Food trucks

4 food trailers to chase down in Austin

DC McLean • Campus Reporter

Layla Elayyadi • Staff Photojournalist

Coat and Thai

Price range: Cheap, under $10 1600 S Congress Austin, TX 78704

This cute, friendly looking food truck has a catchy name and some awesome food. Coat & Thai has a varied menu which highlights Thai foods and appetizers such as curry dishes, noodle and rice dishes as well as vegetarian options. One of the more popular dishes is their egg rolls which are crispy, hot and filled with crunchy cabbage, celery and carrots along with noodles and onions. One could say the best part is being able to dip into the perfectly balanced sweet and sour sauce.

The next time you come to Coat and Thai be sure to grab some piping hot egg rolls along with an entree such as, Pod Ka-Poo which is stir fried rice noodles with eggs, green onions, bean sprouts and ground peanuts. This food truck de- mands repeat visits to explore the many options on its menu.

Lunch specials for $5.95 are served from 11 .a.m to 2 p.m.

Stony’s Pizza

Price Range: Cheap, under $10 6th St & Red River St Austin, TX 78701

Stony’s started in late 2007 when a father and son team from Boston pulled this fully equipped truck up to Red River and 6th and started serving some of the best NY style pizza in that area. As we arrived we were greeted by the son, he went over some options (slices, pies, prices) and we elected to get a full pie. While the pie was baking we went around to the front of the truck to watch him and see what they were using. Options tend to be limited inside a truck, so it was not surprising to see them using a little conveyor belt oven. He hand-stretched some fresh dough topping it with some quality sauce (Stanislaus) and a very heavy-handed dose of cheese with pepperoni on half. After the quick 8 minute bake it was ready to be served. We quickly started eating it and were very happy with the flavor. The bake you get on the conveyor is not perfect (typically lack- ing some crunch and structure to the crust) but it did a sufficient job nonethe- less. While it lacked the crisp or browning it was at least cooked all of the way through. The cheese was some of the best tasting cheese we have had on a pizza recently and the sauce was light but flowed so perfectly with the great peppero- nis that had a nice char on them. The pizza was not perfect, but the love, appre- ciation and attention to detail is there. Stony’s is cooking up some home runs out of this truck so don’t be afraid to try this truck after a night out on the town.

Miguel’s El Cubano

Price Range: Moderate, $11 – $30 611 Trinity St Austin, TX 78701

Photo by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

Miguel’s, named after the owner’s grandpa, has some excellent Cuban faire. Owner Alexander Acosta’s food truck delivers Cuban style comfort food wrapped in fresh made bollios with a generous side of traditional black beans and rice with yuca frita. Yuca fritas are the Cuban version of a french fry, howev- er that description does not do them justice. The yuca fritas were crispy, savory and the perfect match for the warm sandwiches.

The El Don was the highlight of the meal and deemed their signature dish. The cilantro garnished slow cooked Berkshire pulled pork was tender, tangy and mildly sweet.

The delicious mojo sauce, made with citrus, garlic, oregano and white pep- per, was served alongside the sandwich and surpisingly, the bread did not get soggy when the sauce was added. If you’re tired of eating Tex-Mex style food and breakfast tacos, track down this truck.

The Peached Tortilla

Price Range: Cheap, under $10 Locations vary from Downtown to South Congress

Photo by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Peached Tortilla serves a delightful fusion of Mexican and Chinese food. The Banh Mi Taco consisted of juicy, tender and flavorful pork belly, paired with crunchy, tangy carrot and daikon.

The Crunchy Catfish Taco was OK. It’s supposedly one of the more popular tacos, but the fried batter overwhelmed any other flavor. It was very tasty batter, though.

The BBQ Brisket slider was yummy! Tender and moist brisket was mixed with peachy BBQ sauce, all barely held together by two soft and plump Hawaiian rolls. De-lish.

The Banana Nutella Wontons are a fun twist on a classic dish. Who doesn’t like chocolate and bananas? A little more banana and more filling in each won- ton would have been great, but it was still a tasty treat!

 

 

 

True brew holiday flavor

Story by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

When some people think of beer, they may think of tailgating or parties of some sort. However, beer is becoming the best known secret to spice up cooking. There are several new printed books and e-books out on cooking with beer. Also, cooking with beer will give you more recipes than you can cook in one semester.

Sean Paxton, professional chef and home brewer, designed the dinner menus for the annual Homebrewers Association’s website, homebrewchef.com, which has recipes and offers aide to aspiring beer chefs.

As you may know, there are several different types of beers on the market. Most people know of the ones made by the mega-breweries that are light in color and flavor (typically a Pilsner style), but there are also the malty beers that impart a different flavor. You may or may not like to drink these types of beers, however you will find that when you cook with them, they produce far different flavors to food than their tastes as a beverage.

Beer can be used in almost every type of cooking there is: appetizers, soups, stews, breads, entrees, sauces, spreads, glazes, meat marinates, breakfast foods and desserts. You name it, and there is a recipe for the dish that includes beer. Used properly, beer turns the most ordinary foods into exceptional party fare. Beer works great as a marinade for beef, chicken, pork, fish or seafood. In roasting, baking or broiling, beer is used to baste the foods or as an ingredient in the basting sauce to reveal a rich, dark color and high- light gravies.

The better you know and understand beer, the better the application of beer in your meal. It is the perfect ingredient for your meat marinade because it is much less acidic than wine, vinegar or citrus juices, which are typically used in BBQ sauces and marinades. It will tenderize the meat without breaking down the texture as rapidly as the more powerful acids. Also, the balanced flavors in beer means that the other herbs and spices will not be overwhelmed by acetic notes. Also, it is typically less expensive than wine.

Malty beers can be used as a replacement for liquid ingredients such as water in cookies and breads. Pale Ale or IPA style beers have an up-front bitterness that works well with items you would normally cook with citrus juices. Instead of lemon juice, try an IPA. Baste your chicken in a pale ale. Have any left over beer that has gone flat? Your cooking doesn’t care. Add it in there.

David Myers, chef and Austin Community College culinary arts professor, said he recommends thinking about the food versus the flavors of the beer. A beef or pork dish can stand up to a malty beer, but a chicken dish would be overpowered and needs a lighter beer such as a pilsner or pale ale. There are many recipes where an imperial stout or a smoked porter is used in making a glaze or sauce for a beef dish.

Wheeler of Rogness brewer Dan Wheeler and his wife Laurie said they use beer in much of their cooking.

“The (512) Pecan Porter was great in chocolate pecan cookies,” Laurie said.

She said they’ve also tried using an extra special bitters (ESB) style beer in making caramels, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout in brownies, and have even heard of using Rogness Yogi Spiced beer in apple pie brownies.

“The Yogi has the winter spices usually seen in apple pie or pumpkin pie,” Laurie said. “Using the Yogi instead of the liquid, such as water, will give the foods some great flavors.”

If you need to bring a side dish to the adult Thanksgiving dinner, consider a spiced up cranberry sauce using fresh cranberries, fresh orange, coriander, honey, sugar and some witbier (a wheat beer mainly brewed in Belgium and the Netherlands). The witbier will bring out the citrus, sweet and sour flavors of the orange and the cranberries.

If your mother accuses you of drinking too much beer, remember that the alcohol does evaporate during the cooking process. It’s a science project and you are the scientist. Craft beer is about experimenting with flavor combinations — there are no rules.

Slow-cooker cornbread chili

Recipe and photo by Melissa Skorpil • Staff Photojournalist

Transcribed by Era Sundar • Audio Editor

The holiday season and cooler weather not only call for wardrobe changes but menu updates as well. Nothing says warm and cozy like a savory bowl of chili.

This easy-to-prepare classic is a versatile crowd pleaser. It’s low in fat and vegetarian, yet hearty and satisfying enough for meat lovers. Two types of beans provide plenty of protein and fresh vegetables provide vitamins and minerals. Cheddar cheese and cornbread add a touch of rich indulgence.

Here’s what you’ll need:

• 1 onion

• 1 green pepper

• 1 packet of chili seasoning

• 2 cans (14.5 oz. each) diced tomatoes

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

• 1 can (14.5 oz.) pinto beans, rinsed and drained

• 8 oz. package corn bread mix

• 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (for more flavor use a sharp rather than mild cheddar)

• 1 tablespoon oil

• Serves 6 people with a prep time of about 5 hours using a slow cooker.

Here’s how to make it:

1. Using a sharp knife, dice the onion and green pepper into 1/4 inch pieces then saute them in 1 tablespoon of oil on medium heat for 10 minutes until the green peppers glisten and the onions become translucent.

2. While the onions and peppers are being sauted, dice the tomatoes into 1/4 inch pieces and keep aside.

3. When the onion and pepper mixture is finished, it will be tender and aromatic. At this point, place it into the slow cooker and add the chili seasoning, diced tomatoes, and beans. Mix well. No additional cooking liquid is needed. The diced tomatoes provide all the moisture necessary.

4. Cover and simmer for 4 hours on low heat setting.

5. Prepare the cornbread batter according to the directions on the package.

6. Drop spoonfuls of cornbread batter on top of the chili mixture in the slow cooker and gently spread the batter so it covers the chili evenly.

7. Replace the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 30 – 45 minutes longer or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cornbread topping comes out clean.

8. Sprinkle the cornbread topping with shredded cheddar cheese, cover and continue cooking for 5 minutes longer until the cheese melts.

 

Imagine no religion

Story by Natalie Casanova • Print Editor

Photos by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

Silence fell over the crowd as British evolutionary biologist and famous athe- ist Richard Dawkins took the podium.

“[Atheists] are a major force in this country, it cannot be ignored,” he said from the steps of the Texas State Capitol on Oct. 20.

The crowd erupted in cheers after each of Dawkins’ potent assertions. Texans from a manifold of age groups and backgrounds gathered at the Capitol for the free portion of the 2012 Texas Freethought Convention. There they listened to Dawkins and other notable atheist and secular speakers from all over the country and the world speak.

In America, Dawkins said, the number of “nones,” or people who do not claim a specific religion on census documents, is growing. He noted that about 20 percent of the entire population falls under this category, and 30 percent of US citizens ages 18-29.

This demographic aligns heavily with college students. Secular Student Alliance (SSA) Texas regional campus organizer Kevin Butler said it showed at the convention as more than 100 students of the SSA attended from schools all over the state.

“Our numbers are increasing, we’re winning,” Butler said. “We fight for numbers because that’s what politicians listen to.”

Butler, also a student at the University of Texas at Dallas, said the only defining characteristic of an atheist is his lack of belief in any god or deity, and nothing else. But from his personal experience, he said, most atheists and secularists promote equal human rights.

Before he found the SSA, Butler said he had no idea he wasn’t the only non- believer in his community.

“I felt so isolated,” he said. “[SSA] lets students know they’re not alone … we’re in this fight together.”

Butler comes from a predominantly Catholic family and was very religious during high school. He has been an out atheist for about two years.

“I began walking away from religion my senior year [of high school] when I came out as being gay,” he said. “It tore me up when I went to church.”

He said he was vaguely Christian and began to think deism, or the belief that some type of god exists but not a specific one, was a plausible view until he realized it was a huge leap of faith to connect any spiritual feeling to a specific god or to the existence of a supreme being at all. After researching and watching many lectures, such as “A Universe from Nothing” by theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, he began to affirm his atheism.

Studying science, nature and sociology was a major deciding factor in Butler’s deconversion.

“I thought, ‘wait a second, is that what [atheists] talk about?”

Butler said atheists in other countries may have it even harder, such as in Afghanistan where a person can be killed if they come out as an nonbeliever. Half of Butler’s family also doesn’t know he is an atheist because he doesn’t feel comfortable telling them. This seemed to be the case for many atheists at the convention.

“I don’t want my father to stop me from seeing my younger brother,” Butler said.

Notable student atheist Jessica Ahlquist said nonbelievers don’t have a go-to place for community or support. Ahlquist filed a lawsuit against her public school in Rhode Island for hanging a religious banner. She won the case and received much public scorn locally for the ordeal, but nationally she gained attention as being a leader in the atheist movement, standing up for the First Amendment. She is also very outspoken on matters of gay rights, and compares the feelings, consequences and reactions of coming out as an atheist to coming out as gay.

“You risk losing friends and family and loved ones because of it,” she said. Many members of the University of Texas at Austin (UT) SSA group also attended the freethought convention, including president Loren Bane and former president Erick Rodriguez. Their organization works with other local groups and events, such as “Explore UT,” to promote youth science education.

The group also hosts lectures on science and philosophy and provides a supportive community for questioning students.

“Many young adults don’t realize being nonreligious is an option,” Bane said. “They have never even known about it before.”

Rodriguez said part of the reason for having groups is to provide a safe place for nonbelievers to discuss their views because sometimes they are assaulted with threats or prayers while on the UT campus.

“[We have] received multiple death threats from other students,” Rodriguez said, “which the police are still investigating.”

Texas Freethought Convention president Paul Cooper said one of the themes of the 2012 gathering was “Get Out and Vote” for all age groups and political parties, especially in local elections. He said some evangelicals in the Texas State Board of Education think their religious idea that the Earth is only 6,000 years old and that humans coexisted with dinosaurs should be reflected in how children are taught in public schools. Atheists strongly disagree with those views, but are not represented on the school board because of a lack of political influence.

“We have to show up at the polls,” he said. Separation of church and state protects everyone, he said, even Christians from other denominations of Christians.

“We’re not trying to destroy religion,” Cooper said, “we just want to make sure that it’s kept in its proper place within American society so that way all people of all faiths and not of faith can exercise their freedom of expression without worrying about other people coming in, telling them they have to do a certain thing a certain way.”

Former member of the Maine House of Representatives and notable atheist author Sean Faircloth said there is a social and political perception of atheists being a shunned minority, but the demographic is much larger than the strong religious right is willing to admit.

“I’m hoping secular students will run for office,” Faircloth said. “To not only push for a say in politics, but to be the politician.”

“I feel like the wave is cresting,” Fair- cloth said, “[There might be] somebody who is 22 years old now who will be an open atheist president [in the future].”

Public Relations officer for Secular Students at Collin College (SSCC) Liz Dudek said SSA groups are not only a social network for non-believer students, but also a forum to discuss religion, politics, science and social issues safely and freely without judgment. She said getting secular people to vote is a good way to balance out the conservative religious right.

Dudek came to her group as a questioning Christian on the edge, and she said the support she received from the other members helped soften the image she had of atheists, and she said coming out wasn’t as difficult for her as it can be for others. Her biggest trouble was growing distant from old friends.

“It was a little bit disheartening because they were important to me for a long time,” she said.

Deciding to come out to friends and family can be a tough decision, Dudek said, but it’s entirely up to the person to weigh whether it’s worth it or not.

“Sometimes it’s hard living a double life,” she said, “if you have to pretend for some people.”

Outside the Capitol gates stood three street preachers from the Bulldog Min- istries group from Houston and Waco, Texas. They held large signs listing their ideals, and spoke about their religion and against atheism to passersby and convention attendees. Street preacher Rick Ellis’ voice boomed over a PA system as he read scripture aloud.

“The way to escape, is through the shed blood of Jesus,” Ellis said. “There’s no other escape; there’s no other way.”

Many people stopped to speak with them, and lead street preacher David Stokes answered queries and explained his beliefs.

Stokes said atheists believe religion is a very bad thing and want it eradicated completely, and that devastates him because he feels America is morally declining and needs the Christian god more than ever.

“If you study the atheist group and their movement,” Stokes said, “[you’ll find] they are trying to remove Christianity and God from our country.”

Even though he preaches at atheist gatherings, gay pride events and football games, Stokes said he respects the First Amendment and the separation of church and state.

“The last thing I would want to see is a denomination or a religion controlling a country,” he said. “If you look at world history, there’s been a lot of devastation when any group becomes a leader. We’ve seen that with christian groups having leadership over countries [and] I’m not for that either.”

Stokes said he doesn’t mind atheists speaking out about their opinion, but doesn’t think they should be able to file lawsuits removing religious influence in government.

“It’s one thing to have a belief system,” Stokes said, “and it’s another thing to try to destroy others’ belief system.”

Austin Community College student Justin, who asked that his full name be withheld for personal reasons, discussed specific passages of the Bible with Stokes and challenged his reasoning for his views as well as discrepancies in the text.

He’s describes himself as an agnostic or de facto atheist and came to the convention for the speakers and the interactions.

“I kind of liked the idea that I might [meet] street preacher protesting,” Justin said, “[and get to test] my on-the-fly debate skills.”

Butler said sometimes when people meet an atheist they think they want to debate right there and then, but that is not always the case. Many atheists have no qualms with religions, especially those who look to it for social support. He said the major issues come from religious-influenced prejudice and religious disregarding of science.

Justin grew up in a non-denominational Christian home and said he became a nonbeliever in 2006 after reading Dawkin’s famous book “The God Delusion.” He hasn’t come out as an atheist to some members of his family.

“There are certain people in my family that I don’t tell,” Justin said, “some that I knew would fly off the handle about it.”

Justin’s advice for students: ”Figure out what you believe, why you believe it and analyze your justifications. If it doesn’t make sense, you have no real reason to believe it.”

Omar Lopez: super humanist

Volunteering and activism bring joy to a former ACC student

Story by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist and Abra Gist • Online Editor

Photos by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

Omar Lopez helps people. All people. Even if they only need help carrying a package or translating English posters to Spanish. His passion for helping others is unequivocal.

This former ACC student was offered a position at the City of Austin’s Infectious Diseases Divi- sion, after doing the same job for free at Community AIDS Resources and Education program or C.A.R.E, the place where he volunteered to help others in the community.

Lopez worked at CARE in addition to his full- time restaurant internship, his ACC organization memberships and his full course load while at ACC.

How does a culinary arts student end up working for Health and Human Services?

He evaded the question on numerous occasions. For someone so outgoing and energetic, he was hesitant to reveal much about himself. He’d rather talk about human rights, the fight to end the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and the struggle to mobilize a disenfranchised population of minorities.

Lopez was born in California to Mexican parents. He lived near Sonora Mexico until about age 8. Then he went to school in Arizona, but lived across the border. His parents still live in Mexico today.

His parents made sure that all their children would be United States citizens by being born in the U.S. Lopez grew up with compassionate parents and though he saw a lot of poverty, violence and misfortune in Mexico, his parents instilled in their children the importance of helping others.

“I wasn’t at a disadvantage growing up. I had loving parents who did all they could to provide better opportunities for me and my siblings,” said Lopez, “I was lucky, but they always told me to look around and help anyone that I could.”

Lopez joined the U.S. Navy after high school and served his country abroad for approximately 5 years.

However, that service was cut short when Lopez was discharged under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. He participated in a documentary called “March On” and shared his experience and spoke about being asked to leave the Navy.

“It was tough on me. I needed a change after that whole experience,” said Lopez.

He and his former partner moved to Austin. Lopez had heard that Texas was a great place for bilingual spanish speaking people, so they came to Austin to start a new life.

That’s when Lopez began ACC’s culinary arts program and studied to be a chef. However, his volunteer work would lead him in a different and unexpected direction.

At the AIDS Walkathon on Oct. 21 at City Hall, we had the chance to speak to Lopez, his co-workers, fans and friends.

Lopez began volunteering at the C.A.R.E program, which partners volunteers with HIV, AIDS or cancer patients for the duration of their illness.

“They just recruited me right off the street. I was getting tested and I was bilingual, so they told me I should volunteer,”he said.

“I met Omar about 3-4 years ago, and like most of our volunteers, he came to our training and was matched with a patient…but Omar was different. As the program continued I just saw him blossom and he really got more active and more involved with it. He just had this huge desire to help,” said Roger Temme, Director of Volunteer Recruiting at C.A.R.E.

Lopez’s passion and commitment impressed his mentors and peers.

“He always has a smile on his face. He comes from parents that  taught him how to be an activist even on a really bad day,” said Lisa Medina, Director of Client Services at Project Transitions. “I’m a big fan of ‘My Omar’.”

“Omar never stops,” said friend and C.A.R.E co-worker, Ryan Broussard. He has this amazing ability to commit so fully to a cause.

He’s a great friend, a cool guy and he genuinely wants to help people. That activist side of him never shuts off.”

Walking around the event and talking colleagues, we learned Lopez never stopped being an activist or advocate.

People constantly came up to talk to him and he always paused the conversation to assist others, give hugs and words of encouragement or smile and wave enthusiastically at friends.

We asked Omar again, really though, how does a culinary arts student end up in this line of work? What about this line of work motivates you?

He’s quick to say cooking and being an advocate are not so different.

He does mention that he has his own personal motivations for his overzealous activism. Recently one of his family members was diagnosed with HIV.

He makes sure to point out that this family member is only in his early 20s. However he reiterates it’s more than that though.

“I know it sounds corny but someone smiling motivates me. Even in the kitchen, that saying goes, ‘a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach’. It’s not just men…I think the way to everybody’s heart is through their stomach,” said Lopez, “the energy and the love that you bring into it [cooking] just mean everything. You prepare something for someone and you nourish their stomach and their soul.”

“Even in this new role, I’m giving people something. I educate, I advocate and get them all the resources I can.”

Lopez’s eyes look off into the distance, he watches as crews clean up the tents and haul away trash after the AIDS Walkathon. He bites his bottom lip and murmurs that his dream is to expand his work beyond the U.S. borders. Then he asks us to include a graphic with the list of places that ACC students can use to seek HIV testing and mental health. Lopez never stops.

Farm Fresh

Farmers’ market educates and inspires Austin youth

Story by Carizma Barrera • Campus Reporter

Photos by Jon Shapley • Video Editor and Melissa Skorpil • Staff Photojournalist

Some misconceptions about the average college student are that they eat fast food daily, drink beer like it’s coffee and are the world’s greatest procrastinators. Although some truth can be found

in those statements, college students of the 21st century are breaking stereotypes left and right.

Students are now choosing healthy options over snacks and sweets, drinking the minimum daily intake of water and getting homework and projects out of the way early to focus on contributing to the greater good of the community. Urban Roots, an independent non-profit farm, gives current, as well as future students at ACC the opportunity to gain life skills in leadership, responsibility and sustainable living.

Started in 2008 by Max Elliot and Mike Evans, Urban Roots is a human development work program in conjunction with farming. Urban Roots originally was an extension to Youth Launch, but in 2011 branched out as its own program. The program focuses primarily on farming, sustainability and nutrition. Urban Roots has few adults and at least 30 youth volunteers at any given time. The student volunteers, who are from schools all around Austin, can return year after year to sell and donate produce.

The farm is located in northeast Austin, and yields zucchini, carrots, radishes, cabbage and much more to be sold at the Sustainable Food Center (SFC) downtown farmers market from October-December and from April-August. Student volunteers also donate what they harvest to Meals- On-Wheels, food pantries and local soup kitchens.

Leigh Gaymon-Jones, the director of operations at Urban Roots, says, “It’s exciting to see young people blossom, to see their confidence and leadership come to life. The program sparks an interest most youth didn’t know they had, it’s their niche.”

Gaymon-Jones also states that a positive aspect of the program is that youth volunteers are able to connect with other youth, these connections might not have happened if not for Urban Roots. Some positive outcomes include student volunteers that have gone on to attend the Natural Epicurean Cooking School, as well as earn degrees in Agriculture and sustainability.

One of the many student volunteers who return year after year is Zacil Castellanos. She is a 15 year old at the Keep Austin Collegiate High School, and she is currently in her second year of volunteer work. She learned about Urban Roots when Leigh had visited and it immediately sparked her interest.

The program has changed not only Castellanos eating habits but her family’s as well. They now make weekly trips to the farmers markets. Castellanos says “I absolutely love this program. I will definitely continue to volunteer in the future.”

Two of the current leaders are enrolled at ACC in the early college start program.

Michael Sterling, a senior at East Side Memorial High school said he is planning on finishing his degree at ACC in diagnostic medical sonography.

Shamar Brown is in his third year of leadership at Urban Roots. Shamar attends LBJ for now, but his college plans include attending ACC and then transferring to Baylor or Texas State. Brown learned about Urban Roots from Communities in School (CIS) which he also volunteers with.

“Urban Roots has changed a lot about me, it has made me conscious of my eating habits and improved my leadership skills,” Shamar said. “Every weekend when I get the fresh vegetables, I take them to my grandmother and she makes a big feast.” Students can take advantage of the freshest produce at the most affordable prices. There are also many opportunities for students to volunteer in community outreach programs that focus on healthy living as well as sustainable living.

Check out our top four local bands to look for in October

Story by Daniel Wright • Reporter

Deep Time – indie rock

Photos Courtsey of Deep Time

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this age of music ruled by computer generated sounds and auto-tune, it’s refreshing to find a band like Deep Time that actually plays real instruments.

Comprised of Jennifer Moore on organ, guitar, and vocals and Adam Jones behind the drum kit, this Austin based duo is bursting into not only the Austin circuit but also the national scene in a big way. They released a self-titled LP, which is available on iTunes, last summer that does not sound like anything you would expect from two people out of Texas would make.

Their Facebook page describes their genre as “minimalist weirdo pop” and that is actually a pretty accurate description. They sound a lot like West Coast surfer music.

The guitar is almost always clean without any effects and Moore’s voice is deep and mellow.

Deep Time opened for Tune-yards earlier this year and they sound just as good live as they do recorded. Their show is all about the music and it is really great to see a band that focuses on their sound more than their image.

Similar to: The Drums.

Boy Friend – electro synthpop

Photo courtsey of Ben Aqua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boy Friend is a band with a very modern, ambient sound.

Members Regina Palazollo and Sarah Brown reunited after leaving their former band, Sleep Over, to create excellent hipster music that is described as combining “a passion for dark fantasy, narratives, and love-sick lyrics.”

In February, they released a full-length LP titled Egyptian Wrinkle that is full of reverberating, harmonizing vocals, deep keys, and thumping drums.

Boy Friend’s music makes one feel as if you are floating in the ocean or drifting off to sleep. As contrary as it sounds, this doesn’t mean the band is boring. There is a lot here for a music fan to like.

This is thoughtful and almost poetic music that can bring up a lot of emotion.

For anyone looking to open his or her mind to something new and cerebral, this is the place to look.

One could easily see Boy Friend touring with bands like Beach House or Neon Indian. This duo is definitely worth checking out and being given a shot.

Similar to: Beach House.

White Denim –  psychadelic rock

WD Photo Credit Photo credit is Michael Hammett and Bobby Weiss_USE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been following White Denim for a few years now and they have become one of my favorite bands. This might be a bold statement, but they sound a lot like if Jimi Hendrix had come out of Texas. Now, singer/guitarist James Petralli may not be the new amazing guitarist Hendrix was, but the resemblance of their sounds is uncanny, especially on “Say What You Want.” White Denim has some songs that are pure, classic hard rock, at other times they can sound like a psychedelic mind trip, and then at other times they sound like an acoustic band. White Denim can’t be tied down to one specific type of genre. The two singles from their latest album D are called “Drug” and “Keys” and it is cool to see two different sounding songs come from the same album. Bassist Steven Terebecki, drummer Joshua Block, and other guitarist Austin Jenkins are all very talented musicians who seem to have mastered their instruments. Their live show is also incredible. They sound just as good as they do recorded and they’ve been known to play their sets without taking breaks, but seamlessly transitioning from song to song. White Denim is a modern take on classic rock and it is easy to be pulled into becoming a fan.

Similar to: Jimi Hendrix.

Kat Edmonson – singer/songwriter

Photo courtesy Alyson Fox

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kat Edmonson’s music is best described as being eloquent and lovely. Her piano and acoustic guitar driven songs match perfectly with her light and airy voice. She has performed with very famous musicians, Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Boz Scaggs, and Lyle Lovett.

Edmonson writes beautiful love songs that are jazzy and relaxing. This is the kind of music that can remind someone of that one special person we all have in our lives; songs that put pictures of slow-dancing couples in your head. Her song “I Don’t Know” represents her latest album “Way Down Low” perfectly.

It showcases her vocal talents as she hits high and low notes as well as her skills as a songwriter. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the music video for this song is really funny.

This music Edmonson has made is great because it can cater to all different age groups. It isn’t often that my parents and I can both agree on music, but we both like Edmonson.

Edmonson’s jazz/pop is a great break to the current chaos of the music world. It is very nice to take a step back and breathe with Kat Edmonson.

Similar to: Regina Spektorr

Bastrop, Hays counties adopt (LEED) ACC campuses

Story and photos by Janice Veteran • Staff Photojournalist

Graphics courtesy of ACC

Courtesy of ACC

 

 

 

 

 

Two new campuses are on track to serve the areas annexed into the Austin Community College District during the November 2010 elections. Both the Elgin and Hays campuses are the first community colleges in their counties (Bastrop and Hays), and both are being built to meet a minimum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard of silver.

LEED is an internationally recognized certification system which identifies and implements green building design, construction, operations and maintenance practices. The LEED rating system offers four certification levels for new construction — certified, silver, gold and platinum according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. Each rating corresponds to the number of credits accrued in five green design categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Professor Dan Dewberry who teaches the Sustainable/Green Business course explained why ACC would want its new campuses to receive LEED rating of silver.

“In the long run, businesses lower costs by conserving energy. More efficient cooling devices along with smart windows and architectural designs can have a significant impact on reducing energy costs,” Dewberry said. “Instead of building new power plants, ACC and the community can grow yet use the same amount of energy. ”

Pam Collier, the project manager of the Elgin campus, said the project is on schedule and on budget and the brick for the outside of the building is being purchased from local brick manufacturer.

Dewey said, “Purchasing local raw materials reduces air pollution from shipping goods. And supporting local business means that the revenue earned will more likely be spent in Central Texas, benefiting the economy of the community.”

Andy Kim, facilities manager for the new campuses, said that purchasing raw materials locally also increases ACC’s LEED points.

The architect for the Elgin project, O’Connell Robertson, designed the Elgin campus to take on the look and feel of the city of Elgin, combining the old city look with the new building feel.

The campus will have water efficient plumbing fixtures, including dual flushing toilets, water saving faucet fixtures and water efficient landscaping. Rain water will be collected and used for irrigation.

The campus will have energy efficient LED outdoor lighting, and energy efficient florescent and LED lighting indoors. LED lighting has become more affordable and is now made to be dimmable. Running the light at a reduced power lengthens the life of the bulb, Kim said. The campus will also have solar panels that are tied back to the grid to reduce the campus consumption of power.

The Hays Campus had its ground breaking ceremony on June 27, 2012, and the design of the campus is complete. ACC signed a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contract with the building project manager, Flintco and a notice to proceed will be issued as soon as the Plum Creek Architecture Review Committee approves the project and the site development permit is secured from the city of Kyle.

The proposed master plan for the campus has four phases with a total of 10 buildings. The first phase will be one of the buildings and the infrastructure of the campus. The site is adjacent to a future commuter rail line, with easy access to I-35.

Both campuses will embrace energy conservation and green living with extensive recycling programs.

The restrooms will have high velocity hand driers to reduce the paper waste and save energy from the batteries required to run the paper dispensers.

Five percent of the parking spaces will be dedicated to green car parking, and some spaces will be used for carpools during high demand hours. Bike racks will also be installed to promote bicycling to campus.

As part of the LEED certification, the campuses are designed for heat island effect, in which the ambient air of built-up areas can be about 20 degrees hotter than in nearby rural areas.

As a solution, light reflective surfaces like concrete will be used for the parking lots and rooftops as opposed to asphalt which is a light absorbing material.

The Elgin Campus is expected to open in fall 2013, and the Hays Campus in spring 2014. The campuses are initially expected to house classes for 1,500 students.

For more information visit austincc. edu/sustainability.

ACC student Megan Rue: organization leader, political activist, and equal rights advocate

Story by Abra Gist • Online Editor

Photos by Jon Shapley • Video Editor

Jon Shapley • Video Editor

 

 

 

 

 

Austin Community College student Leader Megan Rue is just getting started.

Almost every student that comes to Austin Community College attends with big plans for their futures in mind. As a transient higher education institution, it’s difficult to establish the same sense of school spirit as bigger four-year universities such as The University of Texas or Texas State. With all the outside commitments that many ACC students possess, it can be difficult to get involved and take part in student organizations.

Nevertheless, ACC students that do take on the challenge are just as dedicated as other college students. For those who follow campus activities one name will pop up often. That name is Megan Rue.

This self-described traditional college student, raised in Austin, has immersed herself in the ACC community, as well as the local community in almost every way that an individual can. Her service and dedication exemplifies student leadership in every aspect.

Rue is currently pursuing three separate majors at ACC, (Government, History, and English), although she will only be awarded one associate degree. So far Rue has settled on government for her degree, and she plans on using her additional studies to influence social change and continue her activism once she graduates. Rue’s leadership and student involvement is something to behold. She has supported non-profits, volunteered at Center for Student Political Studies (CSPS) events (of which she is now President) and advocated  or equal rights at Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) events as an officer. The list goes on.

“Honestly, I started out with the motivation to build my resume. Looking back I can honestly say I didn’t see the change in me until it had already happened,” she said. “My student organization involvement turned into something bigger and I think that just happens when you connect with a cause or the people in an organization.”

Rue attributes her ability to manage being a full time student along with working and being involved in so many organizations to a simple solution.

“Lists! I make lists.” Rue said while laughing and elaborated that the lists always started of  in her head. “You have to set goals. The truth is I make these mental lists that evolve into the hand written list version.”

She said she writes down 10-15 duties that she wants to accomplish, and then cuts that list in half to determine the focus of her day.

“I also have a job that supports my activism and higher education.” Rue is a barrista and her manager is a college professor. “She allows me to do homework during downtime and she understands that my priority is my higher education.”

On September 18, Rue officiated in her latest role as the new CSPS president, at ACC’s Constitution Debate Day Celebration held at the Palmer Events Center. As she took the stage a hush came over the crowd. Although she came across shy, she effortlessly gained the attention of the auditorium full of about 400 people.

“Susan B. Anthony said, ‘It was we the people, not we the white, male citizens, nor we the male citizens, but we the whole people who formed the union,’” Rue said.

She gave accounts of the amazing and daring feats that women had performed independently and alongside men during the American Revolution.

“It is when I read these stories of courage and sacrifice and cleverness and resourcefulness, that I realize that I am written in the Constitution. I, just like every other citizen am integral to the operational success of our country.”

Rue urged the crowd to register to vote and become active in the democratic process. She thanked the crowd for their attentiveness and participation in the festivities then left the stage.

Among a sea of round tables with students, families, teachers and facilitators (including Judges and attorneys) debating the controversial issues Constitution Day conjures up, Megan never stopped for a break to admire the event she helped organize. She never sat down. She was constantly conferring with her mentors and making sure that every aspect was in order so that each attendee had what they needed to enjoy event.

“This was a two-day operation and Megan was there as part of the set up crew and recruited volunteers to help Center for Public Policy and Political Studies (CPPPS) get the event organized, ”CPPPS Director Peck Young said. “Megan’s great to work with, she’s very efficient, very competent and organized. As you saw from the speech she’s extremely articulate.”

Rue said passion is needed in order to dedicate time to extracurricular activities and that students should look for causes that speak to them to make involvement more meaningful and enjoyable.

“So much of what I do doesn’t feel like work,” she said.

Accent will be on the lookout for more student leaders like Megan Rue. Email us at editor@austincc. edu and let us know if there is an ACC leader we should spotlight in our next issue.