Page 1







Rush Hour p-6


6th and Lamar p-8


Take a look at why Austin’s traffic is so bad, and what can be done to change it.

Spend a day at a favorite Austin intersection.

Austin Calendar of Events 2012 p-9 Some fun things to do in Austin in the new year.


The Creative Gene p-8


The Local Question p-11


Take a look into the inspirations of local artist Mo Scollan.

Find out which is better, Farmer’s Market or CSA

Bully Proof p-13

Anti-bullying efforts in schools around the U.S.



John-Michael R.

John-Michael Reyes likes to think. He spends his free time wondering about his life. He’d much rather be out in the outdoors than at home reading a book. He loves to travel and see the world, but only with a pack on his back. He loves nature, the outdoors and anything relating to it. His favorite activities are hiking, kayaking and horseback riding. He loves being away from the city, but also likes to see historic landmarks in the major cities that he has visited. He’s fond of architecture, as his favorite style is Renaissance Italian, as it reminds him of a time where the arts and knowledge were regarded highly in society. A born leader, he enjoys seeing order and efficiency, and cannot stand when others do not pull their weight. He is an Eagle Scout, and his accomplishments in life reflect his leadership and determination. He’s in marching band, playing the mellophone. He puts his best effort in everything that he does, and is happiest when working with others who feel the same.

James Lockwood is a fun and talented young man that loves to read, listen to music, and socialize with friends. He is very creative and has an expansive imagination that does not always do him good. His grades are ok but not the greatest but he loves to go to school. “School is a way for me to get away from it all,” he says. What he likes about this magazine is that it contrasts city life with wildlife.

James L.


Lina Fisher likes awesome hair (‘fros are her favorite), schnozes, old people, MUSIC, and cheesy shtuff. She is also quite fond of tea, and her favorite word is schadenfreude. Look it up. She wishes she were more of a hooligan and less of a procrastinator. She is deathly afraid of a word that starts with P. She hates having to think of things she hates. She is interested in Metropolis/Backcountry because she enjoys the humn culture infused in city and country both. On any given weekend you can find her trying desperately to master the ukulele. Oh and btw, she is The Fish.

Lina F.

Zoe is a lover of dogs, the outdoors and especially dogs in the outdoors. She attends a Hiking/Backpacking camp each summer, which made her involvement in this magazine necessary. She is currently obsessed with the group Starkid. But when she isn’t looking up videos, or listening to their music, she enjoys playing soccer, basketball, swimming, reading, singing and hanging out with friends. Hyper-freak outs are necessary and are scheduled into her daily to do. Zoe was born in Guangzhou, China, and wants to find her birth mother and father sometime in her life. I hate that show Queen Bee’s just because it disgusts her to think of people like that in real life.

Zoe k.



Why Austin Needs to Reform Its Bus Routes


very morning, I find myself in a line of cars outside my house, moving at an amazingly sluggish rate. The time passes slowly, and I begin to think that I could walk to school and make it there before all of these cars do. We left the house at 7:15, and


have moved only three miles by 7:30. Many LASA students are faced with the choice of waking up early to catch the bus, or to sleep in and face the consequence of rush hour in Austin. Students coming from areas of town like myself are required to deal with traffic on every edge of the city before

reaching the school. It is during this time of traffic that I find myself, as well as many other Austinites, thinking, “there must be an easier way to do this.” The city of Austin should create a new public transportation system in order to cut down on the city’s traffic, create an easier way for

people to get around the city, and to help reduce the effects that the heavy traffic has had on the environment. Although some people will argue that Austin should not use their budget to fund a new public wtransit sys tem, I believe that the revenue from a successful public transit system would quickly offset the costs to get it started. Austin traffic is currently ranked third worst in the nation. This ranking could change with a new transportation system. According to the Urban Mobility Report, Austin’s traffic is worse than not only Dallas and Houston, but also New York and Chicago. Los Angeles and Washington are the only two cities with traffic ranked worse than Austin. This statistic shows how little the current public transportation system, CapMetro, has done to help with Austin’s traffic issues. It is surprising how many major cities, known for their bad traffic, have ranked below Austin in this study. After taking account of the public transportation in cities like New York, it is reasonable to say that these cities have bad traffic due to their large populations, not due to a poor system of public transportation. In fact, the public transportation systems of the subways, buses and taxis that keep these cities ranked below Austin. According to the Austin Business Journal, Austin came in 15th in time wasted in traffic with the average commuter spending about 39 extra hours in traffic annually. Motorists incurred the 19th worst excess cost due to traffic that year, or about $882 annually (calculated assuming a $16.01 per hour lost because of travel delays.) This statistic shows that Austinites are losing money due to the excess traffic, which the city of Austin can reverse with an efficient form of transportation. Austin’s current transportation system does not provide adequate transportation to many people in Austin. According to the Capital Metro route maps; there are bus routes throughout the city that all link to central Austin, but very few link portions like north and south Austin. These routes also cover only broad areas of the city, such as South Austin, often times serving only the perimeter of these areas. This is much different from MARTA, the bus system of Atlanta, Georgia, which is a reason that Atlanta experiences traffic nowhere near as bad as Austin, New York or Los Angeles. The MARTA bus network makes frequent stops on almost every street, creating greater convenience for the citizens of Atlanta. CapMetro could base new bus routes on the designs of MARTA in order to create a more convenient and widely used bus system that would link the entire

city together. A reformed public transportation system would reduce the amount of cars on the road, which could help reduce vehicle emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, passenger cars emit approximately 11,450 pounds of carbon dioxide per year, while light trucks emit approximately 16,035 pounds of carbon dioxide per year. If more Austinites used the bus, the amount of cars and light trucks on the road would significantly decrease, lessening Austin’s annual emissions significantly. According to the Reason Foundation, a typical passenger car carrying one person gets 25 passenger

“Austin traffic is currently ranked third worst in the nation.” miles per gallon, while a conventional bus at its capacity of 70 (seated and standing) gets 163 passenger miles per gallon. These fuel savings yield large cuts in CO2 emissions. In addition, a growing number of alternative options known as “green buses,” including electric hybrid, all electric, and other advanced technologies, further enhance these benefits of conventional transit buses. With a decrease in vehicles on the road and an increase of eco-friendly buses, Austin should have a decrease in overall carbon emissions, an increase in fuel efficiency, and a decrease in traffic congestion around the city. Austin has seen one major problem within the past years, and that is the heavy amounts of rush hour traffic around the city. The most reasonable solution is to make changes to the city’s current public transportation system, CapMetro, in order to reduce the amount of cars on the road, serve more Austinites with a convenient way to commute to work, and to reduce Austin’s impact on the environment. 9

Austin Traffic Facts

Austin is currently ranked 20th in the countryfor longest rush hour. The average Austinite lost 39 hours to commute traffic in 2009. The average rushhour trip takes 28 percent longer than an identical trip with free-flowing traffic. 85% of Austinites drive to work in a car, truck or van 72% drive alone 3% carpool 5% use public transportation 5% work at home 3% use taxi, motorcycle, bicycle or other means 2% walk

By John Michael R.


Book People is my all time favorite bookstore in Austin. The hipster vibe is definitely there, but their selection is the widest I’ve found in Austin yet. The people are really nice, and I could spend days reading comic books and drinking chai lattes in there.

B o o k P e o p l e

CC oa uf ne t e r

The Counter Cafe houses the BEST BURGER IN THE UNIVERSE. Besides this masterpiece, they have amazing blueberry pancackes and delicious fried egg sandwiches. Debbie, the owner, is a wonderfully cool lady, as well, and the cooks are fun to talk to.

6th and Lamar By: Lina Fisher

W a t e r l o o


R e c o r d s If food is the heart of Austin, then music is the soul. Waterloo Records holds a special place in all Austinite’s hearts if they love music. The atmosphere is warm, friendly, and superhip, and you can literally spend hours standing and listening to the iPod stands they have set up.

Austin Calender of Events 2012 By: James L.

January 2012 Austin Songwriters Symposium-13-16 MLK Celebration -17th Taste of Austin-27th February 2012 Carbaval Braileiro-5th Chinese New years Festival-6th Paramount 5K-20th

March 2012 Zilker Kite Festival-6th St. Patricks Day Festival-17th Austin Music Awards-19th

July 2012 Austin Symphony July 4th Concert and Fireworks-4th Caleb 5K-16th Deep Eddy Mile-25th August 2012 Austin Ice Cream Festival-13th Austin Home and Garden Show-26th-28th Batfest-27th

September 2012 Zilker Relays-2nd Austin Pride Parade and Festival and 5K-10th ACL Festival-16th-18th

April 2012 Urban Music Festival-9th Red Poppy Festival-16-17th Dragon Boat Festival and Race-30th

October 2012 Aids Walk-16th Austin Film Festival-20th-27th Texas Book Festival-22nd-23rd

May 2012 Cap. 2K Swim-1st Austin Shakespeare in the Park-5th-29th Cinco De Mayo Austin Festival-7-8th

November 2012 Fun Fun Fun Fest-4th-6th Dam 5K-5th Sing Along Sound of Music-25th

June 2012 Ballet Under the Stars-3rd-4th Juneteenth Celebration Austin-18th Keep Austin Weird 5K and Festival-25th

December 2012 Armadillo Christmas Bazarr-15th Disney’s Beauty and the Beast-17th The Nutcracker-Ballet Austin-23rd 9

e n e G e v i t a e r C e Th Scoln Mo a m o , w , her life issance k a r n o e r w r e e Self-mad insights about h ’ baby clothes es ylin lan shar ce of st n a t r o p im and the a F. hy by Lin p a r g o t o F. Ph By Lina


“If you have this creative gene, you’ve just gotta make stuff.”


f you have this creative gene, you’ve just gotta make stuff.” This sage observation comes from the mouth of an unexpected oracle: Austin artist Mo Scollan. The aforementioned gene, in this case, is an insatiable urge to make stuff. She has had the “creative gene” ever since she was a child, though her intentions may not have been the same from the start. “I wanted to be a brain surgeon. I thought, if that doesn’t work out, I guess I’ll be an artist.” Scollan grew up in Conneticut and moved to Ireland with her family when she was just 16. When she was a child, she was always interested in making things. “Maybe in another life, I could’ve been a film director.” The rest of her family was not so

artistically inclined. “I always had to make my own Christmas cards; I was going to give one to my mom, and my sister said, ‘You know, all mom really wants is a hallmark card, she doesnt want a homemade card.’” Scollan says. She thinks she got the “creative gene” from an obscure cousin in the 1800s. “I wish I knew more about her, actually.” Scollan became a screenprinting apprentice by pure accident. “I needed a job...I didn’t even know what it was.” She ended up loving it, and screenprinting became the main medium of her work for a long time afterwards. Scollan says while she was doing the apprenticeship, she learned a lot about color. She was given a project - to make a lipstick card to put up in the makeup section in department stores. “There were 60 different shades of pink, red,

and orange for lipstick. I had to match each color to the original, mix it myself, and print it. The whole thing took about a week or two. I got so good at mixing color. No one showed me how to do it; I had to figure it out on my own.” After Scollan moved to Florida, she continued to do screenprinting, and again in San Francisco and Austin. One thing she did not enjoy was when she was in a high position of leadership. “They [the owners of the company] made me office manager. I hated it. I don’t wanna have to boss people around, crack the whip; I like working on my own.” This love of independence led her to think about the inception of a gallery. In 2002 Scollan opened 20/40, her own gallery, showing mostly local artists. “They [the artists] started coming; they wanted to be in the gallery. I liked


them, liked their art. I loved having shows. I learned a lot about art, about people, about hanging art, about selling art. It was great. It was a great learning experience.” The gallery petered out after a couple of years. “Eventually, there was no time to make art. All my time was spent running the gallery. It’s hard to sell art in Austin - I was not making much money in the gallery.” Scollan explains. “In an ideal world, if I had endless buckets of money, I could have a gallery with whatever type of art I wanted to show and people could run it for me, do the administrative work.” she laughs. Scollan still lives in Austin with her husband Peter Dick, an architect. Their house, one might imagine, is a

release. It’s like, kabam bam bam, it’s done, it looks great. I’m like, wow, well why don’t I do more of those? I’m like, ‘cause. . . its not that exciting, you know? It’s not that much of a challenge, and I like the way they look, but they kind of leave me cold. So you have to paint something that you’re interested in, and I’ve always been interested in doing portraits. All those kitchen utensils I did? To me, they’re portraits. Portraits of, you know, inanimate objects. So, I see the beauty in the one little thing.” Scollan approaches art casually, but with an underlying seriousness. She says, “Art is basically in the eye of the beholder, so for your art to be taken seriously, you have to take it seriously.” In the future, Scollan plans to make portraits of people she likes. She is a

Art is basically in the eye of the beholder, so for your art to be taken seriously, you have to take it seriously.

triumph of art and architecture, inside and out. Mo’s studio is spacious and full of light. She says the best environment for a studio is one the artist feels comfortable in. But for her, she says, “I have to have music. Music, to me, is key. Music, good lighting. I had this studio mate once, and he only listened to opera; he would be blaring opera.” She prefers, “whatever I’m into at the moment; for instance I love Monsters of Folk; they’re my favorite band at the moment.” Throughout her life, Scollan has become a veritable jack-of-all-trades in her artistic career. She worked in various screenprinting jobs dealing with sportswear and fashion design, made decorative ceramics, and kid’s shoes. She even made baby clothes for her daughter Lillian, now 24. “She was stylin’”, Scollan laughs. She now works mainly with oil paints. “The actual painting, I never did that at all until I turned 40. My daughter Lily went into kindergarten, and I had free time! I was like, ‘Today, I’m gonna start painting.’ I had everything ready, I bought everything.” Her subject matter varies from forks, to serene landscapes, to her own daughter. She says that her landscapes are the least exciting thing she does. “It’s always this thing that I just, you know, dash off, and it’s actually a


selfmade artist and an independent, and it seems as though she has no intention of stopping now. “I like making my own things, I like working out my own projects at my own pace, doing what I want to do.” This fierce sense of independence and genuine joy at creating have been the driving impetus in her life. Mo Scollan is evidence in the flesh that loving what you do is the key to success, and the proof is in the pudding.

By: Lina F.


The Local Question

Farmer’s Market of Community Supported Agriculture


he average American diet consists of a 3,230 calorie intake per person every day. 9.5 percent of it is from grains, another 9.0 percent from fats and oils, 4.5 percent come from sugars, meats and nuts together are about 1.0 percent. Dairy products and eggs together equal 1.5 percent and only 1.5 percent comes from fruits and vegetables combined. Our diet consists of mostly fats, carbohydrates and salts. This is because our pallets are more adjusted to fast food and junk food. But now people are trying to eat healthier. They want fresh fruits and vegetables. And how do we do that locally? There are many places to get fresh produce directly from the farmers in Austin. One is the Farmers Market, and another a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm. According to Edible Austin’s website CSA is a partnership with the consumer and the farmer. That means that you pay the farm in advance and in return they supply you with produce for their growing season. They deliver to a location near you and then you go pick up your basket. Two CSA farms close to Austin are Tecolote Farm and Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Johnson’s Backyard Garden participates with CSA and has a booth at the Farmer’s Market. This is a good start, but to live healthier, means buying healthy produce all the time which could cost an arm and a leg. So which would be just as great, but wouldn’t break the bank? The Farmer’s Market or CSA farms? I am not trying to pit the two against each other. They are outstandingly better compared to H.E.B because they are local and organic. While H-E-B gets their produce from out of state from places like Mexico and California. But it doesn’t taste the same after it has been traveling hundreds of miles in a truck. Meanwhile the local farms only have to drive a hundred miles at Most to get to you. Johnson’s Backyard Garden is only 15 miles away from downtown Austin.


The truth is that Texas doesn’t have the right climate or the resources at the moment to be growing everything year round. Produce is limited, but where can you get a bigger assortment? According to Johnson’s Backyard Garden’s website, they grow 60 different fruits, vegetables, and herbs but only 8-12 are seasonal and are received in the customer’s basket. For example in the basket this week there is mint, kale, onions, cilantro, Swiss chard, baby Bok Choy, mixed peppers, sweet potatoes, mixed summer squash, and salad mixed arugula in their box this week. This is a

“ I am not trying to pit the two against each other.” pretty hefty amount of vegetables, fruits and herbs, but the Farmer’s Market has in season various squash varieties, apples, persimmons, pears, cucumbers, okra, tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, sweet potatoes, green beans, herbs, watermelon, melons, onions and arugula. The Farmer’s Market usually has a more extensive array of produce because of the diverse farmers who come into town to sell their produce. Plus at the Farmer’s Market the farmers sell poultry and meats, giving a larger variety of food to choose from rather than if you were to get a pre-made basket from a CSA farm. Fresh food means you may be fresh out of cash after visiting the market. Locally grown food is expensive no matter where you go, but which one is less costly in the long run? For CSA farms like Tecolote and Johnsons Backyard Garden, the box you collect per week costs about $30-$33 if the box is delivered to a central location and $38 if you want it to be brought to your home or office. You only get produce for 16 weeks per year and you pay $400 in advance to the farm. Another downside is that you have no idea what is in the basket. So you cannot plan meals ahead of time for

the week. Since the produce is fresh it goes bad more quickly than other foods, so you must eat it up right away. And if you have a foreign vegetable and you have no idea how to prepare it, then your money is just rotting away in your fridge. At the Farmer’s Market the prices are still astronomical, but if you go then you can choose what you buy and on your personal budget. You can also strategize before you go and have a list of vegetables, fruits and herbs that are going to work into your weekly meals. Finally the Farmer’s Market is a better supporter of smaller farms. Such as Oak Hill, Lightsey, and Buena Tiera who have considerably less when it comes to resources. For example, Johnson’s Backyard Garden has 200 acres, while Buena Tiera only has 110, and Oak Hill has 150 acres. 50 acres may not seem like a ton of space to miss, but it counts. Even though farmers don’t use all of their fields at once, it does affect their growing quantity throughout the year. This hampers their chances to expand as much as the farms with more resources. So overall, The Farmer’s Market here in Austin is more beneficial than buying from a CSA farm, because it has a larger selection of produce, the food is cheaper in the long run, and it supports the smaller local farms. Because the produce they sell could be their only income.

This is why the Farmer’s Market is a better choice for your health, changing your eating patterns and it benefits the farms. By: Zoe K.


had dissipated and it looked like he was getting stronger. However, in truth, he was holding it all in; fighting it within himself until he could not take anymore. Shortly before his sudden death, Jamey posted his “It gets better, I promise” video, calling out to LGBT teens all across the internet world. He told his viewers that it would get better because it did for him for a while, but after he posted the video, the hate started. Some viewers of the video left hate comments such as, “You’re going to hell” and “I wouldn’t care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY happier!”Certain resources say that this is one of the things that lead to his death. Also before he took his life, he posted on his Twitter. “I always say how bullied I am, but no one listens…..What do I have to do so people will listen to


n Sunday September 18, 2011, 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer took his life because he was bullied about his sexuality. He was found outside after him and his family came back from a camping trip. Jamey was happy on the camping trip so his family assumed that things were getting better for him. His tears

me,” is what he posted. Shortly after Jamey’s death, his sister Alyssa attended a school homecoming dance. A Lady Gaga song started playing .Alyssa and her friends started to dance and chant Jamey’s name. Also attending the dance were some of the other students that bullied Jamey. They started saying, “We are glad you are dead” This only supports the fact that the bullying of Jamey continues; even after his death. Bullying has gotten worse over the years and it is the schools responsibility to educate their students on what types of bullying are out there in the world (cyber, verbal, physical, hazing, sexual) and tell them how to get help if it happens to them. In truth, I do not believe that there are any parties/groups against anti-bullying and if there are, then they have not made themselves known. Bullying has gotten so out of hand that every year hundreds of children commit suicide because they cannot handle the emotional and sometimes physical stress that is inflicted upon them. M.D Young-Shin Kim, assistant professor at Yale School of Medicine’s Child Study Center and his colleague Bennett Levanthal M.D. analyzed 37 studies that examined bullying and suicide among children and adolescents all over the world. Almost all of the studies found connections between being bullied and suicidal thoughts among children. Five reported that bullying victims were two to nine times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than other children were. This information is critical for people in society-both adult and child-to know because if bullies, people that are victims of bullies, and innocent bystanders knew this information, then they would take into consideration what they are doing to their victims


and what the aftermath could/might happen to the life of their victim. The people of today’s world need to know what bullying does to people; children and adults alike. We all think that bullies are bad people, no? Well, we have to take into consideration that the bully has probably been bullied before also. It may not have been at school or in a public place, but by a family member at home or some other force outside of everyone’s knowledge of the bully. A study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Education in London found that less than 1% of primary school children are “true bullies” – those who are not bullied by their peers. People view bullies as bad people, but they need to know that most bullies were/are bullied. If people know this, then they will know how to deal with a bully because all they need is someone to talk to, or something else to focus on instead of making people feel the way that they feel. Schools all over the country are doing things to help prevent bullying. From having students making antibullying posters to holding assemblies and even training sessions for students and adults to teach about addressing bullying, some schools are actually trying to curb the bullying epidemic. There are also certain organizations dedicated to anti-bullying. One such group is “CivilNation” whose mission is “to foster an online culture where every person can freely participate in a democratic, open, rational and truth-based exchange of ideas and information, without fear or threat of being the target of unwarranted abuse, harassment or lies.” This group is a prime example of what needs to actually be done in schools. These groups are important to society because they can give different outlooks on bullying and different ways to help. Bullying needs to be controlled better. It is not a matter of why or when. Everyone in society should know that bullying is not right and causes people pain. This article is meant to inform the reader about bullying and the effects of it, how to


deal with bullying, and persuade the reader to want bullying controlled. If you read this article and agreed with it, then you have my support behind you. If you read this article and disagreed with the views and opinions of myself and others, then that is even better because then people like yourself and people like me can converse over this subject and find new solutions to someday stop bullying. Bullying is wrong and something needs to be done. By. James L.


The Art of Spelunking

An inside look into the personal experiencers of Brian Greenstone


rian Greenstone has gone on Greenstone. many a caving adventure, For the caves in Austin, you need a from Longhorn Cavern special guide to take you through them. to Maple run, but in the “For the ones in Austin you typically beginning, he did not know need to know someone with access to get how or what he was doing. In 2001, Brian through the gates, so the UT Grotto is a Greenstone took his first caving class at good starting point,” said Greenstone. UT with the old UT Informal Classes Brian Greenstone has been on many instructed by Chris Thibodeaux. On caving adventures, from Maples run this trip, they went to Whirlpool Cave to Longhorn Cavern, but his all time in Austin, TX; Brian’s first ever caving favorite that he has been to many times is adventure. Long horn cavern. Even though the UT Informal Class is “I think the most fun I have had has not around anymore, when it was, it was been on several Longhorn Cavern outings one of the most popular classes at UT. where the water levels have been high The Informal and we have Class was like had to do some “The at Longhorn Cavern is a swimming. an elective; a choice class great first wild cave tour to do” The water is with fun always freezing options such in there, as karate, tai chi, and art classes, but but there is just something cool about Greenstone chose caving. swimming underground. Moreover, it “I signed up for the UT Informal Class gets all the mud off you!” said Greenstone and did not really know what I was People cave to explore new areas of the getting myself into,” said Greenstone. “I Earth and discover new organisms that found it really fun and challenging, and have not been known to them. squeezing through tiny holes was not as “There is just something exciting about scary as I thought it would be.” exploring an alien environment like that. One of the most difficult caves in Texas Plus, the darkness and silence is really is Maple Run because it is a long cave and relaxing,” said Greenstone. “I think it is there are many tight spaces. an easy and fun sport with minimal risks. “My first time in Maple Run really I would not call it important at all – it is a pushed me to my limits, and by the time completely useless activity, but it’s fun!” we got out of there, I was almost in panic mode because I was having a hard time -James L. R moving,” said Greenstone In many of the cave throughout Texas, there are special wild caving tours that you can sign up for. This is where you are taken “behind the scenes” of the caves and get to go very deep into it. “The one at Longhorn Cavern is a great first wild cave tour to do,” said

Photo Credicy of Brian Greenstone

Tips from Brian: 1) Never go alone. Go with friends or an adult. 2)Wear elbow pads and knee pads. Make sure to get slip on ones, not the velcro ones. 3)Don’t panic. Stop and close your eyes and take deep breaths.



emember the days of violent thunderstorms in Austin? There would be a wall of rain so thick I could not see my hand, trees down everywhere, and afterwards, a general feeling of green that would last for a couple of days. I miss those days. Now all I see is dead grass and suffocating heat. The limbs are down because the trees are so dry. Everyone wants water—the question is, who needs it the most? Since the drought in Texas is getting so severe, we should regulate water in the city and allow more in the country for the farmers. The farmers use considerably more water than the city of Austin does already, and some would say it’s not really getting us anywhere. ‘ “I'm personally watching seven years of work go up into smoke in this drought,” says Maginnis, standing in front of a stately tree called the deodar cedar, planted in 1898, that he said is suffering.’ People in the city are outraged at what could rapidly become a full-on change in the regional climate of our beloved Austin. The hole in this argument is that if the farmers do not get enough water to irrigate their crops, the regional climate would suffer infinitely more than it already is. The lifestyle of the city people would be much more affected than if they would just make a small effort to conserve. Also, if the entire United States conserved household appliances that use water, the American Water Works Association says we could decrease water use by 30% and save 5.4 billion gallons of water a day.

and the prevention of more fires like the ones in Bastrop is Texas’s biggest problem. Before it gets to that point, we need to decide who needs the most. At this point, LCRA gives us their current course of action: “If water supply levels reach 600,000 acre-feet next year, LCRA's Board would take action to cut off water from the Highland Lakes to downstream farmers and work with municipal and industrial customers to reduce their use by 20 percent, according to the current Water Management Plan. But the Board’s Sept. 21 decision could mean that farmers are cut off next year before the lakes reach 600,000 acre-feet.” This decision is unnecessary because if the urban population conserves more water and all the grass dies, there could be a compensating boom in the landscaping industry to create new lawns, thus boosting the economy further; whereas if the farmers do not get enough water, it hurts both the city and the farmers themselves. The Texas Tribune says, “Austin is the LCRA's largest urban customer, but it also has substantial rights of its own to water along the lower Colorado River, which it uses in rainy times, when the river is full.” But since we are not in particularly rainy times as of late, the water comes from one source. Since all of the state’s water comes from that source, the wealth cannot be shared equally. There is simply not enough; therefore, one must need it more, and if the farmers get it, the entire

‘ “I’m personally watching seven years of work go up into smoke in this drought” ’

The livelihood of farmers relies on water, making regulation a serious financial issue, as opposed to the less noticeable inconvenience to city dwellers. The only time people in the city really notice how much water they are conserving is when they have to order ice water at a restaurant rather than having it brought to them. Farmers notice it daily, as it is the cause economic health of the state would be boosted. Not only would of the loss of their daily income. A decline in crop production it benefit the farmers; it would benefit our entire region. results in less money for farmers, and they have the additional concerns that drought brings on, such as insects and plant There is no doubt that people in the city, including myself, disease. notice the drought. It’s unbearably hot and dry, we only get to water our gardens one day a week, and, le gasp, we have to There are several pressing reasons to allow the farmers more actually order our water at a restaurant. All of these things are water. For example, if farmers cannot produce as much, city a pain in the neck, but only relatively. Our entire livelihood dwellers’ economy suffers because prices go up as produce bedoes not depend on water. The farmers’ livelihood does. Water comes scarce. If the crops fail, locally grown organic food will equals life to them. If the city is greedy, takes the water for itbecome more expensive than it already is and reasonable prices self and lets the crops die, we will have destroyed not only the on produce will climb. Already, the price of cheddar cheese in lives of the farmers, but in the long run, our own lives. Texas has gone up 9.99%, top sirloin steak, 5.1%, and reduced By: Lina F. fat milk, 11.5%.


LCRA is the Lower Colorado River Authority. According to the LCRA website, “With the extreme hot and dry weather showing no signs of relenting, LCRA forecasts that this drought could become the worst on record by early spring.” If the drought continues on the way it has been, water regulation



ity vs. Country: s the ITY VS. drought COUNTRY in-Texas AS THE continues, DROUGHT IN the TEXAS question CONTINUES, on everyone’s THE PRESSING mind QUESTION is: S: WHOSE hose water WATER is it ISanyway? IT ANYWAY?


The tent is one of the most important items, because it’s the backpacker’s shelter. Make sure it’s durable, but packs into a small one like this. The Zypher 2 is my personal choice, because it can fit two people comfortably. It also comes in two bags to split up between tent partners.


The backpack is the most important gear item, because it acts as a container for everything else. Make sure you get a light, internal-frame pack. It’s also important to make sure that you are using one that can be easily adjusted to fit you. I use the REI Mars-80, because it fits me, has multiple pockets, and is light-weight.

Other Items


A light-weight stove will do, because it will only be usedto boil water for meals. A Jetboil works great to heat water quickly, and it has a signal for when it is done, but it eats up fuel fast, and may not work at higher altitudes.

Boots, hiking poles, and GPS are all important items, but don’t go inside the pack. Merrel makes excellent light-weight boots like the ones shown here. Hiking poles work better in pairs, and can really help when climbing mountains. For a GPS, Garmin Makes good handheld devices, such as the Vista Hcx and the GPSMap cx, but a map and compass wors good aswell.


pack in, Pack Out


he average backpacker has an arsenal of gear ready for every scenario and location possible. My gear is pretty basic, and great for an inexperienced backpacker. When purchasing gear for backpacking, it’s important to consider the size, weight, and importance of each object. The items below are basic things that are essential, aside from food, water, and clothes. --John Michael R.


The mat is important in the night, to elevate you off of the cold, hard ground. Make sure it’s durable, so that it does not break if there are rocks or sticks under it. I use a three-quater-size pad. This is lighter and smaller than a full-sized pad, which are both advantages when packing.

Sleeping Bag

A sleeping bag keeps the backpacker warm and provides insolation in the night. Use one that is rated to work in a temperature range similar to your area. The lower temperature rating, the heavier the bag.


that need to be picked daily and take a well-deserved rest. Now, even though Gary and Sarah do get a rest it is not a lot of time. They have at a minimum a 6 day week and with exception to thanksgiving weekend, Christmas, and New Year’s, their weekends are consumed by Farmer’s Markets and CSA. This is an exceeding amount of time to put into one’s profession. Sarah says, “I was a legal secretary before farming.” But she became a farmer after “I married a farmer, turned out to be a whole lot more work than I intended to do.” Sarah says. And Sarah has not considered another profession for the last 20 years. There is a lot of work, it’s not like nothing is done in the 6 day weeks. Sarah and Gary participate in CSA, Whole Sale and Farmer’s markets. They have had a difficult journey, because before the Rowland’s only participated in the Sun Set Valley Market and the Burnet Market, only because it is their home town, and they were very successful. But then issues came up and they now have to do three different types of markets and more farmers’ markets to make half of the money they made while they only took part in one and a half markets. Sarah says, “It is a bit of a pain and frustrating, but it is just what we have to do”. They took up Whole Sale and CSA to compensate for their loss. Their ideal goal would be to receive 30% from each type of sale, to try and balance everything out. Sarah tells, how even when they have all three running, sometimes one makes more money than the others. “Sometimes the farmer’s markets do exceeding well, but sometimes the CSA keeps us afloat.” Sarah and Gary are very committed to their CSA sponsors. In general they send everything to the CSA baskets first, and then deal with the farmer’s market and Whole Sales. The baskets can vary from time to time, depending on different factors. Sarah says,

“Sometimes they [the customers] get a basket that will barely close, sometimes it is nearly empty”. Then she gives me an example, “If we have a normal year instead they would get peppers this long.” She says while holding out her hands about 5 inches apart. “Compared to this long”, Sarah says holding her hands about three inches apart. This could be affected by timing, or natural disasters. Sarah tells us about farming on a creek and how that can influence what goes into the basket. Sarah says, “Floods tend to be only thing we can’t get off of. We sometimes still manage to wait a couple of hours and be ok, and a large freeze. Then we don’t have anything to put in the boxes.” Sarah ends

“It is a bit of a pain and frustrating, but it is just what we have to do” by saying, “We do whatever we have that goes in the box, we have to distribute to everyone.” The truth is they are just regular people trying to make a living in this world, but their way happens to be serving others with healthy produce.

R By: Zoe K.


The Farmer’s Story


own in the valley across the road from their house, and near the fields where the Hairston’s work. A large group of farmers gather for the party hosted by Sarah and Gary Rowland. They own Hairston Creek Farm out near Burnet, Texas. At this party there are farmers from all over. There is live music, kids playing on the tractors and taking a dip in the creek. Food and beer goes around, people are talking loudly trying to be heard over all the laughter and chit-chat. Gary drops in and out giving farm tours, while Sarah stays and socializes with friends and associates, everything is fun and light, but they know tomorrow they have a ton of work to do. We are going to travel with Sarah through a regular week at Hairston Creek Farm, talk about business and tackle some personal questions about how she got to where she is now. Every day is a different story on the farm. Monday’s “are pick and pack days for

CSA and Whole Sale”, Sarah says. For you who do not know what CSA and Whole Sale are, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it does just that. People pay in advance for baskets filled with produce from the farm, which they receive each week from April to November. Whole Sale is the sales to grocery stores, where they sell in pallets instead of small quantities. On Tuesday’s Sarah and Gary “deliver and pick crops that require daily picking”, Sarah says. Wednesday’s are picking day and May through November Farmer’s Market days. Thursday’s happen to be the same as Tuesdays except May through November they do a Farmer’s Market. “Friday we pick and pack for three Saturday Markets and CSA boxes”, Sarah explains. “Saturday’s and pick crops needing daily picking and weeding or other tasks of crop maintenance”. Finally Sunday Sarah and Gary pick the crops


ig Experience

Outpost: The Desert Leaches There were four campers, two counselors, in the desert...Well kind of. The first two days didn’t really look like a desert, so we had this running joke where we would say in a valley-girl voice, “Wait... We’re in the desert?” So after our siesta, nap in the middle of the day, we were still hiking and it was getting late. We were tired and we decided to stop at this little rock area in the river that slopes down into a larger basin like pond. So everyone was sliding down and lying in the water, until Warren looks at us and says, “Hey, are these leaches?” We all look down and see these minute leaches crawling all over us! Of course everyone freaks out and we jump out of the water, and looking ourselves over for tiny leaches. It was crazy, because we had all been laying in them and sliding on them, but we had just thought they were moss. So thoroughly grossed out, we continued hiking to our campsite. This had the coolest little over overhang, with room for a few people to sleep. Plus it was across the river and had plenty of room to see the stars. And let me tell you, clear skies in Utah, in a desert are the best place to see them.

Pathfinding Twenty-eight days of unknown, just two years away.

By:Zoe K.


The Full Col Homestead: My Counselor ALMOST killed me This was my first year at camp , and my first three day backpacking trip. This was a pretty easy trip, three miles from the van and then a base camp. So that didn’t take to long , and we had a lot of time to kill. So for a while we tried fishing, but that wasn’t really successful. Then skipping rocks, I was really only good at skipping rocks on land. Then we walked around Potato Lake , finding rocks and such shaped like potatoes. Then we decided to climb a peak near our campsite. The rocks weren’t that steady and we had to go up this slipper rock part, and if you go up something you obviously have to come back down. So when we got to that slippery part, there were two ways to go from the top. One was less steep and the other came down a little quicker and they met on the same path. So I went down the more slopped part while my counselor was going down the steeper part, and she accidentally kicked a rock. The rock came hurtling down and hit me near the base of my neck. The rock was like twelve inches long and ten inches wide! Just kidding that is just my imagination making it bigger, but it was like six, inches long and four inches wide.

Silver Saddle:Cliff Jumping and Fake Fires Reaching McPhee Reservoir after kayaking for maybe five or ten miles we finally reach our camp site. There is a twenty foot cliff there, and we have to take a swim test before we can go jump. But afterwards everyone goes! Everyone has a different jumping style. Our counselor does the fancy tricks, others like I just jump, and then this one girl, Iris, belly-flops each time! Soon she wasn’t allowed to jump because it was just a little too dangerous for her. Then we moved on to our next campsite and they had a forty foot cliff and a sixty foot cliff. I was so freaking afraid to go off the forty foot one, but others went off no problem. Although we weren’t allowed to go off the sixty foot one, our male counselor and the camper Jack went off it, and it was crazy awesome! Although it was sort of scary at that spot because there was a fire over the ridge. So we were trying to contact camp to see if we had to evac the spot, and our counselors couldn’t get service so they go up the ridge a ways. Soon they come running down saying that the fire is right over the ridge, and that we have to grab everything and MOVE! It was hectic, we were grabbing the tarp s and throwing them in the boats, thinking we might die in any second, while is counselors are silently laughing to themselves. Turns out they were totally faking, and we all had a good laugh afterwards.


refuses to remove the landmark. She vows that it will be repaired when the hunters return. She checks the other hunting blinds, and the deer feeders, which are all commonly used by the hunters that frequent her land during the winter. “I enjoy having the hunters here because they get things done,” she says. “I enjoy seeing the kids and families grow up. I visit with them, we share a meal, and we communicate. I also get ideas for improvements that I can do around the ranch.” It’s noon, and Barbara needs to go to town for supplies. She drops the dogs off at her house and locks all the gates to the ranch. It takes about 15 minutes to reach the town of Ballinger, where she plans to pick up feed and hay for her animals. When she’s done getting supplies for herself and the animals, she decides to stop for lunch. She pulls up to a small structure, reflecting the saloons of the Wild West. She meets some friends in the saloon, Alejandra’s, and enjoys a plate of nachos and a glass of iced tea. As she finishes her meal, her cell phone begins to ring. “Hello,” she says, “yeah, sure. You know the code, just let yourself in and I’ll meet you there when I finish in town. Bye.” She gets into her truck once more, and makes her way back to the ranch. Once there, she drops off her groceries and heads to the RV at the west end of the ranch, where a blue Chevy Suburban is parked. Barbara sees three men get out, along with their sons, all boy scouts, who share her interest of the

outdoors and conservation. “To be out here, they have to love the land,” Barbara says. “I try my best to conserve this land, to share knowledge and educate young people. These boys must treat the land with respect.” As dusk approaches Middle Mustang Ranch, Barbara sits down with the hunters, her extended family, for dinner and fellowship. One of the boys asks her why she ranches, and why she’s stayed on the ranch for so long. Barbara sits for a bit, and then she begins, “It’s the love of this life that keeps me here. It’s a good, clean living, one that takes a different kind of people. I can see my progress, what I’m doing right, and what I need to improve on. It’s hard work, but it’s good work. It’s not just about how much [money] you make. I’m doing better than others, even with the drought, and I can’t stop now. If there are not enough people interested, we lose a total lifestyle. I’m just desperately holding onto a lifestyle that is slowly becoming non-existent.” The day is done, and the hunters turn in for the night. Barbara gets in her car for the last time, and herds in her livestock as the day comes to a close.R By John Michael R.

Owned by the Schreiner family since 1880, this ranch is well known for its exotic game and legendary trophy animals. Located west of Kerrville, Texas, the ranch features a cantina-like main lodge, as well as a chuckwagon diner and RV accomidations.

One of the most famous ranches in Texas, the King Ranch was established in 1853 by Captain Richard King. The ranch, located near Kingsville. features museums and historicl monuments, as well as a saddle shop.

Covering most of the Texas Panhandle, the XIT Ranch was established in 1881, when brothers Charles B. and John V. Farwell, who received 3,000,000 acres of land in return for the constructuion of the new Texas Capitol. The ranch features a museum in Dallhart, as well as many events throughout the year.


of this house,” Barbara says, “As a kid, my mom and dad would take me to the creek on the weekends, and we would catch fish for our dinner. It always gave me a great sense of accomplishment when I was able to catch my own fish, and the family time that we had was always so precious to me.” Barbara was always close to her father, due to their similar interests in the land, and she always looked up to him. She respected his love of the land and his desire to be there for others, as well as his determination

Photo Courtesy of Michael R.

Barbara Condra lives with her two dogs on her family ranch in Ballinger, Texas, and is one of the few people still participating in the livestock industry. She has lived on the ranch for around 55 years, and has no intentions to stop working, especially after overcoming the catastrophic drought this summer. The cock crows at the break of dawn, but she’s already started her work. The terriers, Pork-chop and Tabitha, are her loyal followers, making sure that the other animals listen to her. She makes her rounds about the

Barbara, with a child whose life has been greatly impacted by her guidance

Quail are commonly spotted on the ranch.

Photo Courtesy of Michael R.

to build a life from an honest profession. “He was always interested in politics and helping others,” she says with a gentleness. Her voice begins to fade as she continues. “He always made an honest living and he loved to help others.” As Barbara finishes her inspection of the house, she heads out again, this time to check on three small towers to the south. When she arrives at the first two towers, a flock of deer can be seen jumping a fence. She gets out of the truck in time to see the deer dart behind the trees. She strolls to the towers, placed next to each other in a small clearing. She sees that the oldest tower, known as Juan’s Blind has fallen over, but she

Photo Courtesy of Michael R.

“I enjoy seeing the kids and families grow up.”

main barn, letting the goats and sheep out for the day and setting out feed for her fowl. When she finishes there, she opens the gate and gets in her pickup, on her way to another structure on her territory. On a normal day, Barbara would roam her land, looking for her herds of cattle and horses. However, she has a much more important project on her hands, which is evident when the truck rolls to a stop at another house. This one is cleaned up and looks to be in better condition than her own. The house belonged to her father, Doyle, who grew up on the ranch like her. Barbara has many good memories of the old house, and is currently working on renovating it to move back in. “I have many good memories

One of the blinds used by the hunters.


Photo Courtesy of Michael R

he chickens and geese flock to their pens in total chaos, as the gates shut behind them. Yips and howls are heard on the other side, and are soon answered by the snarls of the terriers. They climb back into the truck as it makes its last patrol of its borders before stopping for the night. It crawls to a stop in front of the weathered ranch home, and the door opens to reveal a lady whose goal is to make an honest living.


Letter from the Editors Dear readers, We bring you the dual magazine Metropolis and Backcountry. Our mission is to bring the joys of the outdoors and the wonders of the city together. We believe that by contrasting two opposites, we will achieve a balance that our audience will appreciate. Things to look forward to in Metropolis are local art, local eating, and political issues. In Backcountry we have stories about backpacking, wilderness, parks and destinations, and farmers. Hope you enjoy. Sincerely,








Home on the Range p-5

A lone woman has been able to run a successful ranch for most of her life, with her only company being the hunters that come every Christmas. She’s an avid conservationist, and her only wish is to keep the outdoors how they are, so that others may enjoy their beauty.

The Full Colvig Experience p-6

Enjoy some hopefully funny anecdotes about backpacking trips!

The Farmer’s Story p-8

See what the farmers do and what they have to deal with to get the local stuff to you!

High and Dry p-10

The current drought crisis demands a solution; unfortunately, all we can do is divide the water. The question is: who needs it more?

The Arts of Spelunking p-12

Take a look into the personal experiences of Brian Greenstone.

Art Credit: John-Michael


Spelunking ive Underground with he Cavers Themselves

The Case for Texas Farmers

Take an Inside Look at Agriculture The Best Camping Destinations


E-zine magazine