travis county

Travis County
2:43 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

With This App, Your Pics Could Get Handicapped Parking Violators Ticketed

Parking Mobility’s founder Mack Marsh says a previous test in Travis County generated 300 tickets, so the system will generate more revenue than the program costs.
flickr.com/neilconway

Advocates for the disabled are calling out drivers for parking illegally in handicapped spaces – and they now have both technology and government on their side.

A new app called Parking Mobility allows citizen volunteers to submit photos of handicapped parking violators directly to authorities. Today, the Travis County Commissioners Court voted unanimously to move forward with a six month pilot program allowing qualified volunteers to become deputies whose submissions can turn into citations. The current penalty for illegal parking in a handicapped space is a minimum fine of $500.

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Secure Communities Controversy
12:02 pm
Fri May 9, 2014

Will Travis County Be Sued For Participating in ICE Immigration Holds?

Numerous attorneys says Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton's participation in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's controversial Secure Communities program could lead to lawsuits.
Daniel Reese for KUT News

Dozens of jurisdictions across the country have backed away from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deportation program known as Secure Communities.

But Travis County Sheriff Greg Hamilton is not backing away from the controversial program. And in response, a group of Austin attorneys announced Thursday they plan to start suing the county for its Secure Communities detentions.

As ICE writes, the program "prioritizes the removal of criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety, and repeat immigration violators." But critics charge the program has been overused and resides on shaky legal ground. 

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Halloween Floods
11:06 am
Mon May 5, 2014

After Report Faults Halloween Flood Response, Is More Accountability Needed?

Rescue teams in Southeast Austin assist people stranded in rising flood waters in the early hours of Oct. 31, 2013. A city report faults officials for late activation of an emergency response center, among other shortcomings.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

Update: Austin City Council member and mayoral candidate Mike Martinez is asking the city’s Public Safety Commission to consider recommending an independent review of city response to the deadly Halloween flooding.

A report done by city staff highlighted more than 100 response problems, including communication issues between agencies and with the general public. Read more about the findings in the original story below.

In emails to the commission, Martinez requests the group consider calling for an independent review. Martinez also finds fault with the framing of the city's report, writing "My general impression is that the failures and opportunities are large, and the successes are relatively small. Giving them equal weight with a tally of successes, opportunities, and failures seems to undermine the seriousness of any analysis." 

The Public Safety Commission will also hear reports from Austin Fire, Police and EMS about the response to last October’s flooding.

Original story (April 15): In Austin, it’s almost certain a flood will hit in the future. What we don’t know is when.

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Halloween Floods
4:33 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Report Lists Over 100 Lessons From Austin's Deadly Halloween Floods

An unidentified man walks past an abandoned car along Pleasant Valley Road on Oct. 31, 2013.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT News

It’s taken the City of Austin and Travis County almost six months to finalize a report detailing emergency response to the 2013 Halloween floods: what worked, what needs improvement and what – flat out – did not work.

See the full report here [PDF].

The report repeatedly highlights communication problems: between agencies, then between first responders, then with the general public. There was no clear channel of communication. There was no awareness about the kind of people who lived in the affected area either: a majority-minority community that does not primarily communicate using English.

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Austin
3:06 pm
Mon January 20, 2014

MLK Day Cleanup Rids Flood-Stricken Onion Creek Park of Debris

Onion Creek Park in southeast Austin was covered with debris after the flood in October 2013. The playground area is still inaccessible.
Joy Diaz/KUT

The flood-stricken neighborhood of Onion Creek honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. today by cleaning a community park that’s been covered with debris since last year’s Halloween flood.

Metallic doors, glass from broken windows, gas tanks were among the many items strewn about the park. Mary-Lee Plumb-Mentjes filled an entire bucket with broken glass. “I’ve always picked up trash,” Plumb-Mentjes said. “We’ve been given two hands [and] I feel we should use [them] when we see something,”

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Voter ID
2:51 pm
Wed September 4, 2013

Maps: Austin, Now You Can See If Your Neighbors Are Registered to Vote

Volunteers looking to register eligible voters can now search individual voting precincts by map.
KUT News

September is Travis County’s Voter Registration Awareness Month – and the county Tax Assessor and Voter Registrar are kicking things off with a new online tool to help volunteers find new voters.

Citizen registrars can now use the county’s website to view lists and maps of addresses with unregistered and suspended voters, broken down by Travis County precincts. While the maps do not verify that eligible, but unregistered, voters reside at those locations, the new resource still helps deputy registrars and other organizations identify areas that may be neglected by the voting process.

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Austin
3:46 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Burn Bans Issued for Austin and Central Texas

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, 136 counties are currently under burn bans in Texas.
flickr.com/riosetiawan

Dry conditions have led to more burn bans being issued for Austin and surrounding areas.

The ban temporarily prohibits open fires and grilling in parks. Smoking continues to be prohibited in parks. The ban does not include propane grills and stoves in designated picnic areas.

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Texas
1:08 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Farm Bill Could Kick 170,000 Texans Off Food Stamps

A Fiesta grocery store in Austin. In Travis County over $34 million could be lost to the bill.
flickr.com/rutlo

The U.S. House is considering a version of a farm bill that could heavily impact benefits for Texans receiving food stamps.  

The change to state policy standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) could take away 482 million meals for the hungry, and could cut 171,000 people from food assistance statewide, according to the Texas Food Bank Network.

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Families
5:08 am
Wed May 15, 2013

New Center Can Supervise Court-Ordered Parental Visits

Flickr/Camilla Nilsson http://www.flickr.com/photos/49365126@N07/5489383908/

Victims of spousal abuse in Austin have a new option if their children are to receive supervised visits with the other parent. Travis County has opened PlanetSafe at 11th and Nueces, a supervised visitation and safe exchange center.  Its grand opening is today. 

The facility is operated by the local non-profit Safe Place, and was established with the help of $600,000 in federal grants from the Office of Violence Against Women. Travis County supplied the use of the building for a nominal rent and is paying for staffing. 

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Transportation
8:26 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Transportation Group Seeks Input on Changes to CAMPO 2035 Plan

The Capital Are Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is adjusting its 2035 plan.
CAMPO

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

Starting tomorrow, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization – better known as CAMPO – begins asking for the public’s ideas on a series of projects.

Some projects are being dropped, while others are being picked up for consideration. 

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Austin
9:19 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Got Property Tax Questions?

For those unsure about property taxes, the county is hosting forums for your questions.
flickr.com/alancleaver

Own some property in Travis County? Want to know how it's taxed?

Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler and Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant are hosting a series of property tax forums.

The Travis County tax officials will present information about the appraisal process, exemptions and deferrals, payment plans and the deadlines that all those paying property tax should know. They will also be available to answer questions.

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Health
7:19 am
Thu April 4, 2013

Austin and Travis County Partner for National Public Health Week (Update)

National Public Health Week goes from April 1 to April 7.
flickr.com/proimos

Update: The Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department is holding a meeting this afternoon to present and outline key goals and objectives of the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).  The action-oriented plan is designed to improve the health of Austin and Travis County residents. It will highlight community health issues like obesity and access to primary care.

The meeting is scheduled for 3 p.m. at City Hall.

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Texas
9:40 am
Thu March 21, 2013

Williamson County Named Healthiest in Texas

The county health rankings are a checkup on nearly all of the nation's counties, including 221 in Texas.
flickr.com/jstephenconn

Williamson County is ranked as the healthiest county in the Lone Star State, according to a collection of  county health rankings. 

The study from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation shows that Williamson County is the healthiest county in Texas this year, ahead of Collin County in Northeast Texas.

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The Lead
9:05 am
Tue March 12, 2013

The Lead: SXSW 'Calmer' This Year, Travis County Incentives

A "calmer" SXSW this year?
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Good morning, Austin! Ready for a sunny start to SXSW Music? The National Weather Service says Austin's due for a high near 77 today.  The evening will be clear with a low around 44.

Here's a roundup of some KUT News stories for today:

The Lead: Austin's Police Chief says he thinks South by Southwest has been a little calmer so far this year.

But APD Chief Art Acevedo acknowledges that things will probably start to heat up a bit as the music portion of the festival gets going. Acevedo plans to hit the streets over the next several days.

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Austin
8:46 am
Thu February 28, 2013

New Rules Reversed at Hippie Hollow, Austin's Clothing-Optional Park (Update)

No shoes, no shirts and, now, no anchors at Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis.
friendsofthehollow.com

Update: Travis County Parks reversed its decision to change boating rules at Hippie Hollow on Lake Travis at a public meeting last night.

In fact, after about a week of tension between Travis County Parks and people who frequent Hippie Hollow, the meeting ended with laughter and applause.

“This is a great example of a grass roots movement. Where people are trying to reach out the administrators who work in their government and the guys come to the table and listen to what the folks have to say,” Friends of the Hollow member Randall Huntsinger said.

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Austin
10:33 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Handbag Drive Gives Domestic Violence Victims Handle on Hope

Each handbag is equiped with a discreet purse tag featuring the Project's hotline number before being delivered to shelters across Texas.
Texas Advocacy Project

The Texas Advocacy Project and the Travis County Sheriff’s Office are launching its annual “Handbags for Hope” drive.

The sixth annual installment of the drive asks Austin-area residents to donate new and gently used handbags to give to domestic violence victims.

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The Lead
9:05 am
Wed February 6, 2013

The Lead: Ft. Hood Fire Response, Feds Won’t Arraign Armstrong

Lance Armstrong is still dealing with the fallout from his confessional interview.
George Burns, Oprah WInfrey Network

Good morning. The National Weather Service says Austin’s due for a high near 70, along with scattered clouds and maybe a stray thunderstorm.

Lead Story: Federal prosecutors say Lance Armstrong won’t face criminal charges, despite the cycling star’s confession last month to Oprah Winfrey that he did use performance-enhancing drugs.  

The U.S. Attorney in the case says the decision was made last year not to press charges, and Armstrong’s recent televised comments haven’t convinced prosecutors to re-open the case.

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Austin
8:06 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Travis County Homeless Population Dropping

Data provided by ECHO

The annual Austin/Travis County homeless count shows the number of homeless people living the area is down by 5.5 percent from last year to 2,121.

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition or “ECHO” conducted the count late last month.

The count determines the level of federal funding the area will receive and helps community organizations determine which services need to be improved.

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Austin
7:58 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Counting Travis County's Homeless Population

A homeless individual in Wooldrige Park last year. Teams of volunteers canvassed Travis County to count the homeless this weekend.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Across the United States, groups are attempting to get a firm count of the number of homeless people living in their midst. In Travis County this past weekend, the count was led by a group called Ending Community Homelessness or ECHO.

For the first time in the history of the count, volunteers reached the Travis County limits in order to get more accurate numbers.

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Weather
8:28 am
Mon December 10, 2012

Power Outages, Freeze Warning & Wind Advisory for Central Texas

The first big freeze of the season is expected tonight.
Austin/San Antonio National Weather Service

It’s a windy, chilly morning. There’s a wind advisory in effect for all of South Central Texas until noon today. A freeze warning is in place starting at 11 p.m.

The cold weather is moving across Texas, even bringing some snow to the Dallas area this morning.

The wind was a factor in power outages that left more than 3,400 Austin Energy customers in the dark this morning. Austin Energy spokesman Ed Clark says damage to a pole knocked out power to about 2,300 customers around Brodie Lane and William Cannon Drive. Clark expected power to be restored to about 70 percent of those customers by 7:30 a.m.

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