Austin Metro area and Central Texas. Contact Betty: (512) 785-5050 | Connect with Betty:      

Home Diagnosis TV Series Solves Maintenance Mysteries

Home Diagnosis is a new science-based 6-episode 30-minute TV series coming to your local PBS television station in 2019! Home Performance Experts Grace and Corbett Lunsford created this show to demonstrate the ability of building science to improve the quality of our lives. Historic homes, green homes, horse properties, and even the typical residential home can benefit greatly from regular reviews of energy, air quality, and other building performance check-ups.

Home Diagnosis TV

Shot in cities across the U.S. as part of the Proof Is Possible Tour, the show follows Corbett and Grace Lunsford as they solve mystery problems of all types in homes new and old. It’s presented by Georgia Public Broadcasting with post-production by ECG Productions.

Who is Corbett Lunsford?

Corbett Lunsford realized in 2008 that “construction is unbelievably messy, most pros are over-rushed and under-paid, and homeowners end up suffering in small ways, for their entire lives in a house.”  He decided that he would make it his professional goal to package the science of building performance so it can easily be understood and used by professionals and consumers alike, for better buildings worldwide.

In 2009, Lunsford started teaching construction pros through his Building Performance Workshop and he’s hosted over 300 YouTube videos and 80 interviews for the Building Performance Podcast. He wrote the book Home Performance Diagnostics: the Guide to Advanced Testing, and developed the APT Reports software tool.

Grace Lunsford

Grace Lunsford has an active film, TV, and voiceover career. She’s the powerhouse behind Corbett’s videos. She started her own media firm Sterling Rock Productions because the movies she wanted to see were not being made. She is also active in the acting community in Chicago.

Contact Betty Saenz

Are you facing unsolved mysteries or challenges with your home?  Betty Saenz would be happy to help you find the right solution. While Betty is the expert on horse properties, environmentally-friendly home solutions, historic homes, and accessibility, she can help with your home too.

As a Realtor®, Betty Saenz has dedicated her career to improving her clients’ quality of life through better building materials, focus on sustainable construction, preservation, and accessibility. We spend an average of 90% of our lives indoors. By better understanding how our indoor environment impacts our health, we can more effectively address the questions and challenges that come up in Central Texas homes.

Contact Betty Saenz at Betty@BettySaenz.com, or call (512) 785-5050.

New Garey Endowment Announced at Southwestern University

Jack Garey Southwestern University Georgetown Texas

Jack Garey holding a rendering of the new School of Natural Sciences building.

Southwestern University President Edward Burger recently announced that Jack Garey has donated $15 million to Southwestern University, located in Georgetown, Texas. It is the largest, single private gift the university has received in its 178-year-long history. As a local resident with deep family roots in the community, I’m very happy to see a former real estate developer like Mr. Garey investing in the preservation and expansion of our university.

The generous endowment will  create the Jack and Camille Garey School of Natural Sciences – greatly expanding the university’s existing natural sciences program. It will be the third named school at the private university along with the Brown College of Arts and Sciences and the Fayez Sarofim School of Fine Arts.

Alice Pieper Raetzsch

Alice Pieper Raetzsch

The fund will also support need-based financial aid; five endowed chairs in natural sciences; eight annual sabbatical semesters for tenured faculty members; and underwriting for educational experiences for 32 “Garey Scholars” in their sophomore and junior years of study at the university.

My grandmother, Alice Pieper, and her cousin Leonie Oelkers – a painter who was well-known for her landscapes with Texas wildflowers – attended Southwestern University. I served as a volunteer docent with Preservation Georgetown. I gave historical tours of Southwestern University. Southwestern welcomed female students at a time when higher education was considered a male pursuit. One interesting architectural feature from the 19th century is a separate case of shorter stairs built for women in the university’s Cullen Building. The fourteen shorter steps on the women’s side equaled thirteen for the equivalent staircase on the men’s side.

Leonie Oelkers in 1910

Leonie Oelkers in 1910

Jack Garey served for 12 years on Southwestern’s board of trustees and was appointed in 2017 as the university’s second life trustee. Camille Garey, who died in 2012, also served as a trustee at Southwestern. This isn’t the first time the Gareys have made large gifts to benefit Georgetown.  They gave a beautiful 525-acre ranch and $5 million to the city of Georgetown for the development of Garey Park.

Capital Metro Reveals a New Transportation Plan

Capital Metro revealed their long-term strategy Monday, March 26, that includes 11 high-traffic corridors for light rail or rapid bus lines driving in designated lanes. The Austin Capital Metro board decided Monday to ask Austin for up to $15 million for an engineering and environmental study in a new bond election coming this fall.

Capital Metro would provide another $5 million for the first studies and will also ask Travis County to help chip in for them. This would start the first round of transportation projects for the next decade.

Capital Metro sees this Project Connect plan as a “multigenerational investment”  that would cost as much as $6 billion to $8 billion and take up to 30 years to accommodate the new growth.

It’s unclear how Capital Metro will pay for this new transportation system since it is funded by a 1% sales tax that only provides enough money to run its current bus routes and the one existing rail line from Downtown Austin to Leander.

Capital Metro Map Project Connect

Rail and Rapid Bus Lines

The draft strategy divides the routes into four priorities. The highest priority projects include a blue line from downtown Austin to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport along East Riverside Drive, a brown line on South Congress Avenue from downtown to Slaughter Lane and an orange line on Lavaca Street and Guadalupe streets going to far North Austin.

The second level of project priorities are the purple line that would follow along Manor Road to the Travis County Exposition Center and the yellow line would go from downtown Austin to Oak Hill on South Lamar Boulevard and U.S. 290. The existing red line from downtown Austin to Leander would also be expanded.

The third priority is a gold line that would go from downtown Austin to the Austin Community College Highland campus.

A fourth set of priorities includes service to Manor, an east-west line, service along South Pleasant Valley Road to the McKinney Falls area and on East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard from downtown Austin to Decker Lane.

Randy Clarke, the new president and CEO of Capital Metro, would not be specific on which corridors would have rail or rapid bus service. Capital Metro began crafting the Project Connect plan a couple years ago. There have been two previously unsuccessful attempts to build light rail in Austin. It makes sense that they have laid out their larger regional transit plan to attract the most amount of voters to approve the first round of priorities, hoping that another line will eventually reach them too.

Whole Foods 365 Opens in Cedar Park

Whole Foods 365 Cedar ParkWhole Foods is venturing into Cedar Park with a new 365 store opened on April 26. I decided to stop by and check it out since the new store is very conveniently on the way to most commuters in Leander and Cedar Park. They’re new address is

The overall goal of 365 is to provide less expensive groceries and products than the flagship location in downtown Austin. They do that by focusing on Whole Foods’ in-house brand, and a limited selection of other products.

The first 365 opened in Los Angeles, followed by Lake Oswego, Oregon and Bellevue, Washington with Brooklyn and Oakland locations coming soon.

Easy Tiger JuicelandI was also pleased to see that Whole Foods is partnering with local restaurants from Austin. Easy Tiger is a local craft bakery and brewery/beer garden. They’re based on 6th Street in Austin but will now have a space with 365 in Cedar Park. JuiceLand is another Austin original, a socially conscious juice bar that offers tips on cleansing and healthy eating. They will now be in 365. Snap Kitchen, the one stop shop for healthy meals, will also have a location in the store. Garbo’s will also have a stand selling their famous lobster rolls. Whole Foods will also have their popular mochi bar as well as the taqueria, where customers can order tacos, burritos, and tortas.

Whole Foods 365 and their partners will be great additions to the Cedar Park and Leander communities. HEB has always had a selection of fresh and frozen organic and healthy foods and other products, but this will be an entire store focused on healthy groceries, healthy eating, and the lifestyle. Whole Foods will be more of a destination for shopping and dining, possibly attracting people from outside the city as well.

I also support the Whole Foods focus on the “Triple Bottom Line”. The company makes decisions based on three concerns. 1. Profit – Does the decision lead to making money. 2. People – Does the decision help people be their best? 3. Planet – Are we improving our environment? These are the core values of Whole Foods and they’re the same values I live and work by as a Texas Realtor® and citizen.

 

Austin City Limits Presents Fun Events This Spring

There are some really great events coming up this Spring 2017 presented by Austin City Limits.

Bloody Mary Morning

Austin City Limits and KLRU-TV (the Austin PBS channel) are hosting the 6th Annual Bloody Mary Morning during SXSW on Thursday, March 16 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m in the GSDM courtyard.

This year they will have their biggest lineup yet and includes some of music’s most talked about artists from around the world: blues revivalist duo Little Hurricane, Canadian country standout Colter Wall, U.K. rockers Sundara Karma, Third Man recording artist Lillie Mae, Minneapolis breakout rapper/singer Lizzo, Australian indie-folk up-and-comer Slow Dancer, and veteran indie music outliers R. Stevie Moore & Jason Falkner.

While supplies last, you can also enjoy free Bloody Marys from Tito’s VodkaShiner Beer, and breakfast tacos from Tacodeli. Bloody Mary Morning is brought to you by our friends The Guild, NetApp, and YETI.

You don’t need a SXSW badge to attend – Bloody Mary Morning is free and open to the public. You can RSVP here.

New Tapings of Austin City Limits

Austin City Limits will be taping its 43rd season for PBS. They’ve already announced the Pretenders for March 13th, and Miranda Lambert on April 19th. The Head and the Heart will be taped on May 22nd and Norah Jones on June 11th.

Miranda Lambert will be recording her third appearance on ACL on April 19th in support of her new album The Weight of These Wings. Since her  first appearance in 2006, this Texas native has earned widespread acclaim including two Grammy Awards, thirteen Country Music Association Awards, and twenty-five Academy of Country Music Awards.

The Seattle band, The Head and The Heart, is back at ACL to promote their third album, Signs of Light. Vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Charity Rose Thielen says “This is the album where we really fell into our true voices as artists.”

Norah Jones swept the 2003 Grammy Awards and changed the prevailing winds of pop music of that time. Jones has sold 50 million albums worldwide and won 9 Grammy awards, returning to ACL in 2007 and again in 2013. Jones has recently released Day Breaks, her sixth album returning to her jazz piano roots, while still keeping her unique sound that blends many styles of American music: country, folk, rock, soul, jazz.

If you would like to be a part of ACL’s live studio audience, you should follow them on Facebook and Twitter to receive updates.

The Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City Texas

Johnson City is a small Texas Hill Country town best known as the historic home of President Lyndon Johnson, but an innovative scientist and entrepreneur named Bonnie Baskin is working toward the future. Dr. Baskin purchased an abandoned mill to create a new children’s museum.

The defunct feed mill was originally built in 1880 to be a steam grist mill and cotton gin featuring unique mechanical innovations that were used to process, sort and distribute grain to the community. The building then became a flour mill in 1901. After electrical power became available, it served as a feed mill in the 1930’s – 1980’s. In the 1980’s, part of the building and property was transformed into a restaurant and entertainment center. The museum opened in 2015 after 14 months of renovation.

The stated purpose of the new children’s science museum is to “ignite the curiosity, ambition, innovation and problem-solving potential of the next generation through an innovative, immersive experience that enhances the community’s understanding of, and appreciation for, science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).”

The design team for the Texas Hill Country Science Mill searched worldwide for fun and interactive exhibits to engage the children in learning about technology, engineering and math. The Paludarium features a wetland exhibit with many plants and animals. The old grain silo has become a disco where the radio waves from your cell phone are transformed into beautiful pulsing colors. The Fractalarium will blow your mind with the beauty of complex repeating designs that extend into infinity. You can even build a custom race car and compete with your friends or family on the track. These are just a few of the exhibits you can enjoy in a full day’s worth of activities.

For an even more in-depth learning experience, the museum offers a variety of programs. There’s an exciting summer day camp when the kids are out of school. They bring in amazing guest speakers including scientists, astronauts, doctors, and engineers. They host children’s birthday parties and groups like the Boy Scouts. The museum has special days for field trips and homeschoolers. The space can also be reserved for parties, wedding receptions, professional development workshops, and corporate events.

The Texas Hill Country Science Mill is another fine example of the unexpected treasures you will find hidden on the back roads of Texas. Texas offers such unique juxtapositions: eclectic art galleries next to country music honky tonks, space exploration and barbecue, oil drilling and wind farms, astronomical observatories and camping trails – you just never know what might be in the next little town around the bend.

 

My Texas Real Estate Practice

I love to help people with their real estate needs. Besides resale and new homes in and around the Austin Texas area, I specialize in niche markets such as Equestrian or Horse Properties, Historic Homes; Aging in Place, Universal Design or Accessible ADA type homes and eco-friendly or greenbuilt homes. I work all over the Central Texas Area in my specialties. I find that so many of my niches overlap. I sell historic homes on large ranches that perhaps have been retrofitted to become more energy efficient. I am transitioning over to this newest of my family of websites BettySaenz.com but my original site is BettySellsAustin.com

My family has been in Texas since 1835 and in the Austin Texas area since the 1870’s. I have turned into quite a Texas History and Genealogy buff over time! I am a member of many historical organizations including Preservation Austin, and on the Board of Directors of the New Braunfels Heritage Society which oversees the Museum of Texas Handmade Furniture that was my grandmother’s grandparents’ house. I love “saving” historic homes like dogs or cats at the animal shelter. If I can save a historic home by matching it with a buyer I feel good that I preserved a Texas historic home, a piece of Texas History. I also love to study and see different architectural styles and architectural parts and details of historic homes. For more on Central Texas historic homes for sale see my TexasHistoricHomes.com website.

Growing up, my family had a 1,000 acre ranch in Central Texas that I spent a lot of time on. I spent time exploring nature, riding horses, swimming, fishing, cooking wild game the hunters brought in and more. As a young child, I would take my nature guides with me to hike through the woods, pastures, and ravines identifying native Texas trees and plants. These activities continue today as my lifelong hobbies though sadly, we no longer have the family ranch or farm in Seguin, Texas. My late husband was a Texas farmer and rancher and I raised a few horses, showing and training some. For more on Horse Properties for sale in the Austin, Texas area see my HorsePropertiesInTexas.com website.

With this longstanding interest in nature, it was only natural that when I bought my first home, I would want it to be as energy efficient as possible. So in 1983, I had my first Energy Audit done replete with a blower door test on the first home I owned. I also had an energy audit done at my second I bought in 2005. This was before Energy Audits were required on homes in Austin Texas so I really had to search for an energy auditor. Now, they are in such high demand that I have held several training sessions at my house by national trainers to instruct new energy auditors. For more on green-built homes and a greener lifestyle see my site TexasOrganicHome.com

I have been licensed as a Texas REALTOR® since 1998, so let me know if you need my help to buy or sell Central Texas Real Estate. After reading about me and my practice, if you feel we would be a good match, I’d love to help! Call me at 512-785-5050 or e-mail me through my site.