City Council has a perfunctory special-called meeting this morning (Oct. 22) for cleanup business, followed by its Austin Energy Oversight meeting, with a couple of contract approvals and policy briefings. The next regular meeting is scheduled for Nov. 12.
"It's always the people who aren't very smart who get caught," City Council Member Don Zimmerman told the Statesman last week, after his pickup truck was stolen late Friday, when he parked it on Highway 71 and left it running while he posted Travis County Taxpayers Union campaign signs. Police quickly found and returned the truck, along with Zimmerman's cell phone and a handgun in the glove box.
The Hidden Pines fire continues to burn. As of Oct. 20, Bastrop County reports that the blaze is 80% contained, with over 4,500 acres lost to the flames. Help fund the recovery by helping the Bastrop County Long Term Recovery Team at www.bcltrt.org, or the Austin Disaster Relief Network at www.adrntx.org. (For more, see "Bastrop Fire Volunteer Opportunities," Oct. 20.)
The Travis County Commissioners Court has extended the ban on outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of the county through Nov. 18, unless conditions improve. "Dry conditions persist in Travis County, and the threat of wildfire remains," announced Travis County Fire Marshal Hershel Lee. "Rain is in this week's forecast, and we hope it will bring us some relief."
Early voting began Oct. 19 for the Nov. 3 statewide constitutional and Travis County Courthouse bond elections, with the usual lousy turnout. After two days, only 0.57% of registered Travis County voters had cast their ballot. Early voting runs through Oct. 30 for the Nov. 3 election. See voting info and endorsements.
The Palm School, Austin's second-oldest public school building, is the subject of the latest historical preservation debate. Currently home to Travis County Health and Human Services and Veteran Services, Mexican-American rights activists are asking County Commissioners to turn it into a museum rather than sell it when staff move to new offices in the next two years.
Farewell Bevo The UT Longhorns' mascot died of bovine leukemia on Oct. 16. Nicknamed Baby, the 14th steer to hold the honorific Bevo had stood on the football sidelines for 11 seasons.
President Obama began a nationwide "criminal justice tour" this week, visiting Charleston, W. Va., on Oct. 21 to discuss new steps to combat prescription drug and heroin use, and taking part in a criminal justice reform roundtable today (Oct. 22) with the Marshall Project's Bill Keller and two law enforcement leaders.