Austin

Austin
5:27 am
Fri March 29, 2013

Austin Architects, Ecologists Create Site-Sensitive Edgeland House

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

In Austin, a group of architects and ecologists have created a house and landscape design that celebrates the unique climate, living species, and cultural traditions of Central Texas.

It’s perched on an east Austin bluff overlooking the Colorado River, on a reclaimed industrial site. KUT’s Cathy Byrd toured the home, called Edgeland House, with architect Thomas Bercy, of Bercy Chen Studio, and ecologist Mark Simmons, director of the Ecosystem Design Group for the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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2013 Legislature
2:42 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Senate Moves to Block Capitol Complex Developments

The State Senate will soon vote on a bill that would require developers wishing to build in the Capitol Complex to submit a bill in the legislature to gain approval.
Liang Shi for KUT

UPDATE (4/4/13): Senate Bill 507 by State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) passed the Senate unanimously today.

The bill would limit public private partnerships, or P3’s, in the area around the Capitol grounds.  The bill is closely related to SB 894 by State Sen. John Whitmire (D-Houston).

Last month Watson even likened his bill to a failsafe for Whitmire’s initial bill in a committee hearing last month. 

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Austin
7:51 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

Travis County Commissioners Hope for Property Tax Flexibility

Jillian Schantz Patrick, KUT News

Travis County Commissioners met today and spent a lengthy amount of time discussing a bill that may not see legislative light of day.

HB 3348 from Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin, would amend the Texas Constitution to give cities and counties flexibility in setting property tax rates – allowing them to set a tax rate of a specific dollar amount instead of the 20 percent traditionally used for property tax exemptions.  

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Drought
3:10 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

As Drought Persists, Grocery Prices Rise

The effects of drought caused a rise in grocery prices this year, as Texas and other agriculture producing states grapple with dry farming and ranching conditions.
flickr.com/roofless

The cost of groceries in Texas has gone up as a result of drought conditions in Texas and across the country.

A survey from the Texas Farmers Bureau finds that the price of a uniform basket of goods for an average Texas shopper is $46.40, a five and a half percent rise over last fiscal quarter.

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Austin
8:53 am
Tue March 26, 2013

It’s Official: Barton Springs Pool is Reopening This Saturday

Barton Springs Pool is scheduled to reopen Saturday after being closed since mid-December.
KUT News

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story erroneously said the repairs to the bypass tunnel and dam at Barton Springs Pool was part of the Master Plan process.

Barton Springs Pool is scheduled to reopen this Saturday.

The swimming hole has been closed since December, as the city made repairs to the pool's bypass tunnel and the dam on the downstream side of the pool.

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Austin
6:40 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

March 25th: A History of Hail in Austin

Hail in the Jollyville area of Austin, March 25, 2009
Flickr/Chelsea Gomez http://www.flickr.com/photos/pyxopotamus/3385869861/in/photostream/

This Monday, March 25, has a date with a dark recent history here in the Austin area. The last three major hail storms we’ve had all have been on March 25, in 1993, 2005 and 2009.

“It is kind of unusual that three of the costliest storms have occurred on that individual date,” says Mark Hanna of the Insurance Council of Texas

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Waller Creek
4:40 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Photos: Waller Creek Tunnel Project at Waterloo Park

The tunnel will feature a 30 foot deep pool to serve as a "shock absorber" for floodwaters.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

City officials say they're making progress on the Waller Creek Tunnel Project.

Construction crews at Waterloo Park have wrapped up excavating the tunnel and are moving on to building a treatment plant that will help filter floodwaters.

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Austin
10:55 am
Fri March 22, 2013

Austin's 'Lamar Street Art Gallery' Says Goodbye – For Now

The so-called "Lamar Street Art Gallery" was painted over this morning.
imgur.com/BbttPqQ

The “Lamar Street Art Gallery” – a collection of street art painted and pasted up on a wall by the Lamar Boulevard underpass just north of Town Lake – is no more.

For now, at least.

This morning, a poster on the Austin page of social sharing website Reddit posted a photo of the wall being painted over.

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Books
5:00 am
Wed March 20, 2013

It’s Family Tradition vs. Rebirth in Debut Novel 'The Carriage House'

A carriage house and the game of tennis are almost characters themselves in Louisa Hall's debut novel.

Louisa Hall left the leafy suburbs of Philadelphia for Texas. And it was this move that prompted her to set her first novel back in those environs - both the good and bad of them.

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Austin
4:35 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

SXSW Transplants: Coming for the Tech, Staying for the Weird

A couple SXSW participants relax outside the Austin Convention Center. SXSW Interactive registration skyrocketed again this year.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Another South by Southwest has come and gone – and in its wake comes the inevitable cry from some local natives: “Don’t move here.”

Pulling up the drawbridge on SXSW visitors isn’t anything new: back in 1997, one local band minted t-shirts telling folks they could go back home when the music’s over. But as SXSW Interactive continues its explosive growth – with a 25 percent surge this year and over 30,000 attendees – it attracts a different set of attendees than music-loving spring breakers. And some of those attendees may not be going back.

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Austin
10:15 am
Mon March 18, 2013

Can the Lowly Alleyway Transform Downtown Austin?

An art installation called “20ft Wide” is planned for an alley on Ninth Street between Congress and Brazos Streeets.
Art Alliance Austin/Creative Action and TBG/Dan Cheetham (Fyoog) and Michelle Tarsney

When you think about downtown Austin, do you ever think about the spaces between the buildings?

Probably not, and you're not alone. That’s may be because alleyways – in movies, and sometimes in real life – are usually shady, dirty and even dangerous places. But some local leaders want to bring the city’s alleys back into the light.

In an alley downtown, I met with Meredith Powell and Dan Cheetham. Powell is with the Art Alliance Austin. The alley, she says “was laid out in the original 1839 map by Edwin Waller and it is on Ninth Street between Brazos and Congress.”

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The Lead
9:00 am
Mon March 18, 2013

The Lead: SXSW Ends, Norwood Trial Begins, TxDOT Detonates Marble Falls Bridge (Video)

The SXSW crowds downtown last week. Austin's airport has added a fourth checkpoint today to expedite the SXSW exodus.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Good morning this post-spring break Monday. Austin’s expecting record high temperatures approaching 90 degrees today. The National Weather Service says those high temperature make for elevated fire conditions, so be careful.

Lead Story: It’s one of the busiest days of the year at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, as many visitors in town for South by Southwest head home.

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Transportation
3:05 pm
Sat March 16, 2013

Map: St. Patty's Day Road Closure

Watch out – part of 4th Street will be closed this weekend for a St. Patrick's Day celebrations.
flickr.com/atmtx

Hopefully you're wearing green tomorrow – and not planning to drive along 4th Street.

All day on Sunday, West Fourth Street from Colorado to Lavaca is fully closed to car traffic for a St. Patrick's Day Festival. Fado's Irish Pub is hosting the festival, and attendees will enjoy music, food, some liquor and a lot of beer.

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Texas
3:44 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

Interactive Map: Travis is Texas' Second Fastest Growing County

Booming production of oil and gas is just one of the reasons for the rapid population growth in Texas.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports Andrews County, near oil-rich Midland, is the state’s fastest growing county. But in second place, Travis County has attracted more than 71,000 people within two years.

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Affordable Housing
1:58 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

A Minimum Wage Job in Austin Gets You a Two-Bedroom Apt. – And a 111-Hour Work Week

In order for housing to be considered affordable, it shouldn’t cost tenants more than 30 percent of their income.
flickr.com/milestonemanagement

Austin has the highest average rent in the state of Texas. And Austinites trying to afford housing on minimum wage need to work close to three full-time jobs.

That’s according to a new study from the National Low Income Housing Coalition. The non-profit looked at the average fair market rent for Austin apartments and calculated how many hours minimum wage workers need to work so their rent is affordable – meaning it’s no more than 30 percent of their earnings.

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Life in Austin
4:13 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

The (Mis)Pronunciations That Keep Austin Weird

Public art on Guadalupe Street, pronounced "Gwad-A-Loop" by countless generations of Austinities.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Sure – Austin’s weird.

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The Lead
8:50 am
Thu March 7, 2013

The Lead: Labor Deal at Capital Metro, Dell Stands Behind Buyout Offer, Austin Vehicle Thefts Up

A union-approved contract may mean years of labor peace for Cap Metro.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Good morning. Austin's in for partly cloudy weather with a seasonal high in the 70s, according to the National Weather Service.

Lead Story: There’s a new two-year labor contract for Austin bus drivers.

McDonald Transit operates about 70 percent of Capital Metro’s fixed route bus service.  It has signed a two-year labor contract with Amalgamated Transit Union 1091, which represents the drivers and mechanics, after being ratified with a union vote of 91 percent.

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Austin
9:28 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

Austin Amps Up Giving: Non-Profits Net $2.8 Million

The Capital Area Food Bank is one of over 300 non-profits participating in Amplify Austin.
KUT News

Update: Amplify Austin ended its 24-hour fund drive with nearly $2.8 million in donations. 

Original Post (2:48 p.m.): Non-profit funding initiative Amplify Austin doubled its initial goal of raising $1 million in 24 hours – with time to spare.

Donations to more than 300 non-profits in Austin passed the seven-figure mark around 9 a.m., with the amount still climbing as the donation drive rolls on.

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Geographic Representation
4:15 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

10-1 Review Panel Selected - And All Three Members Are Women

City Auditor Kenneth Mory looking for 10-1 volunteers last month. Today, the auditor randomly selected three CPAs to oversee redistricting commission applications.
City of Austin

Earlier today, Austin's City Auditor held a public drawing today to select the three accountants that will serve on the 10-1 Applicant Review Panel. The three accountants are Martha Parker, Michelle DeFrance and Carolyn Limaye – all women.

The review panel will select the 60 most qualified applicants for potential service on Austin's Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. That's the group which will ultimately draw district lines for city council members. (Click here for an overview of the district-drawing process.)

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Austin
12:32 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Go Fly a Kite: Zilker Kite Festival

The 85th annual Zilker Kite Festival happens this Sunday.
flickr.com/sonicpenguin

Kites will be flying high over Zilker Park as the Zilker Kite Festival returns to Austin this Sunday. This year marks the 85th edition of the festival—making it the oldest festival of its kind in the nation.

The festival was founded in 1929 by the Exchange Club of Austin and has been held at Zilker Park since it opened in 1936. The festival will last from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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