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Austin schools, grocery stores, vaccine providers, public transit and airlines announced a third day of closures and other service impacts due to the ongoing winter storm, which has caused mass power outages and other issues. Local officials and community organizations have also opened additional warming centers due to demand.
Austin ISD canceled classes Wednesday and Thursday as buses cannot transport students and internet and power outages may affect their ability to attend online classes. Friday will be an asynchronous learning day. The district will apply for a waiver from the Texas Education Agency to avoid needing bad weather makeup days.
Eanes ISD closed all facilities and canceled remote instruction Wednesday. The district will provide updates on its website.
The University of Texas at Austin campus will remain closed at least through Thursday morning and all classes and events, including virtual and online ones, are canceled.
Austin Community College will remain closed through Sunday, with all online and remote classes also canceled.
St. Edward's University has canceled all on-campus and remote work, virtual classes and activity through Friday morning.
Capital Metro suspended all services Wednesday, after doing the same on Monday and Tuesday. The transit agency is focusing on supporting those at cold weather shelters and those in need of life-saving trips, according to a spokesperson.
H-E-B's Austin stores will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, except for the following locations, which will be closed:
- Hwy. 183 & Lakeline
- 620 & 2222
- 7th & Pleasant Valley
- Spicewood Springs & 183
- Well Branch & 1825
- Slaughter & Menchaca
- Riverside and S. Pleasant Valley
- 183 & 290
- FM1431 & 183
- Lamar & Rundberg
- Parmer & McNeil
- Parmer & I-35
- Anderson & 620
- S. Congress & 1-35
- Parmer & MoPac
Central Market's North Lamar location will be open from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday. Its Westgate location will be closed due to a power outage.
Trader Joe's locations—on Great Hills Trail, at Seaholm and in Rollingwood—are all closed Wednesday.
Wheatsville Food Coop's Guadalupe location will be open from noon to 10 p.m. on Wednesday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday. Its South Lamar location is closed.
Whole Foods' five Austin locations—Plaza Saltillo, Lamar, Domain, Gateway and Arbor Trails—are all closed Wednesday. According to the store location, all will reopen Thursday morning.
Target's Austin locations are all open.
Austin Public Health closed its COVID-19 testing sites and vaccine clinics on Monday and Tuesday due to inclement weather and has not yet provided an update.
UT Health Austin, the clinical wing of Dell Medical School and one of two vaccine hub providers in Travis County along with Austin Public Health, canceled all vaccine appointments through Thursday. Staff will reach out to appointment holders to reschedule at a later date.
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport plans to resume flights at 1 p.m. Wednesday and advises travelers to check their flight status with their airlines as some delays and cancellations are still expected.
The U.S. Postal Service temporarily suspended mail processing operations at six Texas plants Tuesday. Two have since resumed operations.
Walmart closed 306 Texas stores due to the winter storm, but its Supercenter locations on West Anderson Lane, W. Hwy. 290 and East Ben White Boulevard are still open. A map of the closures can be found here.
Warming centers currently open to the public can be found at:
- Palmer Events Center, 900 Barton Springs Road, Austin
- Del Valle High School, 5201 Ross Road, Del Valle
- Barrington Elementary School, 400 Cooper Drive, Austin
- Joslin Elementary School, 4500 Menchaca Road, Austin
- Russell Lee Elementary School, 3308 Hampton Road, Austin
- Murchison Middle School, 3700 N. Hills Drive, Austin
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17 years and three medals later, Osterman's last ride with USA softball is over. What's next for Cat?
Nearly two decades after her debut with the University of Texas and 17 years after her first Olympic gold, softball icon Cat Osterman stepped off the Olympic pitcher's mound for the last time with a silver medal to take back home.
Osterman, a three-time Olympian who has been called the "Michael Jordan of softball," will officially retire from the international realm at 38 after a decorated career that included Olympic golds, years of retirement and plenty of adversity—from a worldwide pandemic to dashed gold-medal dreams.
Osterman and her crew left Tokyo on a bittersweet note on Tuesday with a silver medal in hand.
Osterman with Team USA in 2008. (Antoni Majewski/Twitter)
Osterman in the final in 2021. (Antoni Majewski/Twitter)
After a year of sparse in-person training and over a decadelong hiatus, Team USA and Osterman flew to the finals. In five games, the team beat Italy (2-0), Canada (1-0), Mexico (2-0), Australia (2-1), and Japan (2-1).
Deja vu struck in the final match. On one side, Osterman and fellow 2008 Olympic teammate Monica Abbott took the mound; on the other was the 39-year-old Yukiko Ueno, a familiar foe who helped the team beat Team USA last go-round.
"Just like 13 years ago," Ueno said in a press conference, "we were facing each other in the final."
Ueno, who had lost hopes at gold to Osterman in '04, outpitched her longtime opponent with six scoreless innings as Team USA was held to just three hits. The same team that squandered their gold-medal hopes 13 years before had done it once again.
Your Tokyo 2020 Olympic Silver Medalists 🇺🇸#TokyoOlympics | @TeamUSA pic.twitter.com/MOMNOedHUd
— USA Softball Women's National Team 🇺🇸 (@USASoftballWNT) July 27, 2021
"There's a little bit of disappointment in not bringing home the gold since that's the eye on the prize when you go over there and you know you have a shot at it," Osterman told Austonia. "But more than anything, I'm very proud of the way our team handled everything that was part of this journey and not just the six games."
It's that very loss at the 2008 Olympics that partially motivated Osterman to get back on the mound. She officially put down the glove in 2015 after six seasons with the USSSA Pride, took time with family and began coaching at Texas State University.
Osterman helped ace Randi Rupp to greatness while a coach at Texas State University. (Active Voice Health/Twitter)
She thought her Olympic endeavors were well over—until talks of reinstating softball into the Games reentered the conversation.
"It wasn't until 2016 or 2017, that it ever crossed my mind to possibly put the USA uniform on again," Osterman said. "After the World Championships in 2010, I walked away, and I thought that my career on the international stage was done. So this was a pleasant kind of new opportunity."
Three years after facing any competition, Osterman was on the field once more with world-class athletes. Some, like Osterman and Abbott, had been playing together long enough to form a formidable "Fire and Ice" duo on the mound. Others had just graduated college.
Osterman said playing with a younger generation of athletes was one of the most rewarding aspects of this year's Games.
"It can be very different when you have 24- and 38-year-olds on the same field," Osterman said. "The adversity put us in some challenging positions and we came through with flying colors. And this group will forever be special just because what we had to go through is so different."
While on the mound, Osterman's job was to give the team a calm start. Off of the field, she felt her role had much of the same effect: she knew that new Olympic feeling, and she served as a deep breath to her first-time teammates.
"There's no words to explain how nervous and excited you get knowing that the whole world can be watching," Osterman. "I think using those emotions and figuring out how to get all our butterflies lined up and going in the right direction, so that way we were all moving together, was kind of my role outside of pitching."
We've heard her retire once before, but this time Osterman said she's gone for good—even from coaching. After her final time with Team USA on Sept. 27, she plans on returning to Austin, where she'll look to work for a nonprofit.
A gold and two silvers will have to do for one of the most decorated athletes in U.S. softball history.
"To be able to say you're a three-time Olympic medalist is a pretty special deal, right?" Osterman. "I played for a long time. But those are the pinnacle, in my mind, and kind of what elicits the dream to keep playing."
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Hospitals are facing a "significant" increase in admissions of pregnant women due to COVID-19 complications, Austin-Travis County health officials say, revealing what could be a long-term side effect of the virus.
Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes met with three maternal medicine specialists on Monday morning to warn of yet another COVID-19 Delta variant concern: severe cases of the disease affecting unvaccinated mothers-to-be.
The doctors said unvaccinated pregnant women face an increased risk of preterm births, long-term effects, preeclampsia, ICU stays, stillbirths, being put on life support and even death if they are unvaccinated.
"We are really concerned that we are not getting that population of folks to hear this message of the safety of vaccines, so today we're assembled, one and all to say, wear a mask and please get vaccinated," Walkes said. "Vaccinations are the way to prevent severe disease and hospitalizations and death."
Medical Director of Maternal Fetal Medicine at St. David's Women's Center of Texas Dr. Kimberly DeStefano said 95% of pregnant women admitted with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, stressing that all pregnant and lactating women should get the vaccine not only to protect themselves but to protect their babies from infection, which can be passed through breastmilk or birth.
"We know that the earlier in pregnancy you are vaccinated, the more antibodies are present at the time of birth for the infant," DeStefano said. "This is something that's very important, both during the pregnancy and postpartum."
Catching COVID-19 while pregnant can cause adverse effects on the baby, particularly because it increases the risk of preterm births. Baylor Scott & White Maternal Obstetrics Chief of Maternal Medicine Dr. Jessica Ehrig, said that preterm births are one of the "biggest impacts" on childhood development.
"We know that (preterm births) can have long-term effects depending on how early a baby's born," Ehrig said. "It increases the risk for long term respiratory issues, for blindness sometimes (and) for neurologic development delays."
Since mid-July, COVID-19 hospitalizations have been on a steep rise that sent the city back to recommending Stage 4 guidelines. As the seven-day rolling average of hospitalizations surpassed 50 admissions, Stage 5 guidelines could be on the horizon. The city reported 54 new admissions and 546 total new cases on Friday.
Delta is more contagious than chickenpox, Walkes said, and even vaccinated individuals can catch and spread the virus without symptoms. The group of doctors asked everyone, especially pregnant women, to mask while in public as local hospitals pass the Stage 5 threshold.
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