Posts tagged “streets

Concrete streets will save city money in long run

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By Donald Harmon, Public Works Director

The results of last year’s citizen survey made it clear that maintaining our roadways are among our residents’ top concerns. It’s a priority for the Public Works Department, too.

The poor soils in our area contain highly expansive clays that make proper road construction and maintenance a formidable challenge. A proactive preventive maintenance program and responsible construction standards are essential to extending pavement life and substantially reducing the need for expensive maintenance.

In November, the College Station City Council directed the city to move from asphalt to concrete when building new residential and collector streets. A year-long review found that while initial construction costs for concrete were higher, maintenance and life-cycle costs were lower. Over time, that means concrete provides the best value.

As part of our thorough review, we met extensively with industry experts and area contractors along with representatives of the Greater Brazos Valley Builders Association, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and the City of Bryan. Depending on variables such as lot size, roadway width — and if a collector street is involved — the study suggested a cost increase of about $1,400 per lot.

New development builds the majority of our residential and collector streets, and the new standards are without question a substantial expense. The trade-off is that the reduced maintenance costs mean more resources will be available to maintain our 773 lane miles of existing streets.

Our current street inventory includes 645 lane miles of asphalt and only 128 lane miles of concrete, and more than half of our streets are residential as illustrated in the following graphic. Collectors are streets like Victoria Avenue, while Barron Road is an example of an arterial:

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The study showed that over the 30-year lifecycle of a typical residential street, using concrete would reduce maintenance costs by about 63 percent. Even when you factor in the higher initial cost of construction, concrete residential streets are about 20 percent cheaper in the long run.

Over three decades, that adds up to millions of dollars in savings.

What else are we doing?

We’re always looking for advances in materials and technology to address street maintenance concerns. For example, we’re evaluating a new product that’s designed to more effectively seal asphalt pavement from water infiltration, which is one of the leading causes of pavement failure. The initial results of a pilot study look promising.

In addition, a consulting firm will update the pavement condition index for all city streets this spring as part of our ongoing asset management program. Accurate information is critical in determining where to allocate resources to more efficiently maintain our entire roadway network.

We agree that proper street maintenance is essential. That’s why we’re taking responsible steps to improve the quality of our roads now that will benefit the city and its residents for generations to come.

 


donaldharmon_webAbout the Author

Donald Harmon is in his 18th year with the City of College Station and his fourth as director of public works.


 

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New fee will help address street maintenance concerns

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By Aubrey Nettles, Special Projects Coordinator

While the results of our 2016 citizen survey last spring were enlightening, they were hardly surprising.

We weren’t at all surprised to learn that the overwhelming majority of our residents think College Station is a terrific place to live, work, and raise a family. We were proud that our overall city services got high marks, along with the value of the services you receive for your tax dollars.

When it came to what services our residents deem most important, we weren’t surprised, either. Public safety, managing traffic congestion, and maintaining our roadways and were at the top of the list.

The survey also revealed the biggest gaps between the importance and quality of our services. With our rapid growth, we weren’t surprised to see a 70-point gap between the importance (98 percent) and quality (28 percent) for managing traffic congestion.

What seized our attention was the 51-point gap for street maintenance. While 99 percent said maintaining our roads was an important service, only 48 percent gave us a good or excellent rating. That represented a 23-point drop from the 2012 survey, the biggest decline in any city service.

City council takes action

Those numbers also commanded the attention of the city council. During the FY17 budget process, the council began considering roadway maintenance fees to help address the maintenance needs of that vital infrastructure. After two public hearings and much deliberation over several months, the council voted in November to implement the fees starting Jan. 1.

The roadway maintenance fee will be paid by citizens and businesses within the city limits, based on their reasonably equitable share in the total impact on the road system. The fee will appear as a line item on your utility bill, with the revenue dedicated entirely to the maintenance and rehabilitation of our streets. That means the funds can’t be used for anything else.

Many cities in Texas are facing the same issue of road maintenance needs outpacing property and sales tax revenue. Others with variations of a roadway maintenance fee include Bryan, Austin, Corpus Christi, Kingsville, Lampasas, Taylor, and Richwood. Our neighbors in Bryan began assessing a transportation fee in 2004 that’s improved the quality of its road system.

How much do I pay?

Travel characteristics of specific land uses were used to develop the fee schedule. For residential properties, a flat monthly rate of $7.78 will be assessed to single-family homes and $6.10 to multi-family units. Bryan residents pay $12 a month.

Non-residential properties will be placed in one of five tiers ranging from $17.23 for properties that generate little road use to $250 for properties that create the most road use. For example, a small office building is expected to cause much less traffic than a large retail business, so it pays a lower fee.


Vehicle Miles Generated/Day Monthly Charge
Non-Residential
Tier I 0 – 23.99 $17.23
Tier II 24.00 – 43.99 $38.71
Tier III 43.99 – 90.99 $74.71
Tier IV 91.00 – 223.99 $152.39
Tier V 224.00 + $250.00
Residential
Single Family Flat fee/dwelling unit $7.78
Multi-Family Flat fee/dwelling unit $6.10

What determines the non-residential tiers?

The tiers for non-residential properties are based on the amount of roadway traffic generated by the land use, the size of the property, and an industry-standard trip generation factor. The 65 land use categories for the roadway fee are consistent with other city transportation initiatives.

The size of each property depends on its land use. For example, office buildings are measured by floor area, gas stations are measured by the number of fueling positions, and hotels are measured by the number of rooms. The trip generation factor for each land use — a function of the number and length of vehicle trips — is determined by the Institute of Transportation Engineers’ Trip Generation Manual.

The amount of the fee based on a final trip value derived from the property size and the trip generation factor.

Our residents made clear in the citizen survey that they expect our streets to be properly maintained and rehabilitated. In the long run, additional resources dedicated to maintenance will save taxpayer money by deferring costly reconstruction projects.

For more information, contact me at 979-764-3423 or anettles@cstx.gov.

 


15171088_10109275789026314_9222973594705679303_n1About the Author

Aubrey Nettles is in her third year as special projects coordinator in the City Manager’s Office. She previously served as executive assistant to the Fort Bend County Commission and was a management analyst for Harris County. A native of Smithville, Aubrey earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Houston in 2012 and a bachelor’s degree in communications from Texas A&M in 2010.  


 

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5 things to watch at Thursday’s city council meetings

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Impact Fee Update: The council will receive the Impact Fee Advisory Committee’s written comments on proposed water and wastewater impact fees and hear an update on the process for possible implementation. The fees would be assessed on new development to help cover the cost of necessary infrastructure.
  2. Park Repairs: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $638,000 contract for improvements and repairs to several city parks. The work is scheduled to be done this fall and winter.
  3. Gateway Signage: The consent agenda also includes a $151,000 contract for construction of a gateway monument sign to be located at the State Highway 6-University Drive interchange. The sign is scheduled to be in place by next spring.
  4. Nimitz Street Rehabilitation: The council will consider a $450,000 contract for the rehabilitation of Nimitz Street from Lincoln Avenue to Ash Street. The project is scheduled for completion in the spring.
  5. Budget/Tax Rate Public Hearings: The council will conduct public hearings on the proposed $341 million city budget and a two-cent increase in the property tax rate to 47.25 cents per $100 of assessed value. The council will vote on the budget and tax rate at a 3 p.m. meeting on Sept. 22.

The council meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related Links                                                                  

 


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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 (August 25)

2014 Council

2014 Council

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, August 25. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:30 p.m.

The workshop has started.

5:39 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council will vote on items listed on the consent agenda during tonight’s regular meeting. Councilmembers pulled this consent item for workshop discussion:

  • Resealing Concrete Joints on Streets: The $591,000 contract with Scodeller is for the resealing of concrete joints on city streets. The contract includes cleaning, sealant and traffic control, and may be renewed for up to two additional one-year terms.
  • Game Day Traffic Control Agreement: As part of the city’s partnership with the Texas A&M University System and other local agencies, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute and city staff developed a traffic control plan to move traffic efficiently after A&M football games. Funds have been appropriated in the Public Works Street Division budget to cover the cost of traffic control deployment. Staff intends to bid the deployment of the equipment and this ILA will allow A&M to cover up to $57,000 of the annual cost.

6:17 p.m.

Water Conservation Efforts

The council heard a presentation about the city’s water conservation efforts, including rebates, irrigation checkups, water waste reductions, conservation-oriented water rates, reclaimed water, rainwater harvesting and the Brazos Valley WaterSmart network.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:31 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The regular meeting will start at 7 p.m.

7:00 p.m.

The regular meeting has started. Boy Scout Troop 1300 led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Scout

7:05 p.m.

Mayor Nancy Berry presented a plaque to Planning & Development Services Director Lance Simms recognizing his department for receiving the 2016 Certificate of Achievement for Planning Excellence issued by the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association.

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7:08 p.m.

Mayor Berry presented a proclamation recognizing Municipal Court Operations Supervisor Marie Barringer for becoming a certified court manager after her recent graduation from the Court Management Program. The program is sponsored by the Institute for Court Management and the Texas Municipal Courts Education Center. Since 2000, about 500 court professionals from across the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have achieved certification.

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7:10 p.m.

The council thanked Wayne Beckermann of Texas A&M’s Student Government Association for representing the A&M student body at council meetings over the last year. Beckermann introduced student senators Joseph Hood, Ben DeLeon, and Carter Stratham, and announced that Stratham would be the new student liaison to the council.

7:13 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during Hear Visitors when citizens may address the council on any item that doesn’t appear on the posted agenda. Ben Roper recognized Army Spc. Michael G. Karr, Jr., as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 23-year-old San Antonio native died March 31, 2004, when an improvised explosive device hit his armored personnel carrier in Habbaniyah, Iraq.

7:13 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A resolution allowing the mayor to sign a $43,500 advance funding agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation for the city’s cost participation in the reconstruction of the FM 2818 and FM 60 interchange.
  • A resolution setting Sept. 22 (3 p.m.) as a public hearing date regarding possible water and wastewater impact fees.
  • Renewal of an inter-local agreement with the City of Bryan for management of the Larry J. Ringer Library.
  • Bid awards of $114,500 to Wesco Distribution and $10,020 to CAPP, USA for distribution circuit breakers and relays.
  • A change order increasing the contract with BerryDunn by $107,475 for additional project management services and expenses.
  • A $67,410 contract with Stantec Consulting Services for final design and construction phase services for the Carters Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant Blower Replacement Project.
  • A $59,400 contract with DXI Industries for up to 90,000 gallons of sodium hypochlorite solution for the disinfection of the public drinking water supply.
  • Ordered a general and special election on Nov. 8 to elect a mayor and Place 2 city councilmember, and to fill a the final two years of the unexpired term for Place 4 and the final year of the unexpired term for place 3. The ordinance also establishes early voting locations and polling places, and making provisions for conducting the election.
  • A contract not to exceed $591,000 with Scodeller Construction for concrete joint resealing on city streets.
  • A $580,450 contract with Kimley-Horn and Associates for the design and construction phase services for Phase I of the Northeast Trunk Line Project and a preliminary engineering report for the phases 2-4.
  • A five-year Inter-local agreement with Texas A&M to equally share in the traffic control device deployment costs under the Texas A&M Football Postgame Traffic Control Plan. The anticipated annual maximum reimbursement from A&M is $57,000.
  • An $85,043 contract with N-Line Traffic Maintenance for 2016 A&M football game day traffic control implementation.

7:33 p.m.

Science Park Comp Plan Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the land use designation from Business Park to General Commercial for about 14 acres near The Science Park across Earl Rudder Freeway from Beachy Central Park. The change will allow for commercial development. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:42 p.m.

Science Park Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Planned Industrial to General Commercial for the same property in the previous item.  

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

Horseback Court Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a request to change the zoning from Rural to Restricted Suburban and Natural Areas Protected for about 13 acres at 2744 Horseback Court. The change will allow for residential development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:51 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, Sept. 8.


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian) has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for Texas A&M Athletics. 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

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By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Thursday at city hall for its workshop (5:30 p.m.) and regular (7 p.m.) meetings. Here are five items to watch:

  1. Cell Phone Driving Ordinance: In the regular meeting, the council will consider amending the city’s traffic code to prohibit the use of wireless devices such as cell phones while operating motor vehicles or bicycles on public roadways. Exceptions would be using a hands-free device or while the vehicle is stopped.
  2. FY17 Budget Presentation: In the workshop, the council will get its first look at the city’s proposed FY17 budget. As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider calling a public hearing on Sept. 8.
  3. Lincoln Center Expansion Project: As part of the consent agenda, the council will consider a $3.37 million construction contract for the renovation and expansion of the Lincoln Recreation Center. The project, which was approved by voters in 2008, includes a new 15,355-square foot multipurpose facility.
  4. Major Roadway Projects: The council will consider contracts for engineering, survey and design services related to the widening of Rock Prairie Road West and capacity improvements to FM 2818.
  5. Impact Fee Public Hearings: The council will consider setting a public hearing on Sept. 22 regarding possible water and wastewater impact fees. The fees would be imposed on new development to help offset the cost of infrastructure. Update (8/10, 4 p.m.): This item has been removed from Thursday’s agenda.

The meetings can be watched live on Suddenlink Ch. 19, or online. The website includes an archive of previous council meetings. We’ll post a detailed live blog on this site.

Related links:                                                                 

 


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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 (July 28)

2014 Council

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Thursday, July 28. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting is being broadcast live on Suddenlink Channel 19 and streamed online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:40 p.m.

The workshop has started. Place 3 Councilman Karl Mooney is absent tonight. Place 6 Councilman James Benham is participating by teleconference.

6:04 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:

  • Bowell Street: The proposed ordinance would make Boswell Street a one-way a street at all times by removing the time-of-day restriction, which makes it difficult for residents along Boswell to obey the state traffic code. Thirteen parents, residents and property owners attended a public meeting on July 6, and all preferred one-way traffic with zero parking restrictions as opposed to two-way operation with parking restrictions during parent pick-up and drop-off times at South Knoll Elementary School.
  • Roadway Impact Fees: The resolution would set Sept. 8 as the second public hearing date regarding the possible imposition of roadway impact fees on new development. The consensus of the council was to delay the item.

6:57 p.m.

Qualifications for Boards and Commissions

The council discussed ways to expand the candidate pool for appointments to the Bicycle, Pedestrian and Greenways Advisory Board, Design Review Board, and Landmark Commission. These boards have specialized criteria that sometimes makes it difficult to fill vacancies.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

7:00 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the workshop after the council discussed its calendar, future agenda items, and committee reports. The regular meeting will start after a short break.

7:10 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

7:16 p.m.

Bryan Rotary Business Performance Awards

The council recognized the 2016 winners of the Bryan Rotary 10 Business Performance Awards, which were presented last month to the area’s 10 fastest-growing, privately owned small businesses. Winners of the Lifetime Business Achievement and Research Valley Commercialization Rising Star awards also were honored. We’ll add a photo here later.

7:18 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The resolutions setting public hearings on Sept. 8 regarding roadway, water and wastewater impact fees was pulled from tonight’s consent agenda and will be revisited at a later date.

The council voted unanimously to approve the rest of the consent agenda:

  • The FY17 Community Development Budget and PY16 Annual Action Plan to be submitted to the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • A $159,200 bid award to Wesco Distribution ($94,260) and Hitachi HVB ($64,940) for electrical substation equipment.
  • An ordinance amendment making Boswell Street a one-way street all the time.
  • A $1.38 million contract with Freese and Nichols for the design and construction phase services for Phases I and II of the Lick Creek Parallel Trunk Line Project.
  • A bid award not to exceed $1.82 million to Knife River ($1.4 million) and Brazos Paving ($427,000) for an annual blanket order for Type D hot mix asphalt for the maintenance of streets.
  • A $326,905 contract with Restocon Corporation for concrete and masonry repairs to the Northgate Parking Garage.
  • An ordinance amendment removing stopping, standing, and parking along Langford Street and Boswell Street near South Knoll Elementary School.
  • An annual water meter contract for a maximum of $463,000 with National Meter & Automation.
  • An $82,291 contract with Smith Pump Company for the rehabilitation of Transfer Pump No. 3.
  • The first renewal of the annual price agreement not to exceed $65,000 with ProSTAR Industries for janitorial supplies.
  • An ordinance authorizing a general and special election on Nov. 8 to elect a mayor and Place 2 city councilmember, and fill a vacancy for the remaining two years of the unexpired term for Place 4 and the remaining one year for Place 3.

The council unanimously approved a motion  by Councilwoman Blanche Brick that the roadway impact fees public hearing be held no later than Nov. 10.

The council also unanimously approved a motion  by Councilwoman Brick that the water and wastewater impact fees public hearing be held no later than Sept. 22.

7:26p.m.

Hear Visitors

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

  • Ben Roper recognized Marine Pfc. Ricky A. Morris, Jr. as part of the Fallen Heroes Memorial program. The 20-year-old Lubbock native died March 18, 2004, as a result of enemy action in Al Qaim, Iraq.
  • Safia Naqi spoke about the poor maintenance of a private alley that serves residents who live in townhomes north of Southwest Parkway, facing Welsh Avenue and Leona Drive.
  • Dorothy Kirkland also spoke about the alley.

7:35 p.m.

FY16 Budget Amendment No. 2

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve Budget Amendment No. 2, which amends the FY16 budget by $628,873 and includes interdepartmental contingency transfers of $378,266. For items included in the amendment, see pages 187-189 of the regular meeting packet.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

7:43 p.m.

5068 Stotzer Parkway Rezoning

After a public hearing, the council voted 5-0-1 to approve a request to change the zoning district boundaries from Rural to Planned Development District for about six acres at 5068 Raymond Stotzer Parkway to allow for the development of a mixed-use office complex. Councilwoman Julie Schultz recused herself from the vote because of a conflict of interest.

The property is located at the southeast corner of the Stotzer Parkway and HSC Parkway.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

7:56 p.m.

Wellborn Zoning Districts

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Unified Development Ordinance in regard to the creation of the Wellborn Estate, Wellborn Restricted Suburban, and Wellborn Commercial zoning districts under the Wellborn Community Plan.

Adopted in 2009, The Wellborn Community Plan identifies 10 future land use and character designations and calls for the creation of zoning districts that align with the plan’s objectives. The two new residential districts and one new commercial district will only be permitted in the Wellborn Community Plan Area.

The new districts were developed from feedback received from community members along with the Wellborn Community Plan:

  • Wellborn Estate: This designation is generally for areas that, due to public service limitations or a prevailing rural character, should have limited development activity. These areas will tend to consist of low-density single-family residential lots of two acres or more but may be one acre if clustered around undeveloped open space.
  • Wellborn Restricted Suburban: This district is generally for areas that should have a moderate level of development activity. These areas will tend to consist of medium-density single-family residential lots (minimum 20,000 square feet) and may be clustered for reduced lot sizes (minimum 8,000 square feet). When using the cluster option, open space should be provided so density is not increased. Such open space should be in addition to a minimum open space requirement of 15 percent of the developing area.
  • Wellborn Commercial: This district is generally for concentrations of commercial activities that focus primarily on nearby residents. Such uses will be limited in size and not accommodate for drive-thru services. Specific design elements should be incorporated into such developments to limit the visual impact and enhance the community’s defined character.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

7:58 p.m.

Wellborn Zoning District Animal Control 

The council voted unanimously to amend the city’s Code of Ordinances to allow domestic livestock, fowl, and rabbits without a permit in the newly-created Wellborn Estate zoning district.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

 

8:01 p.m.

Design Review Board Appointments 

The council voted unanimously for two appointments to the Design Review Board.

8:01 p.m.

The mayor adjourned the meeting. The council meets again on Thursday, August 11.

 


Colin KillianAbout the Author

Colin Killian (@ColinKillian)has been with the City of College Station since 2010. He previously served 23 years as associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also done extensive volunteer work for the U.S. Olympic Committee and 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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