Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting Has Big Turnout

Flour Bluff, Front Page
Hogan and Skrobarczyk
Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk

Flour Bluff residents, Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk, organized the Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting held on January 12, 2016, at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Innovation Center located at the corner of First National Drive and South Padre Island Drive.  A group of about 125 people showed up to hear from several community leaders.

Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez started the meeting by fielding questions about the duties of her office and how she works with school officials to do what is best for the students.

State Representative Todd Hunter followed her with a presentation on the local implications of state legislation for windstorm insurance.  Hunter said that James Skrobarczyk accompanied him to Austin and stood with him as they battled the Department of Insurance.  “After 12 years, we got the bill passed.  Finally, Nueces County is going to be treated like human beings,” Hunter said.  He told the audience that insurance companies are already creating policies as they begin to compete for business in the coastal areas.  “They’re high, but they’re coming down.  You are going to see a rate reduction, but there will be a 12- to 14-month transition period.”

Todd Hunter Town Hall Meeting
Rep. Todd Hunter

Hunter also addressed the possibility of cruise lines in Corpus Christi.  He said that the problem is that Brownsville wants it, too.  “We’re going to bring travel tourism here.  We’re going to set up a local group – a resource group from my area – to back us up when we start having these State hearings,” Hunter added.  He encouraged interested parties to contact his office if they want to be part of that group.

Hunter ended his part of the meeting with information on the expansion of Hwy 361 and the safety issues related to the roadway leading from Port Aransas to Flour Bluff.

 

 

Sheriff Jim Kaelin, who has served 9 years as sheriff, said that nothing is as important to this community as a safe, sanitary, secure jail.  “People need to understand that inmates in the jail have been accused of crimes.  Any one of us could wind up there.  Penitentiary inmates have been convicted of crimes.”  Currently, 900 of the 1068 beds are filled.  Kaelin said that increasing capacity has been slow, but the bed count has grown by 50 since he took over.  He is currently working on adding 144 beds by opening two areas in the annex.  The construction plans have been approved and that renovation could get the county through the next 10 or 15 years without added expense to the taxpayers.

Sheriff Jim Kaelin
Sheriff Jim Kaelin

An audience member asked the sheriff to talk about the inmate commissary.  “Our ratio of officers to inmates is 1:48.”  Kaelin said that in order to get chronically non-compliant inmates to follow rules, certain privileges are offered:  use of pay phones, weekend visitation by family members, television in the day room, co-mingling with other inmates, and commissary privileges.  The inmates use their own money to purchase items at the “jail store.”  The 42 cents made from each dollar goes into an inmate benefit fund that pays for shoes, uniforms, mattresses, bedding, and cleaning supplies.  $400-$500 thousand per year goes into the account.  Currently the balance is around $800,000.  “This saves the taxpayer from footing the bill for these items,” Kaelin said.

Kaelin finished with offering advice to the attendees on using cell phones to take pictures of suspicious cars, people, and activities to help monitor what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Skrobarczyk added that the Next Door website is another way to connect with neighbors and look our for each other.

Cdr Todd Green
Cdr. Todd Green

  

Cdr. Todd Green with CCPD, addressed concerns raised by audience members on several topics, including stray dogs, ways to protect their own property, knowing their neighbors, and calling the police.  Green responded to questions and concerns about ongoing problems in the Turtle Cove neighborhood.  He encouraged all to call the police every time something occurred, which one man said they had already been doing.  Another officer suggested that citizens take advantage of the CCPD social media websites and form Neighborhood Watch groups.

Captain David McCarty
Captain David McCarty

Captain David McCarty introduced himself and said that he took over the Bravo District on January 11, 2016, and wanted everyone to be able to put a face with a name.  He said he looked forward to working with and getting to know the residents of Flour Bluff.

Andy Taubman, Chairman for the Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee for Corpus Christi, addressed the group on what the committee is finding as they research the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) and the standard practices.  “The phase the City is in right now is truly reactive.  There’s not a lot of planning, record keeping, or accountability in the system.  The committee is trying to get the City to emerge from this reactive behavior to a proactive behavior,” said Taubman.  They are trying to convince the City to repair the streets in a neighborhood rather than addressing pot holes only as they are reported by residents.

Andy Taubman Speaker
Andy Taubman

Other problems include master plans that have not been digitized and have missing elements, such as a missing sewer in the plans for Flour Bluff Drive.  One man spoke of his street that has 47 houses and not a single fire hydrant, which is a problem with the master plan according to Taubman.  To report problems, Taubman suggested that residents use the City website  so that a work order can be made.  Questions were raised about various streets, including Caribbean and Purdue.  James Skrobarczyk, who also serves on the committee, said, “There’s a lot issues where Flour Bluff has just been left behind.”

Greg Smith, longtime resident of Flour Bluff and member of ISAC (Island Strategic Action Committee), said, “Several communities are putting together an Area Development Plan, which falls under the Comprehensive Development Plan.  It would be a good idea if Flour Bluff got a group together and met and NOT be left behind.  That would allow the people of Flour Bluff to come up with their own plan instead of the people from Massachusetts coming up with a plan.”

The final minutes of the meeting included Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, who spoke about the Homeless Commission and the concerns surrounding the new ordinance to ban panhandling downtown.  She said the concern of many residents and businesses is that enforcement of the new regulation could actually bring more homeless to Flour Bluff.

Melanie Hambrick

A representative from Brent Chesney’s office (Precinct 4 County Commissioner) was open for questions from the audience.  After several comments about people fishing from Mud Bridge on Yorktown in Flour Bluff, she offered to talk to them after the meeting.  She also volunteered to help create the Flour Bluff area development committee through Chesney’s office.

Chesney rep

Since many questions were left unanswered, Dan Hogan suggested later in the meeting that another gathering be held in February just to address concerns of crime with Chief Markle and to cover other city issues with the Council members Magill and McIntyre who were unable to attend.

Constitutional Convention a Bad Idea

Around the State, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial

  

Constitution

In Wednesday’s Caller-Times, Rod Wolthoff thinks having a constitutional convention is a good idea.  But he is wrong; it is a terrible idea and here is why:

  1. The Constitution is not broken.  The politicians and judges who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution have broken their oaths.  And they will continue to do so.
  2. Once the convention starts, the attendees are not required to stay on one or two issues, such as a balanced-budget amendment.  In fact, the convention could turn into a runaway convention, and the whole Constitution could be scrapped.
  3. Who is going to represent US at this convention?  If you think it will be a bunch of conservative Texans, you are wrong.  It will be people from all political persuasions.  I am sure there will be plenty of progressives who do not think much of our Second Amendment.  Are you willing to risk our liberties on a convention that could take them away?

     I have seen a copy of the U.N. charter some want to replace our Constitution.  All the rights are government-given, not God-given, so they can easily be taken away.  Thirty-four states are required to approve this convention.  Only 17 more are needed.  This is a terrible idea that must be stopped!

Read more about this topic at:  http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2015/04/doing-the-math-for-a-new-constitutional-convention/

Flour Bluff Schools: A Notable History

Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page

The Beginning: 1892

The Flour Bluff Independent School District was created by the convergence of three very divergent entities: oil and gas, ranching, and the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Through the use of student labor, frugality, and a visionary superintendent, it became a unique campus catering to a community with strong bonds.

The first school was opened in 1892 in the community of Brighton, later to become Flour Bluff. Precariously located next to the Laguna Madre, it served twenty-five students for a six-month term. In 1900, Miss Florence Savoy instructed twelve students for a total of four months. In 1916, the school board voted to replace the Brighton school; however, before it was completed, the hurricane of 1916 destroyed the building. Utilizing student labor once again, the school was rebuilt slightly inland where the Flour Bluff Early Childhood Center now sits.

1916building
1916 Flour Bluff School Building

Influence of Ranching

The schools that cropped up were scattered throughout the Flour Bluff region to accommodate the ranching families located in the area. 1920 saw the opening of Flour Bluff No. 2 at the north end of present-day Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. A third school, Flour Bluff No. 3, opened in 1926 and served the Flour Bluff students for two years. It was located at the Hannah Roscher home near Oso Creek, one mile north of King Ranch. Thirteen students attended at this location. In 1928 both Flour Bluff No. 2 and No. 3 were dissolved, and all students attended what became known as Flour Bluff No. 1, located once again at the 1916 site on Waldron Road. In 1932, the school board purchased a car to transport the students to Flour Bluff No. 1. Soon another industry would change the community’s idea of public education.

1938schoolbus
School “Bus” for Flour Bluff in 1930s

Role of Oil and Gas

In the 1930’s, oil and gas exploration came to the Flour Bluff area. In the midst of economic uncertainty throughout the United States, workers were drilling in Flour Bluff, and they were bringing their families. In 1937, a new brick building was constructed with the economic backing of Humble Oil. It was built adjacent to the Flour Bluff No. 1 at the Waldron Road and Purdue Street intersection. Although the community was increasingly becoming an oil and gas economy, the district was still very much a ranching area, and a fence had to be constructed around the school to prevent the intrusion of roaming cattle from the area ranches. World-wide events would soon reach the small community of Flour Bluff with yet another influence on education.

1939schoolbuilding
Flour Bluff School 1939

World War II Brings the Navy

World War II brought the Navy to Flour Bluff, and with it came progress and innovation. In 1941, a new nineteen-room junior and senior high school was built next to the 1937 building. The high school required 18.5 accredited units, which was 2.5 more than what was required for college entrance at that time. The “Laboratory of Industry” was created as a vocational center for boys. It was the product of Principal A.L. Smith at the request of the federal government to train men to work at the Naval Station Training station plant. Families in the northern area of Flour Bluff would be moved out to make way for training station. Throughout the early 1940’s, NAS Corpus Christi made a tremendous impact on Flour Bluff. However, when World War II ended, the school saw a reduction of students from NAS and developed a new need to keep the schools motivated and financially independent.

Flour Bluff Junior High
Flour Bluff Junior High (old high school)

Ernest J. Wranosky’s Vision

The residents of Flour Bluff voted to become an independent school in April 1948. Superintendent Ernest J. Wranosky expanded the boundaries of the district to 56 square miles of land surface and 100 square miles of water surface. Every year, the district committed to a construction project which utilized government surplus along with local and student labor. One such project consisted of dismantling a hangar at Fort Point at Point Bolivar, Galveston, Texas, by using district equipment acquired from the Texas Surplus Property Agency and manual labor provided by the Flour Bluff students. The surplus hangar was trucked and then floated to Flour Bluff where it became the new gymnasium for the school district. When asked how many seats the new gym could accommodate, Wranosky commented, “I hope none. We are building this for students to use, not sit.” This building, which was later appropriately named Wranosky Gymnasium, is located on Waldron Road and continues to serve students of all grade levels.

FB 1948
1948

Flour Bluff’s purpose of all instruction and activities can be summed up with Wranosky’s philosophy which was to “advance and equalize, as far as possible, the opportunities of all students regardless of their mental abilities and social economic status.” This meant lots of student participation, which even included supervising and managing activities of the school. The philosophy also included an appreciation of all creeds and institutions and a desire for students to earn status in society, industry, politics, and professions “through fair and honest dealings, hard work and persistence.” Patriotism was ever present in this philosophy as Wranosky wanted students to acquire “a knowledge of and an appreciation for the great size and value of this great country, its resources, its surface features, and the relative opportunities of its sections.” The ideas also included an appreciation for the Creator, new fields in science, industry, and social progress. Not until 1963 would that social progress come to Flour Bluff ISD with the end of segregation. Black elementary students living in the Flour Bluff district had been previously bused to Booker T. Washington Elementary in the Corpus Christi Independent School District. The changing climate concerning segregation coupled with encouragement from the U.S. Department of Navy moved Flour Bluff ISD toward desegregation.

Ernest J Wranosky
Ernest J Wranosky 1973

The twenty-nine years of leadership of Superintendent Wranosky saw changes in curriculum to set expectations above the state mandate. It also included a wide range of additional curricular studies, including auto mechanics, building trades, cosmetology, and hospitality. Students who successfully completed four years of cosmetology were taken by bus to Austin, Texas, for the State Board Exam in order to complete their educations with state licensing.

In cooperation with the Corpus Christi Museum, Flour Bluff ISD owned and operated a museum on campus. The museum was housed in one of the surplus properties and was operated by students who received their instruction from their teacher. The Corpus Christi Museum curator at that time offered his expertise, as well. Many of the specimen in the museum came from findings of the district’s oceanography class and from the annual field trip to the H.E .Butt Foundation Camp in Leakey,Texas.

Open-Air School and Outdoor Education

Beginning in 1956, the first year the camp was opened, Flour Bluff students in grades three through eight made the annual trek to the H.E. Butt Foundation where they studied real-world science, social studies, math, and language arts. They were also given responsibilities in cabin maintenance and kitchen duties. “If students are to learn responsibility, they must be given responsibility,” said Wranosky. Currently, the eighth-grade students are the only ones who still make this trip to the H.E.Butt Foundation camp as Flour Bluff continues to foster this community partnership with the H.E.B. Foundation.

HEB Camp

Effects of the Cold War on the School

Another important community partnership evolved with the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. The Navy’s involvement in the school district was a natural one since the children of base personnel attended Flour Bluff schools and made up a large part of the student body. This involvement influenced the school in many ways. For example, a curriculum was provided for military training, which included the “Laboratory of Industry,” and the push for the end to segregation created a whole new school environment. Even the day-to-day activities at the school were affected. The Cold War and the possibility of a hydrogen bomb attack had the Navy initiate an evacuation program for the entire district. Students and teachers practiced drills where they would load over 1300 students, teachers, and other personnel on to buses in eleven minutes. These buses then carried them fifty-one miles to the Knolle Dairy farm where everyone had an assigned duty. Some high school students erected a portable kitchen and an emergency hospital tent while others helped to organize and supervise younger children. During this time period, teachers were required to be in a state of readiness by keeping the gas tanks of their personal vehicles full at all times.

img007
Flour Bluff Building Trades Students Build Homes 1958

Pride of the Community

Flour Bluff ISD is indeed unique, a true product of its ever-changing community. Created out of necessity by a rural population, the district has experienced tremendous growth over the past 111 years. The influx of the oil and gas industry, the growth of ranching, the building of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and the determination of its citizens, students, teachers, and superintendents made it a model of efficiency, innovation, and collaboration that is the pride of the community today.

Flour Bluff
Google Map of Flour Bluff ISD today

Sources:
“100 Years of Educational Excellence,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 1.
Marston, Opal Roscher. “Tales of Early Flour Bluff Schools,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 3.
Warner, C. A. Texas Oil and Gas Since 1543. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1939. p. 298, 300, and 307.
Rouse, Thelma Darby. “Brighton’s One-Room Schoolhouse,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 7.
Order Authorizing the Issuance of Bonds. Nueces County Commissioner’s Court Record. 1 July 1937:
Vol. Q, pp. 465-468.
“100 Years of Educational Excellence,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 6.Corpus Christi Caller-Times, July 7, 1940.
Hearn, Roxie. “Flour Bluff History Unique and Colorful,” Flour Bluff Sun, July 1, 1976: p. 2.
Ball, Jeffrey. “School Door Opened in Flour Bluff a Century Ago,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, October 17, 1992: 2B.
Field Notes: Flour Bluff Independent School District, pp. 1-3.
Arnold, Dorothy. “Thirty Years in Retrospect 1946-1976,” The Sun, July 15, 1976: p. 6.
Flour Bluff Public Schools: System-wide Report of Evaluation Committee, May 1958, pp. 1-2.
Pearson, Spencer. “Segregation May Bring NAS School,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 4, 1963:B1.
“Vocational Training,” Emphasis on Education, March 1969: p. 3.
“New Concepts in Learning Are Now Being Demonstrated,” Focus on Education, March 4, 1968: p. 3.
“Open Air Classroom Program,” Emphasis on Education, March 1969: p. 4.
“The History of Flour Bluff Schools,” Focus on Education, March 4, 1968: p. 2.
“The History of Flour Bluff Schools,” p. 2.
Russell, Cliff. “Ready for H-Bomb Attack,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 22, 1958: B12.

Life’s Little Paper Trails

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Personal History
Giles and Evelyn Dodson, 1987
Giles and Evelyn Dodson, 1987

     After our parents are gone, we cannot ask them pertinent questions about where important papers are located, what funeral preferences exist, and other everyday questions, which earlier could have been easily answered by a simple phone call. How much broth goes into the dressing? What songs would you like to have at your funeral? Too late! Every person alive right now who has a parent who lived through and remembers such events as the Great Depression or World War II should take notice that your parents are of an age where one had better talk openly about any nagging questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. Otherwise, we are “condemned” to follow whatever paper trail the parents have left for us in places both expected and unexpected. That quest can take strange turns.

     My parents could not be called true hoarders, but they DID live through the Depression, which left a great impact on them. They remembered World War II as if it were a recent event. When my family and I went through their things, we found that we could not just grab a box of clipped cartoons, or a tin of rubber bands, or even a stack of old Christmas cards and throw the entire thing into the trash. Invariably, there would be one little “nugget” in each pile of what had appeared to be nothing…a nugget we would have missed if we had not been careful and deliberate. Many times I found myself asking, “WHAT were you THINKING?” of my absent parents. Mama was a great seamstress, and left me the contents of her sewing room. I had three brothers, and I suppose she thought I would be more interested in those items than they would. I sorted through boxes and boxes of fabric, enough to totally outfit an entire cast of any movie set in the 1970’s…a LOT of double knit! I have patterns, thread, fabric, and buttons to last my lifetime and a couple more generations. Daddy was careful to keep “good” rubber bands in a big coffee can. Sure enough, after I had finally decided to throw them away, I actually NEEDED one!

     Mama kept little clippings of quotations and favorite phrases, but she also kept the newspaper item showing when my youngest brother’s birthday appeared for the Selective Service draft, as the draft was still ongoing for our “Viet Nam experience.” Tucked away in the drawer of her sewing machine, she left it to remind herself (and now me) that whether or not he was drafted was an ever-present worry on her mind. Daddy had left notes in his handwriting in his Bible, whether they were ideas for his Sunday School class or notes from a sermon he had heard. One was entitled “Work,” and for every question in life, his answer was to work. He was always busy, and never seemed to take a vacation unless it corresponded with work or church responsibilities. My parents kept letters, postcards, and calendars with important names and birth dates indicated.  These have proven to be great markers of important life events such as graduations, births, and even hospital visits. I found a tiny card that had been attached to flowers Daddy had sent on the day I was born. I have a Valentine he sent to Mama when they were both in second grade. These items are priceless, but are not considered valuable in monetary terms.

     War Ration Book 1      Another group of papers in the nightstand on my mother’s side of the bed shows how important war time had been to my parents. She had kept four war ration cards, one for each person in the family at that time…with some of the stamps for gasoline, sugar, and such still attached. (What were you thinking, Mom?) The notice on the ration cards said, “Do not throw this away. You may need it again someday.” My mother truly believed there might come a day in her lifetime when these ration cards would come in handy. Luckily, they were not needed. Another quote on the government-issued documents said, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Do you know of any person who lives by this mantra today…in the “throw-away” society in which we live? I had to be meticulous going though their things, partly in search of something of value. I watch Antiques Roadshow, but still have not stumbled onto anything of monetary worth. But I also had to be careful, because once something is thrown out, it is GONE…and, like yesterday, it cannot be retrieved. Mama had a clipping in her pattern cabinet from an advice column dated before her own mother had passed away. The advice given was not to grieve for relatives who had died, but to enjoy the holidays and every day. I am happy I found that.

War Ration Book 2

     I saved the laundry room shelves for last. After all, what could possibly be up in those shelves other than cleaning solutions, light bulbs, and such? Finally, using a stool and getting on top of the dryer, I reached the top shelf. There was the Hopalong Cassidy lunch box which had been used and abused, and it even had a “replacement” handle made of a coat-hanger. (Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without?)I found cans of Singer sewing machine oil and an unopened box containing a bottle of white shoe polish. Maybe it was a little on the “antique” side, but it wouldn’t be worth much.

Lunch box

     At last, at last, I reached for the final item. It appeared to be a shallow, sturdy box with the lid under the bottom so that it was open on top like a boxy tray. It was very light and felt empty. Then I saw that there was something inside. It was the leather-like back of what used to be a Bible, probably a small New Testament. The BACK of a Bible? Why keep that? Then I turned it over and saw, in my mother’s handwriting, a statement she had used raising all four of us kids. This was a statement we all THOUGHT she had invented. I was an adult before I realized it was actually in the Bible. It said, from Numbers 32:23 “BE SURE YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT.” As I was standing on top of the dryer, all I could say was, “WHERE ARE YOU? OK, I FOUND IT!”

     Never take a day for granted. One day your own paper trail will be a quest for those who follow in your footsteps.

BMX: No One Rides the Bench When Riding a Bike

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports

IMG_8061

Do you have a child who loves to ride or wants to learn to ride a bicycle?  BMX is a sport that calls to bike riders from ages 2 and up. BMX stands for Bicycle MotoCross. It’s a form of bicycling that is meant to mimic MotoCross motorcycles. There are all sorts of competitive BMX sports including racing and stunt BMX; however, BMX is also a recreational activity enjoyed by millions of kids – and adults – throughout the world.

Striders

What most people don’t know is that Corpus Christi has a local BMX (bicycle motocross) track.  BMX is currently one of the fastest growing sports in North America.  Unlike most other sports (i.e. baseball, football, basketball), BMX is an individual sport.  Although riders can be picked up to ride for a team or sponsor, at the end of the season, they are placed by their individual successes (points earned throughout the season).  BMX is a fun, affordable, family-oriented sport that helps build self-esteem by building confidence and teaching the riders to set and reach personal goals. BMX also promotes physical fitness by building strong bodies and minds.

BMX

The Corpus Christi track is STX BMX, which is located at 3701 Greenwood Drive (past Horne and located across from Boys & Girls Club in the sports complex behind Universal Baseball).

To give the local BMX track a try, all you need is a bike (without a kickstand, reflectors, or pegs), a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a helmet.  Your first time out you will need to fill out a one-day waiver and pay $5.00 to practice.  If you like the sport and want to come back to race, you will have to get a membership through USABMX, which is $65.00 per year and can be paid at the track. Races (motos) are run in heats.  Each set of heats is $10, which includes pre-race practice time.

If this sounds like something that you or someone you know would be interested in doing, please check the schedule below and be sure to check back for future articles in The Paper Trail regarding BMX – the sport where no one rides the bench.

   IMG_8058   The current schedule for STX BMX:

  • Sunday – Practice from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with races to follow;
  • Tuesday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with races to follow; and
  • Thursday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

 

 

By Kids for Kids: You Can’t Keep God out of School

By Kids for Kids, Front Page, Religion

The following is an article by Owen B., a second-grade student at Flour Bluff Primary:

Owen

   Has anyone ever told you that everything would be better if God was allowed in school?  I think that’s a funny thing to say since the Holy Spirit lives in my heart, and I go to school every day, which means God is always in school with me.  God is everywhere, so I’m pretty sure that He didn’t forget to go to school.  All I have to do is pray in my head to talk to Him.  I know that He’s there because He tells us we can trust Him.  Maybe more people need to believe in God so that everyone would understand that He is with them everywhere they go, even school.