Friday, July 18, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Howard to lead Women’s Health Tour

Austin State Rep. Donna Howard announced Thursday that she would lead a statewide series of Listening Sessions on women’s health issues. The Women’s Health Tour, sponsored by Democratic members of the Texas House of Representatives, will host sessions in seven cities: El Paso, Dallas, McAllen, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Houston and Galveston. The sessions are free and open to the public. These forums will begin with a brief overview of legislative actions on family planning and women’s health issues. Lawmakers will then listen as community members share their thoughts, concerns and experiences related to the subject matter. Details on the tour are available here.

Friday, July 18, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Texas Folklife presents a public listening party and reception for audio documentaries produced by teachers and students in the Stories from Deep in the Heart Summer Institute program. Stories from Deep in the Heart is Texas Folklife’s award-winning youth radio program that teaches high school students and teachers how to document family and community traditions through audio documentaries, presented in collaboration with the Asian-American Resource Center. The party is set for 6 p.m. today at the Asian-American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. For more information, visit the web site.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Water utility line work

If you’ve been downtown this week, you’ve probably noticed two closed lanes on 6th and 7th Streets between Congress Avenue and Brazos. Those closures were required in order to work on aging wastewater lines. But the Austin Water Utility is expecting to reopen those lanes as of 6 a.m. today. However, starting at 7 a.m. on Monday all lanes on 6th and 7th Streets between Congress Avenue and Brazos will be closed to through traffic.

Thursday, July 17, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Austin sets record for pet adoptions

The Austin Animal Center experienced a record-breaking number of adoptions over the July 12-13 weekend. Officials say 228 homeless pets were adopted – 36 dogs and 192 cats – into forever homes. In part, the center attributes the high number of adoptions of kittens and cats to the annual Kitty Palooza event where they displayed hundreds of cats and waived adoption fees. The record number of adoptions comes on the heels of Austin being named “DogTown USA 2014” by Dog Fancy magazine. The publication announced the annual award winner, given in recognition of America’s best city for dogs and their human companions. The magazine’s editor, Ernie Sloan, credited innovative programs and dedicated animal lovers in both public and private organizations in Austin for the award. He pointed out that Austin saves the lives of more than 90 percent of the animals who enter shelters, making it the largest metropolitan city to sustain a no-kill goal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin


The Downtown Commission meets at 5:30 p.m. in the Boards and Commissions Room at City Hall . . . The Environmental Board meets at 6 p.m. at One Texas Center, 5050 Barton Springs Road . . . Not at 6:30 as originally stated.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Violet Crown Trail information

The city and the Hill Country Conservancy are planning the Violet Crown Trail, a multiuse urban trail in southwest Austin. The trail segment that will connect Home Depot Boulevard in Sunset Valley to William Cannon is currently under design. Persons interested in learning more about this phase of the project and providing feedback should attend an open house from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 30 at the Hampton Branch Library, 5125 Convict Hill Road. For more information, call 974-7142 or visit the site.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Mayor, others to support Clean Water Act

Mayor Lee Leffingwell will express his support for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to clarify which streams and wetlands are protected under the Clean Water Act. The mayor will be joined by Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Adviser for Water at EPA, who is traveling in Texas to hear perspectives on the proposed rule, also known as “Waters of the United States Under the Clean Water Act.” The rule would specifically reinstate protections to streams that may dry out for a portion of the year. Representatives from environmental organizations Clean Water Action and Environment Texas will join the event and bring correspondence from Texas citizens in support of restoring protections to these streams and wetlands. The group will speak at 11 a.m. today at City Hall.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Quiet time at City Hall

The folks in the offices of Chris Riley and Sheryl Cole were the only ones in the Council hallway (at one point at least) Tuesday afternoon. Many staff and Council members are on vacation but for those who were there the atmosphere is hardly conducive to work. As the new Council offices are being created there is a lot of noise and it is not clear how long the hammering will continue. (Clarification: Members of the Mayor’s staff were working in their office but they are not subject to the same noise. But Shelby Alexander in Council Member Mike Martinez’ office was there. Her name was inadvertently left off the original report.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Who’s left?

Lewis Leff, who worked on Austin Energy issues, among others, as an aide to Council Member Chris Riley, has left City Hall to join the city’s Sustainability Office, which works out of Austin Energy. Taking over Leff’s spot is Ben Leffler, who, like his predecessor, is a graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. Leffler is also a veteran of the City Auditor’s Office (Yes, really Leff and Leffler).

Wednesday, July 16, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Riley ahead in the money race for District 9

Yesterday, Council Member Kathie Tovo reported raising more than $41,000 in her contest against Council Member Chris Riley and a third candidate for the District 9 seat. But Riley raised more than $96,000, according to a press release from his campaign, which said he still had $65,000 cash on hand. Tovo’s report indicates she has about $31,000 cash. The Tovo report made it to the city website but the Riley report was not up last night. Neither was a report from the third candidate, Erin McGann, a political newcomer who lives in South Austin

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Today’s meetings

The Board of Adjustment/Sign Review Board meets at 5:30 p.m. at Town Lake Center, 721 Barton Springs Road . . . The Waterfront Planning Advisory Commission meets at 6 p.m. in the Boards and Commissions room at City Hall . . . The Historic Landmark Commission meets at 7 p.m. in Room 325 at One Texas Center, 505 Baron Springs Road . . . Note change in locations due to reconstruction of the Council dais.

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Michael Kanin

AISD seeks input on new superintendent

The Austin Independent School District is hosting a series of public forums to gather feedback on what parents and the community want in a new superintendent. Search firm Ray & Associates will develop a candidate profile from the input, officials said. Forums will take place at noon Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at the Baker Center, 3908 Avenue B. Evening forums will be hosted from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Meetings are also set Tuesday at Bowie High School, 4103 W. Slaughter Lane; Reagan High School, 7104 Berkman Drive; Summitt Elementary School, 12207 Brigadoon Lane (Vietnamese interpretation provided); and Travis High School, 1211 E. Oltorf St. (in Spanish). Wednesday at Crockett High School, 5601 Manchaca Road; Eastside Memorial High School, 1012 Arthur Stiles Road (in Spanish); Lanier High School, 1201 Payton Gin Road; and McCallum High School, 5600 Sunshine Drive. Thursday at Akins High School, 10701 S First St. (in Spanish); Anderson High School, 8403 Mesa Drive; Austin High School, 1715 W. Cesar Chavez St.; and LBJ Early College High School, 7309 Lazy Creek Drive. For more information, visit this link.

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Flood recovery meeting tonight

The third of three city open house meetings to offer information about the recovery from the October 2013 floods in Onion and Williamson Creeks is set tonight at Perez Elementary School. The open house will offer the opportunity for residents to visit with city staff from a variety of departments including Austin Resource Recovery, the Austin Fire Department, Code Compliance, Health and Human Services, Neighborhood Housing and Community Development, Planning and Development Review, Real Estate Services and Watershed Protection. Spanish language interpreters will be available as well as supervised children’s activities. The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. at Perez Elementary, 7500 Pleasant Valley Road. For more information, visit this link.

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Riley releases campaign contributions

District 9 Council Candidate Chris Riley reports that he has raised more than $96,000 for his campaign as of the June 30 deadline. His first campaign finance report of this cycle, which covers funds raised in the seven weeks between May 8 and June 30, will be filed Tuesday with the city. Campaign manager Bill Blome said more than 420 contributors gave to Riley’s campaign for District 9, which stretches from Travis Heights to Mueller and includes much of Central Austin, Downtown and the UT campus. Riley’s campaign took in $95,476 in financial contributions, received another $675.17 in in-kind donations and will report over $65,000 cash on hand

Monday, July 14, 2014 by Michael Kanin

Kerr named to lead international group

Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr has been elected to the First Vice President position of the International Association of Fire Chiefs’ board of directors, a first for a woman in its 140-year history. Kerr will be installed at the association’s annual Fire-Rescue International Conference in Dallas later this summer. “Chief Kerr has been breaking glass ceilings and paving the way for generations of women in the fire service since she began her career more than 30 years ago,” City Manager Marc Ott said. “After five years, I still often remark that she was one of the best hires I ever made.” The association represents the leadership of firefighters and emergency responders worldwide. The Austin Fire Department, founded in 1857, is now one of the 20 largest departments in the country, with 45 fire stations throughout the city and more than 1,100 employees.

Monday, June 30, 2014 by Jenny Blair

Scandalous Whisper Here

Council Member John Smith said he saw Santa in his underwear.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014 by Josh Peichoto

Pssst… it’s a secret.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014 by Josh Peichoto

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