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. 

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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.

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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.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Texas’ oil and gas industry is seeing a boom — thanks in large part to the relatively new oil-drilling method called fracking. Late last year, Texas oil helped push the country to become the largest producer of crude in the world. Around the same time, however, the boom came to an end for one town in the Hill Country.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Way before the prospect of professional soccer in Austin, the tract of land near Burnet Road and Braker Lane where a stadium is planned was sort of an anything-goes, edge-of-town industrial area.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Major League Soccer is officially coming to Austin.

"Austin is a perfect fit for Major League Soccer and Major League Soccer is a perfect fit for the city of Austin," MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced at an event today.

Precourt Sports Ventures

The City of Austin received a petition Thursday essentially seeking to bring the Major League Soccer stadium deal to a public vote.  

Courtesy of UT/Gensler

The University of Texas Board of Regents on Thursday officially approved a new arena for UT Austin. The new building will replace the 41-year-old Frank Erwin Center. 

Regents also named Matthew McConaughey the "Minister of Culture" for the arena.

Gensler/Precourt Sports Ventures

Precourt Sports Ventures signed a lease with the City of Austin today for 24 acres in North Austin to build a Major League Soccer stadium.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Williamson County Commissioners on Tuesday approved an incentive package for Apple to develop 133 acres of ranch land into an office complex.

Apple announced plans last week to invest $1 billion to build a third complex in the Austin area; this would be the first in Williamson County.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Last week in Waco, two teams met to play for the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools’ (TAPPS) six-man football division final. The paths they took to get there couldn't be more different.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Dockless electric scooters have been for rent on Austin streets legally since May. Love them or hate them, they present some interesting legal questions for city officials, police and insurance companies.


Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

After more than a year of lists and speculation, Austin's bid to secure Amazon's second headquarters is over. According to NPR, Austin joins a long list of more than 230 cities that competed in the race for an unheard-of prize: the promise of 50,000 jobs from the ecommerce juggernaut.

That prize has now been split in two – between Arlington, Va., and a neighborhood just across the East River from Manhattan. So what’s to come for Austin and the scores of other cities that didn't get a call from Amazon?

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

It appears the end is near for Amazon’s search for a location for a second headquarters.

The Wall Street Journal reported today that the company has changed its initial plans and will select two cities for what would reportedly be – in effect –  two HQ2s. The new plan would mean an even split of the planned 50,000 employees to two locations. The Journal reported the finalists are New York, Dallas and Crystal City, Va. (which is part of the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington).

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon

The Autism Society of Texas will roll out the red carpet this weekend for what Jacquie Benestante says is a peek behind the curtain of everyday life for families of people on the autism spectrum.

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