeless men and women gather around a singer playing the […]

Apr 01, 2021

Austin Braces for 2021 Legislative Outcomes

As the 87th Texas Legislature approaches mid-session, Governor Greg Abbott’s battle with Austin City Council over police funding is reaching a boiling point as a number of bills take aim at local governments’ control over police funding.  Last August, Austin City Council members unanimously passed the city’s 2021 budget, cutting one-third of the Austin Police […]

Apr 01, 2021

A League Together

For the past year, soccer for many has been a perpetual COVID-19 red card, a harsh penalty suspending play for players for only trying to do the right thing during a pandemic. On March 15 of last year, the city of Austin implemented a lockdown that prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people. For the […]

Jan 11, 2021

Austin Professional Cuddler Aims to Heal Through Touch

Professional cuddling is becoming increasingly popular around the country. During the last decade, cuddling businesses have opened in  Georgia, New York and Texas. In 2015, there was even a national cuddling convention in Portland, Oregon.

Dec 23, 2020

Austin Clinic Helps Addiction Patients After Using Psychedelic Drug Ibogaine

Root Recovery provides a residential aftercare program to patients as they recover after taking ibogaine to treat opioid addiction. Most clients travel to Mexico to take ibogaine — where it is legal — and then come to Root Recovery. The business has helped about 100 people recoup after ibogaine treatment. In Texas, at least 1,402 people died from opioid overdoses in 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dec 21, 2020

Austin’s Unauthorized Workers Fall Victim to Slowdown in Hospitality Industry

As the pandemic has ravaged the hospitality industry, many unauthorized workers have lost employment. According to the Austin Chamber of Commerce, the city’s employment in the hospitality and leisure industry stood at 76% of its pre-pandemic level as of late September.

Dec 16, 2020

Local Businesses Serve Up Lesson in Achieving Voter Turnout

In last November’s election, the voters of Travis County stepped right up for a passion plate of political participation this election. And local businesses would like to think they helped to serve it with a side of incentive. “The idea of getting involved in this year’s election was first proposed by a staff member back […]

Dec 16, 2020

Economic Displacement Feared As Austin Gets Moving

When Austin voters decided a third time was the charm and  signed a big check to get the city moving with a massive transportation project, they included a plan to mitigate community gentrification. Research suggests big infrastructure projects, especially for transportation, can contribute to economic displacement as property values rise along transportation corridors — already […]

Oct 27, 2020

Capareda’s Long, Winding Road to Ballet Austin

For Alexa Capareda, dance has long been a force in her life, a whirlwind around the globe. It has also been transformative. A journey that took her from youthful dancer to esteemed ballet master. As a child in the Philippines, she was well on her way to success. Then, her father was named a professor […]

Oct 17, 2020

UT Greek Life Struggles to Adhere to Pandemic Protocols

On the 2020 season’s first game-day Saturday, things seemed pretty normal for a University of Texas football weekend — pre-pandemic normal. At the Texas Rho fraternity house, dozens of UT students partied together in person. A leaked SnapChat video from inside the event showed attendees singing “The Eyes of Texas,” and standing shoulder to shoulder underneath a balcony packed […]

Oct 17, 2020

For ‘Esther’s Follies,’ Show Goes On (Virtually)

On Friday and Saturday nights at Sixth and Red River in downtown Austin, nine actors and a magician would stand beneath the warm glow of stage lights and look out at the sea of 270 bodies crammed in the sold-out theater, eager to deliver the next gut-busting joke or burst into comedic song. That was […]

Oct 14, 2020

Project Connect and Austin’s Past Light Rail Fails

The fate of the Oval Office is not the only key issue on Austinites’ ballot this November. Project Connect, Austin’s proposal for a light rail system and widely expanded bus service, is on the ticket as Proposition A. Voters rejected light rail plans in 2000 and 2014.