Wells Dunbar, KUT News | Texas Public Radio

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

As  online editor for KUT News, Wells Dunbar covers news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond. Before joining the KUT family, Wells served as staff writer and news blog editor at The Austin Chronicle, and covered the Texas Legislature for Gallery Watch. Hailing from El Paso, Wells is a longtime Austin resident whose interests include technology and social media, film and music, and spending quality time with his wife and cat.

On a clear spring day in 2013, two smoke stacks fell in El Paso. They had been a part of the landscape, and the El Paso economy for years. It took a mere 30 seconds for them to come down.

From Texas Standard:

"South Texas ... that's where I stay." Those words from the late rapper Pimp C – edited, fans will note – exemplify the fierce regional pride artists and fans alike have in the Houston-area rap scene.

Four are dead and 16 are injured from a shooting today at the Fort Hood Army post. The accused shooter is among the dead, killed by a self-inflicted gunshot to the head. Just outside of Killeen, Texas, Fort Hood is about an hour north of Austin. 

Army officials have not released the identity of the shooter because his next-of-kin has not yet been notified, Lieutenant General Mark Milley said at a news conference Wednesday night. But NPR has confirmed his identity as 34-year-old soldier Ivan Lopez. 

"The events of the past have taught us many things at Fort Hood," Milley said. "We will get through this."

Update: Our reporting partners at the Texas Tribune have a recap of Davis' announcement:  

Davis promised to be an advocate for those who feel they no longer have a voice in the halls of the Texas Capitol, to fight for more education dollars and to take on Republicans leaders who she said are listening to their campaign contributors instead of average Texans.
 
"In Austin today, our current leadership thinks promises are just something you make to the people who write big checks," she said, according to remarks distributed before she delivered them. "But the promise I’m talking about is bigger than that. It’s the promise of a better tomorrow for everyone. Texas deserves a leader who will protect this promise. Texas deserves a leader who will keep it."

It’s a long campaign ahead. Republican opponent Greg Abbott has a head-start in fundraising; the Davis campaign is said to need to raise about $40 million to be competitive.

Update: The Texas House Committee on Transparency in State Agency Operations met Monday to discuss an investigation that could lead to impeachment proceedings against a University of Texas System Regent.

The committee is tasked with deciding which articles for impeachment it could possibly bring against Wallace Hall. But at a committee hearing, lawmakers found there's little historic precedent to guide the process. According to Jeff Archer with the Texas Legislative Counsel, there have been few attempts to impeach a public official in Texas and there’s no definition or standard for what’s considered an impeachable offense. 

If you're heading to 7-Eleven today for a free Slurpee, raise your glass to the city of Austin and her Texas Longhorns: After all, it was here in Austin the convenience store giant first went 24/7.

In its corporate history, the Dallas-based chain writes that in 1963 “one 7-Eleven store in Austin, Texas, located close to the University of Texas, stayed so busy after a football game, it couldn’t close. The store just remained open.” That night’s success kept the store open 24 hours from there on out - inspiring other locations to do the same.

Simmering tensions between University of Texas at Austin President Bill Powers and the UT Board of Regents keep rising: An article in the Houston Chronicle claims Gov. Rick Perry – who appoints the regents – “has communicated through emissaries that Powers should resign to avoid an embarrassing regents vote to fire him.”

Chronicle reporter Patricia Kilday Hart spoke with Texas Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo. Sen. Zaffirini argues that recent several actions by the Board of Regents – a special-called meeting to discuss a sexual encounter between assistant football coach Major Applewhite and an adult student, a sweeping open records request, and the controversial decision to re-investigate financial arrangements at the UT Law School foundation – are designed to “make life miserable” for Powers and lead to his resignation.

A Texas Department of Transportation conference wouldn’t normally attract much attention. But invite a robot car to your meeting, and everything changes.

Google and its self-driving car were on hand at the Texas Transportation Forum today. The car – which relies on technology like radar and cameras to pilot itself – was the star of a panel on transportation and technology this morning.

Can you put a price tag on man’s best friend?

The Texas Supreme Court heard oral arguments Thursday morning in a case that could answer that question.  An animal shelter employee is appealing a lower court’s ruling that found her accidental euthanasia of a family dog gave the pet’s owners grounds to recover damages related to the dog’s “sentimental or intrinsic value.”