Formula 1

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.

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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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