Austin

Halloween Floods
11:38 am
Fri January 3, 2014

With Help from the Community, Flood Survivors Celebrate the Holidays

Soledad Serrato was surprised this Christmas when strangers brought them a Christmas tree and presents for their children.

These days, the streets in the Onion Creek neighborhood look desolate.

Rows and rows of homes are still boarded up. But as you walk down the streets, you can see the occasional truck hauling construction materials and hear the clatter of recovery, as crews work to rebuild what was lost in the flooding over Halloween weekend last October.

While the cleanup efforts continue, and homes are rebuilt, over the holidays it was the giving spirit of strangers that really helped families get back to normal after the floods.

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Free Week
4:00 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

20 Surefire Shows to Check Out During Austin's Free Week

The Mowawk will host plenty of free shows this week on both the inside and outside stages.
Photo courtesy flickr.com/rogerho

It's a new year with plenty of new resolutions. And, if your resolutions involve saving money, getting active and/or catching more live music, we've got just the thing: Free Week, a magical time of year when free music fills the streets of Austin for half a fortnight. 

With that in mind, we've put together a list of the shows to check out in this year's annual installment. 

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Austin
3:42 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Activist, Attorney Andi Sloan Succumbs to Complications From Cancer (Update)

Andi Sloan died of cancer on Jan. 1 after battling the disease for over 7 years.
facebook.com/OfficialAndisArmy

Well-known Austin attorney and activist Andi Sloan has died of complications from pneumonia, after a 7-year battle with cancer. 

While Sloan worked as an attorney and executive director of the Texas Advocacy Project, she was best known for her work lobbying California-based pharmaceutical company BioMarin to release an experimental drug to treat breast and ovarian cancer with her group Andi's Army.

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Austin
9:09 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Austin's Sizzling Housing Market May Cool in 2014

The number of Austin homes on the market in 2013 were at a 13-year low, while home buying was at an all-time high.
Credit KUT News

Austin's housing market had one of its hottest years on record in 2014, but some economists are looking for things to slow down in 2014.

Even without December's numbers, the Austin area recorded more home sales than ever in 2013 — almost 31,000 single-family homes, condos and townhomes were sold, a 20 percent increase over 2012. The average home sales price was higher than ever as well at $286,000. 

But as the city continues to grow, the market is becoming more competitive and some say a 2014 dip in sales will benefit Austin's market in the long term.

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Austin
11:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Austin Offers Christmas Tree Disposal Options; Authorities Say Do It Soon

The City of Austin is offering curbside pick up for Christmas trees.
Credit flickr.com/jonny2love

Once the presents are opened and the ornaments are packed away, you may be wondering what to do with your Christmas tree. According to fire safety experts, it's important to get rid of it as soon as possible. 

Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee says Christmas trees pose a serious fire hazard, and the holiday season marks an annual spike in the number of house fires. In addition to keeping trees well-hydrated and away from heat, Lee says they shouldn't stick around the house long after the holidays. 

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Austin
3:16 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

APD Stepping Up Drunk Driving Enforcement for New Year's

Lt. Robert Richman of the Austin Police Department said "... we want to have consistency throughout Central Texas for people to understand police are out there, we're watching and want to make sure that they're safe."
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Several law enforcement agencies across Central Texas will be on patrol looking for drunk drivers during the upcoming holiday. The Austin Police Department will start the third phase of its safety initiative next week.

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Austin
8:00 am
Thu December 26, 2013

Austin Artist Empowers Sexual Violence Victims

The Wings of Courage project was created by an Austin artist. It aims to empower sexual violence victims.
jennhassin.com

A local artist is trying to raise awareness about sexual violence through an art project called Wings of Courage. The project started as a way to visualize sexual abuse statistics in Austin.

In 2012, there were more than 200 reported rapes and nearly 650 cases of reported child molestation in Austin. Jen Hassin wanted to represent those statistics through something more approachable, like art.

She created a wooden dove, painted it red and placed a rounded gold nail in the bird for every reported case.

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Clarksville
9:52 am
Mon December 23, 2013

SLIDESHOW: A New Christmas Tradition Lights Up Clarksville

Since 1998 Willis Littlefield has adorned his small Clarksville home with thousands of lights and other Christmas and holiday decorations.

Everyone that stops by gets a candy cane – and some holiday cheer.

Mr. Littlefield say he loves visiting with the community that comes out to enjoy his front yard wonderland.

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Halloween Floods
2:23 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

Obama Issues Disaster Declaration for Austin's Halloween Flooding

Maria Isabel Fabian sorts through clothes salvaged from her Dove Springs home which flooded when record rains hit the Austin area on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Nearly two months after devastating floods impacted Southeast Austin, President Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Travis, Hays and Caldwell Counties. The declaration offers federal help with recovery from the Halloween floods that rocked the region earlier this year. 

Pete Baldwin, emergency management coordinator for Travis County, says he’s still waiting for a list of categories the federal money will cover, but he says it could address everything from debris removal to roads and bridges. “Until we get those spreadsheets,” Baldwin says, “we won’t know which categories that we were awarded.”

The findings will be sent to the state and then be sent on to the local level; Baldwin says it’s unclear how soon that will happen.

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Austin
6:30 am
Fri December 20, 2013

Austin Crowds Welcome Trail of Lights' Return (PHOTOS)

Austin's Trail of Lights celebrates its 49th edition this year. The holiday trail is free and open to the public until next Sunday, Dec. 22.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With the Yuletide season in full swing, Austin turns into a wonderland of lights.

This holiday season, KUT made the trek to the Trail of Lights to ask Austinites what makes the recently-revived light show a family tradition. 

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Waller Creek Tunnel
1:47 pm
Thu December 19, 2013

Once Neglected, Waller Creek Will Now Remake Downtown Austin (VIDEO)

Developers have tried to capitalize on the parts of Waller Creek stretching through Downtown – with mixed results. But a tunnel project is pulling the area out of the floodplain, radically remaking the urban creek.
flickr.com/ginapina

From StateImpact Texas:

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Waterloo Park, just east of the State Capitol, is a perfect example. There used to be houses there. But then in the 1970s, recalls former city council staffer and Waller Creek Conservancy executive director Stephanie Lee McDonald, “there was a lot of urban renewal efforts and the neighborhood was razed and the park was created.”

According to newspaper articles at the time, there were big redevelopment plans for the area, which sits along Waller Creek. There were even hopes that the space could become Austin’s very own version of the famed San Antonio River Walk. Of course, things didn’t really work out that way.

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Holiday Safety
8:53 am
Thu December 19, 2013

Holiday Safety: Tips For Not Getting Your Car Stolen or House Set on Fire

Trimming the tree? Be sure to replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulbs.
flickr.com/waferboard

The holiday season is here. For many that means traveling, shopping and celebrating – all of which can pose certain safety issues. Here’s a rundown of holiday safety tips, and info about city services offered over the winter holidays:

Auto-Burglary Awareness Program

In Texas, a vehicle is broken into every 2.5 minutes, and auto-burglaries escalate during the holiday season.  With the holiday season upon us, local law enforcement is raising awareness over auto burglaries.  

The Austin Police Department's Auto Theft Interdiction Project suggests that you take the following actions to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of auto burglary:

  • Lock your car and take your keys
  • Park in well-lit areas
  • Don’t leave valuables in plain view
  • Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings      
  • Avoid carrying a large amount of cash or credit cards
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Halloween Floods
8:07 am
Wed December 18, 2013

After Flooding, Medical Care Remains Critical in Dove Springs

Mayra Lopez, a promotora de salud with the Latino Health Care Forum, spoke at the Dove Springs Recreation Center on Dec. 17, 2013.
Veronica Zaragovia, KUT News

Community health workers – or promotoras de salud – with the Latino Health Care Forum are collecting data about people still living in Dove Springs after the Halloween floods.

"We have heard a lot of really sad stories …you just start crying," says promotora Norma Lopez. “We’re going to be working on-hand with our people. Refer them to whatever they need, any kind of help.”

Promotoras say they spent about a month getting feedback from people who still need help, especially medical care. The results will identify Dove Springs families still in need.

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Season for Giving
7:50 am
Wed December 18, 2013

How the Salvation Army Brings Santa's Workshop to South Austin

"Elves" from all over the country volunteer for the Salvation Army in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Credit Jan Gunter

Christmas is fast approaching and Santa’s elves are hard at work – not just at the North Pole, but here in  Austin.

For more than a century, the Salvation Army has been helping with Santa's mission. Back in the 1800s, the Salvation Army’s Christmas mission consisted of delivering food baskets to people who would otherwise go hungry.

But by the 1970s, Austin Salvation Army Major Shannon Winters recalls, the group’s focus turned to toys for children in need. Its humble mission grew into a project that, in Winters’ words, now covers “six thousand children in Austin that are depending on us.”

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Austin
10:01 am
Tue December 17, 2013

Here's What Austin Googled in 2013

Google released its Austin Zeitgeist 2013 report today.
flickr.com/grahamsblog

What do twerking, Sharknado and the government shutdown have in common? 

They're all some of the top trends in Google searches in Austin this year, according to the search giant's 2013 Zeitgeist report. Austin's searches didn't do much to keep it weird. For the most part, the searches were fairly nationalized, unlike previous years, with one exception.

With that in mind, here's the list of Austin's 2013 top Google searches:

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