Austin

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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Austin
4:25 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

StoryCorps MobileBooth Returns to Austin

The StoryCorps MobileBooth will be in Austin for the next month, recording stories from Central Texans. It's the third time StoryCorps has visited Austin.
Credit Kate McGee, KUT News

StoryCorps is back in Austin, recording stories of Central Texans as part of its cross-country tour. It's the non-profit's third visit to Austin.

The process is simple: make a reservation and show up at the MobileBooth with someone you know and care about. Inside the Airstream trailer, you both sit at a small, diner-like booth and have a conversation or ask each other questions. 

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Austin
1:44 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Where to Find the Cheapest Gas in Austin

Gas prices have droped drastically in Austin over the last month.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Today, for the first time since 2009, oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel. Crude oil has shed nearly half of its value in the second half of 2014. While plummeting oil demand may throw the global economy off kilter, the falling prices have given drivers across the country reason to celebrate: cheap gas.

Nationally, the average gas price is around $2.19 per gallon, compared to $2.72 just a month ago, according to industry monitor GasBuddy.com. Austin’s average price is currently hovering around $1.98 a gallon. Still, some retailers have slashed prices below $1.99 and others are still charging well over $2 per gallon. With that in mind, here’s a list of where to find the top five cheapest, and most expensive, gallon of gas in Austin.

Austin
11:48 am
Thu January 1, 2015

How Will Austin Police Enforce the Hand-Held Device Ban? (Update)

The Austin City Council approved a ban on hand-held devices last week, which will take effect at the beginning of next year.
Credit via Xconomy

Starting today, you won't be able to have your phone in your hands while driving your car, or while riding your bike.

The Austin City Council passed an ordinance in September prohibiting use of devices unless drivers are at a complete stop, or if there is an emergency. Those caught in the act by Austin police face a citation for a Class C misdemeanor, which will carry a fine of around $300.

While some studies suggest devices with hands-free capability doesn't necessarily reduce safety risk or increase reaction times, the move is an extension of the city's current ban on using devices while on the road. But what do Austin drivers think of the ban, and how Austin police plan to enforce it?

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Austin
6:22 am
Thu January 1, 2015

Where to Recycle Your Christmas Tree in Austin

This year’s Christmas tree recycling location has changed due to an event at Zilker Park.
via flickr.com/wiredfornoise

As the holidays come to an end, it's likely that old tannenbaum might be looking a little tired. But there are plenty of options to help put that old evergreen to use.

This year, Austinites can drop off their Christmas tree between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the new location, 2304 Rollingwood Dr., Austin, TX, on the following days:

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Wayback Wednesday
12:18 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: Remembering the Armadillo World Headquarters

An archive photo of the 'Dillo. Threadgills North Lamar location holds most of the memorabilia from the Armadillo World Headquarters. Owner Eddie Wilson is set to auction off a portion of the memorabilia sometime next year.
Steve Hopson, via WikiMedia Creative Commons

Today’s New Year’s Eve edition of Wayback Wednesday looks back at the Armadillo World Headquarters. Thirty-four years ago today, Eddie Wilson's legendary club closed its doors after its decade-long run as a fixture in the Austin music scene.

The club hosted some of the most influential performers of the last fifty years, including Bruce Springsteen, Herbie Hancock, the Velvet Underground, Dr. John, Devo, Jose Feliciano, Bill Withers, Bette Midler, the Ramones and many others. The ‘Dillo was also a booster for many Texas artists – Willie Nelson, Jerry Jeff Walker, Asleep at the Wheel, Freddie King, Kinky Friedman, Doug Sahm and even a beardless ZZ Top all performed at the club regularly in its heyday.

Below, we’ve got a playlist of the Armadillo’s final show – featuring Asleep at the Wheel, Jerry Jeff Walker and Commander Cody – along with a set from the Talking Heads in 1979, a video of Armadillo regular Freddie King performing at the Travis County Jail after his April 1976 show, a performance from Frank Zappa in 1973 and a legendary 1972 Thanksgiving set from Grateful Dead members Jerry Garcia and Phil Lesh, with Doug Sahm and Leon Russell.

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Austin
12:11 pm
Wed December 31, 2014

How to Have a Safe, DWI-Free New Year's Eve in Austin

Capital Metro will be offering free rides after 6 p.m. and extended service hours for MetroRail, MetroRapid and Night Owl buses.
Credit Capital Metro

While the city may have postponed its annual family-friendly fireworks due to possible inclement weather tonight, that's not likely to stop hordes of revelers descending on downtown to ring in 2015.

If you've ever been downtown on New Year's Eve after the clock strikes midnight, then you know it can be difficult to get home. On top of that, it's a No-Refusal night, so you'll want to plan ahead to get home safe. Check out our rundown of options below for overnight parking, safe rides home and, if you're staying in, a host of apps that'll deliver everything you need right to your door.

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NYE 2015
1:09 pm
Tue December 30, 2014

Wintry Forecast Forces Cancellation of Austin's New Year Celebration

The City of Austin is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park.
Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The City of Austin says it is cancelling Wednesday night's planned New Year's Eve celebration at Butler Park, due to the potential for winter weather in the forecast.

There is a possibility of freezing temperatures and rain Wednesday night into Thursday.

Austin
11:18 am
Mon December 29, 2014

New Year Brings Expansion for Austin's Tinkering School

Typically, children and power tools don't mix.

But, for Kami Wilt, founder of the Austin Tinkering School, it’s been her mission over the last few years to help kids get messy – putting power tools and paintbrushes in students’ hands, while supervising and providing instruction when it’s needed.

Wilt hosts tinkering classes out of her backyard workshop, but, after a Kickstarter campaign that netted the school over $20,000 in contributions last month, she hopes to find a dedicated space in 2015 to continue to bring DIY-minded education to kids in Austin.

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Austin
9:55 am
Sat December 27, 2014

QUIZ: How Well Do You Know Austin's 175-Year History?

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT; logo design by GSD&M

The City of Austin is having a birthday today.

It's one of the hardest anniversaries to pronounce – it's not a centennial or a bicentennial — or even a sesquicentennial, for that matter. But, outgoing Mayor Lee Leffingwell made it his mission earlier this year to memorize a 28-letter word used for the city’s 175th anniversary: a septaquintaquinquecentennial. 

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Holidays
6:00 am
Fri December 26, 2014

Recycling 'Right' During the Holidays

The items on the left are OK to recycle. The items on the right are not.
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT

You’ve opened all the gifts and enjoyed a nice big meal. Now, you’re surrounded by mountains of wrapping paper and piles of disposable dinnerware.

But don’t grab the trash bags just yet. Here are some tips for getting more of that waste into the recycling bin this holiday season.

"Tissue paper is definitely recyclable," Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert says.

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Wayback Wednesday
12:23 pm
Wed December 24, 2014

Wayback Wednesday: John Henry Faulk's 'Christmas Story'

Credit Library of Congress

For today's Christmas Eve edition of Wayback Wednesday, we have a radio-centric Christmas treat in the form of John Henry Faulk's "Christmas Story."

Born in 1913, the native Austinite was a radio personality, satirist and playwright. In 1957, he successfully sued the House Un-American Activities Committee for libel after being blacklisted, helping end the committee's campaign. And, of course, Austin's downtown library bears his name.

In 1974, John Henry Faulk read the story for NPR's Voices in the Wind, and it's since become a holiday classic. Below, you can listen Faulk's yuletide yarn courtesy of NPR. 

Austin
3:48 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

City App Helps Users Report Pot Holes, Graffiti – And May Soon Provide Flood Info

Austin's 3-1-1 app won't replace the call center.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

For well over a decade, Austinites have been calling 3-1-1 to report graffiti or a pot hole to city officials. While that’s not going away, a new way to report problems and get questions answered could offer more benefits.

For example, say you want to report that there aren’t any doggie clean-up bags at the park down the street or that there’s a pothole down the road. But, uhh, what’s the address exactly where you’re at? Austin’s 3-1-1 mobile app lets users do many of the same things that can be accomplished with a phone call.

But there are also things the app does that a phone call can’t.

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News You Can Use
5:25 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Recycling: Why You're Probably Doing it Wrong and 10 Steps to Do it Right

Can you pick out which of these items can go into the recycle bin and which need to be trashed?
Filipa Rodrigues, KUT

It’s a familiar scenario: you’ve finished a product and are ready to dispose of the packaging. But wait… does it go into the recycling bin? Or the trash can? Recycling is something most of us strive to do. But waste management experts say many of us do it wrong – at least some of the time.

Step 1 to better recycling is NOT putting something in the bin if you're not sure it can be recycled:

"Part of the problem with recycling is if you throw it in with doubt, it could be a contaminate and it can slow down the process in the recycling stream," Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Gedert says.

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Austin
3:52 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

City Hopes for a Smooth Rollout Ahead of Brazos Street Conversion

City of Austin officials say one-way streets are good for moving cars through, but two-way streets are better for accessing your destination.
flickr.com/photos/mrlaugh

Austin's downtown traffic flow will change starting next month. The City of Austin is converting Brazos Street from one way to a two way street between East Cesar Chavez and East Sixth streets. 

Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar says a number of cities have gone through this process to slow traffic.

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Austin
2:21 pm
Thu December 18, 2014

Sexist Comment by Austin Police Officer: Isolated Incident or Part of Broader Culture?

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo says sexist comments from officers undermine a departmental goal of securing communities' trust.
Nathan Bernier/KUT News

Update (2:19 p.m.): Officer Andrew Pietrowski officially retired from the Austin Police Department on Friday, Dec. 12 after learning KUT would air his comments this week.

Original Story (9:07 a.m.): Police Chief Art Acevedo suspended two officers in November for making jokes about rape victims. The Austin Police Association said at the time that the respective three-day and five-day suspensions were "fair and appropriate." The incident took place after a local attorney had released a video in which the two Austin police officers are laughing and one of the officers comments: "Go ahead and call the cops. They can't un-rape you."

Recently, offensive comments were made to KUT's reporter Joy Diaz, while she was covering a police-related story. A quick warning: This story contains offensive remarks made about women. 

Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo is convinced APD's culture is changing for the better. And says comments like "[cops]can't un-rape you" are examples of behavior that he calls "[the] extreme minority."

Statistically, when you consider the couple of thousand police officers in Austin, he’s right. However, there are still regrettable police shootings and some minorities still feel targeted by police. But Austin is no longer the ticking bomb some say it was before Acevedo took over the department in 2007. Questions still linger, however, about whether or not APD is clearly letting its officers know that inappropriate comments will not be tolerated.

Take for instance the recent comments of Officer Andrew Pietrowski.

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