• Council returns today (Thursday, Jan. 14) for its first regularly scheduled meeting of the year. Procedural business includes the approval of a slew of new contracts and appointment of new municipal court judges; additionally, the future of UT's controversial Brackenridge Tract and Austin Energy's 2020 generation plan are up for discussion – albeit in executive session.

• Mayor Lee Leffingwell called on residents to kick in some cash for earthquake relief efforts in the tiny island nation of Haiti, where the capital city Port-au-Prince was practically leveled by a quake Tuesday. "In August 2005, we witnessed an unprecedented outpouring of support in Austin for those impacted by Hurricane Katrina," Leffingwell said. "Today, I'm calling on all Austinites to rally in support of the people and families devastated by yesterday's earthquake." He urged Austinites to donate at www.redcross.org or 1-800-RED-CROSS – or make a $10 donation by texting "Haiti" to 90999.

• Lights, camera, council! Channel 6, the city's dedicated TV station, moved into the news business Jan. 8 with the launch of CityView, a 10-minute briefing program. City Manager Marc Ott called it "an easy, entertaining way" to keep up with council business, and discussions are under way to extend the show and produce other original content.

• Two Austin Police Department officers could be facing substance-abuse-related charges after separate arrests in Williamson County on Jan 12. Officer Leonardo Quintana, who fatally shot Nathaniel Sanders II in 2009, was arrested for drunken driving in Leander, while Sgt. Craig Martin was arrested in Cedar Park for huffing glue. (See "Naked City" for details.)

• The Big Chill: Single-digit temperatures hit parts of Central Texas over the weekend. While Austin was spared the worst of the weather, there were some road closures as Austin Water Utility workers scrambled to fix broken pipes.

• Monday, Jan. 18, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so the schools, as well as most government offices, will be closed. In the words of Stevie Wonder, "Happy birthday, ooh yeah."

• Gov. Rick Perry is blocking the Texas Educa­tion Agency's application for $700 million in federal Race for the Top education funds. The teachers' union Texas American Federation of Teachers has backed his position because the money comes with too many strings attached, while the Texas Democratic Party savaged Perry for sacrificing desperately needed cash in favor of a dogmatic anti-Washington campaign stance.

• Ultra-conservative Debra Medina gets her debut on the big stage as she joins Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison tonight (Jan. 14) for the first debate of the Republican gubernatorial primary, to be broadcast live in Austin by PBS affiliate KLRU.

• He may have lost a national championship, but he won his girlfriend's hand in marriage. UT Longhorn quarterback Colt McCoy proposed this week to Rachel Glandorf in the Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, popping the question on the giant scoreboard.

• Conservative Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Bill Dear drew sharp criticism after issuing a statement complaining about the "questionable intentions" of "foreigners" running local businesses and questioning why a Muslim was running for governor. The perceived subject of his comment, Dem rival Farouk Shami, blasted back at Dear and the media for concentrating on a nonissue.

Photo by John Anderson

Quote of the Week

"I came in here this morning thinking we were going to be ready to make a decision. Now this e-mail does muddle things for us."

– Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe, after learning that the Army Corps of Engineers may subject the TXI aggregate mining project at Hunters Bend to a full permitting review

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