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Annual meeting The regular annual meeting of the Property Owners’ Association was held on Wednesday, November 16th, however, because attendance of property owners did not meet the percentage of membership necessary to form a quorum, a special meeting was scheduled for Saturday morning, November 19th, at 9 am. Members elected on that date to fill the two full-term Board positions were Mark Ruthenbeck and Margaret Paine. No new nominations could be accepted at the special meeting for the remaining one-year position, however Sue Ponder expressed an interest in serving on the Board in this position, and the Board invited her to attend its next regular meeting scheduled for January 4th. All meetings of the Board of Trustees are open to the public, and members wishing to learn more about the neighborhood are encouraged to attend. • Editor

Neighborhood History: The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Looking out onto our present parched landscape, thoughts of a stroll through a botanical garden at this time of year may not be uppermost. But, this is a perfect time to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center – admission is free throughout the month of January.

Most visitors to the Center have tunnel vision – fixating on Lupinus texensis, more commonly known as the bluebonnet. Those of us who reside in the Hill Country realize there is more to the landscape than the spring flush which, if this drought continues, will be sadly lacking this year. Consequently, it is possible to tour the Center without fighting crowds. There are several interesting walking trails, a café for coffee or lunch, and a gift store, Wild Ideas.

Of course, everyone knows that the driving force behind the Center is former first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, but few realize the co-founder was a first lady of theater, Helen Hayes. The National Wildflower Research Center, as it was first known, was opened on Mrs. Johnson’s 70th birthday, 22 December 1982, on 60 acres belonging to the LBJ Holding Company in East Austin on the banks of the Colorado. It was far from an ideal site, close to radio pylons and the airport. There was no municipal sewage or plumbing, with water being hauled in, pumped from the Colorado, or collected from roofs. It did have rich Blackland Prairie soils, good for horticulture. The primary focus was on research, although the public was encouraged to visit. It soon became apparent that another site had to be found.

In 1993, 43 acres of the former Circle C Ranch in the Barton Springs Recharge Zone of the Edwards Aquifer were purchased. It was an acquisition that did not sit well with many local environmentalists who felt that the Center would encourage other development which would pollute the pristine waters of the aquifer and the famous Barton Springs swimming hole. Mrs. Johnson believed it was possible to “live lightly on the land,” with the Center setting an example for future developers.

The architects chosen were a small, relatively unknown firm, Overland Partners of San Antonio. They were flabbergasted when told they had the commission, but it was the making of them! The impressive buildings, spiraling out from the “axis mundi,” the San Antonio tower, reflect Spanish, German, and ranch influences, so representative of the Hill Country. The combining of sandstone and limestone create the illusion of age.

The tower is a cistern, part of one of the largest roof water-collecting systems in North America. In line with the Center’s regard for the environment, it is packed, not with concrete, but with debris which would have otherwise been hauled to a dump.

The beautiful new site posed many challenges, including thin soils which, unlike the rich Colorado bottomland, were not conducive to the earlier research in wildflower germination and growth. In the ensuing years, the Center has learned many lessons and made several changes, including its name. In 1997, it became the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to honor Mrs. Johnson in her lifetime and to clear up any misconceptions that the Center was affiliated with governmental agencies.
The Wildflower Center has now increased in size to 284 acres, including 136 acres, the focus of the exciting Land Restoration Program, putting research back on the agenda. It is also involved in conservation of our native plant species and the elimination of invasives. There is a working partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London, building up a herbarium and seed bank as part of the Millennium Seed Bank Project.

As the Center looks to the future, an innovative Gardens Master Plan is set to unfold, under the direction of Gary Smith, a landscape architect famous for his inspiring work at Winterthur, Longwood Gardens, and Naples Botanical Gardens in Florida. Later this year, the wonderful “Big Bugs” exhibit returns. To keep abreast of all the Center’s activities, log onto

Think of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center as an extension of your own backyard and consider becoming a member and/or a volunteer. You will find it is well worth your investment.
•”2006 J. Marie Bassett

Neighborhood Watch meeting On Monday, February 13 at 7:30 pm, a representative from the sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit will present information to residents about the Neighborhood Watch Program. This program is designed to help homeowners achieve a greater level of preparedness, cooperative vigilance and security for their homes and property. Objectives of the program include the following:
1. Reduce crimes, especially residential burglaries and thefts, by target hardening techniques
2. Encourage neighbors to work together and watch for suspicious activity in the neighborhood
3. Maintain a continuing system for the dissemination of information
4. Educate the community on how to make themselves, their families, and their homes safer
5. Make the neighborhood safer and more enjoyable to live in
Residents who participate will be taught how to make their homes more secure and will learn how they may be able to save up to twenty percent on their homeowners insurance by meeting certain requirements. All residents are urged to attend this important meeting.

The venue for this event will be the beautiful Tuscan Hall at the new Wizard Academy, our neighbor to the west. The management of the Academy has very generously granted GWW the use of the space for this meeting. Come visit with your neighbors, join our effort to protect our families and property, and take advantage of a great opportunity to view this beautiful facility. For directions to the Tuscan Hall, visit • Editor

Landscape Committee In late March or early April the Committee will be coordinating planting of the smaller shrubs and perennials in the bed around the pavilion. Watch for more news about a neighborhood planting day in the March newsletter. • Editor

Emergency news Are you on the GWW emergency news email list? Residents may request to be added to the list of folks who receive an online version of the newsletter as well as late-breaking updates on suspicious persons or activities in the area, missing pet notices and other items of immediate concern. As the Neighborhood Watch program is reinitialized for our community, members on the email list will receive weekly notices from the GWW webmaster relaying information from the sheriff’s office about any criminal activity in our area, fire danger information, and other important notices. Email addresses are kept strictly confidential, are maintained by the GWW webmaster, and are never released to any other party unless the resident gives express permission to do so. Residents who wish to receive this information should contact the editor, Margaret Paine, at 894-0903 or • Editor

Bookstore at the Wizard Academy
The Wizard Academy, a business which offers classes in advertising, marketing, writing skills and other related subjects, will soon be opening a bookstore for the convenience of visitors. The store will sell snacks and drinks, as well as copies of the various publications of the directors and alumni of the Academy. Watch the GWW website and the bulletin board for solicitations for part-time sales staff to operate the store. • Editor

News on our wily cohabitants One Tuesday afternoon this month, at 1:30 pm, one of our residents spotted a coyote trotting down a driveway on Scenic Oaks Drive, headed south. Another neighbor reported seeing one on Westview Trail earlier that afternoon. Daytime sightings of these native animals may indicate that they are losing their fear of humans. It is important for the health and safety of our small pets, as well as for wildlife in the area, that we not encourage wildlife, including coyotes and deer, to become acclimated to humans or to learn to consider our homes as a source of food. All residents are reminded to avoid behaviours which will upset the balance of the local ecology:
• PLEASE do not feed deer or provide water for them
• Do not leave food scraps or pet food outside where coyotes can eat it
• Supervise small pets when they are outside, and bring them inside at night
• Keep trash cans securely covered to discourage animals from using garbage as a food source
Please report all coyote sightings to the GWW Administrator. • Editor

Board of Trustees News

January meeting POA member Sue Ponder was appointed by the Board to fill the remaining year of a two-year term left vacant upon resignation of a former member. The Board appreciates Sue’s willingness to serve the community.
Elections were held by the BOT to fill positions for the year, with the following results: President, Mark Ruthenbeck; Vice President, Dena Seligman; Secretary, Margaret Paine; Treasurer, Rick Bondurant.

New administrator sought Vanessa Kolar, our excellent GWW Administrator, gave the BOT notice that she will be resigning her position effective March 1st for personal reasons. The Board is very grateful to Vanessa for the outstanding work she has done for GWW during her tenure in this capacity, and she will be greatly missed. Any POA member interested in serving the community in this paid position should contact the Administrator at 894-0650 for more information. The position is part-time, and all equipment and materials necessary are provided.

Recreation area loan
The Administrator announced that the loan made to finance construction of the pavilion and other improvements has been paid off as of the end of last year. This brings to a successful conclusion the construction project undertaken over two years ago to improve the recreation area with the addition of the pavilion and other amenities. Those long-time residents who remember battling fire ants, keeping towels out of mud, and taking small children to the portable toilets while visiting at the pool have a particular appreciation for the improvements at the common area.

The next meeting of the BOT will be on March 1 at 7 pm at the pavilion.

News from the APC

Holiday decorations The Committee recognizes the yard of John and Debbie Anderson, 17000 Whitetail Run, for a particularly festive display during the holidays. Thanks to everyone who added to the joy and excitement of the season by decorating their yards and homes.

The next meeting of the APC will be held on February 15 at 7 pm at the pavilion. If weather is inclement, an alternate location will be posted at the mail station bulletin board and on the website.

News from the GWW Water Board

The next meeting of the GWWWB will be held on February 22 at 7:30 pm at the Driftwood Fire Station.

Helpful Information

For useful reference information, such as a listing of area churches and telephone numbers for important local contacts, please go to our neighborhood web site at or contact the webmaster.

This newsletter published for:

Goldenwood West
Property Owners’ Association
16200 Westview Trail
Austin, TX 78737-9068
(512) 858-9528 office

Please direct comments, articles, email subscriptions and inquiries regarding advertisements to the above address.

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Archived newsletters (click on date to review)

2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008



2011 2012    
Jan March May July Sept Nov