Austin

City Budget
10:00 am
Tue September 10, 2013

How the Hyde Park Flag Store is Impacting Austin's City Budget

The Hyde Park Market, photographed in 2010. The city’s Code Compliance department briefly forced the store to remove its flags before its decision was reversed.
flickr.com/cote

The Austin City Council returns to the dais as 10 a.m. this morning to finalize the city's Fiscal Year 2014 budget.

Yesterday, council members voted unanimously to hold the line of property tax rates. They also spent most of the day funding initiatives that weren't in City Manager Marc Ott's initial budget proposal.

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AUSTIN PRIDE
8:07 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Photos: Austin Pride Parade 2013

Two Pride participants share a moment during Saturday's parade.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: Austin Pride festivities paraded through down Austin Saturday night. KUT was there to document it all; take a look at our slideshow below, powered by the KUT Flickr page.  

Original post (Sept. 6): Austin’s annual Pride celebration, which kicked off Sept. 1, builds to a close this weekend. The theme of this year’s events, held by the Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation? “Love Unites.”

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Austin
6:05 am
Fri September 6, 2013

How These Austin Businesses Are Creating Jobs for Refugee Women

An unnamed employee of Open Arms from Burundi sorts through donated fabric. Open Arms pays refugee women a living wage to make clothes.
Natalie Krebs for KUT News

Out of a small room in the Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin, a company called Open Arms makes women’s clothing. It was started about three years ago, with idea of paying refugee women a living wage. More than 4,000 refugees have resettled in Austin since 2001 with many coming from Vietnam, Burma and Iraq with the newest group, which is expected at the beginning of next year from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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Neighborhoods
3:52 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Interactive: Which Austin Neighborhoods Contact 311 the Most?

The City of Austin's 3-1-1 line provides services from 14 departments.
Credit Ann Choi for KUT News

 

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Labor Day Wildfires
6:50 am
Wed September 4, 2013

Memories Not Extinguished: Two Years Since Labor Day Wildfires

Crews fight the Bastrop Wildfire in September of 2011.
Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Today marks two years since the start of the Labor Day wildfires – the worst in Texas history.

The fires in Bastrop, Pflugerville, Spicewood and Steiner Ranch in September of 2011 killed two people, destroyed 1,600 homes and burned tens of thousands of acres of land.

KUT produced an oral history titled “Forged in Flames” last year for the first anniversary of the fires. Go to KUT.org to hear the documentary, produced by KUT's Emily Donahue and the KUT News staff.

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Austin
9:05 am
Mon September 2, 2013

2013 Labor Day Lowdown: Water Rules, Road Closures, No Refusal & More

Get out your paddles: Kayaks are cool on Austin waterways this Labor Day, but not motorized vehicles.
KUT News

Another Labor Day is here in Austin. Here’s a rundown of street closures, holiday schedules, rules for the road and more:

Road Closures:

Several downtown and South Austin streets are closed or partially-closed this morning for a triathlon.

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Turning The Corner
10:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

The Challenging Task of Cleaning Up Dove Springs

Ron Potts makes sure the city's codes and regulations are observed in Dove Springs. His three major challenges are trash piles, overgrown weeds and grass and broken fences.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin runs from Ben White to William Cannon, bound by Montopolis and Pleasant Valley on the east, and Interstate 35 on the west. One of the issues affecting Dove Springs is its appearance. Piles of trash, broken fences and overgrown weeds and grass contribute to its visual blight. 

Ron Potts is at the wheel.

“We’re going down Stassney, because normally Stassney is pretty horrible in my vision.” He works for the City of Austin’s Code Compliance office, the guys that enforce the city’s codes and regulations.

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Turning The Corner
8:46 am
Fri August 30, 2013

A Tipping Point for Health Care in Dove Springs?

Dove Springs resident Ofelia Zapata says health care solutions are needed in the neighborhood.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin runs from Ben White to William Cannon, bound by Montopolis and Pleasant Valley on the east, and Interstate 35 on the west.

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Turning the Corner
6:35 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Nearly Half of Dove Springs Elementary Students Are Overweight

Nu Champeng and her son Bodhi, play on the playground at Perez Elementary. Childhood obesity is an issue affecting Dove Springs.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin runs from Ben White to William Cannon, bound by Montopolis and Pleasant Valley on the east, and Interstate 35 on the west. After the Bergstrom Air Force Base closed in the 1990's, it became a community marked by juvenile gang violence, drugs and poverty. While some of that crime has dissipated, Dove Springs still has one of the highest reported crime rates in Travis County. And two-thirds of the neighborhood population is Hispanic, making it one of the most rapidly growing immigrant neighborhoods in Austin. 

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Austin
12:05 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

UT Halts Partnership With Controversial Austin Aquarium

The Austin Aquarium is set to open this November despite two citations from the city and allegations of illegal animal trafficking surrounding one of the owners.
Facebook.com/AustinAquarium

After construction violations from the city's code compliance office last month and a recent guilty plea to animal trafficking charges from one of the owners of the new Austin Aquarium, the University of Texas' Texas Advanced Computing Center has put a potential partnership with the effort to bring an aquarium to North Austin on hold. 

Brothers Vince and Ammon Covino have been embroiled in legal squabbles since opening up aquariums in Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho in 2012 and 2011, respectively.

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Austin City Council
10:17 am
Thu August 22, 2013

At Austin City Council: Property Tax, Budget Hearings; Tweak to 10-1 Council; Google Fiber & More

Creating criteria for which charities will receive free Google Fiber access is one of the 126 items on the Austin City Council agenda today.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

The Austin City Council convenes today to another crowded agenda. Here’s a rundown:

  • Sound off on the proposed city budget, property taxes and fees

Lots of council action won’t happen until much later today: Several public hearings are set for this afternoon related to City Manager Marc Ott’s proposed city budget, which the council is currently discussing. There’s public hearings on the proposed property tax rate, Austin Energy and Austin Water rates, and additional proposed fee increases (trash, drainage, etc.)

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Geographic Representation
4:15 pm
Wed August 21, 2013

Austin Redistricting Group Asks: How Should We Draw District Maps?

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission filled the stage at the Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex.
Wells Dunbar, KUT News

Last November, Austin voters approved a plan to fundamentally change the city’s elections and form of government: Right now, all City Council members run citywide and represent all of Austin. But after the passage of Prop 3, beginning next year, they’ll be elected by district.

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real estate
1:11 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Austin Sold the Most Homes in its History Last Month

3,135 single-family homes were sold last month. That's 35 percent more than July 2012.
flickr.com/digallagher

The white-hot Austin real estate market just broke another record.

The Austin Board of Realtors says home sales were up 35 percent last month in the Austin area compared to last July. Some 3,135 homes were sold last month – the most homes sales ever recorded in Austin. And homes are selling faster – spending an average of 41 days on the market. A year ago, homes spent an average of 64 days on the market. 

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Austin
11:50 am
Tue August 20, 2013

The Average City Pool is 40 Years Old - Give Your Input on a Reboot

Swimmers take a lap in the Northwest Park (Beverly S. Sheffield) Pool.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The City of Austin wants to hear from people who use the city’s pools and splash pads – and from those who don’t.

The city is putting together an assessment of its aquatics facilities. The average age of one in Austin is about 40 years old.

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Austin
4:52 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

How Do Austin Property Taxes Compare Statewide?

Austin has a lower property tax rate than many other major cities - but that doesn't tell the whole story.
Travis County Appraisal District

Of the six largest cities in Texas, Austin is the one with the lowest property tax rate. But does that tell the whole story?

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Austin
2:22 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Over 62,000 New STD Cases Estimated in Travis County

Condoms can drastically reduce the risk of several sexually transmitted diseases.
flickr.com/robertelyov

Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services says sexually transmitted diseases are costing Travis County residents lots of money.

The department says more than 62,000 new cases of STDs were diagnosed in Travis County in 2011 alone. That’s estimated to cost over $83 million in lifetime medical costs.

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Austin
11:11 am
Mon August 19, 2013

The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists

Critics' views on Austin are an ever-changing phenomenon.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Perception means different things to different people. The perception of Austin as a place that embraces the weird and wild is something the city – and its listicle writers – have embraced throughout the years.

Yet if you don’t pay close attention, these perceptions can change just as quickly as the declining reservoir in Lake Travis. Now in its fourth edition, KUT News presents The Top 10 Austin Top 10 Lists, a compilations of the accolades and slights – some rigorously methodical, some seemingly made up – that Austin’s received in the last few months.

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Austin
9:41 am
Mon August 19, 2013

Listen: I Live Here, I Give Here's Tom Spencer on Austin Philanthropy

Tom Spencer - known to many as the Central Texas Gardener - is the new executive director of I Live Here, I Give Here.

They say charity begins at home. But here in Austin, it took some prodding.

I Live Here, I Give Here was founded in 2007 to support charitable giving and Austin nonprofits. It was born out of necessity: a Chronicle of Philanthropy report from that time found Austin ranked 48th out of the 50 largest U.S. cities when ranked on giving. (Disclaimer: As a nonprofit, KUT partners with I Live Here, I Give Here.)

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Austin
12:47 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

ACC to Start Sustainable Agriculture Program

ACC representatives say the new sustainable agriculture program will help meet the community's demands.
flickr.com/Rex Turgano

Sustainable agriculture has found a new home in Austin – and students are the first to benefit from it.

Austin Community College is set to launch its Sustainable Agricultural Entrepreneurship program, teaching agricultural knowledge and skills in sustainable crop growth. The program will include three different non-credit courses that will be held at ACC's new 98-acre Elgin Campus. 

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Halloween
1:05 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Photos: House of Torment’s Last Halloween at Highland Mall

One of the many terrors found within the House of Torment. Celebrating its tenth year, this Halloween is House of Torment's last at Highland Mall.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The House of Torment has reached an agreement to stay at its Highland Mall location for a ninth year. "We couldn't be more excited to share what we've created this year with Austin fear fans," says House of Torment president and founder Daniel McCullough in a press release. "We really went above and beyond in terms of both production and design, and we hope you'll come scream with us."

Original story (Oct. 24, 2012): To encourage trick-or-treating in his neighborhood, every year Halloween-lover Dan McCullough would build a haunted house in his backyard in South Austin.

His plan worked – and soon the house’s popularity grew until one year it got out of hand. Over a hundred people showed up to the house and police were called to direct traffic. McCullough’s operation had to end – in that form at least.

McCullough decided to turn professional. The haunted house that originated in McCullough’s backyard is now the House of Torment.

Jon Love visited the House of Torment in its inaugural space 10 years ago. Now he’s the vice president of Harbinger Events, the organization that puts on the haunted house.

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