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(Charlie L. Harper III)
Emboldened, perhaps, by reports that Austin police were making fewer traffic stops and feeling safer, possibly, with fewer cars on the road, two local motorists were pulled over this week on separate occasions for driving over 100 mph on MoPac.

Not necessarily headline-grabbing news under normal circumstances.

But they were part of a wave of targeted traffic stops after the Austin Police Department began accelerating traffic enforcement on May 15, a response to an upswing in fatalities and serious wrecks since the pandemic began.

The Austin Police Department declined to release statistics showing what they described in a news release as "a significant number" of crashes and fatalities.

Police said on May 15, the day the initiative started, that there had been 33 fatal crashes in Austin that have killed 35 people since January. In the same time last year, the number was 30.

That can be a considered a significant jump in the numbers because crisis-related workplace closures, staff layoffs and stay-at-home orders meant that streets and highways were usually empty, with only a small fraction of normal traffic out on the road.

In other words, less traffic—but more traffic deaths.

Police said they would be "focusing presence and enforcement on high-speed and high-traffic roadways" through May 31.

"Officers will concentrate on reducing crashes overall through directed patrols," a police statement this week said. "The increased patrol visibility is intended to dissuade speeding, red-light violations and other dangerous driving behaviors that contribute to unsafe conditions for all road users."

Prior to May 15, Austin police had been discouraged from enforcing non-hazardous traffic violations to avoid more contact with the public than necessary.

Asked if the focused patrols would last beyond May 31, police declined to be interviewed for this story but emailed the following quote, attributed to Lt. Jason Disher of the Austin police Highway Enforcement Command.

"APD is dedicated to traffic safety and will continue to work to reduce crashes through education and enforcement," Disher said.

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First score made by LAFC. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

Austin FC couldn't find the stamina to fight off a 2-0 loss against LAFC for their inaugural match on Saturday.

The match, which saw No. 21 Austin FC go head-to-head with No. 2 LAFC in Los Angeles, was broadcast nationally on FOX and FOX Deportes.

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Ingredients:

  • 750 ml Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 16 oz strawberries

Directions: Drop sliced strawberries into glass container filled with Tito's Handmade Vodka. Let sit in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. Once desired flavor is reached remove fruit. Enjoy!

The long-awaited day is here; Austin FC takes the field with LAFC. (Austonia)

It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!

Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.

~7 p.m: Austin FC loses to LAFC

A sad outcome for many, Austin FC was defeated by their competitor. Check out Claire's recap for a full rundown of what this game looked like: https://austonia.com/halftime-austin-fc-debut.

Until next time, Austin!

5 p.m: Kickoff!

It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!

4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home

Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.

4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium

Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!

~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds

With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.

~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA

(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)

Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.

Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.

11:45 a.m: We landed!

View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)

Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.

We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.

8:20 a.m: LA bound

Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.

A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.

As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.