Aimee Knight is a morning newsletter writer for Austonia. She previously worked as an editorial intern at Texas Monthly, an arts & culture reporter for The Daily Texan and a news intern at Spectrum News Austin. Originally from Switzerland, she graduated from UT with a master's in journalism in 2020, and is energized telling the stories of her adopted Austin home.
Actor, director and screenwriter Justin Theroux isn't the only famous member of his family. His canine companion Kuma made waves online this past weekend supporting Austin Pets Alive!—and Jennifer Aniston is a fan.
Theroux launched Kuma's own Instagram account on Saturday with a link to Austin Pets Alive!'s website in her bio. And the grey pitbull mix is already garnering the kind of attention worthy of her movie star dad: As of Monday night, she has over 55,000 followers.
Chief among them is Jennifer Aniston, who posted a photo of Theroux and his newly online dog on her Instagram story yesterday with fond words for the Austin shelter.
"Love what these two are doing to help people who help pups who help people," the 'Friends' star, and Theroux's ex-wife, wrote. "They helped save 60 pups at Austin Pets Alive! yesterday."
Theroux began volunteering at the shelter while filming 'The Leftovers' in Austin when he fell in love with the shelter's pitbulls, according to Dr. Ellen Jefferson, Austin Pets Alive! president and CEO.
"We are thrilled that he and Kuma are spreading the word about the work APA! is doing and the need to keep Austin no-kill," she said, referring to the shelter's commitment to save animals most at risk for euthenasia.
Theroux adopted his mut in 2018 after Kuma was rescued—dirty and injured—from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey by A Chance to Bloom Dog Rescue, based in Conroe, Texas.
While Kuma is not from APA!, Theroux connected with the Conroe-based non-profit while visiting the Austin shelter, and he has remained "an enthusiastic supporter" ever since, Jefferson said.
Read more on celebrity dogs:
- 9 dog-friendly Austin eateries and patios - austonia ›
- Austin pets alive dogs to be honarary Austin FC mascots - austonia ›
- Austin company pitches masks for dogs - austonia ›
- 75 dogs die in Georgetown Ponderosa Pet Resort fire - austonia ›
- Austin's Addicus' Legacy Dog Rescue sends dogs to east coast ... ›
As COVID-19 cases surge in Austin, local health officials have been urging all residents—vaccinated or not—to slow the virus' spread by masking up. We wanted to know how Austonia readers felt about the request.
Last week, we asked, "Do you think all businesses should ask patrons to wear a mask?" and the results of 444 responses show 73% voted yes.
"I think if we don't more or less go back to square one, even if it's just for a week or two, we're never gonna get this under control," one reader who voted yes replied.
The remaining 27% of respondents voted against the suggestion all businesses should ask patrons to mask up, but this group was split in their reasoning.
Of those who voted against, 15% said they felt they shouldn't be required to wear a mask because they are vaccinated. And 12% voted no because "masking should be a choice even for those unvaccinated."
When asked what businesses should do, many readers suggested business owners and employees encourage—or require—vaccinations. One reader suggested businesses could give discounts to those who wear masks, as an incentive.
"No shoes, no shirt, no mask, no service," one reader wrote. Some readers suggested businesses eliminate indoor dining or pivot to take-out only or curbside pick-up options.
Businesses currently requiring masking are in the minority in Austin, including Waterloo Records and BookPeople. Under Gov. Greg Abbott's executive order, Texas cities cannot enforce local mandates, however, city officials are strongly encouraging business owners to heed their warnings of the contagious nature of the Delta COVID-19 variant and ask patrons to wear a mask.
Sometimes the real gems are in our own backyard.
Take, for instance, Austin's Carpenter Hotel. The latest addition to Austin-based Bunkhouse Group, this hotel is nestled in an old pecan grove on the edge of Zilker Park in South Austin—an easy stroll to Lady Bird Lake and the draw of downtown.
The hospitality company behind Hotel Magdalena and Hotel Saint Cecilia has taken reigns of the historic property that former Ace Hotel group co-owner Jack Barron made into a hotel in 2018.
This 93-room getaway spot nurtures strong ties to Texas' past. The hotel lobby, cafe and restaurant were constructed in the former Carpenters Local 1266 Union Hall, built in 1948. And traces of the bygone era remain in the vintage stadium speakers retrofitted to play music at the front desk or the Biergarten furniture scattered around the property.
The hotel shows off airy walkways and a bright, naturally lit interior. Other than some minor small design updates throughout the property, Bunkhouse says it plans on keeping the property's character and spirit intact. It also plans on adding "new cultural programming and retail offerings."
All rooms come with their own terrace, and visitors can drift away the summer days by the hotel's pool, expansive lawn and pavilion. An in-house cafe serves coffee, kolaches and tacos, and an on-site restaurant, Carpenter's Hall, fashions itself in the same retro feel as its hotel counterpart—serving, as the website puts it, "New Eyes on Old Texas" cuisine.
"Our end goal for Carpenter Hotel is to achieve the totality of the experience that creates a neighborhood anchor: live music, the arts, activism, retail, culinary, one-of-a-kind events, deep community engagement," Amar Lalvani, CEO of Standard Hotels and Bunkhouse Group, said.