5 reasons why Elon Musk and Grimes should choose Austin over Tulsa for the new Tesla factory—and HQ
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Tesla's proposed deal to bring a new "Gigafactory" to Austin was quickly followed by rumors that the company might move its headquarters here too—and along with it, CEO Elon Musk and his family. But the agreements haven't been signed, and as far as anyone knows, Tulsa is still on the table.
Tesla looks to fast-track approval of an Austin 'Gigafactory' (Video by Ethan Hunt) www.youtube.com
Musk is in a relationship and has a son with musician Grimes. So, where does it make the most sense for Musk to bring his family and company? Austin. Here's why.
1. The live music capital of the world
(Choose_Freewill via Flickr)
Happy wife, happy life, right? What better place for Grimes to move than Austin, with its musical flare.
She would live among countless other musicians in Austin. Also for her convenience, there are 204 recording studios in the Austin area, with endless opportunity to perform live, including at festivals like Austin City Limits, where she has previously performed.
2. Friendly neighborhoods for raising children
@flcnhvy @TeslaGong @PPathole @priscillabanana https://t.co/lm30U60OtO— Elon Musk (@Elon Musk)1588660456.0
With Grimes giving birth to son X AE A-XII last month, Austin would be a great family-friendly place for him to grow up. It has an array of highly-ranked primary and secondary education options.
Last year, millennials ranked Austin at the top of the list for friendliest, cleanest city in the U.S. in a survey conducted by Langston Co. Austin is known as a progressive city that embraces a "weird" culture—perfect for the child of eccentric parents.
3. Highly educated population
Between 27 colleges and universities, Austin offers a highly educated labor pool for Tesla, and a great set of potential friends for the family. The need for engineering and technical workers would be easy to find in a city with nearly 45% of residents over age 25 having bachelors degrees.
Also, in-state tuition for X AE A-XII—not that they need the discount.
4. Personality of the city
A source told Austonia that Texas' "entrepreneurial, pioneering personality" matches that of Elon Musk. This couldn't be more true. Tesla could fit right in with the innovative culture of Austin.
Companies like Optimizely, Indeed and Bumble are just a few that have flourished in the city.
5. Live among other celebs
(UT College of Communication via Creative Commons)
There are no shortage of celebrities in California, of course, but Musk and his family would have good company as a few of Austin's local stars. It's a spot for celebs to get a smaller-town feel, but still live in a big city.
Celebrities living in Austin include Matthew McConaughey, Elijah Wood and Jenson Ackles.
Want to read more stories like this one? Start every day with a quick look at what's happening in Austin. Sign up for Austonia.com's free daily morning email.
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Austin's Delta 8 industry has been turned on its head after Texas health officials clarified that the cannabinoid is on the state list of illegal substances, though it was previously believed to be legal by most retailers, consumers and manufacturers.
House Bill 1325, which was signed in June 2019 by Gov. Greg Abbott, and the Farm Bill, signed into law by former President Donald Trump in 2018, legalized any hemp product containing less than .3% THC. The same bills were thought to have made Delta 8 legal, though the Texas Department of State Health Services added a notice on its website saying it was still a controlled substance as of Friday, Oct. 15.
Both the federal and state governments keep separate lists on what is considered a controlled substance. Marijuana is considered Schedule I, a category reserved for substances with "no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse," both statewide and federally.
Austin-based CBD retailer Grassroots Harvest CEO Kemal Whyte, like many CBD shop retailers, was blindsided by the announcement. Many small businesses rely on Delta 8 for their sales—Green Herbal Care CBD said about 90% of its sales come from Delta 8—and Whyte said he is frustrated by the inconsistencies in the drug scheduling system.
Since 87% of Texans support the legalization of marijuana, at least for medical use, per a recent poll, Whyte said he wonders who this legislation is for.
"It's gonna have a massive impact on small businesses—there's just no way around it," Whyte said. "The reality is, we don't want to push out anything bad for our customers, we want this to benefit our customers and to help them. If we can make money while doing it, that's the American dream. What are we doing, whose benefit is this for?"
Delta 8 surged in popularity after the perceived legalization—consumers enjoyed its lower psychotropic potency, decreased anxiety while using it and the peace of mind as a legal way to get high. So in order to protect their products and livelihoods, both Grassroots Harvest and Austin-based manufacturer Hometown Heroes are taking legal action.
Whyte said Grassroots Harvest is suing DSHS, saying their action is creating negative effects in the market. Meanwhile, a Hometown Heroes spokesperson said the company is in the process of filing a temporary restraining order that would pause the ban on Delta-8 in the state of Texas.
Threats against Delta 8 are not new—DSHS lost a lawsuit trying to make "smokable hemp products" illegal last year and Texas lawmakers had been considering a bill that would make Delta 8 illegal, though it was dropped after the clarification was made.
Hometown Heroes released a formal statement in response to the DSHS rule.
"I need to be clear—we love Texas, we're just choosing to fight for the will of the people in regards to cannabis in Texas," Hometown Hero CEO Lukas Gilkey said in a statement. "(Texas DSHS) are using backhanded ways to create legislation and go against the will of the people."
Whyte laments the fact that it would be easier legally to "open up a strip club that also sells guns," and said he can't post customer testimonials that mention the benefits of Delta 8 without getting hit with a cease and desist from the Food and Drug Administration. Whyte said he isn't opposed to regulation—far from it—he just wants to see it go through the correct channels.
"The fact that they're stunting our ability to communicate with our clients that want to learn about this, you're preventing us from communicating with them and teaching them, or spreading information that we know," Whyte said. "I think that that in and of itself opens up a lot of questions."
Grassroots Harvest still has Delta 8 products on its shelves for the time being but for how long, Whyte doesn't know.
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Austin Public Health and other clinics around Austin are now providing booster shots for all three vaccines, including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, to fully vaccinated individuals after both Pfizer and J & J were approved by the CDC on Wednesday.
APH and Austin clinics, which were already administering the approved Pfizer booster, will begin distributing shots as soon as Friday.
Those who received the second dose of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine more than six months ago are elligble to receive a booster if they are over 65 or if they are over 18 and:
- Live in a long-term care environment
- Have underlying medical conditions
- Work or live in high-risk settings, such as schools, hospitals or correctional facilities
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes said in a media Q&A Friday that APH is encouraging boosters just as much as they have urged residents to get their first and second doses.
"Boosters are incredibly important to keeping our community protected and hospitalizations low," Walkes said. "If we can stay on top of our vaccinations, we provide protections for our most vulnerable and make it that much harder for COVID to spread in our community."
Eligible residents are free to choose the same booster as their first doses or "mix and match," per the CDC announcement.
Those looking for another dose can simply bring their vaccination card to APH centers or the dozens of Walgreens and CVS locations in the metro, which began administering doses Friday.
Additional updated guidance from the CDC allows for all eligible individuals to choose which vaccine they receive as a "mix-and-match" booster dose. It is advised to remember to bring your CDC COVID-19 Vaccination Card showing the original doses with you when going for booster shots.
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