#SoAustin News: All The April Weirdness Worth Revisiting

By now, you’re hopefully looking forward to reading our #SoAustin News recaps every month, but in case you’re new to the column, this is where we share our favorite weird monthly news stories.

Our first #SoAustin piece focused on the many strange characters, critters, and crime sprees that Austin saw in February 2016, while our second installment reviewed the stunning resolution of the Great and Terrible Taco War between Austin and San Antonio, plus SXSW craziness, including Obama’s historic visit, which effectively locked down the city despite Mayor Steve Adler’s best efforts.

SXSW might be over, but that doesn’t mean things got any less weird this April — and we’re prepared to prove it! Behold…

Austin dogs pawsitively dominated the news

Everyone’s talking about the car wreck that happened at Barton Springs and Riverside on April 26, but not because of the accident itself — it’s because of the dog who fled the scene and was hit by another car blocks away. Happily, locals quickly moved the badly injured dog to safety until his owner (also bleeding) could arrive. Plus, AFD’s uniforms were total heroes in the way they handled the situation to get both owner and pup timely medical care.

That same day, Justin Theroux gave his fans even more reasons to love him when he posted a photo of a pit bull under the care of Austin Pets Alive! to his Instagram profile. 12 year-old Izzy was having trouble getting adopted, so Theroux gave her some facetime and encouraged his followers to consider adopting her. “Old pitties need homes too,” he wrote in the image caption. Love!

Earlier in April, Austin Humane Society found a black dachshund named “Tank” and was able to reunite him with his owner, Barbara McFarland. Apparently, the little guy bolted during a supervised front yard bathroom break in Fort Worth after watching McFarland leave for a trip. Somehow, he turned up in ATX not one but three friggin’ years later. Crazy!

And that wasn’t the only touching pet reunion we witnessed in Austin this month. There was also some strange business involving a lost pet pot-bellied pig! Austinites took to social media — specifically the Austin Lost and Found Pets Page on Facebook — to locate Hammy’s owner when the pig was found wandering around a neighborhood along South 1st Street after a big thunderstorm. We’re so glad that Hammy is safe at home now!

This month, we cried and laughed

Back in January, we all mourned when rock legend David Bowie died — some among us were so moved, in fact, that they erected a technically-illegal street sign memorial in his honor. Well, the legendary Prince passed away this month and Austin literally rained purple for at least a week. We also lost another notable musician this month; Merle Haggard, country singer-songwriter and longtime friend of our very own Willie Nelson, ended this leg of his journey too.

Prince performing “Purple Rain” in Austin

Merle Haggard live from Austin, Texas

However, we were able to take comfort in a piece of wonderful news. Willie Nelson just celebrated his 83rd birthday! You may remember that Nelson marked his 81st birthday by earning a fifth-degree black belt in Gongkwon Yusul at Master Martial Arts. Well, apparently he’s still feeling great and those are glad tidings. Happy birthday, Willie!

We saw some pretty genius April Fools Day jokes

The second report doesn’t necessarily represent set-in-stone facts, but it does hint at possible awesomeness that could be heading in our direction. According to The Austin Chronicle, the Obamas are mulling over a move to Austin after Barack steps out of office. Granted, they published the story on April Fools Day, so it’s probably just a hoax… but since no one official has really stepped up to discredit the claim, we’re choosing to dream!

And there’s also the matter of the Texas Rangers relocating to ATX… wait, that was a joke too. Oh well!

Story continued on next page.

But unfortunately, these things actually did happen…

Robert E. Lee Elementary’s school board recently voted to approve a name change, but with tensions high on all sides, the process has proven difficult, resulting in a list of rather unconventional name proposals, including: “Boaty McBoatface,” “Schooly McSchoolerson,” “Kanye West Elementary,” “Hypothetical Perfect Person Memorial Elementary School,” and (we’re cringing about this next one) “Adolf Hitler School of Friendship and Tolerance.” Eek. “Donald J. Trump Elementary” gathered surprising support (or unsurprising? We’re not really sure anymore), but ultimately didn’t make the final list of candidates.

And then there’s the guitar some thieves swiped from Discount Electronics on Manchaca Rd (that’s “MAN-SHACK” to you). The blue Fender Stratocaster is signed by musical legends Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck, so it’s kind of important. Not cool, sticky-fingered dudes/dudettes. The shop offered a $2,500 reward for its return and several days later, a kind soul who had apparently purchased the guitar without knowing it was stolen, returned it several days later. Yay!

Austin Code Department made a hilarious yet informative video series

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAOrtzzxWAI?list=PLTaF24QshRQtT8gWGeO_050FrhAyRECLD&controls=0&showinfo=0]

Technically, the City of Austin’s Code Department started their “Code Support Group” video series back in October, but they published their latest episode this month, so it’s April news too! The series has a distinct “Parks and Recreation” feel to it; the episodes are filmed in a documentary style with brilliant, beautiful deadpan humor. They’re hilarious, but don’t just take our word for it — go ahead and see for yourself! You can watch the whole series above.

Also be sure not to miss local storage company Sparefoot‘s ridiculous(ly funny) commercial series. No matter what you need to store, Sparefoot has you covered. Really. Apparently, they’ll store just about anything.

We got really hungry

taco cleanse

Photo: Flickr user Stephanie, CC licensed

Just reading some of the food-related headlines from this month made us hungry! First off, Food & Wine just named Austin chef Kevin Fink of Emmer & Rye one of the “Best New Chefs in America.” We were also super excited to hear that one of our young locals is making serious moves as a food entrepreneur. According to Patch, 11 year-old Mikaila Ulmer is now selling her Me and the Bees Lemonade in more than 60 Whole Foods stores across the country. Wow!

And then there’s the revolutionary “Scientific Benefits of Tacos” talk that was given by The Taco Cleanse scientists at Texas VegFest 2016. Yes, you read that right. Austin “taco scientists” have actually developed a type of dieting “cleanse” centered around eating the only food group that really matters. Oh yeah.

And amazingly, spring is still hanging around

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVMf5IBCl9w?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0]

Finally, the want to talk about the fact that we’re actually getting a decent spring here in Austin. We’ve had plenty of rain — enough to fill our lakes to the brim and create the potential for endless summer water fun, but not enough to cause too much local flooding (although our Houston neighbors were unfortunately hit pretty hard in the last string of storms). The LRCA even opened Mansfield Dam for the first time in 9 years!

Also weird: the wildflowers are still running strong and we’ve seen some pretty unconventional bluebonnet portraits this year. Check ’em out.

And with that, dear readers, we just have two more words to say: Austin.com out.


Featured photo: Screenshot from “Merpeople,” an episode in Sparefoot’s “We Can Store That” commercial series.