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Dawson Neighborhood


Torchy’s Tacos Burglarized

Pic: Joey Rangel Ramirez

Officers responding to a burglar alarm observed broken glass, movement inside, and then saw a man run from the scene and jump over a fence. Shortly afterward, APD apprehended Joey Rangel Ramirez, 32, who had been released from prison only days before – serving time for a burglary charge.

Update: As initially reported, the suspect was seen in the “office area” and the Torchy’s address wasn’t specified. Further news clarifies that the break-in was actually at Torchy’s trailer location, 1311 S. 1st St, and not the larger restaurant & office at 2809 S. 1st & El Paso.

Ramirez was cut and bleeding, and wearing a torn shirt which matched material caught on the fence. He also matched the suspect clearly seen on Torchy’s security video. Ramirez denied burglarizing the restaurant, saying he ran because he simply wanted to avoid the police.

Charges filed against Ramirez on July 14 were later dropped due to “insufficient arrest affidavit”, but new charges were filed on Friday, July 29. He was not in custody as of Friday afternoon.

We hope APD have the situation straightened out in due time, and the burglar is brought to justice. Torchy’s mascot Hot Stuff had no comment, but we think it’s pretty clear that one should never cross a little devil, even if he is wearing a diaper!

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Dawson News Round-Up – Mid-June

Attacks at Dawson Elementary

Image: Ouch!

Harley Nussman’s dog Georgia has been attacked on multiple occasions by a female brown-and-white Boxer-mix at the informal dog park beside Dawson Elementary School. Georgia sustained a pretty nasty puncture wound, and Harley is afraid to use the dog park again. Neighbors are asked to keep a protective eye on their fur-babies when using this exercise area, and to politely let the unidentified owner of the offending dog know of our concerns.

“Secret” Creek Trail Closed

Image: Secret Trail

For 62 years, Charles Swenson has permitted neighbors to cut through his property along Bouldin Creek from El Paso (at the bridge) to Wilson Street. This trail is handy for schoolchildren and nature lovers looking for a brief adventure. Mr. Swenson has truly been a generous person for allowing access through his land for all this time!

Unfortunately, there is an advanced problem with erosion there, which is largely held back by the roots of a single tree situated on the corner. Sadly, someone has begun cutting branches from this tree. Mr. Swenson estimates 60% of it has been hacked away over several occasions. He is concerned about the erosion damage which will result if this tree is lost, so he has barricaded the trail entrance. His property line is on the other side of the water, so he owns this segment of Bouldin Creek.

Mr. Swenson is willing to re-open the trail if the vandalism stops. He would like to have concrete steps or a ramp built, and will allow the City or members of the community to volunteer their time and materials to do this. A group of neighbors are circling ’round to work on the trail project, and it will be discussed August 8th at the next neighborhood meeting. Send your ideas and contact info to, and we’ll pass it along to the rest of the group.

Good-bye 2701 Stacy Lane

Image: 2701 Stacy Ln

The light green 1-story cinder-block bungalo on the corner of Cumberland and Stacy has been completely demolished.  Sadly, the demolition included a mature mesquite tree at least 25″ in diameter and an assortment of trees planted by the Austin Community Tree program and/or Tree Folks. Neighbor David Haun has been unable to find a permit for cutting the larger trees and worries that this was done illegally. The house was built in 1953 and last purchased Feb 23, 2016. We will let the neighborhood know when we hear what is planned for the property.

St. Ed’s Holding STEM Day Camp for HS Students

Image: Go For Launch!

Does your kid love actual rocket science? “SEU is partnering with Higher Orbits to offer a really neat day camp from 11 – 13 July.  The camp is designed for high school students as well as college freshmen and sophomores.  Teams will compete to design an experiment to be conducted in space.  The winning project will have a chance to be built, flown to space, and conducted on the International Space Station!  Retired NASA Astronaut, Mike Foreman, will be in attendance throughout as a mentor to the student teams. You can find out more information at”

Register your kid by Friday, July 1st for $250 here.

Restaurant Inspections

Image: Local Restaurant

No restaurants in Dawson failed inspection in March, April or May! See which ones passed and failed here.

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APD Bust Huge Illegal Party

Spotcrime Website

A group of young renters in Dawson Neighborhood have been holding epic parties featuring live, amplified music and crowds in the hundreds for the last four years. On Thursday, St. Patrick’s Day, they held what was to be their 4th annual SXSW party. Their facebook page showed almost 220 promising to attend, with over 120 interested. Neighbors determined that they had no permits for amplified music, crowds larger than 49 attendees, or waivers to have such a party within 100 feet of homes in their residential neighborhood. (more…)

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Dawson Honors APD Chief Slain in 1928

88 years ago, on October 9, 1928, Austin Police Chief James Littlepage was shot by a mass murderer he was pursuing for killing two women on Elizabeth Street. Littlepage died of two shotgun blasts. The killer continued on to Newton Street where he killed once more, and then committed suicide before he could be apprehended.

Today, The Austin Police Officer Memorial Project placed a gray granite marker at Trinity Abundant Life Church, 412 Cumberland Road, near the spot where he died. Please view the touching dedication ceremony below:

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Dawson National Night Out 2015 Picnic

Give Neighborhood Crime and Drugs A Going Away Party!


Turn your porch light on, lock the door, and come on down to meet your neighbors at Gillis Park this Tuesday, October 6th 2015 from 7:00 PM to 10!

This is a spur-of-the-moment group picnic in observance of National Night Out. Volunteers are invited to sign up to form a committee to plan and carry out a major Official NNO block party October 4th 2016!

This committee also seeks to form neighborhood watches, with the Austin Police Department providing a 1-hour workshop on being observant and staying safe!

APD and other local dignitaries have been invited to attend, but due to short notice, we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed. Also, this year’s City of Austin National Night Out Kick-Off Event will take place at Mueller Airport Lake on Saturday, October 3, 2015 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For more information about National Night Out visit

National Night Out is a production of the National Association of Town Watch. They also sponsor a wonderful program called Project 365. It’s an initiative for neighborhood groups to identify and improve or resolve crime problems in our community within a year’s time-frame. Neighbors of Dawson would like to launch NATW’s programs here to address our own local trouble spots.

The address is 2508 Durwood Street. Look for the “Dawson Neighborhood” signs. Please bring your own food and chairs and plan for few plates of extra food to share. The park is alcohol-free and glassware is not allowed. There is a burn ban in effect, so bring only propane grills. A good idea would be to precook your burgers and weiners and heat them up again on site. We’ll share our camping stove.

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Prison Escape on Dawson’s Border

Many of us have looked with curiosity at the grim institutional complex across the street from Autozone on Congress and Chase Bank on Long Bow Lane. This is the Gardner Betts Juvenile Center, and despite the lovely name, this is not a community rec center, a career facility or a public school. It’s a prison for children who are put to profitable labor as part of their sentence.

Today, one of the inmates, 17-year old Edwin Argumendo, briefly escaped by scaling a 12-15 foot fence and fleeing down Long Bow to Sherwood. He was working on a construction project on-site as part of a vocational program for inmates.

A woman living on Sherwood reported a prowler in her backyard at 8 PM, just as he was discovered missing back at the prison. This was about a block away. Argumedo saw authorities approaching and ran, but was eventually caught behind Amco Hotel, about 8-9 blocks away, along the IH-35 Frontage Road.

The question remains unanswered, and indeed, unasked, about why Argumedo fled in the first place. We know that abuse is rampant in the Texas juvenile justice system. One reason for that could be the systemic indifference of our authorities and citizens to this situation. It seems reasonable to ask Argumedo what made a life on the lam more attractive than free room and board, with vocational training, at one of our County’s finest established institutions of social care and repair.

More information is on KXAN’s website.

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Charges Made In HEB Slashing

The APD have charged a suspect in the mugging and throat slashing of a woman in the H-E-B parking lot on May 20.

The victim was loading groceries where she was parked, on the far west side of the lot, at 1:30 AM. She was approached by the suspect, who first demanded a ride. The victim refused, and the suspect then attacked her for her purse. The suspect slashed the woman’s throat and fled on foot. The purse was found several blocks away.


Three days later, a known violent offender named Edward Roy Bennett was arrested for violating his parole. His parole officer reported that he had defeated his ankle monitor and had not reported to his transitional living center.

While in custody, APD matched Bennett’s palm print with one found on the victim’s property. Bennett has now also been charged with Attempted Capital Murder for his role in the incident. Bond was set for one million dollars.


We express our sincere thanks to APD, the H-E-B security guard on duty that morning, and send our best wishes to the victim for a speedy recovery.

Thanks also go to our neighbor Marty Harris, for bringing this development to our attention! We rely on watchful and benevolent folks like him to help keep our neighborhood safe.

 UPDATE Nov 19: Victim Speaks of her Recovery.

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Woman Mugged at Dawson Neighborhood HEB

An unidentified South Austin woman is recovering at Breckinridge Hospital after being mugged in the west side of the parking lot of the 2400 S.Congress Ave HEB in Dawson Neighborhood. She was attacked from behind at around 1:30 AM while loading her groceries into her truck, and her throat was slashed. She may owe her life to the quick-thinking HEB security guard who put pressure on her wound while waiting for the ambulance.

The assailant is still at large, and no witnesses have been identified. Police have found the victim’s purse and have examined video footage for more information. They say a lot of evidence has been collected, and have confidence they will identify the suspect.

“Sometimes people like to park away from other vehicles, but at this time of night I would encourage people to park where there are other people coming and going; other shoppers and employees have a better eye on what’s going on,” said Sgt. Don Doyle with the Austin Police Department. –

 UPDATE Nov 19: Victim Speaks of her Recovery.

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May 2015 is Elder Abuse Prevention Month

“Dear Dawson Neighborhood,

The Alzheimer’s Association is a member of the Adult Protective Services Community Board. We are reaching out to you with the following information, which speaks to the number of growing elderly population in the County and APS’s engagement with this segment of our population.

As you know, Austin is one of the fastest growing cities in America. The rate of elderly in our community is also growing at a rapid pace. In 2014, Travis County had close to 90,000 residents over the age of 65 and just below 58,000 adult residents with a disability.

Adult Protective Services (APS) is the state agency tasked with investigating abuse, neglect (including self-neglect), and exploitation of older adults (65 years and older) and adults with mental or physical disabilities that cause substantial impairment in their ability to live independently and provide self-care. If needed, APS then puts services in place to alleviate and prevent further maltreatment. Services might include emergency assistance for food or shelter, referrals for home attendant services, or information and referrals to other community resources.

In 2014, Travis County APS received 4,014 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation. As most incidents of elder abuse are likely not reported, these numbers do not do justice to expose the problem. Abuse, neglect and exploitation occur across socioeconomic status, race, gender, and neighborhood lines. It may be surprising to note that close to 70% of all APS cases involve self-neglect. With families so spread out as they are these days, it is everyone’s business to watch out for the vulnerable older adult in the neighborhood.

Please go to for more indicators of abuse, neglect and exploitation and how to get involved.

Rose Rodriguez,
Office and Program Support
Alzheimer’s Association, Capital of Texas Chapter
(512) 241-0420 x 10″

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They Defaced Our Meeting Signs

(Potentially NSFW)

Of the twenty-five signs we originally bought in February 2014, six have gone permanently missing. The week leading up to the April 13 Neighborhood Meeting was especially active with regard to signs being stolen, and unlike before, we’re seeing them being defaced. In one case, the vandalism was undeniably premeditated:

(Dates corrected)

  1. Thu Apr 9, One sign stolen from 2915 S 1st (Top Gunn)
  2. Fri Apr 10, Two signs stolen from 502 W Ben White Blvd (new Habitat for Humanity HQ),
  3. Sat Apr 11, Two signs stolen AGAIN from 502 W Ben White Blvd, between 8:45 AM and 10 AM.
  4. Sun Apr 12, One sign stolen from 307 W Oltorf (Austin Rebuilders)
  5. Sun Apr 12, One sign stolen from 505 W Oltorf (private home)
  6. Sun Apr 12, One sign turned backwards and defaced with permanent marker at 502 W Ben White Blvd:

7) Mon Apr 13, Sign from 2915 S 1st reappears in original spot!! Selected letters, the meeting’s date, and contact name & number scraped off, defacing the message. Stenciled info on back removed with paint thinner, and whole back painted over with silver paint:

8) Thu Apr 16, Sign from 307 W Oltorf found at 2400 S. Congress Ave by HEB Staff with Asian(?) graffiti defacing to back:

We thank our neighbors for looking out for our signs! We intend to press criminal charges and are offering $50 for any information leading to the conviction of the perpetrators. Contact us ASAP if you see anyone tampering with them. If you feel safe doing so, take pictures of the weasel!

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