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On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Keith L. Brown, 'Motivator of the Millennium.'

Insight Publishing named Brown one of the top 50 speakers and experts in education today. He is a Professional Speaker and trainer whose keynotes and workshops enhance the SUPER – VISION of the masses while reducing the supervision to all under the sound of his vibrant voice.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Everyone needs a copy editor. (Thank you, Susan and Amy and Pam.)

Today, the Texas Republican Party is probably wishing it had one, too.

Pexels (CC0)

From Texas Standard:

This week, Texas lawmakers in both the Senate and House vowed to end the abuse of emergency leave for state workers.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

New numbers out today from the U.S. Census Bureau show that five of the fastest growing cities in the nation are here in Texas.

Georgetown tops the list of cities with a population of 50,000 or more. The latest estimates show the Williamson County seat saw a 7.8 percent jump in residents over a recent one-year period. 


Austin History Center PICA-26317

Austin’s in a new era of ridesharing. In the exhaust of Uber and Lyft’s departures, a salvo of ride-hailing providers (some app-based and others not) are vying to fill the pothole left by their industry standard-bearing predecessors. Some of those providers and their practices have been questioned, with some calling current options “gypsy cabs” – like the proto-ride-hailer SideCar was in 2013. But in the early 20th century, the unlicensed ride-hailers were called bootleg cabs and the city’s 14-year fight with them helped galvanize its extensive taxi regulations.

Playwright Elizabeth Doss has spent the past few years creating theater pieces about her family history. Hillcountry Underbelly was inspired by her own childhood in Central Texas, and in last year's Mast she crafted a tale based on the true life adventures of her maternal grandparents.

Now, for the third work in that loose trilogy,  she's reaching further back in time, all the way to her great-great-great-grandfather, Herman Melville. "It's, in a large part, tracing not just the life of Herman Melville but specifically my lineage up to him," she says, "so all that family are the characters in this play."

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

About a year ago, Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett posted a haiku on Twitter:

Who would the Donald/Name to #SCOTUS? The mind/reels. *weeps — can't finish tweet*

Maybe those were tears of joy. 

Are Cops in Schools Creating a 'Climate of Fear?'

May 18, 2016
Flickr/Jan Paul Yap (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard: A viral video was making the rounds, showing a 12-year-old girl body slammed by a police officer in a San Antonio school. That officer has since been fired, but the incident raised concerns about 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: City leaders traded accusations of dishonesty over ride-hailing regulations at a meeting Tuesday as they grappled with potential solutions to the transportation void created by the recent departure of Uber and Lyft.

The debate was prompted by a resolution proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo that directs city staff to explore a number of means of helping other ride-hailing companies and taxi services in the city prosper, including city loans or technical assistance.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Would you use a self-driving car? That’s the question the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) asked people in the Austin area.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT News

This week, Capital Metro is presenting the latest findings from its Connections 2025 study, which seeks to revamp Austin’s public transit system over the next 10 years.

The new report looks at how Capital Metro’s services fit in with changing demographics, and shows that while Austin’s transit ridership is higher than cities like Dallas and San Antonio, it’s still declining. 

Callie Richmond and Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune: Will public schools really lose federal education funding if they refuse to comply with a new Obama administration directive regarding transgender students?

That's the basic query posed by top lawyers from Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia in a letter sent Tuesday to the U.S. Justice and Education departments seeking clarification on the directive, which advises the nation's public schools to allow transgender students to use the bathrooms that match their gender identity.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Former full-time Uber and Lyft driver Kurt Wagenman showed up to Austin’s first transportation network company (TNC) driver fair on Tuesday with a misleading email in his inbox.


KUTX

Two founding members of the company that puts on Austin’s Fun Fun Fun Fest have parted ways with Transmission Events, leaving the future of the annual music festival up in the air.

Graham Williams and James Moody allowed real estate company Stratus Properties, a minority shareholder of Transmission, to buy them out. Williams is taking half of Transmission’s staff with him and launching his own production venture called Margin Walker Presents (named for a Fugazi song/EP). He plans for the company to focus less on corporate events and brand activations and more on producing live music performances in clubs and bars. 

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

UPDATE 8:30 p.m.: The Austin Police Association, the union representing APD officers, issued this statement on Facebook tonight:

EARLIER: The Austin Police officer who fatally shot a teenager in North Austin in February will not be indicted by a grand jury, says the Travis County District Attorney's office. Freeman shot and killed 17-year-old David Joseph after the teenager reportedly charged at the officer. 

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon/KUT

UPDATE: After our story was originally published, we heard from several members of Flood Mitigation Task Force, who disputed the assertions made by some task force members, including the group’s chairman, who said the final report lacked prioritization.

An executive summary of the report, not available at Monday’s meeting of the Council's Public Utilities committee, whittles down the nearly 200 recommendations into 19 high priority ones. Topping that list is the creation of a city-wide policy that prioritizes life, safety and property when it comes to flooding. The task force recommends that the city then consider this when making upcoming budget decisions.

In conversations with other members of the task force, some took issue with chairman Matt Reinstra’s presentation of the report to the Public Utilities Committee. At that time, he did not present the executive summary to council members because it had not yet been finalized by the task force.

“Many of the things he mentioned as recommendations were very minor things that were in there,” said task force member Ken Jacob. “We’re trying to come forward and say this is important. This is something you, the council, needs to pay attention to and the city needs to pay attention to because it’s a big issue.”

Jacob also cautioned against considering too heavily the report’s note that, at the city’s current rate of improvements, it would cost $2 to $4 billion to address local flooding issues.

“The numbers are just estimates [staff] were able to pull out there,” said Jacob. “And they’re going to have to do more work on that to finalize it.”

ORIGINAL STORY: Nearly a year after floodwaters wrecked businesses and homes in Austin over Memorial Day, members of the city’s Public Utilities Committee heard a rundown of a report from the city’s Flood Mitigation Task Force.

It’s a 89-page document bursting with nearly 200 recommendations for city staff – among them, suggestions to replace aging storm drainage systems and enhancing public outreach by the city’s Watershed Protection Department. According to the report, the total cost of these recommendations ranges from $2 billion to $4 billion.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Rapid development is just about everywhere in Austin. Some of that development has brought up environmental questions, or concerns over the increased traffic they could bring. But one developer has a fight on their hands that's not about what’s happening above ground, but below.


Shelby Knowles/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday the fight is not finished when it comes to regulations in Austin that have driven ride-hailing companies out of the state capital. 

"The issue's not over," Abbott said in an interview on CNBC. "Republicans in the Texas Legislature have already raised proposals coming up in the next session to override the Austin vote." 

Syeda Hasan / KUT

City of Austin regulators have released their latest report focused on making housing more affordable. This weekend, staff from the CodeNEXT initiative hosted a community walk to show how those changes could be implemented.


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