Texas Rangers Reach the World Series for the Second Straight Year

Posted on October 16, 2011. Filed under: Texas | Tags: , , , |

So the Texas Rangers have reached the World Series for the second straight year, defeating the Detroit Tigers 15-5 in Game 6 of the ALCS. They will face the winner of the St. Louis Cardinals/Milwaukee Brewers NLCS.

If it isn’t my Red Sox, then the Rangers will surely do!

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Healthiest Employers In Central Texas Award Results– Dell Takes The #1 Spot

Posted on March 10, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Uncategorized, health, Texas | Tags: , , , , , |

The Austin Business Journal recently gave out their Healthiest Employer awards for 2011, and below are the results.

1. Dell Inc.

Dell has about 15,000 local employees and ranks #1 for the healthiest large employer in Central Texas. They do things a little differently than most. For example, they have a hotline staffed by a nurse for employees to call regarding health problems for themselves or family members (I actually used to work for Dell and have used this hotline before and loved it). They also have a health plan that enables employees to lower their premiums if they record more than 150 minutes of exercise a week and have lower body fat ratios and healthy blood pressure readings. Dell even partnered with WebMD to establish an online portal for employees to get medical advise, guage their health and even track health insurance accounts. The list goes on and on with what they offer their employees.

2. Tokyo Electron

3. National Instruments Corp.

4. Travis County

5. Seton Family of Hospitals

6. The Scooter Store

7. Applied Materials Inc.

8. City of Austin

9. Atmos Energy Corp

10. Lower Colorado River Authority

11. Edward Jones

12. Life Technologies Corp.

13. Maximus Inc.

Results for MEDIUM Companies in Central Texas

1. Frost Insurance

At Frost Insurance, employees monitor pedometers clipped to their belts or shoes EVERY DAY! The tiny devices track the number of steps taken, miles traveled and even calories burned. They then upload this information to a website that tracks their achievments and tells them how close they are to reaching incentives such as cash and gift cards, and shows them where they rank with “office bragging rights.”

The program is so popular at work that 3 of 4 participating employees goes to their website more than 100 times per year. The pedometer program is just a driver to get people to the customized wellness website for health improvement, and it seems to be working.

2. CP&Y Inc.

3. Southwest Key Programs 

4. Texas Mutual Insurance Co.

5. Higginbotham & Associates Inc.

6. Captial Metropolitan Transportation Authority


8. Lifeworks

9. Green Mountain Energy Co.

10. Field Asset Services

11. Strasburger & Price LLP

12. Texas Medical Liability Trust

13. University of Texas at Austin–Division of Housing and Food Service

14. TG

15. The Blood and Tissue Center of Central Texas

Results for SMALL Companies in Central Texas

1. The Karis Group

2. St. David’s Foundation

3. RFG Inc.

4. Ballet Austin Inc.

5. American Inovations

6. Sherry Matthews Advocacy Marketing

7. Livestrong

8. Hotschedules Inc.

9. Charity Dynamics

10. Castle Hill Fitness

11. Maxwell Locke & Ritter LLP

12. Century Management

Congratulations to the Healthiest Employers and their employees!! Keep up the great work.

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Texas Tax Burden Among the Nation’s Lowest

Posted on March 9, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, Texas | Tags: , |

According to the Austin Business Journal, Texas ranks45th out of our 50 great states for the weight of total state and local tax burden, according to a report generated by The Tax Foundation who is based out of Washington DC.

The report says that tax burdens in fiscal year 2009 fell from the previous years, and said New Jersey residents paid the highest combination of income, sales, property and other taxes at a whopping 12.1 percent.

Texans paid only 7.1 percent over the same period.

New York (12.1 percent) and Connecticut (12 percent) were close to New Jersey with their tax burdens, while Alaska (6.3 percent), Nevada (7.5) and South Dakota (7.6) had the lowest, according to the report.

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New Poll Identifies Most Liberal and Conservative States…Where Do You Live?!

Posted on February 26, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, Politics, Texas | Tags: , , , , |

I love politics. Been really into politics for about 6 year now. If I would have known how political I was going  to become when I “grew up,” I would have majored in political science and history while in college. Instead, I majored in Leadership Management. Nowadays, I’m thinking that was a better choice.

Interestingly, I grew up in Vermont, which is one if the  most liberal states in our great country but am now living in Texas, which is one of the most conservative states in the USA.  In fact, Vermont  is so liberal, that I believe it is the only state George W. Bush has never visited. I’m pretty sure that is still a fact.

Below are the results from a recent Gallup Poll about liberal and conservative states. I find it funny that Mississippi is #1 for being the most conservative state AND also #1 for being the least healthy state. In case you missed which states are the healthiest and unhealthiest, click here to read about the how they rank.

Hope you enjoy the data below!

Self-Identified Ideology by State, 2010

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Texas Independence Day March 2, 2011

Posted on February 24, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- On MY Calendar, -- Uncategorized, Texas | Tags: , , , , |

Texas Independence Day is always March 2. This holiday is celebrated in many cities and towns throughout Texas and is always full of festivities and fun. The day is celebrated by festivals that include children’s activities, re-enactments, band music, chili cook-offs and parades. Other activities include story-telling sessions about how Texas won its independence from Mexico and became a republic during the 19th century. In Austin, there is a parade in front of the state capital. I went last year and it was great.

Some state government workers may choose to have a day off on Texas Independence Day as it is a partial staffing day. Many schools have classroom lessons and activities about the Texas Declaration of Independence during this time of the year.

According to www.timeanddate.com, Texas Independence Day commemorates the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. This event marked Texas’ independence from Mexico. Sixty delegates from all over Texas signed the declaration. Its language in many ways parallels the 1776 Declaration of Independence of the United States, which is observed on Independence Day, also known as “the fourth of July”.

The Republic of Texas was annexed to the US by joint resolution of the US Congress nine years after the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.  The US Congress then admitted Texas as a constituent state of the Union on December 29, 1845. Texas Independence Day is an official holiday in Texas. Sam Houston Day is also observed on March 2, marking the birthday of the man who led the Texans to victory over Mexican troops at the battle of San Jacinto.

The website also adds that  Texas’ Lone Star flag became the state’s official flag on January 24, 1839. It consists of a rectangle with a width to length ratio of two to three featuring:

  • A blue vertical stripe one-third the entire length of the flag wide, and two equal horizontal stripes, the upper stripe white, the lower red, each two-thirds the entire length of the flag long.
  • A white, regular five-pointed star in the center of the blue stripe, oriented so that one point faces upward, and of such a size that the diameter of a circle passing through the five points of the star is equal to three-fourths the width of the blue stripe.

Texas has various symbols such as the Bluebonnet (state flower), the Northern Mockingbird (state bird), and the horned lizard (state reptile).

State historic sites include the Casa Navarro in San Antonio, Texas. It was the home of Tejano patriot Jose Antonio Navarro, who was influential in the fight for Texas’ independence. Another important site is the San Jacinto Monument in La Porte, Texas, which is built on the actual battleground where Texas won its independence from Mexico.

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Austin’s 13th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk! April 2, 2011

Posted on February 22, 2011. Filed under: -- On MY Calendar, -- Uncategorized, -- What MOLLY's Up To, Barton, Texas | Tags: , , , , |

Last year my dog, Barton, and I participated in the 12th annual walk. There were 11,256 dogs there! Literally. It was a barkin’ good time. My dog even received a medal for being a “World Record Breaking Dog.” I think he now has as many medals as I do. Just kidding. Well, sort of kidding.

Looks like Austin is trying to set a Guniess Book of World Records this year, so I hope that you and your best friend will be able to make it. Barton and I will be there with a few of his best pals. 

Below the poodle picture are the details about the event, including a map and link for registration. You can save $5 by pre-registering online.

If you decide to come, make sure you get there early. There are tons of vendors, gifts and treats for your pooch. Also, there are so many great photo opps along the way so don’t forget your camera. Each dog that completes the walk gets a GOLD medal! It’s awesome and really is sooo very much fun. 


                                      13th Annual Mighty Texas Dog Walk  

Saturday, April 2, 2011 – 9:00 am   

All Day Event at Waterloo Park!

Where: New: All Day Event at Waterloo Park [map]

Bring the Guinness World Record back to Texas – Beat the Brits! Current record: 17,427 dogs

When: Sat., April 2, 2011 9:00 AM – Exhibits open from 7 AM to 4 PM

What: A three mile stroll just down the road from the Texas State Capitol

Why: To bring the Guinness World’s Record for “Largest Dog Walk” back to Texas! Current record: 17,427 dogs

Admission: $30/dog day of; $25/dog pre-registration

Pre-Registration:  $25/dog


Until Friday, April 1, 5:00 PM

Register Here

By Mail:

Postmarked by
Friday, March 25, 2011

Mail To:
Texas Hearing &
Service Dogs
4803 Rutherglen
Austin, TX 78749

In Person:

Wed, Thurs, Fri, March 30, 31, and April 1
9:00 AM – 7:00 PM

Petco (map)
9828 Great Hills Trail
Austin, TX
(512) 345-2355


Petco (map)
5601 Brodie Lane
Sunset Valley
(512) 892-7804

Day of Event Registration:  $30/dog


April 2, 2011, 7:00 AM – 9:00 AM    
Registration tent (big white tent)

Packet Pick Up:
You may pick up your collector’s T-shirt, walk bib and other goodies at the Dog Walk Registration tent, OR

Packet Pick Up – 2 Options:
(1)  Wed – Fri, March 30, 31 and April 1
      Petco, 9828 Great Hills Trail (map)
      9:00 am — 7:00 pm
      (512) 345-2355


      Petco (map)
      5601 Brodie Lane, Sunset Valley
      9:00 am — 7:00 pm
      (512) 892-7804

(2) Walk Day – get there early!

Gifts: Mauro Garza collector’s t-shirt, goodies from dozens of dog-related Exhibitors, Gold Medal for every dog at the Finish Line!

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City of Austin Offers $40,000 in “Carbon Offset Challenge” Grants. Boom, That’s a Lot of Green!

Posted on February 18, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Energy/Being GREEN, Conservation, Texas | Tags: , , , , |

I received this email update (below)  from the Austin Climate Protection Group and thought I’d share the details with you. I hope you find it helpful and hopefully you can even cash in on the grant. Best of luck!!


$40,000 in Carbon Offset Challenge Grants now available

The City of Austin’s new Carbon Offset Challenge Grants are designed to highlight local projects doing their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. $40,000 will be be divided among up to 16 projects, and up to $10,000 can be awarded to one project. Solicitation information is posted on the City of Austin Purchasing website, and the closing date is March 1, 2011.

Austin Carbon Footprint CalculatorLast fall, Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced the creation of the Carbon Offsets Support Challenge. A City of Austin team will review proposals for the grants, selecting projects that demonstrate a clear methodology for delivering verifiable local carbon reductions. Austin Energy will then give Austinites and visitors the opportunity to purchase offsets that result using the Austin Climate Protection Program Carbon Calculator.

The Carbon Offsets Support Challenge will identify visible greenhouse gas reduction or sequestration projects within Travis County. Examples of projects that may be considered under the Support Challenge might include the use of grant funding to:

  • Grow food on site to feed school children, reducing GHG emissions associated with importing the same amount of food from out-of-state.
  • Support the installation of solar panels on low income housing units, reducing GHG emissions associated with energy used from non-renewable sources.
  • Install a digester to capture methane produced during manure storage that converts the methane into energy, reducing GHG emissions associated with energy created by non-renewable sources.
  • Support the conversion of vehicles to lower emission fuel sources.

The City of Austin Purchasing website offers more information on this opportunity, including instructions on how to prepare your proposal. Once at the Purchasing website http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/purchase/default.htm, here’s how to find it:

  1. Click on “Vendor Self Service (VSS)”
  2. Click on “Public Access”
  3. Click on “Business Opportunities”
  4. Click on “Search for Solicitations”
  5. Click on “RFINT-1100-TVN0100”
  6. Click on “Attachments” to download the details 
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83rd Zilker Park Kite Festival 2011– The Oldest Kite Festival in the Good Ol’ USA

Posted on February 17, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- On MY Calendar, Texas | Tags: , , |

I just got this email (below) from the City of Austin about Zilker’s 2011 Kite Festival. Yippeeeee, I love going to this. Make sure to mark your calendar for March 6th this year. See you there!

Zilker Park Kite Festival – March 6th

The 83rd annual Zilker Kite Festival, the oldest continually running kite festival in the USA,  will be held on the Great Lawn at Zilker Metropolitan Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road visit http://www.zilkerkitefestival.com/ for more information.

The sky will be filled with dancing kites and colors as thousands gather to welcome the spring for the 83rd Annual Zilker Park Kite Festival or “Kite Day” in Zilker Metropolitan Park. Everyone is welcome to come enjoy this grand celebration of the spring, even the family pets.

The Zilker Park Kite Festival, sponsored by The Exchange Club and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, is FREE of charge to attend or participate in. Festivities start at 10 am, registration for competition starts at 11 am, and the kite contest starts at 1 pm.

Free parking is available at the state garage at the corner of 16th and Colorado (1604 Colorado St.). Shuttle rides are $1 round trip for persons 12 years and older. Kids and dogs ride free!

Created in 1929, the Kite Festival competition events have changed little since then. Participants are encouraged to compete with their homemade kites in the steadiest, highest angle, strongest pulling, most unusual, smallest, and largest events. The contest includes youth (up to 16 yrs old) and adult (16 yrs or older) categories and a 50-yard dash for kids between 7 and 12 years of age. Trophies will be awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.

Don’t have a kite? Come make a kite at our on field kite workshop. All materials are supplied and the kite is guaranteed to fly.

You don’t have to fly a kite to enjoy the festival. Many come just to enjoy the magical view. Delicious foods, moonwalks, face painting, rock wall climbing, games and contests for the kids will be offered all afternoon.

Kite flying demonstrations by professional kite flyers will be presented throughout the day. Kites choreographed to music will dance singly and in groups. Kite battles, Kite buggies, kite skateboards and huge 40, 50 and 90 foot kites will be displayed on all day.

Come hungry! Delicious foods of all kinds will be prepared fresh at the event. Through concessions sales, The Exchange Club of Austin raises funds to break the cycle of child abuse. Funds generated go to local organizations such as the Rainbow Room, Family Connections and the Pebble Project that are dedicated to helping central Texas kids lead safe and happy lives.

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City of Austin’s 6th Bi-Annual Green Garden Festival–See you there!

Posted on February 16, 2011. Filed under: -- Austin Related, -- Energy/Being GREEN, -- On MY Calendar, -- Uncategorized, -- Volunteering, Conservation, Texas | Tags: , , |

I’ll be volunteering for the City of Austin’s Green Garden Festival, and I hope to see you there. Check out the information below for some details about what is planned. And yes, it is FREE!! You’ll find talks and tips to help you create and maintain a yard that is attractive, cost-saving AND earth-friendly. The festival will feature a fun, hands-on Kids’ Corner so don’t forget the kidos.

Enjoy a fun day in the park for adults and kids while learning how to have a beautiful yard and a clean environment.

Sunday, February 27, 2011
12:00-4:00 PM
Zilker Botanical Garden
2220 Barton Springs Road
Arrive in cleaner greener style!  If you carpool, bus, bike or walk to the fest, visit the Commute Solutions table for a thank you gift.

Cost: Free!
Bike Tour: 11:00 am Green Garden Bike Tour Click Here to Register
Bus Routes: Route 30 serves Zilker and Routes 21/22 drop near Deep Eddy. Visit the Capitol Metro Trip Planner and Map Your Route!
Parking for Cars: At the polo fields across the street from the Zilker Botanical Garden. (In case of rain, alternative parking and shuttles will be available.) Bicycle and special needs parking will be available in the Zilker Botanical Gardens parking lot.

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2010 Healthiest States Rankings—where is your state?

Posted on February 11, 2011. Filed under: -- Uncategorized, health, Texas, Vermont...where I grew up before moving to Austin! | Tags: , , , , , |

By Molly Greaves

Vermont takes the cake for the healthiest state in 2010. Boy am I happy to see that. Born and raised there, I’m not surprised, especially since I’ve been to just about every state in this great country, and Vermonters seem to be pretty active compared to folks in other states.

According to www.americashealthrankings.org, Vermont has been rising steadily in the ranks for the past 12 years, and reasons are contributed to: high rate of high school graduation, a low violent crime rate, a low percentage of children in poverty, high per capita public health funding, a low rate of uninsured population and ready availability of primary care physicians. Vermont’s two challenges are low immunization coverage with 89.8 percent of children ages 19 to 35 months receiving recommended immunizations and a high prevalence of binge drinking at 17.3 percent of the population (and yes, they do like to drink in Vermont, especially beer!).

Massachusetts is ranked 2nd, an improvement from ranking 3rd in 2009.  Massachusetts has ranked in the top 10 states for almost 20 years. New Hampshire is number three, followed by Connecticut and Hawaii.  Mississippi is 50th and the least healthy state, while Louisiana is 49th. I like how Mississippi lawmakers are trying to trim their fat:


Below is the list of all 50 states, sorted by rank.

2010 Overall Rankings

1 Vermont  
2 Massachusetts  
3 New Hampshire  
4 Connecticut  
5 Hawaii  
6 Minnesota  
7 Utah  
8 Maine  
9 Idaho  
10 Rhode Island  
11 Nebraska  
11 Washington  
13 Colorado  
14 Iowa  
15 Oregon  
16 North Dakota  
17 New Jersey  
18 Wisconsin  
19 Wyoming  
20 South Dakota  
21 Maryland  
22 Virginia  
23 Kansas  
24 New York  
25 Montana  
26 California  
27 Pennsylvania  
28 Alaska  
29 Illinois  
30 Michigan  
31 Arizona  
32 Delaware  
33 New Mexico  
34 Ohio  
35 North Carolina  
36 Georgia  
37 Florida  
38 Indiana  
39 Missouri  
40 Texas  
41 South Carolina  
42 Tennessee  
43 West Virginia  
44 Kentucky  
45 Alabama  
46 Oklahoma  
47 Nevada  
48 Arkansas  
49 Louisiana  
50 Mississippi  
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