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National Night Out helps build stronger neighborhoods

Sgt. Roy Shelton, CSPD Community Enhancement Unit

The best thing about National Night Out is just seeing neighbors having open discussions about the things that affect their neighborhoods – and what they can do to make those neighborhoods better. As a witness to many National Night Out celebrations through the years, I can attest to the collaborative spirit these events produce.

The cities of College Station and Bryan will observe the 35th National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 2, with numerous block parties and celebrations designed to bring residents and local law enforcement together. College Station police officers will answer questions and provide insight and information about crime prevention and ways to build safer neighborhoods. Residents will also likely cross paths with the mayor, city council members, and city managers.

In College Station, at least 40 neighborhoods participate each year, forging strong relationships and discovering the power of unified neighborhoods. With National Night Out as a starting point, neighbors begin talking more frequently about concerns and issues and work together to resolve those problems.

These neighborhood groups often evolve into an active neighborhood organization that develops a real sense of community.

I hope the synergy created by National Night Out continues to inspire our neighborhoods to get and remain organized, and to stay active long after the celebration is over.

For more information, call 979-764-6234 or email rshelton@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Sgt. Roy Shelton is in his 17th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

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Court strives to prevent repeat alcohol offenses

Judge Spillane leads a recent Community Living Course discussion.

By Ed Spillane, Presiding Judge, College Station Municipal Court

With every school year comes the excitement of football, new classes, and thousands of college students living in our community. At the College Station Municipal Court, this time of year also brings a rise in offenses by minors such as possession or consumption of alcohol, public intoxication, and misrepresentation of age.

This year, I’ve joined with the city’s Community Services, Police, Fire and Public Communications departments to teach a Community Living Course, a free, court-mandated program for young people who have committed these offenses. More than 200 students have already participated.

As a judge, my goal is to make sure defendants do not appear in any court again for a criminal charge.

The national drinking age became 21 in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan threatened to withhold highway funds to any state not increasing the age. Since then, the number of people under 21 who have died on the roads due to alcohol has declined by one third.

Minor In Possession of Alcohol

The most common offense we see in College Station is minor in possession of alcohol (MIP), which occurs when anyone under the age of 21 possesses an alcoholic beverage. Many of our students say they wish they had known about the consequences of a MIP offense before they were cited and assigned to the class.

The fine for a MIP is as much as $500 plus $74 in state fees. The fine is costly but much less expensive than a driving-while-intoxicated violation, which can start at $10,000 and may have deadly consequences.

We offer first-time offenders the chance to be placed on deferred disposition, which is a six-month probationary period that allows us to assign defendants to a variety of programs. While on deferred disposition, our defendants — in addition to paying the fines and fees — perform 10 hours of community service that benefits an assortment of governmental and non-profit entities.

For example, defendants have performed community service in the Northgate area supervised by our Community Services Department and have attended the one-day Reality Education for Drivers (RED) program, a hospital-based injury prevention program for young drivers. The RED program and other innovative programs are free and are run by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Each defendant also completes a state-approved alcohol awareness course. Being on deferred disposition allows defendants to avoid losing their driver’s license for 30 days. If they fail to perform the community service or complete the alcohol awareness class, they can lose their driver’s license for six months.

We’ll always have first-time offenders, but we are proud to have only a few second-time offenders. The number of first-time MIP offenses is also down from an average of about 1,200 filed a year to around 500 this year. That demonstrates that our message is working.

Community Living Course

College-aged defendants placed on deferred disposition for any non-traffic offense are assigned to our four-hour Community Living Course. The unique class provides students a chance to learn rules and laws applicable to our city and state.

Our Community Services Department discusses city ordinances and common offenses, and the Police Department answers questions on an array of topics. The Fire Department and Public Communications staff add important information about our city and how to stay informed and safe.

I inform students about our court and the opportunities they have to clear their records if they avoid any new offenses until they turn 21. The feedback we receive has been positive, and many participants have suggested that all students take such a class during their freshman year or orientation week.

Victim Impact Panel

Defendants on probation for an alcohol-related offense must also attend a two-hour drunk driving victim impact panel conducted monthly by Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Attendees hear from someone who has offended or been a victim, providing a powerful, transformative message about the long-term effects of drunk driving.

Members of law enforcement, prosecutors, and judges also speak about laws and the costs of drunk driving.

The feedback we’ve received through the years proves the panel’s positive impact. The wonderful CARPOOL program — where students are picked up and driven home — was started by a Texas A&M student who attended one of these panels years ago.

If defendants never again find themselves back in court on a criminal charge, our community will be a safer place and the many college students who spend time with us will thrive as well.

 


20bec6fAbout the Blogger

Ed Spillane has been the presiding judge of the College Station Municipal Court since 2002 and serves as president of the Texas Municipal Courts Association. 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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Have a fresh start to fitness this fall

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Assistant

Fall is full of personal favorites – crisp weather, delicious food, football weekends, and pumpkin everything. Unfortunately, those great things can also be a recipe for falling off the fitness wagon.

The College Station Parks & Recreation Department can help you stay on course with a variety of exercise programs and opportunities at the newly renovated and expanded Lincoln Recreation Center.

Our fitness classes are the perfect way to keep your workouts fun, challenging and effective while adding a social element that keeps you coming back. The Lincoln Recreation Center also offers a fitness center equipped with cardio machines, a weight-training circuit, single-station machines and a complete range of free-weight equipment.

During open gym hours, you can work on your basketball skills, meet friends and simply be active. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in the classes or take advantage of the fitness center or open gym.

Get Jiggy With It Body Jam

The upbeat, fast-paced workout will get your heart pumping and your body moving through a combination of dance moves and strength exercises. The classes are from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Mondays and Thursday from Oct. 1-Nov. 5. The cost is $50 for the season or $8 per class.

Werk’ It Wednesday Beginners

The class is geared toward beginners but effective for all levels to build endurance while improving strength through high-intensity interval training and light weightlifting. The classes are from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from Oct. 3-Nov. 7. The cost is $30 for the season or $8 per class. Registration is required.

Saturday Morning Slay Boot Camp

The boot camp style workout combines traditional bodyweight exercises with interval and strength training to increase lean muscle mass and improve cardiovascular endurance, coordination and balance. The classes will be from 9-10 a.m. on Saturdays from Oct. 6-Nov. 3. The cost is $30 for the season or $8 per class.

For more information or to register, visit rectrac.cstx.gov or call 979-764-3779.

Fitness Center & Open Gym

You must have a membership for open gym and to use the fitness center. The cost is $10 a month or $3 per day. The fitness center is open from 9 a.m.-8:30 p.m. from Monday-Thursday and from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. on Friday.

Open Gym is from 6:30-9 p.m. on Tuesdays, with courts available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call us to find out about additional availability.

Take advantage of the Lincoln Recreation Center’s fitness opportunities this fall!

 


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth 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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Sept. 13)

(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, Sept. 13. 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.

5:05 p.m.

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

5:14 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:

  • Wellborn-Holleman Intersection Project: The $382,122 contract with Binkley & Barfield is for engineering services related to the design of the Wellborn Road-Holleman Intersection Project. Wellborn Road will be elevated to reduce the grade difference with the railroad crossing. Holleman will be widened to accommodate dedicated right and left turn lanes in both directions. The city will manage design and TxDOT will manage bidding and construction.
  • Hawkwood Energy Water Contract: The two-year contract will allow Hawkwood Energy to pump water from ponds on the Hanson South property. Hawkwood will bear the costs and pay the city 10 cents a barrel with a contractual guarantee for at least $150,000 in the contract’s initial year.
  • Hawkwood Energy Franchise: This is the first reading of a non-exclusive pipeline franchise ordinance for oil or gas operations with Hawkwood Energy Midstream, which will pay the city an annual franchise fee of $1 per linear foot of the pipeline franchise area, plus an annual fee of $1,000 for each road or street boring/crossing.

5:22 p.m.

False Fire Alarm Fees

The consensus of the council was to allow the Fire Department to charge a fee for more than three false alarms in 12 months. The Police Department has had false alarm fees in place for several years. The proposed fees range from $85 for four or five false alarms to $143.65 for eight or more alarms.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:27 p.m.

After-Hours Fire Inspections

The consensus of the council was to allow the Fire Department to charge $75 per hour for requests for inspections anytime other than weekdays from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:29 p.m.

Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports. The regular meeting will start at 6 p.m.

6:00 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:06 p.m.

Thank a Police Officer Day

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Sept. 15 as Thank a Police Officer Day. 

6:12 p.m.

Constitution Week

Mayor Mooney proclaimed Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week

6:19 p.m.

Historical Marker No. 96

The Historic Preservation Committee presented Historical Marker No. 96 for the home at 1106 Carolina St. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:30 p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • James Benham recognized Marine Lance Cpl. Seth Huston as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 19-year-old Perryton native died Aug. 21, 2004, due to enemy action in Iraq.
  • Mary Troy and Susan Adams spoke against closing the Ringer Library for eight months (November-June) during heavy construction work that’s part of its renovation and expansion.

6:31 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A contract not to exceed $2.04 million with Kirksey Architecture for the design of a new city hall building.
  • A $382,122.55 contract with Binkley & Barfield for engineering services related to the design of the FM2154 and Holleman Intersection Project.
  • The second renewal of a $259,978.42 contract with Andrews Building Service for janitorial services for city facilities and the Northgate District.
  • A temporary all-way stop at the intersection of Keefer Loop and Rock Prairie Road West during construction of the Holleman Drive South construction project.
  • A $4.26 million contract with Primoris T&D Services for construction of the Graham Road Substation.
  • A contract with Hawkwood Energy to purchase pond water from the city’s water wellfield property called Hanson South.
  • The first renewal of annual copy and print services blanket orders not to exceed $120,000 with AlphaGraphics ($80,000) and Copy Corner ($40,000).
  • The first reading on a non-exclusive pipeline franchise ordinance for oil or gas operations with Hawkwood Energy Midstream to construct, operate, maintain, remove, replace and repair pipeline facilities for the transportation of petroleum products and byproducts.
  • The second renewal of a $256,384 contract with Utility Restoration Services for padmount equipment repair and restoration.
  • FY18 funding of $1,073,572 to the Public Agency Retirement Services OPEB Trust.
  • A $101,248.30 contract with Hurricane Fence Company to replace the security fencing at three city water well facilities along Sandy Point Road.
  • A negotiated settlement between the Atmos Cities Steering Committee and Atmos Energy Mid-Tex Division regarding the company’s 2018 rate review mechanism filings and a settlement agreement.

6:43 p.m.

Tax Rate Public Hearing

The council conducted the final public hearing on the city’s proposed FY19 tax rate of.505841 cents per $100 of assessed value. The .8341-cent increase would offset the revenue loss from the five percent homestead exemption the council approved earlier this year.

Two people spoke against the tax increase in the public hearing.

The council will vote on the tax rate on Sept. 27.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:45 p.m.

FY19 Budget Public Hearing

The council conducted the final public hearing on the city’s FY19 budget, which totals $360.68 million. The council will vote on the budget on Sept. 27.

No one spoke during the public hearing.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:47 p.m.

Church Street Easement Abandonment

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 approved the abandonment of a 15-foot wide public utility easement at 603 Church Ave. to accommodate the expansion of St. Mary’s Church. Councilman John Nichols abstained.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:10 p.m.

Single-Family Parking

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-1 to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to remove the cap of requiring no more than four parking spaces for a single-family dwelling unit in areas designated Neighborhood Conservation in the Comprehensive Plan. The cap will remain for other areas.

Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:25 p.m.

BioCorridor Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 6-0 to approve a request to amend the terms and development standards for the BioCorridor Planned Development District, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit. Councilman Barry Moore abstained.

The action amended Sec. 1.2.d to add “Stand-alone multi-family on property located between Turkey Creek Road and the proposed Atlas Pear Drive extension” and Sec. 1.2.e to add to the prohibition, “Multi-Family not part of a mixed-used development except as otherwise allowed in Sec. 1.2.d.”

The remaining sections will be sent back to the BioCorridor Board for review.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:32 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

8:32 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Sept. 27.

 


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. False Fire Alarm Fees: In the workshop, the council will consider allowing the Fire Department to charge a fee for more than three false alarms in 12 months.
  2. City Hall Design Contract: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $2 million contract with Kirksey Architecture for the design of a new city hall.
  3. Tax Rate/Budget Public Hearings: The council will conduct the final public hearings on the city’s proposed tax rate and budget for the 2019 fiscal year. The proposed tax rate is .505841 cents per $100 of assessed value. The proposed budget totals $360.7 million.
  4. Single-Family Parking: After a public hearing, the council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to remove the cap of requiring no more than four parking spaces for a single-family dwelling unit in areas designated Neighborhood Conservation in the Comprehensive Plan.
  5. BioCorridor Rezoning: After a public hearing, the council will consider a request to amend the terms and development standards of the BioCorridor Planned Development District, which covers about 147 acres between State Highway 47, Raymond Stotzer Parkway, Turkey Creek Parkway, and the city limit.

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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How you can help fuel the fall monarch migration

By Hallie Hutchins, Parks & Recreation Marketing Staff Assistant

College Station is perfectly situated to witness the fall monarch migration. The black and orange beauties funnel their way through the Brazos Valley each year from September through November.

At distances up to 3,000 miles, the monarch migration is among the world’s longest wildlife journeys. The monarchs fly up to 250 miles a day from their summer habitats to their winter sanctuary in the mountains of Mexico.

Waystations and pollinator gardens serve as stepping stones where they can rest and recharge along the way. Unfortunately, as the number of friendly stopping points has declined, the monarch population has dwindled. The good news is that kind-hearted citizens are taking action.

Locally, Butterflies in the Brazos has endeavored to recreate native habitat by building a butterfly garden in Bee Creek Park (1900 Anderson St.). You can become a part of this community effort by participating in the Butterflies in the Brazos Planting Day on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 8 a.m.-noon. Volunteers will plant milkweed and other nectar plants along the park trail.

You’ll need to bring water, appropriate work shoes or boots, gloves, sunscreen, and garden tools such as rakes or shovels. Contributing nectar-producing plants or host plants for butterflies isn‘t required but would be appreciated.

Thanks to the College Station and Bryan Lowe’s, Culligan Water, Shipley’s Donuts College Station, Farm Patch, Producers Cooperative, Home Depot, Aggieland Grass and Stone, Living Earth, and Legacy Ace Hardware for donating materials and supplies.

For more information and a list of suggested plants to bring, visit cstx.gov/monarchs.


About the Blogger

Hallie Hutchins is in her fourth 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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