› The next regular City Council meeting is Jan. 17, meaning it's time to enjoy the Trail of Lights and Austin New Year before returning to vexed questions like strained budgets, affordable housing, and even (could it be?) the Year of Mass Transit. Last week's farewell featured a parting gift to the Circuit of the Americas (see "Council: Good for Austin Is Bad for Texas").
› Twenty-year-old Adam Lanza went on a shooting rampage Dec. 14, murdering his mother at home before heading to Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Conn., where he slaughtered 25 people, including 20 children, before turning his gun on himself. The events prompted a renewed call by Democratic lawmakers to put gun regulation back on the table – including renewing an assault weapon ban.
› Thai Noodle House made national headlines this week after owner Eddie Nimibutr posted comments to his Facebook account that began: "I'm failing to give a damn about the CT shooting. I don't care if a bunch of white kids got killed." The restaurant has only commented to say Nimibutr wasn't the owner and is no longer at the establishment. He apologized Tuesday "for the things I have said and the pain I created."
› Fireworks go on sale today, Thursday, Dec. 20, in Travis County. The county Fire Marshal's Office reminds residents that even if they're legal, fireworks can still be extremely dangerous in dry and windy conditions, and it is discouraging their use. Stay sober, far away from dry brush, and on a flat surface.
› The death toll on Austin's streets continues to climb: On Dec. 15, a 19-year-old woman accelerated through an intersection at the 9400 block of the northbound service road for I-35, causing her car to slide into a building on the east side of the road, reports APD. Both the driver and passenger were killed. These are the city's 75th and 76th traffic deaths of 2012; at this time last year the city had tallied 51.
› Just nine new death sentences were handed out in Texas in 2012, a 76% decline since 2002, according to an annual report from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. Still, Texas leads the nation in the number of executions, with 15 this year. In total, 43 people were executed in the U.S. in 2012. For more, see "Texas Still Leads Nation in Executions," Newsdesk blog, Dec. 18.
› Texas' voter ID bill may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. On Dec. 17, the same three-judge panel in D.C. that ruled the law unconstitutional cleared the route for an appeal to the highest court. However, SCOTUS is still reviewing Alabama's voter ID law, which may delay any Texas appeal.
› In breaking "too little, too late" news, Texas electors met on Dec. 17 to cast all of the state's 38 electoral college votes for Mitt Romney. In spite of this, after winning both the electoral college and the popular vote, President Obama will be inaugurated on Jan. 27, 2013.