Austin

Austin
10:27 am
Thu March 26, 2015

MoPac Boulevard Project Completion Delayed

Officials have pushed back the MoPac construction completion date.
Courtesy of MoPac Improvement Project

From the Austin Monitor:

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority officials announced Wednesday that a fully operational MoPac Boulevard may not happen until the end of the year. While the announcement currently delays construction only three-and-a-half months, officials said they were not confident they could complete the work even then.

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Wayback Wednesday
2:11 pm
Wed March 25, 2015

A Look Back at Texas Relays' Long Run in Austin

Texas Archive of the Moving Image

This week's Wayback Wednesday marks the Texas Relays weekend, an 88-year-old tradition that brings some of the country's finest track-and-field athletes to the 40 acres.

With that in mind, we've cobbled together a collection of gifs to mark the occasion, taking a look at highlights from past years' competitions.

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Austin
10:10 am
Wed March 25, 2015

Boot Camp Helps Small Business Owners Build Entrepreneurial Strength

PCW, a small construction business in Austin, Tex.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Hispanics are twice as likely to start a small business as any other group in the United States, according to a report commissioned by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

But the failure rate for small businesses is high – nearly 50 percent don't make it. An organization in Austin hopes it can train small business owners the skills to succeed.

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Austin
10:30 am
Tue March 24, 2015

Map: In Austin, Noise Complaints are on the Rise

Austinite Kingston Arbor, 3 months old, hangs with his father Ryan Arbor at an Austin music festival in 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Despite the best efforts by Austinites to dissuade out-of-towners from moving here, they are. The city’s grown more than any other metropolitan area over the last five years, and with all that growth comes plenty of noise. That's not to mention the additional noise brought about by events like SXSW, which draw thousands of party-happy visitors from all over the world.

So it's not surprising that as Austin grows larger, it might also be growing louder. Over the past five years, noise complaints in Austin have gone up by 470 percent, from 2,782 total complaints in 2010 to 13,100 in 2014. Still, only 1.5 percent of those have faced citation – 515 out of 33,107, according to city data obtained by KUT. Below you can view the increase in noise complaints from 2010 to 2014 in an interactive map.

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SXSW 2015
5:22 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

How One Austinite Learned to Stop Being a Cynic and Love SXSW (Sort of)

The line at Fader Fort on 5th Street on Thursday afternoon.
Matt Largey/KUT News

You might have seen it on Buzzfeed.

An article called “Here’s what Austinites really think about South by Southwest.”

"Utter madness," they called it. "Crazy." "Thrilling."

I was suspicious.

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Austin
9:37 am
Fri March 20, 2015

In East Austin, A Shared Worship Space Brings Quakers and Muslims Together

Annie Holleman, 27, and Kathy Stanton, 29, sit with other parishioners before a Quaker service in Austin.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT News

Churches are among the most segregated places in the country, according to a study by religious scholar Curtiss Paul DeYoung. He found that only five percent of churches in the U.S. are racially integrated.

But it happens that there's at least one integrated house of worship here in Austin: Muslims and Quakers have been sharing the same space on MLK Boulevard for a couple of years.

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SXSW 2015
3:12 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

Has SXSW Interactive Done More to Embrace Latinos in 2015?

The 'Bilingual Media: Latino Entertainment in the 21st Century' took place on March 17, 2015 at the Austin Convention Center.
Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

During the South by Southwest Interactive conference last year, only a handful of panels were on Latinos in tech, and those panels were held at an isolated Holiday Inn, nowhere near the convention center downtown.

This year, the panels on Latinos have stretched across a number of days, and all of them have been inside the bustling convention center. We spent some time with people at South by Southwest who identify as Latino to hear about their experience at the conference this year.  Listen to their voices below. 

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Wayback Wednesday
2:03 pm
Wed March 18, 2015

In Photos: A Look Back at the Early Days of SXSW

Roland Swenson at the second installment of SXSW.
Austin History Center

Today marks the beginning of SXSW Music — the final stretch of the three-headed chimera of a festival that draws in droves of music-loving revelers and fills the streets of downtown Austin with both music and traffic.

Austin Monitor
9:36 am
Wed March 18, 2015

Austin Energy Payments to City Keep Growing

Sue Jones/wikimedia commons

From the Austin Monitor:

Even though City Council froze the transfer from Austin Energy to the city’s general fund at $105 million in 2012, the amount the utility pays for support services has continued to grow. For the current fiscal year, the utility will fund more than $20 million for support services as well as to departments that may or may not have much to do with the utility.

The transfer, of course, is like a dividend payment to the taxpayers, reducing the amount they would have to pay to fund the city. It is used to defray costs and reduce taxes. The city uses various methods to allocate administrative costs, some of them intuitively obvious, but others not.

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SXSW 2015
4:58 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

Lifestyle Startups Gain Attention at SXSW, But Can They Survive?

Companies connect with users and venture capitalists at SXSW Interactive to promote their ideas.
KUT News

Earlier this year, a sometimes-fierce debate broke out between students at Austin High School and the head of an Austin company called #BeSomebody. The company makes money by encouraging people to follow their passions. But when the company’s founder came to speak at the school, the students criticized his message as privileged and disconnected from reality.

Controversy aside, it got us thinking about these lifestyle tech startups — ones based on ideas or messages rather than products and services.

Can they survive? 

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SXSW
3:56 pm
Tue March 17, 2015

One Year After the SXSW Crash, A Survivor Returns to the Hospital to Say 'Thank You'

A little less than a year ago, Mason Endres (pictured here with her parents Dan and May) was undergoing therapy after being hit by an intoxicated driver at last year's SXSW.
Jon Shapley/KUT News

Mason Endres still needs a knee brace to walk. She's one of the 23 survivors of the car crash that killed four people at South by Southwest last year. Endres set aside this morning to visit St. David's Hospital and thank the staff for her recovery.

May Endres, Mason's mom, corralled a big group of doctors and nurses for a photo. 

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SXSW 2015
10:14 am
Mon March 16, 2015

What's New at SXSW Interactive 2015

Wells Dunbar, KUT News

With just two days left, SXSW Interactive is in its home stretch, ahead of the start of the fest's music portion on Wednesday and the inevitable second surge of festival-goers.

Interactive may be the calm before the storm that is SXSW Music, but it's always delivered on promises of drawing tech luminaries to Austin — highlights this year include keynotes from Lyft CEO Logan Green today and a Tuesday keynote from Dr. Astro Teller, head of Google X's "moonshot" initiatives.

KUT spoke with festival director Hugh Forrest about what's new to Interactive and why he thinks, after years of consistent growth, the crowds may have finally plateaued.

SXSW 2015
5:00 pm
Fri March 13, 2015

SXSW Guide to Getting Around

Hot tip: Try to avoid driving.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Austin officially opened its queso-filled veins to the masses today, and in order to service them, roads must be closed, buses must be detoured and late-night transit options must be broadened to accommodate the influx of visitors.

Traffic is always bad downtown during the festival. But you'll want to make sure to avoid the areas around these road closures:

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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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