Austin

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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Austin
6:56 am
Fri March 1, 2013

City Council to Vote on Austin Energy Rate Case Settlement (Update)

"HURF" says a two tier rate system is more fair.
flickr.com/alexyorke

Update: The special meeting will take place this afternoon at 12:30 p.m .

Original Story (Feb. 27, 7:34 a.m.): The Austin City Council is holding a special-called meeting on Friday to vote on whether to approve a settlement with Austin Energy customers who live outside of the city limits.

The group Homeowners United for Rate Fairness or "HURF" appealed to the state’s Public Utility Commission—saying the Austin Energy rate increase that went into effect in October was too high and the new rate structure was too complicated.

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Arts and Culture
5:54 am
Fri March 1, 2013

New African-American Center Opens Today

City of Austin

Today is the grand opening of Austin’s new African-American Cultural and Heritage Facility. The center is housed in a historic structure at 912 East 11th Street. The Dedrick-Hamilton house was home to the family of one of the first freed slaves in Travis County.

The center was paid for with $1.5 million from the 2006 city bond, along with about $3 million in federal grants, according to the city.

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Austin
8:09 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Parking Changes Coming to Rainey Street Area (Update)

Jessie Wang

Update: Parking meters in the Rainey Street District will start charging this morning. A $1 per hour parking cost will be applied and the schedule will be the same as downtown: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 8 a.m. to midnight Thursday and Friday, and 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday. On Sundays parking in the Rainey Street area will be free.

The Rainy Street visitors can also park at the Mexican American Cultural Center. The parking fee will also be $1 per hour from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday and early Sundays. A 5$ flat fee from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m will be applied in the parking lot and besides those three late night hours, Sunday will be free.

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Austin
1:30 pm
Wed February 27, 2013

What's the State of the Austin Music Industry?

Street performers play during SXSW 2012. Austin Music People says the city gains $1.7 billion from live music and related tourism.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Music People this week presented "The State of the Austin Music Industry" – a biennial white paper that looks at the economic and cultural impacts of what it means to be the “Live Music Capital of the World."

Austin Music People or "AMP" aims to promote the Austin music industry by bringing local leaders together with Austin music professionals to address the needs of both groups and to determine what can be done to foster the city’s rapid growth and thriving entertainment culture.

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Politics
7:39 am
Wed February 27, 2013

Farmers Market Bills Cropping Up at Texas Legislature

Vendors at the Austin Farmers Market could see lower permitting fees.
flickr.com/cbroders

Lawmakers are thinking locally at the Capitol.

Texas House members will hear two bills today that seek to loosen rules on local agriculture by lowering restriction of raw milk sales to consumers and placing a cap on the amount of taxes levied on farmers at local markets.

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Austin
5:25 am
Wed February 27, 2013

PolitiFact: Austin Has Low Unemployment, High Poverty

Emily Donahue and Gardner Selby examine County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt's claim that Austin has low unemployment and high poverty
KUT News

A Travis County Commissioner says local prosperity is shadowed by rising poverty. In this week’s PolitiFact check-in, KUT’s Emily Donahue spoke to Gardner Selby of the Austin American-Statesman’s PolitiFact Texas.

PolitiFact tackled a claim by Travis County commissioner Sarah Eckhardt who, in an email, said conditions are tough despite "present prosperity."

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Austin
2:30 pm
Tue February 26, 2013

Texas Retailers Sue Austin Over Single-Use Bag Ban (Update)

Businesses cannot provide single-use plastic bags starting Friday.
flickr.com/velkr0

Update: Alexandria Bruton, Public Information Specialist with the City of Austin, has issued the following statement on the bags lawsuit: 

“Although the City has not yet been served with the lawsuit, we are familiar with the allegations and we are prepared to defend the ordinance. We stand behind the intent of the ordinance and do not believe it poses a hardship to affected businesses. The City is committed to working with businesses to help them comply with the ordinance and offers a number of resources to make this process as easy as possible.”  

Original post: Austin’s ban on single-use bags starts Friday. But a business group hasn’t stopped fighting against it.

The Texas Retailers Association has filed a lawsuit against the city, arguing the ban is against the state's Health and Safety Code. “We are bringing this suit regarding a state statue that we only fairly recently became aware of, which says no local government may pass an ordinance that prohibits or restricts baggage or containers like plastic bags," association president Ronnie Volkening said. 

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Environment
8:05 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Map: Prescribed Burn Closes Slaughter Creek Trail

Austin Water Utility conducts prescribed burns to restore native grasslands.
facebook.com/AustinWater

Slaughter Creek Trail in southwest Austin off of Ranch to Market 1826 will be closed all day today because of a planned prescribed burn.

Austin Water Utility’s Wildland Conservation Division plans to burn about 70 acres of land in the area in order to manage brush and encourage the growth of native grasses.

The burn is expected to take five to six hours. It's not clear when the burn will begin.

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Austin
7:02 am
Fri February 22, 2013

Map: Immigration March May Disrupt Traffic This Morning

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition will march to the Capitol today for what they call humane immigration reform.
Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition

Austin drivers can expect traffic delays later this morning because of an immigration reform march downtown.

The Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition is putting on what it calls the "first Texas statewide march in 2013 for Humane Immigration Reform." The coalition promotes human rights and economic justices for immigrants.

Partner organizations from El Paso, Dallas, Houston and other cities will be in attendance. According to a Facebook event, more than 400 people are coming to the march.

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ABIA
9:15 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Faster Security Checks for Frequent Fliers Coming to ABIA

Some frequent fliers could soon skip past long security lines at ABIA.
KUT News

Some travelers at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport will soon be able to get through security faster.

A Transportation Safety Administration spokesman tells KUT News this morning that ABIA is being added to the TSA’s “Pre Check” Program.

Pre Check allows frequent fliers who’ve met certain requirements to pass through a designated security check point where they may not have to take off their shoes, jackets and belts. They also may not have to remove laptops or liquids from carry-on items.

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