Friday, July 29, 2022

Austin Public Health and Travis County Partner with Community Organizations for COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

Austin Public Health (APH) and Travis County are partnering with community organizations to provide free COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the county from July 29 - August 1.   

Clinics are open to all eligible individuals without registration or appointment and do not require identification, insurance, or proof of citizenship. All vaccinations are free. All APH sites offer Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. If you are receiving your second dose, third dose or booster shot, please bring your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to be updated.   

Individuals attending these events should be weather- and traffic-aware. Remember to wear appropriate clothing, including garments that allow you to easily expose your arm.   

To locate providers in your area with a supply of COVID-19 vaccines, go to Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.govfor Spanish), or text your zip code to 438829 (822862 for Spanish).  

NOTICE: Hours are subject to change. 
 

Friday, July 29 

Central Texas Allied Health Institute (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Rundberg (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Stassney (Travis County) 

Poco Loco Supermercado – Cameron (Travis County) 

Saturday, July 30 

Dove Springs Recreation Center (Travis County)


Austin Country Flea Market (Travis County) 

812 Outdoor Flea Market (Travis County) 

La Moreliana Market (Travis County) 

Travis County Constable Precinct 4 Office (Travis County) 

Old Sims Elementary gymnasium (APH) 

Con Mi Madre Event (Travis County)

 

Sunday, July 31 

Austin Country Flea Market (Travis County) 

812 Outdoor Flea Market (Travis County) 

Travis County Constable Precinct 4 Office (Travis County) 

Monday, August 1

Central Texas Allied Health Institute (Travis County) 

Consulado General de México (APH) 

La Mexicana Market – Rundberg (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Stassney (Travis County) 

Poco Loco Supermercado – Cameron (Travis County) 

*The vaccination sites are closed to the press. While vaccinations are occurring, each site is considered a hospital with patients, and only authorized visits are allowed. Agencies listed in parentheses for each location (Austin Public Health or Travis County) are the only entities that can authorize admittance.


Wednesday, July 27, 2022

City of Austin Employees Helping Students in Need

The City of Austin is proud to continue its annual Citywide School Supply Drive. Each summer, members of City staff use their own money to buy school supplies to help Austin students in need. Over the past 16 years, employees have donated an estimated 13,000 backpacks.
 
City of Austin employees will be bringing the school supplies and backpacks they are donating to City Hall on Friday, July 29.  There will also be around 20 elementary and middle school students in attendance from the Austin Independent School District, picking up their supplies. The remainder of the backpacks will then be distributed to the selected AISD schools, Gardner-Betts, and AISD Refugee Services during in-service week.
 
Pick-up Day for Citywide School Supply Drive Press Conference
 
What: AISD to Receive School Supplies and Backpack Donation from the City 
When: Friday, July 29, 2022, 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. 
Where: Austin City Hall Atrium, 301 W 2nd St, Austin, TX 78701 
 
Speakers:  

  • City of Austin, Rodney Gonzales, Assistant City Manager
  • Austin Partners In Education, Cathy Jones, Executive Director
  • Austin ISD, Priscilla Sanchez Emamian, Principal Cook Elementary

The Citywide School Supply Drive is a volunteer effort organized by City of Austin employees to benefit local students. The City of Austin, Austin Independent School District, and Austin Partners in Education have been working together for years to make the Citywide School Supply Drive possible.


Austin’s Newest Water Reservoir is Online and Serving Customers

Austin Water officials marked a major milestone this month. Our city’s oldest water storage reservoir has been replaced with a new, modern one that will improve resiliency for the entire water system.

Austin’s water treatment plants refill the 40 reservoirs in the system overnight to be ready to serve customers’ water needs the next day. During high water demand periods, such as our hot summer days, this infrastructure increases our system’s reliability. Reservoir levels and water treatment plant production is coordinated and monitored by staff at an Austin Water control center around the clock, every day of the year.

The North Austin Reservoir, built in 1913 and located near the intersection of Koenig Lane and North Lamar, served Austin Water’s customers for more than 100 years and had exceeded its useful life. In 2020, the utility began construction to demolish the old reservoir and build a new one in its place. 

This month, the new reservoir was filled with 8 million gallons of drinking water and put back into service, about six months earlier than originally anticipated due to efforts of the project team and contractor. Crews continue work on a new electrical building and pump station on this site, with all construction expected to reach completion by Fall 2023.

“We are celebrating this exciting milestone during a time of extreme heat and drought for our region,” said Robert Goode, Austin Water Interim Director. “Our reservoirs are there to meet demand now, as well as during extreme cold weather events. Getting this infrastructure online ahead of schedule and during peak summertime demands improves the resiliency of our entire system to serve the community when we need it most.”
 
For more information about the North Austin Reservoir and Pump Station Project visit: austintexas.gov/nareservoir.
 
B-roll of the new reservoir is available for download at https://www.dropbox.com/s/3krfb7f99jjjy0g/NAR%20B-Roll.mp4?dl=0
 

Monday, July 25, 2022

Austin Animal Center takes in more than 40 dogs from eviction case

Over the weekend, Austin Animal Center took in more than 40 small dogs from one owner.

“The Travis County Constable’s Office alerted us that they were going to be issuing a writ of possession for a home and believed there were at least 20 dogs inside,” said Don Bland, Chief Animal Services Officer. “When our Animal Protection Officers arrived, they found over 40.”

The owner surrendered all of the dogs to the shelter.

“Thankfully several of our out-of-state rescues came forward when we put the call out to our partners to help with these dogs,” Bland said. “When we get notified about an impending eviction like this, we have no choice but to find somewhere to put these dogs. We’ve been operating overcapacity for months now, and we’re starting to see an increase in people needing to surrender due to evictions. We really need our community to come out and foster and adopt so that we have open kennels for cases like these.”

The shelter is currently at 142% capacity for all dogs. More information about fostering or adopting can be found at austinanimalcenter.org. The shelter is located at 7201 Levander Loop and open for adoptions Monday through Saturday from 11 am to 7 pm and Sundays by appointment.
 
 
About the Animal Services Office
The City of Austin Animal Services Office operates the Austin Animal Center, and is the municipal shelter for the City of Austin and unincorporated Travis County. Austin Animal Center provides shelter to more than 11,000 animals annually and safely places more than 95% of all pets. Our goal is to keep pets with their families and in their communities, provide a safe place for homeless animals, promote responsible pet ownership, and preserve the human-animal bond.

City of Austin Improves Resilience and Community Health Through Landscape Development in Parks and Green Spaces

The City of Austin has reaffirmed its commitment to a more sustainable, resilient, and healthy place for community members to call home through adoption of a Sustainable SITES Initiative certification requirement for Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) projects. Austin is the first city worldwide to incorporate the rating system into local policy and has more participating SITES projects than anywhere in the world.  

SITES is a comprehensive rating system and framework for developing sustainable landscapes, modeled after Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and developed in Austin through a collaborative, interdisciplinary effort of the American Society of Landscape Architects, The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin, and the United States Botanic Garden. SITES is now owned and administered by Green Business Certification Inc. 

For decades, the City of Austin has been a pioneer in the green building movement and has led the way in developing sustainable building standards. In 1991, Austin Energy Green Building created the first rating system in the U.S. for evaluating the sustainability of buildings. In 1995, the City of Austin became a founding member of the U.S. Green Building Council and supported the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system (LEED), the most widely used green building rating system in the world.   

In 2000, the Austin City Council voted to approve a Green Building Policy Resolution making Austin one of the first two cities to mandate LEED Silver certification for all future City buildings. Two decades later, the City of Austin continues to champion sustainable development. In September 2021, the Council adopted yet another pioneering Green Building Policy Resolution that includes Sustainable SITES Initiative certification for park projects.  

For those involved in landscape architecture, Austin’s leadership may not come as a surprise. The Austin area currently has 19 participating SITES projects – more than any other metropolitan area in the world. In 2021, Kingsbury Commons at Pease District Park achieved SITES Gold certification. The Waterloo Greenway Confluence project, which begins construction later this year, is on track for SITES Gold certification, and several other park and aquatic facility projects are actively working toward certification. 

“The City of Austin was one of the first in the world to formally adopt LEED and is now proud to continue its leadership in sustainability and green building by being the first to adopt SITES certification standards for our significant park projects,” said Lucia Athens, the City of Austin’s Chief Sustainability Officer. “Our parks and green spaces knit together the fabric of our communities, providing a foundation for human and environmental health.” 

“By using the SITES framework to guide the development of our landscape projects, PARD hopes to improve quality of life and human health by supporting and regenerating our ecosystem and built environment,” said Liana Kallivoka, PhD, PE, LEED Fellow, and PARD’s Assistant Director overseeing capital improvement projects. “Clean air and water, and a thriving ecosystem are essential to the health and well-being of humans and all life around us.” 

“SITES is a globally recognized and implemented leadership standard, but its roots are in Austin,” noted Danielle Pieranunzi, SITES Director. “As an Austin resident myself, I’m proud to see the city acting on its commitment to a more sustainable, ecologically resilient future for its community members to enjoy.” 

To learn more about the City of Austin’s LEED and SITES projects, please visit the Office of the City Architect at leedatx.com

About the Office of Sustainability 
The City of 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 austintexas.gov/sustainability

About Austin Parks and Recreation  
Austin Parks and Recreation seeks to inspire our community to learn, play, protect and connect by creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places. This City of Austin Department protects and maintains parkland, urban forest, and trails as well as offering sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, and nature and aquatic activities for Austinites. For more information, visit AustinTexas.gov/Parks and follow @AustinCityParks

About Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)  
GBCI is the world’s leading sustainability and health certification and credentialing body. Established in 2008, GBCI exclusively administers project certifications and professional credentials and certificates within the framework of the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems, as well as the PEER standard for power systems, the WELL Building Standard, the Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES), EDGE (Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies), TRUE certification for zero waste and Investor Confidence Project (ICP) for energy efficiency retrofits. Visit gbci.org


Saturday, July 23, 2022

City of Austin Confirms Harmful Algae Present at “Barking Springs”

The City of Austin has detected the presence of Dihydroanatoxin-a, a potent neurotoxin, in an algae sample taken on Monday, July 11, from “Barking Springs,” the part of Barton Creek immediately downstream from Barton Springs Pool. On July 10, a dog died after swimming in this area. The presence of this toxin increases the likelihood that the dog was killed by accidentally ingesting harmful algae. Dihydroanatoxin-a is the same toxin that was present in algae in 2019 when several dogs died after swimming in Lady Bird Lake.

Because of the rapidly flowing water, Barking Springs is less likely to have a harmful algae bloom than slower-moving waterways. However, the harmful algae was found next to and attached to rocks in pockets of still water outside of the main path of the water. It underscores the fact that harmful algae can be present in any natural waterway in Central Texas.

No toxins were detected in the water sample. As long as the toxins are only found in the algae, exposure would occur by handling or ingesting algae. Ingestion of toxins in algae may be fatal. Dogs may be exposed by drinking the water, eating the algae or licking it off their fur. People can have symptoms from these toxins as well. Because humans are less likely to ingest the algae, the risk is lower.

People should not drink or ingest water directly from Central Texas lakes or from any springs or creeks. Do not get in the water or allow your pets to swim or drink the water if it is warm or stagnant or if you see scum, film or mats of algae. It is always a good idea for both people and pets to rinse off after going for a swim. 

Protect your dogs from exposure to harmful algae by keeping them away from areas that are known to have harmful algae blooms. Earlier this summer, the City of Austin also detected toxins in algae samples at all monitoring locations on Lady Bird Lake, including Red Bud Isle, Auditorium Shores and Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park, and at Emma Long Metropolitan Park on Lake Austin.

If you or a family member or pet have sudden, unexplained illness after swimming or signs of poisoning, call your medical provider or veterinarian right away or the Texas Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. You may also report the suspected exposure to harmful algae to the City of Austin using English or Spanish forms available at AustinTexas.gov/Algae.

Friday, July 22, 2022

Homeless Strategy Division Hosting Two Virtual Community Meetings August 3-4

The City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division will host two virtual public meetings on August 3 and 4 to provide a progress report on efforts to address homelessness, as well as an opportunity for attendee Q&A.

Topics to be presented will include, but are not limited to:

  • American Rescue Plan Act investment framework
  • Homelessness social service and housing solicitations
  • HEAL Initiative
  • Housing Production
  • Cold weather shelter
  • Camping ordinance enforcement and response.

“We’re looking forward to providing information on the City’s activities related to homelessness, and hearing from the community,” said Dianna Grey, City of Austin Homeless Strategy Officer.

Register to attend a Virtual Meeting

The Homeless Strategy Division was created to focus on homelessness across the City of Austin. To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit https://www.austintexas.gov/homelessness

Walnut Creek Pool Opens on Saturday, July 23

Walnut Creek Pool, 12138 North Lamar Blvd., opens on Saturday, July 23. It will be open daily 12:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. except for Thursdays when it will be closed. This schedule will be in place through August 13, 2022. Pool hours on Sunday, August 14 will be 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department currently has 578 lifeguards ready-to-work. The Department continues to hire and train lifeguards to operate summer pools. Pay ranges from $16 to $19 an hour depending on experience and certifications. Staff get bonuses, paid sick leave, a free bus pass, and flexible scheduling. Information on becoming a lifeguard is available at lifeguardaustin.com.

For a complete listing of pool schedules, visit austintexas.gov/pools.

Austin Public Health and Travis County Partner with Community Organizations for COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics

Austin Public Health (APH) and Travis County are partnering with community organizations to provide free COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the county from July 22-25.   

Clinics are open to all eligible individuals without registration or appointment and do not require identification, insurance, or proof of citizenship. All vaccinations are free. All APH sites offer Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines. If you are receiving your second dose, third dose or booster shot, please bring your Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card to be updated.   

Individuals attending these events should be weather- and traffic-aware. Remember to wear appropriate clothing, including garments that allow you to easily expose your arm.   

To locate providers in your area with a supply of COVID-19 vaccines, go to Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.govfor Spanish), or text your zip code to 438829 (822862 for Spanish).  

NOTICE: Hours are subject to change. 
 

Friday, July 22 

Central Texas Allied Health Institute (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Rundberg (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Stassney (Travis County) 

Poco Loco Supermercado – Cameron (Travis County) 

Saturday, July 23 

Austin Country Flea Market (Travis County) 

812 Outdoor Flea Market (Travis County) 

La Moreliana Market (Travis County) 

Travis County Constable Precinct 4 Office (Travis County) 

Old Sims Elementary gymnasium (APH) 

Sunday, July 24 

Austin Country Flea Market (Travis County) 

812 Outdoor Flea Market (Travis County) 

Travis County Constable Precinct 4 Office (Travis County) 

Monday, July 25

Central Texas Allied Health Institute (Travis County) 

Northbridge Shelter (APH)

La Mexicana Market – Rundberg (Travis County) 

La Mexicana Market – Stassney (Travis County) 

Poco Loco Supermercado – Cameron (Travis County) 

*The vaccination sites are closed to the press. While vaccinations are occurring, each site is considered a hospital with patients, and only authorized visits are allowed. Agencies listed in parentheses for each location (Austin Public Health or Travis County) are the only entities that can authorize admittance. 


Thursday, July 21, 2022

Safety improvements at major intersections show a 31% decrease in crashes resulting in serious injury or death

Between 2017 and 2021, more than one-third of crashes that resulted in serious injury or death in Austin occurred at signalized intersections.

Through funding from the City budget and the 2016, 2018, and 2020 Mobility Bonds, Austin Transportation is working to improve safety at dozens of high-crash intersections as part of its Vision Zero goal of eliminating serious injuries and fatalities on Austin’s roadways. Since 2016, ATD has completed work at 19 major intersections.

Early data in a new Vision Zero Analytics report show promising results at completed intersections. Of the 13 intersections with at least one year of crash data following project completion, the annualized data showed a combined 30% reduction in total crashes and a 31% reduction in crashes resulting in serious injury or death.

At the 13 locations studied as part of the report, total crashes went from 326 per year before the work was performed to 229 crashes per year after completion. The serious injury or fatal crashes declined from an average of 12 per year to 8.3 per year. ATD also analyzed a control group of similar intersections across the city to better contextualize broader crash trends in Austin over the same period. At those locations, total crashes per year decreased by 4% and serious injury and fatal crashes increased by 8%.

The injury reductions come at a time when traffic fatalities are rapidly rising across the country. The reductions at these locations, however, provide evidence to support an idea at the heart of Austin’s Vision Zero strategy: that changing the design of our streets is the most effective strategy to reduce severe crashes over time.

These crash reductions have additional benefits beyond fewer people suffering life-changing or life-ending injuries in crashes: there is reduced traffic congestion for all roadway users caused by these crashes, and fewer public safety resources are needed to respond to crashes.

Undoing more than 80 years of vehicle-centric street design in a city of approximately 300 square miles will take time, but the work continues as every avoided traffic fatality or serious injury is worth the effort.

ATD teams finished upgrades to another major intersection at Cameron Road and Ferguson Lane in May, and four more projects are scheduled to start construction before the end of 2022. You can learn more about completed and planned work at the Transportation Safety Improvement Program web page.

Austin Transportation has completed safety improvements at 19 major intersections since 2016.


About Austin Transportation

The City of Austin Transportation Department works to provide a safe, efficient, innovative, cost-effective and sustainable transportation system that connects roadways, bikeways, walkways and transit systems in order to bring improved access and mobility to our community. We are taking proactive steps to engage and educate the community. Visit AustinTexas.gov/Transportation.

Austin police investigated fewer complaints from community members in 2021

 

Office of Police Oversight report data shows an increase of community complaints, but 

APD investigated fewer complaints from community members
 
The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is releasing the 2021 annual report to document and share OPO’s activities and achievements last year. The report is available to the public, and highlights the work of the office’s multiple divisions, including complaints, policy and research, and communications and community engagement.

Highlights from the report include:
  • In 2021, OPO received 2,239 contacts from the community and requested that the Austin Police Department (APD) investigate 220 external complaints from community members.
  • APD investigated 90 of the requested external complaints, and 16 resulted in sustained policy violations.
  • In the last two years, the number of officers who have retired while under investigation has increased, from 2 officers in 2019, to 11 officers in 2020, and 15 officers in 2021.
  • OPO expanded their policy and research division and released two comprehensive reports discussing an analysis of APD’s use-of-force policies.
  • OPO sent a memo to City leadership with recommendations for better defining what constitutes “resistance” and considering alternatives to lethal and less-lethal force options.
  • In 2021, OPO hosted five community events to gather feedback from community members and document their lived experiences, attended 41 community events to connect with community members, provided educational presentations at 20 community meetings, and received more than 68,000 website views.
“The last two years have been a pivotal time for police oversight in our country.” says OPO interim director Sylvia Hardman. “As the COVID19 brought new challenges upon reaching the community, nationwide protests simultaneously created more emphasis on the conversation around change in policing.  In response, our office has worked diligently to research national best practices in policing, examine current APD policies, and connect with the community. Through data, research, and community input, we have strived to create systemic change within the Austin Police Department that improves safety for both officers and community members.”  
 
To view the full report, visit atxpoliceoversight.org.

 

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About the Office of Police Oversight  

The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department's conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community. 

MoveOutATX Brings Donation Stations and Free Furniture Market to UT West Campus

 

City of Austin collaborates with local reuse organizations to help reduce waste and support the local economy during annual move-out season
Austin Resource Recovery (ARR), a department of the City of Austin, the University of Texas (UT) Office of Sustainability, and the UT New Student Services Off-Campus Initiative will host MoveOutATX, an annual donation event in West Campus. Students can drop off unwanted furniture, household items, appliances, clothing, cleaning supplies, unopened food and more at six donation stations located throughout West Campus July 28-31 from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. The program offers a convenient way to provide local reuse organizations with unwanted items still in good condition. These items will only be accepted during operating hours.

Additionally, MoveOutATX will pilot a Free Furniture Market this year. Participating reuse organizations will transfer donated furniture pieces to the "market" located at UT Austin Wright-Whitaker Sports Complex. All Austinites may take what they would like and keep these items out of the landfill. Items will be made available on a "first-come, first-served" basis. Participants must be able to load and transport items themselves and will be required to sign a liability waiver. The market will be open to the public on the same days, from 2:30-7 p.m.

Community volunteers are needed to staff the donation stations and Free Furniture Market. Volunteers are provided cold water, electrolyte drinks, snacks, cool-it towels and discounts to local businesses. Volunteers can sign-up for shifts at MoveOutATX.org.

"In addition to keeping valuable resources out of the landfill and giving them back to the community, MoveOutATX provides a solution to problems caused by stacking furniture and household things in alleyways, backstreets and parking lots," said Austin Resource Recovery Director Ken Snipes. "These conditions can lead to public health issues and create barriers to emergency vehicle access."

Dates, times and locations:
MoveOutATX
 donation station operational times are daily Thursday, July 28 to Sunday, July 31 from 11 a.m.-6p.m. Locations:
  • 2207 Rio Grande, across from Hardin House
  • Escala Condos, near 26th St. and San Gabriel St.
  • Croix Condos, across from The Block on 25th at 706 W 25th St.
  • Camino Flats, 2810 Salado St.
  • Lenox Condos, near 23rd and San Gabriel St.
  • Texas Tri Delta, parking lot on Nueces St. near 27th St.
Free Furniture Market operational times are daily from July 28-31, 2:30-7 p.m. Located at UT-Austin Wright-Whitaker Sports Complex, 4901 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX 78751 (Parking lot off 51st St. near tennis courts)

This year's participating reuse organizations include Austin Creative Reuse, Goodwill Central Texas, Salvation Army Family Stores, UT Outpost, the HEAL initiative, Arms of Hope, JOSCO Products and Thrifthouse. Learn more: MoveOutATX.org
 
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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 trimming and large brush and bulk items; street sweeping; dead animal collection; household hazardous waste disposal and recycling; and outreach and education. In December 2011, the Austin City Council approved the Austin Resource Recovery Master Plan, which is the City’s roadmap to Zero Waste. The City of Austin is committed to reducing the amount of waste sent to area landfills by 90 percent by 2040 or sooner.

City of Austin Statement on Labor Negotiations with Police Union

The City's Labor Relations Office has been negotiating with the Austin Police Association (APA) for almost nine months over a new labor ...