Austin

Google Fiber
3:32 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

MAP: The 99 Places in Austin Getting Free Google Fiber (Update)

Update: Sites Approved

The Austin City Council approved recommending 99 public and nonprofit organizations for free access to Google Fiber. The much-anticipated high-speed internet service will include 23 public libraries.

Read more about the council's actions - and which site got cut from the initial list - here: City Council Update.

Update: Council Postpones Action (Nov. 21)

This morning, the Austin City Council voted to postpone adopting a list of 100 sites receiving a free “community connection” to Google Fiber.

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Austin City Council
11:28 am
Fri December 13, 2013

City Council Update: Dogs Banned From Auditorium Shores ‘Event Lawn’

A rendering of upcoming changes to Auditorium Shores.
Credit City of Austin

In its final meeting of the year, the Austin City Council approved a full slate of items.

Among the measures passed was a decision restricting where dogs are permitted at Auditorium Shores. More than a dozen speakers took to the council floor to argue against the change, which would prohibit dogs from lingering on the so-called "Event Lawn" on the east end of Auditorium Shores.

Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensely said the department took community suggestions under advisement when revising the $3.5 million plan for the parkland. But under a new amendment, dogs are only allowed on the event lawn when traveling from a parking lot to the neighboring areas where dogs are allowed. (No one on Parks staff or the City Council bothered to explain just how that would be enforced.)

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D.A. Lehmberg Trial
4:13 pm
Wed December 11, 2013

Judge Allows Lehmberg to Stay as District Attorney

Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg speaks with her lawyer, Dan Richards, after the verdict.

Rosemary Lehmberg will be allowed to continue in her role as Travis County District Attorney.

San Antonio-based Judge David Peeples made that decision this afternoon after three days of testimony recounting the April night when she was arrested for drunk driving and her subsequent treatment for alcohol abuse at a facility in Arizona.

Lehmberg pled guilty and served her time in jail for the DWI charge earlier this year, but a complaint was filed under an obscure state law allowing District Attorneys to be dismissed if they are found to be intoxicated.

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Austin City Council
10:31 am
Wed December 11, 2013

Strains Show Between Council, City Manager Over Auditors' Office

Austin City Manager Mact Ott, seen in a 2011 photo.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

This is an excerpt from an article written by our Austin City Hall reporting partner, the Austin Monitor (formerly In Fact Daily). For more on this topic, see our collaborative report with the Monitor.

Tensions continued to mount Tuesday between City Manager Marc Ott and a number of Austin City Council members. At immediate issue is where to relocate the office of City Auditor Ken Mory as City Hall is reconfigured to make room for additional Council members under single member districts.

During Tuesday’s work session, there was a particularly testy exchange between Ott and Council Member Bill Spelman as Spelman told Ott he should have at least consulted Council members before making a final decision about Mory’s relocation.

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Turning the Corner
12:04 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

This Austin Cop Builds Bonds in Dove Springs - One Soccer Game at a Time

APD Officer Paula Aguilar and her soccer team Chelsea.
Credit Joy Diaz, KUT News

In Southeast Austin’s Dove Springs neighborhood, crime is a constant.

Ever since an uptick in crime in the 1990s, police have maintained a visible presence in the neighborhood – and residents of Dove Springs haven’t always had a favorable view of the Austin Police Department.

There was a time when the department’s relationship with Dove Springs was especially strained. During the summer of 2005, APD Officer Julie Schroeder shot and killed 18 year-old Dove Springs native Daniel Rocha.

A re-enactment video created by the department in investigating Rocha’s death is set on Pleasant Valley Road – one of Dove Springs’ main thoroughfares.

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Super Zips
9:56 am
Mon December 2, 2013

These Are the Austin Area's 8 Richest, Most Educated Zip Codes

The Austin region’s eight “Super Zips” lie on the area’s western side.
Washington Post

Do you live in one of the Austin-area’s "Super Zips?"

Sifting through 2010 Census data, the Washington Post recently took a closer look at the country’s pockets of prosperity and education. Drawing on the concept of Super Zips – Zip codes in the 95th percentile for median incomes and college degrees – the Post created an interactive map showing the increased economic segmentation of the country.  

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Austin
11:50 am
Fri November 29, 2013

Austin Holiday Weekend: Zilker Tree Lighting, Chuy's Kids Parade (MAP)

The Zilker Holiday Tree will be lit each evening in December.
KUT News

With Thanksgiving over, Austin turns to the winter holidays this weekend. 

The Zilker Holiday Tree returns for the holiday season on Sunday. Celebrating  its 47th lightning ceremony, the Holiday Tree will remain lit nightly, from 6 p.m. until midnight, until Dec. 31.

Taking place on Saturday is the annual Chuy’s Children Giving to Children Parade. The parade, benefiting Operation Blue Santa, begins at 11 a.m. in downtown Austin. That means street closures from 6 a.m. until 2 p.m. Saturday. (See a map below.)

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Holiday Giving
11:11 am
Fri November 29, 2013

'Santa to a Senior' Brings Holiday Cheer to Austin's Elderly

The program encourages Austinites to spread a little holiday cheer to an older person in need.
flickr.com/davekellam

The holidays can be a difficult time of year for older people. Many live alone and are on fixed incomes.

The local Home Instead Senior Care offices are encouraging Central Texans to “Be a Santa to a Senior” by purchasing gifts for area seniors in need.

The group has identified more than 1,000 older people in the Austin area who could use a little holiday cheer. Many have lost a spouse or don’t have immediate family in the area.

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Philippine Typhoon
7:46 am
Wed November 27, 2013

PHOTOS: Central Texans Hold Vigil for Typhoon Haiyan Victims

Members of Austin's Filipino community and others gathered downtown last night to honor Typhoon Haiyan victims.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

The Network of Asian American Organizations estimates there are about 4,000 people in the Filipino community in the Austin metro area. Some had direct ties to the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.

Central Texans involved in the Network of Asian American Organizations and other supporters gathered at Austin City Hall on Tuesday to hold a candlelight vigil for the victims and to raise money for the recovery.

KUT's Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon took these photos at the candlelight vigil:

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Austin Police
12:35 pm
Tue November 26, 2013

Report: Austin Police Search Blacks 3 Times More Often Than Whites

The Austin Police Monitor’s Office released an analysis of police activities in 2012.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

The Austin Police Monitor's Office finds racial disparity continued in police activity during 2012.

According to a recent report, almost 1,300 people contacted the independent Monitor’s Office to make a complaint, a decrease of 11 percent from 2011. But concern about racial profiling remains: African-Americans and Hispanics are still more likely to be searched by police, with blacks three times as likely to be searched as whites.

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Geographic Representation
7:49 am
Tue November 26, 2013

MAP: With 10-1 Map In the Books, Austin Concludes Redistricting (Update)

Update: Austin’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted unanimously last night to certify the district maps for future city council elections.

The group split the city into ten districts. Starting next November, voters in each district will elect a single city council member. Previously, all council members were elected at-large.

Check out this interactive version of the district map:

View Larger Map

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Winter Weather
12:27 pm
Mon November 25, 2013

Winter Weather Advisory Canceled; Warmer, Drier Weather Ahead (Update)

Temperatures are expected to rise in the Austin area over the next few days.
National Weather Service

Update: Rain is expected to continue today through the Austin area but our chances of freezing precipitation have gone down considerably.

While sleet is still possible, forecasters don’t expect any of that frozen precipitation to accumulate.

Corey Van Pelt is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Austin/San Antonio. He says the outlook is warmer and drier as the week continues.

“It looks like by tomorrow afternoon this upper low moves through, so then we’ll get some drier weather behind it. It’ll still be cool though, Wednesday and Thursday mornings we’re expecting temperatures down in the 20's in the morning but then they warm back up into the 50's during the today. And it looks like by next weekend we’re back in the 60's, close to 70.”

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Halloween Floods
9:49 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving in Dove Springs: How Families Are Celebrating After the Floods

Volunteers prepare Thanksgiving Dinner for Onion Creek flood victims Sunday. Overall, they served 120 meals and delivered dozens more to families affected in the area.
Connie Gonzaes, Facebook

As people are gearing up for Thanksgiving, many families impacted by last month’s flooding are still trying to put their lives back together.The floods severely damaged more than 600 homes and many of those people still don’t have a permanent place to stay.

But residents came together Sunday night to provide some flood victims with a Thanksgiving dinner and a place to escape the cold temperatures, if only for a few hours.

The event was organized by Dove Springs resident Robert Kibbie and Pastor Richard Villarreal with The Springs Community Church. Overall, 120 meals were served. Volunteers also delivered 60 meals to people who were not able to attend the actual event.

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Homelessness
8:45 am
Mon November 25, 2013

VIDEO: The Hidden Face of Austin's Homeless

Children and families are among Austin's homeless.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

While the visible face of homelessness tends to be a single person by the side of the road in the downtown area, homelessness is so much more – it can be your cousin, your neighbor, your childhood friend, families with little children.

KUT’s Jorge Sanheuza-Lyon put together this video on the hidden face of homelessness in Austin:

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Geographic Representation
8:22 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Is This City Hall's Most Powerful Leader Under Austin's Change to 10-1?

City Manager Marc Ott at a council work session in 2011. Ott is not a very visible figure in city politics – but that doesn’t mean he’s not influential.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

This article was co-produced with KUT News’ Joy Diaz as part of an ongoing City of Austin reporting partnership between In Fact Daily and KUT. Listen to KUT's broadcast story in the audio player below.

Among the changes that will accompany the start of districted representation for Austin City Council members, at least one unintended consequence is causing some level of civic heartburn for interests represented by figures ranging from current sitting Council members to the outspoken face of the 10-1 movement: A potential shift in the way things get done at City Hall.

That change, should it play out, will find the office of City Manager – the unelected executive arm of city government –  becoming a much more powerful position. “The City Manager, at least temporarily – until people find their footing – is going to have a substantial amount of power,” said longtime Austin political organizer David Butts.

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