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The new, more-contagious variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed on The University of Texas campus, states a letter by the university sent out to the community on Friday.
"Today, we are writing to let you know that the COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.7 and first discovered in the United Kingdom has been detected through our proactive on-campus testing, monitoring and sequencing efforts," the letter reads.
The first case of the variant, which originated in the United Kingdom and is known as B.1.1.7, was confirmed by Austin Public Health in Travis County earlier this week.
UT confirmed that the individuals are aware they tested positive for the variant and are self-isolating. Public health workers have already completed contact tracing and advised them to get tested and quarantine.
"Mutations can also give a new variant an advantage, such as helping it spread more easily, allowing it to become the dominant strain in a community," according to the letter. "The university is continually monitoring for variants in its testing operations."
While the vaccines currently being distributed are expected to be effective against the variant, UT will open an additional clinic this weekend from 12 p.m.-4 p.m. to increase COVID-19 testing in the Jester West Fireplace Lounge. You can schedule an appointment here.
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Q2 Stadium is finally open for business but it's not Austin FC that gets to grace the pitch for the first time.
Instead the U.S. Women's National Team is christening that Verde pitch as they take on Nigeria for the final match in their Summer Series ahead of the Tokyo Olympics.
Follow along here for an insider's view of Q2 as the match goes on.
8:15 p.m. Q2's first-ever kickoff
Three days before Austin FC's first match, the well-revered world champions are making their mark on Q2 Stadium. The USWNT is looking for another win after beating Jamaica in a 4-0 blowout in Houston on Sunday.
This is also a big match for Carli Lloyd, the unspoken face of the USWNT who is playing her 300th match with the team. That's only been accomplished by three other international players in history.
20' Arrival at Q2 Stadium
Q2 Stadium is full of red, white and blue as fans watch the USWNT take on Nigeria. (Claire Partain/Austonia)
Pro tip: take Cap Metro or a rideshare app to Q2 Stadium. This is not sponsored, this is from experience. By the time Austonia's Claire Partain made it into the Q2 Stadium gates 15 minutes in, there was no Verde in the bleachers to be found.
Instead, the stadium's 20,500 seats were awash in red, white and blue as fans roared at every USWNT shot and save. Every corner of the stadium joined in to chant a collective "U-S-A" cry, and thousands erupted into cheers when the USWNT's Christen Press scored the first goal in USWNT history.
It got LOUD! 🗣📶 pic.twitter.com/EftZt2V0Kj— Major League Soccer (@MLS) June 17, 2021
As the first half regulation came to a close, the score was still goose eggs at Q2. The energy was tense, and every near-goal from the United State's side was met with more and more hope.
Two minutes into extra stoppage time, and the U.S. finally found their way into the Nigeria goal. Lloyd sent one in to Christen Press, who curved the ball into the bottom left corner to score the first goal in stadium history.
It's 1-0 United States at the half.
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Nestled on four acres in the luscious Hill Country, 8004 Two Coves Drive is a convenient short drive from Lake Travis, Emma Long Park, Downtown Austin and the Domain. Of course, it would be faster to take your helicopter.
Listed for a cool $5.2 million, the 5,597-square foot luxurious six-bedroom, six-bathroom home in Northwest Austin comes with a gym, guesthouse, gazebo and landing pad. You know, for your helicopter?
However, the aircraft accessories aren't all that make this sprawling house special.
Upon coming in through the steel gates, note that security is the name of the game with 18-foot-high, four-foot-thick concrete walls. The house also comes complete with an extensive security system and private water well with a filtration system.
Once inside, you will marvel at the meticulously manicured courtyard that leaves plenty of space between the gazebo, guesthouse and main house.
The pueblo-esque house overlooks coveted greenery and views, featuring a pyramid-inspired sitting area to look upon the natural limestone pool and spa or enjoy the sounds of the nearby bird sanctuary, which will remain undeveloped, securing the home's solitude.
Inside, the home has clean lines, lots of natural lighting, travertine flooring and custom metal and stonework. Although the house was built in 2001, it has been outfitted with smart home technology.
What house would be complete without a secret, cave-live dining room? The fortress features a hidden room with walls of quarried stone, perfect for your next Game of Thrones LARP.
Buyers of the house have the option to buy the Pietro Constantini custom artwork and furniture pictured inside or even expand the home, which has room for a new 30,000-foot structure.
The fortress is listed by Douglas Elliman—the broker behind Eklund | Gomes team from Bravo's "Million Dollar Listing"—Texas' Senior Vice President Matthew Ditlow.
Summer bummer: Austin's big wave surf pool still closed 3 years after purchased by world's greatest surfer
Austin's surf park made a splash when it opened in 2016, astounding the city's land-locked surf-lovers with new artificial wave technology. Two years after a company led by the world's most famous surfer took over, an Austonia drone photo survey shows a desolate site where there once was a thriving attraction that brought surfers from both coasts, and beyond.
Surf pools drained and empty, wave generating equipment apparently dismantled, parking lots empty, surf shop and pub closed. Mud, weeds, and only the sound of prairie wind, where once big waves broke to the sounds of joy from excited surfers.
Formerly known as NLand Surf Park, the artificial wave pool sits east of the airport on U.S. Highway 71. Dreamed up by Coors beer heir Doug Coors, the park served fun from its opening until November 2018, when it closed its doors for the season and never reopened.
Artificial wave technology allowed people to surf in the pool. (NLand Surf Park/Facebook)
The 14-acre pool was divided into two sides: Experienced surfers shredded the bigger waves on one side, while kids and beginners rode the small ones on the other. Across the pool, a snow plow-like blade was dragged underwater, generating the realistic, ocean-like curls.
Coors sold the park in 2018 to Kelly Slater Wave Co., founded by renowned surfer Kelly Slater and partially owned by the World Surf League. After officially acquiring the property in January 2019, the new owners set forth plans to reopen as Surf Ranch Austin and outfit the facility with Slater's own wave technology.
The last known action toward bringing the park back to life was in August 2019, when engineering firm Carlson Brigance & Doering Inc. submitted a site plan to the City of Austin, calling for the demolition of the existing wave pool in favor of a new one, which was rejected for what appeared to be administrative issues in October that year.
Since then, nothing.
Surf Ranch on June 10, 2021. (Austonia)
Another clue could come from Waco, where a competing company, Barefoot Ski Ranch, runs a surf pool built on a different technology. BSR is facing a multi-year lawsuit from the family of a 29-year-old New Jersey surfer who died of a brain-eating amoeba after visiting the pool. The suit characterizes the pool as an alleged "pathogen soup" masked by blue-dyed water.
The Austin park's original opening was delayed in 2016 while Travis County and the surf park's owners battled over water quality issues, finally reaching a settlement rather than face dueling lawsuits, one in federal court. According to the Austin American-Statesman, the settlement required Nland to provide daily water quality reports, detailing chlorine, pH, sediment and E. coli levels.
Austonia made multiple inquiries to KSW and WSL and received no response on the site's current status and future plans, and whether water quality concerns have played a role in the park's apparent shutdown.
Austin's Surf Ranch isn't the only location to flop. According to Beach Grit, Slater's first U.S. location, a prototype Surf Ranch location in Lemoore, California, seemed closest to opening but remains closed to the public, open by invite only. Another in the works by KSW is Surf Ranch Coolum in Queensland, Australia, a $1.2 billion development with plans to open in 2022.
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