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

Stories by Willow Higgins

Six months in, Safer Sixth Street initiative continues

At this week’s meeting, the Downtown Commission established a working group to help think through and execute the Safer Sixth Street initiative, which has been in the works for about six months. The project, which came about after a mass shooter…

Austin's creeks have many colors – and types of bacteria

This winter, scientists across Austin are observing two types of bacteria in local bodies of water; one looks like orange slime, and another has a rainbow sheen. Despite their interesting appearance, the slime is no cause for alarm, according to…

Shorthanded shelter temporarily shuts down on Sundays

The Austin Animal Center, which provides shelter for more than 16,000 animals each year, announced this week that it will close its doors to the public on Sundays, beginning Jan. 23. Historically, the shelter has been open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily,…

Alligators in Del Valle aren't as rare as you might think

While some people think states like Louisiana and Florida have cornered the market on alligator territory, Texas has what Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Jonathan Warner called a “healthy” population of about half a million gators. While most live in…

Commissioners discuss CAMPO's forecasts for the future

At a recent Urban Transportation Commission meeting, the executive director of the nonprofit Farm & City urged the commission to keep Farm & City’s concerns in mind when it comes to transportation planning around the region. Jay Blazek Crossley raised two main issues with…

County Attorney Garza's first priority is public safety

Delia Garza’s life as Travis County Attorney is a lot different than when she sat on Austin’s City Council. But the one thing that has stayed consistent, she said, is that no two days look alike. Since Garza took on…

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Vanessa Fuentes: Putting health and equity first

City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes stepped into a rather busy first term in office – this year, an unprecedented winter storm took Travis County by surprise and the pandemic continued to surge despite hopes for Covid-19’s retreat. But Fuentes, who…

Austin continues to explore bus access on the future Lady Bird Bridge

Austin’s Urban Transportation Commission, which advises city departments on transportation-related matters, met last week and continued discussions around the possibility of expanding the modes of transportation accessible on the future Lady Bird Bridge. The topic was also discussed at an…

City partners up to monitor particulate matter in the air

Austin has begun working to better monitor the quality of its air. The Clean Air Force of Central Texas is working in partnership with the city of Austin’s Office of Sustainability and the Austin Independent School District to install PurpleAir…

Development Services has a full plate managing environmental concerns

The Development Services Department briefed the Environmental Commission last week on some of the work it has been doing to improve environmental protections on construction sites. The DSD is in charge of regulating tree protection measures as well as inspecting…

How sound permits regulate the Austin music scene

In the Live Music Capital of the World, sound and noise policy is critical both to those who enjoy the entertainment industry and those who live within earshot. On Wednesday, the city’s Environmental Commission was briefed on the different types…

Austin Energy's REACH program falls behind its carbon emissions goals

Austin Energy announced last week that it is significantly behind its goals for reducing carbon emissions this year, citing operational and market factors. While the utility hopes to make up some of the gap between now and the end of the…

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