One of the main pleasures I miss because of my present day physical limitations is being able to satisfy my popcorn addiction. I used to read at least an hour every night. I accompanied this with the consumption of a large bowl of popcorn eaten two kernels at a time. (No signs of eccentricity in my family.) No microwave pop for this snob. I would produce my scrumptious treat in the heavy aluminum pot part of my mom’s pressure cooker. Popcorn kernels would sizzle in peanut oil and a dash of garlic powder in the pot with an upside down fan-style steamer basket covering, trapping the steaming blizzard of exploding corn. A paper towel captured the hot spray of oil droplets, only to be removed as soon as possible to allow the steam to escape. As the popping slowed to a near stop, I would vigorously shake the pot to prohibit burning and set it on a cool burner for a few minutes to maximize crispness. A bit of salt, an easy chair, a good book and the day’s cares were forgotten.

10/17-23 Infection Prevention Week

National Popcorn Month


COVNA still has no Vice-President. If willing to serve, contact any officer listed at right.


Mark Tilley
Floyd Clark (temporary)
Dan Anderson
Hal Ferguson
Doug Tabony
Doug DuBois
Dominic Chavez
President (280-2572)
Vice President (282-8245)
Secretary (282-1932)
Treasurer (282-0601)
Newsletter (280-4080)
ANC Delegate (292-9323)
Past President (695-5457)

To join the COVNA Email List, click below and
send an email with your name(s) to Doug at
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If you drop off kids at Cowan Elementary, drive west on Davis Lane, or take the dogleg route across Brodie from Davis to Deer Lane, you have surely noticed that long-awaited improvements are finally coming to various parts of Davis Lane. In fact, three separate projects are currently in the works for improving Davis Lane.

West Gate Blvd
Cohoba Dr. to Cameron Loop

This project will complete the approximately half-mile break in West Gate Boulevard and permit uninterrupted traffic from Slaughter Lane to Highway 290/71. It will provide an alternative north/south route to Brodie Lane and Manchaca Road and hopefully relieve some of the traffic caused by people looking for a route through the neighborhoods. This project is currently underway and has a 12-month duration. Because the path of West Gate goes by Cowan Elementary School, the school will receive much needed improvements to how students are picked-up and dropped-off. The area around Cowan Elementary was intended to be complete before school started, but a bid protest delayed the start of the project. Consequently, parents of Cowan students will be inconvenienced this fall as a portion of Kentish Dr. (currently the only means of ingress and egress for the campus) will be closed for about 6 weeks. The city is considering closing Kentish during the Thanksgiving holiday in order to minimize the impact to Cowan as much as possible. The plan is for this project to be completed before the start of the 2011-12 school year.

To receive updates on this project or to get more information, you may contact Project Manager Wale Odufuye at 512-974-7119 or

Davis/Deer Lane
Brodie to Corran Ferry

The first project will eliminate the dogleg one has to follow to continue west on Davis toward MoPac. The project will create a new intersection at Davis and Brodie, cut a road through the pasture between the fire station and apartment complex, and close Deer Lane south of the fire station. Because most of the work will occur in the vacant pasture, traffic problems are expected to be minimal. You may be aware that this project is very close to the Goat Cave Karst Nature Preserve. This proximity has presented various permitting issues and delays for the city. After initial work installing silt fences and preparing to build retention ponds, the project has been temporarily halted since the end of September. The city is currently working to obtain a permit related to the Balcones Canyonland Conservation Plan agreement with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The city is hopeful that it will be allowed to resume construction shortly once a review is completed.

To receive updates on this project or to get more information, you may contact Project Manager Jonathan Thompson at 512-974-1507 or

Davis Lane
Leo St to Heubinger Pass.

This project will complete the approximately 300 feet between Leo Street and Heubinger Pass. This project has not started, and at this time, the scope of the project is being thoroughly reviewed. The review includes how Davis Lane functions from Star Grass Circle to west of Zeke Bend Drive, and its interaction with Guide Post Trail. Currently, there is no project schedule or estimate for when construction will begin. It is likely that the above projects may be completed before this project starts. We have invited the project manager to attend a future COVNA meeting when the city is able to illustrate options, project scope, schedule, and impact to traffic in the area.

To provide input regarding this project or to get more information, you may contact Project Manager Allison Dietzel at 512-974-7098 or

As always, I will continue to provide updates via the COVNA Email List as I receive them from the various project managers.

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October 5th was Texas’ National Night Out. Next year it would be great to have an get-together on every street Here’s a picture from an event organized by Mark Tilley this year.

Families attending COVNA's National Night Out gathering are treated by a visit from the Austin Fire Department.

River City Pest Control

Barkley Garner
8704 Oak Ledge Dr, Austin TX 78748

Insect Control
Nuisance Animal Control

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The present-day holiday of Halloween has evolved over the years into a fun and spooky holiday filled with treats, costumes and parties for children. But what are the origins of this holiday and how did pumpkins come to be involved?

The tradition of the festival at the end of October began with the Celts and an ancient festival called Samhain. The festival signified the end of the "light half" of the Celtic year and the beginning of the “dark half” of the year. Like the present-day holidays of All Saints Day (La Toussaint) in France, Day of the Dead (Dia De Los Muertos) in Mexico and All Souls Day in Latin America and Spain, the period from October 31st through November 2nd has played an important role in the remembrance of the dead. The original Celtic holiday was not religious, but rather a time of mystique and superstition when it was believed that contact could be made between the worlds of the living and the dead. The holiday evolved and took on different meanings for different cultures, such as the French holiday of La Toussaint which also included an honoring of "tous saints" or all the Catholic saints at the same time as honoring deceased loved ones.

The term "jack-o-lantern" came from an Irish myth about a character named Stingy Jack. Stingy Jack was a drunkard who, having invited the Devil for a drink, requested that the Devil transform himself into money to pay for the drinks. He did so and Jack took the money and put it in his pocket next to a silver cross. The Devil, unable to transform himself into his original form because of the cross, was trapped. Jack made a deal with the Devil thathe would leave him alone for a year if he was allowed to change back. The Devil, agreeable to this, came back to Jack in a year. Jack requested that the Devil climb up in a tree to pick a piece of fruit. Once the Devil was in the tree, Jack carved a cross in the trunk of the tree preventing the Devil from descending until he agreed not to bother Jack ten years. Jack died soon after. The devil, angered by Jack’s tricks, would not claim his soul or allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the night with only a burning coal to light his path. Jack carved out a turnip and put the coal in it so it wouldn’t burn his hands. Jack has been roaming the Earth ever since, carrying his turnip lantern. The Irish refered to this ghostly figure as “Jack of the Lantern” and then simply as “Jack O’Lantern.” Irish immigrants found the pumpkin lent itself to the tradition of carving.

Irish turnip Jack-o'-lantern -early 20th century

Pumpkin Jack 'o Lantern