Austin

Austin
9:25 am
Thu January 22, 2015

What Do the US-Cuba Talks Mean for Refugee-Friendly Austin?

With the opening of U.S.-Cuban relations, some wonder how the diplomatic thaw will affect Austin, which has a history of harboring Cuban refugees.
Indrani via Flickr

For decades, Austin has been a host to thousands of refugees arriving from Cuba. In fact, up until around 2010, Cubans were the largest single group of refugees in the city.

Now that diplomatic talks have started between the United States and Cuba, some in Austin wonder what role will our city play in this new relationship.

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Weather
7:44 am
Thu January 22, 2015

As Rain Falls, Some Low Water Crossings Closed; Flood Advisory In Effect

Credit National Weather Service

Update (9:47am): The National Weather Service says there's now a flood advisory in effect until 11am for several counties in the Austin area.

Update (9:06 a.m.): The National Weather Service has ended the flood advisory it issued earlier this morning for parts of Central Texas. 

Low water crossings continue to close in the Austin Area.

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Austin
10:24 am
Wed January 21, 2015

Competing Hyde Parkers: Won't You Be In My Neighborhood Association?

Hyde Park Neighborhood Association.

For a city of nearly a million people, many big decisions in Austin tend to be influenced by a self-selected few. Lots of small recommendations by neighborhood associations can end up having a big impact on how Austin handles its growth. But now, changes in city governance and the neighborhoods themselves may upset the status quo. 

Take the neighborhood of Hyde Park. Lorre Weidlich moved to Hyde Park in the seventies when she moved to Austin for graduate school and immediately fell in love with the neighborhood. "I like the old houses, the vintage feel to it all, the streetscapes with all the bungalows," she says. "And it's also very much a community. It's a friendly place."

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Austin
1:39 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

In Photos: Marchers Reflect On MLK Day

Hundreds gather on the University of Texas campus for the annual Martin Luther King Day parade. After a short program of speakers and music, the parade makes its way to the Huston-Tillotson University campus where a community festival kicks off.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Temperatures on a warm winter Monday rose alongside the shouts and cheers of Austin politicians, students, and families who showed up for today's Martin Luther King Jr. Day March and Rally.

Hundreds of participants stood or sat on the steps of the University of Texas at Austin's East Mall, while at the podium above their heads UT faculty and local church members spoke about King's legacy. UT Austin President William Powers said he saw the ripples of King's work throughout the country – and as close to home as the UT football field.

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Sports
4:32 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Cyclocross Organizers Issue Apology To Riders For Zilker Park Postponement

Cyclocross racers wait around Zilker Park on Sunday, January 11, while that day's races were postponed.
screenshot/USA Cycling

USA Cycling has issued an apology to its members for the postponement last Sunday of the Cyclocross championships in Austin.

By now you've probably heard the story: The Cyclocross races in Zilker Park were scheduled to end Sunday. But the city's Parks and Recreation Department postponed the event until Monday because of rain. 

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Austin
10:24 am
Fri January 16, 2015

City Orders Study on Bag Ban That State May Toss

The city's Zero Waste Advisory Commission will study the effectiveness of the city's bag ban. Governor-elect Greg Abbott believes the ban is a violation of state law.
Credit s-t-e-v-e-n/flickr

From the Austin Monitor:

Amid concerns that state leadership will take steps to limit city ordinances such as Austin’s plastic bag ban, the Zero Waste Advisory Commission has instructed city staff to study the ban in time to send the results to the state legislature.

The commission unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday requesting that the Austin Resource Recovery Department complete a study of the results of the city’s Single-Use Carryout Bag Ordinance by no later than May 1.

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Oil Prices
4:39 pm
Thu January 15, 2015

Are Companies With Large Vehicle Fleets Rejoicing Over Low Gas Prices?

Credit ThoseGuys119/flickr

You might think every company with a large vehicle fleet would be happy about the low gas prices we’re seeing right now. But when it comes to gas prices, things are never that simple.

One of the largest vehicle fleets in Austin belongs to the Austin Independent School District. AISD's Transportation Director Kris Hafezi oversees more than 1,000 vehicles. About half run on diesel, and about half run on gas. So fluctuating gas prices used to make him nervous – but not anymore. "[AISD] has a fixed fuel contract with our provider."

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Austin
10:26 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Here's Some of the Armadillo Memorabilia Being Auctioned Off This Weekend

A poster from the Armadillo's 1971 opening night with art by Michael Priest.
Burley Auction Group

This Saturday, Eddie Wilson, longtime proprietor of Threadgill’s and former owner of the Armadillo World Headquarters, will auction off a massive 500-item horde of memorabilia from the famous venue, which closed its doors in 1980.

Though the days of quarter-cup, dollar-pitcher beer prices may be bygone, Austinites looking to relive those cloudy memories can pick up plenty of classic concert posters with art from Austin luminary Michael Priest; an abundance of neon signs for now-defunct beers like Falstaff, Grand Prize, and Southern Special; and even the club’s house piano played by Ray Charles, Fats Domino, and Randy Newman.

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Wayback Wednesday
3:06 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Meet Austin's Gunslinging Lawman, Ben Thompson

Thompson was a gunslinger, professional gambler, Confederate cavalier, a mercenary in Mexico and a convict before taking over the office of City Marshal in 1881.
Credit Austin History Center

Today’s Wayback Wednesday recognizes the 134th anniversary of Ben Thompson’s assumption of the position of City Marshal. The 134th anniversary of what was ostensibly a city police chief may not seem like an auspicious anniversary to revisit, but Thompson wasn’t your typical police chief.

In his life, Thompson was a gunfighter and professional gambler, served as a member of the Confederate Cavalry, was a hired gun for the first (and only) Emperor of Mexico and was indicted (and later acquitted) for murder while serving as the city’s highest-ranking law enforcement officer.

Thompson was born in Knottingly, England in 1843, and his family moved to Austin in 1851. Six years later, while working as a newspaper typesetter, Thompson shot somebody – presumably for the first time. His friend, 14-year-old Joe Brown, bet Thompson that he couldn’t shoot.

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Education
6:36 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Watch KLRU's Civic Summit With Austin ISD Superintendent Paul Cruz

Dr. Paul Cruz, interim Superintendent for the Austin Independent School District.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Dr. Paul Cruz is the only finalist for the superintendent position with Austin Independent School District. Tuesday night's Civic Summit, hosted by KLRU, will give the audience – students, teachers, and other community members – the opportunity to ask Cruz questions in a town hall-style meeting.

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Austin
6:30 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Find Out What's Buried Inside Austin's City Hall Time Capsule

A plaque marking the spot of Austin's city time capsule, to be opened in 2105.
Credit Joy Diaz/KUT News

Buried under the Austin City Hall building is a time capsule.

Today, that capsule is ten years old. The box is scheduled to be opened in 2105.

Since it’s very likely you and I won’t be alive 90 years from now, KUT asked the people who filled up the box to reveal some of the things that are in it.

It's hard to imagine the Austin of 2105, when the capsule is supposed to be opened.

If you just consider that we double our population every 20 years, you can picture how crowded Austin is likely to become.

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Sports
1:14 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Why Did Austin Postpone the Cyclocross Championships?

Just after the start of one of the event's races at Zilker Park.
Screen shot from Cyclocross Magazine YouTube video

What was supposed to be a run-of-the-mill extreme national outdoor cycling event on Sunday turned into a minor dust-up when the city of Austin postponed the 2015 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships due to inclement conditions.

About an inch of rain over the weekend muddied up Zilker Park, causing the Austin Parks & Recreation Department to postpone the event in an effort to dampen the race's impact on the root systems of 20 Zilker Park trees. After some backpedaling – and a course redesign – the event kicked off just after noon today.

Still, the city's initial decision was met with some derision from Cyclocross competitors and fans, who wondered via Twitter whether the event was "too messy for Texas."

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Winter Weather
9:08 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Central Texas Winter Storm Warning Downgraded to Advisory; AISD Cancels All Saturday Activities

Central Texas could gets its first real dose of wintry weather of 2015 Saturday morning.
National Weather Sevice

12:30 p.m.update: The National Weather Service has canceled the Winter Storm Warning that had been in effect for Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties until midnight tonight. A less severe Winter Weather Advisory is now in effect for the area until 4:00 p.m. 

A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Hill Country until midnight tonight. Caution is still advised on area roads as temperatures have been hovering right around freezing all day.

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Austin
5:16 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

How Will An Overpriced Housing Market and Low Oil Prices Affect Austin?

Credit creative commons

The price of oil is the lowest it's been since 2009. And housing prices have all but stopped rising in Austin. So, what could those two things mean for the Austin economy in 2015?

Angelos Angelou is one of Austin's most trusted economic forecasters.

He said he doesn't think Austin is facing a housing market bust, even though Austin's is one of the most overpriced housing markets in the nation. 

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Austin
5:08 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Austin's New Mayor Wants to Hear From Every Austinite

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to reach the community-at-large.
Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT News

Right now, if you live in Austin and you want to talk to your city council members, you have few options. You can sign up for citizen communications on Thursdays at noon, or you can wait until the end of regular business at a council meeting. That’s pretty much it.

And it isn't as though council members don't want people to call them or email them. But few people do.

Austin's new mayor Steve Adler believes the current system is leaving the community at large with no access to the officials it elected, that's why today, he and the new council are holding brainstorming sessions to find ways to get more people engaged. "Wouldn't it be great if people could give their testimony or their input on ideas on issues facing the city remotely?"

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Wayback Wednesday
2:51 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Wayback Wednesday: Austin's Long Push for Geographic Representation on City Council

A map of the city's election precincts from 1985.
Credit City of Austin

Last night, all 10 members of the new Austin City Council were sworn in. While it’s the first single-member district council, it’s not the city’s first attempt to bring geographic representation to the council. Today’s edition of Wayback Wednesday examines the push in the 1980s for single-member districts.

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Austin
4:35 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Recount Yields No Change in Result of District 4 Council Race

Defeated Austin City Council candidate Laura Pressley is asking for a recount in her District 4 race.
Credit Courtesy of Laura Pressley

UPDATE 1/6/15 4:30 pm: After a recount, the official tally of the December 16 runoff in District 4 is unchanged. Candidate Laura Pressley received 1,563 votes, Greg Casar won with 2,854 votes, a margin of nearly 30 percentage points. Casar will be sworn in tonight at City Hall, along with the rest of the Council.

UPDATE 01/05/15 6pm: The Austin City Clerk has recieved the required deposit from Laura Pressley, and the Travis County Clerk has scheduled the recount in the District 4 City Council race for 11 am Tuesday.

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Austin
2:51 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Health Workers Help Latino Parents Overcome Language Barriers in Austin

Sendero Health Plans recently started a pilot program that sends community health workers to homes of Spanish-speaking parents who need help.

Sendero Health Plans recently started a pilot program that sends community health workers with the Latino Healthcare Forum to homes of Spanish-speaking parents who need help understanding what the doctor recommended -- an effort meant to reduce ER visits.

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2015 Legislative Session
12:11 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Gun Rights Advocates to Build Weapons at Capitol

Gun rights advocates plan to use a 3-D printer to build pistols and rifles at the Texas State Capitol on the first day of the legislative session.
via Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Second Amendment advocates plan to manufacture guns at the Texas Capitol during an armed rally set for the opening day of the 2015 legislative session. 

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Austin City Council
9:35 am
Tue January 6, 2015

LISTEN: What Do Austinites Want to See From the New City Council?

New council, new dais: the Austin City Council dais was revamped to accommodate the new 10-member council. But what do Austinites want to see from the 10-1 council?
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Tonight, the new Austin City Council gets sworn in a ceremony at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

Each of the ten council members will be representing one of the city's 10 geographic districts at the dais, with the mayor representing the city as a whole.

With the new council heading in, we wanted to know what Austinites would like to see from their new representatives at City Hall. So, we went knocking on doors and asking pedestrians. Below, you can listen to some of their responses.

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