Public Communications

Brave linemen dedicated to keeping your power on

By Patrick McIntyre, CSU Energy Coordinator

Since the invention of the Edison lightbulb in 1879, electric linemen have been keeping the nation energized. More than 227,000 men and women install and maintain the nation’s nine million miles of electric grid that meet our power needs, including the 28 who serve at College Station Utilities.

That’s why the United States Congress and the City of College Station are recognizing Thursday as National Lineman Appreciation Day (#ThankaLineman) as a way to honor the hard-working folks who protect public safety and energize our economy by keeping the power on.

Linemen are also an essential part of the first-responder community alongside police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. In most cases, other first responders can see their emergency issues, but electricity is invisible, which makes for an extremely hazardous environment during storms. While big events require all-hands-on-deck, most routine trouble calls are handled by two-person crews.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, being an electric lineman ranks among the 10 most dangerous jobs. Unlike most occupations, linemen spend a large part of their working lives well above the ground maintaining electrical infrastructure. Our linemen work with voltages as high as 138,000 volts and as low as the standard 120-volt power in your home.

College Station Utilities is also committed to the construction of reliable, underground utilities. Our electric grid is more than 56 percent underground, which requires our electric personnel to be knowledgeable in both overhead and underground systems.

Please join us in thanking the highly skilled and dedicated linemen who work all hours of the day, often in hazardous conditions, to keep your lights on.

 


0000072EPAbout the Blogger

Patrick McIntyre is energy coordinator for College Station Utilities and is responsible for the energy conservation and key accounts programs. Pat joined CSU as a key accounts representative in 2009. He previously worked for 17 years in the manufacturing sector and eight years as a consultant with the Texas Engineering Extension Service. Pat graduated from Texas A&M in 1982 with B.S. in Industrial Distribution and has lived in the area since 1984.

 


 

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

 


Franklin tornado yet another reminder to be prepared

By Brian Hilton, Emergency Management Coordinator

Saturday’s tornado in nearby Franklin destroyed much of the town with winds of 136-165 mph. Fortunately, only about a dozen minor injuries were reported, but the dangerous EF-3 twister served as another wake-up call for the Bryan-College Station community.

As if we needed another warning.

Texas leads the nation with an average of 137 tornadoes each year, and more than 60 percent of these storms occur from April to June.

Only three years ago, a tornado battered several neighborhoods along a two-mile path in Bryan, damaging more than 150 homes. In December 2006, a twister moved south to north for five miles across central College Station and did considerable damage along FM2818, Southwest Parkway, and Texas Avenue.

The National Weather Service rated both of those tornadoes as EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale, with winds estimated at 110 miles per hour. Since 2000, Brazos County has experienced about a dozen EF-0 or EF-1 tornadoes.

While our community has had its share of funnel clouds and tornado scares over the years, we’ve managed to escape any loss of life or catastrophic damage. In fact, straight-line winds and microbursts have caused more property damage here than twisters.

Although strong tornadoes are uncommon in our area, Saturday’s storm in Franklin reminds us that powerful tornadoes can happen here. And as the 2016 Bryan tornado proved, even small twisters have the potential to be violent.

Those storms are vivid reminders of why it’s important to know how to prepare and react to a tornado. These links provide in-depth information about what to do before, during and after a tornado:

National Weather Service videos:

Stay Informed

Bryan and College Station do not have outdoor tornado sirens. College Station voters defeated a proposition to fund sirens in the 1990 bond election.

When severe weather approaches, pay close attention to local radio and television stations. They do an excellent job of providing pertinent information, including tornado watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service, but tornadoes can occur even if a watch or warning has not been issued.

In any emergency, always listen to the instructions given by local emergency management officials. If a violent storm approaches the Bryan-College Station area, these are the best ways to monitor events and get timely information:

Recommended Mobile Apps

Some useful mobile apps are available for smartphones and tablets. Many of these have emergency alert capabilities. Here are some recommended apps that you can find in your favorite app store:

  • American Red Cross Tornado App
  • FEMA
  • NOAA Weather Radio
  • NOAA Radar Pro

Just because tornadoes have been rare in our area doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be vigilant and well-prepared. Tornadoes are nature’s most violent storms, and we should always stand ready to handle whatever comes our way.

 


About the Blogger

Brian Hilton has been the City of College Station’s emergency management coordinator since 2003 when he retired as sergeant first class after 20 years in the United States Army. He also serves on the Homeland Security Advisory Committee for the Brazos Valley Council of Governments. A native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Hilton attended Columbia College in Columbia, Mo.


 

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

 


Podcast: How Krispy Kreme finally came to town

By Jay Socol, Public Communications Director

Like BBQ, burgers, tacos — or any other food type you can think of — donuts are a pretty personal thing for people. College Station has a variety of options, all with loyal followings.

But long-suffering fans of Krispy Kreme can finally rejoice: The red light of happiness is in Aggieland.

Franchisee Brian Davis doesn’t have the typical connection with College Station or with Texas A&M University. He talked to us about why he chose College Station, why the Harvey Road location was actually his second choice, how it takes nearly 100 people to operate a single location, and how he plans on giving back to a community that he’s only spent limited time in.

Enjoy this first episode of All Up In Your Business!


About the Blogger

Jay Socol (@jaysocol) is in his 10th 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.


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


Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (April 11)

Sitting (L-R): Mayor Pro Tem Linda Harvell, Mayor Karl Mooney, Eleanor Vessali. Standing (L-R): Bob Brick, Jerome Rektorik, John Nichols, Dennis Maloney.

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, April 11. 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.

5:01 p.m.

The workshop has started. The council took no action out of the executive session.

5:05 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:

  • Ambulance Billing Renewal: The $155,000 contract with Emergicon is for ambulance billing, accounts receivable and delinquent account collection services.
  • Annual Water Meter Purchase: The $174,427 contract with Aqua Metric Sales Company is for annual water meter purchases.

5:39 p.m.

CSPD Resource Allocation Study

The council reviewed a study by Etico Solutions that evaluated and analyzed police officer staffing. The information is based on five years of call data and three years of leave data.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

5:54 p.m.

Existing Conditions Report

The council reviewed the city’s 2018 Existing Conditions Report, which kicks off the 10-year Comprehensive Plan update process with an overview of College Station’s conditions for the natural environment, demographics, economic development, land use, public facilities, and transportation. The report and be viewed online at cstx.gov/planning.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:35 p.m.

Wolf Pen Creek Corridor

The council discussed the status of the Wolf Pen Creek Corridor.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:39 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.

6:48 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:58 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.

  • Councilwoman Elianor Vessali recognized 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks as part of the Fallen Heroes Project. The 26-year-old Dallas native died on Nov. 14, 2007, when his vehicle struck an improvised explosive device in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Jorge Sanchez spoke about the consequences of the urban heat island effect created by pavement and concrete. He advocated for expanded use of urban forests to mitigate the effect.

6:59 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • Renewal of a contract not-to-exceed $155,000 with Emergicon for ambulance billing, accounts receivable and delinquent account collection services.
  • Annual water meter purchases totaling $174,427.77 from Aqua Metric Sales Company through the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC).
  • An annual price agreement not to exceed $150,000 for heavy equipment and machinery rental.

7:07 p.m.

Wastewater Public Utility Corridor 

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to establish a public utility corridor for the Northeast Wastewater Trunk Line Project Phase 2 in city greenways east of Art & Myra Bright Park in the Raintree subdivision and east of Wilderness Drive.

No other feasible alternative exists for the project, and reasonable measures will be taken to minimize the impact.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:16 p.m.

10-Year Comprehensive Plan Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a $167,500 contract with Planning NEXT for the city’s Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report. The planning process will begin in May and is expected to be finished by the summer of 2020.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:21 p.m.

Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail

The council voted unanimously to approve a $363,000 contract with Kieschnick General Contractors for the development of the Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail to provide a safe connection from Fitch Park to the Ringer Library. The project includes lighting and a concrete trailway over Bee Creek.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:32 p.m.

Crow Memorial Parkway

The council voted 5-2 to approve a resolution supporting Texas House Bill 884 that would designate Texas Avenue from East Villa Maria Road to Krenek Tap Road as the Carolyn and John David Crow Memorial Parkway. Texas Avenue is a state roadway, and the designation would not change any addresses. Councilmen Dennis Maloney and Bob Brick voted against the motion.

Mary Hirsch spoke in opposition to the process used by the state to designate state roadways.

An earlier motion by Maloney to postpone the vote was defeated, 4-3. Brick and Councilwoman Linda Harvell also supported Maloney’s motion.

Crow played won the 1957 Heisman Trophy at Texas A&M as the nation’s outstanding college football player. He played 11 years in the NFL and spent several years in coaching and athletic administration, including a stint as A&M’s athletic director. Crow passed away in 2015, followed by Carolyn in 2016.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:33 p.m.

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Board

The council voted unanimously to appoint Kyle Leblanc to finish an unexpired term the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Advisory Board.

7:34 p.m.

The council discussed and reviewed future agenda items.

Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, April 25.

 


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.


 

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


		
	

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 (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  1. CSPD Resource Allocation Study: In the workshop, the council will review a study by Etico Solutions that evaluated and analyzed police officer staffing. The information is based on five years of call data and three years of leave.
  2. Wolf Pen Creek Corridor: The council will have a workshop discussion on the status of the Wolf Pen Creek Corridor.
  3. Wastewater Public Utility Corridor: After a public hearing in the regular meeting, the council will consider establishing a public utility corridor for the Northeast Wastewater Trunk Line Project Phase 2 within city greenways east of Art & Myra Bright Park in the Raintree subdivision and east of Wilderness Drive.
  4. 10-year Comprehensive Plan Update: The council will consider a $167,500 contract with Planning NEXT for the city’s Comprehensive Plan 10-Year Evaluation and Appraisal Report. The planning process will begin in May and is expected to be finished by next summer.
  5. Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail: The council will consider a $363,000 contract with Kieschnick General Contractors for the development of the Georgie K. Fitch Park Trail to safely connect the park to the Ringer Library.

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.


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


		
	

Low limbs can wreak expensive havoc on fire trucks

By Carter Hall, CSFD Public Information Officer

Everyone loves trees, especially the towering ones that were around long before our grandparents.

Unfortunately, large limbs from many of these gorgeous trees eventually become overgrown and hang perilously above residential streets. The thick canopy formed by the branches aren’t a problem for most vehicles, but fire, utility and trash trucks are a different matter.

We appreciate the immeasurable value of trees, especially large ones, but we can’t risk expensive damage to our ladder trucks and older engines that have ladder racks. The repair bills can cost our taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars and put vital equipment out of service for months.

These accidents aren’t rare, either.

In recent months, several Texas fire departments have had ladder platforms severely damaged by low-hanging limbs. The Bryan Fire Department had a ladder/platform damaged by a limb last year, and it cost more than $80,000 and took about nine months to get the truck back into operation.

The Fire Department is working diligently with residents to address the issue by trimming the trees to a height of at least 14 feet if possible. We certainly don’t want to cause harm or kill these old trees, but we also want to get to your house or your neighbor’s quickly in an emergency without damaging our trucks or your property.

For more information or to have us evaluate low-hanging limbs in your neighborhood, call us at 979-764-3705.

 


About the Blogger

Carter Hall has been a College Station firefighter since 2011. He earned a degree in leadership development from Texas A&M in 2005.


 

 

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