Headlines

• City Council meets today (Thursday), with Austin Energy's proposed rate hikes still high on everybody's agenda. The next public hearing on the hikes has been tentatively postponed to Feb. 9, but a presentation of alternatives is anticipated in the morning briefings.

• Former Council Member Brigid Shea announced her candidacy for mayor Wednesday, taking on incumbent Lee Leffingwell, who is running for a second term. Also filing with the city clerk for mayor was council foghorn Clay Dafoe, plus the otherwise mysterious Daniel Krawisz and Nicholas Ryan Lucier.

• If AISD trustees thought the new year would see an end to opposition to a partnership with IDEA Public Schools, they were seriously wrong. At the Jan. 30 board meeting, members of Occupy Austin read letters written by staff, students, and parents from both AISD and IDEA campuses, highlighting continuing concerns and accusing the district of suppressing any criticism of the deal.

• Capitulating to right-wing political pressure, the Susan B. Komen Foundation announced suspension of support for Planned Parenthood health clinics nationwide. Over the past six years, reported Sarah Wheat of Planned Parenthood of the Texas Capital Region, local Komen funds have underwritten breast health education and breast exams for low-income and underserved women.

Redistricting wars continue, with negotiations at an impasse and the San Antonio federal courts telling all parties that they must reach an agreement on maps by Feb. 6 or face rescheduling the primaries – again (see "April 3 Primary in Doubt").

• Prosecutors say they may review the 1985 murder of Natalie Antonetti, mother of local musician Johnnie Goudie, to determine whether there may be a link to Mark Alan Norwood, charged with the 1986 killing in Georgetown of Christine Morton; both women were bludgeoned to death in the early morning in their homes. Dennis Davis, a former boyfriend of Antonetti's, was convicted of her murder last year.

• Cry for Texas medical insurance companies: They will have to spend 80% of all premiums on actual medical care (instead of advertising, bonuses, etc.). The Texas Department of Insurance had requested a waiver allowing firms four years to reach the target established by the Affordable Care Act, but on Jan. 27, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rejected the request.

• With Texas' school-finance system heading back to court, outgoing Senate Finance Chair Steve Ogden, R-Bryan, announced on Jan. 30 that he wants Gov. Rick Perry to call a summer special session on education funding.

• A large section of Downtown lost power Saturday night, Jan. 28, when two transformers were damaged. Austin Energy reports that power was restored to most affected businesses by the next morning; the cause has not been officially determined.

• Significant rainfall in the area has allowed the Travis County Commissioners Court to lift its burn ban, which had been in place since Jan. 17.

• Good news and bad news for Ron Paul in the GOP's Florida presidential primary. First, the bad news: He came fourth in a four-horse race won comfortably by Mitt Romney. The good news? He doubled he share of the vote from his 2008 run ... to 7%.

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