State lawmaker proposal could slash Austin budget

Illustration of a hundred dollar bill stylized as an electric symbol.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Austin leaders are alarmed about legislation they say could slash the city's budget and result in higher property taxes — but the bill's author, a Republican state lawmaker from Georgetown, says that's not his goal.

Driving the news: Senate Bill 1110 would in some cases prevent cities from taking revenue from electric utilities they own or operate.

Nicole Cobler
10 hours ago - Business

Five questions with Google's Nuha Elkhiamy

Photo illustration of two talk bubbles, with Nuha Elkhiamy on the right.

Photo illustration: Allie Carl/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Nuha Elkhiamy

Nuha Elkhiamy, who arrived at Google nearly four years ago, says the future is bright for women in technology.

Catch up quick: Google named Elkhiamy the site lead for the company's Austin-based operations in 2021, supporting more than 1,000 local employees.

Asher Price
10 hours ago - News

Researchers say grass wages chemical warfare

University of Texas researchers conducting work on Guinea grass, pictured at right. Photo courtesy UT.

An invasive grass that is showing up in Austin wages a chemical campaign to push out native species, per new research from the University of Texas.

The big picture: Guinea grass, introduced more than a century ago to South Texas from Africa to help feed cattle, uses a combination of crowding that blocks out light from growing seedlings and what amounts to chemical warfare in creating soil that is toxic to native plants, per a new study in the journal Ecosphere.

Asher Price
Mar 24, 2023 - Sports

UT basketball eyes a deeper NCAA run

UT men's basketball players celebrate a victory with their coach as he's interviewed following their second round victory last weekend. Photo: Jamie Sabau/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

After years of underwhelming post-season play, the Longhorns men's basketball team is poised to do something really special in this March Madness tournament.

Driving the news: Friday's matchup against Xavier marks Texas' first Sweet 16 game since 2008.

Austin airport rebounds from Southwest meltdown

Data: BTS; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios
Data: BTS; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

As the Austin airport continues to see a record number of travelers, new data from the U.S. Department of Transportation reveals the severity of Southwest Airlines' winter meltdown.

State of play: For most airlines, summer will test how well they've rebounded from the chaos of the holiday season.

Asher Price
Mar 23, 2023 - News

Burying power lines in Austin?

Icicles form on a power line.

Icicles form on a power line in Austin in early February. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Austin City Council is about to explore burying city power lines.

The big picture: A devastating February ice storm snapped tree limbs across Central Texas, toppling power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of Austinites without power — and cold, dark and hungry.

Nicole Cobler
Mar 23, 2023 - News

AISD Pride event receives GOP pushback (again)

Illustration of a school bus with an activated stop sign showing a pride flag.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Austin ISD's annual Pride Week will continue through the weekend, despite threats and sharp criticism from state Republican leaders.

The big picture: The district's Pride Week celebrates LGBTQ+ students, staff and families and encourages campuses to bring inclusive activities and resources to the classroom.

Asher Price
Mar 22, 2023 - News

Pflugerville's new (and only) bookshop

The scene inside a new Pflugerville book store — lots of books on shelves!

The Book Burrow is well stocked — and a nice place to sit. Photo courtesy Kelsey Black

A new, independent bookstore that aims to be a welcoming spot for all readers opens in Pflugerville on Saturday.

Driving the news: The Book Burrow peddles chiefly new books of all genres, but it also has ones that are used (or "pre-loved," as the bookstore calls them), a robust kids' section and books that are now banned elsewhere.

The atmosphere: Homey.

  • A wall of shelves faces a handful of tables that have Connect Four and other games on hand.
  • During a soft opening event, a bookstore employee kept kids rapt with a reading of "The Box Turtle," by Austin children's book writer Vanessa Roeder.

What they're saying: "We want to create a community, where every single person who walks through the door feels loved and accepted for who they are," store owner Kelsey Black, previously a data analyst for Google, tells Axios.

Of note: The bookstore shares a space with the charming Three-Legged Goat, a bar that serves up local Texas wines and beers — and the two businesses are teaming up for Friday night wine-and-book pairings.

  • Adding to the community feel, small gnomes are for sale to raise money for a local charity.

Between the lines: Fast-growing, diverse suburbs like Pflugerville — which grew by nearly 40% (!) between 2010 and 2020 — are at the heart of political activity in Texas.

  • Austin's progressive politics appear to be pushing out to the suburbs as middle-income earners look farther afield to purchase homes.
  • Last June marked Pflugerville's first Pride fest.
  • "Pflugerville is what Austin was 20 years ago — underground grunge, punk, quirky, fun," Black, the store owner, said.

If you go: The bookstore is at 200 E. Pecan St., sharing a strip mall with Pfinesse Salon and Spa, American Shaman CBD, and the Mexican restaurant El Rincon … so you can get your hair done and your enchiladas on before or after your book browsing.


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