Suburbs lead the way in Austin region’s growth

Suburbs lead the way in Austin region’s growth

Austin has long been the poster child for explosive growth, but new Census Bureau data released Thursday signals that the city’s growth rate is starting to mellow out as its surrounding suburbs boom. Austin added more than 20,000 people each year from 2011 to 2015, but the new data shows that it added only 17,738 in the most recent year — a gain of 1.9 percent, its smallest increase in six years. And the city’s share of the greater metro…

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State officials close to deal to expand Pedernales Falls State Park

State officials close to deal to expand Pedernales Falls State Park

A deal meant to protect the views in a popular Hill Country state park appears to be near completion, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department officials and a landowner said Thursday. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department will buy, at no more than half the market rate, 200 acres of private property on a bluff opposite Pedernales Falls State Park; landowner Mike Maples also will voluntarily mark an additional 70 acres as off-limits to development. In total, roughly 3,200 feet of…

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Night skies protection means economic benefits

Night skies protection means economic benefits

James Murr | The Junction Eagle | Public interest continues to grow in preserving the “awe-inspiring night skies” of the Texas Hill Country.  Local communities can derive significant economic benefits from visitors who come for stargazing, which is no longer possible in many areas because of light pollution that seriously interferes with or prevents the viewing of heavenly objects during the nighttime. In 2011 and 2012, the Kimble County Commissioners Court and the City Council of Junction passed resolutions that supported…

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From the Archives – Silent springs: is it too late to save Hill Country water?

From the Archives – Silent springs: is it too late to save Hill Country water?

Texas Observer (2009) In 2000, Jacob’s Well stopped flowing for the first time in recorded history. Its source sapped, Cypress Creek came to a trickle in Wimberley, and the state added it to a list of streams with impaired water quality. “I think it was a big wake-up call for the community,” Baker says. “If the well is the canary in the coal mine for the aquifer, then the canary was choking and about dead.” The spring ceased flowing again…

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UCISD students are big winners in poster contest

UCISD students are big winners in poster contest

What started as a mere Astronomy Day poster contest turned out to be a huge event for Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District students, local stargazers and interested novices as people near and far got involved. The Uvalde County Historical Commission, Inc., Fort Inge Stargazers, and the Uvalde Rotary Club hosted the poster contest, which was open to sixth- through 12th-grade students. Poster themes were “Light Pollutions, Outdoor Lighting and Preserving the Night Sky” and “Spring Constellations and the Evening Sky.”…

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Opinion: Conroe’s groundwater legal fight accelerates rate increases

Opinion: Conroe’s groundwater legal fight accelerates rate increases

When local groundwater production fees rise soon, a major cause of higher water bills will be the relentless City of Conroe-led litigation which challenges the authority of the Lone Star Groundwater Conservation District to impose water production limits on large-volume water users and others. Conroe’s taxpayer-funded litigation against the district — with the mission to ensure sustainable, cost-effective water supplies for Montgomery County’s current and future needs — forced the district to incur hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal…

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Seattle Climbs but Austin Sprawls: The Myth of the Return to Cities

Seattle Climbs but Austin Sprawls: The Myth of the Return to Cities

Be skeptical when you hear about the return to glory of the American city — that idealized vision of rising skyscrapers and bustling, dense downtowns. Contrary to perception, the nation is continuing to become more suburban, and at an accelerating pace. The prevailing pattern is growing out, not up, although with notable exceptions. Rural areas are lagging metropolitan areas in numerous measures, but within metro areas the suburbs are growing faster in both population and jobs. On the other hand,…

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Rainwater Harvesting Increasingly Helps Companies Reduce Stormwater Fees & Energy Use

Rainwater Harvesting Increasingly Helps Companies Reduce Stormwater Fees & Energy Use

Commercial enterprises are increasingly installing various rainwater harvesting systems for water conservation purposes. Harvesting can also reduce stormwater runoff and fees, and helps solve potable, non-potable, and energy challenges. Commercial property owners are beginning to realize how much stormwater fees are costing them, says Zachary Popkin, program manager for the Energy Coordinating Agency in Philadelphia (via the Forester Network). Rainwater harvesting is an opportunity to collect water from roofs and reuse it, keeping it onsite, which eliminates a huge portion of…

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Rep Hurd, Three Other Reps Introduce Bill to Help Fund National Park Repairs

Rep Hurd, Three Other Reps Introduce Bill to Help Fund National Park Repairs

Monday, Representatives Will Hurd (R-TX), Derek Kilmer (D-WA), Dave Reichert (R-WA), and Colleen Hanabusa (D-HI) introduced a bipartisan bill to jump start overdue maintenance projects in national parks. The National Park Service Legacy Act would provide investments that would go toward reducing the more than $11 billion backlog the National Park Service faces to repair roads, visitor facilities, trails, and other park structures. Similar legislation was previously introduced by Senators Warner (D-VA) and Portman (R-OH). The act would address the…

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St. Elmo Brewing Co. and Richard’s Rainwater Collaborate on Ale Made with Rain Water

St. Elmo Brewing Co. and Richard’s Rainwater Collaborate on Ale Made with Rain Water

Austin-based St. Elmo Brewing Co. teamed up with Richard’s Rainwater, a rain water bottling company located in Dripping Springs, TX to create their Rain Pale Ale. A core value of St. Elmo is collaboration. Experimenting with rainwater was an ongoing interest for both for Founders, Tim Bullock and Bryan Winslow and when they realized their landlord had a connection with Richard’s Rainwater they made the introduction and headed out to Dripping Springs, TX to see the facility and meet Richard in person. After installing…

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