Austin

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

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.

Travis County Sheriff's Office

The Travis County Correctional Complex in Del Valle welcomed four new residents last week: Delilah, Prince Sebastian, Princess Puddin’ and Pretty Kitty Cat Miss.

The siblings, all of them 7-week-old kittens, are part of a program started last year to have inmates foster animals. The program was created by a partnership between the Travis County Sheriff’s Office and Austin Animal Services.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is moving forward with plans for the region’s first-ever fair housing assessment. The effort aims to shed light on issues of housing discrimination across Central Texas.

On Thursday, KUT aired a story, reported by Syeda Hasan and edited by myself, about the language used in the debate around CodeNEXT, Austin’s re-write of its land development code.

We’ve gotten a good deal of reaction to that story — much of it negative.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Austin City Council members voted unanimously to send a five-year contract between the city and the local police union back to the negotiating table late Wednesday. 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A research paper on white reporters covering race argues for more flexibility on one of the basic tenets of journalism: objectivity.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Editor's Note: A Word About Your Responses To This Story

Swarms of Austin residents were tailgating ahead of the annual Texas-Oklahoma college football game on a Saturday this past October. About 50 other people decided to spend the sunny morning inside the Asian American Resource Center for something a little less action-packed – a meeting of Austin’s Zoning and Platting Commission.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin Mayor Steve Adler sat in front of nearly 200 people gathered at the Covenant Presbyterian Church in early November. He’d been invited by the Allandale Neighborhood Association in Northwest Austin to answer questions about CodeNEXT, the city’s rewrite of its land development code.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez

De Shaun Ealoms always dreamed of owning a home, but she wasn’t sure how she’d get there.

After her son was diagnosed with autism, Ealoms moved to Austin from Dallas to be closer to her parents. To help cover her living expenses, she signed up for Section 8, the commonly used name for the federal Housing Choice Voucher program, which helps low-income families pay rent.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News

Central Texas is waking up to freezing temperatures, some leftover snow and icy roads. The combination led several area school districts to cancel classes Friday or at least delay the start of school until 10 a.m.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Lamar Senior Activity Center raises money every year cracking pecans. For 50 cents a pound, you can get your pecans run through one of the center's four nut-cracking machines.

John Camden, who has volunteered to operate the machines for five years, says the service is usually one of the center's biggest fundraisers. Just not this year.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

A few dozen protesters gathered in downtown Austin on Friday and marched down East Fifth Street and into the Westin hotel, where a class on investing in mobile home parks was reportedly being held.

The protesters, dressed in graduation caps and gowns, held signs calling for justice and a "diploma" from Colorado-based Mobile Home University for "unethical investment and mismanagement."

Courtesy of Marie Giorda

William Giorda, the longest serving director of KUT, died of congestive heart failure Nov. 5. He was 79.

Giorda was born in Oklahoma City and received a master's degree in communications from the University of Tulsa. He moved to Austin in 1964 with his then-wife, Carol Fishwick, to teach broadcasting at the University of Texas.

Illustration by Jacob Villanueva/Laura Skelding

On Oct. 17, Brenda Brantley, an employee at Texas' Health and Human Services Commission, was in her second-floor office at the agency’s Austin headquarters when she received an unexpected visitor.

The beady-eyed infiltrator — a brown rat of the species Rattus norvegicus — scurried down the carpeted hallway before ducking behind a filing cabinet, employee correspondence shows.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

At the corner of Airport Boulevard and Schieffer Avenue, there’s something that sticks out. Next to the community garden and skate park in Patterson Park, there’s a giant metal flower, surrounded by a colorful concrete mosaic. On a pole nearby, there’s a plaque shaped like a leaf that explains — kind of.

Mary Kang for KUTX

The Parish nightclub on Sixth Street in downtown Austin is going up for auction Friday – on eBay, no less. The company ATX Brands is selling the lease, the audio-visual equipment and the Parish brand, with a starting bid of $1.

ATX Brands CEO Doug Guller spoke to KUT about the sale and his plans after the Parish.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Laura Soto, 38, sands several planks of wood that will serve as the trim for the outside of her new home. A plank of wood labeled “front porch” and another labeled “door” lie just feet from her. On a break from working, she talks color palette.

“The trim will be the rich white, the outside of the house will be darker gray, and the door will be a lighter gray and there will be an accent wall of a grayish, blue color,” she says.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the sale of $64 million in district-owned properties at its meeting tonight.

The district’s 2.75-acre downtown headquarters and its 4.36-acre teaching facility in Hyde Park were the highest-value of the five properties approved for sale.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT'

Austin voters could be asked to approve another couple-hundred-million dollars in bond money next year. Curated from a list of more than $3 billion in needs compiled by city staff, the bond could pay for anything from flooding prevention to affordable housing.  

Of course, everyone has a pitch.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Roxanne Strong works the front desk at the Salvation Army's shelter in downtown Austin and is often the first point of contact for people seeking help. She's passionate about her job and says it brings her "overwhelming joy."

Ten years ago, it was Strong who came to the shelter. At that time, she had been an addict for years.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The first residents are beginning to move into new homes in Whisper Valley, a green housing development near Walter E. Long Lake in eastern Travis County.

While this type of eco-friendly housing is usually cost-prohibitive, the homes in Whisper Valley start in the low $200,000s, says Douglas Gilliland, president of the developer, Taurus of Texas.

Callie Hernandez for KUT

After getting heat for keeping candidates' identities secret and evading reporters, the Austin City Council has released the names of six finalists for the city manager position.

Mayor Steve Adler published the names and biographies to the council’s online message board Monday afternoon.

Crew SC Communications

The Columbus Crew is in the midst of a playoff run that could land the team in the Major League Soccer Cup. But rather than enjoy a great season, Ohio’s capital city and the Crew's ownership are at an impasse that could mean the team moves to Austin. That would be a dream for one fanbase and a nightmare for another.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin City Council will not release the names of the finalists vying for the vacant city manager position today.

Council members went to great lengths to keep the selection process secretive last week. After criticism, the council, candidates and the search firm tasked with finding a city manager agreed to make the names public by no later than today. Mayor Steve Adler said that reveal will have to wait – as one of the five candidates has dropped out of the running. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council took a step yesterday to streamline the process of building and remodeling homes by approving the Family Homestead Initiative. The resolution calls for the city to identify all the regulations and costs associated with the process.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

After jumping in an airport shuttle last week in an attempt to maintain secrecy, Austin City Council members agreed Thursday to release the names of second-round candidates for the vacant city manager position.

Up to five names of candidates will be made public no later than Monday.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

Voters added seven amendments to the Texas Constitution yesterday. Adding amendments is standard operating procedure for the Texas Legislature: The document, which was ratified in 1876, now has almost 500 amendments.

But why?

Lynda Gonzalez / KUT

Editor's note: We have removed the last name of the woman profiled in this story to protect the identity of her parents.

Oluwatoyosi, Toyosi for short, stands observant, her hands clasped in the middle of a crowd of more than 40 people in the basement of Hogg Auditorium. The 21-year-old is showcasing a collection of designs at Fest Africa: Africa Uncut, the Texas African Student Organization’s annual cultural showcase.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Austin City Council members have been meeting this week with candidates to be Austin’s next city manager — which is among the most powerful positions at City Hall. But the city's gone to great lengths to keep this selection process secret. 

It's declined to name the candidates, and council members appear to have gone to great lengths to conceal their identities.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A new island has risen up near the boardwalk on the south shore of Lady Bird Lake. I noticed it on a recent jog, and I’m not the only one.

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