City of Austin

Photo by KUT.

Officials at Austin's Town Lake Animal Center have announced they've surpassed a 90% live outcome rate for the first time last month.  February saw 92% of animals that entered the shelter leave alive.

The milestone means the shelter is now officially "no-kill", as defined by an implementation plan approved by city council almost one year ago.

In a memo to the city council today, interim animal services officer Filip Gecic said the shelter's rescue partners get a big share of the credit, although there were many factors that contributed to the shelter's success...

Photo by KUT News

The City of Austin is seeking public input on urban growth issues surrounding the Rainey Street development project.

Erika Aguilar for KUT News.

Austin is a music town, sure, but naming a city department after Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst? Why not? More than 29,000 votes have been cast to rename the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services Department the “Fred Durst Society of the Humanities and the Arts. ” 

Photo by KUT News

City officials will hold a public meeting tonight to discuss the future of Bull Creek District Park and get input from the community about that future.  The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, 600 Water St.

Image courtesy City of Austin

No a huge surprise here; Abigail Smith was already named the lone finalist for the job. But now it's official. City Manager Marc Ott just announced he has selected the director of a no kill animal shelter in Ithaca, New York to run the Town Lake Animal Center in Austin.

Image Courtesy StarMama

Political junkies who don't have time to spend all day at the Capitol can watch the Texas legislative session unfold from behind a TV or computer monitor.

Here's how you can do it:

Image courtesy City of Austin and Google Maps

Artists have an extra seven days to get their act together and write a proposal to create public art at the new the African-American Cultural & Heritage Facility. The building will be constructed at 912 East 11th Street near Branch Street.

Plastic bags
Image by KUT News

Austin city leaders have been talking about banning plastic bags at stores for a while, but signs for such an ordinance look strong this year. 

“We have a report that we’ve been working on, on the cost impact of plastic bags. That study has been presented to City Hall, we hope to have that in the hands of city council within a couple of weeks,” said Bob Gedert, the City of Austin’s Solid Waste Services director.

That report has not been released to the public yet.

Image by Erika Aguilar/KUT

New Year’s Eve 2011 will look a little different in downtown Austin tonight. The bar and club scene will be about the same. But there won’t be a “First Night Austin” celebration, as there has been in years past.

In fact, this will be the first New Year’s Eve in six years where there has been no “First Night Austin” celebration. Organizers announced at the end of September that they didn’t have the money to stage the family-friendly downtown party this year. They’re hoping to be back to ring in 2012.

Callie Hernandez/KUT News

If you're driving downtown for New Year's Eve celebrations, you'll be able to park on the street for free after 5:30 p.m. That would change to midnight under a proposal being considered by the city, and local officials want to know what you think about it.
Outside of downtown, the change would see street parking meters remain in effect from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. instead of the current hours of 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Holly Street Power Plant
Image by Caleb Bryant Miller for KUT News

CST Environmental, a company based in San Leandro, California, is suing the city because it wasn't awarded a bid to demolish a decommissioned power plant in East Austin, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Photo courtesy Town Lake Animal Center

Austin City Manager Marc Ott has named Abigail Smith the sole finalist for the chief animal services officer position.  In a memo to the Mayor and City Council Members, Ott said the city received many positive comments about Smith -- who's currently the executive director of the Tompkins County SPCA in Ithaca, NY.

Jennifer Gale resting under a tree in Austin TX
Photo courtesy Dentler

The Austin city council opened today's council meeting with a tribute to Jennifer Gale.  Gale was ever-present at council meetings and ran for Mayor and several other elected positions over the years.  She was also homeless.  Gale was found dead two years ago tomorrow in front of a church near the UT-Austin campus.

AFD battling car fire
Image courtesy Sheeshoo

Whether it's the coolness of being a firefighter or the higher-than-average unemployment rate in Travis County, the Austin Fire Department is being deluged with applications as it seeks to hire a record number of firefighters.

Image courtesy D'Arcy Norman

That horrible stench you smell near garbage dumps? There's energy in those fumes!

Until fairly recently, the technology used to capture methane-rich biogas and turn it into electricity was not taken seriously as an industrial energy source. That's changing. And now the City of Austin is seeing if it should get on board.

People at computers
Image courtesy stetted

The City of Austin is sending out 15,000 surveys to randomly selected people across town to find out what kind of technology they use.

The survey is not available online, only as a paper questionnaire, so that the results won't skew towards people with home internet access.

Lake Austin at 360 Bridge
Image courtesy atmtx

Annoying, non-native plants are growing out of control in Lake Austin, and the city is asking the Lower Colorado River Authority to drop lake levels next month to help fend them off. Lake Austin is a stretch of the Colorado River between the Mansfield and Tom Miller dams.

Image courtesy kingdesmond1337

The City of Austin's Solid Waste Services Department says it's going to produce a new reality TV program called Dare to Go Zero. The show would air on City of Austin's government channel and is aimed at encouraging Austinites to throw less garbage into the landfill.  KUT News spoke with the City of Austin Solid Waste Services spokesperson Jennifer Herber about the project.

KUT News: What's this idea behind the reality show?

Cathedral of Junk
Photo by Mose Buchele for KUT News

The City's Planning & Development Review Department issued a news release this morning saying that the City of Austin and the Cathedral of Junk reached an agreement to keep the structure on the property.

KUT News reported in June that the Cathedral of Junk would be allowed to remain, after city inspectors initially told owner Vince Hannemann to destroy the bizarre attraction.