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Civics 101

Thursday 22

THANKSGIVING City offices and AISD are closed today, and Capital Metro is running a Sunday schedule.

Saturday 24

SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY A festivus for the rest of us who don't want to wake up at some ungodly hour on Black Friday to trample our neighbors for a flatscreen. Stop by your local bookstores, record shops, etc. for deals today and all year. No place like Austin to shop local.

Sunday 25

PUNISHMENT AND PROFITS: IMMIGRATION DETENTION Every day, the U.S. detains more than 33,000 noncitizens, which costs $5.5 million a day. Screen the documentary, then discuss. 7pm. MonkeyWrench Books, 110 E. North Loop, 512/407-6925. www.monkeywrenchbooks.org.

Monday 26

KOCHWORLD The Texas Observer's Melissa del Bosque and Jen Reel talk about their cover story about refinery pollution in Corpus Christi and the backlash they've seen from Koch Industries. 7pm. MonkeyWrench Books, 110 E. North Loop, 512/407-6925. www.monkeywrenchbooks.org.

Wednesday 28

COMPOSTING CLASS This class (along with downsizing your trash cart) is part of the city's offer to get you a rebate ($75 value) on a home composting system. 6:30-7:30pm. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second, 512/974-2220. Free. www.austintexas.gov.

Ongoing

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.

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

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

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.

CALL FOR PLATELET DONORS The supply of platelets has fallen to an unsafe level. Anyone who is able is urged to make a platelet donation appointment as soon as possible. Platelet donation may be done every 7 days or 24 times per year. The entire process from the time a donor walks through the doors until they leave is approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Call to make an appointment. Open seven days a week. Blood Center of Central Texas, 4300 N. Lamar, 512/206-1266. www.inyourhands.org.

CHRONICLE WISH LIST Did you get more presents than you know what to do with? Make room by checking out our nonprofit wish list, and donating to worthy local groups. www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Guides/WishList.