Traffic shifts on Colorado and Eighth Street beginning Sunday, July 31

From the City of Austin Public Works Department:

(City of Austin Public Works Department)
(City of Austin Public Works Department)

Beginning Sunday, July 31, the City’s contractor will move work to the north side of the Eighth and Colorado Street intersection. Eighth Street will be reduced to one westbound lane. Colorado Street will also be reduced to one southbound lane from Eighth Street to Tenth Street. These lane closures are necessary for the installation of new storm drain, water and wastewater lines, full depth street reconstruction, wider sidewalks, and curb and gutter. Once complete, the City’s contractor will continue working north to Tenth Street. This portion of work is expected to be complete in October 2016. At that time, the City’s contractor is expected to move to the west side of Colorado Street, beginning in November 2016.

Motorists are asked to use caution and be extra alert in the work zone during this time.

The City will provide updates to inform the public of any additional closures or upcoming changes to traffic controls related to this project. More information about this project can be found on the City of Austin Public Works website.

Live chat Q&A with Texas A&M security expert Danny Davis on police tactics

We talk to Texas A&M University professor and homeland security expert Danny Davis about the shooting of police officers in Dallas and tackle issues surrounding police tactics, such as how we deal with U.S. citizens who engage in terror tactics.

Austin police rescue journalists trapped between floors in elevator

Statesman reporter Jane Wester was on her way to a news conference at Austin police headquarters when disaster struck: She and a handful of other media professionals found themselves trapped between floors in one of the building’s elevators.

The following tweets are Wester’s live updates as the drama unfolded:

(Photo by Tina Phan/American-Statesman)
(Photo by Tina Phan/American-Statesman)

Find out where parking is illegal, what streets are closed for Blues on the Green

From the Austin Police Department:
The Austin Center for Events (ACE) will add additional temporary signage near Zilker Park identifying areas where parking is restricted for the remaining installments of this year’s KGSR Blues on the Green season, which will take place on July 13 and August 3.

Signs will be placed in the neighborhoods adjacent to Zilker Park, including all or parts of Barton Hills Drive, Trailside Drive, Kinney Avenue, Garner Avenue, Barton Boulevard, Spoffard Street, Sunset View, Cliff Drive, Linscomb Avenue and Virginia Avenue. Ticketing and towing will be enforced for violations in all no parking areas on the days of each event, between 4 and 10 p.m.

In order to streamline pick-up and drop-off operations, there will also be a designated passenger drop-off zone on Sterzing Street. See the map below for the location of the drop-off zone and parking-restricted areas, marked by red dashes.

City of Austin
City of Austin

Parking will be available at Stratford Fields and Zilker Park Polo Fields for a fee. Once these lots are full, no more parking will be available.

In order to avoid parking altogether, Blues on the Green attendees are encouraged to use alternative modes of transportation to get to the event, including transit, biking, walking and ride-hailing services.

Capital Metro bus routes 3, 4, 30, 338, 484 and 803 all drop off near Zilker Park, as shown in this map. Those planning to bike can lock up at one of the many bike racks located at multiple places throughout the park or use a nearby B-cycle station. For more options, check out KGSR’s “Getting There” guide.

The street closure plan that has been in effect for the Blues on the Green installments in May and June will remain in effect, though portions of it may change at APD discretion. See this map below for details.

City of Austin
City of Austin

 

Words ‘Black Lives Matter’ spray-painted over UT Confederate monument

A piece of graffiti near the UT Littlefield Fountain says "black lives matter" on Thursday July 7, 2016. Workers were working to scrub the words off the wall. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN
Graffiti near Littlefield Fountain says “Black Lives Matter” on Thursday July 7, 2016. Workers were working to scrub the words off the wall. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Someone spray-painted the words “Black Lives Matter” on a University of Texas monument dedicated to Confederate soldiers.

The graffiti was discovered early Thursday and is being investigated by University Police.

The monument is near the Littlefield Fountain on the South Mall near East 21st Street.

The incident comes on the heels of two controversial police shootings of African-American men — one in Baton Rouge, La., and one in the Minneapolis area. In both cases, cellphone video documented the incidents and went viral.

Alton Sterling, 37, was killed in an encounter with Baton Rouge police officers Tuesday night who were responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun. Videos have emerged showing police shooting Sterling before discovering a gun in one of his pockets.

The aftermath of Philando Castile’s shooting death in his car Wednesday by police in Minnesota was documented by his girlfriend via live-streaming on Facebook Live. Castile had been pulled over for a busted taillight and told the officer he had a concealed carry permit.

Earlier this year, on Feb. 10, four statues and a wall at the University of Texas also were defaced with the spray-painted words “Black Lives Matter.” The statues of Confederate figures Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, John H. Reagan and James Stephen Hogg in the South Mall were targeted.

The graffiti was reported two days after the death of David Joseph, a naked and unarmed 17-year-old who was shot by an Austin police officer on Feb 8 in a Northwest Austin neighborhood.

 

Austin police: Beware of scammers posing as IRS callers seeking cash

From the Austin Police Department:

Recently, the Austin Police Department has experienced several cases of people receiving calls from scammers claiming to be from the IRS and local law enforcement demanding they pay money to avoid immediate arrest, deportation, physical harm, or other consequences for not immediately paying money. These scammers call and use readily available technology to trick caller ID systems to display legitimate IRS, 911 or any other phone number to appear to be legitimate. These scammers are not legitimate and are out to steal thousands of dollars from the victims they contact.

In a recent case, the scammers targeted a husband and wife by threatening the wife with immediate arrest of herself and her husband. The scammers told her if she hung up the phone or spoke to anyone else, she would be subject to immediate arrest. While she was providing money for the caller, another person working in conjunction with the scammer, called her husband while making it appear they were using his wife’s phone. The scammer told the husband that his wife was kidnapped and that they would hurt her badly if he did not pay money. No kidnapping occurred, his wife was driving from place to place to transfer money to the scammers and she was told not to answer her phone.

Fortunately, his wife saw a uniformed Austin Police Officer who she approached for assistance and this officer within seconds of her showing her phone recognized the signs of the scam and was able to end the 4-hour ordeal she had been subjected to by the scammers. Further, the officer made contact with the husband and other law enforcement working the kidnapping side of the scam which ended the perception that his wife had been kidnapped and was in danger of physical harm. In this case, the husband and wife lost approximately $8,000. The same officer was aware of an incident earlier the same month where a young woman had lost her life-savings of approximately $6,000 from a similar scammer. This scammer also claimed to be from the IRS and local police.

The IRS website advises:

“Taxpayers across the nation face a deluge of these aggressive phone scams. Don’t be fooled by callers pretending to be from the IRS in an attempt to steal your money,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “We continue to say if you are surprised to be hearing from us, then you’re not hearing from us.”

Here are five things the scammers often do but the IRS will not do. Any one of these five things is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

The IRS will never:

  • Call to demand immediate payment, nor will the agency call about taxes owed without first having mailed you a bill.
  • Demand that you pay taxes without giving you the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method for your taxes, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Threaten to bring in local police or other law-enforcement groups to have you arrested for not paying.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and asking for money, here’s what you should do:

  • Do not give out any information. Hang up immediately.
  • Contact TIGTA to report the call. Use their “IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting” web page. You can also call 800-366-4484.
  • Report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the “FTC Complaint Assistant” on FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” in the notes.