This One Hurts: We may have eaten our last cheeseburger special at Nau's Enfield Drug. The Westside landmark drugstore and soda fountain ceased food service last month, citing diminishing sales and competition from nearby cafes. According to CultureMap, owner Laura Labay is seeking solutions, from new investors to a GoFundMe campaign, but prospects are bleak.
Sen. MJ Hegar? The Round Rock Democrat, who nearly upset TX-31 GOP incumbent John Carter last November, told The Texas Tribune this week that she might take him on again next year ... or instead run for U.S. Senate against GOP incumbent John Cornyn. Other possibles for that race include Beto O'Rourke or Julián Castro, should their presidential prospects dim; Hegar said she would likely defer to Wendy Davis, who has said she "hasn't ruled anything out."
Counting the Crowds: Speaking of Beto, he indirectly faced off with President Donald Trump Monday, Feb. 11, in El Paso, in dueling rallies over the city's reputation and Trump's "border wall." The president shamelessly lied about the size of O'Rourke's "March for Truth" counter-rally, which police estimated at 7,000 people; the county coliseum where Trump spoke holds 6,500.
One More Round: The full 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will rehear a case filed by Planned Parenthood against state efforts to oust them from Medicaid in mid-May. A three-judge panel of the 5CA ruled in Texas' favor last month. The state's arguments rest heavily on discredited anti-choice "sting" videos.
Warbler Still Endangered: U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks ruled that the golden-cheeked warbler will not be removed from the Endangered Species List – siding with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service last week. A petition to remove the yellow-faced bird was filed in 2016 by the Texas General Land Office, but USFWS found that the warbler's survival continues to be threatened – specifically by "rapid suburban development."
Keep Water Weird: You can thank those pesky zebra mussels for the fetid smell – and taste – currently emitting from the taps of Central and South Austin. According to Austin Water, that funk was caused by "clusters" of dead mussels stuck to the pipes of the Ullrich Water Treatment Plant. Though the water is still safe to drink, officials hope for the odor to pass by next week.
Campus Bike Alliance, Bike Austin, and other advocates continued their calls for action following the death of bicyclist Anthony Diaz. Diaz was struck and killed by a Cap Metro bus on a busy stretch of San Jacinto Blvd. that both the city and university say needs bike lanes. On Wednesday, Feb. 13, a Memorial Silent Ride was scheduled to include a stop at the crash site.