Phoebe Flanigan

Intern

Intern for KUT News

Austin City Council
11:45 am
Fri January 31, 2014

City Council Approves Athenahealth Incentives Deal - But Not Unanimously

Massachusetts-based athenahealth will open its offices inside the former Seaholm Power Plant
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Last night the Austin City Council approved a deal that offers nearly $680,000 dollars in incentives for athenahealth to expand in Austin. The grant will be offered in addition to a $5 million subsidy from Gov. Rick Perry's Texas Enterprise Fund.

But not everyone is happy with the deal. Some council members argue that the city’s booming economy doesn’t need to offer subsidies to bring business to Austin. (The deal passed on a 5-2 vote, with city council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo voting no.)

Austin Monitor publisher Michael Kanin says that this debate is heating up as council members become increasingly divided on the issue of business incentives.

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Voting
12:59 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Up to 37,000 Travis County Voters Could Lack Required ID

Students outside of the Flawn Academic Center. Voter ID requirements and incorrect addresses could potentially keep tens of thousands of Travis County citizens from voting.
Credit Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin is just over a month away from March primaries – and Monday, Feb. 3 is the final day to register to vote.

Some Texans will also need to get their IDs in order. Following a 2013 Supreme Court decision, a state issued drivers license or one of several approved documents is required to cast a ballot at Texas polling stations. (See more information on acceptable documents.)

Tax Assessor/Collector Bruce Elfant says the new law could affect voters in Travis County.

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Winter Weather
10:36 am
Tue January 28, 2014

What Weather Closures Mean for Central Texas' HD 50 Special Election

While extra polling places aren’t being added to offset closed stations at schools, voters can vote at any polling place in the HD 50 special election.
flickr.com/whiteafrican

Republican Mike VanDeWalle and Democrat Celia Israel face off in a special election for District 50 today. 

The seat opened when former HD 50 Rep. Mark Strama, stepped down to take a job with Google Fiber. But some worry that the cold weather will have a negative impact on the election.

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Health
7:03 am
Wed January 8, 2014

Power for Parkinson's Inspires Patients to Step Into an Active Life

At a Power for Parkinson's class, patients stay active by dancing to the music of 'Singin' in the Rain.'
Phoebe Flanigan

With a vibrant live music scene, a bustling tech sector and a top-flight university, Austin seems like an oasis for young people.

However, the seemingly youthful Texas capital isn't wasted on the young. 

The Austin-Round Rock area has the fastest growing population of people between ages 55 and 64, and the third-fastest growing for those 65 and over, according to U.S. Census data. 

An organization called Power for Parkinson's is offering those affected by the disease a chance to step forward into an active, healthy life. 

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Health Care
8:11 am
Wed December 11, 2013

14,000 Texans Signed Up for Obamacare Plans

The Obama administration says technical tweaks to the health care website are making it easier for Americans to sign up for insurance.
healthcare.gov

Early technical issues with the new healthcare marketplace, HealthCare.gov, brought serious criticism to an already controversial government initiative. But a new report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services suggests that the tides may be turning for Obamacare.

By the end of November, coverage plan enrollment numbers for Texans had jumped to 14,000 – that’s up from 3,000 the month before.

And many more Texans are on their way to enrolling. According to the same report, nearly a quarter of a million Texans have applied for coverage and are waiting to choose a Marketplace plan. Those numbers are actually the second highest in the nation for states that are supported or fully run by a federal (rather than a state-implemented) healthcare Marketplace.

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Thanksgiving
2:22 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving 2013: Turkey Trot Road Detours, City of Austin Closures

The 2009 ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot in downtown Austin.
flickr.com/dsebourn

Even if you’re staying off the highway this Thanksgiving, your plans might still be affected by holiday schedules and street closures.

Chief among them: the 23rd Annual ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot takes place downtown Thursday morning, with many roads  blocked off until noon. The course, which begins at Auditorium Shores, features a five-mile run, a one-mile walk, and a Stepping Stone School Kids’ K. (See a map of related street closures below.)

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Thanksgiving
10:20 am
Wed November 27, 2013

Either Flying or Driving, Expect Crowds for Thanksgiving Travel

Over 3 million Texans are expected to hit the road for thanksgovomng travel.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News

Getting out of town this weekend to join relatives for Thanksgiving?

Plan wisely – it’s one of the busiest travel days of the year. According to a report by AAA Texas, 3.4 million other Texans will also be traveling for the holidays.

Most travelers will leave for their trip on Wednesday, Nov. 27 and return on Sunday, Dec. 1. For those going out of town, 3.1 million plan to travel by car.

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Urban Agriculture
10:11 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Where Do We Grow From Here? Urban Farms and Gentrification in East Austin

Eastside graffiti near HausBar Farms asks a pressing question about the future of the rapidly changing neighborhood.
Phoebe Ann Flanigan for KUT News

Debate over whether urban farms contribute to the gentrification of Austin’s eastside was prolonged last month, when the Austin City Council decided to postpone a decision on changes to the city's urban farm rules. The council is slated to take action on that matter today.

Before their decision, a look at the issue from two standpoints: an examination of the gentrification debate, and a look at one urban farm in action.

Walk down the gravel path at 3300 Govalle Road and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the middle of the countryside. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re in the city of Austin,” says Dorsey Barger.

She would know: as a co-owner of HausBar Farms, she gets to live there.

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Urban Rail
2:11 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Map: Which Parts of Austin Should Get Urban Rail First?

Credit Project Connect

Now’s your chance to name the parts of Austin that should be served by urban rail.

This week, the City of Austin and its transportation partners are inviting the public to name the subcorridor that would benefit the most from urban rail.

Planners at Project Connect, the team coordinating the city’s rail and regional transportation efforts, have identified 10 subcorridors within central Austin. Not counting downtown’s core, they are (in clockwise order): Lamar, Highland, Mueller, MLK, East Austin, the East Riverside Corridor, South Congress, South Lamar, West Austin, and Mopac. 

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Williamson County
8:32 am
Wed November 6, 2013

Williamson County Voters OK Transportation, Parks Spending

Last week, Forbes magazine ranked Williamson County America’s fastest-growing county. Although Williamson County’s 7.94 percent growth rate has had positive impacts on its economy, the boom has put a strain on existing infrastructure.

Yesterday, Williamson County voters responded by approving two bond packages aimed at helping county infrastructure keep up with growth. The two propositions:

  • Prop 1, adding $275 million to the county’s budget for road improvements and construction, passed with 64 percent of the vote.
  • Prop 2, earmarking $40 million to upgrade the county’s park system, passed with nearly 55 percent.

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Austin City Council
9:40 am
Thu October 17, 2013

Council Preview: Putting Austin Cemetery Changes to Rest?

The Austin City Council is seeking guidance on how and when to clean up city-run cemeteries today.
Phoebe Ann Flanigan for KUT News

Earlier this month, Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department took on a difficult task – cleaning up Austin’s five city-owned cemeteries. But the cleanup policies have rankled some families of the dead.

The city received a barrage of complaints after it began citing graves adorned with extra objects for code violations: benches, birdbaths, vegetation, wind chimes, stones and more.

Today, the Austin City Council will look to revise the city’s strategy and finally put the issue to rest. The cleanup, which was slated to begin Nov. 1, could be delayed another six months.

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Austin Film Festival
10:30 am
Wed October 9, 2013

Austin Film Fest: Breaking Bad's Vince Gilligan Teams with Will Ferrell

“Breaking Bad” showrunner Vince Gilligan is bringing an unproduced script of his to the Austin Film Festival.
flickr.com/tomdog

Where has “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan chosen to take a post-finale victory lap? Here in Austin – resurrecting his feature-length screenplay “2 FACE” with none other than Will Ferrell reading the lead role.

In honor of its 20th anniversary this year, the Austin Film Festival has pulled out all the stops. Besides the staged reading of Gilligan’s “2 FACE,” the eight-day festival also recently announced feature appearances by director Jonathan Demme, “Freaks and Geeks” and “Mad Men” actor Linda Cardellini, and this year’s Extraordinary Contribution to Filmmaking Actor awardee, Susan Sarandon

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SXSW
11:29 am
Wed October 2, 2013

South by Southwest Invites the Jocks to the Party with SXsports

A scene at the Austin Convention Center during SXSW 2013.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Though its average attendee is much older, you can think about South by Southwest like it was a high school: It’s got cool rockers, AV buffs (SXSW Film), tech geeks (SXSW Interactive), even straight-A students (SXSWedu) and crunchy granola-types (SXSW Eco).

Now South by Southwest has invited the jocks to the party.

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UT Medical School
4:53 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

How Race & Ethnicity Could Help Shape UT's Medical School Curriculum

Health advocates argue UT's Dell Medical School should offer a curriculum that factors in societal issues.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

When the University of Texas’ new Dell Medical School opens its doors in 2016, it will be the first new medical school at a leading research university in over fifty years. And its creation offers significant possibilities for doctors, educators and public health advocates. 

“We see this as an exciting opportunity to rethink medical education from the ground up,” says New York University professor Helena Hansen, one of the participants at this week’s conference on racial and ethnic health disparities. “Because you’re starting a program from scratch here in Austin, you can think very big.” 

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Beer
1:30 pm
Wed September 25, 2013

A Dispute Brews in Austin Over 'Namaste' Beer Trademark

Whip In's in-house beer company, Namaste Brewing, has been challenged on trandemark grounds.
flickr.com/the_photographer

An Austin beer emporium may be forced to change the name of its line of brews.

First opened in 1986, South Austin’s Whip In has evolved from a convenience store into a “Dhabapub” offering Indian cuisine and 72 beers on tap. It’s also launched an in-house line of beers: Namaste Brewery.  But this week, Whip In announced it was being asked to surrender the Namaste name.

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Del Valle
9:56 am
Tue September 24, 2013

County Commissioners Approve Some Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack (Update)


View Proposed Roads Near F1 Racetrack in a larger map

Update: Travis County Commissioners have agreed to fund the construction of a new road in Del Valle near the Circuit of the Americas track using non-taxpayer approved bonds. Commissioner Margaret Gomez, who represents the area where the road will be built, says the project is critical for economic development.

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Emergency Preparedness
1:42 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

It’s National Preparedness Month: Here Are 4 Ways to Be Ready for Emergencies

A scene from the Bastrop fire response on Sept. 5, 2011. Wildfires are one of the most likely disaster scenarios for the Central Texas region.
KUT News

According to a survey from Austin’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, less than 10 percent of Austinites are ready for an emergency or natural disaster. 

“People just don’t think anything’s going to happen here,” explains spokesperson Candice Wade Cooper.  “Even though Austin may not be prone to sudden emergencies like earthquakes or tsunamis, there are all kinds of things that can catch you off guard – flooding, fires, burglary. It’s important to be prepared.”

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MoPac
3:33 pm
Thu September 5, 2013

Learn More About Plan to Bury MoPac's Downtown Exit Ramps

There are few things most drivers despise more than sitting in traffic.  Add the sweltering heat of a Texas summer day, and you’ve introduced even more suffering.

That’s bad news for Austin, a city that was ranked fourth-worst nationally for traffic in 2013.  A good deal of this infamous congestion is born along MoPac.  Designed in 1961 to meet the needs of less than a quarter of a million people, MoPac has been under strain since the beginning of Austin’s demographic boom.  Today, the design is simply incapable of meeting the needs of the city’s burgeoning population.

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