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Night of Giving Dangerously, Rags to Wags and more

Michael Barnes
mbarnes@statesman.com

CHARITY: The news behind the news. Saturday at Hilton Austin, the Austin Children’s Shelter made all kinds of news. The charity sustained its 007 brand through its glittering Night of Giving Dangerously gala. It raised $1 million in an event that included faux gambling and spy thriller opening gambit. Yet the news that had knots of guests gabbing was that Bill McLellan, the banking and nonprofit leader married to the shelter’s Kelly White, confirmed that he was running for mayor. Since Rep. Mark Strama dropped out of the picture to run Google Fiber, it has been assumed that Council Members Sheryl Cole, Laura Morrison and Mike Martinez would step forward, perhaps joined by Bill Spelman. (Prediction: It will be a crowded race in a chaotic year with new voting districts.)

PETS: Two classes of canines join the parade. Saturday at the Four Seasons Hotel, the Austin Humane Society staged its impish Rags to Wags gala. Two sets of dogs made it up and down the runway: Pets of society backers and future pets for those wishing to adopt. Hard to say which group, seen up close in the carefully prepped prep room, were more charming. Ran into State Sen. Kirk Watson backstage. The former carefully danced around the news, heard earlier in the evening, that McLellan was running for mayor. The 500 or so guests inside the banquet hall generated a lot of high energy for the pet parade. (The work of these Austin rescue groups never ends. At least we are still the largest city to achieve No Kill status.)

CITY: F1 puts spotlight on Austin brand. Reported by John Maher in Sunday’s Statesman: “Tens of thousands of fans from across the country and around the world descend on Austin this week for what will be the biggest sports weekend in city history. In its football stadium, the University of Texas will host Oklahoma State before as many as 100,000 fans. Fifteen miles away, the world’s most advanced race cars will compete before more than that many fans in Formula One’s United States Grand Prix. It is an unprecedented pairing of high-profile events and disparate sporting cultures that brings together both the bedrock national and fledgling international faces of Austin’s developing brand. Marv Danielski, senior vice president of Frank N. Magid Associates, a research consulting firm, said Austin has some similarities to hip college towns such as Madison, Wis., and Boulder, Colo., but, “What separates Austin is it is becoming a major city in reputation. Even without a major, big three professional team, it is (able to) garner events of note that speak to the vibrancy and vibe of the city.” http://shar.es/8oHvT(A global city evolves.)

FLOODS: When will we every learn? Reported by Eric Dexheimer, Christian McDonald and Tony Plohetski in Sunday’s Statesman: “Just before 3 a.m. on the morning of Oct. 31, a stream gauge installed alongside Onion Creek near Twin Creek Bridge in Manchaca, just south of Austin, failed. Maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey, the sensor beams out information about the water level every 15 minutes. According to its final reading, Onion Creek was already far above its regular flow level of five feet. It had climbed 22 feet in the previous three hours, and was still rising rapidly. Ninety minutes after the sensor stopped sending information, the city received the first flood-related call for help from neighbors whose homes were already filling with water two miles downstream. The emergency system was soon overwhelmed with pleas for assistance. Residents later complained they couldn’t get through to operators. http://shar.es/8ob6s(Austin floods. It’s a flood-prone city. Yet we ignore that inevitable danger whenever a drought fixates our attention.)

SPORTS: This was an exciting back-and-forth game to watch. Reported by Mark Rosner in Sunday’s Statesman: “A defense that was source of embarrassment for Texas in September made four straight critical plays Saturday night, enabling the Longhorns to defeat West Virginia 47-40 in overtime. Texas (7-2, 6-0 Big 12) won Mack Brown’s first overtime game as its coach by stopping West Virginia after the Moutaineers had first and goal at the Longhorns five. A tough running back named Charles Sims was limited to one yard on first down. A blitzing defensive back Quandre Diggs deflected Paul Mallard’s pass on second down. Linebacker Steve Edmond tipped a pass on third down, and then Edmond finished off West Virginia with an interception in the end zone, prompting a celebration as the Longhorns came sprinting onto the field.” http://shar.es/8oHIC (UT volleyball match against Kansas was equally as exciting. Love my LHN.)