City Council held its first extended meeting last week, with the next regular meeting Feb. 26. In the meantime, more policy workshops and possibly organizational decisions, including today (Feb. 19): On the workshop agenda are education and neighborhood issues. See "Council: Hello, I Must Be Going," and "Point Austin," Feb. 20, 2015.
Decker Lake Golf LLC says it will return to Council with a new water plan, intending to drill 3,000 feet into the Trinity Aquifer to avoid using Austin or Highland Lake water supplies, one of the main objections to the proposed professional golf course development at Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park. The question is expected to return to Council Feb. 26, although it could be postponed.
Texas' same-sex marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional by Travis County Probate Judge Guy Herman on Tuesday – settling an estate lawsuit in which Sonemaly Phrasavath fought to have her eight-year relationship with Stella Powell, who died last year of cancer, recognized as a common-law marriage. However, gay couples won't be heading to the altar just yet, as Travis County – grappling with understanding the ruling's full impact – has refrained from issuing marriage licenses.
Non-materializing bomb threats were made Tuesday morning toward the North Austin Muslim Community Center and Arab Cowboy Cafe & Hookah Lounge. The threats came from an unidentified, apparently homeless man who police say likely suffers from psychiatric issues. Still, the timing's bad. Two weeks ago, Police Chief Art Acevedo referred to his initiatives to keep the Muslim community in Austin safe from such threats.
VonTrey Clark has been identified as the APD officer placed on administrative leave in the wake of Samantha Dean's murder. His attorney says the three-year veteran, a member of APD's Counter Assault Strike Team, "had nothing to do with the death" of the pregnant victim, noting investigators' reluctance to search Clark's home and vehicles.
Police Chief Art Acevedo reversed a 2014 suspension Tuesday, reducing the 10-day penalty given Officer Jonathan LaBorde for over-pursuing a burglar with a gun while off-duty to a written reprimand. The Austin Police Assoc. 2014 Officer of the Year will get more than $2,000 in back pay.
Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his first State of the State address on Feb. 17, declaring five emergency items for the Lege to tackle: pre-K funding, higher education, transportation, border security, and ethics reform; see "Lege Lines," Feb. 20, 2015.
Thanks, Obama! Nearly 1.2 million Texans have enrolled in or renewed their coverage through the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace as of Feb. 15, according to the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. That includes some 101,244 Austin/Round Rock residents.
Stargazers, rejoice! Austin is finally getting a planetarium. Well, actually, Cedar Park is. The Austin Planetarium nonprofit will open the Texas Museum of Science & Technology on March 20. This is only an interim home, and the group still plans a permanent facility in Downtown Austin.