WAMU 88.5 Contributors

Martin Austermuhle

Web Producer

Austermuhle joined WAMU as a web producer and reporter in April 2013. Prior to that, he served as editor-in-chief for DCist.com. Born in Switzerland, Martin lived throughout Latin America before coming to the U.S. to attend Penn State University and later Georgetown University, where he received a Master’s degree in Latin American Studies. He lives in Columbia Heights with his wife Carolina, a school teacher, and 105-pound yellow lab, Santi.


Articles Written by Martin Austermuhle

WAMU 88.5
More sidewalk space in Cleveland Park could mean fewer parking spaces. Residents and businesses in Cleveland Park are divided over the fate of a service lane that separates a block of restaurants and stores from Connecticut Avenue –some argue that it provides much-needed parking spots and others say it shortchanges pedestrians by forcing them onto a narrow sidewalk. ...
WAMU 88.5
D.C. officials may want to see taller buildings sprout up throughout the city, but some residents aren't so convinced. At a D.C. Council hearing today residents and historic preservation organizations expressed their outright opposition to any changes to the 100-year-old law limiting the heights of buildings in the city. To them, D.C.'s low-slung buildings have helped create t...
WAMU 88.5
It's been 50 years since D.C.'s extensive streetcar network was dismantled, and there's a delay standing in the way of its planned revival on H Street NE. Officials with the D.C. Department of Transportation confirmed today that the rollout of the two-mile line has been delayed until early 2014. While city leaders had long promised that the streetcars would roll again before...
WAMU 88.5
Soon it won't only be the Washington Monument that's covered in scaffolding. Starting in November, a two-year, $60 million restoration project will conceal the U.S. Capitol behind scaffolding, allowing workers to repair up to 1,000 cracks and other deficiencies in the iconic cast iron dome. According to the Arc...
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The District's health insurance exchange website has drawn thousands of visitors since launching on Oct. 1, though few residents have purchased insurance plans so far. As of Monday, 12,294 people created accounts on D.C. Health Link, the website created as part of President Obama's Affordable Care Act, according to the ...
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Virginia's gubernatorial race has been marked by negative attacks between Democratic contender Terry McAuliffe and Republican hopeful Ken Cuccinelli, so much so that the Richmond Times-Dispatch, one of the commonwealth's largest newspapers, opted to endorse no one ahead of the Nov. 5 election. In an ...
WAMU 88.5
Throughout the government shutdown, D.C. officials loudly complained that their budget was unfairly being held hostage by debates they had no say in. But as part of the agreement that ended the shutdown on Wednesday night, D.C. is being given the authority to spend money from its 2014 budget, regardless of whether the federal government is open or not. The agreement passed b...
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The D.C. government announced today that it will collect trash at national parks within city limits that have been closed by the federal government shutdown. Close to 90 percent of D.C.'s parkland is owned and operated by the federal government, which means that technically access to the public has been limited and services are not being provided during the shutdown. ...
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Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe holds a five-point lead over Republican Ken Cuccinelli in the race for Virginia's top elected office, according to two new polls. The polls, one by the Hampton University Center for Public Policy and the other by the ...
WAMU 88.5
With many of Washington, D.C.’s most iconic sites shuttered by the partial federal government shutdown, tourism officials say that visitors are canceling trips and an extended impasse could have a negative impact on the city’s economy. “It's affecting everyone and the decisions they make,” says Theresa Belpulsi, vice-president of tourism at Destination D.C., the city...
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The party will go on along U Street. The D.C. Alcoholic Beverage Control Board today unanimously rejected a proposed moratorium on liquor licenses for the U Street corridor, saying that imposing one could blunt the neighborhood’s dramatic revival. In a written order, the five-person commission said that a moratorium on new bars, restaurants, taverns, nightclubs, ...
WAMU 88.5
If you're a smoker in D.C., you'll soon have fewer places to feed your habit. On Tuesday the D.C. Council passed a bill forbidding smoking within 25 feet of city playgrounds, parks, recreation centers and bus stops. There are some 300 parks, playgrounds and recreation centers within city limits, as well as hundreds of bus stops. The bill won't apply to federal park...
WAMU 88.5
The shutdown of the federal government is being felt across the country, but it is having an outsized influence within the boundaries of the District itself. At the same time that the National Park Service started placing barricades around the Lincoln Memorial this morning, it locked the gates around a playground in Lincoln Park, a popular neighborhood gathering site in Capi...
WAMU 88.5
If running up the steps of the Lincoln Memorial or stopping to admire the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. along the Tidal Basin is part of your morning routine, you'll have to change your habits during the shutdown of the federal government. With Congress having failed to agree to a spending plan for federal agencies, the National Park Service isn't only shuttering parks a...
WAMU 88.5
Happy New Fiscal Year! It's Oct. 1, and that means that new laws, budgets and policies are going into effect in various local jurisdictions, including Maryland and D.C. Here are some of them. Gun Control: Maryland new strict gun control measure takes effect today, banning 45 types of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines and mandating that gun buyers g...
WAMU 88.5
If the federal government shuts down tomorrow, you won't be able to get into the Smithsonian museums or the National Zoo. But according to zoo officials, that shutdown won't be limited to the physical campus in Northwest D.C.—it will also affect the many web cameras that stream live images of everything from naked mole-rats and pandas to viewers across the country. In a se...
WAMU 88.5
It might sound unlikely or unbelievable, but it's true: D.C. is decreasing a tax. Starting tomorrow, the sales tax in D.C. will drop a quarter-point to 5.75 percent. The move comes in the wake of back-to-back budget surpluses and reverses an increase of the same amount passed by the D.C. Council in 2009, when the city faced a budget gap. With the 5.75 percent tax g...
WAMU 88.5
The federal government could be closing its doors, but Metro is keeping doors on trains and buses open to commuters, whether or not they have a job to go to. The regional transit agency announced this morning that it will continue its usual weekday service during the shutdown, which w...
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While the federal government could shut down at midnight tonight, D.C. government employees, offices and services won't follow suit. "The District government will be open tomorrow," says Pedro Ribeiro, Mayor Vince Gray's spokesman. City officials now say that D.C. will be spared a shutdown by paying its 32,000 employees out of a $144 million contingency reserve fun...
WAMU 88.5
With a potential federal government shutdown only days away, D.C. officials are preparing to defy Congress and keep the D.C. government's 32,000 employees on the job. D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said Thursday that he plans on introducing legislation next Tuesday that would declare that legislative and executive branch employees are "essential" and should remain on t...