Austin

KUT Weekend
3:26 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

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

Austin
3:52 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

City Hopes for a Smooth Rollout Ahead of Brazos Street Conversion

City of Austin officials say one-way streets are good for moving cars through, but two-way streets are better for accessing your destination.
flickr.com/photos/mrlaugh

Austin's downtown traffic flow will change starting next month. The City of Austin is converting Brazos Street from one way to a two way street between East Cesar Chavez and East Sixth streets. 

Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar says a number of cities have gone through this process to slow traffic.

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Austin
2:21 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sexist Comment by Austin Police Officer: Isolated Incident or Part of Broader Culture?

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says sexist comments from officers undermine a departmental goal of securing communities' trust.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update (2:19 p.m.): Officer Andrew Pietrowski officially retired from the Austin Police Department on Friday, Dec. 12 after learning KUT would air his comments this week.

Original Story (9:07 a.m.): Police Chief Art Acevedo suspended two officers in November for making jokes about rape victims. The Austin Police Association said at the time that the respective three-day and five-day suspensions were "fair and appropriate." The incident took place after a local attorney had released a video in which the two Austin police officers are laughing and one of the officers comments: "Go ahead and call the cops. They can't un-rape you."

Recently, offensive comments were made to KUT's reporter Joy Diaz, while she was covering a police-related story. A quick warning: This story contains offensive remarks made about women. 

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is convinced APD's culture is changing for the better. And says comments like "[cops]can't un-rape you" are examples of behavior that he calls "[the] extreme minority."

Statistically, when you consider the couple of thousand police officers in Austin, he’s right. However, there are still regrettable police shootings and some minorities still feel targeted by police. But Austin is no longer the ticking bomb some say it was before Acevedo took over the department in 2007. Questions still linger, however, about whether or not APD is clearly letting its officers know that inappropriate comments will not be tolerated.

Take for instance the recent comments of Officer Andrew Pietrowski.

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Austin City Council
11:35 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Get to Know Your Geographically-Elected Austin City Council

Austin finalized its new, geographically-elected city council last night.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

The city's first council under the 10-1 plan was finalized last night. Austin voters elected the remaining seven council members and the Mayor of Austin. The new council is, for the first time, majority female, with seven female council members. The only incumbent in the bunch, Council Member Kathie Tovo – who's also a likely shoe-in for the position of Mayor Pro Tem.

The remaining nine council members, and Mayor-elect Steve Adler, may not be so familiar. Below, you can find detailed biographies of each of the newly-elected 10-1 council members and an interactive map with voting totals – including their previous experience in government, their employment history and (for some) their previous work with other council candidates.

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Austin
12:10 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Steve Adler's Goal: Turn Austin into Social Innovator for the World

Steve Adler is Austin's new Mayor. Up until now, he's been a political outsider. He is an attorney who believes in social causes.
Credit Joy Diaz, KUT News

  Steve Adler is Austin's new mayor. He easily defeated city councilman Mike Martinez in Tuesday's runoff election. But, even though Adler appeared to be the favorite in recent polls, he wasn't always expected to win this race.

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Austin
1:25 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

University of Texas Launches Center for Sports Leadership

President Bill Powers and Founding Director Daron Roberts talking to Texas Standard’s David Brown about the new Center for Sports Leadership and Innovation.

The University of Texas at Austin has announced a new sports leadership initiative.

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Austin
12:34 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Here's What Austin Googled in 2014

Sports and celebrities were on the minds (and fingertips) of Austinites this year who couldn't resist taking to search giant Google to expand their knowledge of Ebola, figure out when to mark Easter 2014 on their calendars and relive the filmography of Robin Williams. 

The U.S. may not have won the 2014 World Cup, but the global phenomena dominated the list of the top trends in Google searches in Austin this year, according to the company's 2014 Zeitgeist report. Spikes in more than a trillion Google searches were analyzed, and the annual report is supposed to reflect the "topics and people that defined 2014," the company says.

Take a look below to see what captivated Austinites in 2014, and watch the video announcement of the search survey above.

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Austin
5:51 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Group Unveils the First Nativity Scene On Display at the Capitol

The organizers will set up the nativity scene the ground level of the capitol just below the main rotunda.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Several Austinites gathered today for the unveiling of the first nativity scene at Texas State Capitol. 

Trey Trainor of the privately-funded group Texas Nativity Scene Project says it's the first on display in the state's history.

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Onion Creek
10:45 am
Mon December 15, 2014

Over a Year After Floods, Onion Creek Properties Face Delayed Repairs, Liens

Floods on Halloween in 2013 inundated many homes in the Onion Creek neighborhood. Still, many properties in the area are still uninhabitable.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT

Some Southeast Austin neighbors fear they're in danger of losing their homes. Some Onion Creek homes have been uninhabitable since the 2013 Halloween floods hit the Onion Creek community.

Now, some contractors have placed liens on the once-inundated properties, claiming they need more money to finish the repairs.

“This is my flooded property that still isn't ready after over a year,” says Onion Creek resident Marilyn Barack on a cold morning.

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Austin City Council
10:47 am
Fri December 12, 2014

That's a Wrap: Curtain Call for Austin's At-Large Council

The Austin City Council gavelled in for the last time yesterday, marking the end of Austin's at-large city government ahead of the new geographically representative council.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The final meeting of Austin's at-large city council went much like their previous ones over the years: late. It all started out cheerily enough, at 10 am Thursday morning, with a prayer. But that moment of reflection quickly faded away as the council got into the grueling business of cleaning out their policy inbox. It was the longest agenda in council history, and the council didn't gavel out until the early hours of Friday morning.

It was, true to council meetings under the leadership of outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell, a very long day, dealing with everything from the height of signs at a strip mall to a request to re-zone a modest house into a modest office. But it wasn't all small potatoes.

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Austin
1:25 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Where Are Austin's Early Voters Casting Their Ballots in Runoffs?

Early voting ends tomorrow for the city of Austin’s runoff elections.  This is the first time the city elected a city council based on single member districts, where council members represent specific neighborhoods. But early voter turnout seems to be falling into a familiar pattern.

The latest numbers show 23,368 voters cast their ballots at nine of the top 10 voting locations, all of which were west of I-35. In total, 37,323 Austinites have voted in early runoff election voting, with 2,754 voting in mobile locations and 6,468 mailed in their ballots.

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10-1
12:13 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Photos: Austin's At-Large Council Gavels In for the Last Time

Today is the final meeting of the city's at-large council.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Today marks the final regular meeting of the Austin City Council under the at-large system with seven council members and the mayor.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
9:51 am
Thu December 11, 2014

Gallo & Dealey Both Tout Experience in Battle for Wealthy, Politically Active District 10

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Both of the women running for District 10 have run for office before. Sheri Gallo ran for Travis County Commissioner in Precinct 2 nearly 12 years ago, and Mandy Dealey ran for Austin City Council nine years ago. Both women also argue that the district struggles with affordability as often as other districts across Austin, offering different solutions for the affluent, property rich district.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:14 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: A Look Back at Lamar Boulevard

A shot of Lamar Boulevard before it was paved, looking south at Ninth Street.
PICA 18059, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Today marks the 176th anniversary of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar’s inauguration as the second president of the Republic of Texas. He’s known as the “Father of Texas Education,” he set aside land to build what would later become UT-Austin in 1839 and helped plant the seeds for the Texas public school system.

So, today's Wayback Wednesday will honor his namesake, Lamar Boulevard, one of the most congested roads in the state. Below you can see a silent newsreel of the roadway in its infancy, when crews were building out the overpass at Third Street 55 years ago in the fall of 1959. Above, we’ve got a photo gallery of Lamar through the years – from its dirt road days in the 1940s to its present day parking lot status.

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Austin ISD
2:06 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Paul Cruz is the Last Candidate Standing in AISD Superintendent Search

Interim Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz took over for departing Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who left in April to lead Atlanta's public schools.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

It looks like Interim Superintendent Paul Cruz will be the next head of Austin schools. After an outpouring of local support in recent weeks, the school board voted Monday to allow Cruz to throw his hat into the ring for the permanent job.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:29 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Scruggs, Troxclair & the Politically-Charged, Non-Partisan Race in District 8

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Still in the race for District 8's Austin City Council seat are Ellen Troxclair and Ed Scruggs, two candidates that are, for the most part, diametrically opposed from a political standpoint – though, technically, city elections are non-partisan.

Scruggs says he's a progressive with on-the-ground experience in D8, and hopes to expand affordable housing options and diversity in the district. Troxclair touts herself as a fiscal conservative, and believes her voice on city council could help Austin reduce unnecessary municipal spending and increase affordability in the district.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
2:13 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

District 7 Candidates Agree on Affordability, Diverge on Traffic

Mengwen Cao/KUT

It's the last week of early voting for the Austin City Council runoffs. So far, 27,000 people have cast a ballot, compared to about 100,000 Austinites who voted in the city's November election. 

In District 7, Jeb Boyt and Leslie Pool are the two candidates standing, heading into a runoff election on Dec. 16. Both Boyt and Pool say neighbors in District 7 are concerned with the state of their libraries and parks, but, as with almost every neighborhood in Austin, their main concern is affordability.

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Press Releases
12:24 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

KUT 90.5 shuffles weekend and late evening schedules to group shows with similar sensibilities

“Bullseye” with Jesse Thorn comes to KUT Saturdays at 1 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dec. 9, 2014 — KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, is shuffling some of its weekend and late evening programs to bring listeners a fresh mix of the original and innovative public radio Austin’s NPR station is known for.

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 13, KUT’s midday and evening shows will be grouped together to reflect a similar sound, sensibility and personality. Some old favorites will have new start times.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
9:41 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Zimmerman, Flannigan Offer Different Routes for Solving District 6's Traffic Woes

Mengwen Cao/KUT

Virtually everyone in Austin has the right to complain about traffic, but maybe none more so than those who live in District 6.

The district is one of the longest – going from Lake Travis all the way north to Jollyville, with some of the most congested roads from Parmer Lane to Ranch Road 2222 and FM 620.

District 6 candidates Don Zimmerman and Jimmy Flannigan agree that congestion is a crippling issue in the district, but that’s largely where their consensus concludes. KUT’s Joy Diaz sat down with both council candidates ahead of the Dec. 16 election runoff.

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Austin
8:33 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Program Extends to Seniors in Greater Austin

This year, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will provide gifts for seniors in the greater Austin area for the first time.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

The population of seniors in the greater Austin area is growing dramatically, and with that growth comes an increase in a number of services for the elderly. One example of that increased need takes place around Christmas time.

This year, more than 500 seniors in the greater Austin area, from South Austin up to Georgetown, will feel a little less alone during the December holidays because the for the first time, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will distribute gifts here.

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