Austin

Halloween Floods
2:23 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Obama Issues Disaster Declaration for Austin's Halloween Flooding

Maria Isabel Fabian sorts through clothes salvaged from her Dove Springs home which flooded when record rains hit the Austin area on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Nearly two months after devastating floods impacted Southeast Austin, President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Travis, Hays and Caldwell Counties. The declaration offers federal help with recovery from the Halloween floods that rocked the region earlier this year. 

Pete Baldwin, emergency management coordinator for Travis County, says he’s still waiting for a list of categories the federal money will cover, but he says it could address everything from debris removal to roads and bridges. “Until we get those spreadsheets,” Baldwin says, “we won’t know which categories that we were awarded.”

The findings will be sent to the state and then be sent on to the local level; Baldwin says it’s unclear how soon that will happen.

Read more
Austin
6:30 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Austin Crowds Welcome Trail of Lights' Return (PHOTOS)

Austin's Trail of Lights celebrates its 49th edition this year. The holiday trail is free and open to the public until next Sunday, Dec. 22.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With the Yuletide season in full swing, Austin turns into a wonderland of lights.

This holiday season, KUT made the trek to the Trail of Lights to ask Austinites what makes the recently-revived light show a family tradition. 

Read more
Waller Creek Tunnel
1:47 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Once Neglected, Waller Creek Will Now Remake Downtown Austin (VIDEO)

Developers have tried to capitalize on the parts of Waller Creek stretching through Downtown – with mixed results. But a tunnel project is pulling the area out of the floodplain, radically remaking the urban creek.
flickr.com/ginapina

From StateImpact Texas:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waterloo Park, just east of the State Capitol, is a perfect example. There used to be houses there. But then in the 1970s, recalls former city council staffer and Waller Creek Conservancy executive director Stephanie Lee McDonald, “there was a lot of urban renewal efforts and the neighborhood was razed and the park was created.”

According to newspaper articles at the time, there were big redevelopment plans for the area, which sits along Waller Creek. There were even hopes that the space could become Austin’s very own version of the famed San Antonio River Walk. Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.

Read more
Holiday Safety
8:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Holiday Safety: Tips For Not Getting Your Car Stolen or House Set on Fire

Trimming the tree? Be sure to replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulbs.
flickr.com/waferboard

The holiday season is here. For many that means traveling, shopping and celebrating – all of which can pose certain safety issues. Here’s a rundown of holiday safety tips, and info about city services offered over the winter holidays:

Auto-Burglary Awareness Program

In Texas, a vehicle is broken into every 2.5 minutes, and auto-burglaries escalate during the holiday season.  With the holiday season upon us, local law enforcement is raising awareness over auto burglaries.  

The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Project suggests that you take the following actions to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of auto burglary:

  • Lock your car and take your keys
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings      
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash or credit cards
Read more
Halloween Floods
8:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

After Flooding, Medical Care Remains Critical in Dove Springs

Mayra Lopez, a promotora de salud with the Latino Health Care Forum, spoke at the Dove Springs Recreation Center on Dec. 17, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Community health workers – or promotoras de salud – with the Latino Health Care Forum are collecting data about people still living in Dove Springs after the Halloween floods.

"We have heard a lot of really sad stories …you just start crying," says promotora Norma Lopez. “We’re going to be working on-hand with our people. Refer them to whatever they need, any kind of help.”

Promotoras say they spent about a month getting feedback from people who still need help, especially medical care. The results will identify Dove Springs families still in need.

Read more
Season for Giving
7:50 am
Wed December 18, 2013

How the Salvation Army Brings Santa's Workshop to South Austin

"Elves" from all over the country volunteer for the Salvation Army in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Credit Jan Gunter

Christmas is fast approaching and Santa’s elves are hard at work – not just at the North Pole, but here in  Austin.

For more than a century, the Salvation Army has been helping with Santa's mission. Back in the 1800s, the Salvation Army’s Christmas mission consisted of delivering food baskets to people who would otherwise go hungry.

But by the 1970s, Austin Salvation Army Major Shannon Winters recalls, the group’s focus turned to toys for children in need. Its humble mission grew into a project that, in Winters’ words, now covers “six thousand children in Austin that are depending on us.”

Read more
Austin
10:01 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Here's What Austin Googled in 2013

Google released its Austin Zeitgeist 2013 report today.
flickr.com/grahamsblog

What do twerking, Sharknado and the government shutdown have in common? 

They're all some of the top trends in Google searches in Austin this year, according to the search giant's 2013 Zeitgeist report. Austin's searches didn't do much to keep it weird. For the most part, the searches were fairly nationalized, unlike previous years, with one exception.

With that in mind, here's the list of Austin's 2013 top Google searches:

Read more
Austin
8:16 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Even An 85 MPH Highway Can't Fix Austin's Traffic Tangle

Texas Highway 130, a new Austin bypass toll road, is so far east of the city that it sees little traffic. The state recently raised the speed limit there to 85 mph in hopes of boosting its use.
Wikipedia

Originally published on Tue December 17, 2013 11:30 pm

Four decades ago, Austin, Texas, had a population of 250,000 and a reputation as a laid-back oasis of liberal politics and live music. Today, the Austin metro area is home to 1.8 million people and has some of the nation's worst traffic congestion.

For years, the city has done little to address the growing problem. But most in the Texas capital now agree something has to change if Austin is to save what's left of its quirky character.

Read more
Austin
5:57 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Austin 911 System Back Up After Disruption (Update)

Phone calls to 911 made from Austin were redirected to Round Rock, Georgetown and Pflugerville.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Update: The City of Austin is looking into what caused its 911 system to stop working yesterday.

The system is running as normal today.

Original Story (Dec. 16, 6:14 p.m.): Austin's 911 emergency call functions were disrupted Monday afternoon, leading to some longer wait times for callers.

The city activated its Emergency Operations Center to manage the outage. The Austin Police Department put more officers on the streets to increase visibility and accessibility.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said the city has been getting help from agencies in surrounding communities.

Read more
Mopac Improvement Project
10:37 am
Mon December 16, 2013

Construction Crews to 'Light and Stripe' MoPac From Parmer to Cesar Chavez

Construction crews will install lighting along MoPac between Parmer and Cesar Chavez
Courtesy of CTRMA

 

Construction crews will install temporary highway lighting along MoPac tonight, and will also remove existing light poles that in the way of the construction of the forthcoming MoPac express lanes. A full map of construction is available online.

The project will add North and Southbound express lanes between Parmer Lane and Cesar Chavez.  

Read more
Google Fiber
3:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

MAP: The 99 Places in Austin Getting Free Google Fiber (Update)

Update: Sites Approved

The Austin City Council approved recommending 99 public and nonprofit organizations for free access to Google Fiber. The much-anticipated high-speed internet service will include 23 public libraries.

Read more about the council's actions - and which site got cut from the initial list - here: City Council Update.

Update: Council Postpones Action (Nov. 21)

This morning, the Austin City Council voted to postpone adopting a list of 100 sites receiving a free “community connection” to Google Fiber.

Read more
Austin City Council
11:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’

A rendering of upcoming changes to Auditorium Shores.
Credit City of Austin

In its final meeting of the year, the Austin City Council approved a full slate of items.

Among the measures passed was a decision restricting where dogs are permitted at Auditorium Shores. More than a dozen speakers took to the council floor to argue against the change, which would prohibit dogs from lingering on the so-called "Event Lawn" on the east end of Auditorium Shores.

Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensely said the department took community suggestions under advisement when revising the $3.5 million plan for the parkland. But under a new amendment, dogs are only allowed on the event lawn when traveling from a parking lot to the neighboring areas where dogs are allowed. (No one on Parks staff or the City Council bothered to explain just how that would be enforced.)

Read more
D.A. Lehmberg Trial
4:13 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Judge Allows Lehmberg to Stay as District Attorney

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg speaks with her lawyer, Dan Richards, after the verdict.

Rosemary Lehmberg will be allowed to continue in her role as Travis County District Attorney.

San Antonio-based Judge David Peeples made that decision this afternoon after three days of testimony recounting the April night when she was arrested for drunk driving and her subsequent treatment for alcohol abuse at a facility in Arizona.

Lehmberg pled guilty and served her time in jail for the DWI charge earlier this year, but a complaint was filed under an obscure state law allowing District Attorneys to be dismissed if they are found to be intoxicated.

Read more
Austin City Council
10:31 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Strains Show Between Council, City Manager Over Auditors' Office

Austin City Manager Mact Ott, seen in a 2011 photo.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily). For more on this topic, see our collaborative report with the Monitor.

Tensions continued to mount Tuesday between City Manager Marc Ott and a number of Austin City Council members. At immediate issue is where to relocate the office of City Auditor Ken Mory as City Hall is reconfigured to make room for additional Council members under single member districts.

During Tuesday’s work session, there was a particularly testy exchange between Ott and Council Member Bill Spelman as Spelman told Ott he should have at least consulted Council members before making a final decision about Mory’s relocation.

Read more
Turning the Corner
12:04 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

This Austin Cop Builds Bonds in Dove Springs - One Soccer Game at a Time

APD Officer Paula Aguilar and her soccer team Chelsea.
Credit Joy Diaz, KUT News

In Southeast Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, crime is a constant.

Ever since an uptick in crime in the 1990s, police have maintained a visible presence in the neighborhood – and residents of Dove Springs haven’t always had a favorable view of the Austin Police Department.

There was a time when the department’s relationship with Dove Springs was especially strained. During the summer of 2005, APD Officer Julie Schroeder shot and killed 18 year-old Dove Springs native Daniel Rocha.

A re-enactment video created by the department in investigating Rocha’s death is set on Pleasant Valley Road – one of Dove Springs’ main thoroughfares.

Read more
Super Zips
9:56 am
Mon December 2, 2013

These Are the Austin Area's 8 Richest, Most Educated Zip Codes

The Austin region’s eight “Super Zips” lie on the area’s western side.
Washington Post

Do you live in one of the Austin-area’s "Super Zips?"

Sifting through 2010 Census data, the Washington Post recently took a closer look at the country’s pockets of prosperity and education. Drawing on the concept of Super Zips – Zip codes in the 95th percentile for median incomes and college degrees – the Post created an interactive map showing the increased economic segmentation of the country.  

Read more
Austin
11:50 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Austin Holiday Weekend: Zilker Tree Lighting, Chuy's Kids Parade (MAP)

The Zilker Holiday Tree will be lit each evening in December.
KUT News

With Thanksgiving over, Austin turns to the winter holidays this weekend. 

The Zilker Holiday Tree returns for the holiday season on Sunday. Celebrating  its 47th lightning ceremony, the Holiday Tree will remain lit nightly, from 6 p.m. until midnight, until Dec. 31.

Taking place on Saturday is the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. The parade, benefiting Operation Blue Santa, begins at 11 a.m. in downtown Austin. That means street closures from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. (See a map below.)

Read more
Holiday Giving
11:11 am
Fri November 29, 2013

'Santa to a Senior' Brings Holiday Cheer to Austin's Elderly

The program encourages Austinites to spread a little holiday cheer to an older person in need.
flickr.com/davekellam

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for older people. Many live alone and are on fixed incomes.

The local Home Instead Senior Care offices are encouraging Central Texans to “Be a Santa to a Senior” by purchasing gifts for area seniors in need.

The group has identified more than 1,000 older people in the Austin area who could use a little holiday cheer. Many have lost a spouse or don’t have immediate family in the area.

Read more
Philippine Typhoon
7:46 am
Wed November 27, 2013

PHOTOS: Central Texans Hold Vigil for Typhoon Haiyan Victims

Members of Austin's Filipino community and others gathered downtown last night to honor Typhoon Haiyan victims.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The Network of Asian American Organizations estimates there are about 4,000 people in the Filipino community in the Austin metro area. Some had direct ties to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Central Texans involved in the Network of Asian American Organizations and other supporters gathered at Austin City Hall on Tuesday to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims and to raise money for the recovery.

KUT's Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon took these photos at the candlelight vigil:

Read more
Austin Police
12:35 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Report: Austin Police Search Blacks 3 Times More Often Than Whites

The Austin Police Monitor’s Office released an analysis of police activities in 2012.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Police Monitor's Office finds racial disparity continued in police activity during 2012.

According to a recent report, almost 1,300 people contacted the independent Monitor’s Office to make a complaint, a decrease of 11 percent from 2011. But concern about racial profiling remains: African-Americans and Hispanics are still more likely to be searched by police, with blacks three times as likely to be searched as whites.

Read more

Pages