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Zooming in on the church men, for a look at ceiling fans and beer
Joanne Foote

Left to right: Mike Brode, Jay Doran, Bo Overstreet (partially hidden), Phil Aboussie, Ariston Awitan III. (Joanne Foote)

The Men's Group of St. Mark's Episcopal Church usually meets around the middle of the month, and for the 40 or 50 who gather in the parish hall on Barton Hills Drive, a good time is had by all. Mike Brode might serve as head chef (leading the Hitchman team) and Ross Ramsey as bier meister.

The tradition has gone on for many years. And it will continue. But the April 13 meeting will be "virtual."


Group leader Bill Kibler sent word recently that the meeting "will be held on April 13, as scheduled. You'll have to buy your own beer and make an order up of your own food, but conviviality will be assured by Father Zac (Koons), who will organize a Zoom meeting."

And so it is across Austin and the nation. Faith-based, fraternal, neighborhood, social and so many other gatherings—not just business meetings—are "Zoomed," with hosts emailing invitations and attendees clicking on links to see video boxes of others popping up on their screens.

The Zoom meetings are an opportunity, said Ramsey, in a recent tweet, to see what kind of ceiling fans your friends have. And also what kind of beer they're drinking. Not in the business meetings, though, please.

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A mortgage banker walks us through the math on purchasing a 'mid-price' Austin home
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So you want to buy a house?

To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.

Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.

Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.

So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.

Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.

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Fall camping: Camp Fimfo Waco offers one-of-a-kind experiences in the heart of Texas
Camp Fimfo Waco

Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!

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