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Civics 101

Thursday 31

REP. JIM PITTS AND SEN. TOMMY WILLIAMS Sip some coffee and listen to these representatives of the House Appropriations Committee the Senate Finance Committee. Hosted by the Texas Tribune. 7:30am. The Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth, 716-8961. Free. www.texastribune.org/events/2013/jan/31/a-conversation-with-rep-jim-pitts-and-sen-tommy-williams/.

COOPERATION TEXAS VOLUNTEER ORIENTATION Learn about the local nonprofit that's dedicated to the development, support, and promotion of worker-owned cooperatives. Email to RSVP or get more info. 6pm. 5604 Manor Rd. info@cooperationtexas.coop, www.5604manor.org.

Monday 4

TEXAS INMATE FAMILIES ASSOCIATION MEETING Get your questions about the Texas Department of Criminal Justice answered on the first Monday of each month. 6:30pm. Sunrise Community Church, 4430 Manchaca. Free. www.tifa.org.

LOBBYING TRAINING Sharpen your advocacy skills with Daniel Williams of Equality Texas. 6:30-9:30pm. ACC Highland Business Center, 5930 Middle Fiskville, 512/223-7000. Free. www.facebook.com/ACC.CSPS.

Wednesday 6

A CONVERSATION WITH HOUSE SPEAKER JOE STRAUS , who was recently reelected to his third term at that post. Texas Tribune hosts, and coffee will be provided. 7:30am. The Austin Club, 110 E. Ninth, 716-8641. Free (with RSVP). www.texastribune.org/events/2013/feb/06/a-conversation-with-house-speaker-joe-straus.

JOSEPH POTTER ON WOMEN'S HEALTH Sociology professor Joseph Potter discusses the impact of reduced state funding on women’s health services in Texas. Also: pizza, to complete the college-flashback experience while you're on campus. noon. Perry-Castaneda Library, 101 E. 21st, 495-4644. free. traviswillmann@austin.utexas.edu, www.lib.utexas.edu/about/news/research-pizza-features-joseph-potter-women%E2%80%99s-health-26.

Thursday 7

TEXAS SUSTAINABLE FARMING CONFERENCE The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association hosts this conference to bring practical information to consumers and producers alike, on everything from product labeling to urban homesteading. Keynote speaker is Jim Hightower. Hilton Austin Airport, 9515 New Airport Dr., 512/385-6767. $90-$165. www.tofga.org.

FINE ARTS FACILITY MEETING Austin ISD wants the community to learn about proposed fine arts facility improvements under consideration for a potential 2013 bond package. 6:30pm. Reagan High School, 7104 Berkman, 512/414-2523. www.austinisd.org.

INEQUALITY AND INSTABILITY: WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE WORLD ECONOMY? Economist James K. Galbraith talks about his forthcoming book, in which he argues increased inequality is a product of market deregulation and windfall profits in finance. 7pm. 5604 Manor Rd. $10 suggested donation. rjensen@austin.utexas.edu, www.5604manor.org.

FAITH IN ACTION NIGHT The Workers Defense Project and a seminary student group discuss how the faith community can be more involved in supporting workers and immigrants. 7-9pm. Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, 100 E. 27th, 512/472-6736. www.thirdcoastactivist.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! www.savetxschools.org.

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.

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

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

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.