Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Ben Philpott/KUT

President Bush Kicks Off Book Tour

Former President George W. Bush will be at a Borders bookstore near his Dallas home today to sign copies of his newly released book "Decision Points".  In the book, President Bush writes about the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Hurricane Katrina.  

Just hours before a public meet-and-greet scheduled for this evening, the City of Austin announced one of the five candidates for Chief Animal Services Officer has dropped out of the race.

City spokesperson Patricia Fraga told KUT News that Abigail Smith withdrew her name for "personal reasons." As executive director of a "No Kill" shelter in Ithaca, New York, Smith was a favorite of some "No Kill" advocates.

Oscar Brockett
Photo courtesy of UT Austin's Department of Theatre and Dance.

Oscar Brockett Passes Away

University of Texas at Austin Professor Emeritus and internationally known theater historian Oscar Brockett has passed away.  He died Sunday morning after suffering a stroke.  In the late 60s he wrote “History of the Theatre”.  The website for UT's Department of Theatre and Dance says:

The festival starts tonight and goes through Sunday
Photo Courtesy of FunFunFun

The 5th annual FunFunFunFest is set to kick off tonight at Waterloo Park. The weekend long festival is a smaller, more eccentric alternative to the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and while it primarily focuses on music, other activities ranging from professional wrestling to veggie hot dog eating contests to comedy acts give the event more of a rollicking, carnival-like feel than its heavily-sponsored big brother.

The city will interview the six finalists on November 12
Photo Courtesy APD

The City of Austin has selected six semifinalists today for the police monitor position. The nominees, who will be interviewed for the position on November 12th, are:

Cristina Beamud, who is the executive director of the City of Atlanta Citizen Review Board.

Rebecca Bernhardt, a contact researcher at the Laura and John Arnold Foundation in Houston. She is also a policy director of the Texas Defenders Service.

Ann del Llano, a family law attorney and owner of the Capitol City Solutions.

The Texas Rollergirls move to the Austin Convention Center for the 2011 seasons
Photo Courtesy of Jason Bechtel

The Texas Rollergirls, self-proclaimed “godmothers of modern flat track roller derby,” are leaving the Playland Skate Center and headed to the Austin Convention Center for the 2011 season. The group is hoping to roughly triple capacity, increase visibility for the organization, and enhance the fan-going experience with the move.

Photo by KUT News

Fort Hood Marks Anniversary of Shootings

Fort Hood is holding ceremonies today to mark the one-year anniversary of the shootings on post last year.  A private award ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m. to recognize soldiers and civilians who Army commanders say went above and beyond the call of duty that day. 

recycling
Photo by KUT News.

Texas House District 48 Race Still in Limbo

Democratic Incumbent Donna Howard maintains her position by only 15 votes.  Many wonder when or if her Republican challenger Dan Neil will ask for a recount.  Neil released a comment on his Facebook last night:

Zilker Tree
Image courtesy Jen W. http://www.flickr.com/photos/atxjen/

Austin City Council announced in September it was axing the Trail of Lights because of budget constraints. It saved the city $400,000 that will be spent on park maintenance.

But this morning, Austin Energy announced it was keeping one local holiday tradition. The Zilker Tree will be set up tomorrow.

Proponents of a $90 million dollar bond to fund local transportation are already celebrating over early voting totals that give them a 10 percentage point advantage, 55 points to 45.

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell tells KUT's Mose Buchele that it's "safe to say victory is at hand" on Proposition 1.

Mose says the mood was jubilant at the Shoal Creek Saloon, where the mayor and other supporters were gathered.

Austin police badge
Image courtesy APD

Updated 5:15 pm:  An Austin police officer shot and killed a 26-year-old man this morning. Police say the man killed had already taken one person's life and was aiming an assault rifle at police. 

A suspect opened fire on police from a house at 5:17 a.m. this morning. The officers were responding to reports of a medical emergency on the 12300 block of Tomanet Trail in Northwest Austin. 

Photo by KUT

The City of Austin has announced the list of finalists for the Chief Animal Services Officer position that's been vacant since May.  The finalist chosen for the job will have authority over the city's shelter operations, and will oversee the move from Town Lake Animal Center to the city's new shelter in East Austin. 

The finalists will be in Austin on Monday, November 8th for interviews and a public meet-and-greet.  The city is wants feedback from the public.

From the City of Austin:

Austin police badge
Image courtesy APD

Austin police are dealing with their 30th homicide case of the year. This time last year, there had been 19 recorded murders in Austin.

Someone called police at 10:11 p.m. yesterday to report two men fighting at Pleasant Valley Road and East Riverside Drive. By the time officers arrived, they found a 50-year-old man in the street bleeding from a stab wound. He was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police got a description of the alleged attacker from witnesses and arrested him a short while later. Charges are pending.

McDonald costume
Image courtesy Flickr user efohbe http://www.flickr.com/photos/49031772@N04/

Sixth Street was packed to the gills both Saturday and  Sunday night as costumed  revelers turned out in droves to celebrate Halloween. Flickr users efohbe and EgOiStE were among those out snapping dozens of pictures.  KVUE says "tens of thousands" showed up last night.

Photo by Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

UPDATE (1:00 p.m.):

Authorities are keeping the flyover ramp from northbound US 183 to Mopac closed, after this morning's fiery crash of a tanker truck. 

 The tanker truck was carrying a load of gasoline when it crashed around 6:00 a.m. Investigators believe the driver may have been going too fast on the ramp causing it to flip over.

Prop 1 would lead to $90 million spent on mobiltiy projects.
Photo by KUT News

A collection of mayors old and new congregated at City Hall today to show their support for the passage of Proposition 1. With early voting concluding at day’s end and the general election a mere four days away, the group hoped to leave a lasting impression on voters that will lead to the Proposition's passage.

Proposition 1 is a bond proposal that if passed would allocate $90 million to 45 mobility projects across the city.

Barton Springs Pool
flickr.com/photos/rutlo/

Austin City Council granted a rare privilege today to an 82-year-old Austin woman: a lifetime pass to Barton Springs Pool.

Patty Curtis started swimming at the pool in 1975 when she was 46-years-old.

vince young
Photo courtesy Rex Hammock http://www.flickr.com/people/rexblog/

We already knew that former Texas Longhorns hero and current Tennesse Titans quarterback Vince Young had planned to open a steakhouse at 3rd and San Jacinto.   Now we know when. The Statesman reports:

Cap Metro will close the stops starting November 6th
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News

Capital Metro announced it will close four of its Congress Avenue bus stops starting on November 6th as part of a pilot program. These are the stops affected:

Northbound, Congress at 6th
Northbound, Congress at 7th
Southbound, Congress at 8th
Southbound, Congress at 7th

Austin Police Officer Leonardo Quintana was fired for a second time today, less than a week after an arbitrator reinstated him to the force.

The "indefinite suspension" - a bureaucratic formality that amounts to being fired - stems from an alleged domestic dispute at Quintana's home in Leander. Quintana didn't inform his supervisors that he was involved in an incident that required a police response.

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