Round Rock police to dedicate memorial to fallen K9 officers on April 5

From the Round Rock Police Department:

The Round Rock Police will host a dedication ceremony for the new K9 Memorial on Tuesday, April 5 at 3:00 p.m. at the Department headquarters located at 2701 N. Mays Street. Members of the community are urged to attend as sculptor Austin Weishel reveals his one-of-kind bronze K9 statue to commemorate 18 of the Department’s fallen K9 officers.

The ceremony is being coordinated by representatives from the Round Rock Police K9 Memorial Fund, which includes law enforcement officers and members of the Round Rock Wives of Police Officers (WOPO) organization. The program will feature remarks from Police Chief Allen Banks and performances from the Round Rock Police and Fire Pipe and Drum Corps.

The Round Rock Police K9 Memorial project began as an effort to provide the police department’s fallen K9s a proper burial and honorable recognition for serving our community.

For more information on Austin Weishel go to www.austinweishel.com

 

City of Austin seeks artists-in-residence for fire, EMS departments

From the City of Austin:

City of Austin

AUSTIN, TEXAS — Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, seeks to commission two artists-in-residence to create permanent artwork for six fire stations and three emergency medical services stations. Professional artists who live and work in the Austin metropolitan area, including Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Burnet, and Blanco counties are eligible to apply.

Austin Fire Department (AFD) Artist-in-Residence
Deadline to apply: April 21, 2016, 5 pm
The artist-in-residence will document the people and operations of six fire stations spending approximately 10-15 hours per week observing the activities of the fire stations over a 2-3 month period. At the end of the residency period, the artist will submit a proposal for creating a series of artworks to be sited on the interior or exterior walls of the fire stations. The budget for this project is $38,000.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Artist-in-Residence
Deadline to apply: April 21, 2016, 5 pm
The artist-in-residence will document the people and operations of three emergency medical services stations spending approximately 10-15 hours per week observing the activities of the EMS stations over a 2-3 month period. At the end of the residency period, the artist will submit a proposal for creating a series of artworks to be sited on the interior or exterior walls of the stations. The budget for this project is $48,000.

Artists who are new to public art or work primarily in 2-dimensions are particularly encouraged to apply for this opportunity. For more information and to apply, visit http://tinyurl.com/AustinAIPP.

An Artist Information Meeting will be held at the Cultural Arts Division offices at 201 E. 2nd Street on Wednesday, April 6, 2016 from 12:00 – 1:00 pm. AIPP, AFD, and EMS staff will present information about the project and artwork opportunity.  AIPP staff will also review the application process. The presented materials, along with Q&A, will be posted to City’s website after the meeting. Validated parking is available in the Convention Center garage located on Brazos Street.

Art in Public Places program staff are also available to answer questions and provide application assistance during AIPP Open Office Hours on April 8, 2-4 pm at the Cultural Arts Division offices.

City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin.
Founded in 1985, the Art in Public Places (AIPP) program acquires and maintains works of art for City facilities and parks through commissions, donations, and loans for the cultural enrichment of Austin’s community.  By City ordinance, AIPP allocates 2% of eligible capital improvement project funding to the acquisition of site-specific public artwork.
For more information, visit www.austincreates.com.

 

Follow live: Former Bastrop deputy Daniel Willis’ second murder trial

Update, March 31: This stream is closed. Follow the trial’s progress on Twitter by following @PhilJankowski.

Earlier:Former Bastrop County sheriff’s deputy Daniel Willis will be on trial again this week for the death of Yvette Smith, an unarmed woman he shot two years ago while on duty. The murder case against Willis ended in a mistrial last year when a jury deadlocked.

(Laura Skelding/American-Statesman file)
(Laura Skelding/American-Statesman file)

Follow along as the American-Statesman’s Philip Jankowski covers the trial live. Prosecution lays out case against ex-deputy Willis in 2014 shooting

Austin Fire Department wins national award for wildfire mitigation efforts

From the Austin Fire Department:

The Austin Fire Department’s Wildfire Division was recognized earlier this month at the International Wildland Urban Interface Conference with two national awards: the Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership Award and the “Ready, Set, Go!” Innovation Award.

International Association of Fire Chiefs President Rhoda Mae Kerr presents the Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership Award to AFD’s Wildfire Mitigation Program Manager Justice Jones. Photo provided by Austin Fire Department
International Association of Fire Chiefs President Rhoda Mae Kerr presents the Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership Award to AFD’s Wildfire Mitigation Program Manager Justice Jones. Photo provided by Austin Fire Department

The Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership award recognizes the efforts of an outstanding member of the fire service who has a bias for action to develop, advocate, and implement successful proactive wildfire mitigation and prevention programs in their community. Established in 2014 in response to an overwhelming number of great wildfire mitigation program efforts, the Fire Adapted Communities Fire Service Leadership award is one of three Wildfire Mitigation Awards, the highest national honor one can receive for outstanding work and significant program impact in wildfire mitigation.

The RSG Innovation Award was presented to AFD for its strong supporter of RSG, including the recommendation of the program as the primary resource to be used towards mitigation goals in the Austin/Travis County Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). The AFD Wildfire Division hosted their annual Wildfire Readiness event with 46 participating stations, and worked to create a day for community-wide mitigation and home hardening using information outlined in the RSG National Action Guide. The Wildfire Division also installed National Fire Danger Rating Signs (NFDRS) at all 46 stations to ensure personnel and community members maintain situational awareness. In short, AFD’s Wildfire Division’s efforts are overarching and fully encompassing in prevention and mitigation efforts against wildland fires.

The Austin Fire Department was founded on September 25, 1857 and is now one of the 20 largest departments in the country, with 45 fire stations located throughout the city and more than 1,100 employees.

Comal County selects architects for new jail

NEW BRAUNFELS — The Comal County Commissioners Court on Thursday selected HDR Architecture to design the county’s new jail.

The jail, which will be funded with $76 million in bonds that voters approved in November, will be a roughly 600-bed facility with room for expansion to 900 beds. The current jail has space for 337 beds.

The current jail is overcrowded and expensive to maintain, county officials have said.

“HDR impressed us with its commitment to designing a quality jail that will meet both our needs and our budget,” said County Judge Sherman Krause. “We look forward to working with the HDR team as we move forward on this important project.”

HDR Architecture has been designing of correctional facilities since 1976, county officials said.

After issuing a request for qualifications on Nov. 24, seven architecture firms responded by the Jan. 12 deadline. The Commissioners Court on March 2 interviewed three firms, from which HDR was selected Thursday. In coming months, the county also will select a project manager and construction manager-at-risk as it moves forward with plans for the new jail.

“It’s difficult to make a choice like this, but HDR’s flexibility and experience with nearby projects stood out to me,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Webb said.

Weekend paving work to cause lane closures on NB MoPac this weekend

From the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority:

Asphalt paving work at the northbound MoPac bridge over the Union Pacific railroad crossing by the Domain and the northbound MoPac bridge over the Capital Metro Red Line by St. David’s North Austin Medical Center is requiring lane closures and ramp closures between Braker Lane and Parmer Lane the weekend of March 18th to 21st.

The work will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 18th, with the closure of all of the entrance ramps to northbound MoPac between Braker Lane and Parmer Lane. After 10:00 p.m. all of the northbound exit ramps between Braker Lane and Parmer Lane will also be closed. The entrance and exit ramps will remain closed the entire weekend. Detour routes will be in place. Click here to see maps of the construction and detours.

There will also be lane closures on northbound MoPac between Braker Lane and Parmer to accommodate this work. Starting at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, March 18th, the center and left lane of northbound MoPac will be closed. Then, at 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning, March 19th, the closure will switch to just the right lane. Finally, after 10:00 p.m. Sunday, March 20th, the lane closure will switch back the center and left lane.

All of the closures should end no later than 5:00 a.m., Monday morning, March 21st.

These closures may cause travel delays at certain peak travel periods. Drivers should consider alternate routes or allow extra time if they plan to be in this area over the weekend.

Weather conditions or other factors could lead to changes in the lane closure plan including the times when specific closures occur. There is also the possibility that all work could be rescheduled if conditions warrant.

Buoys going up on Lake Austin for Dell Match Play World Golf Championship

From the City of Austin:

Today, Thursday, March 17, 2016, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) will begin installation of lighted KEEP OUT buoys on Lake Austin for the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) Golf Tournament that begins Wednesday, March 23, 2016 and lasts through Sunday, March 27, 2016.

The buoy installations are as follows:
• March 17: On Lake Austin approximately 250 feet from south shoreline course, from 360 bridge down to the end of the golf course
• March 20: Under 360 bridge from the North to South shoreline
• Entire half mile of lake along the golf course with lighted KEEP OUT buoys will be a no wake zone (per temporary City Ordinance approved by Council)
• Approximately 250 foot KEEP OUT area between the golf course and KEEP OUT buoy line will be for emergency vessels only. Boats may be allowed to pass per officer discretion.
• 360 bridge Boat Ramp will be closed to the public from March 21 through March 27, 2016

Boaters may park next to the buoy line but cannot tie off to them or block them. The same rules apply now for spending the night on the water. Boaters will have to spread out along the buoy line to watch the tournament and can pass from one end to the other inside of the NO WAKE zone between the north shoreline and the lighted KEEP OUT buoys. Lake Austin will be open to everyone but we ask everyone to be aware of the half mile NO WAKE zone.

Canoes, kayaks, etc. will not be allowed inside of the lighted KEEP OUT area.

The earlier boaters show up, the better anchor spots they will get. Boaters will be allowed to anchor after the buoys have finished being installed today.

The entrance into the cove next to Austin Community College will be by permit only and controlled by the APD Lake Patrol boat. The PGA tournament is handling permits.

APD and Texas Parks and Wildlife will be on scene the week of the tournament. All boaters are encouraged to have proper paperwork in the event of an inspection.

For more information contact Dell match Golf Office at 512-949-5885.

Killeen police investigate shooting death

From the Killeen Police Department:

Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 4500 block of Lake Rd. after receiving a 911 call on Friday, March 04, 2016, at 6:37am. Upon the officers’ arrival they located a 33 year old man who was suffering from a gunshot wound. Justice of the Peace Garland Potvin pronounced the victim deceased at 7:30am and ordered an autopsy to be performed at the Southwest Institute of Forensic Sciences in Dallas.

The name of the victim has been withheld pending the notification of his next of kin.

Detectives continue to investigate this shooting and are asking anyone who has information about this incident to contact Crime Stoppers at 526-TIPS (8477) or go online at www.bellcountycrimestoppers.com. All information is confidential and anonymous and if your tip leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for this shooting you could be eligible for a reward up to $1,000 in cash.

There is no further information to release at this time. Information will be released as it becomes available.