Austin

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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Austin
7:30 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Does Public Input Really Matter in City Projects?

A map of Onion Creek Metropolitan Park. The area takes up 555 acres of land in southeast Travis County.
Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Public input meetings are places where ideas float around, and where friends with similar interests reconnect.

At a meeting this week at Dove Springs' Mendes Middle School, you could see neighbors sharing input on what they'd like to see happen at Onion Creek Park.

Susan Willard, president of the Onion Creek Parks Neighborhood Alliance said she wants "[a] picnic area and barbeque grills." She even remembers a place from her childhood called Davey Crockett National Forest that has platforms and rope swings. "They could do something like that back in there," Willard says. "That’d be really cool! You know? Something that fits with nature."

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SXSW 2014
3:59 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Two Victims of SXSW Crash, Including Critical Patient, Are Fort Worth Teens

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

Update: Curtisha Davis has been released from University Medical Center Brackenridge, a hospital spokesperson says. According to Fort Worth media, she has returned home. Her boyfriend, DeAndre Tatum, remains in critical condition.

Two other Brackenridge patients (Gracie Nguyen, Evan West) remain in fair condition; at St. David's hospital, Mason Endres also remains in fair condition.

Another Brackenridge patient (Joseph McCraney) remains in good condition. 

Original story (1: 56 p.m.): KERA News in Dallas has details on two of the victims in last week's fatal South by Southwest crash.

Two of the victims still hospitalized – 17-year-old Curtisha Davis and 18-year-old DeAndre Tatum – are current and former students at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth. "Cheerleader Curtisha Davis is expected to leave the hospital in the next few days," KERA reports."But DeAndre Tatum is still in a medically induced coma." The two are girlfriend and boyfriend. 

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Austin City Council
2:54 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Laura Morrison Says She Will Not Run for Austin Mayor

Council member Laura Morrison says she will not run for mayor of Austin.
KUT

This article is written by KUT's City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor

Council Member Laura Morrison, who has served on the Austin City Council for nearly six years and has been considered a likely candidate for Mayor on the November ballot told the Austin Monitor today that she has decided against the race.

Morrison, 59, said decision was a difficult one for her. “I love this job and it’s been … very complicated and difficult. It’s taken me a long time to make this decision.”  Weighing all the pros and cons of a race that might cost up to a million dollars, Morrison said, “I just think a different future is what’s right for me.”

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SXSW 2014
1:30 pm
Tue March 18, 2014

Fort Worth Students Dealing With Death Of One Classmate, SXSW Injuries Of Two Others

Trimble Tech student Marissa Edwards says it's not easy to focus on her studies right now.
Reverend Kyev Tatum Trimble Tech High School

Originally published on Wed March 19, 2014 12:46 pm

Students and teachers at Trimble Tech High School in Fort Worth are coping with a pair of tragedies. Just before spring break, junior Jocelyn Saucedo was fatally stabbed. And last week, a cheerleader and her boyfriend were among the two dozen injured in Austin when a car plowed into a crowd at the South by Southwest festival.

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SXSW 2014
10:26 am
Tue March 18, 2014

SXSW Crash Update: Third Victim Dies From Injuries

A memorial outside the Mohawk nightclub, the site of a fatal crash which has now claimed three lives.
Andrew Huygen for KUT News

A patient injured in last week's car collision with South by Southwest crowds has died. 

Sandy Thuy Le, 26, died this morning at University Medical Center Brackenridge. She was an Austin resident, according to social media.

Le is the third to die from injuries incurred in the Thursday morning crash; 27 year-old Austinite Jamie Ranae West and 35 year-old Dutch visitor Steven Craenmehr were pronounced dead at the crash scene. 

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SXSW 2014
2:10 pm
Sun March 16, 2014

SXSW Crash Update: Capital Murder Charge for Rashad Owens; Victims Remain Hospitalized

Onlookers at a memorial in front of The Mohawk honoring victims of a crash outside the club earlier that week.
Gabriel Cristóver Pérez for KUT News

Summary: 21 year-old Rashad Owens has been formally charged in this week’s crash that killed two people and injured 23 on Red River Street during South by Southwest. As of Saturday, he remains in custody.

Court documents show Owens had a blood alcohol content of 0.114, above the legal limit of .08. Read the entire charging affidavit here.

Owens was charged with one count of capital murder. His bail was set at $3 million. More charges could follow.

South by Southwest concluded Sunday with a handful of events. A charity fund created for the crash victims and their families, SXSW Cares, has already netted tens of thousands of dollars. 

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SXSW 2014
8:25 am
Sun March 16, 2014

SXSW Crash Victim Gets a Hospital Room Show From a Favorite Band

Phoenix-based Jared & The Mill visited Mason Endres at St. David's Medical Center on March 15, 2014.

As of Sunday morning, seven people remain hospitalized from Thursday's fatal crash outside of the Mohawk on Red River Drive.

Six are at Seton, with two in critical condition. St. David’s HealthCare discharged one patient Saturday and now has just one patient left, 18-year-old Mason Endres. Mason has been surrounded by friends and family during her hospitalization, but on Saturday she got a surprise visit.

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SXSW 2014
6:56 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

All The Free Swag At SXSW Probably Isn't Accomplishing Much

Philip Issa and Ayla Schlosser. At this Yeaser SXSW, Schlosser won a free computer at the conference.
Credit Mose Buchele

Three free pairs of sunglasses, one Twinkie, one cupcake, lots of Cracker Jacks, a drink ticket, a sticker of a banana, and one invitation to a BBQ and concert, courtesy of the government of Canada.  

All that was to be had just by walking five blocks of Sixth Street during South by Southwest 2014.

It's a lot of stuff given out by companies and others trying to help their "brand," and much of it has no influence at all. 

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