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Fri., June 8, 2012

Betsy Dillner of the Seattle-based Alliance for a Just Society and the New Bottom Line 
leads a training session as part of Occupy Austin’s Bank Action Boot Camp on June 2.
Betsy Dillner of the Seattle-based Alliance for a Just Society and the New Bottom Line leads a training session as part of Occupy Austin’s Bank Action Boot Camp on June 2.
Photo by John Anderson

› Although City Council is scheduled to vote today (Thursday) on the much-delayed and debated Austin Energy rate plan, there was enough counterpoint in the wind (including at the Tuesday work session) to suggest it ain't over 'til it's over. See "Council: From Energy Management to Domain Rezoning."

› Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced that he would not support a November bond vote on urban rail, likely postponing any financing vote for at least another year; the mayor said rail planning would continue, with funding to be included in the general fall bond package.

› On Monday, the Public Safety Commission passed a resolution recommending funding for independent review of selected cold cases, beginning with the notorious 1991 yogurt shop murders. See "Commission Recommends Funding for External Case Review."

› The Austin Police Department has obtained a search warrant for the MySpace page that belonged to James Loren Brown, the 25-year-old whom police believe responsible for the New Year's Day murder of Esme Barrera in her campus-area bungalow. Brown, who committed suicide not long after Barrera's murder, is also a suspect in at least five other attacks. For more see, "Excited About Life," Jan. 13.

› APD last month amended its use of force policy to include a so-called "preservation of life" standard, a change activists have long called for, although the department said the standard has always been its policy and would not likely change particular procedures. The new policy goes into effect July 1.

› Preparations continue for the inaugural U.S. Grand Prix Formula One race, scheduled for Nov. 18. Despite ongoing concerns about the state of surrounding roads and the event's impact on the area, this week county commissioners approved a mass gathering permit for the race, and the track announced its policing and EMS strategies for race weekend.

Wooldridge Square is closed through March 2013. Austin's oldest dedicated park (Guadalupe between Ninth and 10th streets) will undergo some overdue landscape and irrigation work.

› Get ready for another state budget blood bath. House Speaker Joe Straus and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have warned state agencies that they may see a further 10% cut in their budgets for the 2014-15 budget cycle.

› With 53% of the vote, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defeated his challenger, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, in Tuesday's recall election. Walker's tenure has been contentious for his decision to cut collective bargaining rights throughout the state.

› Legendary chimpanzee Oliver, known as the "Humanzee" in part because he walked upright, died last weekend at the Primarily Primates sanctuary in San Antonio. Reportedly, he was at least 55 years old. For more on Oliver, see "Famous Long Ago," Dec. 15, 2006.

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