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18 timely tips for a safe and happy holiday season

By Lt. Chuck Fleeger, CSPD Public Information Officer

Copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock PhotoThanksgiving is always a wonderful time to relax, spend time with family and friends, enjoy terrific food, and watch a whole heap of football! It’s also a kickoff of a different kind as Black Friday marks the start of the Christmas season.

You certainly don’t want to ruin all that joy by becoming a crime victim.

With shoppers out in force and many residents leaving town, the College Station Police Department offers these safety reminders.

When you go shopping:

  1. Park in well-lit areas.
  2. Shop with a friend or family member – it’s safer and more fun.
  3. If you’re shopping with large amounts of cash, spread it out in two locations such as your purse or wallet, or your pocket and handbag.
  4. Always keep your purse and wallet on you, not unattended in the shopping basket.
  5. Keep your receipts separate from your merchandise bags so you’ll have proof of purchase and ownership if they’re stolen.
  6. Don’t let the customer behind you make you feel rushed. Take the time to put your money and receipts away before leaving the counter.
  7. Have your keys ready when you leave the store so you’re not distracted while digging for them.
  8. Put the purchased items in your trunk or keep them covered. Don’t leave them exposed inside the vehicle. 
  9. Pay attention to your surroundings and don’t be afraid to report suspicious activity or call 911.
  10. Always lock you vehicle, even after you get in.

If you are traveling:

  1. Properly secure your residence to avoid burglary and theft. Lock your doors and windows, and consider using a light switch timer to periodically turn your lights on and off. And if you’re staying in town, be watchful and immediately report any suspicious activity to police.
  2. Prepare your vehicle for long distance travel. Check your vehicle equipment, make sure lights are working properly, fluids levels are topped off, and tire pressure is correct.
  3. Be prepared in case your car breaks down. Have the proper emergency equipment with you such as a flashlight, windshield scraper, road flares or other illuminating devices. If you are expect cold weather, include warm clothing and gloves.
  4. A cell phone is an asset in emergencies. You can reach the police and all other emergency services by dialing 911 on your cell phone.
  5. Leave early so you aren’t rushed. Road can become congested with holiday traffic, so expect delays and give yourself extra time to reach your destination so you don’t speed or become frustrated. 
  6. Keep a full tank of gas. Don’t take a chance of getting stranded because you ran out of gas. If you’re getting near or below a quarter tank, fill up. 
  7. Don’t drive if you are tired or drowsy. Stop often and stretch to avoid getting tired, and switch drivers so each person can rest if you’re traveling long distance. Stay alert!
  8. Wear your seatbelt and obey traffic laws.

Here’s to a safe and wonderful holiday season, no matter where you are. 

And BTHO LSU!

 


About the Author
Lt. Chuck Fleeger has 24 years of service with the College Station Police Department and has served as public information officer since 2013. A native of College Station, Fleeger attended Texas A&M.  


 

 Photo Copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Nov. 24)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Nov. 24. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:08 p.m.

The workshop meeting has started.

6:09 p.m.

Brick Elected as Mayor Pro Tem

The council unanimously selected Place 1 Councilwoman Blanche Brick to a one-year term as mayor pro tem to act as mayor when the mayor is absent or disabled.

6:28 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. These items were pulled for workshop discussion:

  • Sale of Property Near Lick Creek Park: The $1.55 million contract is for the sale of 63.187 acres on Rock Prairie Road next to Lick Creek Park. In 2011, council directed staff to market and dispose of the property, which has been owned by the city since 1992. The contract represents the highest of 12 offers.
  • Sandy Point Pump Station Improvements: The $4.36 million contract with Dudley Construction is for the Sandy Point Pump Station Improvements, which include the expansion of cooling towers and the upgrade of the chemical feed system. When this project is complete, the maximum daily capacity will increase from 29 million to 31 million gallons per day, with future cooling capacity reaching up to 37 million per day. The project was re-bid due to inconsistencies in the type of cooling tower proposed by the bidders and supplier issues.
  • Four-Way Stop at Holleman and Jones-Butler: The all-way stop at the intersection of Holleman Drive West and Jones-Butler Road would reduce driver confusion, reduce driver delay, and improve pedestrian and bicycle mobility. Increased traffic in the area has resulted in high levels of delay along Jones-Butler and has increased the risk of crashes at the intersection.
  • Signal Rehabilitation at Southwood and FM2818: The $262,385 contract with Allstate Signal and Construction is for traffic signal rehabilitation and sidewalk improvements at the intersection of Southwood Drive and FM2818. The project will provide pedestrians with safe access to the hike and bike trail on the north side of FM2818.

 7:13 p.m.

Neighborhood Integrity Advisory Group 

The council received an update on the city’s recent neighborhood integrity efforts and discussed the possible formation of a neighborhood integrity advisory group. The city recently strengthened its rental registration ordinance, provided additional code enforcement resources and intensified its public communications efforts.

Staff recommended a 9-12 member task force or resource team appointed by the council that would meet as needed. The group would include representatives from neighborhoods, homeowners associations, university students and administrators, rental property investors, and realtor and apartment associations.

Ideally, the group would act as a sounding board on neighborhood issues, foster better relations between students and neighborhoods, advise on code enforcement issues and assist with communication among neighborhoods, students and the city.

The consensus of the council was for the city’s efforts to be evaluated in a about six months before any advisory group is formed.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

7:13 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended and will resume after the regular meeting, which will begin after a short break.

7:25 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:30 p.m.

Recognition of Fire Marshal Eric Dotson

The council recognized Fire Marshal Eric Dotson for earning the title of Executive Fire Officer from the United States Fire Administration and Federal Emergency Management Agency. Dotson is the fourth member of CSFD to complete this prestigious program.

Pictured with Fire Marshal Dotson (below) are his wife, Amanda, his son, Derek, Fire Chief Eric Hurt, Assistant Fire Chief Paul Gunnels and Mayor Nancy Berry.

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 7:36 p.m.

Texas Army National Guard Presentation

The council recognized The Texas Army National Guard for its sponsorship, involvement and support of the 2014 Games of Texas. Seventy ANG volunteers worked about 3,000 hours during the four-day event. The Texas Army National Guard also presented a certificate of appreciation to the Parks & Recreation Department. The cities of College Station and Bryan, along with Texas A&M, were co-hosts of the event.

Representing the ANG (below) were Commander Major Loren Holland, Staff Sergeant Eric Strelsky and Sergeant Sean Lauer. Our sincere thanks for helping host a great event. Also pictured are representatives from College Station Parks & Recreation and the B-CS Convention & Visitors Bureau.

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7:49 p.m.

Hear Visitors

Five people spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • Denise Snyder spoke against council requiring citizens to state their names and addresses before speaking before council, and also called for a moratorium on fracking or the sale of water for fracking until the city’s oil and gas regulations can be updated.
  • Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Jose A. Perez as part if the Fallen Heroes Memorial. A 22-year-old native of San Diego, Texas, Perez was killed in Iraq on May 28, 2003.
  • Linda Harvell and Gene Hawkins spoke in support of creating a neighborhood integrity advisory committee.
  • Lisa Halpern asked council to listen to the citizens regarding neighborhood integrity.

 7:49 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • The 2015 Annual Council Calendar.
  • A $1.55 million contract for the sale of 63.187 acres of city-owned property on Rock Prairie Road next to Lick Creek Park.
  • A $4.36 million contract with Dudley Construction for the Sandy Point Pump Station Improvements.
  • A bid award and $600,000 contract with WEG Electric for the purchase and installation of a substation transformer to serve added load.
  • An interlocal agreement with Texas A&M University to equally share in the cost of rental or purchase of traffic control devices used to implement the Game Day Traffic Control Plan. The rental cost for the six home games is about $90,000, and the anticipated purchase price is about $240,000.
  • A $76,505 contract with Freese and Nichols for the Wolf Pen Creek Erosion Control Phase II Project.
  • Renewal of four master agreements, each not to exceed $35,000, for real estate appraisal services with S.T. Lovett & Associates, Integra Realty Resources (Houston), Atrium Real Estate Services, and Integra Realty Resources (Austin).
  • The purchase of excess workers’ compensation and casualty insurance from the Colony Insurance Company for a premium of about $100,000.
  • A contract not to exceed $864,000 with Brazos Paving for concrete curb, gutter and flatwork installation to maintain city infrastructure.
  • The second renewal of the semi-annual price agreement not to exceed $960,000 with Knife River for Type D Hot Mix Asphalt for the maintenance of streets.
  • Implemented all-way stop control at the intersection of Holleman Drive West and Jones-Butler Road.
  • The $71,245 purchase of grounds maintenance equipment for the Parks and Recreation Department.
  • A $262,385 contract with Allstate Signal and Construction for traffic signal rehabilitation and sidewalk improvements at the intersection of Southwood Drive and FM 2818.
  • A $100,000 contract with Dudley Construction for playground replacement at Bee Creek and Thomas Parks.
  • The second renewal of the general services agreement not to exceed $120,000 with Emergicon for ambulance billing, accounts receivable and delinquent account collection services.
  • A contract with Anadarko E&P Onshore for pond water from Hanson South, the city’s wellfield property.
  • Removal of parking along the access road for Texas Avenue south of Walton Drive.

8:18 p.m.

Fitch Parkway-Wellborn Road Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries for about 1.5 acres south of the intersection of Fitch Parkway and Wellborn Road to allow for development of a Stripes gas station and convenience store.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:25 p.m.

FM2818 Townhome Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries for about 2.3 acres generally located at 2440 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South to allow for the development of townhomes.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:37 p.m.

Sterling Heights Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries for a single acre at 218 Sterling Street to allow for a multi-family development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:41 p.m.

3751 Rock Prairie Road West Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries for 2.236 acres generally located at the southwest corner of Rock Prairie Road West and Holleman Drive South to allow of the development of a convenience store.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:44 p.m.

Hookah Lounge Conditional Use Permit

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the Annex Hookah Lounge in the Park Place Shopping Plaza at the southeast corner of Texas Avenue and Southwest Parkway. No alcoholic beverages will be sold at the location and no one under the age of 18 will be admitted.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

8:58 p.m.

Skyway Towers Conditional Use Permit

After a public hearing, the council unanimously approved a conditional use permit to build a 150-foot wireless telecommunications tower on about .127 acres near the northeast corner of Graham Road and Victoria Avenue.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

 

9:11 p.m.

Rio Grande Townhomes Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-1 to change the zoning district boundaries for 7.3 acres at 2021 Harvey Mitchell Parkway South to allow for development of townhouse-style apartments. Councilwoman Blanche Brick voted against the motion, and Councilman John Nichols abstained. A portion of the property is a designated floodplain but will be reserved from development with the requested Natural Areas Preserved zoning.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

10:25 p.m.

Oil and Gas Ordinance Update

The council was updated on the city’s ongoing review of its oil and gas regulations. The council previously asked for the review because of increased oil and gas activity in the area. Recommended changes to the existing ordinance include a prohibition on disposal wells, sump pits and sites in flood-prone areas, along with raising related fees and insurances requirements.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

10:25 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The council will resume the workshop agenda.

10:31 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The council meets again on Thursday, Dec. 18.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

 

Five things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

gavel[1]By Colin Killian, Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:  

  1. Mayor Pro Tem: The council will elect a mayor pro tem to a one-year term to act as mayor when the mayor is absent or disabled.
  2. Neighborhood Integrity Advisory Group: The council will discuss recent neighborhood integrity efforts and the possible formation of a group to advise on neighborhood integrity issues.
  3. Lick Creek Property Sale: The council will consider the sale of about 63 acres of city-owned property next to Lick Creek Park. The $1.55 million in proceeds would go into the General Fund.
  4. New Playground Equipment: The council will consider approving a $99,403 contract for playground replacement at Bee Creek and Thomas Parks.
  5. Oil & Gas Regulations: The council will receive an update on the ongoing review of the city’s oil and gas regulations. 

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. Previous council meetings are archived on the website. A detailed live blog from the meetings will be posted on this site and also can be accessed through the city’s Facebook page.

Related links:                                                                 

The Bonfire memorial you may have missed

Bonfire Memorial Lights
By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Before and after. Then and now.

There are a handful of events in our lives that are so significant that our perspectives forever change because of them. In the history of Texas A&M, two of these examples are when women were officially admitted, and when Aggie Bonfire collapsed.

It’s been 15 years since the latter — a tragedy that took the lives of 12 Aggies and injured 27, caught the attention of the world, and signaled the end of a campus tradition that dated back nearly a century.

Among the must-see destinations on the A&M campus is the magnificent, yet sobering, memorial to the victims of the collapse — located on the exact site where the logs fell during the early morning hours of Nov. 18, 1999. If you haven’t visited the Bonfire Memorial, I urge you to go — it’s a powerful experience, even if you have no ties to the university.

But did you know there’s another set of memorials in College Station dedicated to the memory of Bonfire collapse victims? Neither did I until just a few years ago.

_MG_5164Brison Park

Tucked alongside Dexter Street in the Southside Historic District, just a few blocks from the A&M campus, is nine-acre Fred Brison Park — a neighborhood oasis that might be the most beautiful and serene green spot in the entire College Station parks system.

Located mostly around the perimeter of the park are lamp posts and special markers dedicated to each of the 12 Bonfire victims — a remembrance project announced by the City of College Station a year after the tragedy. If you take the time to check all of them — each bears a name, class year and hometown — as well as the centerpiece memorial plaque, then you will have strolled around and through the entire park.

I routinely seek out Brison Park when I need to clear my head, to escape phone calls and office visits for a few minutes, and to enjoy lunch while sitting beneath the giant oaks. Whether it’s on Nov. 18, or simply the next beautiful day, I hope you’ll consider discovering the other Bonfire memorials located in one of College Station’s finest parks.

In memory of:

  • Miranda Denise Adams ‘02
  • Christopher D. Breen ‘96
  • Michael Stephen Ebanks ‘03
  • Jeremy Richard Frampton ‘99
  • Jamie Lynn Hand ‘03
  • Christopher Lee Heard ‘03
  • Timothy Doran Kerlee, Jr ‘03
  • Lucas John Kimmel ‘03
  • Bryan A. McClain ‘02
  • Chad A. Powell ‘03
  • Jerry Don Self ‘01
  • Nathan Scott West ‘02

 

About the Author
Jay Socol is in his sixth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M, Socol has also been communications director for the Texas Engineering Extension Service,  public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several B-CS radio stations.

CSPD officer used SABA kit to save citizen’s life

By Lt. Chuck Fleeger, CSPD Public Information Officer

badge-officerLate on the night of Oct. 15, Daniel Crites was among the College Station police officers who responded to a call about a person needing medical attention. Arriving ahead of paramedics, the officers found the individual’s condition rapidly deteriorating.

Officer Crites realized the person was having difficulty breathing and discovered that swelling had obstructed the airway. Crites inserted a pharyngeal tube from his department-issued Self Aid Buddy Aid (SABA) kit through the individual’s nose, allowing air into the lungs. The citizen was soon transported to a hospital and was successfully treated.

Paramedics and hospital personnel said Crite’s quick actions saved the person’s life.

As a result, Officer Crites will be presented with an Outstanding Service Award at the 2015 College Station Police Department Awards Banquet in January. The award recognizes a single act or consistent outstanding service that helps the department fulfill its community service mission. 

In 2013, CSPD began issuing SABA kits to our officers, who must complete an intensive training session conducted by the College Station Fire Department. As the citizen Officer Crites assisted would attest, our officers are now equipped with the skills and tools they need to administer life-saving aid during active incidents when medical professionals or either unavailable or can’t respond.

About the Author
Lt. Chuck Fleeger has 24 years of service with the College Station Police Department and has served as public information officer since 2013. A native of College Station, Fleeger attended Texas A&M. 

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Nov. 13)

gavel[1]This is a live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Nov. 13. It’s not the official minutes.

Both meetings are being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and can also be watched online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:53 p.m.

The workshop has started. Mayor Nancy Berry and Councilman James Benham are absent tonight.

5:53 p.m.

The council took no action on items discussed in executive session.

5:54 p.m.

No items were pulled for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda.

6:24 p.m.

Annexation Update

The council unanimously directed staff to continue the annexation process for about 200 acres in an area generally bordered by Wellborn Road, Greens Prairie Trail and Royder Road. Earlier this year, the council granted the landowner’s request to annex about 70 acres and expressed an interest in annexing additional properties in the vicinity.

A public meeting was conducted with stakeholders on Oct. 6, and additional public hearings will be scheduled. Council is scheduled to take final action in April.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

6:32 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items and committee reports, the workshop meeting was adjourned. The regular meeting will start about 7 p.m.

7:02 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:07 p.m.

CSFD Presentation to MDA

Members of the College Station Fire Department and the College Station Professional Firefighters Association presented a ceremonial check for $27,972 to the Muscular Dystrophy Association from the department’s recent Fill the Boot fundraising campaign. MDA Fundraising Coordinator Maddie Hartsfield (below) accepted the check and expressed her appreciation to the council.

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7:10 p.m.

Arts Council Recognition

Mayor Pro Tem Karl Mooney presented Arts Council of Brazos Valley Executive Director Chris Dyer with a proclamation recognizing the ACBV for earning the 2014-15 Friend of Texas Arts Education Award, which is given by the Texas Art Education Association.

Pictured from left to right below are Jami Bevans, board member for the TAEA, and Arts Council board members Irma Cauley, Hans Hammond and Pam Smits.

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7:14 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One citizen spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Air Force Airman 1st Class Raymond Losano as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial. The 24-year-old from Del Rio died in Afghanistan on April 25, 2003.

7:15 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously approved the entire consent agenda:

  • A $52,740 funding agreement for FY15 with Keep Brazos Beautiful.
  • The purchase of a $655,000 Hazardous Materials Response Vehicle from VT Hackney, Inc.
  • A $1.15 million contract with Pipe Works Constructors for the Wastewater Treatment Plant Blower and Diffuser Improvements.
  • The purchase of three police motorcycles for $55,624.80 from Independence Harley Davidson, an additional one-year extended warranty for $2,901, and the trade-in of one 2010 Harley Davidson Road King motorcycle for $8,000.
  • A resolution assigning the medical waste franchise agreement with Medstar Services to Excel Medical Waste Disposal for medical waste collection.
  • An amendment to the city’s traffic code providing a severability clause, declaring a penalty and providing an effective date.
  • Rejected bids for pavilion janitorial services.
  • A three-year agreement estimated at $140,000 for Westlaw online research services and printed materials from West Group for the city’s Legal Department.

 7:36 p.m.

Zoning Boundary Change

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to change the zoning district boundaries for about 32 acres located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Holleman Drive to allow for a multi-family development.

Some multi-family has developed in the area, but multiple commercial areas and additional multi-family areas remain undeveloped. The Planned Development District revises the concept plan for this part of the development to convert a commercial area at the northwest corner of Holleman Drive South and Cottage Lane to multi-family use.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

7:51 p.m.

Request to Delay Annexation

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to grant a request to delay the annexation of about 46 acres northwest of the intersection of Fitch Parkway and Tonkaway Lake Road.

In October 2007, the property owner entered into a non-annexation development agreement with the city, which included these provisions:

  • A guarantee that the city will not annex the property for 10 years, unless the terms of the agreement are violated.
  • A promise by the owner to use the property in a way consistent with an Agricultural Open zoning district.
  • A promise by the owner that no person will file a plat or related development document for the property.
  • A provision that a violation of the agreement by the landowner by commencing development would constitute a petition for voluntary annexation.

The property owner has entered into a saltwater disposal lease, and the lessee has started construction on a truck unloading facility on the property. Staff believes this activity violates the terms of the agreement and constitutes a petition for voluntary annexation.

The attorney for the owner had asked the city to delay annexation until the agreement is terminated in October 2017. To provide maximum flexibility, council did not approve a specific annexation date.

Here is the PowerPoint presentation received by the council:

 

7:51 p.m.

The regular meeting has been adjourned. The next regular meeting is Monday, Nov. 24.

 

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