Filipa Rodrigues

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT News

Do boys and girls learn differently?

Some single-sex supporters say yes, but not everyone agrees — not even those who work at the two new single-sex middle schools on Austin’s east side. 

But teachers at these schools do say there are positives to splitting the sexes.  

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Austin's annual day of giving, Amplify Austin, announced today a new "Art by Amplify" initiative that organizers hope will increase participation in this year's event.

Three weeks ago, an Austinite known as Ez became internet famous. It’s a tempered fame, he says, and it comes in waves. About nine months ago, Ez rode a similar wave after he put a video on Reddit showcasing his interactive street art project he calls “Hyrule in Austin,” in which he creates a handful of “prizes” inspired by the Zelda videogame franchise, hides them in the Barton Creek Greenbelt, and unsuspecting Austinites find them in a wooden chest.

via flickr.com/wiredfornoise

As the holidays come to an end, it's likely that old tannenbaum might be looking a little tired. But there are plenty of options to help put that old evergreen to use.

This year, Austinites can drop off their Christmas tree between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the new location, 2304 Rollingwood Dr., Austin, TX, on the following days:

Typically, children and power tools don't mix.

But, for Kami Wilt, founder of the Austin Tinkering School, it’s been her mission over the last few years to help kids get messy – putting power tools and paintbrushes in students’ hands, while supervising and providing instruction when it’s needed.

Wilt hosts tinkering classes out of her backyard workshop, but, after a Kickstarter campaign that netted the school over $20,000 in contributions last month, she hopes to find a dedicated space in 2015 to continue to bring DIY-minded education to kids in Austin.

flickr.com/photos/mrlaugh

Austin's downtown traffic flow will change starting next month. The City of Austin is converting Brazos Street from one way to a two way street between East Cesar Chavez and East Sixth streets. 

Austin Transportation Department Director Rob Spillar says a number of cities have gone through this process to slow traffic.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Several Austinites gathered today for the unveiling of the first nativity scene at Texas State Capitol. 

Trey Trainor of the privately-funded group Texas Nativity Scene Project says it's the first on display in the state's history.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Texas' gay marriage ban will remain in effect for now. U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia declined today to permit immediate same-sex marriages in Texas. 

In February, Judge Orlando Garcia ruled Texas’ same-sex marriage ban violated the U.S. Constitution’s promise of equal treatment under the law, but placed a hold that prevented same-sex couples from immediately getting married. Today, Judge Garcia declined a request to lift that stay on marriages, citing an impending appeal in the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This story is part of an occasional series from KUT called Gender Divide, which will tell stories about the communities in Austin ISD's new single-sex middle schools, while also exploring the debate over single-sex education.

When you walk into the Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy in East Austin on any given morning, the first thing you hear is the echo of young men's voices bouncing off the walls of the building's large atrium. The atrium is like the heart of the building, connecting arteries of hallways and classrooms in the seven year old campus. 

Walking those hallways, it's hard to avoid shaking hands. Young men will approach you, wearing the Gus Garcia Uniform. They introduce themselves and declare they are, "a Gus Garcia man." It's an approach and attitude Principal Sterlin McGruder has instilled in the more than 400 students since it opened its doors as a single-sex school in August. 

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

More than 100 people gathered Friday night at the Travis County courthouse to rally for Larry Jackson Jr. and other victims of police shootings. Jackson died after being shot by former Austin Police Detective Charles Kleinert last year.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Texas is part of a lawsuit filed by 17 states over President Obama's executive action on immigration. The lawsuit was filed Wednesday afternoon in the Federal District Court in Texas and names the heads of immigration enforcement agencies as defendants. 

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Google Fiber announced plans and pricing for high speed 1-gigabit Internet service in Austin today.

Mark Strama, Austin’s Google Fiber head of operations, also introduced a scaled-down version of Internet service with no monthly fee as an "extraordinary value to folks who might not be connected to the internet today."

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Yesterday, the Housing Authority of the City of Austin and Google Fiber announced the launch of the the first so-called "digital inclusion program," that provides free Internet access to low-income residents. It's estimated to connect 4,300 affordable housing residents across the properties owned and operated by the housing authority.

"Closing the digital divide means that every child has a chance to succeed in the 21st century global economy," said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro at an event yesterday.

Republicans swept the statewide elections last night. Already, controversial national issues are on the table for the next session, including immigration, border security, education and health. However, this is good time to be a Republican in Texas. And pundits expect at least two people with Texas connections could be preparing themselves for a presidential run. Guessing any names, anyone? 

Google Fiber

After months of anticipation, Google announced today that it will open up signups for its gigabit-speed Google Fiber Internet service in December, starting with neighborhoods in South and Southeast Austin.

“We can only launch one seventh of the city at the time,” Mark Strama, head of Google Fiber’s Austin operations, said of the slow rollout. “The network will include 3000 miles of new fiber optic cables. It’s like going to Canada and back.”

According to Strama, new users that live in South and Southeast Austin can signup for Google Fiber by the end of the year. The company says the process is taking longer because the fiber network had to be planned and designed from scratch.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Funeral Services for Travis County Deputy Jessica Hollis were held today at the Hill Country Bible Church. The seven-year veteran was swept away by flood waters last week while checking a low water crossing near Lake Austin, where she was found last Friday.

Hundreds of people and first responders from as far away as Burnet County, San Antonio, New Braunfels and Jonestown shared memories and stories to memorialize Hollis at the Hill Country Bible Church in Pflugerville.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Today, the Harry Ransom Center is celebrating the 75th anniversary of the quintessential film "Gone With the Wind," with an exhibition entitled "The Making of 'Gone With The Wind.'"

From on-set photographs to audition footage to fan mail, the Ransom Center's collection hosts an immense collection of memorabilia from producer David O. Selznick's personal collection.

With more than 300 original items, the exhibit is the largest and most comprehensive exhibit on the film, says Steve Wilson, curator of the exhibition and the museum's curator for film. He recently discussed the exhibit with Texas Standard. 

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

The Texas Civil Rights Project is warning any plans to close schools in East Austin would be discriminatory and would violate students' constitutional right to available education.

Earlier this summer, AISD released a report identifying 18 East Austin as under-enrolled, operating at less than 75 percent capacity. But AISD says that it currently has no plans to close any schools.

Filipa Rodrigues/KUT

Students attending the Gus Garcia Young Men's Leadership Academy in northeast Austin were taught how to tie their uniform ties today.

The school is one of two newly-reconstituted, single-gender schools in the district, along with the Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy. Both schools rang in their inaugural academic years yesterday. KUT joined the students as they perfected the intricacies of the windsor knot, led by the school's Principal Sterlin McGruder and Austin Independent School District Interim Superintendent Paul Cruz. 

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

More than 2,000 people came to the Long Center for a conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton made Austin her 10th stop on her book tour promoting "Hard Choices," an autobiography covering a series of political events and crises  Clinton faced during her four years as Secretary of State.

The keynote address was full of lessons and accomplishments from Clinton's term. It mentioned her failures as well. 

KUT News

If it's springtime in Austin, it’s festival season.

Austin will be busy again this weekend with the return of the Texas Relays and more activities around town, That also meaning several street closures and traffic delays. 

The 87th annual Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays return to the University of Texas today. More than 6,000 college and high school athletes from all over the country will be at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium from Wednesday through Saturday.

Chris Quintero

Update: Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo apologized Saturday for comments he made during a press conference about the arrest of a jogger for jaywalking near the UT campus. During that press conference, Acevedo said that "In other cities there's cops who are actually committing sexual assaults on duty, so I thank God that this is what passes for a controversy in Austin, Texas."

In his apology statement Saturday, Acevedo said that "the comparison was a poor analogy, and for this I apologize." You can read the full apology here.

Original Story (Feb. 21, 4:58 p.m.): Austin Police arrested a woman jogging by the UT Campus Thursday morning for not providing identification after being stopped. The incident was caught on video by a UT student, Chris Quintero, who witnessed the woman being taken into custody. 

flickr.com/spike55151

This story has been corrected. See below.

The Travis County Commissioners Court discussed a proposal Tuesday that could cut individual permit parking for some downtown employees, replacing it with open, or "zoned," parking lot parking. 

The county aims to eliminate a three year-long waitlist for parking that has 320 employees still angling for a spot.

Travis County auditor Nikki Riley told the commissioners the county pays $120,000 a year for additional spaces so certain employees can have reserved spots. "We are firmly convinced that if we go to zoned parking, we would be able to eliminate the waiting list," she said.

This year, the City of Austin is planning to cover over $750,000 worth of fees and services for South by Southwest . 

The proposal, which the Austin City Council is set to vote on Thursday, includes up to $274,320 worth of fee waivers – ranging from $30 sound permit fees to $89,000 worth of litter control services. Any fees already paid by SXSW would be reimbursed to the company. The city would also authorize payments for $481,324 worth of city services – the bulk of which is $340,000 in additional police costs.

Seattle Department of Planning & Development

Micro-units – apartments of 500 square feet or less – might be Austin's next big building trend.

As the city's population continues to climb, troubles have mounted with providing affordable housing. To address the issue, the Austin City Council is asking the city manager to study the feasibility of micro-unit projects.

"Micro-units will allow people to live closer to downtown at a more affordable cost," says council member Bill Spelman.

KUT News

The Dell Medical School has a dean.

Ending a months-long search, UT President Bill Powers announced this morning that Dr. S. Claiborne “Clay” Johnston has been named inaugural dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Dr. Johnston, a neurologist who currently serves as the Associate Vice Chancellor of Research at the University of California, San Francisco, says that he is excited to have the rare opportunity to build a medical school from the ground-up.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The 2014 awards season marks another great year for the Austin film community on the festival circuit. 

The 86th Academy Award nominations, announced this morning, featured plenty of Texas talent. And the Sundance Film Festival, which kicks off in Park City, Utah today, also features a few Austin auteurs in this year's lineup.

friendsofthehollow.com

The Travis County Commissioners Court has approved a park-use fee hike, raising entry fees at Hamilton Pool and Hippie Hollow, as well as increasing field reservation fees. Travis County's Park fees were last raised in 2009.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Several law enforcement agencies across Central Texas will be on patrol looking for drunk drivers during the upcoming holiday. The Austin Police Department will start the third phase of its safety initiative next week.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

With the Yuletide season in full swing, Austin turns into a wonderland of lights.

This holiday season, KUT made the trek to the Trail of Lights to ask Austinites what makes the recently-revived light show a family tradition. 

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