AUSTIN (KXAN) - Martin Martinez had to look no further than Austin to decide where he wanted to claim his piece of the American dream.
"Austin has, year after year, proven itself to be a paradigm of that dream," said Martinez, of Jellifi , a new startup company in which promote events around the city. "It's inspiring how many people I meet everyday who have the courage to move here and start their own business."
Martinez's views on the local business climate are not unique.
According to Forbes magazine, Austin has seen a 3.3 percent annual job growth rate and currently is ranked No. 3 for adding jobs. The city is ranked ninth on Forbes' list of best places for businesses and careers.
Austin is home to several Fortune 500 companies -- including Google, Dell, Whole Foods and Apple.
According to Forbes, Austin added 32,000 new resident in 2011, bring its population to about 820,000. Add in nearby areas like Round Rock and San Marcos, and the regional population tops 1.2 million.
And more people means more opportunity for business expansion. Austin already is home to about 38,000 private businesses, the city's chamber of commerce said. And more are expected.
"I think Austin is a great place to start a business because of the incredibly diverse and open-minded population." said Blake Moffitt, of Mercury Pizza, which opened up last month in South Austin."Businessmen and hipsters can share a table and enjoy everything Austin has to offer and no one raises an eyebrow."
And that is helping Martinez make his American dream come true.
"As of today, business is growing quite well," he said. "We're hiring more employees, and thanks to the unique well of talent that Austin has, been delighted to talk to a variety of brilliant people, most of which just moved into town."
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.