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.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The Austin City Council is meeting in a work session today. They could talk about accepting a $3.5 million donation from event production company C3 Presents to make improvements to Auditorium Shores.

C3 Presents is a concert promotion and management company that puts on events such as the Austin Food and Wine Festival at the park. The city approved C3 Presents’ request for a second weekend for the popular Austin City Limits Festival in 2013 and later years.

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Update: Former Austin Mayor Bruce Todd is returning to the Travis County Commissioners Court.

County Judge Sam Biscoe has selected Todd to be interim Precinct 2 Commissioner, an office Todd held before he was elected Mayor of Austin in 1991. 

Joy Diaz, KUT News

The co-founder of one of the oldest restaurants in Austin died over the weekend. Janie Martinez helped her husband open Matt’s El Rancho in 1952.

Martinez died Saturday at the age of 90. Her death comes almost a year after the Tex-Mex restaurant celebrated its 60th anniversary. Matt himself died in 2003.

KUT News

You know those property tax breaks that Austin uses to lure companies like Apple and Visa to town? A Washington, D.C., group says the city is doing a pretty good job of letting us know how those deals pan out.

The nonprofit research center Good Jobs First gave Austin’s program 100 out of 100 for disclosing annual activity online and for providing third-party audits of each company receiving taxpayer incentives. 

Andrew Weber for KUT News

Austin is no longer a “sleepy college town,” according to Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Austin Police and the U.S. Attorney's office say as Austin grows, so does the risk of drug trafficking. Today, they announced two big busts – one involving a year-and-a-half investigation into a cartel-connected cocaine ring and another that yielded over 20 pounds of methamphetamine.


There are many ways to experience Austin.

For Andrew Takano, a UT aerospace engineering grad student, it was to capture what Austin looks like at night. Some 170 hours of shooting and editing later, Takano’s video, “Sleepwalking Austin,” is racking up views on YouTube.

Laura Rice, KUT News

The food trailer park on South Congress was one of Austin’s most popular. But the trailers had to clear the lot this week to make way for a hotel and retail space.

Four food trailers made the two-mile move to a vacant lot at South Lamar and Bluebonnet Lane – including Austin Frigid Frog Shaved Ice.

The City of Austin has received a federal grant to address health problems posed by some older homes. The city already has a program to inspect for toxic lead-based paint

The $2.5 million grant will also allow the city to take care of pest and mold problems in older homes and to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. The grant will provide for services to 138 homes.

For the uninitiated, Austin food isn’t exactly orthodox. Like any big city, the culinary range is vast and eclectic – from tapas to tandoori, gourmet donuts to the ubiquitous breakfast taco.

But while Austin’s food scene may be a draw for taste buds here and abroad, it’s also a preeminent moneymaker – with an economic impact of over $4 billion, according to a study released last month. The city may savor that tax revenue, but it’s also asking citizens for ideas to improve Austin’s food culture as foodies look forward.

Sorry bats, there’s been a new wildlife sighting in downtown Austin: a colony of honeybees is now living atop a high-rise boutique hotel.

In a small clearing between the network of pipes, condensers, fans and ducts that runs across the roof of the W Austin Hotel, ten bright beehives are humming. To create this buzz, the W partnered with Central Texas Bee Rescue, a local nonprofit on a mission to save the endangered honeybee.

Flickr user OZinOH,

Who knew Kangaroos are Longhorns were related?

This year marks the 30th anniversary of sisterhood between Austin and Adelaide, Australia, one of Austin’s 12 sister cities.

Deputy Lord Mayor Michael Llewellyn-Smith of Adelaide spoke today at City Hall. He reminisced of the long relationship between the two cities, in particular a time when he had BBQ with Lady Bird Johnson.

Update: Today the Austin City Council gave the go-ahead to the Circuit of the Americas’s attempt to secure a three-year Summer X Games contract.

The city approval allows COTA to seek state money and incentives under the Events Trust Fund during the bid process for the games. It also includes $150,000 in fee waivers for police overtime and trash clean-up.

I-Hwa Cheng, KUT News

The City of Austin cooled the idea of creating a board to oversee Austin Energy.

The original idea was to form a board whose members are more knowledgeable than city council members are about the electric utility industry, but after concerns that its members would be insufficiently accountable to voters, the plan changed, leaving the proposed board with less authority.

Wikimedia Commons

Central Texas is helping those in Moore, Oklahoma and surrounding areas in relief and rescue efforts.

Last night, Texas Task Force 1 was dispatched to Oklahoma, an elite search and rescue team which includes 5 members from the Austin Fire Department.

Courtesy of Capitol Metropolitan Transit Authority

You may have to dig out another quarter to board a bus in Austin.

Capital Metro Transit Authority met today to hear a proposal that could bump up fares over the next two years.

Though the transit board won’t approve anything until September, the possible move to raise rates by 25% could net as much as $2.2 million annually. 

KUT News

The City of Austin plans to launch an Office of Innovation later this year.

Last night, City Council’s Emerging Technology and Telecommunications Committee met to discuss expectations for the office. What would it do? What would it cover? The city is open for innovative suggestions.

Map Says Many Austinites Bike to Work, But Do They Feel Safe?

May 15, 2013
City of Austin

It’s no secret that Austin is a biking city. And while cities around the country are gearing up for National Bike to Work Day, riding to work is nothing new for Austinites: according to Census data, people here commute by bike four times more often than the national average. 

To prove it, the city released a map breaking down bike commuting by neighborhood. But while more people are pedaling to work, cyclists don't always feel safe on Austin roads.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Central Texas isn’t taking any chances when it comes to wildfires.

Today, Travis County unveiled a new STAR Flight helicopter designed to fight wildfires, and tomorrow the city and the county are teaming up for a series of public meetings for their “Community Wildfire Protection Plan.”