Formula 1

Texas
8:21 am
Tue November 6, 2012

The Lead: Election Day 2012 Edition

Good Morning, Austin. The National Weather Service says this Election Day should be a beautiful one with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s tonight.

KUT will continue extended Election Day coverage today and tomorrow but, don't worry, John Aielli and Jay Trachtenberg will be back on the air as usual starting Thursday.

Here are some of the stories KUT News has been working on:

Election officials recommend that you vote early today. Get it done before you head into work if you can. If you can’t make it before getting to work; you can still go. By law, you’re entitled to paid time off for voting on Election Day, unless you’re off work for two consecutive hours during the times the polls are open. And remember you don’t have to drive all the way back home to vote in your local precinct this year.

Texans vote today on state representatives, some state senators, and Board of Education members. But do elected officials have the most power in Texas politics? Not always. Jennifer Stayton talks with Dave Mann of The Texas Observer about the seven biggest donors in Texas politics and what they’re getting for their money.

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Austin
5:10 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Traffic Woes Mar Fun Run Around Austin's F1 Track

Along with the new Formula One racetrack, participants in Saturday’s Formula Run race also saw bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Circuit of the Americas

The first lap around the Formula One racetrack was done on foot: over 5,000 people participated in Saturday’s Formula Run, a 3.4-mile race coordinated by the Circuit of the Americas and RunTex. Austinite Wes Johnson was the first to cross the finish line.

The race was also the first chance for the public to view the newly minted, $400 million track.

But last minute registrars and a dense fog that morning, coupled with traffic jams at the intersection of SH 130 and FM 812, forced organizers to push back the start time of the race by forty minutes. Organizers said that Saturday’s event was not an indicator of the type of traffic congestion that will occur during the weekend of the race.

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The Lead
8:48 am
Mon November 5, 2012

The Lead: Election Day’s Almost Here (And Formula 1’s Up Next)

Good morning. This weekend’s week cold front will lead to highs in the lower 80s, along with a chance for some isolated thunderstorms in the region, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s a look at some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Now let’s get into the big change for this presidential election. You probably know that during early voting you can stop anywhere with a 'Vote Here' sign – usually at a grocery store or other high-traffic public location.

Travis County has decided to adopt that strategy on Election Day. 'You can vote at any one of the polling places that are designated' within Travis County, said County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir."

Voters should also know the state’s contested Photo ID requirement is not in effect this election –  a voter registration card, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document showing your name and address are all acceptable forms of ID.

"If Prop 4, the 8-2-1 plan, were to pass, the City Council would presumably be drawing Austin’s new districts. But Prop 3, the 10-1 plan, provides for a redistricting commission. The commission would have 14 members; three auditors would randomly select eight people from a pool of candidates, and those eight would then pick the remaining six, ensuring that they are diverse in race, ethnicity, geography and gender.

Some redistricting commissions in the country have been accused of drawing maps for political gain or with cronyism in mind. Others, like those in San Diego and Minneapolis, have been commended for keeping politics away from the process."

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Formula 1
6:20 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Here's All the Permits Vendors and Promoters Need for F1 Weekend - Deadline Today!

Brandon Mulder for KUT News

Update (Nov. 5, 6:20 a.m): If you are planning to sell t-shirts, handmade necklaces or anything else around town during Formula 1, you need to have a permit. And, as a friendly reminder, the deadline to apply for one is today.

Original Story (Oct. 17)As Austin’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix rounds the corner, city officials are reminding business owners and entrepreneurs that permit applications are fast approaching.

At a press event today, city officials emphasized public safety as their main goal, saying F1 will be an event unlike any the region has ever experienced. With that in mind, they spoke to the importance of permitting, running though several upcoming deadlines. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Temporary Use Permit [PDF]: If you want to sell merchandise over events like downtown’s Fan Fest, vendors will need a Temporary Use permit. This allows sales in private commercial zones; selling within public right of ways, like sidewalks, is not allowed. The application deadline is Nov. 5.
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Austin
9:07 am
Thu November 1, 2012

The Lead: Texas Women's Health, Transpo Brawl in Travis Co. Dist. 3, More Cities Prep for F1

RIP, Mark Murray.
Credit KVUE

Good morning and welcome to the month of November! Here's hoping you don’t look scarier this morning that you did last night. It’s going to be another warm day with temperatures in the mid-80s. 

Here’s some stories KUT has been working on:

Texas Women's Health Program Won't Launch As Planned

Despite comments Wednesday morning from Texas Health and Human Services Commission executive director Kyle Janek indicating the program would be ready to start on Nov. 1, an agency spokeswoman confirmed that the state-led program would not begin until ongoing court controversy over the issue is clarified.

Candidates Battle Over Transportation

The results of the Nov. 6 elections will determine the priorities for Austin and Travis County. One of the top concerns in the area is transportation infrastructure. The Texas Department of Transportation has no money to build new roads. It spends what it gets from tax money just doing repairs and maintenance. Different ideas on how to do just that are colliding in the race for Travis County Commissioner.

Read more
The Lead
9:39 am
Wed October 31, 2012

The Lead: UT Pushes for Prop 1, Domestic Partner Benefits, Video Chats in County Jails

Good Halloween morning. It’s going to warm up a bit today, with highs in the low 80s, but be prepared for a cool Halloween night, with a low of 57, according to the National Weather Service.

Here are some stories KUT has been working on:

Automatic Admission to UT Getting More Difficult:

UT President Bill Powers says that for the Summer/Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015, UT will automatically admit Texas seniors who rank in the top 7 percent of their high school class. That’s down from the top 9 percent this Fall/Spring and the top 8 percent next Fall/Spring.

UT Makes Final Push for Prop 1:

The University of Texas is responding to criticism directed at Proposition 1, which would raise property taxes to help fund a UT medical school. Critics have said that UT has enough money to fund the project. However, UT President Bill Powers says, that a great deal of the money in the university’s coffers is already earmarked for other purposes.

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Austin
10:09 am
Mon October 29, 2012

The Lead: Austin Preps for F1, Hogs on SH130, Texas Wants More Medicaid Control

Good morning! It may be in the chilly this morning, but we'll see a high of around 70 this afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Here are some stories KUT News has been working on:

Austin Is Revving Up For F1 Weekend

Formula 1 is only three weeks away. The City of Austin is making some big preparations as race weekend approaches.

Satellite Monitors Texas’s Water Supply

A satellite called GRACE, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, is monitoring the water situation in Texas. And there’s a couple of disturbing trends in the data: a Southeastern drought trend and a lot of a lot of groundwater depletion in the Panhandle.

Crashes on New Stretch of SH130

The new, high-speed section of State Highway 130 opened last Wednesday. That first night, wildlife caused a handful of accidents.

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Austin
9:04 am
Mon October 29, 2012

Revving Up for F1: Austin Preps for Tens of Thousands

There's much to be done as the city nears the big F1 finishline
Photo courtesy the Circuit of the Americas

F1 is still three weeks away. Or only three weeks away, as the city is looking at it. Austin is making some big preparations as the big race weekend approaches.

City Cleanup

  • The Public Works Operation will be cleaning up downtown around all the construction sites.
  • City contractors will clean and restore pedestrian access areas downtown.
  • Austin Resource Recovery is planning ahead for the big weekend. They will adding up to 200 additional trash receptacles downtown.  They will also be ramping up their downtown litter control services to extended to a much larger area.
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Formula 1
8:44 am
Tue October 23, 2012

Want to Run on the Circuit of the Americas Track?

The tennis shoe rubber could meet the road of the Circuit of the Americas track.
Circuit of the Americas

Travis County Commissioners are holding a public hearing this morning over granting a mass gathering permit to the Circuit of Americas and RunTex for a race at the track. But it wouldn’t be a Formula 1 race, or even a race involving vehicles.

RunTex wants to put on a 5k that would allow participants to run on the Circuit of the Americas track. The track course is 3.4-miles long, slightly longer than a 5k.

The event, planned for Saturday, Nov. 3, would also serve as a sort of open house and would allow attendees explore part of the COTA facility.

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The Lead
8:29 am
Tue October 23, 2012

The Lead: AISD Super’s Contract Extended, F1 Street Closures Slashed, More Election News

Good morning. Austin’s in for another warm, breezy and partly cloudy afternoon, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on:

The Austin school board voted 7-2 to extend an employment contract with Dr. Meria Carstarphen, the superintendent who oversees the education of more than 86,000 Austin children in the largest school district in Central Texas. 

The city of Miami claims to have taken almost half of its homeless population off the streets in the last 10 years. In Austin, where homeless services are stretched to the limit, the City Council is looking for new solutions. Last night, council members met with officials from Miami. The challenges of one local homeless family that is struggling on the streets show how complex the problem can be.

Proposition 5 would amend the city charter to allow council members to directly hire their own staff instead of having the city manager make those appointments. … Prop 6 would allow the City Council, instead of the city manager, to hire the city attorney, which is already standard practice in many large cities.

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Formula 1
12:29 pm
Mon October 22, 2012

Cap Metro Rolls Out Mobile Ticketing for F1 Week

Cap Metro is giving mobile ticketing a trial run over November's F1 race and South by Southwest next year, with an eye toward making it a permanent feature.
Capital Metro

Capital Metro is prepping for the traffic nightmare that’s likely to be Formula 1 weekend in Austin.

The transit company will be offering a free shuttle loop around downtown to help visitors and Austinites navigate road closures. Cap Metro will also increase trips to and from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, for race fans coming into town and locals heading out to avoid the mayhem. And, for the first time ever, MetroRail will operate on a Sunday.

But what may be most interesting to those who rely regularly on Capital Metro service is that the company is debuting a mobile ticketing app for use during F1.

M² (pronounced M-squared) stands for More Mobile App. Starting Oct. 31, the free app will be available in the Apple Store and in Google Play. While the specifics of how the app will work aren’t yet clear – Cap Metro’s description only says “Operators may request you to tap the screen to confirm pass authenticity” – riders will be able to purchase and use one-day or seven-day passes on their phones.

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City Council
10:02 am
Thu October 18, 2012

City Council Preview: Short-Term Rentals, F1 Briefing and Naming a Waller Creek Winner

It's a full list for members of the Austin City Council today.
Callie Hernandez, KUT News

The Austin City Council convenes this morning. It's tackling a 104-item agenda. Here’s a rundown of the hot topics:

The Return of Short-Term Rentals: After wreaking havoc and sowing division on the council dais mere months ago, short-term rental regulations returns to council today. As KUT News reported earlier this week, council is looking at whether more people would comply with recently-passed regulations if it were easier and less expensive to do so.

Council is looking at two rental-related items – one asking the city manager to look at revamping several areas, and another lowering the cost of neighborly rental notification to a flat $50 – but some council members have concerns. "Responding to the growing pains of getting these registered immediately is just really problematic to me," council member Laura Morrison said earlier this week. "Until we get some feel for how things are working under our belts, otherwise, I can assure you there will be another set that we need to be working on soon."

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Formula 1
8:31 am
Tue October 16, 2012

Fire Chief Wants His District to Keep Some F1 Sales Tax Revenue

The red buildings represent ESD #11 fire stations. The green buildings represent Austin Fire Department stations.
Travis County ESD #11

The fire chief who leads the emergency service district around the Circuit of the Americas track is going before the Travis County Commissioners today to ask them to consider a tax deal if the track area is annexed by the City of Austin.

Fire Chief Ken Bailey leads Emergency Service District #11. Emergency service districts are entities created by the state to provide services to unincorporated areas, like the land around the Circuit of the Americas track. Bailey wants the city to keep the district in place, and let the district keep some of the sales tax revenue generated by the track to hire staff to respond to potentially increased calls.

Bailey says, right now, if the City of Austin annexes the track, the city would benefit from a 0.5 percent sale tax along with property tax revenue. Instead, Bailey is proposing that ESD #11 pay the city one-third of the district's 1.5 percent sales tax: equal, he says, for the city either way.

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Formula 1
12:18 pm
Mon October 8, 2012

Circuit of the Americas' Seven F1 Transportation Tips

Brace yourself, F1 fans: This shot of the track at COTA may be the last empty roadway you see for a while.
circuitoftheamericas.com

Ready for the insane crush of traffic expected during Austin's inaugural Formula One event in November? The airport says it is. Cap Metro does too. But what about racing fans? In case they need help, the hosts of the Grand Prix unveiled some general guidance this morning, which you may or may not find to be the most obvious advice imaginable. 

F1 track owners Circuit of the Americas issued a statement today detailing a “comprehensive plan” to expedite  traffic to the track. The COTA team’s general guidelines include:

  • Carpooling to the COTA site
  • Budgeting enough time. “Attendees should expect to add at least one hour to their travel time to get to their shuttle Park + Ride location and at least 90 minutes to get from their lodgings to the Circuit with an on-site parking pass.”
  • Not bringing stuff you’re not supposed to (Booze, animals, "illegal substances")
  • Using the directions you’re given with your ticket. “Please follow printing directions rather than GPS-identified routes.”
  • Expecting traffic and its delays
  • Planning to spend all day at the Circuit
  • Dressing appropriately, presumably so you won’t need to leave the premises.
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music
8:36 am
Mon October 8, 2012

Cheer Up Charlies, Formula 1 Events Come Before Austin Music Commission

DJ Dylan Reece spins dance music at East Sixth bar and live music venue, Cheer Up Charlies
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The Austin Music Commission is holding a special meeting today.

One notable item on the commission’s list is a discussion of the outdoor music permit for East Austin haunt Cheer Up Charlies. In August, the East Sixth Street bar and music venue had its outdoor music hours restricted to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m .on weekends due to an ongoing neighborhood disagreement.

Other presentation and discussions on the commission agenda include:

  • Music events and festivals during Formula One weekend
  • How downtown music is affecting North Austin neighborhoods
  • Possible creation of a Musicians Initiative Working Group of the commission
  • Proposal for a new special event permitting process
  • Approve a list of 2012 Austin Music Memorial inductees
  • Information on two new Austin Music Foundation programs
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Formula 1
2:49 pm
Thu October 4, 2012

Cap Metro Offers Ways to Get Around During F1

Capital Metro is offering expanded service during Formula 1 weekend. Which vehicle will get you around faster?
bus photo Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News; F1 photo flickr.com/paulwoolrich

More than 120,000 people are expected to flock to the Austin area for the upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix. And you can bet that many of those visitors will want to take in Austin’s downtown scene.

So while the cars on the Circuit of the Americas track will reach speeds of around 200 miles per hour, the traffic that comes with all those visitors could mean chugging along at a snail’s pace downtown. That is, on the roads that remain open—most of Congress Avenue will be closed from the capitol to the lake over race weekend. And many East-West streets will be partially shut down between Lavaca Street and Neches Street.

Capital Metro is expanding bus and rail service to help.

Visitors (or Austinites getting out of town in an effort to avoid the mayhem) can take advantage of a $1 bus service running between Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and downtown.

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Austin
12:17 pm
Wed October 3, 2012

ABIA: Prepare for Heavy Traffic, International Flights for F1

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is expecting heavy traffic November 12 through 21 due to events at Austin's Circuit of the Americas.
Callie Hernandez, KUT News

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is preparing for an influx of intercontinental traffic for the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix weekend. ABIA is requiring reservations from some aircraft operators between November 12 and 21.

Flights that aren’t normally scheduled commercial carriers with ABIA will have to fill out a form to receive a “Prior Permission Required” number.

ABIA warns that international flight operators will still have to clear U.S. Customs. And they'll need to get in touch with Austin U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Authority no later than 30 days prior to desired arrival. (That means the deadline is October 18 for travelers who want to get here the day before the race.) ABIA also warns pilots that they should be prepared for airborne holding and reroutes to the Georgetown or San Marcos airports.

The Lead
10:09 am
Wed September 26, 2012

The Lead: Officer-Involved Shooting, ERCOT's Summer Evaluation, F1 Track Race Ready

The State of Texas executed Cleve Foster, 48, last night. He was put to death for the sexual assault and shooting death of Nyaneur "Mary" Pal in Fort Worth in 2002.

Here’s what KUT News has been working on this morning:

Here’s a roundup other Austin and Texas stories from around the web:

  • Austin's First 'Kids Only' Yoga Studio (KEYE)

KEYE reports that The Little Yoga House is Austin's first "kids only" yoga studio. Creators say it teaches kids not only about the importance of a healthy lifestyle but also about dealing with stress in a healthy way.

Read more
Formula 1
7:46 am
Wed September 26, 2012

F1 Officials Declare Austin Track Ready to Race

Inspectors from Formula 1's governing body take a look at the Circuit of the Americas track.
Circuit of the Americas

After a visit from Formula 1 officials yesterday, Austin’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is right on track to host the United States Grand Prix in November, according to a press release from COTA. 

Charles Whiting, the director of racing, safety and technical matters for the Fédération Internationale de l’ Automobile (FIA), the international body that oversees F1 racing, declared Austin’s track “ready to race.”  His approval is necessary for an F1 circuit to conduct Grand Prix races.

The track was awarded a Grade 1 designation, the highest distinction that can be given to a motorsports venue.  Whiting declared that the circuit was “built to the highest quality” and that he had “no complaints whatsoever.”

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Formula 1
5:21 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

Video: German Designers Show Off Austin's F1 Racetrack

Two months before the checkered flag at Austin's Formula 1 United States Grand Prix gets waved for the first time, KUT News got an exclusive look at the track.

Our guides: two German engineers, whose company Tilke has had a hand in building half of all current Formula 1 racetracks around the world.

This video was produced for KUT News by Axel Gerdau, and shot by Daniel Deloach and Gerdau. 

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