Audrey McGlinchy

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Music
10:56 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Advocates Offer Suggestions to an Austin Music Scene That 'Needs Improvement'

Protesters gathered to speak out against a Hyatt development near Cheer Up Charlies.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin music leaders are suggesting changes the city could make to protect and enliven its live music industry. On Wednesday, they presented their recommendations at Holy Mountain, a downtown venue closing its doors later this year – partly because of rising rent.

The recommendations are aimed at five issues advocates say are plaguing Austin’s music scene, including affordability of commercial space, stagnant event revenues, venue preservation, permitting and code enforcement complications and a gap in community engagement.

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Austin
2:03 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Council Plans Improvements for Austin's 'Eastern Crescent'

A city council group plans to tackle development and economic issues in what they're calling the city's 'Eastern Crescent' region.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The challenges of economic development and gentrification facing East Austin are nothing new. But they will get some new attention from a group of city council members convened by Mayor Steve Adler.  The group will be focusing on a part of the city some council members are calling the “eastern crescent.”

The exotic, almost alluring term “eastern crescent” was introduced recently into the city council lexicon. Council member Leslie Pool threw it out in a June audit and finance meeting. She was talking to city staff about a public improvement district in East Austin.

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Austin
10:17 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Parks Department Sat on Metz Pool Repair Bid for Nearly 6 Months

East Austin neighbors argued at a Parks & Rec Department meeting that it was unfair to learn roughly a month before the start of the summer season that some of them would be without the use of their community pools.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From the Austin Monitor:

Although the city’s Parks and Recreation Department ordered the repair of an East Austin neighborhood pool in late April, it appears that the department had bids for the work for some time. This, even as department officials initially told residents that the pool would have to be closed for the 2015 summer season and then back-tracked under community pressure.

On Nov. 5, 2014 (see below), the Parks Department received a bid from Commercial Swim Management for Metz Pool repairs totaling $10,232.60. Those repairs included replacement of the plumbing in a pool wall drain and installation of new valves and piping. That bid was eventually approved, and a purchase request was made by the city on April 30, 2015.

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Energy & Environment
11:05 am
Thu July 9, 2015

How to 'Haze' Travis County's Urban Coyotes

The Austin City Council adopted its first-ever plan to handle coyotes in November.
Texas Eagle/flickr

Between January and March, Travis County residents called in more than 260 coyote incidents. Some of these were just sightings, but others called in because their pets had been attacked.

In November, the Austin City Council adopted its first-ever plan to handle coyotes. The main thrust of the plan? Handling them humanely.

But what does handling them humanely mean, exactly?

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Austin
10:36 am
Tue July 7, 2015

Same-Sex Couples Looking to Adopt Could See Changes in Form Language

A sample birth certificate form from the City of Austin offers slots for 'Mother' and 'Father.' The state is reviewing the forms to offer language that accommodates same-sex couples.
Credit City of Austin

Earlier this month, Florida repealed its ban on adoption by same-sex couples. That’s never been illegal in Texas, but whether or not a same-sex couple can adopt a child has always come down to a judge’s opinion. But with the Supreme Court’s decision on same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges last month, judges in Texas can no longer discriminate based on a couple’s makeup.

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Music
9:03 am
Thu July 2, 2015

Petition Suggests Giving Priced-Out Venues Rent Control. But Is That Possible in Austin?

The crowd at an event protesting the Hyatt hotel development adjacent to Cheer Up Charlies.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Last week downtown Austin music venue Holy Mountain announced it will close its doors this fall because of rising rent prices. Advocates say more music venues will begin to fall as Austin rents increase — the club's neighbor Red 7 is also staring down a rent hike. So some Austinites and out of town music-boosters are floating a solution.

A 500-plus signature petition on change.org is proposing a simple solution to the Austin City Council: rent control. 

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Austin
11:49 am
Tue June 23, 2015

Fun Fun Fun Fest Fights for Space

Parks Department staff says festival use of Auditorium Shores' off-leash dog area is something they specifically set out to prohibit during redesign.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor: The battle rages bloodless over a 3-acre tract of dog park.

The Parks and Recreation Department and the organizer of Fun Fun Fun Fest, Transmission Events, are ensnarled in a dispute over festival planning. At the center of that dispute is the new off-leash area at the renovated Vic Mathias Shores, formerly Auditorium Shores. If there isn’t a resolution by this Thursday, City Council may intervene.

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Austin
8:06 am
Fri June 19, 2015

Austin's Juneteenth Memorial Installed In Time for the Holiday's 150th Anniversary

The set of statues commemorate the day in 1865 when African-American slaves in Texas learned of their freedom.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today is the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth, the day when African-American slaves in Galveston, Texas were finally granted their freedom – two-and-a-half years after Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and just over two months after the Confederacy surrendered at Appomattox.

The day of celebration started as a Texas tradition but has since become a nationwide tradition, and in the late 1990s two Texas artists built statues to commemorate the holiday.

Those statues have now been installed in Austin’s George Washington Carver Museum, but the statues have had a long journey to what will likely be their permanent home. 

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Crime & Justice
4:42 pm
Mon June 15, 2015

After Shootings at Police Headquarters, Departments Consider Bulletproof Glass

Neither Dallas' nor Austin's police headquarters have bullet-resistant windows. After Saturday's shooting in Dallas, officials there are considering it.
wikimedia commons

After a shooting early Saturday at the police headquarters in Dallas, officials there are calling for more building security. One of the improvement measures they are considering is installing bulletproof glass.

Austin had its own shooting on police headquarters back in November, and repairs on the building will start in a few weeks. But the department did not have bulletproof glass before the shooting, and there are no plans to install it now.

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Austin
10:41 am
Mon June 15, 2015

Short-Term Rental Regulations Prove Difficult to Enforce

The City of Austin may crack down on short-term rentals brokered by companies like HomeAway and Airbnb.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

This week, Austin City Council will start discussions about increasing the enforcement of short-term rental property regulations. Currently, the city requires short-term rental operators to hold a license, and renters must agree to certain rules.

But those rules have proven difficult to enforce, and council will hear recommendations on the license program and enforcement of  illegal rentals this afternoon.

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Austin
9:41 am
Thu June 11, 2015

East Cesar Chavez Hotel Fails at Planning Commission

Opponents objected to the size of the boutique hotel proposed for East Cesar Chavez. But if the hotel doesn't go up there, some argue, something else inevitably will.
Audrey McGlinchy/Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor:

Residents opposed to a proposed 65-room boutique hotel at 1207 East Cesar Chavez St. told the Planning Commission on Tuesday night that they do not want to see their neighborhood become “another Rainey Street.” At the meeting, several residents held signs that read, “Don’t Rain-ey on our Chavez … No East Side Hotel.”

Commissioners agreed that the hotel should not go up in East Austin, and a motion to approve a conditional use permit failed (Commissioner Richard Hatfield created the motion, but none of the other four commissioners present seconded it).

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Austin City Council
8:05 am
Tue June 9, 2015

Many Boards and Commissions Seats Still Vacant

The Austin City Council still has 300 spots to fill in its commissions and boards before July 1.
Credit City of Austin

From the Austin Monitor

While City Council members have almost 300 spots to fill on commissions and boards before current membership expires on July 1, some groups have adjourned their June meetings still uncertain about who will be seated next month.

With Commissioner Reynaldo Moreno absent, the Public Safety Commission last week voted unanimously to cancel its July meeting because members were not assured they would have a majority, or quorum, present.

“I’ve been putting the pressure on the mayor and Council to continue making appointments,” said Boards and Commissions Coordinator Deena Estrada. “There’s a lot of guilty emails going out, or my stomping of feet in front of the mayor’s office. I’ll send an email saying we now have only five boards that are able to meet quorum. … I can handle the guilt trip pretty well.”

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Austin
9:32 am
Fri June 5, 2015

Ready to Hit the Pool? You May Have to Wait.

Barton Springs, along with several other pools, aren't quite recovered from the Memorial Day flooding.
Audrey McGlinchy/flickr

School’s letting out for summer, and swimming pool season’s getting underway. But some of Austin’s pools aren’t ready for swimmers, at least not yet.

During last week’s floods, images circulated of Barton Springs Pool looking like a raging river. The water’s receded since then, but now, small islands of drying mud float atop murky, green water.

But there aren’t any swimmers. “Just a few ducks and some divers,” said Andrei Mellin, who was in town visiting from Cincinatti. He and his family showed up to Barton Springs, towels in hand, only to find out that the pool isn’t open.

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Austin
1:39 pm
Wed May 13, 2015

Vicious v. Dangerous: Why the City Will Reconsider How It Tracks Troublesome Dogs

There are some slight discrepancies between the state and city laws regarding 'dangerous' or 'vicious' dogs. Pictured here: a dog that's not on either list.
Nikasucha/pixabay

Texas law requires that a dog who’s attacked a human be placed on a “dangerous dog list.” These lists are updated by municipalities and counties, and many publish the dog owners’ names and where they live.

Austin has its own dangerous dog ordinance, but instead of "dangerous," the city uses the word “vicious.” The ordinance was passed more than two decades ago and is less forgiving than state law. But after an increasing number of complaints about recourse for those dogs who violate the city law, members of the Animal Advisory Commission say they’ll reconsider what it means to be a vicious dog in Austin.

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Austin
8:43 am
Fri May 8, 2015

Council Again Questions Zimmerman Appointments

District 6 council member Don Zimmerman again has drawn controversy with his commission appointees.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

Facebook posts did them in.

As City Council members nixed two of Council Member Don Zimmerman’s appointees — some citing comments made on social media pages — they debated Zimmerman’s judgment following what they said has been a string of controversial nominees to city boards and commissions.

Council Member Greg Casar said he felt the time that has been taken discussing Zimmerman’s appointees, and their various merits, could be better spent. “Our time on Council is very precious, and I don’t want to spend my time having these discussions,” he said. “There are people that could have diverse viewpoints that would not cause us to take so much of our time that we really need to dedicate to greater policy issues.”

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Austin
3:08 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Austin Tries to Head Off Another Lifeguard Shortage

A lifeguard at the Northwest Park pool.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

Last year, we met Redding McArdle outside Hyde Park’s Shipe Pool. The two-year-old wore blue arm floats and a bathing suit, but the gates to the pool were locked, and McArdle had a slightly dejected look on his face.

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Austin
10:20 am
Thu April 9, 2015

Austin Commission Votes to Ban Use of 'Painful Devices' on Circus Animals

Nathan King/flickr

From the Austin Monitor: Before the Austin Animal Advisory Commission endorsed a proposed ordinance Wednesday banning the use of painful devices on circus animals, commissioners deliberated how the city should define a circus animal.

Members said the inclusion of lions, tigers and bears, plus other usual circus animals, was certainly right. However, Commissioner Babette Ellis worried that including horses and dogs might affect those animals traveling to the city for non-circus events, such as the upcoming Austin Kennel Club Dog Show.

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Austin
8:00 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Animal Shelters Urge People Not to Buy Live Bunnies for Easter

Rabbit rescue centers and animal shelters say they've noticed that people bring in a lot of bunnies about a month after Easter.
Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

For some, Easter means dyeing eggs, stuffing candy into colorful baskets, and maybe eating some of those chocolate Easter bunnies. But some people have noticed another trend: Parents buy their kids baby bunnies – real ones – for Easter.

Then, once the bunnies grow to full size – some can be up to 13 pounds – what had at first seemed like a cute gift ends up demanding a lot of care.

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SXSW 2015
1:18 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

What is it About Swedish Pop Music? Searching for that 'Swedish Sound' at SXSW

Swedish duo The Magnettes perform at SXSW.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

You might be surprised to hear that Sweden is the world’s third biggest exporter of music. ABBA, Ace of Base, and the guy who invented Spotify are all Swedes.

And when Swedish musicians travel outside their country, one of their first stops is South by Southwest.

But what makes Swedish music so popular?

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Austin
8:43 am
Thu February 12, 2015

Watch: Austin Unveils the World's Nosiest Lamp Posts

A text from a thing.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Think of a time you’ve talked to an object that can’t talk back. Maybe you’ve yelled at your car when it wouldn’t start, or screamed at the leg of a table after stubbing your toe on it.

While Austinites have always had the option to talk to inanimate objects while walking down the street, now the objects will talk – or rather, text – back.

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