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Top Morning Stories March 25, 2011

Anthony Johnson.jpg
Photo courtesy of the City of Leander
Leander City Manager Anthony "Biff" Johnson died Thursday.

Leander City Manager Passes Away

Funeral arrangements are pending for Leander City Manager Anthony "Biff" Johnson.  Officials say he died unexpectedly Thursday afternoon from apparent cardiac arrest.  From the City of Leander's press release: 

His seven-year tenure in Leander was highlighted by numerous area successes. The relationships fostered with regional elected officials, the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority (CTRMA), the Brushy Creek Regional Utility Authority (BCRUA), Capital Metro, numerous communities and local civic and business leaders became a guiding light for others. His mantra was, “You get what you give,” and he was prepared to share wisdom and laughter at a moment’s notice. He was a mentor to many and memories of Biff will continue to shape the community and individuals who were able to be a part of his full and productive life.

Johnson had served as Leander's city manager since 2004. 

Austin Appoints Top City Lawyer

Austin City Manager Marc Ott has announced that Karen Kennard  will continue to lead the city's Law Department.  Kennard has served as acting city attorney since May 2010 and will now be appointed to the position.  From the city's release:

Kennard has more than two decades of municipal law experience, including the past six and one-half years with the City of Austin. She also was general counsel for the Texas Municipal League and an Assistant City Attorney in Midland. "Karen is foremost knowledgeable in all aspects of municipal law and I’ve found that she consistently provides decisive, sound counsel to City management and policy makers," City Manager Ott said. "She knows Austin and is involved in the community. Her leadership and supervisory skills align with our best managed objective."  

Kennard joined the City of Austin in 2004 as its first assistant city attorney.  She has a law degree from Texas Tech.  Austin's former city attorney David Smith retired in May 2010 amid controversy about a legal opinion his office gave in connection with a report on the officer involved shooting of Nathaniel Sanders.

Expect Traffic Delays on I-35 and Ben White This Weekend

Part of the I-35 and Ben White access roads will be closed for construction.  The Texas Department of Transportation is continuing work on new flyovers there. The northbound I-35 access road will shut down Friday at 7 p.m.  Traffic will be diverted onto eastbound Ben White. 

The westbound Ben White access road will close under I-35 Friday at 8 p.m. That will force traffic to detour north on the I-35 access.  Find more details on the closures and the project here.