Austin American-Statesman owner Cox Newspapers will close its Washington, D.C., bureau April 1, 2009, as part of a series of cost-cutting measures that includes unloading the Statesman. There's still no word on whether the daily has a potential buyer.

Shop Local: The city has launched a new website and interactive map, ExploreLocalAustin.org, highlighting small, locally owned businesses. The pilot phase covers six test districts, including South First and North Loop; see "Revving Up for Slow Times."

• The Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services, which provides care for people with mental retardation, has been condemned in a U.S. Department of Justice report, finding that 53 of the 114 deaths among state school residents last year were from preventable conditions. The DOJ released a similarly critical report in 2006.

• On Dec. 1, Gov. Rick Perry's office slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency for only covering six months of Hurricane Ike reconstruction costs, not the 18 months he requested. The next day, he co-authored a Wall Street Journal op-ed with South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford opposing all federal bailouts.

• What Hurricane Ike cleanup? The Associated Press reports that three months after the storm hit, only 100 yards of the 30 miles of debris in Chambers County have been removed.


Quote of the Week

"The likely duration of the financial turmoil is difficult to judge, and thus the uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook is unusually large."

– Federal Reserve Chair­man Ben Bernanke, ­speaking in Austin about national ­economic prospects

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