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Church meets state, grassroots victory, driving in circles

Church meets state:

On May 5, hundreds of people gathered on the City Hall steps for the National Day of Prayer. In its 11th year, the event also featured mayoral and council candidates, who apparently needed divine intervention two days before Election Day. A City spokesman said, "They `the church community` asked to use the front steps and we accommodated them." As to whether City officials should be endorsing a religious point of view on City property, the City philosopher was not available for comment.

Lisa Sorg

Grassroots victory:

Twenty Trinity University students and seven professors who had planned to protest U.S. Representative Lamar Smith's (R-Texas) speech at the school's commencement ceremony on May 14, have laid down their signs.

According to the students, the decision to have ultra-conservative Smith speak was made by Trinity President John Brazil's office in an "unorganized and ambiguous," manner, which excluded students and faculty.

The students had planned to flash "Give Us A Choice" signs as Brazil introduced Smith, circulate flyers detailing Smith's voting record on immigration, and turn their backs on him should his speech veer too far to the right.

But at a May 6 meeting, Brazil agreed to organize a student and faculty committee for next year's commencement that will create a list of potential speakers subject to a vote by the graduating class.

Susan Pagani

Driving in circles:

After a year of contentious hearings over street improvements to the Blanco and Fulton intersection `"What about a roundabout," September 9-15, 2004`, District 1 Councilman Roger Flores has announced that the City will build a roundabout. Construction is expected to begin next year, following the final design stage and a request for bids.

In a May 3 press release, Flores cited a national study that found accidents resulting in injuries dropped 76 percent at traditional intersections that were converted to roundabouts. Meetings to address the concerns of Cotton Elementary parents resulted in the addition of a pedestrian signal to supplement the school-crossing Mama Patrol.

The roundabout is being funded through capital improvement bonds passed in 1999 and 2003, and is scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Elaine Wolff

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