Austin Animal Center thanks police department for work on bombing investigation

One of Austin’s animal shelters thanked police for their weeks-long serial bombing investigation as part of their weekly photo series partnering officers and adoptable pets.

On Wednesday, the Austin Animal Center posted photos of Police Chief Brian Manley with a dog named Deena and thanked the police department for their work investigating a series of bombs that killed two people and injured five others in Austin and Schertz. Police confirmed the suspect in all the incidents, Mark Conditt, died after a bomb exploded in his car early Wednesday morning.

[cmg_anvato video=4351344 autoplay=“false”]

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Stories, videos and photos from the Austin bombings

“Their tireless work over the last three weeks put an end to the fear our beautiful city has felt. We appreciate them and their work every day, but are especially thankful for them today,” the Facebook post reads.

In the Facebook post, the center shared that the initial dog the chief posed with named Deena was adopted the night before the “#APDRescueMe” campaign launched. The chief redid the photoshoot with another dog named Chin-Chin.

The Austin Animal Center’s “#APDRescueMe” social media campaign has showcased adoptable pets posing alongside Austin police officers since February.

Ready for the Republic of Texas biker rally? We’ve got the best motorcycle routes in Central Texas

Last year, Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo, right, greeted bikers at the Republic of Texas Biker Rally parade in downtown Austin Friday June 10, 2016. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

The Republic of Texas Biker Rally is this weekend at the Travis County Expo Center in Austin. If you want to take a ride near the city, here are some of the best routes you can take:

The Three Sisters (aka The Twisted Sisters): 131 miles

This 131-mile ride has some of the best scenery you can get. Riding alongside rivers and past Texas ranches, this route is one of the best the Austin-area has to offer. The ride is known for its scenery and road quality and not so much its amenities, but a few can be found along the way.

Devil’s backbone/Old Spicewood: 33 miles

On this 33-mile stretch of scenic road, you’ll get a great view of Balcones Fault. You won’t be going too fast, but the road quality is good and so are the amenities.

Gruene-Fredericksburg-Bandera Loop: 239 miles

Clocking in at 239 miles, this scenic route takes you through the countryside and farmland of Central Texas. For amenities you can stop at Gruene, Luckenbach, Fredericksburg, Kerrville and Bandera, which all have great things to see and do.

Day trip to Luckenbach: 72 miles

This 72-mile trip goes through the Hill Country back roads. If you get hungry, stop at a mom-and-pop burger restaurant called the Alamo Springs Café.

Bikers park their bikes to register for Rot Rally on Friday, June 10, 2016 at the Travis Country Expo Center. This is Rot Rally’s 11th anniversary. Jessalyn Tamez / AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN

South-Central Texas Route 16: 88 miles

If you just want to ride through different towns in the Hill Country, including Kerrville and Fredericksburg, this 88-mile route is scenic with great roads.

Hutto-Granger-Georgetown Loop: 61 miles

This northeast Austin route has good scenery filled with creeks and rives. There are also plenty of curves to ride on. If you are looking for somewhere to eat, there is Louise Miller BBQ in Taylor.

Spicewood Springs Road: 5 miles

Looking for a short ride? The Spicewood Springs has good scenery and road quality. You’ll see some farms with horses and creeks and rivers. Its not a fast road, but you will be able to soak up some Texas beauty.

FM 487: 11 miles

This ride is on the shorter side but it has some nice scenery and good road quality. You’ll be riding through Texas farmland and woods. However, don’t expect there to be many roadside amenities.

Texas Twister: 61 miles

This 61-mile ride has great scenery as you’ll be in Hill Country near the Texas Highland Lakes. The road quality is good, but the road side amenities are not the best.

Hippie Hollow Horror: 40 miles

The Hippie Hollow Horror is 40 miles of great scenery that will take you to the north end of Lake Travis. There are also great roadside amenities with stops in Austin and Four Corners.

Mayor Steve Adler tweets Austin jokes for April Fool’s Day

Austin’s Mayor Steve Adler has a bit of a silly sense of humor and April Fool’s Day 2017 was just another day for it to shine.

This is the guy who once went on a Twitter rant, complete with “Star Wars” references, regarding traffic in Austin.

So the mayor had no problem drawing from some of the city’s biggest headaches and head scratchers. He started his joke “tweetstorm” with the massive new central library (which is currently delayed from opening, again).

Mispronouncing street names was “against the law” briefly (side note: Man-cha-ca has always been super easy to say).

He even found a new way to generate income for the city…

… along with proposing a handy way for the city’s bridge-dwelling bats to find their way home.

Adler “announced” a local initiative in response to the state’s controversial transgender bathroom bill.

Could you imagine “The Real World: Austin” part two? Adler suggested the city council as the cast of the next Austin-based reality show in (what else) a short-term rental.

Don’t think Adler forgot about two of the city’s favorite topics: Willie Nelson and ride-hailing companies. Nelson does have a hookup with special “snacks.”

We see what you did there mayor. Happy April Fool’s Day Austin!

Torchy’s Tacos lands on ‘11 absolute best taco shops’ online list


Austin’s taco scene has again put the city in the national spotlight, this time in a list of Tasting Table’s “11 All-Time Favorite Taco Shops in America.”

Tina Phan/American-Statesman. 10.4.13. Statesman restaurant critic and reporter reviews several Austin Eats vendors during the first weekend of ACL on Friday, October 4, 2013. Trailer Park taco (fried chicken, green chiles, pico de gallo, lettuce, tomato, cheese), $5, from Torchy’s Tacos.

Torchy’s Tacos made Tasting Table’s list, coming in at No. 10 out of 11, beating out Salvation Taco in New York City. Curiously, Torchy’s was the only Texas spot to make the list, while two New York spots, three California restaurants and even a Massachusetts taco shop also made the list. (Calamari and beets on tacos? Um, OK.)

More: Austin airport travelers ate 693,375 breakfast tacos in 2015

“This famous spot is known for its unique flavor combinations like green chile pork and fresh ingredients like avocado salsa,” Tasting Table raves. “The best part? Breakfast is served all day, so you can have Austin’s favorite egg tacos no matter when the craving hits.”

More: This Austinite is bringing ‘Austin-style’ tacos to New Yorkers

No disrespect to Torchy’s (It’s been put on taco “best-of” lists before, and President Obama even ate there once), but if any list is going to highlight the best tacos in Austin, it should also include places like Maria’s, Guero’s Taco Bar, Veracruz Tacos, Taco Joint or La Fantabulous.

More: Take a taco tour around Austin

At any rate, any exposure to Austin’s taco scene is good, especially considering the Great Breakfast Taco War between Austin and San Antonio.


Hate Austin rent prices? Online list says Leander is cheaper


We all know it’s expensive to live in Austin. One recent study suggested that it takes a yearly salary of at least $52,578 to afford a home here, something that is becoming increasingly more difficult to afford if you’re a single man or woman.

A house on Garden Street is for sale on Thursday November 19, 2015. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

But take heart, those of you who rent homes or apartments in Austin: At least you weren’t paying the area’s highest rent prices this past month. That honor goes to Leander, our neighbor to the northwest. That’s right, it was cheaper to rent a domicile in Austin than it was in Leander, at least, according to rental site Zumper.

Zumper released a report this week detailing the drop in rent prices throughout the Austin area, a swath of land that includes all the way from Georgetown to San Marcos. The report found that for the month of March, Austin had a median one-bedroom rent of $1,080 a month, while renting the same domain in Leander would set you back $1,110. Both are still much higher than the $887 state median, however.

The cheapest rent in the Austin area for March belonged to San Marcos, at $860 a month for a one-bedroom.

Read the full report here.




Take a look inside this West Lake Hills mansion with a ‘waterfall’ pool

Courtesy of

We all have dreams. Less traffic in Austin. A new iPhone. All of those are attainable, but here’s something that you’ll have to cough up a pretty penny to afford: An oh-so-gorgeous house in West Lake Hills. Look at that view you can stare at from those nice black chairs. Gorgeous. It also costs $6.8 million.

But the place sure is fancy. Take a look at those “artisan” walls. Don’t the fish look gorgeous as they try to swim above you while you sleep? What if they fall out of the wall and hit you with their slimy scales? But, you can see downtown from the window.

Courtesy of

And look at the beautiful negative-edge pool against the clear night sky.

READ: UFO houses, Tesla charging stations and 385 acres: What $9.24 million gets you at one Austin ranch 

Courtesy of

But hey, if you’re independently wealthy or have a trust fund, you can buy the place. It has 4,736 square feet of interior space opening up onto another 1,310 square feet of outdoor space. It apparently sits on one of the highest hills in the area with great views of the Hill Country and the city skyline. And with manicured lawns and mature oak trees, you’ll have the privacy to live happily ever after overlooking Austin.

RELATED: Austin-area housing outlook bright for 2017 

Is Austin home to millennial ‘slackers’? Yes, but not as much as other Texas cities

The Pew Research Center found last year that the current generation of 18-to-34-year-olds (millennials) are more likely to be currently living with their parents than to be living with a spouse or significant other, or living alone or with roommates, for the first time in 130 years.

From Flickr user Elizabeth Hahn. Used with Creative Commons license.

Apartment search site Abodo took that Pew data and found that 34.1 percent of millennials across America are still living under mom and dad’s roof. To understand why, Adobo looked at 16 metropolitan statistical areas (cities with populations over 1 million people) that exceeded the national average.

The results? Austin isn’t as much of a slacker city as you might think.

Related: I’m a millennial. I don’t need your participation trophy.

The Austin-Round Rock area landed at the bottom of Adobo’s list at No. 40, with 22.3 percent of the city’s millennials still living at home. That’s 11.8 percent below the national average. And, just 8 percent of Austin’s millennials are unemployed, compared to the 10 percent national average.

Austin millennials are also raking in more money than the national average, whether they live at home or not; those living at home took in $1,314 a month, while those living on their own or with other people took in $2,329 a month. Unsurprisingly, the housing market in Austin isn’t kind to millennials. They pay almost $200 more than the national average in median rent.

More: When it comes to this list of heavyweights, San Antonio is way ahead of Austin

The area with the highest population of millennials living at home is the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, Fla. area, with 44.8 percent of that area’s millennials living at home. The largest contingent of stay-at-home-kids in Texas is in the San Antonio-New Braunfels area, at 36.2 percent.

New ABC News documentary chronicles an Austin Skee-Baller’s path to glory

It was a sports heartbreaker for the ages. After only five years playing the sport, Austin’s Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa had made it to four Skee-Ball tournaments through his Austin Brewskee-Ball League.

The 33-year-old library administrator first started paying the game with his wife in 2009 as a way to meet people in Austin. His nickname comes from his penchant for pounding brewskis while rolling Skees.

Skee-Ball champion Roy “Brewbacca” Hinojosa wearing his cream-colored jacket and kissing his trophy in Austin, Texas. (David Fazekas/ABC News)

At the first tournament he went to, in 2010, he didn’t get far.

In 2011, he lost in the first round.

In 2012, he made it to the Final Four, but didn’t go all the way.

In 2013, at the Brewskee-Ball National Championship (commonly referred to as the “BEEBs”) in Austin, it was down to him and a Skee-Ball roller from New York named Jon “Snakes on a Lane” Ciuffreda. Hinojosa needed about 400 more points to win the trophy and the league’s cream-colored sports jacket. He thought he had what it took. The scoreboard even read in his favor.

But a glitch in the Skee-Ball machine caused Hinojosa’s score to be tallied incorrectly.

“I hear that the lane malfunctioned and scored higher than I actually rolled,” Hinojosa told ABC News. “These machines are old. They’re not in the best condition. I hit it really hard. Sometimes when you do that, it double clutches and the score changes. Instead of registering as a 100, it registers at 150.”

After that 2013 tournament, Hinojosa worked on his Skee-Ball game. He went to the 2014 and 2015 BEEBs but didn’t make it to the finals.

His luck changed in 2016 in North Carolina, where he once again faced off against Jon “Snakes on a Lane” Ciuffreda for the championship. This time, Hinojosa won without question.

“The idea that you’re the best at something, no one can take that away from me.”

“Brewbacca and the Quest for the Cream-Colored Jacket,” a new mini-documentary from ABC News, chronicles Hinojosa’s rise to the top of America’s Skee-Ball scene.

“I tell people that I’m a national champion in Skee-Ball, and they’re like, ‘What..How?'” he jokes in the video.

For now, Hinojosa says he plans to defend his title in Austin’s Brewskee-Ball League. But he told ABC News he’s more thankful for the friends and relationships he’s made through the sport.

“I wouldn’t know what we would have done without Skee-Ball to be honest.”

Watch the full documentary below.

ABC Breaking News

Surprise! The El Arroyo sign’s got Ides of March jokes


It’s March 15, otherwise known as the Ides of March. That’s the day Roman emperor Julius Caesar was stabbed to death by his own senators and son-in-law Marcus Brutus in 44 B.C.

From Flickr user Hilverd Reker.

(It’s also the title of an excellent 2011 film about an idealistic presidential campaign staffer and the governor he works for starring Ryan Gosling and George Clooney.)

The phrase was popularized in William Shakespeare’s titular play about Caesar: “Beware the Ides of March.”

It was a day full of conspiracy, betrayal and knives (and indeed, bad stuff seems to continue to happen on March 15), but everyone’s favorite Austin taco restaurant sign has a lighter take on the day famous for conspiratorial bloodshed.

Et tu, El Arroyo?


Austinites can alert city to dangerous roads via new crowd-sourced map

Austinites can now tell city officials on an edit-able map which areas are dangerous for drivers or pedestrians and bicyclists. Graphic courtesy of the City of Austin.

A website is now live that Austin officials say makes it quick and easy to alert the city about streets that need to be safer.

City officials said they are particularly interested in what pedestrians have to say over the next couple of weeks.

Austinites can select their mode of travel (walking, bicycling, riding a motorcycle, driving a car, or using an assistive device such as a wheelchair), choose from a drop-down list of concerns, and add additional details. They will immediately see their dot appear on the map, among the others that people have placed.

With all the notes that people have already placed, the map can be a bit daunting, but it’s fairly user-friendly once you zoom in on the streets you’re interested in.

This map is for planning efforts only, city officials said. People should call 3-1-1 to identify pressing safety concerns that need immediate attention.