The Little Town That Almost Was: The Nicholson Story, Part III

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, History, Human Interest, Local history

To preserve the rich history of Flour Bluff, The Texas Shoreline News, will run historical pieces and personal accounts about the life and times of the people who have inhabited the Encinal Peninsula. Each edition will feature the stories gleaned from interviews held with people who remember what it was like to live and work in Flour Bluff in the old days.  You won’t want to miss any of these amazing stories.

Lisa and John Nicholson, 2018 (Photo by Shirley Thornton)

     Cleta and John Orval Nicholson II took their baby boy home from Spohn Hospital on Shoreline to 338 Davis Drive in 1950 to live in the two-story house behind Nicholson’s Grocery with big sister Sally.  This little guy would take the name of his father and his grandfather, but he would come to be known simply as “Johno” to all.  He would later inherit the family business, which he saw as a blessing and a curse. Times were often hard, but with his work experience, a solid education from Flour Bluff School and Del Mar College, the mentorship of his grandfather and other small business owners, this enterprising young man and Lisa, his wife and business partner, took what had become a failing grocery store and turned it into the thriving, local landmark, Barton Street Pub.

Two-story house behind grocery store, ca. 1980s (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     Johno attended Flour Bluff School from first through twelfth grade.  “My sister Sally and I were somewhat well-known because of the store,” said Johno.  “Anybody who owned a business was well-known because the families traded with them, but I was a shy kid.”

     Johno remembers his first days in Flour Bluff School.  “There was a surge of kids at the beginning of my first-grade year, and the school was not ready for them,” he said.  “I started out in the old 1939 building with Mrs. Grace Malinowski, but within a few days, they shifted us all around, and I ended up in the newer wing of the building with Mrs. Clark.”

Mrs. Clark gives John Nicholson clay during class. (1957 Hornet Yearbook photo)

 

     One of his favorite teachers was Miss Willis.  “Everyone called her Miss Eunice,” he said.  “She was a country girl who taught second grade.  In her class, we churned butter and grew things, and she taught us to write cursive.  I was acting up one day in her class.  She came over to my chair and got me and led me back to her desk, which was behind us.  She put me on her lap and popped me one time.  Then, she made me stay on her lap while she kept teaching.  I was so embarrassed that I never acted up the rest of the year.  She was a treasure.  Everybody loved her.”

This is Miss Eunice Willis and her 2nd -grade class. John Nicholson is second from the right, front row, but who are the others?  Contact the editor if you can identify any of them. (1957 Hornet Yearbook photo)

 

     Miss Willis, like many Flour Bluff teachers, lived in the teacherages that Mr. Wranosky, school superintendent, had built for them.  “There were many others who lived in the houses on the school circle, too,” said Johno.  “Miss Arnold, Mr. Odom, B.J. Howard, the Wranoskys, and other teachers lived on school grounds.”

     “Mr. Wranosky was a good man,” said Johno.  “He cared about every kid in that school.  He made special arrangements for all the special education students.  He was a true educator and knew every kid by name.  When kids went to the cafeteria without any money, the cashier wrote their names down and sent them on to get their food, but the school never collected.  We had a lot of poor kids in Flour Bluff back then, and Mr. Wranosky made sure they got to eat.”

E. J. Wranosky, Superintendent of Flour Bluff Schools, ca. 1959 (1959 Hornet Yearbook photo)

     In 1967-68, his senior year, Johno was able to use the skills he acquired from working the family business and his education when Mr. Wranosky gave him a job as part of the Distributive Education (DE) Program. He went to school from 8:00 a.m. to noon and worked at Central Office from noon to 4:00 p.m. In the summertime, he worked six to eight hours each day. He started at 90 cents an hour but quickly earned a 35-cent raise.  “That was a lot of money to start and quite an honor to get a raise like that,” said Johno.

     “They started me in the print shop in the back,” he said.  “They liked me and the way I worked, so they moved me up to the front desk to help Mrs. Harris.  I answered the phone and transferred all calls. I received and distributed the mail.  I greeted all people who came in. I handled all the accounts payable, so I wrote the checks for the board members to sign.  I also wrote checks for the transportation department.  Once Jason Wranosky ordered a brand-new bus.  He came in from looking it over, handed me the bill, and told me to write a check for $10,000!  I had never written a check for that much, and I was shaking when I took it into Miss Arnold to sign!”

     When Johno’s father died in 1967, his mother took over the running of the grocery store.  “I worked at the school but still worked weekends helping my mother,” said Johno.  “The grocery business for us was not good at that time.  There were too many stores in Flour Bluff, and HEB opened up in 1964.  That took its toll on many of the smaller grocery stores. Frank Buhider, who owned Frank’s Foodland, was the first to close.”

Daddy John Nicholson stands in front of store in 1971 (Photo courtesy of Johno Nicholson)

     Nicholson’s Grocery would remain in business for a few more years.  During that time, Johno’s sister Sally married her high school sweetheart, moved away, and started her own life.  Johno attended Del Mar College where he studied computer programming.  “They taught us how they worked.  I took typing and keypunch, and I took accounting, which was very difficult.  They were preparing us to go out into the corporate world.  The principles and the concepts were valuable for the day-to-day running of any business,” said Johno.

     Nicholson’s Grocery was barely holding on when Lisa Proctor was hired to work there.  “Lisa came in 1972.  My mother passed away in 1973, and I took over the store full time,” said Johno.  “Before she passed, we were having a hard time, but it really went downhill after she died.  A lot of our customers owed us money from unpaid tabs, and we were borrowing money to keep it open.  Daddy John and I had to send letters letting people know that we could no longer extend them credit.  It was hard to cut folks off, but we couldn’t pay our own bills.  The grocery would come in, and we didn’t have the money to pay for them.  I was writing hot checks, and girl down at 1st National Bank would call me almost every morning for me to bring cash to cover the checks.  It cost me two dollars on each one.  That went on for a long time, and finally I just couldn’t cover them.  We didn’t re-stock the store.  We just started selling everything out that we had.”

     Johno went to work for other small business owners in Flour Bluff while Lisa and Daddy John continued to run the store.  “I went to work for Doug Turner as a welder’s helper.  I did the grinding, the painting, and the cutting to set him up to weld.  I took the money I earned with Doug and put it into the store to keep the doors open,” he said.

     In 1975, Johno heard about a lease available on Padre Island at the Nueces-Kleberg county line.  “It was 21 acres on the beach,” he said.  “Mrs. Oshaski had rented it and had a little store out there.  She had abandoned the store, so I called the Cadwallader Development Company in San Antonio; they owned the property.  They were tickled to give me the lease because at that time landowners were trying to establish ownership above the state on beach frontage.  Both were claiming ownership.  By leasing to me, they were kind of using me as a way to prove ownership.  I paid $120 a month.  I bought a portable building for $350 from Mr. McManus, and I bought Mrs. Oshaski’s building for $50.  He let me pay it out because I didn’t have any money.  We had it hauled over here to fix it up then borrowed Doug Turner’s wrecker truck to pull out to the beach and hooked up the electricity.  We even had a phone out there.”

     Johno and Lisa named the store Johno’s, got their beer license, and started selling beer, ice, soft drinks, cigarettes, and snacks.  “We were doing pretty well when a guy from the state contacted us and said we had to go to Austin.  That’s when they told us we were on their property.  I showed them my lease, but they didn’t care,” said Johno.  “They wanted us to move the building back 50 feet.  They said if we did that we could stay there until we died or blew away. So, we moved both buildings back.  We had the store in our building, and we leased the Oshaski building to a hippie who wanted to open a shell shop.  That didn’t work out, so we just kept it as a place to stay while we were out there.”

John Nicholson holds personalized car tag with name of beach store. (Photo by Shirley Thornton)

     The sand was soft in front of the store at its new location.  Johno decided he needed to wet it down to keep the customers from getting stuck.  “I had heard that there was water just a few feet down,” Johno said.  “So, I bought a well point with a fine screen on it to drive into the ground.  I put it down seven feet and attached a little pump to it.  It was an endless supply of the sweetest water you’d ever want to drink, and I had plenty of water to sprinkle the sand to keep folks from getting stuck.”

     Tom Hale, who owned Ira’s at the entrance to Bob Hall Pier, set it up for Johno to get shark caught by the fishermen.  “We put in a tall pole with a wench on it, and we would hang the shark to attract people to come to see it with the hopes that they’d buy something, too.  All we had to do was give Tom the jaws from the shark,” said Johno.  “We kept water running on the shark the whole time because they didn’t last long.  When they got too stinky, we’d take them down and drag them to the shark burial grounds behind the bath house close to the pier.  The county would come along and cover the shark up with sand.”

Tourist posing with hammerhead shark hanging in front of Johno’s, ca. 1977 (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     Johno and Lisa managed to keep Nicholson’s Grocery open for a little bit longer.  “Lisa and I were dating, and we decided to convert the store into a bar.  We walled off what was left of the store and built a 1000 square foot bar on the other side.  Nicholson’s Grocery closed on December 5, 1975.  That was the day we got our beer license and opened our first bar, the Barnstormer.”

     “We did pretty well at the island store until the water came in really high in 1977,” said Johno.  “It destroyed our building, and that ended that.”

Next edition:  Read the final installment of the history of the Nicholson family to learn about this family of entrepreneurs who forged a path to success with some very unusual ventures.

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Be sure to pick up the next edition of The Texas Shoreline News to read stories from other longtime residents of Flour Bluff.  To share these stories about Flour Bluff history with others online, visit https://texasshorelinenews.com/.

The editor welcomes all corrections or additions to the stories to assist in creating a clearer picture of the past.  Please contact the editor at Shirley@texasshorelinenews.com to submit a story about the early days of Flour Bluff.

Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Tales from the Little Town That Almost Was, The Nicholson Story, Part II

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, History, Local history

To preserve the rich history of Flour Bluff, The Texas Shoreline News, will run historical pieces and personal accounts about the life and times of the people who have inhabited the Encinal Peninsula. Each edition will feature the stories gleaned from interviews held with people who remember what it was like to live and work in Flour Bluff in the old days.  You won’t want to miss any of these amazing stories.

     When John Orval Nicholson, Sr. (Daddy John) left New Mexico and followed his son, John Orval II (Nick), to Corpus Christi after the war, he bought a drug store at Six Points.  “That was his first venture in Corpus Christi,” said Daddy John’s grandson, John Orval III (Johno).  Nick owned a radio shop at Six Points.

     “Daddy John bought a house at 3544 Santa Fe in the beginning,” said Johno, “Then, he got wind of the causeway going in, and he bought a tourist court on this property we’re on right now.  After he bought it, he renamed it Nicholson’s Courts.”

     According to a Corpus Christi Caller-Times article from March 9, 1938, S. C. Ohlhausen of the Ohlhausen Dredging Co. at Galveston “made application with the War Department for a permit to dredge and construct an estimated half-million-dollar causeway from Flour Bluff across the Laguna Madre to the Gulf of Mexico on the south side of Corpus Christi Pass.”  Ohlhausen was hopeful that the project would be completed by August of 1939, but that didn’t happen. Not until 1947 would talk of the causeway start up again with a special meeting held by the County Commissioners Court to discuss construction of the causeway.  This time, it seemed the project would come to fruition.

     At that time, South Padre Island Drive was a rural route, dirt road that came to an end at the Laguna Madre.  Businesses and homes started to dot the short stretch of road in anticipation of the building of the causeway that would cross the Laguna Madre and allow motorists access to Padre Island.  Nicholson’s Grocery was born in 1948 in front of the tourist court.  Opening day for the little store was uneventful according to Daddy John’s grandson.

     “There wasn’t much of a community out here,” Johno said.  “The causeway wouldn’t open for almost another two years, but they did enough business to get by.  A lot of the property along Davis Drive had been purchased but not developed,” he added, listing A&H Sporting Goods, Dairy Queen, Sportsman’s Bait and Tackle, Buck’s Sporting Goods, Ed’s Bait and Tackle, and Byrd’s Café as some of the original businesses that would change their addresses many times over the years from Davis Drive to Island Drive and finally to South Padre Island Drive.

(Photo courtesy of John Nicholson III, ca. 1963)

     Johno and the new causeway were born in 1950.  “I was born at Spohn Hospital, and they brought me home to this property.  I’ve been here ever since,” he said.

     Motorists lined up to pay the $1.00 toll to cross the North Padre Island Causeway (later renamed the JFK Causeway).  Business was good, and Flour Bluff continued to grow.  Daddy John took an active role in making the community better – and not just for the businesses or tourists passing through.  The area was experiencing an extreme drought, which caused great concern for the people on the Encinal Peninsula.  A water line had been laid for Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, which also served other customers south of Corpus Christi, but not Flour Bluff.

     “In 1950, everybody out here – except for the base – was on water wells,” said Johno.  “We had a windmill, but it was difficult to provide water for the motel and the store.  Daddy John got together with some other Flour Bluff folks, including the Lion’s Club, to bring city water to Flour Bluff.”  According to a September 8, 1950, Caller-Times piece, Daddy John was elected president of the board, S. F. Hawley served as secretary, and W. F. Cutler, Jr., James E. Johnson, and V. K. Warlick served as directors.

     On May 8, 1960, the Caller-Times gave a brief history of how the water district that included Flour  Bluff and the part of Padre Island which is in Nueces County came to be.  The following is from that article:

     “In 1950, when the Padre Island Causeway came into being and triggered development on the island, Flour Bluff still was relying on wells for water.  In the summer of 1950, the wells nearly ran dry.  The Flour Bluff Lions Club spearheaded petitioning of the State Board of Water Engineers for creation of a water district which would buy water from the City of Corpus Christi and pipe it to customers at Flour Bluff and on the island.  This move, although heavily favored, had its dissenters and there was campaigning to be done – before the board of water engineers and in two elections at Flour Bluff.  One was on the ratification of the district’s creation, the other on a $700,000 bond issue to put the district in business.  The bond issue passed 153 to 19.”

     Bids from 15 companies arrived at the office of the Nueces County Water Control and Improvement District No. 2, located at 102 Davis Drive.  John Nicholson, Sr. told the Caller-Times, “We think it may take four to six months to complete the project and want the water supply available here by next summer.”

     “Daddy John added a twenty-foot by fifty-foot section to this building for a water office,” said Johno.  “He wanted to have a place for people to come pay bills and just to manage the water system.  The powers that be decided not to use it after he built it.  They used the building that sits at the end of Lakeside, what is now the cleaners.”

(Caller-Times photo)

     Sooner than Daddy John predicted, the first water pipe in the new Flour Bluff water system was laid. The pipe was delivered in February to the Center Addition just off Lexington Boulevard and was installed on March 28, 1951.  The whole project should have been finished by May, but according to an April 6, 1951, Caller-Times article, Daddy John reported a shortage of the 10-inch pipe as the reason for delay.  By July 1951, the water line tied Flour Bluff citizens to the city’s water supply.

     By June of 1953, a water tank had to be installed to increase the water supply for use by residents. The Caller-Times reported that on the morning of June 16, 1953, that only five pounds of pressure was coming out of the city line. “The Naval Air Station, with an underground reservoir situated between Flour Bluff and Corpus Christi, naturally cuts down the pressure,” said M.C. Jarrell, then head of the Water Control District.  He assured everyone he was not complaining about the use of water by the Navy but that he was concerned about fire danger in the area with such low water pressure.

     In his words, the Flour Bluff residents were “sitting ducks.”  Many people in the Humble Camp reported that they had been using well water again. In an effort to resolve the Flour Bluff water issues, Jarrell told the Caller-Times that a second water tank at Flour Bluff would be installed, with a booster pump added for use in emergencies.  This tower sat on the north side of Davis Drive (now Padre Island Drive) between Lakeside Drive and the Laguna Madre.  It saw its demise when the causeway bond was paid off and the county turned the roadway over to the state.  A new, multi-lane, wide highway went in, and the tank was in the way.  A new tower would later be built on Flour Bluff Drive.

(Caller-Times photo of second water tower in Flour Bluff, which is still in use today, ca. 1971)

     Though bringing water to Flour Bluff was perhaps the best thing Daddy John did for Flour Bluff, he was always concerned about education of the youth.  “He was an educator his entire life,” said Johno.   “It just seemed natural for him to serve as the president of the Nueces County School Board.” But, when the county schools became independent school districts, like Flour Bluff Independent School District did, Daddy John pushed to end the county board.  “He just didn’t think they were doing any good any more, so he voted to abolish it.”

     “The post office substation became available sometime in the fifties, and he added it to the store,” said Johno.  “Daddy John ran it first.  Then my daddy ran it for a while.  My mother, Cleta, took it after we hired a butcher for the grocery store.  Until then, she had been the butcher.  We kept it quite a few years until Mother died; then it moved to A&H.  At first, it was near the front of the store, but we moved it to the back thinking that somebody might buy something if they walked through the store.  I think they did more shoplifting than buying,” Johno said with a chuckle.

     “It wasn’t lucrative,” Johno said about running the post office.  “We made about $400 a month, and it was a lot of responsibility.  We had to buy a safe to put the stamps and money in at night when we’d close up.  We kept our money in there, also.  One time the auditors came in and found the extra money in the safe, and they were going to take it.  They said if our money was mixed in with theirs that it became theirs.  My daddy set them straight about that.”

     The business at 338 Davis Drive would continue as a grocery store for many more years.  Daddy John was around off and on.  His son Nick and daughter-in-law Cleta took over the running of the businesses until they passed 1967 and 1973 respectively. However, it was his grandson, Johno, who had spent his life learning the family business, who would be the one to fight the battle of saving the property.  The Nicholson entrepreneurial spirit would be his main weapon in that battle.

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Be sure to pick up the next edition of The Texas Shoreline News to read stories from other longtime residents of Flour Bluff.  To share these stories about Flour Bluff history with others online, visit https://texasshorelinenews.com/.

The editor welcomes all corrections or additions to the stories to assist in creating a clearer picture of the past.  Please contact the editor at Shirley@texasshorelinenews.com to submit a story about the early days of Flour Bluff.

 

Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Tales from the Little Town That Almost Was: The Nicholson Story, Part I

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, History, Local history

To preserve the rich history of Flour Bluff, The Texas Shoreline News, will run historical pieces and personal accounts about the life and times of the people who have inhabited the Encinal Peninsula. Each edition will feature the stories gleaned from interviews held with people who remember what it was like to live and work in Flour Bluff in the old days.  You won’t want to miss any of these amazing stories.  This article first appeared in the Texas Shoreline News, August 3, 2018.  To read more about Flour Bluff history, visit TSN.

Nicholson’s Grocery when it was first built, September 1948 (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     In 1947, when John Orval Nicholson, called “Daddy John” by many, got wind of a new causeway going in that would connect the Encinal Peninsula to Padre Island, he bought a piece of property on what was then a dirt road, a dirt road that would eventually become a major highway.  A two-story house, built by a man from Kansas in the late 1930s, sat on the property and first carried the address of Route 4, Box 191, then 338 Davis Drive after 1950, followed by 338 Island Drive, and finally 10618 South Padre Island Drive. This address saw many changes along the way and is now the home to Barton Street Pub, which is owned by Nicholson’s grandson, John Orval Nicholson III.

     Around the house were small cottages that made up what was called a “tourist court.”  The house served as a home and as the office for the motel. According to John O. Nicholson III (Johno), the structures were substandard when his grandfather bought them.  “He remodeled all of it built units 1 and 2, which are now my workshop, and 10 and 11, which are now rentals.  They’re on slabs,” said Johno.  Daddy John sold that piece of the property in 1952, but his grandson bought it back in 1984.

     Unbelievably, the Kansas man who built the original buildings also built a storm cellar behind the house, something quite peculiar for a Flour Bluff residence. “The underground part of it is still there,” said Johno.  “The old man who owned the car wash bought that piece of the property, knocked the top off of it and just put dirt over it.  I still hit something every time I mow because it’s still sticking up.”

     “Daddy John lived in town, and the day he drove out here to look at the property, he got stuck in the sand,” his grandson said, chuckling.  Still, he did not let that deter him.  Daddy John knew that a causeway would bring lots of visitors with lots of money to spend, and he wanted to get ahead of the curve, so he built Nicholson’s Grocery in front of the two-story house in 1948, two years before the completion of the causeway. Several property owners along this rural route did the same because they, like Daddy John, could see that Flour Bluff would be the gateway to Padre Island.

The blue arrow indicates where Nicholson’s Grocery was located (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     “This whole strip was developing,” said Johno.  “A&H Sporting Goods, Dairy Queen, Ed’s Sporting Goods, Buck’s Sporting Goods.”  The Dairy Queen property, owned by the O’Donavitch family, sat on the west corner of Lakeside and Davis Drive.  Their house was on the east corner.  On the corner of what became Laguna Shores Road, Bernie Davis and her son Jim Coffman built A&H; it is now Wind and Wave.  Buck’s became the Plaza Motel. Ed’s sat where the vacant lot and driveway into HEB are today. All businesses along the dirt road thrived once the road was paved and became the primary entrance to North Padre Island.  Tourism became a major source of revenue for many of the people of Flour Bluff.

Island-bound cars in front of Nicholson’s Grocery wait in line to pay the $1.00 toll to cross over to the island, ca. 1955 (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     “My daddy had a radio shop in town.  He was a radio technician before there was tv,” said Johno.  “Daddy John enticed him to come out here after he married Mother and had my older sister, Sally.  He wanted my dad to run the store because he wanted to go do something else.  He built the store when he was 68.  When he turned 72, he moved to Benton, Arkansas, and bought a small farm/ranch to give him something to do.  My daddy took over the store.”

     Daddy John returned to Flour Bluff two years later in 1954 and built a home behind the store.  “He lived there, and Mama and Daddy continued to run the store,” recalls Johno.  “Then, he decided to go back to Arkansas.  He was 79.”

John Orval Nicholson, or Daddy John (Photo courtesy of John Nicholson)

     This man, who did not seem to let age get in the way of what he wanted to do, bought a trailer in 1959 from Red Morrow, a man who lived on Laguna Shores.  “Daddy John moved it next to the grocery store and started working on it,” said Johno, explaining that Morrow was building a house, which is why he sold the trailer to Daddy John.

     “Red went to the Flour Bluff lumber company, which was called Selby-Lankford then, to order the lumber,” said Johno.  (According to the Caller-Times, Selby-Lankford Lumber opened in 1951 on Lexington in Flour Bluff.  Later, John Pearson bought the company and re-named it Flour Bluff Lumber Company.)

     “The guys at the lumber company loaded the truck and headed out.  He (Morrow) followed them to the house in his 1954 Mercury.  A 2 X 12 came loose and went through the window and got him.  It took his eye out.  Of course, it knocked him out, and he veered off the road and hit a house. They took us to see the aftermath.  It was very tragic, but he lived.  He just lived with a glass eye after that.”

     “Daddy John fixed the trailer up and had it hauled to Arkansas.  He had bought 40 acres in Kirby,” recalls Johno, who was nine-years old at the time. “I went with him to follow the trailer up there.  The property had nothing on it except a few old-growth pine trees.  The next year, after school was out, I went up to visit, and he had a home built.”

     “At that time, the forest service offered to populate your property with pine trees if you signed an agreement not to cut them down for 20 years,” Johno said.  “He had 20,000 little pine trees planted in straight rows.  My job for the summer was to mow between the pines.  He kept the property for 9 years and lived there a month then down here a month. He drove with my grandmother, Daisy, sitting next to him.  She didn’t like all of that, but he did.  He told me, ‘I’ve got itchy feet.’ “

     The man with “itchy feet” didn’t always live in Flour Bluff.  “Daddy John was born in Indiana,” Johno said, “and he got his teaching certificate when he was 17.  He taught first grade up through twelfth in a one-room school house.  He said it didn’t pay very well, so he got a job as a mailman on a motorcycle.”

     Daddy John’s first wife, Nettie Tompkins, got sick and died in 1921, leaving him with a son, John Orval Nicholson II. At that time, Oklahoma and New Mexico had just become states, so he loaded up his son and headed for Oklahoma. “He started building houses and churches to help get the state going,” said Johno.  “He met and married Daisy in 1923 and moved on to New Mexico, where he started building homes and selling them,” Johno said.  “People would buy a home and pay him on time.  He was doing pretty well.”

     Daisy, Daddy John’s second wife and the grandmother Johno knew, was born in Santa Anna, Texas, a town named for the twin mountains located just north of the community, which were in turn named for Santa Anna, a Comanche chief, according to the Texas State Historical Association.  It was here that Daisy became a teacher.  She moved from Santa Anna to New Mexico where she homesteaded some land.  “She became fairly wealthy in terms of the time period,” said Johno.  “She and Daddy John built a home in New Mexico.  They were both pretty old by then.”

     John Orval II moved to Texas City, Texas, to work for a refinery.   “Somehow he ended up in Corpus Christi,” said Johno.  “He had taken a correspondence course to learn how to work on radios, and Daddy John followed him.  That’s how we wound up here.”

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Be sure to pick up the next edition of The Texas Shoreline News to read stories from other longtime residents of Flour Bluff.  To share these stories about Flour Bluff history with others online, visit https://texasshorelinenews.com/.

The editor welcomes all corrections or additions to the stories to assist in creating a clearer picture of the past.  Please contact the editor at Shirley@texasshorelinenews.com to submit a story about the early days of Flour Bluff.

Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Councilman Smith Talks City Business at FBBA General Meeting

Business, Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page
District 4 Corpus Christi City Councilman Greg Smith addresses FBBA (PaperTrail photo)

 

     On Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at the regular monthly meeting of the Flour Bluff Business Association, District 4 Councilman Greg Smith shared what has been happening at the city level.  The citizens elected Smith their council member last November.  “I am a Flour Bluffian, Class of 1970, and the first person who actually grew up in Flour Bluff to be elected to city council,” said Smith.

Harvey Update

     Smith started his presentation by discussing the effects of Harvey on Flour Bluff.  “We really got a pass on this one.  We had mostly roof and fence damage, and overall it was not too bad,” said Smith.  “That said, the condos and hotels on Mustang Island within the city limits were severely damaged.  About 20%, our HOT (Hotel Occupancy Tax) funds come from there.  None of those condominiums today are operating. The water was about 10 feet above sea level on Mustang Island.  It came out of Corpus Christi Bay, pushed up against those dunes, and really caused severe flooding.”

     The councilman went on to explain the issue with the brush and debris pickup, something that Judge Loyd Neal criticized publicly just last month. “For all of us in the Bluff and on the island, don’t put any more out.  The city’s not picking it up.  If you do, you will get a $75 bill,” said Smith.  “In 45 days, the city hauled more brush than they do in two years.  Corpus Christi is about 100 times the size of Port Aransas, which has more debris coming out of it than all of Corpus Christi.”

     Smith cautioned people about thinking we would not have another storm for many years.  He reminded everyone of the 1916 and 1919 storms of Carla, Beulah, and Celia that came within the same 9 years.  “We need to take what we learned from all these storms and apply it to the future.  The odds are we are going to have a storm much sooner than 47 years,” he said referring to the August 3, 1970, Celia that hit Corpus Christi directly.

Creative Commons Photo

     “I am going to be pushing for several things.  One is our roofs and the composition shingles.  Right now we’re required to have a 120 mph shingle that sells for $65 a square.  For $75 a square, you can buy a 150 mph shingle.  And, it will last nearly twice as long.  Instead of a 30-year shingle, you’ll get a 50-year shingle,” said Smith.

     “Flour Bluff – like Port Aransas – floods.  If the conditions are right, we could see the flooding here that Mustang Island saw.  If we increase the BFE (base flood elevation) to one foot above, everybody in Corpus Christi who is paying flood insurance will see a 5% reduction.  Anybody who builds at that standard will save money on their flood policy,” said Smith. “Both of these things can save us money in the long run.”

     Smith spoke of how some of the local haulers had upped their prices after Harvey but took the time to point out the Matt Eckstrom of Killian Calderon Disposal, was not one of them.  “I want to give a shout-out to Matt,” said Smith.  “He is a good local citizen who didn’t take advantage of his customers.”  Smith encouraged those in attendance to call on Eckstrom if they have need for his services.

City Budget

     Smith then talked about various aspects of city government, beginning with the budget that went into effect October 1, 2017.  “Most of us on the council are new to the process, so it’s been a learning year.  We basically received a staff budget,” Smith said.  Mayor Joe McComb and Smith asked that staff cut 1% across the board so that there would be money to put into streets.  When Council was told that there was no way to do that, Smith said, “When they told me they could not save one cent on the dollar, I had trouble with that.  We did get a half-cent on there, which was $3.4 million to go to our residential streets, not our arterials and collectors.”

     “Thirty years ago, all of our ad valorem taxes went to support our public safety, police and fire.  Our sales tax went to the other areas.  Today, all of our ad valorem goes to support police, and all of our sales tax goes to support fire.  I’m not saying these are dedicated funds.  We get $77 million in ad valorem, and our police budget is $77 million.  Our fire budget is $52 million, and we get around $54 million in sales tax.  Monies that were going elsewhere historically have gradually been shifted over to public safety.  I think our fire and police have excellent people there, and we are understaffed, more so in the police than fire.  We do have issues right now,” said Smith.

     Smith explained that increased evaluations did bring in extra ad valorem dollars.  “That money went to satisfy our contractual obligations to our police and fire departments.  We didn’t have anything left over at the end of the day.  We received an increase of $4 million in ad valorem increases, but we had $4 million obligated to raises to police and fire.”  He said that they are looking at different ways to address the issue.  “To put one more officer on the force, it costs the taxpayers $125,000 for each officer.”  If they increase by eight officers, it will cost $1 million.  “Right now we have about 400 officers,” said Smith.

     “We have way too much debt, and we’re not in favor of that.  This council, with five new members, is a much more questioning council than our last councils have been,” said Smith.  “We’ve got to do better as a city, and we’ve got to bring our services in cheaper.  For example, we have a wall behind the museum that needs to be re-built, and I agree with that.  The estimate came in at $10,000 a linear foot for the 200-foot wall.  That’s $2 million dollars.  When we build the Packery Channel bridge and the approaches to it, it will cost $4,000 a linear foot, and I asked why we would do this.  These are the kinds of things we’re addressing.

Wastewater

     The councilman addressed wastewater next.  “It’s kind of a silent thing.  We don’t often think about that, except maybe a couple of times a day,” Smith said, which was followed by a chuckle from the crowd.  He addressed the consolidation of the treatment plans that has been debated for months, an expensive fix that Smith did not deem necessary.  “All we have to do is repair and maintain what we have.”  This direction will allow the system made up of six plants to work and meet regulatory standards without costing the  rate payer $220 million dollars more than repairing the existing plants. “That comes out of our pockets, and there’s no reason for it,” said Smith.  “We have instructed staff to move forward and fix the plants we have to make them fully operational and efficient.”  This drew a round of applause from the audience members.

Water

     Smith then addressed the water system.  “Our peak year in water usage as 1989,” he said.  “We are using about 30% less water today, and we’ve added two sources of supply.  We have plenty of water.  We are trying to make everyone aware of that, particularly industry.”  Smith said that industry is a big consumer of water but there is still plenty.  “We are moving forward on desalination even though we have water.  We just authorized permitting for a desalination plant,” Smith said.  “One thing this council will not do is build that plant until we have the demand.  “However, we want to be ready in case we get a lot of industry come in, and we need the water.”  Smith sees Corpus Christi as a frontrunner in desalination, which will make the city known to industry both nationally and internationally.

     Smith explained that the state loaned the $2.75 million for desalination, which must be paid back at no interest in eight years.  “We will be adding a little to the industry rate since they’re the ones who really want this.  We’re not going to put this on the ordinary rate payer,” Smith said.

Streets

     Smith then moved to the topic of streets.  “The big one is streets, which is strictly a money issue.  For residential streets, we have a program in place, and it’s funded to maintain the good streets,” said Smith.  He explained that all streets in the city have been rated according to the PCI (Pavement Condition Index), a rating system of 1 to 100.  “Any street with a PCI of 55 or above is on a funded maintenance program,” he said in reference to the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) started in January 2014 and funded by the SMF (Street Maintenance Fund) to pay most of the construction costs.  Streets that meet the 55+ requirement are eligible for maintenance work through either a seal coat or overlay every seven years.  According to the 2017 SPMP Work Plan, Waldron Road, which has a PCI of 57 from Caribbean to Yorktown, will receive an overlay in 2017.

     “The next classification of streets, which a lot of the Bluff streets are, is PCI 35-55.  We just approved $8 million dollars on addressing these streets,” said Smith.  He explained that this program is based strictly on PCI rating and has nothing to do with amount of tax dollars collected from a particular area.  Only one Bluff street will fall under this program.  “I was disappointed to see that, but it takes a million dollars a mile.  The City of Corpus Christi is going to recondition eight miles of streets city-wide,” said Smith.

Don Patricio Road, 2016 (SevenTwelve Photography)

 

     “The last tier is a PCI of 35 and below.  It costs $4 million a mile to fix those streets.  With over 400 miles of bad streets, that’s $1.6 billion.  We don’t have  $1.6 billion.  We don’t have anywhere near that amount,” Smith said.  He said that only two streets in the city with this rating are targeted for reconstruction, Ralston and Rogerson, neither of which is a Bluff street.  “It’s going to be a long, long time before we can get to the other streets.  Again, it boils down to money.”

     Smith later talked about the way that street repair is done currently.  “We are repairing streets today the same we did 75 years ago,” he said adding that it is not the most efficient way of getting the job done.  He said the city is testing a machine called an asphalt zipper that uses less labor, takes less time, and may do a better job than what the city street crews do now. “This machine does it all and has the proper tamping required to keep the asphalt in place,” Smith said.

     Part of the issue with streets is that developers, though required to do so, may not actually build a 30-year street.  “I asked how many streets have problems that are one- or two-year streets.  Currently, we have eleven streets that are supposedly 30-year streets that are now owned by the taxpayers that are already having to be patched.  Carolyn Vaughn and I want to require a two-year warranty instead of a one-year warranty on those streets,” Smith said.  “If they’re truly building 30-year streets, we should be able to get a two-year warranty.”

     Monette Bright, local businesswoman, asked, “Why are utilities not put in for an entire subdivision when it goes in?  Why are they allowed to put in gas and water taps after the street has already gone in?  Doesn’t digging into the pavement destroy the integrity of the street?”

     “That has definitely been the case in the past.  With the newer subdivisions, the taps are now put in place before the paving begins.

Homelessness

     “This is something that affects us all, especially in the Bluff.  The Flour Bluff Citizens Council and the Flour Bluff Business Association have done great work.  I think if the city had done that, it would be terrific,” said Smith in reference to an FBCC Town Hall meeting on October 16, 2017, where the citizens were educated on the state of homelessness in Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff.  “We are looking for a way to know where these folks are,” said Smith, referring to the proposed Coordinated Entry plan for the city, which helps keep track of the homeless as they move in and around the area.  Smith said that the city is looking at helping reunite individuals with their families.  Two other proposals include a work program and a housing program.

     “Personally, I think I have a lot of support on council with this.  We have to be compassionate.  People have issues that we have to help take care of.  We have to take care of the people who need and want help,” said Smith.  He added that in doing so that we be careful not want to create an environment where Corpus Christi becomes a destination spot for homeless.  “It’s a balancing act.  Citizens in Flour Bluff are concerned about safety and sanitary issues when they go to Parker Park,” said Smith, something that he said is a concern in most parks in the city.  Smith went on to describe a homeless person becoming physical with a woman who was serving attendees at a local function.

Image result for homeless in corpus christi + commons
Homeless camp (PaperTrail photo)

     “From a policing standpoint, currently our department’s attitude is that we cannot solve homelessness.  However, when we have someone who is physically aggressive, as a city, we need to strengthen that,” said Smith.

     Dan Hogan addressed petty theft around the neighborhood and its relationship to homelessness.  “I call this a revolving door problem.  We have these homeless people who get on drugs and become a nuisance to themselves and our community.  When they get arrested, they get put right back out on the street,” said Hogan.  “There has to be a solution in some city somewhere.  Let’s figure out what to do about this,” said Hogan.  “Let’s find out where those bus tickets are coming from and buy return tickets.”  This drew many comments of agreement from the audience.

Election Year Coming

     Smith reminded everyone that we are coming upon an election year in 2018.  “Council members are elected for two year terms,” said Smith.  He cautioned everyone to be aware of candidates making promises that they cannot keep in order to get votes.  “Usually, you get votes by spending money.  When you cut, you lose a lot of votes.  Commissioner Chesney is like I am.  He stands firm on the budget.  We have to make the hard decisions.  It irritates people when you cut programs out, but sometimes these cuts are necessary.  I will continue to ask those hard questions and make cuts where necessary,” said Smith.

Audience Concerns

     Joe Lynch, resident and local businessman, voiced a safety concern about the Laguna Shores SPID intersection.  “Even a small vehicle has difficulty making that right-hand turn onto Laguna Shores without swinging out into the lane that goes up on the freeway,” Lynch said.  “Sometimes the driver comes to a complete stop to let the Laguna Shores traffic go, which is dangerous for the driver pulling onto SPID because he doesn’t have a clear view.”  Lynch suggested that the right turn lane on Laguna Shores be moved more toward the Laguna Madre to allow for the necessary space for safe turning.  Lynch was concerned that someone was preparing to build on that property, which might prevent the movement of the lane.

     Smith thanked Lynch for his comments and said that Laguna Shores improvements will be on the 2018 Bond that will go to the voters next November.  “That’s the kind of thing we need to catch before the design.  You’re right.  It is a problem,” responded Smith.

     Jennifer Welp asked about what seems to be a new fee implemented by the City Solid Waste Department right after Harvey.  “It severely affects roofers and remodelers who have to haul debris or building materials,” said Welp.

     “You’re referring to the MSW (Municipal Solid Waste) fee.  It’s been in effect since 2001.  If a hauler like Matt, let’s say, is called by a roofer to haul the material, and he takes it to the city landfill, he pays the fee, a fee that is for street maintenance.  If the roofer takes it himself to a private landfill, the fee doesn’t get paid.  If Matt takes it to a private landfill, it was already in his bill, and the fee gets paid.  Again, it was started in 2001, and the city staff picked right after Harvey to implement it, so it looks terrible.  We’ve had a lot of complaints from the roofers who are paying about $200 when they ought to pay about $20.  Staff is now going back and looking at what was charged and bringing those charges in line to what they ought to be,” said Smith.

     Matt Eckstrom asked, “When you enact that MSW fee on the roofers, are they going to do that through the building permits that they pull?”

     “Yes, it has been switched to the building permits from the landfill bill.  They were supposed to be paying that at that time.  We’ve heard a lot of justified concerns about it,” responded Smith.

     Another business owner asked, “Do those fees go into a street maintenance fund, or do they just go wherever?”  Smith said that the 400-page budget has 66 different funds, which makes it very difficult to track where those dollars go.  “It’s like the convention center.  The taxpayers spend $10 million a year on it, but there are so many funds that the money comes out of that nobody knows what the actual number is.  So, with this fund, it’s supposed to go to the streets, but it goes a little here and a little there.  When the mayor asked that question about what adds up to around $300,000 a year, staff said the money was being spent on multiple city programs.  We are watching that.”

     FBBA President Jennifer Welp thanked the councilman for addressing the FBBA and awarded him with a Keep It in the Bluff Certificate of Appreciation.

Other FBBA Business

  • FBBA elections were held at the November general meeting. Jonathan Vela of Dani’s Lock and Key, Javier Wiley with HEB Plus, and Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites are candidates for the three open positions.  Tom Hollingsworth and Cliff Zarbock will be stepping down from the board.  President Jennifer Welp thanked them for their service and gave each one a certificate of appreciation.
Jennifer Welp and Dr. Tom Hollingsworth DC (PaperTrail photo)
Cliff Zarbock of Premier Realty (PaperTrail Photo)
  • President Jennifer Welp welcomed three local businesses to the FBBA: Matt Eckstrom of Killian Calderon Disposal, Susan Chandler of SCC Jewelry, and Vandana Andrews of Andrews Flowers.
Vandana Andrews, Jennifer Welp, and Matt Eckstrom (PaperTrail Photo)
  • Tire Recycling Program Recap: The FBBA partnered with Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney and DEGOLA Resource Conservation and Development District to offer a free tire recycling event on November 4, 2017, from 9 to 5.  Lots of tires were collected, which really made an impact on the Flour Bluff community.  The FBBA would like to thank Wes Womack and his 4-wheel-drive club for helping with collection of dumped tires.  Another free tire-recycling event is planned for early next year.
  • The FBBA Membership Drive is still going on. The FBBA thanked all who are members.  All local business owners are encouraged to join in the last quarter of the year.  The annual dues is $65.00, which can be paid online at https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/application .

 

C’est Bon Mixes It Up with FBBA Members December 13

     On Wednesday, December 13, 2017, the Flour Bluff Business Association will have their December Mixer at C’est Bon Seafood located at 10210 S. Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, Texas, from noon to 1:00 p.m.  Come join us as we introduce the newly-elected FBBA board members and enjoy some good seafood while mixing and mingling with other Flour Bluff business owners.  If you or your business would like to sponsor our mixer next month, please let us know.

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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Santa Arrives December 8 in Flour Bluff for Community Christmas!

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page
(Photo by SevenTwelve Photography, 2016)

    The Flour Bluff Business Association would like you to join us on Friday, December 8, 2017, in welcoming Santa and his elves to Funtrackers Family Fun Center located at 9605 S. Padre Island Dr, Corpus Christi, TX 78418.  Santa is scheduled to arrive at 6:00 p.m., and he is coming with gifts!  Every kid will get a chance to meet Santa for a picture and a present.  We will have entertainment throughout the evening including a Cake Walk sponsored by the Children’s Center, face painting, a community sing-along, and much more!

A junior elf speaks with the little children as they wait in the line,  to see Santa, 2016 (SevenTwelve Photography photo)

     “We love this community where we live, and we want to give back by giving to the children who are here.  We are so happy to announce that HEB Plus will be donating $1500 toward the purchase of toys for the kids.  We hope all business owners will consider setting out a toy box at your place of business to collect toys for the kids or will join us on the 8th to help with the event,” said FBBA President Jennifer Welp.

Santa’s lead elf assists with the gift-giving process, 2016 (SevenTwelve Photography photo)

     Since the announcement, others have donated to the toy drive.  Grace Community Church gave $1000.  County Commissioner Brent Chesney made a personal donation of $500, and  Commissioner Mike Pusley donated $250.  Funtrackers is not only co-hosting the event, but they are donating lots of toys for the little ones.

Braving the cold for time with Santa, 2016 (SevenTwelve Photography)

     For anyone who would like to make a toy donation, FBBA toy boxes are located at Colonia del Rey on Waldron Road, Edward Jones on Waldron next to Papa Murphy’s, the Children’s Center on SPID, Navy/Army at SPID and Flour Bluff Drive, Maybelle’s Market at Turtle Cove Shopping Center, and Funtrackers on Flour Bluff Drive.  The FBBA wants to thank all who have generously given time, talent, or donations to make this fun-filled, community event possible.

The magic of Santa (SevenTwelve Photography)
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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Todd Hunter on Harvey, Flour Fest, and Tire Recycling Are Topics of FBBA Meeting

Around the State, Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page
State Representative Todd Hunter addresses Flour Bluff Business Association (Photo by SevenEleven Photography)

     “Don’t let anybody tell you that we’ve dodged a bullet,” said Hunter referring to Hurricane Harvey, a storm that in just 56 hours grew from a regenerated tropical depression over the Gulf of Mexico into a Category 4 hurricane that made landfall in the area late on August 25, 2017.  “We were the first to be hit by a Category 4 hurricane, and I have never seen such togetherness and camaraderie as we experienced in our community immediately following landfall,” he told a group of about 30 people at the Flour Bluff Business Association regular monthly meeting held October 11, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  In attendance were council members Paulette Guajardo and Greg Smith, County Commissioner Brent Chesney, Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez, and FBISD school board members Michael Morgan, Jennifer Welp, and Shirley Thornton.

     Hunter spoke of how he fears that our area will be forgotten in a few weeks.   “They’re already doing it in some ways,” Hunter said referring to the individuals and agencies who have been fundraising and providing assistance for storm victims.  “Paul Simon came into the area, but not here.  There was even a benefit held in Austin – for Houston.”

     “Port Royal looks like a MASH unit with outdoor showers, management under a tent with computers, outdoor bathrooms.  But, guess what? They’re holding a press conference at 1:30 today to give a positive plan of when they’re going to reopen.  This is how the Coastal Bend and South Texas are responding.  I want everyone to know who we are and how we’re setting the example for the rest of the nation,” he said referring to the multiple natural disasters occurring across the United States.  Hunter went on to say that he and Brent Chesney had visited almost all of the towns in the Coastal Bend hit by Harvey.  He explained that there is still a great deal of work to be done and that people showing up with tools ready to work is what is needed more than anything else.

     Hunter went on to talk about the effect of the storm on local schools.  “Right after the storm, Port Aransas had no school.  Nobody from government was communicating to my area – again.  I got on the phone to the Commissioner of Education, who did not call me back.  So, I called the governor’s office, and all of a sudden I got a call from the Commissioner of Education, who has never talked with me since I’ve been in office or since he’s been in office,” he said.  Hunter then related that he suggested to the commissioner that a hotline  be set up so that parents  could get information regarding what to do if their child’s school was closed.  “He said this was a good idea, and the hotline was created,” said Hunter.   (That number is 512- 463-9603.)

     “Flour Bluff must be applauded.  They took in Port Aransas kids. I don’t think the state realizes what you’ve done.  You’ve used your local tax dollars to take care of people.  You, the taxpayer residents, took the burden.  For that I am grateful, and it shows what a great community you are.  Gregory-Portland did it for Rockport.  You need to be helped, not forgotten.  So, I’m going to ring the bell more than you’ve ever heard over the next two years.  I’m talking about school funding.  We fund schools through property taxes, but you can’t levy a property tax if there’s no property.  I get a kick out of seeing all the appraisal district vehicles out there.  What are they appraising?  Some people in Port Aransas received tax bills last week on houses that are no longer standing.  In the next legislative session, we’re going to have to take up school funding to figure out what the real formula should be,” said Hunter.  He also spoke of how illogical it is to impose the state test on districts affected by the storm.  He added that he was making no headway in this area.

     Hunter then talked about another hot topic for the next legislative session, mental health.  He explained how it is a real concern, not just a “touchy-feely” topic.  Hunter related a story about displaced children who lost everything in Harvey, including all their clothing and toys.  These items were replaced through donations.  “When the recent rains came, these children cried to their teachers that they needed to go home to put their new clothes and toys on the bed so that they wouldn’t lose them again,” he said. “These are feelings of families and children that the rest of the state doesn’t understand.  I’ve had public officials cry in my arms because they have nothing. This affects a person’s mental health, and this is a serious issue that needs to be funded.”

     Seven days after the storm, the health department called Hunter to let him know they would be spraying for mosquitoes.  “They were going to spray only as far south as Refugio.  I asked them if they knew who got hit first,” he said.  As a result, they sprayed Nueces, San Patricio, and Aransas counties.

     Hunter then spoke about the top complaints after Harvey.  The first two involved FEMA and TWIA.  The third was the Red Cross and their refusal to serve Ingleside. “The fourth was debris hauling, but that seems to be going since most of the haulers have contracts with FEMA.  At one point the road to Port Aransas had a quarter mile long, 25-foot high pile of debris.”  Hunter also explained that he personally experienced eye abrasions from irritants in the area and that asbestos fibers that are floating around could be the problem.

    “If you have concerns in any of these areas, let my office know.  And just know that there’s a lot of fraud and scams going around.  If someone is knocking on your door asking you to sign something, think twice,” he said.  Hunter had such an experience because of the Equifax security breech. He received multiple notifications that he had made a FEMA claim, which he had not.  A group got his information and sent in two FEMA applications with his identifying information and address but a fake phone number and email.  “What happens is that FEMA issues checks to the Green Dot Bank.  Even when I got the Texas Rangers to contact FEMA, they wouldn’t talk to them.  This is your tax money being sent to thieves,” he said.  He explained that the Green Dot Bank is an internet fund where the money is deposited and then just disappears.  He told of how these groups also get credit cards in the victims’ names and do an address switch through the U.S. Post Office.  “You need to have a banker do a credit check to see if anything has been opened in your name without your knowing it,” Hunter suggested.

     “The final thing is that we learn from these situations.  I will be working quite a bit with the schools to make sure their protected in the next session.  I am worried that we’ll have public officials from other areas of the state trying to tell us what to do, which we don’t need.  We’ll have funding proposals that don’t apply well here.  We’ll have new thoughts on education and curriculum that don’t apply here.  We’ll have new catastrophe management concepts that don’t apply here.  And I’m sure we’re going to see wind storm reform come back.  So, just be ready.  My plan is to protect the area,” Hunter said.  He also reminded everyone that desalination would be discussed at the Ortiz Center on November 2 with an update on Hurricane Harvey to be given on November 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  John Sharp of Rebuild Texas will be coming in to discuss the aftermath of the storm in Nueces, Kleberg, Aransas, and San Patricio counties.

     “Don’t tell people we’re shut down,” Hunter said.  “We are turning around.  This negative will prove to be a positive.  I’m proud of all of you and of this community.  You continue to set the tone for the area, the state, and the nation.  We will keep the effort moving, so contact us if you need anything.”

Other FBBA Business

  • October 20:  Funtrackers Trunk or Treat Event from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the parking lot.  For details visit the Funtrackers website:  https://funtrackers.com/event/trunk-or-treat/
  • Flour Fest:  will be held at Parker Park on Graham Road from Noon to 8:00 p.m., on Saturday, October 28, 2017.  This family-friendly event will feature live music, food trucks, Kids Zone, local vendors, safety demonstrations by ESD#2 Firefighters, and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council kid-and-dog costume contest, Fur Fest.  FBBA would like to thank the Flour Fest sponsors: County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley, Michael Morgan of State Farm, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites, Javier Wiley of HEB, Dr. Hassan of the Children’s Center, Walmart #490, Whataburger #123, and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council.

  • Flour Fest Kids Zone Events:
    • 1:00  Corn Hole Contests  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 1:30  Sack Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 2:00  Three-legged Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 3:00  Fur Fest:  This event is open to kids 12 and under with dogs of any age.  Prizes will go to Scariest, Cutest, Funniest, and Best Couple.  Dogs must be on leashes at all times.  No biters, please.  Judging begins at 3:00 p.m.  Prizes awarded immediately following judging.
    • 4:00  Egg and Spoon Races  (candy and toy prizes)
    • 4:30  4-Way Tug of War
    • 5:30  Pastry Wars (First 15 contestants to sign up in the 10 and under, 11 to 16, and 17 and up categories will compete for Walmart gift cards.)
    • Bounce house all day
  • Tire Recycling Program: The FBBA, in conjunction with Nueces County and DeGoLa Resource and Conservation Development District, will host a tire recycling program on Saturday, November 4, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., to   The FBBA encourages everyone to take part in this program since the city will not pick up tires during the brush and bulky item pick up.
Photo courtesy of Creative Commons
  • FBBA Board Elections: Three board members are up for re-election.  They are Roshan Bhakta, Tom Hollingsworth, and Jonathan Vela.  Dr. Hollingsworth will not be seeking re-election.  Elections and succession planning will take place at the November general meeting.  Nominations may be submitted to Jennifer Welp.
  • Membership Drive:  If a new member joins in the last quarter of the year, the annual dues of $65.00 will include the following year.
  • Community Christmas: This event will take place December 8, 2017, at Funtrackers.  Toy boxes will be set out in November at area businesses.  Let Jennifer Welp know if your business is willing to accept a box for toy donations. This is an opportunity for the businesses to give back to the community we love so much.
  • Next FBBA General Meeting: Wednesday, November 8, 2017, at Raceway Cafe’ at Funtrackers
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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Kim Sneed Updates FBBA on FBISD News

Business, Community Organizations, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA president, Jennifer Welp, and FBISD Public Information Officer, Kim Sneed (Photo by SevenTwelve Photography)

     Kim Sneed, FBISD Public Information Officer, addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association at its regular monthly meeting held at noon on September 13, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Sneed, who took Lynn Kaylor’s place nearly two years ago, has over a decade of experience in public information.  Sneed spent the first part of her career with Corpus Christi ISD.  Sneed introduced Tracy Dennis, the new Director of Instruction, who joined the district from Judson ISD before speaking to the group about what has been happening at Flour Bluff ISD.

     Sneed said, “Just before Hurricane Harvey came to visit us, the Flour Bluff Board of Trustees adopted the 2017-18 budget of about $52 million, which included a 3% raise for all employees, something a lot of districts have not been able to do.  The board, finance department, and superintendent worked hard to make this possible while keeping the effective tax rate a little below last year’s rate.”

     Sneed went on to give an accounting of the 2013 Bond projects.  “A lot of our bond projects have been completed.  We just finished up at the end of the year the Primary and Elementary library, and it is a beautiful facility.”  She described the library as a place that houses books and study tables in the main area, while providing separate classroom and meeting spaces for the two campuses.

     “The junior high is still experiencing construction on the expansion of the cafeteria.  This campus is also in the process of getting an additional gym.  The bids were just accepted, and the work will be starting soon,” said Sneed.  “Over the summer, the swimmers were able to get into the new natatorium and test the waters.  That gave Coach Hutchinson, who is also the natatorium supervisor, an opportunity to learn the facility and learn to use the state-of-the-art equipment.  They have been having practice in there.  Brian wanted me to let everybody know that the district is working on a plan to allow swim lessons and lap swimming for the public.  The first step to that is to make sure we have lifeguards.”  Sneed went on to explain that more information regarding public use of the pool would be forthcoming in the next few weeks.  She ended the update on bond projects by telling the audience that the bus wash would soon be under construction now that the board has accepted the bids.

    “Hurricane Harvey has created some new challenges for the district.  The district experienced minimal damage, consisting of a few uprooted trees, some water seeping in, and debris on the grounds, but nothing that would impede our work or operations,” said Sneed.  “After taking a drive to Port Aransas, we realized that many kids would be displaced and would need a place to call ‘home.’  We put a plan in place pretty quickly and started school up one week after the original start date.  We held a special registration at the high school for these kids.  It was awesome, and it was emotional.  Many of the Port Aransas folks hadn’t seen each other since before the storm.  They were hugging each other and were so overwhelmed by the support from this entire community.  To date, we have enrolled close to 250 kids mostly from Port Aransas, but also from Aransas Pass, Rockport, Woodsboro, and Houston.”

     Sneed went on to tell of a conversation she had with a close counterpart in Gregory-Portland ISD.  “As of today, they have enrolled 1300 kids.  They were able to accept all of them because they just opened a new elementary school, and they have a sixth-grade campus – that had been a junior high campus – that they were able to reopen.  It has been an entire Coastal Bend area effort to ensure that these kids have some sense of normalcy.”  She went on to thank the City of Corpus Christi, AEP, and out-of-state utility companies that helped get the school back on line.  Sneed thanked the joint efforts of Walmart and the Corpus Christi Police Department for donating school supplies and other groups who made certain the displaced children had appropriate clothing for school by donating spirit shirts to help them feel like part of the Flour Bluff family.

     The Port A ISD faculty and staff have been working hand-in-hand with Flour Bluff to look out for the children from Port Aransas and help them feel more at ease in their new environment.  “We really appreciate their efforts,” said Sneed.

    Attendees were encouraged to take part in H.O.S.T.S. (Helping Our Students To Succeed).  It is a mentor program established in September 2014 to be a partnership of FBISD and dedicated community member serving the needs of our students in grades 3 – 12.  For anyone interested in being a mentor, Sneed encouraged those in the audience to contact Dr. Linda Barganski at Central Office.  “The volunteers usually meet with the kids once a week for 30 minutes to an hour and just be that positive role model for them.”

     “Football season has started!  We only have three home games this year, and one of those is Homecoming on Friday, October 13.  The Homecoming Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 9, and will travel along Waldron from Compton to Hornet Stadium where we will have the Swarm and the burning of the FB.  There will be many activities for the students throughout the week, so look for that,” Sneed informed the group.

     “Mr. Schuss and Dr. Alvarado will be in Austin on Friday with intermediate math teacher Jack Marley as he receives recognition as the ESC Region II Teacher of the Year.  Because of Harvey, the actual service center announcement and celebration was postponed but will take place on Thursday, September 21, at ESC II downtown,” added Sneed.

     Several people in attendance asked about the traffic issues.  “We have had a few issues with new bus routes and just getting in sync the first days of school.  We’ve also had changes in start and release times that have added to the traffic problems,” replied Sneed.  She explained that many of the displaced students must be driven to school, which adds to the traffic problems.  “To help alleviate some of this, the displaced students are going to be picked up at Schlitterbahn.  We just ask for your patience,” said Sneed.  Everyone was encouraged to check out flourbluffschools.net for more information.

More FBBA News and Community Announcements

  • Flour Fest is October 28 at Parker Park. Volunteers are needed.  Please contact Jonathan Vela, Special Events Coordinator.
  • High school Homecoming Mums will be customized by the PTA for the displaced students.
  • Add info@flourbluffbusinessassociation.com to your address book so that you can receive emails from FBBA.
  • Javier Wiley from HEB told the group that the new Hornet football helmets are part of a donation from HEB. Curbside is now open as another shopping option.  Shipt is also still available.  Visit hebtoyou.com.  HEB put in an official request to public affairs for disaster relief in Port A (i.e. mobile showers, mobile kitchens, mobile pharmacies).  Wiley handed out $2000 in gift cards to Port A citizens and $1000 to Flour Bluff.  Welp thanked HEB for always being the last to close and the first to open when disaster strikes.
  • The FBBA is partnering with Nueces County and and organization called DeGoLa (Dewitt, Goliad, and Lavaca Counties), a Resource, Conservation, and Development District, to hold a tire recycling program event in Flour Bluff on Saturday, November 4, 2017, and again in March of 2018.
  • Next FBBA General Meeting: October 10, 2017, at noon, at Funtrackers
Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Lord of Life Child Development Center Receives Spotlight Award

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page

   

FBBA president, Jennifer Welp, and Karon McManus, Lord of Life Child Development Center director (Photo by SevenTwelve Photography)

     Flour Bluff Business Association president, Jennifer Welp, awarded the FBBA Keep It in the Bluff Spotlight Award to Lord of Life Lutheran Church Child Development Center.  Karon McManus, director of the center, accepted the award on behalf of the church and the daycare center.  McManus took the opportunity to give a little background on the facility at the regular monthly meeting held at noon on September 13, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.

     “We run a Christ-centered facility.  Parents are told on their tours of the center that Christ is first in everything we say and do.  He’s the reason we open our doors every day, and we couldn’t do that without the support of Lord of Life Lutheran Church,” said McManus.  She went on to explain that when the doors were opened to the church 20 years ago, it was with the daycare in mind to be an outreach to the community to share God’s Word and show His love.

     “Educating our Hornets, letting them know who God is and what His Word is, and showing them His love each and every day is what we do.  Without the support of the church and the people who started this church, we wouldn’t be here today,” continued McManus, thanking the FBBA for the acknowledgement.  “We’re here to serve our community and be a part of our community as we have been in the past, and we want to continue to do that.”

     The center currently has approximately 90 students, two from Rockport who have been displaced by Hurricane Harvey.  “We are helping with registration fees and trying to get clothing and such since these families lost everything,” said McManus.  “They were not allowed to get into their homes for a while, and during that time they had looters.  Not only did the storm wreak some havoc, but some of the other residents who were there at that time did, too.  As a church and a daycare, we’ll be supporting them with gift cards, clothing, and toys for these children.”

     McManus encouraged those in the audience to send others in the area who are displaced and in need of childcare to Lord of Life Luther Church Child Development Center located at the corner of Compton and Flour Bluff Drive.  “We would love to help them and serve their families, as well.”

    The center takes children ages 2 through 5 years.  They experience a Christian environment that enhances self-esteem and fosters developmental growth.  Included in the program is planned curriculum with art, music, drama outdoor play, excellent staff/child ratio, and experienced, qualified staff.  Those interested in finding out more about the center may contact the church.

1317 Flour Bluff Dr. Corpus Christi, TX 78418

Phone: 361-937-8158    School: 361-937-6414

Email: church@lordoflifecorpuschristi.org

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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

Jim Moloney Gives FBBA History Lesson

Business, Corpus Christi, Local history

   James “Jim” Moloney, businessman and local historian, took the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association on an entertaining trip back in time through the books that he either co-authored or co-edited with Caller-Times columnist, Murphy Givens, at the FBBA’s regular monthly meeting on August 9, 2017.  Moloney, who moved to Corpus Christi in 1981, has the largest collection of local postcards of the area, numbering over 7000.  He also collects ephemera from the area.

   The crowd enjoyed their lunch at Funtracker’s Speedway Cafe’ as they listened to stories of Corpus Christi and surrounding areas.  Moloney told of how Corpus Christi was the “real West” since this is where cattle ranching began.  He spoke of local heroes, rustlers, and bad challenging the good guys, saying, “Some of those tales are the same tales you ended up watching as kids on television and in the movies.”

   The first book, Corpus Christi-A History, documents the stories of the people who strove to make South Texas their home. Adventurers, outlaws, settlers, cowboys, ranchers and entrepreneurs from the United States, Europe, and Mexico all came to the Coastal Bend of Texas, struggling against nature and their fellow man to make their homes and livelihoods. In this book, readers can also find some history on Flour Bluff.

    This book can be purchased by visiting the Nueces Press website.  The other history books available include:

  • Columns, Columns II, and Columns III, collections of articles written by Murphy Givens for the Caller-Times,
  • Perilous Tales of Texas  by J. B. (Red) Dunn gives us a unique perspective of the lawless 1870s in the Nueces Strip,
  • Recollections of Other Days, a compilation of memoirs of early settlers of Corpus Christi and the Nueces Valley of South Texas,
  • Great Tales From the History of South Texas, stories of the Old West by Murphy Givens, and
  • A Soldier’s Life, memoirs of Daniel P. Whiting, a loyal officer in the U.S. Army for three decades during the middle of the 19th century, now in print after 150 years.

Other FBBA News:

     City Councilman Greg Smith informed the group that completion of Laguna Shores Road all the way to the Barney Davis Plant is definitely part of Bond 2018.  “To me, it was the most important road.  I told people that I’d fall on my sword if they didn’t approve this.”  Smith also talked about the budget.  “Healthcare for the city is up $10 million.  Ad valorem taxes are up only $4 million.  “So, just right there we’ve got a $6 million hole.”  He also discussed the push for more public safety, which he said could not happen without an increase in revenue.  “And, we all know where revenue comes from,” he added.  “Public safety comes at a cost.”

     FBBA President Jennifer Welp told the members that the organization is looking at funding scholarships again.  “It has been done in the past, and we want to do it again,” said Welp.  “We want to invest in the future.”

     Welp thanked Brent Chesney and other county officials for donations to the FBBA.  A special thank you was given to Michael Morgan of State Farm, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites, and Dr. Mohamad Hassan of the Corpus Christi Children’s Center for being Level 1 sponsors of Flour Fest, a community festival that will take place on Saturday, October 28, at Parker Park in Flour Bluff.  She encouraged everyone to get involved in some manner (i.e. sponsorship, vendor booth, running an event).  Cost to vendors is $25 for FBBA members and $50 for non-members.

     Welp welcomed new FBBA members Adam Hollier of C’est Bon (It’s Good), Kim Pendergraft of A&A Insurance on the island, and Harvey Conol with Lord of Life Lutheran Church Child Development Center.

     Next Board Meeting:  Tuesday, September 5, 2017

 Next General Meeting:  Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at Funtracker’s Raceway Cafe’

  • Speaker:  Brian Schuss, Superintendent of Flour Bluff ISD
  • Note:  The Raceway Cafe’ will not be open for lunch, but Funtracker’s has graciously allowed everyone to bring their own food with them.
Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.

FBBA Honors Eddie Savoy with Spotlight Award

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Local history, Personal History
Eddie Savoy receives FBBA Spotlight Award on August 9, 2017

 

     Jennifer Welp, Flour Bluff Business Association President, presented Eddie Savoy, owner of Savoy Homes, the Keep It in the Bluff Spotlight Award at the regular FBBA meeting held August 9, 2017, at noon in the Raceway Cafe’ at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Savoy has been a member of the association since 1968.  The FBBA has been in existence since 1951.

     Savoy’s family moved to Flour Bluff in 1927 and settled on a 2-acre tract of land on Laguna Shores.  It was on this property that Savoy built his first development in 1968.  Starting out at Corpus Christi Shell Company and working off and on as a tugboat captain since 1958 when he wasn’t building, Savoy went on to grow his business by providing housing for a community that has shown steady growth since the coming of NAS Corpus Christi in 1940.  In 1969, Savoy built the first zoned mobile home subdivision in Corpus Christi on the north side of Flour Bluff. In 1971, he built Padre Palms RV Park at the end of Skipper Lane near the what was then known as the Boat Hole Marina.  He went back to work on the tugs while his wife Leona ran the RV park.  Savoy continued working offshore until 1983 when OPEC deliveries to Egypt slowed down, and he returned home.  It was at this time that he decided to build stilt houses on three lots just down the street from the RV park. These were the first of many.

     In between working on the tugs, building houses, and developing subdivisions, Savoy stayed involved in the Flour Bluff community.  He served twelve years on the Flour Bluff School Board, was an active member of the FBBA, and was even a member of the Flour Bluff Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as president.  Savoy said he left the volunteers after he responded to a fire on Yorktown where he had to dodge bullets.  “The owner was a gun collector,” said Savoy, “and his ammunition kept going off.  That ended my firefighter career.” Savoy laughed and said, “I guess you can say I went out with a bang!”

     Savoy is often found at the Ethel Eyerly Senior Center in Flour Bluff where he continues to serve his community.  When asked if he had considered retirement, he said, “I tried once for a couple of years, but I had to get back to it.” It turns out that he is still building elevated homes and just recently finished two, one on Knickerbocker and another on Laguna Shores Road.

Please follow and like us:

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.  She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.