Austin City Council voted to accept four state grants totaling more than $1.3 million for the Austin Police Department on Thursday morning as part of its consent agenda.


Council members discussed the grants—which direct state funding to APD programs and projects supporting victim services and mental health first responders, among other initiatives—and whether accepting them would look like a departure from recent efforts to reimagine public safety spending.

"I don't want the public to think that we've taken our eye off the ball, even though many of these items seem perfectly great on the surface," Council Member Jimmy Flannigan said during Tuesday's work session.

City Manager Spencer Cronk assured council members that the grants would be awarded to the city, rather than APD, and that there would be flexibility in how the funding could be allotted in the coming months.

One additional grant—which would provide $128,019 for a program called Project Safe Neighborhoods—was postponed until next week.

The Project Safe Neighborhoods program would focus on reducing violent crime in the downtown and Riverside neighborhoods.

The grant, as proposed, would cover overtime pay for officers to perform targeted enforcement in those areas. But police staff said they are considering using the funds for a neighborhood liaison to work within the communities most impacted by violent crime.

Earlier this month, City Council unanimously approved a FY 2020-21 budget that included $20 million in immediate cuts to the police department, as well as promises to relocate certain duties and up to $130 million in additional funding to other departments over the next year.

(Laura Figi)

At the tail end of a tough year for retailers, Black Friday deals appeared to draw fewer shoppers into big box stores around Austin.

Keep Reading Show less
(Tito's Handmade Vodka)

Ingredients:

  • 750 mL Tito's Handmade Vodka
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted pecans
Directions: Toast pecans in a 350°F oven until they become aromatic (about 5 minutes). Let pecans cool, drop them into a resealable jar, and fill with Tito's Handmade Vodka. Store in a cool, dark place for 1 month, if you can wait that long.
(Nan Palmero/CC)

Thanksgiving is over and the most wonderful time of year has officially begun. Christmas light shows have been a Texas tradition for years—so beloved that not even a pandemic could stop them from shining this year.

Keep Reading Show less
(Texas Longhorns/Instagram)
Game Preview: Longhorns face off against #13 Cyclones

The Texas Longhorns take the field for the first time in two weeks after postponements and bye weeks, making them one of the most well rested teams in the conference.

Keep Reading Show less
(MangoNic/Shutterstock)

Before the pandemic started, Adult Care of Austin on Menchaca Road didn't offer telemedicine appointments.

Now, the private practice conducts almost all of its visits virtually, either over the phone or on HIPAA-compliant video platforms.

Dr. Steven Dobberfuhl, an internal medicine physician, said telemedicine saved his practice—and has been a boon to his patients, around 75% of whom are 65 years or older and at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

"I didn't believe it would work as well as it has," he said.

Keep Reading Show less

Austin will see "big weather changes" this weekend, with likely thunderstorms Friday morning and early Saturday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

Keep Reading Show less
(Pexels)

From pandemic-inspired poetry to a graphic novel based on a Mayan legend, this holiday season offers titles for every taste. Below is a list of books from local authors to add to your Black Friday shopping cart or wintertime to-read list.

Keep Reading Show less