Inside Austin - May 14th, 2019

Inside Austin (May 14th, 2019)

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Wednesday expect thunderstorms with a high/low of 87/68. Thursday expect more thunderstorms with a high/low of 86/70.

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Thanks for your continued support. Now, on to the latest in ATX:

1. State officials have determined foreign mafia groups from Cuba and Russia are targeting Central Texas as multiple credit card skimmers have been found at local gas stations within the last week, including the Food N More #2 in the 10500 block of Ranch Road 620 N and CITGO at 1006 East Yager Lane. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller said the technology on these skimmers is more sophisticated and investigators are using new techniques to crack down on them. To avoid using skimmers, officials say to pay with cash, or at least pay inside at the counter instead of the pump. If you see a skimmer, call local police. — KXAN

2. The Austin Business Journal revealed the unordered list of the 2019 Best Places to Work in Central Texas, based on climate, team atmosphere, benefits and engaged employees across micro, small, medium and large companies. The official rankings will be revealed at a Kentucky Derby-themed luncheon Friday, June 21 at the Hilton Austin. — BUSINESS JOURNAL  

3. Facebook is growing rapidly in Central Texas, as more than 30% of its entire Austin staff has been hired in less than three years. With more than 1,000 employees, Austin is Facebook's third-largest location outside of its headquarters in Silicon Valley. Facebook employs nearly 38,000 people around the world. Facebook's number of Austin employees put it in the mix with other tech hubs' local offices such as Google (800 employees), Apple (7,000), Oracle (5,000), and Amazon (7,000). — STATESMAN

4. The East Austin Hotel along with its three restaurants and bars — Sixth & Waller, Pool Bar and The Upside — opened Monday at 1108 East Sixth Street. The hotel is modern with pops of color painted outside, and a variety of room types. All of the eateries are overseen by Executive Chef Sean Bedford, but each have different menus: Sixth & Waller is a global diner with international comfort food, The Upside focuses on Central and South American ingredients, and Pool Bar has frozen drinks and filling snacks. — EATER AUSTIN

Dr. Ghee Brings Wisdom to Huston-Tillotson University's Class of 2019 Commencement Ceremony 

My friend and former coworker, Dionne, invited me to attend her commencement ceremony over the weekend. She was earning her Bachelor's in education from Huston-Tillotson University (HTU), a private historically black university. 

Dionne started attending college after high school, but stopped when she got pregnant with her first child. She later started taking classes again, while also working a full-time job and tending to her husband and three kids. When I worked with her, she was always telling me about her professors, the assignments, while counting down to graduation. 

Given the terrible weather we've had in Austin lately, HTU encouraged friends and family members to watch the graduation ceremony from a live stream on their website. Saturday morning, I hopped online to watch from home, but before I saw Dionne in her cap and gown, various speakers spoke about the 2019 graduating class. 

Among the class was the first African American female HT-ROTC graduate to receive a commission from the US Army Air Force, multiple veterans, a local constable, current and former elected officials, first-generation graduates, and a mother and daughter both earning Bachelor's degrees.

Chosen by HTU students, the commencement speaker was Dr. Michele Thorton Ghee, the executive vice president of business development for Endeavor Global Marketing and is the former senior vice president for BET. During her speech, Ghee spoke about how she put off attending college because she was dating a professional athlete. After a wakeup call, she graduated from college at age 30. 

She shared her personal truths about getting ahead in the professional world including having better people discernment, saving your information until people deserve to hear it, regarding social media accounts as a public resume, and working to find an advocate or a champion who will help you build professional relationships. 

"When you find yourself alone on an island, you take advantage of it,” she said. “Being alone on an island can sometimes be good. You are your own research group — you better be heard, you better be seen."

Congratulations to Dionne and all 2019 graduates! 

- Holly

5. Cam Ayala, a sales manager in Austin, got the coveted first-impression rose on Monday night's premier of "The Bachelorette" after he wrote a rap about Hannah, this season's object of affection. — AUSTIN 360

6. Franklin Barbeque will be offering coffee, brisket tacos and house-made salsa from their new food truck outside their restaurant at 900 East 11th Street, expected in June. — EATER AUSTIN

7. Once the rain stops and the local waterways calm down, put these five local stand-up paddle boarding spots on your to-do list. — SURFER TODAY

8. When you're not eating breakfast tacos, give an authentic New York-style bagel a taste at one of Austin's eight bagel joints. — COMMUNITY IMPACT 

9. RSVP to the free Movies in the Park series with upcoming films such as "The Little Mermaid", "Clueless" and "Angels in the Outfield" and enjoy food truck fare or pack your favorite snacks. — AUSTIN PARKS 

10. Enjoy the last few dinner services at Unit-D Pizzeria until May 18 with $2 pints as a toast to the neighborhood. On the bright side, a new food truck concept is expected in the area later this summer. — CULTUREMAP  

Inside Austin was written and curated by Holly A. Phillips. Holly has a passion for storytelling and uses her craft to promote brands around the world. She is a Blogging Instructor at the University of Texas at Austin and is always looking for a new adventure. Keep up with her on her blog or on Twitter at @orangejulius7.

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside); Susmita Baral (senior editor at Inside, who runs the biggest mac and cheese account on Instagram); and David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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