AM Update
7:33 am
Tue June 12, 2012

AM Update: Cap Metro Readies Layoffs, Arts Patron Umlauf Dies, Grants for Cleaner Fleets

Cap Metro Preps Layoffs in Labor Transition; Says Most Employees Will Be Offered Jobs

Capital Metro is laying off more than 800 union employees as it prepares to outsource those jobs to two contractors.

The transit agency says the union workers will be offered jobs under the new operators, as long as they can pass driving and drug tests.

More than 50 supervisors are also being laid off. They are not part of the union so they are not guaranteed new jobs, but will be given first consideration, Cap Metro says.

The new contractors will take over employee operations of Cap Metro starting in mid-August. Under a recently-passed state law, transit employees must either work for the state or private contractors. Union members that work for Cap Metro chose to be contracted out so they could maintain collective bargaining rights.

Angeline Umlauf Dies at 97

Angeline Umlauf – a poet, artist, and wife of famed Austin sculptor Charles Umlauf –died Monday at the age of 97.

Charles Umlauf, who died in 1994, was a well-known sculptor and professor of art at the University of Texas. The two married in 1937 and moved to Austin in 1941, according to the Umlauf Gallery’s website. They soon became integral parts of the Austin art community.

In 1991, the couple created the Umlauf Sculpture Garden, an outdoor art venue and Austin landmark. The Umlaufs bequeathed their home, gardens, studio and many sculptures to the City of Austin for public use and enjoyment.

Angeline Umlauf, born Angeline Allen in Peoria, Illinois, is survived by six children and their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A public memorial for Angeline will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 30, at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden. More information, including ways to convey remembrances, can be found at the Umlauf Gallery website.

TCEQ Tenders Grants for Alternative Fuel Sources

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is offering $5.7 million in grants to replace diesel vehicles with ones using hybrid or alternative energy sources.

The grants come as part of the Texas Clean Fleet Program. Organizations that have at least 75 vehicles, and wish to replace at least 20 diesel vehicles, can apply for grants.

Projects must attain a 25 percent reduction in nitrogen oxide emissions, and all vehicles being replaced must be destroyed within 90 days.

Texas lawmakers have tried to encourage companies with large diesel fleets to switch to cleaner fuels. Many Texas cities are close to violating federal clean air standards. Replacing older trucks and buses could help avert triggering federal emissions standards.

For more information, visit www.terpgrants.org or call a toll-free hotline at 800-919-TERP (8377).