1. City employees take a stand against in-person work policy
Dozens of city of Austin staffers gathered June 1 to send a message to interim City Manager Jesús Garza: if he doesn’t revoke the new in-person work policy, they might quit.
Garza released a memo May 11 announcing executives will be required to work at the office five days a week starting June 5, and nonexecutive employees will be required to work in the office three days a week starting Oct. 1.
The city employs 16,747 people, and 5,817 of them work from home as of April, according to documents from the city’s human resources department. More than half of Austin employees live outside city limits, said Carol Guthrie, business manager for AFSCME Local 1624, the labor union that supports city employees.
Austin's move is a public example of how one of the area's largest employers is handling telework policy following pandemic office closures.
Read the full story by Katy McAfee.
2. Austin-area clinics see spikes in STI cases, mirroring Travis County trend
As the Kind Clinic prepares for June, its busiest month—Pride month, when the LGBTQIA+ health care provider typically sees an uptick in services provided—it is also dealing with an area-wide increase in sexually transmitted infections.
Austin Public Health officials are also dealing with a similar trend, and individuals are encouraged to seek out testing and resources regardless of sexual orientation or gender. Some of these resources include the sexual health clinic, 15 Waller St., Austin; and the Kind clinics, 2800 S. I-35 Frontage Road, Ste. 103, Austin, and 101 W. Koenig Lane, Ste. 100, Austin.
In total, both clinics combined saw more than 20,000 patient visits for STIs in 2022.
“Our sexual health programs are critical to the health and well-being of our community, and we are committed to providing equitable access to resources that promote sexual health and wellness for all residents of Travis County,” APH Director Adrienne Sturrup said.
Read the full story by Amanda Cutshall.
3. Data retention at issue in Austin's police license plate reader reboot
Austin police could soon begin using license plate reader technology for the first time in years, although the program's return may hinge on the contested issue of how long police are able to keep vehicle data on hand.
Automatic license plate readers, or ALPRs, have been used by police to identify vehicles that may have been stolen or linked to a crime. ALPRs were previously in use at the Austin Police Department, but the high-speed cameras were shelved when the police budget was reduced and reallocated in 2020.
Last summer, Council Member Mackenzie Kelly suggested restarting the ALPR program, a move she said could help police identify stolen vehicles, investigate high-priority crimes and locate missing people. Kelly's original proposal would have funded the plate readers, updated APD policy on their use and related officer training, and required an annual audit of the data collection system.
Read the full story by Ben Thompson.
4. Austin officials look to expand downtown homeless shelter operations
To shore up homeless shelter capacity downtown, Austin officials are looking to lease The Salvation Army's former Eighth Street shelter and continue services there as a temporary extension of the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, or ARCH, next door.
The potential lease of The Salvation Army's downtown shelter comes months after the surprise announcement that the facility would close.
The Salvation Army leadership said in mid-February that the 100-bed homeless shelter at 501 E. Eighth St. would be shuttered. The move sparked disappointment and concern in the local homeless service community and city government given the pressing need for shelter beds and the lack of any similar facilities serving downtown Austin.
In response to the impending closure and displacement of dozens of shelter residents, the city's Homeless Strategy Division said in March that Austin would spend $100,000 for an additional 30 days of service there to allow remaining clients to find new places to stay.
Read the full story by Ben Thompson.
5. 10 Pride Month events to check out around Austin this June
Pride Month is a monthlong commemoration of the LGBTQ+ community. The celebration takes place in June due to the Stonewall riots that began June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The riots began after police raided the bar and lasted until July 3, according to the Library of Congress.
Here are 10 events celebrating LGBTQ+ pride in June around Austin and Dripping Springs.
June 3-Aug. 31: Buy coffee for a cause
Jo’s Coffee will offer its limited edition La Colombe coffee house blend in a Jo’s pride box at all Jo’s locations and online from June 3-Aug. 31. For each box sold, $2 will be donated to Equality Texas, a nonprofit organization supporting the LGBTQ+ community. This year, the box was designed by Jo's general manager who is part of the LGBTQ+ community.
- All Jo’s locations
Cans that Succ will host a succulent planting class at Vacancy Brewing on June 9. The class will teach how to recycle a can into a planter, and planting a succulent or cactus. Every ticket will provide a choice of succulent or cactus, a limited-edition, pride-themed can, rocks, soil and tools to plant. Vacancy Brewing will also provide a pint with each ticket. A new class will run every 30 minutes throughout the event.
- 6:30-9:30 p.m.
- Vacancy Brewing, 415 E. St. Elmo Road, 1-D2, Austin