Why Flour Bluff?

Business, Flour Bluff, Local history, Personal History

“What brought you to Flour Bluff in the first place?” I asked Price Anderson.  His answer – which really involved his partner – surprised and intrigued me.  Below is the rest of the story surrounding the proposed RV park on Caribbean and the reason that Kris Hawkins and Price Anderson chose Flour Bluff in the first place over 13 years ago.  (All photos courtesy of Kris Hawkins)

To Whom It May Concern:

     My name is Kris Hawkins, and I am the developer of Bluff’s Landing Resort & Marina.  I am also working on a new project at the end of Caribbean Drive that has stirred up some valid concerns in the neighborhood.  Although I do not live in Flour Bluff, I wanted to share some of the backstory about Bluff’s Landing with you.

     My dad, Wally Hawkins, started taking me to Red’s Fishing Camp in Flour Bluff when I was five years old.  We would wade out into the water with cane pools and catch the famous Laguna Madre trout.  My dad was simply continuing a tradition he grew up with.  His parents, who farmed a small 30-acre tract outside of San Antonio, would bring him and his nine brothers and sisters every year to fish out of that same spot!

     My brother and I continued to fish at Red’s Fishing camp every year with my dad for 10 years until he received a foreign program grant from Texas A&M (his alma mater) to move to the Dominican Republic to start a small agricultural school on behalf of the United States.

    After we moved overseas, I lost track of the area until years later when I returned to the site with Spence Collins who had begun the process of acquiring some of the neighboring land.  After a year or so, I took my Dad to the site to show him the project I had been working on.  It wasn’t until then that he recognized the site as the old home of Red’s Fishing Camp.   He was visibly shaken by how the place had deteriorated.  As we drove around the area, and he saw all the trash, open drug dealing, and run-down shanties, he couldn’t believe how much one of his favorite places ever had turned into a dangerous den of drugs and thieves.

     We went back to the hotel and talked about the project, and my memories of fishing came flooding back as I realized that this dilapidated bay was the same place my dad and I had learned to fish in our childhood.

     It was from that point forward I made it one of my life goals to clean up a small portion of the Texas coast and preserve the place for future generations to enjoy the same way my dad and brother did.  I wanted to restore the land so that my son and his sons could re-live the experiences of my memories.  I am now proud to say Bluff’s Landing is the realization of that goal.  I believe the facility is improved each year, I know it has attracted thousands of new visitors to Flour Bluff and generated over a million dollars in tax revenue.

BEFORE PHOTOS

Photo: Future Bait Shop Site

 

 

Photo: Bait Shop & Trash  

                               

 

Photo: Future Hotel Site

 

 

 

CURRENT PHOTOS

Photo: Bluff’s Landing Resort Hotel

Photo: Bluff’s Landing Resort Marina

     Now that is a long explanation of a project that is already in existence, but I only explain all this to show that we are not outsiders looking to make a quick buck.  We have been investing time and money in Flour Bluff for 15 years and continue to do so.  My goal is to create places where families can enjoy themselves while also contributing to the local community.  This is something we also have done in Austin, Texas, if you ever get the chance to visit Graceland Grocery / Graceland Oaks Event Center on Hwy 290W.

     That is our same goal with the Luxury RV Park at the end of Caribbean Drive.  We want to build a high-end facility for families and their recreational vehicles.

Gulf Waters RV Resort

     I know there are concerns that the project will be more of a trailer park or will deteriorate over time, but I assure you that is NOT the case.  We have hired Urban Engineering to design the facility for two reasons.  First, they have an excellent reputation in the community and second they designed Gulf Water RV Resort in Port Aransas.  The Gulf Waters project is exactly the style we are going to achieve.  We are putting in a pool, irrigated landscaping, and will strictly limit who and what can come to the facility.  For example, no vehicles over 10 years old, no soft sided RVs or tents, and no renting out to tenants.

     If we fail to maintain the facility in the same or better condition than when it is built we will not be able to recover our investment.   We are committing millions of dollars to guarantee the facility stays nice and benefits the community.  The best example of how we do this is Bluff’s Landing Resort.  If you have any concerns that we will allow the project to fall apart, please go see what we have done over the last 13 years just down the road.

Kris

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Dr. Stegemann Educates FBBA on Cost of Obesity in the Workplace

Business, Flour Bluff, Health

     Dr. Lloyd Stegemann spoke to the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association at the regular monthly meeting held July 12, 2017, at Funtrackers Raceway Cafe’ in Flour Bluff.  Dr. Stegemann is President, and Chief Bariatric Surgeon at the Better Weigh Center in Corpus Christi, Texas. He specializes in the treatment of obesity and subscribes to a health action plan that involves community leaders, businesses, schools, elected officials, faith based organizations, and healthcare professionals to get every individual to understand the effect that their weight has on their health. Dr. Stegemann focused his presentation on how obesity affects businesses.

     The doctor asked the audience members to find their BMI (Body Mass Index) on a chart like the one below.  He then went on to cite some very disturbing numbers.  “About 24% of the population falls into the overweight category.  That’s almost 90 million people in the United States.  When you go above a BMI of 30, which is about 30 pounds overweight, you move into a Class 1 Obesity,” said Stegemann.  “About 98.7 million Americans, or 36% of the population, are classified as obese.”

     Dr. Stegemann shared a study from the Center for Disease Control, to show how the American obesity problem has changed in the last few years.  “We have a significant problem across the United States,” said Stegemann. “The really scary part is that the obesity rates in our children are very high, particularly in comparison to other countries.  The problem with that is that if you are obese by the age of five, there is a 98% chance that you will be obese as an adult.  So, getting this under control at the earliest ages is critically important.”  According to a 2015 non-scientific report in Men’s Health Magazine, Corpus Christi topped the list for “fattest cities” in America.  “Since America is considered the fattest nation in the world, then that makes Corpus Christi the fattest city in the world.  We have a lot of work to do,” added Stegemann.

CDC Obesity Trend Map
This set of maps, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, offers a state-by-state look at the tremendous increase in adult obesity over the past two decades. In 1990, no state had an obesity rate higher than 15 percent. By 2010, no state had an obesity rate lower than 20 percent, and 12 states had obesity rates greater than 30 percent.

     Dr. Stegemann asked everyone to consider the following statements and determine whether each is true or false from their own perspectives.

  • Obesity is a disease.
  • Weight loss is easy.  Just eat less and exercise more.
  • Fat people are usually lazy.
  • Employers should care about their employees’ weight.
  • It is okay to fire an employee because he/she is obese.
  • Employers should cover evidence-based weight-loss treatments.

     He followed this activity with important information related to each and a quick video on the Set Point Theory of Obesity, the reason people lose a few pounds then regain them rather quickly.

     “In addition to the many medical problems caused by obesity, carrying extra weight just creates lots of life problems.  Simple tasks like tying your shoes, playing with the kids on the floor and getting up afterward, going fishing and getting on and off the boat become very difficult.  Obesity also sets a person up for weight-bias discrimination. People over a certain weight have to pay for two seats on an airplane. You’ll notice that people who are severely overweight do things like pick out their path in a restaurant prior to getting up to cross the room so that they don’t bump people along the way.  Just sitting in a booth becomes very challenging.  There is a significant decline in the quality of life for these people,” said Dr. Stegemann. “A new study even points to obesity as a possible key factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease,” said Dr. Lloyd Stegemann.

 

     “What about the economic impact? What is the direct cost for treating the medical problems related to obesity?  It comes out to $428 billion a year – direct cost for treating the medical complications related to weight. That’s about 14.3% of all health care spending in the United States.  This is particularly true and important for treating Type 2 Diabetes,” said Stegemann, “which consumes 26% of the 14.3%.”  To put the numbers in perspective, Dr. Stegemann said that in 1962 the annual spending on diabetes was less that one billion dollars.  In 2014 the number was 112 billion dollars.  “It is a significant problem,” said Stegemann.  “These are the direct costs.  The indirect costs include lost time at work and loss of productivity while at work which comes to $989 billion in indirect costs.  In 2014, the total of direct and indirect cost related to obesity came to $1.42 trillion dollars.  That’s a staggering number.  In fact, it’s over 8% of our GDP.”  He explained that these numbers do not take into account the 320,000 deaths each year associated with obesity.

     “Obesity is now the number 2 killer in the United States behind smoking.  It is expected that obesity deaths will overtake smoking deaths within the next five years based on the current trends,” said Stegemann.

 

     “Why should the employer care about an employee’s weight?  It costs them money,” said Stegemann.  “People who are overweight have a lower rate of productivity and miss more work due to weight-related illnesses or doctor appointments.  Over time, those numbers start adding up.”  Obese employees have 36% more in medical costs, with 77% higher costs for prescriptions. When companies go back to renew health insurance plans, the prices start going up. “As employers, we carry a much higher economic burden.  We pay more in both business and personal taxes.  That $1.2 trillion has to come from somewhere.  Part of that certainly comes from taxes,” he added.

     “What I want everyone to walk away with today is that it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of weight loss to start seeing positive results.  With as little as 5% weight loss, you will start to see dramatic improvements in health and increases in productivity,” said Stegemann.  “Helping your employees’ bottom line certainly helps your own bottom line.”

Other FBBA News

  • FBBA President Jennifer Welp welcomed State Representative Todd Hunter and Hannah Chipman of Brent Chesney’s office.
  • Welp thanked Brent Chesney, Michael Morgan of State Farm, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites, and Dr. Mohamad Hassan of the Children’s Center for sponsoring the upcoming Flour Fest event on October 28, 2017, at Parker Park from noon until 8:00 p.m.  More sponsors are needed as are volunteers to run the various events.  Anyone interested should contact Jonathan Vela, FBBA Events Coordinator at 512-937-8769 or visit the FBBA website at https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/ .
  • Javier Wiley accepted the Spotlight of the Month Award for HEB Plus in Flour Bluff.  The store is celebrating its 10th anniversary on Saturday, July 29, 2017.
  • Welp thanked Jonathan Vela’s father, Juan Vela, for selling the Keep It in the Bluff t-shirts and spreading the word about the businesses of Flour Bluff.
  • Susan Lawson gave an update on Parker Pool.  Sponsors are still needed to assist with keeping the pool up and running. For more information visit the website at http://parkerpool.org/ .
  • Welp asked the business owners to consider hosting a mixer in the near future as a way to network with other businesses.
  • Shirley Thornton announced the Flour Bluff Citizens Council would host an educational presentation on how area development plans work, who writes them, and what the city plans on doing to update the Flour Bluff ADP, which has not been updated since 1993.
  • Welp recognized new members:
    • Neal Ekstrom of  NCE Waste Environmental Service, 361-772-5449
    • Chad Mills, Julia Mills, and Rusty Ashurst of R/C Remodeling (361) 777-9248 or  361-846-1148 or 361-438-0954
    • Criselda Torres of Red Cactus Funk & Junk located at 9450 SPID #6A, 361-549-6351
    • James and Dottie Fortner of Annaville Air Conditioning, 361-767-2665, 4860 FM 1889, Corpus Christi, TX 78410
    • Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 361-937-8158, http://www.lordoflifecorpuschristi.org/
  • The next general meeting will be held at Funtrackers at noon on Wednesday, August 9, 2017.  The guest speaker will be local historian James Moloney.
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FBBA Awards Javier Wiley Spotlight of the Month

Business, Flour Bluff

     Javier Wiley, General Manager of HEB Plus in Flour Bluff, received the Keep It in the Bluff Spotlight Award from Jennifer Welp, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, at the regular FBBA monthly meeting held at noon on July 12, 2017, at the Raceway Cafe’ at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff. “We want to thank Javier for his dedication to our community,” said Welp.

    Wiley had several announcements concerning upcoming events and changes at the Flour Bluff HEB Plus. “Our ten-year anniversary is coming up Saturday, July 29, when we’ll have a small celebration. Really, it’s a customer appreciation day. We’ll have a lot of good things going on that day from 11:00 to 4:00. Of course, we’ll have a lot of good food,” said Wiley.

     “The other big thing that’s going on is the construction of Curbside,” continued Wiley.  He explained that this will be yet another option for shopping at HEB.  “We have a lot of different options today.  I want you to think about three options:  ship to home, ship to the store, and then curbside.  We have Shipt and Instacart in the store; these are third parties who contract with retailers.  It’s all about convenience. Everyone is in a hurry today,” said Wiley.

     “Curbside HEB is coming.  They’re under construction today,” said Wiley as he introduced the newest shopping experience for HEB customers. “We’re looking to open before Labor Day.  Basically, you’ll shop online.  We’ll have our partners in the store, whom you trust, shop for your groceries, and we’ll deliver it to your car as soon as you drive up,” he explained.  There will be a $4.95 service fee, and the prices of the groceries will be relatively the same.  Ad prices will be identical.

     According to the HEB website, the shopper simply creates a grocery list, submits an order, selects a pick up time, arrives on time, and picks up the order. All orders are backed by the H‑E‑B low price and freshness guarantee.  Curbside is currently available at the Staples and Saratoga HEB Plus.

     “This is exciting, and I will probably be your first customer,” said Welp, adding that she was looking forward to attending the 10-year anniversary celebration on July 29th.

     HEB Plus (CC18) is located at 1145 Waldron Road in Flour Bluff.  The store is open daily from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. For more information, call 361-939-5500 or visit the website.
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Judge Loyd Neal Addresses Members of FBBA

Around the State, Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Nueces County
Nueces County Judge addressing Flour Bluff Business Association

     Nueces County Judge Loyd Neal spoke to a group of about forty people at the regular monthly meeting of the Flour Bluff Business Association held June 14, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Neal served as the Mayor of the City of Corpus Christi from April 1997 through April 2003, then was elected Nueces County Judge in November 2006, the first Republican elected to this office in 146 years. In November 2010, Judge Neal was re-elected to his second term starting January 2011.  Neal spent over 40 years in Insurance in Corpus Christi prior to taking office in January 2007. He is currently serving his third and final term, which comes to an end in 2018.

     Neal started his talk by recognizing his partner on the Commissioners Court, Brent Chesney.  He then thanked State Representative Todd Hunter for the work that he has been doing in Austin.  “Along with the leadership of our representative and the hard work of a lot of people, we got passed what is known as Senate Bill 277, which has a big impact on Naval aviation training here. It’s not anti-wind farm; it’s pro- military. We are a pro-military community, and we wanted to make sure that we did everything we could here and in Kingsville to ensure the Navy that we would try to keep Naval aviation training here in the future.” The bill is related to the eligibility of certain property for certain ad valorem tax incentives relating to wind-powered energy devices.

     The judge then gave the group a short civics lesson.  “If you don’t know, the county form of government is different from every other form of government in the State of Texas.”  He explained that it is a constitutional form of government, which means all actions by the commissioners must be spelled out in the Constitution of the State of Texas.  “It’s a lot different from city government, which has a charter, a charter that can be amended. County government can only be changed at the state level with an amendment to the constitution,” said Neal. “The county judge is not in charge. He has two employees. Everyone else works for an elected or appointed official.  So, how do we make it work?  County government works because we work together,” he added.

     Neal went on to say that the budget process, which includes public hearings, will begin in the next few weeks. “I can tell you right now that this is going to be a much tighter budget year,” said Neal.  He attributes this to lower appraised property values. He explained that justices of the peace, constables, and other county elected officials submit their operational funding requests to the Commissioners Court, who will use the information to put together a budget.  County agencies, for the most part, get all of their revenue from property taxes.  “This creates both an opportunity and a challenge to keep our tax rate low.  For the last two years, we have used the effective tax rate, which is good.  We’ve not grown the tax rate beyond the previous year.  I don’t know if we’re going to be there again this year.  We’ll see what the demands are and what we have to do.”  Referring to the County Commissioners Court, Neal said, “We are the guardians of the county budget, and we take that seriously.”

     Neal went on to speak against Senate Bill 2, which will be a major part of the special session of the legislature. “SB 2 will take a lot of local authority, particularly in the amount of revenue that cities and counties could gather, away from those cities and counties and begin to set a trend that is disastrous for local government in the future. They have decided in the Senate that they don’t want local control to be in the hands of the local officials,” said Neal. He then thanked Chairman Hunter and the House for standing up to Lt. Governor Dan Patrick by coming up with their own version of the bill.  “They drew a line in the sand and said no.  That’s the kind of leadership we need and hope to continue to have in Austin.”

     Neal discussed the changes in the county jail that are taking place now.  “We’re expanding the county jail.  We’re in the process of converting space in the McKenzie Annex to add 144 new beds.  It was unused space and space used by probation and the Sheriff’s Department patrol. It will cost about $2 million – or perhaps a bit more by the time it’s finished,” he said.  Neal reminded everyone that some of the increase in the cost is for making the jail ADA compliant, a directive that came from the Department of Justice about two years ago. “We’re all for it, but it’s very expensive,” he added. “It costs more to build a jail cell than it does to build a hospital room. We are looking for better ways to keep people out of jail so that we can stay at or below the allowable numbers of inmates.”  According to Neal, there are about 1000 people a day in the Nueces County Jail.  The cost for each prisoner is $81.00 per day.

     During the Q&A session, Commissioner Brent Chesney announced that Judge Neal would not be seeking re-election.  “I have had the privilege of serving with Judge Neal, first on the city council when he was mayor and now as a county commissioner.  He has made it quite clear that he is not running for re-election, and that’s a real sadness for this community.  We owe him a great round of applause and a big debt of gratitude.  He has told me no many times, but he always did it with a smile and with respect. This man has served with integrity, with honor, and with respect, and he truly does it with a servant’s heart,” said Chesney.  “You still may not get what you want,” responded Neal, which evoked a roar of laughter from the crowd.

     After Judge Neal concluded his talk, those in attendance offered their thanks for his many years of devoted service to the citizens.  Neal still has about 18 months of service left.  All agreed that he will be greatly missed.

Other FBBA News

  • Chairman Hunter attended the meeting with KIII TV 3 in tow to demonstrate how our elected officials will continue to take care of business even in light of the shooting at the baseball field in Alexandria, Virginia, where Republican members of Congress were holding baseball practice.
  • City Council Members Michael Hunter, Paulette Guajardo, and Greg Smith also attended the meeting.  Smith made mention of the many elected officials at the local and state levels who made the meeting and thanked them for being in attendance.  Smith went on to say how he and the other council members are starting to work on Bond 2018.  “Laguna Shores is number one on the list for me,” said Smith. “Finally, after all these years, Laguna Shores is going to be taken care of.”
Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez, Councilman Michael hunter (back), State Representative Todd Hunter, County Commissioner Brent Chesney, Councilman Greg Smith, and Councilwoman Paulette Guajardo

 

  • Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney led the group in a moment of silence in honor of those where were victims of  the Alexandria shootings. Chesney followed up with a report on the Sand Castle Run, which earned $38,000 for kids with diabetes to attend camp.  He thanked everyone who played a role in the event.
Susan Lawson
  • Susan Lawson of the Coastal Bend Friends of Aquatics was happy to announce that Parker Pool is open for business.  FBBA Board Member Mark Thomas appealed to those in attendance to sponsor the pool, which serves hundreds of kids, many of whom are indigent.  Admission to the pool is $1 for children ages 3 to 17.  Adults get in for $3.00, with those over 60 paying $1.25. All first responders and military (active or retired) get in free with an ID.
  • The CBFA offers signs with full color printing, graphic design, and grommets for businesses to advertise at the pool.  A 4′ X 4′ sign is $350, while a 4′ X 8′ sign is $650.  Signs will will be displayed until the 2018 season. The pool is available for parties.  Up to 50 guests for 2 hours will cost $200, which covers rental of pool and 2 lifeguards.  For every additional hour, $100 will be charged, plus $25 for each additional lifeguard per 25 guests over 50.  For more information, contact Susan Lawson at 361-779-8634.

  • Flour Fest is coming to Parker Memorial Park on Saturday, October 28!  Vendors and food trucks may secure a spot at the event by visiting the FBBA website and signing up.  Sponsorships for the event are also available.  Contact FBBA Event Coordinator Jonathan Vela for more information:  512-937-8769.
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Funtrackers Named FBBA Spotlight Business of the Month

Business, Entertainment, Flour Bluff, Front Page
Left to right: Billy Warr, Christina Franklin, and Jennifer Welp

     Flour Bluff Business Association president, Jennifer Welp, awarded Funtrackers the Keep It in the Bluff Spotlight Business of the Month certificate at its regular monthly meeting on June 14, 2017, at the Speedway Cafe’ inside the Funtrackers park. Christina Franklin, Sales and Marketing Manager of Funtrackers, accepted the award, along with Billy Warr, Regional Director of Operations at Family Entertainment Group.  Family Entertainment purchased Funtrackers a little over three years ago, according to Warr, who added, “I had never been to Corpus Christi, and I fell in love with the area.  It has a great small-town feel.  I’m glad to be here and glad to be a part of it.”

     Funtrackers, voted #1 for kids parties in Best of the Best by the Caller-Times readers for three years in a row, offers a wide variety of entertainment packages.  In addition to catering to kids and offering birthday party packages, they also provide school trip packages and corporate/team building packages to fit any budget. “We’re super excited,” added Franklin, “that we were able to kick off a whole new corporate package.” Franklin went on to say that foods more suitable to the adult palate, along with adult beverages, are available and that the adults will have just as much fun with or without the kids.  “Give us a call and let us show you how we can make your adult event a little more fast and a little more fun,” said Franklin.  “We are here for any kind of event.”

     For more information about the park or to book your event, visit the website at www.funtrackers.com, call directly  (361-937-9400), or stop by and visit with the staff at 9605 S. Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi (corner of SPID and Flour Bluff Drive).

 

 

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FBBA Members Get History Lesson from Cpt. Rocco Montesano

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page, History
Captain F. W. “Rocco” Montesano (Ret’d. US Navy)

     F. W. “Rocco” Montesano, U.S. Naval Academy graduate and retired captain of the Unites States Navy now serving as Executive Director at the USS LEXINGTON Museum on the Bay, addressed a group of about 35 Flour Bluff Business Association members and guests at the regular meeting on May 10, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Montesano came to Flour Bluff in 1994 as the commanding officer at NAS Corpus Christi. “Both of my kids attended Flour Bluff Schools and got a great education there.  My wife taught and retired from Flour Bluff School System.  When I retired from the Navy, I said, ‘I want to live in the Bluff.’  It’s a unique place, and it’s really great to be in the Bluff.”

     “Normally I talk about the Lexington,” said Montesano in reference to the carrier nicknamed by Tokyo Rose as “the Blue Ghost”, which was commissioned in 1943 and was the oldest working carrier in the United States Navy when decommissioned in 1991.  “Last year we had 305,000 visitors.  We now have a brand new digital, state-of-the-art, 3-D laser projector in our theater, and we are premiering a new carrier movie simultaneously with the Smithsonian on the 24th of this month.  If you haven’t been there lately, come on out.”

    “We have one volunteer at the museum who is a Pearl Harbor survivor,” Montesano proudly said as he spoke with great reverence for the thousands of Sailors who gave their lives in WWII and how these members of “the Greatest Generation” are “fading away.”  He explained how the current Lexington’s predecessor, USS Lexington (CV2) was sunk in the Battle of Coral Sea, the battle that saved Australia from being overtaken by Japan.  Then with the aid of maps and charts, Montesano proceeded to take the audience on a trip back in time seventy-five years to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Doolittle Raid, and the Battle of the Coral Sea, all the while working his way to the story of the Battle of Midway, the decisive battle that occurred six months after Pearl Harbor.

Lexington burning fiercely after the Japanese attack.
Archival image housed at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana

   With slides of maps, Montesano walked the group through the events described by historians as the “turning point” of WWII. He spoke of Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Ensign George Henry Gay, Jr., who went on to become a TWA pilot, Captain Clarence W. McClusky, CDR John Waldron, Lt. William Hall, whose daughter lives in Corpus Christi, and CDR Joseph Rochefort, who led the team of code breakers that gave Nimitz the information he needed to make the decisions that led to the Battle of Midway. Rochefort, who was denied the Distinguished Service Medal twice during his lifetime and ousted as an intelligence officer after he was first nominated for it, died in 1976. “He was finally awarded the medal posthumously in 1985,” said Montesano, explaining the Rochefort’s information, which was correct, ran counter to what Washington, D.C. put out, and awarding the medal would be a confession of their faulty thinking.

Joseph rochefort.jpg
Captain Joseph John Rochefort

     “War is about big things, big movements, movements of troops, but it boils down to people,” he said as he spoke of those who paid the ultimate price.  He told of Ensign Frank O’Flaherty and his gunner, Bruno Gaido, who were taken aboard a Japanese cruiser, interrogated, beaten, and thrown overboard with 5-gallon kerosene cans tied to them.  He commemorated Harold Smith, Dean Hallmark, and William Farrow, three of Doolittle’s Raiders, whom the Japanese captured and executed.  Montesano said that the three men were told the day before that they would be put to death and that William Farrow was able to write a letter home to his mother. Farrow wrote, “Don’t let this get you down. Just remember God will make everything right, and I’ll see you again in the hereafter.  If you want to know how I’m taking this, my faith in God is complete, so I’m not afraid.”

William Farrow

     Montesano reminded everyone a lot was going on at home while all this was occurring in the Pacific.  The United States was building ships and carriers and airplanes.  “We built 19 ‘Lexingtons’ from 1940 to 1946.  That’s in addition to the battleships, tanks, and airplanes.  We were building 30,000 airplanes a month at that time,” he added.  “Who was building them?  It was Rosie the Riveters.  There were a lot of women in the workforce because many of the men were at war.”  He encouraged those who are interested in learning more about the Battle of Midway to attend the 75th Anniversary event on June 3, 2017, at the USS Lexington Museum located on North Beach.

Other FBBA News

FBBA President Jennifer Welp welcomed new members to the FBBA:

     Welp also thanked everyone who took part in the HEB/FBBA Earth Day clean-up of Waldron Road and the Flour Bluff Citizens Council Litter Critter event coordinated on the same day.  She also recognized Jonathan Vela, FBBA Events Coordinator, for his work on this year’s Flour Fest event which will be held at Parker Memorial Park on Waldron Road, October 28, 2017, from noon to 8:00 p.m.  All FBBA members and community and school organizations are encouraged to visit the FBBA website (https://www.flourbluffbusinessassociation.com/single-post/2017/05/10/Flour-Fest-Vendor-Registration-Now-Open) to see how sign up as a vendor or volunteer their services.

     The next FBBA general meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 14, at noon at Funtrackers Raceway Cafe’.  The speaker will be the Honorable Judge Loyd Neal of Nueces County.

Nueces County Judge Samuel Loyd Neal
Nueces County Judge Samuel Loyd Neal
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FBBA Honors Javier Ramirez of Edward Jones

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

     Javier Ramirez, financial advisor for Edward Jones, received the Keep It in the Bluff Spotlight Award from the Flour Bluff Business Association at its regular meeting held May 19, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  “Flour Bluff has always been very near and dear to my heart,” said Ramirez upon receiving the award.

     Ramirez shared that his grandfather, who passed away in the late 90s, lived in Flour Bluff.  He also told the group of about 35 that he started his twelve-year Navy career here and that upon leaving that phase of his life behind decided to return to Corpus Christi.  When the opportunity came for him to assume Melanie Hambrick’s role in the Flour Bluff office for Edward Jones, Ramirez happily accepted.  “When they asked how I felt about working in Flour Bluff, I said I’d love to,” added Ramirez.  “My attitude is one of servitude. This is the way it was in my Navy career.  It’s the way I handle myself in church and with my family.  I am a peacemaker.  If I can help people at the end of the day and make sure people are doing what they need to do to prepare for the future, that’s what I love to do.”

     Ms.  Beverly Galvan is the other part of the Flour Bluff Edward Jones team.  “If you ever need anything, we are on Facebook and LinkedIn,” said Ramirez.  Ramirez relates on his Facebook page:

     “I’m a financial advisor with Edward Jones, a financial-services firm dedicated to serving the needs of individual investors.  With nearly 13,000 financial advisors serving nearly 7 million investors, our firm has been built on the belief that the only way to do business is on a one-on-one, personal basis.  We do that by getting to know you, understanding your goals, and developing individualized strategies to help you reach them.”

     Ramirez’s office is located 10241 South Padre Island Drive, Suite 135.  He can be reached by calling 361-939-7572 or emailing javier.ramirez@edwardjones.com.  Visit the website at https://www.edwardjones.com/javier-ramirez to attain additional information.

 

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Constable Mitchell Clark Connects with Citizens through FBBA and FBCC

Business, Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Government and Politics
Constable Clark receives Certificate of Appreciation from Jennifer Welp, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association

     Newly elected Nueces County Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark made the rounds this month in Flour Bluff.  On April 12, 2017, Clark spoke to the members of the Flour Bluff Business Association at the regular meeting held at noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Five days later, he addressed the members of the Flour Bluff Citizens Council at their general meeting held on the evening of April 17 at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive.  Since taking office, Constable Clark has been busy making changes at his department, and he is working to get the word out.  Clark reminded both groups that the constable’s office has historically been known as the “people’s police department.”  Precinct 2 covers Flour Bluff, Southside Corpus Christi, and the area in and around Chapman Ranch.  “My vision is to get back into community policing,” Clark said.

     Clark explained that the role of the constable is to keep the peace.   As a peace officer, he therefore has the statutory duties and authority of a peace officer within his precinct. As an exception to this general rule, five categories of peace officers, constables among them, may make an arrest outside their jurisdiction without a warrant for any crimes committed in their presence or view.   “The perception is that all we do is serve papers, and we do.  As a matter of fact, we make the county quite a bit of money by serving anywhere from 1000 to 1400 papers per month. In addition, we are available to assist you with non-emergency kinds of calls.  If you have an emergency, you should call 911.  Otherwise, call our office at 937-6306.  We are available 24/7.  After 5:00 p.m., our phones rotate over to the dispatcher, so we will still get the call.  I am here to serve you.”

Constable Clark addresses citizens at the Flour Bluff Citizens Council general meeting at Grace Community Church

     The constable explained that he has several new programs in the works.  One program, called Walk with the Constable, is one that is designed to get neighbors together and actually walk their neighborhood while listening to their concerns.  “Call us.  We’ll do it any day at any time.  You just let us know, and we’ll be there.”  Another, Talk with the Constable, will all citizens to meet and have a conversation with Clark and his deputies at his office, which is located in the Ronnie Polston County Building on Compton Road in Flour Bluff.  “My social media will be up and running soon so that we can communicate that way, too.  I want to hear your concerns.”

     Clark told the FBCC about other programs that he is initiating.  “I am working on a gun safety class just for women called Guns and Roses,” said Clark.  He also told the group that he is going to spend more time at the schools giving age-appropriate talks regarding safety and protection.  “We have badges for the little ones and comic books for all age levels.  All of this is at no cost to the taxpayer.  I have had these items donated.”  For the adults in the community, he will offer a Constable’s Citizen Police Academy, which includes ride-alongs.

      “We are even making changes in our uniforms,” said Clark.  “We are going back to Stetson hats, which have also been donated.  No tax dollars will be used for our uniform changes.”

     Constable Clark reiterated to both groups his willingness to work with the citizens of Precinct 2, the Corpus Christi Police Department, and all other law enforcement entities to keep the peace.  “We answer all calls for service.”

NOTE:  Constable Clark is a regular contributor to The Paper Trail News.  His articles can be accessed by searching the site.

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FBBA Spotlight Business of the Month: 1st Community Bank

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff

 

     Assistant Bank Manager Elva Steiner of 1st Community Bank accepted the Spotlight of the Month award from Flour Bluff Business Association president, Jennifer Welp, at the regular FBBA meeting held April 12, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  First Community Bank is a traditional community bank. Their employees are shareholders of the bank, which means they have a personal interest in creating satisfied customers. Deposits are reinvested in homes and businesses right here in South Texas, helping families and business owners succeed.  “1st Community is committed to this community,” said Steiner.

     According to the company website, “First Community Bank first opened in Alice in 1983. During the next three decades, First Community has grown to include banks in Kingsville, Portland, Padre Island, Rockport and Victoria. Our headquarters and Home Loan Center are in Corpus Christi. We are rooted in South Texas, and we know, understand and serve the residents and businesses of the Coastal Bend at nine convenient bank locations.”

     For more information about 1st Community Bank, visit the Corpus Christi / Padre Island Officers Miles Graham or Elva Steiner at 14254 South Padre Island Drive, Corpus Christi, Texas, or call (361) 949-9310.  The bank lobby is open Monday through Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.  The drive-thru hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Other FBBA Business

    The FBBA welcomed newly elected Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark as the keynote speaker.  Constable Clark outlined some of his new programs, such as Walk with the Constable and Talk with the Constable, as part of the changes he is making in his department.  “We want to get out into the community and connect with the citizens,” said Clark.  The constable will be speaking to the residents of Flour Bluff at the Flour Bluff Citizens Council meeting on April 17, 2017.  (Watch for a separate article on Constable Mitchell Clark and his plans for the community.  He is a regular contributor to The Paper Trail News, as well.

     Jeremy Watts of HEB Plus in Flour Bluff invited everyone to take part in the Annual Earth Day clean up of Waldron Road.  The event takes place from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, 2017.  “HEB will supply bags, trash pickers, and water and fruit for the volunteers.  We will also have a DJ playing music.  HEBuddy will be on site, too,” said Watts.  “We’re looking for another great year for our Earth Day event.”

      In conjunction with the Earth Day event, the FBCC, with the help of District 4 Councilman Greg Smith and City of Corpus Christi Solid Waste Director Lawrence Mikolajczyk, have secured four Litter Critter bins.  The theme is “Beautify Your Block.”  The FBCC encourages all citizens to take part in both large and small ways.

  • Grab a couple of trash bags and ask a neighbor to help you walk your block and pick up the trash.
  • Join HEB and the Flour Bluff Business Association to clean up Waldron Road.
  • Help an elderly or disabled neighbor do some spring-cleaning.
  • Get a group together to clean a neighborhood park.

     The Litter Critter will be available on Saturday, April 22, 2017, to drop off brush and bulky items from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Volunteers will be available to assist with drop offs.  Anyone interested in helping with the program should contact the Flour Bluff Citizens Council at fbcitizenscouncil@gmail.com. Everyone is asked to adhere to the rules concerning what may be placed into the bins.  Prohibited items include: appliances, tires, household hazardous waste, construction materials, dead animals, flammable or hazardous materials, ammunition, asbestos. Household hazardous waste consists of items such as anti-freeze, solvents, brake fluid, transmission fluid, batteries, cleaning solvent, polishes, oven cleaner, pool chemicals, paint, paint thinner, paint stripper, spray paint, weed killer, pesticides, insecticides, sprays, dusts, poisons, gas, motor oil and filters. Construction materials are defined as sheet rock, shingles, lumber, fencing, concrete, brick, rocks, stones, dirt, soil.

       County Commissioner Brent Chesney gave an update on the sale of the 1914 Nueces County Courthouse.  In an April 12, 2017, report from KRIS Channel 6 News, “Nueces County Commissioner signed a real estate contract with an Ohio-based development group for $1,000. However, the group will have to pay $1.5 million is back taxes.  The group has a track record of successful projects, for example, they turned a 1930’s 12-story hotel into a loft-style apartment in Canton, Ohio. Though it is still early in the acquisition process, the group already has some ideas as to what they want to do with the building. The plans is to turn the building into a hotel. The group says they plan to leave old courtrooms intact, and possibly turn one room into a main dining area and another into a lobby area. It will take about six to seven months of planning and work with the Texas Historical Commission before plans are finalized. The group says the construction process is expected to take about 20 months.”

 

May 10, 2017 General Meeting:  Keynote speaker will be USS Lexington Executive Director Rocco Montesano.
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County Commissioners Show Support for the FBBA and Flour Bluff Community

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

 

 

     The Flour Bluff Business Association held its regular monthly meeting at noon on March 8, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  A crowd of about 40 small business owners and government officials listened as Pct. 4 Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney updated the group on issues at the county level.  In closing, Chesney and Pct. 1 County Commissioner Mike Pusley awarded the association a total of $4500 as part of a program that allows each commissioner to distribute funds for community development as they see fit.  Chesney contributed $2500, Pusley $1000, and County Judge Loyd Neal $1000.

     “I was so impressed with how this seed money was used for Flour Fest last year.  It was a huge success.  There were lots of people in attendance even though it was really hot!”  said Chesney.  He went on to thank the FBBA for doing such a great job on the event.  “I certainly hope they do this again.  What a great first year!  It was a lot of fun for everyone.  The food and music were great.  The events were fun.  It was just a huge success.  Those are the kinds of things that I, as a county commissioner, can get involved with personally.”

     Commissioner Chesney, keynote speaker at the event, expressed how much he appreciates all that the FBBA does for the Flour Bluff community and how much he enjoys being a part of what is going on in all areas of his precinct and “not just being around at election time.”  Chesney, elected in 2014, was sworn in as Nueces County Commissioner, Precinct 4 on January 1, 2015.  “In Flour Bluff, there’s not a lot that the county can directly do because everything out here is in the city limits,” said Chesney. “However, there are many ways that we indirectly impact your community.”

     Chesney opened his talk by recognizing the various entities in Flour Bluff that help the community thrive.  He was especially complimentary of the students, staff, and programs of Flour Bluff Independent School District, saying, “There’s none finer than FBISD.”  He went on to describe how proud he was of Coach James McMinn, his friend and former high school teammate, and the FB girls basketball team for winning their way to the final 4 of the State Girls Basketball Championship.  Chesney said it was thrilling to attend the game in San Antonio.  “It was fun to be there.  And, what a great student body!  Those kids were so well behaved and so fired up.  You should be very proud of the Flour Bluff School District; they really do a great job.”  He was especially happy to announce that the county health fair held at FBISD was a success and something he hopes to continue in the future.

     Chesney handed out other accolades, as well.  He complimented Melanie Hambrick for her efforts in cleaning up Redhead Pond on Laguna Shores Road with Friends of Redhead Pond saying, “This is a project that is special to me and that I’ve been involved in, but Melanie is the one who really got this thing going and is doing what Melanie does, just going after full force.”  He thanked the Flour Bluff Citizens Council, a local advocacy group formed in October 2016, for keeping the people of Flour Bluff people informed and pointed out that he became a lifetime member to show his support for the group.  Chesney thanked Monette Bright for her work with Operation Graduation, a program he personally supports through contributions. He also thanked Jeff Craft of The Flour Bluff Messenger for allowing him to write a column to keep people apprised of what the county is doing with taxpayers’ dollars.

     Turning to County business, Chesney reviewed what has been happening and how the commissioners are working to be “a business friendly county.”  He first recognized Constable Mitchell Clark who was in the audience.  Constable Clark took over as the Pct. 2 constable following the death of longtime constable Jerry Boucher.  “Jerry was a great man.  He was a mentor of Mitchell’s, and we all miss him,” said Chesney.  “But, at the same time we are very excited about Constable Clark because he is who Jerry wanted in that job.  Jerry would only want someone out here who would be a great asset to the area.  Get to know him.  He’s a great guy who’s going to work really hard for Flour Bluff.  You’re also very fortunate to have Judge Thelma Rodriguez out here who works so well with the school in handling truancy cases, a task she took on herself.  We just have a lot of great county officials out here, and she’s one of them.”

Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark

     Chesney told the group that coastal parks in Nueces County are now on the short list for millions of dollars in grants from the BP oil spill and that Padre Balli Park and I.B. Magee Park in Port Aransas are expected to receive $7.5 million in funds from the Restore Bucket 1 grant program.  “These dollars will be used to increase and improve the coastal parks, which will help you.”  Chesney pointed out that the coastal park is one of the few revenue-generating areas of the county and that the $7.5 million will give the county a ten-year jump-start on their master plan. “Mr. Pusley and I are always looking for ways to generate revenue for county projects that benefit everyone in the county – without increasing taxes,” which Chesney pointed out is one of the most effective ways the County can serve the people of Flour Bluff.

Pct. 1 County Commissioner Mike Pusley

     Chesney talked about how much he really enjoys being a county commissioner.  “Things are going well in the county.  We don’t always agree, but we have civil discourse, shake hands, and walk away knowing that we will probably agree on the next ten issues.  That’s how it’s supposed to work in government.”

     Chesney and Pusley addressed the ongoing issues with ADA compliance at all county buildings. “It’s important that we make our facilities accessible to all.  We just want to see some flexibility if – let’s say – a ramp shifts a quarter inch, and it’s no longer in compliance,” said Pusley.

Pct. 4 County Commissioner Brent Chesney receives Certificate of Appreciation from FBBA President Jennifer Welp, March 8, 2017.

Other Announcements from the FBBA

April Spotlight of the Month:  Bob Westrup, owner of Papa Murphy’s in Flour Bluff

New members:  Julie Armstrong of Cubit Contracting and Neal Ekstrom of NCE Waste Environmental Services were accepted as General Members; and Misty Svoboda of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Real Estate Center was accepted as an Associate Member.

April 1, 2017:  Coastal Bend Troop Support Crawfish Boil and Military Tribute, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Briscoe King Pavilion, 15820 SPID, Corpus Christi, TX  (Contact them to donate items by visiting coastalbendtroopsupport.com)

April 8, 2017:  Special Olympics (Contact Lori Eureste, President FB Special Olympics Booster Club at 361-658-9701 or lage1988@yahoo.com.)

April 17, 2017: Flour Bluff Citizens Council General Meeting, 6:00 p.m., at Grace Community Church on Flour Bluff Drive (Visit the website https://www.flourbluffcc.org/ for more information.)

April 22, 2017: Earth Day Community Clean-up with HEB

April 22, 2017:  First day of Litter Critter Program in Flour Bluff  (Check the FBCC and FBBA websites for more details.)

NEXT MEETING:  Wednesday, April 12, 2017, at noon at Funtrackers  (The speaker will be Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark.)

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