Friday, December 31, 2021

New year, new variant: If you gather – do it outdoors, wear masks and minimize close contacts

 

 Don't gather if you feel sick

The omicron variant is the most contagious strain hospitals have seen yet, and the increase in cases is putting further stress on our hospital system. 

At Austin Public Health (APH) testing sites, 1 out of 4 people have positive results. On Thursday, over 1,860 tests were administered at the APH sites.  

With the recent move to Stage 4 of Risk-Based Guidelines, it’s as important as ever to follow safe practices to help keep yourself and others safe.  

“Let’s start 2022 with renewed energy in our fight against COVID-19,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “We cannot afford to let our guard down and compromise future celebrations with loved ones.” 

Stage 4 recommendations include: 

  • Fully vaccinated and/or boosted individuals should wear masks when gathering with people outside of their household, traveling, dining, and shopping. 

  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals, and those who need their booster dose should wear masks, avoid gatherings with people outside of their household, only travel and shop if essential, and choose takeaway/curbside options for dining. Get fully vaccinated and boosted as soon as possible. 

“The omicron variant multiplies 70 times faster than delta in airways,” said Dr. Walkes. “This virus is spreading at an alarming rate and threatening our hospital systems at a time when they’re already dealing with staff shortages and an influx of patients.” 

Tips for celebrating the new year safely: 

-Avoid crowds this year and wear a mask if you find yourself in one. 
-If gathering with others outside your own household, take advantage of the unseasonably warm Texas weather and head outside.  
-If you’re gathering inside, open windows to improve air circulation
-Wear masks, especially in crowds and public indoor gatherings. 
-Watch the City fireworks virtually on ATXN or from afar. 
-Don’t gather if you feel sick. 
-Reserve emergency rooms for medical emergencies. Do not use for asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.

City of Austin Offices, Facilities Close for the New Year’s Holiday

 

  Administrative offices and municipal facilities will be closed December 31 in observance of the upcoming holiday

The City of Austin has announced revised service schedules and office closures for City facilities and public services for New Year’s Day. 
  
Trash, Recycling, and Composting/Yard Trimmings Schedules 
Customers will not experience any changes or disruptions to their regularly scheduled collections. Visit austintexas.gov/myschedule to look up your collection schedule. 
 
Austin Public Health COVID-19 Test Site Schedule  
Austin Public Health testing and vaccine sites will be closed for New Year’s from Friday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 2. 

To schedule a COVID-19 test or vaccine through Austin Public Health, visit austintexas.gov/covid19 or call the nurse hotline at 512-972-5560. 
  
Parks and Recreation Facilities Schedules 
Most Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed for New Year’s on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. However, there are a few exceptions, indicated below:   

  • Golf Courses will be open on Dec. 31 and on Jan. 1.  

  • On Jan. 1, only Barton Springs Pool will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (swim at your own risk).  

  • Cemetery gates will remain open every day for regular hours (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.). Cemetery administrative offices will be closed Dec. 31.  

Austin Parks and Recreation facility hours vary by location so please call ahead or visit AustinTexas.gov/Parksfor hours. Information on closures is available at AustinTexas.gov/ParkClosures.  

  
Austin Public Library Schedule  
Austin Public Library will be closed Friday, Dec. 31 and Saturday, Jan. 1. 

Library resources available remotely can be accessed at the Austin Public Library Website, library.austintexas.gov.

Austin Animal Center Schedule 
The Austin Animal Center will close at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 and remain closed through Jan. 1. The Center will be open during regular hours Sunday, Jan. 2. 
 
For questions about City services or information call 3-1-1. You can also submit service requests from the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app

Thursday, December 30, 2021

City of Austin Sponsors City Council Candidate Forum for District 4 Residents

 

How to locate District-4 https://www.austintexas.gov/department/district-4
On Thursday, January 6, 2022, the City of Austin is sponsoring a City Council Candidate Forum for District 4 residents to learn more about the candidates running for the open City Council seat.
 
The City’s Ethics Review Commission and the League of Women Voters Austin Area will host the forum for the District 4 City Council seat; the special election will occur on January 25, 2022. There is also a forum being planned in the event of a runoff election.
 
The event will be an opportunity for Austinites to listen to candidates express their views so audience members can understand candidates' positions and make an informed voting decision. The candidates will serve the remaining term of the office being vacated.
 
The Candidates in ballot order are listed below:
  • Amanda Rios
  • Isa Boonto
  • Ramesses II Setepenre
  • Melinda Schiera
  • Jade Lovera
  • Monica Guzmán
  • José “Chito” Vela
The forum will begin at 6:00 p.m. and can be viewed live virtually online, on-air, or by phone on Thursday, January 6, 2022.  
 
The community can tune in live at ATXN.TV (English & Spanish), cable TV channel 6, AT&T U-Verse channel 99, and on the ATXN app on Roku or Apple TV. The forum can also be heard on KAZI FM 88.7 and by telephone in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese (Dial 1-855-756-7520 ext. 78384# for English, 78385# for Spanish, or 78390# for Vietnamese).  
 
For additional language interpretation requests, please call 3-1-1. For more information, visit AustinTexas.gov/CandidateForums. To find out what City Council District you are in, visit AustinTexas.gov/Government.
 
Austinites and Neighborhood Associations interested in suggesting a question to be asked of the District 4 Candidates during the forum can email in any language to forum@lwvaustin.org or call 512-893-1960 in English by 12:00 p.m. on January 6, 2022. Topics can be both citywide and council district specific. The League of Women Voters Austin Area appreciates questions from the public for these candidate forums.

For more information about the election process, visit AustinTexas.gov/Elections.

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Austin Animal Center reaches critical capacity ahead of New Year's Eve

Austin Animal Center (AAC) is at critical capacity today with 493 animals being cared for at the shelter. The facility's ideal capacity is around 350 animals for the amount of kennels and staffing available. Dogs are being housed in temporary crates until kennels open up and dozens of adoptable animals are being housed in non-public areas. 


AAC is asking for the community's help this week. Citizens who find loose pets are encouraged to walk the pet around, knock on doors, and post on sites like Nextdoor and Facebook. Data collected both locally and nationally shows that most pets are found within a few blocks of their homes and they have a greater chance of getting back home if they stay in the community. If the finder or a neighbor cannot safely hold onto the pet, they can call 311 to reach an Animal Protection Officer. 

Pet owners can take steps to be prepared for the fireworks that happen during New Year's Eve celebrations, such as walking their dogs in daylight hours, shutting windows, turning on the TV or radio, and making sure their pets are microchipped. 

Austin Animal Center is open for adoptions on Wednesday and Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm as well as Friday from 10 am to 5 pm. The Center will be closed on New Year's Day. AAC welcomes adopters, fosters, and rescue partners to take home any of the hundreds of adoptable animals. 

AAC is also hiring for several vacant positions. Interested candidates can apply through the City of Austin website. 
 
About the Animal Services Office
The Animal Services Office operates the Austin Animal Center, and is home to the largest No Kill community in the United States. We provide shelter to more than 17,000 animals annually. Our goal is to provide a safe place for lost and homeless animals and to educate our community in order to prevent animal homelessness and promote compassionate treatment of animals and responsible pet ownership.

Austin Public Health returns to Stage 4 of Risk-Based Guidelines

 

Community Transmission Rate and hospitalizations surge as omicron variant spreads 

AUSTIN, Texas – COVID-19 cases in Austin-Travis County are surging just weeks after the omicron variant was detected in our area. As a result, the Community Transmission Rate (CTR), test positivity rate and the 7-day moving average of hospital admissions are spiking. These key indicators are above thresholds that necessitate transitioning to Stage 4 of Risk-Based Guidelines.

“One of the greatest traits of Austin-Travis County is how we have consistently been one of the leaders in the state when it comes to lower Community Transmission Rates. Our people have continually stepped up for the greater good and been the example of how to navigate the COVID-19 surges with masking, social distancing, and vaccinations,” said Dr. Desmar Walkes, Austin-Travis County Health Authority. “However, as our vigilance begins to wane, our community is falling behind. We can't afford to be lax in our prevention efforts and I'm confident that Austin-Travis County will once again lead the way."

Austin-Travis County’s CTR is currently at 404.96. The state’s CTR is 319.7.

Guidance for fully vaccinated individuals, as well as partially and unvaccinated individuals, changes as we return to Stage 4.

Stage 4 recommendations include:

  • Fully vaccinated individuals should wear masks when gathering with people outside of their household, traveling, dining, and shopping. Get your booster once eligible.
  • Partially or unvaccinated individuals should wear masks, avoid gatherings with people outside of their household, only travel and shop if essential, and choose takeaway/curbside options for dining. Get fully vaccinated as soon as possible.
The Risk-Based Guidelines correlate with five distinct stages of risk for Austin-Travis County and are not changes to local rules or regulations for businesses; they are guidelines and recommendations for individual actions and behaviors based on the risk of exposure in the community. It is important to note that everyone should continue to follow additional requirements stipulated by local businesses, venues, and schools regardless of vaccination status or stage. 

“The omicron variant is moving fast through our community and we must do what is necessary to help slow community transmission,” said Travis County Judge Andy Brown. “As we get closer to the New Year celebration, I encourage everyone to follow the Stage 4 guidelines and mask up when recommended. These small preventive measures will go a long way when it comes to keeping our entire community safe.”

COVID-19 vaccinations and boosters continue to offer the best protection against the virus and its variants. Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses are available at all APH locations. As of Wednesday, 30% of our eligible population (5 years and older) is not fully vaccinated. Additionally, only 23% have received their booster. This leaves our community vulnerable to the disease.

"COVID-19 hospitalizations and the community transmission rate are surging once again. This means our ICUs are filling and that emergency care could become compromised for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. We must act now to protect both,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “We must move into Stage 4. As we celebrate a new year, it is increasingly important to get the vaccine and booster shots, tested if you have traveled and, hopefully for a limited time, to wear masks whenever and every time you’re around other people you don’t know to be vaccinated, except when eating and drinking.”

The timing of this surge is concerning as people plan to gather for New Year’s Celebrations, and children look to return to school from winter break in the coming weeks. Early data indicates the omicron variant poses a dangerous risk to a younger population. Children ages five and older should get vaccinated as soon as possible, and wear masks for in-person learning.

“It’s never been easier to get your vaccine and booster doses in Austin-Travis County. We’ve worked hard to make the vaccination process as quick and simple as possible at our clinics,” said Interim APH Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Take this time when your kids are out of school to get your family fully protected from this virus.”

Get tested, get vaccinated, get boosted   

Those in the Austin-Travis County can locate providers in the area using Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) or they can text their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.   

APH clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations and testing on a walk-up (no appointment needed) basis, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19

Austin Public Health marks one year administering COVID-19 vaccines

 

More than 370,000 vaccine doses administered through APH

AUSTIN, Texas - Tuesday, Dec. 28, marks the first anniversary of Austin Public Health (APH) administering its first dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the Austin-Travis County community and serving as a regional vaccination hub.

Since then, APH’s vaccination campaign has accomplished the following:

•374,000+ vaccine doses administered at APH locations.
•11,706 of those doses were administered through pop-up locations.
•17,219 through APH mobile strike team efforts.
•3,379 pediatric doses administered since Nov. 3, 2021.

APH focused on zip codes with low vaccination rates among eligible populations. Prioritizing these specific communities is paramount to APH’s goal of prioritizing equitable access and strengthening protections against COVID-19.

A strategy implemented by APH’s COVID-19 Education & Vaccination Program successfully accomplished the following goals:

Objective 1 – Reached a 70% first dose vaccination rate among the eligible population (12+) in Austin/Travis County on Jul. 4, 2021. The first dose vaccination rate among the currently eligible population (5+) is 80%

Objective 2 – Reached a 70% fully vaccinated rate among the eligible population (12+) in Austin/Travis County on Sept. 20, 2021. The fully vaccinated rate among the currently eligible population (5+) is 70%

These achievements were possible thanks to the hard work and dedication of APH staff, county and city support, and community partners. Senior Registered Nurse (RN) Nelda Garcia received the very first COVID-19 vaccine dose administered by APH when guidance from the state prioritized health professionals to protect the healthcare system. Nelda and her colleagues have since helped tens of thousands of people of all ages get vaccinated and protected against the virus.


Photo: Senior Registered Nurse (RN) Nelda Garcia receives the first COVID-19 vaccine administered by Austin Public Health.

Get tested, get vaccinated, get boosted   

APH clinics offer COVID-19 vaccinations and testing on a walk-up (no appointment needed) basis, although creating an account online in advance saves time. COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. For more information and to schedule an appointment, call 3-1-1 or visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19.    

Residents can also locate providers in their area using Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) or they can text their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic.   

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Small Business Contractors and Consultants Recognized for Achievements on City of Austin Projects

 

Every year, the City of Austin Small and Minority Business Resources (SMBR) Department honors contractors, consultants, and graduates who participate in the City’s Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE) Procurement Program. Companies are selected based on the number of successful City projects, integrity and work ethic, and community outreach efforts.
 

2021 Contractor of the Year

  • The Whiting-Turner Company

The Whiting-Turner Company provides construction management, general contracting, design-build and integrated project delivery services on projects large and small. They are recognized for their extraordinary contributions on pivotal projects, including the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Existing Terminal Centralized Baggage Handling System Upgrades.


2021 Consultant of the Year

  • Casabella Architects, Inc.

Established in 1989 in Austin, Texas, Casabella Architects, Inc. has provided 30 years of professional design services. They have led major projects such as Phase1 of the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center and the Tejano Monument stationed on the Texas State Capitol Lawn.


Four companies were recognized as Small Businesses of the Year based on their successful delivery of quality service:
 
2021 Small Businesses of the Year

  • CVI Development, LLC
  • CAS Consulting and Services, Inc.
  • Crespo Consulting Services, Inc. 
  • VTC
Two companies now exceed the U.S. Small Business Administration’s size standards and are now honored as alumni of the SMBR program:
 
2021 MBE/WBE Graduates
  • Alpha Paving Industries, LLC
  • Lamb Star Engineering, LLC
SMBR also recognizes service providers, including the Asian Contractor Association, Austin Area Black Contractors Association, and U.S. Hispanic Contractors Association, for their support to minority and women firms in construction and their assistance with outreach efforts throughout the year.
 
Small businesses certified as minority- and/or women-owned enterprises can be found on the Certified Vendors Directory at www.austintexas.gov/smbr.
 
###
 
About the Small & Minority Business Resources Department (SMBR)
SMBR administers the Minority-Owned, Women-Owned, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Procurement Programs for the City of Austin. SMBR promotes access and equity on City of Austin contracts, providing economic opportunity to small, minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Austin Public Library Statement on Book Banning and Library Censorship

 

The Austin Public Library stands with the entire library community in defense of the freedom to speak and the freedom to read, and opposed to censorship of any library materials. We remain committed to providing the entire Austin community with access to books, ideas, and knowledge, and to fostering a Library for All.

“Freedom to read is a right that must be protected in our schools and public libraries, and we must not give in to the vocal few that want to speak for the many,” stated Austin Public Library Director Roosevelt Weeks.

In October 2021, the Texas Library Association (TLA) noted a “substantial increase in censorship activity” in Texas libraries. In a statement from October 26, the TLA stated:

“The Texas Library Association (TLA) holds that the freedom to read is a human right, protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. TLA believes that individuals have the right to free inquiry and the equally important right to form their own opinions. Freedom in selecting materials is a necessary safeguard to the freedom to read and shall be protected against irresponsible attempts by self-appointed censors to abridge it. Therefore, TLA opposes efforts that restrict the freedom to read through banning, removing, or other forms of restricting access to books or other materials.”

In November 2021, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) reported an “unprecedented volume” in challenges to books in the Fall of 2021. In a joint statement from the ALA’s Executive Board and the Boards of Directors for all of ALA’s eight divisions, the ALA said:

“In recent months, a few organizations have advanced the proposition that the voices of the marginalized have no place on library shelves. To this end, they have launched campaigns demanding the censorship of books and resources that mirror the lives of those who are gay, queer, or transgender or that tell the stories of persons who are Black, Indigenous, or persons of color… ALA strongly condemns these acts of censorship and intimidation.”

In the weeks that followed these statements, there have been further efforts to ban or censor books in libraries across the country, including here in Central Texas.

The Austin Public Library stands in agreement with the statements from the ALA and TLA. We also uphold the ALA’s Library Bill of Rights, which holds among other things that library materials should not be removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval, and that libraries should challenge censorship.

The Austin Public Library uses its Materials Selection Policy to develop responsive collections. Through that policy, we are committed to providing easy access to books and information for all ages. The Library also prioritizes a commitment to equity, ensuring that all members of the Austin community have equitable access to library services and programs.

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Austin Public Health testing and vaccination sites to close for Christmas

Austin Public Health's COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites will be closed for Christmas break.

The sites will be closed from Thursday, Dec. 23 through Sunday, Dec. 26.

Operations will resume the week of Monday, Dec. 27.

COVID-19 vaccinations are free and require neither identification nor insurance. Residents can locate providers in their area using Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish), or they can text their zip code to 438829 (822862 in Spanish) to find a nearby clinic. 

It’s easy to confuse COVID-19 symptoms with those of the flu and allergies. Stay safe and get tested, especially prior to traveling and gathering with high-risk individuals. Testing is available through home testing kits and providers throughout the community. 

For additional COVID-19 information and updates, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/COVID19


City of Austin Offices, Facilities Close for Christmas and New Year’s Holiday

 

 Administrative offices and municipal facilities will be closed December 23, 24, and 31 in observance of the upcoming holidays

The City of Austin has announced revised service schedules and office closures for City facilities and public services for Christmas and New Year’s Day. 
  
Trash, Recycling, and Composting/Yard Trimmings Schedules 
Customers will not experience any changes or disruptions to their regularly scheduled collections. Visit austintexas.gov/myschedule to look up your collection schedule. 
 
Austin Public Health COVID-19 Test Site Schedule  
Austin Public Health testing and vaccine sites will be closed for Christmas from Thursday, Dec. 23 through Sunday, Dec. 26. 

The testing and vaccine sites will be closed for New Year’s from Friday, Dec. 31 through Sunday, Jan. 2. 

To schedule a COVID-19 test or vaccine through Austin Public Health, visit austintexas.gov/covid19 or call the nurse hotline at 512-972-5560. 
  
COVID-19 Dashboard Updates 
The COVID-19 surveillance dashboard will not be updated from Thursday, Dec. 23 through Sunday, Dec. 26 for Christmas. 
  
Parks and Recreation Facilities Schedules 
Most Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed for the Christmas holiday Dec. 23 through Dec. 25, 2021, and closed for New Year’s on Dec. 31, 2021, and Jan. 1, 2022. However, there are a few exceptions, indicated below:   

  • Golf Courses will be open on Dec. 23. On Dec. 24, Golf Courses will have final reservations and carts at 12 p.m. and the driving range will close at 1:30 p.m. Pro shop and concessions close at 4:30 pm. Golf Courses will be closed on Dec. 25, but will be open on Dec. 31, 2021, and on Jan. 1, 2022.  

  • Austin Pools open on Dec. 24 include Bartholomew (12:15 p.m. to 4 p.m.); Barton Springs (5 a.m. to 8 a.m. swim at your own risk), (8 a.m. – 4 p.m. guarded swim), (4 p.m. – 10 p.m. swim at your own risk); Big Stacy (6 a.m. to 4 p.m.); Springwoods (12 p.m. – 4 p.m.); and Deep Eddy (9 a.m. to 4 p.m.). On Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, only Barton Springs Pool will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. (swim at your own risk).  

  • Cemetery gates will remain open every day for regular hours (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.). Cemetery administrative offices will be closed Dec. 23, Dec. 24, and Dec. 31, 2021.  

Austin Parks and Recreation facility hours vary by location so please call ahead or visit AustinTexas.gov/Parksfor hours. Information on closures is available at AustinTexas.gov/ParkClosures.  

  
Austin Public Library Schedule  
Austin Public Library will be closed Thursday, Dec. 23; Christmas Eve, Friday, Dec. 24 and Christmas Day, Saturday, Dec. 25. For New Year’s, the Library will be closed Friday, Dec. 31 and Saturday, Jan. 1. 

Library resources available remotely can be accessed at the Austin Public Library Website, library.austintexas.gov.

Austin Animal Center Schedule 
The Austin Animal Center will close at 5 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 23, and remain closed through Dec. 25. The Center will be open during its regular hours on Sunday, Dec. 26. The Center will close at 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 31 and remain closed through Jan. 1. The Center will be open during regular hours Sunday, Jan. 2. 
 
For questions about City services or information call 3-1-1. You can also submit service requests from the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app

Deep Eddy Pool

 

Deep Eddy Pool Closed January 4-8, 2022 for Repairs 
Due to Mechanical Issues With a Well Pump

Deep Eddy Pool, 401 Deep Eddy Ave., is experiencing mechanical issues with a well pump. Due to this mechanical issue, the facility will be closed beginning Tuesday, January 4, 2022, and is expected to resume normal operating hours on Saturday, January 8, 2022, once the repairs are complete. Barton Springs, Bartholomew, Stacy, and Springwoods pools will be open during the interim.

Barton Springs Pool
2201 Barton Springs Rd.

  • Daily 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
  • Closes Thursdays at 9:00 a.m. for cleaning and reopens at 7 p.m.

Bartholomew Pool
1800 East 51st St.

  • Monday through Friday: 12:15 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Big Stacy Pool 
700 E. Live Oak St.

  • Monday through Friday: 6:00 am to 8:00 pm
  • Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Springwoods Pool
13320 Lyndhurst St.

  • Monday through Friday: 3:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday: 12:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

For more information, please call the Deep Eddy Pool Hotline at 512-974-1189 or visit AustinTexas.gov/Pools

Monday, December 20, 2021

Know before you go: Traveling with firearms

Dec 20, 2021 

As air travel ramps up following a long interruption due to the pandemic, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) are seeing an undesirable travel trend: firearms making it to security checkpoints.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the authority on traveling with firearms and ammunition, with many regulations in place to allow for the safe and secure transport of these items. AUS is dedicated to ensuring the safety and comfort of its staff and passengers and is here to bring you information on how to properly pack and travel with a firearm per TSA regulations.

Even before arriving at AUS, passengers intending to travel with a firearm or ammunition must be in compliance with TSA requirements. Those who are not in compliance are subject to fines, penalties and potential arrest. They also seriously delay operations at AUS. Save yourself the delays, fines, and penalties by reading the TSA regulations on traveling with firearms and ammunition before arriving at AUS.

Take the time to review all of their regulations, and note a few key ones:

  • Before traveling with a firearm, make sure to check and comply with local, state, and international laws regarding possession of firearms.
  • Firearms must be unloaded and sealed in a TSA-approved hard-sided case with a lock.
    • Don’t assume the original case of the firearm is up to TSA standards! Check first.
  • Firearms must be declared and checked at the airline ticket counter. Do not pack them in your carry-on or attempt to bring them through TSA security checkpoints.
  • Traveling with ammunition has its own set of TSA rules and requirements – be sure to read the guidelines on traveling with ammunition.

Learn about traveling with firearms or ammunition by reading the TSA regulations. Thank you for knowing the rules and doing your part to ensure a safe and comfortable AUS for all travelers.

New Orders Extend Permit & Development Application Deadlines

Dec 20, 2021 04:32 pm

New emergency orders issued today by Austin-Travis County extend deadlines to complete development applications and permits to March 1, 2022. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the elected leaders of the City of Austin and Travis County issued emergency orders that extended active development applications and permits to Dec. 31, 2021. New orders extend that timeframe another two months to help enable customers to finish construction work that has been affected by COVID-related impacts. 

“We realize the pandemic has created many challenges for area builders, from supply shortages to worker absences,” said Beth Culver, City Building Official and Assistant Director for the Development Services Department (DSD). “We hope this extension will help affected applicants to keep their projects on track.” 

The extension applies only to projects set to expire between the dates of March 17, 2020, and March 1, 2022. DSD has notified affected applicants by email, based on project status and contact information in the City’s permitting database. Some projects may be eligible for further extensions upon request.  

If a permit application is allowed to expire and the applicant has not requested an extension before the deadline, a new application will be required to continue development.  

To learn more, area residents and builders who need to check the status of their active permits or building applications can find individual project information on the Austin Build + Connect Portal. More information about required steps for permit extension options is available on the Development Services Department’s Permit Extensions webpage.  

About The Development Services Department
The City of Austin Development Services Department provides consulting, permitting and inspection services for building projects and events in Austin.   

We ensure compliant and sustainable development, support the environment and urban forest, and help ensure event safety by collaborating with partner departments and helping homeowners, business owners, contractors, event managers and area residents understand and apply existing codes and other guidelines designed to help keep our community safe. We are here to support our vibrant community through responsible development.

Give Your Holiday Tree the Gift of Another Life Out of the Landfill

 

Recycle Your Tree Curbside or at Zilker Park
Once our natural holiday trees have been taken down and stripped of their decorations; they have a new purpose! City of Austin residents can give their real trees a second life by recycling them into mulch or compost. Annually, holiday tree recycling keeps nearly 20,000 trees out of area landfills, contributing to the City’s goal of reaching zero waste by 2040.

For City of Austin curbside customers, recycling a holiday tree is as easy as setting it on the curb. Beginning December 26, 2021, Austin Resource Recovery will pick up all-natural trees, along with yard trimmings, on regularly scheduled collection days. All trees for curbside collection that are six feet or taller must be cut in half. Please set your tree at the curb by 6:30 a.m.

All residents, including those without City of Austin curbside service, can do a contactless drop-off of their trees at the Zilker Park Polo Fields between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on the following days:
  • Sunday, January 2, 2022
  • Saturday, January 8, 2022
  • Sunday, January 9, 2022
Residents should use the following guidelines when recycling their trees:
  • Trees sprayed with flocking, or artificial snow are not accepted
  • Remove all ornaments, tinsel, decorations, lights, and the tree stand
  • Do not place trees in plastic bags
  • Only natural trees may be recycled
For a list of alternative drop-off locations provided by Travis County or businesses that take natural trees, visit austintexas.gov/treerecycling. Trees collected at Zilker Park will be turned into mulch and available for free on a first-come, first-served basis beginning January 12 at 9 a.m. (date and time subject to change due to weather).

Media is invited to record b-roll at the Zilker drop-off; however, we request that interviews be scheduled virtually for staff safety. See below for staff availability for interviews.
 
WHEN AND WHERE:              
Saturday, January 8, 2022, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Zilker Park
       
INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES/VISUALS:   
  • City of Austin staff video interview.
  • City of Austin staff directing traffic or monitoring tree drop off.
  • Residents dropping off their trees for recycling.
  • Provided photos of the tree lifecycle and mulching process.
For more information about Holiday Tree Recycling and the availability of mulch, visit austintexas.gov/treerecycling.

About Austin Resource Recovery
Austin Resource Recovery provides a wide range of services designed to transform waste into resources while keeping our community clean. Services include curbside collection of recycling, trash, yard trimmings and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. Austin Resource Recovery offers free, voluntary and confidential consulting services to help Austin businesses reduce waste and comply with the City’s recycling ordinances. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s road map to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040. Learn more at austinrecycles.com.

“Interimaginary Departures” public art installation brings new out-of-this-world destinations to AUS

 



Cast bronze kiosk as part of the 'Interimaginary Departures' interactive public art installation at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. 

A whimsical new public art installation has arrived at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS), transforming one of the terminal’s gate areas and adding 120 fantastical new air service destinations to the airport.
 
Located at Gate ∞ [Infinity symbol], in between Gates 12 and 14, “Interimaginary Departures” is an immersive and interactive piece by Brooklyn-based artist Janet Zweig. The development and installation of the artwork was commissioned by the City of Austin’s Art in Public Places Program and funded through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s Terminal Expansion Capital Improvement Budget. In the form of a regular AUS gate area which is mysteriously merging with slightly off-angle room from an alternate world, the experience features a variety of audio and visual elements designed to transport travelers to fictional worlds beyond.
 
“The opportunity to transform a hold room in an airport into a magical space has never been offered to an artist,” wrote Zweig, in the project’s design narrative. “It will be a one-of-a-kind artwork and will distinguish the airport as a unique location for experiential art and a place with a playful sense of humor.”
 
Inspired by 3-D computer rendering and The City and The City by China Mieville, a novel about two cities existing within the same space, the reimagined hold room also draws inspiration from across the worlds of science fiction and fantasy. The piece features two screens displaying rotating flight information for hundreds of imaginary destinations, from the Wizard of Oz’s Emerald City to Gallifrey, the home world of Doctor Who’s Time Lords. Every three minutes, an overhead loudspeaker provides amusing boarding information about the otherworldly locations.
 
“Being dedicated to sharing exciting and unique art with the public is part of what makes Austin special.” said Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager over the SD23 Mobility Outcome. “This piece in particular celebrates Austin’s ‘weird’ spirit while also recognizing our continually expanding role in the tech industry.”
 
Travelers can also visit a cast bronze touch screen kiosk, where a brief survey asks them multiple choice questions such as, “Are more things smaller than you or larger than you?” before printing out a souvenir boarding pass to their next interimaginary destination.

"'Interimaginary Departures' represents the culmination of four years of hard work by a world-class artist, local Austin fabricators, as well as City of Austin staff," explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the City of Austin Economic Development Department. "It's one of the most complex public art projects we've ever commissioned, and we're excited to share it with Austin residents and visitors."
 
The AUS Chief Executive Officer, Jacqueline Yaft, said that she sees the piece as something to also improve the passenger experience.
 
“Travel can oftentimes be a stressful experience and art installations like this can play a huge part in helping travelers relax while on their journey,” she said. “As air service continues to expand here in Austin, this work shows that if you can imagine it, AUS can help get you there.”

Interimaginary Departures was made possible through the City of Austin’s Economic Development Department, overseeing Art in Public Places program which allocates 2% of eligible capital improvement project budgets to commission or purchase art for that site. Established by the City of Austin in 1985, Austin was the first municipality in Texas to codify a public art program. The current collection has grown to over 300 pieces.

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About the City of Austin Economic Development Department
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit www.austintexas.gov/eddor follow us @AustinEconDev on Facebook and @AustinEconDev on Twitter.

About Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Owned and operated by the City of Austin, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is the second-fastest growing, mid-sized airport in the United States. Austin-Bergstrom is also an economic engine in Central Texas, supplying over 74,000 direct and indirect jobs in the Central Texas region. For the latest news, real-time flight information, parking availability and details on the many services provided at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport visit AustinTexas.gov/Airport. You can also follow Austin-Bergstrom on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram
 
About the Artist – Janet Zweig
Janet Zweig lives in Brooklyn, NY, and works primarily in the public realm. Her public works include a pair of rolling signs in Seattle, Escape Destinations, that display the names of fictional locations, a kinetic installation on a pier on the Sacramento River, a performance space in a prairie on a Kansas City downtown green roof, a sentence-generating sculpture for an engineering school in Orlando, a 1200′ frieze at the Prince Street subway station in New York, and a system-wide interactive project for eleven Light Rail train stations in Minneapolis, incorporating the work of over a hundred Minnesotans. Her sculpture and books have been exhibited widely. She currently has a residency with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate and Sustainability. She teaches at the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University. Read more about the artist online at www.janetzweig.com.

Friday, December 17, 2021

Youth Leaders Selected from Local Schools to Address Climate Equity

 

18 Austin-area students will support the implementation of City and school-based climate work

2021-22 Austin Youth Climate Equity Council members

A partnership between local government, school, and nonprofit leaders announced today that the first members of the Austin Youth Climate Equity Council have been selected. These 18 young leaders will learn about sustainability and City planning and apply their learning in collaboration with City and community mentors to identify issues, prioritize initiatives, build accountability, and implement climate action on their campuses and within the local community.  
 
The local high school students were selected through a competitive process. Each demonstrates an interest in developing public policy to address climate change, environmental policy, and environmental justice in their community. The Austin Youth Climate Equity Council members are aged 14–18 and represent nine Austin Independent School District schools. The cohort will meet bi-weekly throughout the 2021-22 school year.
 
“I strongly believe that climate change prevention practices and plans need to start at a local level,” said Jackson, an Austin Youth Climate Equity Council Member. “I wanted to join this council in order to help raise awareness about climate change and its effects in my community.”
 
The inaugural year of the Austin Youth Climate Equity Council will provide a platform for the students to engage in local climate action efforts and inform the future of our city. In particular, they will support the Austin Independent School District’s sustainability and long-rage planning and the implementation of the City of Austin’s Climate Equity Plan, adopted by Austin City Council in September.
 
“Youth voices are critical to climate action,” said Lucia Athens, the City of Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Meaningfully addressing the climate crisis means bringing young people in as part of the process. Their future is at stake, and their voices add urgency to the opportunities for change.”
 
The Austin Youth Climate Equity Council is led by the national sustainability education nonprofit EcoRise and made possible through the support and partnership of Austin ISD, the City of Austins Office of Sustainability, and the University of Texas’ Planet Texas 2050. Austin-area sustainability professionals can also get involved by applying to mentor Austin Youth Climate Leaders.
 
“EcoRise is excited to bring this opportunity to youth in Austin this school year,” said Brittany Jayroe, EcoRise Youth Program Director. ”When we put the tools for change in the hands of youth, we will see the benefits unfold over generations. We are looking forward to seeing the changes the first cohort of the Austin Youth Climate Equity Council will set into motion.”
 
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About the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability

Austin’s Office of Sustainability works to ensure a thriving, equitable, and ecologically resilient community by providing leadership, influencing positive action through engagement, and creating measurable benefits for Austin. The Office works to achieve net-zero community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2040, a healthy and just local food system, resource-efficient strategies for municipal operations, tangible projects that demonstrate sustainability, and a resilient and adaptive city. Find out more at www.austintexas.gov/sustainability.
 

About EcoRise

EcoRise develops the next generation of green leaders by enlivening conventional classrooms with academically aligned K–12 curricula that introduce students to environmental literacy, social innovation, and hands-on design skills. EcoRise is currently supporting over 7,700 teachers in helping more than over 430,000 students solve real-world sustainability challenges concerning energy, water, waste, transportation, air quality, food, and public spaces. The program focuses on enhancing STEM education, promoting civic engagement, introducing students to green careers, and helping students develop 21st-century skills. To learn more about EcoRise, visit www.ecorise.org.

City of Austin Opening Cold Weather Shelters Tonight

Warming Centers Available During the Day The City of Austin and partner agencies will be opening warming centers and cold weather shelters t...