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Top Morning Stories 2/1/2012: Brigid Shea Running for Mayor, National Signing Day, VFW Goes Virtual

BrigidVSLee2.jpg
Shea photo courtesy carbonshrinks.com; Leffingwell photo courtesy his campaign
Former council member Brigid Shea (L) has decided she'll run against incumbent Mayor Lee Leffingwell this May.

Brigid Shea Running for Mayor

Incumbent Mayor Lee Leffingwell may have earned endorsements from Willie Nelson and Lance Armstrong, but that doesn't mean he's going unchallenged: Yesterday, ex-City Council member Brigid Shea announced her own mayoral bid.

The co-founder of both environmental consulting firm Carbon Shrinks and the Save Our Springs Alliance, Shea told the Austin American Statesman that she senses a growing dissatisfaction among Austinites with their local government.  "The overwhelming response I've gotten (while considering a run) is that people are not happy with the direction at City Hall," Shea told the Statesman.  "They feel that City Hall is tone deaf about the effect their choices are having on people's household budgets."

She cited several other points of concern in her Statesman interview, such as the city's new electric rate hikes, the council's approval of the Formula One race proposal, and school issues at the state and local level.

Leffingwell's response?  "Brigid and I have been friends ... in fact, I am pretty sure I voted for her 19 years ago for council. But sometimes friends can disagree, and that is OK. I look forward to talking about the serious issues facing our community."

The Austin Chronicle reports on the team that will staff Shea's campaign.

At the Veterans Summit, Nation's First Virtual VFW Post Announced

The 14th Annual Veterans Summit, which kicked off yesterday and runs through today at Austin's Crowne Plaza Hotel, announced a first yesterday: The creation of the country's first virtual VFW.

Dubbed VFW Post Kiernan after fallen Army Staff Sergeant and central Texan Christopher Kiernan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2007, the post hosts it own forums, events page, and member-contributed photo/video archive.  The founder and Interim Post Commander is retired Army 1st Sgt. Bob Gear, a father who –like so many modern vets –maintains a busy schedule that doesn't always allow for trips to his nearest physical VFW.

Today is National Signing Day

Today marks National Signing day, the day when top-tier high school football talent from across the nation can commit to play at the collegiate level.

Since 7 a.m. this morning athletes began to submit their letters of intent to play for UT Austin. Of the 27 athletes who have tentatively committed, running back Johnathan Gray is currently the only five-star recruit.  Stephen F. Austin High’s own Cayleb Jones and Pflugerville running back Daje Johnson officially signed on with the Longhorns earlier this morning.

While the 2012 recruiting class for the 40 acres won’t be made official until Mack Brown’s press conference later today, ESPN has compiled a list of athletes that will most likely commit to Texas.

Click here for an updated list of the gridiron giants that have officially committed to play for UT.