Stories by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Friday, June 18, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

TreeFolks’ carbon credit program taking root

When Tamara Stutz heard about a free tree-planting program at her neighbor’s house, she was sold. Coordinators from TreeFolks, an Austin-based nonprofit, had reached out to property owners in her neighborhood outside Manor offering to plant trees in an effort…

Tuesday, May 18, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

City waives permit fees for food charities

Effective immediately, City Council has voted to waive permit fees, fines and other charges for charitable feeding organizations like food banks and soup kitchens that distribute food to vulnerable populations and increase access to healthy foods in the community. The…

Friday, May 7, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

In push to raise funds, History Center makes a bid for formal partnership with the city

The Library Commission has postponed the decision to officially recognize the need for an agreement between the Austin History Center Association and the city of Austin. According to the proposed agreement from the association, the group would have a seat…

Wednesday, April 28, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Austin Pets Alive! provides neonatal care for kittens in kitten season

It’s kitten season, the time of year when the population of kittens explodes in communities across the country. Kitten season begins in the spring and peaks during the summer, lasting until the fall months. During this period, thousands of kittens are…

Monday, April 26, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Collaborative process yields innovative design for Williamson Creek greenway

The Environmental Commission has recommended conditional support of the Central Williamson Creek Greenway Vision Plan provided that the project reaches out to additional neighborhood associations and working groups and that the trails and improvements avoid areas marked as critical environmental…

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Environmental Commission recommends removal of two West Campus heritage trees

The Environmental Commission has recommended the conditional removal of two heritage trees from a property near UT Austin that is being developed as student housing. The 32-inch red oak, in “fair” condition, and a 25-inch pecan tree in poor condition…

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Commissions plan joint work group to address off-leash dogs 

The Parks and Recreation Board and the Animal Advisory Commission are expected to form a work group to address the growing issue of off-leash dogs in Austin. Both bodies have received complaints from Austin residents about off-leash dogs and noncompliant…

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Austin Animal Center offers free microchipping to help residents track their pets 

In an effort to educate and encourage Austin residents to get their pets microchipped, the Austin Animal Center will offer a free drive-up clinic to pet owners on April 10. The process involves implanting a microchip, a tiny electronic device…

Thursday, March 18, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Shelter logged record-setting number of animal distress calls during ‘snowmageddon’

The weeklong winter “snowmageddon” that stretched from February 16 to 21 also affected the city’s ability to respond to animal distress calls. Pounding sleet, icy roads and temperatures as low as 10 degrees in Austin made the roads dangerous for…

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Animal Advisory Commission recommends adopting ordinance to close bull hook loophole

The Animal Advisory Commission has made a unanimous recommendation to City Council to amend the city code in order to close a loophole created by the bull hook ban. “We are confident that enacting (the ordinance) accomplishes the most good…

Tuesday, March 9, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

City’s efforts to educate seniors about reducing property tax delayed

The city of Austin has been working on finding ways to educate seniors about opportunities to reduce their property tax. The city is also developing a volunteer program that would allow seniors to offset a portion of the tax. But…

Friday, February 26, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Conservation groups promote ‘Lights Out’ to protect migrating birds

A coalition of organizations is working to promote a program to protect migrating birds as they pass through Austin this spring. Travis Audubon, Texan by Nature, Defenders of Wildlife, the Austin Office of Sustainability, Balcones Canyonlands Preserve, Audubon Texas, and…

Tuesday, February 16, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Austin ISD votes to switch mental health provider

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees has voted unanimously to switch the school district’s campus mental health provider to Gramercy Specialty Clinic.  The current partner, Vida Clinic, has begun to transition out. In order to ensure that services continue without disruption, Gramercy…

Monday, February 8, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Austin ISD Board of Trustees postpones vote on real estate consulting services

Four Austin ISD school closures in one year has left parents worried about the district’s renewed interest in seeking real estate consulting services for its properties. Fearing more closures, concerned parents called in to ask for postponement of the vote…

Friday, January 22, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Reimagining Public Safety task force asks for hold on cadet classes

A public meeting of the task force for Reimagining Public Safety reviewed a report Wednesday about the presence of racial and gender bias and the use of unnecessary force in training cadets at the Austin Police Academy. The task force…

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Ann Kitchen: Building better solutions

Council Member Ann Kitchen has spent the year juggling difficult decisions – about the Covid-19 pandemic, reallocating police funds, finding solutions for homelessness, improving mobility and preserving the arts. “Covid has highlighted disparities in our community and highlighted problems that…

Monday, January 4, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Natasha Harper-Madison: Creating a more equitable city

“Greetings!” Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison’s phone voice message said, “I look forward to connecting with you.” Harper-Madison represents District 1, which includes Northeast, East Central and far East Austin. The Council member has been hard at work, sometimes even on…

Monday, January 4, 2021 by Sumaiya Malik, Reporting Texas

Delia Garza is on the move

Delia Garza is blazing a trail of firsts: first Latina on Austin City Council; first Latina mayor pro tem; and soon, the first Latina Travis County Attorney. “I stand on the shoulders of other Latinas,” Garza noted. “There were four…

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