The Austin Chronicle


November 27, 2009, News

• The Pecan Street Project is receiving $10.4 million in federal stimulus funding for its efforts to build a smart energy grid prototype at the Mueller development. "This effort will build on Austin Energy's existing Smart Grid programs by creating a microgrid that will initially link 1,000 residential smart meters, 75 commercial meters, and plug-in electric vehicle charging sites," a Department of Energy release states.

• Let us give thanks: Barton Springs Pool will reopen at 5am Thursday, just in time for your turkey day plunge. Recent heavy rains had flooded the pool, forcing its temporary closure.

• With the city settling into a food coma, local government buildings, including libraries, gardens, and rec centers, are all closed Thursday and Friday, and trash collection slides forward one day.

• Amid the water conservation vacillation that dominated last week's City Council meeting (see "City Hall Hustle"), council approved changes to the Austin Police Department's Internal Affairs division in the wake of its mishandling of the investigation into Officer Leonardo Quin­ta­na's fatal shooting of Nathaniel Sanders II. The change replaces 10 IA detectives with nine sergeants and one lieutenant.

• What the rain giveth: The Austin Water Utility has lifted Stage 2 watering restrictions, going back to the less stringent Stage 1 rules allowing for two waterings a week (bear in mind that you don't have to water that often). Check for your designated days. Also on tap: The free toilet program has been suspended until the next budget year – its popularity drained its funding – and the utility has secured $31.8 million in federal stimulus dollars for green improvements at the Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant.

• Texas is getting a dedicated environmental crimes prosecutor. Travis County Assistant District Attorney Patty Robertson, a veteran of the Public Integ­ri­ty Unit, fills the position paid for by a state grant.

• Thanks for nothing: Attorney General Greg Abbott says retired state employees cannot receive the one-off $500 check the Legislature approved last session, claiming his hands are tied due to the strict terms lawmakers placed on the payment.

• The Republican gubernatorial primary season kicked off Nov. 19 as both incumbent Gov. Rick Perry and challenger Sen. Kay Bailey Hutch­ison launched their first TV ads. A few days later, Democratic hopeful Tom Schieffer withdrew from the race (see "Some Guy Named Schieffer Drops Out of Guv's Race").

Quote of the Week

"I am urging all of those who are not named Bill White not to run for governor."

– Tom Schieffer, giving a nod to the Houston mayor after announcing his decision to drop out of the gubernatorial race

Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.