Looking to catch up on local news? Here are five must-read stories impacting the Austin metro.

1. Vehicle inspection no longer required for Texas drivers by 2025

Beginning in 2025, Texas drivers will no longer need to get their vehicles inspected.

On Aug. 5, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 3297 into law, which eliminates regular mandatory vehicle safety inspections for noncommercial vehicles.

Read the full story.

2. Austin committee presses TxDOT on local enhancements, environmental effects of I-35 expansion

As the official start of the Texas Department of Transportation's expansion of I-35 through Central Austin draws nearer, local leaders are hoping to ensure community environmental goals and added features for Austinites to enjoy are considered in the $4.5 billion plan.

The Capital Express Central initiative through the heart of Austin is one of several TxDOT projects set to take place along I-35 in Central Texas over the years ahead.

Read the full story.

3. Audit shows Austin Animal Center fails to treat animals humanely, often closed for intake

Though the Austin Animal Center is meeting its no-kill threshold, it has failed to provide humane care to all animals and often is unable to take in new animals, according to a report Assistant City Auditor Keith Salas presented to the Austin City Council Audit and Finance Committee on Sept. 27.

The report found the shelter:

  • Failed to hit the goal caring for 16,000 animals each year
  • Utilized crates or cages intended for short-term use for long-term housing
  • Kept animals in conditions where they did not have adequate room to stretch out, separate themselves from playmates if desired, and avoid having to sleep near food and waste
Read the full story.

4. Austin Energy charge increases approved ahead of annual rate adjustment

Several Austin Energy charges will be rising slightly in November, changes that will go into effect alongside an annual adjustment to the utility's base rates and following a separate AE charge increase that was applied in October.

City Council on Oct. 5 approved annual increases for a grouping of the power utility's charges called pass-through rates—the Community Benefit, Regulatory and Power Supply Adjustment, or PSA, charges.

Read the full story.

5. Tiny Grocer and its new French restaurant Bureau de Poste hit Hyde Park

Tiny Grocer’s second location and its French restaurant, Bureau de Poste, opened Oct. 3 at 4300 Speedway in the former Hyde Park post office.

The new store is less tiny than owner Steph Steele’s original location on South Congress Avenue featuring over 3,000 products. The store has more options for flower arrangements, kids and pets items, and nonalcoholic beverages, and it carries restaurant-grade kitchenware from Made In.

Read the full story.