Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

From the Austin Monitor: City of Austin documents show that employees in the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department have made numerous complaints involving inappropriate behavior, a hostile work environment, sexual harassment and retaliation over the past five years. Many of those complaints revolve around Steve Ritchie, director of construction and development, and former Director Betsy Spencer’s alleged favoritism toward Ritchie.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

With three months to go before Election Day in November, campaign signs for local, state and presidential candidates have bloomed — despite the incessant heat and current watering restrictions — on Austin lawns. 

And whether you’ve been fixated by the past two weeks of convention speeches and endorsements and even non-endorsements (or not), there’s one element underpinning it all: money. And, in the hopes of making the inner workings of Austin's campaign finance more digestible, here's another installment of our series explaining the process

For our ATXplained project, we're asking for your questions about people, places and things around Austin. Then we put those questions to a vote. We've gotten a lot of great questions, but in our voting rounds, there can be only one winner. 

This time, we're bringing back some runners-up from past rounds for a second chance at being investigated by KUT reporters.

Cast your vote for one of these silver medalists and help pick which one will be next for ATXplained!

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Is Austin Really Still Keeping It Weird?

Jul 28, 2016
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

This story is part of our ATXplained project, which answers questions from our audience. In this edition, we tackle a question from Nisha Bagepalli: "Where did the phrase 'Keep Austin Weird' come from? And is Austin REALLY all that weird anymore?" 

Illustration by Tom Lea

One hundred eight years ago, Harper Baylor Lee’s hobby became something more than that.

The 24-year-old worked for the Central Mexican Railroad in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he’d spent most of his life after a move from El Paso. But on a Tuesday in July, after years as an amateur, he started a career in bullfighting and became the first American-born matador. 

401(k) 2012 / creative commons licensed

From the Austin Monitor: The non-senior Austinite who owns a median-priced home and uses an average amount of water and electricity can expect his or her bill for taxes, fees and utilities to increase by about $12.48 per month for the 2017 Fiscal Year, under a proposal from the city’s budget staff.

City Plans Improvements for Water Infrastructure

Jul 27, 2016
Laszlo Ilyes via flickr

The Texas Water Development Board approved two loans this month to fund water infrastructure improvements in Austin. These loans total over $167 million and are aimed at the long-term use of water in the city. That money will fund two different projects, one of which will replace the city’s current water meter system with smart meters. Bech Bruun, Chairman of the Texas Water Development Board, said that this will increase accuracy and timeliness of information about water use.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Tonja Walls-Davis has a new favorite grave site: one for a child, where the headstone is in the shape of a single Lego.

“I’ve traveled these grounds so many times,” she said. “But, like I said, every time I come I see something new. Their life a lot of times is represented on their headstones.”


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

State leaders are considering selling the Austin State Hospital, a historic facility near Hyde Park, but residents are divided over the future of the site.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A Travis County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed at his home early this morning in the Round Rock neighborhood of Cimarron. Sergeant Craig Hutchinson, a 32-year veteran of the department, reportedly spotted intruders in his backyard and called for backup at around 1:22 a.m., according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Oliver Wagner flic.kr/p/J1qc4w

Riesling doesn't have to be the sickly sweet wine many Americans associate with the grape. More than a dozen Austin restaurants are serving a variety of Riseling wines, from the very dry to the very sweet. KUT's Nathan Bernier learns more about the "Summer of Riesling" from Texas Monthly drinks columnist Jessica Dupuy.


Courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Three people have become infected with Shigella bacteria after swimming at Bull Creek Park, prompting the Austin/Travis County Health department to advise people to stay out of the creek. Dr. Phillip Huang, the Health Department’s Medical Director, said:

“There’s always a risk when you’re swimming in any of these natural bodies of water, so we always have the recommendation that people swim at their own risk. What we’ve identified is that we just received three reports of Shigella infection that are linked to sort of exposure at the Bull Creek Park in particular.”

KUT Weekend brings you our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays!

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Could streets be like doctors? A streetlight that diagnoses an ulcerous colon, or sidewalk that administers chemotherapy?

That question is what Austin City Council Member Delia Garza leveled at the oft-optimistic Mayor Steve Adler during the last Council meeting before members broke for the month of July.


Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A federal district court ruled late Wednesday that two rules governing how candidates for Austin office handle campaign funds violate the First Amendment. The ruling came after Council member Don Zimmerman filed a lawsuit challenging the city’s campaign finance rules last year.

In a release from his lawyer, Zimmerman said, “We are examining our further options regarding the affirmation of our First Amendment rights to political speech.”

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Amir Khalil and his girlfriend Emily Thomas bought a duplex off South Lamar in February, but so far, it doesn’t feel quite like home.

Khalil points out the damage that’s left over from an incomplete remodel job on the house. The laundry room ceiling bares a gaping hole. In the kitchen, sections of the walls and ceiling have been torn out.


Watch: Footage of '58 Barton Springs Flood Surfaces

Jul 20, 2016
Austin History Center, PICA 22684

The “Godzilla” El Niño that brought plenty of rainfall to Austinand record flooding to parts of Central Texas – last year is no more, and Austinites are settling into the oppressive heat that accompanies a dry Central Texas summer. Luckily, Austinites have Barton Springs Pool. But, 60 years ago, waves of floods over two summers shuttered the pool to summertime swimmers, and recently unearthed footage offers a glimpse of one of those deluges. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

This week, students from across the city are getting the chance to interact with Austin police in a summer camp called Gang Resistance Education and Training, or GREAT.

The camp is part of a larger program to reduce gang activity in Austin.

At Martin Middle School, rising fifth graders were taking a tour of an Austin Police Department helicopter at one of several events scheduled for GREAT camp this week.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin City Council candidates scouting for new or incumbent leadership filed their first campaign finance reports Friday. Sure, it's still early going, but the fundraising cycle has ramped up in the five Council districts with races on the ballot in November.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT News

Austin is building new homes at more than twice the rate of the U.S. as a whole. Still, analysts say builders are struggling to catch up to the growing demand of homebuyers. 


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