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Civics 101

Thursday 22

UT FORUM: EXPANDING FAIR HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES This panel discussion covers housing discrimination and suggested tools for helping low-income minority families gain access to better neighborhoods and schools. RSVP by March 19. noon-1:30pm. UT School of Law, 727 E. Dean Keeton, 512/471-5151.

MY HEALTH, MY VOICE Help create a Health Improvement Plan for our county, get free health screenings, learn about other free health services, and more. 6-8pm. Del Valle ISD Opportunity Center, 5301-B Ross Rd., Del Valle.

SEYMOUR HERSH gives a progress report at Year Ten of the Global War on Terrorism. UT's Plan II Honors Program hosts. 7pm. AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center, 1900 University Avenue, 512/404-1900. Free. www.meetattexas.com.

IID THURSDAY SOCIAL The Institute of Interfaith Dialogue hosts this discussion on the basic tenets of Judaism and how it is observed. Email to RSVP. 7pm. Raindrop Turkish House, 12400 Amherst #108. austin@interfaithdialog.org.

Saturday 24

MIKE MARTINEZ kicks off a Quarterly Day of Service Program at Urban Roots. Come plant, harvest, and weed with other young interns. 9:30am. Center61, 2921 E. 17th, Bldg. D #4, 512/222-8761. www.center61.com.

SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS RALLY Just say no to crowded classrooms, teacher layoffs, higher college tuitions, reduced financial aid, overtesting, and underfunding. Join thousands of fed up parents, students, educators, and community leaders to send a strong message to all legislators and candidates before the Texas primaries. (Meet at 12th & Trinity at 11am to march to the Capitol.) noon. South steps of the Capitol, Congress & 11th. www.savetxschools.org.

HANCOCK GOLF COURSE COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT MEETING The Parks and Recreation Department wants your input regarding planned improvements to the park. 2-5pm. Hancock Recreation Center, 811 E. 41st, 512/453-7765. www.cityofaustin.org/parks/hancock.htm.

SARAH KNOPP is one of the editors of Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation, and she will speak about social justice and equality. 4:30pm. Calhoun 100.

Sunday 25

BERTHA MEANS speaks about her role in desegregating Austin and confronting prejudices along the way. 11:45am. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover, 512/452-6168.

Monday 26

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES BICYCLING FORUM League of Bicycling Voters hosts this forum on bicycling with the council and mayoral candidates running in the May 12 city election. 6-9pm. Welch Hall, Rm. 3.502, UT campus. Free. tom@lobv.org, www.lobv.org.

DIVVY UP THE DOLLARS Learn about potential bond projects, and then work with other residents to shape a proposed bond package. Put the city's money where your mouth is! 6:30pm. Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez, 512/447-5875. www.speakupaustin.org.

Tuesday 27

ASYLUM PANEL An El Paso immigration attorney leads a panel discussion on asylum cases from Mexico. 3-5pm. Student Activity Center, Rm. 1.118 (UT campus). alejandraspector@utexas.edu, www.facebook.com/mexenex.

JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN Don a hoodie and come out to this silent rally to express your solidarity with Martin's family. 5-7pm. Capitol gates sidewalk, 11th & Congress. www.tspb.state.tx.us.

IMAGINE AUSTIN PUBLIC HEARING Give input on the Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan draft that envisions Austin's next three decades. 6pm. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second, 512/974-2220. www.imagineaustin.net.

WATER CONSERVATION WORKSHOP Come talk about watering restrictions and drought response in this workshop about water conservation code revision. 6:30-9pm. Austin Water, 625 E.10th, Rm. 104. www.cityofaustin.org/water.

Wednesday 28

HUMAN RIGHTS IN MEXICO'S DRUG WAR This panel on government persecution includes founders of Mexicans in Exile and is moderated by an El Paso immigration attorney and a Texas Observer reporter. Email to RSVP. 7pm. Texas Hillel, 2105 San Antonio St.. nelson@texasobserver.org.

Thursday 29

ASIAN AMERICAN RESOURCE CENTER GROUNDBREAKING The city breaks ground on this $5.75 million cultural center expected to be completed in April 2013. Korean drums, dragon dance, and more. 10am. 8401 Cameron.

PROSECUTORIAL OVERSIGHT Michael Morton will speak, along with representatives from the Innocence Project, the 331st District Court, and the law school, among others. 1:30-3:30pm. Townes Hall, Rm. 2.114, UT School of Law. Free.

Ongoing

FREE TAX SERVICES Foundation Communities is providing free tax-preparation services to income-qualifying individuals and households this spring, and it's also offering low-fee refund-anticipation loans. See www.communitytaxcenters.org for hours and details on income qualifications, or just call 211. 2600 W. Stassney.

FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES is recruiting volunteers to help low-income residents with income tax preparation. Apply online. www.foundcom.org.

PHOTOS OF TEXAS VIETNAM WAR HEROES Texas saw one of the greatest number of losses in the Vietnam War – 3,417 Texans were lost in combat. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund seeks photos of those men and women for display on the National Mall. www.buildthecenter.org.

SIGN THE SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS PETITION Tell state leaders it's time to stop underfunding our schools and overtesting our kids. Add your name and help keep Texas smart! www.savetxschools.org.

WDP SEEKS INTERNS Apply now for a summer internship with the Workers Defense Project. There's a wide range of openings for enterprising youths; learn about all the opportunities online. Workers Defense Project, 5604 Manor Rd., 512/391-2305. www.workersdefense.org.

SUMMER EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES The city's Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting for 600 seasonal jobs. Aspiring lifeguards and swim instructors 15 and older should apply online. 972-9332. www.lifeguardaustin.com.

REGISTER TO VOTE by April 12 to vote in the city's May 12 election. Check eligibility online. 238-8683. www.traviscountytax.org/goVotersRegistration.do.

BOND DEVELOPMENT SURVEY The city extended its deadline for participation in the bond development process. Fill out the survey online before midnight on Sunday, April 8. www.austintexas.gov/online-form/bond-development-survey.

WORKER TRAINING PROGRAM Request more info now on Texas Southern University's 10-week program of construction and weatherization training for drug-free adults older than 18, and get help with job placement following completion. 713/313-7348. www.tsu.edu.

JUNE ADOPTION SPECIALS Come find a new furry friend for $20 through the month of June; fees are waived entirely for pets older than 5. Through June 30. Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop. www.austinanimalcenter.org.

APPLY FOR CITYWORKS ACADEMY Thirty participants will learn about city operations over the course of 12 Tuesday evenings, Sept. 11-Nov. 27. Applications available online, by calling, or at City Hall. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second, 974-2969. www.austintexas.gov/cityworks.

REFRIGERATOR RECYCLING Recycle your old, working fridge before Sept. 8 for a chance to win $500. Austin Energy provides free pickup and gives a $50 rebate for units of 14-27 cubic feet (limit two). Schedule online, then email a picture of the appliance and your contact info to be entered in the drawing. Winner announced in mid-September. 800/452-8685. www.austinenergy.com. donylle.seals@austinenergy.com.

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE Mayor Lee Leffingwell challenges Austinites to develop creative solutions to challenges in city life. National winner receives a $5 million grant; the rest of the top 5 receive $1 million. Submissions due Aug. 15. mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org.

AUSTIN NEW YEAR Wait, it's only August! That gives prospective participants (performing artists, musicians, etc.) plenty of time to email a one-page proposal with project details and a budget. Deadline Sept. 4. kevin.shaw@austintexas.gov, www.austintexas.gov.

VOLUNTEER DEPUTY VOTER REGISTRAR TRAINING Help register voters for the Nov. 6 election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. Simply attend a one-hour training session. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Weekdays through Oct. 8, 10:30am Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport, 854-9473. Free. tax_office@co.travis.tx.us, www.traviscountytax.org.

ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and to celebrate, the Travis County Sheriff's Office is inviting K-6 students to color an anti-bullying poster for a contest. www.tcsheriff.org/community/events/235-anti-bullying-poster-coloring-contest.

EARLY VOTING Early voting for the Nov. 6 election continues through Friday, Nov. 2. See our endorsements or follow all our election coverage at austinchronicle.com/elections. www.traviscountyelections.org.

BLANKET DRIVE Share the warmth and donate new or gently used blankets, towels, and pillows to five area nonprofits – including Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace – via city newcomers Sleep Experts. Through Thanksgiving Sleep Experts locations or the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. www.sleepexperts.com.

SAVE THE DATE TO SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS Join Diane Ravitch, former TEA Commissioner Robert Scott, and Houston's Kashmere High marching band to stand up for kids and schools on Feb. 23. Say no to brutal budget cuts, a broken testing system, and looming school vouchers. Say yes to a quality education for all kids! www.savetxschools.org.

INSIDE BOOKS PROJECT The all-volunteer nonprofit works to get books in the hands of inmates all year round, but it needs extra help during the holiday season. Make a financial donation online, or give your time be helping fill packages in 2013. www.insidebooksproject.org.

CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING Oh, tenenbaum. If you're not a curbside customer, don't forget you can recycle your Christmas tree at one of these locations around town before Jan. 12. Through Jan. 12. Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm; Saturday, 7am-noon Austin Community Landfill, 9900 Giles; Williamson County Landfill & Recycling Center, 600 Landfill Rd.

NO DRAMA DEMOCRACY This continuing ed course from ACC seeks to reform political relationships by encouraging tolerance and proving why liberal/conservative labeling is irrelevant. Limited slots available; register now. Austin Community College Continuing Education. $120. continue.austincc.edu.

TRAVIS COUNTY SHERIFF VOLUNTEERS Victim Services Unit is seeking volunteers who are over 21 and have a reliable car and cell phone to work four four-hour shifts per month for a year. The next training session begins March 18. See website for complete details. www.tcsheriff.org.

FREE TAX PREPARATION Go online for a list of locations, hours of operation, a list of forms to bring, and other helpful tips to prepare your tax returns with the help of a professional. Participants must make less than $50,000 a year. Through Mon., April 15 610-7374. Free. www.foundcom.org/get-financially-stable/get-your-taxes-done/.

SLOW MONEY AUSTIN SPRING PITCHFEST DEADLINE Slow Money Austin is looking for local food and sustainably minded business who are trying to raise money to grow. They have been soliciting short, two- to three-minute pitch videos from local entrepreneurs and the deadline is March 18. Go online for more info. www.slowmoneyaustin.org.

PARKS & REC LIFEGUARD RECRUITMENT The city is looking for a few good lifeguards, pool managers, and swim instructors. Call to find out more. 400 Deep Eddy Ave. www.austintexas.gov/parks.

BUDGET IN A BOX How should Austin spend its money? Let city leaders know. Participants will be asked to decide to increase, decrease, or maintain current funding levels for common city services. Accumulated feedback will be taken into consideration as the city develops its proposed 2014 budget this summer. 512/974-2324. www.austintexas.gov/biab.

PARD MAIN OFFICE CALL FOR NAMES 90-day period for public comment begins. www.austintexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation.

ZILKER PARK CLUBHOUSE CALL FOR NAMES 90-day period for public comment begins. Contact Victor Ovalle. 512/974-6745.

VOLUNTEER DEPUTY REGISTRAR TRAINING Would you like to register people to vote? Get trained and deputized! Email Mary Patrick to RSVP. Include "VDR Training" in the subject line. 10am. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover, 512/452-6168. Free. maptrick@gmail.com.