Civics 101

Thursday 19

ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH GREEN TECHNOLOGY Green technology influences the job market, the public sector, and economic development. Learn about its effects on project opportunities in Central Texas. 11am-1pm. Wyndham Garden Hotel, 3401 S. I-35, 512/448-2444. Free. www.gahcc.org.

VETERANS SESSION Veterans should bring a lunch and come learn about the benefits of registering as a veteran-owned small business. Noon-1:30pm. One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Rd., Rm. 325.

APL PRESENTS MUSIC FOR KIDS Austin Music Division and Austin Public Library present a six-week summer concert series. This time: Wendy Colonna. 2pm. University Hills Branch Library, 4721 Loyola, 512/929-0551. Free.

REPUBLIC SQUARE PARK MASTER PLAN UPDATE Consultants have been working on a redesign of one of Downtown's three remaining historical squares. Come hear the latest and weigh in. 6-8pm. Ballet Austin, 501 W. Third, 512/476-9151. www.austintexas.gov/republicsquare.

Saturday 21

AUSTIN CALL TO ACTION Join this discussion group of an independent association of Catholics affiliated with the Call to Action national movement. 10am. Little Walnut Creek Library, 835 W. Rundberg, 906-1268. tom4peace@austin.rr.com.

APL PRESENTS MUSIC FOR KIDS Austin Music Division and Austin Public Library present a six-week summer concert series. This time: Lucas Miller. 2pm. Faulk Central Library, 800 Guadalupe, 512/974-7400. Free. www.cityofaustin.org/library.

Monday 23

EARLY VOTING starts today and runs through Friday, July 27, for the July 31 primary run-offs. See our complete coverage at austinchronicle.com/elections.

Tuesday 24

APD COMMANDERS FORUM The Austin Police Department wants to discuss issues and concerns with the residents and business owners from Region IV: Southwest and Southeast Austin. 6:30-8:30pm. Clinton Hunter Substation, 404 Ralph Ablanedo Dr..

Thursday 26

EARLY VOTING Early voting for the Democratic and Republican primary run-offs continues through Friday, July 27. See austinchronicle.com/elections for details.

TEXANS FOR OBAMA This all-volunteer group meets on the last Thursday of each month to support President Obama in his 2012 reelection campaign. 5:30-7:30pm. www.traviscountydemocrats.org.

Ongoing

SIGN THE SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS PETITION Tell state leaders it's time to stop underfunding our schools and overtesting our kids. Add your name and help keep Texas smart! www.savetxschools.org.

REFRIGERATOR RECYCLING Recycle your old, working fridge before Sept. 8 for a chance to win $500. Austin Energy provides free pickup and gives a $50 rebate for units of 14-27 cubic feet (limit two). Schedule online, then email a picture of the appliance and your contact info to be entered in the drawing. Winner announced in mid-September. 800/452-8685. www.austinenergy.com. donylle.seals@austinenergy.com.

COMMUNITY CHALLENGE Mayor Lee Leffingwell challenges Austinites to develop creative solutions to challenges in city life. National winner receives a $5 million grant; the rest of the top 5 receive $1 million. Submissions due Aug. 15. mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org.

AUSTIN NEW YEAR Wait, it's only August! That gives prospective participants (performing artists, musicians, etc.) plenty of time to email a one-page proposal with project details and a budget. Deadline Sept. 4. kevin.shaw@austintexas.gov, www.austintexas.gov.

VOLUNTEER DEPUTY VOTER REGISTRAR TRAINING Help register voters for the Nov. 6 election now by becoming a Volunteer Deputy Registrar. Simply attend a one-hour training session. Volunteers must be 18 years or older. Weekdays through Oct. 8, 10:30am Travis County Tax Office, 5501 Airport, 854-9473. Free. tax_office@co.travis.tx.us, www.traviscountytax.org.

ANTI-BULLYING CAMPAIGN October is National Anti-Bullying Month, and to celebrate, the Travis County Sheriff's Office is inviting K-6 students to color an anti-bullying poster for a contest. www.tcsheriff.org/community/events/235-anti-bullying-poster-coloring-contest.

EARLY VOTING Early voting for the Nov. 6 election continues through Friday, Nov. 2. See our endorsements or follow all our election coverage at austinchronicle.com/elections. www.traviscountyelections.org.

BLANKET DRIVE Share the warmth and donate new or gently used blankets, towels, and pillows to five area nonprofits – including Austin Children's Shelter and SafePlace – via city newcomers Sleep Experts. Through Thanksgiving Sleep Experts locations or the Girl Scouts of Central Texas. www.sleepexperts.com.

SAVE THE DATE TO SAVE TEXAS SCHOOLS Join Diane Ravitch, former TEA Commissioner Robert Scott, and Houston's Kashmere High marching band to stand up for kids and schools on Feb. 23. Say no to brutal budget cuts, a broken testing system, and looming school vouchers. Say yes to a quality education for all kids! www.savetxschools.org.

INSIDE BOOKS PROJECT The all-volunteer nonprofit works to get books in the hands of inmates all year round, but it needs extra help during the holiday season. Make a financial donation online, or give your time be helping fill packages in 2013. www.insidebooksproject.org.

CHRISTMAS TREE RECYCLING Oh, tenenbaum. If you're not a curbside customer, don't forget you can recycle your Christmas tree at one of these locations around town before Jan. 12. Through Jan. 12. Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm; Saturday, 7am-noon Austin Community Landfill, 9900 Giles; Williamson County Landfill & Recycling Center, 600 Landfill Rd.

NO DRAMA DEMOCRACY This continuing ed course from ACC seeks to reform political relationships by encouraging tolerance and proving why liberal/conservative labeling is irrelevant. Limited slots available; register now. Austin Community College Continuing Education. $120. continue.austincc.edu.

TRAVIS COUNTY SHERIFF VOLUNTEERS Victim Services Unit is seeking volunteers who are over 21 and have a reliable car and cell phone to work four four-hour shifts per month for a year. The next training session begins March 18. See website for complete details. www.tcsheriff.org.

FREE TAX PREPARATION Go online for a list of locations, hours of operation, a list of forms to bring, and other helpful tips to prepare your tax returns with the help of a professional. Participants must make less than $50,000 a year. Through Mon., April 15 610-7374. Free. www.foundcom.org/get-financially-stable/get-your-taxes-done/.

SLOW MONEY AUSTIN SPRING PITCHFEST DEADLINE Slow Money Austin is looking for local food and sustainably minded business who are trying to raise money to grow. They have been soliciting short, two- to three-minute pitch videos from local entrepreneurs and the deadline is March 18. Go online for more info. www.slowmoneyaustin.org.

PARKS & REC LIFEGUARD RECRUITMENT The city is looking for a few good lifeguards, pool managers, and swim instructors. Call to find out more. 400 Deep Eddy Ave. www.austintexas.gov/parks.

BUDGET IN A BOX How should Austin spend its money? Let city leaders know. Participants will be asked to decide to increase, decrease, or maintain current funding levels for common city services. Accumulated feedback will be taken into consideration as the city develops its proposed 2014 budget this summer. 512/974-2324. www.austintexas.gov/biab.

ZILKER PARK CLUBHOUSE CALL FOR NAMES 90-day period for public comment begins. Contact Victor Ovalle. 512/974-6745.

PARD MAIN OFFICE CALL FOR NAMES 90-day period for public comment begins. www.austintexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation.

VOLUNTEER DEPUTY REGISTRAR TRAINING Would you like to register people to vote? Get trained and deputized! Email Mary Patrick to RSVP. Include "VDR Training" in the subject line. 10am. First Unitarian Universalist Church, 4700 Grover, 512/452-6168. Free. maptrick@gmail.com.

CALL FOR PLATELET DONORS The supply of platelets has fallen to an unsafe level. Anyone who is able is urged to make a platelet donation appointment as soon as possible. Platelet donation may be done every 7 days or 24 times per year. The entire process from the time a donor walks through the doors until they leave is approximately 1 to 1.5 hours. Call to make an appointment. Open seven days a week. We Are Blood, 4300 N. Lamar, 512/206-1266. www.inyourhands.org.

CHRONICLE WISH LIST Did you get more presents than you know what to do with? Make room by checking out our nonprofit wish list, and donating to worthy local groups. www.austinchronicle.com/gyrobase/Guides/WishList.

CHRONICLE WISH LIST Is your New Year's resolution to be a better person? Check out our nonprofit wish list, and donate something to a worthy cause. austinchronicle.com/wishlist.

HEALTH INSURANCE ENROLLMENT ASSISTANCE AT FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES NONPROFIT There is still time to sign up for affordable health insurance through the Federal Health Insurance Marketplace. Highland Mall (6001 Airport), Round Rock Public Library (216 E. Main), Cannon West Center (6800 West Gate), CommUnityCare SE Health Center (2901 Montopolis), LifeWorks (835 N. Pleasant Valley). Free. enroll@foundcom.org, www.insurecentraltexas.org.

#IAMBLACKAUSTIN The Greater Austin Black Chamber's #IAMBLACKAUSTIN campaign integrates portraits, videos, personal testimony and substantial social media to help stimulate visibility and engagement within Austin's growing community. Images from the first exhibit will remain on display from Tuesday, Jan. 27, through Tues. Feb. 3. Austin City Hall, 301 W. Second, 512/974-2220. www.iamblackaustin.org.

AUSTIN VOICES FUNDRAISER Now's the time to snag your tickets for Austin Voices for Education and Youth's annual fundraising lunch, slated for Tuesday, Feb. 17, noon-1:30pm at Dell Children's Signe Auditorium. This heralded local nonprofit combines groundbreaking programs with savvy advocacy to engage students, families and communities in building strong public schools for all kids, in Austin and beyond. www.austinvoices.org.

LOCAL ARTISTS INVITED TO SUBMIT PROPOSALS FOR TEMPO 2015 Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the city of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, seeks to commission temporary public artworks for the 2015 cycle of the TEMPO program. www.publicartist.org.

SUMMER DAYS KITTEN CRAZE $25 adoption summer special ends Labor Day. Through Sept. 7 Austin Animal Center, 7201 Levander Loop. www.austintexas.gov/event/summer-days-kitten-craze-austin-animal-center-adoption-special.

VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR SPECIAL OLYMPICS TEXAS WINTER GAMES! The 24th annual SOTX Winter Games are almost upon us and they need your help! Volunteers are needed for the bowling, volleyball, and powerlifting competitions. Assistance is also needed at Athlete Village to help with running games, arts & crafts, and snack service. Feb. 2-5 www.sotx.org.

ONGOING: AUSTIN TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT DIGITAL ROADWAY CONTEST Get creative for a great cause by creating short, clever messages to keep Austin drivers safe and informed. Email AustinMobility@austintexas.gov or tweet your ideas to @AustinMobility using hashtag #ontheroadATX. Through Feb. 10

FOUNDATION COMMUNITIES COMMUNITY TAX CENTER Free tax prep for anyone earning less than $55,000/yr. Mon-Thu. 10am-8pm; Sat. 10am-4pm Community Financial Center, 2600 W. Stassney Ln; Community Financial Center, 5900 Airport Blvd.; Southeast Health & Wellness Center, 2901 Montopolis Dr.; LifeWorks East Office, 835 N. Pleasant Valley Rd.; Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Rd.;. Free. www.foundcom.org.

DONATE TO LIFEWORKS SECOND CHANCE PROM LifeWorks will host a Second Chance Prom for their clients on June 15 and they need donations and volunteers. Donations needed: new or gently used women's formal dresses and shoes; men's suits, dress shirts, ties, and shoes; and undergarments for men and women. Email or call with questions. Donations accepted through June 12. 512/653-3764. faces@lifeworksaustin.org, www.lifeworksaustin.org.

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