San Marcos - Buda - Kyle | March 2021

SANMARCOS BUDA KYLE EDITION

VOLUME 10, ISSUE 11  MARCH 15APRIL 11, 2021

ONLINE AT

WEATHERING THE STORM

IMPACTS

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Texans struggle throughERCOT power gridstrain

WEATHER

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CAMP GUIDE 2021

LIST OF SUMMER FUN

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Hays County was blanketed in snow and ice from Feb. 1519. (Warren Brown/Community Impact Newspaper)

Leaders in Hays County contemplate strategies in wake of severe winter event

BUSINESS FEATURE

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BY BRIAN RASH

roads and loss of running water that resulted in several boil water notices. The cold snap arrived late Feb. 14, and by Feb. 16, much of the state’s power suppliers were entering a sec- ond day of power outages. Shane Billiot, co-owner of OMG Sea- food in San Marcos, said his business was closed for the duration of the week, from Feb. 15-19, save for one day during

which no money changed hands. On Feb. 16, he opened his restaurant despite near ubiquitous hazardous road conditions. On that day, Billiot gave away all of the food at OMG Sea- food to anyone who could make the trek to his shop. “Not only was it Valentine’s Day weekend, but it was the weekend

A winter storm that sidelined many Central Texas residents in mid-Feb- ruary led to an emergency services disaster declaration throughout Hays County, and most in the region are still recovering. The havoc caused by the severe weather led to school and business clo- sures,mass power outages, undriveable

CONTINUED ON 22

DINING FEATURE

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SAN MARCOS - BUDA - KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

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THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMHEATHER: Central Texas experienced some unexpected severe weather that caused many temporary hardships for residents and business owners. In our front- page story, Editor Brian Rash uncovers some of the details around power and water outages and looks into what ocials are doing to be better prepared should such a crippling event happen again. Heather Demere, GENERALMANAGER

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROMBRIAN: Though a large focus of this issue is on the severe winter storm throughout Texas that drew national and even international media attention, there is also plenty of coverage on a host of other topics. From the ongoing debate in Kyle regarding a controversial proposed ordinance, to an expansive camp guide for kids in Hays County, our March issue is packed with information, as usual. Brian Rash, EDITOR

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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BUSINESS &DINING Local business development news that aects you

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

IMPACTS

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

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Movela’s Fine Candles Co.

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COURTESY MOVELA’S FINE CANDLES CO.

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UHLAND RD.

AQUARENA SPRINGS DR.

SANMARCOS

mattresses that can be adjusted by the user to create customized comfort. 512-396-0355. www.sleepnumber.com ANNIVERSARIES 6 The Holiday Inn located at 105 Bintu Drive, San Marcos, celebrated its fth anniversary Feb. 2. Among other ameni- ties, the San Marcos location oers t- ness and wellness programs, a swimming pool, a conference and events center, and a bistro and bar. 512-805-1000. www.holidayinn.com 7 Mana’s Restaurant , located at 807 Alabama St., San Marcos, celebrated its 45th anniversary Feb. 28. Mana’s serves a variety of Mexican fare ranging from nachos and quesadillas to combination plates, tacos, enchiladas and autas. 512-392-4068. www.facebook.com/ manas.restaurant.sanmarcos 8 Trends & Traditions Boutique , a retail shop located at 1917 Dutton Drive, Ste. 100, is celebrating its 55th anni- versary this summer. The boutique sells clothing and jewelry from numerous designers as well as collectible folk art. Trends & Traditions has been operating in San Marcos since 1966. 512-392-7236. www.trendsandtraditionsboutique.com NEWOWNERSHIP 9 Great Tans , a business located at 1515 Aquarena Springs Drive, Ste. 104, San Marcos, is undergoing new owner- ship. The company sold to new owners Feb. 24. The salon oers a variety of ultraviolet tanning packages as well as

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SPRINGTOWN WAY

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ALABAMA ST.

1984

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DUTTON DR.

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WONDER WORLD DR.

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BINTU DR.

SAN MARCOS RIVER

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NOWOPEN 1 Movela’s Fine Candles Co. on Feb. 6 set up a space within Modern Day Hemp Co. located at 317 N. LBJ Drive, San Marcos. The company specializes in arti- sanal candles, hats, oral and succulent arrangements, and sprays that serve to disinfect masks as well as make them

4 Olivia Presley Hair Co. , located at 1520 Old RR 12, San Marcos, is planning to open at the end of March. Olivia Pres- ley is a full-service salon that provides a number of services, from the latest haircut styles to balayage coloring. 512-214-8141. RELOCATIONS 5 Sleep Number , currently located at 3941 I-35, Ste. 112, San Marcos, is moving in April to a new address at 2840 I-35, San Marcos. The sleep store oers mattresses, bedding and pillows. The company specializes in its brand of

quesadillas, tortas, nachos, burritos, tacos and mini taquitos. There are also specialty items on the menu such as hot Cheetos with cheese and beef birria ramen. 512-557-1940. Facebook: Tacos los Garcia COMING SOON 3 Floor King , a ooring company that has locations throughout Central Texas, is opening a new shop at 2200 I-35, San Marcos, at the end of April. The company specializes in numerous styles of ooring, including carpet, hardwood, tile, natural stone, laminate and vinyl. 512-346-7034. www.oorking.net

smell good. 512-430-0402. www.movelasnecandles.com

2 Tacos los Garcia, located at 1002 Hwy. 80, San Marcos, opened its food truck Feb. 4. The business specializes in Mexican cuisine including small and large

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Sleep Number

Trends & Traditions Boutique

Prior to closing in 2012, Sundance Records & Tapes sold a selection of vinyl records, among other merchandise. FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON COURTESY NANCY BARNARD

COURTESY SLEEP NUMBER

COURTESY TRENDS & TRADITIONS BOUTIQUE

MyMyst HD UV Free and California Tan airbrush tanning. 512-805-8267. www.great-tans.com 10 Johnny Rockets , located within San Marcos Premium Outlets at 3939 I-35, Ste. 900, San Marcos, is planning to reopen in March under new ownership. The international restaurant franchise serves all-American fare, including burgers, shakes and fries. 512-392-7499. www.johnnyrockets.com IN THE NEWS 11 P. Terry’s Burger Stand , which has a menu that includes unique burgers, sides and dessert, and has a location in San Marcos at 515 Springtown Way, announced via a March 1 news release that it had begun paying all of its full- time employees a $15 per hour minimum wage eective as of the rst pay period of January 2021. The pay increase applies to all 20 of the company’s loca- tions throughout Central Texas. 512-216-6477. www.pterrys.com SCHOOL NOTES 12 Texas State University , located at 601 University Drive, San Marcos, announced in January that it is expanding scholarships for incoming freshmen applying for fall 2021 classes by $10 million. The funding is broken down into three categories—the President’s Honor Scholarship, the Texas State Achievement Scholarship and the Texas State Distinguished Scholarship. More information is available at the university website. 512-245-2364. www.txstate.edu

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San Marcos until the business closed for good in 2012. Merchandise sold at the shop included records, tapes, CDs, posters, incense and concert tickets. Regardless of its location, Nancy said Barnard had a way of decorating the shop that made it a destination spot. “Bobby had his own way—when he decorated his rst store like he did with all of the posters and the picture discs hanging from the ceiling, he created something people had never seen before,” she said. “It was like a museum of music and current events combined. It made such an impression on so many people.” Wright said one of the main goals for Sundance Record Lagoon will be to keep the same aesthetic that Barnard had created over the three decades he and Nancy ran the original shop. The plans are still uid at the moment, but Wright said it will remain a vinyl- focused store. “It will be a continuation of the [Sundance] vibe, if we can recreate it,” Wright said.

A former community music hub and local cultural hot spot for more than three decades until it closed nine years ago, Sundance Records & Tapes will reopen under a new name in June at 241 N. LBJ St., San Marcos. Tomas Escalante, owner of Sig’s Lagoon Record Shop in Houston, will revive the San Marcos record shop under the new name Sundance Record Lagoon . Escalante made the announcement via YouTube on March 8. Sundance Records & Tapes originally closed in 2012, but after the closure owner Bobby Barnard, who died in August 2020, kept supplying Escalante’s Houston shop with posters and other inventory over the years, according to Barnard’s wife, Nancy. Barnard opened the rst Sundance Records in 1977 at 120 N. LBJ Drive in San Marcos and then moved a few doors down to 138 N. LBJ Drive in 1985, according to Parker Wright, who will help manage the new Sundance Record Lagoon and was a former employee of Sundance Records & Tapes. “I remember the rst time I walked in there [in 1988] and just being completely mesmerized. It was eye candy,” Wright said. “I was just like, ‘What is this place?’” The third location of Sundance Records was situated at 202 University Drive in

Price Center

COURTESY PRICE CENTER

COMMUNITY 13 The Price Center , located at 222 W. San Antonio St., San Marcos, is hosting an art gallery show focused on art by women entitled “From Challenge Comes Change.” The show features 81 individ- ual works by more than 50 area female artists. The Price Center held a virtual celebration March 8 in conjunction with International Women’s Day, but the show will run through March 27. 512-392-2900. www.price-center.org 14 Representatives from TwoMen and a Truck , located at 101 Uhland Road, Ste. 119, San Marcos, are working with Hays Cald- well Women’s Center for the national do- nation drive to benet women in battered women’s shelters. The company began sending out donation boxes at businesses throughout Hays and Comal counties March 15, and they will be in place through the last week of April. People interested in donating may see donation box locations as well as other details regarding the drive on the company’s website. 512-693-4123. www.twomenandatruck.com/sanmarcos

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

IMPACTS

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

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Austin Body Works

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BRIAN RASHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

oers education and guidance on how to change eating habits, as well as programs for holistic nutrition and weight loss in the pursuit of restoring a person’s mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. 512-262-7160. www.drcarolinesholisticlifecenterllc.com COMING SOON 4 Lashes de Bella & Skincare is planning to open a new location at 115 Kohlers Crossing, Ste. 310, Kyle in August. Lashes de Bella is a medical spa that oers lash extensions and a wide range of skincare services including microdermabrasion, laser hair removal, dermplaning, deep pore treatments and microneedling. 512-445-3210. www.lashesdebella.com 5 The Village Orthodontics will open a location in Spring 2021 at 22420 I-35, Ste. 201, Kyle. Information from the ortha- donture business states it will service residents of the city of Kyle and surround- ing areas, but there is not yet a specic date for when it will open. 512-883-9198. www.orthoatthevillage.com RELOCATIONS 6 Rupert & Associates has relocated in January to 217 Railroad St., Buda. The family-owned tax rm has been open for 35 years and specializes in individual and corporate taxes, business accounting, nancial planning, and entity formation. Owner Stephen Rupert is the second in his family to operate the business and is excited to practice in Buda. 512-282-2301. www.rupertandassociates.com

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NOWOPEN 1 Austin Body Works on Feb. 8 opened a new location at 218 Front St., Kyle. The Austin-based automotive body shop has been open since the 1940s, and oers high-quality collision and paint repair. Services also include repairs for glass and dents, frame alignments and other

2 Shipley Do-nuts opened Jan. 21 at its newest location at 1245 Main St., Ste. 100, Buda. Founded in 1936, the chain oers more than 60 varieties of donuts and has more than 190 stores throughout the country. 512-312-9393. www.shipleydonuts.com 3 UFCU, which stands for University Federal Credit Union , opened its loca- tion at 4410 S. FM 1626, Kyle, at the end of 2020. The credit union oers a num- ber of services, including personal and

business accounts, insurance, invest- ment planning and loans for automo- biles, homes, recreational vehicles and boats. 512-467-8080. www.ufcu.org Dr. Caroline’s Holistic Life Center LLC , opened for virtual appointments Feb. 23. Though based in Kyle, tele-health appointments are available for clients worldwide. Among other wellness programs focused on creating healthy mindsets for clients, the business

paint services. 512-268-9074. www.austinbodyworks.com

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NOWOPEN 1 Dreamland Dripping Springs , an outdoor entertainment venue that includes pickleball, mini-golf and outdoor concerts along with a beer garden and sports bar, opened Feb. 5. The complex is located on 64 acres and includes 54 holes of mini-golf. Owned by Austin resident Steve Kuhn, the venue is located at 2770 W. Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs. 512-827-1279. www.dreamlandstx.com 2 Austin-based Factory Mattress opened a new store Feb. 2 at 12680 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. 100, Dripping Springs. The rst tenant to open at the still under construction Ledge- stone Commercial shopping plaza, REGIONAL IMPACTS

Factory Mattress oers discounted sleep furniture including mattresses, bed frames, memory foam pillows and mattress covers. 512-825-6483. www.factorymattresstexas.com 3 The Hays County Beekeepers Association opened a store at 12919 Nutty Brown Road, Austin, in Jan- uary. According to Nathalie Biggie, the owner of the Bee Mindful school in Austin and one of the new store’s operators, the HCBA Beekeeping Store has a selection of beekeep- ing equipment and honey bees, while also oering bee advice and help with applying for bee-related agricultural exemptions. The store also has local honey and beeswax products for sale. 512-699-0605. www.hayscountybeekeepers.com

University Federal Credit Union

Lashes de Bella & Skincare

BRIAN RASHCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COURTESY LASHES DE BELLA & SKINCARE

COMMUNITY 7 Del’s Heating & Air Conditioning , lo- cated at 966 FM 967, Buda, is conducting a giveaway program called A Neighbor In Need. Participants may nominate a resi- dent of Del’s service area, which includes Buda but also extends to homeowners in Hays and Travis County, to receive a new heating and air conditioning system. Nominations are being accepted via the company’s website through Apr. 15, and a winner will be chosen April 30. 512-236-5830. www.delsacservice.com CLOSINGS 8 East Buet , located at 103 W. Center St., Kyle, closed in late 2020 due to issued associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, and the property is currently

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Rupert & Associates

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COURTESY RUPERT & ASSOCIATES

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for sale. Dustin Inderman, a listing agent for Realty One Group, said the restau- rant owners are also looking to sell their equipment, and the 6,850 square feet space is listing for $995,000. Interested buyers may call 512-567-7709. www.kyleeastbuet.com

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Area transportation

COMPILED BY WARREN BROWN & BRIAN RASH

ONGOING PROJECTS

QUANTIFYING THE COST OF CRASHES

summit examines commuter safety According to Hays County ocials the number of people in the area who commute to work is increasing. This and other key data came from the 2021 Transportation Summit in San Marcos, which was hosted by the Greater San Marcos Partnership on Feb. 25. The goal of the event was to dis- cuss regional transportation issues, much of which were presented in the context of the pandemic and its impact on future construction. “When we all do get to go back to whatever the new normal is going to be, I think travel patterns are going to be changing and evolving, and they’re going to be dierent than what they were before COVID-19,” said Lisa Kay Pfannenstiel, executive director of Movability, which devel- ops mobility plans for the region. According to Pfannenstiel, 85% of the 30,000 downtown workers in Austin her organization tracks were still working from home. However, Hays County Precinct 2 Commissioner Mark Jones said commuting had actually increased in parts of Hays County and attributed it to regional growth. “What we’re seeing is that SH45 is up above where it was before COVID- 19,” Jones remarked. “Even though more people work from home, the growth that we’ve had has more than made up [the dierence].” But keeping up with growth pres- ents challenges with funding, he said. Some $377 million worth of infrastructure projects were put on

The National Safety Council quantied the average cost of car crashes as well as the associated impact on quality of life. Here is what that meant in Hays County in 2019, the most recent year with available data.*

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NUMBER OF CRASHES

AVERAGE COST PER INCIDENT

TOTAL COSTS

TYPE OF CRASH

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Death

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$11,148,000

$323,292,000

Hwy. 21 rehabilitation A project to x 16 miles of Hwy. 21 in Hays County east of I-35 should be complete by 2022. The project runs from Hwy. 80 to the Caldwell County line, and work includes construction of passing lanes at various spots along the Hwy. 21 corridor. Crews will also widen shoulders on Hwy. 21. Cost: $10.85 million Timeline: June 2020-spring 2022 Funding source: Texas Department of Transportation

Evident injury

695

$336,000

$233,520,000

Possible injury

864

$155,000

$133,920,000

No injury observed

6,840

$51,000

$348,840,000

$1,039,572,000

Comprehensive cost:

*DATA FOR DISABLING INJURIES, VALUED AT $1,219,000 EACH, WERE UNAVAILABLE AND NOT INCLUDED.

SOURCES: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, NATIONAL SAFETY COUNCIL COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

hold due to the pandemic, Jones pointed out. Pfannenstiel emphasized the need to build transportation projects intel- ligently and with built-in exibility to accommodate future modes of transportation. She pointed to electric scooters to illustrate how commuting can change rapidly, and gave protected bike lanes and shared-use paths as examples of future-proof designs. Executive Director Jay Crossley of Farm & City, a think tank focused on human habitats, said eorts to create safer and more ecient roads some- times falter, as they did when the Texas Department of Transportation tried to abandon feeder roads in 2000. The National Safety Council quantied the economic cost of congestion at roughly $500 per com- muter every year, or $16 billion for all Texans, he said. Crashes cost Texas

somewhere between $32 billion- $35 billion annually. “The economic impact of trac crashes is about $70 million a year just for the city of San Marcos, whereas Hays County it’s about $164 million a year,” Crossley said. Both sums paled in comparison to the comprehensive cost of wrecks, which provides a value for the lifetime economic and quality of life cost. “The comprehensive cost of crashes last year for Hays County was a billion dollars,” he said. “It’s sort of this hidden problem.” Pfannenstiel suggested the solution is multifaceted and requires a change in perspective. “We should not be thinking about moving more cars and pickup trucks,” she said. “It’s all about the people, and if we can get more people in a vehicle, regardless of what that vehicle is ... that will go a long way.”

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 5. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SBKNEWSCOMMUNITYIMPACT.COM. River Road The Main Lift Station Force Main re- placement along River Road near I-35 is nearing completion with force main installations nearly complete and a reclaimed water bulk lling station slated for completion in April. Storm sewers along the roadway are halfway done and will be nished after the installation of the force mains. Cost: $8.2 million Timeline: spring 2020-spring 2021 Funding source: city of San Marcos

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4 bds

2 ba

2,658 sq ft

3 bds

2 ba

1,429 sq ft

Dr. Anila Mustafa Gwen Hendricks, APRN, NP-C

10156 Brangus Rd, Driftwood, TX 78619 Nicole Herrera | 512-771-4953

145 Grazing Horse Ln, Manchaca, TX 78652 Rachel Lasseter | 512-576-4713

SOLD $45K OVER

SOLD $26K OVER

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SOLD

SOLD

3 bds

2.5 ba 2,163 sq ft

3 bds

2 ba

1,740 sq ft

753 Hot Spring Vly, Buda, TX 78610 Kelley Menefee | 512-736-0822

298 Kates Cv, Buda, TX 78610 Rocio Enriquez | 512-983-3651

SOLD $23K OVER

SOLD $22K OVER

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SOLD

SOLD

3 bds

2 ba

1,784 sq ft

4 bds

2.5 ba 2,502 sq ft

504 Sendero Verde St, Manchaca, TX 78652 Charlotte Hair | 512-565-4703

124 Hometown Pkwy, Kyle, TX 78640 Kate Hamlin | 512-436-3030

SOLD $10K OVER

SOLD $10K OVER

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SOLD

SOLD

3 bds

2.5 ba 2,290 sq ft

3 bds

2.5 ba 1,688 sq ft

131 Masonwood Dr, Kyle, TX 78640 Lisa Muñoz | 512-856-4549

390 Guemal Rd, Buda, TX 78610 Catalina Castellanos | 512-410-9972

SOLD $10K OVER

SOLD $8K OVER

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SOLD

SOLD

2 bds

2 ba

1,027 sq ft

4 bds

2 ba

2,158 sq ft

139 Wainscot Oak Way, San Marcos, TX 78666 Richard El Richani | 512-965-4024

1905 Gabrielles Way, Manchaca, TX 78652 Salomon Silva | 512-825-0213

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12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

WEATHER Winter conditions bring outages to isolated Texas power grid

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas manages an electric grid that covers most of Texas and is disconnected from larger interconnections covering the rest of the U.S.

1

2

Winter collapse A Feb. 11 press release from ERCOT stated the agency issued notices from Feb. 8-11 about the cold weather expected to hit Texas and that gener- ators were asked to prepare for it. ERCOT followed with a Feb. 14 notice asking customers to reduce electricity through Feb. 16. The next day, ERCOT announced the council had begun rotating outages at 1:25 a.m. Feb. 15. More than 4.3 million Texans were without power the morning of Feb. 16, according to poweroutage.us. Despite early warnings, Ramanan Krishnamoorti, a chemical engineer- ing professor and chief energy ocer at the University of Houston, said he believes the state’s reliance on market conditions to manage supply and demand is partially responsible for outages given providers’ lack of incen- tive to begin production in advance of the supply shortage. He and Cohan also cited a low supply of natural gas. “The shortfall in natural gas supply is about 20 times as large as the shortfall in wind supply compared to expectations for a winter peak cold event,” Cohan said. Planning ahead The statewide outages were the fourth such event in ERCOT’s history. One result of the most recent event in February 2011—also caused by win- ter weather—was the publication of a federal report outlining past failures of power generators and recommending ERCOT and other authorities make winterization eorts a top concern.

BY BEN THOMPSON

WESTERN INTERCONNECTION Includes El Paso and far West Texas 1 EASTERN INTERCONNECTION Includes portions of East Texas and the panhandle region 2 3

Widespread power outages prompted by severe weather across Texas in February led to increased focus on the Electric Reliability Coun- cil of Texas, which manages statewide electric power ow. The failure of portions of the state’s power grid left millions of Texans without electric service the week of Feb. 15-19. As blackouts and power restoration eorts continued, public ocials, including Gov. Greg Abbott, called for an investigation of ERCOT. ERCOT did not respond to phone calls or email requests for comment. An independent system Texas’ power grid has long been controlled within the state, separate from eastern and western North Amer- ican interconnects. Founded in 1970, ERCOT operates under the supervision of the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature and manages most of the state’s electric system and retail market. ERCOT ocials have highlighted benets of the insular system in the past, although its disconnect from the continent’s larger grids has left it prone to isolation issues during high-demand events, such as Febru- ary’s winter storms, experts said. “Staying independent keeps the management of our power systems within Texas. But it means that we can barely import any power when we need it most,” Daniel Cohan, a Rice University civil and environmental engineering professor, said via email.

3

ERCOT INTERCONNECTION

ERCOT’s grid provides electric

ERCOT man- ages 90%

ERCOT provides for 26 million customers.

ERCOT’s grid includes 46,500 miles of transmission.

power to the majority of Texans.

of the Texas electrical load.

Real-time data varies, but more than half of ERCOT’s generation capacity comes from natural gas. Experts cited a natural gas shortage in February’s power outages.

POWER BREAKDOWN

2021 ERCOT grid power generating capacity 51% Natural gas 4.9% Nuclear

24.8% Wind 3.8% Solar

13.4% Coal 1.9% Other

0.2% Storage

TRACKING THE OUTAGES Millions of Texans lost power during winter storms Feb. 15-18.

• At 1:25 a.m. Feb. 15 , ERCOT began rotating outages from customers statewide • As much as 16,500 megawatts removed

• 4.3 million Texans were without power at 9 a.m. Feb. 16 • Pedernales Electric Cooperative peaked at 1,993 megawatts used

from the grid due to forced outages Feb. 15 • 1 megawatt can power about 200 households during peak demand

SOURCES: ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXAS, PEDERNALES ELECTRIC COOPERATIVE, POWEROUTAGE.US, PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION OF TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Beyond just following previous recommendations, the state and power suppliers could have further incentivized preparation for the record-breaking conditions experi- enced, Krishnamoorti said. “We knew that this polar vortex was coming at least a week ahead. We

could have planned,” he said. Cohan said he hopes the state will take a broader range of issues into consideration for potential updates to its energy systems. “We need to look beyond the elec- tricity system and realize that this is an energy systems crisis,” he said.

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SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

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14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

GOVERNMENT

Kyle sex oender lawposes risks

HOW THE

WOULDWORK RESIDENCY RESTRICTIONS The city of Kyle will consider passing residency restrictions for registered sex oenders convicted of crimes involving a minor, but an advocacy group for oenders said such restrictions can actually make communities less safe by creating housing insecurity. Votes on the ordinance have been postponed twice and revisions are still being made, but here is a broad overview of what it entails.

BY WARREN BROWN

oenders to nd housing. The report states this can lead to sex oenders becoming homeless, which then leads to them becoming more dicult to track and monitor. The National Institute of Justice also states, “while these laws are popular, there has been very little evidence of their eectiveness in reducing crime.” The proposed ordinance for Kyle was originally set to restrict registrants from living within 1,500 feet of a child safety zone, which include various types of public and private parks, day-care centers, public and private schools, arcades, and other facilities. The 1,500 foot limit would cover roughly 95% of the city, but City Council may consider the ordinance with a limit of 1,000 feet, which would still sequester much of the city. Barnett made clear in an interview with Community Impact Newspaper registered residents would not be ejected from their homes. After multi- ple vote delays, Barnett said language was being changed so that current residents on the registry would not be aected unless they move. Homeowners on the registry would be allowed to stay if already living in a zone, but they would have to live outside a zone if they decide to move. Molnar said the ordinance could have a big impact on oenders trying to get back on their feet once released from prison, many of whommove in with a parent or relative. Barnett suggested families would have to evaluate their commitment to supporting relatives on the registry and could move beyond safety zones. However, relocation could be cost prohibitive, and without that resource oenders can end up homeless, according to the DOJ. Barnett expressed sympathy for individuals in such circumstances, but said the focus was on the greater good. Molnar said an additional issue arising from residency restrictions are pocket parks, which are estab- lished to create blanketing safety zones to block oenders. “You can turn any corner into a pocket park,” Molnar noted. “It makes their whole city o limits.” San Antonio resident Tim Sankey, a registered sex oender who lived in Seguin before a similar ordinance was

Kyle City Council will consider passing a new ordinance which would restrict where some individuals on the Texas sex oender registry can reside, regardless of whether or not the oender is on probation or parole. The ordinance, brought to council by Kyle Police Chief Je Barnett, spe- cically targets oenders convicted of crimes involving minors. Of the city’s 67 residents on the registry, nine were convicted of minor-related crimes. Kyle does not have the most sex oenders in the region—New Braunfels has 106—but its ratio to normal residents is greater than many neighboring cities. According to KPD data, there is one registered sex oender for every 843 residents. “We’re really focused on creating what’s identied in the ordinance as child safety zone areas, where families can reside or families can enjoy the parks and other amenities in our com- munity and feel safe,” Barnett said. A KPD memo attached to the ordi- nance said oenders are extremely likely to use physical violence and to repeat oenses. The same memo quotes a report published by the United States’ Oce of Sex Oender Sentencing, Moni- toring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART), which states 44.3% of child molesters with more than one prior arrest reoend. However, the same SMART report also noted “the long-term recidivism rate for child molesters categorized as low risk was less than 20 percent.” Mary Sue Molnar, chair of non- prot advocacy group Texas Voices, said the registry is ineective and hurts community safety. She said residency restrictions such as Kyle’s proposed ordinance are increasingly common, but create their own issues. “It’s displacing a lot of people—peo- ple that can really reintegrate and reenter society in a good way,” Molnar said. “We’re just shutting doors on them, just shutting every door we can, which seems like the opposite of what we should be doing.” Among the key ndings in the Department of Justice’s report, “Sex Oender Residency Restrictions: HowMapping Can Inform Policy,” residency restrictions were found to make it dicult or impossible for sex

9 67

Registered sex oenders residing in Kyle

Certain oenders cannot live within child safety zones

Registrants with minor-related charges

Child safety zones exist around: • schools • parks • daycares • other places children gather

Registrants living within zones currently are grandfathered in, but are subject to the restrictions if they move.

Safety zone sizes under consideration - 1,000-1,500 ft.

• 1,500 ft. zones would block o 95% of Kyle

SOURCE: CITY OF KYLE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Residency restrictions are becoming increasingly common in Texas, where there are more than 93,000 registered sex oenders. Here is how Kyle compares to nearby cities.

IN THE REGION SEXOFFENDERS

Residency restrictions

Oenders per resident

Population Registered sex oenders

City

Seguin

843-1 1,122-1 830-1 566-1

56,500 64,000 88,000 30,000 64,000

53

500 ft

New Braunfels

106

None None None

Kyle

67 57 20

San Marcos Pugerville

3,200-1

2,000 ft.

SOURCES: CITIES OF KYLE, PFLUGERVILLE AND SEGUIN, TEXAS ASSOCIATION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

passed, believes perceptions need to change about the registry. “Most people who are on the reg- istry are just like me,” he said. “They have families, a stable job and want to have a successful and productive life.” In 2001, Sankey was convicted of a crime with a minor, whom he said mis- represented her age to him and other adult men who were also convicted. A 2020 brief published by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault reported 93,178 registered sex oend- ers in the state in 2018. It said housing instability increased the likelihood of sex oenders reoending. TAASA’s brief also cited a 2006 story by Minnesota Public Radio, which quotes an Iowa sheri who said his oce went from knowing where 90% of oenders resided to knowing where just 50-55%were located after passing residency restrictions.

The brief also pointed out issues it perceived with the registry, and said it should be limited to high risk individ- uals, a distinction the Kyle ordinance does not make. “We’re relying on the state to have established the importance of them being a registered sex oender against a minor at that time,” Barnett said. “We are considering that that meant the community at large needed to be aware of that.” Molnar said opposition to residency restrictions is rarely successful, but stressed the benet of providing oenders with a path back into society, as well as the risk posed by casting them out. “If you don’t have a place to live, you don’t have a job, you don’t have any friends, no family support and you’re living out on the street, what do you have to lose?” she pondered.

15

SAN MARCOS  BUDA  KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

All roads lead to Kissing Tree.

The Andersons came from San Antonio. The Matas moved from Austin. The Wills transplanted all the way from the East Coast. None of our residents were born at Kissing Tree, but they all came home to our 55+ active adult community as soon as they could. Now, they enjoy staying as busy as they want to be with pickleball, golf, and lots of fun at The Mix, our 20-acre amenity campus with a resort-style pool, an indoor lap pool, a biergarten, a club-style fitness center, cafés, and more. “We have made more friends in the last year at Kissing Tree than we’ve made in a lifetime,” Kathy A. said. “Everyone seems to want to get to know each other, and Kissing Tree has given us the amenities to be able to do that.”

Read more of their stories at KissingTree.com/AllRoads

16

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Hays & San Marcos CISDs

QUOTEOFNOTE “THEYDOA LOT FOR OUR COMMUNITY. AND WHEN I SAYA LOT, I MEAN THEYDOA LOT FOROUR STUDENTS. THEYDOA LOT FOR OUR STAFFMEMBERS.” SMCISD SUPERINTENDENT MICHAEL CARDONA ON A FEB. 22 DISTRICT RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE SAN MARCOS LIONS CLUB NUMBER TOKNOW had received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a district survey. Of 1,230 district employees who were surveyed, 788 responded. 377 SMCISD employees who, as of mid-February, DISTRICT HIGHLIGHTS HAYS CISD The board of trustees approved finalized construction documents for a new elementary school in Buda’s Sunfield Development during a March 1 meeting. Funding was previously included in the scrapped 2020 bond election but was brought back for the 2021 bond election planned for May. Last year’s election was postponed and then canceled due to the pandemic. Designed by Huckabee Architects, the unnamed school is estimated to cost $38,480,583 to build if the related bond proposition passes. SANMARCOS CISD Officials approved a blended learning program for three campuses—Travis Elementary, Goodnight Middle and Miller Middle schools—as part a district redesign program. The initiative is part of the Texas Education Agency’s School Action Fund Planning grant program. The TEA requires high-dosage tutoring, high-quality instructional materials, improved and increased integration of social-emotional learning supports, and extended academic time as part of the program.

Campus bond improvement updates approved

BY WARREN BROWN

but individual projects are not. Contents of the design plans approved during the March 1 meet- ing include additional classrooms, expanded music and art rooms, and other features, although plans for each campus differ greatly. Trustee at large Vanessa Petrea said she is excited for the Elm Grove expansion, which has been under discussion since at least 2017. “We’re gonna add 10 classrooms to that school alone, which is awe- some,” Petrea said. District officials said the expanded floor plans will allow the district to accommodate the county’s growing population. The capacity of McCormick would increase from 900 students to more than 1,200 if the bond is passed, while other schools will see more modest expansions.

BREAKING DOWN PROPOSITIONA Hays CISD approved designs for improvements to five of its campuses, which would be funded through Propositions A and B of the 2021 bond. Below is an investment breakdown. DAHLSTROMMIDDLE SCHOOL

HAYS CISD Designs for expansions and improvements to five Hays CISD campuses were approved during a March 1 meeting of the board of trustees. Dahlstrom Middle School, McCor- mick Middle School, Barton Middle School, Negley Elementary School and Elm Grove Elementary School will all receive extensive changes to their campuses if funding is approved through the 2021 bond election planned for May. Approved changes would be provided through Proposition A and Proposition B of the election, which are valued at $147,959,876 and $41,047,216, respectively. However, both propositions contain an extensive list of other projects not included in the March 1 vote. Bond propositions are voted on individually,

$17,891,070

MCCORMICKMIDDLE SCHOOL

$9,570,099

BARTONMIDDLE SCHOOL

$6,688,081

ELMGROVE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

$12,249,157

NEGLEY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

$6,205,056*

*PRICES OF FLOORING AND INTERCOM UPGRADES NOT INCLUDED. SOURCE: HAYS CISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

District approves $1.68Mrenovation bond project work

INCENTIVE RANGE

$1,000 Minimum incentive

$3,000 Maximum incentive

SMCISD approved a program to incentivize certain employees who provide early notification of their retirement or resignation.

19 SMCISD EMPLOYEES participated in the district’s incentive program during the 2019-20 school year

BY BRIAN RASH

SANMARCOS CISD Board mem- bers approved a $1.68 million project to make improvements to Goodnight Middle School. The board voted to approve fund- ing for the bond project, which was completed over the summer of 2020, during a Feb. 22 meeting. Bernie Sandoval, the district’s director of construction manage- ment, said the project was originally estimated to cost $1.9 million, but the total pricetag ended up going down as the work was carried out. “It was a savings of about $275,000,” Sandoval said during the February SMCISD board meeting. “[There was] a lot of HVAC work, lighting, we replaced some kitchen equipment and we redid some restrooms in the cafeteria.” Other work done to the campus included new paint in the school’s auditorium, new flooring in the dance room, drainage by the football field and upgrades to the fire alarm system.

SOURCE: SAN MARCOS CISD/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SMCISDapproves resignation incentive for some employees

SMCISD and not have used more than three state or local leave days prior to the end of the work calendar. Employees absent for approved long-term leave will also qualify for the incentive. Though the program is designed to incentivize early notification of resignation or retirement, there are caps on the amount added to an employee’s pay. Based on the parameters, bonus pay is capped at a minimum of $1,000 and up to a maximum of $3,000. “If approved, employees will have 30 days to consider and notify human resources regarding their intention to participate in the early notification incentive program,” a district document states. “Addi- tionally, employees would be prohibited from SMCISD re-em- ployment into regular positions for at least two school years.”

BY BRIAN RASH

SANMARCOS CISD The board of trustees approved a process to incentivize early notification of resignation or retirement for certain employees. The move came during the school board’s Feb. 22 meeting, and specifically adds 4% to a professional, paraprofessional or auxiliary employee’s base salary should that employee participate in the early notification incentive program. According to district informa- tion, eligible employees must have at least five years of experience in

MEETINGSWE COVER

Hays CISD March 29 at 5:30 p.m. 512-268-2141

www.hayscisd.net San Marcos CISD April 19 at 6 p.m. 512-393-6700 www.smcisd.net Visit each CISD’s website for information on virtual meetings.

17

SAN MARCOS - BUDA - KYLE EDITION • MARCH 2021

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