Austin

News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin is suspending its Citizens Review Panel, leaving police with less public oversight – at least for now. The move ends 17 years of volunteer panel members weighing in on complaints from the public about Austin police officers.

Precourt Sports Ventures

Precourt Sports Ventures, the firm that’s hoping to bring a Major League Soccer team to Austin, isn’t happy with the Austin City Council – specifically, Council Member Ann Kitchen.

Courtesy of the City of Austin

When incoming City Manager Spencer Cronk moves to Austin next month, he'll have some help. 

Austin City Council members are scheduled to vote Thursday on a compensation package for Cronk, who is coming from Minneapolis and starts Feb. 12.

Sean Murphy for KUT

Today is officially “Hi, How Are You Day” in Austin – a holiday that both honors onetime Austinite Daniel Johnston and hopes to raise awareness of mental health issues.

Jorge Sanhueza-lyon / KUT

Women's Marches are taking place across the country on the anniversary of Donald Trump's inauguration. Last year, tens of thousands of protesters packed streets in many cities — including in Austin, where an estimated 50,000 people crowded along Congress Avenue and on the Capitol grounds. 

This morning, a much smaller group of protesters gathered at Austin City Hall in preparation for a march to the Texas Capitol. 

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

By March, all Austin patrol officers will be wearing body cameras, according to estimates by the Austin Police Department. Currently, 658 body cameras are in use; another 200 will be added.

“After that, we’ll be looking to [give them to other] units throughout the department,” said Cmdr. Brent Dupre, who heads the department’s technology unit.

Campaign finance reports reveal that Austin Mayor Steve Adler is the only member of the City Council who has begun seriously fundraising for re-election.

Jon Shapley for KUT

A group of local nonprofits, government agencies and private companies are taking part in what’s called the Affordable Housing Accelerator to address Austin’s housing affordability issues.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday at Native, a new bar and hostel in East Austin. Half a dozen people occupy the blue velvet booths and alternative dance music blares overhead. Leigh Salinas walks in carrying a duffel bag. She’s there to spend the weekend studying – sort of.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Updated at 7:30 a.m.

Officials say road conditions in Austin have improved, but with the risk of ice lingering through the morning hours, a number of Central Texas school districts and the City of Austin will operate on a two-hour delay Wednesday. The National Weather Service says a Hard Freeze Warning will continue through noon on Wednesday. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin pretty much shut down for the day today. The freezing temperatures, sleet and (a little) snow iced-over roads throughout Central Texas – and even closed a few – leading the Austin Police Department to ask drivers to stay off the roads, giving them (more or less) a snow day. 

Here’s a look around town from our photographers, who ventured out into the cold.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The voice of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. echoed across the East Mall of the UT-Austin campus this morning, as hundreds gathered to honor the legacy and impact of the civil rights icon. Participants in the annual march gathered at the feet of King's statue at UT before making their way toward the Texas State Capitol and wrapping up the rally at Huston-Tillotson University in East Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Winter is here. For the third time in a little over a month, Austin is staring down another storm system that's expected to bring ice, sleet and maybe snow to Central and South Central Texas. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Part 1 of a two-part series on tiny homes

As Austin’s housing prices continue to climb, developers are tapping into the trend of building tiny homes.

Kasita CEO Martyn Hoffmann says the Austin-based company is hoping to make home-ownership affordable for more residents through its space-saving designs.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin police officers aren't the only public safety personnel without an employment contract with the city. For the first time in nearly 10 years, EMS employees are without a contract, too.

Tony Marquardt, president of the Austin-Travis County EMS Employee Association, said that because police is the largest of the public safety departments, it overshadowed emergency medical services.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Every year before Christmas, Loop 360 becomes the site of a uniquely Austin holiday tradition: The junipers along the highway are transformed into colorful Christmas trees.

People have strong opinions about the custom. Some say it’s a heartwarming expression of holiday spirit; others consider it a flagrant violation of Texas' anti-littering laws. But one thing no one really knows is how the tradition got started.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler has his first official challenger in the race for mayor in November.

Former Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison announced in an email Monday that she will run against Adler for the city’s top elected position.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Despite the dissolution of a contract governing its existence, Austin’s Office of the Police Monitor will remain intact for now.

The office fields citizen complaints against officers and has access to internal affairs investigations.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

Visitors to the new Austin Central Library checked out 6,028 items on opening day alone in October. But more than its literary offerings, the library, which was a decade in the making, has garnered a lot of attention for its design: crisscrossing staircases, a large red grackle sculpture and a roof garden.

Oh, and "death-doors."

Mose Buchele / KUT

Kayak paddles, sleeves for coffee cups and spatulas were deployed across Austin this morning to scrape ice off windshields. Some commuters even used actual ice scrapers to maintain visibility as they confronted a rare hard freeze before their commutes.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

The third draft of CodeNEXT is set to be released next month, after months of delay. City staff gave an updated look at the schedule for the process at last night’s meeting of the Zoning and Platting Commission.

The group’s chairwoman, Jolene Kiolbassa, raised a question that seemed to be on many commissioners’ minds: When is the City Council going to take action?

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Martin Barrera surveyed acres of land – much of it undeveloped – from a hill in far East Austin on a recent Thursday morning.

“You can see this is Colony Park on this side, and it comes to right about there and then it just stops," said Barrera, a project manager with the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department. "We’ll essentially continue that type of development over and across.”  

We started our crowdsourced reporting project, ATXplained, two years ago to find out what stories you wanted us to cover.

The premise is simple: You ask the questions, we collect them and put them up for a public vote to determine which ones get investigated.    

Andrew Weber / KUT

As the year comes to a close, we're looking back at the stories that defined 2017.

In the Texas Legislature, there were fights: over the so-called bathroom bill and sanctuary city policies. At City Hall, there were more fights: over CodeNEXT and the latest police contract. And on the streets, there were even more fights: over an unorthodox new president and women's rights, ICE raids and immigration policies, and Confederate statues and symbols.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

An advocacy group in Austin is watching a federal lawsuit that challenges a New York landlord's blanket ban on renting to people with criminal backgrounds.   

Precourt Sports Ventures

The Austin City Council is weighing eight potential sites to house a professional soccer stadium and practice space after the Ohio-based Columbus Crew soccer team expressed an interest in moving here. But council members decided to hold off on a final decision for now, postponing a vote until Feb. 15.

Courtesy City of Austin

The Austin City Council unanimously selected Spencer Cronk to be the next city manager.  

Cronk has been the Minneapolis city administrator since 2014. Before that, he worked for New York City's Department of Small Business Services.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

The Austin Police Association says it won’t renegotiate its contract with the city before it expires at the end of the month. After months of negotiation, the Austin City Council voted last week to reject the contract, which dictates pay, discipline and oversight for police officers.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

The Austin City Council is scheduled to decide today who will fill the highest ranking unelected position at city hall. Spencer Cronk and Howard Lazarus are the two remaining candidates for city manager.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The hike and bike trail around Lady Bird Lake is one of the most popular attractions in Austin. But the city has known for a long time that at least one section of the path is unsafe – and it’s only getting worse.

Pages