Austin

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

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / Texas Tribune

From the Austin Monitor: Travis County has officially launched a lawsuit against Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in a dispute over how much information the county should share about a program that seeks to give ex-convicts access to jobs.

LCRA, via Facebook

Last week’s torrential rains have left some Central Texas reservoirs at full capacity. This morning, authorities are working to move some of that water downstream to protect against flooding, and, for the first time in almost 10 years, the Lower Colorado River Authority is opening a floodgate at Lake Travis.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Along the outskirts of Austin, many mobile home residents are feeling the pressure of looming development. Now, city leaders are working on a plan that would offer assistance to displaced residents.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

In both sides of the tug of war over what rules should govern ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft in Austin, everyone seems to agree that having more transportation options is a potential antidote for DWIs.


On Thursday night, KUT and the Austin Monitor hosted a live debate at the North Door on the May 7 ballot question about regulations for ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft. 

KUTX

Austin Mayor Steve Adler wants to strengthen the city’s music scene. Earlier this year he introduced a series of proposals designed to do just that. Now, the city is letting the music industry weigh in on what changes they’d like to see at a series of genre-specific public meetings.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

The drone idles on a small runway at the Austin Radio Control Association, just east of the city. It’s got a grey body and a white nose, across which someone has painted a sinister smile. The controls are tested, and then the small aircraft takes off.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr./KUT

Austin City Council members may have been overly optimistic that a 9-year-old’s karaoke machine could carry their comments to reporters. Nonetheless, they pushed on.

Armed both with a “singing machine” borrowed from Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo’s daughter and with printed versions of the two currently competing ride-hailing ordinances, five council members gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday.

Update Tuesday 8:50 a.m. – The National Weather Service has canceled the flash flood watch for much of Central Texas, though DeWitt, Fayette and Lavaca counties still remain under watch.

Update 7:50 a.m.  Parts of Bastrop, Travis, Hays and Lee counties are under flash flood warnings this morning. The flash flood watch continues until tomorrow morning, as more rain is forecast for today and overnight tonight. 

As of right now, 178 low water crossings have been closed in Central Texas. You can find a map of closures at ATXfloods.com, and below you can see a full list of updated school delays and closures. 

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Eduardo Gutierrez picked me up in his Ford Crown Victoria. I knew the make of his car and his license plate, plus I had an idea of what he looked like. But no sticker or emblem on Gutierrez’s car alerted me to the fact that he is an Uber driver. In this respect, according to city code, he and the company are outside the law.

When asked if Gutierrez was offered a decal, he said no.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Austin voters will head to the polls on Saturday, May 7 to vote for or against Proposition 1. How did we get here? In December, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance that, over time, requires Uber and Lyft drivers to undergo fingerprint-based background checks, among other things. The companies have said they cannot operate under these mandates.

flickr.com/das_miller

You might have heard warnings about the potential for malicious computer hackers to sabotage infrastructure like electric utilities.

Turns out, there may be a bigger threat: squirrels.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

As more and more new development comes to East Austin, some longtime residents at the Cactus Rose Mobile Home Park are facing an uncertain future.


Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

Amidst talk of the potential plusses of a swollen Austin Convention Center, some council members Monday heard for the first time publicly about a recent consultant review of the Travis County Expo Center.


Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The department charged with policing overgrown grass, short-term rentals and illegally discarded junk fails to follow a consistent protocol for overseeing violations and does not enforce violations with equal fervor on city-owned property, reads a report by the City of Austin auditor. In a review of 306 code complaints, the auditor took issue with 77 percent of them.


Filipa Rodriguez for KUT

Last month, power plants and wind farms in Texas did something you wouldn’t expect them to do. They offered electricity at a negative price.

That’s right. They basically offered to pay for someone to use the electricity they generate. Sounds crazy, but it's something that analysts expect will happen more and more often.


Jorge Sanhueza Lyon/KUT

For once, rules batted around on the dais did not concern Uber and Lyft drivers.

Austin City Council members Thursday approved nationwide criminal background checks for would-be chauffeur permit holders – those authorized to drive taxicabs, pedicabs, limos or city charter buses. It’s another step in what has been a lengthy attempt to align the regulations that govern cab drivers and ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Lyft.


Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft have spent nearly $2.2 million so far this year to fund a campaign to collect petition signatures to get an initiative on the ballot in Austin and advocate for that measure.

Miguel Guitierrez Jr./KUT

City leaders are working to develop Austin’s first-ever housing plan. So, why does the city need one?


The Thresher, via Texas Portal to History

Believe it or not, Tuesday was National Deep Dish Pizza Day. Yes, apparently that's a thing. Blink and you miss it, right?

It’s a dish that’s best known as “Chicago-style” pizza for obvious reasons. But, the popular pie didn’t necessarily arise from the town from whence it sprung. Its roots go deeper south, and it wouldn’t have existed without the guiding hand of a former Texas Longhorn: Ike Sewell.

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