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BCD 13063A Juneteenth web graphicJuneteenth* weekend is a wonderful time of family and community celebration.

Austin’s annual Juneteenth Parade and Celebration hosted by the Greater East Austin Youth Association (GEAYA) takes place on Saturday, June 15, 2013. The parade route starts at 10am on MLK and Comal, and ends at Rosewood and Chestnut.

MetroRail, Capital Metro’s commuter rail with 9 stops between Downtown Austin and Leander, runs through a portion of Rosewood Park. The parade ends before the railroad crossing, and with a mix of physical barriers and personnel staffing, our security, safety, and community involvement teams work closely with the City of Austin, Austin Police Department and others to ensure celebration participants have safe passage as they travel to/from the parade route to festivities at Doris Miller and Rosewood Park.

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Capital Metro is excited to share that two of our very own have helped United Way for Greater Austin re-launch the Young Leaders Society, a diverse group of young professionals under 40 who give or raise $1,000 annually to support UWATX!

Juan Wah and Celso Baez from our Community Involvement team have joined YLS as founding committee members and both serve as Welcome Chair and Communications Chair, respectively. You may know them better as the dancing peas and carrots during Stuff the Bus last year.

J&CYLS members are committed to helping students in the critical middle school years by volunteering their time, raising money and spreading the word about UWATX’s Target Graduation program. Meet other friendly faces behind the new Young Leaders Society here.

YLS

For a few months, the Founding Committee has been getting a jump start by volunteering time with students in UWATX Target Graduation – a program focused on keeping middle school students on the path to graduation. YLS members engage with students at Webb, Decker and Mendez Middle Schools learning to be volunteer leaders and are encouraged to leverage their networks to mobilize more supporters for the Target Graduation program. Whether it is a campus clean-up, a tutoring session, or a mentoring opportunity, YLS members seek to inspire and shape new leaders in Greater Austin. Through various professional development and fun networking opportunities, the Founding Committee is working to expand YLS and work with other young leaders in the Greater Austin area.

Juan and Celso are passionate individuals who care about the greater Austin community and are thrilled to represent Capital Metro. Within our service area, Juan is the Capital Metro liaison to Austin’s north and north central communities and Celso is the liaison to Austin’s east, southeast, and south-central communities.  Both Juan and Celso are eager to spearhead more corporate community involvement efforts on behalf of the authority.  Together with their fellow YLS committee members they look forward to meeting other dynamic professionals interested in the way young leaders see philanthropy.

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STB-bus-placard_finalEarlier today, Dec. 10, Capital Metro joined Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in announcing our holiday food drive partnership–Stuff the Bus!

We have teamed up for the first time ever to ask the community to help “Stuff the Bus” to assist area residents in need during the holiday season. The food drive is being held Dec. 14-16 at Whole Foods Market in downtown Austin.

The goal of the three-day event is to fill a full-size Capital Metro bus with 20,000 pounds of non-perishable food items, benefitting the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas. According to the food bank, 20,000 pounds of food equates to approximately 16,000 meals to families in need throughout the community.

“The donated food from Stuff the Bus will be a tremendous help in feeding the hungry right here in central Texas,” said Hank Perret, Capital Area Food Bank of Texas President/CEO. “We cannot thank our partners at Capital Metro and Whole Foods enough for their outstanding commitment to bettering the lives of our friends and neighbors in need this holiday season.”

Donations are welcome anytime between 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. at the Capital Metro bus, located at the corner of 6th and Bowie in front of the Whole Foods Market culinary center entrance. Volunteers from all three organizations will be on hand to accept food items and load them onto the bus.

The food bank encourages donations of healthy, non-perishable food items, such as canned meats and tuna, canned vegetables, pasta, beans, healthy cereal and peanut butter. During the drive, participants may also purchase pre-packaged food donations at Whole Foods Market in $5, $10 and $20 increments.

“We are honored to participate in the Stuff the Bus campaign with Capital Metro and Capital Area Food Bank,” said Whole Foods Market Lamar interim store team leader Wade Taylor. “Nourishing our communities is what Whole Foods Market is passionate about, and we are excited to rally with our guests around this great cause.”

Several Capital Metro bus routes are located within a block of whole Foods Market, including:

  • #1L/1M North Lamar/South Congress
  • #3 Burnet/Manchaca
  • #4 Montopolis
  • #21/22 Exposition/Chicon
  • #101 N. Lamar/S. Congress Ltd.

“Capital Metro is so pleased to be a part of this wonderful holiday effort,” said Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson. “We’re especially looking forward to working together with our partner organizations for the benefit of all Central Texans during this very special and giving time of the year.”

The three-day event will feature live music by local bands on Friday, Dec. 14 from 5-8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15 and 16, from 12-4 p.m. at the donation site.

Capital Metro will also sponsor the Whole Foods Market Kid’s Club on Saturday and Sunday from 12-4 p.m. Employees and MetroAmbassador volunteers will be on hand to show children how to make colorful paper tree ornaments from recycled transit maps, ribbons and other materials.

People are invited to join the “Stuff the Bus” cause on Facebook or follow the event on Twitter at #StuffTheBus.

Here are a few pictures of our major partnership announcement news conference with Whole Foods Market and the Capital Area Food Bank–to see some more pics of the fun, check out our Facebook album:

The three partners coming together to announce the big food drive.

The three partners coming together to announce the big food drive.

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Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson being interviewed by FOX.

Capital Metro President/CEO Linda Watson being interviewed by FOX.

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The Downtown Austin Alliance and KUT 90.5 invite visitors to start their holidays downtown THIS SATURDAY, Dec. 1, during the annual Holiday Sing-Along and Downtown Stroll!

The evening starts at 6 p.m. when crowds gather on the south steps of the Capitol to sing the songs of the season during John Aielli’s Holiday Sing-Along. As the clock chimes 7 p.m., the countdown to the lighting of the Capitol tree begins – this year featuring a new 40 foot tree with lights programmed to local Holiday music.

From 7 to 9 p.m. Congress Ave. will be abuzz with holiday cheer during the Downtown Stroll. Shops, restaurants, galleries, and museums will be open late and will feature art installations, special activities, offers or refreshments to visitors. Highlight of this year’ s Stroll include:

  • Congress Avenue Lights: a project that will light all 136 trees on The Main Street of Texas from Lady Bird Lake to the Capitol, 365 days a year.
  • Congress Avenue will be illuminated with site-specific projections by Austin-based video, gaming and light artists, curated by artist and VJ Stephen Fishman
  • Holiday Gals with Marcia Ball, Christine Albert and Sarah Elizabeth Campbell at Frost Bank Plaza
  • Santa at the State Theatre and Classic Holiday Cartoons at the Paramount
  • And more! Check downtownaustinholidays.com for a full schedule of events
metrorail-75px The DAA encourages you to stroll downtown with Capital Metro’s commuter train MetroRail! Plan your train or bus trip at http://www.capmetro.org/planner/.

All events are free and open to the public, but if you can please support fellow members of the community by bringing non-perishable food or cash contribution to support the Capital Area Food Bank. Celebrate the Season Downtown!

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Tomorrow, Capital Metro will be partnering with H-E-B in its 23rd annual Feast of Sharing dinner on Nov. 20 from 4-8 p.m at Palmer Events Center (900 Barton Springs Road). This is an opportunity for H-E-B to give back to the community by providing residents with a delicious, free meal and festive entertainment.

For the 10th year, Capital Metro has partnered with H-E-B to provide 5,000 Day-Passes to Central Texans for a free ride to the feast. The passes include a special printed H-E-B Fest of Sharing logo and can be picked up at the service desk for free at five area stores:

- H-E-B at 2701 E. 7th St.

- H-E-B at 1000 E. 41st St.

- H-E-B at 2400 S. Congress

- H-E-B at 2508 E. Riverside

- H-E-B at 9414 N. Lamar

(NoteH-E-B began distributing passes last week, so you may want to call ahead to check availability.)

Last year, H-E-B provided about 14,000 meals and is grateful Capital Metro has extended its helping hand once again to promote the community event.

Use Capital Metro’s online Trip Planner, call the GO Line at 474-1200, or download the Austin Capital Metro app to find your best route to the Palmer Events Center. Route 30 Barton Creek, 5 Woodrow/South 5th and 100 MetroAirport have stops near the Palmer Events Center.

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The checkered flags are ready and tickets to the race are sold out as Formula 1 races into Austin this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, bringing in a record number of visitors to Central Texas.

But, local organization, Restore a Voice says the international stage also brings an elevated threat of human trafficking this week.

To raise awareness, Restore a Voice has partnered with Capital Metro to bring six of these ads to the public:

1 Formula 4 Freedom. Racing to Stop Human Trafficking.

If you’re looking to pay for company we’re already booked you a room.

And 50 of these, viewable inside Capital Metro buses:

All ads will be up through December 31.

Larry Megason, executive director of Restore a Voice told us that he hopes folks seeing the ads will gain awareness of the human trafficking is happening in Austin, even during Formula 1.

Larry Megason, Restore a Voice executive director

“We hope that it will drive people to our website where they can get some information about (human trafficking) that is happening in our city and globally,” Megason said. “There is an issue in our city and we want people to know about it.”

As listed on the ads, the U.S. National Human Trafficking hotline is available at 888.373.7888

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The folks at Capital Metro take great efforts in staying connected with the local community in our service area. We care to help the people who use our services.

That’s why we’d like to give major props to our two worker-bees — Juan and Celso — who helped raise awareness of the Big Brothers Big Sisters Fit Pit Boxing event and volunteered last week alongside 2012 Olympian Marlen Esparza in teaching some Central Texas kids a new skill.

With a crowd of about 24, local boxers and Olympic Medalist Marlen Esparza taught some boxing basics.

“Marlen was there to give some motivational words on the hard work it takes to be the best,” said Capital Metro’s Community Involvement Team Coordinator Juan Wah. “Marlen was great! Coach Art and the Fit Pit staff did great helping teach the Bigs and Lils the basics of the sweet science.”

Check out some pictures of the fun!

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Last week, our Capital Metro folks went to hang out with members of the Zilker neighborhood group called WaBuCy (Walk Bus Cycle) for a Social Bus Outing. The group started at Irie Bean where they met with our community involvement manager, John-Michael, who gave all the in’s-and-out’s of bus transit and some cool CapMetro goodies!

WaBuCy is a neighborhood group dedicated to increasing bike, pedestrian, bus travel and reducing auto traffic in the Zilker area. They are some great folks and we really enjoyed hangin’ out last Saturday.

After they all learned about fares, routes, bus safety and became transit-pros, they tackled the #3 Burnet/Manchaca bus, taking them to the Sustainable Food Center’s Downtown Farmer’s Market!

We had a great turn-out of both experienced and novice transit riding WaBuCy folks and were even featured on the KXAN news!

Photos courtesy of Rene Renteria Photography

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The city is buzzing with excitement as Austin readies itself for the annual Juneteenth celebration.

We are equally excited about the upcoming festivities. Walking and riding in the annual Juneteenth parade has been a tradition of Capital Metro.

To get the bus ready for the parade, we’re inviting Austinites to help us create Portraits of Freedom, a community MetroArt project consisting of hundreds of self-portraits made out of vinyl and installed on a 35-foot bus. Portraits will be created by the general public, 100 students at AISD schools, and Capital Metro operators and staff, in collaboration with the Carver Museum and Cultural Center and Theatre Action Project (TAP).


Juneteenth, also known as “Freedom Day” or “Emancipation Day,” is the oldest known African American celebration commemorating the end of slavery. Slaves were declared free on January 1, 1863, under the Emancipation Proclamation, issued by President Abraham Lincoln, which declared that all slaves living in states still in rebellion were “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” However, African Americans in Texas were not aware of the proclamation, until June 19, 1865, when General Gordon Granger, the commander of U.S. Troops in Texas, arrived in Galveston and read General Order 3:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

On January 1, 1980, a bill was passed making Juneteenth an official Texas state holiday.

Portraits of Freedom honors both the spirit of Juneteenth and the eastside community today. 1865 was a time when one’s identity was oft attempted to be defined by others. Portraiture, by definition, is an artistic representation of a person in a particular moment in time. By creating a portrait in your own image and by your own hand, it is a declaration of having the freedom to define who you are, as you see yourself in that moment in time. Collectively, our portraits define the multifaceted face of our community and city.

The community is invited to join in the MetroArt-making fun this Saturday, June 16, 2012, 12pm to 4pm, as a part of the Carver Museum’s Juneteenth Family Fun Day. Activities, including music, food, games and fun, are FREE and open to the public. For more information on the Family Fun Day, please visit http://www.austintexas.gov/event/juneteenth-carver or call the Carver at 512-974-4926. Look for the Capital Metro bus in the north parking lot, near Kealing Middle School.

Be sure to come see the Portraits of Freedom bus riding in the annual Greater East Austin Youth Association’s Juneteenth parade and celebration on Tuesday, June 19th, 10am to 12pm, For more information on the parade, including the parade route, please visit http://www.juneteenthcentraltexas.com/

We are looking forward to celebrating a happy and safe Juneteenth. With active MetroRail service running throughout the week, please visit www.stayoffthetracks.com to view rail safety reminders for you and your family.

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Tree Planting Day

Sustainable Neighborhoods and Capital Metro partner in efforts of planting more trees at bus stops.
Photo courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Trees – they help sustain the environment, and if you’re one of our MetroBus riders, you love to see them at the bus stops. They look nice, give you shade and keep you cooler during the summer. And, now we’re one step closer to seeing them at every bus stop thanks to the partnership between Capital Metro and volunteers from Sustainable Neighborhoods.

Earlier this month, over 25 volunteers went out to nine bus stops on Burnet and Anderson to plant two or three Mexican Plum and Texas Redbud tree seedlings at each site on March 11.

The seedlings were planted with a nifty new item called a Groasis Waterboxx, which will help water the seedlings for one year through a self-irrigation process. After a year, the trees should naturalize and not require subsequent watering when the re-useable Waterboxx can then be installed on another seedling.

The partnership is the beginning of a trial project for planting the street trees along Capital Metro bus routes.

“The tree seedlings are tiny – just 4″ liners,” Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods said. “The waterboxxes are about the size of a large tire. They are donut shaped and wrap around the seedling, buffering it and emitting moisture very slowly. The waterboxx’s water bladder absorbs heat during the day and releases it at night, causing water to condensate and refill the bladder.”

Since the planting day, Sustainable Neighborhoods has been checking in on the bus stop seedlings and documenting their progress on their blog: http://www.snaustin.org/brainstorming/waterboxx

“Thanks in part to good rains, the waterboxxes have remained mostly full and the plants wet. Will be interesting to see how they fare over the summer if the rain stops,” according to one blog entry on March 23.

Tree Planting Day

Volunteers plant seedlings into Waterboxx containers.
Courtesy of Steven Zettner of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Now, there are 20 new Waterboxxes in North Austin and if the trial proves successful, it will signal a new method for planting trees at bus stops in an environmentally friendly mission that’s less expensive and labor-intensive.

“There are about 25 bus stops on Burnet between 2222 and 183, six have shaded shelters, two are at existing shaded locations, and we planted trees at 7 more,” Zettner said. “Assuming our trees make it, that will eventually double the shade quotient … and if this experiment pans out, we’ll be able to hit many other bus stops and sidewalk locations around NC Austin in the coming couple of years.”

The project has already helped to raise awareness and plant seedlings in North Austin that will one day help shade our riders and help the environment. If you stumble upon one of our little trees tell us how they’re doing and shoot us a picture of its progress. We can’t wait to see them full-grown and hope the project can keep expanding to help plant more trees!

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