BG Note | News - What We're Reading (April 13, 2018)


[Austin Metro]

Grove PUD remains in limbo (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The drama over the Grove at Shoal Creek may be far from over. The project has been tangled in city bureaucracy ever since City Council greenlighted the controversial planned unit development at the corner of 45th Street and Bull Creek Road in December 2016.

While the Council vote granted the zoning needed to build the massive mixed use project, which will include more than 1,500 residential units as well as a large amount of retail and office space, the developers have yet to receive approval of the preliminary plan, which lays out the specific details about the dimensions of the development...

Palm School survey offers ground rules for redevelopment (Austin Monitor) LINK TO STORY

The Travis County Commissioners Court on Thursday received a long-awaited report on the historic bona fides of the county-owned Palm School building during a briefing that offered potential redevelopment scenarios of the 19th-century downtown Austin structure.

All of those scenarios would preserve the original structure itself and see new buildings of varying sizes rise up on the northern half of the site at the northwest corner of Cesar Chavez Street and Interstate 35.

Originally built in 1892, Palm School served its eponymous function up until 1976 when the Austin Independent School District unloaded the site onto private hands. The county acquired it 10 years later and is currently using it as the headquarters of its Health and Human Services Department. However, plans to relocate that agency to a new office on Airport Boulevard have put Palm School’s fate up in the air...

Pilot program to help blind and visually impaired Cap Metro riders could eventually go citywide (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

Connecthings specializes in beacons, which are small Internet-connected devices that can make it easier to geolocate a person’s position indoors, or, in the case of the Cap Metro pilot, to help the visually impaired get real-time bus schedule information and alerts for delays. The beacons, which use Bluetooth technology, can communicate with “BlindSquare,” a GPS mapping app, and provide more precise locations for bus stops and guide users to them.
The pilot program, which is currently focused downtown around Second Street with about 15 bus stops, can alert a rider to changes in bus scheduling or cancellations...


Abbott calls cross-border activity disturbing and dangerous (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott said Tuesday the deployment of Texas National Guard troops is necessary to deal with a dramatic escalation of immigrants, drugs and MS-13 gang members crossing the southern border. The cross-border activity poses serious threat to communities across Texas and the United States, Abbott said during a visit with troops and U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley. “Stunningly and disturbingly there has been an increase of more than 200 of MS-13 coming across the border,” Abbott said.
“It’s our responsibility on behalf of our fellow Americans that we stop those MS-13 gang members.” President Donald Trump last week called for a force of as many as 4,000 troops in four states to deploy to the southern border. The president said the troops would remain on the border as a “virtual and personnel wall” until his wall is built...

Gov. Abbott answers Speaker Straus concerns over enterprise fund (San Antonio Express-News) LINK TO STORY

Gov. Greg Abbott staunchly defended the operation of the Texas Enterprise Fund in the face of recent concerns from Joe Straus, saying the House speaker’s hometown has had the highest approval rate for grants during his tenure as governor. Straus, R-San Antonio, last month questioned whether the business-development fund actually closes deals as intended, and whether enough consideration has been given to projects outside North Texas. While it’s true that San Antonio’s approval rate is higher, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has received more than three times as much funding and nearly three times as many grants...

Ex-Texas congressman convicted of fraud, conspiracy (Austin American-Statesman) LINK TO STORY

A federal jury convicted a former Texas congressman of fraud and conspiracy on Thursday for misusing charitable donations to pay for personal and political expenses.

Steve Stockman, a Republican, was accused of conspiring with two staffers to bilk conservative foundations out of at least $775,000 that was meant for charitable purposes and voter education. A campaign worker and an aide have pleaded guilty to various charges...


Trump, Pelosi appear most in early ads — for the other side (The Hill) LINK TO STORY

President Trump and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) are the top two targets of political ads this year, according to a new study from the Wesleyan Media Project. The analysis, which covers nearly 300,000 ads that have aired across the country since January 2017, finds Democrats hitting Trump and Republicans slamming Pelosi as both sides seek to drive their political bases to the polls. Trump was featured unfavorably in 6 percent of the spots, or about 18,000 total ads, while Pelosi has been featured negatively in 7,000 individual spots...

Trump Proposes Rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership (New York Times) LINK TO STORY

President Trump, in a sharp reversal, told a gathering of farm-state lawmakers and governors on Thursday morning that the United States was looking into rejoining a multicountry trade agreement known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a deal he pulled out of days after assuming the presidency.
Mr. Trump’s reconsideration of an agreement he once denounced as a “rape of our country” caught even his closest advisers by surprise and came as his administration faces stiff pushback from Republican lawmakers, farmers and other businesses concerned that the president’s threat of tariffs and other trade barriers will hurt them economically...

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