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Small Business Saturday focuses on entrepreneurship

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

When our family’s business closed its doors in 1987, it ended more than six decades of serving families in our small, West Texas town — and families in many of the towns around it.

So, maybe it’s in my DNA to shop and dine at mom-and-pop establishments — even when online or big-brand storefronts might save me a few bucks.

That’s what Small Business Saturday (Nov. 24) is all about. While we appreciate all the businesses that operate in College Station, Small Business Saturday allows us to place additional focus on the entrepreneurs who took tremendous personal risks to invest here and compete in an incredibly tough retail, dining and services landscape.

If you happen to own one of these small businesses, let us hear from you in the days leading up to Small Business Saturday by tweeting at us (@CityofCS) with your business name and what it offers. Be sure to include the hashtag #ShopSmallCS.

Including small businesses, like the one my family operated for 60+ years, in your shopping and dining habits is a great way to support our community. And there’s no better time to start than after Black Friday (Nov. 23) and before Cyber Monday (Nov. 26).

Thank you, small businesses, for investing in us. Let’s all commit to investing more in you.

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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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Recipe for a successful Thanksgiving? Don’t set your house on fire.

Thanksgiving is a day of gratitude, family, friends, and, of course, delicious food. No surprise: All of us with the College Station Fire Department are thankful when everyone practices holiday safety in the kitchen, since Thanksgiving is the leading day for home-cooking fires.

In fact, the United States averages 1,800 cooking fires every Thanksgiving Day. That’s three times the number of fires occurring on any other day of the year, which is why these simple safety tips are so important:

  • Never leave unattended food on the stove or in the oven.
  • Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing and long sleeves while cooking because those can easily catch fire.
  • Keep children at least three feet away from the cooking area; watch them closely if they insist on being mini-chefs.
  • Keep the floor clear so you don’t trip over toys, shoes or other objects.
  • Keep flammable items, like potholders and paper or plastic bags, away from the stove and oven.
  • Turn pan handles toward the back of the stove to prevent accidental knock-overs.
  • Have activities that keep kids out of the kitchen during this busy time. Games, puzzles or books are great options.
  • Involve kids in Thanksgiving preparations with recipes that can be followed outside the kitchen.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm on each level of the home, including inside and outside bedrooms.

Also, keep safety in mind when using a turkey fryer because a fire can get out of hand in less than a minute.

If fried turkey is your Thanksgiving tradition, only use a fryer outside and safely away from your home – not inside your garage and not on your porch. Don’t overfill the oil in your turkey fryer, and always keep an eye on the bird when it’s cooking in the oil.

From all the dedicated men and women at College Station Fire Department who work to protect lives and property – especially on Thanksgiving Day – we hope your hearts and stomachs are full, and your holiday is safe.

Carter Hall is a firefighter who has been with College Station Fire Department since 2011.

5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (4 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Canvassing of Election Returns: The council will canvass returns and declare results from the Nov. 6 election for places 4 and 6 on the city council and five city charter amendments.
  2. Vessali Takes Oath of Office: Place 4 Councilwoman-elect Elianor Vessali will take the oath of office, followed by a short reception bidding farewell to outgoing Councilman Barry Moore. Place 6 will be decided in a Dec. 11 run-off between Elizabeth Cunha and Dennis Maloney.
  3. Open Storage: On the consent agenda is an amendment that eliminates the open storage of commodities for sale, lease or inventory in areas zoned rural and allows the storage of materials for private use that are not visible from the public right-of-way.
  4. Accessory Living Quarters: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding off-street parking and the rental of accessory living quarters.
  5. Single-Family Height Protection: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding single-family height protection and building height.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 19 or online. Please note that we won’t be doing a live blog from this meeting.

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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Holiday cheer returns with Christmas in the Park

 

By Kelly Kelbly, Assistant Parks & Recreation Director

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – at least in Stephen C. Beachy Central Park!

College Station’s beautiful Christmas in the Park displays began in 1984 with a couple of light panels and funding from a local family. The displays have grown to more than one million lights and have become a holiday mainstay in our community.

This year, the lights will burn nightly from 6-11 p.m. from Nov. 22 through New Year’s Day.

What’s different this year?

Thanks to a generous donation by Britt Rice Electric, the 90-foot-tall Christmas tree – a community favorite with more than 14,000 bulbs – will be relocated along Recreation Lane to accommodate the ongoing construction of the Fun for All Playground. Despite the move, the tradition of spinning beneath the giant Tower of Power will continue.

We also encourage you to continue the tradition of driving through the 60 strands of lights that envelop Santa’s Lane. We’ll close the drive-thru on the weekends of Nov. 30-Dec.1 and Dec.7-8 to keep everyone safe as you visit Santa, go on hayrides and grab free hot chocolate and cookies. On those nights, you can still walk through Snowflake Forest – made up of 36 snowflakes – and take pictures in front of the 36-foot lighted paddle boat.

Thank you, Parks crews!

Our crews work year-round prepping the light panels to ensure they brightly shine when it’s time to switch them on. The hundreds of illuminated panels – a bulb for every inch – must be taped precisely to preserve the panel’s mesmerizing effects. Cemetery Sexton Ron Schaefer, better known around our offices as Father Christmas, manages workers from all park districts throughout the fall to create nothing less than Christmas magic.

We encourage you to enjoy the time-honored tradition of holiday lights at Beachy Central Park. For more information, go to cstx.gov/Christmas or call 979-764-3486.

 


kkbioAbout the Blogger

Assistant Director Kelly Kelbly is in her 18th year with the College Station Parks & Recreation Department. A native of Gilmer, Kelly is a 1998 graduate of Texas A&M.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Nov. 8)

(L-R): Bob Brick, Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, Karl Mooney (mayor), John Nichols, Barry Moore, James Benham.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Nov. 8. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:31 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action from executive session.

5:41 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

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

  • Lakeway Extension Change Order: Staff recommends approval of a $214,000 change order to the Lakeway Drive Extension Project construction contract with Larry Young Paving because of the unforeseen thickness of rock formations.
  • CSU Service Center Expansion: Staff recommends approval of contracts to purchase almost 13 acres of land for $1.67 million with an option to buy two additional acres to expand the College Station Utilities service center.
  • All-Way Stop at Victoria-Castlegate: The amendment to the city’s Code of Ordinances would implement an all-way stop at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Castlegate Drive.

6:33 p.m.

Bryan’s Neighborhood Protection Ordinances

Martin Zimmermann, assistant director of Planning and Development Services for the City of Bryan, gave the council a brief overview of Bryan’s Residential Conservation District and a recent ordinance amendment that defines and regulates stealth dorms as “Detached Shared Housing.”

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:48 p.m.

Televising Planning & Zoning Workshops

The consensus of the council is to televise the Planning and Zoning Commission’s workshop meetings. The regular meetings already are televised on the city’s cable channel.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:51 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

6:59 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:02 p.m.

World War I Centennial Armistice

Mayor Mooney read a proclamation on the Bells of Peace World War I remembrance marking the 100th anniversary of the armistice that ended the fighting on Nov. 11, 1918. Some 116,516 Americans died in the war, and another 200,000 were wounded. The United States World War I Centennial Commission calls upon all Americans to toll bells at 11 a.m. on Sunday – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – in remembrance of those who served.

7:07 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens might address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda.

  • James Benham recognized his great uncle, Lt. Thomas W. Benham, for his service in the U.S. Army in World War I. He passed away in 1990 at the age of 94.

7:08 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $350,000 contract with Duro-Last for roofing city hall and annex buildings.
  • A $125,184.51 assist-in-construction request by Bryan Texas Utilities.
  • A $350,000 relocation reimbursement agreement with Explorer Pipeline Company.
  • A $213,963.46 change order to the Lakeway Drive Extension Project contract with Larry Young Paving.
  • A contract with Olive Margaret Arnold for the $1.67 million purchase of 12.84 acres and the option to buy two additional acres needed for the expansion of the CSU service center.
  • An ordinance implementing an all-way stop at the intersection of Victoria Avenue and Castlegate Drive.
  • A change order deducting $54,300 from the contract with Weisinger to replace the pump assembly and motor for Well 7.

7:24 p.m.

New City Hall Exterior Rendering

The council unanimously approved Kirksey Architecture’s exterior rendering of the new city hall, which will be located behind the existing facility on Texas Avenue. The rendering was completed with input from the council’s Architectural Advisory Committee:

The site was dedicated this afternoon:

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:49 p.m.

Electric Advisory Board

The consensus of the council was to continue exploring the creation of an electric advisory board to govern College Station Utilities. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:50 p.m.

Sister Cities Appointment

The council unanimously appointed Councilman John Nichols as College Station’s Representative to Sister Cities.

7:52 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

7:52 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Monday, Nov. 19.

 


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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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. Bryan’s Neighborhood Protection Ordinances: The council will hear a workshop presentation about the City of Bryan’s Residential Conservation District and a recent ordinance amendment that defines and regulates stealth dorms as “Detached Shared Housing.”
  2. Televising Planning & Zoning Workshops: The council will have a workshop discussion about televising the Planning and Zoning Commission’s workshop meetings. The regular meetings are televised on the city’s cable channel and streamed online.
  3. CSU Land Acquisition: Among the items on the consent agenda is a $1.67 million contract for almost 13 acres of land needed for the expansion of the College Station Utilities Service Center.
  4. New City Hall Rendering: In the regular meeting, the council will review an architectural rendering of the exterior of the new city hall.
  5. Electric Advisory Board: The council will discuss the possible creation of an electric advisory or independent utility board for CSU.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channel 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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