Monthly Archives: January 2012

LCRA publishes proposed water plan, recommends more flexible management | Salsa Verde

LCRA publishes proposed water plan, recommends more flexible management | Salsa Verde

via LCRA publishes proposed water plan, recommends more flexible management | Salsa Verde.

The Lower Colorado River Authority posted its proposed water management plan this morning, a 226-page document that details how the river authority that provides water for cities including Austin will manage it’s supplies in the future.

The plan would allow more flexible management of the river basin by the LCRA, such as setting separate triggers for allocating water to downstream rice farmers’ first and seconds crops. The current plan allocates water for rice farmers based on a Jan. 1 trigger point. (Emergency actions by the LCRA allowed them to break from the current plan and set different cutoffs for rice farmers, many of whom will likely be without LCRA water this year.)

The plan contains a two-phased curtailment procedure for all areas of the basin — farm irrigation, municipal use and environmental flows — that factors in expected changes in demand. The plan said the first phase is designed for “interim demands,” between 2010 to 2020, and the second is designed for 2020 demands.

The proposal also caps the amount of water downstream farmers would get each year. Currently, farmers can get unlimited water if the Highland Lakes are full enough.

The plan was put together with input from an advisory committee representing different basin interests, including the City of Austin, residents and businesses on lakes Travis and Buchanan, rice farmers and environmental groups.

The water plan now needs approval by the LCRA’s board of directors, who are expected to vote in the Feb. 22 monthly meeting. If approved, the plan still needs regulatory approval by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, which must act within a year of having a complete application from the LCRA.

The river authority said it is taking emailed comments on the plan until Feb. 9, which can be sent to

“This is a vitally important plan that affects everyone in the region,” LCRA General Manager Becky Motal said in a statement “We want to encourage everyone to take some time and take a look at what’s being proposed and let us know what you think.”

Drought | StateImpact Texas

Drought | StateImpact Texas

via Drought | StateImpact Texas.

How Long Has the Current Drought Been Going On?

Texas is currently experiencing a severe drought, and has been for over a year. The drought began in October 2010 and continued through the winter with low rainfall and overall dry conditions. But the drought really intensified in the middle of 2011. The months from March through May, and then June through August all set records for low rainfall. The high temperatures over the summer months increased evaporation, further lowering river and lake levels.

The months since the drought began have been the driest on the books since record keeping in Texas began in 1895 – an average of only 11.1 inches of rain. The only comparable drought occurred during a ten-year period in the 1940’s and 50’s. In 1952 the combined level of reservoir-lakes Travis and Buchannan fell to 621,000 acre-feet, its lowest recorded point.

December rains were a temporary departure from the extreme drought, but they have hardly put a dent in the drought. Lake levels are still at a fraction of normal levels. According to the LCRA, the two reservoirs had a combined amount of 738,000 acre-feet at mid-January, but the level is falling as low rainfall continues.

What Are the Effects of the Drought?

The drought has helped fuel wildfires, ruined crops and put a real strain on the state’s electric grid.

Dry conditions fueled a series of wildfires across the state in early September. The most devastating, the Bastrop Complex Fire in Bastrop County, scorched over 34,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,300 homes.

All of this has affected a wide-range of industries in Texas. Economists estimate that the drought has cost farmers and ranchers upwards of $5.2 billion. Some farmers and ranchers have rented or leased parts of their properties to recreational hunters in an attempt to make up some of their lost profits. The price of hay has increased by 200% since the drought began. Since the price of feeding cattle has skyrocketed, ranchers are culling their herds, selling off large numbers of cattle in auctions to out-of-state buyers. Farmers are in similarly dire straits. Corn outputs fell by 40% in 2011 and peanut production is down as well. The lack of crops has created conditions forsevere dust storms across the western part of the state. Rice farmers may soon feel the strain of dwindling water resources. If combined lake levels fall to 600,000, the LCRA will cut off water supplies to farmers in Matagorda, Wharton and Colorado counties as soon as this January.

Officials from ERCOT are also concerned. Nuclear, coal, and natural gas energy production all require large amounts of fresh water to cool equipment. High energy usage and scorching temperatures caused ERCOT to close one factory overnight during the height of the summer’s heat. Officials worry that another spring and summer with low rainfall could mean the closure of some power plants.

When Will the Drought End?

Estimates on when the drought will end vary widely. State Meteorologist George Bomar hopes the hot and dry La Nina weather cycle will abate after the spring.  He says Texas suffered the worst drought in recorded state history in 2011 and a third La Nina cycle seems unlikely, near-normal rainfall should return for the summer.

State Climatologist John Nielson-Gammon has stated in his report on the drought that the return of wetter weather could come as late as 3–15 years from now.

With no definitive end in sight, Texas lawmakers are looking towards ways to alleviate the drought. The Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District has plans to create a desalination plant to be able to make use of brackish groundwater. El Paso already boasts the world’s largest inland desalination plant. This past legislative session, lawmakers passed a bill requiring all future state buildings to have a rainwater collection system. There is also interest in expanding rainwater harvesting on private homes. Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst has announced the Texas State Senate will meet in committees to discuss the drought’s impact on the state.

The drought, the extreme heat and the fires that came with it have made this an historic year for Texas. And it will leave a mark that will be felt long after the drought is over: trees will continue to die from stress, roads will continue to break apart, and food prices will continue to fluctuate.

» Tuesday Open Thread: Slavery Edition – Big Government

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Prison Beating Clouds Trial Of Accused Ponzi Schemer Stanford | Fox News

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Four new States join Georgia in challenging Obama’s eligibility for the Ballot and one of them is …

Four new States join Georgia in challenging Obama’s eligibility for the Ballot and one of them is ….


…and Official Challenges have been filed in Alabama, Massachusetts, and Tennessee. Finally the word JUSTICE is ringing true to the American people.

Numerous Organizations are popping up to support the Laws under the Constitution and put a stop to the theft of the highest office of the United States of America. Freedom Nations is one who advocates a petition to support the Eligibility Requirements be mandatory in every state…

But the biggest news is that one of the states seeking justice and proof of eligibility, beyond Nancy Pelosi’s certification is ILLINOIS. A State that knows too well Obama’s lack of accomplishments since he served as an Illinois Senator but the majority of his service was cloaked with Present votes. A vote to record one’s presence in the senate, but abstinence of any real stance.

Hilary Clinton called the record correctly when she said, “In the Illinois State Senate, Senator Obama voted 130 times ‘present,'”
Clinton said. “That’s not ‘yes.’ That’s not ‘no.’ That’s ‘maybe.'”

This week, Retired ASAR LTC William F. Reade filed an official ballot challenge with election officials, contending that Barack Obama is ineligible to appear on the Massachusetts ballot. Reade’s challenge is well researched and filled with numerous legal citations to back his case.

But perhaps most interesting are the similarities between LTC Reade’s and

Barack Obama’s citizenship status. Like Obama, Reade was born in the United

States. But, also like Obama whose father was a Kenyan citizen and therefore a

British subject, Reade’s father was also a British subject. As such, Reade

correctly points out that he himself is not a “natural born citizen” as defined

by the Supreme Court and therefore, like Barack Obama, Reade is also ineligible

for the office of President.

Commentary: So the Liberals and Progressives can call the race card, stomp their feet and scream foul all they want the facts are facts. Obama has not been proven eligible under US law and unless he does so his HOPE is fading. He and his highly paid legal eagles failure to appear in court and failure to produce an unquestionable paper document proving his citizenship are still yet to be found. 3 years is a long time to hide Obama, we’re coming.

The Tea Party

Should Obama be removed from the Ballot?

Couple gets hitched at food trailer |

Couple gets hitched at food trailer |

via Couple gets hitched at food trailer |

Cheesesteak and cheesecake and a minister, too

Updated: Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 10:40 PM CST
Published : Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 10:40 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Are you looking for a uniquely “Austin” way to get hitched?

This may be for you: Way South Philly food trailer is offering complete wedding packages for $39.99.

For that price, you get Philly cheesesteak sandwiches and cheesecake to share with your bride or groom, as well as an official marriage ceremony. Marcos and Graciela Cantu came by the food trailer on Sunday to get hitched.

Actually, it was to renew their wedding vows with their two children present.

“”When we were first married, the kids were really small,” Graciela Cantu said. “We thought this would be a good way so they could participate in our wedding.”

Trailer owner Willy Pearce recently became an ordained minister, so he performs the ceremonies. For more information and available dates, drop by the trailer on East Sixth Street near Waller in East Austin.


AISD unveils new elementary plans |

AISD unveils new elementary plans |

via AISD unveils new elementary plans |

School promised to relieve North Central Austin

Updated: Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 9:19 PM CST
Published : Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 7:59 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) – Austin Independent School District trustees are expected to approve design plans for a new North Central Elementary School, which will relieve the overcrowded McBee and Walnut Creek campuses.

The $14 million campus, which has stalled for a lack of a location, was approved in the 2004 bond issue. BLGY Architects were selected as the prime design firm for the campus in 2008. Last November, trustees finally approved the purchase of an 18-acre site at 102 East Rundberg Lane.

According to backup materials provided to trustees, the current programmed scope of work includes the construction of a campus with 32 classrooms that can be expanded to 40 classrooms. The site also will include playing fields, parking lots and a bus circle, as well as space for four additional portable classrooms.

The item, which is on the board’s consent agenda, suggests taking a base bid for 32 classrooms, plus an alternate bid for the full 40 classroom facility, in case bids are competitive. Comments made by trustees in early January are being incorporated into the final plans.

The elementary school originally was budgeted for $12.7 million in 2004. The revised budget is $14.8 million. Construction is expected to begin in June and be completed next August.


New arts center on tap at Mueller

New arts center on tap at Mueller

via New arts center on tap at Mueller.



Performing Arts Center will be open in 2013

Updated: Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 9:22 PM CST
Published : Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 9:18 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The design plans for a $26.6 million Performing Arts Center will be approved by Austin Independent School District trustees at Monday night’s school board meeting.

A 3-acre site for the complex, at the intersection of Mueller Boulevard and East 51st Street, was purchased by Austin ISD last April. That followed the hiring of Pfluger Associates Architects to design the PAC in 2009.

Funding for the project, which is still on budget, came out of the 2008 AISD bond issue. The programmed space in the building will include a 1,200-seat auditorium, a 225-seat black box theater, facility offices for the Fine Arts Department, plus a parking garage that contains 400 spaces for scheduled events.

An alternate bid to be considered by trustees included additional space for dance and rehearsal spaces, with moveable audience seating, according to backup materials presented to the school board.

The earliest stages of construction will begin on the site in June 2012. Construction should be completed, according to the school district, in the Fall of 2013.


Areas eager to join Austin proper |

Areas eager to join Austin proper |

via Areas eager to join Austin proper |

Areas eager to join Austin proper

Others want to see new home rule city

Updated: Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 6:53 PM CST
Published : Sunday, 29 Jan 2012, 6:53 PM CST

AUSTIN (KXAN) – In East Travis County, several neighboring communities are desperate for one of two things to happen: be annexed by the City of Austin or incorporate as its own separate city.

Those neighborhoods include Austin’s Colony, Forest Bluff, Kennedy Ridge Estates and other communities along FM 969 near Webberville, nine miles east of Austin.

Some 7,000 residents live in this growing area. Right now they face rapidly rising water rates, the need for rules on land use and concerns over emergency response time, as well as health and human safety issues.

“Right now it’s in limbo,” said resident David Trevino, who supports annexation. “There’s no one in control, no direction, no significant oversight. You need somebody to come in and do some kind of Sunset Valley, something that has control. Right now there’s no control in this area. Without some kind of oversight, there’s no telling what’s going to happen out here.”

But the City of Austin said it has no plans ot annex that area, at least in the near future. That works fine for some residents, who would prefer to become a home rule city and not part of Austin.

“Annexation wouldn’t give us as much power as being a separate city,” said Richard Franklin III, who favors incorporation. ” We could create our own economic development zone. If we become annexed then we’d still have to go to the city and ask them to do things for us. As our own city we’d be able to do it ourselves.”

On Saturday afternoon, residents were signing petitions to incorporate as the City of Hornsby Bend. Hornsby Bend was a settlement in that area going back to the 1830s. That way they say they could control their own destiny and perhaps even develop their own private water company. Residents say one way or another, something’s got to happen.

Incorporation will requiring petitioning Travis County for an election.


Areas eager to join Austin proper:

The Ronald Reagan Legacy

The Ronald Reagan Legacy

Click on the link below to see this awesome documentary!


via The Ronald Reagan Legacy.