Austin

KUT Weekend
4:12 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

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

Transportation
3:29 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

What 'Sharing the Road' Means for Cyclists and Drivers in Texas

Cyclists may have their own lanes in certain stretches of Austin roads, but they also have the right to ride in the center of lanes in some cases.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin's roads are busier than ever, and there’s more than just cars and trucks on them. As more and more Austinites choose bikes to get around, where exactly are they allowed to ride?

It can be a little confusing knowing where it’s okay to ride your bike. For instance, you’re not supposed to ride on the sidewalk in parts of downtown Austin. But when it comes to the road? Well, a bike is welcome pretty much everywhere. It’s right there in the Texas Transportation Code.

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Two Guys on Your Head
12:24 pm
Fri July 31, 2015

How On-The-Go Eating Takes the Fun & Flavor Out of a Good Meal

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Food can be delicious, heart-warming and life-sustaining. So, how did eating become a constant battle with the refrigerator?

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Arthur Markman discuss the challenges in maintaining a healthy diet and how changing our perspectives on food may be a vital approach to solving these problems.

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Austin
5:36 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

City Council Takes First Look at Proposed Budget

Courses on budgeting and responsible credit use is getting underway.
Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin today presented its proposed budget for FY 2015-16 to the new 10-1 City Council, which will work on finalizing the proposal before the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.  [View the proposed budget in full here.]

The proposal calls for spending a total of $3.5 billion, a $39-million increase from last year. The increase in property tax revenue for the city would total about $36 million.

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Austin
2:30 pm
Thu July 30, 2015

Why Plans to Move Austin's Monk Parakeets Could Get Nest-y

Janet Reed of Travis Audubon at the Whitaker Intramural Fields in Central Austin, home to hundreds of monk parakeets. Reed says plans to move the birds in order to refurbish the fields may not work.
Terrence Henry/KUT

Austin’s well-known as the Live Music Capital of the World, but it’s also becoming known as a place that’s running out of room. There's one neighborhood in town where old-time residents are probably going to be moved out in order to make way for new development. And it’s ruffling some feathers.

We're talking, of course, about monk parakeets. In particular, the two hundred of them that live at the University of Texas at Austin Whitaker Intramural Fields, in Central Austin on Guadalupe. Head there at dusk, and you'll see not just soccer or lacrosse scrimmages, but you'll see hundreds, if not thousands, of birds. 

And the most colorful and charismatic of them are the monk parakeets. But soon they're likely going to have to move out of their longtime home. 

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Music
10:56 am
Thu July 30, 2015

Advocates Offer Suggestions to an Austin Music Scene That 'Needs Improvement'

Protesters gathered to speak out against a Hyatt development near Cheer Up Charlies.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Austin music leaders are suggesting changes the city could make to protect and enliven its live music industry. On Wednesday, they presented their recommendations at Holy Mountain, a downtown venue closing its doors later this year – partly because of rising rent.

The recommendations are aimed at five issues advocates say are plaguing Austin’s music scene, including affordability of commercial space, stagnant event revenues, venue preservation, permitting and code enforcement complications and a gap in community engagement.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:07 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

When the Dallas Cowboys Called Austin Their Summer Home

Then-Dallas Cowboy Deion Sanders takes a ride in a custom golf cart in front of St. Edward's main building.
Milton Hinnant/The Dallas Morning News

Tomorrow, the Dallas Cowboys start a month-long training in Oxnard, Calif., ahead of the 2015-2016 season. The state of California has long been a staple base of operations for the Cowboys – California Lutheran College in Thousand Oaks served as the team’s longest-serving venue for camp from 1963 until 1989, and the state’s hosted 10 camps since 2001.

But, before the Cowboys migrated back to California for camp, the team spent its most productive (and controversial) summers right here in Austin, when the team used St. Edward’s University as a base of operations during their Super Bowl runs of the 1990s.

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Austin
12:14 pm
Wed July 29, 2015

Austin's Digital Inclusion Program Serves as a Model for Other Cities

'Unlocking the Connection' is an Austin program aimed at bridging the city's digital divide.
Brad Flickinger/flickr

Federal housing officials were in Austin Tuesday — not to give direction,  but to learn from the local housing authority's successes in closing the digital divide. The federal government is taking a model for digital inclusion from Austin to other cities around the country.

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Austin City Council
9:00 am
Wed July 29, 2015

Zimmerman Suit Could Undo Campaign Finance Law

Council Member Don Zimmerman has filed a federal suit against the City of Austin alleging its campaign finance rules are in violation of the First Amendment.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

From our city hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor:

City Council Member Don Zimmerman, who plans to run for re-election in 2016, has filed suit in federal court against the city of Austin, seeking to overturn four important provisions of the city’s campaign finance rules. If he wins, the changes would have an immediate and lasting impact on how elections are conducted and financed in Austin.

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Austin
3:24 pm
Tue July 28, 2015

Zimmerman Files Lawsuit Challenging City Campaign Finance Limits

A lawsuit filed by councilmember Don Zimmerman argues that campaign fundraising restrictions violate First Amendment rights.
Callie Hernandez/KUT News

District 6 City Council member Don Zimmerman filed a lawsuit Monday challenging the City of Austin's campaign finance restrictions, which he argues violate First Amendment freedoms.

In particular the suit addresses fundraising caps and blackout periods, arguing that these restrictions impede the council member's ability "to serve as a strong voice of fiscal restraint and liberty on the Council...[and] to communicate my views with my constituents and my city," according to the press release from Zimmerman's office.

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Austin
2:03 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Council Plans Improvements for Austin's 'Eastern Crescent'

A city council group plans to tackle development and economic issues in what they're calling the city's 'Eastern Crescent' region.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The challenges of economic development and gentrification facing East Austin are nothing new. But they will get some new attention from a group of city council members convened by Mayor Steve Adler.  The group will be focusing on a part of the city some council members are calling the “eastern crescent.”

The exotic, almost alluring term “eastern crescent” was introduced recently into the city council lexicon. Council member Leslie Pool threw it out in a June audit and finance meeting. She was talking to city staff about a public improvement district in East Austin.

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Austin
12:26 pm
Mon July 27, 2015

Report Calls for Action on 'Repeat Offender' Properties

A report argues the city isn't doing enough to hold owners of properties frequently cited for code violations to task.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

There are thousands of rental properties in Austin – after all, most people who live in Austin rent – and of those thousands, there are more than two dozen that have racked up 300 code violations from the City of Austin. A new study provides suggestions on how to handle the so-called “repeat offenders.”

The study’s author argues that the city could be focusing more on these violations, rather than dedicating more Code Compliance resources towards the policing of short-term rentals.

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Austin
8:57 am
Fri July 24, 2015

Photos: Sandra Bland March From East Austin Ends in Silent Vigil at the Capitol

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT

Demonstrators gathered last night for a vigil remembering Sandra Bland in a march that ran from Victory Grill in East Austin and ended in a silent vigil at the Texas State Capitol. Bland was found dead in a Waller County jail cell on July 13 after being arrested for an altercation with police that stemmed from a traffic violation.

Her case has drawn national attention after her family suggested her death wasn’t the result of a suicide, though an autopsy report has suggested there was no evidence Bland’s death was a homicide.

Above you can view a photo gallery of the march through East Austin and the vigil at the Capitol.

Austin
11:21 am
Thu July 23, 2015

Carp Helped Kill Lake Austin's Hydrilla, But What Are They Eating Now?

A lurking carp swims beneath ducks in Lake Austin. The city is asking anglers to catch at least 200 carp to determine their eating habits.
Mose Buchele/KUT

In the past, hydrilla carpeted whole swaths of Lake Austin. The invasive plant ruined recreation and damaged ecosystems on the lake. So to counteract that, the City of Austin occasionally introduced tens of thousands of sterilized grass carp to eat the hydrilla. But the city is now on the lookout for unintended consequences.

You’ve got to hand it to the grass carp: They did their job swimmingly. There’s no hydrilla problem in the lake right now, but there is concern the thousands of hungry fish have turned their attention to native plant species, and even other fish.

“Yeah, some of the anglers have talked about while they’re off fishing that they’re actually able to catch grass carp on crank baits. So, that’s what really got their hackles up,” says Dr. Brent Bellinger, an environmental scientist with the Watershed Protection Department. “Well, if they’re going after something that looks like shad on crank baits, they might be going after shad in general.”

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Austin
10:17 am
Wed July 22, 2015

Parks Department Sat on Metz Pool Repair Bid for Nearly 6 Months

East Austin neighbors argued at a Parks & Rec Department meeting that it was unfair to learn roughly a month before the start of the summer season that some of them would be without the use of their community pools.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From the Austin Monitor:

Although the city’s Parks and Recreation Department ordered the repair of an East Austin neighborhood pool in late April, it appears that the department had bids for the work for some time. This, even as department officials initially told residents that the pool would have to be closed for the 2015 summer season and then back-tracked under community pressure.

On Nov. 5, 2014 (see below), the Parks Department received a bid from Commercial Swim Management for Metz Pool repairs totaling $10,232.60. Those repairs included replacement of the plumbing in a pool wall drain and installation of new valves and piping. That bid was eventually approved, and a purchase request was made by the city on April 30, 2015.

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Austin
5:30 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

TV's 'Shark Tank' Looks for Entrepreneurial Veterans in Austin

Bunker Labs Austin is an incubator for veteran-run startups. Above, a Bunker Labs event featured in the incubator's introductory video.
Screenshot courtesy of Bunker Labs Austin

Coming to Austin Tuesday: Shark Tank, the television show wherein small business owners pitch their ideas to wealthy investors. The show's searching Central Texas this week for a particular kind of businessperson: veterans.

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Austin
3:51 pm
Mon July 20, 2015

Austin's 'Most Invasive Species' Isn't the One You Might Think

As Austin continues to grow at a rapid pace, plenty of anecdotal blame has fallen on people moving here from California.
hermitsmoores/flickr

Central Texas is under attack. No, not Jade Helm, or even the summer swarms of mosquitoes. We’re talking about an invasive species. Zebra Mussels? Nope. Fire ants? Try again. We're talking about an even more supposed "invasive" species: Californians.

They arrive with their telltale license plates, often heading straight to In-N-Out Burger and Trader Joe's. As Austin continues to grow at a rapid pace, plenty of anecdotal blame has fallen on people moving here from California. Except … they’re not?

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Austin
4:02 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

Most Child Drownings in Texas Occur Among Children of Color

A lifeguard sits on stand at the Northwest Park swimming pool in Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT

The triple-digit summer heat typically leads more Central Texans towards pools and lakes to cool off. Unfortunately, it also raises the risk of drownings. Seventy-three children drowned in Texas last year. And this year is looking just as bad – so far 44 kids have drowned — most of whom were children of color.

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Austin
3:12 pm
Fri July 17, 2015

What Record-High Sea Temperatures Could Mean for the Gulf Coast

A map of last year's ocean surface temperatures from NOAA's State of the Climate report.

Global sea levels are rising, and that's going to have a major impact on the Texas coastline, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's annual report card.

According to the report, global sea temperatures and levels hit modern highs last year in what was the warmest year on record. In Texas, that’s bad news for the Gulf Coast.

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Two Guys on Your Head
11:47 am
Fri July 17, 2015

The Imposter Syndrome and Why It's Hard to Make It When You Fake It

Credit flickr.com/mdennes

Most people feel in over their heads when they first enter a challenging situation or even a new job. And, while conventional wisdom suggests those with trepidations about trying new things should "fake it 'til they make it," it may not always be the best course of action.

In this edition of Two Guys on Your Head, Dr. Bob Duke and Dr. Art Markman discuss what's known as "imposter syndrome" — the practice of pretending to be the person you want people to see you as rather than who you truly are — and explain why it may just be better to just start working towards your goals instead of faking it.

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