Austin

KUT Weekend
1:16 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Listen to Our Weekly News Podcast!

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

Affordable Housing
11:07 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Can Housing Advocates Help Give Austin a New Lease on Affordability?

Neighbors in Clarksville lease 19 properties to low-income residents in order to expand affordability, and diversity, in the neighborhood.
KUT News

In 2006, the last time Section 8 housing opened up, 7,000 low-income Austinites signed up. Since then, Austin’s growth has been exponential and many expect the waitlist for housing to follow suit with Austin’s growth.

Housing advocates expect the signup to draw at least 20,000 applicants, but a long-time Austin housing advocate and recent MacArthur Genius Grant winner is working to increase Austin’s affordable housing stock without Section 8 by expanding low-income housing in existing neighborhoods.

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Weather
6:39 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Central Texas Downpours: Flash Flood Watch Canceled in Central Texas

A screenshot of last night's rain.

Update: The National Weather Service has extended flood advisories for rivers and creeks in central Travis County and south central Williamson County until 9:30 a.m.

Flooding at Bull Creek at Loop 360 is minor, but has reached 7 and a half feet. Officials advise drivers to be cautious when approaching the F.M. 2222 bridge.

Waters may run high at Gilleland Creek, Shoal Creek, Walnut Creek and Wilbarger Creek for the next few hours.

Update (5:35 a.m.): The National Weather Service has issued an urban and small stream flood advisory for Central Travis County and South Central Williamson County until 7:30 a.m. Friday.

The National Weather Service canceled a flash flood watch that been in effect for Central Texas through the early morning hours of Friday. However, there is still a 40% chance of rain in the forecast for today.

The combination of heavy rains again and an already-saturated ground could potentially produce some problems with flooding. Thursday's downpours brought several inches of rain to parts of the region and caused low-water crossing closures across the area. Thirty-one low water crossings are still closed Friday morning

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2014 Elections
11:19 am
Thu September 18, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 4 Forum

Candidates gathered at Marchesa Hall on Sept. 17 for KUT's District 4 Ballot Boxing City Council candidate forum.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The Ballot Boxing series continued last night with the Austin City Council candidate forum for District 4 in North Austin. Seven of the eight candidates gathered at the Marchesa Hall with moderators Michael Kanin of the Austin Monitor and Regina Rodriguez of Univision 62.

You can view a photo gallery above and listen to the full audio of the forum below.

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Austin
10:00 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Could Lyft & Uber Soon Be Legal in Austin?

The battle between ride-sharing companies and the city has been going on for years, but a new proposal could allow the services to function within the law.
flickr.com/photos/raidokaldma

As of right now, ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft aren’t exactly legal.

They operate, sure, but the services' drivers face fines of up to $1,500 if they're caught driving-while-ride-sharing. While some tout the apps as a convenient alternative to cabs, many, including the City of Austin, argue the drivers don’t face the same regulatory and safety standards as their cabbie counterparts.

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2014 Elections
7:31 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 3 Forum

District 3 candidates gathered at the North Door for the third installment of Ballot Boxing, a partnership between KUT, the Austin Monitor, the Austin Chronicle, KXAN and Univision 62.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

The 12 candidates vying for District 3's seat on the Austin City Council met for the first time last night at the North Door for the third installment of Ballot Boxing, a series of in-district debates sponsored by the Austin Chronicle, the Austin Monitor, KXAN, Univision 62 and KUT.

Candidates discussed congestion issues, affordable housing, issues surrounding gentrification and the future of Austin going forward with the city's new 10-1 representation system. You can view photos of all the candidates from last night's forum above and listen to the forum in its entirety below.

10-1
8:58 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 2 Forum

Three of the four candidates showed up to last night's debate. Mike Owen was not in attendance.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Last night KUT continued the Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums at the Dove Springs Recreation Center last night in Southeast Austin.

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Austin Police
7:18 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Bank Robbery Suspect Dies After Officer-Involved Shooting in Wells Branch

Credit Nathan Bernier, KUT News

A man is dead and two Austin Police Officers are on administrative leave this morning after an officer-involved shooting last night in the Wells Branch neighborhood near Maye Place.

Officials say the two Austin Police officers, one Round Rock Police officer and at least one FBI agent were involved in the shooting. They were members of the Central Texas Violent Crimes Task Force investigating a suspect involved in a bank robbery investigation.

The officers were serving a warrant to the suspect when he exited the vehicle and began firing.

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10-1
6:52 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Listen: The Ballot Boxing District 1 Forum

The District 1 candidates: George Hindman, Sam Osemene, Christopher Hutchins, DeWayne Lofton, Valerie Menard, Michael Cargill, Ora Houston and Andrew Bucknall. Norman A. Jacobson did not attend the forum.
Jenna VonHofe/KUT

Last night KUT kicked-off the Ballot Boxing series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums at Wesley United Methodist Church in East Austin.

KUT's Joy Diaz and the Austin Monitor's Mike Kanin hosted and moderated the event, which featured eight of the nine candidates vying for the seat in District 1 this Election Day, with help from our additional partners the Austin Chronicle, KXAN and Univision 62.

You can listen to the entire forum below.

2014 Elections
11:23 am
Mon September 8, 2014

As State & City Campaigns Ramp Up, County Races Remain Dormant

Travis County races don't typically draw the same profile as their statewide and city campaign counterparts.
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

It’s election season and races are in full-swing. Whether it’s the governor’s race or the 78 candidates running for Austin City Council, candidates are busy attending rallies and debates.

But, with Election Day less than two months away, why haven't races at the county level been as active?

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Austin
8:00 am
Mon September 8, 2014

How Austin's Growth and Project Connect Could Impact the City's Bats

People gather on the Congress Avenue Bridge to watch the bats fly out in the evenings - but what happens if something is built in their flight path?
Caleb Bryant-Miller/KUT News

The bats that roost under the Congress Avenue Bridge have a hard-flown journey after their nightly show for tourists and passersby.

They cruise over the trees bordering Lady Bird Lake's southern shore – flying up to 40 miles away from the city every night – then come back, roost and feast on insects between Congress Avenue and I-35.

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Tejano Trails
5:09 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Trails in a Changing East Austin Preserve Decades of Tejano History

Johnny Degollado, Tejano music legend, plays his accordion at the outdoor venue named in his honor – the Johnny Degollado Pavillion at Fiesta Gardens.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Many Latinos in Texas can trace their history back to the 1690s. They're descendants of Spanish, Mexican and indigenous people who were here when the land was subject to the Spanish crown, then later a part of the sovereign state of Mexico, the Republic of Texas and, finally, the United States.

They don’t consider themselves either Mexican or Anglo-Texan. They’re Tejanos, and they always have been.  Now, a six-mile path through Austin aims to preserve some of that history.

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SXSW 2014
2:49 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Austin Calls for Less Free Booze, More Enforcement Before the Next SXSW

The city says the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will have an expanded presence at this year's South By Southwest.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

City of Austin officials are out with their evaluation of this year’s South by Southwest Music Festival. Most of the changes and recommendations involve alcohol consumption and crowds.

A major issue, according to city officials, is over-consumption of free alcohol. The city says next year, a representative from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be at the South by Southwest command post during the day.

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Austin Police
1:03 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

APD Faces Tough Questions at Community Forum

Credit Austin Monitor

From our reporting partners the Austin Monitor:  

During an emotionally charged public forum on police accountability, Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo defended the department against accusations that officers unfairly target minorities.

The Travis County Democratic Party hosted Tuesday’s forum at the North Door after it passed a resolution calling for action for APD to “address systemic issues surrounding racial profiling, excessive use of force and accountability in relations to the African-American community.”

In particular, Travis County Democratic Party Secretary Vince Harding said members were alarmed that while black people account for only 8 percent of Austin’s population, they make up 24 percent of drivers whose cars are searched by APD. Also, between 2002 and 2012, seven of the 10 unarmed people killed by APD were black.

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Austin
10:41 am
Mon September 1, 2014

How Will Austin Police Enforce the Hand-Held Device Ban?

The Austin City Council approved a ban on hand-held devices last week, which will take effect at the beginning of next year.
Credit via Xconomy

Starting in January, you won't be able to have your phone in your hands while driving your car, or while riding your bike.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance Thursday prohibiting use of devices unless drivers are at a complete stop, or if there is an emergency. Those caught in the act by Austin police face a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 – though, the city has not yet finalized a fine structure for the ban.

While some studies suggest devices with hands-free capability doesn't necessarily reduce safety risk or increase reaction times, the move is an extension of the city's current ban on using devices while on the road. But what do Austin drivers think of the ban, and how Austin police plan to enforce it?

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10-1
2:11 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Ballot Boxing: The Austin City Council District Forums

Join KUT, the Austin Monitor, Univision 62, KXAN and the Austin Chronicle for our series of in-district Austin City Council candidate forums. All forums begin at 7 P.M. They are free and open to the public.
RSVP is recommended. 

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2014 Elections
10:35 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Why 10-1 Isn't Austin's First Go-Around with Geographic Representation

A map of Austin from 1873 by Augustus Koch.
Wikimedia Commons

Let's go back in time. It's 1839. Austin’s a brand new baby, the capitol is a one-story building at the corner of 8th Street and Colorado, the Austin City Gazette costs $5 for a yearly subscription, and Lamar is the President of the Republic of Texas, not an overly-congested thoroughfare.

While all that may sound antiquated, there was something else in Austin that only recently has been considered a fresh, previously unheard of idea: geographic representation.

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Austin
7:32 am
Fri August 29, 2014

City Council Bans Hand-Held Devices While Driving

The Austin City Council banned use of hands-free devices yesterday. The ban starts in January of 2015.
via http://www.flickr.com/photos/indyplanets/

Holding a phone while rolling on Austin streets is about to become against the law, but not just for Austinites driving cars and trucks.

Read more
Eanes ISD
1:54 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

Eanes ISD Approves Sports and Community Complex (Update)

An image from the Westlake Neighborhood Alliance website opposing Western Hills Little League's proposed complex. The proposed center's also been fought in court, but the builders say they don’t understand the concern.
nottherightsite.com

Update: The Eanes School Board last night approved an agreement with a private contractor to build a 60-70,000 square foot facility next to Westlake High School. 

The proposed complex includes five to six basketball courts, nearly a dozen volleyball courts and an indoor turf field. There are also plans to build an aquatic facility and it will used for other sports and activities, like band, karate, yoga or gymnastics. There will also be space for video conferencing and camps. The company, Westlake Athletic Center (WAC), will build the complex and pay for constructions. Ten years after it's built, WAC will also pay Eanes ISD $60,000 per year as  rent the school, with escalation costs of 2.5 percent.

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2014 Elections
10:05 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Candidates Talk Transportation at Mayoral Forum

KUT's Jennifer Stayton moderated the panel of five mayoral hopefuls at KLRU's forum.
Sam Butler/KLRU

This story from our city hall reporting partners, the Austin Monitor.
You can hear the entire mayoral debate on KUT 90.5 FM tonight at 8 p.m.

Though Austin residents can only vote for one Council member to represent their geographic district this Election Day, everyone in the city gets a say in who becomes the next mayor. Five of those in the running showed up for the Civic Summit Mayoral Candidate Forum, Wednesday, presented by KLRU, Austin’s PBS station and the Urban Land Institute.

Moderator Jennifer Stayton, host of KUT’s Morning Edition, grilled candidates Todd Phelps, Mike Martinez, Randall Stephens, Sheryl Cole and Steve Adler about how they would govern the city, focusing specifically on what each candidate would do to alleviate Austin’s traffic congestion.

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