BG Reads | News You Need to Know (September 10, 2019)

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[BG PODCAST]

Episode 51 - Austin's Land Development Code Revision with Team Lead Annick Beaudet (LINK TO SHOW)


[AUSTIN METRO]

Environmental Commission recommends Council include Atlas 14 update in code rewrite (Austin Monitor)

Atlas 14 is a historical rainfall study that alters the city’s flood plains drastically, showing that Austin is projected to receive a 30 percent increase in rainfall. Nevertheless, the study is not something that can change development on its own.

To ensure that the updated Atlas 14 maps are considered during any development and redevelopment of Austin properties, Kevin Shunk, a flood plain administrator with the Watershed Protection Department, came to the Sept. 4 meeting of the Environmental Commission to request a recommendation to update the Title 25 and Title 30 sections of the city code related to flood plain regulations.

“We’re going to have more buildings that could be impacted by the 100-year flood,” explained Shunk – 7,200 to be exact… (LINK TO STORY)


AISD board raise questions of multiyear proposal that shutters 12 schools (Austin American-Statesman)

Austin school board members on Monday night peppered administrators with questions regarding aspects of a multiyear administrative proposal that includes shuttering 12 schools.

In the first public discussion since the district released the plan Thursday night, some trustees raised concerns about the number of closures and consolidations in areas with large concentrations of low-income students, and others praised plans that would give access to sought-after magnet programs to more of those students.

Under the proposals, the district is launching a series of new programs, particularly in historically underserved school communities, placing more experienced teachers in high-needs schools and moving more than 10,000 students into modernized campuses. But the plan also calls for closing 10 elementaries and 2 middle schools.

“We want to get as may students in new learning spaces as fast as we can,” said Superintendent Paul Cruz. “There are some hard decisions we’re facing, but we’re all trying to do the right thing.”… (LINK TO STORY)


H-E-B bringing multi-level store, BBQ to Lake Austin location (Austin Business Journal)

H-E-B LP has published additional details about the store it plans to build to replace a longtime Randalls off Lake Austin Boulevard west of downtown.

The grocery chain on Sept. 3 posted an update about the location at 715 S. Exposition Blvd., including its plans for a drive-thru pharmacy, a coffee shop and one of its True Texas BBQ restaurants.

Construction on the two-story store, which will be more than 110,000 square feet, is expected to begin in October, H-E-B said. There will be underground parking.

H-E-B also said the Lake Austin location would have an expanded beer and wine department, a meat market and seafood counter and its largest selection of Dinner Tonight ready-to-cook meals, as well as fresh sushi and cooking demonstrations. The store will also include curbside pickup and delivery services.

Design is being handled by San Antonio-based Lake Flato Architects, which also was the firm behind the look of H-E-B's store in Mueller… (LINK TO STORY)


Austin FC breaks ground on $242 million stadium, set to open in 2021 (MLS)

Austin FC CEO Anthony Precourt, MLS President and Deputy Commissioner Mark Abbott, and Austin Mayor Steve Adler came under a literal big tent on Monday on the site of the club's planned $242 million stadium, set to open in April 2021, to celebrate its groundbreaking.

The event, which included city and county officials, front office staffers, local business dignitaries, and members of Austin FC’s first supporters’ group, was the latest in the recent series of Austin FC-hosted events reifying the club for Austinites. In the last two months, the front office has announced new head coach Josh Wolff and commemorated the onboarding of four investors who are adding Austin buy-in to the mix.

“This is really a vision coming to reality,” Precourt said in his remarks to the crowd. “I’ve got chills right now, my heart is pumping, it’s an exciting day. We’ve hit a number of milestones, but there’s no bigger one than a groundbreaking.”… (LINK TO STORY)

See also:

BG Podcast Episode 46: Austin FC Updates from Club President Andy Loughnanee


[TEXAS] 

Ken Paxton is leading a probe against Google with almost every other attorney general in the U.S. (Texas Tribune)

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is leading a group of 50 attorneys general in filing an antitrust probe into Google’s business practices.

The investigation will look into whether Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google and its subsidiaries, monopolize the online advertising and search engine markets while using private user information. Paxton announced the preliminary investigation on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court building Monday afternoon, accompanied by 13 other attorneys general who are part of the bipartisan coalition.

Paxton’s spokesperson, Marc Rylander, called the investigation “nearly unprecedented." Every U.S. state and territory is represented in the group, with the exception of Alabama and California… (LINK TO STORY)


Only one bribe was offered in admissions scandal, University of Texas report finds (Dallas Morning News)

University of Texas officials announced Monday that there is no pattern of bad behavior related to their role in the infamous higher education athletics admissions scandal because an internal investigation found only one instance of bribery.

In March, federal law enforcement announced a nationwide athletics admission scandal nicknamed "Operation Varsity Blues." Dozens of rich parents, school administrators and athletics officials were accused of offering or accepting bribes — and of circumventing admissions processes — to admit students into top universities, including UT, Yale, Georgetown, Stanford and the University of Southern California… (LINK TO STORY)


US. News & World Report: Rice University tops UT Austin for best Texas college, again (Austin American-Statesman)

Another year, another top place finish for Rice University. The Houston university is once again the top-ranked college in the Lone Star State, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best National Universities ranking. Rice University ranked No. 17 nationally, down one spot from last year’s list, and tied with Cornell University in New York.

Rankings are calculated by combining factors such as graduation rates, class size, expert opinion and more. The University of Texas at Austin maintained a position within the top 50 schools nationally, improving one spot from last year to No. 48. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also tied for No. 48… (LINK TO STORY)


[NATION]

NOAA Chief Scientist Says Move To Contradict Agency And Back Trump Was 'Political' (NPR)

NOAA's top scientist said Monday that he's investigating why the agency's leadership endorsed President Trump's false tweet that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, after Birmingham-based meteorologists from the National Weather Service publicly pushed back on it.

In an email, Craig McLean, acting chief scientist of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, called the move by the agency to back the president inappropriate, suggesting it was politically motivated… (LINK TO STORY)


CDC Says Number Of Possible Cases Of Vaping-Related Lung Illness Has Doubled (KUT)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that the number of possible cases of severe respiratory illnesses among people who vaped nicotine or cannabis-related products has more than doubled, to 450 in 33 states.

"Although more investigation is needed to determine the vaping agent or agents responsible, there is clearly an epidemic that begs for an urgent response," David Christiani of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health writes in an editorial published Friday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

In a media briefing Friday, the CDC suggested people should avoid using e-cigarettes… (LINK TO STORY)


The Bingham Group, LLC is an Austin-based full service lobbying firm representing and advising clients on municipal, legislative, and regulatory matters throughout Texas.

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