Friday, November 30, 2012

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

For 37 years the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar has been a seasonal celebration of Austin’s distinctive cultural identity, the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is a haven for people seeking a different kind of holiday shopping experience.
The Armadillo presents an amazing array of original work by artists and artisans, from affordable gifts to high-end art. It’s the city’s favorite shopping party, with live music and a full bar. Gift givers, art collectors and music lovers can grab a beer, dance a bit and have fun while they shop.

This years event (2012) will feature more than 160 artists, artisans and craftspeople exhibiting their latest work. At least three music acts, local luminaries and exciting new talent, will perform each day. The Armadillo will once again be held in the Palmer Events Center.

December 12-24, 2012 11am-11pm daily


Palmer Events Center

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Blue Genie Art Bazaar

The Blue Genie Art Bazaar has become an Austin tradition during the holiday shopping season and is a great place to purchase exceptional arts and gifts. They are open seven days a week; 10:00am to 10 pm daily, the event runs from November 27 through December 24 and admission is always free.

All art and gift items for sale at the bazaar have been and is handmade by 130 local artists and craftspeople that are selected through a rigorous jury process. They have thousands of original works ranging from serious art to fun, sentimental items. The Blue Genie Art Bazaar is a great way to shop hassle-free, find unique gifts, and support Austin's great local artists.

Nov 27 – Dec 24, 2012 10 am - 10 pm


Marchesa Hall and Theater 6226 Middle Fiskville Rd (across from Highland Mall)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Downtown Sing Along and Stroll

On Saturday December 1, 2012 Austinits will gather at the steps of the Texas Capital for the lighting of the Capital Christmas Tree, and a sing long with KUT's (Austin's Public Radio) own John Aielli.After which participants then will stroll down Congress Avenue enjoying live music, refreshments and other entertainment. Shops along Congress Avenue will also be open for business during this time.

The Downtown Austin Alliance has sponsored the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Capitol since 1993. In 2003, the Downtown Austin Alliance joined forces with KUT 90.5 to combine their Sing-Along with the Tree Lighting Ceremony.


Sing-Along with KUT's John Aielli
6-7 p.m. at the Capitol Grounds

Tree Lighting Ceremony
7 p.m. in front of the Capitol on the north side of 11th Street at Congress

Congress Avenue Stroll
7-9 p.m. from the Capitol to 4th Street and Congress

Free but please bring a $3 donation (or 3 cans of food) for the Capital Area Food Bank

1100 Congress Ave

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Chuy's Giving to Children Christmas Parade - 12-1-12

Every year Chuy's puts an a Christmas parade with giant inflatable balloons, festive holiday floats,  awesome, yes some might even say spectacular marching bands, children's characters, classic cars and even Jolly ole Santa himself are all included in this great annual holiday event.
Be sure to bring a toy  and at a designated time during the parade procession, the parade will stop and all parade participants will collect the toys from the spectators. The toys will then be distributed by Operation Blue Santa to children in need in time for the holidays. The parade has become a big part of this great cause collecting nearly one-third of the toys collected each year at the parade.
The idea started in 1989, but that is getting ahead of ourselves. To really tell the tale of how the parade started, we need to go back to 1987. That's when Chuy's co-owner Mike Young and KLBJ-FM teamed up to start an annual toy drive at Austin's two Chuy's locations to benefit the Operation Blue Santa program.
Two years later, Mike decided it was time to increase awareness of the toy drive by having a parade. So a couple of weeks before Christmas, volunteer's from Chuy's passed out fliers to everyone they meet downtown. The fliers asked them to bring a toy with them to work and the parade would come by to collect them. The following Thursday, the parade went up one side of Congress and back down the other stopping along the way to collect toys, including; according to the parades website a giant teddy bear, from then Governor Bill Clements.  That year Chuy's efforts nearly tripled the number of toys collected from previous years.
So come on out and enjoy the 24th annual Chuy's Christmas Parade and give to those children who might otherwise do without this Christmas season.

Dec. 1, 2012 11am

Chuy's Giving to Children Christmas Parade

Downtown along Congress Avenue from the State Capital to Ceaser Chavez

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Monday, November 26, 2012

Best Selling Author Stops in Austin

Dr. Joel Wallach (author: Dead Doctors Don't Lie) came to Austin on Monday Nov, 19, 2012 to speak to a packed house, who wanted to get control of their health naturally, in the Gymnasium at Promise Land Church (1504 E. 51st).
photo by Kevin Surbaugh
Wallach is 73 years old, but you would never know by looking at him. He studied veterinarian medicine, worked with Marline Perkins (Wild Kingdom) then went back to school to study Naturopathic Medicine.He then began to apply the ideas applied to veterinarian medicine to humans. In a nut shell, he was the first to teach that most health issues could be addressed by nutrition rather than medication. Medication only treats the symptoms rather than the cause. A proper diet with nutritional supplements is the best way to address the cause rather then the symptoms. If you address the cause, that in turn will take care of the symptoms.
He and the nutritional supplements that he developed are the only ones to successfully go against the FDA. In fact he has successfully sued the FDA not once but eight times.
During his talk he discussed cholesterol. He said it had nothing to do with heart problems. Rather, it is like the red warning light on your cars dashboard, it is only a warning of a problem. We don't want to be lowering cholesterol rather we want to find out what the high cholesterol is warning us about.  He told women about the dangers of getting a mastectomy exam. One mastectomy gives off as much radiation as five chest x-rays. Instead he urges women to self monitor themselves, if they develop a tender spot then ask the doctor for a high resolution ultra sound with no radiation.
After this he moved into the proper diet and how it is hard to get the nutrients solely from our food.Which is why we need to be on a supplemental program. Here's the deal veterinarian's have increased animal lives by adding nutrients to their diets yet we as humans eat food that really isn't fit for a dog (for example most of us can  remember when a dogs average life span was eight years, now it's 2-3 times longer). The reason our food isn't getting the nutrients from the soil like it once did. We no longer out ashes from the wood stove on our gardens like we use to.As a result the soil has become depleted from the soil. There are 90 essential vitamins and minerals that we like our animals need to have a long life.Most of which, we can only ensure that we will get from nutritional supplementation. Much of what we have been told i wrong. For example, in the the 1980's only 14% of Americans were overweight. Today nearly 40% of Americans are overweight. Why? Because the medical doctors are telling us to be healthier we need to eat better, so we cut the sugar (as we should) while we eat more whole gains. Stop and think about it for a minute. What do we give cows to fatten them up so we can have that nice juicy steak? Whole Grains! Let's take a clue and improve our diets realistically.
Another problem is we are drinking to much water without nutritional supplements. The water (which we need) is washing the vitamins and minerals out of our bodies. We must add nutritional supplements to keep those needed vitamins and minerals in our bodies. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

November in Guatemala

Happy Thanksgiving! 
I was planing to send this email out in time for Thanksgiving, but I've been a little behind these past few days.

The biggest news this month is that our daughter Margaret Sophia was born last week! We named her Margaret after my grandmother who has been such a blessing to us. Both mother and daughter are doing well, but sleep sure has been much more difficult these past few days! We are so grateful for God's wonderful provision and protection throughout the complicated pregnancy. And we are so excited to now hold our little girl in our arms. Please be praying for Yuli as she continues to heal from the C-section that was necessary.

Elias graduated from high school at the end of October, and he is now searching for his first job. So these past few weeks he's been here at home with us, and we've had much more time to spend with him than we normally get. It's been great to have this time with him, and our relationships have grown a lot deeper. He's also been an absolute blessing to us this past week with our new daughter as he's been so incredibly helpful with cleaning and running errands. I really enjoy our time together, and it's so wonderful to watch him grow and mature. Please pray for him as he searches for a job.

Benjamin just celebrated his 24th birthday last week, and he also just started a new job. He decided to work at a cell phone company where a few other guys from Casa Shalom now work. This new job offers more money, but I'm concerned because it also requires longer hours. Our relationship with him has grown and matured a lot these last few months, and we've seen a direct link to how busy he is at work with how stressed he is at home. (In other words, he's just like all of us!) Please pray for him as he decides where to work and how to invest his time.

The house construction continues to progress as well. We're currently working on putting stucco on all the walls and installing pipes and drainage lines. I'm not sure when the house is going to be finished, but the progress continues to move along. I guess I should make a new video soon in order to show all the progress since we poured the roof! 

Verse for November

This month we finished our Bible study on the book of John. I just love this book, and I learn more and more each time that I read it. It's fascinating to see how Jesus interacts with His disciples and other people around Him. The thing that really stood out to me this time was how Jesus acted as a leader. I want to be a good leader to the guys that God has placed in my life, and I want to be a good leader for my family. 

Chapters 13-17 are so rich with great examples of His leadership during the last supper and in the Garden of Gesemane. Jesus serves the disciples by washing their feet. He says hard things to them and does what He knows must be done. He gives them a vision for the future and a plan for the present. He challenges them and comforts them. He spends a long time praying for Himself and for them. And all throughout these chapters there is a continuous theme of love: God's love of Jesus, Jesus's love of them, and their need to love each other.

John the Baptist's attitude about Jesus is exactly what I want and need for my life. It's a great response about how to be a good leader:

He must become greater; I must become less."  
John 3:30 (NIV)

I would appreciate your prayers for me: Jesus must become greater in my life, and my personal desires and attitudes must become less. It's so simple, yet so hard. Thanks for your prayers!

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

Thank you so much for your support and prayers for Yuli, Margaret, 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

Brent Potter

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hyde Park (Austin Convention Bureau Marker)

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

In 1891 this neighborhood was among the first planned subdivisions in the city and the first development involving a design for streetcars.

Hyde Park was the vision of Monroe M. Shipe, who with the Missouri-Kansas and Texas Land Company, established a 36-block area patterned after the exclusive London neighborhood.

Distinctive elements in this district are the home and studio of German sculptress Elisabet Ney, residence of Swiss woodcarver Peter Mansbendel, the Moonlight Tower at 41st Street and Speedway, and the Avenue B Grocery Store, a vivid reminder of a now-rare property within a residential neighborhood.

Hyde Park's "long distance" from downtown (20 blocks) made it "The Pride of Austin" with amenities such as a park pavilion, green space, 2 lakes, and an electric street car that ran to downtown.

Growth, economics, permissive zoning and other factors combined with development pressures eroded much of the historic fabric. Through education, awareness of the benefits of historic preservation, proximity to shopping and access to the University and downtown, the area began a resurgence in restoration and rehabilitation.

Bungalows and Victorian style homes remain in the tree-lined neighborhood along with other styles and materials of differing scales which together demonstrate the enviable desireability of historic preservation here and elsewhere.

May 4, 2002 by the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau (Historic Landmark Commission)

Shipe Park, 44th and Avenue F

Monday, November 19, 2012

Free Community Thanksgiving Dinner

Every year Westover Hills Church of Christ and North Austin Christian Church  team up to hold a community Thanksgiving Dinner in the parking lot of North Austin Christian Church (1734 Rutland Drive). If you don't have anyone to spend Thanksgiving with then stop on by North Austin Christian Church and enjoy a full course Thanksgiving Dinner under the tent. Dinner starts at 11 AM on Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 22, 2012).

Thursday November 22, 2012
11 am - 1 PM
at North Austin Christian Church
1734 Rutland Drive (Austin)
in the church parking lot (under the Tent)

Hyde Park

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

 Advertised in 1892 as “The most fashionable part of the wealthiest and most aristocratic ward in the city”, Hyde Park was Austin’s first planned suburb. Encompassing an area bordered by the present streets of Guadalupe, 38th, Duval, and 45th, it was promoted by Monroe M. Shipe (1847-1924), President of the Austin Rapid Transit Railway Co. and the M.K.&T. Land and Town Co.

Shipe arranged for an electric streetcar line to run from Congress avenue to Hyde Park. He built a lake and pavilion for recreation and had the city’s first moonlight tower erected at the corner of Speedway and 41st Street. He also built the first Hyde Park school and by 1893 forty homes had been built in the neighborhood.

Among the area’s illustrious early residents, whose homes still remain, were sculptress Elisabet Ney; Swiss woodcarver Peter Mansbendel; and horticulturist F.T. Ramsey. By the early 1900s the large Victorian homes in the neighborhood were being joined by smaller bungalows. The lake was drained and the pavilion was razed. Hyde Park was within the city limits of Austin by the 1930s and the streetcar ceased operation in the 1940s. Renewed interest in the 1970s resulted in revitalization of the neighborhood.

 1989 (by Texas Historical Commission)

Hyde Park is over 100 years old. Platted in 1891 by the Missouri, Kansas and Texas Land and Town Co., Hyde Park was marketed under the direction of Monroe Martin Shipe as an affluent suburb featuring large, majestic residences. Completion of Shipe's streetcar line in 1891 provided a reliable transportation connection to downtown from the relatively isolated area. Trees were planted, parkland established, lakes created and a theater pavilion erected to augment the pastoral quality of the area, which was marketed as the "fashionable part of the wealthiest and most aristocratic city in the land." The first houses built in the neighborhood were stylistically pretentious examples of late 19th-century domestic architecture. Many of them, such as the Oliphant-Walker House at 3900 Avenue C, were built in the Queen Anne style by locally prominent citizens.

Shipe's vision of Hyde Park as a self-sufficient community led him to provide municipal services, including mail delivery, street lighting, and sanitation, as well as to encourage churches, schools and stores to locate in the neighborhood. Residents early on had access to establishments such as the Avenue B Grocery (4403 Avenue B) and the Hyde Park Presbyterian Church (3915 Avenue B).

Despite these early promotions, however, sluggish land sales prompted considerable changes in marketing strategies within eight years of Hyde Park's founding. Shipe ceased to advertise the area for the city's elite, and instead portrayed it as a neighborhood for the middle and working classes. In response, Hyde Park's architectural character shifted to smaller, more modest frame houses. While fairly steady growth characterized the addition throughout the first decades of this century, its greatest building boom occurred between 1924 and 1935. The preponderance of bungalows in the neighborhood was the result of construction during this period. Popular across the nation from the 1910s through the 1930s, bungalows, such as the Charles William Ramsdell House (4002 Avenue H), often were associated with early efforts in suburban development.

-- from the Texas Historical Commission

4301 Speedway, Austin TX 78751 (front yard of neighborhood fire station)

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Scofield Farms Park

This is a small park in Northwest Austin, but it has a lot going on. Besides the sand volleyball, you can access hiking trails here or have a picnic and barbeque. In addition the community also holds movie nights in the park.  It truly is a community gathering place for the community it serves.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

1 Sand Volleyball
2 Picnic Tables
1Shelter House
1 Multipurpose Field

12901 Scofield Farms Dr.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Balcones District Park

Balcones District Park is a beautiful park that runs along Amherst Road in Northwest Austin. The park has a popular basketball court, volleyball court, swimming Pool, a playground for the children, and lots of wide open space. You can also go down the trail behind the pool to access a hiking trail, as well as a beautiful natural waterfall when the creek is flowing after rains.

Balcones District Park
photo by Kevin Surbaugh

3 Barbeque Pits
19 Picnic Table(s)
1 Playground
2 Basketball Court(s)
2 Volleyball Court(s)

12017 Amherst Drive Austin, TX

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Texas Awaits Response from White House on Seceding from USA

Over the years there has been talk in Texas about seceding from America again. That talk has never been taken serious. That is Until this week. That is because on Friday (Nov 9, 2012) someone named Micah H. from Arlington started a petition on the White House's "We the People" section of the website. By 7am central time this morning (Nov. 13, 2012) there were 58,486 signatures, according to San Antonio's KENS5.

The Dallas Morning News reports that the Republican governor's press secretary, Catherine Frazier, said in an email that Perry "believes in the greatness of our Union and nothing should be done to change it." She added, "But he also shares the frustrations many Americans have with our federal government. Now more than ever our country needs strong leadership from states like Texas, that are making tough decisions to live within their means, keep taxes low and provide opportunities to job creators so their citizens can provide for their families and prosper."
So what will the official White House response be? We will just have to wait and see.

---------- My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? follow us on Twitter

Monday, November 12, 2012

Westech 360

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Is it architect or is it sculpture?The front building on this campus includes what is described as an iconic 80-foot sculpture designed by Benar Venet. Venet is a French artist born in 1941 who internationally known with sculptures exhibited on almost every Continent.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

8911 Capital of Texas Highway (360 & Great Hills Trail) Austin, TX 78759

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Megabus Adds Austin-Houston Route

Megabus recently announced that it was adding services to the services it already had in Texas. according to a press release it has re-launched its Houston to Austin service, with stops along the way in Brenham, Giddings, Katy, La Grange and Prairie View. Customers can purchase tickets online or snag non-discounted "walkup" tickets from ticket agents at all stops except Houston. That means Austinits can ride get a comfortable ride upon a double-decker, WiFi- and restroom-equipped bus to Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio and leave the driving to someone else. What a great way for visitors to get an affordable ride to Austin (or Austin riders to see other parts of the state). Of course there is one question. What about handicapped accessibility? The buses comply with federal ADA laws after a settlement between Megabus and the Justice depart was reached in May of 2011. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Megabus ensures that all of the vehicles in its intercity service are fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, including individuals who use wheelchairs or other mobility aids. Megabus' online reservation services allow passengers with disabilities to access schedule information and make reservations in the same manner and using the same reservation system as other passengers.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Veteran’s Day Parade Nov 11, 2012

Happy Veteran’s Day! We here at would like to thank you to all those who have served our great country! In the same vain the great city of Austin, Texas is having their annual parade to honer the veteran's this morning.
This years parade theme is a special tribute to the Vietnam Era and Veterans. There will be a special flyover when the memorial ceremony starts at 11 a.m.

Parade Time:
starts 9 a.m.
Ceremony at the South Capitol steps:
11 a.m.

Congress Avenue Bridge and travels North to the Capitol Building

Official Website:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Blue Bonnet Court

Blue Bonnet Court

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Location: 4407 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78751
Hours: Not open to the public

The Blue Bonnet Court, originally called the Bluebonnet Tourist Camp, is a historic motor court-style motel in north-central Austin, Texas. Built in 1928-1929 by Joe and Elizabeth Lucas, the motel is situated on the northwestern corner of the Hyde Park subdivision along what was then the main road out of town. In the 1930s it featured Austin's first neon sign, which still hangs from the front (though in a dilapidated condition).

Blue Bonnet Court features a stone wall in front with 11 basic rooms and attached covered parking. The rooms are rented today as efficiency apartments.

The motel is located at 4407 Guadalupe Street. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1990.

- Flickr from Yahoo

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Obma Wins by Wide Margin

After weeks of being told how close this election was, it turned out to be anything but. Needing only 270 electoral college votes, Obama secured 313 to Romney's 225, according to Nate Silver's 538 blog at the New York Times.
However, what about the popular vote? According to the Huffington Post,
As of this writing, Obama had a 58,720,700 (50.1%) to 56,145,950 (48.4%) lead on Mitt Romney for the popular vote.
Romney led the popular vote for most of the night, but that was before the western United States had their polls closed and ballots counted. Population centers in California and other western states are boosting Obama's numbers significantly.
- Huffington Post
However, according to the Huffington Post the electoral college spread was only 303 to 206. Either way Obama won.
My name is Kevin, and that's what I think. What do you think? Agree? Disagree?

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Wells-Larue House (Marker)

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

Built about 1850 by famed pioneer architect Abner Cook, for Waymen Wells, who lived 10 miles north, but needed town house for business and pleasure trips. His grandchildren, the LaRues, moved in to attend school sessions. Third generation now lives in the home.


4524 Avenue F, Austin TX 78751

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Hippie Hallow

Photo wanted -  Family friendly picture - Perhaps of the sign/entrance & Lake.

Hippie Hollow is a clothing optional park/beach run by Travis County and is excursively for adults 18 and older. It is the only public nude beach in the state of Texas.

Park Hours:
9:00 AM to civil twilight (dark)
Day use only/No Camping
  • $10.00/vehicle/day Hippie Hollow $2.00 surcharge per day
  • $3.00 Pedestrian/bicyclist per person/day
  • $2.00 Trailer Parking per day
  • Annual fees also available

Available Activities:
  • bird watching
  • hiking
  • sunbathing
  • swimming

  • clothing optional
  • concession stand (seasonally, when available)
  • designated swimming area (boats prohibited)
  • nature/hiking trails
  • paved ADA accessible trail
  • restrooms
  • drinking water

Special Notes:

  • There are no lifeguards on duty.
  • Hippie Hollow Park has a long tradition as the on only clothing-optional public park in Texas. Entry to the park is restricted to those people 18 years and older.
    Please respect the privacy of other visitors and ask permission before taking photographs. Remember that nudity is acceptable, lewd behavior is not.
    Hippie Hollow Park includes habitat for species protected under the Federal Endangered Species Act, including the Goldern-cheeked Warbler and the Black-capped Vireo. As a result, certain areas of the park are off-limits to park visitors.
    Dogs and other pets are not permitted in the park and may not be left in unattended vehicles.
  • Ground fires are prohibited in all day use parks.
  • Glass containers and fireworks are prohibited in all Travis County parks.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Austin State Hospital

The oldest psychiatric hospital in Texas is what is now known as the Austin State hospital. The historical marker is located on the front of the oldest building on campus.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh

While Texas was a frontier state and psychiatry a pioneer venture, the Texas Legislature in 1856 created this hospital for the mentally ill; in 1925, named Austin State Hospital.

Oldest Texas mental hospital.

Construction began in 1857. The institution, then housed in the administration building, was opened May 11, 1861, with about a dozen patients and has continued to be dedicated to mental health programs.

photo by Kevin Surbaugh


photo by Kevin Surbaugh

4110 Guadalupe Austin, TX 78751 (Top of steps on the front of the building pictured below)

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Step Out to Stop Diabetes is this Saturday 11/3/12

Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes and almost seven million of them don't even know they have it. Diabetes contributes to the deaths of more than 231,000 Americans each year and is also the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower-limb amputations, and cases of blindness among adults in the Unites States.

One out of three children born after the year 2000 will develop diabetes. That rate is even greater in minority children, with one out of two developing the disease. With your help, the sooner we find the causes and preventions for diabetes, the better for our loved ones and all affected by this devastating disease.

You can Step Out and make a difference! Everyone has a very personal reason for participating in Step Out: Walk to Stop Diabetes. What is yours?

Step Out participants are committed to walk and raise money in this inspirational event not because 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, but because they walk among us in our lives and at the event. By registering, you will be helping the Association provide community-based education programs, protect the rights of people with diabetes and fund critical research for a cure.

Once you register, you'll be given your very own web page and will have access to lots of tools to help you fundraise your Step Out Center. You'll be able to customize the page with your reason for walking, send emails to ask others to join you or donate, and even download Facebook and smart phone apps. And of course, your ADA staff partner will be there to help all along the way!

In addition, this event offers walkers and their families a "Wellness Festival" with FREE health screenings to all registered participants. Live music and children's entertainment will also add to the fun and festivities.

November 3, 2012 | 8:00 AM
The walk begins and ends behind Schlotzky's at
Tech Ridge Center 500 Canyon Ridge Dr. Austin, TX 78753
(from IH-35, exit #245)
Event Contact: Dori Yeater,
Event Website:
Step Out to Stop Diabetes

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