Looking to catch up on local news? Here are five must-read stories impacting the Austin metro last week.

1. 5 Austin-area events to celebrate Dia de los Muertos

Rooted in tradition, Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a time when families remember and honor their loved ones who have died in various ways, including creating ofrendas, or altars; cooking their loved one's favorite dishes; and publicly celebrating the departed. Take a look at these five celebrations happening in and around the Austin area this year.

Viva La Vida Festival and Parade

Hosted by Mexic-Arte Museum, organizers of the annual Day of the Dead event will offer visitors the chance to participate in activities and artist demos, taste traditional foods, and watch a low-rider exhibition and live performances during the event.

Read the full story.

2. Austin Trail of Lights unveils 2023 holiday schedule, tickets

What started in 1965 with a small gathering around a yule log has transformed into a holiday tradition for many with more than 2 million lights, 96 lighted holiday trees, and over 70 other holiday displays and lighted tunnels illuminating Zilker Park.

Those visiting can expect to get into the holiday spirit while walking an average of 2.5 miles each visit. The Trail of Lights Ferris Wheel and Carousel are both popular rides, and Santa can be found in his house each night from 6-9:30 p.m. Food and drink vendors will be scattered throughout the trail.

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3. $1.69B Travis County budget emphasizes jail reform, mental health

Travis County Commissioners approved the fiscal year 2023-24 budget Sept. 26 with funding for road projects, mental health care, support for communities in the northeastern region and salary boosts for staff.

The budget was approved at $1.69 billion, an effective 9.8% increase year over year.

The court unanimously approved the FY 2023-24 tax rate at $0.304655 per $100 valuation Sept. 19, which will increase taxes for an owner of an average-valued home by $86.18 annually due to rising home values. The average taxable property value in Travis County currently sits at $475,289.

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4. See 6 illuminated, immersive art installations in November at Creek Show in Austin

Officials with Waterloo Greenway released the six new immersive installations created by local artists that will illuminate the grounds during this year's Creek Show at Waterloo Park, 500 E. 12th St., Austin, set for Nov. 10-18.

Each year, with the exception of 2020 due to COVID-19, a handful of local artists' works are curated and put on display for the public to enjoy.

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5. ‘This is our way through’: Austin ISD agrees to state monitor proposal from TEA

After months of deliberating on an alternative to a conservatorship over special education, Austin ISD accepted a proposal from the Texas Education Agency on Sept. 25 for a state-appointed monitor, four days prior to the deadline set at Sept. 29 by the TEA.

The board of trustees voted to approve the proposal by a vote of 8-1 with board Vice President Kevin Foster voting against.

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