Austin

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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News Brief
6:48 am
Fri June 24, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 24, 2011

Friday the Texas House is scheduled to vote on a bill to ban intrusive pat down searches at airports and other public buildings.
Photo by KUT News.

Texas House Taking up Airport Pat Down Bill

Today the Texas House is scheduled to debate and vote on a bill that would ban intrusive pat down searches during security screenings at airports. The Senate has not voted on the bill yet. The pat down bill died during the regular legislative session but Governor Rick Perry added it to the call for this special session. A federal official has said if the bill passes it could cause some flights to be grounded.

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Austin
5:14 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

Austin City Council Delays F1 Vote Till Wednesday

Construction on the F1 track continues in southeastern Travis County.
Photo by Circuit of the Americas

Saying they need more time to consider a proposal to endorse a Formula One track being constructed in southeastern Travis County, Austin City Council members voted 6-1 to postpone a vote on a deal that would unlock $25 million in state subsidies to pay for costs associated with F1 races in Austin. Mayor Lee Leffingwell was the lone dissenter.

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Austin
3:40 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

San Antonio Hopes to Cash In On Austin's F1 Visitors

San Antonio tourism officials hope F1 tourists are interested in seeing sights such as the Alamo.
Photo by Broken Piggy Bank http://www.flickr.com/photos/jremigio/

San Antonio tourism officials are hoping to attract the international travelers who could flood Austin during Formula One events. Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the ideal international visitor would stay a few evenings in Austin and then head to San Antonio.

“There will be San Antonio opportunities to kind of create synergy for that," she said. "We can provided that extended stay for the people that are going to enjoy the race.”

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Austin
1:25 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

The Formula One PR Blitz at City Hall

Formula One branded merchandise was passed out at to crowds at Austin City Hall Thursday.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Want to load up on the latest Formula One paraphernalia? Race over to Austin City Hall.

F1 baseball caps, water bottles and bumper stickers were distributed today in a public relations blitz ahead of City Council's vote on the race track project. So many were given out that white caps speckled the capacity audience in City Council Chambers -- a dramatic image for City Council members from their seats on the dais.

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Austin
12:35 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

Read the City’s Draft Agreement on F1

It was a dramatic morning at Austin City Council. Supporters and opponents of a Formula 1 track being built in southeastern Travis County squared off during public comment period. Substantially more people signed up to speak in support of F1 (246 of them), but opponents (26 people) were just as passionate.

City council could vote today on whether to endorse the track. Such a blessing would put the wheels in motion for $25 million in annual state subsidies. So what is the agreement? We posted it above for you to see for yourself. See a fullscreen version here, or download the .pdf here.

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Austin
12:20 pm
Thu June 23, 2011

Shade Gives Final Goodbye at City Hall

Outgoing Council Member Randi Shade says goodbye to her colleagues. Thursday is her last city council meeting after losing Saturday's runoff election.
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News.

Outgoing Austin city council member Randi Shade kicked off this morning’s city council meeting with a goodbye speech in front of a packed council chamber. It’s her last day on the dais, after losing last Saturday’s runoff election.

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Austin
4:25 pm
Wed June 22, 2011

Group Files Suit to Block F1 Funding

Image of proposed F1 site.
Courtesy of Full Throttle Productions.

A lawsuit filed today against the Texas State Comptroller in Travis County District Court seeks to block  $25 million in state funding for the Formula One racetrack planned for Southeast Travis County. The lawsuit, filed by three Travis County residents, takes aim at whether F1 qualifies for state subsidies, according to a press release sent by Bill Aleshire, the attorney representing the plaintiffs.

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