Fri., Jan. 17, 2014
› No City Council meeting Jan. 16, but work resumes in earnest next week, with a Tuesday work session and Thursday (Jan. 23) regular meeting, to take up senior/disabled homestead property tax exemptions, parking rules in transit priority lanes, and the usual brace of zoning cases. See "More Agenda, More Council."
› AISD trustees got an encourgaging quarterly update from their partners at Johns Hopkins' Talent Development Secondary about implementation of the plan to save Eastside Memorial High, with all indicators classified as either acceptable or high quality. The Texas Education Agency has effectively given AISD three years to get the school on an even keel.
› Mark Alan Norwood, sentenced to life for the murder of Christine Morton, pleaded not guilty last week in Travis Co. district court to the 1988 murder of Debra Baker. Police in Williamson County, where Morton was murdered, withheld evidence from the state that could have spared Michael Morton a lengthy prison sentence and could have led to Norwood as the killer two years before Baker was bludgeoned to death.
› More than a dozen Austin Police officers reassigned last summer from their posts within the Organized Crime Division have filed complaints with the Texas Workforce Commission, as a prelude to legal action, claiming age and racial discrimination motivated the transfers. APD has said it had neutral reasons for the OCD shakeup, which we first reported on last year. See "APD Uproar Over OCD," Sept. 13, 2013.
› The Wendy Davis gubernatorial campaign is trumpeting having raised $12.2 million since October -- more than half of what Bill White managed during his entire 2010 campaign – reportedly more than 80% coming from contributions of less than $50. Her GOP opponent, Attorney Gen. Greg Abbott, reported having raised $11.5 million during the same period, and also has $27 million in cash on hand.
› Mixed results for the Affordable Care Act in Texas: According to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, at year's end, 118,000 Texans had chosen plans and another 457,000 had applied for coverage through the health exchanges – a fraction of the state's 6 million uninsured residents.
› Donavan Raynold Hunt, aka Tanka 2, a rapper with the group Da Young Outlawz, was picked up by federal marshals in Louisiana this week in connection with a shooting outside Quantum Lounge last November. Police say Hunt shot two people after he and his friends got into an argument with another group.
› A state judge last week awarded Texas control over the compound owned by Warren Jeffs' polygamous Mormon breakaway sect the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Reportedly, the judgment went to the state after no one representing the FLDS group appeared in court. (For more on this, see "Meet the New Neighbors," July 29, 2005.)