You could learn to save a life in just 10 minutes

By Greg Rodgers, CSFD Division Chief

If someone you love – or a complete stranger – were to go into sudden cardiac arrest, would you know what to do?

Would you stand by helplessly waiting for help to arrive as precious seconds tick away?

Several years ago, an older man was walking in the local mall one morning when he suddenly dropped to the ground.  He was having a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), a condition in which the heart suddenly stops beating. With blood no longer flowing to the brain and other vital organs, SCA usually leads to death if not treated quickly.

Fortunately for him, someone nearby had been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), took quick action, and saved his life.

In my 35 years in the fire service, I’ve witnessed sudden cardiac arrest three times. Two had positive outcomes, thanks to the immediate application of CPR.

Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) affects hundreds of thousands of Americans each year and is a leading cause of death. According to the American Heart Association, survival rates can double or even triple if someone administers CPR until emergency medical services personnel arrive. Without CPR, about 90 percent of those who suffer SCA outside of a hospital don’t make it.

That’s made me a strong believer in proactive CPR training programs.

Learn Basic CPR on Thursday

If you’ve ever wanted to learn this life-saving technique but never seemed to find the time, here’s your chance.

The College Station Fire Department will participate in the World CPR and Stop the Bleed Challenge on Thursday from noon-6 p.m. at Fire Stations 2, 3 and 6. Perhaps the most extensive bystander CPR training event ever, the initiative is designed to teach compression-only CPR in 10 minutes to as many people as possible in a single afternoon. Participation is free, no registration is required, and family and friends are welcome.

Experienced College Station firefighters will conduct the short training sessions. Since compression is the most effective element of CPR, that’s the focus. No mouth-to-mouth techniques will be involved. Here’s the five-step process you’ll learn:

  1. Check for responsiveness.
  2. Call 911.
  3. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.
  4. Send someone for an automated external defibrillator (AED).
  5. Keep it up until help arrives.

Knowing effective CPR techniques can have a direct effect on your friends, family, and everyone around you. CPR training may not guarantee a positive outcome, but it dramatically increases the odds.

For more information, contact me at 979-229-6625 or


About the Blogger

Greg Rodgers is in his 31st year with the College Station Fire Department, where is a division chief and serves as the department’s public information officer. A native of San Antonio, Greg earned a bachelor’s degree in emergency management administration from West Texas A&M in 2008.


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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Northgate Pedestrian Safety: The council will hear a workshop presentation on proposals for temporary measures to enhance pedestrian safety in the Northgate area, including the closing of Boyett Street at University Drive on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. An ongoing comprehensive study will help determine permanent changes.
  2. Fire Station No. 7 Property: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $600,000 real estate contract to purchase about four acres on Wellborn Road for the city’s seventh fire station. The item is part of the budget amendment on the regular meeting agenda.
  3. Northgate Video Surveillance: Also on the consent agenda is a $337,000 general services agreement with ASAP Security Solutions for the first phase of a video surveillance system in the Northgate District and Northgate Parking Garage.
  4. FY18 Budget Amendment: After a public hearing, the council will consider a $1.13 million amendment to the city’s FY18 budget. Most of the amendment covers Phase II of the Veterans Park & Athletic Complex Build-Out ($1.55 million), the Fun for All Playground ($1 million), a design contract for Southeast Park ($400,000), and land for a new fire station.
  5. Rezonings on Wellborn Road: After public hearings, the council will consider requests to rezoning two properties along Wellborn Road south of Greens Prairie Road to allow for commercial development. One is for about four acres, and the other is for 4.4 acres.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 or online. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links:                                                                 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.

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Public works enhances our community’s quality of life

By Wally Urrutia, Sanitation Superintendent

Most of us take for granted that our trash will be picked up on time, our drinking water will be clean, and our public facilities will be adequately maintained. But College Station’s public works infrastructure, facilities, and services wouldn’t be possible without the dedicated professionals of the Public Works Department.

Efficient and professional public works programs manage our water, sewer, streets, traffic operations, stormwater drainage, fleet maintenance, public building maintenance, recycling and solid waste collection. These services are vital to the safety, health and high quality of life we enjoy in our growing community.

This week marks the 58th annual National Public Works Week, which celebrates the thousands of men and women across the United States and Canada who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services known as public works. This year’s theme is “The Power of Public Works,” which celebrates the impact public works has on modern civilization.

National Accreditation

Did you know that College Station is the only city of our size (80,000-150,000 population) in Texas to be nationally accredited in both Public Works and Water Services? Administered by the American Public Works Association (APWA), the accreditation program recognizes agencies that go beyond the requirements of established industry practices.

The College Station Public Works Department consists of eight divisions — Capital Projects, Facility Maintenance, Streets Maintenance, Drainage Maintenance, Traffic Operations, Sanitation, Fleet Services and Administration. Our 124 employees deliver sanitation services and plan, build and maintain the infrastructure that allows our community to grow and prosper.

About Public Works Week

Since 1960, the APWA has sponsored National Public Works Week as a way for its 28,000 members to educate the public on the importance of public works in their daily lives. The occasion is marked each year with scores of resolutions and proclamations from mayors, governors, and presidents.

As we observe National Public Works Week, we honor and thank the employees of our Public Works and Water Services departments for their professionalism, hard work and the high level of dedicated service they provide to our community every day.

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed this Public Works Week in College Station at the May 14 city council meeting:

(L-R) Mark Mcauliffe, Troy Rother, Raquel Gonzales, Susan Monnat, Mayor Karl Mooney, Donald Harmon, Martin Mcgehee, Jason Best.

Read the Proclamation


About the Blogger

Sanitation Superintendent Wally Urrutia is in his 31st year with the City of College Station. He was named Solid Waste Manager of the Year in 2016 by the Texas Public Works Association.


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Podcast: Bridget Russell, College Station’s Pool Shark

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

May is Water Safety Month, which obviously highlights the importance of knowing how to swim and how to watch family and friends when at the lake or at the pool.

In this podcast, College Station Pools Supervisor Bridget Russell talks about the challenges she and her staff face, how they’re not to be considered babysitters, and how you can stay safe this summer.

Total run time: 26:01

  • 00:00 — Show open
  • 01:52 — About Adamson Lagoon
  • 02:53 — About Bridget
  • 04:26 — A pool supervisor does…everything.
  • 05:53 — How tough is it to get teens to be lifeguards?
  • 07:30 — Why is Water Safety Month so important?
  • 08:49 — Bridget does lakes and pools WAY different than the rest of us.
  • 09:48 — How people enjoy water has changed: “Flat water” is out.
  • 11:05 — About CS’s two OTHER pools (Hallaran, Thomas)
  • 13:20 — Habits of parents are different now
  • 14:54 — We are NOT babysitters!
  • 16:33 — Teaching adults to swim, too.
  • 18:22 — CS Baby Boomers still love the water
  • 19:40 — Resources for keeping your family safe in and around the water
  • 20:50 — Weird things at the pool (Spoiler alert: POOP)
  • 22:52 — Final thoughts + upcoming events and essential tips.



About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his ninth year as College Station’s public communications director. A 1991 graduate of Texas A&M. Jay has also been communications director for the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service, public information officer for the City of Bryan, and news director at several Bryan-College Station area radio stations. A native of Breckenridge, he also serves as president of the Texas Association of Municipal Information Officers.


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Texas Weekend of Remembrance to honor our fallen

By Gabby Salazar, Tourism Events Supervisor

While other cities in Texas are known for space exploration, kolaches, and live music, College Station has a well-earned reputation for its enthusiastic support for our nation’s armed forces, especially our veterans.

After all, College Station happens to be home to Texas A&M University, which produces more officers than any institution besides the military academies and maintains a 2,000-member Corps of Cadets. More than 1,400 veterans were enrolled at the university last fall.

That makes College Station a natural venue for a Memorial Day weekend event designed for Texans to pay their respects and honor the servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives for our country.

The inaugural Texas Weekend of Remembrance will be May 25-27 (Friday-Sunday) at Veterans Park & Athletic Complex. Our goal is to grow the event into an annual Memorial Day mainstay for military members, veterans, their families and the public to remember the fallen.

The commemoration begins Friday, May 25 with softball and flag football teams dedicating their competition to fallen soldiers. The tournaments are coordinated by Heroes Sports, an organization that supports service members and veterans by providing ways to maintain active lifestyles, bond through teamwork, and become active in their communities.

The weekend officially starts Saturday with opening ceremonies at 10 a.m. The schedule includes a motorcade, parachute jump, presentation of colors, rifle salute, and roll call with a ship bell from the USS Kearsarge, which served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Brig. Gen. Joe E. Ramirez, Jr. (Ret.), commandant of the Corps of Cadets, will provide opening remarks, and Maj. Gen. Paul T. Calvert of Fort Hood will give the keynote speech.

Since good music has a unique way of bringing people together, we’ve invited some outstanding artists to entertain our visitors. Saturday’s opening act (6 p.m.) is the Scooter Brown Band, which will be followed by Joe Nichols and Jamey Johnson. On Sunday beginning at 2:15 p.m., Cody Wayne and Aaron Watson will perform.

Before Sunday’s concerts, join us at 8 a.m. for the kid’s mile fun-run and the 5K run/walk. All proceeds will benefit Brazos Valley Cares for the support of veterans and their families who experience financial hardship. After the races, a free breakfast will be provided by the West End Elixir Company at the American Pavilion. Chaplain Benjamin T. Mayhugh of the U.S. Coast Guard will be the speaker.

Concessions will be available for purchase throughout the weekend, with part of the proceeds donated to the Texas A&M University Veterans Resource & Support Center to assist with scholarships. No outside food, drinks or pets are allowed, but you may bring plastic water bottles. Ample parking is available on-site.

The Texas Weekend of Remembrance embraces the tradition and history College Station is known for by highlighting Memorial Day weekend events and related facilities around the community.

For a complete schedule of events and other information, go to or call 979-764-3486.


About the Blogger

Tourism Events Supervisor Gabby Salazar is in her third year with the City of College Station. Before joining the city staff, she was the night manager at Texas A&M’s Reed Arena. A product of A&M’s sports management program, Gabby earned her bachelor’s degree in 2014 and is working toward her master’s. A native of Alamo, she was also a member of the Aggies’ nationally-ranked track and cross country teams.


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CSU’s smart meters will be safe and secure

By David Coleman, College Station Interim Assistant City Manager

College Station Utilities customers have grown accustomed to workers entering their backyards to read the electric meter. No one looks forward to the monthly intrusion on their privacy, but the work is necessary to get an accurate measure of your electricity usage.

The situation is as uncomfortable for our readers as it is for our customers. You don’t like the invasion of your privacy; our readers don’t like encountering startled Rottweilers. If only a better, less intrusive way existed to check your monthly electricity usage.

Well, it does. And CSU and its electric customers will soon have access to it.

Last month, the College Station City Council directed CSU to move forward with implementing Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), commonly called smart meters. The process will take about three years to complete. The change will apply only to electric meters, while water will continue to install AMI-ready meters for future implementation.

Smart meters record energy usage just like traditional meters but send and receive the data through wireless communications technology. That eliminates the need for us to enter your property on a regular basis. The new system will not reduce our workforce, either, since we’ll hire meter and system technicians to replace the readers.

Since 2010, AMI use has doubled with about half the nation’s electricity customer accounts now using smart meters. In 2016, Texas added the most residential smart meters of any state. Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) successfully implemented its AMI system more than six years ago.

The council’s decision has raised some questions about the pros and cons of smart meters. Even though the city hasn’t yet requested proposals from potential contractors, we can still address many of the issues.

In addition to being less invasive, the meters will provide timely data that helps us generate more accurate utility bills by reducing human error. We’ll be able to better monitor system performance, control energy theft, provide greater reliability, and pinpoint and respond faster to outages. The system also will make it easier for you to identify ways to save energy and trim your monthly bill.

Since College Station is home to one of the nation’s largest universities, our electric utility handles an extraordinary number of service connects and disconnects. Because of the transient nature of much of our growing population, College Station Utilities processed about 70,000 connection and disconnection work orders last year.

During the peak move-in and move-out times in May and August, what should be a simple service can take several days. We’ll soon be able to handle those 70,000 annual connects and disconnects remotely, which will significantly improve our customer service capabilities and recover about 700,000 miles logged by our service trucks each year, providing substantial savings and environmental benefits.

Privacy and Security

Our top priority has always been providing reliable and safe electric service, which includes safeguarding your privacy and protecting your data. Since we must know how much electricity you use to bill you accurately, that’s all the smart meters measure — not how you use the electricity. Only consumption data is transmitted, nothing more. At the same time, the system’s firewall protects us against external hacking threats.

Moreover, privacy laws require us to protect consumer data. We can’t share that information without your permission, so rest assured it won’t end up in the hands of marketers.


Our most likely communication system would use radio frequency, which produces no microwave radiation. Research shows that standing next to the AMI meter exposes you a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones or baby monitors.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas recently concluded that “decades of scientific research have not provided any proven or unambiguous biological effects from exposure to low-level radio frequency signals. In reviewing all available material, (PUC) staff found no credible evidence to suggest that smart meters emit harmful amounts of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation.”


For several years, the leadership of our electric utility has prudently set aside adequate funds in CSU’s budget for potential capital projects such as an AMI system. That means the new meters won’t cause an increase in electric rates. The up-front, one-time cost of implementing the AMI system is expected to be about $9.2 million, with annual operations and maintenance costs of about $660,000.

If the meters have a life of 11-12 years, we’ll likely break even on the costs and benefits of the new system. Any shortfall would simply be the cost of doing business and providing better service.

We encourage CSU electric customers to participate in the discussion when an AMI contract is presented to the city council early next year.


About the Blogger

David Coleman serves as College Station’s interim assistant city manager after 14 years as the director of water services at College Station Utilities. He also served 21 years as a civil engineer corps officer in the U.S. Navy. Coleman earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 1981 and a master’s in construction engineering from Stanford.


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