Bird Johnson

Photo Credit: Albert Lee | Daily Texan Staff

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the College of Natural Sciences are working toward their goal of landscape sustainability with the use of a new landscape construction rating system that prioritizes the environment.

SITES v2, developed by the Sustainable Sites Initiative, is a collaboration between the center, the United States Botanical Garden and the American Society of Landscape Architects for implementation in building projects that allows engineers, architects and landscapers to work efficiently without sacrificing the sustainability of the environment.

The program is completely voluntary, and so far more than 100 sites across the nation have taken up the initiative, 30 of which have qualified for a rating, including a site at UT Arlington.

“If projects follow and implement SITES v2, these built landscapes create ecologically resilient communities better able to withstand and recover from episodic floods, droughts, wildfires and other catastrophic events,” said Danielle Pieranunzi, Sustainable Sites Initiative program director. “They benefit the environment, property owners, and local and regional communities and economies.”

SITES offers a reference guide, which provides information about environmentally friendly building practices, to project developers who wish to qualify for a SITES rating. The provided guide includes tips on water resources, soil and vegetation, building materials and human health.

SITES consulted technical experts in fields such as hydrology, botany, engineering and landscaping to design the v2 rating system, said Susan Rieff, Wildflower Center executive director.

Modeled after LEED, a rating system used for the construction of environmentally safe buildings, SITES v2 is intended to ensure that landscapes — in places such as natural parks, corporate campuses, residences and waterways — are environmentally sound as well.  This is done by first evaluating the natural ecosystem of a particular site, to check for the presence of local flora and fauna, sources of naturally occurring water and possible soil erosion, Rieff said.

“[After evaluating the site,] you can design, so nature’s working with you and not against you,” Rieff said.

Under the SITES v2 system, projects receive points based on the sustainability and ability to protect and restore ecosystems, Pieranunzi said. If the project reaches the minimum number of points and meets specific prerequisites, SITES will give it a “Certified,” “Silver,” “Gold” or “Platinum” certification based on the number of points received. The Sustainability Sites Initiative is currently negotiating with the Green Building Certification Institute to provide SITES v2 certifications.

Aesthetic form and beauty are no longer the only criteria that are considered in the construction of landscapes, said architecture professor Steven Moore.  Environmental and social conditions have played an increasingly important role for architects and landscape designers in recent years as well, according to Moore.

“SITES v2 is enormously important in helping our ‘building culture’ to transform design and construction practices that do harm to those that might actually contribute to the urban ecosystem,” Moore said in an email.

The Luci and Ian Family Garden will hold its grand opening Sunday. The garden provides multiple interactive educational areas for children, such as a maze made of shrubs.

Photo Credit: Miriam Rousseau | Daily Texan Staff

Visitors can dig in fake dinosaur tracks, build teepees out of bamboo and explore a spiral hedge maze at the opening of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center’s new family garden Sunday.

The center has been constructing the $5 million Luci and Ian Family Garden since May 2013. According to Samantha Elkinton, senior horticulturist at the center, the 4.5 acre garden added a dirt dig and nature build area this year.

“The dirt dig will allow kids to get their hands dirty and dig around in the dirt and sand,” Elkinton said. “At the nature build area, we’ll have different materials like hay and bamboo sticks so kids can build things — teepees, buildings, gnome trails — whatever they want.”

The garden’s other features also include a grotto with caves and a waterfall, 10-foot-wide bird nests and a wildlife blind. Elkinton said she hopes the new garden will attract more visitors over the
summer months.

“We hope to attract more families, and since summer is the perfect time for kids to be outside, hopefully we’ll see an increase in visitors,” Elkinton said.

The garden will hold a special preview day only open to members of the center on Saturday. Both the preview and the opening day will include live music, food carts and activities on the children’s play lawn from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Elkinton said she expects between one-third and one-half of the center’s 10,000 members to attend.

According to senior associate Ronnie Stafford, who worked with the architecture firm TBG to plan the garden, native plants were chosen specifically to align with SITES standards, which are international parameters that promote sustainable land development. 

Emily Mixon, environmental science senior and campus environmental center director, who has partnered with the wildflower center, said the garden could be a good site for student learning and relaxation.

“It’d be great for students to see the integrated approaches in the garden and think about what they’ve seen around campus in terms of our main campus irrigation innovations and energy efficiency,” Mixon said. “Plus, I think visiting the garden could be a really cool study break for students.”

Elkinton said feedback on the garden has been positive.

“We had kids come in for a photo shoot, and they were all excited about the features,” Elkinton said. “There was one girl who liked playing in the dirt dig so much that she wouldn’t get out of it.”

Photo Credit: Jonathan Garza | Daily Texan Staff

Scroll down to read our liveblog, which was updated throughout the day.

Update (6:17 p.m.): In his speech Thursday night at the Civil Rights Summit, former president George W. Bush focused primarily on education as both a battleground and driver of civil rights progress.

“From Little Rock Central High School to the University of Mississippi, the fight for civil rights took place in educational settings,” Bush said. “Education provides the skills necessary to expand horizons and allow for economic success. In so doing, we secure our democratic way of life.”

Check back soon for a full recap of Bush's remarks.

— Pete Stroud

Update (5:47 p.m.): Education panelists agree reform will not come from Washington, D.C.

Former Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings and U.S. Rep. George Miller, D-California, agreed education reform will not develop at the federal level.

“It’s going to be done, as you lament and as I lament, outside of Washington,” Miller said.

Spellings said education will be a pertinent political issue in the future.

“It's going to be a political issue, certainly on the role of the federal government in education,” Spellings said. "We have sold that education is the key to the American Dream."

In order for any education legislation to be passed, both parties will have to work together, according to Miller.

“If you keep this [partisanship] up, I think you lose your democracy,” Miller said. “You can’t get  to the remedies, because you can’t talk to one another about it. You’ve got to walk across the aisle.”

— Julia Brouillette

Updated (4:54 p.m.): SG leaders react to Obama's keynote address 

Kori Rady, Student Government president, said he enjoyed Obama’s speech and found he could apply certain aspects of it to his own life.

“His speech was as good as Obama’s speeches always are,” Rady said. “The general focus was on how to stay on course and push for what you believe in. If you look at the heart of that, you can relate it to what you do in your daily life — there was something tangible there for you to take away.”

Ugeo Williams, former SG vice president, said he found out he had a seat at the keynote address early Thursday morning.

"It felt really great seeing him,” Williams said. “I’m pretty sure I was one of the million people who felt like he was making eye contact with me."

— Madlin Mekelberg

Updated (2:36 p.m.): Q&A with Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jesse Jackson, a major figure of the civil rights movement and Baptist minister who ran for president in 1984 and 1988, sat down with The Daily Texan this morning to discuss the civil rights issues he feels students in the United States are most affected by today. Read the full Q&A here.

Updated (1:48 p.m.): Three protesters arrested outside LBJ Library during Obama address

Three people, including two UT students, were arrested after protesting for immigration rights outside the LBJ Library during President Barack Obama’s address, according to UTPD spokeswoman Cindy Posey.

Posey said the University will file charges against the three protesters for criminal trespassing.

Undeclared freshman Emily Freeman, radio-television-film freshman Alejandra Gomez and Patrick Fierro, who is not a UT student, were protesting as part of several immigration-related demonstrations coordinated by University Leadership Initiative over the course of the week.

Linguistics junior Diana Morales, a ULI member, said the group members knew there was a chance they would be arrested.

“We knew that the three people who were there were willing to take any risk to bring our message to Obama,” Morales said. “His administration has deported over 2 million people – this is something no other president has done, and his term is not even over.”

On Wednesday, ULI members, including the three people who were later arrested, chained themselves to the Martin Luther King Jr. statue on campus, where they stayed overnight.

— Adam Hamze

Updated (1:05 p.m.): In keynote, Obama highlight's LBJ's use of government as a force for good

Read the full story here

At the keynote address at the Civil Rights Summit Thursday, Obama said that though people still debate the role of government in helping promote equality, to deny that government can help forward society is to “ignore history.”

President Barack Obama delivers the keynote address at the Civil Rights Summit on Thursday morning in the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium. Photo by Charlie Pearce / Daily Texan Staff

“It’s true that despite laws like the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act and Medicaid, our society is still racked with division and poverty,” Obama said. “Yes, race still colors our political debates, and yes, there have been government programs that have fallen short. There are limits to change...[but] I regret such premises, because I have lived out the legacy of LBJ’s efforts.”

Obama said major pieces of legislation, though unpopular at the time they were passed, established critical legal protections for African Americans and other American minorities.

“The law alone isn’t enough to change hearts and minds,” Obama said. “[Johnson] understood laws could not accomplish everything — but only the law could anchor change, and set minds and hearts on a different course. And a lot of Americans needed the law’s most basic protections.”

— Madlin Mekelburg

Updated (9:33 a.m.): In interview, Rev. Jesse Jackson shares his thoughts on the state of civil rights today

In an interview with The Daily Texan, Rev. Jesse Jackson said the rise in student loan debts is one of the biggest civil rights issues the United States is facing today.

“We should, in fact, have a plan now of student loan debt forgiveness and reaching out to that talent pool,” Jackson said. “That is one of the challenges of our time – rapidly reducing student loan debt."

Jackson said students should protest the cost of higher education.

 “America moves best when young America comes alive,” Jackson said. “You have the power to vote, to march on campuses in mass, demanding student loan debt forgiveness.”

On Wednesday, Jackson said he left a scheduled trip to Japan early to attend the final day of the Civil Rights Summit in Austin.

Check back soon for the full transcript of the interview.

— Jacob Kerr and Pete Stroud

Updated (9:29 a.m.): "Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?" afternoon panel canceled 

The "Women: How High is the Glass Ceiling?" panel has been canceled this afternoon due to personal circumstances of one of the panelists, according to Elizabeth Christian, president of the LBJ Foundation. 

The afternoon panel "Social Justice in the 21st Century: Empowering Minds, Changing Hearts, and Inspiring Service," at 2:05 will continue as scheduled. 

Rev. Jesse Jackson will be giving a press conference at the Performing Arts Center following President Barack Obama's keynote address. 

Updated (7:00 a.m.): The second day of the Civil Rights Summit featured a speech by former President Bill Clinton, who honored two of President Lyndon B. Johnson's landmark achievements — the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — and slammed voter ID laws across the country that he said disenfranchises voters. Read about his speech here.

Read more about Wednesday's panels, which included:

1) A discussion about the relationship between President Lyndon B. Johnson and Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The panel featured historian and author Doris Kearns Goodwin, Joseph Califano Jr., former special assistant to President Johnson, Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador and congressman, and historian and author Taylor Branch. Todd Purdum, Vanity Fair contriuting editor and Politico senior writer, moderated the panel.

2) A conversation with Hall of Famers Bill Russell of the NBA and Jim Brown of the NFL about their involvement in the civil rights movement in their youth. Harry Edwards, sociology professor emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley, moderated the panel.

3) A reflection by leaders who were on the front lines of the civil rights movement. The panel featured U.S. Rep. John Lewis, D-Georgia, former NAACP chairman Julian Bond, and Andrew Young, former U.S. Ambassador and congressman. Lonnie Bunch, founding director of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, moderated the panel. 

Other highlights from the day can be found on our Civil Rights Summit, Day 2 Liveblog.

Civil Rights Summit

Museum patrons get a look at the Legacy of Liberty Exhibit in the Great Hall of the LBJ Museum, which will be hosting the Civil Rights Summit from April 8-10, 2014.


Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

For the Civil Rights Summit in April, the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum has introduced the “Cornerstones of Civil Rights,” an exhibit that includes the original Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965, both signed by President Johnson.

“The cornerstone documents of civil rights are all in one place for the first time ever,” said Anne Wheeler, communications director for the library.

According to Wheeler, the museum underwent a $10 million redesign in 2012 to incorporate interactive technology into exhibits to reach more college students. Wheeler said the number of visitors, which is approximately 10,000 people per month, has increased since the renovation.   

“What we want to do is present the story of LBJ and Lady Bird Johnson in contemporary terms,” Wheeler said. “A big part of our exhibit is about LBJ’s legacy and how it affects people today — because you wear a seatbelt in your car because of a law passed during the Johnson administration.”

Wheeler said the cost of recent technology renovations is the main reason the museum decided to begin charging admission in November 2013. The highest ticket price is $8 for adults while tickets for UT students, faculty and staff to remain free.

“We don’t really feel like what we’re asking for is out of line,” Wheeler said. “In fact, it’s much less than most museums.”

Wheeler said, since the museum began charging for admission, the staff is now able to track where visitors, mainly history-loving tourists, live by asking for their ZIP code when they purchase a ticket.

“We’ll have a pretty good feel, probably in about three or four months, [about] exactly where people are coming from,” Wheeler said. “[Before], it’s been sort of a guess.”

Susan Binford, assistant dean for communications for the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said the Civil Rights Summit is a partnership between the Presidential Library, the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the LBJ Foundation. Binford said the Summit will not only be a celebration of past achievements in civil rights but also a reflection on current issues, such as women’s rights, gay rights and immigration.

“How do we draw on LBJ’s legacy of getting things done?” Binford said. “The short amount of time it took for him to pass such monumental legislation is not seen today. We have an opportunity to empower a whole new generation.”

Elizabeth Dupont, history senior at Texas State University who works at the front desk of the museum, said the information the LBJ Presidential Library provides continues to be relevant because race relations in the U.S. are still not as optimal as they can be.

“The fact that he got this legislation passed in the climate that he did shows we can aim for better,” Dupont said.

Art Outside: Learn how to walk on stilts at Art Outside, a three-day fesival held on campgrounds, features performance artists, musical artists, visual artists and workshops. Musical artists featured in this year’s festival include Residual Kid, Desert Dwellers and Bird of Prey. Fire spinning, aerial acrobatics, stilt walking and acrobatic yoga are all performances highlighted during the three days. Art Outside’s final round of tickets go on sale Sept. 1 for $90 and tickets are also available at the gate for $110.

Texas Book Festival: Book signings, readings and appearances from authors such as Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz, P.J. O’Rourke and Tony Danza have been a few main attractions at the Texas Book Festival. The literary event is held annually at the State Capitol and last year’s festival included vendor tents from more than 80 publishers, authors and organizations. Books in every genre, from children’s literature to political satire, are featured. The event is free and open to the public.

New Braunfels Wurstfest: Celebrating Bavarian culture with polka music, great beer and an incredible amount of food, Wurstfest is worth the hour trip from Austin to New Braunfels. With a slogan like “Sprechen sie sausage?,” the annual celebration gives patrons a reason to don a dirndl and indulge in pork chops, potato pancakes, hamhocks and, of course, bratwurst. Tickets can be bought at the gate, and it is recommended to take cash, as ATM lines can get packed and most vendors only take cash.

Austin Record Convention: More than just a marketplace for old records, the Austin Record Convention hosts vendors with vintage record players, collectable lunch boxes and band merchandise such as pins, T-shirts and posters. Patrons can dig in boxes to hunt for out of print vinyl from every genre and converse with other vinylphiles. Regular admission is $5 for both Saturday and Sunday, early shopper admission is $25 for Friday-Sunday.

Other fall events to check out in Austin:

Pecan Street Festival: Sept. 28 & 29; Sixth Street
Fun Fun Fun Fest: Nov. 8-10; Auditorium Shores
ACL Fest: Oct. 4-6 & 11-13; Zilker Park
Formula 1 US Grand Prix: Nov. 15-17; Circuit of the Americas
St. Elias Mediterranean Festival: Oct. 18-19
Austin Museum Day: Sept. 22; Various Venues
Austin Free Day of Yoga: Sept. 2; Various Venues
Fantastic Fest: Sept. 19-26; Alamo Drafthouse and Various Locations
German-Texan Heritage Society Oktoberfest: Oct. 19
Fall Plant Sale and Gardening Festival: Oct. 5 & 6; Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Austin Film Fest: Oct. 24-31; Various Venues
East Austin Studio TourNov. 16-17 & 23-24; Various Venues
Austin Celtic Festival: Nov. 2 & 3; Fiesta Gardens
A Christmas Affair: Nov. 20-24; Palmer Events Center
Austin Powwow and American Indian Heritage Festival: Nov. 2; Toney Burger Center
Día de los Muertos: Nov. 2; Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cutlural Center
Austin Ice Cream Festival: Aug. 17; Fiesta Gardens
Austin Pride Week: Sept. 1-8; Various Locations
State Fair of Texas: Sept. 27 - Oct. 20; Fair Park, Dallas

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gives a lecture at the LBJ School of Public Affairs on Monday evening. In a Q & A session after the lecture Rice reaffirmed her support of the Iraq invasion leading to the oust of Saddam Hussein but mentioned that, if able,  she would change the approach taken to reconstruct the Iraqi government.

Photo Credit: Jorge Corona | Daily Texan Staff

Two days before the 10th anniversary of the start of the Iraq War, a conflict that resulted in the deaths of 4,488 U.S. soldiers and thousands of civilians, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice reaffirmed her support for the war and the ouster of former President Saddam Hussein.

“I would have overthrown Saddam Hussein again,” Rice said to a packed house at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium on Monday.

The war began March 20, 2003, following the United States’ and United Kingdom’s allegations that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to international security. A survey conducted later by the Iraq Survey Group found Iraq did not possess WMDs at the time of invasion, but intended to resume its weapons programs if the United Nations lifted its sanctions.

As National Security Advisor to President George W. Bush and later Secretary of State, Rice oversaw the war effort with other Cabinet officials including her predecessor Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Part of her task included engaging in a media campaign to advocate the need for war with Iraq.

“The problem here is that there will always be some uncertainty about how quickly he can acquire nuclear weapons. But, we don’t want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud,” Rice told CNN in a 2003 interview.

The conflict formally ended on Dec. 15, 2011, and remaining U.S. troops left the country three days later.

Rice said Monday that Hussein was a “cancer in the Middle East” that needed to be removed from the region, despite the lack of discovered WMDs and the deaths that resulted from the conflict.

“It is absolutely the case that the loss of lives will never be brought back and any of us who had a part in that decision will have to live with the lost and maimed lives,” Rice said. “But, nothing of value ever comes without sacrifice and I believe that Iraq has a chance. It may not make it, but it has a chance to be a state that will not seek weapons of mass destruction, will not invade its neighbors, will be a friend of the United States and will have democratic institutions that may, over time, mature.”

Rice said if given the opportunity, the administration would have sought to understand tribal relations more thoroughly earlier and would have begun reconstruction from the country’s borders and worked inward toward Baghdad, not vice versa.

Rice may not have had the hypothetical chance if a slim majority of Americans had their way. A Gallup poll released Monday showed 53 percent of Americans think the United States “made a mistake” by invading Iraq. That amount is down from the record 63 percent that opposed the war in 2008.

At the war’s outset, 75 percent of Americans supported the war and 23 percent did not.

Bobby Inman, Lyndon B. Johnson Centennial Chair in National Policy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said that history would view the conflict as “one of the great fiascos.”

Unlike its approach toward Germany and Japan after World War II, the United States did not properly plan for how it would reconstruct Iraq’s government and economy after toppling Hussein’s government in a way that would transform the country into a successful democracy, Inman said.

"When you do not look at the historical record and understand it, you are destined to make big mistakes," Inman said.

Elyse Sens talks to customers about the water stones she creates and sells at the Lady Bird Johnson Arts and Artisans Festival, Sunday afternoon. The festival was held in honor of Lady Bird Johnson's 100th birthday and featured various local artists that highlight nature in Texas with their work.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

The annual Lady Bird Johnson Artists and Artisans Festival allows people to view exhibits and purchase artwork that highlights the beauty of Texas’ environment.

Over 20 art vendors and several hundred visitors attended the event, which took place at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower center on Saturday and Sunday. The exhibits featured many different styles of art, including watercolor, origami and mixed media collage.

Joseph Hammer, director of product marketing at the Wildflower Center, said the festival serves as part of the center’s commemoration of the former first lady’s centennial.

“She would have been 100 this year, so we have special events to commemorate her life,” he said. “She liked art and collected some herself, and this event gave her a chance to interact with people who shared those sentiments.”

Hammer said the festival allows people to view nature in a different way than they normally would.

“It’s kind of ironic. Sometimes people see more when they look at a painting than when they look at the real thing,” he said. “I’ve often thought some of these wildflower paintings make people view plants a completely new way.”

Hammer said the festival displays the wildflower center’s values in a fun, interactive way that many people enjoy.

“We want to help people appreciate the art in nature,” he said. “It’s great that people recognize this is an important place. This center is not just about Austin or Texas, it’s part of a North American environmental organization and we pride ourselves on that.”

Sue Kemp, an artist and watercolor paint instructor in the art school of Austin Museum of Art at Laguna Gloria, has shown her paintings at the festival for more than 10 years. Kemp said depictions of nature in artwork can touch people deeply.

“Art allows people to discover a story within a piece they relate to and find a deeper meaning,” she said. “In turn, nature lets you get away from the business of life and routine of things.”

Kemp said artwork that depicts nature can affect someone positively just as much as the real thing.

“In between our busy lives, nature is a good escape — whether you do so in person or through artwork,” she said.

Kelly Fisher, who attended the festival, said she was blown away by the different artistic styles present at the festival and how they portrayed nature.

“It’s great to see local Texas artists here, I’ve been very impressed,” she said. “It’s nice to see what people are doing locally with materials and the wildlife here.”

Fisher said having nature and artwork depicted side-by-side helps people take a close look at its beauty and appreciate all its qualities.

“It’s nice to be able to have the inspiration and product of human creativity close by each other,” Fisher said. “It’s great to be here and have the opportunity to view nature in such a unique way.”

Printed on Monday, March 19, 2012 as: Local art festival displays Texas nature

Two security guards speak in the main lobby of the Lyndon B. Johnson Library Wednesday afternoon. New interactive exhibits that are part of a $10 million redesign project are set to open on December 22, 2012, which also coincides with what would have been Lady Bird Johnson’s one-hundredth birthday.

Photo Credit: Elisabeth Dillon | Daily Texan Staff

Visitors to the Lyndon B. Johnson Library & Museum will get the chance to act as advisors to former President Johnson on the Vietnam War in a new feature that is part of a series of renovations and redesign.

The library’s new exhibits will officially open on Dec. 22, which coincides with what would have been former first lady Lady Bird Johnson’s 100th birthday. The Gallagher & Associates design studio began designing the two-phased project to redesign the LBJ Library last December. The project is estimated to cost approximately $10 million. The nonprofit Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation is funding the project with private donations.

LBJ Library director Mark Updegrove said he aims to use innovative technology that did not exist during the library’s previous redesign in 1984.

“Interactivity is part of our lives now, and for so many young people in particular, it facilitates their ability to learn,” Updegrove said. “While this exhibit will look back at the ’60s, we want to do it in a contemporary way.”

One of the new interactive exhibits is called “Lasting Impact,” and it will show how the Johnson administration still affects Americans today. When the new exhibits open, visitors will have handheld touch-screen devices to serve as their guides by providing photos, audio and videos of the former president and his career. Along with these features, the library will also place 15 interactive locations throughout the exhibits, where visitors can listen to recorded audio of former President Johnson on the telephone.

While the library’s reading room will remain open during normal hours for researchers, the center will close the museum store during the first phase of the redesign and main exhibit floors during the second phase. The museum store is expected to double in size when it reopens in March.

The second phase of the redesign starts in March and continues until December, when Gallagher & Associates will do the work on the new exhibits and the replica of the Oval Office during LBJ’s time as president.

The redesign comes at a time where cutbacks on government spending and funding are under debate, but history professor H.W. Brands said he does not think the historical significance of LBJ’s political legacy will suffer. Brands said presidential libraries preserve records that allow historians and readers to see into the mind of decision makers as they formulate policy. Having such a resource close to campus is convenient and useful for students, Brands said.

“I’ve sent hundreds of students to the LBJ Library,” Brands said. “Some have gone on to become professional historians. Most others have come away with an increased understanding of how history is written and what it means.”

University Democrats treasurer Huey Fischer said he has visited the museum and feels it provides an impartial presentation which allows visitors to form their own judgements.

“The LBJ Library does seem to be favorable to Johnson’s legacy, but there are many exhibits that demonstrate the criticisms and darker periods of his presidency, such as the protests of the Vietnam War,” Fischer said. “A walk through the museum gives visitors a fair presentation of the facts and it leaves them to judge.”

Updegrove said he hopes the library will give all visitors the same feel it gave Fisher.

“I hope visitors come away with their own view of President Johnson — positive or negative — based on a balanced presentation of the challenges he faced and what he did about them,” Updegrove said.

Printed on Thursday, January 19, 2012 as: Renovated library to feature exhibits, modern technology

Two female joggers run at the newly renamed Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail overlooking Lady Bird Johnson Lake Thursday evening. The trail was renamed in honor of Roy Butler; a UT alumni and former mayor of Austin along with his wife Ann who established the Town Lake Beautification Committee in collaboration with former first lady Lady Bird Johnson in the 1970s.

Photo Credit: Batli Joselevitz | Daily Texan Staff

Town Lake Hike and Bike Trail was officially renamed Thursday to the Roy and Ann Butler Hike and Bike Trail, after former Austin mayor and UT alumnus Roy Butler and his wife Ann.

The couple played a pivotal role during Butler’s two terms as mayor from 1971 to 1975 in establishing the Town Lake Beautification Committee with former first lady Lady Bird Johnson, cleaning up the lake and laying the groundwork for the 10.2-mile trail that now encircles the reservoir, said Matt Curtis, spokesman for mayor Lee Leffingwell.

“The renaming will be a real compliment to Lady Bird Lake,” Curtis said. “Ann worked the most along with Lady Bird to clean up the lake and established the park.”

Luci Baines Johnson Turpin, daughter of former president Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson, told the council she believes her mother would have supported the measure to rename the trail.

“I will not dare put words in my mother’s mouth now, nor did I in her lifetime, but I have no doubt whatsoever that she would be the first person leading the parade saying the trail needs to be named after Roy and Ann, ought to be named after Roy and Ann Butler, because it is the right thing to do,” Turpin said.

Curtis added that renaming the trail will not lead to additional costs to the city.

“Town Lake signage is minimal already,” Curtis said. “As the old signage wears out we will replace it with signage with the Butlers’ names.”

Susan Rankin, director of The Trail Foundation, an organization that advocates for trail improvement at Lady Bird Lake, said Austin would not be what it is today without the Butlers’ work.

“Ann and Roy working with Lady Bird had the vision and shaped the vision of the trail that we have today,” Rankin said. “I think we all know that the trail really is the gem in the heart of Austin.”

City council decided to rename the trail in a five-in-favor, two-against vote that will bypass the customary 90-day public comment period for name changes.

City council members Kathie Tovo and Laura Morrison both praised the Butlers during the meeting but voted against the renaming measure because it waived the customary 90-day public comment period.

“I feel it is so important that we have a public dialogue about this, that I will not be able to support this motion,” Morrison said.

Radio-televsion-film junior Christina Toth said she enjoys walking the trail, but doesn’t think a name change will change her appreciation for it.

“I don’t even know the name of it honestly,” Toth said. “I usually use Lake Austin. I don’t think the name will change the way I feel about it much. It’s a nice trail. I’m just glad we have it.”

Simona Tever, 22, of New York City, said she enjoyed visiting the trail Wednesday during her Austin visit but didn’t know its name. She did however know that Lady Bird Lake was the official name of the reservoir.

“It’s Lady Bird Lake,” Tever said. “That’s what was on the map.”

Published on Friday, November 4, 2011 as: Trail remamed, honors former Austin mayor

Former President Jimmy Carter addressed more than 200 students and community members at the Lady Bird Johnson Auditorium on Tuesday night about the situation in the Middle East, his own and other presidencies and his hopes for the country’s future.

“I would like for the young people of the coming generation to strive for transcendence in political affairs, for superb accomplishments not just in your own profession, but in America,” Carter said.

The Harry Middleton Lectureship, a program sponsored by the LBJ Foundation, hosted “A Conversation with Former President Jimmy Carter.” Middleton directed the LBJ Library and Museum for 30 years and served as a staff assistant to President Johnson in the White House.

Middleton, who attended the event, said he believed Lady Bird Johnson would have been proud.

“Carter brings a vantage point that not very many people have,” Middleton said. “He occupied the most important position in the world for four years.”

Mark Updegrove, presidential historian and director of the LBJ Library, asked the former president his opinion of current events in the Middle East, an area Updegrove said no other president was associated with more than Carter. Carter negotiated the Camp David Accords, a 1978 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

Carter said the current efforts between the United States to bring peace to Israel and its neighbors are at a stalemate. He added that Obama did quite well in handling the Egyptian situation.

“About the same way I would have handled it if I had been in office,” Carter said. “I would probably have been loyal to Mubarak in the beginning.”

He said the Carter Center, his humanitarian organization, planned to send a delegation to Egypt within a week to help organize a constitution and set up the democratic elections in September.

In his lecture, Carter also discussed his years in the White House and joked about his life as a peanut farmer, his unexpected presidential victory and his $1 million personal debt when he left office.

“My proudest accomplishment was that I never dropped a bomb, fired a bullet or shot a missile while I was president,” Carter said.

Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, said Carter’s visit has been in the works for more than a year. He added that endowments left by Lady Bird Johnson and the LBJ Foundation would allow the series to always run free of charge.

“It’s really important to have people of his magnitude come to Austin on campus and be available for this kind of intimate conversation,” Hutchings said. “It made me feel he was sitting in my living room.”

Julia Burch, a public affairs graduate student, said she thought Carter’s work after his presidency has kept him on the forefront and kept him in a leadership role most presidents do not undertake once they retire.

“I hope future presidents have the energy to follow President Carter’s lead,” Burch said. “I’m here today to learn from his wisdom and hear what he has to say and hope to apply a little bit of that in my own life.”

Carter ended his lecture encouraging young people to strive for excellence and said he hoped that America would become a “real superpower” — a nation that would emulate the highest ability of a human being.