Author Archive

Holiday Safety: Bad guys see vehicles as easy targets

This is the third post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

As much as we all enjoy the Christmas holidays, we don’t want thieves to revel in the season at our expense. Too often, vehicles filled with shiny new gifts can be an easy mark for these sad souls.

Here are some basic precautions you can take while driving to lessen the chances a crook will spoil your holiday fun:

Be Cautious in Parking Areas.

Shop during the day whenever possible and avoid shopping alone. Park in a well-lit and well-traveled area – and remember where you parked! Lock your vehicle and put up your windows. When you return to your vehicle, have your keys in hand so you won’t be fumbling with or looking for your keys. Don’t be overburdened with packages, either — it makes you look vulnerable.

When you return to your vehicle, scan the interior to be sure no one is hiding inside. When storing items in your vehicle, place them out of sight, preferably in a locked trunk, and don’t leave your purse, wallet, or cell phone in plain view.

Beware of strangers approaching you for any reason. At this time of year, con artists may try to distract you while slyly stealing your money or belongings. Since criminals often choose victims who appear to be the easiest targets, try to display confidence and purpose. You should also trust your instincts. If you have a feeling something is wrong or suspicious, take immediate action to reduce your risk.

Make Sure You Aren’t Followed.

When you leave a parking area, check to see if anyone is following you. Pay close attention to your surroundings and lock your car doors.

A recent trend shows that some criminals monitor stores with high-value products, such as electronics stores. After you make a purchase and leave the parking lot, they follow you to your next stop. When you go inside, they try to break into your vehicle to steal your stuff.

Be Careful with Cash, Credit Cards

If you go to an automatic teller machine for cash, make sure it is well lit and in a safe location, and be aware of other people. Take only the credit cards you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash or unnecessary items such as jewelry. Put any cash in your front pocket.

Don’t Resist or Chase a Thief

Finally, don’t resist if someone tries to take any of your belongings, and don’t attempt to chase the robber. They may have a weapon or accomplices waiting nearby. Instead, call 9-1-1 as soon as possible.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

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Podcast: Is This A Thing? What you don’t know about Jones Crossing

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Welcome to the very first on-the-road edition of “Is This A Thing?” Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and I packed up our recording gear and drove to Austin to talk with Beau Armstrong, chairman and CEO of Stratus Properties, Inc., which is developing the 76-acre tract in College Station at Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Wellborn Road to be known as Jones Crossing.

Armstrong talks about the HEB-anchored development and the kinds of businesses that will (and won’t) appear alongside it. He addresses the significance of the location, the family that’s owned it since the 1800s, and what Stratus’s development experience has been like in College Station.

Total run time: 22:00

  • 00:00 — Show open with Nat and Jay.
  • 03:13 — The history of Beau, Stratus and some development highlights.
  • 06:18 — How did College Station get on your radar? (Spoiler: Lots of HEB love here).
  • 09:10 — Why this location is exceptional.
  • 10:06 — The overall vision for Jones Crossing.
  • 11:17 — What you’ll find here, and what you won’t.
  • 12:55 — Can you reveal business names yet?
  • 14:13 — Working the deal with the Jones family, project timeline.
  • 17:34 — About developing in College Station: Good, bad and ugly? Will you do more?
  • 21:00 — Final thoughts from Armstrong and show close.

More information: jonescrossingtx.com

 


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his eighth 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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CSPD’s Harris named city’s 2017 employee of the year

Employee of the Year Kevin Harris and Mayor Karl Mooney

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

College Station Police Department Sgt. Kevin Harris was named the City of College Station’s 2017 Employee of the Year during a ceremony Thursday at the city council’s workshop meeting.

Harris was among 13 candidates who were nominated by their peers. The nominations were reviewed and judged by a panel of employees representing a cross-section of the organization.

Harris, an eight-year veteran of CSPD, is assigned to night shift patrol. Among his many duties, Harris serves as administrator for the Brazos Tech ticket-writing software and is part of the implementation team for the Tri-Tech Computer-Aided Dispatch and Records Management System — also known as CAD/RMS.

Employee of the Year Nominees (L-R): Gerald Borths, Diana Clendenin, Cecilia Browder, Bo Deal, Julia Franz, Kevin Harris, Amber Johnson, Tom Jordan, Cheletia Johnson, Lacey Lively, Cody Mays, Joyce Parish, Jennifer Springer.

Employee of the Year Nominees

Gerald Borths, Crew Leader (Water Services)

Cecilia Browder, Staff Assistant (Public Works)

Diana Clendenin, Generalist (Human Resources)

Bo Deal, Firefighter (Fire)

Julia Franz, Telecommunications Supervisor (Police)

Kevin Harris, Sergeant (Police)

Amber Johnson, Staff Assistant (Planning & Development Services)

Cheletia Johnson, Lincoln recreation Center Supervisor (Parks & Recreation)

Tom Jordan, SCADA Systems Analyst (CSU Electric)

Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager (Public Communications)

Cody Mays, Systems Analyst (Information Technology)

Joyce Parish, Customer Service Representative (Utility Customer Service)

Jennifer Springer, Office Manager (Utility Customer Service)

 

Service Awards

The city also recognized its employees who have reached 20, 25, 30 and 35 years of service.

Employees who reached the milestones of 5, 10 and 15 years of service were recognized at departmental events.

20-Year Service Awards (L-R): Neil Black, Billy Couch, Jennifer Nations, Brandy Norris, Gilbert Urrutia. Others listed below were unable to attend.

20 years

Neil Black, Network Systems Analyst (Information Services)

Billy Couch, Assistant Chief (Police)

Stacy Lee, Electric Compliance Officer (CSU Electric)

Jennifer Nations, Program Coordinator (Water Services)

Brandy Norris, Assistant Chief (Police)

Kenneth Petereit, Sergeant (Police)

Christopher Poole, Captain (Fire)

Noe Rincones, Officer (Police)

Timothy Sullivan, Captain (Fire)

Gilbert Urrutia, Mechanic (Public Works)

 

25-Year Service Awards (L-R): James Woodward, Celia Hernandez, Kyle Patterson, Debbie Raley. Tim Hamff was unable to attend.

25 years

Tim Hamff, Captain (Fire)

Celia Hernandez, Executive Assistant (City Manager’s Office)

Kyle Patterson, Sergeant (Police)

Debbie Raley, Customer Service Representative (Fiscal Services)

James Woodward, Sergeant (Police)

 

30-Year Service Awards: Ben Accurso, Jr. Randall Harmon was unable to attend.

30 years

Ben Accurso, Jr., Meter Services Supervisor (Water Services)

Randall Harmon, Lieutenant (Fire)

 

25-Year Service Awards (L-R): Deborah-Grace-Rosier and Louis Solis.

35 years

Deborah Grace-Rosier, Staff Assistant II (Planning & Development Services)

Louis Solis, Apparatus Operator (Fire)

 

Congratulations to all and thank you for your service and dedication!

 

 


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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Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (Dec. 14)

(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, Dec. 14. 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.

Employee Recognition

Earlier this afternoon, the council recognized Sgt. Kevin Harris as the city’s employee of the year along with employees who have reached 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service.

Employee of the Year Kevin Harris and Mayor Karl Mooney

5:26 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken in executive session.

5:40 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:

  • Francis Street Rehabilitation: The $3.7 million contract for the rehabilitation of Francis Drive includes pavement from Munson to Glenhaven and Walton to Munson. The project also includes replacing existing sidewalks along with water, wastewater and drainage improvements.
  • University Drive Pedestrian Improvements: The $6 million construction contract is for Phase II of pedestrian safety and mobility improvements along University Drive from College Main to South College Avenue/Bizzell Street. Sidewalks along the north side of University Drive will be widened, median islands will be constructed, and traffic signals will be replaced and will have enhanced pedestrian timings. Also included are illumination improvements and an overlay of asphalt pavement.

5:41 p.m.

Benham Elected Mayor Pro Tem

The council voted unanimously to elect Councilman James Benham to a one-year term as mayor pro tem. Benham will act as mayor if Mayor Karl Mooney is absent or otherwise unable to fulfill his duties.

6:16 p.m.

Planned Development Districts

The council discussed Planned Development Zoning Districts (PDDs) and associated concept plans. The purpose of PDDs is to promote innovative development that’s sensitive to surrounding land uses and to the natural environment. If a proposed development varies from specific standards, it should demonstrate community benefits.

PDDs are appropriate where the land use plan reflects the specific commercial, residential, or mix of uses in the proposal. A PDD may be used to permit new or innovative concepts in land use not permitted by other zoning districts. While greater flexibility is given to allow special conditions or restrictions that wouldn’t otherwise enable the development to occur, procedures are established to ensure against misuse.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:17 p.m.

The workshop has been suspended until after the regular meeting, which will start after a short break.

6:25 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:29 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.

  • Councilman James Benham recognized Army Spc. Chad H. Drake as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 23-year-old Garland native died Sept. 7, 2004, when his patrol vehicle came under attack by enemy forces in Baghdad, Iraq.

6:29 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • The 2018 Council Calendar.
  • An agreement to purchase eight Zoll Medical X Series Manual Monitors/Defibrillators for $239,228.80 with a three-year extended warranty contract for $20,995.
  • Renewal of four master agreements for real estate appraisal services: Atrium Real
  • Estate Services (not to exceed $30,000), CBRE (not to exceed $30,000); JLL
  • Valuation & Advisory Services (not to exceed $30,000); and S.T. Lovett & Associates (not to exceed $30,000). 
  • Renewal of an annual contract not to exceed $250,000 with DIJ Construction for pavement markings and roadway striping.
  • A bid award not to exceed $286,650 to BPI Materials for cement stabilized material.
  • A $3.7 million contract with Hassell Construction for the Francis Drive Rehabilitation Project.
  • A $243,965 contract with Quality Works Construction for a security fence at the city’s public works facility on William King Cole Dr.
  • A $6 million contract with Larry Young Paving for the University Drive Pedestrian Improvements Project.
  • Authorized the city manager to approve contract documents and expenditures totaling $11.3 million for employee benefits for 2018 and a contract with Cigna for stop-loss reinsurance for 2018.
  • Ratified additional expenditures up to $187,500 to pay current and future invoices under the current contract with Brenco Marketing Corporation for diesel fuel and gasoline. The total annual estimated cost is $1.09 million.
  • Renewal of the annual one-year contract with Brenco Marketing Corporation for gasoline and diesel fuel and the annual estimated expenditures of $1.4 million.
  • Repealed a resolution concerning the administration of the city’s contract forms, delegating authority to the city attorney to administer the forms and providing for a periodic legal compliance review of the forms.
  • Amendments to the city’s Code of Ordinances related to civil parking offenses and civil parking fines.
  • A five-year inter-local agreement establishing the Community Emergency Operations Center staffed by Brazos County, College Station, Bryan, and Texas A&M and contracting for equal sharing of facility rental costs, which comes to  $340,695.90 for the City of College Station over five years.
  • The city internal auditor’s Examination Engagement of the Research Valley Partnership.
  • A bid award of $112,037.50 to Midsun Group for electric substation wildlife protection equipment to reduce substation outages.
  • Partial assignment of the Infrastructure and Economic Development Agreement with College Station Town Center.
  • A change order to increase a design contract by $33,925 with Pierce Goodwin Alexender & Linville for renovations to the Arts Council building located on Dartmouth Drive. The increase allows for civil engineering services provided by Kimley-Horn and Associates.

6:41 p.m.

Medical District Sewer Line

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to establish a 30-foot wide public utility easement on parkland and greenway property in the Medical District area that’s needed for the development of College Station Town Center and other parts of the city.

The route on parkland and greenway property is the only one feasible since it’s located directly between the developer’s property and the sewer trunk line along William D. Fitch Parkway. The easement is not expected to have any negative impact, and the site will be restored to its original condition, including the hike and bike path.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:48 p.m.

Jackson Hole Planned Development District

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning district boundaries to Planned Development District for about 2.2 acres at 3747 Rock Prairie Road West. The change to the concept plan’s preserve area mitigates unpermitted clearing that took place on the property, and a supplemental landscape plan provides for additional plantings.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

Land Use Change on State Highway 47

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the land use designation from Business Park to Urban for about 11 acres east of the intersection of State Highway 47 and Raymond Stotzer Parkway. Councilman Bob Brick and Councilwoman Linda Harvell voted against the motion.

The change will allow for development that includes multi-family and other uses.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:58 p.m.

Rezoning on State Highway 47

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-2 to approve a request to change the zoning from Planned Development District (PDD) to Rural and PDD for about 11 acres east of the intersection of State Highway 47 and Raymond Stotzer Parkway. Brick and Harvell voted against the motion.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:11 p.m.

Preliminary Plan Approval Process

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to streamline the development review process by allowing preliminary plans to be approved administratively unless the applicant is seeking a waiver or discretionary item.

In August, city staff hosted two public meetings to solicit feedback on proposed changes to the UDO, including preliminary plans. In September, staff briefed the Planning & Zoning Commission on the results of the public meetings and was directed to move forward with the changes to the ordinance.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

8:20 p.m.

Board and Committee Appointments

The council discussed the appointment of council members to represent the city on joint committees and with other governmental agencies and community groups. The council will consider citizen appointments in January.

8:22 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

8:22 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the regular meeting. The workshop will resume.

9:05 p.m.

Privatizing Solid Waste Services

The council discussed the pros and cons of privatizing the city’s solid waste services. The consensus was to continue the discussion at the annual council retreat in early 2018.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

9:08 p.m.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar and received committee reports.

The council meets again on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

 


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 final workshop (5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meeting of 2017. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Planned Development Zoning Districts: In the workshop, the council will hear a presentation about Planned Development zoning districts and the role of associated concept plans.
  2. Privatizing Solid Waste Services: The council will hear a workshop report about the possible privatization of the city’s solid waste services.
  3. Francis Drive Rehabilitation: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $3.7 million construction contract for the rehabilitation of Francis Drive from Munson to Glenhaven and from Walton to Munson.
  4. University Drive Pedestrian Improvements: Also on the consent agenda is a $6 million construction contract for Phase II of pedestrian improvements along University Drive from College Main to South College Avenue/Bizzell Street.
  5. Preliminary Plan Streamlining: After a public hearing in the regular meeting, the council will consider amending the city’s Unified Development Ordinance to allow preliminary plans to be approved administratively. The change would help streamline the development review process.

Before the workshop, the council will host the annual employee recognition ceremony, which will include the city’s employee of the year and years-of-service awards.

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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Holiday Safety: Use extreme caution when shopping with kids

This is the second post in a series about keeping your family and possessions safe this holiday season.

 By Lt. Craig Anderson, CSPD Public Information Officer

Stores and malls traditionally see their largest crowds during the holidays when much of the population is out searching for that perfect Christmas present.

It’s easy to lose track of essential items such as cell phones and car keys. But those things pale in comparison to what we hold dearest – our children. It’s easy for you and your kids to be distracted by all the sights, sounds, and crowds of holiday shopping, so make sure they stay with you at all times.

Nothing takes the place of your supervision when you are in a public place with your children.  If you think you might be distracted when shopping, make other arrangements for your children’s care.

If your kids do tag along, keep these practical tips in mind:

Adult Supervision

Supervise your child and always accompany young children to the restroom. Make sure your kids know to stay with you and that they check with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere. Know where your children are and who they’re with at all times.

Never use video arcades, movie theaters, or playgrounds as babysitters, and don’t expect employees in toy or specialty stores to supervise and care for your children.

Getting Separated

Practice safe shopping skills with your children. Teach them how to locate adult sources of help and checking with you before going anywhere in a store or mall.

Talk to your kids about what to do if you become separated. Designate a meeting place such as a store’s sales counter or the mall’s information booth. Teach younger children to look for uniformed security or police officers, salespeople with nametags, or people in information booths. Make sure your kids know never to leave the store or mall or go looking for you in the parking lot.

Older Kids

If you allow your older children to go to the mall or other activities without you, they should always take a friend and check in with you on a regular basis. Be sure to have a clear plan for picking them up — including place and time — and what to do if plans change.

Let’s work together to keep College Station a safe place to live, work and play by taking away opportunities for crime. The College Station Police Department wishes you a safe and joyous holiday season.

 


About the Blogger

Lt. Craig Anderson is in his 30th year with the College Station Police Department.


 

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