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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Waking the Sleeping Giant: Residents Form Flour Bluff Citizens’ Council

Business, Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page, Government and Politics
Citizens in attendance at organizational meeting for FBCC

     A group of over 20 concerned Flour Bluff residents met on Monday, July 25, 2016, at the Janet Harte Library to take the first step to becoming a voice for their community, something all at the meeting agreed has been long in coming.   Shirley Thornton, who led the meeting, likened what the group is doing to Benjamin Franklin’s Junto, a civic-minded group whose discussions fostered the creation of the first volunteer fire department and lending library.  “We want to work with the city, with the county, and with the state to help make Flour Bluff the best it can be.”

Shirley Thornton

     Chad Magill, who is seeking another term as an at-large city councilman and sees Flour Bluff as a “sleeping giant,” congratulated the group on its efforts saying,  “I can’t say enough about how excited I am for you to start this process.  I did work with the ISAC (Island Strategic Action Committee) on the Island initially to get that off the ground and sat in on some of their meetings.  This step forward means a lot to the Bluff and the future of the Bluff.”

At-Large Councilman Chad Magill is running for re-election.

     Greg Smith, a candidate for the District 4 seat of the Corpus Christi City Council and lifetime resident of Flour Bluff, assisted Thornton in arranging the meeting.  He related how he had attended a Padre Island Business Association meeting where four sitting city council members, two county commissioners, the sheriff, the constable, and numerous candidates were present, something that he doesn’t always see at Flour Bluff gatherings.  “One difference,” he said, “the Island has a PAC, and they vote with it.  Now, let’s put it in perspective.  Flour Bluff has 12,000 registered voters; Padre Island has 10,000 registered voters.  In the most recent primary, Flour Bluff turned out 3,000 voters; the Island turned out 2,600.”  Smith went on to say that there is a perception that Flour Bluff doesn’t vote, which the data shows is not the case.   “The Bluff votes, so let’s quit kicking this Flour Bluff can down the road and get something started.”  Smith suggested that a PAC for Flour Bluff be established first.  (Note: The Island United PAC does not contribute funding as a PAC. They simply formalize the endorsement process and spend their funding on organization, communication, sign printing and placement on the endorsements.)

Greg Smith, candidate for Corpus Christi City Council District 4 seat

     The first order of business was to settle upon a name for the group.  After lots of discussion, the group came up with Flour Bluff Citizens’ Council (FBCC).  The group is a grassroots committee representing the Flour Bluff community.  The members determined that they have a vision of being “the voice of Flour Bluff” with a mission of “advocating a unified community interest.”  Magill explained that to have the ear of City staff and seek an official designation through ordinance as an advisory group to the Council on Flour Bluff affairs, just as ISAC is, a separate SAC (Strategic Action Committee) could be one of the FBCC goals.   “That could be the two large goals,” said Magill.  “The duality of the strategic action committee and the PAC make a lot happen; they really do.”

     The group decided to create a steering committee to drive the direction of the PAC.  Everyone agreed that inviting all stakeholders in the community (i.e. residents, faith groups, existing civic clubs and organizations, Flour Bluff ISD, NAS, Flour Bluff Business Association, 4-H) is essential to success.  “We need to get a steering committee and bring more people in,” said Smith.  He suggested that each person present invite an additional 5 people to attend the next meeting.  “The steering committee should make suggestions to the membership, so we need to be as inclusive as possible,” Smith said.  The steering committee will be charged with deciding how to select a governing board, electing officers, writing by laws, and growing the membership.

     The group discussed possible goals.  These included:

  • research propositions and candidates to educate the voters
  • endorse candidates
  • review and revise the 1993 Flour Bluff Area Development Plan
  • weigh-in on City infrastructure projects in Flour Bluff area
  • clean up and enhance Flour Bluff
  • make a great place to live a greater place to live by inviting citizens to get involved in the community

     Thornton suggested that the group try to get as many people on board as possible by August 11, 2016, the date of a Flour Bluff town hall meeting to be at the Ethel Eyerly Community Center where Congressman Blake Farenthold is scheduled to speak.  The group hopes to increase its general membership at that time so that the voice of Flour Bluff is heard by all.

     Thornton closed by thanking all who were in attendance, six of whom are running for office.  In addition to Magill and Smith, four other candidates were present at the organizational meeting, three of whom signed on to play roles in the steering committee that will meet for the first time on Monday, August 1, 2016, at 5:45 p.m. at the Janet Harte Library.

     “We are gaining momentum, and we don’t want to lose that,” said Thornton.  “Look around.  We invited a multi-generational group.  When those of us who are on the short end of the stick fall off, there will be a group to carry on without losing that momentum.  We are doing a good thing, something of which I hope those who came before us and those who come after us will be proud.”

Jeff Rank is running in Place 3 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.


Jennifer Welp is running Place 6 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.
Michael Morgan is running for re-election in Place 7 of the Flour Bluff ISD Board of Trustees.
Inna Klein
Inna Klein is the Republican candidate for the 214th District Court race.

Update:  This story has been amended to reflect a clarification that it was Greg Smith, not Chad Magill, who suggested the PAC be developed first.

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Congressman Farenthold Visits with FBBA at April Meeting

Business, Flour Bluff, Front Page



     Michael Morgan, FBBA Events Coordinator, welcomed U.S. Representative Blake Farenthold to the April 6 meeting.  The congressman is serving his third term in Congress representing the 27th District of Texas.  Representative Farenthold is working towards a smaller, more accountable and transparent government through his service as a committee member on the House Oversight Committee, the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and the House Judiciary Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, his diverse career included working as a conservative radio commentator, seven years of law practice with the Kleberg Law Firm, and founding Farenthold Consulting LLC, a computer consulting and web design firm. He continues to pursue his passion for broadcasting, appearing frequently on radio and television.

     Farenthold addressed a great many topics with the group.  He talked a little about the primary election and the presidential election, assuring everyone that the Congress still has its work to do no matter what is happening with the elections.  Proud of the work that he has done, he looks forward to the possibility of working with a Republican president.  “We want actual legislative language that will indicate the changes to be made in the tax code.  We have to lay out what we as conservatives want,” said Farenthold.

     The congressman answered questions from the audience on several topics, including:

  • Problems within the Veterans Administration mounting with the increasing numbers of veterans as the U.S. pulls out of Iraq and Afghanistan; antiquated computer system used to pay doctors of veterans is still an issue that will hopefully be resolved soon;
  • Update on the widening and deepening of the ship channel, as per the Army Corps of Engineers, in the next budget cycle;
  • Possibility of getting rid of the Department of Education with Trump or Cruz in the White House and a cooperative Congress (Forty percent of all federal education dollars never make it to the schools);
  • FAA Reauthorization Bill;
  • Second Amendment concerns;
  • Non-citizens to be counted for redistricting purposes to maintain status quo;
  • Credit unions versus banking;
  • Section 8 housing projects and the role of the federal government.

Other Business:

       Melanie Hambrick, President of the FBBA, welcomed the many dignitaries who were in attendance and moved on to announcements:

  • April 22, 2016, Beautify the Bluff Community Clean-up
  • Flour Fest:  a first-time event in early stages of planning to include live music and food at the Gateway to Flour Bluff next to Candlewood Suites
  • Ethel Eyerly Senior Citizen clothing drive for needy students
  • FBISD Foundation for Educational Excellence Big Event
  • Children’s Book Festival at the Central Library


Special Recognition:

Larry Teeter was given a certificate of appreciation for the past 16 years he has spent with the Flour Bluff Business Association.



    Spotlight of the Month: NavyArmy Community Credit Union representatives Mary Mata and Dan Tribble accepted the award.


Important Updates:

Meeting dates for the FBBA will be moved to the second Wednesday of the month starting in May to make it easier for more members to attend.  The time and place will remain the same:  Noon at Funtrackers in Flour Bluff.

The new website is up and running.  Visit it here.

Board of Directors

Melanie Hambrick, President

Jennifer Welp, VP

Roshan Bhakta, Treasurer

Michael Morgan, Secretary

Mark Thomas, Director

Dr. Tom Hollingsworth, Director

Jonathan Vela, Director

Larry Teeter, Director

Jeff Rank, Ex-Officio

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Magill Speaks to FBBA at January Meeting

Corpus Christi, Flour Bluff, Front Page


     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.


     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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