Austin

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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

As the Austin Independent School District deals with declining enrollment and decisions about facilities and campuses, many wonder if students across the district are getting the same quality of education. AISD school board member Ted Gordon, who represents District 1 in East and Northeast Austin, joined KUT’s Jennifer Stayton to discuss achievement gaps and possible solutions in the district.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Walk into Rio Rita’s new location at 12th and Chicon on a Friday night, and you’re likely to see a single-file line leading up to the bar. Behind it, two bartenders mix up complicated craft cocktails with homemade infused spirits. Sarah Tibbits, Rio Rita’s manager, says the line, which customers form on their own, is a carryover from the old location on East Sixth Street. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

While Austin’s overall population has exploded over the past few decades, Austin’s black population has declined the past 20 years. From 2000 to 2010, African-Americans were the only racial group in Austin that saw a drop in numbers. Austin was also the only fast-growing city in the country that had a decrease in its black population during that stretch.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

On the East Side, development and rising property costs continue to force the African-American community out. With such rapid migration, how have the neighborhood's history and culture and the city’s African-American population been preserved?

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Matthew Malcolm Kleinman and Andreas Mueller have fond memories of their childhood on the East Side.

“Old people used to sit on their porches and watch us, yelling at us while we were running through their yards, ‘Get off my grass!’” Matt laughs.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

At the beginning of KUT's 12th and Chicon project, we told the story of Anderson High School — a beacon of the black community in East Austin until its forced closure in 1971 as part of desegregation. But Anderson wasn’t the only neighborhood school to close. Kealing Junior High School did, too. It was reopened in the mid-1980s as a neighborhood school with a magnet program, but the tensions of the past still linger in the school’s hallways.

Kenisha Coburn is trying to change that. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Pastor Clarence Jones has a meeting with a potential buyer in just a few minutes. He’s been having a lot of these meetings over the past two years, ever since church leaders decided to put the Greater Saint John Baptist Church up for sale.

“Hopefully it will sell and we can relocate,” he says, “so that’s what we’re looking forward to at this time.”

Property ownership can be a stealth business, with land changing hands before anyone even has time to notice.

For the past four years, one North Texas company has quietly bought up property on East 12th Street. Ironically, the company takes its name from a cry of surprise and discovery: Eureka!

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT News

City programs that aim to improve affordability may bring down costs for some Austin residents, but for others, they could make the cost of living even higher. That’s according to a draft report released Tuesday by the city auditor’s office.

Austin History Center

On a vacant lot at the corner of East 12th and Salina streets, Ada Harden sees a silver screen where a fence now stands.

“Can you imagine a theater sitting right here?” she asks, giggling. She certainly can.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Colette Pierce Burnette didn’t have the smoothest of landings when she arrived in Austin just over two years ago.

She fell in the Atlanta airport and was dependent on ride-hailing apps to get around for the first couple of weeks. To add insult to injury, most of her drivers didn’t know how to get to her new workplace, Huston-Tillotson University, where she was taking over as the school’s president.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

A new report suggests Travis County refused more federal requests to detain undocumented immigrants than any other law enforcement agency. The report from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency is the first of what are promised to be weekly publications. 


Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex sits at the corner of Hargrave and Rosewood in East Austin, but its story starts several blocks west on 12th and Chicon. And it starts with a tragedy.

It was near that corner, a couple days after Christmas in 1992, when 16-year-old Tamika Ross was killed. According to reports at the time, she and her friends were hanging out in a church parking lot. A car drove up and shots rang out, leaving Tamika dead and five others injured.

Stephanie Tacy for KUT

Conrad Bejarano is sitting in the back room of his store, I Luv Vintage, at Guadalupe and 29th streets, with his son, Sebastian. They’re cutting out pictures from old magazines and making buttons.

"You smash that, swing it around and you get a souvenir button of Richard Gere and Jodie Foster," he says. 

South by Southwest is a weird time for locally owned stores outside of downtown, Bejarano says.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When he arrives at work Monday morning, Khalid Marshall is greeted by a slate of complaints from Austin residents. Marshall is a code enforcement officer with the city, and his work specifically focuses on short-term rentals, or STRs, like those you’d find on HomeAway or Airbnb.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

In the neighborhood around 12th and Chicon streets in East Austin, change seems to be the only constant. We've been bringing you the voices of people in that neighborhood over the past few months as part of our On My Block project. Today, we hear from Gary Tharp, who owns the Texas Sausage Company on 12th Street. 

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Members of the public testified for the first time Tuesday on three bills that would create statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies in Texas. The bills could also pave a way for Uber and Lyft to return to Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

Mel Roe was eating dinner Saturday night at Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in downtown Austin when she nearly threw her phone at the wall. She said the app of one of Austin’s six fledgling ride-hailing companies, Fasten, would not let her request a ride.

So, she relied on a technique used by many who’ve been stranded before her.

How Can Austin Achieve Smart City Status?

Mar 14, 2017
Syeda Hasan / KUT

Beyond the music, movies and tech debuting at South by Southwest, this year’s festival is also hosting city leaders from around the country. They’re exploring ways to become so-called “smart cities,” using technology to address common urban problems.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

The empty lot at the corner of Red River and Seventh streets turned into a village of services for people experiencing homelessness Saturday. Around 350 people living on the streets were able to get everything from a shower to yoga lessons at the Pop-Up Care Village. 

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