My first day of work at Austonia was on Monday, March 9. By the end of that week, local officials had canceled SXSW and our small team was headed home to work remotely.
It was from our virtual newsroom—spread out across our respective kitchen counters, living room couches and home offices—that we launched a daily newsletter and, in early April, our website.
1. 'Somehow life feels richer than ever' for some Austin families finding new at-home routines (April 16)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzA0MDc2Mi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjA1NDIwOH0.Bz9ylIIh264kNEttOtPps-mFSFI0OQBXdEuXp8UVa18/img.jpg?width=980" id="95c06" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c0e00d953fb459ea637b1ce4d861f18a" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Hoke)<p>Karen Brooks Harper spoke to local families early on in the pandemic to learn about how they were coping—and discovered that many were bonding during all the time spent at home together. "I don't want this crisis to go on forever, but I desperately want our future as a family to look more like this," one mom said. </p>
2. Two days of protest: demonstrators shut down I-35, Austin police respond with tear gas as police killings mobilize residents (June 1)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzM2MjQyNi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY0NzY1MzI1Mn0.8yiXhdxWWN0GWs7_QGVfcx_RcwFBWmfbcLrW_qnfhBA/img.jpg?width=980" id="92523" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9f87f7be0f8a844c2ee866f3e8965c9c" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Austonia staff)<p>In late May, Austin residents took to the streets to protest the police killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Mike Ramos in Southeast Austin. Protests continued through the summer and ultimately led to the Austin City Council voting to cut the police department's budget—to the chagrin of many state lawmakers. </p>
4. Meet the two names from Austin behind the transformation of the new Joe Rogan podcast studio (Sept. 10)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzkxMTcwMi9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1Nzc0OTU3NX0.lIHFEJjqDmr0u476tRotIOhL-Kd5emDPwZfoKX3J7qc/img.png?width=980" id="0608f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c8fcaf6c9f257b45d46df71a75f9e128" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Joe Rogan/Instagram)<p>Senior Producer Sonia Garcia profiled two local business owners entrusted by mixed martial arts enthusiast and comedian Joe Rogan to construct his new podcast studio, where he has since interviewed fellow Austinites Matthew McConaughey and Alex Jones. The recent transplant moved to the Texas capital from Los Angeles in July, bringing his $100 million podcast with him. </p>
5. The Austonia guide to Proposition A, the ballot issue that could green-light Project Connect (Oct. 14)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDQ2MzYzOC9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY2OTE2Mzg5M30.9ut3GWV4jDgYv6tnKiP8d7kR_zuOeMlk2UDo1mihHJs/img.jpg?width=980" id="c92cd" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="f84b93dc51a6efedb60afc518d42a524" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Emma Freer/Austonia staff)<p>On Nov. 3, Austin voters overwhelmingly supported Proposition A, which raised the city's property tax rate to help pay for Project Connect. The $7.1 billion transit overhaul plan is already being implemented, but it faced vocal opposition. This guide dives into how much Project Connect will raise property owners' tax bills and how it will address concerns about displacement.</p>
10. Good times have faded at the TarryTown Shopping Center, the once-thriving neighborhood hub where animal rights activist Jeanne Daniels has pushed out local favorites (Dec. 22)<img lazy-loadable="true" src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDk4NTg5My9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY3MzU2NjcwM30.XJ6XCP4blQRYqf5ydurmI7uHlWGDBtzexqFMMLAeDUQ/img.png?width=980" id="a372a" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="343b0f9ff0d248e375851974857e4824" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
(Blair Newberry)<p>Writer Bryan Rolli took a deep dive into the once buzzing TarryTown Shopping Center that now stands desolate. Since inheriting the shopping center in 1999, Jeanne Crusemann Daniels has enforced strict rules that have resulted in the elimination of businesses that used or sold animal products. Long-time Austinites and former business owners remember what the shopping center was once like. </p>
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