Austin

Constructions Starts at Shoal Creek
5:16 pm
Wed April 23, 2014

Austin Restoring Banks, Paving Trails Along Shoal Creek

A rendering of a paved pathway along Shoal Creek, at Windsor and 24th Streets.
City of Austin Watershed Protection Department

After years of erosion, Austin is shoring up the downtown banks of the Shoal Creek trail starting Monday. Running from 15th Street to 28th Street, the project includes the eastern boundary of Pease Park.

According to Morgan Byars, supervising engineer for the project at the Watershed Protection Department, the erosion hasn’t only caused safety hazards, but an overall loss of greenspace.

“Severe bank erosion [is] affecting large heritage trees that potentially will fall into the creek,” Byars says. “We’ve got erosion very close to the trail system which presents a safety hazard for pedestrians and bikers, but also it’s just a general loss of parkland.”

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It's Taco Time
8:40 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Mayor Leffingwell Gets a Breakfast Taco Intervention

Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell tries a migas taco from Veracruz All Natural.
Ilana Panich-Linsman, KUT News

Last month Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell made a much-debated statement while answering questions on Reddit: He said Taco Cabana makes some of his favorite breakfast tacos.

Mando Rayo, a self-described “taco journalist” in a city that takes its breakfast tacos very seriously, decided to press the issue. On Tuesday, Rayo picked up breakfast tacos from one of his favorite Austin taco spots, Veracruz All Natural, and hand-delivered them to Mayor Leffingwell’s office. 

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Bad Boyz Give Back
3:55 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

This Austin Biker Club Gave Kids an Easter They Won't Forget

Tamara Pruitt holds up one of several Easter baskets given away during the Bad Boyz and Girlz 4 Ever Motorcycle Club's raffle.
Jon Shapley for KUT News

Members of the Bad Boyz and Girlz 4 Ever motorcycle club gathered in East Austin Saturday for their fourth annual Easter celebration.

The motorcycle club, with the help of Boys and Girls Club of Austin, put on a family-friendly celebration including an Easter egg hunt, an Easter bunny, and a toy and bicycle give-away. Almost 70 children, most from nearby neighborhoods, came to participate.

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Boston Marathon, One Year Later
7:48 am
Mon April 21, 2014

Austin Runner Returns to Finish Boston Marathon

Michael Breen was 150 yards away from the finish line for the Boston Marathon last year before two explosions cut him off.
flickr.com/marc_buehler

Nearly 300 runners from the Austin area will be participating in the Boston Marathon today. It’s a group undeterred by two explosions that ripped through the crowds at the race last year, killing three spectators and wounding more than 260 others.

For many runners, the marathon ended abruptly. Race organizers invited most of those athletes back to run again this year. One Austinite isn’t passing up that chance.

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SXSW 2014
11:54 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Austin Police File More Charges Against SXSW Crash Suspect

A "ghost bike" is included in a makeshift memorial outside the Mohawk in this photo from March 17.
Credit Andrew Huygen for KUT News

The Austin Police Department has filed four more charges against the suspect accused of killing four people and injuring more than 20 people in downtown Austin on March 13

Roger Wade with the Travis County Sheriff's Office confirms that 21-year-old Rashad Charjuan Owens now has 25 aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charges filed against him as of April 17. He's also been charged with capital murder.

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Austin
10:27 am
Fri April 18, 2014

Council Withdraws Mid-Year Evaluation of City Manager

Austin City Manager Marc Ott gets a message from former Chief Financial Officer Leslie Browder in this 2011 photo.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

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

It seems that some City Council members were planning on giving City Manager Marc Ott – and perhaps others – a piece of their minds in private Thursday, but due to the absence of Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, Mayor Lee Leffingwell was able to at least postpone that confrontation.

The executive session agenda for Thursday included four unusual items, each to do a mid-year evaluation of one of the Council’s appointees: Ott, City Auditor Kenneth Mory, Municipal Court Clerk Rebecca Stark and City Clerk Jannette Goodall.

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Education
6:38 am
Fri April 18, 2014

It's Good Friday – But Some Area School Districts Are Holding Classes

Several area school districts have to make up classes missed due to bad weather this winter.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Most Austin area school districts are closed today for the Good Friday holiday. But some students will be attending class.

That’s because they’re making up days off for bad weather earlier in the school year.

DO have school:

  • Burnet ISD will have regular school hours today.
  • Del Valle ISD is holding classes today.
  • Dripping Springs ISD is holding classes today and on Memorial Day to make up for canceled classes.
  • Eanes ISD is holding classes today. The rest of the school year will continue as planned.
  • Lockhart ISD will hold regular school hours today and on Memorial Day.
  • Manor ISD is holding classes today as a make-up. There will not be classes on Memorial Day.
  • Texas School for the Deaf will have regular school hours today.
  • Wimberley ISD is also holding classes this Good Friday.

DO NOT have school:

  • Austin ISD is off today. AISD has no make-up days scheduled for the rest of the school year.
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On My Block
6:00 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Austin: What's the One Thing That Would Make Life On Your Block Better?

What one thing would make life on your block better? KUT wants to hear from you.

What's the one thing that would make life on your block better?

As Austin prepares for its first elections with 10 new geographic districts, KUT is diving deeply into District One, which covers large parts of East Austin. But we want to hear from you, regardless of where you live. Tell us: What would make life better on your block? 

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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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