5:39 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

Wine Down Wednesday Canceled Again by W Hotel Glass Problems

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

For the second week in a row, the risk of falling glass from the W Hotel has canceled ACL Live’s Wine Down Wednesday. The event was to feature a performance by musician Dan Dyer and a tasting by the Second Street District’s Malaga Tapas & Bar.

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4:50 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

City Selling 12 Subsidized Homes For $110,000 Each

This flier shows the homes and describes where they are located in the southeast Austin subdivision of Frontier at Montana.
Photo by City of Austin

People who meet the income requirements can apply to purchase one of twelve newly constructed homes in a southeast Austin subdivision. The three-bedroom/two-bathroom homes were built with federal money and offer these features:

  • $110,000 price (homes are valued at $120,000)
  • Zero percent interest
  • No money down
  • 10-year home warranty
  • High energy efficiency

The income requirements are calculated as a multiple of federal poverty guidelines.  A single individual making $25,850 would qualify for the zero percent interest program. A family of six with combined income of $42,850 would also qualify. People who make more than that could possibly apply for down payment assistance.

The new homes, announced today, have already attracted a lot of attention. "The phones have literally been ringing off the hook," City of Austin spokesperson Jill Goodman told KUT News.

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12:06 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

AFD Spends Quiet 4th of July Weekend

Austin Fire Department only had to fight two small brush fires this Fourth of July, drastically less than other fireworks holidays.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News

The Austin Fire Department only responded to two fires on the 4th of July, compared to 50 on last New Year's Eve.

AFD Battalion Chief Thayer Smith attributes the reduction of fire to people complying with a statewide personal fireworks ban. He confirmed that personal fireworks were responsible for at least one of the two fires reported yesterday in Austin. The department never had to call out their 12 brush trucks to combat the fires outside of normal fire operations.

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News Brief
6:10 am
Tue July 5, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 05, 2011

Thanks to the drought Lake Travis is 23 feet below the historic average for July, according to the Lower Colorado River Authority.
Photo by KUT News.

Lake Levels Dropping

The drought has been dropping lake levels in Central Texas.  The Lower Colorado River Authority says the water level at Lake Travis is at about 646 feet. That’s 23 feet below its historic average for July. Lake Buchanan is about 12 feet below its historic average for this month. The rain outlook doesn’t look too promising, although there is a slight chance for rain this weekend. 

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10:25 am
Mon July 4, 2011

$4 Adoptions on the 4th

Extra patriotic animals are waiting to find a home today.
Photo by KUT News

Pets usually aren't big fans of the 4th of July("Fireworks are loud, can I have a dog biscuit," one local canine said). But with fireworks banned this year why not bring home a furry critter to call your own? The Town Lake Animal Center is offering this bargain adoption fee  of just $4 until 5 p.m. on Independence Day.

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9:08 am
Sun July 3, 2011

July 3rd Morning Roundup

It's hot!
Photo by Emily Donahue for KUT News.

It’s already been a long, hot summer. And it’s only the 4th of July weekend!

The weather forecast for the rest of the holiday weekend? What else? Hot! Although Sunday there’s a slight chance that southerly breezes from the Gulf could trigger scattered late afternoon showers. Temperatures are expected to be at or near the century mark Sunday and Monday.

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3:16 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Statewide "No Refusal" Weekend in Place for July Fourth

Photo by KUT News

Austin's "No Refusal" weekends are going statewide. Over the past two years, Austin has implemented "No Refusal" DWI enforcement around major holidays and events like Mardi Gras.

But for the first time ever, over 200 law enforcement agencies across the state will join the no-refusal enforcement effort this weekend.

"No refusal" means a driver cannot refuse a breathalyzer test if pulled over and accused of driving under the influence.

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2:12 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

This Just in From the "Splash Pad" Desk

Escaping the heat at the Liz Carpenter Splash Pad.
Photo by Nasha Lee KUT News

Lake Austin may be closed to boats and other water vehicles on July4th, but the City of Austin wants people to know that when it comes to "splash pads," it's got you covered.

Bartholomew Splash Pad is back in operation after repairs, and the Liz Carpenter fountain in Butler Park will be open on July 4th. That splash pad is normally closed on Mondays for maintenance.

1:30 pm
Fri July 1, 2011

Some Roads Reopen Around W Hotel

Some roads around the W Hotel have been reopened.
Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT news.

Most of the lanes closed around the W Hotel have been reopened.  The streets were shut down due to safety concerns after glass started falling from hotel balconies.   

The falling glass not only snarled traffic around the hotel and forced the closure of the W itself, for a day or two it turned the building into a site for local curiosity seekers. (OK, it was no Congress Street "Bat Bridge," but the "W" can probably count itself as the most photographed Downtown Austin building of the summer).

4:17 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Police Announce Watercraft Ban, No Refusal Weekend for the Fourth

Austin Police say they're cracking down on drunk drivers this weekend and banning personal watercraft from Lake Austin on Monday.
Photo by Nasha Lee for KUT News

Austin police have announced a ban on Lake Austin for wet bikes, motorized surfboards and other personal watercraft on the Fourth of July.

The prohibition lasts from sunrise to sunset Monday. Police will be cruising the lake to make sure people are complying with the ban. Boats are still allowed to cruise the lake on the Fourth.

Meanwhile, APD's "No Refusal" weekend has gone statewide. Over 200 law enforcement agencies across Texas will be doing blood draws on suspected drunk drivers who don't submit to a voluntary blood or breathalyzer test.

1:49 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Holiday Weekend Closures

Photo by Simrat Sharma for KUT News

While City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed on the national holiday, many recreational areas run by the city will still be open on the Fourth of July.

Here is a list of closures and open facilities.

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1:07 pm
Thu June 30, 2011

Water lines prone to breakage under drought

Austin Water Utilities is expecting more pipe breaks from the summer heat.
Photo by Kristen Cabrera for KUT News

Refael Eizraelov spotted water spilling into the street on Adirondack Lane in North Austin this morning. He called the city's 3-1-1 to report it.  They informed him that Austin Water Utility had known about the leak yesterday.

"We don’t have a lot of water in Austin, at the Edwards Aquifer. Everyone knows it’s very low and very precious, and we cannot let water like that just spilling down the drain,” he said.

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11:47 am
Thu June 30, 2011

APD Launches New Online Crime Mapping Tool

Austin Police unveil RAIDS Online, a tool that people can use to track or to report crimes in their neighborhood.
Image courtesy RAIDS Online/Austin Police Department

The Austin Police Department has a new way for the public to track crime in their neck of the woods...or anywhere else in town.

APD announced their launch of a new online crime map called RAIDS Online today. Officer Simone Graboskie is with APD’s technology department. She said the mapping tool will allow users to have their own input on crime going on around their neighborhoods.

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7:05 am
Wed June 29, 2011

Top Morning Stories for June 29, 2011

The Austin City Council votes today on a measure that would help unlock state funding for the planned Formula One racetrack.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

City Council to Vote on Formula One

The Austin City Council is scheduled to take a vote today that could unlock state funding for the planned Formula One racetrack in Southeast Travis County. The council had postponed the F-1 vote last week.

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6:28 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

W Hotel To Shut Down Temporarily, Replace Glass Panels

The W Hotel and Residences in downtown Austin, where glass panels on the exterior of the building have shattered and fallen from the building three times in as many weeks.
Photo by Matt Largey for KUT News

Updated 10:20pm: The developer of the W Hotel in downtown Austin says the hotel will close temporarily, and all the glass panels on the building's exterior balconies will be replaced. 

That's after more panels shattered and fell from the building Tuesday.

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