The Austin Chronicle


June 29, 2012, News

› A newly refreshed (four reelected members) City Council meets today (Thursday) in its last meeting before its summer hiatus, and the agenda is stuffed – with short-term rentals and single-member districts likely to raise the most sand, but plenty more to fight over (see "New Council, Old Issues").

› The city of Austin is selling two blocks of land on East 12th Street after the Urban Renewal Board voted June 22 to put the 1100 and 1300 blocks on the market. The city has been under pressure from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Devel­opment to kickstart development in the area.

› Eighteen people arrested in last week's Jovita's bust are being arraigned this week in federal court, on charges running from sale and possession of narcotics to conspiracy to distribute (see "More Details Emerge in Jovita's Case").

› In an effort to seat an impartial jury, Judge Burt Carnes on Monday agreed that Mark Alan Nor­wood, the man accused of killing Christine Morton in 1986 – a crime for which her husband, Michael Morton, was wrongly incarcerated for nearly 25 years – should have his trial moved outside of Williamson County. There's no word yet on where the trial, scheduled for next year, will be held.

County Commissioners have turned down an offer from the Circuit of the Americas to send county staff to inspect safety and traffic management at the British Grand Prix on July 8. The commissioners are considering plans to send staff to a race later in the season instead.

› The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday overturned most of the controversial Arizona immigration law, but left in place – for now, at least – the so-called "show your papers" provision, allowing cops to check immigration status. The court said it would wait to weigh in on that provision until state courts have a chance to rule on its legality.

› Also on Monday, the Supremes concluded that mandatory sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders violates the Eighth Amend­ment's ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the third in a line of cases that differentiates juvenile offenders from their adult counterparts. At press time, however, the court had not yet issued a ruling on whether the federal health care overhaul would pass Constitutional muster. That ruling came through Thursday morning.

› We know, you haven't left your house in days – can't face the heat, setting or approaching June records for the past week. Cool off by repeating this mantra: "It's not as bad as last summer." Yet.

› Speaking of burning, Travis County has announced a burn ban in all unincorporated areas of the county – only excepting controlled burns and permitted "outdoor hot work" like welding under controlled conditions. However, fireworks can be sold or possessed this year (not within Austin city limits), but fire officials recommend attending sanctioned and protected public fireworks displays instead.

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