CITY: Did you know about this bridge? Past the industrial bleakness and agricultural scruffiness of Burleson Road, down into Richard Moya County Park above the lush bottomlands of swollen Onion creek is a historical marvel. And I wouldn’t know about it if not for Inherit Austin, the young leaders group for Preservation Austin. There, hidden from the road, is the Moore’s Crossing Bridge, a metal and wood structure that — get this — was, in a former life, the Congress Avenue Bridge. There, Inherit Austin laid out a long table for dinner blessed by optimal weather at sunset. We’d be remisss if we didn’t mention that it was attended by our new neighbor, movie and TV star Elijah Wood, who brought along an Italian director. Such is life in Austin. (More on the bridge later in one my historical pieces.)
Correction: The name of Richard Moya Park was entered incorrectly in a previously version of this post.
CHARITY: Millions more to go. How often do you hear this: A banquet meal that ranks among the top gustatory pleasures of the year? Such was the case at the Seton Development Board’s 36th Gala, which took on a disco theme with more orchids and disco balls than I’ve ever seen in one place before. Of course it took place at the Four Seasons Hotel. Gala co-chairs Lucy Weber and Reenie Collins deserve credit for overseeing every immaculate detail for this fundraiser, which will help with the additional $50 million Seton must raise privately for the new teaching hospital to go with the University of Texas Dell Medical School.Had a tremendous time learning from table-mate, author and book agent Jim Hornfischer, who, it turns out, has worked with several writers I know well and who has written histories of the Pacific theater in World War II. (Crowd gave a standing ovation to the departing Sisters of Charity and beloved 93-year-old Sr. Gertrude was given the Andy Warhol treatment.)
BUSINESS: Heal in Comfort, not Heal in Burlap. My story in today’s Statesman: "Thirteen years ago, when Austinite Cherie Matthews was released from the hospital after breast surgery, she was handed two surgical drain bags to carry around. "But I use my hands," Matthews, now 53, said. "When I was offered shoe laces and safety pins to manage my post-operative equipment, I asked, ‘Why don’t you offer the right equipment?’ I was told that women have always suffered in silence." That answer, perhaps intended ironically, didn’t satisfy the Toronto-born physical educator." http://shar.es/Kw95V(Matthews is a firecracker.)
SPORTS: Longhorn legend dies. Reported by Kirk Bohls in the Statesman: "James Street, the fiery, undersized quarterback who led Texas to an unbeaten season and football national championship in 1969, died Monday morning. Street, who arrived at Texas as a seventh-string quarterback from Longview, finished his college career with a perfect 20-0 record. He was best known for his 42-yard touchdown run on a scramble against Arkansas and his pass to Randy Peschel on a crucial fourth-and-3 to set up the winning touchdown in the Game of the Century to nail down the regular-season national title. http://shar.es/Kw9Xo(He was a kind man, too.)
TAXES: How local companies get off the hook. Reported (expertly) by Brenda Bell in the Statesman: "Last year, Advanced Micro Devices successfully protested the tax appraisal of its 59-acre office park on Southwest Parkway, knocking about $13 million off the $111 million valuation of the property with commanding views of the hills west of Austin. This year, when the Travis Central Appraisal District raised the assessment by nearly 50 percent, the computer chip company appealed again. The appraised "market value" of AMD’s Lone Star campus, which it spent more than $200 million to develop, now stands at $127.5 million. AMD has filed a lawsuit to drop it even lower — as italso did in 2010, when the district tried to peg the appraisal of the property to its cost. Meanwhile, the real market has spoken. In April, the company sold its office park for $164 million to Spear Street Capital, a San Francisco group. The price was $37.5 million more than the taxable value that AMD is disputing as too high." http://shar.es/KwOyM(That’s just not right.)