Austin

Austin
9:55 am
Tue April 15, 2014

Austin Post Offices Won't Be Open Late for Tax Day 2014

Fewer people are mailing in tax returns.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today is the IRS tax filing deadline.  

But, like last year, Austin area U.S. Post Offices will not stay open until midnight. Post offices across the country are cutting down on late hours for tax day.  That’s because most people now file online.

"According to the Internal Revenue Service, this year over 90 percent of tax returns nationwide have already been electronically filed online," USPS said in a press release. "Of the 148 million returns the IRS expects to be filed this year, only 23 million will be paper returns, down seven percent from last year."

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Halloween Floods
4:33 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods

An unidentified man walks past an abandoned car along Pleasant Valley Road on Oct. 31, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

It’s taken the City of Austin and Travis County almost six months to finalize a report detailing emergency response to the 2013 Halloween floods: what worked, what needs improvement and what – flat out – did not work.

See the full report here [PDF].

The report repeatedly highlights communication problems: between agencies, then between first responders, then with the general public. There was no clear channel of communication. There was no awareness about the kind of people who lived in the affected area either: a majority-minority community that does not primarily communicate using English.

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Turning the Corner
8:50 am
Fri April 11, 2014

'I Gotta Keep Going:' Boxing Has Dove Springs Students Pushing Ahead

Benjamin Munoz practices on a speed bag at Mendez Middle School in Dove Springs.

For the past seven months KUT has focused on the Dove Springs neighborhood in southeast Austin. We’ve been looking at issues facing this largely poor, immigrant community: access to healthcare, educational issues, affordable housing – and how organizations and individuals are trying to bring change.

In October, we went to a boxing ring at Mendez Middle School. An after-school program there is teaching the kids boxing as a way to provide some structure after classes let out.

We went back to the ring recently – and found quite a few things had changed. 

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Austin
3:29 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Obama Celebrates 50 Years of the Civil Rights Act

President Obama spoke before the Civil Rights Summit on Apr. 10, 2014.
LBJ Presidential Library and Museum

President  Obama delivered a speech today at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum at the Civil Rights Summit celebrating 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Civil Rights Act. 

Obama paid tribute to Johnson's tenacity and vision in fostering the passage of the Civil Rights Act —  as well as other landmark legislation including the Voting Rights Act, the Immigration and Nationality Act and the Fair Housing Act. He characterized the Texan president as strong-willed -- but flawed, despite his successes -- and said that the fight for equality isn't  over. 

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Austin
3:08 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

Artists Restore Iconic Guadalupe St. Murals, Despite Limited Funds

A view of the "Austintatious Mural," known to many for its depiction of Texas forefather Stephen F. Austin.
Andrew Huygen for KUT

The original artists behind two iconic murals in West Campus are restoring their work after the murals were defaced with graffiti. But the costly repairs to the University Co-op mural could be delayed, due to a steep price tag.  

While the Co-op pitched some money towards repainting the murals, they couldn't provide enough for the entire $30,000 overhaul. So the murals' artists have taken to the Web, starting an online campaign to fund the restoration – although a fast-approaching deadline could sideline the effort.

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Austin
12:00 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Historic Architects Look to Preserve a Rapidly Changing Austin

Anthony's Laundry & Dry Cleaning in Austin's Clarksville neighborhood. Architectural historians from all over the country will be gathering in Austin this week.
Ilana Panich-Linsman, KUT News

Austin's growth has been fast and furious. And due to the speed with which the city is growing, many historic structures have disappeared.

That's why all this week, historic architects from across the world are in Austin, focusing on the city as a sort of case study: what’s OK to demolish and what deserves to be preserved.

Historic architecture can range from churches to bridges and businesses. One historic business is Anthony’s Laundry & Dry Cleaners off of West Lynn Street, in the Clarksville neighborhood.

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SXSW Crash
4:43 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

SXSW Crash Survivor Hopes To Walk At High School Graduation

South by Southwest crash victim Mason Endres speaks with reporters about her recovery at St. David's Rehabilitation Hospital.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

One of the victims of the car crash into South by Southwest crowds is now in the rehab stage of her recovery. 

Mason Endres can now hop on one leg and push herself in a wheelchair. But she’s still learning to walk again.

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Austin
4:32 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

PHOTOS: Disaster Response Drill at Austin-Bergstrom Airport

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport held a full-scale disaster response exercise on its airfield today, allowing first responders to practice their skills using an actual airplane.

The drill involved aircraft, firefighters, EMS responders, medical service vehicles and more. Several volunteers played the role of plane crash victims, complete with simulated injuries. Responders even tagged volunteers' bodies via a triage system, ranking them by the medical attention required.

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SXSW 2014
4:31 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Accused Driver in SXSW Crash Faces 20 Aggravated Assault Charges

Rashad Owens faces capital murder and aggravated assault charges for allegedly speeding into and killing SXSW attendees.

The man charged with capital murder in the crash into a crowd at South by Southwest is now also charged with 20 counts of aggravated assault.

21-year-old Rashad Owens has been jailed since the March 13 crash. Police say Owens was speeding away from a traffic stop when he drove through a barricade onto a street crowded with pedestrians.

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Austin
9:08 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Austin Toy Museum Looks to Open Next Year

Over 200,000 toys line Caleb Zammit's home. He's one of a group of collectors looking to open a toy museum in Austin next year.
Joy Diaz, KUT News

A new museum is getting ready to open in Austin, but this one doesn't focus on art or state history. This one is all about toys.

A group of Austin collectors are creating a home to display vintage toys, ranging from the 1900s to the 1980s.

Caleb Zammit is part of the group putting together the museum. He's been collecting toys for years. Right now, his collection of over 200,000 toys is neatly arranged in almost every room of his house.

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Austin
1:42 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Austin Area Under Severe Thunderstorm Watch Until 7pm

National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for Bastrop, Burnet, Blanco, Hays, Lee, Llano, Travis and Williamson counties until 7 p.m. 

The watch means conditions are right for strong winds and large hail, if storms develop.

Austin
11:45 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Austin's Rent is the Most Expensive in Texas

flickr.com/milestonemanagement

This story was co-reported with Reporting Texas, a project of UT Austin's School of Journalism.

Once again, Austin has landed at the top of another list. But this one doesn’t put the city in the best light.

In Austin, the fair market rent for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,074 per month – the highest in Texas. That amount is $202 more than the average fair market rent for the state.

The figure comes from the National Low Income Housing Coalition's annual “Out of Reach” report, which details how much it costs to live in different metropolitan areas around the United States.

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Austin
8:05 am
Thu March 27, 2014

Map: Texas Relays and Urban Music Festival Street Closures

An unidentified runner in the 2012 Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays. The track and filed event returns to Austin starting Thursday.
KUT News

If it's springtime in Austin, it’s festival season.

Austin will be busy again this weekend with the return of the Texas Relays and more activities around town, That also meaning several street closures and traffic delays. 

The 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays return to the University of Texas today. More than 6,000 college and high school athletes from all over the country will be at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium from Wednesday through Saturday.

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Austin
12:01 am
Thu March 27, 2014

No Surprise: Austin Ranks Among Fastest Growing Metros - Again

Realtor Yoni Levin tries to rustle up some business on Sixth Street during South by Southwest 2014. In new census data, Austin ranks among the fastest growing metro areas in the U.S.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Once again, Austin ranks among the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation.

According to the most recent data from the Census Bureau, Austin ranked eighth nationally on a list of rapidly expanding metro areas, growing 2.6 percent from July 2012 to July 2013.

This should come as no surprise, since Austin has been near the top of the list since 2010. But what may be surprising is that the city’s growth could finally be leveling off.

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urban development
7:26 pm
Tue March 25, 2014

Austin Considers Measure Aimed at Lowering Cost of Tiny Apartments

Removing off-street parking requirements for apartments under 500 square feet could make them more affordable, advocates say.
https://flic.kr/p/4sG5xG

The City of Austin could remove off-street parking space requirements for developers who build some apartments smaller than 500 square feet – dwellings known as "micro-units." Advocates say it could encourage development of the micro-units along public transit corridors.

"We're talking about 300- or 400-square-foot apartments. Is there a market for that? In some cities, it looks like there has been," Council Member Bill Spelman said Tuesday during a council work session. "This is another way of simply reducing the cost. The whole thing is really about affordable housing." 

City code requires most residential developments to have at least one off-street parking space per unit. Council removed most of those requirements for downtown businesses last year. 

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SXSW 2014
1:49 pm
Mon March 24, 2014

After SXSW Tragedy, Austin Seeks 'Full Evaluation' of Crowds, Alcohol

Crowds during the seventh day of the SXSW Music Festival. City officials are calling for a full accounting of public safety issues related to the festival.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUTX

Questions raised by this year's South by Southwest festival and conference aren't restricted to think pieces: The Austin City Council is now asking for "a full post-event evaluation" of the ever-growing event. The findings could result in changes to the way Austin deals with safety, crowds, permits, and even alcohol during SXSW and other events. 

Coming off its 27th year, the SXSW event itself generated as many headlines as its performers and conference breakouts. 

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Austin
10:35 am
Mon March 24, 2014

Shake Your Brass at Honk!TX, Austin's Marching Band Jam

The Minor Mishap Marching Band performed at Austin's fourth annual Honk!TX parade.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

Update: KUTX was there for Honk!TX this weekend. Check out video from the festival below, and see more photos here.

Original story (March 21): South By Southwest has come and gone, but Austin's festival season is in full swing.

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Turning the Corner
8:49 am
Fri March 21, 2014

There's a Different Kind of Homelessness for Onion Creek Flood Victims

Lydia Huerta stands by the RV that she called home for months. Her house is fully rebuilt, and her family is moving back in.
Credit Joy Diaz, KUT News

When you think about the word “homeless,” what comes to mind?

Homelessness can include a person who lacks housing. But it is also includes people in transitional housing. That's where Lydia Huerta, her husband and their three kids found themselves after they lost their home to flooding October 31.

Huerta says she "never really felt panic" until she lost her home. 

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Austin
3:58 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

City Spends $9.6 Million to Buy Southwest Austin Golf Course

The Austin City Council has teed up a $9.6 million purchase of a Circle C golf course over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
flickr.com/trostle

The Austin City Council approved the acquisition of the Grey Rock Golf Club's courses and tennis facility today, allocating $9.6 million of the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget for the purchase.

The course sits on 292 acres of south of Lady Bird Lake, adjacent to the Circle C subdivision. The course lies in the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

City Deputy Chief Financial Officer Greg Canally called the Grey Rock purchase a “unique opportunity to acquire a piece of land that actually comes with an existing revenue stream.” Some of that existing revenue will be leveraged to pay off an estimated $400,000 in debt service; the department estimates the revenue will cover half of that amount.

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SXSW 2014
4:41 pm
Wed March 19, 2014

SXSW Crash Victim Fundraising Continues

Pedestrians walk past a memorial outside the Mohawk nightclub on Red River Street, where two were killed and 23 injured last week.
Andrew Huygen for KUT News

Donations for victims of a deadly crash during South by Southwest continue to accumulate.

Last week, 21-year-old Rashad Owens was charged with capital murder in the killing of three festival-goers. Owens is alleged to have plowed his car through SXSW crowds at high speed in an attempt to evade police. Three victims have died.

A SXSW Cares relief fund was quickly set up by the Austin Community Foundation, with help from groups including SXSW and the City of Austin. The Austin Community Foundation's MariBen Ramsey says that online donations and additional contributions have raised approximately $160,000.

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