Page 11234

Archive for the ‘Texas Tattoo’

El Paso Boxer Jennifer Han Has a Chance to Pull Off the Upset of the Year – Texas Monthly09.04.21

Im five pounds away, Jennifer Han says while sitting on a wooden bench inside her fathers martial arts studio. Shes spent more than half her life here, inside this gym on El Pasos Dyer Streetthe seventeen-mile road that stretches from central and northeast El Paso into New Mexico. Fast-food restaurants, liquor stores, tattoo parlors, gun stores, and pawnshops advertising that they too sell guns fill the lower part of Dyer. Around the middle part, Korean churches and businesses become prevalent. Thats where the gym is and where Han sits, telling me shes ready to fight, not far from a weather-beaten storefront sign reading Hans Kick Boxing.

Ive already lost seventy pounds, she says. Im thirty-eight years old but my time is now. Im ready for it.

If all things were equal, Han would be known as one of the best fighters in the world. She has black belts of varying degrees in kickboxing, tae kwon do, and hapkido. As a boxer, shes the only El Pasoan whos ever been a world champion. And for months now, shes been training: first to lose weight after giving birth to her second son in February, then to prepare for what she and everyone around her say is the biggest fight of her career. Ive trained many, many, many years, Han says. Ive worked hard for it, and I deserve this opportunity. Im just glad its finally here.

This opportunity is happening Saturday in Englanda fight against Katie Taylor. At worst, Taylor is among the five best female boxers ever. At best, she is the best. A 2012 Olympic gold medalist for Ireland, Taylor is the undisputed lightweight world champion. As a professional, shes never lost. ESPN lists Taylor as the best active woman boxer in the world. The Ring, the magazine that calls itself the bible of boxing, agrees. So if Han beats Taylorat the time of this writing, some oddsmakers believe Han has a one in one hundred chance of winningitd be the type of upset that makes the boxing world stop.

Ive been a road warrior before, its nothing new to me, Han says of fighting in England. She knows that of the 20,000 fans expected to attend the bout at Headingley Stadium, only about ten will be cheering for her. Im excited, she continues. She talks with that innate confidence all world-class boxers have. I know what Im facing. I know what Im up against. Im fine with it.

Han, just like her four younger siblings, learned to fight from her father, Master Bae Han. As a boy in South Korea, he became infatuated with martial artists. To him, they looked like they could fly. Whatever they wanted to do, they could do, he says. Thats when he began studying, learning, and eventually mastering different fighting techniques.

But before he was a master, he was Private Han, a member of the Korean Army and part of the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army. As part of that program, U.S. and Korean soldiers shared barracks. Thats where Han practiced his martial arts. At first, he trained by himself. Then, as U.S. soldiers watched, they started asking him to teach them what he knew.

The GIs would come and bow to me, Han remembers. Commanders would come, bow to me. I was a private, lowest ranking, but all respected me like a teacher. Before long, he was teaching groups of soldiers. Eventually, one of his students suggested he migrate to the United States.

When he came to El Paso in 1978, he found a small Korean community in the northeast part of the city. From there, he taught martial arts to his children and any El Pasoan who wanted to learn. His childrenJennifer, Abraham, Israel, Heather, and Stephaniewould train for hours and then eat at the closest buffet. All you can eat, thats a good restaurant, Master Han says. Cheap prices, thats good. Thats survival.

Before long, the family was winning local martial arts tournaments. Then state, national, and even world titles. Before long, boys and girlsknowing theyd loserefused to fight Jennifer. And so, the Hans started fighting in a discipline theyd yet to master: boxing.

We didnt know what we were doing, Abraham Han says of the familys introduction to boxing. He says theyd sometimes go to boxing gyms around El Paso and get beat up. Jennifer was sixteen, Abraham was fifteen. But my dad said, You have to be humble. Lets figure out what were doing wrong, Abraham recalls. My dad knew nothing about boxing, so he would imitate drills just by watching HBO, watching Oscar De La Hoya and all these fighters. Okay, lets try this, hed say. And wed work on it.

The entire Han family is tight-knit, but Jennifer and Abraham are particularly close. She calls him Abie. He calls her Jenny. Theyre fifteen months apart in age and have fought together since she was five and he was four. Theyre also the only two of the Han siblings to box professionally.

The two were inseparable. Theyd spar, run, and do strength and conditioning drills together. Theyd eat and rest together. When they attended the University of Texas at El Paso, theyd even ride to campus together. Weve been so close all the way until 2018, Abraham says. Thats when he fought the latestand possibly finalbout of his pro boxing career, a loss to Anthony Dirrell that left Abraham with a record of 264. After that, even if the bond between siblings hadnt changed, the time that Jennifer and Abraham spent together had. Now they each have young families, and Abie runs his own gym on El Pasos West Side. Still, he thinks about the way things were.

I miss it all the time, he says of boxing and his years training alongside Jennifer. I wish I could come back. Im still in phenomenal shape, so you never know. He sounds as if hes letting himself fall into a daydream, and then he catches himself. It doesnt seem likely that Ill ever fight again, he admits a few seconds later.

Part of the reason his career is likely over is a shoulder injury that will require surgery before he competes again. Another part is just his knowing how physically and emotionally taxing the life of a professional boxer is. Having gone through it in his own career and watched it in his sisters, he knows it twice over.

Jennys gone through so much disappointment, Abraham says. Hes talking about the close decisionsincluding a loss and a draw in her first two professional fightsthat he feels Jennifer should have won. Hes talking about the time she fought for a world title in Korea, only to have judges give the victory to her opponent. They screwed her, he says. Hes talking about there being so little money in womens boxing that his sister has never earned anywhere close to what she would have if she were a man.

Shes been a world champion and she cant make anything, Abraham says. After Jennifer had her first son, Abraham told her she should retire. That all the sacrifices she was makingdenying herself food, time with her kids, the ability to go through a day without getting punched in the facejust werent worth it. Shes always been paycheck to paycheck, Abraham continues. She fights because she wants to be the best in the world.

And now that Jenniferhas gotten the opportunityto prove it, Abrahamwho never thought his sister would get this chancecant be there for her the way he once was. He still trains with her when he can, two or three times a week. But even that doesnt feel like enough. Its been very upsetting that I cant be there for her more, he says.

On a usual day, Jennifer Han arrives in Las Cruces, New Mexicoa 45-minute drive from El Pasoby nine-thirty in the morning. Shell train with her boxing coaches until noon, sometimes a half hour past that. Her fathers gym doesnt open until four. So, between the end of training in Las Cruces and then, shell drive back to El Paso. Eat, spend time with her children, get physical therapy, rest, whatever she needs to do. Once her fathers gym opens, shell help teach classes. But only a little bit, not too much, because I have to go back and spar in evenings, Han says. After sparring, she goes home, rests, sleeps, and wakes up to do the same thing all over again.

For the past several months, this has been her life. For most of her life33 of her 38 yearsshe has followed a similar routine. A Spartan lifestyle built around fighting.

Every fight, we expect to win, Master Han says. As he talks, sitting in the small office in the corner of his gym, hes surrounded by mementos of victoriesfirst-place trophies, gold medals, and championship belts that justify his confidence. Proof that his children know how to fight. Proof that he did something right in teaching them.

My children stayed in gym, he says, training and training, punching and punching, kicking and kicking, sweat and sweat, super punch and super kicking. As he speaks, his voice gets louder and louder.

Hes an older man now, 73 years old, with long silver hair and a wrinkled face. But as he talks, an intensity creeps into his voice. That force in his words tells you that he too has been fighting throughout his life. That he may not be able to move as he once did, but hes still the same person who did splits in the air with his ankles resting on two folding chairs. The same person who used to look like he was flying when he kicked. The same person who believed, deep in his bones, that no other family in the world trained harder than his. The same person who, today, is convinced that Jennifer will win.

He, along with his two youngest daughters and other members of the family, will watch Hans bout with Taylor from El Paso. Abraham, along with his younger brother, will be in England with their sister. I always get nervous, Abraham says of watching his sister fight, even when hes sure she can win. I think thats the emotion, especially when youre really close to somebody.

Han, sitting on the wooden bench in her fathers El Paso gym, suggests her brother is only being sentimental because he misses boxing. Hes upset that he cant go to Las Cruces with me and practice like the old times, she says.

The old times when, inside this gym, as their father watched, Jennifer and Abrahamalong with their siblingswould fight. Sometimes together. Sometimes against each other. This gym became thehubaround which the Han family revolved. This gym, in this corner of Texas that many have chosen to run away from.

Since thats always been the question around hereto leave or to stay?I ask if she thought to do the same. She says she considered it but stayed because she loves El Paso. Because for decades, along this road that crosses into New Mexico, she and everyone around her have been preparing for the very opportunity Han has in front of her Saturday night.

Ive overcome so much, she says. Her tone becomes suddenly serious. Shes no longer laughing and smiling. Suddenly, shes the person who visualizes herself winning during those quiet moments spent driving across state lines and running countless miles to build stamina. Others following her path would have stopped long ago, but she kept going. Im so excited to shock the world, Han says. Thats what Im going to do. She, along with everyone whos close to her, understands that if nothing else, she knows how to fight.

Continued here:

El Paso Boxer Jennifer Han Has a Chance to Pull Off the Upset of the Year - Texas Monthly

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on El Paso Boxer Jennifer Han Has a Chance to Pull Off the Upset of the Year – Texas Monthly

Lockhart is still the capital of Texas barbecue – San Antonio Express-News09.04.21

LOCKHART In 2003, the Texas Senate passed a resolution proclaiming Lockhart to be the Barbecue Capital of Texas. But that was just the official recognition of a title granted long ago to this small Central Texas town by generations of barbecue pilgrims following the gospel of smoked meats.

Located in Caldwell County about 18 miles east of San Marcos, Lockharts barbecue history dates back to 1875 when Jesse Swearingen opened a meat market where he sold barbecue beef and pork, according to a 1930 story in the Lockhart Post Register. But what keeps the crowds visiting today is that three of the states best barbecue restaurants Blacks Barbecue, Smittys Market and Kreuz Market are there, all within walking distance from one another, giving visitors a chance to indulge in what locals call the Trinity Tour.

The barbecue here is old-school. It honors its long history by sticking to the same basic techniques and cuts that have kept Lockhart synonymous with destination barbecue for decades.

But in the past 12 years, the entire barbecue landscape of Texas has changed, transforming into a high-dollar delicacy with many pitmasters now considered chefs in their own right and premium Wagyu beef increasingly common on blackboard menus.

The shift really started in 2009 when Aaron Franklin founded Franklin BBQ in Austin in a trailer. The lines and the sellouts started immediately. Because Franklin BBQ, now a brick and mortar, opened in a major college town with a rapidly expanding population, it exposed country-style barbecue to a whole new demographic and it helped that it was delicious.

James Fullilove displays sausages prepared onsite at Smitty's Market in Lockhart.

Black's Barbecue on a recent Saturday Lockhart. But the lines arent near a long as they are for some other barbecue places and theres little fear of sell-out.

Alex Rosas, left, Aurelio Mendez and Coby Shaw enjoy lunch at Kreuz Market in Lockhart. Lockhart is considered by many to be the barbecue capital of Texas.

The beef ribs at Blacks Barbecue can weigh as much as 2 pounds each.

Pablo Garcia tends to a customer's order as a fire burns in the pit at Smitty's Market in Lockhart.

Chad Raemsch, left, is joined by Nina Sells, owner of Smitty's Market in Lockhart. Lockhart is considered by many to be the barbecue capital of Texas.

Sausages hang from racks at Smitty's Market in Lockhart.

At Smittys Market, the meats and bread are folded up in pink butcher paper.

Pablo Garcia cuts a portion of shoulder for a customer at Smitty's Market.

Signs for the meats available at Smittys Market, where its cash or check only to pay, take on the yellow coloring of the smoke from the nearby pits.

Smitty's Market is located at 208 S. Commerce St. in Lockhart.

Kreuz Market is a popular spot for barbecue in Lockhart, considered to be the barbecue capital of Texas.

Kreuz Market is a popular choice for barbecue in Lockhart, considered to be the barbecue capital of Texas.

The Caldwell County Courthouse is located in Lockhart. It dates back to 1894. Its exterior is cream-colored limestone and red sandstone.

In 2011, Bon Apetit magazine proclaimed it the best barbecue in America. Franklin went on to win Best Chef Southwest by the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2015. It seemed by then that everyone wanted a piece of Texas barbecue literally.

On 52 Weeks of BBQ: Naming the best of the best San Antonio barbecue

Esquire magazine journeyed south to San Antonio in 2013 and proclaimed the now-closed The Granary Cue & Brew in San Antonio to be the future of barbecue, because it transformed from traditional barbecue by day to gourmet barbecue by night, using brisket and other smoked meats in cheffed-up entrees usually placed on a white tablecloth. That same year Texas Monthly magazine hired writer Daniel Vaughn as it first and so far only barbecue editor to cover the growing Texas scene.

Barbecue started to finally get the same respect that the established, traditional chef-driven restaurants received over the years, said Esaul Ramos, pitmaster and co-owner of 2M Smokehouse. We learned that certain cuts of meats respond better to lower temperatures, then discovered tricks to crank up the heat at certain points during the cooking process, and how to load up the pit for optimal airflow and flavor.

Ramos, who like Franklin gets long lines every day at his restaurant, was a 2020 semifinalist for Best Chef: Texas by the Beard Foundation.

Under the warmth of the media spotlight, new barbecue restaurants pushing the envelope of technique and flavor sprouted all over the state. Thanks to joints such as 2M Smokehouse and the now-closed Kings Hwy Brew & Q, San Antonio got a reputation for barbecue with a Tex-Mex twist, stuffing sausage with Oaxaca cheese and jalapeos, elevating barbacoa beyond the weekend Big Red specials and tricking out tacos with top-grade brisket.

But Lockhart has stood up to and faced down the whiz-bang Wagyu and elevated everything that seem to define the current era. Its still the barbecue king, and its retained its throne by doing exactly the same thing it has been doing for more than 100 years: making good barbecue without any fuss or flourish.

The Saturday lunch crowd at Kreuz Market in Lockhart.

Scott Hinojosa, a general manager at Kreuz and a Lockhart native said, What we do now is the same experience that I remember when my grandfather used to take me here. The key is consistency, and the goal is for everything to keep tasting the same.

Erika Vermillion, a Victoria-based barbecue fanatic agreed that Lockhart is still hanging on strong.

The Austin (barbecue) scene will provide good food, but youll sweat your butt off waiting for it at a place like Franklin. San Antonio is starting to take on more of a Tex-Mex spin on barbecue thats excellent, and Houston is definitely carving an identity. You dont have to make the trip to Lockhart anymore to have great barbecue, but I still highly recommend it.

On Rudy's Country Store and Bar-B-Q in a San Antonio barbecue showdown

So you can start driving before dawn to stand in line for hours for a taste of brisket in Austin or plan to arrive at Snows BBQ in nearby Lexington at 4 a.m. and hope you are early enough to get the full menu. Or you can mosey on over to Lockhart, where you can walk right into one of the original Lockhart Three, get your barbecue by the pound and sit a spell.

There are generally four styles of Texas barbecue. In East Texas, hickory wood is often the anchor to meats that are cooked until the meat shreds. South Texas relies heavily on mesquite wood, and barbacoa is often the star of the menu. West Texas likes high-heat cooking thats more akin to grilling than smoking.

But Lockhart in Central Texas cooks its meats low and slow over oak wood, and its best known for its sausage. The barbecue here, an area steeped in German heritage, got its start out of meat markets and grocery stores. Cuts that didnt sell, like shoulder clod, pork shoulder and even brisket back then, were cooked and sold to the public for cheap. Eventually, those early barbecue dishes grew popular enough to be their own businesses.

You now see many small barbecue joints serve their meat on butcher paper instead of plates. You also see meats weighed and priced by the pound. That started back in the grocery days when butcher paper was the packaging the stores had on hand and all the food got weighed.

Ernest Servantes, pitmaster and co-owner of the Burnt Bean Co. in Seguin, is considered one of the top competition barbecue authorities in the nation and lines form in front of his restaurant every day. But still, his heart remains in Lockhart.

My style is different, and Im like the new era of barbecue, but you cant beat the kings, Servantes said. You are transformed to the past because they never changed anything, because they didnt have to.

On Review: Burnt Bean Co. in Seguin is making some of the San Antonio area's best barbecue

In 1900, the Kreuz Market grocery store was founded; it started selling barbecue shortly after. In 1948, Edgar A. Smitty Schmidt, a longtime butcher at Kreuz, bought the building and continued to offer barbecue. When he died in 1994, it sparked a family feud because he left the building to his daughter Nina Sells but the business itself to his sons Rick and Don.

They had a falling out, and Nina renamed her barbecue business Smittys Market in 1999, the same year Rick and Don opened Kreuz Market about a mile away.

Smitty's Market is located at 208 S. Commerce St. in Lockhart.

Blacks first opened in 1932 and has been continuously operated by the same family for four generations. The pits build by Edgar Black Jr. in 1949 are still in use.

Grant Pinkerton is another big name in the Texas barbecue scene as owner and operator of the two Pinknertons Barbecue restaurants, in Houston and downtown San Antonio. When he decided to open his Houston location in 2016, he first went to Lockhart to decide how to blend the old with the new.

I remember absorbing what parts I wanted to carry over ... what feels like the true barbecue experience, Pinkerton said. A no-brainer was to make sure the meat was cut in front of you so it wasnt coming from some kitchen in the back, and you could see it weighed on the scale.

Servantes said that his first experience eating Lockhart barbecue at Smittys in 2007 is what made him want to learn more about it and be a pitmaster himself.

It helped show me the way, Servantes said. I remember walking in, seeing all the smoke, and not even knowing how to order and couldnt figure out why there werent any plates. But I still go to Lockhart regularly.

On a typical Saturday, all of the famous joints do strong business, mostly families making the trek from other parts of the state or beyond. There are lines, but they are modest. Patrons usually get their food and get a table within about 20 minutes.

They cook big in Lockhart, and Smittys burns through 80 to 100 briskets on a Saturday, a number that would be the envy of most barbecue outlets elsewhere. And unlike those other places, sellouts here are rare, so visitors can feel confident theyll get to eat no matter when they arrive.

While Lockhart has always been a popular barbecue destination, the overall boom in Texas has boosted business in this town of 13,000, too. And more tourism means more businesses opening to cater to them.

The central area of Lockhart, Texas, has kept its old time charm through the years. Lockhart is considered by many to be the barbecue capital of Texas.

On Among San Antonio's best barbecue restaurants are 3 new places that opened in the last year

Kim Clifton, director of operations for the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce, said that in the past five years, nine new businesses have opened in the downtown area in the barbecue triangle, which now includes the towns only tattoo parlor, a record shop, cafes and a newly opened restaurant and bar named the Old Pal Texas Tavern where you can wash away your troubles or more likely, cleanse the palate from smoked meats.

People are coming to Lockhart for the barbecue, but are realizing there is more to this town than that, Clifton said. Barbecue isnt all of what we are, but we dont mind the attention because of it.

It was the Trinity Tour that lured the Bateses of Gainesville, Fla., for a recent visit on their way to Colorado.

We planned out our trip and factored in that we absolutely had to go to Gruene Hall, and we had to get some barbecue in Lockhart along the way, said James Bates, who was with his wife Tina. We absolutely had to come here, because this is the mecca of barbecue, he said.

They started at Kreuz Market, a cavernous place the size of a Home Depot and polished off a plate of sausage, brisket and ribs. They then moved to Smittys Market and did the same. Full from all that meat, they finished off their trip with some banana pudding from Blacks.

Over at Lillys Bar, located around the block from Blacks, owner Lydia Serna said, Theres no doubt we get customers that are on the crawl and want stop in here for a beer in between barbecue visits.

On South Texas barbecue is all about the mesquite. Heres how to use it

I recently visited Blacks, Smittys and Kreuz recently. I have to admit I got giddy just entering the Lockhart city limits.

If Lockhart had been eligible for the 52 Weeks of Barbecue series in 2018, all three would have been in the Top 15 list at the end. None of these ranked among the best barbecue Ive ever had, but the charm of walking from one place to the next with a happy belly in such a historic setting made it one of the best barbecue experiences Ive had.

An assortment of meats and sides from Blacks Barbecue

For a taste of history, order the shoulder clod at Smittys. Before brisket got popular, shoulder clod was the in meat, and Smittys serves it up like a lean, smoked steak. For brisket, Kreuz is the best, with tender, fatty slices encased in a peppery bark.

But the standout everywhere was the sausage. Blacks, Smittys and Kreuz all make their own a rarity in the barbecue world. They favor a pork-beef blend heavy on the beef, all juicy in a casing with a snap like a whipcrack. Smittys is the winner here, but its a photo finish.

No matter what you order, though, it will be a lesson in barbecue history.

No matter how Texas barbecue evolves, I still tell people to go to those places in Lockhart, Servantes said. Its almost like you are tasting history, and once you have that, you can appreciate the new twists that people like myself and others are bringing to the barbecue culture.

And no matter what the future holds for Texas barbecue, old-school Lockhart will continue to reign. | Twitter: @chuck_blount | Instagram: @bbqdiver

Original post:

Lockhart is still the capital of Texas barbecue - San Antonio Express-News

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Lockhart is still the capital of Texas barbecue – San Antonio Express-News

Black Texas Principal Suspended Over "Critical Race Theory" Accusations Recounts Being Forced To Hide Picture of Him Kissing His White Wife…09.04.21

A high school principal in Texas has been suspended after being subjected to attacks from residents, accusing him of teaching critical race theory and disparaging his family.

James Whitfield is the first Black principal of Colleyville Heritage High School, a role he took on just recently ahead of the 2020/21 school year. At a school board meeting this past July, a man accused Whitfield of promoting critical race theory and the conspiracy theory of systemic racism, according to theWashington Post and local outlets. That man, who is a former school board candidate, repeatedly named Whitfield in his complaints, despite being ordered not to make personal attacks. His comments were reportedly met with applause and calls to fire him.

Whitfield responded in a lengthy Facebook post, writing, At the last GCISD school board meeting, an individual was allowed to speak my name in a public open forum (against the rules) and I can no longer maintain my silence in the face of this hate, intolerance, racism, and bigotry.

Whitfield says that while the overwhelming majority of parents and other residents he interacts with in-person and online are loving, supportive, empathetic, compassionate, and rational people, he does encounter racism as part of his job. And apparently, hes been told to stay quiet about it.

For the better part of the last year, Ive been told repeatedly to just get around the fact that there are some racist people and just deal with it and stay positive each time the racist tropes reared their heads, but I will stay silent no longer, his Facebook post reads. I cannot ask people to speak up if I am unwilling to do so myself, and just because I am a school administrator that does not take away my rights and ability to be human and defend myself.

I am not the CRT (Critical Race Theory) Boogeyman, Whitfield says. I am the first African American to assume the role of Principal at my current school in its 25-year history, and I am keenly aware of how much fear this strikes in the hearts of a small minority who would much rather things go back to the way they used to be.

Whitfield describes a Breaking the Barriers panel he participated in back in late Spring of 2019 that has been under attack recently. My colleague curated the presentation and I happily joined them in sharing my experiences and story during this presentation, he writes, but apparently sharing his story and presumably acknowledging that he faced barriers that needed breaking is some sort of proof that hes been teaching kids about racismwhich, of course, is a thing that exists and kids should learn about.

Whitfield shares other examples of times he has acknowledged the existence of racism, including an email he sent to his professional communities following the death of George Floyd condemning racism and sharing insights on how to commit to anti-racism. Another issue they have with me is my support for the Southern Poverty Law Center and their commitment to fighting structural racism and advocating for justice for all, his post reads. Please read that again (eek). If someone is against that I just must ask, what are you for?

But in the end, Whitfield knows that this isnt really about critical race theory for these people now attacking himor, at least, that thats just one piece of how race plays into their hateful agenda. Its also incredibly personal.

In the post, Whitfield recounts an experience from June of 2019, on the night he was offered his current job as principal.

Those who have received administrative appointments know how it usually goes, he writes, the board approves and you get a congratulatory call from someone in central admin (usually your supervisor). That was not the case this evening. The call I received was a sign of things to come.

Whitfield says based on the caller ID, he knew this was a call about the job. But instead of making an offer (or a rejection), the administrator told him to check his email and said theyd call him back.

As I read the forwarded email it said Is this the Dr. Whitfield we want as an example for our students? And the picture attached was a picture of my wife and I kissing on the beach in Mexico during a trip we took for our 5-year anniversary, Whitfield writes.

Whitfields wife is white. According to the local NBC affiliate, Whitfields wife Kerrie said she took the photo to mean a black man with a tattoo on his arm was inappropriate. But James Whitfield said he took it to mean the issue was he was in an interracial relationship.

This is the photo that has parents (pretending to be) so concerned:

In his Facebook post, Whitfield says that the administrator asked him to take the photo down because we just dont want people to stir up stuff. Whitfield was aghast but he did remove the picture from his profile.

As I got off the phone my wife sat there in tears, he writes. I tried to do my best to console her as we both tried to grapple with what just took place. We hid the photo, no one from above ever mentioned anything else about it, but the damage was inflicted on us in profound ways. It was at this moment that I knew the attack that we currently endure, was coming. There are numerous examples of these sorts of racist threats and statements directed my way, but I continued to take the high road and focus on my mission and purpose, as nothing was ever done to alleviate or deter these threats on my behalf.

Following that July meeting where Whitfield was accused of the apparently unforgivable crime of acknowledging racism exists (AKA critical race theory), he was placed on paid administrative leave. That seems to be why hes posting about these issues now, tracing his career back to things like being asked to remove a personal photo so as not to stir things up, being told to ignore racism and take it all in stridethese are all concessions he made and yet he still ended up here, suspended over white peoples baseless, racist attacks.

According to NBCDFW, A petition in support of Whitfield has hundreds of signatures, and he said hes humbled for the support hes received and regrets he held this in for so long.

The Washington Post writes, In late August, more than two dozen students gathered outside Colleyville Heritage High School holding signs that said I stand with Dr. Whitfield and Hate has no home in [our school district], the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. A dozen parents also gathered in a show of support for Whitfield, the newspaper reported.


Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.

Have a tip we should know? [emailprotected]

Continued here:

Black Texas Principal Suspended Over "Critical Race Theory" Accusations Recounts Being Forced To Hide Picture of Him Kissing His White Wife...

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Black Texas Principal Suspended Over "Critical Race Theory" Accusations Recounts Being Forced To Hide Picture of Him Kissing His White Wife…

Blood donations continue to decline in the Permian Basin, organizers say need is urgent – NewsWest9.com09.04.21

MIDLAND, Texas Blood vials are drawing thin in the Permian Basin.

Our local donor recruitment supervisor for Vitalant says last month we were down 200 units. This month, we're down 400. Typically, hospitals need 800 pints of blood per day.

"People always step up and are so helpful when there's a tragedy, a shooting, a bombing, a disaster of some sort but every day there are cancer patients and surgery patients who need blood to survive," said Carla Alexander, communications manager for Vitalant south division.

So why such a big problem? Cancellations and COVID.

Carla says their regulars are staying home so they don't catch the delta strain.

But these donation centers want you to know they're fully CDC compliant.

If we keep running down this vain, elective surgeries requiring lots of blood could be in jeopardy.

Carla says if we focus more on the hundreds of people whose lives we could be saving, the need to donate will feel more urgent.

"My father was needing a heart transplant and while he was waiting for a transplant there was a machine that pumped his blood from inside of his body, outside of his body and back into his body and it took so many people donating blood," Alexander said. "When it's one of your loved ones that actually needs the blood, trust me when I tell you that needle doesn't look so big and it's not nearly so scary."

This upcoming week is national blood donation week starting Wednesday. It runs from September 1-7, 2021.

According to the Red Cross, in most states, including Texas, you're eligible to give blood immediately after getting a tattoo as long as it was applied by a state-regulated entity.

If you're looking to help you, you can visit Vitalant's website here to find a location to donate near you. All you need to do is type in your zip code.

There's also a blood drive happening tomorrow at Odessa College from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Follow this link:

Blood donations continue to decline in the Permian Basin, organizers say need is urgent -

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Blood donations continue to decline in the Permian Basin, organizers say need is urgent –

Time for Brand-New Brand Registration – Pleasanton Express08.23.21

If you are a livestock or beef cattle producer who currently has a registered brand, it is time to reregister with the county. Even if recently registered, all brands, marks and tattoos now registered with any county clerk in Texas will expire Aug. 30, 2021. Not only do brands help to determine proof of ownership, but it is required by state law that they be registered every 10 years.

If not renewed by Feb. 28, 2022, even previouslyrecorded brands could potentially, and legally, be registered by a new owner.

Read the notice below from the Atascosa County AgriLife Extension office for the full details.

Brand Registration Time Approaching

Brand registration in Texas is required every 10 years. Brands (the actual brand and location), ear marks and tattoos (if any are used for ownership) must be registered at the county clerks office of each county in which a producer owns and runs livestock. Texas does not have a statewide brand registry database as do many western states. Those are maintained by the county clerks in each county. Every 10 years, the state requires that brands be reregistered in the county or counties in which a livestock or beef cattle producer operates. All marks, brands and tattoos that are currently registered with the county clerk indicate ownership (not individual identification) and will expire after Aug. 30, 2021. The renewal period runs from Aug. 31, 2021, until Feb. 28, 2022. Once registered (or reregistered) the brand, mark or tattoo will be good until Aug. 30, 2031. Even if a brand or mark was recently registered, it must be registered again.

Any previously recorded marks, brands, or tattoos which have not been reregistered by Feb. 28, 2022, will be considered unclaimed and eligible for registration by a new owner. Some counties have online registration; most require the owner to send in the renewal form. In Texas, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association works with the Texas county clerks to provide a brand registration site and they have an excellent website to answer questions about brand registration, design and use,

Brands are very useful to determine proof of ownership in case of theft or in case of a natural disaster where livestock might be lost or commingled. It is against the law to use a brand or earmark that is not registered. Selection of a brand site needs to include consideration of size of the brand and potential damage to the hide. Lower hips and shoulders are better sites than high on the hip and shoulder. Never brand over the back or ribs. Both fire and freeze brands are acceptable; freeze brands should be used on red or black coat colored cattle.

For more information on branding or identifying your livestock, contact your Atascosa County Extension Agent Dale Rankin at 830-569-0034 or

View post:

Time for Brand-New Brand Registration - Pleasanton Express

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Time for Brand-New Brand Registration – Pleasanton Express

Shattered by COVID-19, a Lancaster father tries to salvage what remains of his family – The Dallas Morning News08.09.21

Claudio Sanchez came home from his factory job to find his family engaged in its own division of labor. Piled high in the middle of his king-sized bed was enough clean laundry to sustain a family of six for a week.

His cousin, Aaliyah, had put herself in charge of socks.

If you find socks, give them to me, the 10-year-old commanded in her pink Minnie Mouse T-shirt, sitting cross-legged near the headboard where towels had already been neatly arranged.

Claudios son, Daniel, 7, and Aaliyahs two younger brothers stood by the bed, folding T-shirts and underwear. They paused now and then to make one another laugh by trying the underwear on their heads. Claudios half sister, Celeste, 18, ferried baskets of folded clothes among the houses closets and dressers.

The scene could pass for one from The Brady Bunch if it didnt hide so much upheaval and heartbreak.

Until recently, the group crowding Claudios bedroom made up three small, separate families. Aaliyah and her two brothers lived with Claudios aunt; Claudios sister lived with their mother; and Claudio lived with his fiancee, Blanca Leon, their son, Daniel, and Blancas teenage son, J.J.

COVID-19 took the lives of nearly every adult in those families. Claudios fiancee, his mother and his aunt died in a span of five months from August 2020 through January of this year. Wanting to keep what remained of his family together, Claudio took charge of all of the children.

The road has not been easy. Claudio, 34, a machine operator at a plant that makes paper bags, is absent from home eight hours a day, plus overtime. Celeste, a rising senior in high school, has stepped into the role of big sister and babysitter. She watches the younger kids, comforts them, plays with them, feeds them and does chores while Claudio works.

Theres been little time to process grief and none for healing. Instead, as the anniversary of Blancas death approaches, the family has reeled from one difficulty to the next.

Blancas son, J.J., left home and moved in with Blancas mother, who is now fighting Claudio for custody. Claudios son, J.J., and Claudios youngest cousins fell behind in school one attends summer school. And Claudio wound up in the hospital for five days in late June, sending new fears and flashbacks through the minds of his young charges.

Claudio often wonders if he did the right thing by taking in his sister and cousins. Is this whats best for them? Can he, a strict disciplinarian, care for and comfort children who have lost so much? When, if ever, will their lives start to improve?

This summer, despite new COVID-19 variants, many Americans have celebrated a return to some sense of normalcy. They planned European vacations and trips to the beach; packed for summer camp; sat shoulder-to-shoulder in restaurants; hugged their parents or grandchildren once again.

Meanwhile, families like Claudios have been shattered.

By some estimates, more than 120,000 U.S. children have lost a caregiver. Inside Claudios home, there is no talk of reunions or exotic travel; just painful reminiscences of lost family members and the struggle to find glimmers of joy in the everyday beating a dragon in Minecraft, splashing in an inflatable wading pool, licking an ice cream cone.

Oak Cliff roots

Claudio grew up in a large, bustling household in Oak Cliff. He lived with his grandmother, mother, aunt, three uncles and his aunts three sons. He never knew his father.

His family, especially his aunt and uncles, preached tough love. There were few hugs and cuddles, especially for boys. Children werent asked their opinions and were rarely praised. Claudio was taught not to cry or show vulnerability.

He knew loss from a young age. When Claudio was 14, one of his uncles with whom he was very close died in a car accident. At 19, Claudio memorialized him with a tattoo on his forearm that reads Iron Lungs, the uncles nickname because he was a heavy smoker.

He was heartbroken but tried hard not to show it. I didnt want my aunt or mom to see I was crying, he said. I held it in, and I think by holding it in I turned it into anger. Claudio cut classes, dropped out of high school and worked jobs in construction and moving.

Realizing his own mistakes, he changed course and enrolled in the Texas Can Academy in Oak Cliff, an alternative public school for high-risk students. He spent two years there, earned all his credits and graduated in 2007.

After working as a paid assistant to one of his uncles, a telecommunications consultant with a college degree, Claudio realized there was more to life than living paycheck to paycheck. He discovered a love of fixing cars and other machinery and set himself on a course to earn enough money to start a family.

In 2010, he ran into Blanca at a Walmart, where she was working as a cashier. The two attended Oak Cliffs Moiss E. Molina High School. He found out Blanca was putting herself through school to become a medical assistant.

He saw a fellow striver. She doesnt like to be messed with, he said. I felt like, in my way, Im the alpha. When I saw her, I felt like she was the alpha. I liked that about her. She always got her things taken care of, she was very independent. And she wanted to better herself.

After they met, Blanca invited Claudio to her birthday party at 180 Degrees, a now-defunct club on Lower Greenville. Thats where they kissed for the first time.

They started dating and fell in love. Claudio moved from his mothers home into Blancas parents house to live with her and J.J.. He landed his current factory job, and Blanca went to work as a medical assistant at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

In 2015, Blancas father lent them money for a down payment on a three-bedroom, two-bath house in Lancaster, and they set off on their own.

Getting ahead

Blancas colleagues encouraged her to pursue more education to advance her career. She decided to become an MRI technician and enrolled in an associates degree program. She worked her day job from 8 a.m. till 3 p.m., then attended evening classes.

Claudio was proud of her progress and pledged to support her until she got the training she wanted. Id tell her I make decent money, you make decent money. I got you on that, Ill back you up on that, said Claudio. Thats our plan, well do it. And she did it. By then, Daniel was born, and her parents stepped in to help with him and J.J. while Claudio and Blanca juggled their busy work schedules.

Claudio said Blancas parents had originally discouraged them from getting married for tax reasons. But by December 2019, Claudio and Blanca decided they wanted to be husband and wife. He bought her an engagement ring, and they started planning an April 2020 wedding.

Then the pandemic hit and scuttled their plans. Shopping for dresses and wedding rings took a back seat to stocking up on meat, toilet paper and Lysol spray. The kids and Blanca stayed home and worked and attended school remotely.

Claudio continued going to work but was fastidious about changing clothes in the garage, showering immediately and not letting any family members use the car he drove to and from the factory.

They survived the spring and much of the summer, but after a July 2020 birthday party at Blancas parents house, family members started falling ill. First, it was Blancas father. Then Claudio. After Blanca drove her dad to the hospital, she fell ill with COVID-19, too.

While Claudios case was relatively mild, Blanca soon took a turn for the worse. She and her father wound up on ventilators and died within weeks of each other. Blanca died on Aug. 12.

The cycle of death repeated itself in October, after one of Claudios uncles died suddenly of a heart attack. After attending his funeral, Claudios grandmother, mother and aunt fell ill with COVID-19.

His grandmother survived, but Claudios mother and aunt, who lived together, died in November and on Jan. 1, respectively.

Now Claudios half-sister and his three little cousins, who had been living with his mother and aunt, had no home and no adults to care for them.

Claudio took them in. His aunt, he said, had assumed legal guardianship of his cousins after her son, their father, went to prison. Now, Claudio was the only person standing between them and Texas foster care system.

I wouldnt want anyone to give up on me, so I gotta try, he said. My heart is telling me I gotta try. I wouldnt live with myself if I didnt attempt to keep the kids with their family.

But his new responsibilities weighed heavily on Claudio. He was now the only parent and guardian to six children. Yet his own health was fragile he is overweight and suffers from diabetes and hypertension. He started wondering how much longer hed be around.

From his own family history, he knew that even healthy people could die suddenly the way his uncle did. He coped by sharing vital information with Celeste and 15-year-old J.J. information about family bank accounts, passwords, mortgage bills, credit cards and whom to contact should anything happen to him.

Claudio now thinks the losses and the new responsibility were all too much for J.J. Things came to a head last spring when Claudio discovered that J.J. had been skipping classes and had fallen behind in school. Always the strict parent, Claudio relied on old habits and yelled and cursed at J.J., who left home and moved in with Blancas mother.

She is now suing Claudio for custody of J.J. and filed a temporary restraining order to block his contact with J.J., he said. In June, Claudio logged into an online family court hearing to present his case for retaining custody to a judge. J.J.s grandmother had a lawyer representing her, but Claudio, unable to afford one, represented himself. And he felt things didnt go well.

Blancas mother, who speaks Spanish, said through an interpreter that J.J. was afraid of Claudio and had accused him of being abusive and forcing him to do chores. She and her son, Blancas brother, said the boy would be happier and better off with them.

Claudio denied being abusive and said he was doing the best he could under the circumstances. He only wanted what was best for J.J., even if that meant J.J. ends up with Blancas mother. He then added he wished he had died of COVID-19 instead of Blanca. I wish every day that the mother would have made it, he said. Cause it seems that everyone else is better off with her.

The judge encouraged Blancas mother to allow J.J. to have healthy relationships and healthy contact with Claudio and Daniel until the case is resolved. She said the next step was for someone to interview J.J., but there was a backlog of cases, so it could take several months.

Claudio logged out of the hearing, shut his laptop and sat back in his desk chair looking defeated. He had left work early to make the hearing and still wore his navy blue uniform with his name stitched onto the front.

He said he felt like giving up on J.J. but couldnt bring himself to do so. He had cared for him since the child was 4 and thought of him as a son. To Claudio, this was a matter of holding on to the family he had started with Blanca. He believes she would have wanted Claudio to fight for him.

Making adjustments

Taking in all of the kids has required many adjustments. Claudio built new shelves throughout the house to accommodate extra clothing, kitchenware and food the kids would need. He also inherited a second fridge and freezer that he keeps in his garage.

The children often provide a welcome distraction and some comic relief to Claudio. But other times, the responsibilities can be overwhelming. Last fall and winter, when the deaths were even fresher than they are now, J.J. would call him at work to report that Daniel was having a breakdown and that Claudio had to come home.

But Claudio never felt he could leave work without risking his job. So he would take an extra long break, talk to Daniel by phone and call Celeste to ask her to drop whatever she was doing to help comfort him. Hes thought many times about finding a job closer to home the factory where he works is in Farmers Branch but that would likely require a big pay cut.

Over the past year, Claudio has grown especially close to his grandmother. She has lost four of her six children, including the son who died in a car accident; the son who died of a heart attack in October; and Claudios mother and aunt.

Though she walks with difficulty after a recent fall, her presence as another adult in the house has been a comfort to Claudio. She often comes from nearby Duncanville to stay for the weekend.

Recently, as she sat with Claudio, she wept at the thought that she should have died of COVID-19 instead of her two daughters. She brightened, however, at the thought that perhaps she was spared because Claudio and Celeste needed her. Together, she and Claudio wondered if and when things would start to improve for their family.

In June, things took a turn for the worse. A diabetic ulcer on one of Claudios feet became infected and he ended up in the hospital. Surgeons amputated part of a toe and sent him home for a month to recuperate. Hed miss his salary but his job would be safe.

The new hospitalization sent shockwaves through the family, which never really stopped wondering which one of them might die next. Daniel FaceTimed him repeatedly, crying, and Claudio had to explain why his illness was less dangerous than the one that took away Blanca.

But Claudio soon saw an upside to his time at home. The kids, especially Daniel, really needed him. He reminded himself to be less strict and to try to have fun with them. They played Monopoly, Uno and Bingo. He laughed at new rules the kids created for Monopoly and challenged himself to find good Bingo prizes without leaving home.

Once he was up and around more, he decided to teach Izaeyah, 9, the oldest of the three boys, how to cut the grass in the yard. He took him outside and showed him their push mower. They both struggled in the heat Claudio, because he was still recovering from surgery, and Izaeyah, because he wasnt quite tall enough to easily move the heavy machine. Claudio saw that the boy was worried he had disappointed Claudio.

Once they both came inside, showered and cooled off, Claudio called Izaeyah over to him. You know, Claudio said. You did all right. You did a good job. Its your first time, and you lasted longer than I thought you would. The boy brightened up, and Claudio gave him a hug and told him he was proud of him. Claudio noticed that he held onto him for a while.

I need to do this more to them, he reflected. Every kid wants to be loved, and they need that love shown to them and not just to be told.

On the Fourth of July, Claudio and his grandmother and the kids watched the fireworks from their front yard, which sits next to a large public park. Claudios mood clouded as he recalled where he was just one year ago: in the same spot, only sitting next to Blanca, and with J.J. still a part of his family.

This year, it was a different scene and a different mood. But Daniel seemed happy, running around and laughing with his cousins, and that made Claudio happy, too. He told his aunt about his memory and she urged him to just enjoy the moment. For now, they were a family, and they were together no matter what the future would bring.

Read the original post:

Shattered by COVID-19, a Lancaster father tries to salvage what remains of his family - The Dallas Morning News

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Shattered by COVID-19, a Lancaster father tries to salvage what remains of his family – The Dallas Morning News

Reader rejects image of Killeen portrayed by Vanity Fair article – The Killeen Daily Herald07.25.21

In May Jeongs article in Vanity Fairs July/August 2021 issue titled All I Know is How to kill People sweeping, offensive, and often sensationalized quotes are used in depicting the city as unsafe and evil. The citation of a painful lynching in 1941 (in addition to the articles childish title) sets the tone for this article, which should have been titled All I want to do is sow fear hate and outrage.

Interviewing people who have lost loved ones in the area will inevitably lead to a very jaded view of the city as such moments become, unfortunately, defining ones for those individuals and the victims.

The use of disgruntled soldiers who claim to do nothing and serve no purpose should take advantage of the free education they can get from the military and online if their superiors cannot keep them busy. I did that when I was enlisted and so stayed out of trouble and was promoted quicker than my peers.

Tales of rosary beads snapping when entering post (easy to do if they are stressfully used as worry beads) and the author not being able to sleep at night because of the PTSD of all this, (and others feeling bad vibes) is meant to scare readers into believing that there is an underlying malevolent force at work in the city.

Aside for quoting people she interviewed, Ms. Jeong footnotes nothing and we are made to believe anything that has been said in the article as truth. When speaking of crimes, it is clear that some sources had to be used; but none are cited or quoted in the article.

Other statements are unfounded, such as the phrase of there being 38 tattoo parlors in Killeen. There are actually 20, with a couple that are temporarily closed as one can see on Google Maps.

And, though I have no tattoos myself, I am very respectful of the men and women whose livelihood is earned using this visual art form. So to say that this is a negative attribute of the city is a truly unnecessary and demeaning slam.

In my reading of the article, there was neither interface with the chamber of commerce nor any interaction with the Killeen communication department. The citys many attributes and opportunities were never mentioned.

To wit; we have four institutes of higher learning CTC, Texas A&M-Central Texas, University of Phoenix and Vista College. There is a military museum being built that unlike most others, it is actually off post so outsiders can visit. There are four airports for numerous uses. There are 438 acres of public parks in the area.

In the city there are many restaurants from all ethnicities and a variety of grocery stores. In addition to a large multi screen cinema, there are many venues that put on live entertainment to include a theatre with monthly affordable plays throughout the year. Let alone the tax breaks for disabled vets and proximity to many hospitals and a military base, the housing is affordable for all and attractive in Killeen. I

It has boasted its own newspaper- the Killeen Daily Herald for many years with reporters and staff that write and interview in numerous locations to create a publication that reaches 55,000 households.

This list is not exhaustive, but is meant to praise the town for its attributes rather than degrade it because of its unfortunate victims or not so attractive areas.

In the future, any journalist writing about a city they do not know well, should interview its politicians or fellow journalists in the place they are investigating. This would be in order to get some advice on what to see, and what the perceived problems or situations a given town is faced with. And above all, they should footnote sources that are not interviews they have personally given. In that vein, they can write a more holistic article which could cite all the pros and cons of an area.

Originally posted here:

Reader rejects image of Killeen portrayed by Vanity Fair article - The Killeen Daily Herald

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Reader rejects image of Killeen portrayed by Vanity Fair article – The Killeen Daily Herald

10 convincing reasons to visit Austin – KSAT San Antonio07.09.21

We know there are so many people who are just itching to find new places to travel right now, following the last year or so.

There are so many great places, but Austin, Texas, is by far one of our favorite.

It isnt just where the states officials meet, its also the Live Music Capital of the World, but were guessing theres a good chance you already knew that.

Regardless, weve got 10 reasons we think will just add to the temptation to get away to the heart of the Lone Star State.

Theres a reason Austin has officially been named the Live Music Capital of the World. According to Visit Austin, there are roughly 250 live music venues in and around the Austin area, at which you can catch a show nearly any day at any time.

You might assume all youre going to find is country music, but you would be wrong. You can hear almost any type of music flowing out venue doors as you walk the streets.


Go downtown, or find a hole-in-the-wall bar on the outskirts of town -- youre going to find live music all over.

Have you ever heard the phrase Keep Austin Weird? Stop through South Congress and you just might get a glimpse into what people mean when they say that.

South Congress is a spot I always take friends or family when theyre visiting. There are some great food spots, drink spots, shopping spots and music spots. I kid you not, I even had a visitor who got a really great tattoo on So Co.

Allen Boots -- oh, man. There are just rows and rows of boots. The smell of leather will knock you to your knees when you walk in. I will always do a walk-through when Im in the area. I usually end up walking out empty-handed, but the beautiful sights and smell alone in the store are fulfilling. You know, if youre in Austin, youre kind of obligated to at least window shop some boots.


But boots arent the only shopping. There are dozens of other shops that offer very different things, including (retro) clothing, antiques, art, jewelry, furniture and so much more.

And then there are the eats and drinks on So Co. Restaurants, coffee spots, food trucks -- theyre all there for the taking, and they are good.

Make sure to take your picture in front of the iconic I love you so much mural. Even the locals take advantage of the opportunity when making a stop through South Congress.

And, of course, there are bars with live music. One of the most popular and well-known is the Continental Club. The self-proclaimed granddaddy of live music venues is a dimly lit, swanky club that can entertain the rockabilly, country, swing, rock and/or blues lovers every single night of the week.

This has got to be one of the most well-known places in Austin, and its definitely a historical one. The owner of the Broken Spoke, James White, who died in January of 2021 at the age of 81, claimed the Broken Spoke was the last of the true Texas dancehalls.


Its a pretty special place. Ask any one of the huge stars who have stopped in for a visit: Fergie, Harry Connick Jr., Willie Nelson, Quentin Tarantino, Clint Eastwood, Robert Duvall, Claire Danes and President George W. Bush, to name a few. Thats not including all the big-name acts that have taken the stage. George Strait, anyone?

You can grab some grub, then listen to some traditional country music and dance the night away -- or just watch the others dance the night away. Theres also a room designated to showcase all its historical greatness.

You never know whos going to stop in for a visit. Did you know Garth Brooks popped in and did a surprise acoustic show In 2017? Say what?! Yeah, this place is no joke.

I know what youre thinking: What is so cool about bats? Really, you just have to see it for yourself.

According to Bats in Austin, nearly 1.5 million Brazilian free-tailed bats call the South Congress Bridge home between November and March.


Show up to the bridge before sundown and you can catch a pretty cool show. On summer nights, between about 8 and 9 p.m., the bats begin flying from underneath the bridge. While watching, you cant help but think, Where are they all coming from? They just keep coming and coming, giving folks a show for almost an hour.

They fly about 2 miles high at 60-plus mph.

Beautiful does not even begin to describe the Hamilton Pool Preserve. This place is so awesome and visited by so many people, that during the summer, all visitors are required to make a reservation.

Theres a 50-foot waterfall that never dries up, and the water level stays pretty consistent, even during drought periods. So when permitted, the swimming is pretty fantastic. And the water is so clear that you can see the fish swimming past you.

Did I mention how beautiful this place is? Really, you have just got to see it with your own eyes.


Who would dare go to Austin and not visit Sixth Street, the heart of Austins live entertainment district?

I have three words for you: Music, food, drinks. OK, Id have to add ambiance. Theres just a feel on Sixth Street. They close off the main area to the bars at night so that only foot traffic can get through.

If you get there a little early, Id definitely recommend the Iron Cactus. With rooftop dining and some awesome drinks, you can kick back and watch the party start to take off from two stories up.

Fair warning: It can get a little crazy on Sixth Street, if you plan to be hanging until the wee hours of the morning.

On a side note, look into Rainey Street. It seems to be giving Sixth Street a run for its money. With a street full of historic houses that have been renovated and turned into bars -- oh, and lets not forget the food trucks -- its a bit of a more laid-back area.

Lets be honest -- trying new food when youre visiting somewhere is always a priority. Austin has so much to offer.


Barbecue? Check. Authentic Mexican food? Check. Vegan restaurants? Check. Burgers, wings? Check, check. Eat out every day for the entire year in Austin and you will never have to stop at the same place twice.

The just-as-great news is that (in true Austin form) youll often be able to listen to some great music while you eat, or youre sure to have some amazing views -- at least, some interesting ones.

I could make an entirely separate list with all that Zilker Park has to offer. Its SO MUCH, yall.

For starters, the Austin City Limits Music Festival happens here (of course, Im kicking it off with the music). We are talking more than 100+ performances on eight stages over the course of two weekends in October. Its actually family friendly, too, with a designated area for kid activities (unless youre searching for some kid-free time -- I totally get that).


Then theres Lady Bird Lake, which, ironically, is not a lake. The river stretches 416 acres in downtown, and its an amazing spot for kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding or anything else that floats.

The 10.1-mile trail that is the Lady Bird Hike and Bike Trail runs just along and over the river. When I stick my ear buds in and go for a jog on the trail, I am always overcome by the views -- the river, the city and high-rises, all the people -- its awesome.

This isnt just a place for tourists. People who live all over the Austin area come here all the time. That should say something, right?

This list could not be made without Barton Springs Pool. This is an Austinite favorite spot. The spring-fed, 3-acre, usually-18-feet deep pool keeps an average temperature of 68-70 degrees year-round. Theres a large grassy area with plenty of shade, so swim, sunbathe or relax. Plus, there is a lifeguard most hours of the day. On a hot summer day (who am I kidding? This is Central Texas, so were talking spring or fall, too), its a perfect spot to chill.


I told you I could make an entire list dedicated to Zilker Park, but let me just give you a few more awesome things about it: there are fields with free sports on the weekends, the Zilker Botanical Garden, Sculpture Garden and Museum and more.

The SXSW (South by Southwest) music festival is known to hit downtown Austin, and it brings nine days of entertainment from everywhere.

Things differed at this years event, due to COVID-19, but the city is already on track to be back in full swing for the event in 2022.

And its no joke -- everyone who lives around Austin knows when SXSW is going on, so unless youre actually going, youll want to stay away from the area. The traffic is crazy because it is so incredibly packed! For those days, it is the place to be.

The music festival is the largest of its kind in the world, with more than 2,000 acts. Its like the biggest smorgasbord of artists you can imagine. You can see big-name artists, or you can meet a band from a small town in Idaho that youve never heard of before.


Everyone is there. Musicians come from all over so that their music can be heard -- and it is.

In true Everything is Bigger in Texas form, the state Capitol building is the biggest, square-foot-wise, of all the state capitols in the U.S. And its accompanied by 22 acres of landscaped grounds that is scattered with statues and monuments.

For those who love history, you can do a self-guided tour and take your time in the massive red granite building. Not a history buff? You can get a free guided tour and be out in less than an hour.

While you are inside, stand in the center of the star on the floor of the first level of the rotunda and speak in a normal voice. What happens is, well -- were not going to spoil it for you. This one is usually fun for the kids, but pretty cool, really, for anyone.

There are also some cool, interactive exhibits in the Visitors Center that will help you understand a bit more about the building and its preservation.


Regardless of your interest in politics or history, the building and the grounds are beautiful and really just a must-see.

Have you been to Austin? Did we mention your favorite spot? Tell us what your favorite place in Austin is in the comments below. What are some of your other favorite cities to visit?

See more here:

10 convincing reasons to visit Austin - KSAT San Antonio

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on 10 convincing reasons to visit Austin – KSAT San Antonio

Beloved Dallas couple now out $18K after brazen burglar hits store that’s been open for nearly 40 years – WFAA.com07.09.21

According to the Dallas Police Department, the burglar entered the store by destroying an air conditioning unit and climbing down from the roof.

DALLAS, Texas A Dallas couple wants justice and to be made 'whole' after a burglar left them on the hook for $18,000 when he entered their longtime store through the roof and climbed out with a big score.

The crime went down at Freedom Beauty and Fashion off of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard in South Dallas on June 22.

Ephraim and Olaide Oladiran, a Nigerian couple that immigrated to Texas in the 70s and 80s, have owned the store since 1983.

They primarily sell clothes, jewelry, hats, sneakers and dress shoes.

Ask anyone in the area, and they know who the Oladirans are: a Christian couple devoted to their faith and their community.

That fact is one of the reasons why they've been able to stay in business for decades.

"We try to present a good image," Ephraim Oladiran said. "We want to be treated the way that we treat people. We thought we were friends of the neighborhood, but someone didn't see it that way."

Oladiran came to the store with his wife like any normal day and noticed a massive hole in the ceiling of his building.

"As soon as I looked up, I could see the sky," Oladiran said.

Not only that, an estimated $14,000 in jewelry, clothes and shoes were missing.

When Oladiran checked the store's security footage, his fears came true: someone had burglarized his business.

You can see what appears to be a white or Hispanic man with a sleeve tattoo, wearing a Joey Galloshirt in the footage.

He's packing merchandise into a bag but crawling around on his hands and knees, trying not to be noticed by the security camera.

However, at one point, he looks directly at the camera.

Police are hoping someone recognizes him.

The burglar then got a ladder in the store and climbed back out through the roof.

The damage to the building was an additional $4,000 per Oladiran.

"That's devastating, you know, to a small business," Oladiran said.

The couple survived the pandemic for the most part but wasn't expecting a thief to set them back.

They want justice but also want to be made whole. Oladiran said he and his wife are praying one or both options come.

"We are just trusting in God," Oladiran said.

Anyone with information regarding the suspect's identity is asked to call Detective T. French with the Dallas Police Department Southeast Investigative Unit at 214-671-0112 or Crime Stoppers at 1-877-373-TIPS (8477).

If you really like to help the Oladrians, however, swing by their store and shop around.


Beloved Dallas couple now out $18K after brazen burglar hits store that's been open for nearly 40 years -

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on Beloved Dallas couple now out $18K after brazen burglar hits store that’s been open for nearly 40 years –

How a Dallas mutual aid group went from winter storm response to distributing cold water in the heat – The Dallas Morning News07.09.21

Carlos Penas usual trek from shelter to shelter is slowed by the sweltering heat.

He visits The Stewpot downtown for medicine, then goes to CitySquare for food. While walking by Our Calling, a ministry for the homeless in South Dallas, he smells barbecue and stops there.

Nearby, about a dozen people gather in the shade, sipping bottles of icy water volunteers are handing out.

Pena asks for water, and one of the volunteers reaches into a cooler and pulls out three plastic bottles.

He sometimes wears a backpack that carries a liter of water. After the long walks between shelters in the middle of the summer, ice water is a welcome treat.

Pain is a thing. It really didnt affect me, but the heat is 10 times worse than it was 10 to 15 to 20 years ago, Pena said.

Feed the People Dallas gained followers and donations during Februarys storm as they delivered hot meals to people in need after the power grid failed. Now, as temperatures soar, the mutual aid organization and others like it are distributing water all summer, helping people like Pena stay hydrated.

The grid is so messed up that we cant depend on it during the summer or the winter, said Vanessa Wilmore, founder and executive director of Feed the People Dallas. Its all about solidarity, meeting people where theyre at, helping them with basic needs.

After posting calls for donations earlier this summer to its more than 12,000 followers on Instagram, Feed the People received package after package at their drop-off locations. They also received donations from bottled-water companies JUST Water, Liquid Death, Richards RainWater and Vita Coco.

We shouldnt have to be scared for electricity or water, Wilmore said. Were going to take care of our community members no matter what.

In response to the heat, the city of Dallas Office of Homeless Solutions has formed an outreach team to offer day shelter services to people in need. Their efforts include helping to get individuals on the day-shelter approved list and providing transportation to The Bridge for people who accept shelter.

The city also has made water more available through outreach teams that hand out bottles at shelter entrances. The office pointed to Union Gospel Mission Dallas, in Stemmons Corridor, as a place to escape the heat that has seating, water stations and portable air conditioners.

Feed the People also works with other organizations, including the Dallas-based Say it With Your Chest, which describes itself as a black-women led leftist-action group.

Say it With Your Chests main organizer, Danielle Carty, said she was frustrated when the Energy Reliability Council of Texas asked Texans to conserve power in the June heat.

Its definitely a failure, Carty said. Privatization is becoming a really big problem. The excuse during the winter storm for ERCOT was were not prepared for the cold, and now theyre saying were not prepared for this heat.

She emphasized the importance of providing clean water to the elderly and disabled in the houseless community who are subjected to heat.

With more than 4,500 people experiencing homelessness in Dallas and Collin Counties, according to Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance, Carty focused on the need to provide services when local governments are unable to.

Next thing we know, well have people dropping like flies, she said. Its really important to get clean and cold water delivered.

Three times a week, volunteers with Feed the People Dallas load coolers of ice and water bottles into vans and cars. Some stop at shelters, including Austin Street Center, Our Calling and The Stewpot, to set up coolers and distribute water. Others head to encampments underneath the freeway to hand out bottles to each tent.

Volunteers have cultivated a relationship with the people in the encampments, focusing on asking what is needed rather than giving blindly.

Its very fulfilling to see peoples reaction with the water, to see people be appreciative of the service were providing for them and to be able to provide the service, said Patrick Averhart, founder of the United Peoples Coalition, a mutual aid group that works with Feed the People. Were beyond grateful.

Feed the People Dallas accepts water bottle donations at Sunny South Nutrition, 4500 S. Malcolm X Blvd. in South Dallas, Welcome Stranger Tattoo, 1918 Skillman St. in Old East Dallas, and The Goods Club, 3160 Commonwealth Drive Unit 160 in the Stemmons Corridor. It also accepts donations online at

But Wilmore said individuals dont need an organization to expand outreach in their community. People can carry care packages and frozen water bottles in their vehicles to distribute for themselves.

Thats what real mutual aid is, Wilmore said, getting stuff done for neighbors and your community.

More here:

How a Dallas mutual aid group went from winter storm response to distributing cold water in the heat - The Dallas Morning News

Posted in Texas Tattoowith Comments Off on How a Dallas mutual aid group went from winter storm response to distributing cold water in the heat – The Dallas Morning News

Page 11234

  • State Categories