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Fri., Nov. 23, 2012

Occupy Austin members make a surprise visit Nov. 19 to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state's oil and gas, in support of a human blockade effort against construction of the tar sands oil pipeline, which would run from Canada through East Texas to the Gulf Coast.
Occupy Austin members make a surprise visit Nov. 19 to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state's oil and gas, in support of a human blockade effort against construction of the tar sands oil pipeline, which would run from Canada through East Texas to the Gulf Coast.
Photo by John Anderson

City Council is away this week and next for the Thanksgiving holiday, but council members reconvene Dec. 4 for a work session preceding their Dec. 6 meeting.

› City offices and the AISD schools are closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving, which means trash collection slides one day for those affected addresses. Both days, Capital Metro will run a reduced schedule (Sunday hours on Thursday, Saturday hours on Friday), and AISD is also out Wednesday.

Formula One has come and gone. Some 117,000 people attended the inaugural race at the Circuit of the Americas Nov. 18, where Lewis Hamilton of the United King­dom finished first with a time of 1:35:55.269. Fan Fest kept the Ware­house District bustling all weekend, but traffic was manageable, waits were tame, and business was slow as locals stayed home.

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport officials are urging travelers to arrive at the airport at least two hours prior to their scheduled departure times in anticipation of long waits caused by lingering Formula One visitors and Austinites leaving for holiday travel.

› The Austin ISD board shakeup continued Mon­day as two freshmen trustees became board officers. Former Vice President Vince Torres was unanimously voted president, while new at-large member Gina Hinojosa became VP. The big upset, however, came when new trustee Jayme Mathias ousted Lori Moya on a 5-4 vote to succeed her as secretary.

› The University of Texas Police Department is looking for public assistance in identifying individuals suspected of vandalizing the UT campus with Texas A&M-related graffiti. Photos were released this week from security footage from the night of Oct. 27, when several campus statues were tagged with such phrases as "GO AGGIES" and "MISS US YET?," according to The Daily Texan.

› The Travis County D.A.'s Office will seek the death penalty for Brandon Montgomery Daniel, who fatally shot Austin Police Officer Jaime Padron inside a North Austin Walmart in April. For more on the shooting, see "APD Officer Remembered Warmly at Funeral," April 20.

› In an attempt to return objectivity to the annual funding process, a group of family planning providers from across the state is planning to apply directly to the federal government for Title X grant funding in hopes of taking the Depart­ment of State Health Services out of the funding loop. See the Newsdesk blog for more.

Austin Water Utility officials appeared Monday before the City Council's Audit and Finance Com­mit­tee to explain why they need $15.5 million in additional funding to complete the problem-plagued Water Treatment Plant No. 4. The funding question goes to the full council on Dec. 6.

› The Travis County Fire Marshal's Office has completed its investigation into last year's fire at Steiner Ranch, concluding that the "plausible" source of ignition for the fire was power lines that touched, creating an arc and igniting dry grass.

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