FOOD: It’s a giant gala, but it’s also very much like an extended family meal. Monday, Authentic Mexico returned to the Long Center. Patrón cocktails were poured around 6 p.m. The after-party was scheduled to end at midnight. That makes for a very long gala, but, at the same time, a perfectly enjoyable dinner party from beginning to end. I have no idea how MexNet Alliance prophet Monica Peraza does it, but she pulls off one of the city’s most elaborate parties for a profoundly good cause: Training Mexican immigrants to become entrepreneurs. I’ll let better writers rave about the food from imported and local chefs. I treasured the company, from big shots such as Consul General of Mexico Rosalba Ojeda, University of Texas System Chancellor Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, State Sen. Judith Zaffirini and State Rep. Eddie Rodriguez to the shining raconteurs at our table, including Eugene Sepulveda, Addie Broyles, Lisa O’Neill, Paul Munguia and Gary Lindner. (Munguia and Lindner’s PeopleFund, by the way, will now be offering small business loans to MexNet graduates.)

CHARITY: She made surviving cancer easier. Thirteen-year breast cancer survivor Cherie Matthews could not believe that the hospital sent her home with two drain bags to haul around by hand and standard clothing that made post-op life miserable. So she did something about it. Matthews patented Heal in Comfort, loose, soft clothing with interior pockets to handle those pesky bags. Then she founded Heal in Comfort 4 a Change, a nonprofit with a mission to make sure every breast cancer patient can share in the invention. I met spiky-maned Matthews for coffee on Monday and found out more about two upcoming events: The Support Crew Ride at Cowboy Harley Sept. 28 and Be Brave and Fight Like a Girl Party on Oct. 3 at Shoal Crossing. (She’s a pretty darn amazing woman!)

CITY: It was time to get serious about parks upkeep. Reported by Sarah Coppola in the Statesman: "Richard Craig watched for years as parks advocates wrote polite letters to the Austin City Council during budget season, asking the council to spend more money to spruce up city parks. The answer was usually an equally polite "no." So this year, a coalition of parks supporters ran a strategic, highly organized effort, pressing the City Council in emails, phone calls and meetings to spend an extra $4.75 million on better upkeep of city parks, pools, trails and trees. The council agreed to nearly the whole request. "Well-reasoned letters about the importance of parks to Austin’s quality of life had gone nowhere, basically," said Craig, chairman of the nonprofit Pease Park Conservancy. "It took waging a political campaign to get the job done."" http://shar.es/i9hWA (Excellent analysis by Sarah on this crucial win.)

BUSINESS: Sorry, can’t help reading these lists. Reported in the Statesman today: "Austin’s two billionaire residents, Michael Dell and John Paul DeJoria, both edged down slightly on the annual Forbes magazine list of the 400 richest Americans, Forbes said Monday. Dell, founder and CEO of Dell Inc., has an estimated net worth of $15.9 billion, according to Forbes, and slipped to No. 25 on the list this year from No. 22 last year. Dell last week won shareholder approval of his $24.9 billion buyout offer to take private the Round Rock-based company he founded 29 years ago while a University of Texas student. DeJoria, the hair products and tequila entrepreneur, has an estimated net worth of $4 billion, according to Forbes, and dropped to No. 110 on the Forbes list, from No. 92 in 2012. DeJoria runs his John Paul Mitchell Systems hair care company and Patrón Spirits largely from his Austin home." http://shar.es/i9GRD(I suspect there are some more billionaires in town.)

SPORTS: If we need the roads, we need the roads. Or not? Reported by Farzad Mashhod in the Statesman: "Officials spent Monday crunching numbers, working toward the figure that everyone at Tuesday’s Commissioners Court will want to know: How much will it cost to fast-track two road expansion projects near the Circuit of the Americas? Commissioner Margaret Gómez, who brought up the idea last month, would not give a cost estimate on Monday, saying she was still working to tighten the number and "make sure I’m as accurate as I can be." She said she expects to present that price in Tuesday’s meeting." http://shar.es/i96lc(But how we agree on which ones to build so fast?)