News briefs from Austin, the region, and beyond
• Austin Aztex Abscond Sad news for local soccer fans: The Austin Aztex are moving to Florida. On Oct. 25, team President Phil Rawlins announced that the local franchise has been acquired by Orlando Sports Holdings. Renamed the Orlando City Soccer Club, the franchise will start playing in the new USL Pro league in April 2011. Rawlins called the move "a very, very bittersweet decision." The announcement caught the Aztex's current landlords – the Austin Independent School District – by surprise. "The loss of the Aztex will be deeply felt by fans, students, coaches, and the community at-large," said AISD communications director Andy Welch. The team has used AISD facilities since 2009, and on Sept. 27 the AISD board of trustees approved a deal to keep the Aztex at House Park Stadium on Lamar through the end of 2013. In return for a rental fee of $2,000 per match, the team was also supposed to work with the district on child health and classroom attendance through sports clinics and community outreach. Although the new deal has strict termination rules, Welch said that since it does not take effect until January 2011, the district "is amenable to invalidating the contract most recently executed." – Richard Whittaker
• Ten to F1 Some good news for Austin's planned Formula One track: First, the Korea International Circuit held its first Grand Prix on Oct. 24, defying the same rumor that has swirled around the Austin site – that it would not be ready in time. Formula One United States Chair Tavo Hellmund noted that, while the Korean circuit "didn't have the luxury of having a race under their belt" before their inaugural Grand Prix, "it was still an amazing event." This comes after the Oct. 6 announcement by the BMW Sauber F1 Team that Mexican driver Sergio Perez will be joining its team in 2011. The Austin project was already predicting a minimum of 20,000 fans attending from Mexico; this signing is predicted to increase that number. With a track completion date of June 2012 and groundbreaking planned for December, the project is currently working with the city and county on planning approval and is expected to announce engineering contracts soon. Project attorney Richard Suttle has already told the Travis County Commissioners Court that the project is working on adopting rules for minority-owned and women-owned business involvement similar to those used by the city of Austin. – R.W.
• Beer Gears and Bike Goggles For the eighth time, New Belgium Brewing is bringing its Tour de Fat to Austin, at Fiesta Gardens on Oct. 30, 9am-4pm. The Fort Collins, Colo., beermaker takes great pride in applying sustainability to its business methods and is especially supportive of bicycling – its flagship beer, Fat Tire Amber Ale, is named in honor of a bike trip its founder took through Belgium. So the company rolls through several cities each fall with a circus of costumed bike parades, beer, bands performing on a solar-powered stage, and more, highlighted by the Car-for-Bike Trade: One participant, chosen from a pool of people submitting an essay or video describing their worthiness, will be given a Black Sheep commuter bike in exchange for a promise to give up their automobile for a year. For an application, schedule, and other info, go to www.newbelgium.com/tour-de-fat. Proceeds from the event will benefit three Austin charities: the Yellow Bike Project, Austin Cycling Association, and Austin Ridge Riders. – Lee Nichols