Endeavors will present WellFest + 5k Walk/Run. The event highlights a colorful array of activities built for all ages based on the Endeavors’ 6 Pillars of Wellness, including a 5K Run and WalkFamily-Friendly Wellness Activities, entertainment by DJ Move Fit Live, food from the SA Spurs Food truck, Yoga, Zumba, cooking demonstrations, art therapy, and more. Attendees will also have the opportunity to visit partners that will host activities at their booths.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving will present its 14th annual Walk Like MADD fundraiser. Victims, survivors, and supporters will line up for this non-competitive 5k walk to remember lost loved ones, inspire change, and commit to a nation with no more victims.
Funds raised through Walk Like MADD help further MADD’s lifesaving mission; to end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, support the victims of these violent crimes, and prevent underage drinking.
The community event will feature a tribute area honoring those who cannot walk, MADD informational booth, hospitality area, kid and teen area, vendor booths, and more.
Autism Speaks Walk is the world’s largest fundraising event to enhance the lives of people with autism today and accelerate a spectrum of solutions for tomorrow. The Autism Speaks Walk brings together people with autism and the parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, relatives and providers who support them. Funds raised help fuel innovative research and make connections to critical lifelong supports and services.
Turkey Trot is the San Antonio Food Bank’s annual 5K Run/Walk that raises funds to help feed families during the holidays. It will start and end in front of the Commander’s House at H-E-B’s Arsenal campus, with the route going through downtown and the Historic King William Neighborhood.
Taking the temperature
For babies and baby boomers alike, Kendall County and Comal County stand out among the healthiest counties in the U.S. According to a new study by U.S. News & World Report, Kendall and Comal County came in at No. 91 and No. 453, respectively, on its list of the 500 healthiest counties in the country.
U.S. News assessed 2,735 of the 3,143 counties across the U.S. but ranked only 500 of them. The healthiest county in Texas was Dallas neighbor Collin County, which landed at No. 50 nationally.
For the study, U.S. News examined 89 metrics across 10 categories tied to health:
- Community health
- Health, income, education, and social equity
- Food and nutrition
- Public safety
- Community vitality
Kendall County earned its highest score in the community vitality category (91); its lowest score was in the environment category (46). Data published by U.S. News highlights Kendall County’s health status. For instance:
- The typical life expectancy is 81.6 years, compared with 77.5 years nationwide and 79.2 years statewide.
- The smoking rate is 13.5 percent, compared with 20 percent nationwide and 15.5 percent statewide.
- The obesity prevalence is 31.3 percent, compared with 36.2 percent nationwide; diabetes prevalence is 9.4 percent, compared with 10.4 percent nationwide.
Comal County earned its highest score in the community vitality category (83) and its lowest score in the environment (43). Other highlights for Comal County include:
- The typical life expectancy is 79.7 years.
- The smoking rate is 14.2 percent.
- The obesity prevalence was 33.1 percent; diabetes prevalence is 9.9 percent.
Other Texas counties that fared well in the U.S. News study are:
- No. 70 Rockwall County (Dallas). Its highest score was in the economy category (87), and its lowest score was in the housing category (54).
- No. 121 Williamson County (Austin) earned its highest score in the economy category (93); its lowest score was in the housing category (52).
- No. 180 Denton County (Dallas-Fort Worth). Its highest score was in the economy category (88), and its lowest score was in the housing category (43).
- No. 291 Fort Bend County (Houston). No. 291. Its highest score was in the economy category (90); its lowest score was in the environment category (25).
- No. 295 Travis County (Austin) earned its highest score in the infrastructure category (92) and its lowest score in the equity category (41).
Move Yer Booty
“New park” might be a stretch for something that’s already been in the works for years, but that’s what San Antonio will be getting soon. City officials aim to have the first phase of Classen-Steubing Ranch Park open to the public as early as the end of summer 2022.
Funds for these primary developments came from the 2017 city bond program, although some development funding came from Marvin and April Chang, who lost their 3-year-old, Mitchell, to drowning in 2018. The Changs' funding spurred many other contributions over time. They are donating the playground equipment and safety ground cover, along with covering installation costs, while the city manages infrastructure around the playground and through the rest of the park.
"Personally, [I think] the park feels peaceful and like untouched Texas," Chang wrote to CultureMap. "This is how the meadows around San Antonio looked 100 years ago. It is natural Texas in its simplest but most beautiful form."
A playground dubbed Mitchell’s Landing is the main attraction, an expansive themed space that honors Mitchell’s love of pirates and invites all kids for “inclusive play” on a pirate ship, a “thick marsh” and “abandoned Spanish Mission." The playground’s website shares that it is designated a National Demonstration Site by PlayCore, a playground equipment company running initiatives to promote “evidence-based best practices” for play as an educational and community-building practice.
The list of 19 toys, activities, and accessibility considerations on the playground span physical and emotional needs, addressing overstimulation as well as seeking to entertain or teach. A merry-go-round structure is built into the safety ground cover to allow wheels to roll safely on, and "zero gravity expression swings" come in a regular swing shape and one with a higher back for better torso support. Another circular swing projects colors onto the ground for added sensory stimulation, and a "sensory cove climber" provides a small safe space for kids feeling overstimulated, without having to leave the playground.
These play structures were mostly developed by GameTime, a playground equipment supplier, including a brand-new slide design with a safety transition bench. The city also gave input on what it could afford and maintain into the future. But the most meaningful designs came from Mitchell's older brother, Evan, who contributed a beach design and a hammock swing.
Outside Mitchell's Landing, the park will also feature an open play field, two pavilions, an education center with a view, three baseball fields, and a concrete path leaving large areas untouched. The paths will connect with trails through the neighboring Stone Oak Park. Although the entire property spans 204 acres, the developed space is contained to 43 acres.
Park renovations have been thanks to collaboration between a dizzying list of local officials, private citizens, existing conditions both natural and man-made, and family ideals.
CultureMap Emails are Awesome
real estate news
National residential real estate agency Compass has acquired Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio, in a move that will expand its position as the leading national firm and its growth in Texas by more than 600 agents.
Although the sale price was not disclosed in Compass' announcement, the local brokerages completed $5.24 billion sales just in 2022 alone.
Compass added that the Austin and San Antonio leadership will have direct oversight of daily operations as part of the terms of the acquisition. Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio co-founder Yvette Flores maintains that she and her leadership team will strive for a "seamless transition" into the national firm that respects the home-grown culture they have created.
Realty Austin was founded in 2004 by Flores and Jonathan Boatwright, and has grown through the years to become one of the most innovative brokerages in Central Texas and beyond. The company expanded its operations to San Antonio in 2021.
Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio CEO Gabe Richter said in the release that Compass' leading-edge technology will help his agents foster greater successes, particularly in one blossoming San Antonio category: luxury real estate.
"Our agents have consistently set records with remarkable achievements," Richter said in the release. "Now, by aligning with Compass, they gain access to a transformative technology platform that enhances efficiency and elevated resources that empower them to secure even more luxury listings."
Compass was founded in 2012 as the largest real estate brokerage in the U.S., and preserves its stronghold as the No. 1 brokerage in Texas thanks to its milestone acquisition. The national brokerage has already surpassed $10 billion in sales in Texas in 2023, according to the release.
“With this acquisition, we've positioned ourselves as Austin's leading brokerage — our commitment to setting new standards and inspiring innovation for all our exceptional agents remains the top priority while honoring what Realty Austin and Realty San Antonio has built," said Compass Texas President Rachel Hocevar.
In the relatively risk-averse world that is modern Hollywood, getting an original story is a rarity. The vast majority of potentially blockbuster movies these days are ones that have a connection to some kind of existing intellectual property that already has a well-established track record. So anytime something interesting arrives that’s not a sequel/reboot/remake/commercial for a product, it deserves to be celebrated.
And that goes double when it’s done as well as the new sci-fi film, The Creator. The film is set in a post-apocalyptic world in 2065, 30 years after a sentient artificial intelligence detonated a nuclear bomb in Los Angeles. Joshua (John David Washington) is an American soldier who for years worked undercover alongside A.I.-enhanced robots, many of which are fitted with clones of human faces, to try to find their reclusive leader, Nirmata, in a part of the world now called New Asia.
A personal tragedy sends him into exile, but he’s recruited back into service by Colonel Howell (Allison Janney) to seek out and destroy a weapon that may turn the tide in the war for good. Turns out the weapon is a robot in the form of a child (Madeleine Yuna Voyles), and when Joshua discovers that fact, he finds it impossible to carry out the mission. Instead, he does everything he can to protect the girl he calls Alphie, with the military hot on his tail all the while.
Written and directed by Gareth Edwards (Rogue One) and co-written by Chris Weitz, the film is astonishing in a number of ways, but mostly for its ability to draw the viewer in visually. The CGI is amazingly believable, making it easy to immerse yourself in the storytelling. From a foreboding super-weapon in the sky called NOMAD to the futuristic landscapes to the whirring metal cylinders that appear to be the brains of the robots, the film is full of fantastic details that make it a feast for the eyes.
The concept of A.I. is increasingly being used as a storytelling tool, and here the filmmakers seem to try to play both sides of the fence. Many people in the film fear its capabilities, especially given the nuclear event. But by literally putting human faces on many of the robots, it becomes more difficult to see them as pure evil, a dilemma that’s at the core of the problem for both Joshua and the audience.
Washington, who’s fast becoming as reliably good as his father, Denzel, is the star of the film, and he does a great job in that role. But stealing the show every second she’s on screen is Voyles, who delivers a debut performance the likes of which hasn’t been seen in many years. She is utterly convincing and heartbreaking as Alphie; while the story may have worked with a lesser actor, she helps take it to completely different level.
Also putting in great work are Janney, who proves herself as badass and fearsome a military leader as any man; Mark Menchaca as her No. 2; Ken Watanabe as an A.I. robot; singer-turned-actor Sturgill Simpson as a friend of Joshua; and Gemma Chan, redeeming herself after the misfire of Eternals.
The Creator could’ve earned praise simply by giving us an original sci-fi story. But by accompanying it with awe-inspiring imagery and performances that elevate the story immeasurably, Edwards and his team have made a film that will likely be remembered for years to come.
The Creator opens in theaters on September 29.
NEWS YOU CAN EAT
Editor's note: We get it. It can be difficult to keep up with the fast pace of San Antonio's restaurant and bar scene. We have you covered with our weekly roundup of essential food news.
The long lines at Nola Brunch & Beignets may soon double. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Records, the brunch behemoth is opening a location at 1101 Broadway. The restaurant did not return a request for comment by publication time, but Nola executive chef Melissa Villanueva is listed as the tenant. It's unclear if this is a relocation or a second outpost, but the project is set to wrap up in March 2024. CultureMap will update as we hear more information.
New Braunfels will have a new dining destination when an ambitious redevelopment is completed. According to state filings, Wiggins Hospitality Group — the folks behind McAdoo's Seafood Co. — will renovate the town's former City Hall into a mixed-use building incorporating offices on the ground floor. New Braunfels Historic Landmark Commission records give more details about the unnamed eatery, including plans for a bar and courtyard. Construction is set to wrap up in May 2024.
Other news and notes
San Antonio standout The Jerk Shack will be featured in a new book from national food site Eater. The restaurant — an Eater darling since being named one of the best new restaurants in the country by Hillary Dixler Canavan in 2029 — appropriately contributed a chicken dish.
Favor gave some insight into San Antonio's ordering habits via its first-ever dining report, released September 19. Alamo City requested more orders for barbecue than any other city in the state but surprisingly fell behind Austin in overall taco orders. The delivery app also shared a few tidbits about how San Antonians customize their meals. Locals favor lean brisket, flour tortillas, chorizo, and — controversially — chili with beans. Read all the findings at favordelivery.com.
Not content at only being a Food Network personality, chef Braunda Smith is now set to break the internet. The owner of Lucy Cooper's Ice House will soon be featured on the popular web series America's Best Restaurants. The restaurant confirmed the filming via a Facebook post but did not share when the segment will be aired.