Austinite Frank Meyer, of Thangmaker, spoke up for the NYT this week on the subject of earthen floors. He’s installed 15 of them, he says (Down and Dirty; byline David Gelles; February 8). I’ve seen dirt floors elsewhere but not around here. I’d be interested in knowing how they really do in our local humidity. Frank Meyer is perhaps best known for straw-bale construction and also as a musician. >>> The February 9 issue of the Texas Observer is one to keep. It’s devoted to Molly Ivins, with pieces by over two dozen local and national luminaries, beyond what’s on the Observer tribute pages. Included in this issue are photographs by Alan Pogue and Jana Birchum. >>> For once when it comes to news that’s local yet has national import, the local daily is not taking a back seat to the national press. For weeks, I’ve been noticing small stories about the T. Don Hutto private prison in neighboring Taylor, now restyled the T. Don Hutto Family Residential Facility (here’s the official Web page for it, recently updated). The first news called attention to the fact that the school-age children incarcerated here were receiving just one hour of classes a day. Very recently, the number of hours was upped to four. The local daily (Top U.S. immigration official defends practices at Taylor detention center; different headline on Web version; byline Juan Castillo) and the NYT (U.S. Gives Tour of Family Detention Center That Critics Liken to a Prison; byline Ralph Blumenthal) are two papers reporting on yesterday’s tour of the facility conducted by the ICE in response to reports on the conditions in which these families are being held and the lack of provision for education of the children confined there. Local organizations following these issues are The Texas Civil Liberties Union and the UT Law immigration clinic directed by Barbara Hines. I’ve seen coverage on the local Univision station of Texans United for Families, another of the groups trying to draw attention to this detention facility. >>> I’ve had e-mail asking me about the Texas Music Hall and whether it’s the same as the Austin Music Hall. It’s not the same. It was once Dessau Hall, a mostly country dance joint. Most recently it was known alternately, depending on the music booked, as Club Moon or Club Luna. The Austin Music Hall is downtown and is undergoing renovations; the Texas Music Hall is at 13422 Dessau Road and has been booking live grupero music. >>> I loved it that Louis Black not only mentioned Mueller Airport in this week’s Page Two in the Chron but also recalled the Gnu tub-refinishing display that was perhaps the most prominent feature of the old terminal apart from the bar-cafe, or whatever you’d call it.

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