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

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

A new haircut. Maybe some new clothes. What about gutting a house and rebuilding the whole thing? Those sound like pretty extreme makeovers. What about an extreme learning makeover? In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, KUT's Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger discuss ways to transform how we teach and learn.

Aging. We all do it. Most of us try to avoid it, or at least stave off the effects of it. But two Austin authors hope women will learn to savor the wisdom and benefits that can come with growing older.

Ruth Pennebaker wrote and Marian Henley illustrated Pucker Up! The Subversive Woman's Guide to Aging with Wit, Wine, Drama, Humor, Perspective, and the Occasional Good Cry. Listen for their tips and tools for enjoying all that is good about the golden years.

Ben Philpott/KUT News

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry has officially begun his second attempt at winning the Republican Presidential nomination. His long-awaited announcement came yesterday in North Texas. As his second White House bid begins, let’s take a look back at how yesterday’s announcement could impact his campaign going forward.

Number one: decor. It was absolutely the first thing you noticed when walking into the airplane hangar where Perry’s announcement was staged. Just behind the stage, taking up most of the hangar, was a C-130 transport plane – the same type of plane Perry flew in the Air Force. Standing in front of that plane, on stage with Perry, were military veterans from several different wars. Including Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, the author and subject of the book and film “Lone Survivor.”

Despite the fact that views among City Council members run the gamut as far as implementing a homestead tax exemption, they opted in a 7-4 vote to meet in the middle early Friday morning, approving a 6 percent exemption for this year and expressing an intent to increase it to 20 percent over the course of four years.

Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Members Greg Casar, Delia Garza and Ora Houston cast the dissenting votes.

Audrey McGlinchy/flickr

School’s letting out for summer, and swimming pool season’s getting underway. But some of Austin’s pools aren’t ready for swimmers, at least not yet.

During last week’s floods, images circulated of Barton Springs Pool looking like a raging river. The water’s receded since then, but now, small islands of drying mud float atop murky, green water.

But there aren’t any swimmers. “Just a few ducks and some divers,” said Andrei Mellin, who was in town visiting from Cincinatti. He and his family showed up to Barton Springs, towels in hand, only to find out that the pool isn’t open.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Austin is a running- and jogging-friendly city. It also has a homeless population of about 2,000. An Austin non-profit group is combining the two to help people break the cycle of chronic homelessness.

Back on My Feet is a program that uses running as a starting point to help people who are homeless change the way they see themselves, as well as find jobs and housing. The program started in Philadelphia in 2007, and its Austin chapter began in 2013.

Texas Archive of the Moving Image

In light of the descending extreme sports — or "action" sports, if you're partial to that label — festival coming into town this week, today's Wayback Wednesday looks back at Austin's first sports-music hybrid festival, the Austin Aqua Festival. 

Founded by the city's chamber of commerce, the annual festival, which ran from 1962 to 1998, aimed to boost tourism during the slower summer months. As the years went on, Aqua Fest drew huge crowds (more than 200,000 at its peak in the '80s) and drew national acts and local favorites, like Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson.

But, it also enraged some communities along Lady Bird Lake, most notably Hispanic communities in East Austin, who protested noisy speedboat races near Festival Beach, and those in Bouldin Creek, who didn't like the idea of motorcycle races careening through their neighborhood. Ultimately, the fest ended in 1998 after years of declining attendance, but below is a look at the proto-X-Games, proto-ACL known as Aqua Fest.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT News

The City of Austin today released results from its first comprehensive census of the local music industry. The data backs up what many local musicians have been saying lately: It’s tough, and seems to be getting tougher, for musicians to support themselves in the Live Music Capital of the World.

“I think it’s common knowledge that it’s really hard to make money as a musician,” says Don Pitts, who manages the city’s music and entertainment division. “But I think when you see it in this data-only context, at first, it takes the emotion out of it. But then you see the actual numbers, and it brings the emotions back in.”

Carlo Nasisse for KUT News

Update June 20: Whataburger announced that its restaurants have returned to normal breakfast hours of 11 p.m. to 11 a.m. 

The company said in its press release that it's secured "additional egg supply" and that they no longer have an egg shortage. This story will be updated with any new information.

Original story: Last night, Whataburger, the beloved Texas bastion of burger-dom, announced in a statement that it will cut its breakfast hours by more than half, after a recent outbreak of avian influenza threatened its egg suppliers.

James Palinsad/flickr

There have been at least 41 traffic fatalities so far this year in Austin, which is nearly double the number during the same period last year. And, in many of these crashes, alcohol and impaired driving are factors. A new analysis of DWI data is providing a better picture of where the problem spots are.

Over the last decade, there have been nearly 200 deaths in Austin due to drunk driving. A new analysis by Civic Analytics shows suspects in 724 of the 6,033 DWI arrests live in District 3, which includes East Austin and parts of South Austin. 

Credit Dawn Endico/flickr

Caffeine-fueled all-nighters to finish up that paper or cram for a final exam: For some students, that's a regular part of their studying routine in higher education. They come to equate intense periods of hard work with more successful achievement and learning. But some research indicates slowing down that work flow might actually be the best recipe for deeper learning. In this week's episode of KUT's podcast Higher Ed, Jennifer Stayton and Southwestern University President Dr. Ed Burger have a lively discussion about the benefits of a slower pace.

Update 7:30 p.m. The rain and storms have mostly cleared out of the Austin and Central Texas region. 

Update: Lighter rain now in the Austin area. For some closed road crossings, check before heading out on the roads.

Starting in 1869, the timeline below chronicles past floods that hit the Austin area.

From the Austin Monitor: Yesterday, Assistant City Manager Anthony Snipes resigned.

Snipes had arranged the March training event designed to help staff deal with the deluge of female City Council members. That training drew national ridicule to City Hall and sparked widespread outrage.

In a memo to Mayor Steve Adler and Council, City Manager Marc Ott explained that he was verbally informed about the results of last week’s investigation into the training.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Texas Governor Greg Abbott took a helicopter tour of the areas devastated by weekend floods yesterday, which culminated in a disaster declaration in 24 counties in Texas. Hundreds of families in Wimberley lost everything, and more than 1,000 were in shelters Monday night. Two are confirmed dead in Hays County.

Update 3:30 p.m. Earlier today, 30 were still unaccounted for in the county, but sources are starting to report that most of those have been contacted. Thirteen are supposedly still missing.

Update 3 p.m. Gov. Abbott has added 8 more counties to the state disaster declaration. You can view a full list of counties, and the governor's statement, here.

Update 1:15 p.m. In a press conference in Wimberley this afternoon, Hays County officials said that there are still 30 people unaccounted for in the wake of the weekend's storms. Hays County Commissioner called the storm a "tsunami." President Obama declared Texas an official disaster area, which opens the door to the state receiving federal funding for recovery.

Original story: Still, after a record flood of the Blanco River, more rain is expected to fall throughout the week as those in the town continue rescue and clean-up efforts.

But, yesterday, one family celebrated Memorial Day as they always do – together – in spite of the floods that ravaged their home.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Storms swept through the Austin area Monday afternoon, causing businesses and roadways to flood. The National Weather Service says Austin should expect more rain and thunderstorms this week, with chances as high as 50 percent on Friday.

Storms across the state resulted in a total of seven dead in Texas, including one in San Marcos, one in Wimberley, one in Cameron, one in San Antonio and three more in Houston. At least 30 people are still unaccounted for in Hays County.

Meanwhile in Austin, clean-up efforts are underway. You can get the latest information from the city of Austin here.

4 p.m. The body of one man, still unidentified, has been recovered in northeast Travis County.

1 p.m. CapMetro says its rail service will be restored as of 3:44 this afternoon. Its buses are running normally, say CapMetro officials.

12:45 p.m. You can call Austin Disaster Relief Network if you're affected by the flood and still need help.

12 p.m. An update from CapMetro says that MetroRail is offering partial service today:

11:15 a.m. The North Austin Red Cross shelter housed five people last night, and the South Austin shelter housed two. The shelters in San Marcos housed 80 overnight. Updated Red Cross shelter information for those in need Tuesday:

10:45 a.m. ATXfloods is reporting that nearly all of Austin's roads are open.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Update Monday: Another round of storms swept through a large part of Central and South Central Texas Monday afternoon, bringing inches of rain, hail, strong winds and some reports of tornadoes touching down.

For more in-depth information on conditions in Austin resulting from Monday's storms, visit our post here, listen to 90.5 FM, and/or follow @KUT on twitter.

Home prices in Austin hit another record last month.

The numbers come as new Census data confirms Austin has continued its explosive growth in recent years.

The Austin Board of Realtors says the median home price was up 14 percent in April 2015, compared to the same month last year, to $274,000. The number of homes sold also hit a record for the month of April.

Austin History Center, PICA 02530

In 1905, 110 years ago this week, the City of Austin began paving the city’s main street: Congress Avenue. The paving was meted out in segments – the stretch of Sixth Street to what’s now Cesar Chavez getting the rollout first.

While the pavement signaled a new era in Austin, it also meant the beginning of the end for Austin’s streetcar system, Austin Electric Railway – the latest corporate iteration in a revolving door of companies with Congress Avenue right-of-way – which had been operating at a loss since 1891 and, at the city’s insistence, had to pay for and implement a good portion of the buildout.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

From the Austin Monitor:

Following the release of a report stating that Austin commercial property in Travis County is “significantly undervalued,” City Council is considering an appraisal challenge that could reduce the burden on residential property taxpayers.

Council discussed the potential move at a Tuesday work session, during which Budget Office and Law Department staff said the city would have to file a petition with the state’s Appraisal Review Board by June 1 in order to move forward this year.

If the independent board were to rule in favor of the city, the Travis Central Appraisal District would have to reappraise the Austin commercial properties for which it is responsible, potentially increasing their valuation.