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

Stories by Willow Higgins

Waterways beginning to recover from Samsung acid waste spill

The tributary of Harris Branch Creek in Northeast Austin is beginning to recover from an acid waste spill that killed off the creek’s aquatic life. Samsung’s semiconductor facility discharged as much as 763,000 gallons of the acidic waste into its…

Utility commission ponders letting new developments shoulder rate increase

Austin’s Electric Utility Commission is thinking over some suggestions to offer to City Council about Austin Energy’s rate review, which as currently proposed would increase the utility’s base rate by 7.6 percent to make up for a $48 million deficit.…

Austin Animal Center faces questions about monthly update

Alongside shelters nationwide, the Austin Animal Center has been struggling with staffing shortages and soaring populations of shelter animals – a situation that was evident in the shelter’s monthly update to the Animal Advisory Commission. In April, a total of 1,067…

Dove Springs soon to have a comprehensive public health center

After years of work, the Dove Springs neighborhood will finally be getting a full-service public health facility. The project, which is funded by a 2018 bond measure, will be a central hub for the surrounding community, offering a number of resources in…

Resource Management Commission at stalemate over toxic materials resolution

Resource Management commissioners recently butted heads over a proposed resolution directing Austin Energy staff to facilitate a working group tasked with brainstorming how to dissuade builders from using toxic materials. The resolution ultimately did not pass, ending in a 4-4 tie…

After initial push, city’s effort to eliminate Confederate names loses momentum

In the midst of the July 2020 protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd, the city of Austin passed a resolution committing to remove or rename all city-owned assets, such as streets and buildings, that have names commemorating the…

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How the Watershed Protection Department removes obstructions from Austin creeks

Austin, a city known for the rivers, creeks and springs that run through it, is also prone to flooding. The city’s Watershed Protection Department shoulders the responsibility of managing Austin’s waterways and reducing the impact of flooding, erosion and pollution…

City joins effort to end hair-based discrimination

The city of Austin and its Office of Civil Rights are initiating a discussion about how to prevent race-based hair discrimination, which is most commonly experienced by women of color. The CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and…

Austin Habitat for Humanity gets windfall $8.5 million donation

Austin Habitat for Humanity has received an $8.5 million gift, a much-needed investment that will help the local affiliate expand the number of houses it can build and the number of Austin community members it can serve. Philanthropist and novelist…

Activists remain wary of new jet fuel storage facility plans

Activists and homeowners are protesting the proposed location for a new jet-fuel storage facility at the airport on the northbound side of U.S. Highway 183. Construction is scheduled to begin this spring for the project, which will include two storage tanks,…

Health leaders developing plan to help those with substance use disorder

For the past two years, a network of local stakeholders has been thinking about how best to help community members who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. After two years of “planning to plan,” representatives from the Travis…

Austin looks into opening a trauma recovery center

Austin’s Public Health Committee is taking a look at establishing a trauma recovery center in the city to help victims of violent crime navigate their way to recovery. The resolution, which the committee passed last week, directs city staff to…

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