Austin

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

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Williamson County voters will decide next month whether to invest $447 million into one of Texas’ fastest growing counties.

A man sits in a homeless encampment outside the Salvation Army downtown.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley said police are going to retool how they enforce laws that prohibit obstruction of sidewalks and public spaces and that he has asked the city to revert back to old rules on homelessness while it considers revising ordinances passed in June.

Early voters gather outside of the Flawn Academic Center on the UT Austin campus to vote on the first day of early voting for the 2018 midterm elections.
Salvador Castro for KUT

Travis County has more registered voters than ever before. The Travis County Tax Office said this week that 93.5% of all eligible voters — more than 800,000 people — have registered ahead of the November election.

Barton Springs Pool on Sept. 28, 2016.
Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

With unseasonably hot temperatures in Austin this fall, it’s a great time to take a swim in the city’s premier swimming hole.

Barton Springs Pool is a constant 70 degrees, more than cool enough to help you chill out no matter how hot it is outside. But that’s also chilly enough to make it kind of uncomfortable to get into at first. That led Susan Somers-Willett to ask our ATXplained project this question:

What’s the best way to enter the icy waters of Barton Springs?

Julia Reihs / KUT

Gov. Greg Abbott says he's prepared to "unleash the full authority of every state agency" if Austin doesn't address issues surrounding homelessness by Nov. 1. 

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.

The Austin Resource Center for the Homeless
Martin do Nascimento / KUT

Starting today, Austin’s homeless shelter is officially a housing-focused shelter, shifting its resources to longer-term efforts and less on day-to-day emergency shelter operations.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The City of Austin’s new fiscal year starts Oct. 1, and with it comes new city fees. That can mean anything from what it costs to swim at Barton Springs Pool to the fees associated with construction permits.

Julia Reihs / KUT

The Census Bureau released the latest batch of data from its American Communities Survey last week. The survey offers a glimpse into economic indicators, demographic shifts and population numbers.

It's a lot.

Here are a few items that stood out. 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Manchaca Road is no more.

A judge has dismissed a lawsuit that sought to block the City of Austin from changing the name of the South Austin road to honor a Texas revolutionary.

A homeless encampment near the Salvation Army downtown.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Mayor Steve Adler says the Austin City Council doesn't necessarily need to revise rules passed in June that effectively legalized camping, siting and lying down in public.

Toxic algae found at Red Bud Isle
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Blooms of blue-green algae on Lady Bird Lake persist, city officials said Wednesday.

After a brief decline in the neurotoxin-laden algae at Red Bud Isle, the Austin Watershed Department says, another swath of algae is covering as much as a quarter of the surface.

Casa Marianella in East Austin
Julia Reihs / KUT

For many people seeking asylum or citizenship in the U.S., getting here is just the start. Then there’s often the long legal work that needs to be done to stay in the country. For some families, there’s also the need for shelter.

Pu Ying Huang for KUT

The Austin City Council on Friday declined to revise rules passed in June that rolled back ordinances that banned camping, sitting or lying down in public. Council members may take up the measures again next month.

Willie and Earlene Williams
Julia Reihs / KUT

One wall in Earlene and Willie Williams’ living room in Southeast Austin is covered almost entirely with family photos – something that’s easy to do when you have 11 kids, 14 grandkids and more than two dozen great-grandchildren.

“Matter of fact, I had so many pictures I couldn’t even put them up on the wall,” said Earlene, 73.

UT Austin students hold signs in support of sexual assault survivors.
Salvador Castro for KUT

The City of Austin will pay a Washington, D.C.-based research firm up to $800,000 to evaluate how Austin police officers investigate sexual assault cases. Last year, a string of reports revealed that the Austin Police Department had misclassified rape cases, raising questions about the integrity of these investigations.

Austin City Council members heard testimony on revisions to its homelessness rules ahead of an expected vote Friday that could reinstate restrictions on camping and resting in public.

Bertha Sadler Means Young Women's Leadership Academy is among the 12 schools AISD has proposed closing.
Julia Reihs / KUT

KUT hosted a live, one-hour conversation during Morning Edition about the Austin Independent School District's plan to consolidate schools. You can watch the conversation on Facebook or on this page below.

A tent and other belongings under an overpass.
Julia Reihs / KUT

City leaders have a new proposal to regulate behavior related to homelessness ahead of a possible City Council vote that could happen as soon as Wednesday.

Mose Buchele / KUT

A new report from a California-based market research firm finds that Austin ranks fifth in a list of cities facing the highest reconstruction costs due to potential wildfire damage.

Researchers with CoreLogic found that 53,984 Austin residents live within an area designated as having a high-to-extreme wildfire risk, representing the potential for roughly $16 billion in reconstruction costs.

Julia Reihs/KUT

A gap in internet access for Austin residents has shrunk, but a sense of mistrust over the internet’s privacy and security persists among those without access, according to a recent study by the City of Austin and the University of Texas’ Moody College of Communications.

 

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council approved a record $4.2 billion budget Tuesday, directing more money toward services for people who are homeless and to hire more police officers.

Danny Boura lives under an overpass at Ben White Boulevard.
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin City Council members have presented plans to roll back city laws passed in June that effectively allowed camping, sitting or lying down in public. Council members will consider the changes, which limit that behavior at specific locations, at their Sept. 19 meeting.

Austin Fire Department

Update at 12:28 p.m. Sunday: The Austin Fire Department tweeted that the brush fire was 90% contained. Crews were continuing to monitor the scene.

A homeless encampment under a bridge
Julia Reihs / KUT

Austin's third forum on homelessness this summer began with a benediction, of sorts, from moderator Jack Musselman: that all people are created in God's image, and that the forum, hosted by St. Edward's University, would be civil and comport to the university's Catholic mission.

The guy from InfoWars apparently wasn't there for that benediction.

Rep. Bill Flores joins several other Texas Republicans in Congress who are not running for re-election, including U.S. Reps. Kenny Marchant, Pete Olson, Mike Conaway, and Will Hurd.
Congressman Bill Flores

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Bill Flores announced Wednesday morning that he would not run for re-election in 2020 — making him the fifth Texas Republican to announce his retirement from Congress.

Mary Jackson
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

No matter how jet-lagged, or sweaty, Austin tourists may find themselves when they reach the Texas Capitol Visitors Center, they'll find a breath of fresh air waiting for them just inside its doors: Mary Jackson.

Julia Reihs / KUT

City officials released additional guidelines Friday on how to limit homeless encampments in Austin – including spatial limitations on sidewalks and along waterways. The memo from the city manager and the Homeless Strategy Office is meant to guide the Austin City Council as it rolls out a plan to limit resting and camping in public.

Image courtesy Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority

It was a long and winding road to the June 1, 2019, opening of State Highway 45 S. Many residents of southern Travis County were eager to have commuter traffic diverted from neighborhood roads, but environmental groups raised concerns about damage to water quality and wildlife.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Travis County is in the home stretch in its yearslong effort to establish a public defender office for low-income adult defendants. The Texas Indigent Defense Commission on Thursday OK'd a four-year grant to establish the office in the county – the largest jurisdiction in the country without such an office.

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