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(Kevin Ludlow/YouTube)
Followup to the Problems in Windsor Park Creek (2 weeks after cleanup)

A homeless encampment in Austin's Windsor Park neighborhood is accumulating trash after a cleanup effort earlier this month.


Kevin Ludlow, a resident and former Libertarian candidate for the Texas House, first posted a video of the encampment, which abuts his backyard in Windsor Park, on Aug. 2. The footage showed a large amount of trash as well as homeless residents engaged in substance use. It has since been viewed more than 72,000 times and shared widely on social media sites.

After the video was posted, the city's watershed protection department contracted a local nonprofit, The Other Ones Foundations, to clean up the site, which is along Little Tannehill Branch Creek between Broadmoor Drive and 52nd Street. Work crews removed tons of trash.

"The area was spotless on Aug. 9," Ludlow said in an updated video posted on Tuesday, showing what has happened at the site since the clean-up effort.

New campers began arriving Aug. 12, Ludlow said in voiceover. Last week, clothes and garbage began piling up, and he recorded what appears to be substance use and nudity.

"I don't believe the campers should be arrested nor do I believe that we should criminalize homelessness in any way," Ludlow said in the video, adding that given the increase in property taxes in recent years the city should have adequate funding to address the issue. "There is simply no way that a solution to this problem cannot be found with that bump in revenue to the City of Austin."

Windsor Park Neighborhood Association President Dan Strub previously told Austonia that the encampment has been around for years and many residents are reluctant to call the police "about much of anything that isn't directly crime-related these days."

A fight over public camping

Austin residents facing issues related to homeless encampments are encouraged to call the emergency 311 line. But there is little that city officials or police can do to force campers elsewhere. Last year, Austin City Council abolished the city's ban on public camping.

A local nonprofit, Save Austin Now, tried to overturn this ban via a citizen-led petition. However, Austin City Clerk Jannette Goodall recently ruled that the petition is not valid due to duplicate signatures and other issues.

The group, led by Travis County GOP Chairperson Matt Mackowiak, is considering legal action but is up against a deadline; the Nov. 3 election is just over nine weeks away.

"We do not believe there is ANY CHANCE WHATSOEVER that 5,000+ signed petitions of the 24,000+ that we submitted were invalid," Mackowiak wrote in an Aug. 20 Facebook post. "We are not going to accept what has happened here."

The group is waiting for the city to respond to a public information request before deciding on its next steps.

If the court orders the city to place an item on the November ballot, it will, a spokesperson wrote to Austonia in an email last week.

Goodall, however, is confident in her decision. "The probability that checking all 24,201 submitted signatures would find a total of at least 20,000 valid signatures in less than 3 in one billion," she wrote in the ruling.

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‘Like speed dating of cats’ at Purr-fecto Cat Lounge
Purr-fecto Cat Lounge

Lina Martinez with her newly adopted cat, Emmanuel, who she renamed Sullivan.

Timmy and Tommy are ready to play.

As the 2-month-old white-and-tabby brothers swat feather wands, chase toys and generally hold court inside Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, a half-dozen potential adoptive parents look on lovingly, trying to get their attention.

“This is kind of like the speed dating of cats,” said Lupita Foster, owner of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge. “I intentionally didn’t put in any tables. That’s why we call it a lounge instead of a cat café because we have these lounge areas where you can sit and relax and cuddle.”

Foster, who has owned a cleaning company, Enviromaids, for 18 years, was inspired to open Purr-fecto Cat Lounge after adopting her own cat, Romeo, from a local shelter.

“When you want to adopt a cat, you have to spend a lot of time with them to get their personality,” Foster said. “I wanted to do something to help the community and something that makes me feel good, that warms my heart. A business with a purpose. This was a perfect idea.”

Actually, a purr-fect idea.

Inspired in part by a cat lounge she visited in Los Angeles, Foster began laying the groundwork for the business in late 2021 and officially opened the doors of Purr-fecto Cat Lounge, located at 2300 S. Lamar Blvd., in July 2022. Since then, she’s worked with rescue organizations such as Fuzzy Texan Animal Rescue and Sunshine Fund Cat Rescue to facilitate nearly 100 cat adoptions.

At any given time, there are 10-15 cats living in the space, which features an ideal blend of calm, cool corners and adorably Instagrammable backdrops with phrases such as “I want to spend all my 9 lives with you.”

Lina Martinez, 32, learned about Purr-fecto Cat Lounge from a friend’s Instagram post and made an appointment to visit two days later.

“My first impression was, ‘AWW!’” Martinez said. “The kittens were to die for. I felt happy and at peace – just what I needed.”

Visitors to the cat lounge pay $15 for a 30-minute CATXperience session or $30 for a 70-minute session that is spent getting to know the personalities of each cat. Foster said the first thing she typically sees from visitors to the lounge is a smile.

“Everybody that enters the door is smiling,” she said. “And we’ve seen people who have cried because they can’t have kids and they decide to go and adopt a cat instead.”

Foster said she loves bringing in cats who might not have a chance to be adopted at traditional shelters. She told the story of one cat named Izzy, who was partially blind, who was adopted by a family that had a deaf cat at home.

“Izzy was not going to get adopted anywhere else, but she’s extremely beautiful,” she said. “If she was in a cage in a rescue and you tell people she’s blind, she was probably going to be overlooked. But visiting our space, she doesn’t seem like she’s blind. She knows her way around. She moves around perfectly.”

Although Martinez, who had been casually looking for a pet to adopt since moving to Austin nearly four years ago, was interested in a cat named Ruby that she had seen on Purr-fecto’s social media, at the lounge she instead found herself drawn to 5-month-old mixed breed Tuxedo cat.

“I thought he was a star,” she said. “He worked the room and introduced himself to everyone. When I laid down to pet Ruby, he ran from the other side of the room and cuddled with me. It was game over. He got me.”

And she, of course, got him, complete with a commemorative photo that read “My Furrever Family” the day she took him home. Although his original name was Emmanuel, she renamed him Sullivan after her favorite DJ.

“Purr-fecto is special because of the amount of effort and love they put into taking care of the cats,” Martinez said, “and finding them good homes and making possible adopters feel at home.”

Foster, who spent a recent Thursday hosting a group of teenagers in foster care at the lounge, several of whom expressed interest in working there, said the best part about her new endeavor is that her heart is always full.

“I just feel complete,” she said. “I always felt as an entrepreneur that I was missing something. I knew I accomplished a lot, but in my heart I was missing a little connection with the community. Now I’m creating connections between humans and pets and that’s amazing. I’m creating family bonds. It’s just about love, you know. And we need that.”

Austin's 7 Best Indian Restaurants

We all have those cravings for an amazing butter chicken or some authentic dosas with coconut chutney, but when I was thinking about where I wanted to go to satisfy my taste buds I realized that my list of great Indian food around Austin was surprisingly short. After doing some research and asking around, here is your list of the best Indian restaurants around town.

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