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

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County and the City of Austin say they’re monitoring the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, and collaborating daily with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

If you're from Austin, voting in a grocery store probably feels like a normal thing. But to those who are newer to town, it's unusual.

The Zilker Zephyr is a miniature train that ran through Zilker Park.
Jimmy Maas / KUT

The Austin City Council voted to move ahead with a plan to get the Zilker mini-train up and running sooner rather than later. Instead of going through its typical procurement process — which would mean a new train operator would be more than a year away — the Parks and Recreation Department is turning to Austin Parks Foundation.

The set of a debate at KVUE for candidates running for the Democratic nomination for Senate.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Eleven of the 12 Democratic candidates for U.S. Senate in Texas debated Tuesday night – the first day of early voting in the March 3 primary.  

A recent University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll shows MJ Hegar is outpacing the crowded field, but the real polling begins today with voters.

Flyers about new housing for sale in the Holly neighborhood of East Austin.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Travis County Appraisal District's decision to not issue new property value appraisals this year could have long-term consequences for schools and other tax-funded services.   

UT Austin campus
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation is donating $100 million to UT Austin to support students from lower-income families.

The money, which will be granted over 10 years, is the largest donation the university has ever received that will go directly to students.

Atari/GSD Group

Atari plans to open a video game-themed hotel in Austin.  

The company announced Monday it had partnered with Napoleon Smith III, the producer of the recent Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle movies, and GSD Group, a branding and strategy firm, to open theme hotels in eight cities.

Jeremiah the Innocent and Friends in Zilker Park at the Austin Central Library.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Today is Hi, How Are You Day in Austin. The day was inspired by the late artist and musician Daniel Johnston to raise awareness of mental health issues. Johnston painted the iconic "Hi, How Are You" mural on 21st Street and Guadalupe. Today would have been his 59th birthday.

Construction in downtown Austin
Julia Reihs / KUT

The Texas economy kept humming along in 2019, though at a slightly slower tempo than in the last few years. And while Austin will continue to grow in 2020, that growth will slow to what one economist calls a "more normal" rate of growth. 

The H-E-B at 2400 South Congress
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Big changes are ahead for H-E-B stores in South Austin next year. The company says it's investing $200 million to open three new stores. Meanwhile, three other locations are closing – two of them permanently.

Ascension

Pediatric neurosurgeon Tim George was one of those people driven to succeed in whatever their pursuit – even taking their hobbies to another level. He was competing in an auto endurance race at Sebring International Raceway in Florida when he died last month at 59.

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.

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