Kim Sneed Updates FBBA on FBISD News

Business, Community Organizations, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page

FBBA president, Jennifer Welp, and FBISD Public Information Officer, Kim Sneed (Photo by SevenTwelve Photography)

     Kim Sneed, FBISD Public Information Officer, addressed the Flour Bluff Business Association at its regular monthly meeting held at noon on September 13, 2017, at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.  Sneed, who took Lynn Kaylor’s place nearly two years ago, has over a decade of experience in public information.  Sneed spent the first part of her career with Corpus Christi ISD.  Sneed introduced Tracy Dennis, the new Director of Instruction, who joined the district from Judson ISD before speaking to the group about what has been happening at Flour Bluff ISD.

     Sneed said, “Just before Hurricane Harvey came to visit us, the Flour Bluff Board of Trustees adopted the 2017-18 budget of about $52 million, which included a 3% raise for all employees, something a lot of districts have not been able to do.  The board, finance department, and superintendent worked hard to make this possible while keeping the effective tax rate a little below last year’s rate.”

     Sneed went on to give an accounting of the 2013 Bond projects.  “A lot of our bond projects have been completed.  We just finished up at the end of the year the Primary and Elementary library, and it is a beautiful facility.”  She described the library as a place that houses books and study tables in the main area, while providing separate classroom and meeting spaces for the two campuses.

     “The junior high is still experiencing construction on the expansion of the cafeteria.  This campus is also in the process of getting an additional gym.  The bids were just accepted, and the work will be starting soon,” said Sneed.  “Over the summer, the swimmers were able to get into the new natatorium and test the waters.  That gave Coach Hutchinson, who is also the natatorium supervisor, an opportunity to learn the facility and learn to use the state-of-the-art equipment.  They have been having practice in there.  Brian wanted me to let everybody know that the district is working on a plan to allow swim lessons and lap swimming for the public.  The first step to that is to make sure we have lifeguards.”  Sneed went on to explain that more information regarding public use of the pool would be forthcoming in the next few weeks.  She ended the update on bond projects by telling the audience that the bus wash would soon be under construction now that the board has accepted the bids.

    “Hurricane Harvey has created some new challenges for the district.  The district experienced minimal damage, consisting of a few uprooted trees, some water seeping in, and debris on the grounds, but nothing that would impede our work or operations,” said Sneed.  “After taking a drive to Port Aransas, we realized that many kids would be displaced and would need a place to call ‘home.’  We put a plan in place pretty quickly and started school up one week after the original start date.  We held a special registration at the high school for these kids.  It was awesome, and it was emotional.  Many of the Port Aransas folks hadn’t seen each other since before the storm.  They were hugging each other and were so overwhelmed by the support from this entire community.  To date, we have enrolled close to 250 kids mostly from Port Aransas, but also from Aransas Pass, Rockport, Woodsboro, and Houston.”

     Sneed went on to tell of a conversation she had with a close counterpart in Gregory-Portland ISD.  “As of today, they have enrolled 1300 kids.  They were able to accept all of them because they just opened a new elementary school, and they have a sixth-grade campus – that had been a junior high campus – that they were able to reopen.  It has been an entire Coastal Bend area effort to ensure that these kids have some sense of normalcy.”  She went on to thank the City of Corpus Christi, AEP, and out-of-state utility companies that helped get the school back on line.  Sneed thanked the joint efforts of Walmart and the Corpus Christi Police Department for donating school supplies and other groups who made certain the displaced children had appropriate clothing for school by donating spirit shirts to help them feel like part of the Flour Bluff family.

     The Port A ISD faculty and staff have been working hand-in-hand with Flour Bluff to look out for the children from Port Aransas and help them feel more at ease in their new environment.  “We really appreciate their efforts,” said Sneed.

    Attendees were encouraged to take part in H.O.S.T.S. (Helping Our Students To Succeed).  It is a mentor program established in September 2014 to be a partnership of FBISD and dedicated community member serving the needs of our students in grades 3 – 12.  For anyone interested in being a mentor, Sneed encouraged those in the audience to contact Dr. Linda Barganski at Central Office.  “The volunteers usually meet with the kids once a week for 30 minutes to an hour and just be that positive role model for them.”

     “Football season has started!  We only have three home games this year, and one of those is Homecoming on Friday, October 13.  The Homecoming Parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, October 9, and will travel along Waldron from Compton to Hornet Stadium where we will have the Swarm and the burning of the FB.  There will be many activities for the students throughout the week, so look for that,” Sneed informed the group.

     “Mr. Schuss and Dr. Alvarado will be in Austin on Friday with intermediate math teacher Jack Marley as he receives recognition as the ESC Region II Teacher of the Year.  Because of Harvey, the actual service center announcement and celebration was postponed but will take place on Thursday, September 21, at ESC II downtown,” added Sneed.

     Several people in attendance asked about the traffic issues.  “We have had a few issues with new bus routes and just getting in sync the first days of school.  We’ve also had changes in start and release times that have added to the traffic problems,” replied Sneed.  She explained that many of the displaced students must be driven to school, which adds to the traffic problems.  “To help alleviate some of this, the displaced students are going to be picked up at Schlitterbahn.  We just ask for your patience,” said Sneed.  Everyone was encouraged to check out flourbluffschools.net for more information.

More FBBA News and Community Announcements

  • Flour Fest is October 28 at Parker Park. Volunteers are needed.  Please contact Jonathan Vela, Special Events Coordinator.
  • High school Homecoming Mums will be customized by the PTA for the displaced students.
  • Add info@flourbluffbusinessassociation.com to your address book so that you can receive emails from FBBA.
  • Javier Wiley from HEB told the group that the new Hornet football helmets are part of a donation from HEB. Curbside is now open as another shopping option.  Shipt is also still available.  Visit hebtoyou.com.  HEB put in an official request to public affairs for disaster relief in Port A (i.e. mobile showers, mobile kitchens, mobile pharmacies).  Wiley handed out $2000 in gift cards to Port A citizens and $1000 to Flour Bluff.  Welp thanked HEB for always being the last to close and the first to open when disaster strikes.
  • The FBBA is partnering with Nueces County and and organization called DeGoLa (Dewitt, Goliad, and Lavaca Counties), a Resource, Conservation, and Development District, to hold a tire recycling program event in Flour Bluff on Saturday, November 4, 2017, and again in March of 2018.
  • Next FBBA General Meeting: October 10, 2017, at noon, at Funtrackers
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.
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FBBA Awards Javier Wiley Spotlight of the Month

Business, Flour Bluff

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

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

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

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

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

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

     HEB Plus (CC18) is located at 1145 Waldron Road in Flour Bluff.  The store is open daily from 5:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. For more information, call 361-939-5500 or visit the website.
Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.
Please follow and like us:

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.”

Jonathan Vela FBBA
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.

Melanie Hambrick2
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.”

Javier Wiley
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.”

Taubman FBBA
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.”

Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day.
Please follow and like us: