Filipa Rodrigues

KUT News

If it's springtime in Austin, it’s festival season.

Austin will be busy again this weekend with the return of the Texas Relays and more activities around town, That also meaning several street closures and traffic delays. 

The 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays return to the University of Texas today. More than 6,000 college and high school athletes from all over the country will be at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium from Wednesday through Saturday.

Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

flickr.com/spike55151

This story has been corrected. See below.

The Travis County Commissioners Court discussed a proposal Tuesday that could cut individual permit parking for some downtown employees, replacing it with open, or "zoned," parking lot parking. 

The county aims to eliminate a three year-long waitlist for parking that has 320 employees still angling for a spot.

Travis County auditor Nikki Riley told the commissioners the county pays $120,000 a year for additional spaces so certain employees can have reserved spots. "We are firmly convinced that if we go to zoned parking, we would be able to eliminate the waiting list," she said.

This year, the City of Austin is planning to cover over $750,000 worth of fees and services for South by Southwest . 

The proposal, which the Austin City Council is set to vote on Thursday, includes up to $274,320 worth of fee waivers – ranging from $30 sound permit fees to $89,000 worth of litter control services. Any fees already paid by SXSW would be reimbursed to the company. The city would also authorize payments for $481,324 worth of city services – the bulk of which is $340,000 in additional police costs.

Seattle Department of Planning & Development

Micro-units – apartments of 500 square feet or less – might be Austin's next big building trend.

As the city's population continues to climb, troubles have mounted with providing affordable housing. To address the issue, the Austin City Council is asking the city manager to study the feasibility of micro-unit projects.

"Micro-units will allow people to live closer to downtown at a more affordable cost," says council member Bill Spelman.

KUT News

The Dell Medical School has a dean.

Ending a months-long search, UT President Bill Powers announced this morning that Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston has been named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Johnston, a neurologist who currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of California, San Francisco, says that he is excited to have the rare opportunity to build a medical school from the ground-up.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 2014 awards season marks another great year for the Austin film community on the festival circuit. 

The 86th Academy Award nominations, announced this morning, featured plenty of Texas talent. And the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off in Park City, Utah today, also features a few Austin auteurs in this year's lineup.

friendsofthehollow.com

The Travis County Commissioners Court has approved a park-use fee hike, raising entry fees at Hamilton Pool and Hippie Hollow, as well as increasing field reservation fees. Travis County's Park fees were last raised in 2009.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Several law enforcement agencies across Central Texas will be on patrol looking for drunk drivers during the upcoming holiday. The Austin Police Department will start the third phase of its safety initiative next week.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With the Yuletide season in full swing, Austin turns into a wonderland of lights.

This holiday season, KUT made the trek to the Trail of Lights to ask Austinites what makes the recently-revived light show a family tradition. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Google has been traveling the U.S., showing off its wearable computing device Google Glass.

This weekend Google is bringing Glass to Austin. It's an unique opportunity to get  firsthand experience with the divisive device - which has inspired strong reactions among many who have yet to use it. 

Washington Post

Do you live in one of the Austin-area’s "Super Zips?"

Sifting through 2010 Census data, the Washington Post recently took a closer look at the country’s pockets of prosperity and education. Drawing on the concept of Super Zips – Zip codes in the 95th percentile for median incomes and college degrees – the Post created an interactive map showing the increased economic segmentation of the country.  

KUT News

With Thanksgiving over, Austin turns to the winter holidays this weekend. 

The Zilker Holiday Tree returns for the holiday season on Sunday. Celebrating  its 47th lightning ceremony, the Holiday Tree will remain lit nightly, from 6 p.m. until midnight, until Dec. 31.

Taking place on Saturday is the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. The parade, benefiting Operation Blue Santa, begins at 11 a.m. in downtown Austin. That means street closures from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. (See a map below.)

KUT

As the country marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, KUT asked Austinites to share their personal stories about where they were on that day.

From Boulder, Colorado to Tripoli, Lebanon, Austinites remembered precise details from what could have been another normal Friday in November, fifty years ago.

KUTX's John Aielli was a 17-year-old DJ at a local station in Killeen when he had to break into programming to announce the president had been shot in Dallas.

"I'll never forget it." 

120daysmovie.com

Disclosure: KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival. 

Although it's featured through different film genres, the topic of immigration has a solid presence in the lineup of this year's Austin Film Festival. 

flickr.com/tifotter

Here’s a new Halloween practice some dentists see as a treat: Halloween candy buybacks.

Once the little ones have finished trick-or-treating this year, Austin pediatric dentists are ready to buy back their Halloween candy –  at a buck a pound.

The buyback program is a part of Operation Gratitude. Annually, Operation Gratitude sends more than 100,000 packages filled with snacks, entertainment items and letters of support – including Halloween candy – to U.S. service members deployed in hostile regions.

dogdaysthemovie.com

KUT is a media sponsor of the Austin Film Festival.

Food trucks are white hot in Austin – and the story’s similar across the country.

Mobile restaurants feed a trend of quickly-served, affordably-priced gourmet food – perfect whether you’re at the bar, or barely have time to leave your office for lunch. 

But for those in the traditional world of street vending – old school hot dog carts parked on street corners – this new wave of mobile food vendors is a major disruption.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Austin Film Festival – one of the first fests to focus on screenplays and writers’ contributions to film. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Residents of the town of West, Texas came out over the weekend to enjoy their annual Labor Day festival – Westfest. With plenty of beer, sausage, polka music and rides, it’s a celebration of the town’s Czech heritage. 

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The House of Torment has reached an agreement to stay at its Highland Mall location for a ninth year. "We couldn't be more excited to share what we've created this year with Austin fear fans," says House of Torment president and founder Daniel McCullough in a press release. "We really went above and beyond in terms of both production and design, and we hope you'll come scream with us."

Original story (Oct. 24, 2012): To encourage trick-or-treating in his neighborhood, every year Halloween-lover Dan McCullough would build a haunted house in his backyard in South Austin.

His plan worked – and soon the house’s popularity grew until one year it got out of hand. Over a hundred people showed up to the house and police were called to direct traffic. McCullough’s operation had to end – in that form at least.

McCullough decided to turn professional. The haunted house that originated in McCullough’s backyard is now the House of Torment.

Jon Love visited the House of Torment in its inaugural space 10 years ago. Now he’s the vice president of Harbinger Events, the organization that puts on the haunted house.

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