Austin

Austin
1:23 pm
Fri June 17, 2011

Austin Unemployment Ticks Higher, Texas Rate Unchanged

Austin added 3,900 jobs last month, mostly in the leisure and hospitality sector.
Photo by Liang Shi for KUT News

More people have jobs in Austin, but 6.7 percent of those actively looking for work are still unemployed. Lisa Givens from the Texas Workforce Commission says Austin added 3,900 jobs last month. Despite this, the unemployment rate rose slight slightly from 6.5 percent in April to 6.7 percent, a result of more people looking for work.

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News Brief
5:42 am
Fri June 17, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 17, 2011

The City of Austin breaks ground today on its African American Cultural and Heritage Facility.
Drawing courtesy of the City of Austin.

Groundbreaking for African American Cultural Facility

The City of Austin is inviting people to celebrate Juneteenth at a groundbreaking ceremony this morning for the city’s African American Cultural and Heritage Facility.  It’s going to be built on 912 East 11th Street and includes the restoration of the historic Dedrick-Hamilton House, which was home to the family of one of the first freed slaves in Travis County. 

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Austin
4:49 pm
Thu June 16, 2011

F1 Investors Offer to Pay City's Share for Ten Years

Artist's rendering provided by Circuit of the Americas

Formula One race organizers have agreed to pay the city's contribution into a trust fund necessary to secure $25 million annually in state funding. Race organizers had already agreed to pay the first installment of $4 million, but they are now agreeing to pay subsequent installments as well. 

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News Brief
6:06 am
Thu June 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 16, 2011

Bastrop and Hays Counties are the latest Central Texas counties to implement a fireworks ban because of serious drought conditions.
Photo by KUT News.

More Central Texas Firework Bans

Bastrop and Hays Counties have issued local disaster declarations to ban the sale and use of personal fireworks because of the ongoing drought. Both counties have asked Gov. Rick Perry to extend the ban through the Fourth of July weekend. Travis and Williamson Counties also already declared a ban on fireworks through the holiday weekend.

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News Brief
5:49 am
Wed June 15, 2011

Top Morning Stories June 15, 2011

The controversial sanctuary cities bill cleared the Texas Senate overnight.
KUT News

Senate Approves Sanctuary Cities Bill

The Texas Senate has passed controversial immigration legislation.  The so-called sanctuary cities bill would let law enforcement officers question people legally detained about their immigration status.  The vote broke along party lines with all Senate Republicans voting for it and all Democrats against it. 

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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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