• Hark! In a special meeting Tuesday, the UT board of regents partially reversed course on a plan to develop the university-owned Brackenridge Tract for commercial use, deciding against relocating the UT biological field lab, meaning the 350-acre researchers' paradise on Lake Austin will stay put.
• Travis County commissioners on Tuesday postponed indefinitely a decision on a proposed TXI quarry east of Austin, a project opposed by nearby residents.
• At its final meeting of the year Dec. 17, City Council tackled a laundry list of pressing items, from historic zoning cases to a lakeshore housing project to an extension on a recycling contract. See "Point Austin" and "City Hall Hustle."
• Capital Metro and Veolia Transportation have entered an ugly war of press releases after the local transit authority canceled the firm's contract to run the new MetroRail Red Line. Veolia claimed the termination was illegal; Cap Metro replied by touting the safety record of new contractor Herzog Transit Services.
• Deli owner Marc Katz is no longer the only Democrat running for lieutenant governor: On Dec. 18, former Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle filed for the race, and former Texas AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Linda Chavez-Thompson is rumored to be considering a challenge as well.
• While many East Coast airports were closed due to snowstorms, passengers on a Dec. 18 flight from Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to Chicago were delayed after the discovery of a note interpreted as a potential bomb threat forced the evacuation of an American Airlines plane. A sweep of the plane came up clean.
• Shaking up the congressional races, Democrat Jack McDonald announced Dec. 22 that he will not challenge Republican incumbent Congressman Michael McCaul in District 10, which runs from Travis County to Houston. Democrats must now scramble to find a credible replacement before the Jan. 4, 2010, primary filing deadline.
• The U.S. Senate passed its version of the health care reform bill, leaving Gov. Rick Perry and the Tea Partiers railing against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison for being one of the three Republicans to vote with the Democrats to block a Republican filibuster on defense spending. The bill is expected to receive its final vote before Christmas.
Quote of the Week
"The most vicious thing that can happen in this debate is to end up saying, 'So it's poor people's fault that we can't fix the climate.'"– Bee Moorhead, of faith-based advocacy group Texas Impact. See "The Rich, the Poor, and the AE Generation Plan."