Sebastian Herrera

Intern Reporter

Sebastian Herrera is an intern reporter for KUT News. He is also a sports writer for The Daily Texan and a journalism student at the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently working towards his bachelor's degree and concentration in sports journalism. Sebastian was born in Bogotá, Colombia and grew up in Dallas, TX.

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Sebastian Herrera for KUT News

Update: While it was being used as soon as the concrete dried, today marks the official opening of the city’s latest “cycle track” – a protected stretch of bike lane on Guadalupe Street from MLK Jr. Boulevard to 24th Street.

“Street ambassadors” including representatives from Capital Metro and the police department will be present along the track to educate the public. They are located in front of the University Co-op today, and will reappear there on Monday. Oct. 21.

Non-profit Bike Austin has also launched an awareness campaign about the track. You can learn more about it here, and see a diagram of the cycle track below.

flickr.com/u-suke

Austin is now in the top 20 of the country’s most popular convention destinations. That’s according to event management company Cvent. It its 2013 rankings of the top U.S. cities for meeting and events, Austin ranks 20th out of the 50 top ranked U.S. cities.

Austin’s current position is four spots up from the company's 2012 rankings. And in its current location, Austin ranks right under major convention cities like Houston (19th) and Boston (18th).

flickr.com/Rex Turgano

Sustainable agriculture has found a new home in Austin – and students are the first to benefit from it.

Austin Community College is set to launch its Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurship program, teaching agricultural knowledge and skills in sustainable crop growth. The program will include three different non-credit courses that will be held at ACC's new 98-acre Elgin Campus. 

Samsung

Exporting everything from semiconductors to barbecue sauce, the Austin metropolitan area set a new $9 billion record for exports in 2012.

The total was an increase of 4.1 percent, or $350 million, according to an announcement yesterday by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA). The announcement says the Austin-Round Rock-San Marcos area was the 35th largest U.S. export for 2012. 

flickr.com/riosetiawan

Dry conditions have led to more burn bans being issued for Austin and surrounding areas.

The ban temporarily prohibits open fires and grilling in parks. Smoking continues to be prohibited in parks. The ban does not include propane grills and stoves in designated picnic areas.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Austin Fire Department says there were 57 grass and brush fires in Travis County over the Fourth of July, 30 of those fires were within the Austin city limits.

The fire department believes many of the fires were caused by fireworks.

"Certainly these smaller grass fires can extend to homes and businesses. And you know there is always the chance of people getting injured using the fireworks," AFD Battalion Chief Thayer Smith said.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 2013 regular session ended with  50 new criminal and juvenile justice bills passed and signed into law.

Legislators passed bills focused on reducing the number of individuals wrongfully convicted or incarcerated in Texas. That included Senate Bill 344, which will "require state to perform DNA testing in any capital offense where the state is seeking the death penalty."

flickr.com/eugene

Tomorrow marks the 100th edition of the Tour de France and Lance Armstrong — despite being stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles — still believes he's the race's greatest contender.

According to the French newspaper Le Monde, Lance Armstrong said he still considers himself the record-holder of tour victories despite being stripped of his titles this year after admitting to doping allegations.

Flickr user Brandi Korte,. http://bit.ly/11DcJXY

Big Tex’s big comeback has reached an important step: The State Fair of Texas has chosen a new voice for the iconic, talking statue.

But according to KERA News in Dallas, fair officials won’t announce who will voice the new Big Tex until he’s unveiled on September 27 – opening day at the fair. 

twitter.com/grrlforfashion

Hundreds of people who had signed up to testify at a Texas House Committee hearing on abortion restrictions yesterday didn’t get to speak. Committee Chairman Byron Cook closed testimony after 3 a.m. Friday.

The House Committee on State Affairs was considering legislation that would require abortion facilities to meet the same standards as ambulatory surgical centers and ban abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The committee didn't vote on the bills.

Nasha Lee for KUT News

The 2013 Republic of Texas (ROT) Bike Rally is starting today. And safety is a concern.

According to the Austin Police Department, 2012's ROT Rally weekend saw in 175 crashes, 95 injuries, 104 DWI arrests and five deaths – three of which included motorcycles. 

Callie Hernandez for KUT News

A debate over two Austin City Council proposals to track problem rental properties continued into the early hours of the morning.

After hearing from many Austinites about the issue, council members voted unanimously to pass an effort to create a registry for properties with a history of violations. A similar move to track all rental properties in certain parts of the city passed 5 to 2.

City employees will soon be able to take 30 days of paid parental leave.

Roy Varney for KUT News

East Austin activists gathered today at the Mexican American Cultural Center to protest development of the historic Rainey Street District.

Members from Hispanic Advocates Business Leaders of Austin (HABLA) say a proposed high-rise tower would overshadow the neighborhood that's seen its share of attention from developers looking to break into the budding entertainment district.