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Fully-Local • Non-Partisan • Public-Service Journalism
 

Stories by Cate Malek

Despite Austin’s crime lab meltdown, Texas is working to clear its DNA backlog

When Wendy Davis decided to find out how many untested rape kits there were in the state of Texas, she readily admits she had no idea what she was getting into. Davis, a former state senator, was first told that…

Austin's crime lab failure points to national crisis

The latest audit of the Austin Police Department’s crime lab would read as a comedy of errors, if the stakes weren’t so high. Some concerns in the report released last fall are simpler to fix – equipment failures or cross-contaminating…

The implosion of Austin's crime lab: A timeline

It has blindsided Austin’s criminal justice community. What started a year ago as a few concerns over an audit has spiraled into the permanent closure of the city’s crime lab and the firing of nearly all of its employees. The…

APD still years away from clearing DNA backlog

Austin’s Public Safety Commission gave mixed reviews to the Austin Police Department’s attempts to recover from the shutdown of its DNA lab and its backlog of thousands of untested rape kits. At its meeting on Monday, the commission responded favorably…

Elysium Park gets initial Council approval, despite neighborhood opposition

For those wondering why building affordable housing in Austin is going so slowly, the Elysium Park development has been a case study of many of the tensions City Council is facing in its attempts to keep low-income people from fleeing…

Human Rights Commission condemns Trump

Austin’s Human Rights Commission is pushing City Council to take the bold move of condemning the president of the United States and banning official use of his company’s products and services. At its meeting on Monday, the commission voted 8-2…

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Study reveals why some Austinites don't recycle

Austin has declared that it will be a zero-waste city by 2040. But lack of progress toward that goal over the last five years has prompted the city to call in a team of researchers to better understand why Austinites…

LCRA defends wind power divestment decision

The Lower Colorado River Authority is responding to pushback against its decision to end a $360 million contract to take power from the Papalote Creek Wind Farm. On Dec. 2, the LCRA sent out an email to its employees laying…

Human Rights Commission prepares to take on Trump and SB 92

Austin’s Human Rights Commission is testing how much influence city government can have at both the state and national levels this year. Members of the commission are proposing to take a strong stand against President-elect Donald Trump in January and…

City works to create more aggressive response to major floods

As Austin adjusts to the reality of major flooding on a regular basis, City Council is working to create a more comprehensive set of policies to respond to the damage caused by heavy rainstorms. Last year, Council created a Flood…

City investigates whether spay/neuter clinics are reaching the people who need them

The city of Sunset Valley is leading other Austin-area locations in taking advantage of free spay/neuter clinics – a surprise, since these clinics are usually used more heavily in poorer neighborhoods. City staff is working to better understand who is…

Broadstone 620 development limited by environmental risks

There are some limits to Austin’s breakneck expansion, and the developers of Broadstone 620 may have stumbled into them on Nov. 16. Austin’s Environmental Commission voted 7-2 not to recommend building a new wastewater system for the development because it…

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