Tuesday, February 28, 2023
The City of Austin will receive $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to help the city and the surrounding urban area guard against acts of terrorism.
Mayor Kirk Watson received a call from U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas on Monday to share the news of the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) Grant Program award. The program, created in 2003, targets security funding to high-threat urban areas to prevent, respond to and recover from threats or acts of terrorism. This is the first time Austin has been awarded a UASI grant since 2010.The money will support efforts in Travis, Williamson and Hays counties and the cities of Austin and Round Rock.
“We greatly appreciate this grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assist our community in preparing for and responding to terrorism in all forms,” Mayor Kirk Watson said. “Our approach to readiness must evolve to reflect the threats as they are today, and this federal grant will help us be smart and nimble in our efforts to protect Austin from terrorism. Thank you to Secretary Mayorkas and our Congressional delegation for this assistance.”
The UASI program is intended to provide financial assistance to address the unique multi-discipline planning, organization, equipment, training, and exercise needs of high-threat, high-density urban areas. The grant funding assists these communities in building and sustaining capabilities to prevent, protect against, mitigate, respond to, and recover from threats or acts of terrorism using a “whole community” approach.
Currently, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) primary focus is on collaboration and information sharing among stakeholders to build a national culture of preparedness and protecting against terrorism and other threats to national security. Due to evolving threats by sophisticated actors that now include cyber threats, threats to crowded events, and domestic extremists, DHS has identified six priority areas related to the most serious threats to the nation:
- Enhancing the protection of soft targets/crowded places.
- Enhancing information and intelligence sharing and analysis.
- Combating domestic violent extremism.
- Enhancing cybersecurity.
- Enhancing community preparedness and resilience.
- Enhancing election security.
“Keeping Austin residents safe is our primary focus, and that includes being alert, aware and prepared for potential terroristic threats,” Interim City Manager Jesús Garza said. “The growth in the Austin urban area, including the addition of major infrastructure, increased population and large-scale events that draw tens of thousands of visitors, all influenced the decision by the federal government to award this grant. This funding, along with Austin’s longstanding commitment to public safety, will help ensure we are anticipating, preparing for, and circumventing threats, as well as collaborating with cities across the nation to share information and support one another in this critical effort.”
Monday, February 27, 2023
If you are interested in the future of Zilker Park, you are invited to attend this evening's meeting of the Park Board at City Hall. Proponents of "Rewild Zilker" https://www.rewildzilker.org/ will be making presentations.
Rewild Zilker Park is a joint project funded by Zilker Neighborhood Association (ZNA), Barton Hills Neighborhood Association, Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association and Save our Springs Alliance. Our group has members from Sierra Club, Austin Master Naturalists, Safe Bike Austin and has been endorsed by the Austin Neighborhood Council.
AUSTIN, TX – Austin’s eighth annual [RE]verse Pitch Competition, a program aimed at reducing waste in Austin through innovation and design, kicks off Wednesday, March 1, with a virtual opening pitch event. During this event, six local businesses will “pitch” their businesses’ surplus and byproduct materials in the hopes of finding solutions and alternative uses to keep them out of local landfills.
Competitors will select a material and, over the course of several weeks, create a new product or service based on that material. Competition organizers will host online workshops and provide mentors throughout the competition. In May, up to four competitors (or teams of competitors) will be selected to become [Re]verse Pitch Innovation Fellows. The Innovation Fellows will each receive a $4,000 cash stipend, additional in-kind prizes, participate in a three-part accelerator program and more.
By connecting local businesses with entrepreneurs and innovators, [Re]verse Pitch helps Austin’s business community reduce waste and keep valuable resources out of the landfill. The materials for this year’s competition include:
Competitors may select one or more of the materials listed above. Competitors are highly encouraged to attend for the live Q&A session following each pitch.
The opening pitch event will be hosted online and recorded via Zoom Wednesday, March 1, 6-8 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Register here.
For more information about the [Re]verse Pitch Competition and how to participate, visit reversepitch.org.
The [Re]verse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin and Austin Young Chamber, with additional support from a wide variety of community partners.
About the Circular Economy ProgramThe City of Austin Circular Economy Program’s mission is to attract, retain, and grow businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs in the zero waste industry in order to create well-paying local jobs, attract investment, and support the necessary infrastructure for a resilient circular economy in Central Texas. The program is a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department.
About Austin Resource RecoveryAustin Resource Recovery (ARR) is a department of the City of Austin. We provide essential services that protect people and our planet. We collect recycling, composting, trash, large brush, bulk items and dead animals. We also sweep the streets, recycle and safely dispose of household hazardous waste, and provide community outreach and education. ARR is driving the global transformation of traditional waste management to sustainable resource recovery. Learn more at austinrecycles.com
Friday, February 24, 2023
Learn about Building Code Inspections
The Austin Code Department released a special new episode of the "My Story as a Code Inspector" series. In the 10th episode, we join Code Investigator Hilda Martinez on a ride-along to various apartment complexes in Austin as she explains the basics of building code inspections and how inspectors ensure the safety of residents. Investigator Martinez also talks about her efforts to inform Austin residents about their rights as tenants, common misconceptions about the work of code inspectors, and challenges residents face when reporting code violations.
This series is an innovative way to connect with Austin residents while helping them learn about the value of the work done by code inspectors within the community. Each episode contains an interview with a code inspector about a code case that had a profound impact on their life personally. This series is distributed throughout multiple online platforms to provide knowledge that engages with multiple residents in a distinctive way and keeps our educational efforts at the forefront. Watch the new episode below.
To report a code violation, please call Austin 3-1-1 or download the Austin 3-1-1 app.
Listen to the full podcast version of each episode on your favorite platform by clicking the Related Links below.
El Departamento de Códigos de Austin lanzó un nuevo episodio especial de la serie " Mi historia como inspector de códigos". En el décimo episodio, nos unimos a la investigadora de códigos Hilda Martínez en un viaje a varios complejos de apartamentos en Austin mientras explica los conceptos básicos de las inspecciones del código de construcción y cómo los inspectores garantizan la seguridad de los residentes. La investigadora Martínez también habla sobre sus esfuerzos para informar a los residentes de Austin sobre sus derechos como inquilinos, conceptos erróneos comunes sobre el trabajo de los inspectores del código y los desafíos que enfrentan los residentes al denunciar infracciones del código.
Esta serie es una forma innovadora de conectarse con los residentes de Austin mientras les ayuda a aprender sobre el valor del trabajo realizado por los inspectores de códigos dentro de la comunidad. Cada episodio contiene una entrevista con un inspector de código sobre un caso de código que tuvo un profundo impacto en su vida personal. Esta serie se distribuye a través de múltiples plataformas en línea para proporcionar conocimiento que involucra a múltiples residentes de una manera distintiva y mantiene nuestros esfuerzos educativos a la vanguardia. Puede ver el nuevo episodio a continuación.
Para reportar una infracción de códigos, llame a Austin 3-1-1 o descargue la aplicación Austin 3-1-1.
Escuche la versión completa del podcast de cada episodio en su plataforma favorita haciendo clic en los enlaces relacionados a continuación.
Thursday, February 23, 2023
AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces more than $3.9 million in funds awarded to 36 local arts non-profit organizations through the Thrive grant. These grant awards, ranging from $85,000 - $150,000, provides focused investment to sustain and grow arts organizations that are deeply rooted in and reflective of Austin’s diverse cultures. Recipients will use their funds for arts activities open to and marketed to tourists.
“Thrive will help sustain and grow our creative economy through operating grants and access to a supportive peer cohort with networking and learning opportunities” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “This program addresses the historical under-funding and cultural displacement of communities within Austin by offering transformative funding for these organizations to invest in their own future.”
The Austin City Council approved the Thrive awardees on February 23, 2023 through Resolution No. 20230223-012. Thrive is only open to 501c arts organizations who have at least a 5-year history in Austin. This program prioritizes organizations that have not yet reached institutional status (access to large cash reserves, endowments, etc.). Thrive includes a supportive cohort learning model, leveraging expertise from within the cultural sector to guide professional development and taking advantage of learning opportunities within the Economic Development Department and other City programs. Below is the full list of 2023 grantees:
Funding for the Thrive Grant, which is managed by the Economic Development Department’s Cultural Arts Division, comes from 15% of the annual Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) allocations for the Cultural Arts Fund. Thrive is the first arts focused program developed from new criteria informed by the 2022 Cultural Funding Review Process by the Economic Development Department, which was a three-year public process to center equity and inclusion in the City’s HOT investments in arts, heritage, and music. The Economic Development Department acknowledges the extraordinary cultural and creative talent that exists in the city contributing to Austin’s economic success and to the city’s identity.
One awardee, the Cine Las Americas Board, Gabriel Ornelas and the entire Cine staff, stated, “With a history of 25 years, this Thrive award and the amount will provide us with the opportunity and critical support to focus on the next years and develop as a self-sustaining cultural institution. To serve, collaborate and engage not only our current communities, but diverse groups throughout Austin. And, to continue to introduce everyone to the talented, important and beautiful stories and voices of the filmmakers we represent.”
In upcoming months, additional programs will launch to support arts & culture in the Austin surrounding area including Live Music Fund Event Program, Elevate, Nexus, and Heritage Preservation Grant. These new funding programs are structured to encourage new talent, support established cultural producers, and invest in the development of diverse cultural institutions that are rooted in and representative of the communities they serve.
For more information on the Thrive Grant and other cultural funding opportunities, visit www.austintexas.gov/
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