Thursday, June 1, 2023

Austin Community Television Celebrates 50 Years of Unique Broadcast Programming


Austin Film Society Will Honor Austin Public Television’s 50 Anniversary

by Hosting an Onsite Open House June 25

June is designated Austin Public Access Television Month in honor of 50 years of giving the community a platform to air original, free speech, non-commercial programs ranging from serious to silly. Austin Public Access Television Channel 10 is the longest continually operating public access channel in the United States.


Community television was born in Austin when the first live cablecast was broadcast on Mt. Larson in early June 1973. It got its start when several University of Texas Radio-TV-Film students carrying their video production equipment on their shoulders joined up with community activists and Texas Commission on the Arts members. A video clip takes a quick look back at some of the shows and personalities airing on Austin Public over the years.


“The City and residents embraced Austin Public Access television from the very beginning,” said Rondella Hawkins, the City of Austin’s Telecommunications and Regulatory Affairs Officer. “When community television, now Austin Public launched, it was the only free-speech outlet available for residents that provided a voice for traditionally underrepresented groups and perspectives unavailable within mainstream media.  The City of Austin has continued its commitment to preserve and support the access tv channels to distribute the content created by the local community at the studio facility using the state-of-the-art video production equipment.  Leveraging these resources, through our partnership with Austin Public, provides the training and the pathways for promising careers in the creative industry.”

Austin Film Society

The local Austin community is invited to celebrate 50 years of public access at a free open house event. The public is invited to stop by Austin Public, the City of Austin’s current Public Access Television Studio, at 1143 Northwestern Avenue anytime between noon and 4 p.m. to explore the space, take an interactive tour of the facilities and enjoy complimentary refreshments provided by the Austin Film Society. While the event is free to attend, registration is recommended.


The Austin Film Society has operated Austin Public on behalf of the City since 2015. Austin Public cablecasts channels 10, 11 and 16 through three local cable providers while also simultaneously providing video-on-demand and streaming content online. Channel 10 is currently the longest-running public access television station in the country. Today, the Austin Film Society’s role in operating Austin Public includes a major focus on connecting the public with skills and training for media production related jobs as well as access to production equipment, state-of-the-art production facilities and content distribution services. 

Austin Public is also the home of Creative Careers, a workforce development program that provides hands-on training and mentorship to emerging creatives in Texas, especially those who may have been traditionally overlooked by the media industry. This paid internship and training program provides a foot in the door into the film, television and media production industries in Austin.

Rebecca Campbell, Austin Film Society CEO, said, “The history of Public Access in Austin is intrinsically tied to the growth and success of the City’s creative sector, and public access remains vital to the culturally focused expressions of a diverse city.” Campbell continued, “Throughout its existence, Austin Public Access Television has given industry outsiders the tools and training they need to make their voices heard. We are able to continue that legacy of community support by serving nonprofit organizations and anyone in the community who needs training on media tools. Creative Careers, our unique workforce development program, is connecting new generations with these same resources as well as mentorship, job shadowing and networking opportunities.”

Since it was established, Austin Public has given members of the community the resources they've needed to share local perspectives on community-specific issues. It has also attracted those interested in learning more about media production, notably Texas-based film directors Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused, founder of the Austin Film Society) and Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City), both of whom used Austin Public Access resources to edit their first films.


About Austin Public

Committed to freedom of speech and expression, Austin Public is a non-exclusive and content-neutral media studio that offers low- and no-cost training, equipment, facilities, and content distribution services to all Austinites. Its programs empower individuals and nonprofit organizations to create film and media projects that speak to the local community, facilitate community building, and diversify the media landscape. Austin Public provides video-on-demand and over the top distribution services and operates cable channels 10, 11, and 16 (cable channel 10 being the longest continually running public access station in the country) and simultaneously streams the channels. Austin Public is also home to Creative Careers, a unique workforce development program that provides hands-on training, mentorship, and professional development opportunities to emerging creatives who may have been overlooked by the industry in the past, helping them find industry jobs and career paths in the field of media production.


About Austin Film Society

Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Summer Ready: Avoid Summer's Bummers / common code violations

 The first official day of summer is still a few weeks off, but that’s not the story the weather forecast is telling. Summer should be about running barefoot in the lawn, barbecues and cooling off from the heat, not about infestation, dangerous environments and common code violations. Avoid these summer bummers with this Summer Ready guidance.

City Code requires grass and weeds to be kept shorter than 12 inches. A well-maintained outdoor space minimizes stagnant water and risk of infestation. Grass over four feet tall is considered an imminent danger. Spiders, snakes, scorpions and other critters like to hide in high vegetation, creating a potentially dangerous situation for people and animals.

The Watershed Protection Department offers grants, rates and freebies to promote sustainable landscaping practices through the Grow Green initiative. The Austin Parks & Recreation Department provides guidance on the creation of City-certified wildlife habitat and community gardens.

Disposing of garbage or unwanted items outside formal collection or donation processes is considered illegal dumping. Keeping our city clean is a shared responsibility. Dispose of trash and unwanted property appropriately – through curbside trash, recycling and composting services – or at a legitimate disposal site.

Austin Resource Recovery's residential customers (in single-family homes up to fourplexes) receive regular curbside trash, recycling and composting collection and on-call clothing and houseware collection. Austin/Travis County residents can drop off many items to be recycled, reused or safely discarded at the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center. Residents can also access a list of battery drop-off locations or search the What Do I Do With…  tool to find out how to dispose of an item.

Cleaning up a dump site is ultimately the responsibility of the property owner, even if they are not the offender.

For other Summer Ready resources that can help you sizzle with safety this season, visit


Listo para el verano: Un verano sano

Austin, Texas - Aunque el clima no lo aparenta, todavía faltan algunas semanas para el verano. El verano consiste en correr descalzo en el césped, parrilladas y refrescarse del calor. No consiste en infestaciones, ambientes peligrosos o infracciones comunes del código. Evite los fastidios del verano con estos consejos.

El Código de la ciudad requiere que las hierbas y las malezas se mantengan a menos de 12 pulgadas de alto. El césped de más de cuatro pies de altura se considera un peligro inminente. A las arañas, serpientes, escorpiones y otras criaturas les gusta esconderse en la vegetación alta, creando una situación potencialmente peligrosa para las personas y los animales.

El Departamento de Protección de Cuencas Hidrográficas (Watershed Protection Department) ofrece ayuda monetaria, tarifas reducidas y obsequios para promover prácticas sostenibles de paisajismo a través de la iniciativa Grow GreenEl Departamento de Parques y Recreación de Austin brinda orientación sobre la creación de hábitats de vida silvestre y jardines comunitarios certificados por la ciudad.

El tirar basura o artículos no deseados fuera de los procesos formales de recolección o donación se considera ilegal. Mantener nuestra ciudad limpia es una responsabilidad compartida. Deseche la basura y la propiedad no deseada a través de la recolección de basura en la acera, los servicios de reciclaje y compostaje o en un sitio de eliminación legítimo.

Los clientes residenciales del Departamento de Recuperación de Recursos de Austin (Austin Resource Recovery) (en casas unifamiliares hasta cuádruples) reciben recolección regular de basura, reciclaje y compostaje en la acera y recolección de ropa y artículos del hogar conforme se necesite. Los residentes de Austin/Condado de Travis pueden dejar muchos artículos para reciclarlos, reutilizarlos o desecharlos de manera segura en el Centro de entrega de reciclaje y reutilización (Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center). Los residentes también pueden acceder a una lista de ubicaciones de entrega de baterías o buscar en la página de internet "¿Qué hago con…?" para saber cómo desechar un artículo.

Limpiar basura tirada ilegalmente es ultimadamente responsabilidad del dueño de la propiedad, sea o no el que tiró la basura.

Para más recursos sobre como estar listo para un verano sano y seguro, visite la página de internet Listo para el verano (Summer Ready).

City provides Two-Year Update on Vision Zero initiatives

 City provides Two-Year Update on Vision Zero initiativesThe City of Austin today released its Two-Year Update on Vision Zero, its ambitious goal to eliminate traffic-related serious injuries and fatalities in Austin. This report covers Vision Zero program activities in 2021 and 2022.

Key takeaways from the report:

  • Safety improvements work: Where Vision Zero safety engineering work has been implemented, safety has improved. Major Intersection Safety Projects resulted in a 31% reduction in serious injury or fatal crashes. Similarly, the South Pleasant Valley Road Project, completed in collaboration with the Bikeways bond program in 2021, is showing an 82% reduction in injury/fatal crashes of all modes. 
  • The work must continue: Consistent with national trends, injuries and fatalities in Austin over the past two years remain higher than pre-pandemic levels. Fatal crashes increased on State-owned roadways within Austin, while the number remained relatively flat on non-State-owned roadways. With over 600 people seriously injured or killed each year in Austin, the City acknowledges the need to scale up Vision Zero work to meet the level of the challenge.
  • The core problem: Austin has a transportation system that historically was not designed to account for human mistakes and does not adequately mitigate the potential severity of crashes. Retrofitting this system for safer mobility is at the heart of Vision Zero.

Consistent with its focus on redesigning the transportation system for safer mobility, key accomplishments of Vision Zero in 2021 and 2022 include:

  • Completing seven Major Intersection Safety Projects and initiating construction, design, or scoping on another 25 intersections.
  • Installing low-cost, high-impact systemic projects at more than 40 locations.
  • Lowering speed limits on nearly 50 arterial streets and hundreds of residential streets.
  • Leveraging local community bond dollars to secure over $27 million in federal funds to rapidly increase the scale and scope of Vision Zero's engineering work.

The Vision Zero Two Year Update 2021-2022available in PDF form from Austin Transportation and Public Works, also discusses how Vision Zero is using quality data and analytics to inform its safety work, how it is engaging the community and other stakeholders to help strengthen the breadth and depth of safety work across Austin, and how it is applying an equity lens to all of its safety initiatives to address racial disparities that exist among severe crash victims. The report concludes with a discussion of the work Vision Zero will focus on over the next two years, as well as the names of those who lost their lives in crashes in 2021 and 2022.

Tips to Stay Cool, Safe During Austin's Summer Heat

Summertime in Austin brings consecutive days over 100 degrees. The City of Austin encourages residents to keep cool, hydrated, and learn important tips for heat safety. When outdoors, wear loose, lightweight, light-colored clothing and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.  

“If you are new to Austin or a long-time resident, we want people to prepare for summer hazards and enjoy the season safely,” said Aoife Longmore, Deputy Director for the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. “It is important for people to be aware of the measures they can take to protect themselves, loved ones and pets.” 

New Austinites may not be familiar with the hot and humid weather we may experience from June through September. Extreme heat without precautions can lead to heat disorders like heat exhaustion or heat stroke. 

Signs for Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke 

Recognizing the signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke are an important part of heat preparedness. Knowing the difference between the two and how to respond can save lives. 

Heat Exhaustion Symptoms:  

  • Cool, pale, clammy skin 
  • Weakness 
  • Dizziness 
  • Heavy sweating 
  • Nausea or vomiting 
  • Fast, weak pulse  

It is important to act quickly when someone is experiencing these symptoms.  

  • Move victim to a cooler area immediately 
  • Loosen clothing 
  • Sip cool water slowly 

Seek medical help if symptoms do not improve, last longer than an hour, or the victim begins vomiting. Heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke within minutes. 

Heat Stroke Symptoms:  

  • Hot, red, dry or damp skin 
  • Rapid and strong pulse 
  • Throbbing headache 
  • Confusion 
  • Nausea or dizziness 
  • Body temperature above 103 F. 
  • Lethargy or loss of consciousness  

If you or someone you are with experiences symptoms of heat stroke, MOVE THEM, COOL THEM, CALL 9-1-1. Heat stroke is a severe medical emergency and can cause death or permanent damage if emergency treatment is not given promptly.  

  • Move the victim to a cooler area, preferably air-conditioned 
  • Reduce their body temperature with cool cloths or bath. 
  • Do NOT give fluids or anything by mouth to a person experiencing heat stroke.  

Working Outdoors 

Avoid high-energy activities, working outdoors during midday heat or peak sun hours if possible, or indoors without air conditioning. When working outdoors, have plenty of fluids handy and a shady spot nearby to cool off or take breaks. The City of Austin has a Rest Break Ordinance. All employees performing construction activities at a construction site are entitled to a rest break of no less than 10 minutes for every four (4) hours worked. 

Pet Safety 

Keep our pets safe during high temperatures. Have plenty of cool water and accessible shade for them. Collapsible water bowls are a great tool and remember asphalt and dark pavement can be very hot on pet’s feet that can burn or blister on hot pavement. 

Car Safety 

Never leave people or pets unattended in a closed car on a warm day. Temperatures in vehicles climb much faster and can reach dangerous temperatures in only a few minutes. On an 80-degree day outside, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach 94 degrees in two minutes and more than 120 degrees in less than an hour. Cracking the windows open does not significantly reduce how high the temperature inside the vehicle can reach.  

LOOK BEFORE YOU LOCK! Heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash vehicle-related deaths in children. Before leaving your vehicle, check for children, pets, and adults in the back seat. If you see someone locked in a hot car, take action and call 9-1-1 immediately. It can save a life. 

Cooling Centers 

City of Austin facilities, including Libraries and Recreation Centers, can be used as Cooling Centers, a temporary respite from the heat, during normal operating hours. Service animals are allowed in City-facilities.  

Heat Safety Tips from Austin Travis County EMS  

Make sure you are prepared for the heat before you go outdoors. 

  • Pre-hydrate before going into the heat. 
  • Plan ahead and dress appropriately for sun and heat. 
  • Apply sunscreen before sun exposure and reapply frequently. 
  • Learn the signs of heat-related illness and be ready to take action if needed. 
  • Heat-related illnesses can progress into heat stroke within minutes. If you or someone you’re with shows signs of heat-related illness, begin cooling measures immediately. 
  • Always know where you are. If you’re going to a greenbelt, or to the lake, download the what3words app from your provider so first responders can find you quickly if you need help. 

Mosquito Protection Tips from Austin Public Health 

Summer heat also brings an increase in mosquitoes. Mosquitoes may harbor several diseases that contribute to outbreaks of ZikaWest Nile, dengue fever, encephalitis and canine heartworm. Austin-Travis County is officially in mosquito season. 

Effective control of mosquito populations helps prevent or reduce these outbreaks and enhances the enjoyment of outdoor activities by everyone in the community. 

Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from mosquitoes. 

Drain standing water. Mosquitoes grow in standing water. They breed quickly – in just a few days, they can lay hundreds of eggs. Once a week, empty and scrub, turn over, cover or throw out containers that hold water, including tires, pet water bowls, containers and buckets, planters, toys like water tables or kiddie pools, birdbaths, flowerpot saucers, trash containers, and rain barrels.  

Protect yourself by applying insect repellent. Use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents with one of the active ingredients below. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven to be safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding people. Repellents include DEET, Picaridin (known as KBR 3023 and icaridin outside the US), IR3535, Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), Para-menthane-diol (PMD), and 2-undecanone. Find the right insect repellent for you by using the EPA’s search tool.  

Wear protective clothing. Wear long pants and long sleeves when you’re outside, especially in places with high mosquito activity.   

To report a mosquito problem, call 3-1-1 or complete a Service Request online. 

Austin Water 

Conserving water is an important part of maintaining our ecosystems and public water services. Most of Texas, including the Central Texas region, is experiencing serious drought conditions. Record high temperatures and low rainfall have taken a toll on the Lower Colorado River Basin and Lakes Travis and Buchanan, the source of our water supply. Austin Water is currently under Stage 1 watering restrictions. Austin residents can protect their lakes, the environment, and their future water supply by watering only one day a week with automatic sprinklers and a second day, if need be, with hoses. Join your neighbors in helping your community and wallet by adhering to the mandatory watering days and times. Find your watering days and times here. 

Austin Energy 

Austin Energy spends all year planning and preparing for extreme weather. The utility started summer preparations months ago to make sure power plants are ready for hot temperatures. Preparations also include regularly scheduled inspections and maintenance of power plants. Staff use both in-person and remote monitoring to gauge the performance of these preparations, which are re-evaluated ahead of any major storm or weather shift. 

Austin Energy encourages customers to prepare for emergencies or extreme weather at home as well. When temperatures rise, your air conditioner use will likely increase as well. This can mean higher electricity bills during the warmer months. Here are some tips to help you monitor your electricity use: 

  • Set your thermostat at 78 degrees or higher in the warm months of the year.  
  • Install LED light bulbs. They use less electricity, generate less heat and last longer. 
  • Point fans in your direction. Fans blowing directly on you can make temperatures around you feel about 4 degrees cooler. Only keep fans on when you are in the room. 
  • Close shades/curtains on windows hit by direct sunlight. This helps to prevent heat from getting indoors. 
  • Avoid turning on the oven during the hottest time of the day. Using a microwave or a slow cooker produces less heat. 
  • Unplug appliances, chargers, and electronic devices when you are not using them. They use energy even when they are turned off. Turn off your lights when you leave a room. 

Visit for more information on how to save energy during hot weather, power outages and how to save energy and water during the summer. Sign up for Austin Energy’s Outage Alerts to send and receive text notifications about power outages. Get started by texting REGISTER to 287846. 

For more information on identifying, preventing and treating heat-related illnesses visit

Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Austin Celebrates the CROWN Act Becoming State Law

A bill intended to end the discrimination of hairstyles associated with race was signed into law Sunday by Governor Greg Abbott. House Bill 567, better known as the CROWN Act, was passed in the Texas Senate with 29-1 votes and in the Texas House by 143-5. It goes into effect on September 1.

The CROWN Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. Discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle results in a denial of basic civil rights, including educational, housing, employment opportunities and places of public accommodation.

The Austin City Council approved implementing the CROWN Act in June 2022, making Austin the first city in Texas to do so.
“This is another step forward to protect and improve the lives of countless people across the state,” said Interim Civil Rights Director Dr. Tamela Saldana. “We know there continues to be discrimination against Black women and girls for wearing hairstyles inherent to their culture. Governor Abbott signing the CROWN Act into law sends a clear message that hair discrimination has no place here.”
Approving the CROWN Act amended City Code to revise the definition of “Discriminatory Employment Practice” to include “Protective Hairstyles”. This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
CROWN Act bills have been passed in 21 states including Texas and are part of a national civil rights and anti-discrimination movement started in 2019.

For more information on the Office of Civil Rights visit: Office of Civil Rights |

Austin Community Television Celebrates 50 Years of Unique Broadcast Programming

  Austin Film Society Will Honor Austin Public Television’s 50 Anniversary by Hosting an Onsite Open House June 25 June is designated Austin...