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Longtime Statesman editor Arnold Garcia dies at 73

(Arnold Garcia/Facebook)

Arnold Garcia, one of the nation's longest-serving Hispanic editorial page editors and a leading voice in Austin's recent growth as a large and diverse city, died early today at the age of 73.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, which was diagnosed in June. In December, his wife Vida died, also of cancer.

Garcia graduated from Angelo State University and began his career as a police reporter for the San Angelo Standard Times. Garcia recently recalled that a police dispatcher nicknamed him "Wet" for Wetback. As he often did in later years, Garcia let the slur pass and the dispatcher became one of the young reporter's best sources.

He worked for the Austin American-Statesman for 38 years, the last 22 as editorial page editor. When he retired in 2013, he was the longest-serving editorial page editor in Texas.

"One of the greats of our newspaper generation," said Zita Aroche, executive director of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.

While editor, said his close friend Mack Martinez, "Arnold fought as hard for African Americans as he did for Hispanics and as he did for working-class people."

During his reporting at the Statesman, no one knew the innards of the Travis County Courthouse better than Garcia. Judges, lawyers, government workers and felons became his sources, and Garcia remained one of the best-sourced journalists in the capital. His network "extended from the barrio to the boardroom," said Martinez.

Garcia successfully campaigned to have the new county courthouse named for Heman Sweatt, a black civil rights activist who challenged Jim Crow-era laws, including the "separate but equal" doctrine in Sweatt v. Painter. Thurgood Marshall tried the lawsuit in Austin.

Alberta Phillips, an editorial writer who worked with Garcia, said he told her that she needed to harden herself against racism she was experiencing inside and outside the newsroom. Garcia had a back door in his office that many reporters, especially those of color, slipped through to get his advice and support when they ran into similar challenges.

Austonia's Editorial Adviser Rich Oppel, editor of the Statesman for 13 of Garcia's years there, said he was "one of the finest newspaper men or women I've ever worked for. Tough, blunt, honest, and a friend and colleague all could depend on."

He added, "Over the last decades of his editorship, Austin matured as a large, sophisticated, diverse and tolerant city--and the capital of a huge state. Arnold Garcia's imprint is all over Austin."


Tito's releases (not so?) ugly sweater line for the holidays, profits to charity

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Show your love for Tito's and for the community this year with a wide selection of not that ugly, uglyish, ugly, uglier, and ugliest holiday sweaters.

There's lots choose from, and plenty of accessories like scarves and socks, plus gear for your dog, too.

All of the items can be purchased online or at the Love, Tito’s Retail Store in Austin, TX. 100% of all net proceeds from online or in-store purchases go to one of the nonprofits we’ve teamed up with.

Click here to see the entire collection in the Tito's store.

Mac and Cheese Fest and Free Art Exhibit
Waterloo Greenway, Good Vibrations Installation

🗓 All weekend

🎨 Creek Show Art Exhibit

Check out this highly anticipated art exhibition with illuminated art along Waller Creek. Tickets are free and the event includes food vendors, dazzling lights, live music, and hands-on activities

All weekend 6 p.m - 10 p.m | 📍Waterloo Park

✨ Mozart's Light Show

This iconic holiday tradition lights up for the first time this holiday season starting this weekend! Reserve your spot for an enchanting light and sound performance, delicious hot cocoa, sweet treats, and some overall fun with your friends or family. The show runs till January 6th.

6 p.m and 9 p.m | 📍Mozart's Coffee Roasters - 3825 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78703

🗓 Saturday

🥊 Kickboxing in the Park

This fitness event is free and open to the public. Get your morning started right with a "Fitness in the park" class for kickboxing! The class will be led by certified instructors and is a great way to get a cardio workout in while also honing your self-defense skills.

10 a.m - 11 a.m | 📍 Metz Park

🛍 The Front Market

Support local LBGTQ+ and female artists at this outdoor market with over 150 vendors. Get your holiday shopping out of the way at this event, with vendors for food trucks, handmade goods, raffles, hands on workshops and activities, and more.

11 a.m - 5 p.m | 📍Ani's Day and Night - 7107 E Riverside Drive, Austin, TX 78741

🗓 Sunday

🧀 Mac and Cheese Fest

Did someone say cheese?! If you're like me and always willing to get your hands on a bowl of mac and cheese, then this event is for you. Check out the Mac and Cheese festival happening this weekend to decide which vendor has. the best mac and cheese for yourself, and enjoy the bar with creative cocktails while you're at it. Tickets start at $45.

11 a.m - 3 p.m | 📍Lantana Place - 7415 Southwest Parkway