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

Construction in downtown Austin last year.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin and its suburbs should expect a strong year of new home sales – barring a recession, maybe even the biggest year yet.

Julia Reihs / KUT

Strong winds, severe thunderstorms, hail and a possible tornado could hit the Austin area this evening, according to the National Weather Service. A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for much of Central and South Texas until 10:15 p.m. 

It previously was until 10.

Gov. Greg Abbott
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott directed state troopers to increase patrols within two blocks of state buildings in Central Austin after two stabbings involving homeless Austinites since Friday.

John Langmore

John Langmore was advocating for denser urban development to counteract sprawl when a closer look at some of the impacts of that development got his attention.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin public health officials say there's no longer any risk of a measles outbreak associated with a Travis County case reported in December.

Late last month, Travis County recorded its first measles case in two decades. It stemmed from an individual who had traveled abroad. Austin Public Health says the incubation period, which lasts from 10 to 14 days, is now over and there have been no new cases.

A homeless encampment in downtown Austin.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Homelessness was a controversial issue in Austin in 2019 – here's a timeline of all the developments – and it's not going away any time soon. With that in mind, here's a look at some issues and initiatives to keep an eye on this year.

Mexican free-tailed bats emerge from under the Congress Avenue bridge.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

This has been a big year for our ATXplained project. We answered more than 20 audience questions about Austin's people, places and culture. Here's a look back at some of the most popular stories we produced so far. 

Kazak Journalists Look Into What Makes Austin Weird

Jan 6, 2020
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Things in Austin can seem pretty weird to someone visiting for the first time – particularly if you're from Kazakhstan, the former Soviet Union country located between Russia and China.  

Lead volunteer Rachael Pound speaks with a man experiencing homelessness, in a convenience store on South Congress Avenue.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Roughly 2,500 homeless people sleep in shelters or outdoors in Austin on a given night. That estimate comes from the "point-in-time" count, an annual citywide census of the homeless community. Cities and counties must do the count on a single night to get federal money to help combat homelessness and house people living on the streets.

Auditorium Shores

Austin's New Year's Eve festivities kick off tonight at 7:30 on the south shores of Lady Bird Lake. With street closures downtown and free public transportation options, here's what you need to know to get around smoothly.

The end of the year is here. With that in mind, we're taking a look back at some of our favorite photos from KUT's multimedia team.

Marsdan Harp was abducted from a southwest Travis County home Thursday afternoon. Anyone with information on his location should call 911.
via Travis County Sheriff's Office

UPDATE: The Travis County Sheriff's Office says 4-year-old Marsdan Harp has been found safe and returned to his father.

ORIGINAL STORY: A regional Amber Alert has been issued for 4-year-old Marsdan Ellis Harp, who was abducted from a southwest Travis County home by his mother, the sheriff's office said.

Sometimes, Austin's predictable. There are issues faced by this city and our neighbors that just won't go away – issues like expansion and growth and inequity. They're bedrock-issues in any city, sure. But, in Austin, 2019 cut to the quick, exposing that bedrock.

UT Austin student Malik Julien in his kitchen at Town Lake Apartments.
Michael Minasi / KUT

Malik Julien has a bedroom and bathroom all to himself. But that’s not what sold him on his apartment in the East Riverside neighborhood.

Christmas lights and a disco ball display on 37th Street.
Michael Minasi / KUT

The Christmas light displays on a small strip of 37th Street just off Guadalupe are anything but normal. If you’re heading out this year, you’ll likely find a volcano exploding with electric light in one front yard. You’ll also run into Baby Yoda, a pole-dancing Santa and at least a few aliens.

Larry D. Hodge / Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Zebra mussels are continuing to spread through Texas lakes.

Texas Parks and Wildlife said Thursday that both Granger Lake and Lake Marble Falls are infested with the invasive species. The mussels have infested 19 lakes in Texas since their first appearance in Lake Texoma in 2009.

Stickers that say "CodeNEXT wrecks Austin."
Julia Reihs / KUT

A group of homeowners is suing the City of Austin, asking it to recognize what they say is their right to challenge the rezoning of their land under the city's proposed new land code.

A map of the proposed land development code.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council took an initial vote Wednesday to finalize a new version of the city’s land development code, the rules determining what can be built across the city and where.

A row of houses in Austin.
Jon Shapley for KUT

An affordable housing advocate says the city's rewrite of the land development code would boost affordable housing, but there's room to do more.

An artist's rendering of a cross-section of the proposed bridge over Lady Bird Lake.
City of Austin

The City of Austin is one step closer to taking down the “last major barrier” on the Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. And, according to city street designer Nathan Wilkes, the idea came from the public.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council delayed a $7.8-million plan to buy and renovate a Montopolis-area hotel and retrofit it to house Austinites transitioning out of homelessness. Council members are expected to take up the proposal at a meeting in January.

The Austin Justice Coalition says the city should be careful not to rewrite the land code in a way that ends up incentivizing displacement.
Julia Reihs / KUT

The grassroots Austin Justice Coalition focuses primarily on criminal justice and related issues, but the impact of development and displacement on communities of color compelled the organization to get involved in the city's rewrite of its land development code.

Residents fill Austin City Hall.
Julia Reihs / KUT

More than 100 people sat in Austin City Hall chambers just past 10 a.m. on Saturday, gearing up to share their thoughts about the city’s rewrite of its land development code. Council Member Alison Alter, who represents part of Northwest Austin, took a photo from her seat on the dais and posted it to Twitter, writing: “This is what democracy looks like.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council will vote Monday on whether to spend $7.8 million to buy and renovate a hotel off Riverside Drive in East Austin to house homelessness Austinites. The property could house at least 71 people.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler sits in a KUT studio before an interview with KUT's Jennifer Stayton last year.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin City Council is moving closer to a vote on a comprehensive rewrite of the city's land development code, which regulates how we use land and build things in Austin. For years, there have been arguments and misunderstandings about just what those rules would mean for the city.

John Lawhon
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When Christine Hannon was getting married a few years ago, she found herself at her local post office on East Sixth Street a lot.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The City of Austin will conduct a department-wide investigation of discrimination in the Austin Police Department, following accusations of racism and homophobia among the highest ranks.

Spencer Selvidge for KUT

If you're feeling lazy and you're looking for booze this holiday season, you're in luck. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced Thursday it's going to allow third-party delivery of alcohol from restaurants, liquor stores and grocery stores.

Richard Overton's house in East Austin
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The home of Richard Overton, who was believed to be America's oldest World War II veteran before he died last year, will now be harder to alter or tear down after Austin City Council members deemed it historic Thursday.

A sign noting that public consumption of alcohol is forbidden.
Austin Price for KUT

Austin City Council wants the city manager to dig into the rules that determine where people can and cannot walk down the street with an open container of beer.