Fri., Dec. 13, 2013
› Should be quite a bit of fur flying at City Council today (Dec. 12), although if the Auditorium Shores improvement plan (complete with restricted off-leash area) is likely postponed. See "Council: Dem Ol' Railroad Blues."
› On Friday, the Central Corridor Advisory Group (under City Council, Capital Metro, and CAMPO) recommended the East Riverside and Highland "sub-corridors" as initial routes for the urban rail system likely to be considered by Austin voters next November. Not without controversy: See "Urban Rail: Which Way to Connect?"
› After passionate closing arguements from both sides, Judge David Peeples ruled Wednesday that D.A. Rosemary Lehmberg will not be removed from office, denying County Atty. David Escamilla's petition. See "Lehmberg NOT Removed."
› Austin Energy is being criticized by environmentalists for cuts to its solar rebate program. On Dec. 4, the up-front rebate dropped from $1.50 per watt of installed generation to $1.25 for private owners, and compensation dropped from 12 cents per kilowatt-hour produced to 10 cents for new commercial solar projects.
› Following last week's release of his former wife Fran Keller, Dan Keller was freed from prison on Thursday, Dec. 5. The Kellers were imprisoned for 21 years for the alleged sexual assault of a 3-year-old girl – a crime few believe ever happened. See Newsdesk online, Dec. 6.
› Judge Larry Meyers, currently the longest serving GOP member of the all-GOP Court of Criminal Appeals, Texas' highest criminal appellate court, announced this week that he will jump ship – times two: He will leave the CCA to run for a seat on the Texas Supreme Court, and will switch to the Democratic Party for his run.
› That was just one of a flurry of last-minute election filings; see "Candidate Filings" for more details.
› Former Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas chief commercialization officer Jerald "Jerry" Cobbs was indicted by a Travis County Grand Jury on a felony charge of securing execution of a document by deception. The $3 billion cancer fund – one of Gov. Rick Perry's pet projects – has been accused of awarding grants without sufficient business or scientific review.
› "I was able to feel my toes again by noon Monday." That was state Sen. Kirk Watson, commenting on the Waco cold while congratulating the long-suffering Baylor Bears football team on their Dec. 7 victory over the UT Longhorns and capture of the Big 12 Championship. Meanwhile, UT Coach Mack Brown is fighting off widespread rumors that he will step down after the season.
› The Austin Aquarium received its temporary occupancy permit on Monday, just in time for its planned opening to annual pass holders today, Dec. 12. The aquarium, which has drawn criticism for its owners' seeming penchant for skirting animal welfare laws and city building rules, is slated to open to the public on Dec. 22. See "Aquarium Partner Gets a Year in Fed Tank."