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Recycled Reads keeps its lease, for now
The Austin Public Library’s Recycled Reads program will stay at its Burnet Road location for the time being. City Council approved the renewal of the program’s lease with a tight 5-5 vote, with Council Member Ann Kitchen off the dais. The lease can be negated after one year with a Council vote. It lasts seven years at $14,000 per month, up from the previous $8,000 per month rent set in 2008. Council discussed moving the program to city-owned land or finding partner nonprofits to shoulder some of the cost. The lease agreement will be evaluated at Council again in one year. Recycled Reads takes discarded books from the Austin library system and sells them at reduced prices ranging from 50 cents to $2. Recycled Reads manager Mindy Reed was awarded the Library Journal’s “Mover and Shaker” award earlier this month for pioneering the program.
A few good women retire from city service
Mayor Steve Adler honored two retiring Municipal Court employees Thursday who between them have nearly 60 years of service to the city. Olga Delgado, who is retiring after 13 years of service at Brackenridge Hospital and nearly 20 years at Municipal Court, most recently served as administrative specialist to the Municipal Court judges, where she was known for her gracious customer service. Cheryl BonHomme was also honored for 26 years of extraordinary public service to the people of Austin. Her colleagues say she was known as a tireless worker who dealt efficiently with every project. Delgado and BonHomme follow Municipal Court Clerk Rebecca Stark into retirement. Two weeks ago, Stark accepted her own distinguished service award after 15 years as director of Austin Municipal Court and a total of 36 years in government service. In 2008, she was the recipient of the Excellence Award, which is the highest honor awarded by the Texas Court Clerk’s Association for distinguished service and extraordinary achievement. Later in 2008, Stark was named Clerk of the Year by the Texas Municipal Courts Association for her professionalism and pursuit of excellence. She was the first person to receive both awards in the same year. Also retiring March 12 was Leslie Libby, Austin Energy's Solar Energy Services project manager. She had worked for the city for the past 23 years. Under her leadership, Austin Energy developed its solar rebate program, providing 2,100 customers with $32.5 million in solar incentives. Her friends and colleagues will gather for her retirement party at 6 p.m. today at Rising Sun Aikido, 1600 Stassney.
Austin solar installations spike in 2014
According to the Environment Texas Research & Policy Center, Austin is 17th in the nation in terms of total amount of solar power installed within city limits. In a news conference outside of City Hall on Thursday, the environmental advocacy group’s director Luke Metzger applauded Austin for jumping from 13 megawatts in 2013 to 21 megawatts at the end of last year — a 62 percent increase. “Austin is a star when it comes to solar power, and we hope that the new City Council will continue the policies to keep Austin shining,” Metzger said. Austin would likely be higher on the list, he added, if the measure included the 30 megawatt Webberville Solar Project located in the City of Manor. The organization’s new publication, Shining Cities: Harnessing the Benefits of Solar Energy in America, lists San Antonio in 7th place with 88 megawatts, Houston in 32nd place with 5 megawatts and Dallas in 45th with 2 megawatts.
Parking changes come to Zilker Park
Parks officials announced changes to the parking system at the Zilker Metropolitan Park on Thursday. The changes are an attempt to prevent traffic congestion on Barton Springs Road. Beginning this Saturday, there will be no entrance to the parking lot off Barton Springs Road on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Additionally, a $5 parking fee will apply on weekends, holidays and during special events from Saturday until Labor Day. A larger picture of the mapped traffic flow changes is available on the city website.
Latest Headlines for Sunday, March 29
The Austin Monitor has obtained a memo from City Manager Marc Ott that briefly details plans for Austin’s new Traffic Congestion Action Plan, or “Traffic CAP,” though officials delayed a planned news conference on the topic until today due to…
Without rules, they won’t name. That is what the Parks and Recreation Board decided Tuesday night when members considered an item to rename the Quick Start Tennis Courts on Johnny Morris Road. The board voted not to recommend the item,…
The Austin Police Department says it will enforce the city’s noise ordinance in the West Campus area during the University of Texas RoundUp festivities, scheduled for this weekend. RoundUp is a nationally known weekend of parties and live performances put…
City Council postponed action on vacating right of way on several streets in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood Thursday and sent questions about the development to Council Member Leslie Pool’s Open Space, Environment and Sustainability Committee. Pool had pulled the item…
Since City Council adopted a set of goals last year that will shape Austin’s future energy portfolio, most discussion has focused on how to fill a 500-megawatt power gap in the plan. This week, the focus shifted to a goal…
Speaking to a receptive audience at the Real Estate Council of Austin on Wednesday, Mayor Steve Adler said he and his colleagues intend to make sure that they fix problems in the city’s development and permitting process sooner rather than…
Transportation network companies such as Lyft and Uber have come a long way since they launched outside of Austin’s regulatory framework last May. Still, they have more distance to travel before they can be considered a permanent part of the…