Austin

Austin
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).

Austin
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.

Austin
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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Austin
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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Austin
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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Austin
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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Austin
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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Austin
12:41 pm
Tue June 28, 2011

Back-in Angle Parking Spaces for South Congress

Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

The City of Austin will install 70 new parking spaces of the “back-in angle” variety as part of the ongoing road improvements on South Congress Avenue. Some drivers have insisted on backing in to head-on spaces for years, but the new parking spaces will be specifically designed to do so.

Back-in angle parking is supposed to be safer than head-on parking because it provides better visibility. Car doors would no longer open into oncoming traffic or bicycle lanes. Unloading the trunk or dealing with car seats would also be easier because the back of the car is at the curb, further removed from traffic.

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Austin
9:56 am
Tue June 28, 2011

Austin Energy May Triple Number Who Qualify for Low Income Help

Photo by BFS Man http://www.flickr.com/photos/bfs_man/

Austin Energy is considering a small rate hike in order to finance an expansion of its low-income customer assistance programs. If the plan is enacted, it would triple the number of customers that receive discounts.

The proposal would add a surcharge of .065 cents to each kilowatt-hour. That amounts to an increase of about 65 cents a month for a typical customer’s electric bill, according to Ronnie Mendoza, manager of Customer Assistance Program.

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Austin
2:50 pm
Mon June 27, 2011

Public Meeting Tonight On Off-Leash Dog Park Expansion

Photo by C. Young http://www.flickr.com/photos/kaanah/

The city’s eleven existing off-leash dog parks are experiencing “heavy use”, according to Austin Parks and Recreation, a headache that leads to overcrowded parking lots and soil erosion. The city believes it can improve the situation by building at least two more off-leash dog parks in more suburban areas of the city.

Specifically, the possible locations are Yett Creek Park in north Austin near Parmer Ln. and Mabel Davis District Park in southeast Austin near I-35 and Ben White Blvd.

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Austin
1:28 pm
Mon June 27, 2011

Helicopter Crashes in Travis County, Killing One

This map shows the area where a helicopter crashed around 12:25 pm today.

At least one person was killed after a small helicopter crashed this afternoon in the eastern Travis County community of Garfield. An eyewitness described the aircraft as having “disintegrated” mid-air, according to Austin-Travis County EMS spokesman Warren Hassinger.

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Austin
5:40 pm
Sat June 25, 2011

Inspirational Athletes Compete in Central Texas

People from around the nation were in New Braunfels this weekend for an annual extreme sports event for athletes with amputations. Athletes participated in competitions including skateboarding, kayaking, rock climbing and mountain biking.

Austin-based Hanger Orthopedic Group was the title sponsor of this year's Extremity Games.  It's organized by the Athletes with Disabilities Network.

Check out all of the talent in this video produced by Hannah Jones and KUT's Crystal Chavez:

 

Austin
11:38 am
Sat June 25, 2011

New Hotel Planned Near Convention Center

Rendering of Manchester Financial Group's planned hotel in downtown Austin, near the Convention Center.
Image courtesy of Gensler Architects.

A San Diego developer plans to build a 50-story convention center hotel just east of the Austin Convention Center. It would be on the northeast corner of Cesar Chavez and Red River Street.

Perry Lorenz, who owns the site, and his partner have entered into a 99-year lease agreement with the developer, Manchester Financial of San Diego.

The hotel would be off of Waller Creek, which the city is redeveloping.

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Austin
1:02 pm
Fri June 24, 2011

Irrigation System for Pease Park Trees Vandalized

A view of Pease Park.
Photo by Lindsay Sorensen http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopian/

Members of the Pease Park Conservancy think someone has it in for some of the park's trees.

The group helps care for the trees in the park that hugs Shoal Creek between 15th and 24th Streets. The group planted several new trees on the west side of the park, to replace some wind-damaged trees. They also set up "bubblers," an irrigation system that uses a trickle of water to keep the tree roots moist during the hot, dry summer.

Yesterday, some conservancy members noticed that 44 of the trees were showing signs of stress. Then they saw that the bubbler system wasn't working. Then they found out why.

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Austin
11:22 am
Fri June 24, 2011

F1 Talk Brings Huge Spike In City Council Viewership

Channel six saw a spike in viewership when F1 was discussed on Thursday.
Screen shot by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Austinites will have to wait till next week to know the fate of a planned Formula One racetrack in Southeastern Travis County, but its not just Austinites paying attention.  People from around the world are voicing their opinions on the racetrack in online forums, op-eds and emails to City Hall. 

The debate is driving a lot more traffic to the City's TV station as well.

Channel Six, the station that broadcasts city meetings, normally attracts between 300 to 400 viewers to its websites during council meetings. But not on Thursday.

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