Austin

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

Joy Diaz/KUT

This week, Mayor Steve Adler announced a push to house all of Austin's homeless veterans by Veterans Day. The initiative, called House our Heroes, will focus on assisting the 200 servicemen and women who now live in Austin's streets.

Austin's total homeless population, however, is much larger than 200, and some advocates hope Adler's initiative is the beginning of a movement that could end all homelessness in Austin.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Sure, Austin revels in its youthful reputation, but a lot of the people coming here are probably not fresh-out-of-college looking to form a band or a startup.

A new look at income migration from the IRS shows that newly-arrived Austinites aren’t as young as previously thought. What’s more, the highest concentration of transplants isn't from either of the tried-and-true drivers of Austin population growth, New York and California. They’re from Florida.

How Austin Got Its Municipal Flag

Aug 26, 2015
Mike Fluitt/Citizen News, via Austin History Center, PICA 11952

Turns out, some people don’t like Austin’s flag.

But, while some have proposed more vexillologically sound alternatives to the city’s banner, the typically panned flag has weathered relative obscurity, features elements that pre-date the establishment of the United States and was even once at the center of a federal lawsuit.

John Shapley/KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has announced a plan for ending homelessness among military veterans in Austin by Veterans Day this year.

Courtesy of Mike Kriegshauser

Few state flags are more recognizable than the Lone Star State's, but the City of Austin's municipal flag is much less of a standout. It's even hard to find a picture of the Austin city flag online.

So, when Austin graphic artist Michael Kriegshauser saw a TED Talk on municipal flag design, he made it his priority to create a new flag concept for Texas’ capital city.

Jenna VonHofe/KUTX

On any given night here in Austin you can find dozens of live music shows to attend.  But, according to the Austin Music Census, you're most likely to be watching a male performer on stage. Male performers outnumbered their female counterparts in the survey four to one – though women are doing a more equitable share of work behind the scenes.

Still, man or woman, musicians and the venues themselves are having a hard time grappling with Austin’s ever-rising cost of living.


Veronica Zaragovia/KUT News

The City of Austin filed a lawsuit Monday against the Travis Central Appraisal District, arguing that the agency significantly undervalued Austin’s commercial and vacant properties in its assessments for the past several years. Mayor Steve Adler announced the suit today at a press conference, where he appeared along with Travis Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler of TCAD. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin has seen a staggering rise in traffic fatalities this year. There have already been more road deaths so far in 2015 than there were during all of last year, and about half of these fatal crashes involve alcohol or intoxication.

To understand more about how the Austin Police Department is going after drunk drivers, I spent a night following an officer on his DWI enforcement unit during his patrol.

It was a long night. 

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

Marjorie Kamys Cotera/Texas Tribune

Attorney General Ken Paxton has been in the headlines a lot as of recent. Not in the way his predecessor and current boss Greg Abbott used to (typically, by announcing that he was suing the federal government), but rather by vowing to fight against indictments on three securities fraud felonies for actions he took during his time as a state senator.

City of Austin

One of the city's former landfills in South East Austin is about to get a facelift. The city will soon transform the area into an industrial hub focused exclusively on the recycling and reuse industries.

The goal is to attract companies like Mexico-based Grupo Simplex.

This afternoon, two of Austin's City Council committees decided to drop the issue of fluoridated water.

The Public Utilities Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee met this afternoon to discuss the possibility of discontinuing the practice of adding fluoride to the city’s water supply, an issue raised in a resolution by District 6 Councilmember Don Zimmerman. 

The Wilson Quarterly

This afternoon, the Austin City Council’s Public Utilities Committee and Health and Human Services Committee are both taking on an issue that’s trickled through, and sometimes flooded, City Hall: fluoridation of water.

The issue’s prevalence has ebbed and flowed over the years in city politics, but two Austinites, both with the surname Taylor, at opposite ends of the spectrum helped water fluoridation boil over into the national spotlight.

Travis County Commissioner's Court

From the Austin Monitor:

Travis County’s largest bond proposition in recent memory has officially graduated from the Commissioners Court to the much more challenging court of public opinion.

In a historic moment that capped off years of planning, the commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to send the $287.3 million Civil & Family Courts Complex bond question to voters this November.

If approved, the new facility would bring badly needed relief to the overcrowded Heman Marion Sweatt Courthouse.

Joy Diaz/KUT News

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice said criminalizing people who are homeless for sleeping in public places is unconstitutional. However, Austin’s had a “no sit/no lie” ordinance since the early ‘90s that bans homeless people from lying down on city sidewalks and sleeping in public.

While sleeping on public benches is legal, in the past few years the city’s cut back on the number of benches.

change.org

From Texas Standard:

Thursday, the University of Texas at Austin made headlines when it decided to relocate the statue of confederate leader Jefferson Davis from the university’s main mall to the Briscoe Center for American History. But the Sons of Confederate Veterans blocked this action by filing a request for a temporary restraining order.

As a result, the removal of the statue planned for this past Saturday has been delayed to allow a court to review the request.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, the great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis, says he agrees with the decision.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The City of Austin is doing a survey through the first week in September called the Asian-American Quality of Life Initiative. The idea is to find ways to improve the experience of Asian-Americans, the city's fastest growing ethnic group. While the City of Austin is not new to quality of life initiatives, the results and recommendations of the studies traditionally take a long time to come to fruition.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

From our city hall reporting partner the Austin Monitor:

The city of Austin handles public information requests on the honor system – without oversight to ensure those who are inquiring receive all the information they request.

An investigation into how the honor system works found that public information requests to City Council offices and departments under the city manager are handled differently and that there is no standard training for Council offices.

Currently, when a public information request is entered into the city’s system, the Public Information Request Team sends the request to a designated point of contact in each respective office, according to the law department. The point of contact processes the department’s search and uploads responses back into the tracking system, without oversight.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

The University of Texas at Austin is postponing plans to begin the removal of statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and President Woodrow Wilson from the school's Main Mall.

UT confirms the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a request Friday for a temporary restraining order to block the statues' removal, which had been planned for Saturday. 

The request was drafted by Kirk Lyons, an attorney representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

flickr.com/jfingas

Starting today, all of Austin's P. Terry's Hamburgers drive-thru only locations will allow walk-up access, according to owner Patrick Terry. 

After Austinite (and transit advocate) Jace Deloney pointed out on Twitter that a friend of his on foot had been turned away from the P. Terry's drive-thru on South Congress and Ben White, the company said Thursday it wouldn't be safe to allow walk-up access at their drive-thru only locations. Deloney pointed out a section of the city's municipal code that says drive-thru only businesses "must provide safe and convenient access for pedestrians to the drive-through facility."

Pages