Austin

Austin
9:27 am
Tue April 7, 2015

Sex, Drugs and Plant Biology: Why Everything is Covered in Green Gunk

This time of year the oak trees in Austin shed their pollen, covering the city in a sort of green gunk.
KUT News

Every spring clouds of green pollen descend on Austin, bringing misery to allergy-suffering public radio reporters like me and frustrating drivers like DeAunderia Bowens.

"You know I just got my car washed and literally got up the next morning and my car was covered with this green stuff!" she said on her way to work. "If I had a green car it would be alright, but clearly not working on a grey vehicle.”

This time of year the stuff is oak pollen, but why does its get everywhere? The answer might make you look at trees a little differently.

It turns out we are surrounded by tree sex.

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Texas Standard
2:38 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

Austin Mom Wants Women to Talk About a Common, Embarrassing Problem

The "Just Go Girl" pads are supposed to be invisible from behind.
Megan Jo Olson for Texas Standard.

This story comes from Texas Standard.

At the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, Texas Standard volunteer Megan Jo Olson approached a handful of women and asked them an uncomfortable question: “Have you experienced stress urinary incontinence?”

The answer from a lot of the women was, “Yes.”

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Austin
12:20 pm
Mon April 6, 2015

To 'Speak with One Voice,' Austin Manufactured Home Residents Get Organized

Stonegate neighbors vote on their demands. They want copies of their lease agreements and copies of their bylaws. But, above all, they say they want to live free of fear of retaliation.
Joy Diaz/KUT News

There are more than 100 registered neighborhood associations in Austin. Sometimes there are even multiple associations in the same neighborhood. In mobile home communities, however, they're rare — not just in Austin, but nationwide.

But after the neighbors at Stonegate Mobile Home Park in North Central Austin started feeling pressured by fees from management, they decided to organize their own.

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Austin
8:00 am
Sat April 4, 2015

Animal Shelters Urge People Not to Buy Live Bunnies for Easter

Rabbit rescue centers and animal shelters say they've noticed that people bring in a lot of bunnies about a month after Easter.
Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

For some, Easter means dyeing eggs, stuffing candy into colorful baskets, and maybe eating some of those chocolate Easter bunnies. But some people have noticed another trend: Parents buy their kids baby bunnies – real ones – for Easter.

Then, once the bunnies grow to full size – some can be up to 13 pounds – what had at first seemed like a cute gift ends up demanding a lot of care.

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Austin
10:56 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Goose Who Served as Homeless Advocate in Austin to be Memorialized, Stuffed

Homer on his 26th birthday last year.
Courtesy of Valerie Romness

Long-time Austinites might remember Homer the Homeless Goose, who rose to local and even national fame in the late 1980s as a champion for the rights of the homeless community. Homer served as the mascot for Austin’s unhoused population. He passed away last month at the age of 27 (a pretty long life for a goose – over 100 in goose years, according to Austin Zoo officials).

“Austin’s homeless mascot for 27 years took a forever flight…Folks that hear about him for the first time will wish that they could have met Ole Homer,” Fred Pettit wrote in The Challenger, a newspaper written and distributed by Austin's homeless.

A memorial will be held for Homer this weekend.

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Austin City Council
10:00 am
Fri April 3, 2015

Council Votes for Extra Staff Through September

Mayor Steve Adler's proposal to expand council staff last night passed last night on a vote of 9-2.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

Following weeks of deliberation, the mayor and City Council offices are receiving a boost in staffing — at least for the next few months.

Council voted 9-2 Thursday to approve a resolution that will effectively add three full-time staff members to Mayor Steve Adler’s office and one full-time staff member to each Council office for the remainder of the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 1. This will raise the number of staff members in Adler’s office from five to eight, and in each Council office from three to four.

Council Members Delia Garza and Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo cast the dissenting votes.

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Austin
4:19 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Council Approves Further Study, Input Process for Proposed Barbeque Smoke Regulations

Brisket at Franklin's. Owner Aaron Franklin visited city council Monday to explain the potential effects of proposed regulations on his, and others', barbecue businesses.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Update Thursday April 2, 2015, 4:20 p.m. At today’s meeting, the Austin City Council voted to start a stakeholder input process on possibly regulating barbecue smoke from restaurants.

Recommendations will be made by the city manager to the Health and Human Services Committee and the Economic Opportunity Committee. After July 31, there will be another chance for public comment.

ORIGINAL STORY from the Austin Monitor: In response to owners of barbecue restaurants worried about their future in Austin, City Council Member Pio Renteria is making some changes to his resolution directing city staff to create rules to regulate smoke from commercial barbecue smokestacks.

Originally, the resolution was written to require restaurants and mobile food vendors who use a wood or charcoal burning stove or grill within 150 feet of properties zoned residential to install exhaust systems called smoke scrubbers or similar devices.

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2015 Legislature
10:30 am
Thu April 2, 2015

Bill Proposing Constitutional Protection of Hunting Passes Texas Senate

Sen. Brandon Creighton's bill would prevent any future ban on hunting.
Greg Westfall/flickr

The Texas Senate has approved a proposed amendment to the Texas Constitution that would guarantee Texans’ rights to hunt and fish, and it is now headed to the House for a vote.

The amendment would not affect any current laws but would add a constitutional provision that would legally prohibit any future limitation of hunting or fishing.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:50 pm
Wed April 1, 2015

A Look Back at Texas' Unfunniest April Fools' Jokes

The Texas House recognized Albert DeSalvo's work in "applied psychology" and "population control" in 1971.
Credit Wikipedia

It’s April Fools' Day, the holiday that not only celebrates but encourages folks to play jokes and pranks on their loved ones and coworkers.

Sometimes, those jokes and pranks don’t turn out so well. So in honor of April Fools' Day, this Wayback Wednesday looks back on the jokes and pranks in Texas’ history that, even if they landed at the time, would likely fall flat today.

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Austin
1:11 pm
Sun March 29, 2015

AT&T Outage in Austin Reportedly Caused by Cut Fiber Optic Line

Kent Chen/flickr

An AT&T outage affecting Austin and surrounding areas was caused by a fiber optic line cut, officials say.

Update 1:30 p.m. Austin-Travis County EMS sent out a final situation alert tweet stating that most if not all service has been reinstated.

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Austin
5:13 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Co-owner of Former Jumpolin Property Forced Out as CEO of Status Labs

The Jumpolin site shortly after the demolition.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Jordan French, the landowner responsible for the Cesar Chavez piñata store teardown that rocked Austin in February, resigned Thursday as CEO of Austin-based reputation management and PR company Status Labs. The company's employees asked French to resign, according to a press release they sent out Thursday afternoon.

Their request for French's resignation appears to be a direct result of the actions he took in ordering the demolition of Jumpolin, an East Austin party supply store, with all the merchandise still inside. 

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Austin
12:23 pm
Thu March 26, 2015

Housing Prices are Rising Faster than Wages in Austin, But Maybe Not for Long

flickr.com/gjmj

Austin home values are going up much faster than wages, according to a new report. But experts say it likely won’t continue that way for long.

If you own a home in the Austin-Rock Rock area, it's probably worth a lot more now than it was two years ago: Median home prices here have gone up by almost 23 percent over the last two years, according to RealtyTrac, a real estate data firm based in California. 

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Austin
10:27 am
Thu March 26, 2015

MoPac Boulevard Project Completion Delayed

Officials have pushed back the MoPac construction completion date.
Courtesy of MoPac Improvement Project

From the Austin Monitor:

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority officials announced Wednesday that a fully operational MoPac Boulevard may not happen until the end of the year. While the announcement currently delays construction only three-and-a-half months, officials said they were not confident they could complete the work even then.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:11 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

A Look Back at Texas Relays' Long Run in Austin

Texas Archive of the Moving Image

This week's Wayback Wednesday marks the Texas Relays weekend, an 88-year-old tradition that brings some of the country's finest track-and-field athletes to the 40 acres.

With that in mind, we've cobbled together a collection of gifs to mark the occasion, taking a look at highlights from past years' competitions.

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Austin
10:10 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Boot Camp Helps Small Business Owners Build Entrepreneurial Strength

PCW, a small construction business in Austin, Tex.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Hispanics are twice as likely to start a small business as any other group in the United States, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

But the failure rate for small businesses is high – nearly 50 percent don't make it. An organization in Austin hopes it can train small business owners the skills to succeed.

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Austin
10:30 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Map: In Austin, Noise Complaints are on the Rise

Austinite Kingston Arbor, 3 months old, hangs with his father Ryan Arbor at an Austin music festival in 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Despite the best efforts by Austinites to dissuade out-of-towners from moving here, they are. The city’s grown more than any other metropolitan area over the last five years, and with all that growth comes plenty of noise. That's not to mention the additional noise brought about by events like SXSW, which draw thousands of party-happy visitors from all over the world.

So it's not surprising that as Austin grows larger, it might also be growing louder. Over the past five years, noise complaints in Austin have gone up by 470 percent, from 2,782 total complaints in 2010 to 13,100 in 2014. Still, only 1.5 percent of those have faced citation – 515 out of 33,107, according to city data obtained by KUT. Below you can view the increase in noise complaints from 2010 to 2014 in an interactive map.

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SXSW 2015
5:22 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

How One Austinite Learned to Stop Being a Cynic and Love SXSW (Sort of)

The line at Fader Fort on 5th Street on Thursday afternoon.
Matt Largey/KUT News

You might have seen it on Buzzfeed.

An article called “Here’s what Austinites really think about South by Southwest.”

"Utter madness," they called it. "Crazy." "Thrilling."

I was suspicious.

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Austin
9:37 am
Fri March 20, 2015

In East Austin, A Shared Worship Space Brings Quakers and Muslims Together

Annie Holleman, 27, and Kathy Stanton, 29, sit with other parishioners before a Quaker service in Austin.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Churches are among the most segregated places in the country, according to a study by religious scholar Curtiss Paul DeYoung. He found that only five percent of churches in the U.S. are racially integrated.

But it happens that there's at least one integrated house of worship here in Austin: Muslims and Quakers have been sharing the same space on MLK Boulevard for a couple of years.

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SXSW 2015
3:12 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Has SXSW Interactive Done More to Embrace Latinos in 2015?

The 'Bilingual Media: Latino Entertainment in the 21st Century' took place on March 17, 2015 at the Austin Convention Center.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

During the South by Southwest Interactive conference last year, only a handful of panels were on Latinos in tech, and those panels were held at an isolated Holiday Inn, nowhere near the convention center downtown.

This year, the panels on Latinos have stretched across a number of days, and all of them have been inside the bustling convention center. We spent some time with people at South by Southwest who identify as Latino to hear about their experience at the conference this year.  Listen to their voices below. 

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Wayback Wednesday
2:03 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

In Photos: A Look Back at the Early Days of SXSW

Roland Swenson at the second installment of SXSW.
Austin History Center

Today marks the beginning of SXSW Music — the final stretch of the three-headed chimera of a festival that draws in droves of music-loving revelers and fills the streets of downtown Austin with both music and traffic.

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