The Austin Chronicle


July 15, 2016, News

The city's Planning and Zoning Department announced this week that CodeNEXT project manager Jim Robertson is leaving his post to become chief urban designer for the city of Boulder, Colo. Robertson leaves the department next week, and Austin in mid-August.

Capital Metro ticket vending machines at its nine MetroRail stations will no longer accept credit or debit cards, starting in October. The transit agency made the decision, as upgrading the machines to meet current credit security regulations will cost $5 million over the next five years.

Utility Associates filed a lawsuit against the city of Austin this week claiming that the bidding process for the contract to equip Austin Police Department officers with body cameras was unfair and favored Taser International, which won the bid. Utility argues its proposal cost millions less than Taser's, but the score sheet created by the city was doctored so that the categories Taser won received more weight.

Thirty-seven cadets from the 133rd Austin Police Academy class graduated Friday, July 8. The new officers started working as early as Sunday. APD currently reports 119 patrol vacancies, with 150 throughout the department.

Michael Dell has entered the world of mixed martial arts: The Austin tech billionaire's investment firm is reported to be part of a consortium that paid $4 billion to buy the UFC, the sport's biggest promotion company.

The Travis County Commissioners Court issued its second burn ban of the year this week. The ban, which expires Aug. 10, comes as the county deals with "increasingly dry conditions," said Travis County Fire Marshal Tony Callaway.

Texas cannot stop paying for therapy for children with severe disabilities. The Texas Supreme Court handed down a temporary injunction last week blocking $350 million in Medicaid cuts scheduled to take effect on July 15.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services Commissioner Hank Whitman appeared before lawmakers this week, proposing a radical overhaul of the state's foster care system and Child Protective Services. His plan includes popular ideas like pay raises for caseworkers, mixed with more controversial proposals like greater reliance on religious groups.

Gov. Greg Abbott has been hospitalized for severe burns while on vacation in Wyoming, which prevented him from attending a memorial service for the slain police officers in Dallas and puts in question his ability to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next week.

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