New Braunfels - June 2020

NEWBRAUNFELS EDITION

VOLUME 3, ISSUE 7  JUNE 8JULY 12, 2020

ONLINE AT

Balancing tourism and the pandemic With thousands ocking to town, can residents still avoid COVID19?

BY WARREN BROWN

Economic recovery was still a foggy concept at the end of May for New Braunfels’ medical, business and government leaders. Thousands of unemployed residents and a large portion of New Braunfels busi- nesses were still reeling from closure orders. As the Texas economy began to reopen, the ques- tion became how to stie the spread of the coro- navirus as tourists ocked to town and pumped much-needed money into New Braunfels. “It’s [a question] that everybody is turning over in their head,” said Dr. Judith Thompson, a local sur- geon who helped establish the city’s drive-thru coro- navirus testing center.

Hundreds of tourists and New Braunfels residents socialized at Prince Solms Park on Memorial Weekend, May 2325.

CONTINUED ON 30

WARREN BROWNCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

HEALTHCARE EDITION Health care providers on the front lines of the pandemic urge patients to followguidelines

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

Dr. Dorothy Overman of Hill Country Medical Associates. Overman is also Comal County’s healthauthority. “Thishasbeenvery stressful for thesta; it’sbeenverystressful for thedoc- tors; and it’s very stressful for the patients.” The Comal County Oce of Public Health CONTINUED ON 24

As the coronavirus pandemic contin- ues to impact New Braunfels, primary care providers have had to quickly adjust their processes to serve the community while adhering to new prevention measures. “Every week has been dierent,” said

HEALTH CARE EDI T ION 2020

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

ON-PEAK WATER RATES Effective June 1 - September 30 New Braunfels Utilities utilizes tiered water rates to encourage conservation. Reduce your water use during peak months to effectively manage your utility bill.

PEACE OF MIND

RATE ($/Thousand Gallons)

USAGE (Gallons/Month)

COST ($/Month)

RESIDENTIAL ON-PEAK RATE EXAMPLES*

FLEXIBLE SCHEDULING

FUN ENVIRONMENT

Off-Peak $1.55 On-Peak $1.62 Off-Peak $3.91 On-Peak $4.21 Off-Peak $5.33 On-Peak $6.39 Off-Peak $7.33 On-Peak $9.53

TIER 1 0 — 7,500 Gallons Per Month TIER 2 7,501 — 15,000 Gallons Per Month TIER 3 15,001 — 25,000 Gallons Per Month TIER 4 More than 25,000 Gallons Per Month

6,000 $9.30

6,000 $9.72

T 2810 OAK RUN PARKWAY, SUITE 300, NEW BRAUNFELS, TX 78132 (830) 515-5365 • INFO@TREETOPDENTAL.COM

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20,000 $106.60

20,000 $127.80

FOR 110 YEARS WE’VE BEEN GIVING BACK

40,000 $293.20

40,000 $381.20

*Cost estimates reflect monthly volume charges only. For complete rate information visit nbutexas.com/rates.

to our residents, their families, and the greater community

TIERED BILLING Tiered billing charges customers a higher rate as they increase use. This pricing structure is designed to keep water affordable for essential use (excluding irrigation) and to encourage water conservation. With the tiered water structure, costs are allocated to customers that drive the need to acquire new water supplies and build new infrastructure. ON-PEAK Seasonal, or On-Peak rates are effective June through September to encourage conservation during periods of reduced precipitation and potential increased demand associated with lawn watering and outside water activities. CONSERVE TO SAVE Customers can manage utility expenses by adjusting use and practicing conservation techniques. Learn ways to conserve and save or schedule your free home assessment today at nbutexas.com/conservation .

Build your new beginning on 110 years of trust.

Independent Living Assisted Living Memory Care Nursing and Rehabilitation Call for more information: 830-625-6291

To review the New Braunfels Utilities rate structure, visit nbutexas.com/rates.

631 Lakeview Blvd, New Braunfels www.EdenHill.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 9 San Antonio Street bridge update EDUCATION BRIEFS 11 Comal and New Braunfels ISD news CITY& COUNTY 13 The latest local news

FROMHEATHER: In our third annual Health Care Edition, the lead health care story revolves around the impact of the coronavirus on local health care providers. We also drill down on the health of the local tourism economy. We can aid its recovery by supporting local. Please see our Impact Deals section for coupons and discounts at local businesses. Heather Demere, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Heather Demere, hdemere@communityimpact.com EDITOR Warren Brown REPORTER Lauren Canterberry GRAPHIC DESIGNER Monica Romo ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Kayla Brooks METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Joe Warner

HealthCareEdition

FROMWARREN: New Braunfels is open for business and medical professionals agree that residents, workers and tourists have a social responsibility to help keep each other healthy by taking precautions against the coronavirus. In City Hall, a new mayor inherits these issues and more as protests spread across the country.

ASSOCIATE MANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Lanane CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across six metropolitan areas, providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT The local health care industry HEALTH CARE NEWS Health care during COVID19

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Warren Brown, EDITOR

THIS ISSUE BY THE NUMBERS

Local sources 34

New businesses 6

Hospital listings 5

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Hyperlocal stories

HOSPITAL DIRECTORY Knowwhere to nd care HEALTH CARE FEATURE Volunteers in Medicine BUSINESS FEATURE Gypsy Waltz Hot Yoga Studio DINING FEATURE

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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SUNDANCE PARKWAY.

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physical fitness while learning practical skills. 830-832-6681.www.sbgtexas.com 5 Sparky’s Dog House opened in early March at 697 S. Seguin Ave., New Braunfels. The pet salon, formerly known as The Dog House, is under new owner- ship and offers grooming, bathing, nail trims and more. 830-608-9399. www.facebook.com/sparkysdoghousenb 6 LungDocs P.A. opened a new office at 790 Generations Drive, Ste. 405, New Braunfels, on May 4. The office offers pulmonary care, and Dr. Rajesh Shetty is the primary physician. LungDocs operates an additional location at 1300 Dacy Lane, Ste. 110, Kyle. 830-627-9745 COMING SOON 7 Idea Public Schools has announced that IDEA New Braunfels Academy and College Prep will be opened in August 2021 at the corner of West County Line Road and South Seguin Avenue. The campus will offer instruction for grades pre-K-2 and sixth grade and will add a new grade each year. IDEA Public Schools was founded in 2000 and operates 96 lo- cations throughout Texas and Louisiana. 956-377-8000. www.ideapublicschools.org 8 Pedego Electric Bikes will open at 231 Landa St., New Braunfels, in early July. The locally owned business is part of a chain with more than 125 branded stores in the United States. Pedego bikes start at $1,895 and have cruising distances of up to 60 miles on a single charge. Bikes are available in a variety of color combinations and styles, and rentals are also available. www.pedegoelectricbikes.com

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NOWOPEN 1 VPMD Healthcare and Wellness opened in April at 790 Generations Drive, Ste. 405, New Braunfels. Dr. Vladimir Paez is originally from Columbia and speaks English and Spanish. VPMD offers primary care through inpatient, outpatient and telehealth options. 830-627-9209. www.vpmdhealth.com 2 Riverhaus Creekside began leasing apartments in its 281-unit complex at

580 Creekside Way, New Braunfels, in mid-March. The luxury apartments range from 722 to 1,440 square feet. Some units have have attached garages, and detached garages are also available. Inte- rior features include granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, and Moen bath and kitchen fixtures. 830-694-3471. www.riverhauscreekside.com 3 9 Rounds will open a second location in June at 312 FM 306, New Braunfels. The gym offers a kickboxing fitness

program led by trainers. Scheduling is flexible, and exercises change daily to help customers work toward weight-loss goals. 830-214-2818. www.9round.com/ fitness/longhorn-plaza-new-braunfels-tx 4 Straight Blast Gym opened its first Texas location on March 14 at 167 Court- yard Plaza, Ste. A, New Braunfels. Head coaches Michael Heinz and Robb Wolf provide world-class martial arts and yoga training. The gym’s curriculum is well-suit- ed for families wishing to improve their N MAP NOT TO SCALE

WE’VE GOT YOU COVERED! COMALTEX is committed to being YOUR insurance agency Personalized Service and Personalized Coverage by licensed professionals with over 240 years of experience. Personal Insurance • Business Insurance • Life/Health Insurance 1110 Eikel Street | New Braunfels,TX 78130 830-625-7511 | www.comaltex.com Celebrating 70+ years as an independent insurance agency in New Braunfels

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY, WARREN BROWN & JOE WARNER

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OffRhodes Craft Beer Station

Jolt Coffee and Beverage

COURTESY OFFRHODES CRAFT BEER STATION

LAUREN CANTERBERRY/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

9 A 60,000-square-foot PNC Financial Services customer care center was one of the first tenants to open in the new Parkview Plaza at 2049 Sundance Park- way, New Braunfels, in May. Plans for the center were announced at a September meeting of the New Braunfels Economic Development Corp. The center is expect- ed to create 500 new jobs. RELOCATIONS 10 OffRhodes Craft Beer Station is now open at 1528 E. Common St., Ste. 12, New Braunfels. The store and taproom was previously located at 133 Landa St., New Braunfels, and offers beer tours through Texas Hill Country. More than 200 unique beers are sold and can be used to make 11 TX BBQ Depot moved in May to its new location at 1495 N. Business I-35, Ste. 100, New Braunfels. The depot sells a variety of barbecue pits, grills, spices, rubs and accessories. TX BBQ Depot is also an authorized dealer for Big Green Egg, Blaze, Coyote, PK, Texas Longhorns BBQ Pits, Treager and other well-known brands. 830-625-5100. six-packs. 830-387-4894. www.drinkoffrhodes.com

13 2tarts Bakery will celebrate 10 years of business in July at 139 N. Castell Ave., Ste. 300, New Braunfels. The bakery offers cookies, cupcakes, coffee and specialty pastries that incorporate local ingredients and change seasonally. Co-owner Ashley Landerman won the Food Network “Christmas Cookie Chal- lenge” in 2019. 830-387-4606. www.2tarts.com 14 Jolt Coffee and Beverage will cele- brate one year of business July 6 at 160 Hwy. 46, New Braunfels. The drive-thru offers coffee and a variety of specialty beverages that include smoothies; blend- ed drinks; and Jolt Aura, an energy drink made exclusively for Jolt. www.jolt-austin.com NAME CHANGES 15 In May, the Super 8 Hotel at 510 S. Hwy. 46, New Braunfels, was reopened as SureStay Hotel by Best Western. Since 1996, the owners have operated the hotel, which is located near local points of interest such as Schlitter- bahn, downtown New Braunfels and the Gruene Historic District. 830-629-1155. www.bestwestern.com CLOSINGS 16 Pier 1 Imports Inc . announced the company will go out of business “as soon as reasonably possible” after failing to secure a buyer that would have allowed it to continue operating. The location at New Braunfels Town Center at Creekside, 233 Creekside Crossing, New Braunfels, will close permanently after it sells off its remaining inventory. 830-608-0958. www.pier1.com

EdenHill Communities was founded in 1910. (Photos courtesy EdenHill Communities)

FEATURED IMPACT ANNIVERSARY Established by members of the Friedens Church in Geronimo, Texas, the “Protestant (Evangelical) Home for the Aged” was built on South Presa Street, San Antonio in 1910 and celebrated 110 years of operations on June 6. The home originally housed up to 20 residents and adopted the name “Eden Home for the Aged” in 1947 before changing its name in 2009 to EdenHill Communities. After the city of San Antonio announced plans to construct a new highway system that would disrupt the South Presa Street location, the home began looking for a new location and was eventually gifted 6.75 acres from the city of New Braunfels. In 1955 the facility broke ground at 631 Lakeview Blvd., New Braunfels, where it has grown into a 26-acre campus overlooking Landa Park. According to Director of Development Melissa Wilson, the faith-based senior living community is the only nonprot Life Plan Community in New Braunfels and has grown to include a health care center, independent living options, assisted living facilities and the Dee Meyer Nature Area. Residents have access to on-site memory care, rehabilitation support,

nature trails and a variety of recreational programming and activities. EdenHill also operates two “Our Place Memory Cafe” locations which enable caregivers and their loved ones who are suering from dementia or Alzheimer’s to gather and reconnect in a relaxing environment several times a month. “There is so much to EdenHill, and we are very proud to be 110 years young,” Wilson said. 830-625-6291 www.edenhill.org

The original building was in San Antonio.

www.txbbqdepotllc.com ANNIVERSARIES

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12 Pat Molak and Mary Jane Nalley of the Gristmill River Restaurant & Bar opened Cantina del Rio at 1299 Gruene Road, New Braunfels, in June 2010. The cantina serves tacos, enchiladas, fajitas and margaritas in the heart of Gruene Historic District. 830-515-1950. www.cantinaingruene.com

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you.

Thank you to all the essential workers who keep Central Texas moving. We appreciate you today and everyday.

www.MobilityAuthority.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES SanAntonio Street bridge hitsmilestone twoweeks early

8-foot-wide pedestrian sidewalks. “The bridge looks great,” former Mayor Barron Casteel said at the council meeting. “I’m ready to walk across it.” The project was completely state-funded because of the original bridge’s poor rating. The early phases of the projects saw some issues, with a late start to accommodate the tourism season and a section of concrete dropped during demolition, according to Lockett and Casteel. “Everybody knows our rst day of demo didn’t go too well,” Lockett said. “We dropped a piece in the river, but we adjusted, and the demo went just ne.” Referencing the scale of the project, Lockett noted that several 650-ton cranes were used at dierent times during the project. “There are about three cranes of this size in Texas,” Lockett said. “They have all been on this project.” Contractor Capital Excavation will receive a $210,000 incentive bonus from the state for reaching substan- tial completion two weeks early.

BY WARREN BROWN

The San Antonio Street bridge reached a milestone May 11 when sub- stantial completion was announced for the $4.5 million project at a New Braunfels City Council meeting. With the announcement, city employees were able to remove buoys from the section of the Comal River beneath the bridge May 12, allowing river-goers to oat under- neath the structure. The buoys had been used to cordon o that area to protect people from any falling debris from the bridge work above. Construction is ongoing, and the bridge is expected to be ready for trac in early August. Full comple- tion is expected before Labor Day on Sept. 7, according to TxDOT engineer Will Lockett. Previously 30 feet wide, the new bridge is 48 feet wide and features

The Comal River beneath the San Antonio Street bridge was reopened to the public in May.

PHOTOS BY WARREN BROWNCOMMNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

LANDA PARK

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Surface work was nearing completion.

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Call today for a free estimate FINANCING AVAILABLE

808 W County Line Rd,New Braunfels, TX 78130 (830) 627-7663 | www.FellerRoofingNB.com

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from New Braunfels & Comal ISDs

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

LOOKING AHEAD

Curbsidemeals to continue through June Beginning June 1, Comal and New Braunfels ISDs started their curbside summer meal programs. An end date for the summer pro- gram has not yet been announced. Both districts began offering curbside pickup options for breakfast and lunch March 17 after schools were closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. They continued the program through the remainder of the school year at 14 campuses. All meals are free for students age 18 or younger, regardless of their meal eligibility status. Students and parents in CISD can pick up one meal pack per student Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Each meal includes lunch and breakfast for the next day, and

Meals may be picked up at the following schools. For modified meal plans, parents can call the CISD Food Service Department at 830-221-2059 or the NBISD Child Nutrition PICKUP LOCATIONS

New Braunfels and Comal ISDs have begun to make plans for the summer and beyond for the coronavirus pandemic, which closed school facilities in mid-March. Summer school CISD will hold summer school online this year and will still offer the in-person School Aged Child Care program with the addition of social distancing measures. NBISD has yet to announce its summer school program. School calendar On May 2, the Texas Education Agency released guidelines about possible calendar adjustments it could consider for the 2020-21 school year in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The suggested changes would allow districts to have more flexibility and incorporate multiple breaks that could be used if schools are forced to close again. The TEA recommends using an intercessional calendar, which could result in an earlier start date, long winter breaks, remote learning time, and longer fall and spring breaks. NBISD and CISD have said that they do not plan to change their calendars but will consider their options.

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Department at 830-627-6743.

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New Braunfels ISD Comal ISD 1 Specht Elementary School 2 Startzville Elementary School 3 Freiheit Elementary School

4 Morningside Elementary School 5 Goodwin Frazier Elementary School 6 Voss Farms Elementary School 7 Lone Star Early Childhood Center

SOURCES: COMAL ISD, NEW BRAUNFELS ISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

during the spring semester will still be used to verify the identity of their child so they can receive meals. NBISD students and parents can pick up meal packs Monday through Friday from 7-8 a.m. for breakfast and 11 a.m.-noon for lunch. Families must stay in their vehicles when picking up meals and no one is permitted to enter campus buildings.

Thursday meal packs include lunch for Thursday, breakfast and lunch for Friday, and breakfast for Monday. If a child cannot be present to receive his or her meal, a parent may bring the child’s birth certifi- cate, school ID or report card to pick up meals. For NBISD parents retrieving meals, car tags that were issued

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

IN A DIST INCTLY TEXAN 55+ COMMUNI T Y

— The Bu�oughs BORED YET! “ WE HAVEN’T BEEN

legendary living in mind. Right now, Kissing Tree residents are finding all kinds of new ways to enjoy their Hill Country homes and safely connect with neighbors in this 55+ community like no other. With three distinct home styles starting from the low $200s – Traditional, Cottages, and Villas – there is something to fit how you like to live. And, The Mix, our 20-acre amenity campus, is ready and waiting for future fun. That means an 18-hole golf course, 18 miles of trails, 8 pickleball courts, and, soon, a new two-story fitness center, Junior Olympic sized indoor lap pool, and a resort style outdoor pool! From sun up to sun down, Kissing Tree is built with Let other Kissing Tree residents tell you about their legendary lifestyle at kissingtree.com/residentstories

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CITY& COUNTY

News from New Braunfels, Comal County & Guadalupe County

COMPILED BY WARREN BROWN

NUMBER TOKNOW

70thchangeorderapproved fornewComal CountyJail

Bridge contractor selected GUADALUPE COUNTY Wakeeld Bridge Inc. was awarded a contract by the Commissioners Court on May 19 for the removal and replace- ment of a bridge at Still Meadow Road and Cottonwood Creek. “The road and bridge administrator has done several projects with Wakeeld Bridge in the past,” said Je Coleman, Guadalupe County’s purchasing agent. Wakeeld’s winning bid of $203,500 was $124,948 less than the next closest bid. “We’ve had very good luck with them, “ said Mark Green, road and bridge administrator. “They come in, and they get the job done; there is no waiting around.”

$50,000

Additional funds were

approved by the Comal County Commissioners Court to cover the cost of an unanticipated increase in indigent burials, eight as of May 29. The adopted budget for 2020 had allocated $8,000 for indigent burials. “Every year we budget money because we as a county have a responsibility for ultimate burial of indigents that don’t have the resources to pay for burial services,” County Judge Sherman Krause said. “We’ve already used up more than the budget that we have for 2020, so we’re moving money to cover those expenditures that we’ve already had and those that we anticipate for the remainder of the year.” CITY HIGHLIGHTS NewBraunfels A contract with Texas Chiller Systems was approved by City Council on May 11 for the replacement of the HVAC system at the Central Texas Technology Center for up to $246,955. The nal cost will be split with the city of Seguin, whose investment is limited to $150,000. NewBraunfels City Council approved a resolution on May 11 to temporarily reduce sidewalk cafe annual use fees and annual sidewalk use license agreement fees in the downtown area to a at rate to assist local businesses. Annual license fees were reduced to $20, and temporary waivers will be issued for cafe and license application fees. Outdoor customers do not count toward occupancy limits under Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive orders that reopen the Texas economy. NewBraunfels A pilot program to utilize and evaluate reverse- angle parking on Playground Drive in Landa Park was approved by City Council on May 11. “The concept is new to New Braunfels, and we are proposing to approach this as a four-month pilot program,” City Engineer Garry Ford said. “We’re looking to improve safety.” All meetings may be viewed online. New Braunfels City Council Meets second and fourth Monday of each month at 6 p.m. • 830-221-4000 www.nbtexas.org Comal County Commissioners Court Meets Thursdays at 8:30 a.m. 830-221-1100 • www.co.comal.tx.us Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Meets Tuesdays at 10 a.m. 830-303-8869 www.co.guadalupe.us MEETINGSWE COVER

COMAL COUNTY The Com- missioners Court approved a change order on May 21 for $74,376 for the new Comal County Jail, which is near completion. The funds will be provided by the county’s contingency to modify 72 bathroom privacy shields that would interfere with the HVAC system. As the jail nears comple- tion, $908,522 of the county’s $2,471,535 contingency has been used to address change orders, leaving $1,563,013 in reserve. The contractor’s contingency of $1,741,172 has been depleted.

Including all approved change orders, the construc- tion contract is now valued at $64,359,494. Architecture rm HDR designed the facility, and the Yates-Sundt joint venture team are the contractors. COST OF BUILDING THE COMAL COUNTY JAIL Original contract $63,450,972 Number of change orders 70 Value of change orders $908,522 Increase in budget 1.43% SOURCE: COMAL COUNTYCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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2021budgetplanning begins inComal County COMAL COUNTY The Commis- sioners Court approved the scal year 2021 budget calendar on May 7. A proposed budget is scheduled to be presented to the court and led with the county clerk July 30. Notices of salaries and allowances for public ocials and proposed property tax rates are scheduled for August, and public hearings are scheduled for Aug. 20 and Sept. 3. Tax increases will be discussed at those meetings if under consid- eration, and notice of an increase would be posted Aug. 6. On Sept. 17, the court will levy taxes, set a rate in accordance with the FY 2021 budget and approve an order adopting the tax rate.

Mayor and council members sworn into oce

NEWBRAUNFELS Rusty Brockman was sworn in as mayor of New Braunfels on May 26 alongside new Council Members Jason Hurta, District 5, and James Blakey, District 6. All three ran unopposed and were sworn in by Judge Charles Stephens in the City Council chambers at the beginning of the evening’s council meeting. District 2 Council Member Justin Meadows was then elected by the new council to be the new mayor pro tem, replacing Wayne Peters, the outgoing council member from District 5. Former Mayor Barron Casteel and council members Peters and Leah Garcia, District 6, were the subjects of resolutions approved by

the new council quorum that rec- ognized the former city leaders for their service to the New Braunfels community. City Manager Robert Camareno received a surprise award that rec- ognized his accomplishments over the past seven years in his current role, which include creating a 30% budget reserve and his work on the 2013 and 2019 municipal bond programs.

Rusty Brockman was sworn in as New Braunfels’ mayor, May 26.

WARREN BROWNCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

E-commerce grant program to assist local businesses during COVID19

NEWBRAUNFELS An e-com- merce grant program was approved by City Council on May 11 to assist local businesses seeing less foot trac due to COVID-19. The program provides one-time grants of up to $2,000 to local busi- nesses for the initial setup costs and

rst year subscription to an e-com- merce provider of their choosing. Up to $20,000 would be allocated fromWein and Saengerfest funds. “Since Wein and Saengerfest was canceled this year, [we’re] reallo- cating a portion of the funds ... to this new grant program that would

assist retailers in the downtown area in establishing an e-commerce platform,” said Amy McWhorter, New Braunfels historic preservation ocer. Authorization for additional funds could be sought in the future with approval from City Council.

13

NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

PAID ADVERTISEMENT

VINTAGE OAKS NEIGHBORS COME TOGETHER DURING TIME OF SOCIAL DISTANCING

Treasures on the trails. Chalk-written notes of encouragement. Pulitzer Prize-wor- thy pictures of flora and fauna. Donations and acts of kindness. They’re just a few of the ways Vintage Oaks owners have expressed themselves during this unprec- edented time. We may be socially distancing as a society, but the neighbors of Vintage Oaks have come together like never before. Vintage Oaks home and land owners have been spending this time enjoying their property and surroundings. Scroll through the community’s social media feeds and you’ll find post after post in showing off the special trail treasures (decorated rocks) they come across, gorgeous Hill Country sunsets, flora growing wild, and animals like peacocks taking a stroll. New owners are also proudly showing off the progress of their homes under construction.

Vintage Oaks owner’s generosity has never been more evident, in their weekly dona- tions of meals delivered from local restaurants to all of the Canyon Lake EMS stations, or their food drive for the Boerne Food Bank, and their participation in the Neighbors for New Braunfels Fund to raise money for the New Braunfels Food Bank. Created by Vintage Oaks’ developer SouthStar Communities, the fund raised over $13,000 for the New Braunfels Food Bank, thanks to the generosity of residents of Vintage Oaks and several other area communities. During this time of social distancing, interest in spacious acreage homesites has re- mained strong. Follow-Me guided vehicle tours of the community have allowed many to see the community via a customized tour while feeling safely distanced. Many have come in for “Follow-Me” tours, during which they’re led through the community and onto specific properties of interest by a sales associate in another vehicle.

PAID ADVERTISEMENT

“People are really embracing the Follow-Me Tours because they can view the community safely from own vehicle while walking lots and getting answers to questions from land consultants at a safe distance,” said Cole Haley, Regional Sales Director of SouthStar Communities. “These ‘follow-me’ tours, which can be scheduled seven days a week, are just one way we’ve been able to pivot so we can continue showing property to eager buyers.”

Interest in completed homes in Vintage Oaks has also jumped dramatically over the last several weeks as buyers seek out a variety of ways to capture the preferred lifestyle.

ABOUT VINTAGE OAKS

Vintage Oaks is a 3,900-acre community in New Braunfels right on the Texas Wine Trail with easy access to San Antonio, Austin, and Houston, and highly rated schools. The community offers 1-14 acre homesites from the $90s including newly released properties in Bear Creek, which features beautiful, wooded homesites. Homes are also available in the community starting in the $380s on low maintenance, smaller homesites or from mid-$400s on larger 1+ acre properties. The community also offers an array of on-site resort amenities including multiple pools, sport courts and ball fields, the Tuscan clubhouse, a Fitness Club, and a new pool and volleyball court underway in Bear Creek. Vintage Oaks is the fastest-selling community in the Hill Country for six years.

FOR MORE INFORMATION or to arrange a Follow-Me Tour, call 830-341-1489 or visit VintageOaksLiving.com.

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Data and information on health care trends in Comal County and Guadalupe County

HEALTH CARE SNAPSHOT

COMPILED BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY & WARREN BROWN

HOWHEALTHY IS YOUR COUNTY?

C OMPA R I N G C O U N T I E S : PHYSICIANS ANDNURSES Since 2017, Comal County and Guadalupe County health care facilities have substantially increased their nursing stas, which was visible in the number of nurses per 100,000 residents. Physicians per 100,000 residents was largely unchanged.

These rankings are updated annually but include data from previous years. There are other factors included that are not listed below.

35

Comal County

46

337

• LENGTHOFLIFE • QUALITYOFLIFE , such as the number of poor mental and physical health days reported HEALTH OUTCOMES INCLUDE:

46

Guadalupe County

N

PHYSICIANS

2017

2019

2020 STATEWIDE HEALTH CARE RANKINGS (out of 254 counties)

97

61

110

62

Total

HEALTH FACTORS INCLUDE:

13 22 33 45 10 28 17 53 12 23

Health outcomes

Per 100,000 residents

• HEALTHBEHAVIORS , such as smoking, obesity, physical activity, excessive drinking, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, sexually transmitted infections and teen births • CLINICALCARE , including health insurance coverage; number of physicians, dentists and mental health providers; preventable hospital stays; and u vaccinations • SOCIOECONOMICFACTORS , such as educational attainment levels, children in poverty, income inequality and violent crimes • PHYSICALENVIRONMENTFACTORS , such as air pollution, drinking water violations, housing problems and long commutes

70.8

36.7

77.1

37.4

Length of life

48

149

51

147

State rank

Quality of life Health factors Health behaviors

REGISTERED NURSES

2017

2019

885

598

990

672

Total

Socioeconomic 15 21 Physical environment 131 220 Clinical care 12 32

Per 100,000 residents

646.3

360.2

893.8

405.2

52

154

52

139

State rank

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

CORONAVIRUS CASE ANALYSIS

LOCAL CASES OVER TIME

Comal County

Guadalupe County

All seven local COVID-19 deaths were Comal County residents, despite it having 28.77% fewer cases than Guadalupe County.

From the end of April through May 30, case counts increased by 80% in Comal County and 71.6% in Guadalupe County. Cases rose 96.7% in New Braunfels in the same time period.

Recoveries per 100,000 residents

Deaths per 100,000 residents

44.17

72.52

4.48

0

Daily Reported Cases

CASE BREAKDOWN Comal County

150

Guadalupe County

120

Active cases 23.23% 7.07% Deaths 69.69% Recoveries

Active cases 12.94% 0% Deaths 87.05% Recoveries

Total cases: 139

Total cases: 99

90

60

30

NEW CORONAVIRUS CASES PER WEEK May 3- May 9 7 8 May 10- May 16 5 16

May 17- May 23 May 24- May 30

12

18

0

15

March 17- March 31

April 1- April 30

May 1- May 30

12

All coronavirus data is up-to-date as of press time June 1. For updated coronavirus data and information, go to communityimpact.com.

SOURCES: COMAL COUNTY, COUNTYHEALTHRANKINGS.ORG, GUADALUPE COUNTY, ROBERT WOOD JOHNSON FOUNDATION, TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES, UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN POPULATION HEALTH INSTITUTECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

18

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

HEALTH CARE NEWS Health professionals oer creative connections

Health Care Edition 2020

CRISIS LINE: 8774660660 AVAILABLE 247 COVID19 MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT LINE: 8886900799 AVAILABLE 247 ACCESS TO: mental health professionals trained to help callers work through anxiety, depression, stress, worry or grief related to COVID19 Hill Country Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Centers operates a crisis hotline and a mental health support line. SUPPORT BY PHONE

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

Health & Developmental Disabilities Centers. “Even though we’re in a time of distancing, it’s still important for our mental wellness to be able to connect to people.” Clinics such as Hill Country MHDDC have continued to operate mental health support lines, crisis hotlines, and have incorporated phone and video options for contin- ued counseling and therapy. Mental health support groups have also switched to online meetings where participants can nd encouragement and share their experiences openly. “We all tend to spend a lot of time in our own heads,” Kelly said. “When we can get around other people, particularly in a support group, and we start talking about what’s going on with grief and loss … we will hear other people say something that mirrors exactly others like it are common in local practices and across the United States. To combat misinformation, Garcia rec- ommends reaching out to physicians. “We’re all open, and we’re here to answer the questions and keep you safe,” Garcia said. “If you don’t feel comfortable coming to the oce, most of us are doing some variation of telehealth, telemedicine or car visits.” Despite public concerns over the potential spread of the coronavirus in health facilities, Garcia said the opposite is true, and vaccinations must still be conducted. “This is the best time, honestly, to come into the doctor’s oce because it’s clean and safe, and we need to continue to get [children] vaccinated,” Garcia said. “If we stop vaccinating, we’re going to start seeing these preventable diseases.”

what we’re thinking and feeling within ourselves.” As social distancing restrictions are loosened in Texas, mental health providers and leaders expect the operation of support groups and one-on-one counseling to become more exible to meet the needs of those they serve. Kelly’s group has discussed hosting in-person meetings in large multi- purpose rooms at the church where attendees could maintain 6 feet of distance, and Nieto expects clients at Hill Country MHDDC to adjust their services based on their comfort level. “We’re really going to meet the person where they are and where they’re comfortable, and if that per- son feels like they prefer in-person treatment sessions, then we’re

Social distancing; lack of structure; and stressors such as job loss, nan- cial instability or changing family dynamics connected to the ongoing pandemic have caused a signicant increase in demand for mental health support, according to New Braunfels area health care professionals. “Every one of us is going through grief and loss at the same time,” said Joann Kelly, a support and coun- seling group leader at Unity of New Braunfels. “What we can provide for ourselves in terms of structure is extremely important.” Creating structure in daily life and regularly seeking out support and community are critical to dealing with stress and anxiety, Kelly said. “It’s more important now than ever to have that connectedness,” said Jennifer Nieto, Comal County clinic director for Hill Country Mental

COUNTIES SERVED BY THE HOTLINE: Bandera, Blanco, Comal, Edwards, Gillespie, Hays, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Llano, Mason, Medina, Menard, Real, Schleicher, Sutton, Uvalde and Val Verde

going to do so while imple- menting as many precautions as we can,” Nieto said.

Someparents hesitant to schedulewell visits

Boxing gymcaters to Parkinson’s patients

BY WARREN BROWN

BY LAUREN CANTERBERRY

As the coronavirus pandemic has progressed, New Braunfels’ physicians have been challenged by misinfor- mation and fear of the virus among patients. Dr. Melissa Garcia, a practicing pediatrician of nearly 11 years, opened Bluebonnet Pediatrics in April in the midst of the local outbreak. Although business has been steady, Garcia said some parents have avoided well visits and vaccinations for their children out of fear of how vaccines could aect the health outcomes of their kids if infected by the coronavirus. Garcia said this question and

Regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to the Parkinson’s Foundation. To serve area residents with the condition, Erik Scott opened Rock Steady Boxing Haus in partnership with Extreme Martial Arts and Lone Star Parkinson’s Society. Rock Steady is part of an inter- national organization that incor- porates balance training, cardio, stretching, dynamic movement and strength training. “[Boxing] takes a lot of cogni- tion and mental power as well as pushing your body to that absolute limit, and that exercise just beats out the progression of Parkinson’s,” Scott said. “The socialization of it is a huge aspect, being able to come in and laugh and leave your worries at the door for an hour and a half.” Scott has 18 regular boxing class attendees, and instructors monitor progress and adapt workouts to improve their motor skills. However, the group has not met in person since March due to the

Parkinson’s progression is slowed by exercise. (Courtesy Lone Star Parkinson’s Society)

coronavirus pandemic. To adapt, Scott and his team began using Facebook and YouTube to share workout videos and oer encouragement to cus- tomers, a practice Scott intends to carry forward in the future for his members unable to attend in-person. “I made it into a possibility to get a workout that they could do from the comfort of their own home,” Scott said. According to Melinda Tybor, a Rock Steady member and boxer, the videos and Facebook posts helped her stay healthy during social distancing. “It’s really important to keep it up, and it keeps your mood elevated, too,” Tybor said. “They have given us the opportunity to practice as much as we want.”

THE BENEFITS OFWELL VISITS

PREVENTION Immunizations and information on nutrition and safety

TRACKING GROWTHAND DEVELOPMENT Learn about your child’s development

EDUCATION Speaking with your pediatrician about behavior, sleep and other topics

TEAM APPROACH Creating strong relationships between pediatrician, parent and child

SOURCE: AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

19

NEW BRAUNFELS EDITION • JUNE 2020

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