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Civics 101

Thursday 6

ILLEGAL DUMPING WORKSHOP Learn about environmental crimes in Central Texas; more than 425 illegal dumping reports have been made to the 877/NO-DUMPS hotline. Space is limited; register by Dec. 3. 9am-4:30pm. Hays County Facility, 2171 Yarrington Rd., San Marcos. $30, includes lunch and materials.

AISD FACILITY RECOMMENDATIONS The Austin Independent School District invites the community to learn about and share feedback on potential facility recommendations for the district's fine arts program. 6:30pm. Bowie High School, 4103 W. Slaughter, 414-4457.

Friday 7

BLACK AUSTIN DEMOCRATS ANNUAL HOLIDAY PARTY Kevin and Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole host Austin Democrats for a dinner honoring Jim Wick, Ada Harden, and David Escamilla for their work this year. 6-8pm. At the home of Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, 4101 Wildwood. Free. james.nortey@gmail.com.

Sunday 9

CHANGING THE DEATH PENALTY DISCOURSE Hear stories about how the death penalty and serious violence affects Texans and learn more about the storytelling project at the Texas After Violence Project. Lunch provided. RSVP by phone or email. 12:45-2pm. Friends Meeting House, 3701 E. MLK. sfredrickson@texasafterviolence.org.

Monday 10

CANDLELIGHT CAMPAIGN AGAINST CUTS Protest cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid by highlighting the faces and voices of citizens who rely on those programs daily. 4-6pm. Sen. John Cornyn's office, Chase Tower, 221 W. Sixth.

WHY BOTHER? ENGAGING OUR CHANGING CITY Hear about recent demographic trends in Austin from the 2010 Census, plus voter turnout data for Travis County. Then, join a discussion to explore how to expand community engagement as the city continues to grow and change. 7-9pm. Austin Community College Eastview Campus, Rm. 8500, 3401 Webberville Rd.. Free.

Tuesday 11

ELECTRIC VEHICLE EVENT - MOVIE, PANEL & MORE Watch a free screening of Revenge of the Electric Car, then listen to a panel discussion on the next generation of electric vehicles by industry reps and faculty experts! Reception will follow panel. 4:30-8pm. Jack S. Blanton Museum of Art, 200 E. MLK, 512/471-7324. Free. www.blantonmuseum.org.

CELEBRATE LIVING WAGE Thank the county commissioners and City Council members who have been championing the cause of working families in Texas. Complimentary refreshments and appetizers will be served. 5:30-6pm. 5604 Manor Rd. www.5604manor.org.

Thursday 13

'I AM: THE SHIFT HITS THE FAN' screens, and then Hollywood director Tom Shadyac (Bruce Almighty, Liar Liar, Patch Adams) speaks about ways to improve the way we live in the world. 7pm. 5604 Manor Rd. $5 minimum donation. brigid@workersdefense.org, www.5604manor.org.

Ongoing

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!

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.

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. www.austin.cc.tx.us.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.