News, events, and entertainment happening in and around Austin and the Central Texas counties of Travis, Hays, Caldwell, Bastrop and Williamson

Nathan Bernier / KUT

The City of Austin and the Austin police union have reached a tentative agreement for a new labor contract.

The agreement reached last night would give officers a pay raise and allow the city to expand its efforts on civilian-led police oversight. During negotiations Thursday, Austin Police Association attorney Ron DeLord expressed frustration with the process, calling it “theater.”

Gabriel C. Pérez

Most mornings, Dave Sullivan bikes from his house in Clarksville to the University of Texas. He then hops on an express bus to his job as a researcher at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus.

During the election season, his daily commute served as a sort of poll of voters – albeit, with a miniscule sample size.

Tight District 8 Race Headed To Runoff To Fill Troxclair's Seat

Nov 7, 2018
Montinique Monroe for KUT

The District 8 City Council seat is headed for a Dec. 11 runoff between newcomers Paige Ellis and Frank Ward.

Ellis and Ward won the top two spots in a four-person race for the open Southwest Austin seat. Council Member Ellen Troxclair opted not to run for the seat she narrowly won in 2014. Candidates Bobby Levinski and Rich DePalma came in third and fourth, respectively, in the race that saw less than 10 percentage points separate the top and bottom vote-getters.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Kathie Tovo will serve her third term on the Austin City Council after winning a relatively easy victory over three opponents Tuesday, finishing with almost 53 percent of the vote. Her closest challenger, Danielle Skidmore, garnered almost 32 percent of the vote, with two other candidates each winning less than 10 percent.

Eddie Gaspar for KUT

Steve Adler won re-election as Austin mayor in a landslide victory Tuesday and will serve another four years in office as voters came out in record numbers in Travis County.

Adler earned 59 percent of the vote and overpowered his biggest challenger, former Austin City Council Member Laura Morrison, and five other candidates.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has won re-election in Texas, fending off a tough challenge from Democrat Beto O'Rourke.

"Texas came together behind a common-sense agenda of low taxes, low regulation and lots and lots of jobs," Cruz told supporters at an election night watch party in Houston. "[It was about] securing the border and keeping our communities safe, defending the Constitution and the Bill of Rights."

PHOTOS | Scenes From The Cruz And O'Rourke Election Night Watch Parties

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It's Election Day — and before you head to the polls (if you haven't already during early voting), make sure you know your rights as a voter.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Turnout was strong across Texas during early voting, far surpassing participation in the 2014 midterms. That momentum continued on Election Day. Nearly 100,000 people in Travis County cast ballots today. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Former Austin City Council member Laura Morrison is challenging Mayor Steve Adler this Election Day. Both candidates talked with KUT about why they are running and where they stand on some pressing issues in Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Turnout was strong during early voting in Texas — more than 47 percent of registered voters in Travis County have already cast ballots.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

A municipal court on Friday ruled in favor of Austin's ban against camping in public places.

In his decision, Municipal Judge Mitchell Solomon sided with the city in the case of Gary Bowens, an Austinite who has multiple citations for camping in public, a Class C misdemeanor that his attorneys and homelessness advocates say targets homeless people unfairly.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It took two years and millions of dollars, but thousands of sexual assault evidence kits collected in Austin and stuck in backlog have finally been tested.

The Austin Police Department confirmed it completed the testing in late September.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Take all the people who live in New York City. Multiply that by two, and you'll get the number of passengers who are expected to travel through Austin's airport this year: 16 million.

IndyAustin screengrab

One of Austin’s more prolific political action committees has apologized after releasing a video ad featuring Pepe the Frog, a cartoon frog used by anti-Semitic and alt-right groups.

Audrey McGlinchy / KUT

Update: Austin's boil-water notice has been lifted. Find out more here.

Original story:

Austin Water officials say the water utility is on track to end its boil-water notice by Sunday evening at the latest.

Nadia Hamdan / KUT

Ever since Austin issued an order to boil water, many residents have wondered how long it'll be before the city has clean drinking water. That's a question the Gazelle Foundation has been asking for years – just not about Austin.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A Californian who attempted a 2016 presidential run. A staffing and finance company with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Seattle and Denver. Men in California and New Jersey. These are some of the funders of political action committees behind two local ballot initiatives – Propositions J and K.

Salvador Castro for KUT

Austin Water officials say they hope to call off the citywide notice to boil water by Sunday.

"We're hopeful that Sunday we can get there, and that's what we're targeting," Ginny Guerrero, Austin Water's public information officer, told KUT.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

As the old saying goes, “You don’t miss your water till your well runs dry.”

But rather than sit around missing your water, it may be wiser to ask some simple questions: “Why did the well run dry?” “How did the well work in the first place?”

Julia Reihs / KUT

After a day of uncertainty, Austin officials say the city's boil-water notice could be lifted as soon as this weekend.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

In the weeks after a series of vandalisms at the North Austin Muslim Community Center, Imam Islam Mossaad says prayer services have continued as usual, but the mosque has stepped up security.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

If you’re tired of hearing about the faceoff between Sen. Ted Cruz and Congressman Beto O’Rourke, maybe it’s time to turn your attention to local elections, like the mayor’s race.

Mayor Steve Adler is fighting to retain his seat against six challengers, most of whom are political newcomers with some wild ideas – including building a dome around Austin to keep out “foreigners and California refugees.” (Uber would pay for it.)

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Over the past few days we've been hearing a lot about the Highland Lakes and the system of dams in the area. As all of that water makes its way down the Colorado River, we thought this would be a good time to get an explanation of exactly how that system works.

So we asked KUT's Mose Buchele.

Austin Fire Department via Twitter

Lake Travis, now 146 percent full, is being closely watched by officials deciding whether to open more floodgates on Mansfield Dam. If Lake Travis is forecast to rise to 710 feet, the Lower Colorado River Authority would have to consider increasing the flow of water downstream, raising the risk of flooding including along the shores of Lady Bird Lake in Austin. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin voters will be asked to consider a lengthy ballot this November. There’s the showdown between Beto O’Rourke and Ted Cruz, six City Council elections and a list of 11 local propositions.

Let’s skip past Propositions A through I (you can read about them here), and get into Proposition J.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

At face value, Proposition K seems pretty milquetoast. It's about auditing. Not a dollars-and-cents, scream-into-the-void-while-hoping-you-don't-go-to-federal-prison-for-tax-fraud kind of audit. It's, seemingly, about efficiency, about how well city departments function and where the proverbial fat could be trimmed.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt issued a local disaster declaration Thursday after flooding damaged properties along Highland Lakes.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Lindsay Nakashima has lived in her East Austin home for about five years. As far as she knows, hers is the only house around that came with a basement. Nakashima says a previous owner dug out the space so he could park his car under the house.

Waylon Cunningham for The Texas Tribune

Saying that the city of Austin's paid sick leave ordinance would "undermine state sovereignty and upend constitutional structure," an attorney for the state of Texas joined lawyers for a conservative think tank on Wednesday in urging a state appeals court to uphold a temporary order blocking the ordinance from going into effect.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin officials say they’ve received more applications than expected for a newly developed program to level the playing field for groups seeking money for quality-of-life initiatives.