It probably doesn't feel like swimming pool weather as you're reading this, but it will soon enough, and the city's Aquatic Division is scrambling to be ready for the demand when that time comes. Recruiting lifeguards has been getting harder every year anyway, and the pandemic made things worse in just about every way, from recruitment to training to scheduling. So the upshot is that while the public may be ready to take to the pools again this summer as vaccination rates and temperatures soar, that lifeguard shortage may be a big limiting factor in how fully open the city pools are going to be. So Austin's Parks and Recreation Department wants to get the word to anyone 15 and up who might want to spend the summer making $15 an hour and getting a great suntan: please visit LifeguardAustin.com.
Oh, and summer camp counselors, too. Everything I said above about lifeguards – that's mostly true about PARD's summer camp programs as well; PARD is looking for "extraordinary, talented people" to lead activities such as arts, science, and nature programs, sports, games, and more. See info on both at www.austintexas.gov/department/summer-jobs.
PARD is developing a Vision Plan for the Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park in Allandale and hosts its first community meeting on the plan this Tue., May 4; join at either noon or 5:30pm from the project webpage: www.austintexas.gov/sheffieldnwpark.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of East Austin's beloved Parque Zaragoza; Amigos de Parque Zaragoza and City Council District 3 will kick off a yearlong celebration at 10am, Wed., May 5, with a wreath-laying ceremony at the park, commemorating the victory of Mexican Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza at the Battle of Puebla on Cinco de Mayo in 1862. Events run through May 5, 2022. See www.fb.com/parquezaragozaamigos.
Read the cover story. But also:
On Tuesday, County Judge Andy Brown led a press conference announcing that his office, along with the county attorney, district attorney, and county court administration, all "submitted coordinated budget proposals that prioritize the creation of the Travis Center, which will provide community-based preventative services to help people avoid interaction with the criminal legal system through improved access to mental health, behavioral health, and housing." Said Brown: "The Travis County Jail is currently the largest budget driver and the largest mental health provider in our community. Travis County can do a lot better than that." More on this next week.
The Austin Humane Society holds its seventh Pet Food Pantry event of the past year this Sat., May 1, at the shelter, 124 W. Anderson, giving out free food for pets whose parents are struggling during current times. It's 9am-noon, first-come, first-served; see more info at www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Also May 1: It's World Naked Gardening Day! And the good folks at LawnStarter want you to know that Austin is the second-best city in the nation for naked gardening, based on a very scientific study of factors such as laws, nudist population, weather, and number of sex offenders. We might have been No. 1, but we ranked very low in "Google Search Interest in 'Nudist' + 'World Naked Gardening Day'" – something else we need to work on as a city. See the full ranking and analysis here.
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