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

Ellsworth Kelly's "Austin," a stone building with colored glass windows
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

An Austin-based foundation is giving UT Austin $10 million to bring new pieces of art to outdoor spaces on campus. 

The money from the Still Water Foundation will be split between the Blanton Museum of Art and the university’s College of Fine Arts program, Landmarks.

A coyote in the middle of a residential street.
Austin Animal Center

Even if you haven’t seen them yourself, you might have noticed a lot of coyote sightings reported around Austin on social media lately.

The top of the Independent in downtown Austin, as seen during the day.
Luis Perales for KUT

The top of the Independent (the Jenga tower, to many) has been the subject of debate since it was finished last year. Tonight, though, the building near the corner of West Avenue and Third Street will look a little different. 

Trucks move trash in the Austin Community Landfill off Highway 290.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing Thursday on a proposal to build a garbage transfer station in North Austin. The project is facing growing opposition from public officials, neighbors and environmental groups.

A homeless encampment near the ARCH in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council is hiring Matthew Doherty, former head of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, to help find solutions to homelessness here. Members approved his contract on a 10-1 vote Thursday – but not without some trepidation, as Doherty's eight-month contract could cost the city $95,000.

A neighborhood in North Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin on Wednesday revealed some models of what could be built under the proposed new land development code, the rules that dictate what can be built in the city and where.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of Austin is preparing for the first census to be conducted, at least partially, online. The every-10-year-count is used to allocate federal funds to states and determines how many seats a state gets in the U.S. House of Representatives.

A homeless encampment near the ARCH shelter in downtown Austin.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

As Austin seeks short-term housing for its homeless population, city staff say one option for an emergency shelter wouldn't come online for at least another two years.

Someone points to a section of a map showing proposed zoning in a draft of Austin's new land development code.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council released the second draft of its land development code Friday. It's the latest step in the city's more than half-decade-long attempt to update the rules that determine what can be built in the city and where.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Here’s a statement that will shock very few in Austin: The city is becoming increasingly harder for renters to afford.

That’s according to an annual report released Thursday by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Lights on top of a police cruiser
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

While the black population in Austin hovers around 8%, black people made up roughly 15% of people pulled over by police and 25% of people then arrested in 2018 – a disparity that has worsened since 2015.

The Zilker Zephyr is a miniature train that runs through Zilker Park. It has not been operating since May.
Zilker Zephyr Facebook

The company that runs the Zilker Zephyr, the miniature train that runs through Zilker Park, will stop operating the ride. But the Austin Parks and Recreation Department says they're looking for another company to run it.

The electronic book drop at the Austin Central Library.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin Library Commission is looking into eliminating overdue fees for all materials in the city’s public library system.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Residents with unwanted firearms and ammunition can turn them over to the Austin Police Department on Tuesday during the first of a series of no-questions-asked gun surrender programs.

“First and foremost, marijuana was not decriminalized,” Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said at a news conference Friday, a day after the City Council voted not to spend money on testing suspected marijuana except in high-priority felonies.

Marijuana and a lighter on a kitchen counter.
Julia Reihs / KUT

As law enforcement agencies in Texas figure out how to test suspected marijuana following the legalization of hemp in the state, the Austin City Council responded Thursday with its fix: a measure that effectively decriminalizes small amounts of pot.

An illustration of John Contreras outside his home on Rainey Street.
Hazel O'Neil for KUT

The house at 71 Rainey St. leans.

It bows to the left, toward Javelina, the bar next door where you can order a Psycho Chicken, a mezcal drink with honey and habanero. The house crouches beneath an awning of trees and a 30-story condo building across the street where luxury is “uncompromising.”

The owner of 71 Rainey was also “uncompromising” – until last year when being the last man on Rainey became too much.

KUT Weekend brings you some of our favorite stories from the KUT newsroom. Updated Fridays.

The shadow of a Martin Luther King Jr. statue posted on the University of Texas campus.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News / UT

Communities across Central Texas will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. starting this weekend. Here’s a list of local events honoring the civil rights icon.

Nasha Lee for KUT

Activists and a City Council member say they’ve heard claims of possible obstruction in the investigation into alleged racism and homophobia among the highest ranks of the Austin Police Department.

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.