Audrey McGlinchy | KUOW News and Information

Audrey McGlinchy

Audrey McGlinchy is the City Hall reporter at KUT, covering the Austin City Council and the policies they discuss. She comes to Texas from Brooklyn, where she tried her hand at publishing, public relations and nannying. Audrey holds English and journalism degrees from Wesleyan University and the City University of New York.
 
She got her start in journalism as an intern at KUT Radio during a summer break from graduate school. While completing her master's degree in New York City, she interned at the New York Times Magazine and Guernica Magazine.

Members of the public testified for the first time Tuesday on three bills that would create statewide regulations for ride-hailing companies in Texas. The bills could also pave a way for Uber and Lyft to return to Austin.

Mel Roe was eating dinner Saturday night at Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant in downtown Austin when she nearly threw her phone at the wall. She said the app of one of Austin’s six fledgling ride-hailing companies, Fasten, would not let her request a ride.

So, she relied on a technique used by many who’ve been stranded before her.

The Austin Police Department will begin implementing a new policy concerning how it identifies transgender and gender-nonconforming crime victims.

Traversing Austin on foot often brings to mind Shel Silverstein’s famed collection of poems, “Where the Sidewalk Ends.” In Austin, the sidewalk often ends – or doesn’t begin at all.

Austin City Council members are hoping to make good on promises to create a more affordable Austin. Or, at the very least, ratify a plan to.

At the rear of the Terrazas Branch of the Austin Public Library on E. Cesar Chavez Street, roughly 10 people gather in a meeting room. It looks like any classroom. There’s a white board at the back, unflattering lighting above, and rows of chairs stacked to the side.

The future of a residential facility for adults with autism is in limbo after a vote by a city of Austin commission.

Reedy Spigner, 45, straddles a gray carpet strewn with empty glass bottles and pieces of tape – just some of the things left behind in a move. In front of him is an entire wall of windows. From there, he looks out onto East 22nd Street and is transported some 35 years into the past.

Danny Fowler stands in the middle of his driveway holding a vase full of red flowers.

He is taking them to his neighbor, who lives just across the street, over the crest of the steep hill that cuts this East Austin cul-de-sac in two. The street, which begins as E.M. Franklin Avenue before morphing into Grant Street, makes up Ebony Acres, a historically black neighborhood.

Stand atop the hill at the northeast corner of the Texas State Cemetery, and you’ll have a clear view of the Texas State Capitol. It rises alongside a row of trees, now leafless, and a Texas flag. That view, some City Council members say, demands protection.

Travis County raised nearly $90,000 as of Monday afternoon through an online initiative set up after Gov. Greg Abbott cut $1.5 million in grant funding over the sheriff’s new immigration policy. State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez (D-Austin) launched the fundraising site Friday in partnership with the Austin Community Foundation.

The Travis County sheriff’s new immigration policy goes into effect today. The policy limits what information local law enforcement share with the federal immigration agency, and it's already stirred up a lot of controversy.

This morning, Gov. Greg Abbott came through on a pledge to cancel $1.5 million in criminal justice grants from his office to Travis County over the policy.

In his letter to faculty and students Sunday, University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves addressed President Donald Trump’s recent executive order temporarily closing the county to immigrants from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Attend the Mayor Steve Adler's annual State of the City address with a group of 20- and 30-somethings and you’re likely to catch at least one reference to NBC’s comedy “Parks and Recreation.” In the show, comedian Amy Poehler plays the excitable head of a small city’s parks and recreation department. As Amy Stansbury, 26, knows, the image the show paints of local government is less than flattering.

In his annual State of the City Address Saturday night, Austin Mayor Steve Adler appeared to denounce the White House’s ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from some Muslim-majority countries.

“I just want the immigrant and refugee community in this city to know that we are a welcoming and supportive community and that they are an important part of our community and in this community they should feel welcome and safe,” said Adler.

“[A] dangerous game of political Russian roulette.” That’s how Texas Gov. Greg Abbott described Travis County Sheriff Sally Hernandez’s immigration policy, which was released Friday. And, this morning, Abbott told Fox News that he's directing lawmakers to draft a bill that would penalize similar policies and threatened to remove Hernandez from office.

L.M. Rivers stared at the several black tiles he had glued onto the canvas. They colored one-third of what was to be a baseball cap. But Rivers was not so sure what to make of the face depicted beneath the baseball cap.

Just before the new year, Austin Mayor Steve Adler wrote a lengthy post on the city council message board, titled: “Possible solution to downtown puzzle.”

He later said it wasn't so much a puzzle, but that there were a lot of pieces involved. What he's referring to is a snaking spine of green space, commercial areas and academic space just west of I-35, in the easternmost part of downtown.

When Austin welcomed its first district-based city council in 2015, it was one of the most diverse councils in the city’s history: majority female, its first-ever Latina council member, plus three fiscal and, at times, social conservatives.

In a windowless office in a Northwest Austin thrift store, past several racks of high-end used clothing, Todd Logan pores over a list of names.

“We had about 84 folks we were helping through our housing program,” he says. Logan is the director of client services at Project Transitions, a nonprofit that provides medical care and housing for people living with AIDS. He estimates that of the 84 people the group helped last year to keep or find housing, more than half were living on the streets.

 

Prosecutors will ask a grand jury to indict state Rep. Dawnna Dukes, who was sworn into her position earlier today, on charges of misusing campaign funds and tampering with government documents. Travis County prosecutors and the Texas Rangers will bring their case to jurors next Tuesday, the District Attorney’s office confirmed.

Updated Jan. 26, 2017

Red River music venues will be permitted to host live outdoor music one hour later on weekends starting this May. The Austin City Council on Thursday approved a six-month pilot program to allow venues like Stubbs BBQ and Mohawk to have bands play until 1 a.m. weekends – instead of until midnight.

In some parts of Austin, runaway pets are likely to stay lost.

Half a dozen posters depicting that British hit band the Beatles color the walls of Justin Estep’s office on Rutherford Lane in North Austin. It brings some levity to an otherwise tense space.

The Travis County Commissioners Court considered options for how to handle a review of criminal cases potentially compromised by the local DNA lab. Run by the Austin Police Department, the lab shuttered its doors in June following an audit from the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Holding back tears, Kathy Sokolic told roughly 30 people seated outside City Hall the story of a bruised heart.

“On the evening of Sept. 12, our 9-year-old,” began Sokolic, before pausing to gather herself. “Our 9-year-old nephew, Ben, was hit by a truck on the residential street just feet from his home.”

Charles Urdy, 82, met his first wife at Charlie’s Playhouse, a now-shuttered club on East 11th Street in Austin.

“I just walked in,” said Urdy, a former Austin City Council member and professor at Huston-Tillotson University. “A friend of mine and his girlfriend and this young lady were sitting at a table together, and I just walked in.”

Two of the city’s three public safety unions are willing to consider a one-year extension of their contracts with the city – but it might not be as simple as giving the go-ahead. Although negotiations for new contracts are set for spring 2017, City Council has said it wants to wait until a new city manager is in place.

Austin voters in five of the city’s 10 districts have decided who will represent them on the city council. This includes districts 2, 4, 6, 7 and 10 – Southeast and most of North Austin. Austinites will also the fate of the $720 million transportation bond. 

10:44 p.m. – In District 7, Council Member Leslie Pool holds a 73 percent lead over challenger Natalie Gauldin, who's garnered 27 percent of the vote with 48 percent of Election Day votes counted.

Update: The Austin City Council has approved a $3.6 million, six-year contract with Dallas County to send the evidence there for testing. 

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