Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to hire more staff. The rationale for his request: The city's needs are great and need more people to be solved. City Council members agree with that. What they don't agree on is how to pay for additional staff.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Austin-Round Rock is the third most economically segregated metropolitan area in America, according to a University of Toronto study released this week. It ranks highest among the country’s large metro areas.

The study, led by urban researcher Richard Florida, measures how much residents concentrate by income, occupation and educational attainment. Only Tallahassee and Trenton are more segregated than Austin.

From the Austin Monitor:

Terrell Blodgett, professor emeritus at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, has written to Mayor Steve Adler and his City Council colleagues expressing concern about the mayor’s plan to add more staff for his office and lecturing him on the fact that the mayor has no more power than any of his Council colleagues or mayors before him.

Nathan Bernier/KUT

Update (7:00 A.M.): Capital Metro has lifted detours, and is now following its regular routes.

Tuesday morning update (4:15 A.M.): The City of Austin has announced all City offices and facilities will open at 10 a.m. today.  That includes Austin Municipal Courts and the Downtown Austin Community Court. The City Council work session will begin at 10:30 a.m. Capital Metro will detour some bus routes because of possible inclement weather this morning.

City of Austin

South by Southwest is coming up. That means a crush of visitors and extra cash in the pockets of people renting space to those visitors.  But the City of Austin has a message for potential short-term landlords: You've got to register your home by Feb. 28th if you hope to rent the space legally.

"Before every major event we see a number of applicants that come into our office," says Marcus Elliot with the Austin Code Department. "They're really interested in that last-minute rush to try to get the license." 

Screengrab via the City of Austin's YouTube

Cleaning up after four-legged friends is a paramount part of dog ownership.

As many can attest, there’s nothing worse than stepping in a canine’s gastrointestinal afterthoughts, not to mention the host of health hazards to other pups that could be transmitted by not picking up after one’s dog.

Being the dog-friendly city it is, many an Austin apartment manager struggles with those who refuse to clean up after their pets. Now, one apartment complex is taking fecal matters to the next level by using DNA testing to sniff out irresponsible owners.

National Weather Service Austin/San Antonio

Update 8:55 a.m.: Capitol Metro has ended its detours and returned to regular routes.

Police in Pflugerville and Cedar Park are reporting icy conditions on bridges and overpasses in the area.

Update 7:25 a.m.: The National Weather Service reports light icing in towns northwest of Austin, stretching from Cedar Park to Kerrville.

Area schools continue to publish updates to today's class schedule:

  • Burnet CISD will cancel classes today. All BCISD schools and offices are closed, and all afterschool activities have been canceled.
  • Marble Falls ISD will also cancel all classes today.
  • All other area schools, including Austin ISD, will operate on a regular schedule.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

After hearing strong opposition from his colleagues as well as others, Mayor Steve Adler is proposing a complete revamp of his plan for additional staffing in the Mayor’s office.

Adler told the Austin Monitor Thursday that he would be pulling down his proposal to fund additional staff for the Mayor’s office through the Better Austin Foundation. Adler said he expects to have a total of nine staff members. He currently has four on his staff plus Sara Hartley, who is on loan from the public works department.

Courtesy of Goodfriend and Bryant.

Sarah Goodfriend and Suzanne Bryant were married Thursday morning in Austin. The county clerk issued the couple a marriage license based on a court order. Theirs is Texas' first same-sex marriage.

The order, the county clerk's office confirms, will only apply to this one couple, one of whom is "medically fragile." [See the judge's order here.]

KUT's Nathan Bernier spoke with Goodfriend and Bryant earlier this afternoon.

Update Friday 1:36 p.m. Texas Attorney General Paxton filed a petition asking the Texas Supreme Court to rule that the same-sex marriage license issued yesterday is void. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Officially, the Austin City Council meets every other week. This would've been an off week. But, this new council has so much to learn and so much to do that unofficially, it meets virtually all the time.

In a special called meeting today, the council will try to work out how the new meetings system will work.

Yoichi R. Okamoto, via Texas Southern University

Today’s Wayback Wednesday honors the birthday of Barbara Jordan. Born on February 21, 1936 in Houston’s Fifth Ward, Jordan went on to become the first African-American woman to serve in the Texas Senate, the first woman to represent Texas in the House of Representatives and was nearly nominated to the United States Supreme Court by then-President Bill Clinton before her death in 1996.

Below you can listen to KUT’s award-winning hour-long documentary on Jordan’s life and legacy, “Rediscovering Barbara Jordan,” which was produced in association with Public Radio International. Above, you can view photos from her life and the exhibit at the Capitol honoring her legislative career.

Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor:

In a major shift, Decker Lake Golf LLC representatives have proposed a new plan they say would not use reclaimed water to irrigate a PGA-class golf course proposed for Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park.

The company’s vice president, Warren Hayes, told the Water and Wastewater Commission on Wednesday that he and his associates would pump brackish water from the Hosston formation of the Trinity Aquifer, which is not part of the city’s water portfolio.

City Council is scheduled to consider the item at its next regular meeting Feb. 26. The previous Council set that date after postponing the controversial item last year.

Several commissioners expressed at the meeting that they had not previously heard of such a plan, and approached the issue with caution.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Monica and Sergio Lejarazu say they were surprised Thursday morning to find their party supply shop on Cesar Chavez, Jumpolin, being demolished.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Today the Austin City Council will talk about the possibility of implementing a twenty percent homestead property tax exemption. It's something many of the newly elected council members promised on the campaign trail last year.

So, what exactly does a twenty percent homestead exemption mean for homeowners?

Let's look at your property taxes as a whole, as though they were a pie.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Think of a time you’ve talked to an object that can’t talk back. Maybe you’ve yelled at your car when it wouldn’t start, or screamed at the leg of a table after stubbing your toe on it.

While Austinites have always had the option to talk to inanimate objects while walking down the street, now the objects will talk – or rather, text – back.

How Chicken Salad Helped Bring Down a Texas Governor

Feb 11, 2015
Texas State Library

Today’s Wayback Wednesday marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the end of James “Pa” Ferguson’s tenure as governor of Texas. The unlikely harbinger of his premature departure from the Governor’s Mansion? Chicken salad.

One hundred years ago today, in Ferguson’s first month as governor, the legislature passed a bill to pay for the groceries of his predecessor, O.B. Colquitt, with services and sundries on Colquitt’s tab including butter, eggs, feed for horses, car repairs, stationary, punch and chicken salad, among others.

KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

There are only two subsidized housing developments in City Council Member Don Zimmerman’s District 6, as compared to 47 in Council Member Ora Houston’s District 1 and 46 in Council Member Pio Renteria’s District 3, according to data compiled by the group Housing Works Austin.

But Zimmerman would like to make sure there is not another one in District 6. He is particularly opposed to the Cardinal Point Apartments that are to be developed by Foundation Communities, Inc. at 11011 1/2 Four Points Drive.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

The Texas School for the Deaf sits on 67 acres in between South 1st and South Congress. It looks more like a small college campus than a traditional school building. But then again, says school superintendent Claire Bugen, this isn't a traditional school.

"We serve students from age zero, in our parent/infant program, through home visits. And then when the student is 18 months old, they start to come on campus for part-time services. Now these are local students. All the way through age 22. So our continuum of services is very broad," Bugen says.

Miguel Gutierrez, Jr./KUT News

Every one of Austin's 10 geographic districts is unique, but there's one fact they share: Each has roughly 80,000 people.

That allows for a relative population equality between the districts, but the differences in district-to-district demographics can be anything but equal.

One of the biggest differences is between Districts 4 and 9.

District 9 has about a fourth of the number of children in District 4 and some wonder if that disparity will affect how the Austin City Council prioritizes money for each district in future budgets.

KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

District 6 City Council Member Don Zimmerman may be headed back to court, but this time as a defendant in a criminal prosecution.

On Thursday, Aleshire LAW PC attorney Bill Aleshire filed a criminal complaint against Zimmerman with the Travis County Attorney and the Texas Ethics Commission.

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