Austin

Austin
12:54 pm
Thu July 28, 2011

Cows on Parade: More Public Art for Austin

Cow sculptures were installed all over the city last night.
Photo by Dan Reese for KUT News

There are CowParade exhibits in 75 cities in 30 countries on 6 continents. And now, in Austin. Forty-seven cow sculptures were installed all over town last night to the surprise of Austinites this morning. Before the exhibit's finished there will be 100-150 cows all over Austin. The cows were all created by local artists and will be auctioned off to raise money for the Dell Children's Medical Center in the fall.

Austin
9:06 am
Thu July 28, 2011

Updated: Brush Fire in Far Western Travis County

This is the area where the fire occured.

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Austin
5:56 am
Thu July 28, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 28, 2011

Graphic courtesy of the National Weather Service.

Tropical Storm Don May Bring Austin Rain

Central Texas may soon get some relief from the hot and dry weather. Tropical Storm Don is expected to make landfall late tomorrow night or early Saturday near Corpus Christi. Austin has a 30 percent chance for rain tomorrow, but YNN Chief Meteorologist Burton Fitzsimmons says our best chance is on Saturday.

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Austin
1:39 pm
Wed July 27, 2011

Your Property Tax and Utility Bills Would Increase Under Proposed City Budget

City budget director Leslie Browder, presents the proposed budget to council members at Austin City Hall.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin city manager Marc Ott unveiled a proposed $2.8 billion budget to council members today. It includes an increase in property taxes, energy and water fees, pay raises for city staff, and $6.9 million in spending cuts and new revenues.

City council members will evaluate the plan, make any changes they think are necessary, and move to adopt it in September. Expect public hearings between now and then.

The first volume of the budget document alone is 665 pages. Do you have time to read that? We didn’t think so.  Here are some of the highlights:

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Austin
11:50 am
Wed July 27, 2011

Heat Wave Stops Austin Energy From Cutting Power To Delinquent Customers

Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

This year’s oppressively hot Austin summer is sending electric bills skyrocketing, as people take shelter from the heat by cranking up the air conditioner. Not everybody can pay those bills when they arrive in the mail. But Austin Energy has not cut anyone’s power off since July 1, because of a policy during heat waves that was made more generous last year.

Before 2010, Austin Energy would not cut non-paying customers temperatures remained in the triple digits for five days, with five additional days of triple digits forecast.

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Austin
7:21 am
Wed July 27, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 27, 2011

The Texas Forest Service responded to two new wildfires yesterday. 247 of the State's 254 counties currently have burn bans in effect.
Photo courtesey of The Texas Forest Service

New Wildfires Blaze

The Texas Forest Service responded to two new fires yesterday as the drought continues to provide prime conditions for wildfires.

A West Texas fire in Pecos County has burned 1,200 acres and is now 30 percent contained. Another new fire in Stephens County, 90 miles west of Fort Worth, has already burned 1,500 acres.

Perry Appoints to the LCRA, Public Utility Commission

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airport
3:54 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

FAA Shutdown Jeopardizes Funding for ABIA Projects

A plane on the tarmac at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Texas airports are feeling the effect of a partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration. Funding for the agency expired on Friday because of disagreement among federal lawmakers. Two major projects were halted today and more than 250 workers were temporarily laid off this morning.

Almost all of the 267 furloughed Texas employees work in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. None worked in Austin. The FAA employees were responsible for coordinating grant money and overseeing airport construction planning across the state.

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Austin
2:18 pm
Tue July 26, 2011

Wealth Gap Rises Nationally and in Austin

Disproportionate levels of home foreclosures have led to an increased wealth gap between whites and African Americans or Hispanics.
Photo by KUT News

A recent Pew Research Center analysis of federal data found that the wealth gap between whites and African American and Hispanics is at a 25 year high. Nationally, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black households and 18 times that of Hispanic households. The study also found that minority families were hit harder by the recession:

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parks and recreation
5:00 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

City Needs Help Saving Park Trees From Drought

A tree in Bull Creek District Park
Photo by KUT News

The record drought is imperiling Austin’s trees. But the city’s Parks and Recreations Department only has about 120 employees to maintain about 15,000 acres of parkland. So the Austin Parks Foundation is hoping it can convince friendly neighbors to help its trees survive.

Their preventive measure is simple but it will require you to break a sweat: spreading mulch around the base of the tree.

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parks and recreation
12:41 pm
Mon July 25, 2011

Turner-Roberts Recreation Center to Close Until January

The Turner-Roberts Recreation Center is located on Colony Loop Drive in northeast Austin.
Photo by City of Austin

The Turner-Roberts Recreation Center in Northeast Austin will be shut from August 1 until early 2012 so the city can conduct a structural investigation on the 7,700 square foot facility.

Last year, the building experienced some “structural movement”, according to David Smythe-Macaulay, a project manager with the City of Austin’s Public Works Department.

“We brought in the architect and a forensic engineer to look into the cause of the movement,” Smythe-Macaulay said. “And hopefully come up with repairs and get those done.”

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News Brief
7:47 am
Mon July 25, 2011

Top Morning Stories Monday, July 25, 2011

Warren Jeffs faces sexual assault charges in San Angelo. Jury selection in the high-profile case begins today.
Photo courtesy Reagan County Sherriff's Department

Warren Jeffs Trial seeking Jurors

Jury selection starts in San Angelo today in the sexual assault trial of polygamist religious leader Warren Jeffs. Jury selection in the high profile case is expected to be difficult, since few people in the town are unfamiliar with the case. If convicted, Jeffs faces a maximum sentence of life in prison for sexual assault of one child and aggravated sexual assault of another. He will face bigamy charges in a separate case in October.

Leffingwell to Announce Possible Ban on Plastic Bags

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Austin
4:59 pm
Sat July 23, 2011

APD Reaches Out to North Austin Community

The Austin Police Department hosted an event near Rundberg as a part of their outreach efforts launched this summer.
Erika Aguilar, KUT News

Austin Police say they are trying to get to know the Rundberg and North Austin community better. The department invited residents to a meet-and-greet event Saturday in the Northgate Boulevard area.

Austin Police say crime in the neighborhood is higher than other parts of Austin, but is often not reported.

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Austin
4:55 pm
Sat July 23, 2011

Planetarium Hosts Space Day

The Austin Planetarium says they are celebrating the old successes of the space shuttle era and the new breakthroughs to come.
Photo Courtesy of the Austin Planetarium

Austin Planetarium hosted an Austin Space Day event to honor the end of the space shuttle era. The shuttle Atlantis returned to Earth on Thursday, capping the program's final mission.

Texas has played a large role in NASA’s history. Austin Planetarium director Torvald Hessel said he isn’t worried about citizens losing interest in space missions.

“ [From] the kids, parents and scientists that I talk to, there is so much innate interest in  science, astronomy, engineering and also human space flight,” Hessel said. "I really see this as a new opportunity."

Austin
10:29 am
Sat July 23, 2011

Some Council Members Want To Postpone WTP4

Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.

The debate over Water Treatment Plant Four returns to City Hall this week. Council members will direct city staff to figure out how much it would cost to postpone building WTP4, which is under construction now.

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Austin
2:41 pm
Fri July 22, 2011

City of Austin Organizes Thriller Flash Mob

Over a hundred children gathered in Zilker Park this morning to be part of a Thriller flash mob.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Little zombies invaded Zilker Park this morning.

Over a hundred children gathered for a flash mob as part of National Park and Recreation Month. Children were called to perform the dance from Michael Jackson's Thriller music video for submission in a contest. The National Recreation and Parks Association invited cities  to submit a video of their best flash mob. 

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