Neighborhood Services

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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8 ways you can be a good neighbor this school year

By Lacey Lively, Marketing Manager

As a former Texas A&M student and now a permanent resident, I love the hustle and bustle that fall brings. Autumn also means football and pumpkin spice latte season. Whoop!

Watching the students move in and gear up for classes brings back fond memories, and it’s also a perfect opportunity to offer some friendly advice for our new residents.

A common misconception about College Station is that it’s just a college town filled with students. While Texas A&M is the heart and soul of College Station, our community is filled with more than 118,000 residents of all ages, lifestyles, and backgrounds.

College Station has been nationally recognized as one of the best college towns, best places to raise a family, and best places to retire. As a student living in a neighborhood, you might have a retired couple on one side, a young professional on the other, or a family with little ones. That’s why it’s so important to be a good neighbor so you can avoid citations and enjoy your college years to the fullest.

1. Say howdy

Don’t be shy! Meet your neighbors and exchange contact information so they can call you in case of emergencies or other issues. It’s also a good idea to let them know about any big gatherings you’re planning and ask them to contact you directly if there are any noise or parking problems. Wouldn’t you rather hear from your neighbor than a police officer?

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise – including barking dogs – especially from 10 p.m.-6 a.m. As a general rule, if you can hear the noise at the end of your property line, it’s too loud. If you are bothered by noise and can’t resolve the issue on your own, report it to the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600.

3. Tend to your pets

When not on their owner’s property, dogs must be on a leash and owners must clean up after them. College Station also has four, off-leash dog parks. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be licensed, tagged and vaccinated in Brazos County. Even if your pet is licensed elsewhere, you’ll still need to tag them here. You can purchase registration tags through your veterinarian or the Aggieland Humane Society. Learn more at cstx.gov/animalcontrol or call 979-775-5755.

4. Talk trash (and recycling)

The process of moving in and out can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. Consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them at the curb for solid waste collection.

Some things to remember:

  • Trash containers must be placed at the curb in front of your residence before 8 a.m. on your designated collection day.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from fixed objects, mailboxes, cars or trees.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t pile bags or trash on top of or around your container, or the sanitation truck’s automated arm won’t be able to empty it.
  • Items too large to fit in your container should be placed neatly on the curb for bulk collection.
  • Brush should be cut into 8-foot lengths or shorter and put in a separate pile.
  • You must remove your garbage and recycling containers from the curb within 12 hours of collection.

If you have a blue, single-stream recycling container, it’s collected by Brazos Valley Recycling. We encourage you to review the list of acceptable items printed on top of each container. Place only clean items in your recycling container, and anything not on the list should be put in the garbage. Shredded paper is the only recyclable that should be placed in a clear plastic bag. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about solid waste or recycling, visit cstx.gov/sanitation or contact Solid Waste Services at pubworks@cstx.gov or 979-764-3690. You can also download the free MyWaste app to keep up with collection schedules and updates on your mobile devices.

5. Know where to park

If you park where you’re not supposed to, you can be stuck with a costly citation. Avoid that headache by remembering our 10 most common parking violations:

  1. Parking within 30 feet of a traffic control device such as a stop sign, yield sign or flashing light.
  2. Parking facing traffic – your car must always be parked in the direction of traffic flow.
  3. Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  4. Parking within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  5. Parking in a handicap space without a handicap placard.
  6. Parking on a yard – if more than half of the vehicle is parked in the grass, it’s a violation.
  7. Parking at expired meters.
  8. Overstaying allotted time periods in time-limited parking.
  9. Parking in loading zones.
  10. Blocking driveways so residents can’t get in or out.

6. Know the code

Many people don’t think about city codes until it’s too late. These are our most common code violations, which can also result in hefty fines:

  • Open Storage: Don’t store anything in your yard or patio that’s not intended for outdoor use, like a couch.
  • Yard Maintenance: Weeds and grass shouldn’t be higher than 12 inches.
  • Flyers/Signs: Nothing should be placed on utility poles, street signs or in the public right-of-way.
  • Selling Parking Spaces: It’s illegal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood in College Station. Selling parking spaces on your property is a business.

You can review a complete list of code violations at cstx.gov/codeenforcement.

7. Get out and vote

Since you are affected by these codes and ordinances, it might be a good idea to participate in your local government by voting. To register to vote in Brazos County, go to brazosvotes.org.

The next city election is Nov. 6.

8. Take advantage of job opportunities

The City of College Station has part-time and seasonal jobs available throughout the year. Go to csjobs.cstx.gov to see the latest listings and to apply.

Good luck this year!

Note to Permanent Residents: You can help College Station keep its reputation as one of the nation’s friendliest cities by helping your new neighbors out through understanding, education, and kindness. My office, Public Communications, has welcome bags available for free that includes information from this blog and more. For more information, email me at llively@cstx.gov.

 


About the Blogger

Lacey Lively serves as the chief information officer for the Brazos Valley Veterans Memorial Board. She has been with the City of College Station’s Public Communications Office since 2011. Lacey previously worked as an internet marketing consultant for the Bryan-College Station Eagle and as a web designer. A native of Beaumont, Lacey earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism and communications from Texas A&M in 2009.


 

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Spring has arrived and so have those wicked mosquitoes

By Barbara Moore, Neighborhood Services Coordinator

The good news is that our days are becoming warmer.

The bad news is that mosquito season is here.

That means it’s time to remind you to take adequate precautions to prevent transmission of the dangerous viruses these pests can carry. West Nile virus has been a mosquito-borne threat for several years, and since 2015, Zika has emerged as another risk.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Zika cases have been reported across the state this year, including one in Brazos County. More than 300 cases were reported in Texas in 2015 and 2016.

State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt recommends these measures to keep mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home:

  • At least once a week, empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and on flat roofs.
  • Change water in pet dishes every day.
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers each week.
  • Change the water in wading pools and birdbaths several times a week.
  • Maintain and keep backyard pools and hot tubs clean and free of debris.
  • Cover trash and recycling containers.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully, making sure to not to over water.
  • Add screens to rain barrels and openings to water tanks and cisterns.
  • Treat front and back areas of your home with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are nearby.
  • Trim and prune overgrown vegetation and shrubs.
  • If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around your home.
  • Consider treating standing water that can’t be drained or is present for more than a week with mosquito dunks to kill mosquito larvae before they breed or hatch.
  • Use mosquito dunks in ponds, creeks, drainage ditches and other areas with stagnant water.
  • Wear insect repellant and cover up with long-sleeve shirts and pants, when possible.
  • Make sure screens on windows are intact and not torn.
  • Limit outdoor activities at peak hours when mosquito activity increases.

Mosquito Abatement Program

The City of College Station’s Mosquito Abatement Program provides free mosquito dunks while supplies last. Based on availability, dunks may be picked up at College Station City Hall in the Neighborhood Services office (979-764-6262) or City Secretary’s Office (979-764-3541) starting Wednesday.

For more information on Zika and West Nile prevention efforts in Brazos County, got to brazoshealth.org.

Related Links:

 


About the Blogger

Barbara Moore is in her 10th year as the city’s neighborhood services coordinator. She previously served as executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.


 

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Volunteer to help spruce-up McCulloch on April 14

By Raney Whitwell, Code Enforcement Officer

We hear a lot about neighborhood integrity these days, but that vague term means different things to different people. For a code enforcement officer such as me, it means making a neighborhood the best it can be for its residents.

That’s why we came up with the idea of neighborhood integrity days, where we organize volunteers from local churches and non-profits to spruce up our community’s older neighborhoods with improved landscaping and routine maintenance. We invite you or your organization to participate in our inaugural Neighborhood Integrity Day for the McCulloch subdivision from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 14.

Located across from the Lincoln Recreation Center on Holleman Drive, McCulloch is College Station’s oldest neighborhood — and one of our most historically significant.

This volunteer day is the perfect opportunity for individuals, youth groups, faith-based organizations, and other non-profit service groups and agencies to serve their community in a positive, substantial way. Our ultimate goal is to build meaningful relationships while enhancing neighborhood pride.

You can help by volunteering, recruiting others to participate, or donating money or supplies. Your group has the option of adopting a home in the neighborhood and supplying the labor and some of the materials needed for cleaning siding, painting, repairing fences, planting flowers or shrubs, removing brush, and a host of other activities.

The possibilities are virtually endless.

We’ll also provide free mosquito dunks to residents and have booths set up on Nevada Street to distribute useful information about city programs and services, including homeowner assistance, crime prevention, pet care, recycling, parks and recreation, and much more.

You can donate money through Bryan/College Station Habitat for Humanity and can contribute materials such as mulch, soil, plants and other supplies by contacting me at 979-764-3829 or rwhitwell@cstx.gov. I can let you know what items we still need and make convenient pick-up or drop-off arrangements.

The McCulloch spruce-up day is the first of its kind in College Station. We hope its success leads lead to similar events in our other historic neighborhoods in the future. Help us make our neighborhoods the best they can be!

 


About the Blogger

Raney Whitwell is in her third year with the City of College Station and has been a code enforcement officer since 2016. 


 

Photo Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro/123RF Stock Photo

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7 ways students can survive and thrive in CS

By Kathleen Meredith, Public Communications Assistant

People from all walks of life call College Station home, and we want to live in a community that values its residents — families, retirees and college students alike. Creating and sustaining harmony in our neighborhoods is everyone’s responsibility.

Most full-time residents understand our ordinances, but many college students don’t — especially those who are living here for the first time. When I first moved to College Station as a student, I wasn’t aware of many of our city codes, either.

By taking these tips to heart, you’ll make your neighborhood a happier, healthier place.

1. Say howdy

Once settled into your new home, introduce yourself to your neighbors and offer them your contact information in case of emergencies or other problems. It’s also a good idea to notify your neighbors when you plan to host a large gathering and invite them to contact you directly with noise or parking complaints.

2. Turn it down a notch

It’s unlawful for anyone to willfully make or allow continued loud noise, especially from 10 p.m.-7 a.m. Barking dogs count. As a general rule, if you can hear the noise at the end of your property line, it’s too loud. If you are bothered by noise and can’t resolve the issue on your own, report it to the College Station Police Department at 979-764-3600.

3. Tend to your pets

When not on your property, dogs must be on a leash and owners must clean up after them. Dogs, cats, and ferrets are required to be licensed, tagged and vaccinated in Brazos County. Even if your pet is licensed elsewhere, you’ll still need to tag them here. You can purchase registration tags through your veterinarian or the Aggieland Humane Society. Learn more at cstx.gov/animalcontrol or call 979-775-5755.

4. Talk trash (and recycling)

The process of moving in and out of a home can result in a mountain of unwanted items and trash. You might consider donating lightly used furniture, clothing, and other household items to local organizations instead of placing them out for sanitation collection.

Some things to remember:

  • Trash containers must be placed at the curb in front of your residence before 8 a.m. on your designated collection day.
  • Garbage should be bagged, tied and securely stored in your container with the lid closed at all times.
  • Don’t place your container closer than four feet from other containers, mailboxes, cars or trees.
  • Don’t pile bags or trash on top of or around your container, or the sanitation truck’s automated arm won’t be able to empty it.
  • Items too large to fit in your container should be placed neatly on the curb for bulky collection.
  • Brush should be cut into 8-foot lengths or shorter and put in a separate pile.
  • You must remove your garbage and recycling containers from the curb within 12 hours of collection.

If you have a blue, single-stream recycling container, it’s collected by Brazos Valley Recycling. We encourage you to review the list of acceptable items printed on top of each container. Place only clean items in your recycling container, and anything not on the list should be put in the garbage. Shredded paper is the only recyclable that should be placed in clear plastic. Bagging other items isn’t necessary and could cause significant and costly damage to the sorting equipment.

For more information about sanitation or recycling, visit cstx.gov/sanitation or contact us at  pubworks@cstx.gov or 979-764-3690. You can also download the free MyWaste app to keep up with collection schedules and updates on your mobile devices.

5. Know where to park

If you park where you’re not supposed to, you can be stuck with a costly citation. You can avoid that headache by remembering the 10 most common parking violations we see:

  1. Parking within 30 feet of a traffic control device such as a stop sign, yield sign or flashing light.
  2. Parking facing traffic — your car must always be parked in the direction of traffic flow.
  3. Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.
  4. Parking within 20 feet of a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  5. Parking in a handicap space without a handicap placard.
  6. Parking on a yard — if more than half of the vehicle is parked in the grass, it’s a violation.
  7. Parking at expired meters.
  8. Overstaying allotted time periods in time-limited parking.
  9. Parking in loading zones.
  10. Blocking driveways so residents can’t get in or out.

6. Know the code

Many people don’t think about city codes until it’s too late. These are our most common code violations, which can also result in hefty fines:

  • Open Storage: Don’t store anything in your yard or patio that’s not intended for outdoor use.
  • Yard Maintenance: Weeds and grass shouldn’t be higher than 12 inches.
  • Flyers/Signs: Nothing should be placed on utility poles, street signs or in the public right-of-way.
  • Selling Parking Spaces: It’s illegal to operate a business in a residential neighborhood in College Station, and selling parking spaces on your property is a business.

You can review a complete list of code violations at cstx.gov/codeenforcement.

7. Get out and vote

Since you are affected by these codes and ordinances, it might be a good idea to participate in your local government by voting. To register to vote in Brazos County, go to brazosvotes.org. The next city election is Nov. 7.

8. Take advantage of job opportunities

The City of College Station has part-time and seasonal jobs available throughout the year. Go to csjobs.cstx.gov to see the latest listings and to apply.

Have a great year — and Gig ‘Em!

 


About the Blogger

Kathleen Meredith is in her first year as public communications assistant with the City of College Station. She previously served as a communications assistant in Texas A&M’s Mechanical Engineering Department and interned with the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo’s marketing department. Kathleen earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications/journalism from Texas A&M in 2017.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!

 

 


Warmer weather means mosquito season has arrived

By Barbara Moore, Neighborhood Services Coordinator

The good news is that our days are becoming warmer.

The bad news is that mosquito season is here.

That means it’s time to remind you to take adequate precautions to prevent transmission of the dangerous viruses these pests can carry. For several years, West Nile virus dominated the headlines with several documented cases in Brazos County. In the last couple of the years, Zika has emerged as another threat.

According to the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Zika cases have been reported across the state this year, including one in Brazos County. More than 300 cases were reported in Texas in 2015 and 2016.

State Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt recommends these measures to keep mosquitoes from breeding in and around your home:

  • At least once a week, empty or get rid of cans, buckets, old tires, pots, plant saucers, and other containers that hold water.
  • Keep gutters clear of debris and standing water.
  • Remove standing water around structures and on flat roofs.
  • Change water in pet dishes every day.
  • Rinse and scrub vases and other indoor water containers each week.
  • Change the water in wading pools and birdbaths several times a week.
  • Maintain and keep backyard pools and hot tubs clean and free of debris.
  • Cover trash and recycling containers.
  • Water lawns and gardens carefully, making sure to not to over water.
  • Add screens to rain barrels and openings to water tanks and cisterns.
  • Treat front and back areas of your home with residual insecticides if mosquitoes are nearby.
  • Trim and prune overgrown vegetation and shrubs.
  • If mosquito problems persist, consider pesticide applications for vegetation around your home.
  • Consider treating standing water that can’t be drained or is present for more than a week with mosquito dunks to kill mosquito larvae before they breed or hatch.
  • Use mosquito dunks in ponds, creeks, drainage ditches and other areas with stagnant water.
  • Wear insect repellant and cover up with long-sleeve shirts and pants, when possible.
  • Make sure screens on windows are intact and not torn.
  • Limit outdoor activities at peak hours when mosquito activity increases.

Mosquito Abatement Program

The City of College Station’s Mosquito Abatement Program provides free mosquito dunks while supplies last. Please contact me at 979.764.6262 or bmoore@cstx.gov to check on availability.

For more information on Zika and West Nile prevention efforts in Brazos County, got to brazoshealth.org.

Related Links:

  


About the Blogger

Barbara Moore is in her ninth year as the city’s neighborhood services coordinator. She previously served as executive director of Family Outreach of Bryan/College Station and was director of faith-based relations for the Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity. Barbara is a 1992 graduate of Jackson State and earned her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Washington in 1996.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!