Axios Austin

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It's Tuesday. How 'bout that eclipse?

☔️ Today's weather: Rain and thunderstorm chances. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 81.

  • National Weather Services forecasters say there's a higher risk of severe weather this week, including hail and isolated tornadoes.

ğŸŽ§ Sounds like: "Dinner with Friends" by Kacey Musgraves, whose latest Instagram post included Willie Nelson and The White Horse.

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Today's newsletter is 690 words — a 2.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Totality reaches Austin

The eclipse was amazing across Texas, even through the clouds. Photo: Courtesy of Joseph Andaya

Clouds still covered much of Austin-area skies as the highly anticipated total solar eclipse finally graced Texas with its presence.

Why it matters: Texas won't be in the path of totality for a total solar eclipse again until 2045, and that path will include just a small slice of the Panhandle, according to NASA.

Yes, but: The clouds were pretty thick in some areas, even though statistically Texas had the lowest likelihood of cloud coverage across the U.S. path.

  • The ring of fire was still stunning when it peeked through the clouds, but some of those who traveled to Texas — as many as 1 million people, according to Great American Eclipse — probably hoped to see a little more of the spectacle.

Zoom in: Brett and Leesha Baker, who traveled from Utah to experience their second total solar eclipse, peered through their telescope at Dick Nichols Park.

  • "It's a full-body experience," Leesha Baker recalled about the 2017 eclipse. "It's very humbling to have everything go dark."
  • Dozens of people filled the park despite the clouds, and cheered as the sky went dark.
A photo of two people looking through a telescope
Brett and Leesha Baker peer through eclipse glasses and a telescope. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

Solar eclipse parties were held across the city.

  • At Lake Pflugerville Park, the clouds broke enough for good views intermittently leading up to totality. Everyone in the park let out collective "wows" and "aahs" as totality hit.
  • And students from Austin's Travis Heights Elementary School and their parents cheered "Team Moon!" as totality approached.

What's next: The next total solar eclipse will occur from Greenland to Spain on Aug. 12, 2026.

What we saw across the state

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2. Statesman employees return to work after strike

Statesman workers strike on the Congress Avenue bridge. Photo: Nicole Cobler/Axios

The Austin American-Statesman's usual bylines were noticeably absent from coverage during the eclipse, the CMT Music Awards and Cap10K.

Driving the news: The local newspaper's journalists return to work today after a four-day strike as contract negotiations with owner Gannett stall.

  • Another Gannett newsroom, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, also timed a strike with the eclipse.

Why it matters: It's the latest maneuver by the Austin NewsGuild, which represents Statesman journalists, to push for a higher wage floor in their contract with Gannett.

  • Statesman journalists had been gearing up for coverage of the historic solar event — a moment that would usually bring around-the-clock coverage, photos and a collectible front page.

What they're saying: Gannett "has consistently slow-walked negotiations and offered a series of bad-faith proposals," the Austin NewsGuild said in a press release last week.

Between the lines: Gannett has seen its fair share of union protests in the past few years amid efforts to consolidate in the wake of its 2019 merger with GateHouse, writes Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • Last year, hundreds of Gannett journalists across two dozen local newspapers, including in Austin, went on strike during the company's annual shareholder meeting to protest job cuts.
  • Gannett has cut roughly half of its workforce since the GateHouse merger.

The other side: "I think the Guild, unfortunately, plays dirty and lies to our employees," Gannett CEO Michael Reed told Axios at the annual Mather Symposium on media in Atlanta last month.

In response to his comments, NewsGuild-CWA president Jon Schleuss said in a statement to Axios: "Gannett's last SEC filing showed Mike Reed making 66 times that of a median employee, while paying journalists poverty wages, cutting an average of 2,800 jobs a year and hiring lawyers to stonewall workers at the bargaining table."

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3. 🤠 The Roundup: Wrangling the news

People view the solar eclipse during Vampire Weekend's Total Solar Eclipse Show at Moody Amphitheater. Photo: Hubert Vestil/Getty Images

🚔 Former UT football player T'Vondre Sweat was charged with driving while intoxicated this weekend, according to jail records. (CBS Sports)

💰 The Biden administration plans to announce it is awarding between $6 billion and $7 billion to Samsung to expand its chip output in Taylor, two people familiar with the matter said. (Reuters)

🧳 The Wall Street Journal named Austin the seventh-highest-ranked labor market, falling five spots from the previous year. (WSJ 🔒)

❤️ A California couple tied the knot during totality at Two Naughty Chickens Ranch in Lampasas. (KXAN)

4. What to do with your eclipse glasses

Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Don't throw away those glasses. Here's how you can reduce waste after the eclipse.

  1. Reuse them. Modern eclipse glasses with the correct ISO safety standards do not expire, according to the American Astronomical Society. Just make sure they're not scratched or punctured.
  2. Donate them. The Austin Nature and Science Center, city recreation centers and Austin Public Library branches will accept undamaged solar eclipse glasses. The glasses will be sent to Astronomers Without Borders.
  3. Recycle them. Remove the lenses and recycle the cardboard.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Caitlin Wolper and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

🤫 Asher is secretly excited about ratcheting down eclipse coverage.

💖 Nicole got a little teary as she listened to people cheer for the moon and the sun.

Belated kudos to Jana B. for winning our Friday News Quiz! Jana, a Bryker Woods neighborhood mother of five, tells us she's lived in Austin for 36 years.