Hays County

Early voting runs until Oct. 30 in Texas.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Hays County has about 150,000 registered voters who could participate in the 2020 general election. In addition to voting on the next president, Hays County voters have the chance to decide on a number of state and local races.

The Hays County Courthouse.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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If you live in Hays County, here are the races that could appear on your ballot in the 2020 general election. Residents of other counties can find their voter guides here.  

A Texas State student walks on campus at the start of the fall semester.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Active COVID-19 cases in Hays County are on a steady decline, but there’s one age group still seeing small spikes in cases.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Kyle City Council voted Tuesday to scrap plans to rename a 2-mile stretch of road that lies west of I-35 "Fajita Drive."

The name was meant to replace the road’s original name, Rebel Drive, as the city reexamines the memorialization of racist symbols. Fajita Drive was chosen as the new name last week to honor the late Juan Antonio “Sonny” Falcón, who was credited with introducing the first fajita in Kyle during the 1960s.

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Galveston residents fleeing the path of Hurricane Laura are being bused to Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. From there, they’ll be placed in local hotels until it’s safe to go back to the Gulf Coast.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

College towns across the country could face major losses in population and revenue if students don’t return to campus this fall, a new study finds. One of the most at-risk towns? San Marcos.

A water tower in Buda
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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After decades of representing Hays High School in Buda, the rebel mascot will retire.

The Hays Consolidated Independent School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously Thursday to discontinue its use. At a special meeting, many board members said it was "impossible" to separate the mascot from its racist history.

The Hays County Historic Courthouse
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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El condado de Hays implementará un programa de “Citar y Eludir” a partir del 1 de septiembre, anunció este miércoles la oficina del sheriff.

La decisión de seguir adelante con el programa llega después de más de un año de discusión.

The Hays County Historic Courthouse
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Hays County will implement a cite and divert program starting Sept. 1, the sheriff's office announced Wednesday.  

The decision to move forward with the program comes after more than a year of discussion.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Deana Piñales works as a postpartum doula when she’s not teaching children at the San Marcos Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Church. She jokingly calls herself a “jane-of-all-trades,” because of her varying interests, and says she tries to stay involved in the community as much as possible through her 9-year-old son. 

A sign at a protest reads "End Police Brutality"
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The City of San Marcos is promising to do more to address calls for an end to police brutality and systemic racism within law enforcement.

At a special meeting Thursday, council members passed a series of resolutions to address reform on a local and national level.

A face mask hangs from the rearview mirror of a parked car during the coronavirus pandemic.
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

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Travis and Hays counties are following the footsteps of other local governments in Texas and directing businesses to develop safety policies that require employees and customers wear masks. 

A person tosses a tube onto a pile.
Lorena Peña for KUTX

The recent spike in positive coronavirus cases is largely being fueled by 20-somethings in the San Marcos area, Hays County health officials say.

In particular, officials point to the many young people who recently have attended large gatherings, such as the police violence protests, or who have floated in local rivers.

Texas State University
Texas State University

Texas State University is moving forward with plans to have students back on campus for summer classes that start July 6. But as the number of COVID-19 cases in the county grows, many students are concerned about going back to school.

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

A number of seats in Hays County are up for election this year, including district judges, county commissioners and county sheriff. 

Salvador Castro for KUT

If you live in Hays County, here are all the races that might appear on your ballot for either the Democratic or Republican primary. Put your address into the tool below to find out which Congressional, state legislative and State Board of Education districts you're in, then scroll down to find the candidates in those races.

If you don't find your districts listed below, that means they're not up for election in 2020. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk. 

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

Hays County is conducting its first census of the county’s homeless community Thursday. The so-called point-in-time count is a tally of people experiencing homelessness – both sheltered and unsheltered – at a single time.

Mikala Compton for The Texas Tribune

As the dust continues to settle after last week’s election, Hays County has been left to grapple with a bit of a political identity crisis: Is it red or blue?

“The burdens imposed by closing the on-campus early voting location fall particularly and disproportionately on the county’s young voters, who are significantly more likely to live on or near campus and are less likely to have easy, immediate access to reliable transportation to vote off-campus,” Beth Stevens, the Texas Civil Right's Project's voting rights legal director, wrote.

Jimmy Maas / KUT

It's not uncommon for cities, states – even countries – to highlight their workforce, investment opportunities, or visitor and tourism offerings at South By Southwest.

There are booths for places like Mexico, Ireland ... and Bastrop.

Flickr/gigabit77

You've probably heard many reports on how expensive it is to live in Austin, but a new report finds that Hays County is one of the country's least affordable rental markets for millennials.

Most of the rivers and creeks engorged by Friday's heavy rainfall have reached their highest points and have started to recede. As they do, the residents of hard-hit places, like San Marcos, Bastrop County and Austin's Onion Creek neighborhood, are starting the process of cleaning up and assessing the damage. 

Though the rescue efforts are over, and many donation centers are no longer accepting donated material goods, there are still ways you can help, whether it's by donating money, or making yourself available to volunteer, or bringing in clean clothes for those who lost their belongings. If you're a resident looking for help removing damaged goods or receiving donations, there's information for you as well.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Update Monday: Another round of storms swept through a large part of Central and South Central Texas Monday afternoon, bringing inches of rain, hail, strong winds and some reports of tornadoes touching down.

For more in-depth information on conditions in Austin resulting from Monday's storms, visit our post here, listen to 90.5 FM, and/or follow @KUT on twitter.

Laura Rice/Texas Standard

About 60 percent of the water we use in Texas comes from aquifers – natural underground reservoirs that often aren’t easily replenished. In Hays County, aquifers have raised a critical question: Who has the right to draw from the Trinity Aquifer, how much they can draw – and can anyone stop them?

A private company based out of Houston – Electro Purification (EP) – plans to pump groundwater from around the city of Wimberley and pipe it to other thirsty communities. EP has contracts to pipe more than 5 million gallons of water a day from this part of the Trinity Aquifer through the year 2036.

CAMPO

Starting tomorrow, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization – better known as CAMPO – begins asking for the public’s ideas on a series of projects.

Some projects are being dropped, while others are being picked up for consideration. 

Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Hays County is looking for alternative groundwater supplies. An open Request for Proposals seeks to pipe in water from aquifers that could be tapped to supplement water from the Edwards and Trinity aquifers.

County Commissioner Ray Whisenant (R-Precinct 4) says the existing supply of water appears to be unsustainable with the county's current growth rate.

flickr.com/stuseeger

Hays County is growing so fast that it has to add more voting locations for the November election. “Because the 2010 Census showed a large increase in populations (about 60,000 people more) we are required by state law to have our main early voting site plus one site in each of our Commissioner Precincts,” Hays County Elections Administrator Joyce Cowan said in a statement. 

The voting sites also have to remain open for the entire two weeks of early voting, in addition to Election Day.

In the last presidential election, Hays County had only one main voting site.

Image courtesy Hays County Crime Stoppers

Authorities have released information on a brutal assault and attempted murder of a teen lured from an Austin bus stop, including a sketch of the suspect.

From Hays County Crime Stoppers:

On Thursday, March 15, 2012 at approximately 9:45am, a 17-year-old female was lured into a white vehicle in the area of 51st Street and Manor Road in Austin, Travis County, Texas.  At 11:45am, Hays County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to Highway 290 in the area of CR 165, west of Dripping Springs near the Blanco County border, where the victim had been found on the side of the road by a passing motorist.  The victim was transported to the hospital and treated for injuries she sustained during the incident.  The subsequent investigation revealed that the female victim had been physically and sexually assaulted.