Mueller - 2021

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Mueller Snow Shots

Mueller Pitches in During Winter Storm Uri By Front Porch Flyer Staff

Mattie Street in Snow by Mike Sears

Taking advantage of Winter Storm Uri by Shawn Collins Copyright © 2021 Peel, Inc.

Mueller Snow by Judith Katzman

Winter Storm Uri came through Texas with a vengeance in February 2021. Weather forecasters predicted snow, ice, and a fierce cold that Central Texas has not experienced in a very long time. What was not forecasted were the ramifications of freezing temperatures and their aftermath. Almost immediately we became concerned with frozen pipes, followed by loss of water and electricity, thus creating a significant sense of anxiety, fear, and for many, loss of their material possessions, and in some cases, death. While families struggled with boiling snow to have water or lighting a fire to stay warm, the human spirit remained. Many neighbors provided respite for families or friends who were without; others pooled their food to share as grocery stores were empty, due to trucks not being able to make the trek to stock shelves. First responders walked to their respective stations, and nurses to hospitals, to serve those who needed them most. The Mueller Community was no different. We rose to the occasion when our neighbors at SAFE Children’s Shelter posted a social media request that they were in dire need of water and other items to get them through a few days. For those of you that don’t know, SAFE provides shelter for children who are in the temporary custody of the state, and children placed here come from all parts of the state. I picked up dry canned food, blankets, water, frozen pizzas, and more. But what stood out for me is that one particular neighbor stated, “I’m sorry, it’s not much Christine Langa and her daughter with but we’re almost out of donations made to SAFE food.” Continued on Page 3 Front Porch Flyer - April 2021

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EDITORS-IN-CHIEF Dusty Harshman Kathy Sokolic EDITORIAL STAFF Greg Buford, Cynthia Cammack, Andrew Clements, Shawn Collins, Ani Colt, Luke Downs, Susan Egan, April Geruso, Drew Harris, Bart Jacob, Judith Katzman, Woody Lauland, Layla Mansuri, Dennis Mick, Sadia Tirmizi, Preston Tyree, Lila Valencia, Chrissy Yates

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Steering Committee Members: Dale Cannedy Pat DiSanza - Vice Chair Edwin Dorn Ted Herr Koreena Malone Damaris Nicholson - Secretary Sarah Roper-Coleman Josh Rudow Jason Sears John Thomas - Treasurer Marta White Taylor Youngblood - Chair John Wooding (Ex Officio) contact@muellerneighborhood.org muellerneighborhood.org Copyright © 2021 Peel, Inc.

One of our resident Block Captains and an employee of SAFE, Christine Langa, was able to work with other staff to sort donations, creating a temporary food pantry for clients affected by the winter storm. “This work and connecting with essential staff and colleagues and just being onsite felt so good for the soul,” said Langa. The Kraft family on Mattie Street sprung into action after the storm hit. “The Winter Storm showcased how our Mueller community can rally together to help each other and others Food donations to SAFE by Christine Langa throughout our city,” said Vanessa Kraft. “At first it started slow. I sent an email out to our block wanting to save ourselves and neighbors from a store run. We listed a few things we needed and a few things we could share. We quickly received plenty of what we needed. After the weather turned colder and more of Austin lost power, block emails turned into neighbors asking for pack-and-plays or cots for families coming to stay to find safe shelter from the storm,” she said. “Our block captain left his shovel, plumber’s key, and a wrench on his porch in case someone needed to shut off their water or shovel sidewalks. Emails bounced back and forth between neighbors not able to turn off their water and other neighbors responding. Everyone was alert and ready to help however they could,” she said. During the storm Vanessa checked regularly on a friend who was stuck with her daughter in their home with no power, water, or gas. They lived close enough to get to Northeast Early College High School while it was open to warm up, but then the shelter lost power and they had to return to a home still without water, electricity, or gas. After several days, they were out of food and water, and the city had imposed a boil water notice. Vanessa reached out through the Mueller Neighbors Facebook page asking for canned food or fresh fruit or bottled water, asstores had been emptied due to overwhelming demand. Vanessa reports that more than thirty neighbors quickly responded, even after answering similar pleas from shelters needing the same things. Some of her donors mentioned that they had just the day before given food, but everyone kept doing everything they could to provide for the many, many needs that were streaming in through social media all day. For the Kraft family’s friend, neighbors boiled water and set it out in containers, donated food items, and several gave money. “We collected so much food that it filled up the back of our minivan and we easily had about 10 gallons of potable water to take to our very grateful friend, “ she said. “We are thankful to be part of a community that we can depend on to be generous and eager to help.” “Selfless service alone gives the needed strength and courage to awaken the sleeping humanity in one’s heart.” – Sai Baba

Letter from the Chair

Dear Neighbors, We are so excited to be in the community with you this month. The weather is pleasant, our parks are beautiful and open, and it is so great to see each other outside again. We hope you enjoy the Egg Scramble activities, the opportunities to experience fun new activities while socially distanced, and all the ways we can enjoy Mueller and get involved. The March general meeting voted to create an MNA Housing committee. Check our website for more information on that committee and how you can join and get involved. We have lots of other opportunities to volunteer, advise, and educate Muellerites, so check out the MNA Committee page on our website. All activities are conducted online right now, so they’re safe. Commitment times vary; contact us with any questions. Stay connected, stay safe, I wish you well. Taylor Youngblood Front Porch Flyer - April 2021

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Building a Community that is Practicing Anti-Racism - Part III MNA and leaders attend Anti-racism training By Koreena Malone | Chair, MNA Engagement and Inclusion Committee

Creating a loving and just neighborhood means that, as neighbors and leaders, we need to understand the differences between anti-racism, diversity, inclusion, and implicit-bias training and use language consistent with anti-racism work. Anti-racism is a personal and societal standpoint that opposes racism in its many forms. This movement fights for the dismantling of systemically racist social and economic policies. In a “post-racial” society, Americans are often convinced that race is no longer a determining factor in individual and community outcomes. Anti-racist organizers have fundamentally rejected this narrative and actively fight against it. Plainly spoken, we view racism as a power structure and not as how we treat each other by the color of our skin. Diversity and inclusion training refers to training employees to better work with others of differing abilities, backgrounds, nationalities, genders, etc. It emphasizes being inclusive of all types of employees and explains the benefits of doing so (bit.ly/inclusion-train). Implicit bias training, or unconscious bias training, programs (bit.ly/ implicit-bias-train) are designed to expose people to their implicit biases, provide tools to adjust automatic patterns of thinking, and ultimately eliminate discriminatory behaviors. Diversity, inclusion, and implicit-bias training are helpful, but they lack the history and follow through needed to make real systemic change. Part and parcel, these trainings typically lack the wherewithal that is needed to guide participants to look at the systems that created the issue embedded in the workplace or the community. Typically, these trainings do not penetrate the heart of how racism was formed in the United States of America and ultimately who benefits from these systems. On November 7th, 2020, I woke up with the same propensity and ritual every day that week, tuning into the news to learn about what has unfolded due to the tumultuous presidential election. However, on that morning, I was expected to be on a Zoom call with 16 other neighbors to partake in our very first anti-racism training. I remember it was a beautiful morning and I felt a bit of relief and trepidation. After months of organizing and building relationships, 16 of my beloved neighbors opened their hearts and minds and committed to attending training on two different Saturdays. I had no doubt this training would stretch what most people understood about systemic or institutional racism and beliefs that we have developed over time. Those in attendance ranged from currently or previously elected Steering Committee members, Block Captains, and neighbors. We ranged in age and gender, but most in attendance were white and homeowners. MNA hired Dr. Joyce James, and we attended the workshop “Groundwater Analysis of Racial Inequities, Turning the Mirror Inward.” This workshop taught us: • Racial inequities look the same across systems, • Systems contribute significantly to racial inequities, • Racial inequities cannot be attributed to “one bad apple,” • Racial inequities are concentrated in poor communities and communities of color, and • Systemic interventions and training can work to reduce disproportions and disparities and improve overall outcomes for all populations. This workshop aimed at enhancing participants’ racial equity awareness 4

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by building a common language and an understanding of the underlying factors that contribute to racial inequities. This increased knowledge can be a catalyst for developing strategies to build more effective programs and for strengthening and transforming the culture of systems towards increased accountability in response to the needs of all populations. Here is a summary of the teachings from the workshop: • Equality is not equity, and racial inequity is present in all systems. We need to change the policies we practice in our neighborhood that contribute to these inequities. • We will not create events, programs, or spaces void of a racial lens or racial analysis. • We have all benefited from the exclusion, exploitation, oppression, and underserved poor communities and communities of color. • We need to stop focusing on the person when making systemic change and focus on the proponents in the system that created the disparities to begin with. • Training was beneficial and it was believed that the leaders and neighbors would benefit from ongoing training and continued training. • Black people were systematically and intentionally deprived of resources that white people continue to benefit from. • The history most of us were taught didn’t include teachings about systemic and institutional racism and those who benefited from all these systems and policies. • Politics and political camps do not equate to doing the work to be anti-racist. Now that leaders received the knowledge and training, how were we going to apply this to our Neighborhood? This is the third article of our “Building a Community that is Practicing Anti-Racism” series. Please stay tuned to learn what we are doing to organize and change our neighborhood. If you want to be a part of this movement, please contact, Koreena Malone, koreena@cpaksm.com or steering@muellerneighborhood.org. Part IV - Schools, housing, …. “In the absence of a racial equity lens, well-meaning leaders often continue to unconsciously contribute to sustaining and often perpetuating racial inequities in the design and delivery of programs.” - Dr. Joyce James. · We organized and hosted the very first Accountability Session for the AISD Trustee Positions. This Accountability Session focused on racial inequities and only provided space for black and brown voices. We stopped having a candidate forum allowing candidates to campaign and demanded candidates to listen and provide real solutions. · We formed a Housing Equity Team that is working with Catellus, Mueller Foundation, HousingWorks Austin, and Community Wheelhouse to review the current practices and policies that have led to mostly white homeownership. Affordable Housing for People of Color Recognizing that people of color experience racial discrimination at many levels of the financial system, we must contextualize our affordability goals accordingly. While most affordable housing programs cater to people at 80% of median family income (M.F.I.) for home ownership and 60% M.F.I. for rental, these standards do not serve the majority of Black and Latino people impacted by the housing crisis in Austin. Black Austinites made only 55% of the White M.F.I. in 2016, and Latinx Austinites made only 61%. Continued on Page 5 Copyright © 2021 Peel, Inc.


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With housing and homeownership slipping from current residents of color as rents also rise and wages stagnate, we must recognize that anti displacement efforts must include preservation, protection, and production of affordable housing—in that order—and that production must be planned and implemented with the most directly impacted communities—those currently not benefiting from our current programs—at the forefront of of their design. Continued Segregation in Austin Schools It must be noted that Austin ISD has the largest disparities of any district in the State of Texas. The Institute for Urban Policy Research & Analysis (IUPRA) found that “Black and Hispanic elementary students are tracked to elementary schools that on average have rates of economically disadvantaged students that are 50 percentage points greater than the elementary schools that White students attend in the same district. There is no other district in the state that has gaps this extreme. These are larger gaps than the statewide gaps of 26 and 30 percentage points, and considerably larger than the typical gaps within districts, which are 11 and 13 percentage points. Large districts have larger gaps, but the average gap within the 64 districts that have more than 10,000 elementary students is only 17 points between Black and White students and 20 points between Hispanic and White students. This raises questions about school boundary and enrollment policies in Austin ISD that leads to such larger disparities than other districts in the state.” “Certainly, historical events and policies, such as Austin’s 1928 Master Plan, have had lasting impacts on segregation. The patterns of today’s residential and school segregation are related to a long history of intentional policies that have crafted the way our communities look.”

Bulk Buying

By Taylor Youngblood, Mueller Zero Waste Block Leader Buying in bulk can help you save money and resources. Buying in bulk can mean two different things: 1) buying loose items from bulk bins in stores and 2) buying larger quantity packages. With COVID, some stores have either closed their bulk bins or reduced what is offered. Traditionally you could take in your own container to certain stores and fill them up with loose items. Those stores usually carry paper bags or plastic tubs as an alternative to your own containers. With bins being closed and so much curbside pickup and deliveries, bulk bin shopping may not be feasible for you. Also, some stores like HEB do not let you use your own container at bulk bins, requiring the use of single-use plastic zippered bags that then must be cleaned and recycled separately. If you are buying the same thing all the time, purchasing a larger package may be greener in the long run. Bulk bins are great for trying small samples/ quantities of items, but many times bulk bins are filled up with the same bagged and boxed items you get on the aisles. Not all bulk bin items are like that, but without asking the store what original packaging was used to fill up the bin and without watching employees refill the bins, you won’t know for sure. Buying larger packages helps 1) if you can afford to, 2) if you have the space to store items, and 3) keeping in mind the expiration date, should save you money and packaging. The price per ounce, pound, item etc. should be cheaper on a larger package than a smaller one. Bulk dog treats from Tomlinson's Feed

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You’ll be using less plastic bags, boxes, pouches, etc. when you buy one larger item vs several smaller items. Some great items to consider purchasing in larger quantities are: • Grains, such as rice and oats, and beans • Snacks; use a reusable container with a large bag vs single-use small snack packs • Soap: cut big bars down into smaller ones with a chef’s knife and purchase larger bottles or jugs of liquid Bulk proteins soap over small bottles. • Toilet paper • Protein powder: we buy 5 gallon bags that we then reuse as trash bags • Pet food and treats • Baking ingredients Make sure to read the instructions carefully or research how to best store your bulk items to keep them fresher longer and get your money’s worth. Some stores will order bigger containers for you if you ask them. You may also need to look higher or lower on shelves to find bigger options. Stores stock what they want to push at your eye level so you may need to look a little harder for savings. If there’s an item you like, check out the company’s website as they may offer larger sizes on their website Large box of plastic-free toilet paper they’ll ship.

HEB bulk section

Large Snack to Fill Smaller Reuseable Container

Soaps and Cleaning Supplies

Rice Comparison

Bulk rice Front Porch Flyer - April 2021

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FRONT PORCH FLYER Insects and the BIG FREEZE

With most of Texas seeing freezing temperatures in February, I’ve been getting numerous questions on what it will do to the insect populations this year. Since we haven’t experienced such cold temperatures along with ice and snow for a long time, the short answer is that we just don’t know and will have to wait and see. I have a feeling that the majority of insects- and other arthropodswill be just fine because they have ways of surviving winter’s cold temperatures. Just like “snowbirds” that drive their RVs to Texas or Florida to spend the winter, there are certain groups of insects that migrate to new areas to spend the winter where temperatures are not as cold. A great example of this is the Monarch butterfly. Another example that can be put into "human relation" terms would be insects that use cryoprotectants (anti-freeze compounds). The most commonly used compound that insects use for this purpose is ethylene glycol, which is the same compound that is in antifreeze that humans put into vehicles. Ethylene glycol allows the insect's body tissues to supercool and remain above the freezing point. Freeze tolerance is another modification that some insects use to survive winter temperatures. With this method, freezing causes water to be forced out of living cells and the fluid around the cells freeze. These insects also empty their digestive tract to get rid of any food that contains water which could freeze and cause the digestive system to burst. Freeze tolerance is easier for smaller insects due to the fact that they have less fluid in their body because of their small size. Some insects may gather together to create collective heat. Honey bees do this inside the hive during the winter to keep warm. Other insects seek areas of shelter in areas where it is not so cold. An example is ladybugs that move indoors during colder months of the year. These insects move into homes through cracks and crevices or other areas that are not well sealed when it gets cold. This can lead them indoors to become nuisance pests. For more information or help with identification, contact Wizzie Brown, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Program Specialist at 512.854.9600. Check out my blog at urban-ipm.blogspot.com This work is supported by Crops Protection and Pest Management Competitive Grants Program [grant no. 2017-7000627188 /project accession no. 1013905] from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The information given herein is for educational purposes only. Reference to commercial products or trade names is made with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service or the Texas A&M AgriLife Research is implied. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service provides equal access in its programs, activities, education and employment, without regard to race, color, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, sexual orientation or gender identity. 6

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Mueller from Above - The Spider by Bart Jacob

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FRONT PORCH FLYER The Front Porch Flyer is a publication of the Mueller Neighborhood Association, produced and distributed by Peel, Inc. At no time will anyone be allowed to use the Front Porch Flyer content, or loan said content, to others in any way, shape, or form, nor in any media, web site, print, film, email, electronic copy, fax, or other means, for the purpose of solicitation, commercial use, or any other use for profit, political campaigns, or other self-amplification, under penalty of law, without written or expressed permission from the Mueller Neighborhood Association. DISCLAIMER: Articles and ads in this newsletter express the opinions of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Peel, Inc. or its employees. Peel, Inc. is not responsible for the accuracy of any facts stated in articles submitted by others. The publisher also assumes no responsibility for the advertising content with this publication. All warranties and representations made in the advertising content are solely that of the advertiser and any such claims regarding its content should be taken up with the advertiser. * The publisher assumes no liability with regard to its advertisers for misprints or failure to place advertising in this publication except for the actual cost of such advertising. * Although every effort is taken to avoid mistakes and/or misprints, the publisher assumes no responsibility for any errors of information or typographical mistakes, except as limited to the cost of advertising as stated above or in the case of misinformation, a printed retraction/correction. * Under no circumstances shall the publisher be held liable for incidental or consequential damages, inconvenience, loss of business or services, or any other liabilities from failure to publish, or from failure to publish in a timely manner, except as limited to liabilities stated above.

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