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Senior programs return Jan. 19 on limited basis

UPDATE (1/14/21): The recent rise in local COVID-19 cases has led the Parks and Recreation Department to delay the reopening of senior programs. We’ll re-evaluate the program every two weeks. 

By Katy Peterson, Senior Services Coordinator

The Parks and Recreation Department is delighted to start 2021 by welcoming senior adults (ages 55+) back to our facilities. The staff has worked diligently on a smooth return to our programs in the safest possible way.  

The Meyer Senior and Community Center and Lincoln Recreation Center open for limited programming on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Class sizes are limited to 10 and require advance registration. Programs include shading with colored pencils, Foreversize, line dancing, bingo, movie club, computer club, and basic jewelry making.

Members can rest assured that the Parks and Recreation Department follows CDC and local COVID-19 guidelines. Members must:

  • Follow facility policies regarding behavior, hygiene, health practices, social distancing, and CDC recommendations. 
  • Wear a mask at all times, except when eating or drinking.
  • Register for programs and pass a wellness screening that includes a verbal questionnaire and temperature check when entering the facility.
  • Enter the facility no more than 15 minutes before the scheduled class. When your class is completed, exit the building within five minutes to allow the staff time to sanitize appropriately and prepare for the next session.  
  • Bring their coffee, drinks, and snacks. Refreshments aren’t provided.

The changes will take getting used to, but we’re all looking forward to our new normal while welcoming old and new faces into our programs.

To learn more about our senior programs and protocols, visit cstx.gov/Seniors or call 979-764-6371.

 

Katy Peterson is in her eighth year with the Parks and Recreation Department. She previously served as the tourism and educational sales manager at Moody Gardens in Galveston. She also worked for The Texas A&M University System Offices, Treasury Services, and Department of Risk Management under Chancellor Robert McTeer for several years.


 

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CS recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Community

By Venessa Garza, Planning Administrator

College Station residents are biking more than ever, not only for recreation but for commuting to their jobs and running errands. That’s why we’re especially proud to be among the nearly 500 communities in the United States recently designated as Bicycle Friendly Communities by the League of American Bicyclists.

The city and local advocates have long been devoted to making our community more accessible and improving bicycling conditions through our policies, infrastructure, and programs. The bronze BFC award recognizes that commitment.

College Station has more than 30 miles of shared-use paths and 53 miles of bike lanes, and more are proposed in the Bicycle, Pedestrian, and Greenways Master Plan. We continue to evaluate and improve designs to increase safety and comfort for all users.

The award must be renewed every four years through a rigorous application process and provides a benchmark to evaluate conditions and identify improvement areas. Thanks to all who helped in the application process, along with those who completed an online survey.

As a Bicycle Friendly Community, we’re a leader in the movement to make our cities healthier, sustainable, and connected.

Learn more at cstx.gov/bikepedgreenways.

 


About the Blogger

Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Planning Administrator Venessa Garza has been with the city for 13 years. She previously served seven years with the Parks & Recreation Department at the City of Raleigh (N.C.). She earned her bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M and her master’s from North Carolina State.


 

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2020’s most popular blogs, podcasts, videos 

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

When blogging became all the rage several years ago, it was common to see corporations and even state and federal government agencies jumping aboard.

But you didn’t see many local governments taking part – and you still don’t.

The reason the City of College Station decided to start blogging in 2010 was simple. It was an effective way to tell our story better. A decade later, the city blog continues to be a powerful cornerstone of our public outreach strategy.

Since we launched the blog in August 2010, we’ve published 1,375 posts, resulting in more than 800,000 views and tens of thousands of shares through social media. They also spawned thousands of stories reported by local media outlets.

In our first year of blogging, we averaged about 1,500 views per month. In 2019, we averaged 12,000 views per month, an eightfold increase. We dropped off a bit for much of this year because of the pandemic, but we still had our third most views with more than 105,000.

Our most-viewed blog of 2020 was about College Station’s most popular baby names,  which received well over 2,600 views.  The seven-year-old post about reporting power outages remains our most-read piece overall with more than 24,000 views, including 1,475 new ones in 2020.  

Top Blog Posts of 2020

Views

1.     2,647

Aiden, Olivia CS’s most popular baby names in 2019

2.     2,256

City creates program to aid local small businesses

3.     2,100

Christmas in the Park tradition returns at Central Park

4.     1,639

Hands-free device ordinance to be enforced soon

5.     1,637

Parks & Recreation: What’s open and what’s not?

6.     1,475

Your account number is the key when reporting an outage

7.     1,471

Campaign aims to make CS a holiday destination

8.     1,326

Live Blog: Thursday’s city council meetings (June 25)

9.     1,309

Police chief addresses CSPD’s policies, use of force 

10.    1,192

What’s the tall candy cane thing on Highway 6?


Podcasts

While blogging is rare for municipalities, you see even fewer cities delivering regular podcasts featuring local government leaders. Public Communications produced seven podcasts in 2020 that received hundreds of downloads and plays through various podcast platforms, the city blog, and YouTube. 

The “All Up in Your Business” series featuring Economic Development Director Natalie Ruiz and Public Communications Director Jay Socol has become especially popular. The series explores the rumors and realities about new restaurants, stores, and other development coming to town. The recording sessions are also captured on video to expand the distribution even more.

The year’s most popular episode, posted the first week of the year, featured Dunkin Donuts and Bucees. It had 224 downloads on Podbean and was played more than 1,500 times on the city blog and YouTube channel. 

The podcast also proved useful for informing the public about the ins-and-outs of the FY 21 proposed budget. The four-part series was downloaded an impressive 488 times and had a total reach of 1,132, including blog and YouTube views. 

Top Podcasts of 2020

Reach (downloads + views on city blog and YouTube)

1.     1,641

All Up In Your 2020 (FujiDunkinMacAndCheeseBuc-ee’s Episode)

2.     1,132

Podcast series explores city’s FY 21 proposed budget

3.     788

All Up In Your Business: Dallis family/Burger Mojo

4.     764

All Up In Your Business: Walk-On’s

5.     459

All Up In Your Business: How tourism can fuel recovery


YouTube Videos

While most city-produced video content is intended for broadcast on our own Channel 19, many attract substantial viewership on our YouTube channel.  The most viewed video of 2020 was the courageous story of Solid Waste employee Dendy Brown, who was severely injured on the job in 2018 and returned to work 25 months later.

Overall, the city YouTube channel attracted more than 62,000 clicks that consumed 2,500 hours of viewing time. Our own Mark Beal and Brazos Multimedia’s Chad Cockrum are the creative forces behind most of our video products.

Top Videos of 2020

Views

1.     2,009

Dendy Brown’s Remarkable Comeback

2.     1,323

All Up In Your 2020 (FujiDunkinMacAndCheeseBuc-ee’s)

3.     380

All Up In Your Business: Walk-On’s

4.     298

Covid-19 PSA: Call us if you need us

5.     289

The Next 10: Future Land Use

6.     281

Veterans Day 2020, City of College Station

7.     275

College Station Fire Department swearing-in ceremony

8.     256

CSFD Drowning PSA

9.     251

Thank You to the Heroes of the Covid-19 Pandemic 

10.    194

Actually . . . (Traffic Cams)


Happy New Year! 

 


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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Video: Dendy Brown’s Remarkable Comeback

On Sept. 20, 2018, city employee Harold “Dendy” Brown was struck by a car while collecting a container on his solid waste route.

Some 25 months after the accident, Dendy returned to work in the Solid Waste Division after enduring 11 surgeries. The likelihood of an injured worker returning after a six-month absence is about 5 percent. Returning after two years is extremely rare.

This film tells the story of Dendy’s courageous comeback.

 

– Public Communications Office

 

2020: The Year in Photos

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

As we bring in the new year, we offer a sampling of the Public Communication Office’s best photography work of 2020. Scroll and click the individual photos in the mosaic below.

Special thanks to our tireless multimedia coordinators Rachel Mayor and Kendra Gilts, along with our talented newcomer, Public Communications Assistant Jennifer Kingsbury, for their hard work in documenting city events and activities throughout the year.

 


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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January’s Dream Works in Action celebrates Dr. King

By Cheletia Johnson, Lincoln Recreation Center Supervisor

As an esteemed humanitarian, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered many speeches of HOPE: 

  • Humanity: Treat others with decency and kindness.
  • Open-Minded: Agree to disagree and respect our differences.
  • Patience: Slow down and take a deep breath.
  • Elevate: Inspire yourself and others. 

During national turmoil in 1963, Dr. King gave his immortal “I Have A Dream” speech that created an expectation of positive change. His compelling words still resound 57 years later as our nation again faces uncertainties. 

We invite you to join us throughout January for Dream Works in Action at the Lincoln Recreation Center as we embark on another year of commemorating Dr. King’s life and legacy. Participation is free.

Here’s the schedule of events:


Wednesdays in January

Virtual Community Bible Study (ages 14+), 6:30-8 p.m.

Local pastors lead Bible studies about peace, love, and unity. Registration is required and ends the day before class. Participants will be emailed instructions to participate online through Zoom.

  • Jan. 6: Rev. Dan DeLeon, Friends Congregational Church, College Station
  • Jan. 13: Rev. Eleanor Colvin, First United Methodist Church, College Station
  • Jan. 20: TBA
  • Jan. 27: Rev. Sam Hill, North Bryan New Birth Baptist Church, Bryan

Friday, Jan. 15

Keep the Dream Alive Celebration, 7-8:30 p.m.

Join an evening of praise honoring Dr. King. Hear words of empowerment from Brandon Jakes, former Lincoln Recreation Center staff, and uplifting spirituals performed by guests. Special recognition will be bestowed on those who have made a significant impact in our community. Spots are limited, and registration ends Jan. 13.


Saturday, Jan. 16

Drive-Thru Health & Wellness Fair, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Grab a bag filled with health and fitness resources and tips, along with information about area wellness assets. Drivers should enter from the south side parking lot off Eleanor Street.


Wednesday, Jan. 20

Virtual Job Fair (ages 16+), 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Are you looking for a new job? The job fair is an ideal opportunity to connect with local employers who are hiring. It’s offered in partnership with the BCS Chamber of Commerce and Workforce Solutions Brazos Valley. Registration is required and ends on Jan. 20. Participants will be emailed instructions to participate online through Zoom.


Thursday, Jan. 21

Financial Literacy (ages 18+), 6:30-8 p.m.

Learn about financial literacy and understand how to make better money decisions. Topics include budgeting, saving, debt, investing, giving, and guarding against credit repair scams. Register through Jan. 20.


When Dr. King said, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope,” it brought a sense of calm and inspired us never to lose faith. Among the many lessons we can learn from Dr. King is never giving up — brighter days are ahead!

For more information about Lincoln Recreation Center events and programs, call us at 979-764-3779.

 


About the Blogger

Lincoln Recreation Center Supervisor Cheletia Johnson is a College Station native who grew up near the LRC. She has worked with the City of College Station for over 25 years. Cheletia earned a bachelor’s degree in community health from Texas A&M and a master’s in counseling from Prairie View A&M.


 

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