Flour Fest Draws over 1200 to Parker Memorial Park

Community Organizations, Entertainment, Flour Bluff, Food and Drink, Front Page
FBHS NJROTC Color Guard preparing for opening of Flour Fest

     On Saturday, October 28, 2017, over 1200 people showed up at Parker Memorial Park between the hours of noon and 8:00 p.m. to take part in the family fun at Flour Fest, a community event put on by the Flour Bluff Business Association and sponsored by County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley, Michael Morgan of State Farm, Javier Wiley of HEB, Roshan Bhakta of Candlewood Suites Flour Bluff/NAS, and Dr. Mohamed Hassan of Children’s Center Flour Bluff.  The award-winning, nationally renowned Flour Bluff NJROTC Color Guard provided cadets for the opening ceremonies, parking detail, and clean-up detail as part of their service duties.  The Pct. 2 Constable’s office provided security for the event through its reserve officers along with several Corpus Christi Police Department officers.

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The event featured:

  • Live music by Michael Burtts, Jimmy Spacek, Cathouse, and Timeline Journey Tribute Band;
  • Dance show by FBHS Stingline;
  • Raffle for a Yeti cooler, which was won by Luis Diaz; all proceeds go to FBBA Scholarships for FBISD students;
  • Singing of “The Star Spangled Banner” by Dr. Tom Hollingsworth;
  • Kids Zone fun sponsored by the Flour Bluff Citizens Council, including sack races, three-legged races, egg in spoon races, corn hole, and 4-way tug o’ war; volunteers for this event included the Pastor Brandon Cunningham and the Youth Group of Grace Community Church;Pastry Wars Pie-eating Contest sponsored by Walmart #490, Cliff Zarbock of Premier Realty,  and John and Lisa Nicholson of Barton Street Pub; Cliff and John are Flour Bluff graduates; volunteers for this event included Hannah Chipman of Brent Chesney’s office and Jeff Rank, local attorney and Flour Bluff graduate; Bounce House by Space Walk of Corpus Christi;
  • Fur Fest Kid-and-Dog Costume Contest sponsored by Flour Bluff Citizens Council and Robert and Shirley Thornton of Thornton Rental Properties; volunteers for this event were local attorney Mark Stolley, Flour Bluff graduate and local attorney running for Judge of the 148th District Court;
  • Fire safety demonstrations by Chief Dale Scott and firemen from Nueces County ESD#2;
  • Corpus Christi Police Department Police Museum on wheels; coordinated by Arlene Madali Cordell;
  • Local vendors and community organizations, including Lord of Life Lutheran Church, Fleece Blankets, Weight Watchers, Welp LLC/Danny, Katy Beseda of SevenTwelve Photography, C’est Bon Seafood, Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation, Red Cactus, Funk and Junk, Boy Scouts/St. Peter’s UMC, Center for Independent Living, Flour Bluff Stingline/PTA/Booster Club, Andrew’s Flowers, SCC Jewelry, and Mark Stolley for Judge 148th District Court; Harold Carter of Starry Shooting Range, Gun Safety for Kids;
  • Food trucks, including Divine Treats, Gino’s Burgers and More, Ray’s Street Eats, Full Speed Ahead BBQ, and Kona Ice;
  • Beer and wine catering by CC Liquor Catering, owners Megan (Dulak) and John Gordon.

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     Flour Fest 2017 was the brainchild of Jonathan Vela, FBBA Event Coordinator and owner of Dani’s Lock and Key.  “The first annual Flour Fest wasn’t my idea,” said Vela. “I wasn’t completely happy with it, so I asked to lead the second one. That being said I also helped plan the first one. I don’t think we could’ve done anything different for the time and budget we had. I just thought we rushed it. I started planning 10 months prior to 2nd Annual Flour Fest.”

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     Vela envisioned something different when he thought of Flour Fest.  “Our first annual Flour Fest was at Funtrackers. I enjoyed the event, but I wasn’t happy with the location and other things tied to the location. When I think festival, I don’t picture arcades and go karts. I picture what it was this year, open air,  stage in a field, trees, and open grass areas.”  Another FBBA board member suggested Parker Park, a decision Vela liked.

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     Planning the event started 10 months before it came to be.  “I feel the hardest part was the weeks leading into the event making sure everything was in place,” said Vela.  “Seeing all our hard work pay off, seeing all the people have an amazing time, seeing something we worked so hard on come together,” Vela added in response to what he liked best about the event. “All the bands this year were amazing, and I wouldn’t mind bringing them back every year. Next year I would even like to hire a national touring band to close out the night.”  He also said he would like to see the event go two hours longer next year.

Live music by Timeline Journey Tribute Ban at Flour Fest 2017 (Photo by Jonathan Vela)

     When asked what he sees for the future of Flour Fest, Vela said, “In 10 years, I see this turning into 2 to 3 day event with multiple stages showcasing all different genres of music that our community and city enjoy. I see Parker Park filled with thousands of people at a time. I hope I am around to see it happen.”

     The FBBA would also like to thank Little Caesar’s, Dominoes, and Funtrackers for donations of coupons or food for the event and to all the vendors and community organizations that provided fun, candy, and prizes for the children.  They especially want to thank all who came to the festival and partook in the fun and helped make the event worthwhile for everyone.

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

Business, Flour Bluff, Health

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

Other FBBA News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other FBBA News

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

 

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

  • Flour Fest is coming to Parker Memorial Park on Saturday, October 28!  Vendors and food trucks may secure a spot at the event by visiting the FBBA website and signing up.  Sponsorships for the event are also available.  Contact FBBA Event Coordinator Jonathan Vela for more information:  512-937-8769.
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FBBA Spotlight Business of the Month: 1st Community Bank

Business, Community Organizations, Flour Bluff

 

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

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

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

Other FBBA Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pct. 2 Constable Mitchell Clark

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

Pct. 1 County Commissioner Mike Pusley

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

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

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

Other Announcements from the FBBA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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FBBA Receives Funds from Chesney, Pusley, and Neal

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

     At the regular meeting of the Flour Bluff Business Association on June 8, 2016, County Commissioners Brent Chesney and Mike Pusley presented the association with two checks totaling $3500.  FBBA President Melanie Hambrick along with other FBBA board members graciously accepted the checks on behalf of the members.

     Commissioner Chesney explained that each commissioner has funds that can be used to assist groups like the FBBA.  “We really appreciate the Flour Bluff Business Association and all the hard work its members do, especially in the way of economic development for the Flour Bluff area.”  He explained that Judge Loyd Neal also sent his check for $1000, bringing the total contribution from the county to $4500.  “We just want to show you how strongly we feel about what you do and what an impact you have on this community.”

     “We want to offer you some money to help you with the things that you do that are so important,”  said Chesney, referencing the upcoming Flour Fest set for September 17, 2016.

     Commissioner Pusley added, “We have a little money that we give out each year to different organizations to help stimulate the economy in our county.  With all the great things that are going on out here in Flour Bluff, it’s hard not to recognize that and help spur it forward.”  He went on to thank current and past boards and members for their work in the area.

     Jeff Rank thanked the commissioners by awarding them with Keep It in the Bluff t-shirts.

    

IMG_5643

Read more about this meeting at:  Representative Todd Hunter Addresses FBBA

                                                               Cliff Zarbock, “Mr. Real Estate”, Receives Spotlight Award from FBBA

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County Commissioner Brent Chesney Speaks to FBBA

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA

 

     Nueces County Commissioner Brent Chesney spoke to a group of about 35 gathered at Funtrackers for the regular Flour Bluff Business Association on May 4, 2016.  Commissioner Chesney, represents Precinct 4, which encompasses all of Port Aransas, North Padre Island, Flour Bluff, and parts of the Southside of Corpus Christi from Ocean Drive to the London Independent School District. He previously served as the Presiding Judge for Nueces County Court at Law Number 5 and as an at-large Corpus Christi City Councilman from 2001-2007 and 2009-2010.

     Chesney opened his talk with a plug for the Sand Castle Run to be held Saturday, May 7, starting at 7:00 a.m. at Bob Hall Pier.  Proceeds from the event go to Camp Sandcastle, a program of the American Diabetes Association, established over 20 years ago to broaden the opportunity of Coastal Bend children with diabetes to experience summer camp.  He encouraged everyone to take part in the fun and festivities as they attempt to raise at least $20,000 to help send more kids to the camp.

     Other topics Chesney discussed included:

  • Nueces County supported the new harbor bridge to the tune of $12 million, which was part of a 25-year SIB (State Infrastructure Bank) Loan.
  • Other bond dollars will be used to relieve overcrowding at the jail through expansion of the McKenzie Annex, a less expensive way of creating more space.
  • Nueces County is working to meet the $25-$30 million tab to be compliant with ADA regulations in all of its facilities as per the settlement agreement with the Justice Department.
  • For the first time in about ten years, Nueces County did adopt the effective tax rate, which means county taxes truly did not get raised, something of which Chesney was especially proud.  He went on to say that it is hard to do this, but it is doable.  Chesney explained that looking for the tax increase first instead of seeking ways to be more efficient is what many elected officials do.  “What we’re supposed to do as elected officials is really be good stewards of those dollars.  Sometimes a tax increase is necessary, but if I have to vote for raising taxes, there will be a very good reason for it.”
  • In terms of what the county can do for Flour Bluff, it basically comes down to first responders, county sheriffs, and county courts.  Chesney said that the county will go digital in juror selection. In July, jurors will have the option of filling out their questionnaires online and in October can sign up for electronic notification to their email inboxes or their cellphones.
  • Chesney chose to use his bond money for improvements at Padre Balli Park  I.B. Magee Beach Park because they are county parks that offer some return on the investment.
  • Chesney is looking to find a way for the county to help with the Redhead Pond project and perhaps even with Parker Pool.  He makes no promises but is trying to think out of the box to help.
  • The county gave the Flour Bluff Business Association economic growth seed money last year for special projects, one of which is Flour Fest.  He will return in June to discuss more about these kinds of funds.
  • Chesney pointed out that many community members, such as Andy Taubman and James Skrobarczyk who serve on the street committee and Councilwoman Colleen McIntyre , are working to make the community better and should certainly be recognized for doing so.
  • The commissioner, like many elected officials, was critical of the RTA for wasting tax dollars on their new building and went on to say that he is definitely in favor of them putting more money into the streets.  He is happy about the changes on the RTA board and hopes that these changes will lead to something good for the city and county.  (Note: According to John Bell, “On August 19, 1985, Corpus Christi voters approved the half-cent sales tax increase by a margin of 64.9% in favor and 35.1% opposed.  Voters in Robstown, Driscoll, Agua Dulce, Gregory, and San Patricio City also voted themselves into the authority.  Port Aransas joined in 1987.”)
  • Chesney expressed how the purchase of the Kleberg County property, an eight-mile stretch of land that covers more than 3,600 acres of beach on Padre Island has been cleaned up and made more accessible to thousands of tourists who come to the area specifically for birding.
  • Commissioner Chesney believes that a county should run much like a business and that we should spend only what we take in. Commissioner Chesney also believes in bringing government to the people and not making the people always come to government. In that vein, he has opened part time satellite offices in Port Aransas, North Padre Island and Flour Bluff so that he is accessible to his constituents. Commissioner Chesney is currently serving a four year term. For more information or to contact Commissioner Brent Chesney please call 361-888-0268.

Business Spotlight:

     This month’s spotlight business is Beacon Chiropractic Clinic. You can expect prompt service and natural healing at the Beacon Chiropractic Clinic. Dr. Hollingsworth wants to help your body heal the natural way and is not going to simply prescribe a medication and send you back out the door.  www.beaconclinics.net

Other Business:

  • The business association members thanked Colleen McIntyre for her service on the city council and for her early announcement to step down, which will allow others an opportunity to     prepare to run in the District 4 race.
  • Joe Kelley, Superintendent of Flour Bluff Schools reminded everyone that the students are headed into STAAR testing next week followed by a quick end to school with graduation at 10:00 a.m. on May 28, 2016, at the American Bank Center.  Mr. Kelley was accompanied by Brian Schuss, Assistant Superintendent for Business Management and Kim Sneed, FBISD Public Information Coordinator.
  • Kim Sneed spoke about the record-breaking number of Flour Bluff Hornet student-athletes signed letters of intent to take part in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, swimming, or track programs at colleges across the country. The event began at 4:15 p.m. and took place at the Flour Bluff ISD Indoor Athletic Field.
  • James Skrobarczyk announced that he will be running for the District 4 position.
  • During the October meeting, a public forum will be held for the community to hear from all the candidates.
  • Parker Pool is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.  More information is available at:  http://parkerpool.org/
  • Pastor Linda Morrow of St. Peter’s by the Sea UMC asked for help with the mobile food bank run by her church, St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and Lord of Life.  Help is needed the 4th Thursday of each month in the afternoon.  Everyone was encouraged to contact Pastor Morrow if anyone would like to help out.
  • Jeff Rank welcomed new general members:  Edmond’s Coastal PlumbingKP Direct Oilfield LLCOso Mini Storage, and Terry’s Family Hairstyles.
  • Jeff Rank also welcomed new associate members:  First Title Company, Michael Hunter, and Unlock Texas.
  • Jonathan Vela, the FBBA webmaster, has set up a text message alert system for all members.  Melanie Hambrick encouraged everyone to sign up.

  •      The FBBA has been in existence since 1951.  Flour Fest will celebrate the 65th anniversary of the association by highlighting local businesses on September 17, 2016.  There will be food, drinks, music, and booths.  Sign up information will be available soon.

 

Flour Fest

  •      The City of Corpus Christi is celebrating the completion of the Waldron Road portion of Bond 2014.  All are encouraged to attend.

 

 

 

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Magill Speaks to FBBA at January Meeting

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page

     FBBA

     The Flour Bluff Business Association, a task force of business leaders who promote the safety, service, and growth of the Flour Bluff community, welcomed Councilman Chad Magill as its keynote speaker at the January 6, 2016, meeting held at noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Magill focused on the new year and talked about “big ticket items” for the city.

     “The EPA expects us to agree to pay $853 million on your wastewater system over the next 12 to 15 years.  We can’t afford it.”  Magill admitted that the system absolutely needs improvements and that the City has been discussing the issue since 2009.  Magill said that part of the reason for his failure to support Destination Bayfront stemmed from the knowledge of the pending wastewater bill.

     “Anytime we spend 72 million of tax dollars on anything but what we have to spend it on, you have to ask if we can afford it,” Magill said.

PlanCC

     Magill told the audience he believed the City should be focused on reconstruction and maintenance of streets, public safety, wastewater, and water supply.  He emphasized the importance of getting the fundamentals right and putting needs before wants.  This led Magill to address PlanCC 2035 (now 2036).  Magill said, “Your city government shouldn’t have to be the ones to create the social environment for success.  We shouldn’t be the ones to pay for free swimming lessons or for free internet service across the city.  We see a lot of those proposed policies in PlanCC 2035.  I have some serious doubts whether that plan moves forward.”  Magill added that he put a plan together based on the existing comprehensive plan and sent it to City staff in December 2015.  “It takes the good from our existing plan – which actually includes public safety – and includes parts from the proposed PlanCC 2035 to create a real-world plan that keeps us focused on our needs.”

      Magill talked about the new harbor bridge and what an amazing feat it was to bring together the Port of Corpus Christi, the City of Corpus Christi, Nueces County, TxDot, and a number of local organizations and finally settle upon the building of a billion-dollar bridge.  He praised the efforts of Representative Todd Hunter who was “a champion for the bridge.”  Magill said that the new bridge should be looked at as an essential part of economic development for the area and that construction should begin as soon as 2017.

 

     The councilman then shifted to the topic of zero-based budgeting.  “You’re going to see – for our generation – the largest push for a zero-based budget in our city government ever.  It’s a challenge to City staff, but City Manager Ron Olson accepted the challenge.”  Magill said that some of his colleagues on council believe he may have challenged staff too much.  “They have concerns.  I understand that, but at the same time, these are your tax dollars.”

      Magill explained that zero-based budgeting will require City departments to justify spending tax dollars by aligning the spending with the mission.  “Everyone has to budget where their dollars go.  You do it.  My wife and I do it.  Shouldn’t we expect that of our City government?”  He sees it as an opportunity for the department heads to shine.  “If they embrace it and do well,” Magill said he would fight for their funding and for them to be successful.  Magill FBBA

     Magill then turned to the topic of Flour Bluff and spoke about his desire to get Laguna Shores Road on the 2018 bond.  “Every time I’m in Flour Bluff, I drive down Laguna Shores to remind me of the need.”  He went on to commend James Skrobarczyk, who was in the audience, for serving on the residential street committee and praised the ad hoc committee for accomplishing so much in a short period of time.

     He explained that they had uncovered some wasteful practices and inefficiencies in the Street Preventative and Maintenance Plan (SPMP).  He offered an example. “Kingsville spends about $2.50 per square foot on overlays while Corpus Christi spends $8.00 per square foot for the same work.”  When asked how that could be, Magill said, “Part of it is inefficiencies of government; part of that is multiple inspection layers; part of that is – frankly – writing contracts that allow contractors to make ‘obscene amounts of profit.’ ” He told the FBBA that he would love to speak to them again in June or July to fill them in on the recommendations from the street committee and how the City will move toward zero-based budgeting.

     When asked if Council member Colleen McIntyre’s proposal last year to raise property taxes by 8 cents to pay for residential street construction is the only form of funding available, Magill said, “The Caller-Times reported that 8 cents of ad valorem property taxes per year would raise $20 million, when in actuality, it would raise $13.6 million.”  After texting Ron Olson that his numbers were wrong, Olson came back a couple of days later and agreed Magill was correct in his calculations.

IMG_4005   “When they’re talking about throwing more taxpayer money at an inefficient system, how much of that money is going to be wasted?  I took an unpopular stance on council, and I said, ‘No, I can’t support a property tax increase without a plan.’ “

     Magill said that oftentimes a government entity will ask for a lot of money first then develop a plan around it second.  “Then they do the work and go on the defense and tell you how good it was. We’ve got to change that process and ask everyone to be open to a change in that kind of thinking.  The missing component is being able to put a plan together, share that with the community – which we’ll do in June or July – and ask how much of this plan would you like to invest in?”

     “Multiple funding sources is the key.  From re-purposing sales tax, we can pay the debt service off on Whataburger Field, and that gives you between $2 and $2.5 million a year.  That’s sales tax, which is mostly a tax that is appropriate for infrastructure.  In good times, you do more; in bad times, you do less.  Then, you look at cutting from within the budget.  We tried a 1% cut last year; that didn’t work.  We held the line on increasing materials and operations costs, but effectively we didn’t save much money.  That’s why we’re going the zero-based route.”

    Magill explained that savings within the budget will go to two things:  One is streets and the other is City employee raises.  “Think about the people who are going to do the work to find those inefficiencies within their own department budgets.  If we’re going to challenge them harder, we have to somehow align goals.  If you tell a department head that he/she needs to save money in the department and that part of the money saved will go into giving that department a raise, then people’s goals are starting to align.  Efficiency is part of good, quality government.”

     “Another funding source is potentially the RTA.  They could be a funding partner, and I think they’re open to that now.  The key here is to go to multiple funding sources with property taxes being the last in line.  If we had raised property taxes last year at 8 cents, your only guarantee is that your property taxes will go up.  If we had passed Destination Bayfront, that would have also added to the cost for the taxpayer.  If we’re going to focus on needs, let’s do it the right way.  The residential street committee is culling the bad from the current program and keeping the good to find out the most efficient way to tackle residential streets.”

     Precinct 4 County Commissioner Brent Chesney and ad hoc street committee chairman Andy Taubman have the same thought as Magill about the RTA redirecting more funds to the streets.  New RTA chairman, Curtis Rock, has not officially weighed in on this possibility.

     Magill answered questions from the audience on the topics of the failed Citizens’ Collection Center (Solid Waste Transfer Station).  He cited the main reasons for the failure as:

  • the $4.65 million price tag, which would have come in the form of a 20-year debt,
  • a raise in solid waste rates, and
  • a petition against the facility with 700 signatures from residents who live near the proposed site on Flour Bluff Drive.

He also discussed the positive aspects of privatization of City services and used the municipal golf courses as an example of how privatization has improved the quality of the golf courses while saving the City money.  Magill FBBA 2

     FBBA member, Michael Morgan, encouraged fellow members to stay in contact with Chad Magill.  “He is very accessible and very approachable.  He’ll tell you the facts, and he won’t rose-color anything.  If you have concerns or want to learn something, of course we have our District 4 representative, but Chad also represents us as an at-large council member.  I just want to thank him publicly for the job he’s doing for us out here.”

 

 

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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.

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