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Online locator streamlines local cemetery visits

By Andrea Lauer, Administrative Support Supervisor

Have you ever been frustrated and overwhelmed when trying to locate a gravesite at a cemetery?

College Station’s cemeteries cover a combined 76 acres and contain more than 14,000 graves. Those numbers can be daunting when you visit a departed loved one or friend.

Thanks to the wonders of technology, those days are over.

The Parks and Recreation Department has unveiled an online grave locator that allows you to quickly find specific graves or deeded lots at the College Station Cemetery or the Aggie Field of Honor and Memorial Cemetery. 

All you need is a smartphone or computer to navigate the locator through cstx.gov/cemeteries or these direct links:

All you need to do is enter your loved one’s last name and select the first name from a drop-down list. If you have the location enabled on a cellular device, you can track where you are at the cemetery in relation to the grave. 

The Memorial Cemetery kiosk area offers a detailed guide on using the apps, including QR codes you can scan to access the grave locator application.

The system also color-codes the plots — blue indicates interred graves, green denotes available plots, and brown highlights spots that have been purchased but not interred. The database is updated weekly.

We hope the streamlined process makes your visit to our beautiful city cemeteries easier and more pleasant. For more information, contact me at alauer@cstx.gov or 979-764-5049.

 


About the Blogger

Administrative Support Supervisor Andrea Lauer has been with the City of College Station since 2010. She previously worked in the private sector for more than a decade. Andrea is a Bremond native.


 

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Are you still not convinced recycling is essential?

By Caroline Ask, Environmental Compliance & Recycling Manager

People typically think of recycling as tossing cardboard boxes or plastic bottles in their blue collection bin and calling it a day. But recycling is much more complicated than that.

Recycling is a critical link in the manufacturing supply chain and a vital component of our economy. The recycling sector has an annual economic impact of $110 billion and directly employs more than 164,000 people while diverting 194.1 billion pounds of materials from landfills.

Are you still not convinced recycling is essential?

According to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, the U.S. steel industry relies on scrap metal as its largest raw material input. About 70% of steel and stainless steel produced in the U.S. is made from ferrous and stainless scrap supplied by recyclers.

More than 75% of American paper mills depend on recovered fiber from recycling operations for their daily production needs. About 58% of tissue mill feedstock is recovered from recycling.

Before we place aluminum cans in our garbage bin instead of recycling them, we should recognize that more than 50% of our aluminum comes from recycled materials, including the aluminum placed in single-stream containers.

Here’s how you can become a recycling expert instead of a wish-cycler:

  • Research approved, recyclable commodities for your area by consulting and downloading the City of College Station’s Household Waste and Recycling Guide.
  • Remember that quality is just as important as quantity, so make sure the materials you place in your bin are empty, unbagged, and clean.
  • The recycling symbol and resin number do NOT mean the item is always recyclable — it corresponds to the item’s material. Our recycling program only accepts plastics types 1 and 2.

The 2015 Study on the Economic Impacts of Recycling estimated that 43% of the total tons generated and disposed of in Texas could’ve been recycled. Material disposal versus recycling may not be practical due to a lack of recycling infrastructure, contamination, access to end markets, or a need for additional public education and outreach.

Here’s how you can bin less and recycle more:

  • Reduce the amount of non-recyclable materials in our recycling stream by placing only accepted items in your bin.
  • Take your single-use grocery bags to the recycling kiosks at your grocery store.
  • Avoid purchasing items with excessive packaging or purchase items approved in our recycling program.
  • Donate gently used clothing, children’s toys, extra paint, and other reusable commodities to local non-profit organizations.
  • In general, try to limit your consumption of single-use materials.

For more information on your local recycling program or for specific recycling and disposal questions, visit cstx.gov/recycle or call 979-764-3690.

 


About the Blogger 

Carolina Ask is in her third year with the city and her first as the environmental compliance and recycling manager. She previously served as an engineering program specialist and environmental inspector. Caroline previously held environmental health positions at Texas A&M and Houston’s Texas Children’s Hospital. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Bioenvironmental Sciences from A&M in 2012.


 

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Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Nov. 23)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Nov. 23. It’s not the official minutes.

The meetings are streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 945 5270 2890. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

5:51 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of executive session.

6:21 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled this item for discussion from tonight’s consent agenda:

  • Vehicle Registration Fee: The resolution supports a referendum being held to add $10 to vehicle registration fees — subject to approval by the state legislature — to help address mobility issues in Brazos County through the Regional Mobility Authority. The county has approved a support resolution, while the City of Bryan has yet to consider one.

6:22 p.m.

Open Records Request Process

The council discussed the city’s open records request process. The presentation included an overview of the Texas Public Information Act, an analysis of recent requests, historical trends, and a review of the process across Texas.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:45 p.m.

College Station Business Committee

The council discussed the possible creation of an ad hoc small business advisory committee.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:52 p.m.

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

6:57 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:01 p.m.

Hear Visitors

No one spoke during Hear Visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

7:02 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council unanimously voted to approve the entire consent agenda.

  • The second reading of a franchise agreement with Brazos Valley Trash Valet and Recycling for the collection of recyclables from commercial businesses and multi-family locations.
  • A resolution supporting an increase in vehicle registration fees to address traffic and mobility issues through the Brazos County Regional Mobility Authority.

8:09 p.m.

Victoria Avenue Land Use

After a public hearing, the council unanimously voted to deny a request to change the land use from Wellborn Estate to Wellborn Commercial for about eight acres at 6620 Victoria Avenue. Several citizens spoke against the change. The applicant planned to develop self-storage units.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:15 p.m.

Semi-Annual Impact Fee Report

The council unanimously voted to accept the Semi-Annual Report on SystemWide Impact Fees for Water, Wastewater, and Roadway. The report documents the fees collected in each service area and identifies the capital improvement projects the revenues have been budgeted to help fund.

The city adopted the fees in 2016 and they were fully implemented by late 2018.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:25 p.m.

Greenways to Parkland Conversion

The council unanimously voted to approve the conversion of four greenway properties to 27 acres of parkland. The greenways were acquired through dedicated platting and purchased with 1998 bond funds.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

8:28 p.m.

Disaster Declaration Extension

The council unanimously voted to extend the mayor’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

8:30 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council’s next workshop and regular meetings are set for Thursday, Dec. 10.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the 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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Choose to Shop College Station this holiday season

By Aubrey Nettles, Economic Development Manager

An annual rite of the holiday season is the hustle and bustle of busy shoppers searching stores for the perfect gift. The shops are festively decorated, and smiles abound as the joy of the season overwhelms our senses. 

Holiday shopping may look different this year, but those ideal gifts remain in abundance. In fact, with many businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, shopping in College Station is more vital than ever. 

You have friends, family members, and neighbors who own or operate — or are employed by — these businesses. Our entire community needs them to stay afloat.

Local shopping also generates sales taxes, a portion of which goes directly back to your community to fund essential government services such as the police, fire, and parks departments. More than 30% of the City of College Station’s annual revenue comes from sales tax revenue. When local sales are strong, we rely less on other revenue sources, which benefits us all.

Holiday shopping has traditionally been the most critical time of year for countless businesses since it generates their annual sales peak. This year, many are just trying to survive until the pandemic passes, and normal life resumes.

You can help by choosing to shop in College Station.

Local businesses have implemented extensive precautions to ensure the safety of their customers and employees. Some retailers have started Black Friday-type savings events early to avoid a rush of shoppers the day after Thanksgiving. Others allow you to order online and pick-up at the store, with many offering a curbside option.

Some even have contactless home delivery options for College Station and Bryan residents. 

Local stores have installed ample safety measures such as plexiglass dividers at check out and multiple sanitizing stations. All are enforcing six-foot physical spacing and mandatory face coverings. 

 While the obligatory face coverings may conceal the broad smiles we typically share at Christmastime, they can’t hide the sparkle in shoppers’ eyes and the cheerful nature of the season.

 


About the Blogger

Aubrey Nettles is in her second year as the city’s Economic Development Manager. She also served four years as the special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. Before coming to College Station, she was the executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

 

5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council meets at city hall on Monday for its workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings. Public attendance is restricted.

The meetings will be streamed live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and at cstx.gov/cstv19. To join the meeting online, go to Zoom or call 888 475 4499 and enter meeting number 945 5270 2890. if the call-in number isn’t working, access will be limited to Zoom.

To address the council via Zoom about any agenda item — or about non-agenda topics during Hear Visitors — you must register with the city secretary before the meeting by calling 979-764-3500 or emailing CSO@cstx.gov before the meeting starts. Written comments submitted to CSO@cstx.gov will be provided to the council members.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. Open Records Request Process: The council will have a workshop discussion about the city’s open records request process. The presentation will include an overview of the Texas Public Information Act, an analysis of recent requests, historical trends, and a review of the process across Texas.
  2. College Station Business Committee: The workshop will also include a discussion about the possible creation of an ad hoc small business advisory committee.
  3. Vehicle Registration Fee: The consent agenda includes a resolution supporting a referendum being held to add $10 to vehicle registration fees — subject to approval by the state legislature — to address mobility issues in Brazos County through the Regional Mobility Authority.  
  4. Victoria Land Use: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to change the land use from Wellborn Estate to Wellborn Commercial for about eight acres at 6620 Victoria Avenue. The applicant plans to develop self-storage units.
  5. Greenways to Parkland Conversion: The council will consider converting four greenway properties covering 27 acres to park land. The greenways were acquired through dedicated platting and purchased with 1998 bond funds.

Related Links:                 

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the 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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Christmas in the Park tradition returns at Central Park

By Ana Romero, Recreation Manager

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

College Station’s beautiful Christmas in the Park displays began in 1984 when a local family funded a couple of light panels. The displays have since grown to more than one million lights and are a holiday mainstay.

Our crews work year-round preparing the light panels to ensure they shine brightly when the season arrives. The hundreds of illuminated panels — a bulb for every inch — are taped precisely to preserve the panel’s mesmerizing effects. Cemetery Sexton Ron Schaefer — known around our offices as Father Christmas — manages workers from all park districts to create Christmas magic.

Here are two ways you can enjoy the time-honored tradition of holiday lights at Beachy Central Park:

LIGHTS ON Ι Nov. 26-Jan. 1, 6-11 p.m.

As you stroll or drive-thru through the park, you can do more than look — you can listen, too! Tune in to channel KAGC 97.3 FM as you drive to enjoy Christmas music provided by Bryan Broadcasting and Christmas 97.3 FM. 

Don’t forget to bring your wish list for Santa. Our staff made arrangements with his elves to accept letters for Santa in our North Pole Mailbox located outside of the Central Park Office. Drop your letter off from Nov. 26-Dec. 24 to ensure safe delivery. 

DRIVE-THRU EVENT Ι Dec. 4-5, 6-10 p.m.

Drive-thru the park and enjoy the lights, wave to Santa, drop off a wish list in the North Pole mailbox, grab a goodie bag filled with arts and crafts, scoop up cookies and hot cocoa mix, adopt a Holiday Parks Pal, and view the traditional living nativity scene.

Cars enter the drive-thru off Krenek Tap Road from Dartmouth and exit by taking a right onto the State Highway 6 frontage road. Krenek Tap from Highway 6 and Stephen C. Beachy Central Park will be closed from 3-11 p.m. on event days. Parking will not be allowed in the park.

Here’s a more in-depth look at this year’s drive-thru festivities:  

  • Living Nativity Scene: The reason for the season will be brought to life by Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church. The live nativity scene is put to music, and voice actors tell the story of Jesus’s birth. The living nativity includes real animals, costumed characters, and handcrafted props.
  • North Pole Mailbox: Even though Santa is busy preparing for his deliveries, he’s made plans to stop by and wave to those who pass. He can’t visit to take photos this year, but his elves will be there to collect your wish list for his North Pole mailbox.
  • Cookies and Hot Cocoa: You can’t have Christmas in the Park without cookies and hot cocoa. Grab an individual pack of cookies and a serving of hot chocolate mix — compliments of H-E-B and Patty Cakes BCS — as you make your way through the park.
  • Adopt a Holiday Parks Pal: The Brazos Valley Marine Corps League-Detachment 1391 has rescued hundreds of Parks Pals (stuffed animals) that need a home for the holidays. Children can choose to adopt a free unicorn, dog, cat, llama, dinosaur, husky, or hedgehog. Each Parks Pal is individually bagged, but supplies are limited. Children must be present for the adoption. 
  • Arts and Crafts Goodie Bag:Last but not least, grab a holiday-themed arts and craft goodie bag packed with a craft, coloring sheet, and game. 

The event wouldn’t be possible without the generous contributions of our sponsors and community partners — Britt Rice ElectricH-E-BBrazos Valley Marine Corps LeagueBryan BroadcastingChristmas 97.3 FMPatty Cakes BCS, and Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.

The Parks & Recreation Department hopes you have a peaceful and joyous holiday season, and we wish you the best in the coming year. For more information, contact us at 979-764-3486 or parks@cstx.gov

 


About the Blogger Ana Romero is in her fourth year as recreation manager. She previously served the City of McAllen as recreation supervisor, community center manager, and aquatics superintendent. Ana earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Sciences from Texas A&M in 2001.


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