Austin

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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Arts and Culture
6:07 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Out of the Attic: Quilting for the 'Pinterest' Generation

Modern Quilt Guild members chose Austin as the location of the first QuiltCon.
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

Click the player to hear an audio version of this story.

The first-ever international Modern Quilting Convention – QuiltCon – starts right here in Austin today. So what exactly is “Modern Quilting”?

Quilting has moved out of the attic and into the realm of cool. Just ask the millions of people on websites like Pinterest and Etsy.

QuiltCon organizer Heather Grant says the craft started its internet revolution in 2005… when it became easier to share photos online.

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Austin
11:23 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Fighting Crime by Fixing 'Broken Windows' in Rundberg Area

Austin Police have committed to "restoring" the Rundberg Neighborhood.
Erika Aguilar, KUT News

The Austin Police Department is taking steps to improve the Rundberg area as part of the Restore Rundberg Project. APD is conducting a Vehicle Abatement initiative: tagging and towing vehicles that are in violation of city ordinances and state laws.

It might seem trivial for police to address crime with efforts that target illegally parked cars, but University of Texas at Austin Associate Professor of Sociology and Consultant to the Restore Rundberg Project David Kirk says that it addresses a bigger sociological issue known as the Broken Window theory.

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Austin
6:16 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Mount Bonnell May See Changes - Public Meeting Tonight

Relax: No change is being proposed to Mount Bonnell's view.
flickr.com/atmtx

Update: For all those interested in voicing their opinions over potential changes to the iconic Austin destination, you can do that today at 6:30 p.m. during a public meeting at the Mayfield House and Nature Preserve.

Original Story (Feb. 8, 12:40 p.m.): Alluring Austin overlook Mount Bonnell may see some slight changes.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with the West Point Society of Central Texas to make updates at the historic park. The City of Austin is holding a community engagement meeting to field public input on the potential changes to the park.

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Austin
1:29 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Austin YMCA Wants to Avoid Another Lifeguard Shortage

The YMCA is beginning the lifeguard hunt early this year.
flickr.com/atmtx/

The YMCA of Austin is trying to recruit lifeguards earlier this year.

In order to prevent last year’s shortage of lifeguards, the YMCA of Austin has expanded its schedule of YMCA and American Red Cross Lifeguarding Certification classes this spring.

Last summer, the YMCA hired 200 lifeguards. This summer, they're hoping to hire 250. But, YMCA spokesperson Sean Doles said the lifeguard shortage was not an issue just at the YMCA, but in the community as a whole—and even across the nation.

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Austin
11:14 am
Fri February 15, 2013

South Austin Neighbors Invited to Discuss Development

A meeting tomorrow will bring together neighbors for feedback on the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan.
flickr.com/austintexasgov

"Imagine Austin" is closer to becoming a reality.

Last June, the Austin City Council passed the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan, which will guide city development for the next thirty years. The plan is to make Austin more connected and compact.

Now, people who live in South Austin are invited to weigh-in on how the South Austin Combined Neighborhood Plan is implemented.

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Austin Energy
8:29 am
Fri February 15, 2013

At Council: Independent Austin Energy Board Gets First OK

Right now, Austin is the largest city in the U.S. where the city council governs a municipal energy utility.

Despite protests from some clean energy and consumer advocates, the Austin City Council voted unanimously last night to take to the first step towards creating a board of legal and energy experts to oversee Austin Energy. 

The resolution directs the city manager to develop the ordinance that will outline the dynamics of this board by March 21. While the board will oversee Austin Energy, city council will retain final approval of electric rates, transactions of more than $100 million and any board nominees.

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Austin
3:08 pm
Thu February 14, 2013

City Council Update: Austin Energy Hearing; Vets Board, Music Venue Program Approved

flickr.com/ennuiislife

Update: The council gave preliminary approval to an independent Austin Energy board Thursday night. You can read more here.

Original Post:The Austin City Council has made short work of today’s agenda, passing most items early.

One agenda item is still outstanding, and should create some sparks: a resolution calling for an independent governance board to oversee operations at Austin Energy.

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Health
8:52 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Another Way to Celebrate Valentine's Day: Learn CPR

When CPR is performed immediately after cardiac arrest occurs, a victim's survival rate can triple.
flickr.com/leppre

If your Valentine goes into cardiac arrest during dinner, Austin-Travis County EMS wants you to know how to help.

Austin-Travis County EMS is hosting free, hands-only CPR training sessions at Barton Creek Square mall from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today. 

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Education
7:21 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Eastside Memorial Students Seek Meeting With Ed. Commissioner

Nathan Bernier/KUT News

A group of Austin students from Eastside Memorial High School plan to deliver a letter to Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams this morning.

They want to meet with Williams to share their concern over proposals to have the school taken over by a charter school operator.

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Austin City Council
5:16 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

City Council Allocates Austin's $14 Million Budget Surplus (Update)

Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole offers her thoughts on the budget to her colleagues.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

Update: In a protracted and somewhat testy meeting, the Austin City Council budgeted and allocated the sum of the city’s $14 million budget surplus.

The day’s big winner? Affordable housing initiatives, which were earmarked for $10 million. Wildfire fuel mitigation received a little over $1 million, the Child Inc. after-school program received $557,000, and a pilot program for 24 hour patrol of the Hike & Bike Trail received $350,000. You can view a complete list of the council’s actions.

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The Lead
9:14 am
Tue February 12, 2013

The Lead: Virgin Airlines Coming to Austin, 'No-Refusal' In Effect

The ticketing area at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Virgin Airlines has announced it will open shop at ABIA.
KUT News

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin faces a chance of strong thunderstorms this morning. The day should warm to a high near 70.

Lead Story: Austin-Bergstrom International Airport has a new tenant: Virgin Airlines, which will be operating non-stop flights to San Francisco. And Mayor Lee Leffingwell is among those welcoming the announcement. 

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The Lead
9:27 am
Mon February 11, 2013

The Lead: Anderson Inquiry Ends, Texas SEAL Chris Kyle Eulogized

Michael Morton watches as the court of inquiry explores former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson's role in Morton's wrongful conviction, on Feb. 6, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin can expect continued chances for rain and highs in the 60s today.

Lead Story: Former Williamson County district attorney Ken Anderson has denied any misconduct in the case of Michael Morton, the man who was wrongfully convicted of his wife’s murder and spent 25 years in prison.

Anderson, now a judge in Georgetown, is facing allegations that as a prosecutor he hid evidence that would have proved Morton’s innocence.

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Austin
7:45 am
Mon February 11, 2013

Businesses, Customers Get Ready for Austin's Bag Ordinance

So-called single-use plastic bags will no longer be available at most Austin stores beginning March 1.
courtesy flickr.com/adav

Story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

Austin’s Bag Ordinance goes into effect soon. Starting March 1, the majority of Austin businesses will stop providing single-use paper and plastic bags. That’s because the City of Austin has a goal of zero waste by the year 2040. This measure is among the first steps toward that goal. Businesses and customers alike are already making some adjustments.

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Transportation
4:30 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Map: Construction, Celebrations and Cupids Cause Road Closures

Runners in Washington D.C.'s 2012 Cupid's Undie Run. Three different events are closing closing roads around Austin this weekend.
flickr.com/gratapictures

A construction crane, half-nude cupids and thousands of beads are resulting in several full and partial road closures in Austin this weekend.

The placement of a construction crane will close part of Congress Avenue Friday evening. Northbound Congress Avenue will be closed between Cesar Chavez and Third Streets from 7 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Monday, Feb. 11. Southbound traffic on Congress Avenue in the area will be reduced to two lanes.

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Sports
2:31 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Special Olympics Athletes Return to Austin After Winning Honors in World Winter Games (Update)

Coach Peggy Grant (left) and figure skater Cory Gentry, training before Gentry's trip to Korea.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: Central Texans Alex Miller and Cory Gentry returned to Austin today after competing in the Special Olympics World Winter Games in South Korea. Figure skaters Miller and Gentry placed fourth and fifth in the worldwide competition. The games ran from Jan. 29 to Feb. 5.

To learn more, watch a video below with Gentry, Miller, their families and coach Peggy Grant below. 

Original Post (Dec. 5, 2012): Thousands of athletes will descend on Pyeongchang, South Korea for the Special Olympics World Winter Games in January. Among them are two Austinites: Cory Gentry and Alex Miller.

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The Lead
9:15 am
Fri February 8, 2013

The Lead: Morton Inquiry Winding Down; Gov. Perry Goes West

Michael Morton watches as the court of inquiry explores former Williamson County District Attorney Ken Anderson's role in Morton's wrongful conviction, on Feb. 6, 2013.
Callie Richmond, Texas Tribune

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin will see sunny and mild weather today with a high approaching 70 degrees. A band of severe thunderstorms is expected to blow in Saturday night.

Lead Story: In Georgetown, it’s day five of a court of inquiry seeking answers into the case of Michael Morton. Wrongly convicted for the murder of his wife, Morton spent 25 years behind bars before he was cleared by DNA evidence.

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