Headlines


Retiring Texas Senator Kirk Watson offers an elbow bump instead of a handshake to Austin City Council Member Pio Renteria at Transit for Austin's rally at City Hall on Mon., March 9. The rally, in support of a "comprehensive rapid transit system," was held prior to a joint work session between Council and Cap Metro's board of directors. (Photo by Jana Birchum)

Rodeway Inn Anti-Displacement Funds: City Council will vote today, March 12, to allocate $320,000 in funding to help relocate people considered to be long-term residents at the Rodeway Inn near Oltorf and I-35. The city is seeking to purchase the property and convert it into a facility offering permanent supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness; but to ensure people currently living at the motel do not fall into homelessness themselves, they will spend about $32,000 to help 10 individuals move into apartments with comparable rent.

[Editor's note: On Tuesday night (March 11), UT announced spring break will be extended to March 30 in response to the spread of coronavirus. This headline has been updated to reflect that change.] Learn From Home: UT President Greg Fenves announced on Monday, March 9, that the university is preparing a contingency plan that would require all students to take their classes online should the coronavirus hit Austin. Students are on spring break the next two weeks, but return March 30. In the meantime, UT officials are working on equipping students and professors with access to distance learning software Zoom.

APD OT Staffing: Citing the continuation of some unofficial SXSW events and an expected influx of visitors, Austin Police Department says it will maintain the "majority of our overtime staffing levels" despite SXSW's cancellation. According to a press release from APD's Public Information Office, "minor changes" have been made due to canceled road closures, but security will not be decreased in the area. "Our top priority is to keep Austin residents and visitors safe."

Keep Us Appraised: The Travis Central Appraisal District went to court this week to force data company CoreLogic Solutions and the Austin Board of Realtors to release sales price information that TCAD purchased but that the company and ABOR now insist is proprietary. TCAD says the stalemate has made local property reappraisals impossible. "Having the data we need to determine local market values," said Chief Appraiser Marya Crigler, "is critical to funding our public schools."

Making a Difference: Last week, Amplify Austin Day surpassed this year's fundraising goal of $12 million, raising more than $12.3 million for over 700 Central Texas nonprofits in a 24-hour period. Top nonprofits in terms of total funds raised include Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area, Hospice Austin, YMCA of Austin, and Central Texas Food Bank. Since its inception in 2013, the initiative has raised over $69 million.

Oh, Boo-Hoo, Alex: Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was arrested on a DWI charge in Travis County early Tues­day morning, March 10. Unsurprisingly, Jones took to his InfoWars website after being released on bond to "debunk" the charge, claiming he tested below the 0.08 legal limit. (In Texas, you can still be arrested for DWI with a BAC below 0.08 if an officer believes your faculties are impaired.)

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