Northwest Austin | November 2020

NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 10  NOV. 21DEC. 23, 2020

ONLINE AT

Austin doctors caution flu surge after holidays

BY IAIN OLDMAN

C L U E S TO THE FLU

The Austin area is now weeks into the annual inuenza season. The u shares many symptoms with COVID-19

As the coronavirus pandemic rst hit the Austin area in early spring, local doctor Ryan Charbeneau said he and his colleagues began to worry about the annual inuenza season that would come nine months later. “When we rst started to under- stand what we were dealing with, with COVID-19, we realized it wasn’t going anywhere. There was a lot of collective anxiety back then about what’s going to happen when the u gets here,” Charbeneau said. In the time since, local health care ocials and other authorities have met regularly to begin planning for the u season, according to Charbeneau, the chief medical ocer of St. David’s North Austin Medical Center. Now, with early numbers on the u season coming in and a clearer picture of how the public can prevent widespread coronavirus and u hospitalizations simultaneously, Charbeneau said he is feeling cautiously optimistic about the upcoming months.

and other common maladies. Here are some clues to help determine whether one may have the u. COVID-19 ALLERGIES COLD INFLUENZA

IMPACTS

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SYMPTOMS

Fever and chills Cough Diculty breathing Fatigue Sore throat Runny or stuy nose Muscle pain and aches Headache Loss of taste or smell Nausea or vomiting Diarrhea

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Itchy eyes Sneezing

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SOURCE: SENDERO

SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER The Texas u season is o to an uncommonly slow start this year. Only 0.98% of 9,085 u tests in Texas have been conrmed u cases.

HEALTH PLANS COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

TRAVEL

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CONTINUED ON 22

Locals shaken by rockmining industry, push for reform

Rock mining IN TEXAS

7 Number of states that operate with no comprehensive mining regulations, including Texas.

8 Number of major aggregate production operations working in Texas.

DINING FEATURE

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BY ALI LINAN

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Williamson County is home to the most rock mining oper- ations in Texas, which has led community members to seek stronger regulations as the negative impacts of the industry move closer to home. The county currently has 34 such operations, accord- ing to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality data, and these operations are continuing to grow at a rapid rate across the state. CONTINUED ON 24

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SOURCES: GEORGETOWN NEIGHBORHOOD ALLIANCE, TEXANS FOR RESPONSIBLE AGGREGATE MINING COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER 1,900% Percent increase in registered quarries and other aggregate production facilities in Texas from 2015 to 2020.

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THIS ISSUE

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Phyllis Campos, pcampos@communityimpact.com SENIOR REPORTER Iain Oldman GRAPHIC DESIGNER Mel Stefka ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Taylor Caranfa METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pflugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today, we operate across five metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full- time journalists in each community we serve.

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FROMPHYLLIS: Remember that list we made, trying to stay positive and listing the silver linings surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic? We can add another: The instance of influenza this flu season is down—way down, so far. The steps most are taking to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 are reducing the initial cases to a fraction of what we would normally expect. Senior Reporter Iain Oldman shares what he learned talking to area health officials in his cover story in this issue and what to expect if cases of the flu rise alongside coronavirus cases. With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, let’s all do our best to keep ourselves and our families protected and healthy as we say goodbye to a year we likely won’t ever forget. Phyllis Campos, GENERALMANAGER

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BUSINESS FEATURE

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

latest Volvo designs and full parts and ser- vice center. Construction has yet to begin on the facility and an exact opening date has not been announced. 512-706-7000. www.hillcountryvolvo.com 12 Beard Papas , a Japanese bakery, will open next year at 11410 Century Oaks Ter- race, Austin, in The Domain. Beard Papa’s serves fresh Japanese cream pus made with a variety of avors, such as green tea and mango. The bakery rst opened in Osaka, Japan, in 1999 and now has three locations in Texas. www.beardpapas.com 13 Downtown Austin establishment Gabriela’s Mexican Restaurant will open a new location in North Austin at 11101 Burnet Road, according to a news release from Resolut RE. Gabriela’s serves cuisine from Michoacán, including ceviche and enmoladas, alongside cocktails. www.gabrielasdowntown.com 14 Scrubs & Beyond is opening a location at the Shops at Arbor Walk at 10515 N. MoPac Expy., Ste. A-160, Austin. The retail store sells scrubs, pants, lab coats and other professional clothes for health care workers. www.scrubsandbeyond.com 15 Waterloo Swimming will open a second location at 3200 W. Anderson Lane, Austin, in March 2021. The new swim school will oer lessons for kids and adults, as well as classes for toddlers. Waterloo Swimming’s original location is 12332 RM 620 N., Bldg. C, Austin. 512-401-3404. www.waterlooswimming.com RELOCATIONS 16 My Steel Magnolia relocated from Old Town Leander to Northwest Austin on Oct. 13. The boutique sells clothing, a broad gift selection and a cannabidiol product line. The business has recently expanded its products with baby gifts, pet gifts, housewares and custom print- ing. The new address is 11416 RM 620 N., 17 Local seafood slinger Garbo’s is set to open a brick and mortar location at 12709 N. MoPac, Austin, after relocating from its prior location on Bratton Lane in North Austin. The new brick and mortar location is currently open only for curbside pickup orders, according to the restaurant. Garbo’s food trucks continue to serve throughout Austin. 512-520-8004. www.garboslobsteratx.com 18 Clothing store Magik Supply , for- Ste. J, Austin. 512-777-3100. www.mysteelmagnolia.com merly based at 3220 Feathergrass Court, Ste. 132, Austin, on Nov. 11 held a grand opening for its new store at 12912 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. F-145, Bee Cave, in the Hill Country Galleria. Magik Supply sells clothing, shoes and accessories from brands such as Supreme and Adidas as well as its own in-house brand. 512-350-2155. www.magiksupply.com 19 Backdraft Pizzeria in mid-Octo- ber moved its food truck to Hopsquad Brewing Co., located at 2307 Kramer Lane, Austin. The food truck, previously located at 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op, sells hand-tossed 12-inch pizzas made with high quality ingredients. 512-387-1005. www.backdraftpizzeria.com 35

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NOWOPEN 1 Breakfast eatery Another Broken Egg Cafe on Nov. 16 opened at 8012 Mesa Drive, Austin. Another Broken Egg Cafe specializes in breakfast and brunch of- ferings, with a menu featuring pancakes, french toast, specialty omelettes, sand- wiches and more. The Louisiana-based chain has nine locations in Texas and this is its rst in Austin. 512-842-4022. www.anotherbrokenegg.com 2 Hawaiian fusion restaurant Salty Cargo opened early October in the Hana World Market food court, located at 1700 W. Parmer Lane, Ste. 100, Aus- tin. Owners Michael Carranza and John Gocong crafted Salty Cargo’s menu with Asian-inspired Hawaiian dishes, featuring brown butter poached halibut, a bluen tuna poke bowl and more. 737-465-1821. www.saltycargo.com 3 Iconic American clothing retailer Levi’s opened a storefront in The Domain at 11401 Century Oaks Terrace, Ste. 105, Aus- tin, in early November. Originally founded in 1873, Levi’s sells pants and jackets made from its famous denim. 737-263-0501. www.levi.com 4 Carabao Express celebrated its grand opening Sept. 19 at 2309 W. Parmer Lane, Austin. The locally owned restau-

rant serves up Filipino comfort food and barbecue, featuring dishes such as Yum Yum Lechon Kawali—a dish made of crispy pork belly. This is Carabao Express’ rst brick and mortar location. 512-358-1117. www.carabaoexpress.com 5 Slapbox Pizzicheria opened its new- est location in far Northwest Austin at 9900 W. Parmer Lane, Ste. B100, Austin. SlapBox, which held its soft opening Nov. 5, sells hand tossed New York- style pizza by the slice and by signature personal pies. This newest location will have 16 taps dedicated to craft beer and a full bar with craft cocktails. 512-994-2725. www.slapboxpizza.com 6 SXSE Food Co. held its grand opening at 4th Tap Brewing Co-Op, located at 10615 Metric Blvd., Austin, on Nov. 7. The food truck and independent brewery an- nounced the partnership will bring regular service during 4th Tap’s open tap hours, in addition to a reservation-only chef’s table with specialty Laotian-American dishes from founder and chef Bob Somsith. 512-902-5048. www.sxsefoodco.com 7 AB Liquor 2 held its grand opening at 1809 W. Anderson Lane, Unit 1, Austin, on the weekend of Nov. 14. The liquor store and bottle shop, operated by the same

ownership group as the adjacent Sunrise Bottle Shop, sells high end whiskeys and other rare spirits. 512-800-5466. www.facebook.com/abliquor2 8 Tsaocaa in early November opened its rst Texas store at 13776 N. US 183, Ste. 105, Austin. The Taiwanese bubble tea chain serves fresh, iced and milk tea options with specialty avors. 737-202-4103. www.tsaocaatea.com 9 International House of Pancakes opened its newest Austin area location at 7710 N. RM 620, Austin, in September. The nationwide restaurant chain sells classic breakfast fare, including pancakes and waes alongside its own signature items. 512-772-2719. www.ihop.com 10 Banh Mi Galang opened Oct. 30 at 11301 Lakeline Blvd., Ste. 100, Austin. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and serves health-forward Vietnamese dishes, including banh mis, vermicelli bowls and soups. 512-584-8391. www.banhmigalang.com COMING SOON 11 Hill Country Volvo Cars is coming soon at 10600 N. RM 620, Austin. The new facility will serve the Lakeway and surrounding areas and will feature the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY IAIN OLDMAN

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Slapbox Pizzicheria

SXSE Food Co.

IAIN OLDMANCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COURTESY BRIAN LEDDEN

The Original Pinballz Arcade o Research Boulevard in North Austin celebrated its 10th anniversary Nov. 20. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)

ANNIVERSARIES 20 Peoples Pharmacy , which has a location at 13860 Research Blvd., Austin, celebrated its 40th anniversary on Oct. 30. Owner Bill Swail opened the phar- macy in 1980 and quickly expanded. To- day, Peoples Pharmacy has ve locations across the Austin area. 512-219-9499. www.peoplesrx.com RENOVATIONS 21 North Austin bar and restaurant Mister Tramps Sports Pub , located at 8565 Research Blvd., Austin, reopened in September and undergoing interior ren- ovations throughout the late spring and summer, including a renovated bar. Mister Tramps serves pub fare and has more than 30 beers on tap at its bar. 512-837-3500. www.mistertramps.com

INTHENEWS 22 Nonprot organization Alzheimer’s Texas , based at 7719 Wood Hollow Drive, Ste. 157, Austin, in November was awarded the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s 2020 Anne and Irving Brodsky Innovation Grant. The funds go to a pro- gram to create safe interactions between loved ones at rural care facilities during the coronavirus pandemic. 512-241-0420. www.txalz.org Williamson County resident Wayne Rhoden received the Sharie Lanza Ambassador lifetime achievement award from the Texas Master Gardener Association on Nov. 3 for continued leadership and service to the organization. Rhoden has served in the Wil- liamson County Master Gardener Associa- tion, located at 100 Wilco Way, Ste. AG201, Georgetown, for 23 years. 512-943-3300. https://txmg.org/williamson/

FEATURED IMPACT ANNIVERSARIES The Original Pinballz Arcade on Nov. 20 celebrated its 10th year of business. According to the company, owner Darren Spohn opened the North Austin arcade and events center with his own personal collection of pinball machines and retro arcade cabinets. Today, Pinballz boasts the largest pinball collection in Texas, according it website. The gaming oor also features classic games, such as skee ball, Dance Dance Revolution and a Mario Kart arcade game.

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8940 Research Blvd., Austin 512-420-8458 www.pinballzarcade.com

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

HOLIDAY TODO LIST

November-January events

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE & IAIN OLDMAN

NOV. 29 JAN. 3

DRIVETHRU TRAIL OF LIGHTS ZILKER PARK

NOV. 29

HOLIDAY TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY ZILKER PARK

DEC. 1931

CHORUS AUSTINHOLIDAY CONCERT ONLINE

Austin’s annual holiday light display is a drive-thru event for 2020, with more than 2 million holiday lights, 90 decorated trees and 70 other displays located through Zilker Park. The trail is open nightly, but it will be closed to private events Dec. 2, 6, 29-30 and is closed Dec. 24-25 and Jan 1. 7 p.m. $25-$35 (general admission), other packages available. Zilker Park, 2207 Lou Ne Road, Austin. www.austintrailoights.org

experience along 1 mile of its course. The Peppermint Parkway will include light sculptures, a Santa Claus display, elves, and a drive-up concession stand with holiday drinks and snacks. 6-10 p.m. (weekdays), 6-11 p.m. (weekends and all of Christmas week). Price $35-$90. 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd., Austin. www.circuitoftheamericas.com/peppermint DECEMBER 05 SNOWBALL: PROJECTTRANSITIONSRUNWAY Local nonprot Project Transitions is hosting an online fundraising event inspired by high fashion, featuring designers from “Project Runway,” with local entertainment and auctions. Proceeds from this event will go to help people in the Austin community living with HIV and AIDS. Virtual events begin at 6 p.m. Free to attend. 512-454-8646. www.projecttransitions.org/snowball 06 DRUMMER BOY LIVE AT HEB CENTER Australian pop duo For King & Country is putting on a live production of its “A Drummer Boy” show in the H-E-B Center’s north parking lots. Two shows are scheduled on Dec. 6, with the earlier show beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the late show scheduled for 8:30 p.m. $99-$350 (per car). 2100 Avenue of the Stars, Cedar Park. 512-600-5000. www.hebcenter.com Held virtually this year, the annual lighting of the Zilker Holiday Tree will be streamed on the Austin Parks and Recreation YouTube page, Facebook and local Channel 6. The event will include speakers and entertainment by the Austin Civic Wind Ensemble and Barton Hills Choir. The tree itself will be lit at Zilker Park each night Nov. 29-Jan. 1 and can be seen at the Trail of Lights or from afar. 6 p.m. Free. www.austintexas.gov/department/zilker-holiday-tree

For its 56th year, local nonprot music organization Chorus Austin is holding its annual holiday concert online. Admission to the virtual show is free, and donations will be accepted throughout the show. This holiday concert will feature new and previous recordings from Chorus Austin, according to the organization’s website. Concert begins online at 6 p.m. on Dec. 19 and runs through Dec. 31. Free. 512-719-3300. www.chorusaustin.org

NOVEMBER THROUGH JAN. 1 ARMADILLOART CONCIERGE

The annual Armadillo Christmas Bazaar is going virtual due to concerns over the coronavirus. This year’s event features hundreds of local artists, crafters and vendors accessible through an online shopping guide. www.artconcierge.armadillobazaar.com 25 THROUGH JAN. 3 POP A ROCKIN’ HOLIDAY CONCERT The Zach Theatre presents performances of holiday songs and pop hits. The theater will have social distancing guidelines in place. Performance times vary by date. Starting at $25. 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. 512-476-0594. www.zachtheatre.org/pop 27 THROUGHDEC. 24 SANTALANDAT THEHILL COUNTRYGALLERIA Explore a decorated Santa Land display and meet Santa Claus for a photo opportunity. Free. Reservations are required at www.whereissanta.com. Times vary from Nov. 27-Dec. 24. Professional photography available for $40-$50. 12700 Hill Country Blvd., Bee Cave. www.hillcountrygalleria.com 27 THROUGH JAN. 3 PEPPERMINT PARKWAY Circuit of The Americas provides a new drive-thru

WORTH THE TRIP JOHNSONCITY LIGHTS SPECTACULAR NOV. 27JAN. 3 Johnson City will host its 31st annual light display across the city’s downtown and town square. Some events are canceled due to COVID-19, but guests can tour the light displays with social-distancing measures enforced. Lights begin nightly at dusk. Free.

201 S. Avenue F, Johnson City www.lightsspectacular.com

Find more or submit Northwest Austin events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES MobilityAuthoritymoves to keepMoPac base rate at under economic conditions Each year, tolls on roads operated by the Central Texas Regional

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER & IAIN OLDMAN

MOPAC TOLL RATE The Mobility Authority every year votes to raise its toll rates to keep up with ination. MOPAC BASE RATE 202021 FISCAL YEAR Current Proposed Adopted $0.35 $0.35 $0.40

stick with the lower increases. “I have a concern about raising the rates beyond ination, particularly in this economy. People are suering,” board member David Armbrust said. The board also chose to keep the base toll rate on the MoPac express lanes at $0.35 rather than to adopt a scheduled $0.05 increase Jan. 1. The board’s policy is to increase the base rate by $0.05 per segment each year in order to eventually align the MoPac rates with the half-dollar base rate on the forthcoming US 183 North toll project, which would see the construction of express lanes in Northwest Austin. The new toll project is expected to start construction in 2021 and open in 2025. Board member

Mobility Authority are increased to keep up with ination. The Mobility Authority ties those increases to ination—specically, the consumer price index, or CPI, which measures changes in how much consumers pay for goods and services over time. This year, that CPI increase is 1.37%, which means toll rates will increase Jan. 1 by $0.01 to $0.02 per gantry. The Mobility Authority had an option Oct. 28 to raise the rates further, up to 2.3%, according to a forecast by engineering consultant Stantec in a report on nancing for a project that would add toll lanes along US 183 from Leander to Liberty Hill. However, the board opted to CORRIDOR CONSTRUCTION Austin crews will start work on Burnet Road early in 2021. Construction will include: • Pedestrian improvements • Bicyclist improvements • Drainage and roadway improvements to follow

Work on new yover beams over I35 continues. (Courtesy Texas Department of Transportation)

ONGOING PROJECTS

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John Langmore said the Mobility Authority is still evaluating the project along US 183, and therefore a one-year pause in dicult economic times made sense.

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I-35 at US 183 yovers State crews nished pouring the deck of the upcoming southbound I-35 to southbound US 183 yover. This is the rst of three decks to be substantially complete, according to TxDOT. Timeline: January 2018-mid-2021

City will break ground on Burnet Road corridor mobility work early next year

BULLOCK HOLLOW RD.

The northern portion of the Burnet Road corridor project approved in the city of Austin’s 2016 mobility bond is moving forward after receiving clearances from the state. The Texas Department of Trans- portation approved environmental clearances for the project along Burnet, according to an Oct. 27 news release from the city of Austin’s Corridor Program Oce. The green light from TxDOT now allows the city to begin work on the project. Improvements along Burnet will run from the road’s intersection with US 183 to the MoPac frontage road

north of The Domain. The planned improvements include pedestrian and bicyclist improvements that address safety and mobility needs, according to the corridor program oce’s news release. This work will break ground in early 2021 and is scheduled to be complete within four months and ahead of the Austin FC stadium opening. Further drainage and roadway con- struction on the Burnet corridor will begin following the pedestrian and cyclist improvements. The corridor program oce states that work could begin in 2022.

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF NOV. 5. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT NWANEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. Boulevard. Crews are installing trac signals at River Place, McNeil and Sitio Del Rio Boulevard. Timeline: fall 2018-late 2021 RM 2222 improvements Sidewalks were installed in October from McNeil Drive to River Place

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SOURCE: CITY OF AUSTIN CORRIDOR PROGRAM OFFICECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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10

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ELECTION RESULTS

Information on winning candidates and runoff races

COMPILED BY IAIN OLDMAN

RESULTS Travis and Williamson counties reported record turnout for the 2020 November general election, with more than 70% of all registered voters casting ballots in each county. ELECTION For more election information, visit https://communityimpact.com/voter-guide .

SOURCES: TRAVIS COUNTY CLERK’S OFFICE, WILLIAMSON COUNTY ELECTIONS DEPARTMENT/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Winner

Democrat D

Libertarian L

Republican R

Incumbent

WILLIAMSON COUNTY

TRAVIS COUNTY

RUNOFF ELECTIONS

67.06% Proposition B

COUNTY ATTORNEY D R

PFLUGERVILLE ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES

COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 3 COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 1 75.92% Jeffrey Travillion 24.08% Solomon Arcoven R D

Runoff elections decide races in which no candidate earned more than 50% of the total vote. Runoff elections this year will be held Dec. 15. Candidates in bold are moving onto the runoff election.

53.56% Doyle “Dee” Hobbs 46.44% Stan O. Springerly

PLACE 6

Larry Gaddes TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR R COUNTY COMMISSIONER, PRECINCT 1

55.19% Jean Mayer 44.81% Larry Bradley

56.88% Ann Howard 43.12% Becky Bray

R D

AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL

PLACE 7

DISTRICT 6

DISTRICT ATTORNEY

57.78% Terry Cook 42.22% Betsy Gonzalez

R D CONSTABLE, PRECINCT 1

58.83% Cynthia Gee 41.17% Charlie Torres

40.31% Jimmy Flannigan

69.84% José Garza 30.16% Martin Harry

R D

7.21% Dee Harrison

33.39%Mackenzie Kelly 19.09% Jennifer Mushtaler

ROUND ROCK ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES

DISTRICT JUDGE, DISTRICT 460

56.80% Mickey Chance 43.20% Vinnie Cherone

D

29.08% Geoffrey Puryear 70.92% Selena Alvarenga

D R

SHERIFF R

DISTRICT 10

PLACE 1

34.20%Alison Alter 1.85% Ben Easton 2.94% Belinda Greene 25.43% Jennifer Virden 18.11% Pooja Sethi 16.62% Robert Thomas 0.85% Noel Tristian

COUNTY JUDGE

56.03% Mike Gleason 43.97% Robert Chody

D

51.76% Jun Xiao 48.24% Kim Boen

69.59% Andy Brown 30.41% Michael Lovins

R D

R

PLACE 2

AUSTIN CITY COUNCIL

38.16% Mary Bone

COUNTY COURT AT LAW NO. 9

DISTRICT 4

27.80% Cornell Woolridge

81.40% Kim Williams 18.60% Christopher David

R D

66.85% Greg Casar

34.04% Lacey Mase

24.74% Louis C. Herren III 8.41% Ramesses Setepenre II

AUSTIN ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES

PLACE 6

SHERIFF

41.48% Tiffanie Nichole Harrison 17.35% Russell Winston Collins

70.11% Sally Hernandez 29.89% Raul Vargas

R D

DISTRICT 7

POSITION 8

CITY OF AUSTIN 67.25% Leslie Pool 32.75% Morgan Witt

16.69% David G. Schmidt 24.48% Christina Gándara

11.50% Jared D. Breckenridge 45.82% Leticia Morena Caballero

TAX ASSESSOR-COLLECTOR

PLACE 7

66.94% Bruce Elfant 27.77% Marilyn Jackson 5.29% Erica Lockwood

R L D

12.88% Mike Herschenfeld

54.12% Danielle Marie Weston

29.80%Noelita Lugo

45.88% Jenn Griffith

57.93% Proposition A

Referendumof Project Connect propelled by Austin’s inner-city voters

BY IAIN OLDMAN

rejected Project Connect, local offi- cials have contended that the holistic effect of enhanced transit options will benefit the entire region, not just residents east of MoPac. “I wouldn’t be surprised if the people who were the furthest away from the high-profile lines were the least positive. But to those folks I would say, No. 1, we’re talking about taking almost 280,000 car trips off the road, and if we can accomplish that, we’re going to make life better in this community,” said Wade Cooper, chair of the Capital Metro Board of Directors, to Community Impact Newspaper .

from the North Lamar Boulevard area to South Congress Avenue, and the Blue Line will run from the airport through downtown and up North Lamar, alongside the Orange Line. Per the plan adopted by Capital Metro and approved by Austin voters, the overwhelming majority of transit services will be built east of MoPac. A future MetroExpress line from Burnet Road to Menchaca and Oak Hill, some on-demand pickup and drop-off circulators, new park-and-rides and some MetroRapid stops are planned for large swaths of West Austin and West Travis County. While voters in those areas clearly

city, from Northwest Austin to Austin Bergstrom International Airport. With all precincts reporting early votes and Election Day totals, a clear line emerged dividing support and rejection for Capital Metro’s Project Connect plan. Less than a handful of the more than 50 Travis County voting precincts that voted against Proposition A are located east of MoPac. The majority of Project Connect’s cost—about $5.8 billion of the $7.1 billion—will go to two new light rail lines and a downtown tunnel separating trains from street level. The Orange Line will run north-south

After previous attempts to gain approval of citywide transit plans died on the ballot in 2000 and 2014, Capital Metro and city of Austin officials cel- ebrated voters’ passage of the transit agency’s $7.1 billion Project Connect plan late Nov. 3. Proposition A, the ballot item associated with the Project Connect plan, passed with 57.93% of the vote— 240,693 votes for to 174,766 against— across Travis, Williamson and Hays counties. Project Connect promises to ultimately deliver a widespread network of rail and bus lines that will connect riders to transit across the NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

11

TRAVEL Austin airport prepping for first holiday travel season since onset of COVID-19pandemic

The city of Austin is anticipating increased passenger traffic at the airport as it heads into the holiday season.

Passenger stats

Beginning in March, year-over-year passenger numbers in Austin plummeted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Since April, passengers have slowly returned, but numbers remain low.

BY NICHOLAS CICALE

requirements, according to Haynes. “If you come to the airport, you do have to wear a mask, and you will notice that everyone is wearing a mask,” she said. Not all concessions and stores are open, but 35 of the nearly 60 businesses were open as of Nov. 1, Haynes said. Some have reopened using single-use dishware and virtual or one-use menus. Plexiglass is installed at cash registers, and mobile checkout and ordering are available at some restaurants. “You don’t have to interact with anybody. They’re doing their part to make sure that it’s comfortable and safe,” Haynes said. At the South Terminal, which is a 10-minute drive south of the Barbara Jordan terminal and includes all Allegiant and Frontier flights, the same precautions are in place. Jeff Pearse, the CEO of LoneStar Airport Holdings, which operates the South Terminal, said the terminal’s outdoor patio is currently open, as are its outdoor bar and food truck. Furniture has been organized to better accommodate social distancing, he said. A shuttle between the two terminals is also still operating. Do your research While the airport is following the city of Austin’s guidelines, others could have different measures in place. Individual airlines also have their own rules, Haynes said. For example, Southwest Airlines, which had been blocking off all middle seats, is set to lift that precaution Dec. 1. As of press time, Delta, Alaskan and Hawaiian are the only airlines that will have open middle seats after Nov. 30. “Plan ahead, folks. Check your airline, check the status of the flight, make sure you’re going to the right terminal,” Pearse said. “When you plan ahead, your overall airport experience is generally far better.” Even with lower passenger traffic in 2020, Haynes said that precautions and limited staff could slow security checks.

In March, the U.S. State Department issued an advisory to recommend Americans avoid international travel and states begin to implement quarantine requirements for arriving travelers. With demand plummeting, airlines cut the number of flights they operated each day, and a 42-month streak of passenger traffic growth ended at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. However, since April, passenger numbers have slowly trended upward. September’s total passenger count was over 417,000, down by 70.5% compared to 2019 but up nearly tenfold from April. The holiday travel season could bring in the most passengers since the pandemic began. “We have seen an increase in passenger traffic each month, and as the holidays are approaching, we’re optimistic that we’ll see increased passengers as people are more comfortable with travel,” airport spokesperson Sam Haynes said. The airport has adjusted its protocols as a result of the pandemic. Haynes said that as passengers return this winter, they can expect things to look different. Noticeable changes Haynes said travelers driving into the Barbara Jordan Terminal will see that the economy long-term parking lot is closed, as the airport has suspended parking shuttle services due to COVID-19. However, parking accommodations are still available in the airport’s red and blue garages, which are currently operating at a discounted rate, she said. Both garages are a walkable distance from the terminal entrance. Off-site parking lots not affiliated with the airport, including Park & Zoom and The Parking Spot, are also still open and do offer shuttles to the terminal with masks required. Safety precautions include promoting social distancing, sanitation stations throughout the terminal, plexiglass at Transportation Security Administration checkpoints and mask

2019

2020

2M

1.75M

1.5M

1.25M

1M

750K 500K 250K 0

Airport safety

Safety precautions have been in place since mid- March to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Face masks required Social distancing promoted on signs and in announcements

Plexiglass barriers installed Hand sanitizer stations located throughout terminals

What to know

Travelers can expect slightly different accommodations at both Austin terminals.

A Barbara Jordan Terminal • Economy parking lot closed; red and blue garages open and discounted

71

• Checkpoint 3 closed • 35 businesses open B South Terminal

A

183

PRESIDENTIAL BLVD. B

• On-site parking lot open • Outdoor bar and patio waiting area open • Shuttle available to and from Barbara Jordan Terminal

N

SOURCE: AUSTIN-BERGSTROM INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ECONOMY

DISTRIBUTING COVID-19 FUNDS

Williamson County received $93 million in federal coronavirus relief aid. Here is how it has been distributed as of Nov. 6.

Williamson County continues to distribute COVID-19 relief funds

Unallotted: $17 million

Small business grants: $35 million

BY ALI LINAN

allocated; $85,000 to emergency service districts, to which $500,000 is allocated; $1 million for community rent and utility assis- tance, to which $4 million is allocated; and a pending $1.5 million to schools, to which $12 million is allocated. Heselmeyer said he believes an extension is pending, but as of Oct. 30, any unspent money by the current Dec. 30 deadline will need to be returned to the federal government. “We want to do everything we can to help our citizens, our constituents, with these COVID-related expenses,” Heselmeyer said. “[We want to] make sure that their cities are taken care of, make sure that their schools are taken care of ... and utilize this money to the maximum extent.” While there are some parameters for how the money can be distributed, counties and cities are autonomous in deciding howmuch, when, how and to whom the money goes. Travis County received $61 million in CARES Act funding, which it allocated toward small-cities relief for entities located outside of Austin and toward rental and mortgage assistance for low-income residents. Harris County, with $426.6 million in funds, started court eviction and child care assistance programs, among other efforts. “It may be federal government tax- payer dollars, but that’s still taxpayer dollars,” Heselmeyer said. “We are still placing the same priorities on being responsible. We spend that money as we would if it was property tax money collected locally.”

Williamson County has continued to move forward with the distribution of its federal coronavirus relief aid funding and has added schools to its list of programs. In April, the county received $93 million in federal aid to support those financially impacted by the pandemic. Since then, it has distrib- uted money to small businesses, cities, emergency service districts and nonprofits. Now, the county is set to help offset the pandemic costs for area public, private and charter schools. “I dare to say that any county in America has accomplished what we’ve accomplished in the last six months,” Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell said during an October meeting. “We have done an amazing job through a global pandemic to help our county not only stand up but to run forward.” The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act, was a $2 trillion stimulus bill passed in March with the intent of financially helping people and entities devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. Williamson County was an early adopter of ramping up distribution points, starting with small businesses in May. The program, which funneled money to local businesses with fewer than 100 full-time employees, was allotted the largest portion of the total, at $35 million, Williamson County Treasurer Scott Heselmeyer said. As of Oct. 30 the county had also distributed about $500,000 to cities, to which $8 million is currently

School reimbursements: $12 million

$93MILLION TOTAL

County internal expenses: $11.55 million

Bluebonnet Trails: $500,000

Cities: $8 million

Emergency service districts: $500,000

Reserve: $3 million

Community assistance program: $4 million

YMCA: $750,000

Health district: $1 million

SOURCE: WILLIAMSON COUNTY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COUNTY TO COUNTY Here is how other counties and the City of Austin have distributed coronavirus relief funding. Program listings are not comprehensive.

Travis County Amount awarded: $61 million Programs: small-cities relief for those located outside of Austin, rental and mortgage assistance program for low- income residents Williamson County Amount awarded: $93 million Programs: small-business assistance, cities and emergency service district assistance, school district assistance City of Austin Amount awarded: $170.8 million Programs: commercial Loans for economic assistance and recovery fund, childcare support fund, Austin nonprofit and civic health organizations relief funds

Collin County Amount awarded: $171 million Programs: small-business grant program, family and individual assistance, COVID-19 testing for the uninsured Dallas County Amount awarded: $240 million Programs: emergency business assistance, emergency child care assistance, emergency housing, food pantry assistance Harris County Amount awarded: $426.6 million Programs: small-business loan program, court eviction services, rental assistance program, child care assistance program Hays County Amount awarded: $4.83 million Programs: small business assistance program

SOURCES: CITY OF AUSTIN, COLLIN COUNTY, DALLAS COUNTY, HARRIS COUNTY, HAYS COUNTY, TRAVIS COUNTY, WILLIAMSON COUNTY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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NORTHWEST AUSTIN EDITION • NOVEMBER 2020

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CARE TEAM THAT ACTUALLY WORKS TOGETHER. WellMed is redefining health care for people on Medicare. We do it by focusing on healthy choices. By making sure you never feel rushed. And by identifying risks early. It’s an approach we committed to 30 years ago - and one that stills sets WellMed apart today. Now, we’ve grown to meet your needs with online video appointments from comfort to your home. Your health is our number one priority. WellMed is redefining health care for people on Medicare. We do it by focusing on healthy ch By making sure you never feel rushed. And by identifying risks early. It’s an approach we comm to 30 years ago — and one that still sets WellMed apart today. Now, we’ve grown to meet you needs with online video appointments from the comfort of your home.

Your health is our number one priority. WellMed is redefining health care for people on Medicare. We do it by focusing on healthy choices. By making sure you never feel rushed. And by identifying risks early. It’s an approach we committed to 30 years ago — and one that still sets WellMed apart today. Now, we’ve grown to meet your needs with online video appointments from the comfort of your home.

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During Medicare Annual Enrollment pick a plan that gives you access to WellMed. Join us for an upcoming online Medicare event. Visit WellMedMeetings.com to learn more. For a listing of upcoming events or for more information about WellMed, visit WellMedFindADoctor.com or call 512-524-3704 (toll free). Calling this number will direct you to The Brokerage, a licensed insurance agency.*

For a listing of upcoming events or for more information about WellMed, visit WellMedFindADoctor.com or call 512-524-3704 (toll free). Calling this number will direct you to The Brokerage, a licensed insurance agency.*

Visit us on facebook: facebook.com/WellMed

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20_5612_WM_AD_AEPPROVIDER_JL_C101520 WellMed does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its health programs and activities. ATTENTION: If you speak English, language assistance (9355). ATENCIÓN: Si habla español (Spanish), hay servicios de asistencia de idiomas, sin cargo, a su disposición. Llame al 888-781-WELL (9355). 請注意:如果您說中文 *The Brokerage, license number 2359, works with Medicare enrollees to explain Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and Prescription Dru

*The Brokerage, license number 2359, works with Medicare enrollees to explain Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement Insurance, and Prescription Drug Plan options.

20_5612_WM_AD_AEPPROVIDER_JL_C101520 WellMed does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in its health programs and activities. ATTENTION: If you speak English, language assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Please call 888-781-WELL (9355). ATENCIÓN: Si habla español (Spanish), hay servicios de asistencia de idiomas, sin cargo, a su disposición. Llame al 888-781-WELL (9355). 請注意:如果您說中文 (Chinese) ,我們免費為您提供語言協助服務。請致電: 888-781-WELL (9355) 。

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