Austin Feldman

Intern for KUT News

Jillian Schantz Patrick for KUT News

Overnight lane closures on MoPac between Lady Bird Lake and Parmer Lane have begun. They'll last from now until the end of July as roadway designers begin a plan to add toll lanes.

The MoPac Improvement Project will expand the highway by adding one express lane in each direction.

flickr.com/gr8dnes

After three reports of smell pets being attacked in the last month, the City of Kyle Animal Control Department is asking pet owners to be extra cautious as the area's predators become more active.

Three attacks, occurring at night and the early morning within fenced in back yards, have left three pets dead in the Kyle area. The neighborhoods of Amberwood, Steeplechase, and The Trails are all involved.

whiteafrican via flickr

Update: Early voting ends today for the AISD bond election. 

Original post: Early voting starts today for the Austin Independent School District bond election.

Voters will make a decision on a $892 million bond for AISD. The bond is split into four parts and would go towards things such relieving overcrowded schoolsincreasing security, technology upgrades and more. You can view a sample ballot provided by the Travis County Clerk's Office listing each proposition.

Jeff Heimsath, KUT News

Update: President Barack Obama will visit Manor New Technology High School this Thursday during his trip to Central Texas. The Associated Press reports he'll also speak at Applied Materials in Austin.

Obama's visit is the first in a series of trips that will push for new models of economic growth. The President will look at which skills are driving America's economy.

The President will be speaking at Manor New Technology High School at 1:05 p.m. and Applied Materials at 4:30 p.m.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It’s the last day of regular classes for the spring semester at the University of Texas. And as it happens every last day of class on UT campus, some students are celebrating with Foam Sword Friday, helping students relieve stress before finals.

The campus tradition used to consist of students charging at one another from either side of Guadalupe Street in front of the University Co-Op. That is, until one student was hit by a bus last spring.

KUT News

In celebration of Bike Month, the University of Texas at Austin is hosting Bike to UT Day.

Those biking to UT today can stop by one of the many Bike to UT Day kiosks throughout campus between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. to pick up a complimentary light breakfast. From noon until 3 p.m. today, Gregory Plaza will be celebrating with free pizza, t-shirts, tote bags, bike lights, maps and even a keg of root beer.

Austin Feldman for KUT News

The Austin Police Department is launching the first phase of a bike safety initiative today.

As Austin’s bicycling community grows – two percent of commuters are getting to work by bike – so does the need for increased education and awareness. Especially after a record year of traffic deaths.

Travis County Sheriff's Office

District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg released a public apology on her website over the weekend.

She offers her "deepest regret and most sincere apology" for the April 12 drunk driving incident which led to her arrest and subsequent guilty plea. Lehmberg announced on her Facebook page that she had posted the letter, calling it the "only form of communication available to [her] at this time."

Daniel Reese for KUT News

A bill codifying and clarifying the roles and responsibilities of Texas' higher education governing boards, regents, systems and institutions has reached the Texas House of Representatives after passing the Senate.

House Rep. Don Branch, R-Dallas, gave his take on SB 15 to the Higher Education Committee.

Map Data @2013 Google

Update: Austin Police have identified the man killed by police last night as 54-year-old Herbert Babelay.

Original Story (April 24, 8:23 a.m.): Four Austin Police Officers involved in a fatal shooting last night are on paid administrative leave. The officers shot and killed a man who they say pointed a rifle at them.

It happened in southeast Austin – in the 700 block of Valdez. Police were called to that address at 8:40 p.m. on a report of a homicidal or suicidal man.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Students at West Independent School District, in West, Texas, returned to school today for the first time since the fertilizer plant explosion that killed fourteen people and wounded about 200 others.

Counselors and therapy dogs are on hand to support students struggling to deal with the aftermath of the blast.

flickr.com/alancleaver

Own some property in Travis County? Want to know how it's taxed?

Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler and Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Elfant are hosting a series of property tax forums.

The Travis County tax officials will present information about the appraisal process, exemptions and deferrals, payment plans and the deadlines that all those paying property tax should know. They will also be available to answer questions.

Mose Buchele, KUT News

The University of Texas Police Department is undergoing a review of its services. Assessors with the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) are examining all UTPD operations to determine whether the department deserves accreditation.

Accreditation isn't mandatory but is seen as a representation of public safety excellence.

KUT News

Some Texas lawmakers are looking to create an academic assessment tool to measure and compare the teaching abilities of the state’s public universities.

Today, members of the Senate Committee for Higher Education took up SB 436. The bill would make it a requirement for Texas universities to issue students a learning assessment before the first day of class, and during the last semester before graduation. The assessment would act as a tool to monitor student growth.

KUT News

The City of Austin is hosting a community meeting tonight to introduce the top eight applicants to serve on the Municipal Civil Service Commission.

The commission, approved in November by voters as Proposition 10, will propose personnel rules for most City of Austin employees. They will also make final decisions in the cases of city employees who are appealing disciplinary action such as being suspended or demoted.

flickr.com/kandyjaxx

The City of Austin is hosting its third annual Career Expo today at the Palmer Center.

The event will feature over one hundred employers and local agencies including  Austin Fire Department, Austin Independent School District, Dell, Time Warner Cable, Grande Communications and Whole Foods.

Last year more than 3,500 people attended the Career Expo that offers almost 2,000 job openings. 

KUT News

Three bills related to Gov. Rick Perry are getting a vetting today.

The Texas Senate is set to hear two bills scrutinizing the use of money from the Texas Enterprise Fund. The Texas Enterprise Fund is Perry’s economic development program that gives taxpayer money to private business. Some Austin recipients include Apple and Visa.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The City of Austin is known for its festivals. Last year, the city received 136 applications for street events.

The city says as the number of events continues to grow, the permitting process is getting more challenging. City officials want to hear from people about ways to streamline the process.

dannystrack.com

Austin’s best slam poets are taking the stage tonight at the Stateside Theatre for the Final Slam Off of 2013.

Austin’s ten best poets will compete to make the 2013 Austin Slam Team. The five-member team will represent Austin at the National Poetry Slam in Boston.

flickr.com/kellinahandbasket

Update: Classes resume today at McNeil High School in the Round Rock Independent School District. But students and staff won’t be able to use drinking fountains.

That’s because the area around the school remains under a boil water notice as Austin Water Utility is making repairs to a broken water main.

Classes at McNeil were canceled yesterday because water was shut off to the school. Water is now back up and running – but it’s not safe to drink.

KUT News

Update: Capital Metro says MetroRail service is back up and running as normal this morning – all the way from Leander to downtown Austin.

Derailed freight cars have been removed from the tracks.

Original Story (April 4, 2013): CapMetro has resumed MetroRail service to the MLK station from their Kramer, Howard and Leander Stations. Trains will run as schedule for the foreseeable future while buses will shuttle passengers between MLK and downtown.

Reddit user bfv13

Rain fell hard on Central Texas Tuesday evening and again last night. And, according to our weather partner, more is in the forecast. YNN reports there's a 50 percent chance for showers and storms later today.

The National Weather Service reports the 24-hour rain total was 2.88 inches at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. One of the highest reported totals was 5.03 inches at the Colorado River in Smithville.

You can check the precipitation report for the last 24 hours from the National Weather Service here.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The biggest Republicans in Texas stood side-by-side today and argued against expanding Texas Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said it doesn’t matter if the federal government has offered to cover the full cost of the expansion for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.

KUT News

There is one week left to apply for the five-member Municipal Civil Service Commission. It's part of Proposition 10 that Austin voters approved in November. It establishes a municipal service system for most city employees.

According to the City of Austin, the Municipal Civil Service Commission will help to establish certain personnel rules. The commission will then make final decisions on appeals of disciplinary actions by most City of Austin employees. The commission is expected to hear cases from city employees or are fired, demoted or denied a promotion.

flickr.com/rutlo

The Austin Police Department wants to curb aggressive driving on Interstate 35. Starting Sunday, March 17, APD and other law enforcement agencies will increase their operations along the I-35 corridor. The crackdown will continue until Saturday, March 23.

APD says they’ll be looking for those who speed, tailgate, pass emergency vehicles, and fail to signal or wear a seat belt.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin Water is still working with the fire department to extinguish an ongoing compost fire at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Plant.

The fire started at the waste management facility more than two weeks ago, on Monday, Feb. 25. While water utility officials have seen a reduction of smoke from the smoldering heaps – especially with help from a rainy weekend – the surrounding area still smells.

flickr.com/sonicpenguin

Kites will be flying high over Zilker Park as the Zilker Kite Festival returns to Austin this Sunday. This year marks the 85th edition of the festival—making it the oldest festival of its kind in the nation.

The festival was founded in 1929 by the Exchange Club of Austin and has been held at Zilker Park since it opened in 1936. The festival will last from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Austin Music People this week presented "The State of the Austin Music Industry" – a biennial white paper that looks at the economic and cultural impacts of what it means to be the “Live Music Capital of the World."

Austin Music People or "AMP" aims to promote the Austin music industry by bringing local leaders together with Austin music professionals to address the needs of both groups and to determine what can be done to foster the city’s rapid growth and thriving entertainment culture.

Ben Philpott, KUT News

Update: This morning, Jeb Bush had much to say on education reform and potential strategies Texas can use to ensure student achievement. His main point was, basically, if you want success, you have to fund it.

“A lesson we learned is put money behind the reforms and you’ll get better results," Bush said. "There’s enough money in the system. This whole argument that somehow we’re not funding schools adequately and I know it’s a big debate here. I would argue that maybe we should be funding the first things first. Put the priorities where you want to see the results and you’ll get a significantly better result.”

Jenn Hueting/Oceana

According to a new study from ocean conservation advocates Oceana, one-third of the nation’s seafood is mislabeled.

Oceana collected 1,200 seafood samples from 674 retail outlets in 21 states to determine if they were honestly labeled. Mislabeling occurred anywhere from 87 percent (red snapper) to seven percent  (salmon) depending on the kind of fish.

Pages