AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin FC will be owned and operated by a new firm with the same leadership structure.
Two Oak Ventures, LLC is the new ownership group operating Austin FC and the Major League Soccer park and stadium at McKalla Place in northwest Austin, the franchise announced Wednesday.
Two Oak Ventures formally replaces Precourt Sports Ventures. Anthony Precourt will serve as Chairman and CEO of the new firm, performing the same roles for Austin FC.
Dave Greeley, the lead executive with Precourt, moves into the role of President of Two Oak and will oversee all aspects of the firm in conjunction with Precourt.
Two Oak Ventures primary logo Photo: The Butler Bros/Austin FC
“As Austin FC’s new parent company, Two Oak Ventures’ principal focus is building a vibrant MLS club that unites and instills pride in the City of Austin, and this proven executive team will continue to be critical to our success,” Precourt said.
Precourt added that the firm will bring in strategic, local investors and expects to announce a prominent group of local Austinites will join Two Oak Ventures soon.
The name Two Oak is inspired by Austin FC signage and symbols which displays two oak trees.
Two Oak Ventures is currently focused on launching Austin FC’s first competitive season in 2021. The firm will also design and oversee the construction of the MLS stadium at McKalla Place along with a $35 million training facility for Austin FC.
HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Hays County will head back to court to try to prevent pipeline construction through the area after filing a notice of intent that they would be suing Kinder Morgan a second time.
The notice claims the pipeline company did not obtain the necessary federal permits to work near endangered species and sensitive environmental features like the Edwards Aquifer.
The new lawsuit is calling for a full independent environmental impact study. According to Precinct 3 Commissioner Lon Shell, asking for an environmental review is nothing more than what is required of Hays County when planning and building its infrastructure.
Hays County leaders are also appealing last month’s ruling in another lawsuit against Kinder Morgan and the Texas Railroad Commission. Unlike the newer lawsuit, the previous suit was focused on eminent domain and gaining more regulation and oversight for the project. A judge dismissed that suit in late June. The judge said she had concerns about the lack of oversight companies like Kinder Morgan have to create pipelines but that she believes it is up to the Texas legislature to change how that oversight works.
“The City of Kyle remains firm in its assertion that greater transparency is needed in the pipeline routing process,” said Kyle Mayor Travis Mitchell in a recent press release. “While we respect Judge Livingston’s ruling, the Texas Constitution clearly calls for the Railroad Commission to establish rules and policies for how eminent domain is utilized by private, for-profit corporations to forcibly seize others’ property. No such process currently exists.”
MINERAL WELLS, Texas (AP) — Leaders of a small town in Texas are abandoning a proposal that would have essentially banned abortions in their community.
Mineral Wells Mayor Christopher Perricone says he proposed making his town a “sanctuary city for the unborn” after the town of Waskom became the first in Texas to do so. But at a meeting Tuesday in Mineral Wells, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) west of Dallas, city leaders voted 5-2 to take no action at the recommendation of the city’s legal staff.
The Star-Telegram reports that earlier Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas sent a letter to Mineral Wells council members warning that its proposal was unconstitutional.
There are currently no abortion clinics in either Waskom or Mineral Wells, so the measures are largely symbolic.
AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas could receive more than $50 million annually to pay for initiatives that support at-risk fish and wildlife populations under a bill introduced in Congress.
Known as the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA), House Resolution 3742 would provide $1.3 billion every year to states and $97.5 million to tribes. The Texas Alliance for America’s Fish and Wildlife says the funding wouldn’t require new taxes. It would be supported by existing federal revenues from oil and gas production.
Under the Endangered Species Act, which Congress passed in 1973, species can be listed as “threatened” or “endangered.” The law doesn’t allow a person to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture or collect a listed animal without a permit. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the goal of The Endangered Species Act is to “recover” species so they no longer need protection under the law.
“The Recovering America’s Wildlife Act is a cost-effective way to recover fish and wildlife populations without the more reactive, ‘emergency room’ measures of the Endangered Species Act,” John Shepperd, a spokesperson for the alliance, said in a release. “Once a species reaches the need to be listed as Threatened or Endangered, the process of recovery is more difficult and expensive. It is much smarter to act before these at-risk populations reach a critical point.”
The Lone Star State is home to hundreds of fish, butterflies and birds. There are around 5,000 species of native plants in the state as well.
According to a report by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, conservation challenges in the state have led to more than 1,000 species being identified as Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Texas Conservation Action Plan. The plan aims to provide a statewide outline for research, restoration, management and recovery projects that can help with improving the status of these species. It strives to keep these species from getting listed under the Endangered Species Act. Species of Greatest Conservation Need in Texas include the San Marcos saddle-case caddisfly, the Texas horn shell and Texas wild rice. The Texas horned lizard, sea turtles and other birds are also in decline.
The report also highlights several different ways potential funding would be used to protect Texas’ habitats and species populations. How the department would achieve this goal is broken down into several named strategies: Protecting Environmental Flows, Prairie Streams Initiative, Restore Iconic Species, Engage People Through Wildlife Recreation and Connecting Children and Nature. It states that “through agency operations as well as partnerships with the conservation community, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department would invest approximately 70 percent of potential funding toward stewardship of Species of Greatest Conservation Need.” Around 10 percent of potential funding would support programs to increase access to the outdoors and more participation. Twenty percent would go towards educating, informing and engaging Texans about the Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
Steffi Lee is working on a story for our newscasts at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. Look for a full report on this bill later this evening.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — Three loaded firearms were found in carry-on bags at the Austin Bergstrom International Airport Tuesday, according to a press release from the Transport Security Administration.
The TSA says the first firearm was discovered during an x-ray screening at Checkpoint 2. The second and third were found in a single passenger’s carry-on bag as it went through security at Checkpoint 1. Austin police were called to the airport to take possession of the weapons and interview the passengers.
According to Mike Scott, the Federal Security Director at the Austin airport, these three weapons brings the total number of firearms confiscated at the airport in 2019 to 49.
“It is unfortunate that passengers continue to bring firearms to checkpoints, said Scott. “We urge all travelers to ensure they know what is in their carry-on bags and to only travel with firearms in checked bags, after declaring them to the airline and storing them, unloaded, in a locked, hard-sided case.”
Anyone caught with a firearm at a security checkpoint will be referred to the Austin police and will receive a civic penalty from the TSA. According to the press release these penalties can cost as much as $13,333. A big factor when determining the amount of the civic penalty is whether or not the firearm is loaded.
Any passenger with trusted Traveler status or TSA Pre✓® will have the expedited travel benefits revoked for a period of time if caught breaking the rules regarding traveling with a firearm. In addition to a gun, firearm parts, ammunition and realistic replicas are also not allowed in a carry-on.
In 2018, the TSA found a record 4,239 firearms at airports across the country, which comes to an average of 11.6 a day.
(AUSTIN BUSINESS JOURNAL) — Indeed Inc. has made its growth in Austin visible from miles around. The career hunting company’s logo became part of Austin’s downtown skyline a couple of years ago. Now, its namesake is one of the most visible features of the emerging skyline in “Austin’s second downtown,” The Domain.
Indeed recently began moving employees into the new Domain office tower, near the northwest corner of Burnet and Braker. It has leased the entire 11-story, 310,000-square-foot building, which is large enough to accommodate 1,700-plus employees.
Inside, Indeed’s new space features a seven-story interconnecting atrium with a staircase, music room and two barista stations. There’s also a game room and a full fitness facility in the new space to keep employees energized. The company also serves breakfast and lunch daily in a sprawling cafeteria and even has an Airstream trailer inside.
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (AP) — Asylum-seekers gathered in Nuevo Laredo, across the border from Texas, grappled to understand what a new U.S. policy that all but eliminates refuge claims by Central Americans and many others meant for their bids to find a better life in America amid a chaos of rumors, confusion and fear.
The policy went into effect Tuesday and represents the most forceful attempt to date by President Donald Trump to slash the number of people seeking asylum in the United States. It denies asylum to anyone who shows up on the Mexican border after traveling through another country, something Central American migrants have to do.
In some parts of Nuevo Laredo, migrants continued to trickle into shelters, including seven members of a family from the Mexican state of Michoacán, who fled the shootings and extortions in their violent region and were happy to find shelter even though some had to sleep in the hallway. They hoped they could get asylum because they did not pass through another country to reach the border.
But about 70 mostly Central American migrants, who had crossed Mexico to reach the border, were returned to Mexico with an appointment with a judge tucked in a transparent plastic bag. Some bitter, they assembled in the National Institute of Migration facility next to the international bridge, with a cluster of women cradling children, men asking questions and small children running around under the watchful eye of parents.
“They didn’t deport us but they took us out (of the U.S.) in a bad way; in theory we wait for an audience,” said Nolvin Godoy, a 29-year-old Guatemalan who has gone deep into debt paying a coyote almost $10,000 to take him, his wife and her 2-year-old son to get them across the Rio Grande to turn themselves in to U.S. authorities.
After 10 days in a detention center in the U.S., they say they were given an appointment with a judge in September to begin the asylum process. Now they’ve been sent back to Mexico and hold out little hope of being able to appear before the judge on the date set.
“Today the law fell on us and they are going to take us to Monterrey – 200 kilometers from Nuevo Laredo – and we don’t know what is going happen after that because we don’t know anyone; I am sinking into debt,” Godoy said.
Mexican migration officials gave them food and a document that is a certificate guaranteeing them access to official programs but which does not specify which ones, though Mexico has said the returned will be able to get jobs. They received an official telephone number and email where they can get advice.
Godoy, who says the stained shirt on his back is his only possession, believes it will all be worth little if he has no means of survival. “Maybe it’s best to go back.”
No migrants dare to go outside the migration installations. “Outside is organized crime,” he said.
Dozens of people like Godoy were returned to Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday and by nightfall had been put on a bus with the only explanation that they were being taken to Monterrey, in the neighboring state of Nuevo Leon. Most of them had reached the U.S. irregularly, and did not fit the profile of migrants who would wait in Mexico for weeks or months, sign up on waiting lists and then be called by U.S. authorities to process their asylum claims.
Some said they had not originally planned to request asylum in the United States, and said the idea only occurred to them when they were offered the option.
However, as late as Tuesday morning a group of 15 migrants, including four children, showed up at the international bridge because their names had come up on the list that has long been used to allow migrants to request asylum. The idea that the old process might continue to work gave some hope to migrants like Linerio Gonzalez, 24, and Ana Paolini, 20, who fled Venezuela for political reasons. It was unclear if the new measures would change things for Venezuelans like them.
“It drives you to desperation,” said Gonzalez.
“You hear a lot of things, but we don’t know,” Paolini said, adding that the prospect of being able to file for asylum, only to be returned to Nuevo Laredo, fills her with fear.
Rev. Julio López, director of the Roman Catholic shelter Albergue Nazaret, said the border was in the grips “of a lot of confusion because of all the changes.”
Lopez said the situation had become worse for migrants, and immigrant traffickers were likely to be the only winners.
On top of it, more deportees might be expected from the planned raids in the United States, something that could overwhelm shelters.
“Added to all this is now the uncertainty about mass deportations, that could put our shelters in a difficult position,” said Rev. Lopez.
BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — A local teenager who was burned over much of his body when he was 7 needs another surgery, his 66th over the span of 12 years.
A group of friends and family members organized a softball tournament for Saturday to raise some of the $15,000 it’ll cost for the new type of collagen injection that will keep his skin supple as he grows.
“I’m having a problem with my muscles growing but my skin staying compact,” Camryn Higgins said. “So it’s harder to breathe, my heart doesn’t beat as well as most.”
KXAN first profiled Higgins in 2011. A few years earlier, he was cleaning up after his 7th birthday party when he tripped while carrying a lighter to his father. An errant spark ignited fumes from a nearby gas can.
He spent days in the hospital on life support, and doctors told his parents he might not walk or see. Years of surgeries and procedures have given him a new appreciation for life and a vast support network.
“Camryn’s a great kid, and he deserves it,” said Christi Nance, a family friend who organized the softball tournament.
Twelve teams have registered for the softball tournament so far. Teams can still sign up for an entry fee of $250, which will go to the surgery.
On KXAN News Today, when his dad switched insurance companies a year ago, Higgins’ burn care became a pre-existing condition — why the familysays the company won’t pay for this surgery.
(AP) — Texas Rep. Al Green has introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, potentially forcing a vote this week on whether to remove the president from office.
The vote would come too soon for most Democrats, as a majority of the caucus appears to oppose impeachment, for now. But Green is seeking to capitalize on a growing sentiment for impeachment in the wake of Trump’s racist tweets over the weekend.
Green introduced the measure shortly after the House voted to condemn Trump for tweets that four Democratic congresswomen should “go back” to their home countries. All are Americans. Green said Tuesday that Trump is unfit for office and “enough is enough.”
Any member of the House can force an impeachment vote. Green has done so twice before, unsuccessfully.