Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Big Arm

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

This "big arm" is a famous landmark/statuary in Austin's Hyde Park neighborhood. It is located on the Hyde Park gym.

Handicap Accessibility:
This statue is accessible to all for all to see, as it over hangs the sidewalk.

4135 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78705

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Austin Celtic Festival Coming up 11/3-4, 2012

Austin Celtic Festival is said to be designed to showcase the Celtic culture of Ireland, Scotland, Brittany, Nova Scotia, Wales and other countries, the Austin Celtic Festival has been held annually since 1997. The event includes traditional Celtic music, dance, food, storytellers, animal performers, history performers, as well as Highland Games, with over 200 such performers/exhibitors.

Dates and Time:
Saturday Nov. 3, 2012 Noon to 7:30pm
Sunday Nov. 4, 2012 Noon to 7:30pm

$12 Donation per day (online or at gate)
$20 Donation Weekend Pass (available Online only)

Fiesta Gardens 2102 Jesse E. Segovia Street (on the shore of Ladybird Lake)

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Monday, October 29, 2012

Bull Creek Park and Preserve

Bull Creek Preserve & Park
 The park is part of the 32 square miles of the Bull Creek Preserve just off of Old Spicewood Springs Road. There are a number of entrances  that make this park look and feel like several different parks.  We have listed/photographed each section below: With a number of waterfalls along the creek, this is a wonderful site to spend a summer afternoon. 

one of the many waterfalls along Bull Creek.  photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Bull Creek Park 
6701 Lakewood Dr. 78731 
photo by Kevin Surbaugh

This park has no reservable areas.
Size: 48.00 Acres
Barbeque Pits 7
Basketball Courts 1
Fishing Piers 1
Multipurpose Fields 1
Natural Swimming Areas 1
Picnic Tables 12
Volleyball Courts 1

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Bull Creek Park (lower) 

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

7806 N. Capital of Texas Highway (aka 360) 78731

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

This park has no reservable areas.
Size: 477.00 Acres
Fishing Piers 1
Natural Swimming Areas 1
Picnic Tables 8
Hiking Trail Miles 5.8 (no bicycles/motor vehicles allowed on trail)
Volleyball Courts 1

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

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Bull Creek Park (upper)

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

6958 Old Spicewood Springs Rd 78731


This park has no reservable areas.

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  West Bull Creek Greenbelt 

7810 RM RD 2222 78730

This park has no reservable areas.


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Volunteers get together to help clean up and take care of all areas of this park:
Bull Creek Foundation: Volunteer Work Day Schedule

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Free Events This Weekend (Oct 26-28, 2012)

This looks to be a busy weekend with two free events. Several of which are free to attend. So lets get started.

  1. Art at the Domain
    Art at the Domain is a three-day event in what is being billed as Austin's premier lifestyle venue, The Domain, in Northwest Austin. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

    Dates and Times:
    Friday October 26th - 12 noon to 7 pm
    Saturday October 27th - 10 am to 7 pm
    Sunday October 28th - 12 noon to 6 pm

    The Domain 11410 Century Oaks Terrace
  2. Texas Book Festival
    The Texas Book Festival celebrates authors and their contributions to the culture of literacy, ideas, and imagination.

    The Texas Book Festival was established in 1995 by then First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian and an ardent advocate of literacy. Mrs. Bush created a task force to plan the book festival to honor Texas authors, promote the joys of reading and serve to benefit the state's public libraries. The first Festival took place at the Capitol in November 1996; the Festival has quickly evolved into one of the premier literary events in the country, annually hosting over 200 Texas and nationally known authors. More than 40,000 visitors participate annually in a weekend of author readings and presentations, panel discussions, book signings, and musical entertainment at the State Capitol in Austin. Admission is free and the event is open to the public.
    Dates and Times:
    Saturday October 27th - 10 am to 5 pm
    Sunday October 28th - 11 noon to 5 pm

    Texas State Capital 112 East 11th Street
  3. Austin Record Convention
    This event isn't free, but considering admission prices around Austin, it nearly is. The admission is only $5/person.
    The Austin Record Convention is said to be the largest sale of recorded music in the USA. There is more music and related memorabilia available here, at one time, than anywhere else. Ranging from the 78's of the 1930s to the latest compact discs of today, over one million 78s, 45s, LPs, CDs, cassettes, posters and collectibles (probably even a few 8-track tapes!) are in the auditorium.

    Dates and Times:
    Saturday October 27th - 10 am to 6 pm
    Sunday October 28th - 10 noon to 5 pm

    North Austin Convention Center 10601 N Lamar

Friday, October 26, 2012

Springwoods Park

This park was annexed into the city in 2011. It was formally part of the Springwoods MUD, which dissolved after the neighborhood was annexed into the city.  Springwood is a very clean park and everything appears to be in good working order. 

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
Park Hours:
5 am - 10 PM
Gazebo - photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

  • tennis courts
  • picnic areas
  • playgrounds
  • hike-and-bike trails 
  • 12.45 acres
Tennis Courts - photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
playground - photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
  picnic area- photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
9117 Anderson Mill Rd Austin, TX 78729

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CNN Founder Ted Turner Says he is Glad Soldiers are Killing Themselves Then Apologizes

Did you hear this news yesterday? Ted Turner the founder of CNN said on Wednesday (Oct 24, 2012) nights edition of Piers Morgan that he thinks that it is good that American soldiers are committing suicide in large numbers because it shows an aversion to war. Tell that to the spouse that was left behind or the devastated parents. You know on the bright side Johnnies death shows that he had an aversion to war.
Please! Who in their right mind would say that to anyone? Watch the video clip yourself.

However, is reporting this morning that late last night that Turner issued the following apology.
During my recent interview on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, I inadvertently used the word “good” when asked for my thoughts on the increasing rate of suicide among U.S. military soldiers in the Middle East. It was certainly not my intent to imply that suicide is “good.” Rather, I was implying that it is good that the public is more aware of these tragedies and is more averse to war and war-related fatalities.

My message has always been one of peace, I believe that we’re born programmed to love and help each other, not to kill or hurt each other. I strongly support our U.S. troops and would never intentionally say anything to harm the brave men and women serving our country. I deeply apologize for any misunderstanding caused by this comment.

It's good that he apologized, but I don't buy for a minute that his original statement was unintentional.
My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Conceited President

As a political junkie I am on the email list of the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates for President. Recently I got an email from the Obama campaign. Hell who am I kidding? I've received hundreds of them. However, I wanted to focus on one of them.
This particular email had a catchy subject title and was the exact same title of another email he had sent before the conventions.
The email said that Obama himself had sent it, and was titled,
"I want To Win."
My first thought when I read that was, "So do I you conceited jerk. But I'm not running for President." I mean come on. Seriously? Couldn't you come up with a better title? Obviously, you want to win, but couldn't you write an email and subject title that didn't make you sound so conceited?

My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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The Government that Cried Wolf

Real terrorists need to be feared, but
My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Texas Governors Mansion

photo by Kevin Surbaugh
The Texas Governors Mansion is the most historic home in all of Texas. It sits on a beautifully landscaped city block in Austin, across the street from the capital building. Built in 1854 and designed by the prominent architect Abner Cook, it has been the official home of every governor since 1856. Making it the the fourth oldest governors mansion in the United States that has been continuously occupied (by a governor).
Even though Texas was admitted into the Union in 1845, the Texas Legislature didn't appropriate the $14,500 for construction of a "suitable residence" for the Governor until 1854.
On June 8, 2008, during a massive renovation, someone threw a Molotov cocktail at the mansion, igniting an arson fire that gutted much of the mansion.
After the four-alarm fire, the next legislature allocated $22 million for the restoration of the Governor's Mansion. Half of that amount came from the American recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Governor Rick Perry and his wife Anita moved back ito the Governor's Mansion on July 18, 2012.

Currently closed to the public.  Tours expected to resume in the near future.  512-463-0063.

Tour Length:


Parking garage 1201 San Jacinto located between Trinity and San Jacinto Streets at 12th and 13th streets. Parking is free for the first two hours and $1.00 for each half hour thereafter (maximum daily charge: $8.00)

Official Website:
Texas Governors Mansion

1010 Colorado St. Austin, TX

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Stephen F. Austin Hotel

This marker is on the front of the Stephen F. Austin Hotel, which is still in operation today. The hotel has gone through a number of owners over the years. Today it is owned by the InterContinentalGroup of Hotels. According to their website they are the choice for luxury in downtown Austin, the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin provides lodging just four blocks from the Austin State Capitol and puts you within walking distance of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, the University of Texas and the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. The hotel itself is decked out in granite floors and marble staircases,with oriental rugs and Italian chairs.
photo by Kevin Surbaugh
To meet the needs of the growing Austin community, T.B. Baker, President of Baker Hotels, opened a hotel in 1924 at this site, previously occupied by the Keystona Hotel. Baker’s new facility, initially to be called “The Texas,” was named for Stephen F. Austin in response to local interest. Acclaimed Fort Worth firm Sanguinet, Staats and Hedrick designed the Beaux Arts hotel; local architect Roy L. Thomas represented them in its construction. In 1938, five stories were added. After a restoration in 2000, the hotel retains much of its original, classically influenced detailing on the interior and exterior.


photo by Kevin Surbaugh

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

photo by Kevin Surbaugh
701 Congress Ave Austin, Texas 78701

Friday, October 19, 2012

October in Guatemala

Elias finished up his internship that he started in August. He was hopeful that they might offer him a full-time position, but it didn't work out. We would appreciate your prayers as he now starts job hunting. Saturday is his graduation ceremony from high school, and they've asked him to share his testimony at the ceremony. He's pretty nervous right now as he prepares!

Edwin and Jenifer are siblings who stayed with us for Christmas last year. On Sunday their older brother Hugo died of complications from pneumonia. He had several medical conditions that had progressively worsened over the years, and lately he had been constantly in and out of the hospital. The most beautiful thing about his testimony was that in the middle of all his problems and pains, he always talked to everyone about God's goodness. Well now he's in the presence of his good God and isn't suffering anymore, and we give God praise for that.

Out of this sad time came a new beginning. Hugo had left the orphanage years before I arrived, and his death reunited many guys who grew up with him and are closer to my age. We had an INCREDIBLE time meeting them and getting to know them. It was like a big extended family reunion! The common feeling with everyone was "I miss this family. We need to get together more often!

On Monday I got sick, and I wasn't able to get together with them. They responded, "No problem, we'll come to your house!" God helped me feel better in the evening when they arrived, and He really blessed our time together. I'm very excited about the new relationships! Yuli and I really enjoyed listening to each of them share their experiences after leaving the orphanage and learning about the challenges that they faced. Yuli invited them all back over again in a few weeks so that she could cook for them all, but I think that she forgot that she's about to give birth! (God really blessed me with an incredible wife!) We would really appreciate your prayers that God would allow us to continue to build these new relationships, and that we can encourage each of them to continue to seek God as adult men.

At the end of September we poured our cement roof! It was a pretty massive undertaking, and it used about 150 sacks of cement (about 6 tons), 14 cubic meters each of sand and gravel (around 23 tons each!), and lots of water. Coming from the United States, it's a little weird thinking about all that weight above your head. I put together a quick and very shaky video of the process if you're interested. The last few weeks we stopped construction in order to let the roof fully dry, but now we're back removing the wooden mold that held it all together. It looks good!

Our family is going to grow in size very soon! Yuli is less than a month away from giving birth to our little girl, and we can't wait to meet her! We work with lots of kids, but not with many babies, so it's going to be a huge change for us. We're so excited to soon meet our little gift from God! Last week we took advantage of the break in construction and snuck away for a little vacation to relax for a few days. Pretty soon our lives are going to become a lot busier, and so the time was so needed and refreshing. The doctor says that our baby is doing well and already over 6 pounds, but she has her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck twice. Please pray for our baby during these final weeks of pregnancy and as we decide if a C-section is necessary.

Verse for October:
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted  
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  
Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Please pray this verse this month for all the kids and men that God has placed in our lives. Edwin and Jenifer are going through a time of sorrow. The guys who live with us are affected by the rejection of their mother. Many of the kids at the orphanage suffer from the abandonment and abuse and brokenness that brought them here. We so desire to be used by God as a conduit of His love and healing. Please pray for us!

Here are all of the blog posts for this past month:

Thank you so much for your support and prayers for Yuli, myself and our ministry with these guys. We pray that God also blesses your lives and draws you closer to Him. We pray regularly for you, so please let me know if you have any prayer requests!

Brent & Yuliza

Allen Memorial County Park

This park is described as a limestone plateau that is covered with a number of Juniper and Oak trees. The park is also interspersed with small, semi-open grassland areas. It is mainly used for low density recreational activities such as picnicking and hiking. Offering a natural setting with panoramic views of the city to the east. A neighborhood church uses the park each year for Easter Sunrise Services.

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh


Park phone:
photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

Barbeque Pits 1
Picnic Shelters 1
Picnic Tables 5
Trail Miles .7
10 Acres
photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

6413 Westside Dr. Austin, TX 78731

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Samuel Huston College

According to the Texas State Historical Society Samuel Huston College, was a coeducational school for blacks in Austin, Texas. The idea for the college developed from a plan developed in 1876 by the Methodist Episcopal conference. In 1883 an agreement with the Freedmen's Aid Society resulted in the purchase of a six-acre plot on which the college was built. A gift of $9,000 was received from Samuel Huston of Marengo, Iowa, for whom the institution was named. However, it wasn't until 1900 that the college held its first classes. Then On October 24, 1952, Samuel Huston College merged with Tillotson College to form Huston-Tillotson College.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Samuel Huston College traces its history to 1876 when the Rev. George W. Richardson founded a college in Dallas for the education of African American youth. St. Paul’s Methodist Episcopal Church was leased for the private school, named Andrews Normal School.

The school moved to Austin in 1878 and held classes in the Wesley Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church. The west Texas conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, with the help of the Freedmen’s Aid Society, adopted Andews Normal School in 1878 and the name was changed to West Texas Conference School. Nearly six acres were acquired on East 12th Street in 1880 for the original campus. The school was renamed in 1887 in honor of Samuel Huston of Morengo, Iowa, who donated property worth $10,000. Funding difficulties caused the school to close several times in the 1880s. It reopened in 1900 at the same site.

Organized as a private educational corporation in 1910, it became a senior college in 1926, and merged with Tillotson College in 1952. Relocated to the Tillotson College campus on Chicon Street, the school was renamed Huston-Tillotson College. It continues a distinguished history of education.


photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Marker is at the intersection of Interstate 35 Frontage Road and East 12th Street, on the right when traveling north on Interstate 35. Address on the shopping center behind the sign is 1109 N I. H. 35 Austin, TX 78702

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Austin Film Festival - Oct 18-25, 2012

Austin may be known for music, but there is at least two annual film festivals held here every year. In April the city hosts the Attic Film Festival and then in October the more prestigious film festival is the Austin Film Festival (AFF). According to their website, AFF provides many local arts organizations and businesses with a creative platform to showcase their services through programming collaborations and social events, all of which serve to show off Austin and what the city has to offer.
Founded in 1993, AFF was the first organization of its kind to focus on the writers’ creative contribution to film. AFF furthers the art and craft of filmmaking by inspiring and championing the work of screenwriters, filmmakers and all artists who use the language of film to tell a story. What AFF is probably best known for around the world is its annual October Austin Film Festival & Conference. The Film Festival & Conference was the first event of its kind to take the lead in bringing professional and amateur screenwriters (and now filmmakers) together to celebrate the role of the screenplay in filmmaking and discuss the considerable creative possibilities of writing for film and television.

The site also mentions that there are a number of different ways to attend at a variety of different price points. Depending on what you want to participate in.  The festival lasts eight days, so there is plenty to do while the fest is going on.  Venues include the Paramount Theatre, Alamo Drafthouse Ritz, Alamo Drafthouse Village, Long Center Rollins Theatre, Hideout Theater, Austin Convention Center, and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Musuem IMAX & Texas Spirit Theaters. (Venues are subject to change each year). In addition, the conference panels take place at the Driskill Hotel & Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin hotel in the heart of downtown Austin.

Austin Film Festival strives to be accessible to all patrons of the arts. While all of the Conferences and venues are wheelchair accessible, it is important to request accessible seating for a particular screening at least one day prior to the screening.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Joesph and Susanna Dickinson Hanning Museum

Susana Dickinson was born in rural Tennessee in or around 1814 as Susanna Wilkerson. She was only 15 when she eloped with U. S. Army artillerist Almeron Dickinson in 1829.  Not long after they joined the flood of American immigrants to the Mexican province of Texas.  In 1835, Dickinson was placed in charge of artillery at the Alamo as the Texas Revolution heated up.  When the Mexican troops appeared, Susanna took refuge in the fort with her husband. During the final assault on the fort on that March 6th, Susanna and others took refuge in the chapel. Unfortunately her husband was killed in the battle. After the battle the Mexican President Santa Anna made her the so called "Messenger of the Alamo," he gave her two dollars, a blanket, and an escort to carry a letter to the Texas General Sam Houston, demanding that he surrender or face the same fate.
Susanna remarried four times after the death of her first husband. Her second husband was an abusive drunk who she divorced (which was one of the first divorces in the new Republic of Texas). Her third husband died of alcoholism. Her forth husband divorced her accusing her of prostitution, which she didn't contest as she had already left him. Her fifth husband, who was 20 years younger then her, she met while operating a boarding house. They married in 1857.  He survived, after she died in 1883 at the age of 70.

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

Wednesday - Sunday 12 noon - 5p.m.

Contact phone:
Texas State Library & Archives Commission photo is public domain


411 East 5th Street Austin, TX 78701

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

ACL Fest 2012 is Coming Soon

It is almost time for Austin City Limits annual ACL Fest. This year's festival will again be in Zilker Park. The dates of this years festival is October 12, 13 and 14, 2012. Held annually since 2002 this is the 10th annual festival, which has become so big that next year in 2013 it is expected to expand to two weekends.  Pretty good for an event that originally started as a two day event.

photo from website (ACL Fest 2006)

Below is a list of this years scheduled bands: 

Friday, Oct 12
  1. The Black Keys
  2. Florence + The Machine
  4. Weezer
  5. M83
  6. Tegan and Sara
  7. Thievery Corporation
  8. The Afghan Whigs
  9. Esperanza Spalding
  10. Alabama Shakes
  11. Delta Spirit
  12. M. Ward
  13. The War On Drugs
  14. Umphrey's McGee
  15. A-Trak
  16. Trampled by Turtles
  17. Patterson Hood
  18. Black Lips
  19. Los Campesinos!
  20. Jovanotti
  21. Ben Howard
  22. Asleep at the Wheel
  23. First Aid Kit
  24. Patrick Watson
  25. LP
  26. The Wombats
  27. Gardens & Villa
  28. The Soul Rebels
  29. Lance Herbstrong
  30. He's My Brother, She's My Sister
  31. River City Extension
  32. Quiet Corral
  33. The Relatives
  34. Infantree
  35. Kenny Vaughan Trio
  36. Justin Jones
  37. Ralph's World
  38. Colorfeels
  39. Megan McCormick
  40. Shields of Faith
  41. Stapletones
  42. Hullabaloo
  43. Orange Sherbet
  44. Rocknoceros
  45. Big Don

Saturday, Oct 13
  1. Neil Young and Crazy Horse
  2. Jack White
  3. The Roots
  5. The Shins
  6. Gotye
  7. Andrew Bird
  8. Metric
  9. Band of Skulls
  10. Rufus Wainwright
  11. Big Gigantic
  12. Antibalas
  13. Steve Earle
  14. Punch Brothers
  15. Bombay Bicycle Club
  16. Michael Kiwanuka
  17. Big K.R.I.T.
  18. Oberhofer
  19. Zola Jesus
  20. Civil Twilight
  21. The Whigs
  22. Dev
  23. Caveman
  24. Lee Fields & The Expressions
  25. Father John Misty
  26. Dry the River
  27. Kishi Bashi
  28. The Deep Dark Woods
  29. Wheeler Brothers
  30. Wild Child
  31. Space Capone
  32. Native Run
  33. Nikki Lane
  34. Quiet Company
  35. La Vida Bohème
  36. Sonámbulo
  37. The Baylor Choir
  38. Disciples of Joy
  39. Jambo
Sunday, Oct 14
  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers
  2. The Avett Brothers
  3. Iggy & The Stooges
  4. The Civil Wars
  5. Childish Gambino
  6. Two Door Cinema Club
  7. Crystal Castles
  8. Gary Clark Jr.
  9. The Weeknd
  10. Randy Rogers Band
  11. Die Antwoord
  13. Kimbra
  14. Barrington Levy
  15. Old 97's
  16. Ruthie Foster
  17. POLICA
  18. Tennis
  19. Stars
  20. Freelance Whales
  21. The Lumineers
  22. Bad Books
  23. The Devil Makes Three
  24. The Boxer Rebellion
  25. Thundercat
  26. Willis Earl Beal
  27. The Features
  28. Moon Duo
  29. Kopecky Family Band
  30. The Eastern Sea
  31. The Dunwells
  32. Lera Lynn
  33. Royal Teeth
  34. Noah Gundersen
  35. The Aaron Ivey Band
  36. The Mighty Sincere Voices
  37. G.S.T.
  38. Peter DiStefano & Tor
  39. The School of Rock
  40. The Q Brothers

With a lineup like that, who would want to miss the it. However, according to their website all available tickets are sold out.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Books and Babies Storytime

Books and Babies Storytime is a story-time event held at various times through out the Austin Public Library system, for infants to early walkers (0-18 months) and their caregivers.

Twin Oaks Branch 1800 S. Fifth St. Austin Texas 78704 (512)974-9980

  • Monday, October 22, 2012 2 pm
  • Monday, October 29, 2012 2 pm
  • Monday, November 05, 2012 2 pm
  • Monday, November 12, 2012 2 pm
  • Monday, November 19, 2012 2 pm
  • Monday, November 26, 2012 2 pm

Pleasant Hill Branch 211 E. William Cannon Dr. Austin, Texas 78745 (512)974-3940

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 11 am
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 11 am
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 11 am
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 11 am
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 11 am
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 11 am

Yarborough Branch 2200 Hancock Dr. Austin Texas 78756 (512)974-8820

Wednesday, October 24, 2012 2 pm
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 2 pm
Wednesday, November 07, 2012 2 pm
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 2 pm
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 2 pm
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 2 pm

Little Walnut Creek Branch 835 Rundburg Lane Austin, TX (512) 974-9862

Thursday, October 25, 2012 2 pm
Thursday, November 1, 2012 2 pm
Thursday, November 08, 2012 2 pm
Thursday, November 15, 2012 2 pm
Thursday, November 22, 2012 2 pm
Thursday, November 29, 2012 2 pm

Monday, October 8, 2012

Henry Smith

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Henry Smith (1788-1851) immersed himself in public affairs soon after arriving in Texas in 1827. Initially a local political leader in what is now Brazoria County, he was appointed in 1835 as a delegate to the San Felipe Consultation, which met to determine Texas’ position toward the Mexican dictatorship established by Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. Contrary to Smith’s desire for independence, the Consultation voted to support the 1824 Mexican Federal Constitution, but established a provisional government to operate until the conflict with Santa Anna was resolved.

Henry Smith was the chief author of the plan for civil government, which was adopted as Organic Law on Nov. 11, 1835. He then was elected Provisional Governor and served from Nov. 12, 1835, until Mar. 1, 1836. Smith’s term was plagued with problems, but he submitted his progress report on Mar. 4 to the convention at Washington-on-the-Brazos. There Smith’s crusade for independence was finally won.

Following the war against Mexico, Henry Smith served as Texas’ Secretary of the Treasury under President Sam Houston and one term in the Republic’s House of Representatives. “Gold Fever” led Smith to California, where he died and was buried in an unmarked grave in 1851.


near 1006 Congress in downtown Austin, in Bicentennial Square next to the Old Bakery and across the street from the State Capital.

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Pennybacker Bridge and Loop 360 Boat Ramp

Pennybacker Bridge 
The Pennybacker Bridge (aka 360 bridge) is a through arch bridge across Lake Austin (Colorado River) to connect north and south Loop 360 highway, also known as the "Capital of Texas Highway." The road is widely considered one of the most scenic urban drives in central Texas, in large part due to this arched weathering steel bridge and the rolling hills that flank the road. It is said that in 2001, there was 48,000 vehicles that crossed the bridge daily. Compare that to 1991,when an estimated 22,000 vehicles crossed the bridge daily.
The bridge is notable for being anchored only to the land (doesn't have to go underwater). Named in honor of Texas Department of Transportation engineer Percy Pennybacker, who designed bridges for the Texas Highway Department and was a pioneer in the technology of welded structures. The contract for the bridge was let in late 1979 and major structural steelwork was finished by July 1982. The bridge was dedicated officially November 29, 1982 by Austin mayor Carole McClellan and other public officials and opened for traffic December 3, 1982.

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

(on Loop 360) 5201 N Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, TX 78746

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 Loop 360 Boat Ramp
The Loop 360 boat ramp is located below the southern end of Pennybacker Bridge over Lake Austin. This three-acre park is primarily used for lake access, but offers a grassy area for fishing and picnicking. A few bald cypress and sycamore trees grow along the water's edge. The boat ramp itself offers three lanes. Other activities include boating, fishing and picnicking.

photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh

  • 3-Lane boat Ramp
  • picnic tables
  • benches
  • barbeque grills

  • Day Use Permit per vehicle per day: $10.00
  • Pedestrian/bicyclist per person per day: $3.00
  • Trailer parking per trailer per day: $2.00
  • Annual day permit per vehicle: $100.00
  • Duplicate annual day permit per vehicle (with proof of original annual permit purchase): $50.00
  • Trailer parking annual permit per trailer (must be used with annual day permit): $30.00
  • Lone Star senior day permit: free to ages 62 and older
  • Lone Star veteran day permit (for veterans with more than 60% service-related disability): free , VA documentation required

    (under the Pennybacker Bridge)  5201 N  Capital of Texas Hwy Austin, TX 78746

    View Travis County Parks in a larger map
  • Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Tonight's Movies In The Park – Labyrinth

    It is time once again for Movies in the Park. Every Spring and Fall the Austin Parks Department hosts a free movie once a month in Republic Square Park, 422 Guadalupe St., Austin, TX. 78701.

    Thursday October 4, 2012 7:30 PM

    Director: Jim Henson
    Year: 1986
    Rating: PG-13
    Runtime: 127 min

    George Lucas produced and Jim Henson directed this gothic fantasy which pits living and breathing actors Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie (who, along with Trevor Jones, provides the film's music) against a motley collection of Muppet monsters. The film centers upon teenage Sarah (Connelly), who lives in a fantasy world of myth and magic, evil spells, and wondrous enchantment. She is baby-sitting her little brother when she cavalierly wishes that goblins would take him away. She gets her wish, and a coterie of goblins abduct him.

    Remaining 2012 schedule includes:
     Thursday November 8, 2012 6 PM - Soul Power (PG-13)
    Presented in conjunction with the landmark "Rumble in the Jungle" boxing match between famed pugilists Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, Zaire '74 was a three-day music festival in Kinshasa that was organized by South African musician Hugh Masekela and American record producer Stewart Levine, and featured performances by such famed musicians as James Brown, Bill Withers, and B.B. King, among others. Many of the American musicians performing at Zaire '74 had been emboldened by the American Civil Rights movement, and saw their journey to Africa as a unique opportunity not just to perform for a new set of enthusiastic fans, but to explore their roots as well.
    When We Were Kings editor Jeffrey Levy-Hinte made it his own personal mission to see the long gestating project through to completion. The result is not simply a concert film featuring some of the most popular African and American musicians of the era, but also a pure cinéma vérité glimpse into a time when the musical crossover between the two nations was just beginning to emerge.

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    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Governor Elisha Marshall Pease

    photo by Kevin Surbaugh

    In 1835 E.M. Pease migrated to Texas from his native Connecticut. He joined the Texian forces at the Battle of Gonzales, Oct. 2, 1835, which initiated the Texas War for Independence. In the early days of the Republic, he worked as a government clerk and later served in the Legislature and Senate. He was a prominent lawyer in Brazoria when elected Governor in 1853.

    During Gov. Pease’s first two terms in office, 1853-57, a permanent school fund was established and Texas first free public schools built. Other achievements included increased railroad construction and reduction of taxes and the state debt. Gov. Pease ordered Texas Rangers to the frontier to combat recurring Indian raids. The Pease family became the first to occupy the newly constructed Governor’s Mansion in 1856.

    A staunch Unionist, Pease restricted his political activities during the Civil War (1861-65). In 1866 he again ran for Governor but lost to J.W. Throckmorton. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, Federal military commander of Texas, removed Throckmorton in 1867 and appointed Pease provisional Governor to enforce reconstruction policies. Pease resigned in protest in 1869. At the time of his death, he was an Austin banker.

    Married to Lucadia Niles (1813-1905), he had three daughters.


    near 1006 Congress in downtown Austin, in Bicentennial Square next to the Old Bakery and across the street from the State Capital.

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    Tuesday, October 2, 2012

    It's Time for Geographic Representation

    Quick, can you name the largest city without geographic representation on it's city council?In the last 40 years (1971-2011) 26 city council elections have been held to fill 17 mayoral positions and 100 city council positions. Of those 17 mayors, 15 of them were from only two zip codes in the western and northwestern sections of the city as did 32 of the 100 council members. A closer look at the representation map shows that over the same 40 years, 55% of all the cities elected officials came from only four zip codes. Leaving the majority (90%) of the city to be represented by the minority 45% on the city council.
    So what city am I talking about? Austin, Texas! Yep, that's right, the 13th largest city in the country. The city that prides itself on being weird, while at the same time being progressive, is behind the times when it comes to geographic representation. The city has even turned down the idea six times. This November, the idea is on the ballot once again. Proposition 3 and Proposition 4.

    Prop 3
    Proposition 3 is the so called 10-1 plan. Under this plan there would be ten geographically elected council members and one mayor elected at large (by the whole city).
    Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from 10 geographical single-member districts, with the mayor to be elected from the city at large, and to provide for an independent citizens redistricting commission?

    Fiscal impact: If this amendment is approved it is estimated that it will cost the City $332,361 for four additional Council members and staff the first-year for three months beginning July of 2014. There would also be a one-time cost of $888,350 for construction and build-out for the new offices in the first year. The projected five-year costs from FY 2013 through FY 2017 are $5,622,000
    - City of Austin (Charter propositions)

    Prop 4
    Proposition 4 is the so called 8-2-1 plan. In which there would be eight geographically elected council members, two elected at large and one mayor elected at large.
    Shall the city charter be amended to provide for the election of council members from eight geographical single-member districts, with the mayor and two additional council members to be elected from the city at large?

    Fiscal impact: If this amendment is approved it is estimated that it will cost the City $332,361 for four additional Council members and staff the first-year for three months beginning July of 2014. There would also be a one-time cost of $888,350 for construction and build-out for the new offices in the first year. The projected five-year costs from FY 2013 through FY 2017 are $5,622,000.
    - City of Austin (Charter propositions)

    If both plans win the one that garners the most votes will be the one declared the winner. Personally, I would be happy with either of these plans. However, I do prefer proposition three over proposition four. Both plans give citizens geographic representation, the same as we have in the state legislature and federally in the lower house of congress. So why shouldn't we have the same thing on the local level? For those reasons I am voting in favor of geographic representation and I hope my fellow citizens in this great city will join me in voting yes on this important issue.
    My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Austin Museum Of Art

    Laguna Gloria
    One thing I really love about the Laguna Gloria location is the fantastic architecture.  The 12-acre site is the former home Clara Drisoll and her husband. The home which has been placed on city, state and national registries of historic places is now the original home of the Austin Museum of Art and also has an (unaccredited) art school on the site.  The grounds and many of the buildings (including the villa) overlook Lake Austin.

    photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
    Throughout the grounds are a number outdoor sculptures as well as two gardens (The Garden of the Four Seasons and The Sunken Garden).
    photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
    "When winter comes, with a rush of restless, ruthless wind, its chill cutting like a knife through the tender plants, stripping them of leaves and their flowers of color; turning the velvet green carpet of my lawn to drab and rusty brown, my garden becomes melancholy - all its splendor gone - a season of loneliness....The stone figure of Winter standing on its pedestal, seems to draw its cloak more closely, and its almost arrogant in its contempt of Spring, Summer and Autumn, its scantily clad companions."
    - Clara Driscoll
    photo by D. Kevin Surbaugh
    3809 West 35th Street Austin, TX 78703
    Grounds Hours:
    Monday–Saturday 9am–5pm
    Sunday 10am–5pm

    Villa Hours:
    Closed Monday
    Tuesday–Wednesday 12–4pm
    Thursday–Sunday 10am–4pm
    Drop-in Tours:
    Saturday & Sunday 1pm
    Suggested Donation $3

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    The Jones Center (Downtown)

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    700 Congress Avenue Austin, TX 78701
    (512) 453-5312
    Monday–Tuesday Closed
    Wednesday 12–11pm
    Thursday–Saturday 12–9pm
    Sunday 12–5pm
    Suggested Donation $5
    Paid on street parking or in nearby garages is available

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