Austin

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After an unprecedented outbreak of West Nile virus in Texas last year, the state has seen half of the reported cases compared to this time last year.

But, despite the decrease, the Department of State Health Services says environmental factors and the disease's unpredictability don't necessarily guarantee a safe summer for Texans.

This week, forty five Texas high school students participated in the Texas School Safety Center's third annual Youth Preparedness Camp. It's a week-long camp in Kerrville, Texas, aimed to teach students how to respond to emergencies and  increase disaster preparedness in Texas communities. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry is fond of special sessions. Since 2000, he's called for 11 special sessions as governor. And, after the legislative fireworks in the final hours of the last special session, Gov. Perry called yet another special session, bringing lawmakers back to Austin to address transportation, criminal justice and abortion regulations not covered last session's call.

Courtesy of AIDSVu

A new interactive map illustrates cases of HIV and possible treatment and testing centers. The map was compiled by the non-profit AIDSVu, using city, county and federal data.  

National HIV Testing Day was this week, providing a chance to increase awareness about testing and treatment efforts among at-risk populations and inspire who may be living with the disease to seek help in managing it. 

Laura Rice, KUT News

The City of Austin and the Austin Tenant’s Council are hosting a community forum Saturday focused on housing discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people.

The prospect of drone-dotted skies across Texas isn’t such a far-off thought.

The technology exists, and Gov. Rick Perry even signed a law regulating their use last week.

While the legislation provides some oversight, it carves out some strange exceptions. And the burgeoning industry is waiting for the FAA to establish federal regulation.

As reported earlier this month, the Austin City Council got a look at the final version of a plan to redevelop the land along Waller Creek into a chain of parks.

They liked what they saw: Today, the council unanimously voted to approve the design plan developed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates with little argument.

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Austin resident Alyshia Foster grew up outside Dallas. When she was nine, she started taking medication to deal with depression.

“There had been this festering ugliness and self-hatred and I felt it was killing everything beautiful about it and I didn’t know what it was," Foster said.

Sinclair Black & Andrew Vernooy

Update (June 20): This morning Austin City Council members decided to go ahead and approve a resolution supporting a I-35 National Environmental Policy Act study for a plan to reconnect East & West Austin by submerging it from approximately River Street to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.

Council also directed the City Manager to develop an economic impact study and look at associated financing options.

A business in Austin is laying off hundreds of employees. OneWest Bank has notified the Texas Workforce Commission that intents to lay off more than 700 employees in Austin.

The California-based company is a mortgage services provider with offices in the Domain complex.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

To celebrate Juneteenth, KUT News is bringing you voices from Austin's black community on their past, present and future.

Carlos Wilson is a young Austinite whose heritage is rooted in Central America. 

"I imagine that people aren't going to care about what your heritage is and they're just going to think that we're all the same in the future."

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

A series of Juneteenth celebrations kicked off this weekend, celebrating the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned they were free. To honor these celebrations, KUT News is telling a series of stories about the history of the African-American community in Austin. 

KUT News

Texas was given a $750,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help U.S. veterans find jobs when they come home.

Along with Georgia, Illinois and North Carolina, the grant will reach out to active-duty soldiers within 90 days of their return from the Army, Texas Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

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The U.S. House is considering a version of a farm bill that could heavily impact benefits for Texans receiving food stamps.  

The change to state policy standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could take away 482 million meals for the hungry, and could cut 171,000 people from food assistance statewide, according to the Texas Food Bank Network.

flickr.com/USDAGov

A new report spotlights the success and shortfalls of summer lunch programs for Texas students.

The Food Research and Action Center found that the number of lunch programs across the state grew by 17 percent last year. However, these programs only reach about 11 percent of low-income children receiving school lunches.

Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

More than 22 percent of Austin area jobs require specialized STEM skills. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

A study released by the Brookings Institution today shows Austin’s percentage of STEM jobs in 2011 was slightly higher than the national average of 20 percent.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

Austin's cemeteries have a long list of problems — broken headstones, aging fences and outdated irrigation systems. Some cemeteries aren't even compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

But the City of Austin is developing a comprehensive plan on how to preserve some of the oldest cemeteries in the city.

The Circuit of the Americas [COTA] and hordes of extreme sports enthusiasts are fighting hard to bring the Summer X Games to Austin next summer.  COTA has now produced a video showing just how extreme Austin can be.

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Bitcoin is blowing up, both in the successful and not-so-successful sense.

The currency is as volatile as a Texas summer is miserably hot. But the volatility’s not stopping Austin movers and shakers from capitalizing on the craze.

Last week, a Bitcoin startup that will help grow the online currency popped up in Austin. But some Austin Bitcoin’ers are trying to moving the currency offline and into the real world.

It's time to play everyone's favorite game!

The city's Budget in a Box gives folks outside city hall a chance to learn about the city's budgeting process, then try on the shoes of a city budgeter, cutting, padding and managing programs and agencies that keep the city humming along.

KUT News acquired a copy of the game and we gave a two reporters and a few interns the chance to give the budgeting process the old college try. Click the video below to see how we fared.

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