Ryan Groves


Intern for KUT News


The holiday season is here. For many that means traveling, shopping and celebrating – all of which can pose certain safety issues. Here’s a rundown of holiday safety tips, and info about city services offered over the winter holidays:

Auto-Burglary Awareness Program

In Texas, a vehicle is broken into every 2.5 minutes, and auto-burglaries escalate during the holiday season.  With the holiday season upon us, local law enforcement is raising awareness over auto burglaries.  

The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Project suggests that you take the following actions to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of auto burglary:

  • Lock your car and take your keys
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings      
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash or credit cards
Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission

After some last minute changes, the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission unanimously approved a map for Austin’s new City Council districts last night.

Most changes to the map were relatively minor, especially compared to previous revisions. South Austin District Five, for instance, was extended to reach up to Lady Bird Lake.


Update: And the results are in. Truck By Truckwest, Austin’s first ever food truck taste-off, has a winner. 

After 1,400 votes were cast, Texas-inspired sandwich joint Hey! … You Gonna Eat or What? and chef/owner Eric Regan took home a $10,000 prize. Over 60 food trucks, showcasing a wide array of culinary creations, took part in the five-day event.

Austin Food for Life founder Brian Stubbs will also be presented a check for $3,100. Ten percent of the event’s proceeds were donated to the nonprofit, which helps Austin’s food and beverage service community access health care.

Original story (Oct. 31): It seems like you find them on almost every street in Austin: Airstreams, buses and trailers surrounded by chairs and picnic tables – a movable feast tucked away in whatever alleyway, vacant lot or convenience store that can hold them.

Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin

A report this week in the journal Pediatrics on the risks of  unregulated breast milk – covering sharing between friends, but also Internet sales – found three-fourths of the study samples were contaminated with bacteria.

The populations most at risk from such milk are newborns with significant health issues. They’re children like Nina DeGuire. Now a year old, she was born with a serious heart problem that required a series of surgeries and made it hard for her to take formula. Her mother Lani says she had no choice but to find donated breast milk.

Texas Department of Transportation

Travis County Commissioners have approved a resolution by a vote of 4-to-0 supporting the construction of State Highway 45 Southwest.  Commissioner Gerald Daugherty pushed for the resolution, after campaigning on getting the roadway built. He says population growth and traffic congestion demands action. And he believes the road could be built while protecting natural resources, despite a pending environmental review from TxDOT and push-back from environmentalists and stakeholders in the area. 

SH 130 Concession Company

Update: Central Texas residents owe the state more than $27 million in unpaid tolls, and Texas is trying out a new method to collect the dough.

On Thursday, the Texas Department of Transportation released its list of the top 25 toll violators in the state. Topping the list was a Pflugerville resident who had 14,358 unpaid toll transactions, which totaled $236,026. Second place went to a Hutto resident with 10,566 unpaid tolls that added up to $217,619.

Violators were from six cities: Pflugerville, Hutto, Round Rock, Austin, Taylor and Leander. If violators do not pay up, Senate Bill 1792, which passed earlier this year, gives TxDOT the authority to possibly deny the offender’s vehicle registration and ban them from using TxDOT toll roads. 

Lizzie Chen for KUT News

A way station for immigrants the world over, New York’s Ellis Island is arguably the truest symbol of American identity. But the island is closed today – along with the Statue of Liberty and all other national monuments, memorials, libraries and parks – all as a result of the ongoing government shutdown

Here in Texas, the shutdown’s made an immediate impact on incoming immigrants: it has forced the State Department and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration to delay the arrival of refugees from Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Eritrea, Burma, Bhutan, Cuba and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  And approximately 10 percent of these immigrants come to Texas. 


After dishing the dirt for months, new regulations are in the offing for Austin's urban farms.

Last week, Austin’s Planning Commission recommended a set of revisions to the city’s urban farm ordinance. And while the proposed changes would establish stricter criteria on raising some livestock, some East Austin residents say the proposals don’t go far enough.

Austin Auction Gallery

There’s many ways to describe Richard Garriott de Cayeux: computer gaming pioneer, sometime astronaut and Austin resident. And now you have the chance to bid on items from Garriott’s one-of-a-kind collection.

This Saturday, the Austin Auction House is offering over 500 items and collections from Garriott’s estate – presumably housed at Britannia Manor, Garriott’s ornate home overlooking Lake Austin.