Commissioners Corner

  • Austin writer in quarantine “out of an abundance of caution”
    Featured Post Life   //   October 21, 2014   // 2 Comments

    AUSTIN – Day 17 of my quarantine finds me gazing out at the swath of graceful oaks and maples that crowd the greenbelt beyond my back yard. Two slender brown squirrels skitter and climb among the lower branches of the trees with effortless agility. They chatter excitedly as they chase each other and run from the marauding blue jays.

  • Protect your pet—take precautions before a storm
    Featured Post Life   //   October 4, 2014   // 0 Comments

    When it rains and storms in the Austin area the Austin Animal Center and area animal shelters see a spike in the number of lost pets due to runaways that are frightened by the rain storm.

    Because the animal shelter operates at capacity, it becomes critical to have the pet properly tagged so the animal will not be at risk. If a phone number has changed on the tag use a sharpie to write the current number.

    “With typical storm events, we see hundreds of lost pets entering our shelter. Keeping a current ID tag on your pet can help us prevent these numbers from happening,” says Chief Animal Services Officer, Abigail Smith.

  • Rattlesnakes and rat snakes invade local neighborhoods
    Featured Post Life   //   July 16, 2014   // 0 Comments

    Two kinds of snakes, similar in size and actions, are on the crawl in southwest Travis County, and have some residents confused about which is friend and which is foe. The diamondback rattlesnake is a menace whose bite can cause illness or even death. The rat snake, similar in color, size and certain mannerisms, will bite when cornered, but its bite is not poisonous.

  • Public rallies to support Austin Zoo
    Featured Post Life   //   July 14, 2014   // 0 Comments

    What type of animals would steal from an animal sanctuary? Certainly not the four-legged kind. The Austin Zoo is offering $5,000 to find out.

    On the night of July 3, burglars stole cash, two laptops, an ATM, a safe, and equipment used to monitor and care for zoo animals, including a tranquilizer gun.

    And then there’s the damage. Patti Clark, the Zoo’s director, told the Gazette, “The burglars pried open file cabinets in our offices and smashed one of our Admissions cash registers. They damaged gates and doors to gain access to the property and Gift Shop.”

    Fortunately, all of the animals are fine as the burglary was confined to the Gift Shop/Admissions building, although a trio of rescued felines that live in the building were “clearly quite scared,” according to Clark.

    Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary is a private, non-profit zoo, that is home to more than 350 animals representing a hundred different species. The Zoo’s mission is “to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education.”

    All told, the Zoo suffered more than $25,000 in losses. Insurance will cover the damaged gates and doors, but likely not the damaged and stolen equipment.

    But for the Austin Zoo and Animal Sanctuary, a silver lining has appeared in an outpouring of support as word of the burglary spread. Clark said, “The response from the community has been amazing! Currier Lock and Safe in Buda has donated several hours of labor every day since the burglary rekeying all buildings on the property and working on obtaining and replacing all locks. Dyezz Surveillance is donating a complete security system for the entire Zoo. Get an Edge Up is donating file cabinets. 3M is donating file cabinets. We have had individuals donate tablet computers and laptops, a file cabinet and a safe in addition to cash donations.”

  • YMCA gets grant to fund program for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia
    Life   //   July 2, 2014   // 0 Comments

    AUSTIN – The YMCA of Austin received a $5,000 grant from the St. David’s Foundation Health’s Angels. The grant will help fund the existing ‘Senior Retreat’ program at the TownLake YMCA and will help expand the program to the Southwest Family YMCA in Oak Hill by the end of 2014.

    The YMCA Senior Retreat provides meaningful and healthy activities for seniors with functioning stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia and respite for their caregivers. Seniors participate for two hours, once a week in stimulating and therapeutic activities, such as crafts, singing, light dancing, strength and balance activities, gentle yoga, games and lunch.

    The St. David’s Foundation Community Fund created Health’s Angels to address needs of senior citizens in the Austin community. They strive to improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. The YMCA applied for the grant and was chosen as one of three recipients, including Interfaith Action of Central Texas and H.A.N.D.

  • A Banner Year for Crockett High School and its Principal
    Featured Post Life   //   June 23, 2014   // 0 Comments

    Crockett Principal Craig Shapiro was honored as Principal of the Year by the Austin Independent School District. He stands in the school’s courtyard, with banners displayed all around proudly showing the many accomplishments made by Crockett students.

  • Austin Animal Center still reeling from storms
    Featured Post Life   //   June 19, 2014   // 0 Comments

    The Austin Animal Center has more than 1,100 cats and dogs to care for, many of them lost from last week’s storms. The Center has taken in over 400 animals in the past 7 days, and only 132 of them have left the shelter. Anyone who is missing their pet should come to the Austin Animal Center to look for their pet, and check the Center’s website regularly. The Center also tweets every 30 minutes with information about stray animals that have just come into the shelter; follow @austinanimals.

    Every summer the Center fills up with kittens and puppies. Storms and fireworks add to the problem by causing a surge in stray animals entering the already over capacity shelter. Sadly, many of these pets never find their way back home. “It never ceases to amaze me,” says Abigail Smith, Chief Animal Services Officer, “that so many healthy, well cared for pets arrive here and are never reclaimed. They are well groomed, and they have nice collars, but no id tag or microchip.”

    The Austin Animal Center offers free microchips and tags to community members. The Center is also running a summer adoption special with $25 adoptions that include spay/neuter surgery, vaccinations, microchip, collar and ID tag. The special will run through Sept. 1, 2014.

    The Austin Animal Center, located at 7201 Levander Loop, is open daily 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Visit the website to view all lost pets and those available for adoption at austinanimalcenter.org or check facebook.com/austinanimalservices for daily animal updates.

  • Studio E hopes to start an Oak Hill Community Theater
    Featured Post Life   //   April 15, 2014   // 0 Comments

    Oak Hill residents may soon have the opportunity to shine on or behind the stage if a local acting studio reaches its goal of starting a community theater. Local residents are invited to a variety show on April 22 to help raise funds for that community theater. Students from Liz Reeder Neubauer’s Studio E will show off their talents as part of the fundraiser.

    Neubauer promises “an amazing night of entertainment.” She has coached hundreds of students over the past nine years—from housewives seeking a creative outlet to up-and-coming actors now featured on network series.

    The classes at Studio E range from singing and acting to comedy and voiceovers. Neubauer told the Gazette: “There’s not one department that we have that we have not had some level of national success coming out of this tiny little classroom in Oak Hill.”

  • The Sunset Valley Boys are country music classics
    Life   //   March 20, 2014   // 0 Comments

    Story and photos by Donna Marie Miller The South-by-Southwest Music Festival may have ended, but live music continues at venues all over town for us locals. In Southwest Austin, a few older gray-haired musicians can still draw big crowds any night of the week—even if the majority of folks dancing qualify as senior citizens as old as 91. The familiar saying “the older the fiddle, the sweeter the...

  • Austin’s first Tour De Hives on National Honey Bee Day
    Featured Post Life Uncategorized   //   August 16, 2013   // 2 Comments

    The event will kick off with honey and mead tasting, beehive tours and basic introduction classes to beekeeping. Self-guided participants will sign waivers to visit bee yards within a 20-mile radius of the state’s Capitol until 2 p.m. using flyers with maps and directions. This is not a pet-friendly event and Phillips advises participants to leave them at home.

    Phillips will provide some training presentations and a few vendors will also provide equipment used for harvesting and tasting of honey products. The event will also serve as a fundraiser for The Bee Friendly Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports scientific education, public awareness, humane treatment, sustainability, and collection of honey from bees.