Public Notice: Earth Day Redux
Early showers stretch timeline for Earth Day celebrations
Earth Day was supposed to start a week early this year, with the big annual Earth Day ATX party at Huston-Tillotson scheduled for April 13, but Mom's being a little cranky these days and unleashed thunderstorms all that day, so her party was rescheduled, with some considerable difficulty, for this coming Saturday, April 27. See the ad on p.15 of this week's paper for particulars, but suffice to say, the organizers need some help – both volunteers and money – to pull this off. It's noon-6pm at Huston-Tillotson's East Austin campus, with vendors, exhibits, DIY workshops, music, and much more; see www.earthdayaustin.com for info on helping out or just attending.
Earlier that same day is the Clean Energy Now! rally, 11am-12:30pm at the south steps of the Texas Capitol – with speakers, live music (four bands!), and more – celebrating Earth Day and the green initiatives being pushed in Congress, but also more specifically protesting plans to build the Permian Highway Pipeline "through some of the most beautiful and sensitive areas of the Hill Country just south of Austin that would push two billion cubic feet of natural gas per day to the Gulf Coast, mostly for export." Just this week, Hays County, the city of Kyle, and a coalition of Hill Country landowners filed a lawsuit against pipeline operator Kinder Morgan, the Texas Railroad Commission, and five agency executives, seeking to block construction. More info at www.cleanenergynowtexas.org.
And speaking of pipeline opposition, West Texas activists are raising the alarm about Lege companion bills HB 3557 and SB 1993, which could make protesting on "critical infrastructure property" a second-degree felony with up to 20 years in prison, plus a $1 million fine for any news media or other organization that "compensates a person for engaging in conduct occurring on the premises of a critical infrastructure facility." The Big Bend Defense Coalition has put together a digital toolkit on the issue; see it here.
And in more Earth Day news, Capital Metro took the occasion Monday to announce "two important milestones toward Project Connect," its sustainable and connected vision for regional transportation: a contract to put the first fully electric buses on Austin streets this year, and construction of a smart charging facility that will accommodate 214 buses.
And to finish off Earth month, the [Re]Verse Pitch Competition final pitch event is Tuesday, April 30, 6-8pm at Capital Factory, 701 Brazos. Watch four local environmental entrepreneurs vie for two $10,000 cash prizes as they try to build a business out of repurposing waste materials that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. Three of the four proposals involve turning polycarbonate plastic die-cut sheets into eyewear, asphalt, or 3-D-printed items; the other would make polyester napkins into children's pillows. Free to attend, but RSVP at www.reversepitch.org.
Our Parks, Our Future 2018-2028 is the title of the Austin Parks & Recreation Department's 10-year plan for parks, facilities, and recreational programming, which PARD will adopt later this year. They're holding a second round of public open houses next week before writing a final draft in June.
• Thu., May 2, 6-8pm, South Austin Senior Activity Center, 3911 Manchaca Rd.
• Fri., May 3, 6:30-8:30pm, Anderson Mill Limited District Community Center, 11500 El Salido Pkwy.
• Sat., May 4, 10am-noon, Circle C Community Center, 7817 La Crosse Ave.
• Sat., May 4, 2-4pm, IBPS Buddhist Temple, 6720 Capital of Texas Hwy. N.
• Sat., May 4, 6-8pm, Austin Recreation Center, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd.
Get more info, including links to the first open house presentation, at www.austintexas.gov/austinfutureparks.
"Let's Make Drake!" is a design project for Drake Bridge Commons, the part of the Butler Hike & Bike Trail that's under the First Street Bridge on the north shore of Lady Bird Lake, right across the street from City Hall. The Trail Foundation and PARD have some funding to create something out of this currently somewhat desolate section of trail, and will host a first community input event on Saturday, April 27, 10am-1pm. "Photo ops include improv actors and trail-users giving feedback on ideas with an interactive site model." More info at www.drakebridge.org.
What do tires and prescription drugs have in common? Your local governments want to help you get rid of unwanted ones this Sat., April 27. From 10am-2pm at Austin Resource Recovery, 2514 Business Center Dr., or at Great Hills Baptist Church, 10500 Jollyville Rd., the city and county will take your unwanted tires for free for recycling, just in time for prime mosquito-breeding season. They'll also take prescription drugs, as part of the National Prescription Drug Take Back. Or drop off medications at that same time at any of the five Travis County Constable offices; it's free and anonymous; no questions asked. See more about that at takebackday.dea.gov, or about mosquito-borne diseases at www.austintexas.gov/zika.
Palm School (the original one) sits Downtown at I-35 at Cesar Chavez. Travis County, which owns the site, is conducting a survey deadlining tomorrow, Friday, April 26, to figure out what to do with it. See the survey, and a nice little tutorial on the site's history and local context, at www.surveymonkey.com/r/ps2eng (or /ps2esp for Spanish). And expect some action down the line from Council Members Kathie Tovo and Pio Renteria to get the city involved, given the site's cultural and historic value, its potential as a link between Downtown and East Austin, and its adjacency to the underused Palm Park.
The Asian American Resource Center will host a fourth and final community meeting for the AARC Master Plan Update, with PARD presenting the final proposed concept, on Wed., May 1, 6-8pm at the AARC Ballroom, 8401 Cameron Rd., May 1. See www.austintexas.gov/aarcmp-update.