Jimmy Maas, KUT

Host and Reporter

I grew up in Austin and studied journalism at the University of Texas.  I began my radio career making fun of headlines on Austin sports and news-talk shows. I moved to New York City to be a comic. Found some pretty good "day jobs” managing a daily news radio show for the Wall Street Journal and later, producing business news for Bloomberg Television.  Now I bring you sports, business and oddball stories from around town, host afternoons and help with special projects. 

Ways to Connect

Artist rendering of the Moody Arena to be built on the UT campus.
Oak View Group/UT Austin

The new basketball and events arena at the University of Texas will be named the Moody Center, after a $130 million gift to the school from the Moody Foundation. It will replace the 42-year-old Frank Erwin Center.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austinites went to the polls Tuesday to vote on 10 amendments to the state constitution, as well as a Travis County proposition and two city measures.

Voters struck down Austin’s Proposition A, a petition-led ordinance that would have forced public votes on most future uses of city-owned land and made the organizations that lease those lands – frequently nonprofits – pay property taxes.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Expansion of the Austin Convention Center and the Travis County Expo Center could be on the line with two local ballot propositions this November. At the center of those two propositions is tax revenue from hotel stays – and how it's spent locally.

What started as a petition to block the forthcoming MLS stadium became something else entirely: a proposition that not even its initial backers support.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If this sounds like a one-sided story, it’s because it very well may be.

Dr. Ruben Pizarro in the broadcast booth
Ruben Pizarro TV Radio/Facebook

Ruben Pizarro has been calling the Texas–Oklahoma game for a quarter century. It wasn't a job he set out to do.

His sports broadcasting career began while he was in residency at a Monterrey medical school. 

The Austin Convention Center
Julia Reihs / KUT

There's an election this November. You'll have a slew of state constitutional propositions to decide on, but at the city level you'll have just two.

Here's what they'll do.

A Zilker Brewing Company employee sells state Rep. Eddie Rodriguez beer to go.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Texas’ “beer-to-go” law went into effect today, allowing the purchase of beer direct from breweries and taprooms.

State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez of Austin bought the first beer to go this morning at Zilker Brewing Company on East Sixth Street. 

The First Baptist Church in Refugio
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast two years ago Sunday. The Rev. T. Wayne Price remembers his lowest point – returning two days after the storm to the First Baptist Church of Refugio.

Screenshot via YouTube

Williamson County Commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to end an arrangement with the cable show "Live PD” after the District Attorney's Office requested raw video from the show be kept as evidence. The series follows law enforcement agencies in various locations around the county.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Report cards are out, and the Austin Independent School District received a preliminary grade of B for the 2018-19 school year from the Texas Education Agency. But the district also received failing grades at elementary and middle schools in the TEA's first-ever evaluation of individual schools.

A virtual image of the future Austin FC soccer stadium
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s soon-to-be Major League Soccer team is stepping up its marketing efforts with the launch of the Austin FC Experience Center. Prospective ticket buyers will get a front row seat to the $200 million-plus stadium that is yet to be built near the Domain.

Construction
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It’s expensive to live in the Austin area, but it could be worse.

According to a new report from Apartment List, Austin is one of the better markets at keeping up with housing demand. The report compares the number of jobs created with the number of homes built between 2008 and 2018. Austin sits at 1.3 jobs per new housing unit – right in the sweet spot for that ratio, according to Chris Salviati, the housing economist who wrote the report.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin’s Celis Brewery is scheduled to be auctioned off next week – unless the brewery receives bankruptcy protection.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Austin City Council voted 7-4 on Thursday to lease Butler Pitch and Putt golf course to Pecan Grove Partners, marking the end of the line for the Kinser family, who have run the course since construction began in the late 1940s.

Hazel O'Neil for KUT

Lyzz Donelson lives in a quiet neighborhood in Southwest Austin. Occasionally, she hears the rumble of a motorcycle with an unusual rider.

“He’s just this really interesting character that drives through our neighborhood periodically," she says, "and he’s wearing the most outrageous outfits."

Julia Reihs / KUT

An iconic Austin golf course could be changing management soon.

If the Austin City Council approves a recommendation from the Parks and Recreation Board, Butler Pitch and Putt may not have a Kinser running the clubhouse for the first time since it opened in 1950.

Kids swim in a pool.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

With the opening of the Walnut Creek and Mabel Davis pools over the weekend, all municipal pools in Austin are up and running for the summer. The city says it's waiting until smaller neighborhood pools are properly staffed before opening them, however.

YouTube

Robert F. Smith’s speech at Sunday’s Morehouse College graduation ceremony started like most. The billionaire entrepreneur and Austin resident extolled the virtues of hard work and the benefits of a college education, then the speech took a turn. 

“This is my class, 2019,” Smith said. "And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”

Julia Reihs / KUT

Property owners in and around Austin who want to protest their tax appraisal have until May 15 to do it. If you’re a little confused about how to launch an appeal once you get your appraisal in the mail, you’re not alone.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As homeowners in Travis, Williamson and Hays county receive their property tax appraisals this month, it should not come as a shock to see the appraised value of their homes has gone up. Home values have climbed consistently for a decade.

 Google has reportedly leased an entire 35-story, 735,000-square-foot building under construction on Cesar Chavez Street in downtown Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you were relieved by last year’s announcement that Amazon’s HQ2 would go elsewhere – along with its potential 50,000 employees over 15 years – know this: Expansion efforts by Amazon, Apple and Google could produce a near-equivalent wave of folks coming to Austin – and sooner than any HQ2.

Willy T. Ribbs is the first and one of only two black drivers in the history of Indy car racing. He lives in Driftwood and is now a professional skeet-shooter.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Outside of Austin, past the Hays County line in Driftwood, lives one of U.S. racing’s biggest pioneers. And he moved here for one of the more Texas-y of reasons.

Salvador Castro for KUT

Update: Spamarama will make its return this year, the event's co-founder says, on July 6 at Moontower Saloon in South Austin. 

Spam, the canned meat product, helped Allied soldiers win World War II and later helped baby boomers and their parents stretch that food budget a little further.

But Spam also served as the centerpiece of one of Austin’s odder and more popular festivals: Spamarama.

Courtesy of the filmmakers

For the better part of three decades, Joe Ables was on an island, surrounded by used car lots and some dilapidated apartments.

He says when he opened Saxon Pub on South Lamar, it had little competition. The only other music venues nearby were the Broken Spoke and the Horseshoe Lounge. But over the last 15 years, South Lamar has filled in. There are more apartments, restaurants and businesses – and most of those car lots are gone. The Saxon looked like it would be headed out, too.

Women attending DivInc Startup Sistas Happy Hour listen to CEO Preston James.
Juan Figueroa for KUT

Kim Roxie was a student when she first realized there was a problem.

“It was working at a makeup counter while I was in college and coming in contact with so many women who were tired of the way beauty was being done,” she says. “A lot of beige and not enough brown in the cosmetic department.”

Precourt Sports Ventures

Austinites will be asked in November if they want to vote on whether city land can be used for future stadiums and entertainment sites.

Jimmy Maas / KUT

The Circuit of the Americas could be out as much as $20 million in incentives from the governor’s office.

The office informed COTA officials they missed a critical filing date for a human-trafficking plan in advance of the Formula 1 race last October.

Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Texans would be able to take home beer directly from local breweries if a bipartisan bill before the Texas Legislature becomes law. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is enjoying a robust economy. The city boasts monthly job numbers that are at or near what economists consider full employment; that is, almost everyone who can work is working. But the tighter job market is putting the squeeze on restaurants.

Courtesy of UT Football

One of the first bills to make a splash this legislative session is one that would force the University of Texas and Texas A&M to renew their football rivalry. The bill likely would have stalled just after making headlines — as it has in other legislative sessions — but this time around it could be a little different.

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