Austin

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

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

Patrick Dentler/KUT

The number 110 gets thrown around a lot in the context of Austin's fast-paced growth – that’s the estimated number of people that move to Austin on a daily basis.

Sure, when you’re on the road it may feel like every one of those neophyte Austinites is right there on the road with you. But, while 110 people a day is impressive, so is the number of people leaving the city.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

From the Austin Monitor:

Austinites who have spotted Google’s self-driving Lexus in the past couple of months will have a new rarity to keep an eye out for in the next week or so – the company’s “prototype” autonomous vehicle. Built for the task from the ground up, it sports a futuristic, if unusual, look.

Heather Kennedy/Flickr

There are lots of things we power with batteries these days, from interactive children's books that use tiny batteries, to toothbrushes that run on bigger batteries, to our mobile devices with their rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.

But when a battery's life ends, we're faced with the question of what to do with it. Right now, Austinites can drop off their used batteries at any of the city's library branches to be recycled. But what happens to those batteries after they're dropped off? 


Texas Portal to History

Believe it or not, this month is Passport Awareness Month – the two-fortnight campaign in which the State Department encourages citizens to renew or apply for their passports. At worst, it’ll take six weeks to get a passport; at best, three weeks.

What Happens If Barton Creek Mall Closes?

Sep 1, 2015
Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

In some U.S. cities, shopping malls are a thing of the past. For the malls that are surviving, about one-fifth have vacancy rates that experts consider "troubling.”

Austin's own Highland Mall went that way: It recently closed and was converted into a community college campus. But what about the city's other big indoor mall?


Kathryn Decker/flickr

Have you ever applied for a job where they ask you to check a box if you have a criminal record?

Over the summer, Austin's District 4 City Council member Greg Casar put together a group to look for ways Austin businesses could change that practice, or, “ban the box.”


Wally Gobetz/flickr

After 82 years in the shadow of the school’s iconic tower, the University of Texas removed the controversial Jefferson Davis statue yesterday from its Main Mall.

The university also removed the statue of Woodrow Wilson. 


Blue Bell Returns to Austin

Aug 31, 2015
flickr.com/dmachiavello

Today’s the day.

After a months-long hiatus, Blue Bell Ice Cream returns to some Austin stores’ freezer aisles. The Brenham-based creamery halted production in April after listeria-contaminated products were linked to deaths in Kansas.

UT Removes Controversial Jefferson Davis Statue

Aug 30, 2015
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

After months of debate over its presence on UT-Austin's campus, the Jefferson Davis statue on the school's Main Mall was removed this morning. 

The statue of the president of the Confederate States of America will be relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History as part of an educational exhibit. The university also removed the Woodrow Wilson statue, and will relocate somewhere that has yet to be determined.

Ryan McRimmon/Texas Tribune

The Texas Attorney General’s Office is asking for a restraining order against an unlicensed assisted living facility in Austin. The AG’s Office says it was alerted by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services about Zoe’s Safe Place on Burnet Road, and the office’s request for an injunction alleges that Zoe’s Safe Place and its founder have violated the Texas Health & Safety Code, threatening the health and safety of its residents.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Austin has a new synagogue — well, it's new to Austin. It’s actually the oldest synagogue built in Texas.

Orthodox Jews who emigrated from Lithuania to Brenham gathered in this synagogue built in 1893. Over the decades that followed, the Jewish community in that area dwindled. 

Photo by KUT News

There’s no shortage of people who oppose the prospect of the general public carrying firearms on the University of Texas campus. UT-Austin and public universities across Texas are trying to balance those concerns against the Legislature’s mandate. At a rally yesterday, chants of “Gun Free UT!” were mingled with displays from supporters of the “campus carry” law.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

Ten years ago tomorrow, Hurricane Katrina made landfall and displaced thousands along the Gulf Coast. Many of the storm’s survivors came to Austin, to the Austin Convention Center. Timothy Jones was one of the displaced, but his first home in Austin wasn’t the convention center. It was a hospital and now, a decade later, he’s still recovering from his own trauma the storm left in its wake.

Leslie Boorhem-Stephenson/Texas Tribune

The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis on the University of Texas at Austin campus will soon be removed from its prominent place on campus. 

Removal plans were cleared Thursday by a state district judge, who rejected a request from the Sons of Confederate Veterans to block UT-Austin’s plan to remove the bronze sculpture.

The Confederate group had argued that the statue has significant artistic and cultural value and could be damaged if removed. Lawyers for UT-Austin disputed that, but also said that the Sons Confederate Veterans didn’t have standing to sue.

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.

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