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Jennifer Virden speaks during the town hall debate hosted by KVUE and the Statesman on Tuesday, October 18, with Kirk Watson and Celia Israel seated to her right. To learn more, see our “Election Ticker” (p.22). (Screenshot via KVUE)

Surfin’ AUS: Austin is home to perhaps the largest artificial surf park in the world. A 12 acre surf lake would be “surrounded by sandy beaches, boardwalks, restaurants, hotels” and shops on the 400 acres Pura Vida community south of the airport, according to the press release.

Wipe Out (Your Debt): Since Friday, more than 8 million Americans have filed online applications for President Joe Biden student loan cancellation plan. Applications will be accepted until December 31, 2023. Federal borrowers will save at least $10,000.

King of the Serfs: The Texas Tribune reported Tuesday that two-thirds of state university board members are government donors. Greg Abbott. Retired State Representative Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, told the Tribune that voters were told they would have a better chance of securing a seat on the board or commission after a large donation. In 2017, Larson introduced an unsuccessful bill to stop these appointees from donating more. $2,500 annually to the Governor who appoints them.

Hope You Misir-Lose: Also on Tuesday, the Tribune reported that Abbott had raised more campaign money than any Texas politician in state history, raising $348 million total (adjusted for inflation) since his first statewide run in 1995. Since launching his first gubernatorial campaign in 2013, Abbott has raised an average of $87,793 per day – $20,000 more than the median annual income of a Texas household.

Catch a Wave Underground: As part of drought preparedness efforts, Austin Water is seeking public input on its groundwater storage project plan through a series of workshops in Lee, Bastrop, and Travis counties, as well as Zoom sessions Oct. 25-27.

Bustin’ Surfboards (and Viruses?): Austin Chief Medical Officer Dr. Marc Escot can help prevent the next pandemic – he is set to act as one of the project managers for UT’s new center Center for Pandemic Decision Science. The center will focus on studying the challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve the future response to the pandemic.

Let’s Go Trippin’ to the Temple : A pumpkin fire in Temple, blamed on a cigarette, left 70 cars burned at the Robinson family farm this week. Bell County firefighters brought it under control within hours.

Pipeline to a Degree: An interim legislative committee voted unanimously this week to recommend an outcomes-based funding model for Texas community colleges that directly ties state support to student graduation and transfer rates to four-year universities. The Higher Education Coordinating Council will review and submit its recommendations by November 1 in preparation for next year’s legislative session.

Photo by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0

quote of the week

“Oh, these are so top secret.”


– Then-President Donald Trump, referring in 2019 to Kim Jong Un’s letters he shared with Bob Woodward, in a recording released Oct. 18

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