Austin

Austin
5:23 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

LCRA Criticized for Hasty GM Pick

Rebecca Motal was named new General Manager of the LCRA.
Photo courtesy of the LCRA.

When LCRA General Manager Tom Mason announced his resignation last week, some observers cried foul, claiming he had been pressured out for political reasons.  State Senators  Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay)  Glenn Hegar  (R-Katy) and Kirk Watson (D-Austin) -- all of who represent regions that use water sold by the LCRA -- said they would carefully monitor the hiring of Mason's replacement.

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Austin
5:11 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

East Austin Activists Look To Slow Gentrification

Some East Austin activists say higher property values are forcing long-time residents to sell their homes.
Photo by Diana Parkhouse http://www.flickr.com/photos/digallagher/

A group of East Austin activists have a plan to slow gentrification in their neighborhood: pay the property tax of people who would otherwise be forced out.

A campaign launched today by former Austin City Council member Raul Alvarez aims to raise $50,000 to help about 20 homeowners, mostly retired people living on fixed incomes, get up to date on their tax bills.

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Austin
4:07 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

City Looks at Building Toll Lanes on I-35

Traffic backs up on I-35, also known as "the worlds largest parking lot" to some Austinites.
Photo by Callie Hernandez for KUT News.

A presentation to Austin City Council on Tuesday focused on plans for urban rail, but that didn't stop people from talking roads.

When asked what could be done to ease traffic congestion, Austin's Transportation Director Robert Spillar said his department was looking at adding toll lanes to the source of some of Austin's worst traffic: Interstate 35.

"When we look at I-35, traffic engineers both within our department as well as in the community believe that we can get some more capacity out of I-35," said Spillar.  "Can we add another lane of capacity within the existing footprint? I think we can."

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Austin
3:07 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

County Judge Declares "Local Disaster," Bans Fireworks

Photo by SJ photography's photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/sjliew/

Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe led commissioners today to declare a state of local emergency and ban the sale of fireworks for 60 hours. Biscoe is requesting that Governor Perry extend the fireworks ban through June and over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The initial declaration presented by Judge Biscoe only granted him the authority to proclaim a "local disaster" for seven days. Biscoe asked Travis County Commissioners Court to extend the declaration indefinitely. They were approved the measure today after lunch, but included a provision that would allow Biscoe to lift the ban in the case of heavy rain.

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Austin
12:33 pm
Tue June 14, 2011

Austin’s Newest Skate Park Will Feature This Iron Wave

A new skateboard and BMX park will be official unveiled by the city on Thursday. The $1.7 million city facility, financed in the 2006 bond election, is located downtown at 1213 Shoal Creek Blvd near House Park Plaza. And in the northwest corner of the park a piece of art that serves as a ramp for skaters and BMXers.

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News Brief
6:42 am
Tue June 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 14, 2011

Today's the last day to vote early in the Austin City Council runoff election for Place Three.
Photo by KUT News.

Last Day to Vote Early

Today is the last day to cast an early ballot in the Austin City Council runoff election for Place Three. On the ballot: incumbent Randi Shade and challenger Kathie Tovo. So far 4.77 percent of registered voters in Travis County have cast a ballot. Election Day is Saturday June 18. 

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Austin
2:53 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

76,000 Bottles of Water for Austin’s Homeless

Photo by DJ-Dwayne http://www.flickr.com/photos/dj-dwayne/

With a heat wave blasting Austin with triple-digit temperatures earlier than usual, two local non-profits have learned they will be receiving a total of 76,000 bottles of water to hand out to the city’s homeless population.

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Texas Legislature
12:45 pm
Mon June 13, 2011

Senate Hears Testimony on Sanctuary Cities Bill

The Senate Transportation & Homeland Security Committee is holding a public hearing today on the controversial santuary cities legislation.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News.

A Texas Senate committee heard testimony this morning on legislation that would enable local law enforcement to question people about their immigration status during encounters such as traffic stops. The so-called “sanctuary cities” legislation died during the 2011 regular session but Governor Rick Perry put in back on the call for this month's special session.

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News Brief
6:19 am
Mon June 13, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 13, 2011

The LBJ Library and Museum will be releasing the entire Pentagon Papers starting today.
Photo by KUT News

Pentagon Papers Being Released Today

The Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at UT is one of a handful of libraries across the country releasing a complete set of the Pentagon Papers today. The release comes 40 years after The New York Times published leaked parts of the report. The Pentagon Papers include 7,000 pages of a top secret federal government study on the Vietnam War.

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Austin
11:39 am
Sun June 12, 2011

Sunday Update for June 12, 2011

Photo by TheCulinaryGeek http://www.flickr.com/photos/preppybyday/

The Republic of Texas Rally is winding down, but there’s another party tonight to raise money for Oak Hill wildfire victims, and Perry presidential speculation reaches a fever pitch. Break out the syrup and waffles, here is your Sunday news roundup.

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Sports
1:16 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Texas Trying to Hook College World Series Berth

The UT baseball team takes on Arizona State tonight in the Austin Super Regional at Disch Falk Field.
Photo by KUT News.

The Texas Longhorn baseball team plays tonight for a chance to compete in this year’s College World Series.

The NCAA Division 1 Austin Super Regional starts today.  The UT baseball team takes on Arizona State in a best-of-three series that will send one team to Omaha. Of the eight Super Regional's happening this weekend, this is the game that has the most people talking as it pits two college baseball giants against each other. 

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Austin
12:10 pm
Fri June 10, 2011

Street Closure Map for Republic of Texas Rally 2011

View Austin Street Closures- ROT Rally in a larger map

Fire up your choppers! The annual Republic of Texas Biker Rally is underway. The four day event is the largest motorcycle rally in Texas and brings over 200,000 bikers and spectators to downtown Austin.

The main event - the ROT Motorcycle Parade and Downtown Bash - is set to begin at 7:30 this evening. The 11 mile parade was named in 2006 as the "Longest Parade of Motorcycles Known to Mankind” by the Guinness Book of World Records.

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Austin
11:22 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Downtown Police Cameras Delayed Until October

Surveillance cameras atop the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. Like these camera's, APD's system will have powerful zoom capabilities.
Photo by Chris-Håvard Berge http://www.flickr.com/photos/chberge/

The Austin Police Department had planned to install 23 crime surveillance cameras downtown by the end of March this year. But that date has now been pushed back until October, in part because APD wanted to wait for the firm with which it is contracting to upgrade its video surveillance technology.

“It’s like the commercial where the guy buys the 3D TV, and then the truck pulls up with the sign saying, ‘New 4D TV,” Austin police commander Troy Gay told KUT News. “We want to make sure that we’ve got at least the most current of today, so we’re not automatically a year or two obsolete.”

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News Brief
6:29 am
Fri June 10, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 10, 2011

Early Friday morning the Texas House approved a fiscal matters bill that cuts $4 billion in K-12 spending. One more final vote is needed in the House.
Photo by KUT News.

Key Budget Bill Advances in the House

After 16 hours of debate, the Texas House early this morning gave preliminary approval to a bill that cuts $4 billion in public education spending. The fiscal matters bill also generates revenue, in part by putting off payments, to help balance the state’s 2012-2013 budget.   

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Austin
3:57 pm
Thu June 9, 2011

Dry Conditions Throw Wet Blanket On Public Fireworks

Photo courtesy of Anthony Cramp http://www.flickr.com/photos/anthonycramp/4428561177/

Extreme drought could put a damper on some Fourth of July festivities this year. The Travis County Fire Marshal announced today that local authorities will not approve any permits for public fireworks displays.

According to Travis County, the decision came after multiple wildfires have ignited in the past two months. Most recently, a four-alarm brush fire broke out after a transformer caught fire near Hamilton Pool Park.

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