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(The Austin Bulldog)

Storey Cordelle was appointed chairman of the Travis Appraisal Review Board (ARB) June 1, 2020. After just six months in charge, Cordelle came under heavy criticism from the Travis Central Appraisal District's board of directors at its December 3, 2020, virtual meeting.

The main thrust of the criticism centered on costs that already exceeded the 2020 budget for ARB operations and on top of that Cordelle's request for an additional $88,425.

Read the rest at The Austin Bulldog.

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graph via University of Texas

According to a March 26 report from UT, residents of the Austin area must reduce movement by 90% to avoid exceeding the capacity of local hospitals

Last week, data and analytics firm Unacast launched a social distancing scoreboard using public datasets as well as data from tens of millions of devices. The company, which is based in New York and Oslo, collects cell phone location data and sells its analysis to various industries. (The Washington Post called it "part of a shadowy world of location tracking.")

According to its analysis, Travis County has decreased average mobility—based on distance traveled—by between 55% and 70% and has decreased nonessential visits by more than 70%. As a result, on March 28 the company graded Travis County's response to the pandemic as an A-, second in the state only to Cameron County, and a higher score than Texas' overall C.

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County officials are concerned about the potential for a COVID-19 outbreak in its detention facilities.

Betty Lewis was already nervous about the new coronavirus outbreak when she got a phone call from the Travis County jail in mid-March.

Her son, 53-year-old Bryan, was sitting in jail on a misdemeanor after being accused of threatening to beat up someone during an argument five months earlier.

Not an insurmountable situation under normal circumstances, but Lewis was terrified that her son was locked up while the contagious new coronavirus was virtually clawing at the jailhouse doors.

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