Austin

Wayback Wednesday
3:14 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: A Look Back at Lamar Boulevard

A shot of Lamar Boulevard before it was paved, looking south at Ninth Street.
PICA 18059, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Today marks the 176th anniversary of Mirabeau Buonaparte Lamar’s inauguration as the second president of the Republic of Texas. He’s known as the “Father of Texas Education,” he set aside land to build what would later become UT-Austin in 1839 and helped plant the seeds for the Texas public school system.

So, today's Wayback Wednesday will honor his namesake, Lamar Boulevard, one of the most congested roads in the state. Below you can see a silent newsreel of the roadway in its infancy, when crews were building out the overpass at Third Street 55 years ago in the fall of 1959. Above, we’ve got a photo gallery of Lamar through the years – from its dirt road days in the 1940s to its present day parking lot status.

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Austin ISD
2:06 pm
Wed December 10, 2014

Paul Cruz is the Last Candidate Standing in AISD Superintendent Search

Interim Superintendent Dr. Paul Cruz took over for departing Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who left in April to lead Atlanta's public schools.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

It looks like Interim Superintendent Paul Cruz will be the next head of Austin schools. After an outpouring of local support in recent weeks, the school board voted Monday to allow Cruz to throw his hat into the ring for the permanent job.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:29 am
Wed December 10, 2014

Scruggs, Troxclair & the Politically-Charged, Non-Partisan Race in District 8

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Still in the race for District 8's Austin City Council seat are Ellen Troxclair and Ed Scruggs, two candidates that are, for the most part, diametrically opposed from a political standpoint – though, technically, city elections are non-partisan.

Scruggs says he's a progressive with on-the-ground experience in D8, and hopes to expand affordable housing options and diversity in the district. Troxclair touts herself as a fiscal conservative, and believes her voice on city council could help Austin reduce unnecessary municipal spending and increase affordability in the district.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
2:13 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

District 7 Candidates Agree on Affordability, Diverge on Traffic

Mengwen Cao/KUT

It's the last week of early voting for the Austin City Council runoffs. So far, 27,000 people have cast a ballot, compared to about 100,000 Austinites who voted in the city's November election. 

In District 7, Jeb Boyt and Leslie Pool are the two candidates standing, heading into a runoff election on Dec. 16. Both Boyt and Pool say neighbors in District 7 are concerned with the state of their libraries and parks, but, as with almost every neighborhood in Austin, their main concern is affordability.

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Press Releases
12:24 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

KUT 90.5 shuffles weekend and late evening schedules to group shows with similar sensibilities

“Bullseye” with Jesse Thorn comes to KUT Saturdays at 1 p.m.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dec. 9, 2014 — KUT 90.5, Austin’s NPR station, is shuffling some of its weekend and late evening programs to bring listeners a fresh mix of the original and innovative public radio Austin’s NPR station is known for.

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 13, KUT’s midday and evening shows will be grouped together to reflect a similar sound, sensibility and personality. Some old favorites will have new start times.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
9:41 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Zimmerman, Flannigan Offer Different Routes for Solving District 6's Traffic Woes

Mengwen Cao/KUT

Virtually everyone in Austin has the right to complain about traffic, but maybe none more so than those who live in District 6.

The district is one of the longest – going from Lake Travis all the way north to Jollyville, with some of the most congested roads from Parmer Lane to Ranch Road 2222 and FM 620.

District 6 candidates Don Zimmerman and Jimmy Flannigan agree that congestion is a crippling issue in the district, but that’s largely where their consensus concludes. KUT’s Joy Diaz sat down with both council candidates ahead of the Dec. 16 election runoff.

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Austin
8:33 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Holiday Gift Program Extends to Seniors in Greater Austin

This year, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will provide gifts for seniors in the greater Austin area for the first time.
Image courtesy flickr.com/hapal

The population of seniors in the greater Austin area is growing dramatically, and with that growth comes an increase in a number of services for the elderly. One example of that increased need takes place around Christmas time.

This year, more than 500 seniors in the greater Austin area, from South Austin up to Georgetown, will feel a little less alone during the December holidays because the for the first time, the national Be a Santa to a Senior program will distribute gifts here.

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2014 Mayoral Runoff
11:36 am
Sun December 7, 2014

WATCH: The Civic Summit 2014 Austin Mayoral Debate

Austin mayoral candidates Mike Martinez (left) and Steve Adler.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

KUT, KLRU and the Austin Monitor co-hosted a debate earlier today between Mike Martinez and Steve Adler. One of them will be Austin’s next mayor and will lead 10 city council members through the first years of a new form of city government.

A continuación usted podrá escuchar una traducción del debate entre los candidatos para presidente municipal, los señores Mike Martinez y Steve Adler. La votación temprana termina el Viernes 12 de Diciembre. El día de la elección formal es el 16 de Diciembre.

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Austin
5:26 pm
Sat December 6, 2014

PHOTOS: Austin Protesters Rally for Larry Jackson Jr.

Tommy Hawthorne shows his support for Larry Jackson and other victims of police shootings.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

More than 100 people gathered Friday night at the Travis County courthouse to rally for Larry Jackson Jr. and other victims of police shootings. Jackson died after being shot by former Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert last year.

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Austin Police
10:34 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Kleinert Pleads Not Guilty to Manslaughter in Death of Larry Jackson, Jr.

On July 26, 2013 APD Det. Charles Kleinert fatally shot Larry Eugene Jackson, Jr. after the two entered into a physical altercation following a foot chase.
Trey Shaar/KUT

A former Austin Police detective has pled not guilty to manslaughter charges in the 2013 death of Larry Jackson, Jr. Charles Kleinert entered a plea of not guilty in a Travis County courtroom this morning and was released on bond after being indicted by a grand jury earlier this year.

His trial is set to begin on Apr. 20.

Jackson’s mother, Billie Mercer, was at the hearing, and said she didn’t want the trial of her son’s death to become a lightning rod for racial divides in Austin.

“I don’t like all the violence,” Mercer said in response to the recent flare-ups after high-profile cases in which officers weren’t indicted after involvement in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in New York. “I’m glad this isn’t a bunch of. . . fighting and tearing up the neighborhood. No, I’m not for that. I just want justice in the court system.”

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Austin Mayoral Race
7:49 am
Fri December 5, 2014

Adler Maintains Lead Over Martinez in New Austin Monitor Mayoral Poll

Poll courtesy The Austin Monitor.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

This story comes to us from our city hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor.

According to a poll conducted this week among 942 likely Austin voters, mayoral candidate and attorney Steve Adler maintains a commanding lead over his runoff opponent, City Council Member Mike Martinez. When asked who they would be likely to vote for in the Dec. 16 runoff election, 56 percent of respondents said Adler, compared to 39 percent for Martinez. Only 5 percent said they were undecided.

Public Policy Polling of Raleigh, North Carolina, conducted the poll on Dec. 2 and 3. The poll was commissioned by the Austin Monitor and was made possible through a generous donation by Texas Disposal Systems.

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Austin
10:31 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

Austin Protestors Show Solidarity With Ferguson, NY Demonstrators

People participate in a protest at the Texas State Capitol Building following the events in New York regarding Eric Garner and in Ferguson, Missouri around Michael Brown.
Jenna VonHofe/KUT

At the Texas Capitol Thursday night, protestors gathered to show solidarity with demonstrators in New York, Ferguson, Missouri and other cities around the nation, demanding police be held accountable in several high-profile deaths at the hands of officers.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:12 am
Thu December 4, 2014

In District 4 Runoff, Issues Take a Backseat to Madcap Politics

The race for Austin City Council District 4 has arguably been the most contentious fight in the city's first 10-1 election, from negative campaigning to concerns over 9/11 beliefs. This election, North Central Austin voters will choose between Laura Pressley and Greg Casar in the District 4 runoff.

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
11:04 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Sister-Brother Runoff Candidates Have Dueling Views for the Future of District 3

Candidates Susana Almanza and Sabino "Pio" Renteria at KUT's Ballot Boxing City Council candidate forum on Sept. 29.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

District 3 runoff candidates Susana Almanza and Sabino "Pio" Renteria have a lot in common. They’re both Southeast Austin-based community activists, they’ve both pushed to expand affordable housing efforts in Austin and, strangely enough, they’re siblings.

While they both hope to boost affordable housing stock and develop the burgeoning district responsibly, they plan to go about it in a different way if elected to the Austin City Council.

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Austin
11:42 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Here's a Look at Daniel Johnston's Newest Austin Mural

The new mural by Daniel Johnston was unveiled yesterday and hopes to bring awareness to the Superhero Kids campaign benefiting the Dell Children's Blood and Cancer Center.
Kimberley Carmona for KUT

Daniel Johnston, the musician-artist who painted the now-iconic "Hi, How Are You?" mural on the Drag, debuted his latest public art work in Austin yesterday.

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Austin Shooting
11:40 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Mexican Diplomat Says Austin Shooting Highlights Flawed US Gun Policies

McQuilliams attacked the Mexican Consulate with firearms and improvised explosive devices that did not detonate.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

It appears that Larry Steve McQuilliams was motivated by racist ideology and anger at U.S. immigration policy when he attacked three buildings in Austin early last Friday, according to Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. One of the three targeted buildings was the Mexican Consulate of Austin, which McQuilliams shot at and attempted to burn down with homemade bombs that did not detonate. 

Rosalba Ojeda, the Consul General of Mexico in Austin, works out of that building. She says the attack underlines Mexico’s long-standing concerns over U.S. gun laws.

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Google Fiber
9:38 am
Tue December 2, 2014

Google Fiber Opens Up Service Sign-Ups in South Austin

A map of the areas first in line to get Google Fiber Internet service.
Credit Google Fiber

Google Fiber announced the beginning of sign-ups yesterday in neighborhoods across South Austin.

The sign-up process puts enclaves, or “Fiberhoods,” in the queue for installation of the gigabit Internet service. Austinites living south of Barton Springs Road and north of U.S. Highway 290 will be the first to get service. 

Already there are 21 neighborhoods on that list of future Fiberhoods — nine in the surrounding area west of MoPac and between Barton Springs and 290; nine south of Lady Bird Lake; one neighborhood west of Manchaca Road; and two neighborhoods off South Congress Avenue. Those in the first group have until Jan. 29 to sign up for build out.

18 other neighborhoods just south of Lady Bird Lake have until Mar. 12 to sign up. 

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2014 City Council Runoff Elections
12:30 pm
Mon December 1, 2014

DeWayne Lofton & Ora Houston Push for African-American Engagement in D1 Runoff

Early voting in local runoff elections starts today. One of the seven Austin City Council races that will be decided in this election is in District 1, also known as Austin’s African-American Opportunity District.

Originally, nine people ran for this seat, but now the field’s been whittled down two contenders: Dwayne Lofton and Ora Houston.

Today, KUT will begin a series examining each Austin City Council runoff campaign as candidates try to get their supporters back to the polls.

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Austin
10:43 am
Mon December 1, 2014

Some Congress Bridge Bats Are Making a Late Season Appearance

The bats on the Congress bridge haven't completely gone south for the winter. Some stick around Austin during the colder months.
Photo by Mose Buchele

The nightly emergence of millions of bats from the Ann Richards Bridge on Congress Avenue is a popular attraction in Austin during the summer.  While many will tell you all those bats all fly south to Mexico for the winter and leave the bridge abandoned, it’s a little more complicated than that.  

“You know that was kind of a surprise. There was a really large emergence from Congress Avenue bridge and apparently they came out when there was still a little light in the sky,” says Diane Odegard of the conservation group Bats International.

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Breaking
9:57 am
Fri November 28, 2014

PHOTOS: Police Searching for Motive of Slain Gunman Who Fired on Austin Buildings

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says there were no explosives found on the body of the suspect in this morning's shooting in downtown Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Update 2:40pm: The APD has officially released the name of this morning's shooter: Larry Steve McQuilliams (DOB: 12-13-1964)

Update 2:00pm: Chief Acevedo says the residence of this morning's shooter has been cleared and is safe to enter. The APD and FBI had been slowly examining the apartment in the Barton Hills neighborhood to make sure there were no explosives or traps left to harm law officers. 

Update 10:00 am: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says there were no explosives found on the body of the suspect in this morning's shooting in downtown Austin, nor were there any explosives found in the suspect's vehicle. 

At 2:22 a.m., APD started to receive reports of gunfire in multiple locations downtown, including the Mexican Consulate, the federal courthouse, and APD headquarters. Acevedo says the shooting occurred within the span of ten minutes. APD initially believed the suspect also fired shots at the BB&T bank, but later said the suspect did not target the bank. Officers believe more than 100 rounds were fired overall.

According to Acevedo, the officer involved in the shooting was putting away horses from an overnight mounted patrol when he saw the suspect shooting in front of APD headquarters. A source confirms the officer involved is Sgt. Adam Johnson, a 15 year APD veteran. 

"As he held two horses with one hand, he discharged at least one round with a single handed shot," Acevedo says. "That'd be one heck of a shot." Police are still investigating whether the suspect was killed by the officer's bullet or a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Johnson is now on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after an officer fires a weapon at another person.

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