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 Commissioner Brent Chesney, 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)
    • 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
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.
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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
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.
Please follow and like us:

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

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.
Please follow and like us:

Flour Bluff Citizens Consider Future Land Use

Community Organizations, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Local history
Dan McGinn of the Corpus Christi Planning and ESI Department,  addresses Flour Bluff Citizens Council, July 17, 2017

     Citizens of Flour Bluff were educated on area development plans (ADPs) at the July Flour Bluff Citizens Council general meeting where Dan McGinn, Director of Planning and Environmental Strategic Initiatives, defined what area development plans are, how they are connected to Plan CC, the city’s comprehensive plan, and plans for re-writing the nine area development plans, including the Flour Bluff ADP, which has not been revised since 1993 even though the 1987 Comprehensive Plan stated that all plans would be reviewed and revised every five years. Those in attendance were encouraged to look around the Flour Bluff community and take note of improvements, enhancements, or changes needed or wanted in the community in order to be prepared for future FBADP meetings when the real planning begins.  They were asked to look to the future and envision Flour Bluff in 20 years, a daunting task to say the least.

Flour Bluff, 1863

 

     Flour Bluff encompasses an area of about 18 square miles and is home to 22,876 (according to the 2014 counts), which is about 7% of the total population of Corpus Christi, according to a presentation given by McGinn to the Corpus Christi City Council the day after the FBCC meeting.  Until the Ropes Boom around 1890, Flour Bluff was for the most part inaccessible except by boat.  Flour Bluff Point, where NAS CC sits today, was identified by the 40-foot dunes that graced the landscape.  This area attracted activity (i.e. fishing, packing plants, trade routes) on the perimeter of the Encinal Peninsula, but actual long-term settlements did not take root until the Ropes Boom around 1890. It was then that the few families who moved into the area began building houses (which they moved frequently); fishing; farming;  raising dairy cattle;  establishing a post office;  starting a school;  and building bridges across the Oso and eventually across the Laguna Madre to Padre Island.  They were seeing Flour Bluff as a land of many uses, but without the tethers of local government.

     All was quiet for a while until oil was discovered, which brought many new families to the area, followed by the biggest growth in population with the building of NAS Corpus Christi. With the Navy base came a water line that would bring a source of water more reliable than the individual wells that had at times gone dry.  Electricity, phone service, an independent school district, thriving businesses, a county building with a constable, and other community elements such as churches, sports teams, and civic groups had Flour Bluff functioning as a town, but not officially.  By 1950, the talk of incorporation had begun.  The people of Flour Bluff, a fiercely independent group, wanted to be in control of what happened on their little piece of the planet, something that has not changed.  If they can’t turn back the hands of time and become a town of their own, then they certainly want to have as much influence as possible on what happens in their own back yards.  But, who else will have a say-so in the writing of the plan?

     According to the City of Corpus Christi’s website, “The Planning Division is responsible for developing and updating of the City’s Comprehensive Plan, Area Development Plans, Neighborhood Plans, and assisting with Utility and Infrastructure Master Plans.  The Comprehensive Plan contains the city’s policies for growth and development for the land within the corporate limits and the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the city. The Comprehensive Plan is mandated by City Charter, Article V, and includes future land use, annexation, transportation, economic development and public services and facilities, and capital improvements.  The plan may also include any other element the City Council may deem necessary.  The Comprehensive Plan is a series of stand-alone documents, referred to as elements of the Comprehensive Plan.”  It should be noted that these plans are not law and can be changed.  Plan CC states:

“The comprehensive plan contains broadly stated goals and policies that can
be implemented in several different ways, whether by adopting or amending
ordinances, policies or programs. The comprehensive plan’s goals and policies
themselves are ideas to work towards rather than law. While the City’s charter
requires that all city improvements, ordinances and regulations be consistent
with the comprehensive plan, the comprehensive plan alone is not an enforceable
regulation. It does not justify the denial of a plat or the development of land. The
comprehensive plan does not obligate the City to provide any program or regulate
any activity. While the comprehensive plan is consulted when making decisions
about rezonings, it does not establish zoning district boundaries or create zoning
regulations, which would require an independent public hearing process. The
comprehensive plan does not restrict the City from preparing plans, policies,
or strategies. It does not restrict the right of the City to adopt any ordinance not
related to the development of land. It does not create any cause of action against
the City or any City official, employee, or agent. It does not constitute a defense to
the prosecution of any crime. Finally, the comprehensive plan does not supersede
Federal or State requirements.”

 

 

     McGinn explained that other key players would be involved.  The Navy still has a great deal of influence over the area, as does the State of Texas, the EPA, and TCEQ.  Add to that outside developers, utility companies, and the tourist industry, and the influence of the local citizenry on the plan seems to lose impact.  One member of the FBCC said that the plan may be necessary as part of the City Charter, but the people must be vigilant before, during, and after the document is written.  “How many people actually read those little rezoning signs that pop up here and there? We should make a point of not only stopping and reading them but calling the number to see what is about to happen.”  He went on to suggest that the City could add a link to the web page that lists every proposed zoning change so that the citizens can easily attain the rezoning information.  This, he thought, would be the most effective way of controlling what happens in Flour Bluff since it is apparent that the area development plans are easily overridden by these zoning changes that go unnoticed unless someone is watching. Melanie Hambrick, Chairperson of the FBCC Committee on the FBADP, has taken on the task of gathering knowledgeable and willing Flour Bluff citizens to take part in the process, but it is the responsibility of every citizen to pay attention to what is going on in their own neighborhoods.

     Flour Bluff (and Padre Island) is unlike the other areas of the city because it has distinct geographical boundaries created by the Cayo del Oso, the Laguna Madre, Corpus Christi Bay, and King Ranch.  The FBADP is also one of the oldest on the list.  The map below shows the boundaries of each ADP, while the chart offers the timeline for development of each plan.  A group of Padre Island residents recently wrote their own ADP, which was accepted by the City Council in January of this year.  McGinn indicated that even this plan would need to be revised with the assistance of Texas-based city planning consultants.  The city planning department currently has two full-time employees to take on the task of re-writing the plans.

     The FBCC meeting was the first of many to come.  The FBCC encourages all those who live, own property, or have businesses in Flour Bluff to stay abreast of this issue and consider taking an active role in the planning process.  The FBCC will post information about upcoming meetings on its website and Facebook page.  In the meantime, it might be a good idea to watch the city council meetings on television or in person, take note of zoning changes in the Flour Bluff area, and stay connected with the community so that the citizens can work together to preserve what is great about this little community while improving the areas that are in need of upgrades.

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.
Please follow and like us:

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.

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.
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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.
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.
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Papa Murphy’s: FBBA Spotlight of the Month

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page
Bob Westrup, owner of Papa Murphy’s Take ‘n Bake Pizza

     FBBA President Jennifer Welp awarded Bob Westrup, owner of Papa Murphy’s Take ‘n Bake Pizza the FBBA Spotlight of the Month Award at the regular noon meeting held March 8, 2017, at Funtrackers’ Speedway Cafe’.  Papa Murphy’s is located in the shopping center at 10241 South Padre Island Drive facing Waldron Road.   Wastrup thanked Welp and the Flour Bluff Business Association for all that they do.

     “We have been here a little over 6 years, and we have survived due to the FBBA and the people in the community,” said Wastrup.  “We need to keep it in the Bluff and help all our businesses.”

     When Welp commended Wastrup for helping the school and various other organizations, he said, “Being part of the community, it’s the responsibility of a business owner to give back.”

     Specializing in scratch-made dough, freshly shredded, 100% whole-milk mozzarella cheese, and fresh veggies, Papa Murphy’s has a little something for everyone.  To see what they have to offer, visit the Papa Murphy’s website or pay a visit to the Flour Bluff site where you will more likely than not, see Bob hard at work behind the counter.

 
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.
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City Park Director Addresses Flour Bluff Citizens Council

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Outdoors
Corpus Christi Director of Parks and Recreation Stacie Talbert Anaya addressing Flour Bluff Citizens Council at January 23, 2017, general meeting
     A crowd of about 60 people gathered at 6:00 p.m. on January 23, 2017, at Grace Community Church in Flour Bluff to listen to Stacie Talbert Anaya, Director of Parks and Recreation, describe what her department does city-wide and what is planned for parks in Flour Bluff. Dr. Lloyd Stegemann, FBCC Chairman of the FB Parks and Recreation Committee and newly-appointed member of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee for Corpus Christi introduced Ms. Anaya to the audience, pointing out that she lives and works by the motto “The world needs play.”
FBCC members listen while Stacie Talber Anaya, Director of Parks and Recreation, explains what is in store for Flour Bluff parks.
     Ms. Anaya told the citizens council that Parker Park is being upgraded as part of a 2012 voter-approved bond.  New walking paths, lighting for the tennis and basketball courts, improvements to the covered picnic area, and new playground facilities are just part of the plan.  A plan for planting more trees is also in the works.  Parker Pool, which is no longer managed by the city, is not part of the renovation project.  The community was encouraged to assist the Parker Pool Patriots in keeping the pool functional.  (To donate to the cause, visit their website.)
Recent construction at Parker Park
     Plans for an extension of the Oso Bay Wetlands Preserve and Learning Center, a 162-acre nature preserve accessible by using the walk-in entrances along N. Oso Parkway and from the Holly hike and bike trail, sits just across the Oso from Flour Bluff.  Anaya said that she and her group are working on making the park accessible to the Flour Bluff community via a hike and bike trail across the existing railway bridge. She said that the plan includes the walkway, fishing spots along the bridge, and perhaps even a trail head parking area at the corner of Flour Bluff Drive and Division Road, a property purchased two years ago by the city to build a citizens collections center, a facility opposed by those who live and own businesses closest to the area.  Anaya’s  idea for the property received many nods from the crowd who also want to see the property used for a more family-friendly space.
Map showing connection of Oso Wetlands park to Flour Bluff side of Oso via old railway tracks
     Anaya also discussed how the Community Enrichment Fund dollars (funds received from developer fees, other donations and interest earned in the Community Enrichment Fund) are used.  The Unified Development Code (UDC), requires that the fees be used for the acquisition or improvement of parks most likely to serve the residents of the subdivision. Community Enrichment Funds shall be used only for parkland acquisition, park development and park improvements including utility extensions required to serve recreational areas. The last appropriation of Community Enrichment Funds was approved by City Council on July 19, 2016.  The next appropriation will be made following approval at the January 24, 2017, council meeting.
    Adding to the discussion of parks and recreational areas in Flour Bluff was community activist and former president of the Flour Bluff Business Association, Melanie Hambrick, who outlined the plans for Redhead Pond (an area purchased to protect freshwater wetland habitat for wintering waterfowl and other birds). Redhead Pond offers a unique opportunity to view large concentrations of wild birds on Laguna Shores Road in Flour Bluff. Ms. Hambrick has long wanted to work with Texas Parks and Wildlife to make this a place for families and visitors to enjoy.  (To volunteer for the Redhead Pond Project, contact Melanie Hambrick at 361-728-7393 or mlhambrick@aol.com.)
Melanie Hambrick
Map of Redhead Pond Wildlife Management Area, Corpus Christi, TX 78418
 
     Joining the FBCC members at the January 23, 2017, general meeting were City Manager Margie Rose, At-large Council Members Paulette Guajardo and Michael Hunter, District 4 Councilman Greg Smith, and Gaye White of Todd Hunter’s office.  Pastor Jess Cole of Grace Community Church offers the church for the FBCC meetings, of which the group is very appreciative.
Better in the Bluff
     As an added bonus, Better in the Bluff t-shirts were raffled to the members in attendance.  Anyone who wishes to purchase a shirt at a cost of $16 ($4 goes to the FBCC for each sale) may visit Caption Tees by following this link.
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.
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District 4 Councilman Greg Smith Addresses Flour Bluff Business Association

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff, Front Page

Keynote Speaker:  Councilman Greg Smith

     Newly-elected District 4 Councilman Greg Smith addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association members at the general meeting held January 11, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Smith, a native of Flour Bluff and small business owner, has been a community activist for many years, especially in the areas of windstorm insurance, desalination, water, electrical transmission, and coastal erosion and protection. He is currently a member of the FBBA and of the newly-formed Flour Bluff Citizens Council.

     Smith gave an update on some of the issues the City of Corpus Christi is facing.  He spoke about the $870 million budget ($2.4 million per day) and how the city is carrying one of the highest debt levels in the nation in terms of debt compared to revenue.  He added that this debt level could very easily prevent the city from borrowing money for much needed street repairs.  “We have borrowed to the limit,” said Smith.

     Smith outlined a few of the big-ticket items.  He assured everyone that the pension fund is much better than before, with $70 million going to the Corpus Christi Police Department and $50 million going to the Corpus Christi Fire Department.  When discussing recent city efforts to consolidate the waste water plants, he asked, “Do we really need to consolidate our plants?”  Presently our sewer cost is second highest in the state.

     The new councilman said that there are lots of good people who work for the city, and he commended them on the jobs they are doing. “This council expects more out of staff,” Smith said, as he spoke about necessary changes that the council would be discussing at their retreat on January 13, 2017.  He expressed how he wants to see a culture of value developed within the city departments so that progress can be made.  Smith wants everyone to be more aware of what is being spent and how purchasing technology should offer some savings in another area of the department.  He spoke of a $337,000 software for Development Services that was intended to streamline the department, how it had not met the expectations that many had in terms of customer service, and how it failed to eliminate any positions.  He ended by saying that industry is very interested in Corpus Christi and that he was looking forward to the retreat where he believed the conversation would continue to be centered around streets, water, and waste water and emphasized that the “status quo is not acceptable.”

Other FBBA Business

    Out-going president, Melanie Hambrick, was recognized by newly-elected president, Jennifer Welp, for her service on the board. Hambrick is credited with actively growing the association and building positive relationships with local, state, and federal agencies. President Welp will lead the new board which includes Vice-president Roshan Bhakta, Secretary Shirley Thornton, Treasurer Jonathan Vela, Programs Director Michael Morgan, Membership Director Lynn Kaylor (appointed to replace Jeff Rank who resigned in December), Director Mark Thomas, Director Tom Hollingsworth, and Director Cliff Zarbock (appointed to replace Melanie Hambrick who resigned in January). Welp expressed how she is looking forward to serving with the new board and growing the association even more.

President Jennifer Welp thanks Melanie Hambrick for her work on the FBBA board, serving as both a director and as president.

     Welp thanked all the Flour Bluff businesses, Flour Bluff ISD school groups, and board members who made Community Christmas a success.  Over 300 children received gifts at the event, while dozens more were distributed by the Flour Bluff Fire Department via the Santa Float.  Still more were donated to Driscoll Children’s Hospital when the need for more gifts was shared with the FBBA.  Businesses and organizations who helped with Community Christmas include:

  • HEB Plus
  • Fleet Reserve
  • Funtrackers
  • Walmart #490
  • Colonia del Rey
  • Ethel Eyerly
  • Children’s Center
  • ESD#2 (personally delivered Santa and Mrs. Claus to the event)
  • County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley
  • County Judge Loyd Neal
  • Flour Bluff HS NHS
  • Eisenhauer’s School of Twirling
  • Flour Bluff Intermediate Choir
  • Jack and Jill (Santa stage, lighting, and Christmas tree)
  • Monette Bright
  • All the small businesses and individuals that donated toys, supplies, or time

     Welp recognized new member Hilde Hermann of First Direct Financial, a credit card processing company located in Flour Bluff.  Member Susan Lawson reminded everyone to support the Parker Pool Patriots.  Elaine Motl of Barefoot Mardi Gras updated the group about the plans for a bigger and better Mardi Gras Beach Parade on February 25, 2017.  The event is a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters and the island charter school.  The board of directors held a financial workshop immediately following the regular meeting.

     Next month, the FBBA will host its regular meeting at noon on February 10, 2017, at Funtrackers.  The keynote speaker will be Jim Lago, the host of the long-running morning show “Lago in the Morning,” on KKTX radio here in Corpus Christi.  Lago was recently named to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.

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.
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Flour Bluff Business Association Spotlight of the Month: The Children’s Center

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff

     

FBBA President Jennifer Welp awards Jennifer Olivarez and Monica Salazar of the Children’s Center the Spotlight of the Month Award at the January 11, 2017, general meeting.

     At its regular meeting on January 11, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff, The Flour Bluff Business Association recognized The Children’s Center as FBBA Spotlight of the Month.  The pediatric center is one of two in Corpus Christi and is located at 9702 S. Padre Island Drive in Flour Bluff.  Pediatricians Dr. Mohamad Hassan and Dr. Yunus Syed provide pediatric health care to the children in the area.  Nurse practitioner Jennifer Olivarez, who recently joined the Flour Bluff office, expressed thanks to the FBBA for the award.

     “I’m a family nurse practitioner, and I work with Dr. Hassan here in Flour Bluff,” said Olivarez.  “I hope to be an asset to the community to help meet the needs of the children.  I agree with ‘Keep It in the Bluff’ as a graduate of Flour Bluff High School and a community member who still lives here.”

     Monica Salazar, office manager for the Flour Bluff office, reminded everyone that the Flour Bluff clinic is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Appointments can be made by calling 361-937-5311.

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.
Please follow and like us: