War Drums: If this is 2020, we might be at war with Iran. In response to the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, Iranian forces fired missiles at military bases in Iraq where U.S. soldiers are stationed, and leaders of both countries exchanged threats of more attacks. Despite demands from the Iraqi government that the U.S. military leave the country, American officials say they refuse to withdraw. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced additional sanctions on Iran.
Two for Warren: The big presidential campaign news of the week was the endorsement of Sen. Elizabeth Warren by former San Antonio Mayor (and former presidential candidate) Julián Castro. If that wasn't big enough, Castro was followed by Austin City Council Member Paige Ellis, who declared, "As with Julián Castro, I am inspired by Elizabeth Warren's positions to stand up for everyday people and to stand up for environmental protection."
Un-Confederated: The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals last week declined to revive a lawsuit against UT-Austin over the 2017 removal of several statues from the South Mall that honored Confederate "heroes." The ruling, which incorporated a similar case concerning monuments in San Antonio, affirmed a lower court's ruling that the Sons of Confederate Veterans had not shown that removing the statues violated their free-speech rights.
Can We Get a Choo Choo? Capital Metro's sole MetroRail will finally resume Saturday service this weekend, Jan. 11. To make up for the long break due to construction, Cap Metro has added three extra daily trips to "serve more customers" as well as extended service hours – the last train will now depart from Downtown after 7pm.
Tax Season: Foundation Communities is again offering free tax support for individuals and families who make less than $55,000 annually (for households with more than four people, the income eligibility increases by $5,000 for each family member). Prosper Centers are located throughout the city with one location in Round Rock, and are open Jan. 20 to April 15, 2020.
Burn Not: The Travis County Commissioners Court issued a burn ban for the unincorporated areas beginning Jan. 7 and expiring Feb. 5, pending more rainfall and further county action.