Austin

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

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.

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.

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