Stories by Andrew Weber, KUT

Monday, August 24, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Here’s how to make sure your Austin ISD student has access to a laptop and high-speed internet

Parents, teachers and advocates worry online-only lesson plans could widen the digital divide and exacerbate educational equity issues in the Austin Independent School District. To try to prevent that, the district, which has roughly 81,000 students, is distributing Wi-Fi hotspots,…

Thursday, August 6, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin says group doesn’t have signatures to put homelessness ordinances on the ballot in November

Austin’s city clerk says a group seeking to reinstate the city’s bans on sitting, camping or lying down in public doesn’t have the requisite 20,000 signatures to force a referendum on Election Day. Save Austin Now, led by Travis County…

Thursday, July 30, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin will start renaming parks, streets, creeks and anything else that honors white supremacy

Austin will reexamine – and could ultimately change – the names of its streets, buildings, parks and creeks that venerate historical racism and the Confederacy. The decision Wednesday from the Austin City Council follows up on a 2018 report from…

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Group says it has enough signatures to put Austin’s homelessness ordinances on the November ballot

A GOP-backed group says it’s collected enough signatures to put a reversal of the city’s homeless ordinances on the ballot in November. Save Austin Now, a coalition led by longtime strategist and Travis County GOP Chair Matt Mackowiak, announced Monday…

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

District Attorney Margaret Moore concedes after José Garza’s commanding early lead

Incumbent District Attorney Margaret Moore has conceded after a commanding lead in early voting and mail-in votes in support of challenger José Garza. The Democratic primary runoff for the office pitted the embattled incumbent against a self-described progressive who says…

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin Public Health could push for more restrictions as Covid-19 hospitalizations surge

Austin surpassed a crucial threshold for Covid-19 hospitalizations Tuesday, which could signal possible restrictions on businesses and nonessential travel. The seven-day average of new Covid-19 hospital admissions hit an all-time high of nearly 75, according to numbers out Tuesday evening.…

Friday, May 29, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin leaders encourage peer pressure to get folks to wear face masks and avoid crowding spaces

Austin and Travis County officials are urging people to wear face coverings and to avoid large gatherings as the city and the state reopen for business. If that refrain sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve heard the song and it bears…

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin sees 10-year high in the number of people experiencing homelessness

The number of people experiencing homelessness in Austin hit a 10-year high in 2020, according to a new report. Data from the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition’s point-in-time count show that 2,506 people were homeless on the night of the annual…

Thursday, April 30, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Covid-19 is magnifying food insecurity – and the digital divide – in these Travis County ZIP codes

Children in 11 Central Texas ZIP codes are at high risk of food insecurity because of Covid-19, a new study finds. And the situation is further compounded by a lack of access to high-speed internet as they try to continue…

Monday, April 20, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin Recovery says it can’t afford to keep addiction treatment centers open because of Covid-19

Austin Recovery, a nonprofit that has provided substance abuse treatment in Central Texas since 1967,  is closing its doors because of the coronavirus. In a letter to staff last week, Austin Recovery board members said the organization’s existing funding gaps…

Tuesday, April 14, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Salvation Army’s downtown homeless shelter closes after positive tests; ARCH confirms first case

Salvation Army Austin’s downtown shelter was closed this weekend after 12 people tested positive for Covid-19. All 187 people staying at the shelter have been moved to a city-leased hotel. KUT has also confirmed the first case of Covid-19 at…

Tuesday, March 17, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Doctors, first responders see need for more resources – and distancing – before COVID-19 cases rise

As Central Texas prepares for an inevitable spike in COVID-19 diagnoses, medical professionals are calling on local officials to address unmet needs and implement tighter restrictions on public gatherings. In an open letter to officials Monday, nearly 200 doctors asked…

Friday, March 6, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin cancels SXSW amid COVID-19 concerns

South by Southwest is canceled. Mayor Steve Adler, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt and public health officials said the concerns surrounding COVID-19 were too great. “I’ve gone ahead and declared a local disaster in the city, and associated with that,…

Friday, March 6, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

White-nose syndrome has been found in Texas. Here’s what that means.

Texas’ first case of white-nose syndrome in bats has been confirmed. The fungus that causes the disease was first detected in Texas bats in 2017, but the disease itself, which has killed millions of bats on the East Coast, hadn’t…

Friday, February 28, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

With state approval, ATX Helps will take over the homeless campsite at U.S. 183

State officials agreed Thursday to lease state-owned land to an Austin nonprofit for $1 a month to house homeless Austinites, with the goal of ultimately building a shelter on the 6.7-acre tract. The approval from the Texas Transportation Commission will…

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Austin 911 operators effectively field calls, but audit finds gaps in dispatching overall

Operators field roughly a million calls for emergency services in Austin a year. A new city report says those operators do a serviceable job of answering that glut of calls, but found a disconnect between those calls and the delivery…

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Travis County hires law professor as its first-ever public defender

Travis County has hired University of Virginia law professor Adeola Ogunkeyede as the first person to lead its public defender office. Until last year, the county was the largest jurisdiction in the United States without an office to handle cases…

Friday, January 17, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

For the first time since 1999, someone in Travis County has rubella

Public health officials on Thursday morning confirmed the first case of rubella in Travis County since 1999. The confirmation comes roughly a month after the first diagnosis of measles, which was last seen in the Austin area in 1999, too.…

Friday, January 10, 2020 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Citing violence associated with homeless, Abbott asks DPS to patrol state-owned buildings in Austin

Gov. Greg Abbott has directed state troopers to increase patrols within two blocks of state buildings in Central Austin in the wake of two stabbings involving homeless Austinites since Friday. In a letter Thursday, Abbott directed the Texas Department of…

Tuesday, December 17, 2019 by Andrew Weber, KUT

Supreme Court passes on Boise camping ban case, opening up Austin’s rules to lawsuits

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to a ruling that found a ban against camping in public in Boise, Idaho, is unconstitutional. The case against Boise’s ban on camping inspired, in part, the city of Austin’s decision…

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