Austin police officer suspended for calling protester ’gay’ based on their clothing – News – Austin American-Statesman

An Austin police officer has been temporarily suspended following an internal affairs investigation into homophobic comments he reportedly made while describing a person at a Black Lives Matter protest in May.

While on duty to respond to a large number of protesters in front of Austin police headquarters on May 30, Officer Ryan Seweryn described one of the demonstrators as “that gay dude with the short shorts in the black shirt,” according to the disciplinary memo, signed by Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley on Nov. 25.

The protester who Seweryn described may have been pointing a laser pointer at a helicopter, the memo said, adding that Seweryn’s comments were recorded on his body-worn camera. The internal affairs investigation was spurred by a complaint made by a commander at the department on Nov. 13, according to the memo.

When asked to explain his comments during the investigation, Seweryn claimed that he was not describing the sexual orientation of the protester, but rather their style of clothing, according to the memo.

In the conclusion of the memo, Manley wrote that Seweryn did not take responsibility for his conduct and tried to justify his description of the protester.

“While he acknowledged that his conduct is inconsistent with APD training and expectations, he did not accept that there was anything wrong with the assumptions, description, and stereotype he made,” the memo stated.

Seweryn was suspended for ten days — from Nov. 26 to Dec. 5 — for violating the department’s rules related to impartial attitude and courtesy, the memo said. He will also have to go through additional training, according to the memo.

Seweryn served a separate ten-day suspension earlier this year for posting an old booking photo of a fellow Austin police officer, according to disciplinary documents.

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Stay Tuned column: A reimagined ‘Black Beauty’ makes its streaming debut – Entertainment – Austin American-Statesman

Thanksgiving week means a lighter TV schedule, except for many, many hours of holiday programming. In non-holiday choices, a famous horse story gets reimagined and a popular romance drama returns for season two.

Dispatches: Weekly TV news
Fox ordered the new series, “Game of Talents.” The unscripted variety show focuses on contestants guessing performers’ hidden talents, based only on their first impressions and clues. Wayne Brady (“Let’s Make a Deal,” “Whose Line Is It Anyway?”) hosts and executive produces the show, which will premiere in 2021.

Nicki Minaj announced on Twitter that HBO Max ordered a docuseries about her. She promised that the six-episode show will be a “raw, unfiltered” look at her life.

Contenders: Shows to keep on your radar
Here are a few holiday specials airing on Nov. 27: “Frosty the Snowman” (CBS, 8 p.m. ET), “Frosty Returns” (CBS, 8:30 p.m. ET), “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” (ABC, 8 p.m. ET), “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (NBC, 8 p.m. ET), “Minions Holiday Special” (NBC, 8:30 p.m. ET), and “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” (The CW, 8 p.m. ET).

Anna Sewell’s classic novel, “Black Beauty” (Nov. 27, Disney+) gets reimagined with Kate Winslet as the voice of Black Beauty and Mackenzie Foy as Jo Green, the spirited teenage girl who forges an unbreakable bond with the wild mustang. This version follows Black Beauty, who is captured and forced to leave the freedom of the American West for life at Birtwick Stables. As Beauty is sold to different owners, Jo is determined to reunite with her.

Season two of “Virgin River” premieres (Nov. 27, Netflix). The romance drama, based on the book series by Robyn Carr, will continue its focus on small-town love stories and give more backstory for Marines, Jack (Martin Henderson) and Preacher (Colin Lawrence).

Comic and ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham, premieres his first special for Comedy Central in six years called, “Jeff Dunham’s Completely Unrehearsed Last Minute Pandemic Holiday Special” (Nov. 27, 8 p.m. ET).

The “2020 Soul Train Awards” are hosted by Tisha Campbell and Tichina Arnold (Nov. 29, BET, VH1, BET Her and MTV2, 9 p.m. ET).

“The Disney Holiday Singalong” returns for a third installment (Nov. 30, ABC, 8 p.m. ET) with performances and appearances by Andrea Bocelli, BTS, Michael Buble, Ciara, Katy Perry and many others. The special also includes performances from members of the Broadway casts of “The Lion King,” and “Aladdin,” and North American Touring companies of “Frozen.”

In non-holiday themed programming, “Atlas of Cursed Places” (Dec. 1, National Geographic, 9 p.m. ET) follows author and adventurer Sam Sheridan around the globe as he searches for the most cursed places on the planet.

Also on National Geographic is “Trafficked with Mariana van Zeller” (Dec. 2, 9 p.m. ET). The eight-part series follows van Zeller as she explores smuggling networks, offering viewers a behind-the-scenes look at these criminal underworlds.

Report Card: Ratings winners and losers
Winners: The “Supernatural” (The CW) finale delivered the show’s largest audience since April

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How to take in the beauty of Petrified Forest, Painted Desert – Lifestyle – Austin American-Statesman

When most of us go to visit a forest, we expect thousands of lush green trees, maybe some squirrels, deer and birds. However, this northern Arizona forest is quite different — instead we see petrified trees.

At one time Petrified Forest National Park was filled with vibrant vegetation, but it was destroyed by volcanic lava. Because of erosion, the logs became uncovered and were petrified. Now the park and surrounding Painted Desert are great for discovery and exploration: hiking, exhibits, science, cycling and especially photography.

The area is dry but not really a desert as it is considered to be a short grass prairie, semi-arid grassland or intermountain basin. It does rain and snow at times. The 200 million-year-old fossils in the park help to tell the stories of its past.

The wildlife in this colorful area include spiders, mammals, reptiles, lizards, birds and rabbits.

From one end of the park to the other is 28 miles. The drive takes about an hour. Visitors will find the larger amounts of petrified wood in the south end of the park. Entering from the south, stop at the Rainbow Forest Museum and Visitors Center. There you will find a park film and paleontological exhibits.

Take a walk on the Crystal Forest and/or Giant Logs trails. Giant Logs is 0.4 miles long and behind the Rainbow Forest Museum. It is a place to find some of the most colorful and largest petrified logs. Be sure to see “Old Faithful” at the top of the trail, which is paved trail with some stairs. Crystal Forest Trail is a 0.75-mile loop. The name comes from the crystals that are found in the logs.

Then rest up as you drive along the Blue Mesa Road Loop, which offers a look into the colorful badlands.

Coming from the north end, visit the Painted Desert Visitors Center to view the movie of the park. Select some overlooks to take in the rich colors. Visit the 100-year-old Painted Desert Inn, which was originally made from petrified wood. It is a national historic landmark and today is a museum that focuses on Route 66, the building’s history and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

This area offers a chance to see a variety of plants, animals and scenery on Painted Desert Rim Trail. It is an unpaved trail and about a one-mile round trip.

The Painted Desert is home to many colors. It is like a huge painting — nature’s art. The landscape is made up of rocks in colors and tones from grays and reds to lavenders, oranges and pinks. There are many trails throughout the park and plenty of off-trail experiences. Guided programs are not being given during the pandemic, but you might find a ranger or volunteer who has plenty of information to share with you. Backpacking and wilderness camping are also not permitted at this time.

Bicycling is a great way to explore, but there are only a few routes. Horseback riding is a fun way to see

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The Mom Stop column: One woman’s victory for all women – Opinion – Austin American-Statesman

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

My generation of women, those who grew up in the 1980s and 1990s, had it a lot better than our mothers and grandmothers. It was a time when women were urged to “do it all” and we as girls were told, growing up, that we could be anything we wanted to be.

And for the most part, that was true.

My mother, who was born in the mid-1950s and came of age in the early 1970s, said that during her time, women could be teachers or nurses, secretaries or flight attendants, or a handful of other positions deemed acceptable by society for “working girls.”

Unlike her brothers, my mom had to stay in town and live at home while she went to college. But she did graduate, after getting married and moving to California to finish school. My mother became an occupational therapist. She specialized in hand therapy, a field she worked in until she retired last year. For her daughters, it was normal having a mother who worked full time, who seemed to know everyone in town because either they had been her patient at some point or they had a family member who had.

But when it came to choosing our careers, we were never told we couldn’t do something. While I went into journalism – something I knew I wanted to do since sixth grade – my sister has had a very successful career in sales. We are both working moms, like our mother was, with six young children between the two of us. I am thankful that, unlike my mother or grandmothers, there was no limit imposed upon us. At least, not one that I could see.

But there are still glass ceilings to be broken and women to the lead the way.

After Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were announced as the president-elect and vice-president-elect on Nov. 7, I sat on the sofa in our family room with my husband, my mother and my 11-year-old daughter that evening, watching their post-election acceptance speeches. We represented three generations of women, who will ultimately likely have very different experiences growing up in the United States. But it was not lost on any of us that we were watching a historic moment, as Harris will be the first female vice president in the history of the U.S.

During Harris’ speech, she mentioned her late mother and how she was thinking of her and all “the generations of women, Black women, Asian, white, Latina, Native American women – who throughout our nation’s history have paved the way for this moment tonight – women who fought and sacrificed so much for equality and liberty and justice for all.”

She went on to acknowledge “all the women who have worked to secure and protect the right to vote for over a century.”

“Tonight,” Harris said, “I reflect on their struggle, their determination, and the strength of their vision to see what can be unburdened

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Natural beauty year-round in Flagstaff, Arizona – Lifestyle – Austin American-Statesman

Flagstaff, Arizona — a city of wide-open spaces surrounded by ponderosa pine forests and snow-capped mountain peaks — brims with an easygoing, rustic charm and plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities.

Flagstaff provides nature lovers and adventure seekers with four seasons of activities such as biking, skiing, hiking and the relaxing practice of meditative “forest bathing.” They also can sip a craft beer, admire the public artwork and dig into some moderately priced eats at its more than 200 restaurants. And it’s a college town, with Northern Arizona University’s students infusing the place with a fun, lively vibe.

With the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the country in its backyard, Flagstaff has a diverse landscape of canyons, national monuments, meadows blanketed with colorful wildflowers, high mountain passes, volcanic cinder fields and aspen-covered forests. The San Francisco Peaks soar above the city and Humphrey’s Peak, at 12,633 feet, is the highest point in Arizona.

Historic Route 66 — the road that beckons travelers who want to explore America — stretches for 14 miles in Flagstaff and reaches its highest elevation here. It features some of the original mom-and-pop diners, vintage neon signs, motor lodges and quirky roadside stops such as The Museum Club, which started life as a taxidermy museum in 1931 and is now a country-western lounge, where the original stuffed elk, deer and foxes mounted to ponderosa trees stare down at the wooden dance floor. Motel Du Beau, which has been welcoming weary travelers and their cars since 1929, is Flagstaff’s oldest motor hotel.

Johnny Anaya, who gives historic walking tours of downtown Flagstaff, said the city’s name stems from a celebration of the country’s centennial on July 4, 1876, when a few settlers raised a flag on a ponderosa tree that had been stripped of its branches. The makeshift flagstaff was left as a marker for other wayfarers and wagon trains bound for California.

A few years later, the settlers moved near the town’s first railroad depot in 1882, and this became the center of downtown Flagstaff. The logging and cattle and sheep ranching businesses sprung up around the rails.

The best way to get a feel for Flagstaff’s past is to walk around the downtown streets of the 100-year-old brick storefronts made of local red sandstone Moenkopi. Gracing these historic streets with weathered western facades are coffee houses, galleries, boutiques, an independent bookstore and mountain-gear outfitters.

The Monte Vista and Weatherford hotels are part of Flagstaff’s Wild West past when the city was teeming with cowboys, gunslingers and gamblers. Hotel scenes from the movie “Casablanca” were filmed at the Monte Vista, and a host of Hollywood legends, presidents and tycoons have stayed at the hotels. President Harry Truman liked to get his hair cut at the Monte Vista, and prolific cowboy novelist Zane Grey was a regular at the Weatherford.

“Many of the stories that Zane Grey wrote about, and the westerns made in Hollywood, were inspired by Flagstaff,” Anaya said.

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Commentary: Fashion can reveal the naked truth – Opinion – Austin American-Statesman

Other people must have higher knees than I do. Mine are located about four inches lower on my leg than most people’s knees. No, I didn’t have a doctor or an orthopedist tell me this. I saw it myself. And frankly, I had been unaware of it until yesterday. That means no one, including me, noticed this abnormality in 79 years.

I’ve looked at my baby pictures, my pre-adolescent pictures, my high school and college pictures and, when you can see my knees, they look as though they are in the proper place. Except they’re not.

How do I know? I know because I recently bought a pair of jeans that came with holes that were supposed to look as though I’d worn them through at the knees. In case you don’t know it, this is now high fashion. Indeed, when classroom teaching was still possible, I have seen girls in jeans with narrow strings of denim hanging from a waistband. I have also seen jeans that looked as though their owner had tried to make shorts and, at the last minute, changed her mind.

But back to my jeans and my knees.

When I sit, the worn spots do not show my knee. No. The worn spots, as I said, are four inches above. I can’t imagine what I’d have to do to wear out my jeans there, on my thigh. I went through various scenarios in my head and decided I could have sliced bread on my thigh, over and over again, to get wear in this area.

And that could well be hereditary. Indeed, my grandmother used to hold a loaf of bread against her chest and cut through the loaf with a huge serrated knife. She did this for years and years while I grew up holding my breath, watching. Needless to say, my grandmother died without ever going through the bread too deeply.

Still, forget about my cutting bread on my thigh. I buy sliced bread. I just have to accept that my knees are just lower than the average woman’s knee.

I remember seeing jeans distressed this way on television many years ago. I believe that what I saw was the start of this fashion trend. I saw Mia Farrow, wearing jeans with both of her knees shining through, bare. She was talking to a night time host, I don’t remember which one. Oddly, I can only remember seeing Mia Farrow’s poked out knees, nothing else.

I think women across the country focused on this aspect of Mia’s appearance, because it was after that that frayed knees began to appear. It has taken maybe a decade, but now, you don’t have to fray the knees yourself. You can buy jeans already frayed. (And, yes, of course you will pay extra).

I shouldn’t disparage this. I remember the movie “Flashdance,” in which Jennifer Beals worked out in a torn tee shirt. The next day, I and a friend all but shredded our perfectly good tee

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Soccer notebook: Top-ranked UNC women bolstered by freshman from Austin – Sports – Austin American-Statesman

Abby Allen wasn’t sure what to expect in July when she arrived in Chapel Hill, N.C. A fall season was no certainty, and she hadn’t played a competitive match since a March tournament with the U.S. under-19 national team in Spain.

Nine matches into her North Carolina career, the Austin product is already irreplaceable. Allen is part of a back line that has only conceded three goals in 2020. The No. 1-ranked Tar Heels are a perfect 9-0 heading to the ACC Tournament next week.

“I didn’t ever think that I would actually be starting and playing the whole game,” said Allen, who made her first start on Oct. 1 against Clemson and hasn’t looked back.

She took over the role vacated by senior Lotte Wubben-Moy, who opted to stay in her native country of England due to the uncertainty of the season and turned pro with Arsenal in September.

Allen, part of a freshman-sophomore center back pairing with Maycee Bell, hasn’t missed a minute since she cracked the lineup. Bell and Allen, along with Emily Fox and Julia Dorsey, have proven to be a near impenetrable force.

“I’m very, very pleased with the way this defense is playing. That back four and the goalkeeper, these are very elite players,” UNC coach Anson Dorrance said following a 2-0 win over Notre Dame on Sunday to close the fall regular season.

Allen, 18, is one of three elite soccer-playing sisters from Lake Travis High School. Her older sister, Carlee, has started every match in the midfield for Texas this season as a junior, and younger sister Mallory, a junior at Lake Travis, is committed to Colorado. The trio sharpened each other’s games this spring and summer during lockdown with guidance from parents Chad and Michele, who were both four-year starters in basketball for SMU.

Soccer, particularly the competition offered by Lonestar Soccer Club, was no small part of the Allens’ decision to move to Austin in 2012, and now the city can claim one of the nation’s rising stars. It’s clear Abby is right at home in the program that’s produced dozens of U.S. national team stars — from Mia Hamm to Tobin Heath — who all played under Dorrance.

“Coming in, it was a little bit intimidating,” said Allen, who’s been a regular pick for U.S. youth national teams since she was 13. “But getting to know everyone and playing with everyone, it’s a lot more chill than you would expect. We have no rules, but I think Anson is able to do that just because of the people that are here. Everybody wants to do their best, and that’s why the culture here is so great.”

Soccer train: Austin soccer fans were especially interested in one election result on Tuesday, and the result means there will be another transportation option at McKalla Place. Included in Proposition A, Austin’s multi-billion rail line mass transit plan, was a rail stop at the 20,500-seat MLS venue.

“Austin FC looks forward to being

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Tracy Beckerman column: Putting the horse before the shopping cart – Opinion – Austin American-Statesman

Columns share an author’s personal perspective.

There are two kinds of shopping carts in the world: Ones with normal wheels and ones with wonky wheels.

The normal carts glide along through the supermarket aisles quite easily. The ones with a wonky wheel pull off to the side like a drunk sailor, causing you to constantly have to pull the cart back into the aisle lest you smack into the cereal shelves and send dozens of boxes of Cap’n Crunch crashing down upon your poor, cursed, wonky cart-driving head.

For some reason, the wonky carts don’t usually reveal themselves when you first pull them out of the cart caddy. It’s not until you are well into the store and committed to that cart that you suddenly realize you have the cart from hell. This is kind of like discovering you have a leaky boat after you’ve already left port. It’s usually too late to turn back and regardless of how much maneuvering you do, you know you’re kinda sunk.

Since there are so many carts that seem to suffer from this malady, I assume this is some kind of manufacturer’s defect and have to wonder why there hasn’t been a widespread shopping cart recall to address this problem. Certainly if the shopping carts exploded on impact, they would do something about it. But until someone meets a tragic end in the frozen food aisle as the result of a wonky shopping cart wheel, I guess the shopping cart powers-that-be are going to do nothing.

Bad as it is to get an empty cart with a wonky wheel, it is downright torturous once your cart is loaded with groceries. For some reason, weight + wonky = more wonky, and it can become so hard to straighten out the cart that you feel like you are trying to turn around an elephant.

Additionally, the added weight of the groceries will often cause a cart with a wonky wheel to drift off down the aisle on its own while you have your back turned trying to get the healthy cereal off the top shelf where they put it because no one really wants to eat all that fiber. The next thing you know, your wonky cart is picking up speed and careening off to the opposite side where you catch it out of the corner of your eye just as it is about to hit some old lady with a walker and an oxygen tank. As you fling yourself off the cereal shelves to catch the wayward wonky cart, you catch your sleeve on the shelf and cause the whole top shelf of fiber cereal to pour down on your head, which is only slightly less painful than getting hit with a dozen boxes of Cap’n Crunch. Fortunately because of the trajectory of the wonky wheel, it will miss the old lady, but smack into the opposite aisle instead causing more things to fly off the shelves.

Leaving behind a trail of fallen

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Georgetown gives volleyball coach birthday gift with win over Leander – Sports – Austin American-Statesman

GEORGETOWN There was quite a bit on the line as two longtime rivals in Georgetown and Leander met at Georgetown High School Tuesday night for a crucial District 25-5A volleyball match.

Both teams were fighting for playoff positioning, both played hard, and both teams showed the grit that has made each a playoff contender.

And in the end, it was the team whose coach was celebrating a birthday who enjoyed the win.

Georgetown coach Jenny Richardson got some extra icing on her piece of cake with a 25-21, 25-18, 25-23 win that kept the Eagles tied with Liberty Hill in third place at 4-2 in District 25-5A. First-place Cedar Park, which has yet to lose a district game, visits Georgetown Friday.

While Richardson may be a year older, her team is certainly young with just three seniors compared to seven sophomores.

“Any win this group gets is a good win,” said Richardson, who is in her 13th year as Georgetown’s coach. “I think this is youngest team I’ve had in the last four years. I think this showed them how good they can be. This is the boost these kids needed heading into our match Friday.”

The Eagles (8-5 overall) hit 32.8% while slamming 44 kills, including 14 kills from junior Grace Watkins and 11 more from senior move-in Lily Barker. Watkins added eight digs and two aces, while Barker had 18 digs, two aces and had a hand in two blocks.

Talented junior setter Annika Flora dished out 35 assists to go with 20 digs, seven kills and two total blocks.

Leander (6-9, 3-4) made Georgetown work for the home win behind 10 kills from junior Grace Luevanos, four total blocks from Halle Ousley and 31 assists from Callie Carrejo. Led by veteran coach Ashley Atkinson, the Lions trail Liberty Hill and Georgetown by two games entering the second round of district play.

“Playing or doing anything against Ashley Atkinson isn’t easy,” Richardson said. “Being her good friend is easy but playing her isn’t. She’s such a great coach; she has her players ready for every single match.”

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Austin sets up fashion exchange program with Cairo embassy – News – Austin American-Statesman


Exchange program

set up fashion

Austin Economic Development Department to offer international exchange program

The city of Austin Economic Development Department has partnered with the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for an international exchange program for fashion designers in Austin and Egypt.

Applications for the program are due by 5 p.m. Nov. 1.

Selected businesses will participate in a year-long business development and cultural exchange to grow within the fashion industry. The first phase of the program is virtual and occurs December through April 2021, featuring an education series on topics ranging from fashion management to entrepreneurship. The second phase is an in-person exchange between Austin and Cairo participants in each city and occurs October 2021 to December 2021.

For eligibility questions and application assistance: [email protected]edu. For more information: 512-974-7819; [email protected];


Jingle Bell Run

is canceled

The Sights & Sounds of Christmas Foundation’s 2020 Santa’s Jingle Bell Run 5K & Kids K, scheduled for Dec. 12, has been canceled.

Anyone registered for the 2020 event will have their registration moved to 2021.

The board of directors is exploring options to provide an alternative experience for the annual Christmas Festival and will provide updates.

For more information: [email protected]


I-35/Williams Drive

project begins

The Texas Department of Transportation held a virtual groundbreaking ceremony for the Interstate 35 at Williams Drive project.

The project includes the construction of a new Williams Drive bridge over Interstate 35 to accommodate a diverging diamond intersection, northbound and southbound intersection bypass lanes under the bridge, the extension of the northbound I-35 frontage road and improvements to the southbound I-35 frontage road and the Austin Avenue intersection at Williams Drive.

This $61.7 million project is funded by the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization and TxDOT.


Bank program serves

health care workers

Regions Bank has announced that its annual Share the Good program is serving health care workers in Austin who are helping patients and families affected by COVID-19.

Regions team members in Austin delivered box lunches to associates at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center’s Buda and Cedar Park locations to recognize their service during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each year, Share the Good provides an opportunity for Regions Bank associates to offer thanks to people who are supporting their communities.

American-Statesman staff

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