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The Lead: Austin Apartments Booming, Recycling Expanding, Closing Out a Dry November

Happy Friday! The National Weather Service saysAustin’s in for patchy fog and higher than normal temperatures today. Here’s KUT News’ top stories:

“‘There’s no question that we are in a rapid development mode for apartments right now,’ said Charles Heimsath with Capitol Market Research, a real estate tracking firm in Austin.  ‘Condominium development has kind of taken a back seat to apartment development for the short run.’ So why is this happening? Well, for one, the apartment occupancy rate is high. Capitol Market Research says it’s at 97 percent in Austin right now and reports that rents downtown are twice as expensive as the city average.”

“The Keystone XL Pipeline, which will take oil from sand pits in Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast, is under construction across hundreds of miles of Texas land. And some of the residents who own that land are none too happy about it. For StateImpact Texas, Terrence Henry reports.”

“In the past, the Christmas Bureau has worked closely with Austin Police and the Travis County Sheriff to provide holiday meals and Christmas presents to needy kids and families. But Chief Art Acevedo says the Christmas Bureau has failed in its fundraising and holiday preparations, and may have acted improperly.  He’s promised an investigation.  Meanwhile, his department’s Blue Santa program will take over responsibility for collecting and distributing donations.”

“Tin foil and baking pans can now go in the blue single stream recycling containers for pickup. The materials collected from recycling bins are sorted, packaged and sold so they can be processed into new materials. ... But the city is trying to develop more local sources for processing recycled waste, says Austin Resource Recovery Director Bob Geddert.”

And here’s more Austin-centric stories:

  • Is This November Austin’s Driest on Record? (YNN)
“There's a very slim chance for drizzle or light rain at times this morning but, otherwise, it looks like this November will go down as one of Austin's driest with zero in the rain gauge.”

“Heyride was on the cover of The Austin Chronicle last week ("Going Places," Nov. 2012), but the legality of the service is in dispute. Hours after the Chronicle hit stands last Wednesday morning, the city of Austin issued a press release revealing that on Oct. 31, it had sent a cease-and-desist letter to the company's CEO, Joshua Huck. … While the cease-and-desist letter wasn't publicized until the press release was issued Nov. 21, part of the conversation between Huck and the Chronicle did include a discussion of the legal and permitting issues involving the service and its drivers.”

  • Judge Pays 2008 Traffic Fine; Arrest Warrant Voided (Statesman)
“Lawrence Meyers, a judge on the state’s highest criminal court, paid off a 2008 speeding ticket Thursday morning, bringing his long-running legal challenge to a swift close and prompting Austin Municipal Court to cancel a warrant for his arrest.”

  • APD Cadet Class to Graduate on Friday (KVUE)
“The Austin Police Department is welcoming 64 new officers to the force. The latest cadet class will graduate Friday evening. … The APD is now gearing up for its next cadet class. The City of Austin recently approved a budget granting the department funding to hire an additional 22 officers.”

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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