BUSINESS: Many speeches. Many videos. Many awards. Many thanks. Many entertainers. The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce takes a maximalist approach to galas. Celebrando Austin filled the large Hyatt Regency Zilker Ballroom to the max. The happy crowd — including just about every elected or appointed official within a 20-mile radius — took in the crossover mariachi of confident-beyond-his-years Sebastien de la Cruz as well as Austin originals Aztlan Dance Company. The guests saw videos about the chamber and about each award winner. Honorary co-chairs, Christann Vasquez and Gregory Vincent, represented the University of Texas and the new teaching hospital that will go along with the new medical school. Chamber leaders and award winners spoke. Drum roll, please: Lifetime Achievement: Lupe and Joe Morin; Business: El Rey Network; Male Entrepreneur: Michael Torres; Female Entrepreneur: Juany Tellez; Ambassador: Leopoldo “Polo” Jaimes; Chair’s Award: Rosemary Banda; Corporation: Google; Distinguished Alumna: Olga Campos Benz; Volunteer: Luz Lopez-Guerrero. Much to celebrate! Including President and CEO Mark Madrid‘s poignant nod to his partner of 13 years.
FAITH: Wesley United Methodist Church at 150. Sample taken from my story in the American-Statesman: “At times during its 150 years, Wesley United Methodist Church was known for its ethereal calm. “I remember it being very stoic, very quiet,” says Machree Gibson, a sixth-generation Wesley congregant whose great-grandmother, Mattie Sattiewhite — affectionately known as Mama Sattie — was a pillar of the church. “I remember the senior choir singing for the First Sunday service. It was all very sedate.” The Austin church — whose local roots go back to 1840, though it was officially founded in March 1865 — didn’t always ring with the joyful noise that one might hear at some other historically African-American congregations.”
SPORTS: The Statesman Interview: David McWillaims: Sample taken from Kirk Bohls‘ sweeping interview in the American-Statesman: “David McWilliams can barely maneuver around his tiny Longhorn Foundation office cluttered with boxes numbered in black ink as he works his final days on the seventh floor of the north end zone in Royal-Memorial Stadium. The 12-pound, 10-ounce mounted black bass that he took out of a private lake near Athens in East Texas on a fishing trip with former Longhorns basketball coach Leon Black remains on the wall behind a largely barren shelf. So are a couple of cheesy motivational placards. One advertises “Free Beer. … Tomorrow.” The other advises visitors, “There Will be a $5 Charge For Whining.”
TRAVEL: Austin woman retraces family’s 1914 trip out West through photographs. This Statesman story by Nicole Villalpando is one I wish I’d written myself: “The photographs taken by Kathie Buchanan’s grandfather, Edgar Duncan, show of many of America’s natural wonders: the Garden of the Gods, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest and Pacific Ocean. They also show what life was like traveling in a Buick in 1914. The family is by the roadside trying to fix a flat tire or trying to get the car out of the mud. Handwritten captions read: “Why we were twelve hours making fifteen miles,” “We had troubles of our own” and “Where we got out and got under.” The car turned into a tent by draping canvas across it with this matter-of-fact explanation: “Usual scene at camp time.”