BG Reads | News You Need to Know (February 11, 2019)

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[FIRM UPDATE]

Two New Certifications (Texas HUB and Federal DBE)

We are excited to announce in January we achieved two important certifications from the state of Texas and Federal government…

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[AUSTIN METRO]

Austin Water conducts targeted flushing to remove smelly water (KXAN)

Austin Water is performing targeted flushings Sunday in areas still affected by the smelly and unusual tasting water in south and central Austin. While some residents told KXAN that their water is starting to smell and taste better, others say they still aren't noticing a difference. 

 Austin Water mapped out the areas which have already experienced this targeted flushing.

KXAN watched one of the crews doing the fifteen-minute flushing at Summerset Trail near Oak Hill and were made aware of another flushing at  Yellowstone Drive in far South Austin at around the same time. The old water gushing out of those pipes had a noticeably strong smell, KXAN reporters on scene confirmed. 

"You could smell it, it smelled a little rusty, almost like pipes," said Harry Bodine, who lives in the West Creek neighborhood. 

He and his wife have been relying on bottled water ever since their tap water started smelling on Thursday. Bodine said the smell doesn't bother him too much, but his wife notices it and her skin became irritated after washing her face with it…

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Austin, San Antonio team up to tackle traffic woes (Austin American-Statesman)

Regional planners aren’t letting a lack of funding stop an ambitious vision for improving travel along the notoriously clogged Interstate 35 corridor between Austin and San Antonio.

The Austin area’s Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and San Antonio-based Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, in partnership with the Texas Department of Transportation, studied for more than a year the best ways to improve commuting within the regions. Ideas include intercity and interregional transit services increasing traffic capacity on U.S. 281 and I-35 and building long distance bikeways.

I-35 through Central Austin ranks the third-highest congested roadway in the state, according to data from the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.

The planners developed strategies by focusing on infrastructure, policy and technology solutions, said Roger Beall, deputy director of the Transportation, Planning and Programming Division at the Texas Department of Transportation.

“When we looked at the population projections of the San Antonio and Austin area, by 2050, we’ll have the same population, if not more than what Dallas-Fort Worth has today,” he said, “So we need to get ahead of the curve ... to take care of our transportation needs.”…

Links to story


Moody Foundation gives $20 million to Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art (Austin American-Statesman)

Extending a string of extraordinary gifts, the Moody Family Foundation has given $20 million to the Blanton Museum of Art to transform the grounds of its three-building complex on the south end of the University of Texas campus.

In just the past few years, the foundation has bestowed tens of millions to the Contemporary Austin, Waller Creek Conservancy, Pease Park Conservancy, AIDS Services of Austin, YMCA, UT’s Moody School of Communications and other groups. The Blanton gift is one of the largest grants to any Austin cultural entity and to any project for the city’s outdoor spaces…

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[TEXAS]

As Amazon wavers on New York, could Dallas have another shot at HQ2? (Dallas Morning News)

Three months ago, Dallas saw its shot for Amazon’s second headquarters slip away. Now the e-commerce giant’s political battles in New York have some people wondering whether Dallas and other cities are back in the game.

Amazon announced in November that it would split its second headquarters between two locations: Long Island City, a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens,  and the Crystal City area of Arlington, Va., near Washington, D.C. It said each campus would get 25,000 jobs. A third city, Nashville, won an Amazon operations hub with 5,000 workers.

Dallas was considered a top contender. It was one of a handful of cities to receive a second visit by Amazon officials in August. But it ultimately lost out to the East Coast hubs.

Since then, however, the Seattle-based company has received pushback from politicians and the public, in part over planned economic incentives. Amazon is now rethinking its plan for the large campus in New York and looking into other options, according to a report on Friday by The Washington Post. The report attributes the information to two unnamed people "familiar with the company's thinking."

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The fastest growing job in Texas is wind turbine technician, data projects (Houston Chronicle)

Renewable energy will provide the most job growth for Texans in the next few years, employment projections show. Wind turbine service technicians will be in high demand from now until at least 2026, according to the government-funded Projections Managing Partnership that uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Between 2017 and 2019, the number of jobs to service wind turbines will increase 20.1 percent, the data shows. And by 2026, wind turbine service jobs will more than double. Wind and solar energy projects are also expected to be the fastest growing source of new generation over the next two years, according to a previous report by the Energy Department. Wind is projected to grow 12 percent in 2019 and 14 percent in 2020.

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‘We don’t care what the district attorney says,’ CBD oil buyers in Tarrant County say (Fort Worth Star Telegram)

Despite a stop sign from the chief Tarrant County prosecutor, cannabidiol (CBD oil) sellers say they will go to jail and then to court if necessary to keep selling their products.

The Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office released a statement this week saying that possession of CBD oil is legal only for those who suffer from intractable epilepsy and follow the rules of the Texas Compassionate Use Act. Others buying or selling CBD oil are breaking the law, according to District Attorney Sharen Wilson…

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[NATION]

Beto O'Rourke to march, speak against border wall during Trump rally in El Paso (Texas Tribune)

Beto O'Rourke is not shying away from the spotlight as President Donald Trump prepares to hold a rally in the El Paso hometown of the former congressman and potential presidential candidate.

On Monday evening, O'Rourke will lead a march through the city and then speak at a "Celebration of El Paso" event at 7 p.m. local time — across the street from Trump's rally and at the same time it is set to begin, according to O'Rourke's team. The events, which will feature music and other speakers, are intended to highlight El Paso's strength as a binational community — and push back against Trump's long-sought border wall.

The rally comes as O'Rourke nears a decision on whether to join the Democratic race to challenge Trump in 2020 following a closer-than-expected loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in November. On Tuesday, O'Rourke promised a 2020 decision by the end of the month…

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Trump divides Democrats with warning of creeping socialism (The Hill)

President Trump hadn’t had much success dividing Democrats until he found a word that would provoke very different responses from different members of the party during his State of the Union address: socialism.

Trump’s warning of creeping socialism in the United States, deftly mentioned after a section of the speech on the unfolding political crisis in Venezuela, created an immediate public split among Democrats that was caught on live television. Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (NY) and Sens. Debbie Stabenow (MI), Joe Manchin (WV), Jon Tester (MT) and Sherrod Brown (OH) were among the lawmakers who stood with Republicans to applaud Trump when he pledged that the United States would never slide into socialism…

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[BG PODCAST]

Episode 33: Emily Chenevert, CEO at Austin Board of REALTORS®

(RUN TIME - 14:22)

On today’s episode we speak with Emily Chenevert, CEO at Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR). She and Bingham Group CEO A.J. Bingham

Named CEO of the 13,000 member association in April 2018, she previously served as ABoR's Chief Operating Officer, and has nearly 15 years of experience directly advocating for REALTORS® and their business at all levels of government.

She recently launched ABoR’s first podcast, ScratchThat, a series peeling the layers back on the national trends in real estate. 

This episode was recorded on December 20, 2018.

Link to Episode 33


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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