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Downtown Austin Shut Down


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Congress Avenue has been shut down from 11th to Cesar Chavez, or, from the Capitol to the river. The reason is that about 14 dead birds were found lying dead along the street, and it was closed to determine the cause of death.

This would be akin to closing Main Street from Franklin to Jefferson in Downtown Houston.

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From CNN:

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- Police shut down 10 blocks of businesses in the heart of downtown Austin early Monday after dozens birds were found dead.

Experts were testing for any sort of environmental contaminant or gas or chlorine leaks that might have killed off the animals, police spokeswoman Toni Chovanetz said.

There were no reports of any humans harmed, but a 10-block stretch of the main north-south route through downtown, several side streets and all buildings in the area were blocked off and expected to remain off-limits until about noon, Chovanetz said.

The bird carcasses were found overnight along Congress Avenue between Sixth and Eighth streets.

The street closure Monday morning stretched from the front of the state Capitol to a section of the Colorado River known as Town Lake. The Capitol opened on schedule Monday, the day before the legislative session was to begin.

Also from CNN:

Gas-like odor permeates Manhattan

NEW YORK (AP) -- Authorities were investigating the source of a mysterious gas-like odor Monday that stretched across a large part of Manhattan, including Rockefeller Center.

The Fire Department began getting calls about the odor around 9 a.m. Monday, said spokesman Tim Hinchey. No source had been identified.

Across the Hudson River, Jersey City, New Jersey, mayor's spokeswoman Maria Pignataro said officials there were told the odor was due to a gas leak in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, just north of Greenwich Village.

"When I left my apartment [in Jersey City]," Pignataro told CNN, "I walked out and immediately was hit with gas fumes. If you were in a gas station, it would be magnified 1,000 times."

Pignataro advised people in the area to close their windows and to turn off their heating and ventilation systems.

"The smell was very strong. It was very scary," said Yolanda Van Gemd, an administrator at ASA, a business school near the Empire State Building that was evacuated as a precaution.

Utility officials with Consolidated Edison had no immediate comment.

In August, seven people were treated at hospitals after a gaseous smell in the boroughs of Queens and Staten Island.

Maybe something's afoul - or afowl?

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