AUSTIN — Voter registration ended Oct. 4, and now, less than a month remains until the general election on Nov. 2.

The 10-day period to early vote in person runs Oct. 18-29.

Election polls show incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Perry continuing to hold a margin of 6 points or so on Democratic candidate Bill White, the former mayor of Houston.

Meanwhile, the Austin American-Statesman, Houston Chronicle, The Dallas Morning News and KLRU-TV in Austin, are sticking with their plan to host an Oct. 19 debate between Perry and White. The two have not yet hashed out their differences the old fashioned way — eye to eye in public — since winning their party primaries in March.

The Perry and White campaigns do conduct modern digital call-and-response type interaction through social media messages and their websites, and

Historic surveys

to go public

A collection of historically significant land surveys unavailable for more than 50 years will soon be made accessible to the public.

Willis Day Twichell’s surveys of tens of millions of acres of public and private lands in West Texas, recently were donated to the Texas General Land Office by four oil companies operating in the Midland area.

Included are field books, working sketches, 200 finished maps, and about 50,000 pages of correspondence that document surveying work performed in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona and northern Mexico.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said the goal, after digital archiving is completed, is to have the Twichell Papers available to researchers by January.

Twichell laid out more than 40 towns and provided surveying work in 165 of 254 counties in Texas. His surveys, critical to the exploration of oil and gas in West Texas, helped in giving rise to the XIT Ranch, funding the building of the State Capitol, building railroads and funding public education in Texas.

Student dies in

apparent suicide

A masked gunman walked on to the UT-Austin campus and fired shots from the AK-47 assault rifle he was carrying on the morning of Sept. 28.

Police chased the man, identified as University of Texas sophomore Colton J. Tooley, 19, of Austin, into a campus library.

Tooley was found dead on the building’s 6th floor of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.

Economist: Texas

leads nation

The Governor’s Office on Sept. 28 announced economist Meredith Whitney, who predicted the national banking crisis, listed Texas as the national leader in state financial health in a report issued about the condition of most state governments.

Of the 15 largest states, only Texas and Virginia earned overall positive rankings in Whitney’s calculations.

“The best state is actually Texas, by a mile,” Whitney said in a CNBC television interview. “They’ve been a very conservative state … a small-government state. Low taxes, their pension funds are fully funded. Housing is not an issue. They’ve got great population trends. Great employment.”

Texas beaches get

fall cleaning

More than 8,815 volunteers showed up on Sept. 25 for the 24th Annual Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach Fall Cleanup, the agency reported.

Volunteers removed nearly 172.7 tons of trash off more than 167 miles of Texas coast.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said his agency’s efforts “to reach surfers, fishermen — people who care about the beach — through Facebook and other online media is really starting to have an effect.”

The next cleanup will be the Spring Adopt-A-Beach effort set for April 30.

One Click,

One Call debuts

The Texas Department of Transportation on Sept. 30 announced the launching of a new reporting system to make it easier and faster for Texans to report maintenance issues on Texas highways.

The new system will make use of several million additional pairs of eyes to help TxDOT crews identify problems.

The “Report a Pothole” initiative is online at or via toll-free number at 888-885-8248. With just a click of a mouse or a quick phone call, citizens can report a pothole, including the location of the damage.

Operators will answer phone lines from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Evening and weekend calls will go to voice mail and be returned the next morning or on the first working day of the following week.