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(Kyndel Bennett)

Austinites are experiencing hours-long power outages in all parts of the city as Austin Energy conducts rotating blackouts, after an abundance of energy was being used across the state to combat the winter storm. Power outages began early Monday morning and were expected for 40 minutes or less, but many residents have reported going without power for longer.

"People don't have power because there is not power to send them," Austin Mayor Steve Adler told CBS Austin on Monday morning. "Everyone needs to conserve power."

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas says rolling outages are necessary to curb energy demand. Austin energy reports that 195,996 customers—or about 38.25%—are without power, with 298 active outages, as of 9:27 a.m. For a full map of outages, click here.

"Electric load must be reduced in order to fully restore service across the (state's power) grid," Austin Energy tweeted at 7:15 a.m. The utility is asking customers who still have power to help the grid by conserving energy, such as by:

  • Turning down thermostats to 68 degrees or lower
  • Open blinds and shades to take advantage of the sun's natural heat during the day
  • Turn off and unplug non-essential lights and appliances
  • Avoid using large appliances, such as ovens and washing machines

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(Laura Figi/Austonia)

When Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he would rescind business capacity limits and a statewide masking mandate on Texas Independence Day, he framed it as a step forward. "With this executive order, we are ensuring that all businesses and families in Texas have the freedom to determine their own destiny," he said during a press conference at a Mexican restaurant in Lubbock.

But some local restaurants and bars, which have been caught in the regulatory crosshairs since Texas' first positive COVID test 364 days ago, have chosen to ignore Abbott's overture. Instead, they will continue to maintain pandemic precautions once the executive order takes effect next week, citing a desire to keep their staff and patrons safe.

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(AUSTIN, TEXAS) Austonia has hired Claire Partain as a reporter covering Austin FC, the MLS expansion team that will be Austin's first major league sports franchise.

Partain is a former sports editor for the The University Star, Texas State University's daily newspaper. She edited, covered sports, produced podcasts, and hosted a pre-game TXST football tailgate live series. Partain has been freelancing with the company since January, prior to accepting a staff position.

A native of Fairfield, Texas, Partain grew up playing youth soccer. In her high school years, she played alongside her mother in what was then called the Freestone County Hispanic Women's Soccer League.

Claire's coverage philosophy: "I like to bring out the humanity of sports, and I want to make this the most accessible sports coverage possible."

She notes that soccer is the predominant sport for young people. "It's a global sport, and we're more connected to the world than older generations."

That approach fits the team's already visible presence in Austin, says Austonia CEO Mark Dewey. "Austin FC has established itself as a leading Austin brand, one that stands for a more unified Austin community, a bigger global presence for Austin and fun. Austonia shares those values."

Partain's soccer coverage begins immediately, with her free, hosted text service—Austonia FC. For updates, special access and inside info, all moderated by Claire, sign up below.

Austonia is the city's independent, free, locally-owned and all-digital source for Austin news, information and entertainment.

Connect with Austonia through its daily email newsletter and text updates, @austonianews Instagram feed, @austonianews and @austinist Twitter feeds, @austonianews Facebook page and its website austonia.com.

(Jordan Vonderhaar)

Austin Public Health will release another batch of first dose COVID-19 vaccine appointments for Thursday on Wednesday evening. A department spokesperson estimates between 3,000 and 4,000 slots will be available.

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