Austin

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

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Part 2 of a three-part series

Mike Villegas was doing work around the house with his 12-year-old son on Christmas Eve 2016 when he noticed a police car parked outside.

“I knew immediately that this was not going to be good,” he said.

Pavel Mezihorak for KUT

In just over two weeks, more than half of all Capital Metro’s bus routes will be altered – and some will be eliminated

What's Up With The Odd-Looking Tower On 51st Street?

May 14, 2018
Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Anyone looking down while flying in or out of Austin has likely seen the odd tower with a bowl-shaped top and uneven paint job rising above the Mueller neighborhood.

The landmark puzzled KUT listener Ryan Ellerd Jones, so he asked about it for our ATXplained series.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

When you've lived for 112 years, there's not a lot someone can give you for your birthday that you haven't already received. That's why Richard Overton, America's oldest World War II veteran, is thinking big. 

"I want a million dollars if you're going to give it to me," he said Thursday from the front porch of his East Austin home.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

The Austin City Council passed a resolution today preventing the police department from selling used guns to the public.

Photo by Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT; image of the stair car courtesy of Netflix

This is joyous news.

Austinites get their own chance to be a hop-on Saturday when the Bluth family stair car rolls into town.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Residents of the Goodall Wooten dormitory say the building is closing after decades of providing affordable housing near the UT campus.

The Moody College of Communication at UT-Austin announced today that Patti C. Smith has been named interim general manager of KUT and KUTX Public Media.

She'll assume the role on May 14.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

A week ago interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley was tapped by City Manager Spencer Cronk as the sole finalist to be the city’s new permanent police chief, and now Cronk and the city are engaged in a public input process before possibly bringing on Manley full-time.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Watchdog groups in Austin say a plan to raise rents for millions of people who get federal housing assistance would hurt the area’s most vulnerable residents.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

When Leilah Abdennabi met Sirat Al-Nahi inside Kerbey Lane Café one morning in December 2015, she found her friend in tears.

While Abdennabi was parking at the Guadalupe Street restaurant, Al-Nahi heard an older white man who was also waiting for a table criticize her driving. "She should just go back to Saudi Arabia where she came from," he said.  

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Gilbert and Jane Rivera bought their home in the Rosewood neighborhood of East Austin in 1983 for $39,000. Seventeen years later, it was worth $79,000. Another 17 years later, it was worth over $500,000.

Montinique Monroe for KUT

Austin City Council members early this morning did not accept the changes asked for in a citizen-led petition that would have required all comprehensive zoning changes, including CodeNEXT, be put to a public vote. Now council must decide before Aug. 20 whether to put the petition on a November ballot.

Julia Reihs/KUT News

A man drove a rented van down a Toronto sidewalk Monday, killing 10 people. Last month, a bomber terrorized Austin with a series of apparently random attacks that killed two people and injured four. These and other incidents we hear about in the news can elicit a variety of emotional responses, including fear.

Lynda Gonzalez for KUT

Update: The Austin City Council approved ECHO's Action Plan to End Homelessness at its April 26 meeting.

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The original story follows.

The number of people in Austin who are homeless has increased by 5 percent since 2017, new figures show.

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) reports there are 2,147 people of all ages living on Austin's streets, up from 2,036 in 2017.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

David Jones has been renting his apartment in North Austin for four years. He's grown an impressive herb garden on his front porch: Rows of parsley, oregano and thyme line one side. He’s a veteran on a fixed income, and his housing story hasn’t been an easy one.

“In 1999, I was renting a house here in Austin,” Jones said. “I came home on a Friday evening, and there was a notice to vacate – eviction notice – on my door. I panicked, and I moved all my stuff by that Monday.”

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This post has been updated.

The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to rename two streets that had been named for Confederate figures.

Robert E. Lee Road will become Azie Morton Road, after the Austin resident and first African-American U.S. treasurer. Jeff Davis Avenue will be renamed for William Holland, who was born into slavery and became a Travis County commissioner in the late 19th century. He was integral in establishing a school in Austin for disabled children of color.

Gabriel C. Pérez/KUT

In the median of Highway 183 near the Austin airport, there’s a scraggly patch of mesquite trees. The grass around it is overgrown. In the shade of those trees is the final resting place of at least six people — buried more than a 100 years ago. The historical marker at the little graveyard says it’s the Davidson-Littlepage Cemetery.

Now, as the cars zoom by within feet of the graves, a massive construction project looms nearby.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

An Austin-based conservative think tank has sued the city over its paid sick leave ordinance. The ordinance, which goes into effect Oct. 1, requires all private businesses to provide anywhere from six to eight paid sick days for employees.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Today is the last day to register before the primary runoff elections on May 22. If you’re not registered, don’t worry: There’s still time to send off your application before the deadline.

Gabriel C. Perez / KUT

Thousands of Austin students walked out of class today and marched to the state Capitol to participate in a nationwide call for action on gun violence.

Anthony Albright via Flickr

If you live in Austin, chances are your gas bill is going up. That’s because Texas Gas Service, the utility that supplies most of the city with gas, is raising rates. The company has done it every year since 2011, and some people think the process by which rates have risen needs an overhaul.

Julia Reihs / KUT

You can't not notice the trees that line the paths on Austin's many hike and bike trails. But have you ever noticed a fair amount of them are numbered? They're on small metal tags nailed to the trunks.

Writer Will Neely noticed them while he was running along the Butler Hike and Bike Trail, so he asked about it for our ATXplained project, a series where KUT answers questions about life in Austin.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

When Lewis Conway Jr. was released from prison in 2000 after serving time for manslaughter, the state required him to wear an electronic monitoring device. But nothing fit his ankles.

“So they put the electronic monitor on my wrist,” said Conway, who works on criminal justice issues for the nonprofit Grassroots Leadership. “It was about the size of a baby car on my wrist.”

Gabriel C. Pérez

A fund created to preserve affordable apartments in Austin has raised enough money to begin buying properties.

Affordable Central Texas is the nonprofit behind the Austin Housing Conservancy fund. President and CEO David Steinwedell says the goal is to buy 1,000 housing units over the next year.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Interim Austin Police Chief Brian Manley is on Capitol Hill this morning, testifying before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee as part of a hearing about local, state and federal law enforcement responses to major events from the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing to the 2018 Austin Bombings.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Austin is a place that not only prides itself on bars and festivals, but also on its wildlife. While bats and salamanders have long enjoyed a certain ecological cache, lately the great tailed grackle has become a controversial contender for unofficial city mascot. Still, it flies in a strange borderland between love and hate.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

What kind of job did the media do covering the Austin serial bombings earlier this year? That depends on which media you are talking about.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

It’s not unusual for local governments to help facilitate the nationwide census. But in Austin, those efforts are likely to be ramped up ahead of the 2020 census because of concerns of potential undercounting.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Jumping the gun works, it seems.

While city staff were devising a pilot program to govern dockless bikes and scooters, expecting to bring a proposal to council members in June, two companies dropped their electric scooters throughout the city. Now the Austin Transportation Department has proposed fast-tracking approval of the pilot program.

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