Zilker Tree

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.)

Photo by satosphere http://www.flickr.com/photos/sathishcj/

For the third year in a row, Austin's Trail of Lights won't happen this holiday season.

Organizers had set a fundraising milestone of $250,000 by today in order to reach the $1 million necessary to host what used to be an annual Austin tradition: a mile long trail through Zilker Park, surrounded with holiday light displays. But they didn’t meet that goal.

“It’s just deeply, deeply disappointing that we weren’t able to raise the revenue that we needed ahead of time,” said Amy Vercruysse with BrightBlue Marketing, the company that had been contracted by the city to organize the event.

Zilker Tree
Image courtesy Flickr user That Other Paper http://www.flickr.com/photos/austins_only_paper/

If you're excited about Sunday's lighting ceremony for the Zilker Tree, don't freak out if you're driving down MoPac tomorrow and you see the 155-foot tall structure already illuminated. It's just a test.

Austin Energy just sent us this email under the subject line, "In case you get calls…"

The Zilker Tree will be switched on tomorrow morning (Wednesday, December 1) beginning at 6 a.m. until about 8 a.m. to allow Austin Energy crews to replace any lights that may be burned out and for any other adjustments that may be needed.

Superintendent Meria Carstarphen
Photo by KUT News.

AISD Action on Superintendent Bonuses, Student Transfers

Austin Independent School District Superintendent Meria Carstarphen could get a bonus of up to 25-thousand dollars if she meets certain performance measures this school year.  The school Board approved those measures during their meeting last night.  To get the bonus, Carstarphen would have to meet objectives including:

Photo by KUT News

Fort Hood Marks Anniversary of Shootings

Fort Hood is holding ceremonies today to mark the one-year anniversary of the shootings on post last year.  A private award ceremony will start at 10:00 a.m. to recognize soldiers and civilians who Army commanders say went above and beyond the call of duty that day.