“Military City” honored one of Austin’s own last week during a San Antonio Spurs game.
During Thursday’s Military Appreciation Night, Richard Overton was presented with a custom camouflage Spurs jersey with his name and the number “110.” Overton, who served in the Army during World War II, is the oldest veteran in the U.S. at 110 years old. The Austinite was all smiles as the crowd of fans, military members, players and coaches gave him a standing ovation.
Overton has lived in east Austin for about 70 years with his family, who recently set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for around-the-clock home care for him. In January, the Statesman reported that the campaign had exceeded its initial donation goals. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $167,000 with a goal of $200,000.
Next time you head to the flagship Whole Foods Market store in downtown Austin, keep an eye out for something new.
The homegrown retailer has installed a new piece of public art – a unique twist on the familiar “atx” shorthand many Austinites use to refer to their hometown – in a prominent spot out front at West Fifth Street and North Lamar Boulevard.
“About a year ago, we decided it was time to replace our logo here on the corner of our flagship Whole Foods Market store,” said Mark Dixon, regional president for Whole Foods’ Southwest region. “As we began brainstorming, we thought, this is such a visible spot for the city of Austin, we should do something that the community can enjoy.”
Dixon said it took about six months to come up with the concept and design for the grocer’s newest piece of public art.
The sculpture comes from Ion Art, the same company that made the neon sign for the very first Whole Foods store back in 1991.
“Our relationship with Whole Foods goes back 26 years,” Ion Art owner Greg Keshishian said. “In the ’90s, Whole Foods began opening dozens of stores…it was during that time of Ion Art’s history that we stopped starving and this vital relationship with Whole Foods enabled us to grow.”
Today, Ion Art has almost 50 employees, Keshishian said.
“Whole Foods employs tens of thousands of individuals and I wonder how many other small companies like Ion Art got their first break through Whole Foods and just how many others became gainfully employed as a result,” he said.
Already, Whole Foods says the sculpture has become a hit, with many people – shoppers and non-shoppers – stopping by for photos.
“We never imagined the reaction from the Austin community,” said Laura Zappi, executive marketing coordinator for Whole Foods’ Southwest region.
A website is now live that Austin officials say makes it quick and easy to alert the city about streets that need to be safer.
City officials said they are particularly interested in what pedestrians have to say over the next couple of weeks.
Austinites can select their mode of travel (walking, bicycling, riding a motorcycle, driving a car, or using an assistive device such as a wheelchair), choose from a drop-down list of concerns, and add additional details. They will immediately see their dot appear on the map, among the others that people have placed.
With all the notes that people have already placed, the map can be a bit daunting, but it’s fairly user-friendly once you zoom in on the streets you’re interested in.
This map is for planning efforts only, city officials said. People should call 3-1-1 to identify pressing safety concerns that need immediate attention.
Even magicians are getting political these days. Across the world, “magical groups” are organizing to cast a mass spell on President Donald Trump every waning crescent moon starting Friday until — they’re hoping — he is removed from office, according to ExtraNewsfeed.
The instructions suggest participants gather a small photo of Donald Trump, a tower tarot card, a “tiny stub of an orange candle,” a white candle, matches and other materials to enact the ritual.
To perform the spell, according to the document posted by ExtraNewsfeed, one simply needs to chant a song, light a picture of Trump on fire, and then visualize him “blowing apart into dust or ash.” For the more advanced: “Experienced magicians may perform an appropriate banishing ritual,” the blog advises. And anyone wanting to use the former “The Apprentice” host’s words against him can chant “You’re fired!” with “increasing vehemence.”
The blog post concedes that Vice President Mike Pence may become president if the spell works its magic on Trump, but cheerfully notes that the spell will result in eased tension and cause a “self-exorcism” in the spellcaster.
Where do bathrooms and sports find themselves together on the field? In a spat between the NFL and the Texas governor, apparently. In an interview with conservative radio host Glenn Beck on Tuesday, Gov. Greg Abbott said the NFL is “walking on thin ice” and should “get the heck out of politics,” according to ESPN. Abbott’s comments come after NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said Friday that the NFL may refuse to host sporting events in places that are “discriminatory or inconsistent with our values.”
Senate Bill 6 and a similar measure, House Bill 1362, would prohibit public schools from letting transgender children use multistall bathrooms that conform with their gender identity. State government buildings also would be barred from creating transgender-friendly bathrooms, and cities and counties would be prohibited from requiring bathrooms that accommodate transgender individuals.
Do you like the prospect of living out your cowboy fantasies by owning a Texas cattle ranch? Do you have an affinity for UFOs? And are you worth millions of dollars?
Even if you’re not a millionaire or billionaire, you’ll still want to check out the Yates Cattle and Conservation Ranch, priced at a cool $9,240,000. Located 15 minutes from downtown Austin, the ranch features a dwelling resembling a flying saucer (one of about 100 in the world), along with a barn that includes a Tesla charging station, a modular house, and other cool things.
The ranch sits on more than 385 acres of land with gleaming lakes, streams, trails and more.
Galveston man Leslie Ray Charping died late last month after a battle with cancer. The passing of the 75-year-old, however, was without the pleasantries and condolences that might normally accompany the death of a loved one.
Charping’s obituary has gained widespread attention for being, as Galveston’s ABC 13 puts it, “brutal, yet honest.”
The obituary, which you can read in full here, says that Charping died, “January 30, 2017, which was 29 years longer than expected and much longer than he deserved.” The obituary was assumedly written by the “family he tortured” and calls Charping “a model example of bad parenting combined with mental illness and a complete commitment to drinking, drugs, womanizing and being generally offensive.”
In case you’re wondering what kind of funeral you hold for someone who left behind “2 relieved children… and countless other victims” — you don’t. The obituary’s author makes it clear that there will not be a service or “prayers for eternal peace and no apologizes to the family he tortured.” Instead, the family planned to keep Charping’s cremated remains “in the barn until “Ray,” the family donkey’s wood shavings run out.”
Charping’s only redeeming qualities? His “quick whited [sic] sarcasm which was amusing during his sober days” and his “surprising” intelligence.
A Central Austin church is hosting an interfaith vigil called “Refugees Welcome” from 6-7:15 p.m. Monday.
The event will be held inside First English Lutheran Church, 3001 Whitis Ave. Organizers say the event will show the community’s support for refugees and opposition to President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees, migrants and foreign nationals from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States.
The sanctuary can only seat about 300, and people are welcome to arrive any time after 5:30 p.m., organizers said. Parking is available at the church.
The Facebook event says they are gathering for the following reason: “Faith leaders, refugee resettlement agencies, refugee leaders, immigrants’ rights advocates, and community members will join together to denounce the Trump administration’s executive action on refugee resettlement, which turns our backs on Syrian refugees and refugees from around the world at the very time when they are most in need of safety.”
The Williamson County city was ranked No. 6 on the list, which rated more than 500 American cities based on safety, housing affordability education quality and child friendliness. Dallas suburbs Flower Mound and Frisco were ranked No. 1 and No. 2 on the list, and Houston suburb Pearland was No. 10.
Among the largest U.S. cities, El Paso was the highest-ranked, coming in at No. 25. Among Central Texas cities, Round Rock was rated No. 26, and Austin fell all the way to No. 209 — based on low scores for safety and child friendliness.
In its conclusion, ApartmentList.com said “With a strong mix of safety, affordability, and good public schools, Texas has some of the best choices for families trying to decide where to settle.”
The No. 1 town on the 2016 list — Allen, TX — fell to No. 11 this year.
When former President George W. Bush got tangled in his rain poncho during last week’s inauguration, the Internet was quick to seize on his befuddlement, largely in a good-natured way.
But President Bush has been no stranger to both embarrassment and lighter moments. Though he weathered serious criticism during his eight years in office — on issues ranging from 9/11 to the Iraq War to Hurricane Katrina — his ability to suffer indignities without rancor and keep a focus on humor and humanity are also important to remember.
And who could forget when he expertly dodged not one, but two thrown shoes at a press conference in Iraq?
It was probably a presidential first, but Bush kept his composure — just as he did when he encountered a locked door after a speech in China:
President Bush also hasn’t been shy about dancing:
And he was quick to mug for the kids:
As president, he supported our athletes at the Olympics in China — careful, there, Mr. President!
And since he left office, President Bush has not been afraid to show his bipartisan side …