Watch Your Step: City Council meets today (Thursday, Oct. 18), with a moderate 64-Item agenda but a few potential land (use) mines: how best to make peace between residents, hotels, and music venues Downtown; whether to approve the Camelback PUD (now linked to the fate of Champion 3 Tract); and the rezoning of Red Bluff. More where all that came from. ... See "'Active' Seniors Only," Oct. 19.
To the Polls: Council is also expected to pass a resolution urging local businesses to give employees time off to vote during the midterm elections (early voting begins on Monday, Oct. 22). Go vote!
Sick of This: On Wednesday, Oct. 17, the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals scheduled oral arguments on the challenge to Austin's mandatory paid sick leave ordinance, currently on hold thanks to business interest groups represented by conservative think tank the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The Modell Rule: Austin is still likely to get a soccer team; it just won't be the collection of players currently known as the Columbus Crew. News broke Friday that Cleveland Browns owner Jimmy Haslam has plans to buy the Crew from Anthony Precourt and keep them in Columbus, leaving Precourt and Austin with a plan for a stadium that currently has no team. Multiple sources say an MLS expansion squad is likely in the near future. See "Someday, Someway," Oct. 19.
Rainy Days Continue: Widespread flooding continues across Central Texas, with the Llano River above flood stage and the Colorado rising rapidly along the line of dams; Gov. Greg Abbott announced disaster declarations for 18 Central Texas counties, including Travis.
Off the Racks: The Sears company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this week, and the last two local Sears stores – at Hancock Center and Barton Creek Square Mall – will be closed as part of the bankruptcy reorganization. The Hancock store opened in 1963, Barton Creek in 1980, and both facilities are expected to be sold for redevelopment.
Now More SAFE: SAFE, the local nonprofit combating sexual violence and child abuse, has expanded Eloise House, the on-campus site that administers the majority of sexual assault forensic exams in Austin. The recently expanded facility now includes a shower, two exam rooms, and a second waiting room. Since the clinic opened in 2015, SAFE has served over 2,000 sexual assault survivors, and there's been a 10% increase in exams annually.
Criminal Justice Redux: County commissioners held discussions this week on the potential merging of the county attorney and district attorney offices, and also the possible implementation of a public defender's office, though no action was taken on either topic.