Tickling the Funny Bone

By Kids for Kids, Flour Bluff, Front Page

Lane Z. is a 4th-grade student at Flour Bluff Elementary.  He loves hunting, baseball, dogs, a good riddle, and a funny joke.

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Q:  Why didn’t the skeleton cross the road?

A:  He didn’t have the guts.

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Q:  What has a mouth but never talks?  What runs but never walks?  What has a bed but never sleeps?

A:  A river

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Q: There were 48 cows and 28 chickens. How many cows ate chickens?

A: Twenty

Head of funny cow looking to a camera with Alps and green meadow on the background

Q:  Why does a golfer wear two pairs of pants?

A:   In case he gets a hole in one.

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Q:  What three candies can you find at school?

A:  Nerds, Dum Dums, and Smarties

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FBBA Holds February Meeting

Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

     On February 3, 2016, the FBBA held its regular monthly meeting at noon at Funtrackers on Flour Bluff Drive.  Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, opened the meeting by welcoming Jonathan Vela, owner of Dani’s Lock and Key, as the newest board member.  The purpose of the FBBA, according to the official website,  is “to initiate, sponsor, promote, and carry out plans, policies, and activities that will tend to further the prosperity and development of merchants, manufacturers, professionals, and other parties engaged in trade who maintain a business location in the area known as Flour Bluff, Texas, for their mutual advantage and protection, and to engage in all lawful activities and operations usually and normally engaged in by a non-profit association.”

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Jonathan Vela, owner of Dani’s Lock and Key

     After recognizing Vela, Hambrick moved on to a report on panhandling in the city and the new ordinance that goes into effect in March.  She explained that the ordinance does not include all of Corpus Christi because city-wide restrictions  have been deemed unconstitutional by the courts across the nation.  Hambrick, who serves on the Advisory Council on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse, voiced a personal concern:  “I am right next to Papa Murphy’s.  We have a lot of panhandling issues.”  Hambrick explained that several initiatives are being put in place to include the entities that serve the homeless.  She explained that citizens should re-think handing cash to the homeless since the research shows that this money is typically used to support bad habits.  It was suggested that gift cards, pre-packaged snacks, and bottles of water or sports drinks be given in lieu of cash.  “Keep the Change” signs are going up around the city to remind citizens to donate their dollars to the charitable organizations, such as Metro Ministries, Timon’s, and the Salvation Army that work to feed, clothe, and house the homeless.  “Although we empathize and understand and want to help, let’s not support bad habits,” Hambrick suggested.

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Melanie Hambrick, President of FBBA

     The Spotlight of the Month went to Javier Wiley, general manager of the Flour Bluff HEB on Waldron Road.  Wiley explained the recent changes to the store, which was built eight years ago.  “We added close to 4000 new items, and when new items are added, something goes.  That’s just the way it is,” said Wiley.  “A lot of the changes came from customer feedback.” Wiley gave the example of how the chips and beer aisles are now separated.  Other changes include a new Healthy Living Department with bulk bins and a gluten-free section with a freezer section to be added.

     Hambrick thanked Mr. Wiley and said, “We are so grateful to have their participation.  Of the $3000 spent for the toys for the children at the Community Christmas event, HEB contributed $1500.”

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Javier Wiley, General Manager of Flour Bluff HEB

   “I plan on being more involved and being a good neighbor to everyone.  I want you to count on HEB,”  Wiley responded.  Wiley ended with a brief explanation of how HEB is taking advantage of the E-commerce market by creating HEB.com.   There is even an HEB app that can tell the customer on which aisle a particular product can be found in their local store.  “We’ve been around 111 years.  The leaders in our company saw a need for us to get into this as they were planning 10 to 20 years out.  We want to be the Amazon of the future.”

     The keynote speaker this month was Andy Taubman, a local businessman who re-imagines distressed apartments and turns them into middle market housing, currently serves as the chairman of the Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee.  Taubman lives on Padre Island but has properties throughout the city, including Flour Bluff.  Originally from Oklahoma, Taubman worked as a Wall Street banker for many years and moved with his wife to Corpus Christi from San Diego, California, four years ago. Taubman said of his choice to move here, “This is the place where I believe people are free; they’re independent; they’re self-aware; and they are able to make a change because they can do what’s right.  We have two small boys, and we want them to grow up in Texas for that very reason.”

     Taubman and his wife own 26 units on Barton Street.  “We are part of Flour Bluff.  This is home to us and something we feel has tremendous opportunity, and we’d like to be a part of it.  When one looks at that business as an example, you can see the difference between a vision and a plan.  The asset was the same; the building was the same; but it was beat down and maybe had people who were up to no good or on the wrong side of the law.  We come in; we re-imagine it; we make it safe; we paint it; we add lighting; we tell the people who aren’t helpful to find some other place to live, and they do.  The people who come in are really wonderful people who know how to build neighborhoods, and that’s what we’re personally doing for Flour Bluff.”

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Andy Taubman, FBBA Keynote Speaker

     Taubman explained how his knowledge of the way both big and small businesses run helps him as he looks into the way the city maintains streets.  “From time to time you have to look at what, how, why, and where things are being done,” said Taubman about the role of the streets committee. “And that’s healthy.  To be very clear, this isn’t a process that shows up when there are problems.  This isn’t a process because we stand in judgment.  This is a bunch of people who have a wide variety of experience and expertise who get together and say ‘What are we doing?’  If the goal is to make it perfect, it’ll never happen.  If the goal is to make it better, then we can’t fail because I think we already have done that.”

     Taubman then told the audience that the committee found that the seal coat program was a year behind, a problem related to a program vested in the practice of using a sole provider for a specific job.  “By improving the contracting process, we can get more contractors involved.  We can have better time frames between when the analysis of a street is done and work is done and the payment is made. We can get smaller contractors involved because the jobs would be broken down into smaller increments with shorter time frames.”

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     The second area is related to how streets are chosen for repair.  “The city needs to expand information systems and their processes to be proactive so that they keep lists in mind.”  Taubman said that PCI (Pavement Condition Index) data is not always indicative of actual street condition but is currently the primary source for deciding which streets get fixed.  He said the committee is asking the city staff to look into a better way of looking at street condition, keeping track of street problems and work, and working from lists created by city personnel who actually look at the streets and assess pavement condition, ride quality, and risk.  “There’s no substitution for looking at the streets.  When people make decisions sitting in an office, and they’re disconnected from what they’re managing, it leads to bad decisions,” Taubman said.

     A third topic of discussion at the committee level is that of involving the RTA in assisting more with providing ADA improvements, which are mandated but not funded by the federal government.  “When we looked at the SPMP and overlay processes, we found that 23% of every dollar spent did not go to the street.  It went to ADA.  This is where the RTA can play a big role,” said Taubman.  He went on to say that the RTA can serve their target community and be true to their mission, and every dollar spent on streets will actually go to the streets.

     Taubman ended by saying, “I’d like to thank the city council for giving us this opportunity.  I’d especially like to thank them for giving us the members they’ve given us on the committee.  I can say that this committee functions very well.  I’d like to thank the city staff and the city management.  They’ve been very supportive of our effort and very helpful in getting information to us.  At the end of the day, will the street committee be judged successful?  I don’t know.  We’ve addressed a lot of issues with specific suggestions.  We’ve found a lot of areas for improvement.  What we bring to the table is common sense.  That’s our skill, our special super-hero power that we’re applying.  Can the city absorb common sense as a means of doing business?  I don’t know.  The jury is still out on that one.”

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Kudos to Parks and Rec for Making Retta Park Place Safe Again

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page
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Walkway in Retta Park in Flour Bluff

     Paul Sanderford, a lifetime resident of Flour Bluff who recently moved into the Retta Place subdivision, was unhappy with the condition of the neighborhood city park where he takes his boys to play.  The complaint he submitted via CCMobile to the city said, “The wooden walkway at Retta Park is very dangerous for children.  The wood is rotten, and the walkway has missing boards.  The park also needs some new mulch to reduce the sticker burrs and allow for a safer playing surface.”  Within a week the problems were addressed.

Paul Sanderford

     Sanderford was grateful and submitted feedback to the city about the work completed.  “As a resident of Corpus Christi and Retta Place subdivision, I am truly impressed with the response of the Parks and Recreation Department.  I submitted a safety complaint about the wooden walkway at Retta Place Park on Thursday, February 4, 2016, and the walkway was repaired by Wednesday, February 10, 2016.  The speedy response by this department has made our park a safer place for the children in our neighborhood.”

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Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

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James Skrobarczyk and Dan Hogan hosted a follow-up town hall meeting for Flour Bluff residents on February 10, 2016, at the Ethel Eyerly Community Center. Residents had the opportunity to speak with District 4 Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre, Chad Magill Council Member At-Large, and Chief of Police Mike Markle about homelessness, PlanCC 2035, and criminal activity in the Flour Bluff area.

The meeting started with a brief explanation of what services are available through the community center but quickly turned to the recent events in the Turtle Cove subdivision.  Some residents of that area expressed their concerns about what they perceived as retaliation from CCPD and Code Enforcement for requesting help with the criminal activity in and around their neighborhood.  Some of the residents received notices about fences that are too high, house numbers that are too small, and other violations of city property ordinances.  “Why did we need this show of force?” asked one resident at the meeting.

Commander Blackmon answered the question by saying, “Some code violations affect neighborhoods.  High grass and junk vehicles will affect crime.  When you have that, the pride’s not there.  The other things – like the fences that are too high – those are things that we need to look at.  If they were there when you moved in and are pre-existing conditions, we just need to look at them to be fair.  These notices were not intended to be punitive.  They are meant to be educational.”

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Cdr. Blackmon addresses Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting

A woman asked, “If it’s not a citation, then why does it say you have seven days to fix it, or it becomes a fine?”

Blackmon said, “It’s not going to a citation.  It’s not getting filed in court.  The ones that are quality of life issues – high grass or junk vehicles – we will be getting back to you.  Don’t worry about the dates.  And, I saw on the blogs about how ridiculous it is that house numbers have to be a certain size.  I’ll be honest with you.  When we re-wrote the property maintenance code last year, I actually put that in the new one.  Let me tell you why.  Being a police officer for 27 years, it’s very frustrating to look for an address when somebody calls 911.  Somebody needs help, and it takes extra time to find that address.  Oftentimes, we get out there, and we’re looking at the neighbors’ addresses to figure out where we need to be.  Seconds are lives, and that is important.  Again, these are not citations.   We are just trying to educate you.  Many of you didn’t know this rule.”  According to Blackmon the correct size is 4 inches or larger.

James Skrobarczyk said, “I am hearing your apology, and on my behalf, I accept that apology.  Just please don’t pick on the neighbors that are trying to make things better.”

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“It’s not an apology.  I’m trying to explain what happened and what our intent was.  We are on board with you folks.  Where we could have done better is notifying you before we went out there.  The mission was to improve the aesthetics of your neighborhood,” replied Blackmon.

Later in the meeting, other Flour Bluff residents spoke about criminal activity in their neighborhoods.  Some shared how they use Nextdoor.com and Neighborhood Watch to help combat problems themselves.  Chief Markle said that a lot can be learned from Turtle Cove, that what they’re doing “should be the baseline” for what other neighborhoods can do.  “When we do assessments in neighborhoods, like the one we did in Turtle Cove, you wouldn’t believe how many garage doors we see open in the middle of the night or boats loaded with fishing gear at 4:00 in the morning.  You really have to go the extra mile to protect yourselves.  I hate to say that, but you do.  Take your valuables out of your cars and lock your doors.  Most burglars are opportunists.  If they see something, they’re going to take it.  There’s something called CPTED (Crime Prevention through Environmental Design).  You cut down shrubs around your house that provide good hiding places, have lighting in front and around your house so that people aren’t invisible at night.  Those are the kinds of things you need to do.  We provide crime prevention specialists to help you learn about ways to protect yourselves.  We’re happy to do that.  Just pick up the phone and call us.  We will come back in a couple of months and do a follow up meeting to let you know what we’ve been doing.  If you keep reaching out to us so that we can respond to your needs, perhaps we won’t have any more angst over some of the things we do as a police department.”  Chief Markle apologized for the lack of communication.

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Chief Markle addresses Flour Bluff citizens

District 4 Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre reviewed the new city panhandling ordinance that takes effect in March.  She explained that panhandling is protected by freedom of speech, so a city-wide ban is not allowed.  “In looking at some of the panhandling ordinances that have been shut down in cities that have done them, the city legal department looked very carefully at what could be done within the panhandling ordinance that would probably stand up to the challenges in court.  No guarantees, but if there are challenges it will be dealt with in-house, at no additional cost and with possible issues that come forth on it.”

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Council member Colleen McIntyre addresses homelessness

     McIntyre outlined the following panhandling laws that are part of a city-wide ordinance:

  • No panhandling within 25 feet of an ATM
  • No panhandling on private property unless owner has given permission
  • No aggressive panhandling
  • No panhandling within 25 feet of an outdoor dining area

The councilwoman also listed what the Advisory Council on Homelessness, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse is considering or already implementing:

  • Educating public to convince them to “Keep the Change” and donate their money to entities that serve the homeless, such as Timon’s, Salvation Army, and Metro Ministries
  • Getting the word out to the community to give something other than cash (i.e. food vouchers, gift cards, healthy packaged foods, water, Gatorade)
  • Possible day-labor program that matches homeless to day-labor jobs in lieu of giving them citations
  • Possible Permanent Supportive Housing for the homeless
  • Collection of data on homeless to better track and serve them, especially the homeless veterans

“The goal is to meet the needs of the homeless while preserving quality of life for the rest of us,” said McIntyre.

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Chad Magill discussing PlanCC 2036 with Flour Bluff residents

Councilman Chad Magill opened his talk with a few words recognizing McIntyre’s efforts in working on the homeless initiative. He then explained the make-up of the city council and the role of the at-large council members. “What I believe – and this is my own philosophy – is that an at-large council member does everything possible to make sure each district council member succeeds in their district,” Magill said.

Magill then launched into his talk on PlanCC 2035.  “Every 30 years or so, we come up with what we call a comprehensive plan. What I want to give you is a common sense approach to what we as a city want to be when we grow up in the next twenty years,” said Magill. “Our city charter really determines who we are and what we do. In that charter, we have a section on comprehensive planning; it’s Article 5, Section 4. When we adopt a comprehensive plan, it becomes the rule of law, meaning it also affects and determines area development plans, including the Flour Bluff Development Plan – which, by the way, needs to be updated. It was adopted September 4, 1993. A comprehensive plan drives a message across the city, our region, and even our extraterritorial jurisdiction in how we grow, which follows the path downward toward area development plans.” Magill asked the audience to picture a pyramid with the comprehensive plan at the top and all other area plans falling below it.

Magill briefly described the 1955 and 1987 plans by giving examples in each. He said that the 1955 plan included a provision that addressed proper compaction of streets over utility cuts to prevent street deterioration. The 1987 plan called for the creation of bike lanes, support for the Port of Corpus Christi, help for growth of our military presence, and support for our public safety (i.e. fire, police, EMS, hurricane response). Magill said that these plans are what he refers to as “bricks and mortar” plans, which are engineering-driven and based on real-world scenarios.

“Plan CC 2035went through a long process, and I do want to respect the many people who worked on this plan. There’s a lot of good in that plan. I truly believe that,” said Magill. “There are lots of thoughts, dreams, and aspirations, as well, which – I believe – tie more to what you’d call a ‘vision plan’ rather than a ‘bricks and mortar plan’. PlanCC 2035, as complete as it may be, has no reference to supporting public safety, to supporting the military, to supporting our port. Just these three examples are enormously a part of who we are – as our heritage, as our culture, as our city. I certainly want those to continue from our existing plan that specifically states those three policies.”

Magill gave an example from the 1987 plan:  “Maintain a harmonious relationship with the military and encourage growth of all military facilities.”  He asked everyone if this is just as true today as it was 30 years ago.  Nods and responses of affirmation from the audience followed.  “That is really where you want your policies.  You want them to be something that is rounded, something that gives you a shape or a direction that shows you where to lead your area development plans and your utilities service plans.”  He gave the real-world example of running water to the base and explained that this action would be in keeping with the comprehensive plan and even shapes future conversations about supporting military growth.  “If it’s not in there, it’s left to be desired.  2035 is not bad, just incomplete.”

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Magill said that contrary to what some people are saying, he did not re-write PlanCC 2035.  “The reality is I wanted to give clear direction to the planning commission and give them something to work from.”  He said that PlanCC 2036 brings together what he deems is good about the current plan and PlanCC 2035.  When Jeff Rank, local attorney and contributor to PlanCC 2035 raised concerns about the time and money spent on the plan being wasted if the plan is thrown out, Magill said that he voted to start the process, but he couldn’t vote for the final plan as it was proposed.  Magill encouraged audience members to go to his website, chadmagill.com,  and read the plans, including 2036, so that they could learn what his thought processes were in submitting the plan.  All other comprehensive plans can be viewed there, as well.

Rank said, “I am glad to hear that PlanCC 2036 is not intended to replace 2035 but to correct perceived problems in it.”

Other questions and comments from the audience revolved around traffic issues, the harbor bridge, city debt, zero-based budgeting, EPA fines, and utility bills.

 

 

 

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Lynn Kaylor Has Left the Building!

Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Personal History

Lynn Kaylor Hornet     Lynn Kaylor, Flour Bluff ISD Public Information Coordinator, retired in January after faithfully serving the district for twenty-four years.  Hired in 1992 as an administrative assistant to Leroy Dehaven and Carol Goodman, Kaylor began a job that allowed her to work where her kids went to school and have the same days off as they did.  In those first days, she had no idea what her job would become when administration handed her the first of many tasks that changed the face of Flour Bluff schools.

     Dehaven put Kaylor  in charge of planning and executing the school’s 100-year celebration, which came with a homecoming parade.  Being a King High School graduate, Lynn knew only a little about Flour Bluff from her husband Jimmy and his family and friends who grew up in the area.  That quickly changed.  During her research into the beginnings of the school, she interviewed many people whose families settled Flour Bluff or taught in the district in the early years. She collected memorabilia, listened to stories from locals, and became immersed in the rich history of a little community dubbed “Gateway to Padre Island.”  Before long, Kaylor didn’t just live in Flour Bluff; she lived Flour Bluff.  She was evolving into a Hornet!  The transformation was so evident that people often asked her what year she graduated from Flour Bluff.

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    “Everybody thinks I went to school in Flour Bluff. They always want to know what year I graduated and are quite surprised when I tell them that I didn’t attend Flour Bluff at all. It’s just that I’ve been here so long, and I know so many people through my husband Jimmy, my kids, and all my contacts through work.”

     The Public Information Office, created by former Superintendent Carol Moffett to advertise what was going on in Flour Bluff ISD, became Kaylor’s home base.  There she performed a myriad of duties, which included handling all district media and publications, running the print shop, organizing special events such as Relay for Life, setting up the Hornet Spirit Shop, creating t-shirt designs, developing an employee wellness program, tending to student registration, working with all the booster clubs, maintaining the district website and social media sites, taking care of employee service awards, helping former graduates with their reunions, building relationships with local businesses, and anything else that no other department in the district managed.  In her early days with the district, Kaylor used the school van to pick up kids to register for summer school if they had no way of getting there.  “I just did whatever they asked me to do to serve the kids of this district.”

     “Mrs. Moffett gave me this job along with a bunch of duties.  I started visiting with Realtors, giving tours of the district to families wanting to move in,” said Kaylor.  “I come to work every day with a mission, knowing what I need to do, and it rarely happens.  Once I get here, I get a phone call to take pictures or meet with the media or set up tours.  Even people just lost on the street who see ‘Information’ on this building come in to ask about city bus schedules and things like that.  I would let them know that I didn’t have that kind of information, but I always try to help them by looking it up or putting them in contact with the right person.”  Kaylor has also worked with law enforcement to give them information about former students and was once asked to provide old yearbooks for an investigation by NCIS of Naval Air Station Corpus Christi.

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     Kaylor said that she faced many challenges during her tour of duty with Flour Bluff ISD.  Her husband, Jimmy Kaylor, served on the local school board for many years, and some people often thought that she received special treatment because of that.  “That couldn’t be any further from the truth,” Kaylor said.  “If anything, it made my job harder because of other people’s wrong perceptions.”  She went on to say that it even made it difficult to visit with a teacher about one of her children.

      One of the biggest challenges, according to Kaylor, is “heading off the negativity from the media.”  She explained that FERPA and privacy laws prevent her from offering some information that may be crucial to understanding the full story of a particular incident.  “All I can do is sit back silently and listen to the rumors.  I wanted to say ‘Let me tell you what really happened’, but I can’t.  The media often reports just a part of a story that comes from something a person said, which sometimes shines a negative light on the teachers, administrators, and kids, which they don’t deserve.”  Kaylor said, “I’ve made a lot of friends in the media, and I know they have to do their jobs.  But, they can respect me, and I can respect them.”

     “What I like most about working here,” Kaylor said, “is the diversity of the kids, who come from all kinds of backgrounds.  The Navy base brings in lots of families from around the world, and we get their children who have been all over the world.  Every student learns something through these military kids’ experiences just by going to school with them.”

     “I also like the way we’re set up with all of our campuses on one block.  In larger districts, there are feeder schools.  Here the kids move from campus to campus and know about the buildings and the teachers and principals before they ever get there.”  Kaylor explained how the students move with the same basic group of friends from building to building, play on the same teams, and get to work together, in some cases, from kindergarten through twelfth grade.  “Everybody knows everybody else.”

Flour Bluff

     One of Kaylor’s favorite projects is the yearly homecoming parade.  “It’s been such a staple in this community, and it is a lot of hard work. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to be done ahead of time.  But, when you’re standing down there that night lining up everybody and you see the kids all excited and the streets lined with hundreds of people watching, it’s great.  It’s like a wedding.  You work really hard to make it a memorable time for everyone, and when it’s over, you can finally relax.”  Because Kaylor runs back and forth constantly checking to make sure that every float is in place and that nothing happens along the way, she has never been able to sit and watch the 24 parades she has put in motion.  “It is so much work, but it is so worth it!”

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Homecoming Parade

     Throughout her career, Kaylor collected anything pertaining to the school.  “When I did the 100-year celebration, people brought in all kinds of things for us to display.  They didn’t want it back, so I kept it.  For many years, in the back of my mind, I had a vision for a school museum.  I just felt we needed to put up a display of what we have and highlight the past.  What other district functions the way we do?  How many districts brought in an old aircraft hangar and made it into a gym?  Nobody does that kind of thing.”

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     Kaylor has displayed many items on the walls of the building where she spent her career.  It is the start of the Flour Bluff ISD Museum.  Behind a locked door in the same building, pieces of Flour Bluff school history rest in boxes, on shelves, in filing cabinets, and on tables awaiting the return of a retired Lynn Kaylor who will finish out the vision.  “When I’m digging through these old records and pictures and such, I get even closer to this school.  It makes me feel like I grew up here. I just hope the district doesn’t grow so much that this room becomes real estate that they need for something.”  Among the memorabilia is a collection of Hornet mascots, designed by Kaylor and drawn by Joungsik Chung, a local artist.

     “When Coach Mike Crowe came in 1998, he thought we needed a more ‘intimidating’ Hornet.  He, along with Mrs. Moffett, asked my help to come up with a new look that showed power and strength.  That’s when I contacted Chung, and from there it’s history.  We just kept making Hornet after Hornet to represent every activity, group, club, and organization of the district.  I even have one of Elvis,” Kaylor said with a smile.

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Kaylor’s collection of Hornet mascots

     “I call Lynn Elvis because she is such a huge fan of Elvis,” said Flour Bluff Superintendent Joe Kelley.  “And, like Elvis, her legend will live on in a positive way for many years to come. Her dedication to the kids of this District has been steadfast for twenty-four years and is greatly appreciated. She is a trusted friend and colleague, and I will miss our day-to-day interaction. I wish her the best in retirement.”

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      January 30, 2016, brought to a close Lynn Kaylor’s career with Flour Bluff ISD.  “We plan on being in the community, and I am keeping my season football tickets.  I’m never going to give those up.  People know they’ll be able to call on me to help serve on committees or volunteer in the district;  they know I’m not just going to walk away.  I will still help with the Foundation for Educational Excellence, another thing I helped start.  I want to continue to be a part of the community because I feel I still have something to contribute,” said Kaylor about how she plans to stay involved with the district.

     Kaylor said of her replacement, Kim Sneed (resident of Flour Bluff with two children attending FBISD) who will use her skills and knowledge from working with the Corpus Christi ISD Office of Public Information to follow Kaylor’s lead, “She’s going to be great.  She just has to put her mark on it.”  There is no doubt that Lynn Kaylor left her mark on Flour Bluff ISD, a school she continues to love and serve in any way she can.

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Lynn Kaylor and Kim Sneed with quilt made by Kaylor
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Putting Corpus Christi on the Map in 1845

Corpus Christi, Front Page

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The oldest federal military cemetery in Texas, Old Bayview was laid out by U. S. Army engineers while Brigadier General Zachary Taylor was encamped in Corpus Christi on the eve of the Mexican War. On September 13, 1845, the steamer “Dayton”, used to transfer men from St. Joseph’s Island to Corpus Christi, burst a boiler near McGloin’s Bluff (Old Ingleside), killing seven soldiers. Taylor obtained a burial site from H. L. Kinney, founder of Corpus Christi.

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U.S. Army camp at Corpus Christi, Library of Congress photograph by Daniel P. Whiting, 1845

Colonel Hitchcock, who served under Taylor, wrote:

“On September 14, a military funeral took place at the burial ground which I selected. It is on the brow of the hill northwest of camp, and commands a view of the Nueces and Corpus Christi bays. It is a beautiful spot. “

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Map of Corpus Christi, 1877

After Taylor’s army left Corpus Christi in 1846, the cemetery became the community burial ground. Here are graves of pioneer settlers, and of veterans of War of 1812, Texas War for independence, Mexican War, Indian campaigns, Civil War, and later conflicts. Markers bear the names of men of the 9th U. S. Cavalry, 1st U. S. Infantry, 38th U. S. Infantry, U. S. Mounted Rifles, and 1st Texas Cavalry.

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View of Harbor Bridge from Old Bayview Cemetery


That old cemetery located at Ramirez Street and the I-37 access road has gone by several names in the past. It was the Old Military Cemetery and the City Cemetery but is known today as Old Bayview Cemetery. Located at the highest geographic point in 1845, it overlooked both Corpus Christi Bay and Nueces Bay minus the warehouses, ball fields, ship channel, harbor bridge and an abandoned courthouse.

OBC Rogers
Old Bayview Cemetery, 2015

Thanks to the Nueces County Historical Society, Old Bayview is brought to life each year in November as dedicated historians assume the roles of those buried in the cemetery and tell their stories at the Old Bayview Cemetery: Voices of South Texas cemetery walk.

OBC Cannon

OBC Patterson

OBC Sid

OBC Sally

Source of Information:  Texas Historical Marker and Corpus Christi Public Libraries

 

 

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Takin’ It to the Streets: The Potential Role of the RTA

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

RTA1

     “We’re here to give you an affirmative statement.  We will be glad to work with you.  We would be glad to see this program moving forward, and hopefully we can make it even better,” said Tom Niskala, Nueces County appointee to the RTA Board of Directors, at the February 1, 2016, meeting of the City of Corpus Christi Ad Hoc Residential Street Infrastructure Advisory Committee.

     Did anyone hear that?  Evidently the reporter from the Caller-Times somehow missed it because it wasn’t mentioned anywhere in his article about the meeting, which was printed on February 2, 2016. Maybe he heard it but didn’t include it.  Maybe he included it, but someone on the editorial staff cut that tidbit out.  Perhaps it isn’t something Mr. Whitehurst wants to hear since it is not in keeping with his opinions about the role of the RTA expressed in his column on January 31, 2016.  Actually, it’s more in alignment with what Andy Taubman described in his forum piece printed in the Caller-Times on January 26, 2016.

Andy Taubman Speaker
Andy Taubman speaking to Flour Bluff citizens about streets

     Niskala explained that in 1986 about a million dollars went to street reconstruction out of the RTA budget.  “That fund has increased to about $2.6 million in 2015 and $2.8 million in 2016 that goes directly to the City of Corpus Christi and gets deposited directly into the streets program.”  He related other contributions the RTA has made to the city streets program, including the area around City Hall near the new RTA office building.  “We’ve got some repairs to a few streets, and that includes Sam Rankin, Josephine, and Mexico.  Those repairs will be $500 to $800 thousand depending on the approach.  The RTA also participated in the improvements of Artesia and Mestina as a part of the Staples Street Station project.  Those totaled about $900,000 on the RTA’s part,” Niskala said.  He went on to explain that other projects included specific sidewalk, ADA, and street improvements, which totaled about $1.5 million in 2015.

tom-niskala

     “There’s been about $5 million in 2015 and about $4 million in 2016 that’s going into a variety of street, sidewalk, and ADA improvements in the area,” Niskala said of current contributions made into the street program.

     “In the past, those projects were mutually agreed to by the city and the RTA.  Somewhere along the line, that became a contribution into the city’s general revenue fund.  More recently, it now goes directly into the streets program, and it’s a little bit more strategic.  But we agreed that that could be even better enhanced and have some additional strategic thinking that is looking at the types of projects that we are mutually interested in and coming up with an approach beneficial to both the city and the RTA,” said Niskala.

     Niskala spoke about the role of the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization) and their new bike lane plan and the pedestrian plan.  Niskala also reminded everyone that the RTA serves a much larger area than just Corpus Christi.  “The RTA serves the majority of Nueces and San Patricio counties, so we’ve got to look at the projects beyond the City of Corpus Christi.  It’s something that could be a good collaboration effort between the MPO, the City of Corpus Christi, and the RTA that could lead to a far more efficient and effective use of funds.”

     Niskala told the committee that some discretionary funds are available from the FTA (Federal Transit Administration).  “The RTA is a designated recipient.  Through a good, collaborative effort, we could do some type of grant program that might enhance the sidewalk programs that provide access to and from our transit stops.”  He added that federal grants always have some strings attached, so some restrictions will apply, which would limit the use of the grant funds to quarter-mile distances from each bus stop.   Niskala, however, said, “It’s a program we could build upon.”  That is a sizable area since there is somewhere around 1400 bus stops in the city according to Valerie Gray, Director of Public Works.

     “I think the idea is a good one, the RTA working with the MPO and the city to look at how this program might be enhanced.”  He explained that the plan would have to presented to the RTA Board of Directors, which he saw as an item for discussion at the February retreat.  “So, we might be able to bring back some more detailed information on how this might work.”

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Turtle Cove: Adjustment Day Has Arrived!

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

Cameras in Turtle Cove

     First, the Turtle Cove neighbors voiced concerns about the crime in their area and too little police presence.  After several months of making calls, writing emails, setting up town hall meetings, and teaching neighbors to be on watch, needed changes started to happen.  Chief Markle saw to it that cameras and lights were installed in various places throughout the neighborhood to help deter criminal types from prowling the park and streets in Turtle Cove.   The neighbors praised these efforts on Facebook and Nextdoor, social media sites they used to connect with each other.  Residents in surrounding neighborhoods were impressed and a little jealous of all the attention that Turtle Cove was receiving and responded with comments, such as: “How did you get the cameras?”  “I wish we could get more patrol cars in our area.”  “Our neighborhood needs to get organized!” Citizenry in action was the rule of the day.  Then, the police showed up along with code enforcement officers to sweep the area and identify problems of all kinds, even at the homes of the very neighbors who requested this help.  Some of the Turtle Cove residents were outraged and accused the police of  retaliating against them for waging complaints.  Hm.

Turtle Cove 6

     At a Flour Bluff town hall meeting held at Ethel Eyerly on the evening of February 10, it all came to a head.  I watched as tempers flared on both sides when Commander Blackmon explained what happened and why.  Some  folks defended what the police were doing and applauded their efforts.  Chief Markle, a man of sound judgment and cool demeanor, offered an apology for what he saw as a lack of communication between the residents and the police force.  One person refused to accept the apology, but just about everyone else did.  It was a tense moment for all and felt a whole heck of a lot like the first night at HEB Foundation Camp in Leakey, Texas, with a group of girls who realize that they will have to learn to live together for a whole week!

     Now, these girls choose their cabin buddies weeks in advance of the trip.  They WANT to be in the company of one another.  They are friends who have played, laughed, cried, and done life together, sometimes since kindergarten.  Yet, the first day at camp is always the same.  Each girl shows up with a different set of house rules.  True colors begin to show when selecting bunks and cubby holes.  They begin to discover the slobs, the neat freaks, the night owls, the snorers, and the self-righteous among them.  Words are said; feelings are hurt; lines are drawn; and the bickering begins.  Such is the way on what I call “Adjustment Day.”  I allow them to suffer through their new-found living arrangements until after dinner on the first night.  That’s when I call a cabin meeting, tell them to figure out how to tolerate each other, step out, and allow the girls to learn to co-exist for the week.  Some groups can do it quickly and get on with the business of camp fun, while others work on it all week.  It is painful in the beginning but quite rewarding in the end for everyone involved, and the kids almost always have nothing but fond memories of camp.

     Well, “Adjustment Day” has arrived in Turtle Cove, and it is going to take everyone a little bit of time to get used to the new way of life in the neighborhood, a way of life they requested.  Are some of the neighbors ungrateful, while others are happy to see the change?  Were the police retaliating against people who complained about being ignored by law enforcement, or were they doing what they thought the neighbors wanted? Were they simply sending a message to the bad guys who might be watching?  Only the individuals involved know the real answers to these questions.  All I know for certain is that a select group of neighbors, a council member, and representatives from law enforcement put a plan together to help the situation in the neighborhood.  But, as most folks know, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry,” so the plan must be tweaked until everyone is reasonably happy with it.  They need to do just that.  Hopefully, there will be enough people who are willing to continue with the plan until they see a positive change in their area.  Then, they will be able to look back and speak fondly of the days they spent in Turtle Cove.

 

Related articles:

“Turtle Cove: A Good Neighborhood in Need of Help”

“Involved Neighbors Make for Good Neighbors”

“Turtle Cove: Starting to See the Silver Lining”

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Small Business Startup Tips

Business, Corpus Christi, Front Page

     The purpose of this piece is to provide a basic road map for obtaining small business startup financing particularly from a bank. However, some points might prove useful to an existing business.

    There are three basic business organizations: sole proprietorship, partnerships, and corporations. The simplest being the sole proprietorship. The type of organization chosen depends on the circumstances and makes for the easiest loan application.

What is needed:
• Personal and business (if not a startup) credit histories,
• One year cash flow projections showing how the loan payments are to be made,
• A financial statement as to the loan amount and how it is to be used,
• A simplified business plan,
• A proforma balance sheet and a proforma income statement, and
• Organizational documentation.

     As a rule of thumb, after the loan is made, the owner(s) should have at least a one-third interest in the business. In cases where ownership financing is involved, the “old” owner’s retained interests can be counted depending on the lender’s policies.  If needed, most banks have a “partnership” relationship with the Small Business Administration. Under the SBA’s 7A Loan Guarantee Program, qualifying loans are guaranteed to the bank up to 80% of the outstanding principal and interest.  For more details, visit www.sba.gov.

     There are many types of worthy banks. Unless there is a compelling reason otherwise, the best bank to approach is a Community Bank. These banks are locally owned, and loan decisions are made locally.

Closing thoughts:
• Never approach the banker “cold turkey.”  Be prepared to respond to his questions even during the first meeting.
• Be prepared to respond to any potential problems.
• Once he says yes, close the subject. Just accept the yes.

Robert Ramos

Robert C. Ramos is a graduate of Del Mar College and Texas A&M Kingsville.  He retired from the Small Business Administration in 1994 and owned and operated The Gabriel Group, Inc., a DOD contracting company, until October 2014. 

Related article:  Federal Contracting Tips

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Keep Up with the Corpus Christi City Council

Corpus Christi, Front Page

City Hall

This page is for those readers who want to keep up with what is happening at City Hall but can’t make the council meetings.  Below are links to the agendas, minutes, and videos for each meeting.  Contact information for the mayor and council members was taken from the City of Corpus Christi website.

January Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Videos

February Meeting Agendas, Minutes and Videos

Contact Information for:

Mayor Nelda Martinez

(361) 826-3100
1201 Leopard St. 78401
P.O. Box 9277 78469

neldam@cctexas.com

Fax: (361) 826-3103


Chad Magill, Council Member At-Large

Work: (361) 826-3105
Business Address:
1201 Leopard St. 78401

Chad.Magill@cctexas.com


Lillian Riojas, Council Member At-Large

Work: (361) 826-3105
Cell: (361) 765-1499
Work Address:
1201 Leopard St. 78401

Lillian.Riojas@cctexas.com


Mark Scott, Council Member At-Large

Work: (361) 985-2004
Home: (361) 814-9220
Business Address: 5324 Holly 78413

markscott338@gmail.com

Carolyn Vaughn, District 1

City Council Offices
1201 Leopard St. 78401
Main Line: (361) 826-3105
Cell: (361) 877-0148

carolyn.vaughn@cctexas.com


Brian Rosas, District 2

Work: (361) 826-3105
Work Address:
1201 Leopard St. 78401

brian.rosas@cctexas.com


Lucy Rubio, District 3

City Council Office
1201 Leopard St. 78401
Main Line:(361) 826-3105
Cell: (361) 774-0465

Lucy.Rubio@cctexas.com


Colleen McIntyre, District 4

Work: (361) 826-3105
Work Address:
1201 Leopard St. 78401

Colleen.McIntyre@cctexas.com


Rudy Garza, District 5

Work: (361) 826-3105
Work Address:
1201 Leopard St. 78401

Rudy.Garza@cctexas.com

 

 

 

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