Wednesday, October 31, 2012
AISD's all-boys school proposal has not been particularly popular with parents, Statesman.com reports. This past Saturday, AISD held a meeting at Crockett High School to discuss one proposal being put forth that would put the school at Covington Middle School.
The school district maintains that AISD is still listening to feedback from parents and community members on where to put the school, if it is established at all. The Moody Foundation has said they will pay as much as $4.6 million for the first five years the school for young men is open.
Most parents weren't sure that there really are benefits to single-gender education and vehemently opposed co-locating the campus at Covington for as much as three years until the boys' school takes over the campus entirely. Instead, parents suggested that AISD look to a philanthropic organization that would be able to raise the $30 million necessary to build a new single-gender school.
AISD has also suggested using a middle school that is under-enrolled or the Alternative Learning Center as possible locations for the school. The ALC was thought to be a less disruptive and good central location for transportation, but some thought that using a campus for disruptive students wouldn't appeal to West Austin parents.
AISD continues to strongly push the concept of a young men's school, nearly denying that the research on the benefit of single-gender schools has been mixed. This led to a lot of skepticism on the part of parents.
Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Alamo will get a letter written by Lt. Col. William Barret Travis, My San Antonio.com reports. It is the famous "victory or death" letter and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission voted 6-1 Wednesday to allow the loan, over objections from the Texas General Land office.
The Texas Land Commission is now responsible for coming up with approximately $100,000 to pay for transportation, security and other costs related to displaying the letter, largely a custom-built shatterproof display case. The Texas Department of Public Safety has promised to be in charge of transporting the letter safely and helping to protect it while it is displayed at the Alamo from February 23rd to March 7th.
The Alamo Rangers, who are in charge of security at the Alamo, have a plan that moves the letter to a secured vault if an emergency comes up. They also will enforce a strict ban on electronic devices because of worries that flash photography could damage the letter. Even iPhones won't be allowed in the Alamo while the letter is on display.
The letter is dated February 24th, 1836, and in it, Travis, the Alamo commander, called on "the people of Texas and all Americans in the world" to come to the aid of Texians in their fight against the Mexican army in the fight for Texan Independence. The letter has been put on display eight times, but never in San Antonio.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Today's post is written by one of our Managers, Natalie Young. Natalie is a Model of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink and graciously agreed to share her story of overcoming breast cancer in the hopes of encouraging and inspiring others. Thank you, Natalie.
I was 28 years old when my doctor told me I had breast cancer. Words I never expected to hear. I was healthy and exercised daily. I had breastfed my daughter for a year. I had no family history.
After navigating through the shock of my diagnosis, it was time to fight. I can vividly remember looking at my daughter sleeping peacefully that Sunday night, while my mind was racing with fear and anxiety. I told my Mom, "I'm more scared of how she is going to have to see me go through this". And that's when my fight really started.
I went through many treatments and procedures over the course of the next couple of years. As of December 2010, I was done. I am done. No more surgeries, no more chemo. I'm cancer free...but that's just one side of my story.
The other side is, I am a breast cancer SURVIVOR! I have learned so much about how strong I can be and myself. I was inspired by a survivor here in Austin, Texas, who said that she "didn't want to waste her cancer." When I heard that, it really struck a chord with me. I knew that what I had been through stunk. It was hard. I didn’t want to do it again. But I also knew I had to do something with it. I may have been cancer free, but I wasn’t done. That is the other side of my story… and it’s just beginning.
Earlier this year, I was chosen as one of eleven Models of Courage for Ford Warriors in Pink. What an incredible experience! Models of Courage are survivors from across the United States--nine women and two men--that are doing something with their cancer. Ford Motor Company has raised more than $115 million dollars to fight against breast cancer in the past eighteen years. You can watch a new documentary featuring the Warriors in Pink program, Bang the Drum: Living Out Loud in the Face of Breast Cancer, at their website fordcares.com.
I'm also very proud that the company I work for, WTA, is helping in the fight against breast cancer with their Go Pink Campaign, which has raised nearly $13,000 for breast cancer awareness, treatment and research over the last 4 years. You can learn more at gopinkwta.com
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Halloween decorations are fun, but then you have to store all the stuff the other 11 months of the year, plus decorations can be expensive. Apartment Therapy scours the web and comes up with the best ideas for using stuff you have around your apartment to get in the spooky mood.
Candles are a great way to spook up your home. The flickering light creates shadows and makes everything feel a little scary. Black candles especially work for the holiday and can also be used to decorate year round. After all, they match everything!
Jars and clear vases are something you're sure to have lying around. Fill them with candy or creepy crawly stuff and suddenly you've got a Halloween display! When it's time to switch to Thanksgiving, just eat the candy and fill the jar with leaves, then for Christmas, put in the candy canes. What an easy way to show your festive side!
Goblets filled with deep red punch or wine will add a macabre, gothic edge to your tablescape. You can also use cheesecloth and black construction paper to make all kinds of ghoulish delights, check out the article for all the details. Happy Haunting!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
We want to give an especially big congratulations to Kathy Chomycia from Broadstone Travesia who won the trip for two to HAWAII! Kathy was a great sport as she grinned from ear to ear while donning her grass skirt and showing off her certificate. Aloha, Kathy!
As always, we're very grateful to the Austin Rental Community for all that you do. It's been a pleasure working with you for the last 25 years and we look forward to 25 more and beyond!
Until next year!
Thursday, October 11, 2012
An 85 mph toll road between Austin and San Antonio will open October 24th, My San Antonio.com reports. The toll road boasts the fastest speed limit in the country.
The new toll road is an extension of Texas 130, which already runs between Georgetown and South Austin. The new segment will connect south Austin and Interstate 10 in Seguin and will be free until November 10th. Tolls of approximately $.15 per mile will be charged beginning November 11th, and can be paid for through either a toll tag or bills that will be mailed to drivers. There will be no toll booths.
The toll road cost approximately $1.4 billion to build and is Texas' first public-private toll road. Texas owns the actual road and right-of-way, but a private group paid for the road's construction. A joint venture between the two entities, the SH 130 Concession Company will be responsible for the road's maintenance and operations costs for 50 years and both the public company and the state will share in the tolls collected.
The new super-fast road is being touted with billboards bragging about the road's speed limit, but there are a lot of concerns about safety. Truck drivers and trucking companies have spoken out to say that it's not safe for them to drive at such a high speed.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Getting a good night's sleep is important, but sometimes it can be difficult to let go of what's happened during the day and relax enough to fall asleep. Apartment Therapy's helpful tips will have you sawing logs in no time!
First off, let the events of the day melt away and force yourself to push today's worries and tomorrow's happenings out of your mind. You need to relax so you'll be able to deal with whatever comes your way in the morning. All those worries and to-do's will still be waiting for you tomorrow, so push them out of your head and take a break at night.
Don't do anything that engages your mind too much before bed. You want to relax and allow yourself to get sleepy. Along with this, don't do anything that causes stress, thereby increasing your cortisol levels, before bed. No arguing, worrying, or conversations that will get you worked up. Meditating for ten minutes can really help you keep the peace.
Cut out any food for at least four hours before you turn in. This will get your body ready to focus on restoring itself at night rather than digestion. Also, don't bring anything into your bedroom in the electronic realm: tvs, computers, iPads and phones are all off-limits. The bedroom in your apartment is a place for sleep and nookie, and needs to be kept that way.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Investing retirement money wisely is crucial if you want to make sure you can enjoy your golden years stress-free rather than working until you drop dead of a heart attack from stress. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but you still would be wise to heed About.com's advice, even if you're just embarking on your career, to make sure you don't spend your senior years eating cat food.
It's important to understand how investing affects your money. You'll need to have a diversified portfolio developed based on an asset allocation model that dictates how much of your money should be in stocks versus bonds. When deciding what percentage of your money to put where, remember that you need to look at your rate of return over your life, not over a short period.
Recognize that there are trade offs with any investment. A safe investment will provide a a guaranteed return, but it will be much lower. A riskier investment will give you a higher rate of return, but you also have the potential to lose money. If you follow the diversified model, it will include some safe investments, some that will produce income now, and some that should grow and provide you with income in the years to come.
Consult with a professional on where to put your money, or at least do your research through books or the internet. The best way to avoid making mistakes is to avoid being greedy. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Higher than normal returns just don't keep happening on a continuous basis. Also, make sure you have a plan before you make your final decision on where to put your money. You need to be sure you'll have a steady monthly income when it's time to trade in work for a margarita on the beach.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Short-term rental rules, recently passed by the Austin City Council, took effect Monday October 1st, just in time for the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the U.S. Grand Prix Formula One Race, KXAN.com reports. Short-term rentals allow homeowners to rent their homes to tourists, often for a super-sized profit.
The city's ordinance gives the short-term rental moniker to rentals of less than 30 days. Under the new rules, property owners are required to get a license from the city to rent out their residence as a short-term rental.
Type 1 rentals are required to be owner-occupied or associated with an owner-occupied principal residential unit at least 51% of the time, have to be a designated homestead, and must include the rental of an entire dwelling unit. Type 2 rentals are not owner-occupied or associated with an owner-occupied principal residential unit, also include the rental of an entire dwelling unit and have to show proof of existence prior to June 13, 2011. If the Type 2 rental is new, it must fall below the 3% cap with-in census tracts identified by the city and register beginning January 1, 2013. Both types are only for rentals of less than 30 consecutive days.
Rental owners interested in getting their license need to call 3-1-1 to schedule an appointment with city staff. The licensing fee is $476, $235 of that is the annual licensing fee and $241 is a notification fee. Requirements include a Short-Term Rental Application form, the fee, Proof of Property Insurance, Proof of Payment of Hotel Occupancy Taxes, and a Certificate of Occupancy or Certified Inspection. For more information, see the city's checklist.