Austin

SXSW 2015
9:31 am
Fri March 13, 2015

Families of Lethal SXSW Crash Victims Demand 'Significant' Changes

Families of the victims of last year's fatal SXSW crash are demanding that the festival improve the way it handles the huge crowds and vehicle traffic.
KUT News

Today marks the one-year anniversary in the crash at SXSW that killed four people.

One of them was musician and Amsterdam-based producer Steven Craenmehr.

KUT's Joy Diaz reports Craenmehr's family has sued the festival and wants it to make significant changes to the way it handles crowds.

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SXSW 2015
12:22 pm
Thu March 12, 2015

A Year After Fatal Crash, Austin Implements New SXSW Safety Measures

The aftermath of last year's crash during SXSW, which left four people dead.
Ashley Park/KUT News

It’s been almost a year since Rashad Owens drove his car into SXSW festivalgoers after a late-night show. Four people died, and another 23 were injured during the police chase of Owens on March 13 last year.

For this year's festival, the city of Austin and the Austin Police Department say they are not taking any chances.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:36 pm
Wed March 11, 2015

The Portrait LBJ Never Wanted the World to See

A screenshot from a 1967 news story on the presidential portrait that LBJ rejected.
US National Archives and Records Administration

For today’s Wayback Wednesday, we look back at a portrait by famed landscape artist Peter Hurd that Lyndon B. Johnson wished nobody would’ve ever seen:

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Technology
10:43 am
Wed March 11, 2015

Hacker Group Anonymous Calls for Boycott of Austin-Based Blog

Hacker group Anonymous recently launched a campaign against Austin-based website the Daily Dot. The hacktivist collective released a video Monday night encouraging netizens and advertisers to boycott the site on social media after it was revealed the site had published articles written by Hector “Sabu” Monsegur, a former Anonymous hacker turned FBI informant.

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Austin
9:42 am
Tue March 10, 2015

Mobile Home Residents Feel Threatened by New Developments. Are Their Fears Real or Imaginary?

Alice Smith was kicked out of her apartment last year. After a friend helped her finance this trailer, she moved in to a park near the Montopolis Bridge.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Most Austin residents are renters and, chances are, you might be a renter yourself.

But some Austinites living in trailer parks aren’t necessarily guaranteed the perks of a leasing agreement and, as residential and commercial development sprawls across the city, some worry landlords may cash out and sell off parks.

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Austin
9:20 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Why Are Most Austin RV and Mobile Home Parks Invisible?

Per city ordinance, RV’s and mobile homes can’t share the same property, yet they often do. The ordinance is from the 1960s, but many parks go back as far as the 1940s. The ordinance doesn't apply to them, because older properties were grandfathered.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

If you've lived in Austin for a few years, you're probably familiar with the Pecan Grove RV Park. It's where actor Matthew McConaughey "lived" for years. It's a well-kept park that has even become a tourist attraction.

But it's the exception when considering the city's other RV and mobile home parks.

Most parks live a hidden existence of disrepair and neglect.

One reason why we seldom hear about them in Austin is because they are purposely kept under the radar.

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Flash Flood Watch
6:29 am
Mon March 9, 2015

Updated: Central Texas Under Flash Flood Watch Until 7:00 p.m.

National Weather Service screenshot of the Austin/San Antonio area at 6:10 a.m. on March 9, 2015.

Update 11:46 a.m. Remember: Turn Around, Don't Drown: A map and list of Austin-area road closures can be found here. The National Weather Service issued a flood advisory until 2 p.m. for Travis, Bastrop, Williamson and Lee Counties.

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Austin
8:25 am
Fri March 6, 2015

Zucker Report Released Despite Staff Apprehension

From the Austin Monitor:

After months of speculation, the City of Austin posted the draft Zucker Report on its website Thursday night.

Last year, Zucker Systems performed an analysis of the Planning and Development Review Department, and while they did find “many exemplary features” within the department, a quick glance makes it clear why the city was less than eager to release the findings without some revision. The report is available, in its entirety, here.

It contains 464 recommendations and “opportunities for improvement.” Of those, 121 are considered high priority. The report recommends the city immediately fund $3.5 million in improvements for the department.

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Austin
9:31 am
Thu March 5, 2015

This Dam Holds in Lady Bird Lake. So When Will It Get ‘Essential’ Repairs?

The city of Austin is struggling to find a long-term solution for the repairs needed to fix Longhorn Dam.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The poor condition of the dam that holds in the waters of Austin’s beloved Lady Bird Lake continues to vex city officials.  Emails obtained in a public information request reveal challenges the city faced in performing maintenance on Longhorn Dam, which crosses the Colorado River beneath Pleasant Valley Road. Documents tell of water lost through the dam’s gates that could potentially stay in upstream reservoirs, and show city departments struggling to assign responsibility for the structure and plan a long-term solution.

Austin Energy, the city-owned electric utility, and the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) have long known about the need for work on the dam. Austin Energy is the city department that operates the structure. The LCRA operates dams upstream from Austin and coordinates with Austin Energy when they release water downstream.

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Weather & Closings
6:11 am
Thu March 5, 2015

Winter Weather Advisory In Effect Through 9 AM Thursday; Schools Cancel Classes (Updated)

Winter storm warning in pink; winter weather advisory in purple.

UPDATE Thursday 4:00 a.m.: The National Weather Service has downgraded the winter storm warning to a winter weather advisory in effect until 9:00 a.m. The winter storm warning that had been in effect for the area has been canceled. The National Weather Service says the area has received less precipitation than expected and the impacts on travel will not be as significant as originally thought, though there could still be some icy patches on bridges, overpasses, and elevated roadways. A wind advisory is also in effect for Central Texas until 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

Austin Resource Recovery will not make curbside collections of trash, recycling, and yard trimmings on Thursday.  Service will slide to one day later for Thursday and Friday customers this week.

The cities of Georgetown and Kyle will open their city offices at 10:00 a.m. Thursday.

Huston-Tillotson University will open at 1:30 p.m., with classes starting at 2:30 p.m. Concordia University will open at noon today. All operations at St. Edward's University  operations are now scheduled to begin at 12:30 Thursday.

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Austin
5:09 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Despite Decline in Homeless Numbers, Many Still Seek Refuge Under Austin's Bridges

Austin's homeless population numbers are decreasing, according to an annual count.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

The homeless population in Austin is getting smaller.

At least that's what the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) found in its annual count of people who are homeless last month. But the population is still in the hundreds.

One of the reasons the non-profit is citing for the decline is a small but steady increase in affordable housing in Austin.

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Affordable Care Act
1:40 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Central Texans' Obamacare Coverage Hinges on Supreme Court Decision

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments today over part of the Affordable Care Act. It’s a case that could have an impact on hundreds of thousands of Texans who bought insurance on the federal marketplace.

It comes on the heels of the Obama Administration’s announcement last month that some people who bought insurance through the online marketplace were given tax forms with incorrect information about their coverage in 2014.

Still, some Central Texans are still trying to cut through the confusion, even as the health law’s future hangs in the balance.

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Wayback Wednesday
1:15 pm
Wed March 4, 2015

Looking Back: When The Drag Wasn't Such a Drag

This photo, taken some time in the early 1950s, shows Guadalupe looking south. To the right is the Varsity Theater.
PICA 26827, Austin History Center, Austin Public Library

Today's Wayback Wednesday takes a look back at Guadalupe Street, before it was awash in the glow of stop lights and rush hour brake lights.

Austin
4:04 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

In Push For More Staff, Some See Effort to Increase Mayor’s Power

Credit Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has been pushing an idea for weeks now: He needs more staff. Adler says this city council has set some big goals and that it will be really difficult to achieve them without more staff.

There's been tension building for weeks. And as much as Adler explains his point of view, the council is still failing to see things through his eyes.

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SXSW 2015
1:48 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Here's a Look at Some of the Brand-Backed Buildouts Planned for SXSW

Ketel One will be building a windmill over South By similar to this one built at the Art Basel Festival in 2013.
YouTube

Many predict this year’s South By Southwest will be pared down compared to years past. While the days of giant Doritos vending machines are gone, there are still a couple of corporate-backed buildouts and events to lure in fest-goers.

So, we decided to rummage through city permits to preview some of the stranger requests from South By sponsors.

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Austin
12:29 pm
Tue March 3, 2015

Council Plays Fast and Loose on Garza Tract Vote

Credit Liang Shi/KUT News

From the Austin Monitor:

Those familiar with the previous City Council’s strict adherence to procedural rules have been left dizzy by the new Council’s first few meetings. Last week, during the Garza Ranch discussion about the maximum allowable number of vehicle trips per day on the tract, that confusion reached new heights — and after some investigation, the Austin Monitor remains unable to determine who, if anyone, made the final amendment to the motion that was approved on first reading.

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SXSW 2015
8:55 am
Tue March 3, 2015

The Austin 100: A SXSW 2015 Mix

Emma-Lee Moss, a.k.a. Emmy The Great.
Joseph Okpako Redferns via Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 2, 2015 10:58 pm

There's a lot of music on this page — 100 songs, to be exact, each from an artist worth discovering at this year's SXSW Music Festival. It represents more than six genre-defying hours of music.

Still, we started out with far more to choose from. It took an enormous amount of effort to get here: Thousands of acts play SXSW each year, enough that winnowing them down to 100 required months of seeking, listening, culling and decision-making. What remains are some of SXSW 2015's most thrilling discoveries and highlights.

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SXSW 2015
7:18 am
Tue March 3, 2015

The Austin 100

To get ready for SXSW, we listened to A LOT of music. Check out the app we made — and use it to make your own mix!
NPR

Originally published on Thu March 5, 2015 4:32 pm

Put on your headphones and listen to NPR Music's 100 picks from SXSW 2015.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Winter Weather
8:50 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Possibility of Freezing Precip Prompts Central Texas Delays, Closures

12:30 p.m. update: The winter storm warning in effect for Travis and Williamson counties has been extended until 2:00 p.m. Saturday. Light freezing rain and freezing drizzle may still fall and continue to impact roads until then.

9:00 a.m. update: Austin Community College has now canceled all activities and closed all campuses for Saturday. Williamson County officials say that Ih-35 through Georgetown is closed in both directions because of icy conditions. The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department has announced that all of their department's facilities will open at noon today.

Saturday morning update (7:30 a.m.): A winter storm warning is in effect for Travis and Williamson counties until noon on Saturday. Freezing drizzle and freezing temperatures are expected to continue until noon today, making for hazardous driving conditions. Multiple accidents have been reported in Austin due to icy conditions. Austin and Travis County public safety officials are urging drivers to stay off the roads until temperatures start warming up.

Austin Community College campuses and centers will open at 11:00 a.m. Saturday. All classes and activities scheduled prior to then are canceled. Many area school districts, including the Austin Independent School District, have postponed or canceled events for today.

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Austin
3:16 pm
Fri February 27, 2015

Austin Coffee Shop Debacle Draws Attention to Public Breastfeeding Issue

A photo of James and Sandy Hughes taken Thursday. The couple hopes to let Austin know that they do, in fact, support breastfeeding mothers.
Courtesy of the couple

Stouthaus Coffee Pub in Sunset Valley faced major social media backlash this week when one of the owners asked a nursing mother to cover herself while dining with her friends Wednesday morning.

Afterwards, one of the women’s companions posted a one-star Yelp review of Stouthaus, calling out the owner Sandy Hughes for “shaming” her friend for breastfeeding.

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