Need to catch up on local news? Here are five stories impacting the Austin metro.

1. Blue Genie Art Bazaar in Austin continues tradition bringing artisans, community together

What started as a holiday pop-up project in 2000 has grown to become a holiday staple for thousands of locals each year thanks to the opening of Blue Genie Art Bazaar by co-founders and friends Dana Younger, Kevin Collins, Chris Coakley and Rory Skagen.

Younger said the idea came to the group in 1999.

“[Collins] and I had a business in South Austin called Black Mountain Art,” Younger said. “We made plaster gargoyles and sold them at outdoor festivals. We became exhausted with sitting at fairs and swore if we ever put on a show of our own, we would not have artists sitting in booths.”

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2. Officials renew development, revitalization planning in northeast Austin, Travis County

Austin and Travis County leaders this summer committed to a joint project aimed at bringing new development, infrastructure improvements and economic activity to the city and county's historically overlooked northeastern region.

Travis County commissioners and Austin City Council members each signed off on similar resolutions in late August laying out a collaborative planning effort centered on northeast Austin and Travis County.

The measures came from Commissioner Jeff Travillion, representing the county's northeastern Precinct 1, and Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison, who represents northeast Austin's District 1.

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3. Dine for a cause: Austin Restaurant Weeks kicks off Sept. 1

Benefiting the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Restaurant Weeks is underway through Sept. 17.

Austin Restaurant Weeks is a two-week-long annual fundraiser wherein officials from participating restaurants, bars and breweries in the area donate a portion of specially priced meals purchased at their locations to the Central Texas Food Bank.

Each participating location offers a prix fixe menu with lunch, dinner or libration options. A set dollar donation—between $3-$9—from each meal will be collected, which will go toward providing meals to Central Texans who face hunger on a regular basis, officials announced in a news release Aug. 29. In 2022, Austin Restaurant Weeks raised more than $130,000 that went directly to the Central Texas Food Bank.

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4. Austin ISD to place at least 1 armed officer at each school

Austin ISD will place at least one district police officer at each campus, with the ability for administration to assign additional officers if needed.

The AISD board of trustees made the vote Aug. 31 in response to ​​the passage of House Bill 3 from the 88th legislative session, which requires armed security on all campuses.

As of Aug. 31, AISD currently has 82 full-time officers on staff, including 43 school resource officers.

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5. UT, Samsung announce $3.7M education, workforce partnership in Austin

The University of Texas is partnering with Samsung on a workforce development initiative to recruit students into semiconductor studies and upgrade the university's research and development systems.

Elected officials joined business and university representatives in Austin on Sept. 1 for UT's Semiconductor Day. The event opened with the announcement of the new partnership, the latest in a series of what UT President Jay Hartzell called Samsung's "giant bets" on Central Texas as the region remains a national leader in the semiconductor space.

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