Axios Austin

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Happy Thursday!

โ˜€๏ธ Today's weather: Sunny, with a high near 78.

๐ŸŽต Sounds like: ""Running Away" by Thee Sacred Souls

Today's newsletter is 774 words โ€” a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Texas Relays kick off at UT

UT's Julien Alfred before the women's 4x100 meter relay in 2023. Alfred will compete this weekend at the Texas Relays. Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

The country's top high school, collegiate and professional track and field athletes have converged at the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

Why it matters: The four-day event at the University of Texas is one of the country's most competitive track meets, and the adjacent programming of Urban Music Fest and the Texas Relays Car Show make it a key gathering for the African American community in Austin in particular.

By the numbers: Tens of thousands of visitors head to Austin for the event, and city leaders have previously estimated that the weekend generates as much as $30 million in economic impact.

What to watch: The relays began Wednesday with the decathlon and heptathlon and conclude Saturday with the Sanya Richards-Ross women's 4x400-meter relay.

  • This year's field includes the Longhorns' own indoor 60-meter world champion Julien Alfred and NCAA 400-meter outdoor champion Rhasidat Adeleke.
  • High school students use the relays as an opportunity to get recruited. Westlake, Bowie, Vandegrift, Anderson, Dripping Springs, Leander's Rouse and Bastrop high schools are among the Central Texas schools represented at the Texas Relays this year.

Between the lines: The way the competition has been both embraced and shunned by Austin reflects the city's own troubled history with race.

  • In 2009, Highland Mall, whose parking lot had been home to an informal car show during the Texas Relays, and some Sixth Street nightclubs closed the weekend of the race โ€” a move that many saw as motivated by the African American crowds the competition draws.
  • Then-Austin City Council member Sheryl Cole called the business closures "offensive."

On closer inspection: UT athletics were long segregated, with the university first allowing Black student-athletes in track competition in 1964 โ€” a decade after the Brown v. Board of Education ruling that separating students in public schools on the basis of race was unconstitutional.

๐Ÿ“ If you go: Tickets to the Texas Relays and Urban Music Fest are still available online.

2. High-crash road changes complete

Bluff Springs Road improvements
Data: Openstreetmap;ย Map: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

A project to improve safety in a high-crash stretch of a Southeast Austin road is now complete.

Why it matters: From May 2018 through April 2023, there was, on average, a crash on Bluff Springs Road between William Cannon and the 8300 block of Bluff Springs every eight days.

  • Those crashes led to three deaths, serious injuries to eight people and other injuries to 51 others.
Pedestrians and cyclists enjoy an improved roadway.
Pedestrians and cyclists enjoy an improved roadway. Photo: Courtesy of City of Austin

What happened: The city reconfigured what was a four-lane road into one with just one travel lane in each direction, plus protected bike lanes and a center turning lane.

Follow the money: Funding for the $2.35 million project comes from the 2018 and 2020 Mobility Bonds and the federally funded 2020 Highway Safety Improvement Program.

The bottom line: The project, which includes new pedestrian crossings and upgrades to traffic lighting, is meant to improve access to schools, bus service, businesses, parks, churches and corner stores.

3. ๐Ÿค  The Roundup: Wrangling the news

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Rick Kern/Getty Images

Kroger said it will close its Austin, San Antonio and South Florida delivery facilities on May 25 and lay off workers. (KXAN)

๐Ÿฝ๏ธ Former Uchi chef Joseph Zoccoli plans to open Italian restaurant Casa Bianca in April. (Austin American-Statesman ๐Ÿ”’)

๐ŸŽฌ Native Austinite and actor Glen Powell will be inducted into the Texas Film Hall of Fame when his new film "Hit Man" receives its Austin premiere. (Austin Chronicle)

๐ŸŽถ Beyoncรฉ's forthcoming album "Cowboy Carter" appears to include a track called "Smoke Hour Willie Nelson," although it's not immediately clear if he's involved with the project. (Associated Press)

4. Weekender guide

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

We've got you covered with weekend plans.

๐ŸŒณ Enjoy a leisurely walk and pick up trash on the Violet Crown Trail with Hill Country Conservancy.

  • Trail cleanup begins at 9am tomorrow at the Dick Nichols Trailhead. Free and open to all.

โšฝ๏ธ Cheer on Austin FC as they take on FC Dallas on Saturday at Q2 Stadium. Game starts at 7:30pm.

๐ŸŽธ Check out the LBJ Presidential Library's temporary exhibition "Music America: Iconic Objects From America's Music History" with instruments, handwritten lyrics and artifacts from artists like Johnny Cash, Sam Cooke, Ella Fitzgerald, Whitney Houston and more.

๐Ÿ’ง Celebrate water at the Neill-Cochran House Museum's annual Hope for Spring exhibition. On display through April 28.

  • The museum is open from 11am-4pm Wednesday-Sunday.
Sponsored job listings

Fresh job openings around town

๐Ÿ’ผ Take your career to the next level and see who's hiring.

  1. Head of Performance Marketing at FloSports.
  2. Director of IT Quality Management Services at Texas Health and Human Services.
  3. Director of the Center for Education and Public Service at The University of Austin.

Want more opportunities? Check out our Job Board.

Hiring? Use code FIRST50 for $50 off your first job post.

5. Austin's Easter styles through the decades

A March 1983 Easter fashion ad in the Austin American-Statesman touting "soft, dressy blouses in sherbet pastels." via newspapers.com

Time to dig out the pastel polo and the floral-print blouse.

What's happening: You want to look nice for Mom and Dad at the family Easter brunch on Sunday.

Fun fact: Easter falls on the first Sunday after the full Moon that occurs on or after the spring equinox.

  • If the full Moon falls on a Sunday then Easter is the next Sunday.

Meanwhile: Take in some fashionable Easter styles that we pulled from clothing ads in vintage Austin newspapers.

1910

A 1910 advertisement
A March 1910 ad for some awesome Easter finery in the Austin Daily Statesman, via newspapers.com.

1979

A 1979 Easter advertisement.
No one in this family looks particularly happy about the prospect of Easter brunch. An April 1979 advertisement in the Austin American-Statesman, via newspapers.com

1988

An Easter advertisement from 1988.
Prep at its Easter apex. An advertisement in late March 1988 in the Austin American-Statesman, via newspapers.com.

Thanks to Chloe Gonzales for editing and Kate Sommers-Dawes and Yasmeen Altaji for copy editing this newsletter.

๐Ÿ“– Asher is reading this Percival Everett novel, recommended to him by his mother.

๐Ÿ›‹๏ธ Nicole is coming to terms with the fact that her back hurts because she writes the newsletter from her kitchen table or the couch.