• When City Council meets today (Thursday, Aug. 26), Domain-related controversies are expected to dominate the zoning agenda. See "City Hall Hustle."

• A storm was brewing this week as opponents of Austin Water's proposed 6.1% rate hike prepared a full assault for today's public hearing at City Hall. Critics say the increase – which would be the eighth in as many years – is unjustified, especially in tough economic times. Be there by 4pm if you want to dive in.

• Back to school: Austin Independent School District started the new school year on Aug. 23 with 86,000 enrolled students on its books and a $973 million budget. However, the AISD trustees' refusal to discuss funding a teacher pay raise has left bitter divisions within the district; see "Bowing to Business Wheels, AISD Cans Tax Hike."

• Turn out the lights: The Dobie Theatre on Guadalupe shuttered its doors Sunday, Aug. 22, screening Cairo Time before the last curtain. Since the Seventies, the four-screen cinema had been the go-to movie theatre for the University of Texas crowd but in recent years suffered from declining attendance.

• Turn your radio on: KUT Radio legend Larry Monroe is signing off the air for good, but not before delivering his farewell Phil's Music Program tonight (Thursday), followed by his final Blue Monday program Aug. 30. Monroe's retirement marks another in a series of local institutions entering the "lost Austin" files.

Capital Metro this week announced proposed service changes for 2011 (available online at www.capmetro.org), kicking off a series of public meetings starting tonight (Thursday), 6:30pm, at the Leander Public Library, 1011 S. Bagdad Rd. See "Cap Metro to Suburbanites: Get Off the Bus."

• Leander Mayor John Cowman announced Monday his plans to resign from Cap Metro's board, citing the need to dedicate more time to municipal matters; he leaves amid a stink over revelations that he received reimbursements from Cap Metro for costs incurred while driving Leander city vehicles.

• Last week, council voted to make the Castle Hill neighborhood a local historic district. This week, the Historic Landmark Commission voted to recommend the same designation for Hyde Park. Tax benefits for historic district homes are less costly to the city than individual historic landmark benefits, but district design guidelines raise property rights issues for some critics.


• Gov. Rick Perry's continued refusal to hold public debates with Democratic opponent Bill White has drawn hometown ire, with the Bryan-College Station Eagle accusing the Aggie guv of preferring to "make scripted appearances before groups of cheering, sycophantic Texans who are going to vote for him anyway."

• Disgraced former Republican leader Tom DeLay finally gets his day in court, as pretrial hearings related to money-laundering charges against him began Tuesday. DeLay asked for the case to be moved out of Travis County, on grounds that it's too liberal for him, but his request was denied Wednesday.

Photo by Jana Birchum

Quote of the Week

"Austin is still very new to me, and so I don't have a good sense of what the community supports and doesn't support ...."

– AISD Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, during an Aug. 19 board discussion on a possible ballot proposal (See "Bowing to Business Wheels, AISD Cans Tax Hike." )

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