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6 fresh reasons to enjoy Werewolf Creek on Halloween

By Hallie Kutch, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant

The spell has been cast.

With ghosts, witches, and creatures of fright roaming the night, Halloween will once again be a spectacular blast at Wolf Pen Creek Park. Join us for the City of College Station’s Trick or Treat at Werewolf Creek on Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 5-10 p.m. The free event offers activities for all ages and a memorable evening of frightful family fun.

The park transforms into a five-acre, trick-or-treating paradise, thanks in part to dozens of candy booths hosted by local businesses, non-profits, and other community groups. The booths will offer candy and activities, and the festival site will feature large carnival games, a petting zoo, joy jumps, a hay maze, food trucks and much more.

>> Photos: 2016 Trick or Treat at Werewolf Creek

The event offers six fresh thrills and chills this year:

1. Costume Contest

You can be the ultimate master of disguise in our Halloween costume contest as ghoulish guests are welcome to enter and show off their creativity. The contest features prizes in several categories, including babies and toddlers, kids, teens, families, couples and group costumes. For guidelines and a schedule, visit cstx.gov/halloween.

2. Haunted Trail

Walk into a wicked woods full of frights and strange sites. The haunted trail leads to the festival. Walk this way – it’s scary fun for the whole family.

3. Photo Opportunities

Spiders, bats, black cats, and more, see what photo opportunities are in store. Look for oversized, spooky photo opportunities with some of your favorite Halloween characters.

4. Pumpkin Patch

It’s not too late to decorate with pumpkins. The Pumpkin Patch will be operated by Faith in Action and will sell pumpkins ranging from $1 to $35, depending on size. All of the proceeds will go to BCS Habitat for Humanity. Cash, checks or credit cards are accepted.

5. Story Time

Guests of all ages can hear favorite Halloween tales, stories and rhymes.

6. Live Entertainment

“It’s close to midnight, and something evil’s lurkin’ in the dark…” Experience the Michael Jackson magic though tribute artist Michael Ray as he performs “Thriller.” The College Station High School dance team will also perform, and a creepy, crawly show of various reptiles from the Texas Reptile Hospice and Sanctuary will be on display.

Guests may bring refreshments — coolers must be 48 quarts or smaller – but food vendors will be available. Alcohol and glass containers are not allowed. Post Oak Mall offers convenient parking, and handicap parking is available at the Arts Council and Amphitheatre parking lots on Colgate Drive. Shuttles will not be available.

For more information on the costume contest, food vendors, and to see the entertainment schedule, go to cstx.gov/halloween.

Don’t miss the fun– the Halloween countdown has begun!

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Kutch is in her third year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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Warrant amnesty can help you save money, avoid jail

By Ed Spillane, Municipal Court Judge

Since the City of College Station began our warrant amnesty/warrant roundup program in 2007, we’ve cleared almost 6,000 warrants valued at close to $2 million. The twice-yearly amnesty period has proven to be a win for defendants and our court because it’s provided a path for people to pay outstanding warrants and avoid jail.

The fall warrant amnesty period for the City of College Station and Brazos County starts Monday and runs through Nov. 3.

If you have an outstanding warrant, you can avoid paying a $50 per case warrant fee if you pay the fine in full. During the warrant roundup Nov. 4-12, city marshals, police officers, reserve police officers, and constables will arrest those who haven’t paid their fines.

If you have an unpaid outstanding warrant, there’s a good chance you’ll be arrested.

Many cities do the roundup without offering amnesty, but we think the amnesty period is important because you can make restitution, save a little money, and avoid jail time.

We’ve been a leader in encouraging other courts to participate, and now there is a statewide round-up in March. Our court has even been recognized by The Baltimore Sun as a national leader due to our amnesty program.

Do you have an outstanding warrant?

If the College Station Police Department issued your citation, you can check your warrant’s status at cstx.gov/warrants. You may also call the College Station Municipal Court at 979-764-3683.

No partial payment schedules will be allowed if you want to avoid the $50 fee. The City of College Station accepts cash, cashier’s check, credit cards, money orders, and personal checks. You may also pay your outstanding warrant through our online citation payment system.

If you have an outstanding warrant, I strongly encourage you to take care of it today. It’s a much better option than going to jail.

Related Link:

Podcast: Judge Spillane on warrant amnesty and toughest cases (Oct. 14, 2015)

 


20bec6fAbout the Blogger

Ed Spillane is president of the Texas Municipal Courts Association and has been the presiding judge of College Station’s Municipal Court since 2002. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard in 1985 and earned his Doctor of Law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1992.


 

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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Oct. 12)

Back (L-R): Linda Harvell, Jerome Rektorik, James Benham, Barry Moore. Front (L-R): Blanche Brick, Mayor Karl Mooney, Julie Schultz.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, Oct. 12. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

6:31 p.m.

The workshop has started. Council took no action on items discussed in executive session.

6:38 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:

  • Investment Policy: The Public Funds Investment Act requires an annual review and approval of the city’s investment policy and investment strategies. The act further requires that the governing body adopt a written instrument by rule, order, ordinance, or resolution stating that it has reviewed the investment policy and investment strategies and that the written instrument so adopted records any changes to either the investment policy or investment strategies. The City of College Station adopted an irrevocable OPEB trust on Sept. 11 and added to the investment strategy is the investment guideline for this trust.
  • Rio Grande Subdivision Parking Removal: This ordinance removes on-street parking on the northeast side of Little River Street beginning at the intersection of Harvey Mitchell Parkway South and extending 175 feet northwest to the intersection with a private alley.
  • Cordova Ridge Subdivision Parking Removal: This ordinance removes on-street parking on the northwest side of Cordova Ridge Court beginning at the intersection of Renee Lane and extending 640 feet southwest into its cul-de-sac.

7:05 p.m.

Water Conservation Update

The council heard a presentation by Texas A&M Professor Ron Kaiser, who has developed diagnostics to estimate how much water has been saved by local water conservation efforts. Kaiser provided a summary of significant achievements and ongoing programs.

He said the BVWaterSmart website and weekly notifications have played a significant role in reducing the amount of water wasted by overwatering landscapes.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:08 p.m.

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

7:18 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:24 p.m.

Municipal Courts Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Nov. 6-10 as Municipal Courts Week to recognize the importance of municipal courts, the rule of law, and the fair and impartial administration of justice. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney are Municipal Court Judge Ed Spillane and the municipal court staff.

7:28 p.m.

Fill the Boot for MDS

Mayor Mooney recognized the College Station Fire Department for its participation in the recent Fill the Boot for Muscular Dystrophy event. Mooney proclaimed Oct. 26-28 as Fill The Boot Days in College Station. For more than 60 years, Fill the Boot has been a national firefighter tradition that gives hope and support to families affected by muscular dystrophy. Pictured below with Mayor Mooney are representatives of the College Station Fire Department.

7:37 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. John Ellison spoke about the poor behavior he frequently witnesses on weekends in Northgate.

7:38 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Renewal of a not-to-exceed $150,000 contract with Hilltop Securities for financial advisory services.
  • A $25,000 funding agreement with the Memorial for all Veterans of the Brazos Valley and its annual budget.
  • A $350,000 funding agreement with the Research Valley Partnership.
  • A $15,000 funding agreement with the College Station Noon Lions Club.
  • A $390,868 funding agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley for art and tourism marketing.
  • A $25,000 funding agreement with the Bryan/College Station Chamber of Commerce and its annual budget.
  • A $114,376 funding agreement with Easterwood Airport and its annual budget.
  • A $325,000 funding agreement with the Arts Council of Brazos Valley and its annual budget.
  • A $2,280,236 tri-party funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau and its annual budget. College Station’s share is $1,846,991 and Bryan’s is $433,245.
  • A $49,190 funding agreement with Keep Brazos Beautiful.
  • Estimated awards totaling $130,000 to CC Creations ($65,000) and M&M Apparel ($65,000) for city-branded uniforms.
  • A $400,000 funding agreement with the Brazos Valley Convention and Visitors Bureau to administer its grant program.
  • A $3.29 million contract with Elliott Construction for the Eastgate Rehab PH IV
  • Project.
  • A $301,495 contract with Binkley & Barfield for engineering services related to the preliminary design of the Greens Prairie Road and Greens Prairie Trail projects.
  • A $258,200 contract with Freese and Nichols for the Drainage Capital Plan.
  • A resolution stating that the city council has reviewed and approved the city’s investment policy, broker-dealer list, and investment strategy.
  • Annual water meter purchases estimated to be $166,078.27 from Aqua Metric Sales Company through the Houston-Galveston Area Council contract.
  • Removed parking on the northeast side of Little River Street beginning at the intersection with Harvey Mitchell Parkway South and extending 175 feet northwest to the intersection with a private alley.
  • Removed parking on the northwest side of Cordova Ridge Court beginning at the intersection with Renee Lane and extending 640 feet southwest into its cul-de-sac.
  • An amendment removing contradictory language from a Community Development Block Grant funding contract with Brazos Valley Community Action Programs for affordable rental activity at 1112 Waynesboro Ct.
  • An amendment removing contradictory language from a Community Development Block Grant funding contract with Twin City Mission for affordable rental activity at 2404 Blanco Dr.
  • An ordinance amendment to allow the CSPD SWAT team to have key box access.

7:58 p.m.

Northpoint Crossing Modification

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to modify the concept plan of the existing Planned Development District at Northpoint Crossing. The change will reduce the width of sidewalks along Northpoint Crossing Drive to allow for the redesign of head-in parking and improve site identification and wayfinding.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:22 p.m.

Arrington Road Thoroughfare Alignment

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to realign a future minor collector with Harpers Ferry Road at the intersection with Arrington Road. Councilwomen Blanche Brick and Linda Harvell voted against the motion. Brazos County is reconstructing a portion of Arrington and requested the Thoroughfare Plan amendment to improve safety and efficiency in the corridor.

An earlier motion to delay the vote until additional information could be obtained failed by a 5-2 vote. Brick and Harvell supported that motion.

Here are the PowerPoint presentations:

9:22 p.m.

The council is taking a short break.

9:32 p.m.

The meeting has resumed.

10:38 p.m.

Roadway Impact Fee Collection Rate

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 against reducing the roadway impact fee collection rate to zero. Councilwoman Julie Schultz and Councilman James Benham voted for the motion. The action would have reduced anticipated revenue for roadway capital improvement projects by about $12 million over the next decade.

The council adopted the one-time fees last year on new development to help mitigate the estimated $134 million in capital improvements needed in the next 10 years. Maximum fees were adopted with a lower collection rate phased in over a three-year period, with the initial fees scheduled to start Dec. 1. The adopted collection rate is about 9 percent of the maximum identified by state law.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:00 p.m.

Parkland Dedication Comp Plan Amendments

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Comprehensive Plan to revise neighborhood and community park zones.

The amendments change neighborhood park zones to no longer include College Station’s extraterritorial jurisdiction and to combine some of the zones. The changes also reduce community park zones from four areas to two by combining Zones A & B into one zone west of Highway 6 and combining Zones C & D into another zone east of Highway 6.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:30 p.m.

Parkland Dedication UDO Revisions

After a public hearing, the council voted for staff to bring back reworded revisions to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance regarding the broader use of Parkland Dedication Fees.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

11:39 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

11:39 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Oct. 26.

 


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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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 (6 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Water Conservation Update: In the workshop, the council will hear a presentation about local water conservation efforts, including a summary of significant achievements and ongoing programs.
  2. Funding Agreements: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider annual funding agreements with the Memorial for All Veterans of the Brazos Valley, Research Valley Partnership, Noon Lions Club, Arts Council, Chamber of Commerce, Easterwood Airport, Experience B-CS, and Keep Brazos Beautiful.
  3. Eastgate Water/Wastewater Rehabilitation: Another consent agenda item is a $3.3 million contract for Phase IV of the rehabilitation of water and wastewater lines in the Eastgate area.
  4. Northpoint Crossing Change: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to amend the concept plan for about 11 acres in the Northpoint Crossing Subdivision. The change would reduce sidewalks along Northpoint Crossing Drive to allow for the redesign of parking and would modify the sign ordinance to improve site identification and wayfinding.
  5. Roadway Impact Fees: After a public hearing, the council will consider reducing the roadway impact fee rate to zero. The fees are imposed on new development to help offset the city’s cost of building new roadways. The existing rate is scheduled to go into effect Dec. 1 and is expected to generate $12 million in the next decade.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Channels 19 and 119 (HD), or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. 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 done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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Lick Creek Nature Center to be unveiled Saturday

By Hallie Kutch, Marketing Staff Assistant

Many people consider the 515-acre Lick Creek Park to be the crown jewel of College Station’s park system.

On Saturday, that precious jewel takes on an even shinier gleam with the grand opening of the long-awaited Lick Creek Nature Center. From 9 a.m.-noon, we cordially invite you to enjoy education stations, guest speakers, and guided tours through the 2,400-square-foot facility and the park’s many trails.

The free event begins with a welcome ceremony and ribbon cutting, followed by guided tours every half hour starting at 9:30 a.m. We’ll serve light refreshments, and dogs on leashes are welcome. Horses and bikes are not permitted.

Residents overwhelmingly approved the $2.1 million Lick Creek Park Nature Center as part of the 2008 bond election. The design was approved in 2014, but construction was delayed until an adequate water line could be installed for fire protection.

The nature center serves as the focal point of the picturesque park, which is located at 13600 Rock Prairie Rd. As the area’s premier nature preserve, the park displays a variety of native plant and animal species, including the endangered Navasota Ladies Tresses. It offers five miles of marked trails and provides ample opportunities for hiking, cycling, bird watching, equestrian activities, and nature study.

The facility features a meeting room, restrooms, indoor and outdoor classrooms, and an amphitheater available to rent for receptions, classes, meetings and more. Additional improvements and amenities have enhanced one of College Station’s favorite recreational areas and made it more accessible — and enjoyable — for young and old alike.

The nature center’s mission is to provide exceptional experiences while educating and inspiring visitors to explore, respect, and protect the natural world. The Parks and Recreation Department is teaming with community partners and organizations to host educational classes, programs, and events for all ages to enhance appreciation of the environment and encourage wildlife conservation and stewardship.

The nature center officially opens to the public on Nov. 1. Operating hours will be weekdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and Sundays from 1-6 p.m.

Paid classes already are underway. A few of the offerings include:

  • Outdoor education field trips.
  • Weekly Saturday programs such as birdhouse building contests, campfire building demonstrations, storytelling, survival tips, etc.
  • Saturday Showcase: once-a-month traveling education exhibits.
  • Self-led nature walk/wildlife identification scavenger hunt.
  • Birding 101 and guided nature walks.
  • Sunrise and sunset yoga classes.
  • Wild Wednesday: weekly hands-on programs to get you up close and personal with native critters and plants.
  • Friday Family Hikes: bring a picnic and hike before dinner with your family.
  • Little Ag Producers: youth learn how to identify, grow, harvest and prepare local vegetation.
  • Sunday Safety Series: learn snake and insect identification and bite protocol and outdoor and trail bike safety.

For more information on classes, special events, and facility rentals, go to cstx.gov/parks.

Related Blog:


About the Blogger

Hallie Kutch is in her third year as marketing staff assistant in the Parks & Recreation Department after graduating from Texas A&M in 2014 with a degree in sports management and a minor in tourism research management. She has previously worked with the Dallas Sidekicks professional soccer team and Texas Team Junior Golf. Originally from White Oak, Hallie also attended Kilgore College and was a member of the famed Kilgore Rangerettes dance team.


 

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4 ways to fight illegal dumping and keep our city clean

By Debbie Stickles, Engineering Programs Specialist

You’ve seen the eyesores.

The piles of garbage, tires, paint cans, and appliances that someone carelessly dumped by the side of the road or in an open field. The practice is illegal, but it still happens far too often, despite the threat of substantial fines and even jail time.

Many of the dumped items are not just a blight on the landscape — they can be hazardous, too.

Illegal dumping is the disposal of a large quantity of rubbish or large items on either public or private property. Due to the low visibility created by high brush lines, local streams typically take the brunt of the mess. A few discarded shopping carts or a heap of tires can pollute waterways, increase flood hazards, and destroy wildlife habitats.

Here are four ways you can help us be friendlier to our environment and keep our community clean:

1. Household Hazardous Waste Collection.

When it comes to recycling or disposing of medications, computers, televisions, gasoline, oils pesticides, herbicides, antifreeze, paint, batteries and more, Brazos Valley residents should take advantage of free Household Hazardous Waste Collection events every spring and fall. The next one is Saturday, Oct. 21 from 7 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Texas A&M University Services Building located on Harvey Road east of Veterans Parks & Athletic Complex.

2. Recycling and solid waste programs.

The City of College Station’s single-stream recycling program allows you to place your recyclables in one container. The only item you need to bag in clear plastic is shredded paper. Visit cstx.gov/recycle to learn about the city’s solid waste and recycling programs.

Other resources may include private companies which can recycle or dispose of certain types of waste such as tires or construction materials. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality offers a list of statewide resources for recycling or special waste disposal.

3. Clean-up events and stewardship organizations.

The City of College Station offers several volunteer programs to get you directly involved in helping our environment:

  • Adopt-A-Street enhances the appearance of our community by beautifying and maintaining a street or section of a street.
  • Adopt-A-Greenway helps residents and businesses play an active role in cleaning up and beautifying our open spaces, creeks and multi-use paths/trails. The City of College Station partners with Keep Brazos Beautiful to coordinate the program.
  • Only Rain down the Drain Campaign encourages individuals or groups to place decals on neighborhood storm drain inlets that read “Don’t Dump. Drains to River.

4. If you see it, report it!

If you come across illegally dumped materials or see someone dumping illegally, report it by contacting Code Enforcement at 979-764-6363 or codeenforcement@cstx.gov, or use the popular SeeClickFix mobile app.

 


About the Blogger

Debbie Stickles is starting her third year as the city’s engineering program specialist. She previously worked as an engineering specialist in the Railroad Commission of Texas’ Oil & Gas Division from 2014-15.  A native of Carrizo Springs, Debbie received a bachelor’s degree in environmental engineering from Texas A&M-Kingsville in 2013.


 

Photo Copyright: antpkr / 123RF Stock Photo

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