BG Reads | News - What We're Reading (July 27, 2018)
I-35 TRAFFIC JAM: Man faces DWI charges after South Austin crash, false bomb report (Austin American-Statesman)
A crash and a false bomb report on Interstate 35 in South Austin prompted police to shut down the highway in both directions for nearly five hours Thursday and created a major traffic jam from downtown Austin to outside of Buda.
Austin police said they received a call at 10:02 a.m. about a vehicle speeding north on Interstate 35 near William Cannon Drive. The vehicle crashed, went up in flames and sparked a small grass fire along the interstate, officials said...
Talking talent, and why Austin companies can’t find enough workers (Austin Monitor)
On top of complimentary food, coffee and other treats, music rooms for relaxing, and other perks typical of the Silicon Valley digital life, Austin-based job search firm Indeed has had to become something of a transit provider while trying to remain attractive for potential employees.
With complimentary rides on the Chariot ride-share service, a company car pool program and an aggressive work-from-home furlough program, Indeed’s Manager of Talent Attraction Kevin Womack said transit and location variables are just two of the factors the company is trying to manage in the coming years as it plans to grow its local workforce to 5,000 employees from its current headcount of 2,000.
Add in a growing wait time and difficulty with hiring foreign workers for technical jobs and the frustration grows, a feeling discussed in depth Wednesday during an Urban Land Institute Austin member breakfast that focused on Austin’s shortage of talent.
“Immigration policies have impacted the duration to hire someone through H-1B visas, and due to some of the rhetoric, it’s gotten harder to get someone started on an H-1B once it’s filed,” said Womack, one of three panelists discussing the topic. “We have to wait for it to go through, which makes the start date become something that happens at an extended level. Due to that we have hiring managers unwilling to wait that duration, but we don’t have local or other resources to fill that gap.”...
County commissioners see SH-45 development as key to more affordable housing (Austin Monitor)
On Tuesday, the Travis County Commissioners Court received an update on Turner’s Crossing, a proposed mixed-use subdivision that would be located about 15 miles south of downtown Austin. The project will make use of a public improvement district to fund more services and infrastructure for itself. It is also expected to provide benefits to Travis County at large, particularly more affordable housing.
Turner’s Crossing is located near the intersection of Interstate 35 and State Highway 45. The property is divided into two distinct parts, one to the north and one to the south, by State Highway 45, which runs east-west. It is very close to the Hays County line and falls within the Hays Independent School District.
The public improvement district is a provision in Texas law that allows counties to impose special property taxes over a specific area. Counties use PIDs to finance local improvements to public infrastructure and services. The Turner’s Crossing PID would provide future residents with “improvements and services well in excess of Travis County standard requirements,” such as amenity centers, commercial services and a comprehensive road network that will include sidewalks and trails...
Public improvement district will bring new development to Manor (Austin American-Statesman)
As one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, Manor has been getting a lot of looks lately.
Commercial developers, in particular, have their eyes on the city – and a recently improved public improvement district is expected to accelerate development.
The EntradaGlen PID gets its name from the two master-planned communities it encompasses: Las Entradas and Shadow Glen. Together, the two developments span 322 acres.
Locally based Dwyer Realty Cos. is the company behind both Las Entradas and Shadow Glen. Pete Dwyer, president Dwyer Realty Cos. said homes there start at less than $250,000 – a rarity in the metro Austin area.
Ted Cruz proposes 5 debates with Beto O’Rourke in U.S. Senate race (Texas Tribune)
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has challenged Democratic opponent Beto O'Rourketo five topical debates before Election Day, about three months after O'Rourke challenged Cruz to six.
Cruz strategist Jeff Roe sent a letter Wednesday to O'Rourke, an El Paso congressman, proposing the following debate schedule:
Aug. 31 in Dallas on "Jobs/Taxes/Federal Regulations/National Economy"
Sept. 14 in McAllen on "Immigration/Border Security/Criminal Justice/Supreme Court"
Sept. 21 in San Antonio on "Foreign Policy/National Security"
Oct. 5 in Houston on "Energy/Trade/Texas Economy"
Oct. 12 in Lubbock on "Healthcare/Obamacare"
Roe said the debates would all take place on Friday evenings "because the Senate is expected to be in session during that time." The debates would each be an hour long and vary in format — some would be town hall-style, while others would feature the two candidates seated or standing at podiums...
Protesters and supporters square off at Southwest Key headquarters (Austin American-Statesman)
Protesters and counterprotesters faced off Thursday outside the headquarters of the Austin nonprofit Southwest Key, clashing over the organization’s operation of facilities for immigrant children who were separated from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
Protesters yelled that Southwest Key’s leaders are getting rich by running “baby jails.” Supporters of the nonprofit responded that they didn’t set — or support — President Donald Trump’s policy of separating children from their parents, but are trying to shelter children who might otherwise be in worse facilities.
Members of LULAC, the nation’s largest Hispanic organization, stood on both sides. Representatives of LULAC District 7 helped lead the protest, with signs that read “Zero Tolerance for Baby Jails.” Members of LULAC District 12 backed Southwest Key, with signs reading “Let’s Talk” and “SWK Proud.”...
Gun Control Groups Rush To Stop Austinite From Publishing Designs For 3D-Printed Guns (KUT)
Austin-based Defense Distributed plans to launch an online database Wednesday of downloadable blueprints for a wide variety of guns that can be 3D-printed or milled at home. It's the culmination of a five-year court battle that pits free speech claims against the government's ability to control distribution and export of the means to produce firearms.
Cody Wilson made his first 3D-printed gun in 2013 – a single-shot pistol fabricated from resin that he called the "Liberator." He published the plans online; anyone could download the plans and print their own untraceable, plastic gun – with the right equipment.
The Trump administration will aid farmers hurt by trade war. Some Texas lawmakers call it welfare here (Texas Tribune)
The Trump administration on Tuesday announced up to $12 billion in emergency aid for farmers impacted by the president’s trade war — which came as welcome relief for Texas farmers who were afraid recently announced tariffs would hurt their business. But some Texas lawmakers have criticized the move and called on the president to end the tariffs.
President Donald Trump issued a slew of tariffs on Chinese goods earlier this month, prompting China to respond with tariffs on $34 billion worth of U.S. goods. The Chinese tariffs threatened to deal a serious blow to Texas agriculture, which provides nearly half of U.S. cotton exports to China.
China purchased $16 billion worth of Texas goods in 2017, making it the third largest recipient of the state's international exports...