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Marion ISD calls special meeting to discuss future of high school principal; Parents, students expected to show up in support of administrator

April 23rd, 2014

Elizardo Hernandez

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Marion) -- The Marion ISD Board of Trustees is expected to meet behind closed doors this afternoon to decide whether or not the high school principal gets to keep his job.

Over the last few weeks, parents and students have been responding to reports that Elizardo Hernandez was going to lose his job as prinicipal at Marion High School. Many have stated that Hernandez has helped boost the morale at the campus and has helped change the attitude at the school. Tonight's agenda is focused on a pair of related agenda items that read, "consultation with the district's attorney concerning legal issues and procedural issues related to non-renewal process for campus principal" and "consider and take possible action regarding proposed nonrenewal of campus principal."

While the board and superintendent will meet behind closed doors to discuss the issue, any action regarding the principal's future will be made in open session.

The special meeting begins at 5 p.m. today in the Marion Meeting and Conference Center located at 214 W. Huebinger St in Marion.

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Guadalupe County approves contractor for Ag building renovation, construction

April 23rd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court has taken its next step toward the renovation and construction of its Ag building located on Live Oak Street. Commissioners Tuesday approved the selection of Sullivan Contracting Services of Seguin as the contractor to oversee the project.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutscher says the county was fortunate to have received six sealed bids from area contractors looking for the job.

"To give a little bit of the history, the county hasn't used a competitive sealed bid process in about five or six years that I'm aware of. Most of it has been a RFQ, a request for qualifications. I thought the process event went very well -- having a competitive seal bid, being able to have a big number from contractors to be able to take into consideration -- along with other information, like experience, past work and references was very beneficial. We had six contractors that bid on the Ag building, two local companies, Koehler and Sullivan. We had three companies from San Antonio that bid the Ag building and one from Corpus Christi. Both local companies ranked at the top. They were right together and it was almost basically too close to call on the bid numbers because they were so so close," said Kutscher.

The Sullivan bid came in at an adjusted $1,042,000. Kutscher says he believes the sealed bid process will help keep the county's budget down and near the $1 million price tag. He says the competitive bid process gives the county flexibility to go in and make changes if necessary. Plus, it allows for some value engineering options such as on the A/C and Heating component of the project.

"They were very very close and I mean take that price into consideration on the competitive sealed bid, but then, because they were so close the architect had to go back and ask both contractors, once we narrowed it down to the two, additional questions to find out if there's any flexibility anywhere. What could be done, just clarification on their bid numbers and what those included and going back they were, again, very close and almost identical in their bid package and what we would get as the county and the tax payers in that Ag building and that remodel," said Kutscher.

This marks the second time that the county has selected a contractor for the project. Negotiations with the original contractor failed after the proposed costs for the project far exceeded what the commissioners court had hoped to spend. That contractor was also the only company to bid on the project at the time.

County officials late last year were forced to move the Ag programs and other offices out of the building due to the health threats of mold and asbestos. Commissioners say with this second round of negotiations with a contractor now underway, they hope to return to the building sometime in September.

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Guadalupe County supports Redwood residents' participation in new housing program

April 23rd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Redwood) -- Residents in northern Guadalupe County may soon find it easier to move into a new home thanks to action by the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court. In its continued attempt to assist residents living in the Redwood Rancho Vista area, commissioners Tuesday approved a resolution in support of the community's participation in the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affair's Texas HOME Investment Partnerships Program Reservation System.


Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutscher says the area is home to a number of low income families in Guadalupe County -- families who over the years have struggled to maintain some type of integrity to their homes. He says this is the same area just south of San Marcos, where the county assisted the neighborhood with a $1 million septic tank system program. He says through this HOME investment program, adequate housing will finally become a reality for those families who qualify.

"The home grant is a grant that goes through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs – specifically designed to provide either newly constructed homes or newly remodeled homes for low income areas and talking about low income areas in Guadalupe County and especially Precinct 2, it's the Redwood Rancho Vista area. That's what we've done today as a commissioners court is moving forward to take that step to help that low income neighborhood and area and families – (to) have an avenue to be able to apply to possibly get either a remodeled home or a newly constructed home," said Kutscher.

Kutscher says the approval of this resolution is another step toward helping further strengthen this particular community.

"There are hundreds of people that live in that area. I think as a whole -- all of the things that the county has been doing, working with the Redwood Rancho Vista area -- the community center, everybody that's involved in that neighborhood, this is just another step to help improve that area. There's a benefit to the county. There's an impact on such a big scale, not just the six, seven, eight or 10 homes that may be built over a period of time in that neighborhood, but it goes right along with the septic grants that have gone in there -- I'm talking about a community garden up in that Redwood Rancho Vista area -- also another big undertaking that was done by the community there was having a community center. It was basically donated, built (and) constructed. They have community health fairs on a regular basis. That community really has taken ownership and said we want to make our neighborhood and our community a better place and this grant through the home grant, the county has an opportunity to help assist that," said Kutscher.

While he is optimistic that this particular program can help change the lives of many Guadalupe County residents, he still remains a bit protective of making sure that folks really understand what they are signing onto. He says everyone knows that a new or renovated home, in most cases, always means more money.

"I think there are candidates out there that could be successful in this application and grant process, but like I voiced, it is my concern that you take a lower income area and you take a family that's in need of either remodeling or re-constructed home, the cost associated with that remodel or a new house are going to be substantially higher than what they currently have in their residence. You're going to have additional property taxes, you're going to have homeowner's insurance which they may not have at this point, higher utilities (and) maintenance cost -- I mean all of those things that go along with a new home and it is a concern of mine," said Kutscher.

Representatives of the program were on hand during Tuesday's commissioners court meeting to reassure the court that workshops and other disclosures of the program will be personally made to every family considering the HOME investment program. The court received a round of applause from a group of residents in that area who were on hand for the meeting and for the final vote. Many residents publicly recognized the court for its ongoing efforts to restore their homes and improve the quality of their lives.

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Relay for Life chairperson wants Seguin to paint the town purple; Seguin, Guadalupe County encouraged to show support of cancer research, prevention

April 23rd, 2014

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By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The chairperson of this year's 2014 Guadalupe County Relay of Life is taking the lead to help paint the town purple in observance of the town's effort to fight cancer. Chairperson Misti Abrameit-Guenther says she is encouraging individuals, businesses, groups, medical staff, schools, churches, and local offices to go purple on Friday.

"I would love for us to paint the town purple. If there's anyway for us to wear purple, if you have anything purple, if you have a business, tie a purple ribbon to your door -- anything just in support of Relay for Life and all of these survivors and all of these people that have to fight this disease. It's not just about Relay for Life. If people can just remember why we're doing this, is for these people who have had to fight this disease. So the survivors out there will be able to see how much support they have. So they don't have to feel lonely and feel like there's nobody there backing them. So I would just love for us to paint the town purple on Friday leading up to Relay for Life so people can see the support because Relay is so supported. So, let's show it," said Guenther.

Guenther says Saturday marks the 2014 Relay for Life event at the Guadalupe County Fairgrounds. By observing the "Go Purple Day" on Friday, Guenther hopes that it will help generate even more support for the fundraising efforts that will be held overnight during the next day at the rodeo arena.

"People can take pictures of themselves and take pictures of their purple. They can upload it to our Guadalupe County Relay for Life Facebook page. That would be so much fun for the survivors to be able to look at that and then, we can print those and have them at Relay," said Guenther.

Several teams will again be participating in this year's event. This year's theme is "Relay Under the Big Top for a Cure." A list of games and activities plus food and entertainment will be provided at the event. The schedule begins at 5 p.m. Saturday. There is no cost to attend.

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Easter Selfie

April 22nd, 2014

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Despite being quite busy this past weekend, the Easter Bunny had plenty of time for a selfie. Katie Poth was among the lucky few who spotted the furry friend riding around town on this motorcycle. The bunny was also seen distributing eggs around town while cruising a convertible. Courtesy photo.

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Teams gear up for Relay for Life 2014; Overnight fundraiser set for this weekend at rodeo arena

April 22nd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The countdown to this year's Guadalupe County Relay for Life event is officially underway. The overnight American Cancer Society fundraiser aimed at raising dollars for research along with awareness for prevention is scheduled for Saturday at the Guadalupe County Rodeo Arena.

Chairperson Misti Abrameit-Guenther says the event marks the culmination of a year's worth of fundraising by dozens of teams. She says with the various teams hosting a booth and camping at the site, the community is encouraged to stop by for some great food and family fun.

"The big thing, now going forward, we wanted to know what to let people know what we are going to have at Relay. I have a list here of all the different foods that will be sold at Relay. I have different raffles that will be done at Relay, services that we have and because it is ‘Relay Under the Big Top Carnival for A Cure,’ we're going with that (theme). So, it'll be a very interactive Relay," said Guenther.

Guenther says a list of activities are being planned throughout the overnight event. She says the Relay for Life committee works hard to successfully coordinate a full schedule of fun things to do.

"We have balloon characters, fortune tellers, face painting, the tattoos that they put on -- there's basket raffles, quilt raffles, t-shirt sales, lots of good things that night," said Guenther.

Guenther says families are especially encouraged to stop by around the clock for some great food. She says every dollar raised that night goes straight into the fight against cancer.

"The food this year, we've really focused on making sure that we will have food all night long at Relay because sometimes we run out. We have carnival food, candy apples, cotton candy, Cracker Jacks, pickles. We have the great chicken salad sandwiches that we had last year, hotdogs, chili dogs, grilled chicken sandwiches -- of course, we have Dutch oven cobblers again that are back by popular demand. We have chicken wraps and salsa and queso. We have hamburgers and cheeseburgers, we have fruit cups, we have fajitas, we have lots of baked goods, roasted corn but those are all things that we are expecting and we have jerky sticks. Those are all things that teams have signed up for and they've let us know that this is what they plan on doing at Relay," said Guenther.

Guadalupe County Relay for Life is set to begin at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Guadalupe County Rodeo Arena located at the Fairgrounds. The event will run through early Sunday morning. There is no cost to attend.

Seguin Radio KWED and the Seguin Daily News are also inviting individuals to stop by the radio station to help remember or honor those who have been impacted by cancer. A $1 donation is being accepted to help recognize these names in a future edition of the Seguin Daily News. The names of the individuals will also be posted up in the radio station lobby. Names will be accepted through 5 p.m. Friday at the radio station located at 609 E. Court St.

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Guadalupe County appraised values hit area mailboxes; Residential appraisals report likely increase in value

April 22nd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Be on the lookout for your 2014 notices of appraised value on your residential property. That's according to Jamie Osborne, the chief appraiser for the Guadalupe Appraisal District.

"We mailed a little over 49,000 notices of appraised values at the Guadalupe Appraisal District, April the 4th. The deadline for filing a notice of protest related to the value on a property will be May 31st. That will be the biggest thing is to let everybody know the deadline for that and also to encourage property owners’ participation in that process if they have received their notice and then after reviewing it, they have an issue or a protest or concern with the property evaluation -- they will need to get in contact with us by filing a notice to that deadline," said Osborne.

Osborne says this year is significant in that property owners will most likely see an increase in their values.

"Starting in the 2008 year, there was kind of a leveling off that we had seen in real estate property values. But now at this point, over the last 12 months, we've really seen where volume and activity in the market has increased. So, we're just trying to respond to that activity and trying to be as close to the 100 percent market value with relation to that activity in the market," said Osborne.

Osborne says for 2014, rural land values in Guadalupe County continue to remain stable, seeing general increases compared to 2013. She says likewise, residential properties in the district will see an overall increase among all residential classification types.

"Across the board for residential properties our base cost schedule increased 9.6 percent. Now keep in mind that kind of a general across the board, then we come back and we calibrate our value by subdivisions. So once we have changed that, they schedule up 9.6 percent. We come back and take a little bit closer look of that neighborhood, or that general market area and compare that to the sales that have occurred over that last 12 months there. So yes in some cases, property, residential property is being 9.6, but that may not be the case for everybody, because this neighborhood calibration may have brought that below 9.6 or above 9.6," said Osborne.

For the 2014 year, the Guadalupe Appraisal District will notify new property owners, owners of parcels with a $1,000 or greater increase in value from 2013 to 2014, owners of recently annexed parcels and owner of parcels where the owner or agent has filed a rendition. Property owners who have not submitted their homestead application or agricultural use application should be reminded that the filing deadline is April 30th. Property owners who have questions regarding their 2014 notices are encouraged to contact the appraisal district office at 830-303-3313 or visit the office online at www.guadalupead.org.

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Seguin ISD to discuss new high school design

April 22nd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees tonight will move a step forward in the actual design of the new high school campus.
Trustees are scheduled to receive an update regarding the status of the Macro Plan Design (preliminary plan) of the new Seguin High School campus during tonight's regular board meeting.

District officials say on March 5, ERO Architects and the district met for the purpose of eviewing the preliminary design in progress and to compare it to the District Educational Program. They say tonight's Macro Plan presentation is expected to provide the most current efforts by the project development team to bring the Macro Plan to completion. With further comments from the board and district staff /ERO will further refine a final schematic design phase plan for review and comments from the school board.

Voters in November approved the $78.3 million high school. The school building will be constructed at its existing site. The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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Public invited to meeting on signage program; Meeting to provide ideas for Way-Finding Program

April 22nd, 2014

(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin encourages the community to attend an upcoming public meeting for input on the development of a way-finding signage program.

The program is part of an overall master planning effort to attract visitors, business and economic activity within the City of Seguin.

Scott Packard, the public information officer for the city of Seguin, says the goal is to place priority on making it easier for people to navigate the area whether on foot, bike or by vehicle.

"This is an exciting opportunity for the community to come out and share their thoughts on how this signage program will take shape," said Packard. "We want to hear your thoughts about how to point visitors in the direction of attractions that make our city great."

The public meeting will be held April 22 at 5:30pm at the Seguin Coliseum, 950 South Austin Street. The public and stakeholders are encouraged to share experiences and insights to help people find their way around Seguin.

The city of Seguin hired consulting firm fd2s to develop a signature way-finding signage program. fd2s is a Texas-based firm with more than 20 years of experience in developing way-finding programs for a range of project types, including municipalities.

Design concepts are expected to be presented as part of a final plan by the end of July. For more information, please contact Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jillian Boldway at 830-401-0810.

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Guadalupe County Farm Bureau to make learning new farm bill easy; Farm bill decision aids now available online

April 22nd, 2014

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County farmers and ranchers who are struggling to understand the 2014 Farm Bill and the options it affords them can now find help online, thanks to a number of ag-oriented agencies and organizations.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) and the Agricultural and Food policy Center (AFPC) at Texas A&M University have both posted valuable information online explaining the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs," said Gary Braune, Guadalupe County Farm Bureau president. "There's a wealth of information available to help farmers make educated decisions regarding their futures."

Other farm organizations are hosting meetings in their respective service areas to help farmers and ranchers understand the decisions they'll have to make in the coming months.

"We encourage Guadalupe County farmers and ranchers to do their research before choosing either the ARC or PLC program as you'll have to stick with that program throughout the life of the farm bill," said Braune.

USDA will release additional information about the programs afforded through the farm bill as it's interpreted and implemented.
To access AFPC's data on the commodity title of the farm bill, visit www.afpc.tamu.edu and click on the appropriate link on the right-hand side of the page.

FSA's 2014 Farm Bill resources can be found by clicking the "2014 Farm Bill " graphic at the top of www.FSA.USDA.gov.

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McDonald's teams up with 100 Club during Good Friday fundraiser

April 21st, 2014

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Seguin Police Detective Bruno Cavazos gets a lesson at the fry station from McDonald's employee Angel Saucedo. Cavazos, along with several other local emergency workers, became temporary McDonald employees as part of a fundraising event for the Guadalupe County 100 Club. The club works to support the families of men and women of law enforcement and in the fire service, who are injured or killed in the line of duty.Donations can be made by visiting their Facebook page. Photo by Andie Rangel Jenner

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City wants to build bridge at San Antonio Avenue, Walnut Creek

April 21st, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin hopes to tap into some federal funds that will allow it to build a much needed bridge on the Rolex Replica west side of town.

City Purchasing Manager Twila Wood says the U.S. Department of Transportation has millions of dollars available as part of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. She says the city is seeking the funds to build a bridge on San Antonio Avenue at Walnut Creek near the Sunset Terrace apartment complext.

"U.S. Department of Transportation has authorized $600 million to be awarded competitively for national infrustructure investments. The transportation investment generating economic recovery or TIGER grant program will fund a variety of projects that meets certain criteria, such as improving the condition of existing transportation facilities and investments that increase transportation choices and connect people with work and education. Staff believes that the bridge replacement on San Antonio (Avenue) at Walnut Branch will align well with the objectives of this grant program," said Wood.

If the grant application is approved, the federal funds would provide the bulk of the funding for the proejct.

"The minimum award for this grant is $1 million and will require a 20 percent local match. A project estimate is not yet available for this project, but based on the minimum award local funding in the amount of at least $250,000 will be required," said Wood.

The grants are all aimed at boosting infrastructure in communities across the nation. Staffers say the Replica Watches bridge could be used a path to local elementary and middle schools.

The grant application was approved last week by the Seguin City Council.

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Electric Department workers honored by city of Seguin; Mayor Proclaims National Lineman Appreciation Day April 18 Recognizes Efforts of Lineman

April 21st, 2014

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil presents a proclamation for April 18 as “National Lineman Appreciation Day” in the City of Seguin. Pictures at ground level, from left to right: City Manager Doug Faseler, Electric Superintendent Val Gurola, Electric Director Clarence Smith, Mayor Don Keil and Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes. Pictured on the pole, in no particular order: Crew Leaders Tim Martin and Derek Pusser, Linemen Joe Garcia and Freddy King, Apprentice Linemen Ethan Courtney, Dodson Renaud, Jimmy Herrera, Bobby Hyatt and Michael Sanchez.

(Seguin) -- Mayor Don Keil has proclaimed April 18 as “National Lineman Appreciation Day” in the City of Seguin. The proclamation was presented Thursday outside the Seguin Electric Warehouse.

“Electric customers in Seguin should be proud to have such a dedicated, professional and skilled group of lineman working to keep their electric service up and Replica Handbags running,” Mayor Don Keil said. “These lineman put their lives on the line everyday with little recognition regarding the danger of their work.”

The Seguin Electric Utilities Department has ten employees who are responsible for the maintenance of 110 miles of overhead electric lines, 20 miles of underground electric lines and three substations. The department is responsible for maintaining approximately 7,100 utility poles and Replica Watches UK installing and maintaining all street and security lights.

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Kids Fishing Event Attracts Hundreds Organizes Plan to Make It an Annual Event

April 21st, 2014

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(Seguin) -- The first ever Just for Kids Fishin' Day was a big hit in Seguin. More than 400 people came out to the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center on April 12. The event was presented by the Seguin Parks and Recreation Department, Texas Game Warden Association and the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center.

“The kids and parents had a great time,” Seguin Parks and Recreation Director Jack Jones said. “We received lots of positive feedback and hope to make this an annual event.”

Approximately 180 kids ages 5-12 fished during the event. Loaner poles were provided to those who needed them. Bait, tackle and lunch were provided to participants. All fishing was catch-and-release. Drawings for prizes were held throughout the event.

The Seguin Parks and Recreation Department would like to thank the volunteers and sponsors who made the event possible. The Texas Game Warden Association, Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority, Walmart, Guadalupe County and Texas Parks and Wildlife were among the organizations whose donations were vital to the event’s success.

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County continues employee wellness program

April 21st, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County continues to encourage its employees to get fit, and stay healthy. The Guadalupe County Human Resources Department recently provided the Commissioners Court with an update on its Wellness Program.

Cheraun Blankenship, county employee benefit administrator, told the court there are several programs underway, and they are starting some new things this spring.

"We have a couple of programs that we would like to finish out the year with, and we've allocated some funding out of the wellness line. Basically we'd like to offer the biometric screening again for employees. We thought that went over really well. We hope to see improved attendence on that, and through that we would like to have a 'lunch and learn' (class) and have the agency that provided these screenings come and do a lunch and learn for employees that maybe have some questions about hot it works, so they can provide plenty of information. I think last year it was kind of rushed. We had them at the health fair, and so people didn't have the opportunity to really get the full presentation of the screenings, (and) what's checked, the confidentiality, (and) etc." said Blankenship.

"Sonic Boom is another walking program that we would like to try out with our employees towards the end of the year. (The) Walk Across Texas (program) is going over very well right now. We have 152 participants and as of (Monday) when I checked our progress county wide, we have 11 teams that collectively have walked over a 1,000 miles. We are in our sixth week right now. So we have two more weeks left until this program (ends)."

Blankenship says they've gotten good participation with all of their efforts so far. She says they just want to encourage more employees to take advantage of the programs and services that the county offers through its wellness campaign.

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Guadalupe County, SISD reach deal AgriLife offices; County continues to lease space from school district

April 21st, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County commissioners Tuesday made sure they continued to have a temporary home for the employees at the Texas AgriLife Extension Service.

The employees have been displaced and housed at the Seguin ISD's Mary B. Erskine campus since the county shut down its Agriculture Building, because mold and abestos were found inside the building.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutscher says the county's deal with the Seguin ISD was set to expire at the end of next month, so the court needed to take action to extend its agreement with the school district.

Kutscher says maintaining the temporary site is important, but he says the county is also moving forward with the plans to renovate the Ag Building and to get it reopened to those employees and others who use the building on East Live Oak Street.

"We are currently in the process of doing competitive sealed bids to find the contractor for the construction and renovation of the ag building. Those bids (were due back on Friday, April 18). A couple of weeks ago, we went before the school board, Seguin Independent School District and they agreed unanimously to extend the agreement with the county for the use of Mary B. Erskine space. It was open ended during that discussion, one of the school board members voiced of concern about not having an ending date. (Seguin ISD Superintendent) Dr. (Irene) Garza made a suggestion of putting the end of the year on there. Hopefully we'll be able to move out of that space into the newly renovated ag building long prior to the end of the year, but in the agreement it does state that the end of 2014 is the ending date of that agreement," said Kutscher.

The county hopes that it will get multitple bids on the project this time. The project was previously bid, but only one contractor bid on the job, and the proposed costs for the project far exceeded what the commissioners court had hoped to spend. The project is being re-bid to see if more competition will help to bring down those constructions costs.

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Full calendar of Easter activities this weekend

April 18th, 2014

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There's lots of Easter fun for the kids this weekend in Seguin. Check pages 8 and 9 in the weekend edition of the KWED Seguin Daily News for a list of community and religious events planned for this weekend, or go online to seguintoday.com.

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Good Friday service to be held in Central Park; Local churches invite community to take part in Stations of the Cross service

April 18th, 2014

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By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Two local churches hope that the community will come and participate in a special Good Friday event. St. James Catholic Church and St. Andrews Episcopal Church are again hosting a Stations of the Cross service in Central Park.

Father Kevin Dellaria, of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, says this event is open to anyone who would like attend.

"We gather here at St. Andrew's in the courtyard and then as a group we process over to Central Park, and we begin with station one and we make our way through the park. We sort of weave in and out of Central Park. At each station, we stop, we hear a brief meditation on that particular station, that's read by members of either St. Andrews or St. James. (We) Say a prayer and then we move on to the next station until we finally end up at the gazebo," said Dellaria.

Dellaria says he sees the Stations of the Cross as, literally, a moving meditation.

"(As) we move along, we're walking with Christ, both physically and in our spirit as we move through these stations and at each point we stop. We have this time of reflecting, what it must of been like to go through this suffering and to know that you are on your way to your death. It creates that reverence that you need for Good Friday, because truly the only way to celebrate a joyous Easter is to understand the fullness of the sorrow that happens on Good Friday," said Dellaria.

The event is hosted each year in downtown Seguin as a way to encourage people to come out and particpate in what Dellaria says is a moving event.

"I just encourage people to come. It is open to everyone. It's such a wonderful way to prepare ourselves for this greatest of Christian holidays. Every believer should come out and be a part of this and enjoy ecumenical spirit that we at St. Andrews enjoy with St. James and with other churches. It's a beautiful, beautiful service and I'm looking forward to being there, " said Oliver.

The Stations of the Cross service begins at 3 p.m. Friday in Central Park.

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TLU Nursing Program to Officially Begin Fall 2014; New Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree addresses demand for profession

April 18th, 2014

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Texas Lutheran University wants to help supply more well-trained nurses. The university announced its new nursing program this week.

(Seguin) -- Texas Lutheran University this week announced the creation of its new nursing program. The degree offering will begin in the fall.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Projections for 2010 to 2020, the registered nursing workforce is the top occupation in terms of job growth through 2020. Texas Lutheran University’s new nursing program will give students the necessary training and opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree in this rapidly growing profession.

“Next fall, the university will enter a new era of delivering exceptional quality in professional health education” said TLU President Dr. Stuart Dorsey. “The new BSN program will be an outstanding opportunity for the university, our students and the region. Under Director of Nursing Kathie Aduddell, TLU will offer a program of exceptional quality exemplifying our mission of service and our values of combining faith and learning.”

Prospective students who choose to go through the nursing program at TLU will earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and be prepared to sit for the state registered nurse licensing exam. TLU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) will provide students with clinical and classroom hours and topics to sit for the state registered nurse licensing examination. The degree track, like all RN programs, requires a great deal of experience in the clinical setting and students will work directly with patients. Research from the American Association of Colleges of Nursingshows that lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors and positive outcomes are all linked to nurses prepared at the baccalaureate and graduate degree levels.

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TLU President Stuart Dorsey announced the start of a new nursing program in a video posted to YouTube this week.

With the shortage of registered nurses projected to spread across the country through 2030, TLU’s new program will help fill the need for qualified, professional nurses. The January 2012 United States Registered Nurse Workforce Report Card and Shortage Forecast presented a state-by-state analysis predicting the RN shortage to be most intense in the South and the West.

TLU has hired Kathie Aduddell to head the new nursing program approved by the Texas Board of Nursing. She brings more than 35 years of health care experience to the university. Aduddell previously served as an associate professor for the WellStar School of Nursing and MSN-nursing administration and health policy leadership coordinator for Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga. Before her career at KSU, she was director of the associate degree nursing program at Victoria College, in Victoria, Texas, assistant professor at the School of Nursing at Radford University in Radford, Va., and director of health services at Fullerton College in Fullerton, Calif.

She holds a Doctor of Education from Pepperdine University, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Medical Branch Galveston and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Virginia.

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Local man receives 20 years on murder charge

April 18th, 2014

jacob andrade

A Seguin man is headed to prison for the next 20 years for murder. Jacob Jay Andrade, 31, of Seguin, was given the prison time this week in a plea agreement with prosecutors. Andrade admitted to shooting Juan Beza to death in July 2012 at the Varsity Inn on West Court Street.

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Wrestling event coming to Palace Theatre; RCW bringing movie, live wrestling show to downtown Seguin

April 18th, 2014

rcw

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- They'll be bodyslams and flying dropkicks for fans to enjoy this weekend at the Palace Theatre. River City Wrestling (RCW) is bringing live professional wrestling matches to Seguin on Saturday. RCW Managing Member Brandon Oliver says they plan to put on a great show for those who attend.

"We are San Antonio's brand of professional wrestling, who will come now to Seguin for this show at the beautiful Palace Theatre. We're going to have the ring set up there at the theatre, it's going to look fantastic. They'll see five incredible matches, (and) admission is just $10 for all ages. It's suitable for the entire family, from age five up to 95. Everyone's going to have a great time," said Oliver.
Oliver says wrestlers in action will include the Total Nonstop Action (TNA) superstar and RCW Champion "The Super-Mex" Hernandez, International Champion "The Ultraviolent Beast" Masada, "The Best Ever" Sammy Guevara, Christian Valenz and many more.
"You're going to see a six man tag (team) match. We're going to have women wrestlers there, we're literally going to have everything. It's all going to take place this Saturday at the beautiful historic Palace Theatre," said Oliver.

Oliver says fans are encouraged to get there early for a free movie screening featuring some of the greatest professional wrestlers in recent history. The movie is free, and he says they hope folks will stick around for the paid portion of the night, which will include several matches inside the theatre.

"Well it starts off first of all with a great movie and any wrestling fan knows, 'Ready to Rumble', because of all the WCW guys that are in it and the Palace Theatre is showing it for free. That's such an entertainment value right there, becuase we all know how much it costs to go see a movie now a days. So you get that for free at 5:30 p.m. then after the movie is over, they walk right downstairs to the theatre on the first floor, and we're going to have the ring set up. At 7:30 we'll open the doors and just for $10 all ages, $10 you get this incredible entertainment value of a three hour live wrestling show. So they get to see a two hour movie free about professional wrestling then they get an additional live show right in front of their faces," said Oliver

Oliver says if you've never seen wrestling in person, you owe it to yourself to come and check out their show.

"They're going to give you every ounce of their body and their soul this Saturday night. They're going to thrill you, they're going to fly off the top rope, they're going to slam eachother, they're going to do all the crazy things that you expect in a professional wrestling show," said Oliver.

Tickets are $10 for the 7:30 p.m. Saturday show and the seating is done on a first-come, first-served basis, with the exception of those that purchase tickets online. Online tickets can be purchased at ticketweb.com or rcw-wrestling.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the door.

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April 17th, 2014

Norma Magana, of Seguin, died Sunday at the age of 52. Visitation runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today at Palmer Mortuary. The funeral is set for 11 a.m. today at Palmer Mortuary Chapel. Survivors include husband, Fernando Gonzales; daughter, Melissa Magana; son, Hector Rodriguez; and parents, Urbano and Isabel Rodriguez.

Cynthia Mary Ostroski Gibson, age 65, passed away Sunday, April 13, 2014 in Seguin, Texas. Ms. Gibson was formerly of Detroit, Michigan. She is survived by Jack Smith, Caregiver of Seguin; (3) sons: David Lee Caldwell of Colorado City, Texas; Steven Swayne Reid of Duluth, Minnesota; jeffrey Earl Gibson of Olney, Texas and (4) sisters; Katherine Sternmann of New Berlin, Wisconsin; Mary Lee Foote of Cold Water, Michigan; Linda Hapke of Plano, Texas and Gail Serapone of Willington, Delaware; (7) Grandchildren and (3) great-grandchildren. Collins Funeral Home, Seguin, Texas

David Adams, Sr. of Converse, died Friday, April 11, 2014, at the age of 66. Funeral arrangements are pending at Eunice and Lee Mortuary. He is preceded in death by Charles David Adams and Maxine Cami Bell. Survivors include sons, David H. Adams, Jr. and Brian K. Watson (Sonya); brothers, Charles Adams (Vivian) and Winn Adams and sister, Gloria Coleman.

Dr. Kimble A. Traeger of San Marcos, previously of Seguin, passed away on April 10, 2014, at the age of 93. He was born to Andrew and Katie (Blumberg) Traeger on January 21, 1921, in Seguin, Texas. He is preceded in death by his parents, wife Billie Traeger, and sister Betsy Weyel. He is survived by sons Kimble B. Traeger and Stephen Traeger and wife Kathy, granddaughter StacyTraeger, sister Elizabeth “Tudy” Ryan, and brother Bobby Traeger. Family will receive friends at Pennington Funeral Home in San Marcos, 1:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, April 13, 2014. Interment will be held at Fort Sam Cemetery, San Antonio, onThursday, April 17, 2014, at 11:00 A.M. Arrangements by Pennington Funeral Home, 323 N. Comanche, San Marcos, Texas 78666, 512-353-4311.www.penningtonfuneralhome.com

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City may try to set fees for wrecker services; Council members say policy needed for wrecker rotations, rates

April 17th, 2014

wrecker art

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin City Council wants to make sure that motorists aren't being gouged for wrecker services in the city of Seguin. The council on Tuesday discussed the possibility of regulating and establishing pricing for some wrecker services.

Councilman Nick Carrillo placed the item on the agenda after he had received complaints about people who had their vehicles towed after accidents in the city. He says the rates being charged in some cases were too high. He says some people are paying several hundred dollars just to get a vehicle that's been stored for less than a full day.

"The inequity of price charging is really high when they picked up a car or anything else. Believe it or not this charge ran up to right at $600. So it's really something we have to look at," said Carrillo.

Carrillo says he's also received some complaints about how the wrecker service rotation works when various wrecker companies are called out to accident scenes. He says some wrecker services provide clean-up service at the scene of the crash, while other ignore the debris.

City Manager Doug Faseler says staff will start reviewing this issue, and see what could be done to create a local wrecker service ordinance.

"I've already talked to the (police) chief and we're putting together some information see how some other communities handle it with the rotation. Even though you may have a rotation basis, you may (need to) develop some specifications as to what you expect from the wrecker service company -- response time, their responsibilites at the accident scenes, (and) things like that. So we currently do not have an ordinance in place that outlines (that). We can look at that and see what we can put together," said Faseler

Carrillo says the rotations need to be looked at, but so does the pricing. Councilman Carlos Medrano agreed. He says he personally has experienced high towing and storage fees, and he thinks it not fair.

"I think last year they got me for $1,200, and they want cash -- no (credit) card, no checks -- only cash," said Medrano.

Council Bob Pees says he understands the concerns, but he added that the council is taking on a big job if it's going to try to work on setting rates.

"If we are going to talk about the pricing now, you're getting into a whole different ball of wax. Are we going to make people justify their rates, with cost information? If we are going to be regulating prices, we got another whole big job," said Pees.

Medrano and Carrillo both said they believe that pricing needed to be part of their study, and part of any policy adopted by the council.

"Whatever they charge is what they charge, but I think $1,200 or $600 for that same day (pick up) is a little steep," said Medrano. "I don't mind paying my fair share, because people have got to make a living. I just can't afford 1,200 bucks."

Utlimately, Councilman Pees agreed, and called those rates "absolutely ridiculous."

Staff is expected to research the topic and bring the issue back to the council for further discussion. It's not clear at this point exactly what, if any, recommendations will be made.

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Design work set to begin on parks projects; City hopes new Hoermann Park open in 2015

April 17th, 2014

(Seguin) -- The design work on a new city park can now officially begin. Seguin City Council members on Tuesday approved a professional services agreement with Rialto Studios.

Parks Director Jack Jones says the design firm will officially develop the plans and oversee the construction work of the park projects approved by voters during a bond election last November.

"This includes everything out in Hermann property, with the exception of the skate park. Rialto Studios is going to design in the skate park into the project, doing some of the drainage, the detenion, utilities, and things like that. The skate park will come before you in the future meeting to select a designer for that," said Jones.

Jones says this action allows the city to hit the ground running on these projects, and in another year or so, many of these projects will be complete.

"This time next year you can see three projects going on at the same time in the park. You can see the trail project going in, the TxDot hike and bike trail, you can see the skate park going in, and you can see the work done on the other parts of the Hoermann property at this time next year. So we're excited about the projects. In you're packet, there's a schedule. This is a projected schedule. If all goes well, we can be open, the entire park could be open next summer. The skate park could be open in the spring of next year," said Jones.

Voters approved $5 million in park improvements, including the creation of the new community park to be built on the city's Hoermann property at Vaughan Street and San Antonio Avenue. The bond also called for significant improvements to be made at both Max Starcke and Manuel Castilla parks.

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"Check It Out" has new meaning at library this week; National Library week encourages folks to come see what the library has to offer

April 17th, 2014

library

Seguin Mayor Don Keil signs a proclamation for National Library Week. Pictured in no particular order: Seguin Mayor Don Keil, Seguin Library Director Jacki Gross, Seguin HR Director Tammy Garcia, Library Board members Audra Schulz, Jennifer Spencer, Gloria Valdez, Pat Villeneuve, Pete Campbell, Sharron Vogel, Charles Willmann and Jack Linden and Patrick Howard, Seguin Public Library staff Gracie Rodriguez, Susie Herrera, Erica Reyes, Silvia Christy, Anna Kelley, Linda Haseloff, young library users Clara Spencer-Dibble and Colin Spencer-Dibble and library user Mark Dibble.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- If you haven't checked out the services available at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Public Library, you may be missing out on a whole new world of opportunities.

This week has been declared National Library Week in the city of Seguin. Seguin Library Director Jacki Gross says Mayor Don Keil has signed a proclamation recognizing this week. Gross says they want to use this opportunity to highlight the many services now available at the library.

"We have a lot of things for people of all ages -- from our weekly story hours to our adult crafts club, as well as the book club for adults," said Gross.

As the way information and communication is shared keeps changing, Gross says the library provides everyone with an opportunity to stay connected to the community and to the rest of the world.

"We want people to know that this is a gathering place for the community and more so than ever, because the -- we're living in such a digital world, actually meeting and communicating with people face to face is a really important thing. We think we can offer that, just that one place that people can go, doesn't matter (who you are), you don't have to belong. You can just come and participate in the programs, read some newspapers or magazines, check out some books or bring your Kindle and download some e-books, all of that. We just want people to remember that it's their library and they should take advantage of it," said Gross.

As one might suspect, the Seguin public library has an ever growing book collection, but Gross says they are so much more than books. She says library, for many people, is the one place where they have access to new digital technologies. She says just by providing computers, for public use, is making a big difference in Seguin.

"I think people would be amazed at the number of peopele that come in to use our computers. There are a lot of people who don't necessarily have access to the internet at home or a computer at home and they can come here. We provide that so that they can stay connected, because as you know that's what it's all about now a days. You have to be filling out job applications online or signing up for healthcare online, all of that has to be done online now. We want to provide access to electronics so people can do that," said Gross.

According the the American Library Association, the theme of National Library Week 2014 is “Lives change @ your library.” National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries - school, public, academic and special - participate.

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Local campus gets $20K award; Rodriguez Elementary School gets award from Silver & Black Give Back

April 17th, 2014


coyote

The Spurs Coyote was one of the special guests to visit Rodriguez Elementary School on Monday.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Some second grade students at Rodriguez Elementary School were all smiles Monday after learning they had won $20,000 for their classes' "Baking with Books" program.

The program created by second grade teachers Dawn Lawhorn and Carol Muenich has students read a story, then bake items related to the story, and then donate those baked goods to volunteers in the community. The $20,000 grant comes from Silver and Black Give Back, formerly known as the Spurs Foundation.

Lawhorn says it was a special moment for their students.

"We are very excited, we are in shock, but the kids earned it and we are very proud of them," said Lawhorn

Muenich says they couldn't be more thrilled. She says the kids are so excited about the prize, but more excited about the program that they helped to start.

"They are very excited. They have been enjoying going and helping out the community," said Muenich.

Lawhorn says the $20,000 grant will allow them to keep this program alive for several more years.

"We're hoping to continue the program for at least six or seven years. Bake every year, and continue to share with the community, and do our volunteer work out in the community. And of course our project combines, not only our volunteer work but the curriculum part within the classrooms. So the kids are obviously learning at the same time, and applying their learning with their community service project," said Lawnhorn.

Spurs Silver Dancers, the Spurs Coyote and Rampage mascot TBone were all on hand for the celebration, which included a suprise presentation in front of the entire school.

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Seguin Main Street names Downtowner of the Year; Local businesses honored for role in downtown revitalization

April 16th, 2014

downtowner of the year

Seguin Mayor Don Keil, right, presents John Gesick, the executive director of The Heritage Museum, with this year's award of Downtowner of the Year. The award was presented on behalf of the Seguin Main Street Program. The award was unveiled as part of this year's Moonlight and Roses event held last Friday at Walnut Springs Park.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Heritage Museum in downtown Seguin continues to mark its own place in history. The not-for-profit museum, under the direction of Executive Director John Gesick, was named this year's Downtowner of the Year. The award was announced Friday night by the Seguin Main Street Advisory Board during the city's Moonlight and Roses event in Walnut Springs Park.

Gathered at the park's Memorial Rose Garden, the group applauded the local museum for being a "true gift to downtown and Seguin with its collections, displays and photos that tell the history of the people and places that have crafted our community."

Honored for the recognition was Gesick who says the award is indeed a partnership with all those who contribute and support the museum.

"I'm just at a loss for words. I'm so delighted that the Main Street Advisory Board even considered nominating us. We know that we are a part of Seguin. We are proud to be a part of Seguin but to be so recognized, it gives me goose bumps all over for not just me but for our board of directors who participate. I'm so excited," said Gesick. "We're still here after 16 years and a big thanks goes to the Baenziger family for letting us have the old Red and White store. I think for the city, it means that we bring people into downtown. I find it amazing that so many of our visitors are from out of town, out of state and out of the country and to be allowed to pursue this and to have international as well as national and local connections says an awful lot about what we have to offer in terms of our history and the support of our mission statement which is all about the people of Seguin and Guadalupe County and South Central Texas."

Local business owner Cathy Cordes was also honored for her contributions to downtown Seguin. Main Street Advisory Board Member Hepzibah Hoffman-Rogers says Cordes has definitely been a leader in downtown revitalization.

"In appreciation of her service on both the Main Street Advisory Board and the Historic Design Review Committee, and for serving as co-chair of ArtsFest, and helping raise over $10,000 for the arts, and for generously supporting downtown events with donations -- the Main Street Advisory Board is pleased to announce Cathy Cordes as Volunteer of the Year," said Hoffman-Rogers.

Downtown business owners Mary and David Reiley, of Gift & Gourmet; and Jeff Koehler, of Design Associates, were also honored for their recent transformation of an old warehouse space located just behind the gift shop.

"This couple has been recognized previously for Gift & Gourmet but this past year, they transformed a warehouse into a positive asset for downtown, opening boarded up windows and creating an interesting work space for Jeff Koehler with Design Associates," said Hoffman-Rogers.

Hoffman-Rogers also recognized a local cultural group for its contributions to the Seguin community.

"The Main Street Advisory Board likes to recognize deserving partners and this year, it is pleased to name Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin as their Downtown Partner for 2013-2014. Teatro de Artes has provided entertainment for Pecan Fest, Central Park Concerts and ArtsFest bringing color and cultural diversity to our community with their performances. Thank you to all the members of Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin," said Hoffman-Rogers.

The owner of Sheek by J, John Flores, was also recognized Friday night. Hoffman-Rogers says the advisory board is appreciative to Flores' commitment
to help grow and encourage downtown retail.

"The Main Street Advisory Board is also pleased to present a special Dynamic Downtown Business Award to John Flores, owner of Sheek by J. His retail store in downtown Seguin is a real plus, showcasing his talent for merchandising and attracting a loyal base of customers," said Hoffman-Rogers.

A business that has invested years in downtown Seguin also didn't go unnoticed during this year's awards program at Moonlight and Roses. Hoffman-
Rogers says this particular business has developed a signature location at the corner of West Court and North Camp streets.

"This year, the Main Street Advisory Board recognizes a veteran business with another special award, the Downtown Cornerstone Award to Vogue Shoes for being a steady presence downtown, providing a quality service-oriented business that has stood the test of time," said Hoffman-Rogers.

As an added bonus, members of the Seguin Main Street Advisory Board, this year recognized the dedication of city staff member Christy Hopper. Hoffman-Rogers says the board extended the "Amazing Main Street Program Assistant Award" to Hopper for its appreciation of her hard work and dedication to the program.

The awards program helped kick off an evening of free food and live music. Moonlight and Roses is held each year in April.

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Dispatchers honored for their service

April 16th, 2014

telecommunicators week

Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke is saluting the people who you hear on the other end of the line during an emergency. This week is National Telecommunications Week, which is a time to honor dispatchers at the Sheriff's Office and others across the state and the nation. The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a proclamation officially recognizing this week at Telecommunications Week in Guadalupe County.

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County gets funding to help repair roads; TXDOT funding to help repair roads damaged by Eagle Ford traffic

April 16th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The state of Texas is sending some extra money to Guadalupe County to help with road repairs. Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutsher says the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) is sending more than $1.6 million to the county. The money comes from a special fund set up by the state to help counties where the road infrastructure had been damaged by the heavy truck traffic caused by the Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas drilling in South Texas.

Kutscher says they had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get the money, but he says the county's application has now been approved.

"We submitted the application, (and) TXDOT sent back two deficiencies on the application. They wanted more information on the priororitized project road list timeline, and then they wanted some updates on the road condition reports. We sent that information back, TXDOT has since approved our application and awarded the county $1.65 million. There's about $220,000 more than what we were initially told (we'd get). (We) got a lot of help from the road and bridge department, (and) other departments. (I'm) just happy that we were able to go throught the process to get the much needed grant money. It's not going to go quite as far as we need it to, but we'll take what we can get, " said Kutscher.

A large portion of southern Guadalupe County, known as Area A for this grant project, has been selected to be part of an reinvestment zone that was required to be set up in order to receive the funding. Six roads in all were prioritized for this project. Those roads include Zion Hill Road, Schneider Road, Elm Creek Road, Blue Creek Road, Haeckerville Road and Dreibrodt Road.

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town and country

County continues employee wellness program

April 16th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County continues to encourage its employees to get fit, and stay healthy. The Guadalupe County Human Resources Department provided the Commissioners Court on Tuesday with an update on its Wellness Program.

Cheraun Blankenship, county employee benefit administrator, told the court there are several programs underway, and they are starting some new things this spring.

"We have a couple of programs that we would like to finish out the year with, and we've allocated some funding out of the wellness line. Basically we'd like to offer the biometric screening again for employees. We thought that went over really well. We hope to see improved attendence on that, and through that we would like to have a 'lunch and learn' (class) and have the agency that provided these screenings come and do a lunch and learn for employees that maybe have some questions about hot it works, so they can provide plenty of information. I think last year it was kind of rushed. We had them at the health fair, and so people didn't have the opportunity to really get the full presentation of the screenings, (and) what's checked, the confidentiality, (and) etc." said Blankenship.

"Sonic Boom is another walking program that we would like to try out with our employees towards the end of the year. (The) Walk Across Texas (program) is going over very well right now. We have 152 participants and as of (Monday) when I checked our progress county wide, we have 11 teams that collectively have walked over a 1,000 miles. We are in our sixth week right now. So we have two more weeks left until this program (ends)."

Blankenship says they've gotten good participation with all of their efforts so far. She says they just want to encourage more employees to take advantage of the programs and services that the county offers through its wellness campaign.

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Schertz Animal Adoption Center Grand Opening Today

April 15th, 2014

schertz pet

(Schertz) -- The City of Schertz will be hosting the Grand Opening of the new Schertz Animal Adoption Center on Tuesday, April 15, from 3:00-6:00 PM at 800 Community Circle, Schertz, TX 78154. This Grand Opening will celebrate all of the hard work put in by city staff and volunteers over the years to help make this new center a reality.

Grand Opening activities will include facility tours of the new Animal Adoption Center, animal adoptions and an official ribbon cutting ceremony which will take place at 4:00 PM. Local pet vendors and veterinarians will have booths set up at grand opening to provide information about area services for new and current pet owners.

“The completion of the new Animal Adoption Center marks a milestone in furthering our commitment to ongoing quality of life projects in Schertz,” said Mayor Michael Carpenter

“The title alone is reflective of our attitude toward animals and the people who care for them. No longer is this the animal control building or the proverbial ‘dog pound.’ The connotation is one of caregiving and innovation - the new facility allows us to make that strong statement and directional change with a very loud voice,” the mayor added.

Approved in the 2010 bond election, the new Animal Adoption Center addresses a broad scope of needs for animals, their owners, and the city. One of the unique features of this all-inclusive animal care facility is the window displays for the cats and dogs.

These windows allow individuals to view featured animals from the exterior of the building. In addition, the facility has a dog and puppy adoption room to allow people to interact with a dog they are considering adopting. This and other amenities promote one of the functions of the Schertz Animal Services Department, promoting the adoption of dogs and cats.

"We are so excited about the new Animal Adoption Center. This building allows for more than twice the space of the old building. In addition, we have isolation rooms that allow us to treat sick animals. We can now pull them out of the general population and lessen the risk of infecting other animals,” said Shanna Roman, Schertz Animal Services Manager.

Another unique service in the works for the new facility will be a Responsible Pet Ownership (RPO) education class. The concept is to allow a citizen who receives a citation to potentially take an RPO class in lieu of paying the citation. “The whole idea is taking the time to educate pet owners on what is the best way to take care for your pet and how to be responsible for that pet,” said George Logan, Parks and Recreation Director.

Regular hours of operation for the Animal Adoption Center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

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Seguin ISD's Rodriguez Elementary School eans big payday

April 15th, 2014

bakingbooks

Some second grade students at Rodriguez Elementary School were all smiles Monday after learning they had won $20,000 for their classes' "Baking with Books" program.  The students read a story, then bake items related to the story, and then donate those baked goods to volunteers in the community.  The $20,000 grant comes from Silver and Black Give Back, formerly known as the Spurs Foundation.

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Guadalupe County to become "No-Refusal" county; Move cracks down on people who drink and drive

April 15th, 2014

drinking

This might look like a good time to some, but what if you meet this guy out on the road while you're driving? The Guadalupe County Attorney's Office is starting a "no refusal" policy that attempts to crack down on drunk drivers.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The office of Guadalupe County Attorney Dave Willborn is making it harder for local drivers to get away with drunken driving. Willborn recently announced that Guadalupe County will become a full-time "no-refusal" county starting next week.

"Anytime someone is stopped and the police suspect that that person is driving while intoxicated, if they are offered a breath test and refuse, the officers now have a system where they can go get a warrant for that person's blood. In other words, from now on if you get stopped for DUI, you won't be able to refuse," said Willborn.

Willborn says almost half of all traffic fatalities involve impairment due to alcohol intoxication, and he says too many of the suspects think they can beat the system by refusing the alcohol tests. The no-refusal designation will take that option off the table.

"If the person refuses, the officer will take a suspect to a location to obtain a warrant for their blood. They will email that or fax that warrant to magistrates. The magistrates will then, in a matter of minutes, review those warrants and return the warrants to the officers and the officer will then have any number of hospitals draw the blood of the suspect," said Willborn.

Willborn says there have been no-refusal weekend events that have been held in Guadalupe County in the past, but he says this full-time commitment to a no-refusal policy will hopefully lead people to simply stop drinking and driving.

"If people know that they're not going to be able to get away with refusing, they know they're not going to be able to, as I would say, 'beat the system' like they use to, they'll be more likely not to drink and drive. They'll be more likely to obtain a designated driver. I don't know ultimately what the overall effect is going to be, but in the next six months to a year, we'd like to open up a DWI repeat offender court, so that we can start offering appropiate services to everybody. Right now we have a bunch of cases that are set on the jury docket because we don't have evidence of the actual number. We know people are intoxicated, but we don't have evidence of the actual blood alcohol concentration -- the .08. When we have that information that they're .08 or higher through a blood test, then it's much easier to show to a jury that this person was driving intoxicated and doing so illegally," said Willborn.

Willborn says they want people to have a good time, but he says that has to be done responsibly.

"Everybody likes to enjoy themselves, some people like to do so with alcohol and I'm not going to disparage anybody that does drink. The only problem is when they're drinking and driving, and they put our citizens in danger," said Willborn.

First Assistant County Attorney Jane Davis says the drawing of the blood of a suspected drunk driver will serve as evidence beyond a reasonable doubt on the issue of whether the driver was beyond the legal limit while he or she was driving. She says it's an effective tool to assist in the prosecution of drunk driving cases, and will help to reduce the time drunk drivers wait before they can move into a corrective rehabilitation phase or begin their sentences.

Willborn says Guadalupe County joins the many surrounding counties that have implemented this innovative and cost saving system to protect its citizens.

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Five Seguin ISD DI teams advance to Globals

April 15th, 2014

di state

The Barnes Middle School team of, from left, Kayson DeLaGarza, Emma Bamsch, Ashlee Hernandez, Jessie Behal and Ariann Canales celebrated their State DI performance which put them on the road to Globals in Knoxville, Tenn. next month.

(Seguin) -- Five Seguin ISD Destination ImagiNation (DI) teams have advanced to Global competition following their performances at the DI State competition Saturday in Pflugerville.

This marks the eighth year in a row that Seguin is represented at Globals, to be held May 18 in Knoxville, Tenn.

DI is an educational program where student teams solve open-ended challenges and present their solutions at tournaments. In working to solve the challenges, teams learn important life skills like time management, collaboration, conflict resolution and creative and critical thinking. More than 125,000 students compete in DI each year.

Advancing to Globals is the Saegert Sixth Grade Center team of Savannah Luensmann, Andrew Bamsch, Andy McDowall, Hailey Thornton, Chanse Hernandez and Emilie Weber.

The Seguin High School team of Sara Dibrell, Morgan Donsbach, Mariaelena Ramirez, Nick Stephens and Janelle Weinman will make their sixth trip to Globals to compete against more than 75 teams from around the world.

“Two of the three scholarships offered by DI Texas went to Morgan Donsbach and Sara Dibrell. Three of the last nine scholarships have gone to Seguin ISD students. This is a testament to the quality of our Seguin ISD students and our overall DI program,” said Michael Olstad, one of the the district’s DI coordinators.

Emma Bamsch, Jessie Behal, Ariann Canales, Kayson DeLaGarza and Ashlee Hernandez of Barnes Middle School are making their third trip to Globals.

Briesemeister Middle School’s Global team includes Cameron Saunders-Matthews, Nikkolette Reyes, Synida Soto and Benjamin Gustafson.

Weinert Elementary’s Global team is comprised of Isabella Garcia, Reid Skinner, Reese Janda, Kenzie Kluth, Paige Wilke and Cameron Patek.

Recognized for taking first place in the Instant Challenge event was the Barnes Middle School team of Jayce Holmes, Serenity DeLeon, Jaden Tovar, Kenidy Holder and Korbin Nesbit.

An additional team from Weinert, Saegert and Barnes also competed at State. In addition to Olstad, Pam Krippner coordinates Seguin ISD’s DI award-winning programs.

“Seguin ISD students continue to uphold the tradition of transcending Regional and State competition to perform at the Global level. All of our teams did a great job in Pflugerville during State and I know that our teams are excited about going to Globals next month. We are tremendously proud of our DI students,” she said.

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SHS concert bands successful at competition

April 15th, 2014

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The Wind Ensemble is one of the three concert bands from Seguin High School to enjoy success during the recently UIL Region 12 Concert and Sightreading contest. Also pictured are the awards earned by each band.

(Seguin) -- All three concert bands peformed well at the recently UIL Region 12 Concert and Sightreading competition.

According to SISD Director of Bands Steve Vaden, the Symphonic Band (3rd band), under the direction of Elizabeth Landry, earned the rating of "Excellent" for its concert performance, and "Superior" from all three judges for sightreading.

The Wind Symphony (2nd band), under the direction of Vaden and Landry, earned "Superior" from all three concert judges and "Superior" from all three sightreading judges. This means that the band is awarded "Sweepstakes" having earned the highest possible rating at the contest.

The Wind Ensemble (1st band), under the direction of Vaden, also earned "Superior" from all three concert judges, and "Superior" from all three sightreading judges. This is the highest possible rating, and is also a "Sweepstakes" award.

"Because the success of the top band, combined with the success of the marching band in the fall, The Seguin High School band program has been designated as a 'Sweepstakes' program for the 2013-2014 school year," said Vaden in a note announcing the results last week.

Vaden encouraged the community congratulate the band students for their hard work and success during the concert season.

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Survey shows parents have more power to prevent teens from drinking; MADD encouraging parents to talk to their kids using new Power of Parents resource

April 14th, 2014

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By Darren Dunn

(San Antonio) -- A study conducted by Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) shows the incredible influence that parents can have on their children when it comes to the topic of underaged drinking.

Melissa Montgomery, managing director of the South Texas Region of MADD, says the survey had a few surprising results. It showed that 73 percent of teens claim that having friends who drink motivates them to drink. The survey showed a bit of a disconnect between parents and kids, because parents were less likely to recognize this as a motivator for their children to drink.

Montgomery says while those results pointed to a disconnect, the survey did reveal another surpising fact. It showed that parents may wield a lot more influence over whether who not their child chooses to drink alcohol.

"I think one of the biggest (and) best surprises that this survey has revealed is that children, I say children, I mean teenagers truly believe that thier parents are the biggest influences over how and when they decide to drink. I think that, that is a very positive message. Children, we often think that its their peers that helps them decide how they're going to proceed through life with drinking or drugs or whatever. What we're realizing is that parents have more control over this than we ever thought we did," said Montgomery.

This is good news for parents, but Montgomery says parents need to be careful how they engage their children when they are having these discussions. She says chosing the right message and the right moment to deliver those words is key. According to Montgomery, there are a few things that parents can do to make sure that they are being heard.

"Pick a time that you want to have this conversation, typically not when an issue has already ocurred. You want it to be nice and peaceful and calm. Not when you're late or you're hurried or you're trying to accomplish something and your teen is also trying to accomplish something. So we're asking parents to choose a time where you can spend some quality time with your child having this discussion. Finding out how often are parties being hosted by other parents that they may not even know about, because what we found in this survey is that I believe that there's like 47 percent that they teenagers know about social hosting parties going on with other parents. Yet the parents themselves may have no knowledge that that's even happening. So we're asking them to sit down with their children, set that time aside. Let them know that you care about how they plan to proceed through their teenage years and that this is a very important conversation to have well before they reach the college age level. We find that the kids, the earlier they get the message that its unacceptible to drink underage, the more it takes, the better it gets," said Montgomery.

MADD teamed up Nationwide Insurance to conduct the survey, and they are also working together to offer parents additional resources. A free "Power of Parents" handbook is available online for parents to use. This is an adaptation of the handbook that Dr. Robert Turrisi, of Pennsylvania State University, developed to reach high schools students, and to help them understand the dangers of underage drinking. MADD officials say Dr. Turrisi's "Power of Parents" handbook can be a very helpful tool for parents looking to have these important conversations with their children.

"Most teenagers feel that their in a unique position and that nobody ever feels the way that they do, and that's a normal stage of growth and development, but sometimes parents can use words that can be off putting to teenagers about what they want them to do. I know I've often said to my kids, 'I know exactly how you feel, I know what you're saying to me', and really I probably couldn't have said anything worse, because they truly want to individualize. They're at that period of where they're seperating from parents. So one minute, they are a young adult and then the next minute they are that child that we adore and often picture in our heads. So it's about using the right language to talk to your child, and I think that that's one thing "Power of Parents' and Dr. Turrisi got totally right. It's really important, the words that you use to get your message across, so that its actually expected and internalized instead of it being used as rebellion against you as a parent," said Montgomery.

Being prepared is the key, and that's one of the reasons why MADD says it has made the book available to anyone who needs it.

"Every good defense is one that you've prepared for. So I think that kids have a lot of questions and as an adult and a parent, I don't always know exactly how to answer questions that my kids come up with, but I do know that there's always resources available to help me with that, and MADD and Nationwide (Insurance) have done a great job of putting this 'Power of Parents' handbook together as well as various other materials that can be used to talk to your children about alcohol comsumption. It is available on our website. Our Power Talk 21 day is April 21st. It falls right in with April being Alcohol Awareness Month and especially in our area, we have Fiesta going on in San Antonio. Fiesta (started last week), and it's going to be three weeks long this year. This is an opportunity to begin those talks with your child even earlier, because Fiesta provides the perfect backdrop to start having those conversations. We do ask that we have people log onto MADD.org and download the book and attend a free online webinar that's being offered on April 21. If any schools or organizations would like to schedule a class, if they could call, 210-349-0200, that's the MADD's house Texas regional office. We would be happy to schedule a class to come out and teach it. It's approximately 25 minutes long, we can do it over a lunch hour, but it may be the lunch hour that saves your family from so much heartache," said Montgomery.

Some of the questions parents may have to combat, may be simple one's like teens questioning what they might consider to be an arbitrary legal drinking age in Texas. Montgomery says parents need to be able to walk their children through how 21-years of age became the age in which you could legally drink, and it's not as arbitrary as they might think.

"That's the question I probably get asked most often, is 'why is the drinking age 21?' Well the drinking age was 21 because that's what everyone could agree to as a comminality. We know the brain doesn't developing until the age of 25 or 26. But 21 was something that we could agree on as a society that made sense to everyone and when you are under the age of 21 your brain is still developing and you can lose potential. Under age drinking doesn't just impact for the night or the moment, it can have lasting effects on that brain development, and it may be something that you're not even aware has taken place," said Montgomery.

Montgomery says they aren't looking to prevent people from enjoying their lives, but she says when it comes to teens, parents need to be prepared to have these frank discussions with their children.

"I know from being an older parent that when I was coming up, alcohol was not something that was discussed in our house. I'd see it wide in the community, but no one ever said to me, 'this isn't a good plan, this isn't a good idea.' What they told me was it's illegal and as children, illegal doesn't have much of a meaning. It's everything that you're told behind it. For me, the message was, as a teenager, was watching a woman lose her four children in a drunk driving crash, and that stayed with me my whole life. So when parents are having this discussion or the teenagers are wondering why we're having this discussion, this is what this is about. This is about preserving our culture, preserving our families, our sence of community and our dignity and respect as a nation that believes we should take care of eachother," said Montgomery.

On April 21, MADD will host online workshops for parents to learn how to exercise the power they have over their child’s decisions about alcohol with positive tips for addressing this important issue. To find out more about the workshops or for conversation starters and tips, visit www.madd.org/powertalk21.

Nationwide Insurance is the national presenting sponsor for the Power of Parents program. In Texas, PowerTalk 21 is supported by the Texas Department of Transportation through the Take the Wheel program.

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SISD students shine at DI State contest

April 14th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Several Seguin ISD students are headed to a international competition, after earning high marks at a statewide competition.

Nine teams from the Seguin ISD participated in the Destination Imagination State competetion on Saturday. Of the nine local teams in the field, five of the nine advanced through the statewide contest and are now headed to DI's Global competition.

The teams headed to globals include the Barnes Middle School, Going to Extremes team; the Pitch & Play team from Breisemeister Middle School; the Tension Builds team from the Saegert Sixth Grade Center; the Going to Extremes team from Seguin High School; and Weinert Elementary School will send its Laugh Art Loud team to the international contest.

The Destination Imagination Global Contest will be held in May in Knoxville, Tennessee.

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil takes pie in face for good cause; Keil uses fun challenge to help raise money to support TLU

April 11th, 2014

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil awaits his fate as his wife, Marty Keil, and KWED/Seguin Daily News General Manager Darren Dunn shove a pie into his face.

(Seguin) -- Seguin Mayor Don Keil Thursday made good on his promise to take a pie in the face in support of Texas Lutheran University.

Keil, a week ago, said if 70 local residents gave during TLU's Great Give campaign on March 4, he would take a pie to the face. 93 Seguinites actually gave, and Keil made good on his promise Thursday on the steps of Seguin City Hall.

Afterwards, a sticky faced Keil said he was glad to offer his support to the university, which means so much to this community -- saying it benefits us all in so many ways.

"Not only economically, but culturally and intellectually as well, it is so very important to Seguin that TLU is here and I am more than happy to take a pie in the face if we can support this great institution, thank you all," said Keil.

This year's Great Give raised $63,062.61. The campaign is a 24-hour online fundraiser. Donors are encourage to give whatever they can as part of drive. The idea is that these small donations add up, and it allows more people to participate in the once a year capital campaign.

Check out the video of the pie toss by clicking here.

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Moonlight & Roses returns to Walnut Springs Park; Main Street Program sponsoring the free event in downtown Seguin

April 11th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Main Street Program wants to you to grab a lawn chair and your favorite beverage and come out to Moonlight and Roses Friday night in Walnut Springs Park.

Main Street Director Mary Jo Langford says they expect a big crowd again at the fun event.

"We changed it up a little bit, we've got some really excited to have, that wonderful group from Texas Lutheran University. The students that have put together the Dixieband, called the Dirty River Dixieband. So they're going to open things up for us at seven o'clock. It is very lively fun music. It will just set the stage for just a wonderful environment in the rose garden," said Langford

Langford says the music will not only include the Dixieband, but a jazz playing favorite, will also make his return to the event this year.

"The Dirty River Dixieband will open and play for about an hour and then Shakir will close things out with his phenominal talent on the saxaphone. So we'll have a little variety in the music," said Langford.

Langford says the roses are blooming in the Memorial Rose Garden, and she thinks that people will enjoy the atmosphere throughout Walnut Springs Park.

"Bring your own beverages, bring your own seating and we have restaurants donating hors d'oeuvres. So come on down, it's not dinner, so don't think of it as dinner, but come on down and enjoy some hors d'oeuvres, bring your own beverage and enjoy some music. Also help us celebrate and recognize some of the people from downtown that have made a difference," said Langford

Moonlight and Roses runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday in the Park, located at 317 W. Court St.in downtown Seguin. In case of inclement weather, the free event will be moved to the Texas Theatre.

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Chili Cook-Off to Attract Hundreds to Seguin; Texas Ladies State Chili Championship Celebrates 44th Anniversary

April 11th, 2014

(Seguin) -- When it comes to great chili, you’d be hard-pressed to find any better than what will be served during the 44th Texas Ladies State Chili Championship in Seguin this weekend.

More than 200 ladies will fire up their stoves at Max Starcke Park and compete for the championship. The aroma of delicious chili will be in the air as the public enjoys festivities that begin at 9am. There will be music, games, crafts, food vendors, a silent auction and kids’ activities. Young ladies ages 7-17 will compete in the 3rd Little Miss Ladies State Championship. Attendees will also be able to purchase a bowl of Texas Ladies’ Chili from Boy Scout Troop 107.

“This is always a very popular event that brings hundreds of people from across the state to Seguin,” Seguin Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Jillian Boldway said. “We know those who come this year will enjoy the festivities and the top-notch chili.”

Chili turn-in begins at 12:30pm and judging promptly follows. Judges are still needed. If you’re interested in tasting 10-12 chilies and are 18 or older, you may sign up to judge. Beverages and condiments will be provided for a pleasant judging experience.

"On Saturday is the day that people in Seguin can go down there and enjoy chili. They can buy it from the Boyscout Troop 107. There will also be live music and games for the kids. They'll have a lot of different booths down there too with vendors, arts and crafts and food. They also have a silent auction. So a lot of fun things going on down there in Starcke Park," said

During last year’s event, Seguin Mayor Don Keil dedicated the Patricia King Irvine Pavilion. Irvine was executive director of the Ladies State Chili Championship for more than 20 years.

Registration and event information is available at texasladiesstate.com.

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Free fishing for children at the Irma Lewis SOLC; Just for Kids Fishin' Day this weekend at the outdoor learning center

April 11th, 2014

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Take a kid fishing this weekend at the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Texas Game Warden Association and the city of Seguin want you to take a kid fishing this weekend. Chandra Jobb, recreation program coordinator for the city's parks department, says they'll be set up at the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center waiting for kids to come out and enjoy a day of fishing.

"We got together with the Texas Game Warden Association and then the outdoor learning center and us, and we wanted to provide an event that the kids can come and have fun. It might be a new event for them, or maybe they've been to one somewhere else, but we wanted to bring it to Seguin and we wanted the kids to have an opportunity to fish -- to catch a fish, to have that experience. It's also a life skill, but (our) number one goal was to have a fun event for the kids," said Jobb.

Jobb says they got just about everything that kids will need to enjoy the day, including lunch. She says all folks have to do is get there Saturday, and be prepared to have a good time.

"They don't have to bring anything, unless they want to. We will have loaner poles available. The bait and the tackle is also available, we have that. If they have a fishing pole that they'd like to bring, they are certainly welcome to do that. Some things that they might want to bring, if it's sunny, maybe a hat, some sunscreen, a bottle of water, (or) something like that. Maybe a towel, but as far as needing to bring anything, they don't need to bring anything. We're also going to have some lunch provided, a hotdog, chips and drink. So that's also going to be there, so they don't need anything," said Jobb.

The free "Just for Kids Fishin' Day" runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the outdoor learning center on Highway 90 near Geronimo Creek. All fishing will be-catch-and release. Drawing for prizes will be held throughout the day. The recommended age group for the event is 5 to 12 years of age. Registration will be held on-site. Children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Organizers say they plan to make this an annual event.

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Outdoor activities planned to wrap up Healthy Texas Week; Fun run/walk, Rotary Club bike ride scheduled for this weekend in Seguin

April 11th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- There's still time for you end Healthy Texas Week with a bang. Two community events are being offered this weekend, to help people stay active and healthy.

Dane Boyle, Community Wellness Director at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, says they are hosting a fun run and walk Saturday in Starcke Park. The event starts at 8:30 a.m. Saturday in Starcke Park West, and is open to all levels, paces, and ages.

"Guadalupe Regional Wellness Center is hosting its monthly Free Fun Run. They're hosted the second Saturday of every month down in Starcke Park. This month's run will be on the west side of the park, that'll be the golf course side of the park. It's a three mile fun run or walk. It's opened to all ages. You don't have to be a member of our Wellness Center in order to do it. It's open to the community, it's part of our community outreach program. There will be timers on the course, there will be water which is sponored by Culligan here in town, or Morrison Food Company that is our third party vendor that does our cafeterias, providing fruit and snacks at the race as well. The entire idea is to just bring the community together for excercise. We try to spot like public spaces as the park is open to open to the general public. There is no fee to use the park on a daily basis. We want to let people know they can do that and this is just an opportunity to talk and meet like minded people," said Boyle.

Boyle says the Seguin Sunrise Rotary Club also has a big event starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday. The club's annual bike ride offers something for riders of all skill levels.

"The bike ride itself is a co-sponsorship with Sunrise Rotary Club here in town. The idea is to raise money for local charities. So there's various charities that the money, the proceeds will go to, but the money stays here in Guadalupe County. The registration is $30. You do receive a t-shirt. There are three different rides on this particular course. All supported with what we call a sag wagon. If there's any issues or problems. There's a 10 mile family ride where you ride on less traffic filled roads, so it's more user friendly for, perhaps the novice (rider), if mom or dad or grandma and grandson just want to ride together. There's a 25 mile ride, which will take a couple of hours for people, again we're doing it on farm to market roads. Mostly south of town where there's less traffic and then perhaps for the more advanced riders there's what we call a metric century ride and that's approximately 65 miles," said Boyle.

Boyle says even though both events will be held on Saturday, there's still time for people to get signed up.

"They can still go to athleteguild.com and it'll be on the front page as it's this weekend event, and they can register right there. There is a slight fee for that, to do it online. I believe it's another $2 or you can come into the Wellness Center and we have a paper registration form. There's no additional charge. You can fill it out and leave it with one of the staff members," said Boyle.

This week is Healthy Texas week, and the Seguin Wellness Task Force has been encouraging people to try to work towards adopting a healtier lifestye. The task force is encouraging people to start small, and then use that progress to build towards a better life.

"So again, it's fully supported. We have lots of local sponsorship and the whole idea is just to get out and enjoy the beauty of this spring day on a bike and/or in the park on your feet at the free fun run," said Boyle.

For more information on Healthy Texas Week, you can also visit www.healthytexasweek.com, or visit www.seguinwellness.com.

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil takes pie in face for good cause

April 10th, 2014

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil said if 70 local residents gave during TLU's Great Give campaign, he would take a pie to the face. 93 Seguinites actually gave, and Keil made good on his promise today on the steps of Seguin City Hall.

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GRMC's Diabete's 101 class healthy people live better; Program recently earned national accreditation from AADE

April 10th, 2014

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By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe Regional Medical Center (GRMC) continues to try to offer the community more ways to stay healthy. GRMC recently announced that its Diabetes 101: Coping, Education & Prevention Program has been named an accredited diabetes education program by the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE).

Ann Camacho, GRMC patient educator coordinator and diabetic nurse liason, says this is a big deal for their program.

"We've been working toward achieving that just so that we can have sort of an evidence base program. Making sure that we're meeting standards according to the diabetes education association, and there's certain standards that are in place. It's all organized and we present our material according to those standards and take into account our population, especially here in Guadalupe County and surrounding counties," said Camacho.

Camacho says they want to offer a program that can really make a difference in the lives of patients living with the disease. She says through the program, they can make sure that they provide people with the skills that they need to live a healthier life.

"It tries to accomplish some life changing skills for the people who are attending the program. It's such a huge impact when they receive the diagnosis of diabetes. They're in shock most of the time, and so we're trying to convey to the community that it's okay. You're going to be okay. You just need to learn some life changing skills, and this is for the rest of your life. It's not only for people with diabetes, but it's for everybody to prevent chronic illness and diabetes is just one of those," said Camacho.

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Camacho says the program uses a series of classes all designed to educate people about diabetes, how they can manage it, and how they can stay healthy.

"We meet once a week and it's a six week series and each week we cover a different topic. So we start from the basics -- basic human anatomy -- so that they know where the organs are and what the function of those organs do, especially when it comes to the pancreas and the liver. Then we follow up from there. Then it goes into healthy eating, it goes into meal planning, and then it goes into being active, which is a big component. Now that people are on the computer, a large part of their day, or iPads or things like that, we're trying to get the community to realize the importance of being active," said Camacho.

Camacho says they are helping people change their lifestyles, so it does require a great deal of work for the people involved, but she says they are there all along the way to make sure people are successful in meeting those goals.

"Once they go through the six week (course), then we do a follow up. A six month follow up to see if they are still using those life changing skills that they learned in class. Is their diabetes beginning to get under control? If not, we invite them to come again. Maybe you don't have to come to the whole six weeks series, maybe it's the healthy eating component that they need a little more work on. So they can come back to just that class. Then we communicate with their physician -- 'your patient has completed the program, this is where they're at, this is the follow up, we contacted them, they're using the life changing tools that we provided them and their sugars now are better controlled', and the physician will know that on follow up. They'll be able to tell by their lab work," said Camacho.

The accrediting agency says GRMC's program allows residents in and around South Central Texas to have increased access to critical diabetes education services.

"Trends show that diabetes education is moving out of the hospital and into the community, so AADE's acreditation program was created, in part, to encourage diabetes education where the patient is seeking care," said Leslie E. Kolb, program director for the Diabetes Education Accreditation Program.

The free six week course is taught by GRMC's certified diabetes instructors. Diabetes 101 is offered in the upstairs classrooms at GRMC's Central Entrance from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays. People can get signed up for the class, but contacting Camacho at 830-401-7689 or by email at acamacho@grmedcenter.com.

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Seguin Mayor getting pied today; Mayor Keil takes pies to the face in support of TLU

April 10th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Seguin Mayor Don Keil will get his just desserts today, or least he's going to get two pies to the face today.

The mayor will be get pied as part of his challenge issued last week during the Great Give fundraiser at Texas Lutheran University. The Great Give was a one-day, online-only fundraiser to support the university, and the work that it does here in Seguin.

Mayor Keil issued a challenge to Seguin residents that if at least 70 residents donated to the campaign, then he would take a pie to the face. As it turns out, the giving was so successful that Keil has agreed to take two pies. One will be thrown by his wife, Marty Keil, representing TLU alumni. The second will be thrown by KWED/Seguin Daily News General Manager Darren Dunn, who was the first donor at 4:28 a.m. last Friday.

In all 93 donors, responded to the mayor's challenge, and helped the university raise a total of $63,062.61 from 319 total donors.

The community is invited to watch the mayor receive two pies to the face at noon today at Seguin City Hall.

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Mayor Keil Signs Two Proclamations Child Abuse Prevention Month and National Crime Victims’ Rights Week

April 10th, 2014

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Seguin Mayor Don Keil signs proclamations for Child Abuse Prevention Month and Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Pictured left to right: Seguin Police Lt. Jerry Hernandez, Sgt. James Springer, Det. Bruno Cavazos, Lt. Eric Jiminez, CASA of Central Texas Casework Supervisor Tricia Schneider, Seguin Police Crime Victim Liaison Nichole Douglass, Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center Community Outreach Specialist Michele Meehan, CASA board member Becky Lake, Judge Charlie Willmann, CASA case supervisors Lauren Townsend, Shelley Denkeler and Melanie Linder, Seguin Police Chief Kevin Kelso and Deputy Chief Wade Goolsby.

(Seguin) -- Child advocacy professionals and members of the Seguin Police Department gathered Monday morning as Mayor Don Keil signed two proclamations.

Mayor Keil proclaimed April as Child Abuse Prevention Month. According to the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, there were more than 40,000 cases of child abuse and neglect confirmed in Texas in 2013. The proclamation calls for the community to become more aware of child abuse prevention efforts and to support professionals dedicated to meeting the needs of child abuse victims. Representatives from CASA of Central Texas and the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center were on-hand for the proclamation signing.

“I urge all citizens to work together to reduce child abuse and neglect and to significantly improve the response of our community when child abuse occurs,” Mayor Keil said.

Mayor Keil also sign a proclamation marking April 6-12 as National Crime Victims’ Rights Week in the City of Seguin. According to the proclamation, Americans are the victims of more than 22 million crimes each year. The proclamation expresses appreciation for victims and crime survivors who have turned personal tragedy into a motivating force to improve response to victims of crime.

“National Crime Victims’ Rights Week provides an opportunity to celebrate the energy, creativity and commitment that launched the victims’ rights movement, inspired its progress, and continues to advocate the cause of justice for crime victims,” Keil continued.

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City sells all homes as part of Neighborhood Stabilization Program

April 10th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Owning their own home has been a goal of Jordan and Maria Guerrero for quite some time. After marrying almost two years ago, the couple was having trouble finding an affordable home to raise their young son. That was until they learned about the Neighborhood Stabilization Program.

"We found out about the program in the newspaper," Jordan said. "We thought the house was probably already sold."

It wasn't. Jordan and Marie filled out the necessary paperwork to purchase one of the homes built with funding from the federal program. The Guerreros were approved and moved into their first house in November 2013.

"Without the program we would still be looking," Jordan said. "We would probably still be in our apartment and definitely struggling financially."

The Neighborhood Stabilization program provided funding for the construction of eight homes in Seguin. The program offered low to moderate income applicants 30-year mortgages at zero percent interest. The City of Seguin started accepting applications in September 2009. The final home loan closed in January 2014.

"We are happy this program was able to provide such a great opportunity for a number of families in our city," Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard said. "This program helped a variety of people including senior citizens, single moms and young couples."

The program, now complete, struggled at first as many of the 70 initial applicants did not qualify based on their credit scores. Rules stated that applicants with scores under 560 would not be considered.

"Tracy Stalnaker (City of Seguin Assistant Director of Finance) helped us the whole way," Jordan continued. "This is good for my family."

For the Guerreros, the approval came just in time. They are expecting their second child on their two-year wedding anniversary in June.

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Community challenged to help stop child abuse; April officially declared Child Abuse Prevention and Awareness Month

April 9th, 2014

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CASA volunteer Mary Hodges shares her experiences working as a Court Appointed Special Advocate. Hodges was speaking during Tuesday's commissioners court meeting. The court approved a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month in Guadalupe County. Also pictured is Tricia Schneider, CASA development director and casework supervisor.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- We all have a responsibility to try end child abuse in our community. That was essence of a message delivered Tuesday by Guadalupe County District Attorney Heather McMinn. McMinn was speaking to the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court, which had just approved a proclamation recognizing April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

McMinn says more monetary and human resources are needed to combat the problems of abuse and neglect in Guadalupe County. She says the problem is very real, and we all need to be prepared to do something about it.

"It really is going to take an army to address the child abuse in our communities and in our state. We're very blessed to have legislators, commissioners and professionals that are willing to look at this problem and address it. In Guadalupe County last year, we had 311 confirmed victims of child abuse. These children are being abused and neglected not only in their homes, but also in the system, and by the system. Child abuse and neglect is a topic that we often don't want to talk about. Abusers rely on that consipracy of silence so that they can continue to perpitrate on our children, but we as a community, whether we are professionals, whether we're volunteers, we are members of this community, we can do better," said McMinn.

McMinn says collectively the community needs to step-up to make sure these children and kept safe. She says this is something that can't be ignored.

"We need to take care of our own children first, and then we need to reach out beyond that whenever we're able to help take care of the other children in our communities, in our schools and our churches. But what we need to do, is we need to make sure that we're opening our eyes. That we're looking. We're looking to see what's going on and that we're brave enough, when we see something going on, to report it. If you think a child is being abused or neglected we must report that. We've got to get involved in these children's lives. I've sat across from too many witnesses who've cried saying they wished they would've called sooner. I've gone to too many funerals as your district attorney. It's time that we stand up and that we're brave enough to speak up for our children, but we do have to open our eyes. We can't ignore this problem in our communities," said McMinn.

child abuse prevention proc

Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and local non-profit groups -- dedicated to fighting against the abuse and neglect of children in Guadalupe County -- gathered on Tuesday for the official reading of a proclamation declaring April as Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

Two non-profit groups that also work in support of children who have been abused or neglected were also on hand for the proclamation reading.

Tricia Schneider, development director and casework supervisor for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Central Texas, says they work to recruit local volunteers who can serve as an advocate for the children that find themselves in courtrooms because they've been removed from homes where abuse and neglect have been alleged. Schneider says they have way more kids who need this support than they have volunteers willing to help. She says CASA hopes that this awareness period will help them find more volunteers.

"There were 311 confirmed victims last year, of those 215 were in state foster care. Those are the children that CASA is advocating for. We were able to serve 68 children and we wish that we could've served all of the other children. There was a difference of 147. So when the district attorney mentioned that we do need more advocates, we do appreciate your support in helping to build awareness about that need," said Schneider.

Christy Williams, executive director of the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center, says the proclamation will help to raise awareness about the many cases of child abuse that occurs locally. The advocacy center has placed pinwheels on the lawn of the Guadalupe County Courthouse. Each pinwheel represents the more than 300 kids who were abused locally last year. Williams says they need to do everything that they can to remind people that this is community must do more to protect its children.

"I appreciate the commissioners, once again recognizing April is child abuse awareness and prevention (month). Without the commissioners and the community and professionals as a whole to drive that force of awareness, it won't happen. We're the ones that have our eyes open to the problem, if we can just help the rest of the community see that the problems there, maybe we can see an end to it in the near future," said Williams.

McMinn says she's had to prosecute too many of these cases, and she knows that the only way to really stop the abuse, is for good people to get involved now. She says if you can't volunteer your time, figure out another way that you can help.

"If you have the funds to donate, please do so. If you don't have the money, if you have gently used toys, children's clothing, furniture, anything that you can donate to these organizations, there's some wonderful homes out there who need some assistance. If you have foster families in your church, or that you know about (in) your neighborhood, reach out to them, donate in time. If you can become a court appointed special advocate, please take your time to do that. These people are on the frontlines advocating for our children, we need more volunteers for CASA. If you can be a foster parent, please think about getting the training and opening your home to become a foster parent. If you can't, at least become an advocate. An advocate for your own children, and an advocate for all the children in our community," said McMinn.

heather


District Attorney Heather McMinn says more volunteers and money needed to help stop child abuse.

Mary Hodges is a new CASA volunteer. She says she's trying to give a voice to these children, who have been dragged into the system due to abuse and neglect. Hodge says it's important that we all speak out, and help out these children any way that we can.

"Race, richness, poorness, it doesn't matter, those children get hurt and they get abused," said Hodges. "If we can prevent one child from going to bed with one black eye tonight or one bruise, we've really accomplished something. I volunteer becuase I love children and people put money into computers and things like that, but the last time I looked that computer can not reach up and hug your neck and say I love you, good night and thank you. So money going into our children as our future and as a piece of mind to know that our babies are going to bed well feed and taken care of."

CASA and the children's advocacy center are always looking for volunteers and monetary support. More details about CASA can be found at www.casacentex.org, or learn more about the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center at http://www.gccac.net.

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County agrees to give land to Martindale; City plans to use site to expand park near San Marcos River

April 9th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Some county owned land soon may become a part of a park for the city of Martindale. The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Tuesday agreed to give Martindale nearly five acres near the San Marcos River.

Commissioner Kyle Kutscher says the county doesn't really use the land now. The land is actually in Caldwell County, but Kutscher says it's been owned by Guadalupe County for decades.

"In the early 20's this piece of property was obtained by the county. I haven't been able to get a clear answer on what it was used for except possibly an old gravel pit storage facility for material. It is right across the San Marcos River but the property does not go down to the river. It's 4.76 acres, again obtained I think in '22 or '23. The city of Martindale had contacted the county through a letter of request for this property in 2008. I don't know if it fell through the cracks or if the court just didn't follow through at that point," said Kutscher.

Kutscher says it makes sense now for the county to donate this land. He says Martindale will use it to expand its city park, and that makes for a good use of that property.

"What the city would like to do is for Guadalupe County to donate that property to them. They have a city park that is adjoining on about an acre and a half. They want to expand their city park onto this 4.76 acres in the future. After talking to our road and bridge administrator (Mark Green), going out and looking at the property, we currently as the county do not have a use for this property. However, if we do retain ownership of it, we will have an expense in having to maintain it, keep it clean, (and) shredded by city ordinance. Again, Mark Green has stated since it's in the flood plain, (and) in flood way, we can not store material on it. How that may change, possibly change the effect and flow of the river. If it does flood, it's not in a good location to store any material or equipment on just because it's on the far, far edge of the county and just on the other side of the river in a different county. So again, just bringing it before the court, discuss some of those details, see if we as a county and commissioners court be willing to give this tract to the city for them to expand the park," said Kutscher.

Commissioners unamiously approved the land donation after assurances from legal staff that Martindale could only use this land for public use, and that it could not be resold or used for any private venture. The ownership would revert back to the county if the land was used for some other purpose.

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Franz wins public service scholarship

April 9th, 2014

kuempelandfranz

State Representative John Kuempel presents Seguin High School senior Walker Franz with a special award.  Franz was awarded the Texas Legislative Conference Edmund Kuempel Public Service Scholarship by the Greater New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce on March 28 in New Braunfels. The scholarship program is designed to provide financial assistance to high school seniors who are interested in pursuing studies in government and/or public affairs while enrolled in a Texas college or university. Courtesy photo

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MPO approves Seguin project; Tor Drive to be Widened, sidewalks and bike lanes added

April 9th, 2014

(Seguin) -- A busy road in Seguin is set to become easier to travel for both motorists and bicyclists. Monday, the Alamo Area (formerly San Antonio-Bexar County) Metropolitan Planning Organization approved improvements to Tor Drive.

“We’re just like any other city, we have more needs than funding,” Seguin City Engineer Joe Ramos said. “We’re happy that the MPO approved this project so that we can start doing what’s necessary to get it designed and started.”

Tor Drive, which connects South Austin Street to Highway 123, currently has one lane in each direction. The improvements will widen the road so that a continuous center turn lane can be added. Sidewalks and bike lanes will also be added to each side. 

“We selected this particular project to submit for approval for a few reasons,” Ramos continued. One reason is the deteriorating condition of the existing road. We also view it as a way to increase capacity between two highways.”

The acquisitions, surveys and design of the project is expected to take up to a year. After that, a completion date will be set. The MPO approved the project at an estimated cost of $3.1 million.

The Alamo Area Metropolitan Planning Organization develops transportation plans and programs to address the needs of the greater San Antonio area. The Transportation Policy Board leads the MPO and decides how federal and state transportation funds will be allocated for the region.

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Downtown Seguin losing biggest cheerleader; Main Director Langford set to retire soon

April 8th, 2014

MJL

Mary Jo Langford is retiring from Seguin's Main Street Program.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Downtown Seguin's biggest advocate is stepping down. After 18 years on the job, Seguin Main Director Mary Jo Langford is retiring from the city of Seguin.

Langford says she's enjoyed her time with the city, but she feels like it's time for someone else to take the reins.

"I think I really just am at a point where it seems like somebody younger, with new vision and new energy could bring some new life to the Main Street program. When you've been in a position for a really long time, you start kind of doing the things -- the same projects over and over again -- looking at it the same way. So I think that there's an opportunity for Seguin to benefit by having someone new come forth. At this stage in my life, there are little grandchildren in my life, (and) there are wonderful family members in my life that I want to spend more time with. We've got some ideas about what our next moves might be. They are not ready to be announced, but we've got some ideas about staying involved in the community. We are definitely committed to Seguin. We are not leaving town. We are just going to do things a little differently in the future," said Langford.

Many things have changed in downtown Seguin in the nearly two decades that Langford has been on the job. She says there are still challenges, but she says lot's of good things have happened.

"Being involved in the renovation of Central Park (was exciting). The voters approved the funds as part of the Destination Seguin (bond package). That park is just a jewel for our community, and it's fun to look at the bandstand, and everything for me is connected with a memory. Every building that got painted, every sidewalk crack that got fixed, every overhead utility that got buried -- I'm connected to. So for me to be able to walk through downtown is just a pleasure," said Langford.

Langford says partnerships between the city and the private sector really have made a difference in downtown Seguin. She says those types of things have to happen if you want the downtown to grow and flourish.

"The Texas Main Street Program provides such a great template for success. So using their guidelines, which is one, give the downtown property owners incentives to make improvements; and two, give them design standards so that they have an idea what a good restoration or renovation or adaptive reuse of historic property is," said Langford. "That 200 block (of South Austin Street), every single building has been redone since we got started. Most of them really in the last six or eight years really, and there's more to come. Thunderpaws (Canine Solutions) is going to redo their storefront still. So it is really fun to see, and that block is a great example of how the rest of the downtown can still be renovated. There's a lot more to do."

Langford says there's been a good balance of public and private monies being poured into downtown Seguin. She says sometimes its been private land owners, like Robert Raetzsch or Mary and David Reiley who have made big investments in buildings downtown. The city and Guadalupe County have also made big investements in the downtown area.

"Every year there's been a big deal in my opinion. The (Guadalupe) County Justice Center, and the county's commitment to stay downtown. The Magnolia Hotel finding new property owners. The new owner of the old historic First Baptist Church at Camp and Donegan (streets), and the improvements he's making in that block over there are huge," said Langford.

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Langford says encouraging HEB to offer a Seguin Pecan Ice Cream is one of her many fond memories with the Main Street Program.

Langford says there's are many opportunities that still exist in downtown Seguin. She says she's there are several projects currently in the pipeline.

"There are lots of things still in the works. The hotel at the Park Plaza. So things are definitely not done, but great progress has been made. I think the real progress is that we have all the tools in place. There's low interest loans, there are (Fix-It) Facade grants, there's tax abatements, there's the waiver of fees downtown -- because the hurdles are huge for these old buildings, and those incentives are helping private investment occur, and that's making a difference," said Langford.

One of Langsford's proudest accomplishments isn't neccessarily a downtown project at all. She says helping to bring a tasty treat to Seguin, and to the rest of the Lone Star State is definitely one of her fondest moments.

"I'm very proud of our HEB (Brand) Texas Vanilla Seguin Pecan Ice Cream. That just gives me a lot of pleasure when I go to the grocery store, and I see that ice cream, and I know some of the actions we took here to petition (HEB, telling them) that we wanted our own ice cream. That one is just fun, and I love eating the ice cream. I think it's delicious," said Langford.

Langford has led the Main Street Program since Seguin re-joined the Texas Main Street Program in 1996. She championed numerous initiatives that brought improvements to the downtown historic district. Increasing handicap access, working with property owners to improve buildings, and working on the Walnut Springs Park project are among her many achievements.

"Mary Jo has displayed passion through her tireless efforts," Seguin City Manager Doug Faseler said. "It's impossible to walk through the downtown historic district without seeing evidence of her dedication."

Langford's retirement becomes effective June 30, 2014. A replacement has not yet been selected.

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Seguin's Habitat for Humanity opens store downtown

April 8th, 2014

habitat store

Guadalupe Valley Habitat for Humanity President George Nisson is helped by officials from the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce in cutting the ribbon to officially open the Seguin Habitat Store at 256 W. Court Street on Saturday.

(Seguin) -- The local chapter of Habitat for Humanity may be able to help you with your latest home improvement project.

The Guadalupe Valley Habitat for Humanity Chapter recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony at its new Seguin Habitat Store. The store, located at 256 W. Court St., will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The store, which is staffed solely by volunteers, sells various items for the home that have been donated to the local non-profit group, which uses that money to help build more affordable, decent housing for working families in the Seguin Area. The GVHFH is currently building its 18th home at 313 Mesquite St. Another home will be built on Dolle Street later this year.

Businesses or individuals wanting to donate merchandise to the store should call 830-386-3047. Also, anyone wanting to donate time working in the store on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays, or helping build homes on Saturdays, should call 830-386-3047.

The Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce and its ambassadors were on hand for Saturday's ribbon cutting at the store. Habitat officials say the Flying Anglers Bass Club also provided free sausage wraps and drinks to visitors at Saturday's grand opening, and freebies were handed out during the even.

Special awards were also presented on Saturday. Local attorney Dennis Sagebiel and his family, which leased the building to GVHFH; Eagle Rentals, which has donated tools and equipment used to bring the building to code compliance; and to Brooks City-Base, which donated most of the merchandise in the store so far, were all recognized for their support and generosity.

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New scholarship available for agriculture majors

April 8th, 2014

(Seguin) - To help build tomorrow's leaders today, the state's largest farm organization has announced a major scholarship honoring former Farm Bureau (TFB) President S.M. True Jr.

"College students majoring in agriculture are encouraged to apply for this new scholarship," said Guadalupe County Farm Bureau President Gary Braune.

The $20,000 scholarship was established by the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) board of directors to honor the commitment and dedication True had for Texas agriculture.

"Agriculture depends on strong, passionate leaders, and this scholarship is a great opportunity for students who are pursuing agricultural careers,"
Braune said.

Braune noted that applicants must be a member of a TFB family with continuous membership for at least three years at the time of application. In addition, a completed application and two letters of recommendation - one from the county Farm Bureau president and one from the dean or head of the agriculture program department of the applicant's college or university - are required.
Applications are due in the state office April 30.

To download the scholarship, visit http://bit.ly/1i0AuDu

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New development could bring hundreds of new homes to Seguin; Greenspoint Development will bring new rooftops, commercial space

April 7th, 2014

greenspoint plan

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- A newly proposed project could bring a large master planned development to Seguin. Developer Harry Jewett says this is a 282-acre tract that's being proposed for the development of a new neighborhood that would bring hundreds of new rooftops to Seguin.

Jewett's HX Development, LLC of San Antonio, has submitted preliminary plans for the Greenspoint development, which is bordered by State Highway 46 on the east, Rudeloff Road on the north, and FM 78 on the south.

"We are just at the start of what is a very lengthy process, as you probably know, to get a land development deal done. There's quite a few steps that you have to go through, and we are right at the start of that right now. At this particular point and time, we are not the owners of this property. We have the property under contract, and we are endeavoring to try to put together enough approvals to be at a comfort level that this thing is going to be successful from an approval standpoint that we can proceed," said Jewett.

The Greenspoint master development plan incorporates a portion of what is known as the "Outer Loop Parkway" in the Seguin Major Thoroughfare Plan. The parkway would allow traffic to flow through the Greenspoint neighborhood from Highway 46 to the southwestern end of Rudeloff Road near where it joins FM 78. Jewett says the "Outer Loop Parkway" access would relieve traffic onto Highway 46, while providing ideal traffic flow eastward toward San Antonio on FM 78 and the Seguin Commerce Center now in development just across FM 78.

The Seguin Planning and Zoning Commission will consider the Greenspoint Master Development Plan when it meets at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Seguin City Hall. Jewett says the city's existing thoroughfare plan needs to be altered to make this project work.

"When we first started looking at that particular piece of property, one of the things you have to adhere to in any development process is if the city has adopted a major thoroughfare plan, which the city of Seguin does, you have to honor that plan," said Jewett. "When we started doing our conceptual take on the property, we obviously looked at the Seguin Major Thoroughfare Plan and plotted in the alignment of the outer loop parkway as it would relate to this property. That alignment as we plotted it in, after looking at it to a great degee, we figured out that it was really going to be something that did not work with respect to how we saw the property being able to be developed. Primarly because the parkway alignment was not going to be able to be accomplished because of where it was, and because it would end up running into the Muehl Creek Subdivision on the north side of Rudeloff Road."

Jewett says they are recommending a new route as part of the thoroughfare plan, that will allow them develop the overall site.

"We're proposing another alternative to the alignment of the parkway. It brings it in just immediately south of the cemetery on (State) Highway 46. In order to proceed with any kind of a comprehensive plan, we have to get the city to amend its major thoroughfare plan, and adopt our concept plan, so we can move forward," said Jewett.

The Greenspoint development is being designed to incorporate environmentally preferable low-impact development (LID) methods for storm water management. Commercially-zoned sites are planned along the frontage of Highway 46, and the rest will be used to build new homes.

"Right now there's an existing zoning pattern on all of the Highway 46 frontage. It's what they call the SH 46 Overlay Corridor. It's 500 feet of commercially zoned property along both sides of 46 in that entire area within the city limits of Seguin. So that would stay in place, so there would be a commercial corridor there relative to Highway 46. Our concept is that the balance of the property would be converted from the agriculture use that it is right now to single family residential," said Jewett.

The city of Seguin Economic Development Office says its excited about the proposed development. Economic Development Director Terry Trevino says this more good news for Seguin's economy.

"The announcement of this new housing development for Seguin signifies another step in our quest to meet the needs of our growing community," saidTrevino "All our work building a strong foundation of diversified employers has put us on the map and earned Seguin recognition for "Where the Jobs Are" nationally and recently, No. 12 in a ranking of `Cities on the Rise in Texas.' Seguin has the jobs and we are blessed to have an ideal location. Now, we can add exciting new options in housing to the great quality of life improvements we have coming to our schools, parks, the library, new restaurants and retail."

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Community encouraged to eat better, exercise; Wellness Task Force encourages better living during Healthy Texas Week

April 7th, 2014

healthy texas

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- This may be the day for you ask your favorite taqueria if it can offer you a few healthy alternatives this week. Today marks the start of Healthy Texas Week, and the Seguin Wellness Task Force wants everyone to do all they can to eat healthier, exercise and to live better.

Yvonne De La Rosa, president of the Seguin Wellness Task Force, says this is a perfect opportunity for families and individuals to decide that they want to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

"What we see happening for Healthy Texas Week is that people will get out and move more, eat better and start living well. It's important that they understand the importance of being healthy," said De La Rosa. "Moving is fun, eating healthier is fun, and feeling better is fun. It's important that they understand that we here locally what to ensure that our community is healthy."

The Seguin ISD is also encouraging its students and parents to take advantage of Healthy Texas Week. Pete Silvius, Seguin ISD physical and outdoor education coordinator, says they'll be connecting with students all week long in an effort to spread that healthy living message across the community.

"The morning announcements -- that we hope will be shared with all the students -- will set the tone of healthy living for the week. And then we hope that the kids will then take that message home to the parents, and that they'll be thinking about healthy living at home as an extension from the school," said Silvius. "Things that teachers will be encouraged to do is to intergrate activity breaks throughout the day. Let the kids get a time to have their brain refreshed so that they are better able to focus on the academics that they are working on."

De La Rosa says the key for most people this week will be to chose something that they can stick with each day. She says starting small makes it easier to make those necessary lifestyle changes.

"Some of the things that you can do that you may not have been doing is drink more water. Trade out one soda a day for a water. Go on family walks. Go on family bike rides. Visit some of the places here in Seguin where you can be active, such as Castilla Park, and such as the Pecan Bottom Trail (in Starcke Park). Small things or small steps lead to greater things. So taking the small steps is what's important, because we are changing habits that we've had for a long time. So...instead of grabbing a candy bar, grab an apple or an orange or a bannana. There's just some small things that they can do to start their week off on the right foot," said De La Rosa.

Silvius says if people start small, they really can use that as a foundation to build upon moving forward.

"We are always wanting to promote lifelong wellness, and to improve our families' quality of life, and Healthy Texas Week gives us an opportunity to remember that health is important to every aspect of our life. If we take this time this week to set some habits that hopefully will extend throughout the year, that's great," said Silvius.

The Seguin Wellness Task Force says they have put together a calendar that offers tips on how to live healthier this week. It also provides events and locations where outdoor and physical activities can take place. Silvius says they are kicking off Healthy Texas Week with an event that's open to the community.

"The Seguin ISD would like to invite all of our community to join our students and families at Vogel Elementary School as we do a Family Fun Run & Walk on Monday evening. The event will kick off at 6 p.m., and will wrap up at 7 p.m. We'll have music and we'll enjoy sharing stories and walking with each other around the track," said Silvius.

De La Rosa says they want to build some momentum during this time. She says they want people to help promote healthier living on social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter. She says the task force also wants people to send them picures directly, which will also be shared with the community.

"We are encouraging the community to send their healthy photos, and short synopses to the Seguin Wellness Taskforce email account, where we will then post them on our Facebook page and also on our website. The email address for the Seguin Wellness Taskforce is seguintxwellnesstaskforce@gmail.com. When we receive those photos, we'll upload them to our Facebook page and to our website so that others can see the great things that are happening in Seguin. Our website is www.seguinwellness.com," said De La Rosa.

For more information on Healthy Texas Week, you can also visit www.healthytexasweek.com.

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Construction work causes street closures

April 7th, 2014

(Seguin) -- City of Seguin officials have announced a number of construction projects that might impact local commutes this week.

Prexy Drive will be closed from San Antonio Avenue to Kingsbury Street on Monday and Tuesday. The closure is said to be neccessary to allow for construction work to take place related to the new football stadium at Texas Lutheran University.

Portions of North King Street between Palm and Ireland streets will be also be impacted by utility work starting on Monday. This work will force the rotating closure of one lane between the hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. This project is expected to last three weeks.

City officials also announced this week that work on the River/San Marcos/Heideke streets project will result in a brief disruption in gas service to customers along portions of San Marcos Street. CenterPoint Energy crews will soon begin connecting natural gas customers along San Marcos Street to newly installed lines. This work will require natural gas to be briefly shut off while the new connections are made. As a result, pilot lights in homes will likely go out. CenterPoint Energy crews will knock on the doors of affected homes prior to the work to inform customers and to offer to relight pilot lights. If crews are unable to make contact with the homeowner, a door hanger notice will be left at the home. The notice will contain a toll-free number that can be called to have a crew come out to relight pilot lights. CenterPoint Energy's work will begin in mid-April and last approximately a month. Customers along San Marcos Street, between Cedar and Court will be affected.

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The 2014 Great Give is officially underway

April 4th, 2014

#tlugreatgive

The one-day online-only giving campaign officially started at midnight. Today you have a chance to help show your support for Texas Lutheran University. There's no minimum gift, whatever you desire to give will help the university continue it's mission in Seguin. Making a donation has been made super easy. To donate, visit TLU.edu/greatgive.

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Television pilot shines light on foster system in TExas; "Region 8" designed to help raise awareness about foster care needs, child abuse

April 4th, 2014

region8

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Hundreds of children in this part of Texas need a home where they be loved and made to feel safe. These kids are part of the foster care system in Texas. You may feel like these kids are somebody elses' problem, but a new television pilot seeks to raise awareness about the Texas foster care system, and the extreme need for foster parents and other volunteers across the Lone Star State.

Texas Lutheran University and the Theatre For Change (TFC) are announcing the live reading of that series pilot. The series, titled "Region 8: The Truth Behind Texas' Foster System," is the brainchild of Shannon Ivey, dramatic media professor at TLU and the founder of TFC. Ivey says she's working with well known actor Windell Middlebrooks to bring these stories to life. She says the Seguin community has a chance to come out Friday night to see how that creative process works, and to also hear some of the important stories that need to be told.

"The Region 8 live reading is a pilot reading of a script. A pilot episode is the first episode of a season, and what we've done is, we've taken that pilot script and we've kind of developed an awareness project around it. Generally speaking, a pilot is what is shopped around -- it's kind of a writer's calling card to be shopped around to develop a series with a network or a production company," said Ivey.

Ivey says they've been working on the pilot for some time. She says this started with research she's been doing over the last year. She later teamed up with her friend and actor Middlebrooks, to help bring the work to life. Middlebrooks is a well known actor, who is one of the star's of ABC's "Body of Proof."

"Over the course of a year, we gathered hundreds of interviews from the foster system in Texas. We interviewed everyone from (biological) parents, to foster parents, to the kids, to CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) workers, to child advocacy centers -- all of the non-profits, and to legislators and judges. We talked to everybody. We just gathered stories and information and research, and then about four months ago, the script kind of wrote itself, because when the research is rich, you don't have to do much to create a narrative out of that," said Ivey.

The creative part of the process will be on display during the pilot reading, but the subject matter covered as part of this project is easily the most important part of this work. There are hundreds of kids in the foster care system who need someone to help. Ivey knows this first hand. She and her husband are foster parents. She says she can't talk much about the specifics of her own foster care case, but she can tell people about the important role that good people can play in the lives of these children.

"Foster parenting is hard. People who do this -- you know and they bring they bring the foster kids into their homes -- I'm of the opinion that it definitely needs to be a calling. A calling to heal kids, and not (just) to get the stipend from the state ," said Ivey.

She says it’s hard, but its so rewarding, and she knows that many of us can make a difference for these kids.

"It is something that I never experienced in my life, but it's also one of the most brilliant examples of hope that I've ever seen. It's simply because when these kids win, they win big. If you're under the age of five and you've seen some of the most horrific things and experienced some of the most horrific choices that our society has to offer -- and you bring that into your home and you give them stability and love and encouragement, these kids are so resilient and you just see that transition and blossom -- man when they win, they win big," said Ivey.

Not only will people be be able to hear the reading of the pilot tonight, but they will also be a panel discussion after the reading to further raise awareness about the many, many cases of abuse and neglect of children in our community. People like Guadalupe County District Attorney Heather McMinn will help be part of that discussion.

"We have some really obscene abuse where we live, and our children are getting hurt, starved, (and) neglected every single day. When you talk to (Guadalupe County District Attorney) Heather (McMinn) about it, they are pulling kids out all the time. So this is a community problem. These kids are our kids. I'm hoping that when people come in that they realize that they can not distance themselves from these children, because they live in your neighborhoods, which is why we actually came up with the campaign 'I am Region 8,' rather than 'we are Region 8' or 'you are Region 8'. We really wanted folks to take ownership of our foster region, and say 'I am Region 8!' These kids are cut from the same cloth as I am, and we are connected, because we are connected as a community, and we are most definitely connected to thse kids," said Ivey.

Ivey says she hopes that people will take away from this event the importance of intervening in these children's lives now, when they have a real chance of turning their lives around.

"We all have to realize that we can either pay to rehabilitate these kids now, or we can pay later, because statistically they end up in jail, they end up on the streets, or they end up dead. So we can either rehabilitate a kid -- and I promise you with everything I have in me -- these kids want to be rehabilitiated. So we can either do that now, or we can have adults that weigh down the system in a much, much more damaging way," said Ivey.

The reading will take place at Texas Lutheran University (TLU) in Seguin on Friday, April 4, 2014 at 7 p.m. in Jackson Auditorium. State Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio, will speak during a panel discussion with representatives from various organizations touched by the Region 8 foster system. The TLU event is free and open to the public. A second reading will be held at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 6 at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in San Antonio. Tickets prices range from $10 to $25 and are available at ticketmaster.com.

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"The Mountaintop presented this weekend at the Texas Theatre; Play features fictionalized look at the final moments in the life of MLK

April 4th, 2014

the mountaintop

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- A play that features a look at the last hours of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is brought to life this weekend on the stage of the Stephen and Mary Birch Texas Theatre.

The play, "The Mountaintop," is being presented by director Pat Hoppe . Hoppe says its a two-person show that will feature the talents of Hugh "Papa" Douglass, who plays Dr. King; and Dr. Delores Majors-Duffy, who plays a maid who brings a cup of coffee to him in his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. This fictionalized account all occurs the night before Dr. King was assassinated outside his motel room. Hoppe says this is an excellent play, that's well written, and she thinks audiences will really enjoy the performances.

"It was written by a young woman, Katorie Hall, and she had several things in mind when she wrote this play. Something from the (play's) foreward by Michael Eric Dyson (states) 'The Mountaintop' is artistic dynamite...The Mountaintop invites us to see King as a flesh and blood genius, with flaws, who worked fiendishly to end Black oppression, while fighting for liberty and justice for all.' There's a lot in this play. It's funny. It's sad. It's poignant. It's moving. It's many things. We love it," said Hoppe.

Despite having only a two person cast, Hoppe says the show's dialogue is great. Majors-Duffy agrees. She says she wasn't quite sure what to make of the show when she first started reading the script, but she says she quickly realized why the story is so special.

"He was a hero for me growing up. I taught my children about him. I learned about him in school, and really held him in high esteem (for) being a leader in the African-American community, and for changing the face of race relations in our country. When I read the play and saw the more human side of him, I have to tell you intially I was taken aback a bit, but then I realized that as you paint him as a real person -- flesh and blood -- doing the same things that all normal people do, it empowers us as normal people to become great also. So as I took that approach, I really bought into it, and I really love the script," said Majors-Duffy.

Douglass says he was moved by the script as he read it. He says it's an honor for him to take the stage to portray someone who meant so much to so many.

"When I first read the book, it brought tears to my eyes. I actually cried, because it sent me back some years in my life, which I was fortunate enough to come up through that era. But also as Dr. Majors-Duffy was saying, he was a monumental person who came along in our time, and I've always been excited about the things he's done for this country, and for the world," says Douglass.

Hoppe says they knew taking on this play might present some challenges if people pre-judged it without actually knowing anything about the story line, but she says she thinks people will be moved by this performance.

"There is some strong language (in this play). I jokingly say there are several things that can be offensive to people, but I hope they won't be offended. I hope they will take it the way it was supposed to be presented. It's just a good, solid play," said Hoppe.

Performances are slated for 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with a matinee slated for 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $15 pre-sale, or $20 at the door. Hoppe says tickets an be purchased at Cascades Gift Shop, Keepers, Gift & Gourmet, and at the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.thetexas.org.

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Community invited to celebrate Woods' 100th birthday; Virginia Woods' family hosting a big community birthday bash

April 4th, 2014

woods birthday

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The community is being invited to help celebrate a major milestone for local resident Virginia King Bergfeld Woods. The longtime educator, who's beloved by the community, is celebrating her 100th birthday this week.

Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce President Sherry Nefford-Esse says the birthday bash will run both Saturday and Sunday, with the community invited to participate in each event.

"The family would like to invite everyone to participate in the birthday weekend activities. They actually start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, so if you want to come right over to the King Family Cemetery. It's just behind Jack-in-the-Box, located off of King Street and Gonzales (Street). They will have a dedication ceremony, (and) an historical re-enactment. Then at 6 p.m. (Saturday) at the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center, (they will) have a no host barbecue, which means you pay your own ticket, and Belmon Social Club will be catering a barbecue dinner. Ticket prices are very minimal. I believe it's $10 a ticket," said Nefford-Esse.

If you can't make the events on Saturday, a birthday dessert party and open house will be held from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday at the True Women House, 920 E. Court St, with tours being conducted by volunteer docents.

Woods is also known for the stories she helped to shape in her daughter's best selling novels. Janice Woods Windle will be here for the celebration, and a screening of the True Women film, that's based on her novel of the same name, will be shown on Saturday. The movie will be shown from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the King Ranger Theatre. Complimentary passes are being offered at the box office for the first 100 people who request them. The movie tickets are limited to two per person. More details about the birthday celebration can be found online at www.janicewoodswindle.com.

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Dads honored by local Pre-School; Faith Lutheran Pre-School hosts "Doughnuts with Dad"

April 3rd, 2014

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Students at Faith Lutheran Pre-School line-up to salute dads, and other father figures, during the school's annual Doughnuts With Dads event held Wednesday at the church located on East Cedar Street.

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Faith Lutheran Church Pastor Paul Cross teaches a chapel lesson on Daniel during Doughnuts With Dad Day.

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Mayor offers to take pie to the face to raise money for TLU; Keil's challenge to citizens is part of the university's annual Great Give

April 3rd, 2014

great give gold

(Seguin) -- Seguin Mayor Don Keil will put his face on the line during Texas Lutheran University's 2nd Annual Great Give campaign.

If the community meets a participation goal, Mayor Keil has volunteered to take a pie to the face.

"I think this is a great way to challenge the community to take part in this fundraiser," Mayor Keil said. "Maybe my offer will give some folks some extra incentive to donate to TLU."

TLU will launch the virtual giving campaign at midnight on Friday, April 4. The Great Give is a 24-hour online giving campaign that will involve the campus and community in supporting TLU. The Great Give is an opportunity for TLU alumni, friends, students, faculty, staff and the Seguin community to show support for the university. Donations go into the Texas Lutheran Fund.

"TLU is a great asset to the Seguin community," Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard said. "TLU gives back through volunteering in the community, providing a mobile food pantry for those in need, hosting free concerts, basic computer classes and tax preparation services."

In its inaugural year, 236 donors contributed $52,218 during the Great Give, surpassing the goal of $50,000. The largest area of support went towards the Annual Scholarship Fund, allowing more students to be recognized for their academic excellence. TLU has set a $65,000 goal this year.

Mayor Keil has agreed to take a pie to the face if at least 70 people in the community donate during the Great Give. Last year 59 Seguin residents donated during the campaign. The amount of the donation does not factor into the participation goal.

To donate during the Great Give on April 4. or for more information, please visit tlu.edu/greatgive.

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TLU event helps bring water to people across the globe; Water to Thrive fundraiser slated for Thursday at Jackson Park

April 3rd, 2014

water to thrive

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Seguinites have a chance today to help provide safe drinking water for people in rural Africa. A fundraiser benefiting the Water to Thrive non-profit group will be held at 5 p.m. today at the Student Activities Center at Jackson Park on the Texas Lutheran University campus.

Elisa Wellnitz serves as president of the student organization hosting the event at TLU. She says Water to Thrive is building wells and making a difference in Africa.

"Water to Thrive is actually a non-profit organization up in Austin. Their goal -- throughout the last seven almost eight years that they've been around -- is to bring clean safe sustainable water to the people in rural Africa. So they do that by fundraising over here -- over state side, and then work with other non-profit organizations within the countries of Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda, and build wells for the people of this rural countries," said Wellnitz.

Wellnitz says they've been hosting this event for a few years now, and that money raised has allowed them to already offer one new source of drinking water. She says they hope more people will come out tonight to support this cause.

"This is our fourth annual one, it started my freshman year. Four of us students got together and paired up with the Center for Servant Leadership on campus and just really saw a need to promote the world water crisis. So we're still contiuing with this event. Throughout the last four years, we've actually been able to fund one complete well in the TLU and Seguin communities name. So this event that's (Thursday), basically helps us promote that and helps us fundraise that money that then goes to the non-profit to build another well," said Wellnitz.

Tickets to the event are $15, and Wellnitz some tickets are still available. In addition to supporting Water to Thrive, ticket holders will also be treated to an authentic Ethiopian dinner.

"There's enough time, you can either call up to the CSL or the center for servant leadership and talk with Becky Hruza, and reserve tickets. Either that or show up at the door, that's a great way too and then get a ticket there," said

Those attending will also have a chance to take home some great auction items that will be up for bid tonight.

"We have a silent auction that was created by students of our organization, other student organizations at TLU and also items from business within the Seguin community. All the proceeds from that silent auction go straight -- 100 percent -- to that well. So it's a great opportunity to come out and support the world water crisis, and just learn more about it," said

Contact Becky Hruza at 830-372-8160 or rhruza@tlu.edu for ticket information.

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Seguin High School SkillsUSA results

April 3rd, 2014

skills SHS

Ruben Hernandez, Destiny Whitecotton and Christian Guerrero (l-r) competed in the SkillsUSA Engineering Technology event March 29-30 in Corpus Christi. The team took third place honors against nine engineering teams from across the state for their presentation of the Miniature Tactile Braille Letter Generator, designed to assist communication between blind/deaf and sighted/hearing persons.

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Senior Caston Casey, a four year member of the Seguin High School Engineering Club, competed in Health Occupations Professional Portfolio division at SkillsUSA, winning first place for his portfolio and presentation. James Taylor serves as Seguin High School SkillsUSA sponsor.

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Contract for library project approved ; City Council approves deal with Byrne Construction Services

April 3rd, 2014

(Seguin) -- The Seguin City Council has approved the contract that will allow work on the new Seguin Public Library to officially get started.

The council on Tuesday approved a contract with Byrne Construction Services. City Manager Doug Faseler recommended the contract to the council. He says they were able to reach terms on a deal that will be good for the city.

The proposed construction manager at-risk fee is 2.85% which is applies on the actual construction costs. The one-time pre-construction services fee is $35,000. Monthly general conditions costs are $41,828 and the one-time general conditions lump sum costs are $168,358. A number of the line items are charged as "cost of work" which is based on the actual cost of the service.

The library project, approved by voters in November, calls for $14.8 million to be spent on the project, which will be be built on West Nolte Street across from the city's Walnut Springs Park in downtown Seguin.

A construction start date has not yet been set.

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Rodriguez students want to team up with community to win $20K; Community votes needed to support Baking with Books program

April 2nd, 2014

team challenge

Rodriguez Elementary School students, participating in the Baking with Books program, showed off some of their work during last week's meeting of the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. Courtesy photo

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- A pair of second grade classes at Rodriguez Elementary School hopes that you will help to give them 20,000 reasons to read books, and also give back to the community.

Teachers Carol Muenich and Dawn Lawhorn have their students participating in the Team Up Challenge sponsored by Silver & Black Give Back, formerly known as the Spurs Foundation.
Lawhorn says the students were named Team Up Challenge semifinalists last October for their project called, "Baking with Books".

"It's a grant from Silver & Black Give Back. The Silver & Black Give Back is an affiliate of the Spurs, Rampage, and Silver Stars. So basically the kids are wanting to help the community. So they read a book that's aligned with the second grade curriculum, they bake a corresponding recipe, and they deliver the baked goods out to the community. And then once we're out at the different organizations, if they have jobs for us to do, we do jobs out there and if they don't, then we'll spend time there," said Lawhorn.

Lawhorn says they got $2,500 as a semi-finalist in the challenge, and if the school can collect the most votes online, those classes could earn $20,000 to keep the programs going.

"We have been doing this all year. We got the grants in September. I think our first time we started baking was October. So we've baked once a month, so once in October, then November, December, January, February and once in March, and we are going to bake in April and May," said Lawhorn.

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Lawhorn says the kids have been excited about reading, then baking, and later on sharing those baked goods with others who are making a difference in the community. Camila Beltran is one of the students who says this has all been great fun.

"We read a book, then we learn about the organizations, and then we find a recipe, (and) we bake for the volunteers," said Beltran. "It helps the community, because a lot of people don't have the time to think about the volunteers, and we are thanking the volunteers for all their hard work."

Caleb Soto says he and his classmates have made a number of baked good donations, including stops at Nesbit Living & Recovery Center, at the Humane Society, and at GBRA. He says each visit has provided a new experience for the students.

"My favorite person to bake for was the Meadow Haven Horse Rescue. We baked carrot cakes, and then we cleaned the saddles for them, and spent time with all their horses and volunteers at Meadown Haven Horse Rescue," said Soto.

The classes want to be able to continue the Baking with Books program, but in order to do that they need to win the challenge. Harper Wilson says she and her classmates want people to visit the Team Up Challenge website, and vote for the Rodriguez Elementary School project.

"People need to go online to teamupchallenge.com. It's the online voting, so we can (win) $20,000 so we can keep baking," said Wilson.

Lawhorn says the voting period is well underway, and they hope people will vote early and often until next week's deadline.

"Basically you go to the team up challenge website. They're going to list all 20 teams that are up for the (contest). Everybody already -- the 20 teams got $2,500 to begin with -- so that was our start up money. Then out of those 20 teams they're going to give five teams $20,000. So we're trying to get the $20,000 so that we can continue our program in future years. So if you go online, you can vote as many times as you want. So we have the kids voting, they vote quite a few times a day, but as many votes as we can get, that helps our overall score," said Lawhorn.

To cast your vote, visit http://www.teamupchallenge.com/vote/. A link to that site can also be found on our website, www.seguintoday.com. The deadline to cast your vote is Monday, April 7.

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Seguin + TLU = Community; TLU's Great Give slated for Friday

April 2nd, 2014

greatgive

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Texas Lutheran University is teaming up with the community to host its annual Great Give. The one-day only fundraising event is designed to bring TLU supporters together in an attempt to raise money to support the work being done at the university.

Derrick Collins, TLU's director of annual giving, says this year's Great Give is set for Friday, Apri 4. He says this is the second year that the university has sponsored the Great Give.

"This year's Great Give campaign is really just about building on what started last year, which was a really successful campain. We felt a lot of support from our alumni and friends, and (we are) helping to build on that momentum, (and hoping) to help TLU become a better university, and to better service to students we have here," said Collins.

Collins says the Great Give is not like most capital campaigns. He says it's a fun and unique way that people can offer their financial support to the university.

"The great give is a 24 hour, entirely online campaign. Over the years, our donor base is just interested more and more about giving to university through this medium. So we're asking folks to show their support. It's secure, it's easy, it's fast and it helps the university tremendously because we're able to take those funds and immediately put them to use," said Collins.

The Great Give relies heavily on social media to help spread the word about the campaign. Collins says as people give, they hope that they will share that good news with others on sites, like Facebook and Twitter.

"On the day of great give, we will be on all social media with tweeting and facebooking messages to encourage people to give to the Great Give campaign. We will supply the link. We'll also email this out to some folks that are in our database, and all they have to do is click that link. There may be people walking around with t-shirts with the(QR) code on the back of the shirt. They can use their smart phone to scan that code. It will take them right to the giving page" said Collins.

If you aren't into QR codes or Facebook, Collins says they've still made it easy for you to give online. He says all you have to do is visit http://www.tlu.edu/greatgive, and follow a few simple steps.

"We've simplified that page to make it easy just to collect the necessary information we need to process the gift, and then from there, it's the donor's discretion to fill in the information. We're hoping that people support the university's general fund, which is called the Texas Lutheran Fund, but they can designate their gift to whatever area of the university they desire," said Collins.

One of the unique features of the Great Give is that it's a fundraiser that anyone can join. Collins says you don't need big bucks to donate. He says you just need a desire to support the university and its work here in Seguin.

"At TLU, when donors work together, it goes a long way. So we've been looking a lot at that data the last couple of years, and we've been seeing that donors that have been supporting TLU -- giving us less than $100 -- those gifts combined have equaled more than $40,000. So that helps the university tremendously. We're encouraging people to give no matter the size of the gift. If they have it to give, a $1,000 gift is great. But if all they have right now is five dollars, we encourage them to give us that five dollars to help us continue our mission," said Collins.

A number of community challenges have already been issued in preparation for the Great Give. Those challenges, and more details about this year's fundraising campaign can be found online at tlu.edu/greatgive.

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Commissioners reaffirm their opposition to landfill project; Special meeting held Monday as commissioners, county judge disagree over landfill future

April 1st, 2014

judge jones

County Judge Larry Jones listens during a special meeting held to discuss a recent letter he wrote in support of the Post Oak Clean Green landfill permit.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The fallout continiues over a letter written by Guadalupe County Judge Larry Jones that offered his support for a local landfill permit.

Judge Jones wrote the letter earlier this month. It was first reported by KWED and the Seguin Daily News last week. At the time, Jones said that he delivered the letter to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) because he wanted to make sure that the Post Oak Clean Green landfill permit was properly vetted by the state agency.

However, the other members of the commissioners court called a special meeting Monday to reaffirm their opposition to the landfill project, despite that letter of support from Judge Jones. The court said it also wanted to host the special meeting on Monday to get the judge to further explain his reasoning behind the letter, which was sent without any discussion with the other members of the court.

Jones, speaking for nearly 25 minutes Monday without interruption, now says the letter wasn't just about the proper vetting of the permit. He says it was also an attempt to get the Funderburg family, which has proposed the landfill on FM 1150 east of Seguin, to come to the negotiating table. Jones says the permitting process may be too far gone, and he recognizes that now may be the time to stop fighting and to start trying to figure out a way for the county to capture some of the revenue that would generated at landfill if the project is eventually approved. Jones says by sending the letter on his own, he provided some political coverage for the rest of the court.

"You guys knew the letter (and how it was sent)...it wasn't (the) commissioners court, it was me. It was me, I didn't put it on a commissioners court letterhead, I didn't put it anywhere except my letter that was meaningless. Absolutely meaningless, just as meaningless as this (resolution you're considering). You've already got a resolution down there. They're going to put this in the same file 13 as you got the other ones, but it'll make them feel good, and I guess it'll make you feel good," said Jones.

Jones offered no apologies for the letter, despite the fact that in the past he has repeatedly said he was opposed to the project. Jones says he's not fighting it now, because he thinks it's time to move on to figuring out a way for the county's taxpayers to benefit from what he believes is effectively a done deal with TCEQ. Jones tells KWED that he "recently" met with the developers of the landfill and that he had a verbal commitment that they would be open to negotiations on a percentage of tipping fees. He says that's also now been put into writing.

"Here's the reality, you're risking millions of dollars. This isn't chump change, this is millions of dollars you're risking by not negotiating, because if, I haven't talked to the owners (officially). I haven't talked to them, but I have (something from them) in writing now. I had a verbal agreement, (but now) I have in writing that they will negotiate on tipping fees, and they don't have to, and they know they got the permit. This is just being a good neighbor to help us fix the roads that they're going to tear up. You can close that door today if you want to, and then I'll walk away on December the 31st (when my term ends). By the way, if any other contraversal issues come on I will (also) fight them. (But if) you close that door, at least I'll walk away and say 'you guys really did a great job'. You lost millions of dollars, because there's only two options out there that I see -- there's a permit without any fees (paid to the county) and there's a permit with millions of dollars in fees (paid to the county)," said Jones.

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The campaign may be over, but Commissioner Kyle Kutscher and County Judge Larry Jones were still butting heads during Monday's special meeting. Kutscher (left) defeated Jones during the GOP primary election held in March.

Precinct 2 Commissioner Kyle Kutscher, who defeated Jones during the Republican Primary Election in March and will officially become the county judge-elect after the November general election, took Jones to task on Monday for writing the letter without consulting the rest of the court. Kutscher says Jones' behavior and words are duplicitous, and he thinks it's all just wrong.

"Again it's another instance of say one thing, do another. I'm just saying that there (are) processes and procedures that are in place for us to operate as a court (and) as a county to serve the tax payers. You now saying that 'you know, I'm a rebel, I go out and do the things people other people don't want to do', that's great -- do what you need to, but when you have a negative effect on the entire court acting as a single person, I don't think that's right," said Kutscher.

Some people opposed to the landfill project also spoke out against the letter. Ken Greenwald, president of the Schertz-Seguin Local Government Corporation which oversees the drinking water projects for the cities of Seguin and Schertz, says that county officials need to speak with the same voice, because he believes this landfill poses a threat to the area's water supply due to its close proximity to the Carrizo Aquifer.

"I realized the county would have loved to have the tipping fee money, and I don't have a problem with that. Granted we need a landfill somewhere in the area, whether it be Guadalupe (or) Gonzales (counties) -- somewhere in that area, I just think this is 100 percent the wrong location," said Greenwald.

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Several members of the audience took exception to letter written by Judge Jones last week.

Local businessman Steve Johnson was also critical of Jones for sending the letter. Jones reminded Johnson that he had worked with others in the Seguin area to stop another landfill project. Johnson acknowledged that Jones did help stop the city of Seguin from selling its old landfill in the late 1990s, but he says that was years ago. He says when you look at what's happening right now, he believes that Jones should never have sent that letter to TCEQ contradicting what has been said by the other members of the commissioners court.

"I believe that we live in the United States and we have a representative form of government. I believe this is so important. I think representative form of government is the five of you on commissioners court. Not a dictatorship -- a representative form of government. When a person takes it upon himself, as a dictator, and believes they're doing the best for his county -- we don't live in the Soviet Union. We live in a representative form of government. You can chastise me, but I'll swear this does not work this way. Negotiation starts out (with) a group of commissioners. As a group -- no matter whether they have differences -- they should be sitting together and working out, at least knowing what eachother are doing," said Johnson

Jones challenged every speaker who addressed the court during the meeting, including citizens, appointed officials and some of the other members of the court.

Local resident Robin Walker, who has run for state and county offices in the past, also voiced her disappointment not just with the letter written by Jones. She also chastised Jones for the way he ran Monday's meeting.

"Judge I just want to say that I am so delighted that I was here today. This was truely enlightening. I have never seen a public official sit there and wag their finger. Well you can shake your head, but 'honest to Pete'...wag their finger at their citizens like they're suppose to know the stuff that you guys are suppose to be reading. That's why we elect you. That's why I didn't read those books, and quite frankly I just want to say that I'm here to speak on behalf of those sweet families that I talked to that oppose this dump, because it's going to totally depreciate the value of their property that they have kept and protected and not only that, it's not just the depreciation of the property that I'm concerned about, I'm also concerned about the roads that the county and the state go on and on and on about we don't have any money to fix the roads. Well you're right, and here you are supporting, through your letter, a dump that will tear them up. I just don't see that that's logical Larry, I really don't," said Walker.

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Local resident Robin Walker was critical of Jones' letter and of the way he addressed people who spoke at the meeting.

Jones would also challenge Walker's comments, and he also challenged whether she was there speaking as a private citizen. He went on to describe as a politician.

Jones: "We'll Robin..."

Walker: "I'm sorry. Did you want to berate me?"

Jones: "I didn't want to berate you Robin, but you are far from just a regular citizen. You have run three or four times. You are a politician."

That exchange was fairly consistent with the tone of the entire meeting, which seemed at times like a prize fight, with Jones digging in and taking on all comers. Many questions were raises about Jones' writing of the letter, but not one speaker spoke without having to exchange a few verbal jabs with the judge, who reminded the audience more than once that he was the presiding officer for the meeting.

Jones says he's used to taking on tough issues, and he says that's what separates him from other politicians. He says he doesn't give in to any special interest group, and that he only tries to do what he thinks is right, even when it's unpopular with the rest of the court.

"We can talk about getting along, we can talk about all the good things we're trying to do for you. I have tirelessly tried, I have tirelessly tried to face every issue that I inherited. All these issues were already here. We had an invalid contract (with Waste Management) that was already here. We had a Post Oak landfill, a year into the (permitting) process. We had money from TxDoT (Texas Department of Transportation) that nobody was able to get (until I arrived). I inherited all of those, and I know that you didn't elect me, and I know you wouldn't re-elect me, but I was serving you, I got a lot of things done. And I know that you don't appreciate this one, you don't appreciate it I understand that. But years to come your kids and grandkids (will appreciate it) -- when we're able to keep taxes lower because all of us at our age don't care about taxes anymore," said Jones.

After all the fighting was done, the court did what everyone expected it to do. It reaffirmed the court's official opposition to the landfill. Judge Jones cast the lone dissenting vote -- saying that this resolution, just like all the others will have little impact on TCEQ's decision about the landfill. The other members of the court say they will continue to fight against the project because they still believe it poses a threat to the local drinking water. Jones says they should not be fighting a losing fight, and instead should focus on doing what's best long term for the citizens of Guadalupe County.

A full video recording of the meeting is available online at vimeo.com.

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New video created to help lure Chick-fil-A to Seguin; Economic development teams up with SHS student to recruit the popular chicken chain

March 31st, 2014

chick-fil-a seguin

Seguin High School senior Keegan Riojas (center) is the creative force behind a new promotional video designed to help bring a Chick-Fil-A to Seguin. Pictured are, from left, Assist. Economic Development Directior Kyle Kram, Economic Development Specialist Mariah Kilbourne, Riojas, Economic Development Director Terry Trevino, and Economic Development Analyst Sami Kuhn.

(Seguin) -- The old saying says “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” and Keegan Riojas’ effort to help bring Chick-fil-A to Seguin may prove it. The Seguin High School senior and lifelong Seguin resident recently wrote, filmed and produced a video that has been forwarded to Chick-fil-A headquarters as part of city of Seguin Economic Development retail recruitment.

Chick-fil-A tops the list of retail businesses most desired by Seguin residents, joining Starbucks, and Target. In January, within moments of the announcement that Starbucks would open a free-standing store in Seguin later this year, residents asked: “Great! What about Chick-fil-A?”

In the Economic Development department at city of Seguin, there is no rest for the weary.

“Our work to recruit businesses like Chick-fil-A to Seguin is ongoing because our residents tell us that’s what they want,” said Terry Trevino, director of economic development for city of Seguin. “When we were able to announce in January, after many, many hours of recruitment efforts, that Starbucks would be opening in Seguin, the community was very excited. It was like we had finally arrived on the world scene. But right away, we started hearing `What about Chick-fil-A?’ We knew we had better get back to work!”

Economic Development staff asked a couple of high school students to collect short videos with their cell phones that could be packaged into some kind of Chick-fil-A marketing video. Those students deferred to Riojas, and asked him to help “because he’s a pro,” they said. Like everything else he does in his life, Riojas went BIG -- fueled by his love for Chick-fil-A and Seguin, the town his family has called home for at least five generations.

Riojas recently surprised Sami Kuhn, city of Seguin economic development analyst, with an early draft of the video.

“Keegan’s efforts far exceeded any expectations we had at the beginning,” Kuhn said. “I was thinking we would combine quick clips of random residents begging for Chick-fil-A to come to Seguin. But Keegan’s project is way beyond that. It’s clever. The music is great and it really does show how much we all want to have our own Chick-fil-A in Seguin.”

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Keegan Riojas produced the video that's being used to try to recruit Chick-Fil-A.

Riojas’ video includes engaging music and is highlighted by cameo performances from some of SHS’s best and brightest students and at least two teachers.

Economic Development staff plan to follow up and continue recruitment efforts with the company, Trevino said.

“This project is a great example of our department at the City of Seguin working together with younger members of our community to make their desires a reality. These are the kids who are going to graduate and move into jobs in our community and who are going to be Seguin’s leaders one day. So we are working hard to make Seguin the community they will want to call home in the future, just as much as we are working to enhance quality of life for their parents right now.”

Riojas is the son of Seguin natives Amy and Pete Riojas. He is student council senior class president, a flag runner, and treasurer of the International Thespian Society Troup #5896. As part of the Matcast broadcast journalism team at SHS, he has served as sports director and features director since 2011. You can go online to check out his video on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/user26330199 and on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/SeguinEDC.You can also find links to these videos on our website, seguintoday.com.

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Sheriff's office warning public about scam; Scammers try to get GVEC customers to give them pre-paid cards

March 31st, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office is warning people about a potential scam targeting some GVEC customers.

Investigator Wayne Lehman says the scammers are contacting people by phone in an attempt to get unsuspecting consumers to give them money because they tell the people that they allegedly owe money to the Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative (GVEC).

"They received some calls from several folks, one down in the Gonzales area and one down in the Schertz area -- indicating that they received calls from folks who were identifying themselves as representatives of GVEC. They were telling the complainants -- these bogus callers were calling the complaintants and telling them that their accounts were in the in arrears, (and) that they needed to load up an undetermined amount of money and put those up on some pre-paid rechargable cards, and that they would call them by two o'clock today and give them direction on how to pay their bill," said Lehman.

Lehman says folks should know it's a scam because GVEC doesn't conduct its business that way. He says fortunately these people recognized that something wasn't right, and didn't give the suspects what the wanted.

"The folks thought that they might have a little scam going on so they contacted GVEC (only) to find out that their accounts were actually current. Nothing was wrong with their accounts and the GVEC folks advised them that there was probably a scam going on. So at that point GVEC came into our office and wanted to report it to make sure that we were aware of it, and what we're trying to do is make sure that the public at large is aware of it as well," said Lehman.

Lehman says GVEC and the sheriff's office want to make sure that consumers are protected. He says GVEC would never call someone and ask them to gather pre-paid debit cards.

"What they're (GVEC) going to do is they're going to call your phone with a pre-recorded message requesting that you contact GVEC directly and they provide a number to call. When they call in they actually get a live person and that live person is going to direct them on how to pay their bill. It won't be with a pre-paid credit card, it's going to be off of some account that GVEC has already been dealing with on them, and if they don't pay their bill after they've contacted GVEC, then GVEC will turn around send an individual out there and meet with that individual and change the meter out. So that if they need to cut the meter out they can actually do it with a touch of a button instead actually having to come out there pull the meter or something," said Lehman.

If you receive a call from these scam artists, hang up, and call the property authorities. Anyone who thinks they may have been already been vicitimized by the scam artists should also report this information to authorities.

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Seguin Police Arrest Member of Bexar County Gang Suspect was Subject of DPS Alert

March 31st, 2014

sweeney

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Police Department has arrested a man who was the subject of an alert from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

DPS issued a BOLO (be on the lookout) alert for Brandon Sweeney on Thursday. The alert indicated that Sweeney was potentially armed and dangerous. Sweeney is a known member of the Tango Orejon gang from Bexar County.

Seguin Police located the subject in a nightclub parking lot in the 800 block of West Kingsbury Street at approximately 12:30 Friday morning. Sweeney was in possession of a firearm, marijuana and meth. He was arrested and taken to the Guadalupe County Jail.

"With several recent gang-related arrests, the message should be clear," Seguin Police Sgt. James Springer said. "Gang membership and violence has no place in the City of Seguin. If you participate in these types of activities, we will put you in jail."

Sweeney is charged with felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance (under 1 gram of meth) and possession.

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STAAR testing starts this week; Students, parents reminded to be prepared

March 31st, 2014

(Seguin) -- STAAR testing kicks into high gear beginning March 31 as many Seguin ISD students will take various portions of the exam.

The English I End of Course test for high school students will be administered on Monday, March 31.

On Tuesday, April 1, the first day of testing for Grade 4 (English and Spanish) Writing and Grade 7 Writing will take place. Mathematics testing for Grade 5 (English and Spanish) and Grade 8 will occur. English II End of Course is also cheap replica watches scheduled on this date.

Day 2 testing for Grade 4 (English and Spanish) Writing and Grade 7 Writing, plus Grade 5 Reading (English and Spanish) and Grade 8 Reading is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2.

Thursday and Friday, April 3-4, are reserved for make-up testing of students who missed testing opportunities on March 31-April 2.

“It is important for our students to be well-rested during STAAR testing dates. By going to bed early and eating a healthy breakfast our students will be alert and ready to focus on the exams,” said Cynthia Borden, Seguin ISD director of omega replica uk federal and state accountability.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to make every effort to have their child attend school on
designated testing dates.

(Seguin) -- STAAR testing kicks into high gear beginning March 31 as many Seguin ISD students will take various portions of the exam.

The English I End of Course test for high school students will be administered on Monday, March 31.

On Tuesday, April 1, the first day of testing for Grade 4 (English and Spanish) Writing and Grade 7 Writing will take place. Mathematics testing for swiss replica rolex Grade 5 (English and Spanish) and Grade 8 will occur. English II End of Course is also scheduled on this date.

Day 2 testing for Grade 4 (English and Spanish) Writing and Grade 7 Writing, plus Grade 5 Reading (English and Spanish) and Grade 8 Reading is scheduled for Wednesday, April 2.

Thursday and Friday, April 3-4, are reserved for make-up testing of students who missed testing opportunities on March 31-April 2.

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“It is important for our students to be well-rested during STAAR testing dates. By going to bed early and eating a healthy breakfast our students will be alert and ready to focus on the exams,” said Cynthia Borden, Seguin ISD director of federal and state accountability.

Parents and guardians are encouraged to make every effort to have their child attend school on
designated testing dates.

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Check out the Chick-Fil-A recruiting video

March 31st, 2014

Click one of the links to watch the video created by Seguin High School student Keegan Riojas in partnership with the city of Seguin Economic Development Corporation.

https://vimeo.com/user26330199

https://www.youtube.com/SeguinEDC

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Seguin PD looking for suspect

March 28th, 2014

jasonaldana

Jason Aldana currently has an active warrant for indecency with a child. Subject is known to have a substance abuse problem ans has expressed suicidal tendencies. Aldana was last seen at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center in Seguin on March 24, 2014. He advised that he had attempted to take his own life. Jason is believed to be hiding in Guadalupe County or may be trying to get to the Victoria Outreach program in San Antonio. If located please contact your local police or Det. F. Thomas at Seguin PD (830) 401-2370.

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Seguin ISD superintendent gets contract extension, pay raise; Seguin ISD Board of Trustees votes unanimously in support of Dr. Garza

March 28th, 2014

irene

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees Wednesday night gave Superintendent Irene Garza a major vote of confidence. The board voted unanimously to extend Dr. Garza's contract by one year, and to offer her a three-percent salary increase.

Trustee Ishmael Flores made the motion to extend her contract. Flores say the board felt good overall with the direction in which the district is headed.

"As board, in executive session, we can come to a conclusion that yes we have done some great things for this district, (some of) which is unheard of -- with the early college high school, the (health) science academy, and big undertaking of the (new high school) bond. So we've done some great things. Do we have work to do? Yes. We made those comments of the work that still needs to be done, but we feel as a team -- as a current team that we have, we can accomplish that," said Flores.

Flores says the board wanted to show a united front when it comes to the future of the district, while not ignoring any of the problems that still need to be addressed.

"We're going to do (our) due diligence for constituants and ensure that we are the voice for everyone. And once again like I said, I believe that this current team that we have right now -- the board of eight that we'll get through some of the rough patches that we've had in the past. Yes, we need to improve on some scores. We made note of that, we all know that, and I believe we've got some plans and some ideas that are going to help her and help this board succeed, and help this district raise to the next bar," said Flores.

Dr. Garza was clearly pleased with the board's decision. She thanked the board for its thoughtfulness when it comes to evaluating her performance and evaluating the performance of the district as a whole.

"The board has really invested a lot of time in really looking at the progress of the district and the work that we need to continue to do throughout the Seguin ISD. I really appreciate the investment of time that each one of the board members has put in place. As you know this was the second round in them having a conversation regarding the superintendant evaluation, and making sure that they were doing their due diligence to really look closely and clearly at the progress. All I can say -- is really (to) thank each of them for remaining focused on kids and remaining focused on what we need to do as a team of eight to continue to move the progress forward," said Garza.

Much like the board, Dr. Garza acknowledged the good things that are happening in the district, while also recognizing that there's much more work to be done.

"We've had some good things that have occured in the district with having the early college high school designation. Obviously the bond is a big point of conversation as we're looking at a new Seguin High School, and in addition to that, opening our health science academy as well. With that said, we know the standards continue to increase, the rigor continues to increase as well and academically we need to continue to put systems in place to ensure that our students continue to grow academically. So it's important to keep all of that in perspective, and focused, and I think the board did their due diligence in ensuring that time was not a factor in really having those conversations as again of board of trustees," said Garza.

The board met in closed session for just over two hours, before taking action on Dr. Garza's contract in open session. Dr. Garza has served as superintendent of schools for the past nine years.

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Prison gang members arrested in Seguin; PD arrests Texas-Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood members

March 28th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Seguin police detectives have arrested a two individuals with ties to a pair of Texas prison gangs.

The first arrest involves 39-year old Jessie Salazar,III. Salazar is believed to be a high-ranking member of the Texas-Mexican Mafia. Salazar was taken into custody after police received a call at 5:53 a.m. Sunday about shots fired in the 700 block of Roberts Street. Upon arrival, officers found Salazar attempting to drive away from the scene.

According to reports, a further investigation resulted in Salazar III being charged with burglary of a habitation with intent to commit a felony, unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, resisting arrest, deadly conduct for discharging a firearm, and retaliation for threatening a police officer.

Detectives were later able to obtain a search warrant for his residence on Allende Street. At that location, investigators seized multiple computers, laptops, electronic storage devices, 29 grams of methamphetamine and more than $10,000 in cash. Salazar, wife, Kathy Salazar, 39, was arrested at that time. She’s charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance. Jessie Salazar III was additionally charged with manufacture/delivery of a controlled substance.

Police Sgt. James Springer says they want to crack down on these types of criminals in the community.

“The arrest of a high-ranking member of the Texas-Mexican Mafia shows that gang violence and membership will not be tolerated in the City of Seguin,” said Springer.

Kathy Salazar’s bond was set at $25,000. She has since bonded out of the Guadalupe County Jail. Jessie Salazar III’s bond is currently near $500,000. He remains at the Guadalupe County Jail.
Detectives say additional charges and arrests are possible.

Meanwhile, police have also arrested a suspecte member of the Aryan Brotherhood on a drug related charge. Detectives arrested on Tuesday 33-year old Ryan Lee Oliver at a hotel located in the 800 block of East Kingsbury Street. The arrest occurred after narcotics officers received an anonymous tip that drugs were being sold out of a room at the motel. The occupants of the room opened the door when detectives knocked, and detectives say they immediately observed narcotics and narcotics paraphernalia in plain view inside the hotel room. Oliver gave police conset to search his room. That search resulted in the discovery of 14.5 grams of heroin and $340 cash. Oliver was taken into custody, and charged with manufacture and deliver of a controlled substance. The other occupants of the hotel room were questioned and later released.

Seguin Police Lt. Eric Jimenez says tips like this are important, and he says it helps them fight against the illegal drug activity in the community.

“We encourage citizens to report narcotic activity and they can do so by calling in anonymous tips to the police department or to Guadalupe County Crime Stoppers. Anonymous tips have assisted the police department in recovering narcotics, guns, money and in the successful arrest of individuals involved with the sale and use of narcotics," said Jimenez.

Oliver was booked into the Guadalupe County Jail. He has since been released on a $15,000 bond.

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Matador football coach Walker retiring

March 28th, 2014

coach walker

(Seguin) - Seguin head football coach and athletic director Wayne Walker announced his retirement to the Seguin ISD as well as SHS students and staff members on Thursday after leading the Matador program for the past four seasons.  Walker has been coaching and teaching for 27 years, and struggled with his decision before making it official.  Though he'll miss working with high school students and athletes on a daily basis, Walker says family and health considerations proved to be the deciding factors. 

"It's what's best for me and my family.  The kids here at Seguin are awesome.  They really are.  They have great hearts, and it hurts me that the successes haven't happened on the field that we would like to have seen.  At this time I just feel like for me and my health, and my family, that it's probably best for me to step down, and for the kids' sake more than anything." 

Under Walker's leadership, Seguin snapped a five-year streak of 2-8 records with a 4-6 finish in 2012.  This past season (2013), the Matadors ended a six-year losing skid to rival New Braunfels, and became the first Seguin team since 1979 to begin a season with a 3-0 record.  Injuries derailed the team during District 27-4A play, and the Matadors finished with a 3-7 overall mark.  Seguin's record during Walker's four-year stint was 11-29, and the Matadors twice remained in the playoff race until the final game of the season, but fell short of a post-season berth in close losses to Wagner in 2010 and to Boerne-Champion in 2012.  Prior to his time in Seguin, Walker enjoyed successful runs as head coach at LaGrange and as offensive coordinator for three state championship teams at Ennis High School.  Walker hopes his legacy as a coach is about much more than the win-loss record. 

"I've always said when I die, somebody might say he was a bad coach, or he was a good coach, or whatever, but hopefully I'm going to leave a legacy that I was a good man, and I loved kids, and I tried to do what I thought was best for kids.  That's the way I want to be remembered." 

Walker will finish out the spring semester at Seguin High School, and will still conduct off-season football workouts during daily athletic periods until the Seguin ISD hires a new head coach. 

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Board extends superintendents contract, grant pay raise

March 27th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees Wednesday night gave Superintendent Irene Garza a major vote of confidence.

The board voted unanimously to extend Dr. Garza's contract by one year, and to offer her a three-percent salary increase.

Trustee Ishmael Flores made the motion to extend her contract. Flores say the board felt good overall with the direction in which the district is headed.

Dr. Garza was clearly pleased with the board's decision. She thanked the board for its thoughtfulness when it comes to evaluating her performance, and evaluating the performance of the district as a whole.

The board met in closed session for just over two hours, before taking action on Dr. Garza's contract in open session. Dr. Garza has served as superintendent of schools for the past nine years.

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County judge sends letter to TCEQ offering support for landfill permit; Jones says letter is meant to encourage the proper vetting of the proposed project

March 27th, 2014

jones letter

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County Judge Larry Jones is speaking out about a letter he delivered to state environmental regulators that suggests that he now supports a proposed landfill project east of Seguin.
Jones spoke out openly against the Post Oak Clean Green Project prior to his unsuccessful bid to earn another term in office. He lost the Republican nomination to Kyle Kutscher during the GOP primary in March, and he will be leaving office at the end of the year.

Judge Jones tells Seguin Radio KWED and the Seguin Daily News that he wrote the letter in an attempt to ensure that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) properly studied the proposed landfill.

"I hand carried it to TCEQ, and I have been meeting with engineers for TCEQ for almost the entire time that I've been in office, and going over their reports of the process with Post Oak Dump. What I did with the letter was to let TCEQ know that I wanted to make sure as county judge that, that application and that process was vetted properly. That engineers of the highest degree had checked all the possibilities, and that the process, as we go forward, is vetted exactly the way the state law says. So my letter was really just in support of TCEQ to make sure that they protect the water resources of Guadalupe County, and the whole region in fact that gets that water. So that's basically what I said. If it's vetted properly and TCEQ does all of their engineering and all their designs, then I'm ok with it," said Jones.

Jones' letter was posted on Facebook this week, and several people openly questioned whether he had changed his tune on the landfill because he had taken money from the developer of the site. Jones says his opinion on the proposed landfill project hasn't changed much, despite the apparent softening of his tone in the letter. However, Jones did try to shoot down any suggestions that he was being bought by the developer. He says he completely financed his own campaign. He says he took no money from anyone on either side of the issue.

"I know politicians will all say they can't be bought for any amount of money. I wanted to make sure during this election that nobody can shed the light on that. So I didn't take any contribution from anyone. Listen back in April and May, I got plenty of threats also that when I passed that landfill ordinance on a very, very controversial 3-2 vote, that I had sold out to Waste Management. When in fact in 2008, the commissioners court had signed an agreement to not go to a hearing, in lieu of four percent (royalty on tipping fees at the existing Waste Management dump in New Braunfels). It was a worthless contract and I re-negotiated when I got in office to make sure that our citizens at least got what they deserved when the commissioners court in 2008 signed that contract. We are now getting paid for that from Waste Management. I didn't sell out to Waste Management, I didn't sell out to Post Oak. I didn't sell out to anybody, (including) Wal-Mart with the controversy in Cibolo," said Jones.

Jones maintains that his work on the landfill ordinance, which limits where future landfills could be located in the county, and his work to improve the county's contract with Waste Management regarding its landfill in New Braunfels should show where he's coming from on this issue. But the letter, dated March 14, has been confusing to some people who took to social media on Wednesday to complain. They say Jones can't say he's opposed to it prior to the election, but then later send this letter that seems to suggest he's now supporting it.

"The only way that any county can stop landfills from coming into their county, or have a local say is do a landfill ordinance. In which back in April or May of 2013 in a split vote, a very contraversal vote, I was able to get a ordinance where now Guadalupe County is protected. Where at least they have some local say. TCEQ can't, or somebody just can't do a (landfill) permit to put us in harms way. So anyway, my stance hasn't really changed. If the expert says it's alright and there's nothing we can do to stop it, then let's just make sure TCEQ does their job," said Jones.

Jones says his position hasn't changed, but at least his tone has changed on the issue when you consider some of the comments he's made in the past. Jones clearly stated his opposition to the landfill project during an interview on KWED's Saturday Topic program in 2012.

"I don't want any landfill in my county. And it's a philosophical difference that I have -- I don't want one in my backyard. And certainly, if I have that view, I don't want one in anybody's backyard that I represent," said Jones prior to the special called election that he won in 2012.

Jones says this is a highly charged issue, and he hopes that people will see that his letter ultimately tries to provide as much protection as possible for the county should the landfill go forward.

"These kind of issues are emotional. A lot of people really take them over the top. My letter was just supporting TCEQ to make sure -- and somebody needed to do that. Most of the local politicians ought to be writing letters saying TCEQ better make sure they do it right," said Jones.

A full copy of the letter, which was dated March 14, can be found on page 2 of today's edition of the Seguin Daily News. It can also be found online at seguintoday.com.

The Post Oak Clean Green landfill project is being proposed by Tom Funderburg and his family. It has been the center of opposition by a number groups, including Stop Post Oak Dump (SPOD). Some groundwater districts, municipalities and water supply utilities in the region also oppose the site due to its reported location on the recharge zone of the Wilcox Aquifer. The landfill would be located on FM 1150 approximately 16 miles east of Seguin.

Landfill supporters say the company is dedicated to an environmentally safe solution of solid waste streams through a proven procedure which will dispose of solid waste, while maintaining "our ecology in an environmentally protected manner."

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School board selects Bartlett Cocke/Koehler as construction manager

March 27th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD now has its team in place for the construction of a new Seguin High School. The board of trustees Tuesday selected Bartlett Cocke/Koehler as its construction-manager-at-risk. The firm is a collaboration between San Antonio based Bartlett Cocke General Contractors and The Koehler Company, which is based in Seguin.

The board unanimously selected Bartlett Cocke/Koehler over two other firms vying for the job. American Contractors (Austin) and Lee Lewis Construction (Dallas) were also being considered by the board. Bartlett Cocke/Koehler has successfully overseen other projects within the district, and its currently working on the facilities improvements underway at Texas Lutheran University.

As construction-manager-at-risk, Barlett Cocke/Koehler will work together with ERO Architects, staff, and Broaddus & Associates to handle the design and construction work on the $78.3 million high school project. Voters approved the construction of a new SHS campus during a bond election held in November. The new school will be built on property that currently makes up the existing Seguin High School campus.

In addition to the work at the high school, voters also approved $5 million in technology upgrades districtwide.

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School board selects Bartlett Cocke/Koehler as construction manager

March 26th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD now has its team in place for the construction of a new Seguin High School. The board of trustees Tuesday selected Bartlett Cocke/Koehler as its construction-manager-at-risk. The firm is a collaboration between San Antonio based Bartlett Cocke General Contractors and The Koehler Company, which is based in Seguin.

The board unanimously selected Bartlett Cocke/Koehler over two other firms vying for the job. American Contractors (Austin) and Lee Lewis Construction (Dallas) were also being considered by the board. Bartlett Cocke/Koehler has successfully overseen other projects within the district, and its currently working on the facilities improvements underway at Texas Lutheran University.

As construction-manager-at-risk, Barlett Cocke/Koehler will work together with ERO Architects, staff, and Broaddus & Associates to handle the design and construction work on the $78.3 million high school project. Voters approved the construction of a new SHS campus during a bond election held in November. The new school will be built on property that currently makes up the existing Seguin High School campus.

In addition to the work at the high school, voters also approved $5 million in technology upgrades districtwide.

 

 

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Superintendent's evaluation back on SISD school board agenda

March 26th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees is back in action tonight. The board hopes the third time will be the charm when it meets again tonight to try complete its evaluation of Superintendent Irene Garza.

The board has twice delayed the item -- once before spring break because two trustees were unable to make the meeting, and it was delayed a second time because trustees wanted give themselves more time to conduct the evaluation after starting on it during a meeting last week.

The agenda calls for the board to meet in closed session to conduct the annual superintendent evaluation, and to consider any revisions to her contract. Any action on her contract would have to be done in open session. Dr. Garza has served as superintendent of schools in the Seguin ISD for the past nine years.

The special school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in Oak Park Mall.

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Leadership class selling raffle tickets to raise funds for wave pool project; Tickets available during Friday night's Hotshots Reunion & Fish Fry in Starcke Park

March 26th, 2014

fish fry

Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce officials say delicious fish plates will be served during Friday's Hotshots Reunion & Fish Fry in Starcke Park East. They'll be plenty of volunteers on hand, just these folks last year. The chamber's leadership class will also be selling raffle tickets at the event to raise funds for a project to improve the Seguin Wave Pool area.

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The 2013-14 Leadership Seguin Class hopes that people, who attend Friday's Hotshots Reunion & Fish Fry at Max Starcke Park, will also take some time to purchase raffle tickets to support a community improvement project.

The Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting the fish fry, and it sponsors the adult leadership program each year. Both things will come come together during Friday night's event.

Nellica Mitchell is a member of the Leadership Class. She says they are using the fish fry to sell raffle tickets to help support their project, which calls for more improvements to be made to the Seguin Wave Pool. Mitchell says they are raffling off some great items, and she says they hope folks will come enjoy the food and entrertainment Friday night, and also purchase a few tickets for their big raffle.

"We are selling raffle tickets for a custom barbecue grill; a homemade full or queen sized quilt in black, white or grey; and we also have a life-sized playhouse for a child or grandchild to have in the backyard to play in, and that's donated by folks from our leadership team. Their time and resources have all been put into that, and we will be having that raffle. So keep a look out, we'll have all those items on a trailer so you can scratch, sniff, feel, look, and buy tons of tickets. Each of the raffle tickets (is) $5 a piece or five for $20," said Mitchell.

Mitchell, who works for Seguin Radio KWED and the Seguin Daily News, says her fellow classmates in the leadership course have gotten to explore all things Seguin during the class. She says it makes them excited to work and play in the community, and it also makes them excited to get the improvements made to the wave pool area in Starcke Park.

"Leadership Seguin has been an incredible experience, learning about Seguin as a community, as a whole, the government (and) businesses -- actually has been tramendous, especially being a new resident of Seguin. This year, because each leadership class does take a task or a project, we (raise funds) for it, we get all the resources together for it and we actually finish that project by the end of our class time. So I guess for lack of better words, it is to improve the community that we are learning about. This year we have chosen to do the Wave Pool there in Starcke Park East. It needed a little bit of refurbishing. So we're raising a money, and actually if you've driven past lately, the shade awnings have been put up. We are getting new picnic tables, (and) there's some painting that's going to go on. It's just going to kind of get a facelift," said Mitchell.

The raffle tickets can be purchased from any of the leadership class members Friday night. Tickets to the Hotshots Reunion & Fish Fry are also on sale now, and can be purchased at the chamber office. Meal tickets are $12 each. Serving begins at 5 p.m. Friday in Starcke Park East.

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City warning residents about unlawful signs; Officials say too many signs are being put up in violation of the city's rules

March 26th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin wants to educate the public about the improper placement of signs around the city. Public Information Officer Scott Packard says they've received a number of complaints about signs that are placed in areas where they are not supposed to be.

"We've had some concerns from a number of citizens who've come to us a little concerned about signs being on their rights-of-way. We have citizens, who recognize that signs are not allowed on the rights-of-way, and when they see those signs, they wanted to be sure that it was brought to our attention. They wanted some clarification on exactly what the ordinances are, and we certainly clarified that to them, but we also felt the need to clarify the ordinaces in a more broad sense to the general public, said Packard.

It's not uncommon to see garage sale, political advertisements and other signs stuck in areas that are part of the public right-of-way. Packard says they want to remind people that it's unlawful to place signs in those areas.

"In general, the signs can not be placed on public rights-of-way, (and) also public buildings, city parks are included in that. Those include campaign signs, garage sale signs or any form of advertising, that's what's included in the ordinance," said Packard.

Packard says the city's code enforcement workers will remove the signs, and the violations could also result in a hefty fine. The city's not interested in playing a game of gotcha, but Packard says they do want people to be better informed about the rules regarding proper sign placement.

"Well, enforcement is going to continue as it always has. We just want to make sure that if you get a call from the code department and they had found one of your signs, that you know exactly the reasons they're giving you call or the reason that maybe you drive by where you placed a sign and it's not there in the same spot," said Packard.

Packard says when reported or found by city inspectors, signs in the rights-of-way will be removed by the city. The signs will be disposed of after being held for 48 hours. Violation of rules, ordinances and police regulations that govern fire safety, zoning or public health and sanitation are punishable by fines not exceeding $2,000.

"We want to ensure that residents and visitors are able to enjoy our beautiful city without the added distraction of signs at every turn," said Packard.

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GCCAC using pinwheels to highlight local child abuse cases; The toys to be used to illustrate the growing number of abuse cases in Seguin, Guadalupe County

March 26th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The start of April is just a few days away, and the new month will bring with it an opportunity for the public to again focus on an uncomfortable subject. April is Child Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

Christy Williams, of the Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center, says there are still too many cases of child abuse that occur in Guadalupe County each year. She says they plan to again work to raise the community's awareness about the problem of child abuse and neglect.

Williams went before the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Tuesday to ask for permission to use the lawn of the Guadalupe County Courthouse as a place to set up a visual example of the many, many cases of local abuse. Williams says they'll be putting up pinwheels to represent each child abused in this community.

"The pinwheels are very small, just regular kid sized pin wheels. Several of you commissioners were there last year helping us put those displays up. We put them up in a grid so they look nice from every angle. We put up a sign that says last year in Guadalupe County X-number, and this year it's going to be 311. So 311 pinwheels will signify the 311 confirmed victims by Child Protective Services last year in our county. That does not include the cases where CPS was not involved, but law enforcement was, and they found victims. But that's our best number to go by for countywide number. So we are asking that we can put the 311 pinwheels in the yard of the courthouse," said Williams.

Williams says unfortunately there are still too many of these cases, and they hope the pinwheels will remind people that these crimes impact us all -- not just the kids and families involved in each case.

The children's advocacy center conducts forensic interviews with child victims of crime. The interviews are done in a safe setting, and the allow children to tell their stories once on video, and to not experience any retraumatization from having to repeat the story over and over again to law enforcement and prosecutors.

Williams thanked the commissioners court for its support, and for allowing the pinwheels to be put into place. She also encouraged the court members and the public to attend one of the children's advocacy center's upcoming fundraisers. The United for Our Children fundraiser begins at 6 p.m. Saturday in the K.C. Hall. The event includes a steak dinner, live and silent auctions, and a bucket raffle. Tickets are $50 each, and can be purchased now at Seguin Radio KWED.

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The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court salutes American Red Cross

March 26th, 2014

red cross month

The American Red Cross comes to the aid of people during times of diaster.  Big disasters across the globe, and small personal disasters, like local house fires, are all helped by the non-profit agency.  The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Tuesday approved a resolution recognizing March as American Red Cross Month.  Sharon Mcallister, front left, branch manager of the local American Red Cross chapter, was on hand for the recognition along with Guadalupe County Emergency Management Coordinator Dan Kinsey, front right.  Also pictured are commissioners court members, back from left, Greg Seidenberger, Kyle Kutscher, Larry Jones and Judy Cope. 

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Tickets now on sale for Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center fundraiser; Live, silent auctions, bucket raffle among events benefiting non-profit organization

March 25th, 2014

keepers

Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke, sitting, gives this recliner an "A" for comfort. The recliner found in the showroom of Keepers Interiors on North Austin Street is among the many donations being provided for Saturday's Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center Dinner and Auction fundraiser to be held at the Knights of Columbus Hall. The chair, retailed at $1,400, provides electrical assistance in reclining. Donating the chair are Keepers Owners, Sam and Amber Ehrlich, far left and far right respecitively. Other supporters of the event include, backrow center, Guadalupe County Attorney Dave Wilborn and District Attorney Heather McMinn.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- It's all hands on deck this weekend for the children of Guadalupe County. The Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center is inviting the community to its annual A Community with Courage: United for Our Children Fundraiser. The dinner and night of entertainment is scheduled for Saturday at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

Those understanding the real importance behind this fundraising effort is Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke. Zwicke says the advocacy center plays an important role not only in law enforcement but in the lives of children.

"I would say this is the opportunity to help those children in need and to help the law enforcement to help the prosecution -- everything become a better deal by supporting the Children's Advocacy Center. The center has been a God send for us in order to better investigate cases, better prosecute cases and help the with the county as a whole. Keepers donating this chair here today is a big benefit to the fundraiser on the 29th," said Zwicke.

Sharing the benefits of having such an operation here in Guadalupe County is District Attorney Heather McMinn. McMinn says the advocacy center prevents children from being re-victimized.

"I think the advocacy center provides a safe environment for children to tell their stories. Often times these children have been through some extrememly traumatic events and the Advocacy Center provides a home life setting where they can sit and visit with a forensic interviewer who's trained specifically to interview children. The environment itself is non-threatening it's set up much like a home. The interview room is set up like a living room and it just gives them the opportunity to get comfortable and to actually tell someone what has happened to them," said McMinn.

The event will include a steak dinner, drinks, live and silent auctions and bucket raffle. Cost is $50 a person. The fundraiser gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday at the K.C. Hall. Tickets can be purchased in advanced at the Guadalupe County Sheriff's Office, Keepers, Gift & Gourmet and at Seguin Radio KWED.

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Authorities believe the fire that burned this home in the 200 block of East Walnut Street may have been intentionally set

March 25th, 2014

fire

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Seguin Fire Marshal Greg Dreiss says they continue to look into a fire that destroyed a portion of a local home Saturday morning. The fire was reported around 9:30 a.m. Saturday at a home located at 218 East Walnut Street, just a couple of blocks north of Seguin City Hall.

According to reports, the home was vacant, and no injuries were reported. Dreiss says the fire department was quickly able to knock down the fire, and to contain it to one room inside the home.

Anyone with any helpful information should contact the fire marshal's office at (830) 401-2312. Tips can also be made anonymously by contacting the State Fire Marshal's hotline at 1-877-434-7345.

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Seguin ISD to select construction manager-at-risk

March 25th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees tonight is expected to finally approve a company to help build the new high school campus. After tabling the decision to approve a construction manager-at-risk twice, the item returns to tonight's school board agenda. The board will consider approving one of three firms qualified to do the job.

Authorization by the board will allow Superintendent Irene Garza to begin negotiations with that particular company. Seven responses were submitted to the school district. The top three companies were narrowed down by a district committee. Those firms up for consideration include American Contractors, Bartlett Cocke/Koehler, A Joint Venture and Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. If negotiations fail with whoever is selected, then the superintendent will automatically be allowed to negotiate with the firm next in line.

The board originally put off the vote due to a pair of absent trustees. The decision was again put on hold until the school board could approve a project manager firm. Some of the trustees said they wanted to approve the project manager before the construction manager-at-risk. The school board moved forward with that action last week by approving the project manager firm of Broaddus & Associates.
The school board tonight is also slated to receive an update regarding the status of the design phase for the new Seguin High School building. ERO Architects is expected to propose its preliminary plan to trustees.

Also on the agenda is the consideration to extend the district's current lease agreement with Guadalupe County for use of district office space at the Mary B. Erskine Health Science Academy.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. today in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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Guadalupe County Farm Bureau observes National Ag Day

March 25th, 2014

ag day

Special by Elaine Braune

(Seguin) -- Today, Americans are further removed from agriculture and the farmers and ranchers who grow their food, fuel and fiber. But during today's observance of National Ag Day is a hope to bridge that gap between consumers and agriculture.

"National Ag Day is a day to recognize and celebrate American agriculture," said Gary Braune, Guadalupe County Farm Bureau president. "Connecting with the men and women who are responsible for our food, fuel and fiber resources help make agriculture more reliable and less intimidating."

Braune says agricultural associations, corporations, universities and farmers and ranchers join together to tell the true story of agriculture on the 41st anniversary of the event.

Organized by the Agriculture Councils of America, National Ag Day raises awareness of the increasing challenges, such as regulations and adverse weather conditions, farmers and ranchers face. Events across the nation also reflect on agriculture advancements and contributions.

"The farm and ranch families in Guadalupe County face numerous obstacles to provide for our urban neighbors," said Braune. "But these men and women are dedicated to Texas agriculture, cultivating a relationship with the environment to ensure everyone has enough food to eat."

Communities are encouraged to learn more about the world of agriculture by visting www.agday.org.

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Guadalupe County looks at supporting national observances, awareness months

March 25th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court will set out today to help observe a couple of national recognitions. The commissioners court will approve a proclamation recognizing the month of March as American Red Cross Month. The court will help county residents acknowledge the emergency assistance efforts of the humanitarian organization which is also known for providing disaster relief and education.

Commissioners will also consider action that will help shed light in the fight against child abuse. The Guadalupe County Children's Advocacy Center will be seeking the court's permission to display pinwheels on the lawn of the Guadalupe County Courthouse next month. Advocacy Center officials say the month of April is nationally recognized as Child Abuse Awareness Month.

Also on the agenda is the approval of a request of unclaimed capital credits to the county. Officials say the credits may be owed to Guadalupe County from the state comptroller's office.

The meeting begins at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Guadalupe County Justice Center.

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GRMC Board of Managers elects new officers; Hospital Board chooses leadership during recent meeting

March 25th, 2014

grmc

(Seguin) -- During the Annual Meeting of the Governing Board of the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center (GRMC) on March 18th, election of new board officers were held. The new slate of officers for GRMC for the coming year will be Dave Calkins as Chairman; James Lee, MD, as Vice Chairman; and Eric Vordenbaum as Secretary.

Both Mr. Calkins and Dr. Lee have received the "Certified Healthcare Trustee" (CHT) designation from the Texas Healthcare Trustees organization, a designation designed to help health care board members become better qualified to make effective and efficient decisions for the future of their health care organizations.

GRMC was originally founded as Guadalupe Valley hospital in 1965. It is the only city-county hospital in the state of Texas, a unique organizational structure whereby the City of Seguin appoints three members, the County of Guadalupe appoints three members, and the City and County appoint one member at large for a 7 member board.

Licensed for 125 inpatient beds after completing a transformative $100 million expansion project in 2010, GRMC currently serves a seven county region with a growing scope of services. Most recently the hospital implemented a robotic surgery for general and gynecological surgery. Its Cardiac Cath Lab provides both diagnostic and interventional cardiac and vascular procedures. The hospital recently received designation by the HealthGrades, an independent ratings firm as being in the top 10 percent of the nation for Orthopedic Surgery, and was deemed as five-star for care for Gynecological Surgery and Treatment of Respiratory Failure in Critical Care.

The Seguin medical community includes over 60 board certified physician specialists and is supported by almost 700 health care professionals employed at GRMC. Despite not receiving tax support, nor being affiliated with a corporate structure, this independent community hospital is operating at a seven percent profit margin and is planning for a robust future including expanded service lines and ever increasing ability to care for high acuity patients.

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U.S. Commerce Department awards $1.25 million grant for technology center expansion

March 24th, 2014

cttc campus

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Guadalupe County) -- The Central Texas Technology Center in northern Guadalupe County just got bigger.

The U.S. Secretary of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) has awarded a $1.25 million grant to fund the expansion of the Central Texas Technology Center (CTTC). The expansion will help enhance workforce training in science and technology in support of the region's goal of expanding its manufacturing and industrial base.

Phil Seidenberger, president of the Seguin Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors and chairman of the CTTC Advisory Board, says the project is a collaborative effort among the cities of Seguin, New Braunfels, the Seguin Economic Development Corporation, the New Braunfels Chamber of Commerce, the New Braunfels Industrial Development Board (4B) and Alamo Colleges.

"Putting that package together was important. New Braunfels had to do their part to pass the $4 million bond issue and their economic development corp. in New Braunfels, they put their money up and we put our money up at SEDC and then the big piece was this grant so we went to Austin and talked to the folks there. You hear all these things about there is no money and all these other things, but they really really like what CTTC does. As a matter of fact, they consider that like the example that other people should follow," said Seidenberger.

SEDC officials say the CTTC provides vital workforce development for the cities of New Braunfels and Seguin as well as Comal and Guadalupe counties.

They say the enrollment capacity has already been exceeded and the expansion will effectively double the center's current size. They say the funds will be used to help accommodate the additional students by adding general instructional space, biology and chemistry labs, student support areas and faculty offices.

Seidenberger says a technical training center, such as the CTTC, is an attractive benefit for companies looking to relocate or expand in the area. He says many industries today require advanced technical skills training and subsequently, offer higher wages. He says the CTTC fulfills that need for these businesses and for the local workforce."

"I was really happy that we got that money, but quite honestly, I think we deserved it. That's the first thing that they’ll tell you is the fact that what we do -- what we've done for the economic development at CTTC -- they like that. It's good use of government money and of course for our benefit, if you look at it like Caterpillar, they probably wouldn't have come if we didn't have that training center there. That's just a fact of life. Continental, they’ve used that. Alamo Group has used it. CMC continues to use it and that's the technical training side. On the academic side, there's so many more students going there. You know next year, they'll start off getting their associates degree. They get their close to home college work done at a reasonable price and it just makes a big difference to our community," said Seidenberger.

The initiative received $4 million in funding from voters in the New Braunfels 2013 Bond Program. The New Braunfels Industrial Development Board has committed $320,000, and the Seguin Economic Development Corporation is supplying $600,000 towards the estimated $6.2 million project total.

"We are gratified to receive the support from the EDA and our congressional representatives," said New Braunfels Mayor Gale Pospisil. "Successfully obtaining funding for this essential project is a great example of a partnership between entities in our region achieving a common goal, with mutual benefits, by working together."

EDA grants are awarded through a competitive process based upon the application's merit, the applicant's eligibility, and the availability of funds.

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Hotshot's Reunion returns to Seguin; Chamber to help serve up original cod recipe

March 24th, 2014

hot shots camp

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Come Rain or Shine, It's Fish Fry Time. The 4th Annual Hotshot's Reunion and Fish Fry returns this week to Max Starcke Park. Due to the event's popularity, individuals are encouraged to purchase their tickets for the Friday night event as soon as possible. The fish fry is hosted by the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce. Chamber officials say the event helps families relive those fond memories of similar fish fries at the Hotshot's Lakeview Camp on Lake McQueeney. The restaurant for years was a popular eating spot and hangout. The establishment operated by the Silvia family was originally started by Winfred Hartman, who ran the camp with his wife Ellen.

Chamber officials say the flood of 1998 was the last straw for the nearly 50-year-old business. They say the owners were forced to make the tough decision to not rebuild the business - much to the sadness of generations of families who grew up there.

Intrigued with bringing back the spirit of the cafeteria-style line which included the Hotshot's' original cod recipe, the chamber partnered up with the family to bring back the fish plate recipe along with its sides of French fries, cole slaw and it's ever-so-famous green bean salad.

Fish Fry Chairperson Irene Gil, says in late 2009, a volunteer committee of the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce decided to help folks remember Hotshot's as well as help introduce it to newcomers. She says since then, the fundraiser has grown to become its own popular tradition.

"The GVEC team will be back to cook the fish and of course Mrs. Ileen Silvia will be there and she'll be observing and making sure that we're preparing that fish to her expectations. It's a great opportunity for people to come out. It's a family reunion kind of thing. Everybody can come out. What I really enjoy about the event is that it is a family atmosphere and so it's not something that's limited to just adults. You can bring out your family and everybody just sits around and enjoys the evening. This year, we're going to have Clint Taft and the Buckwild Band out there, so that's something new this year," said Gil.

Gil says Leadership Seguin participants will also be on hand Friday selling hot dog plates, desserts and raffle tickets to benefit their community service wave pool project and the Seguin Area Youth Leadership Academy.

"The Leadership Group will be out there. They've sold sweets in the past. This year, they're actually going to be doing the hotdogs. Every now and then, you get a few people who don't really want to eat fish. So, they'll be selling some hotdogs and they've got three big items that they will also be raffling off for their event for the leadership group. They'll have those items out there too. Of course, we'll have our own raffle item which is the Yeti cooler, which we did last year. We'll do that again this year," said Gil.

The fish fry will be held on the park's east side. Serving begins at 5 p.m. Friday with a to-go line operating from 5 to 6:30 p.m. only. Meal tickets are $12 each. Tickets can be purchased at the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce office or online at www.seguinchamber.com. A limited amount of tickets will be sold at the event.

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Robbery claim turns out to be false, victim’s wounds self-inflicted

March 24th, 2014

(Seguin) -- An alleged robbery incident in which a man was shot has reportedly been determined as false.

After further investigation by the Seguin Police Department, detectives say the man who reported the robbery incident at the Aumont Hotel early Friday morning faces charges of reporting a false police report.

“The victim suffered from a self-inflicted gunshot wound,” said Lt. Eric Jiminez of the Seguin Police Department. “ The case is still being investigated. A charge of filing a false police report is possible at a later date.”

Detectives say the man had originally told officers that he was taking the garbage out and as he was walking back to his apartment, he heard a man say "give me your money." The victim claims he told the suspect he did not have any money. That’s when he stated that the alleged robber shot him in the shoulder. The incident was reported to police shortly after 3:30 a.m.

Detectives say the victim was immediately airlifted to a San Antonio hospital. The man who is said to have suffered non-life threatening injuries was expected to be released over the weekend.

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Seguin invited to first public monthly presentation hosted by local Master Naturalists Program; Program to feature the people of Guadalupe County

March 24th, 2014

TMN

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- One of Seguin and Guadalupe County's newest groups is setting out to share a series of topics to the public each month. The Guadalupe Master Naturalists Chapter is inviting the community to share in its first monthly program. The one hour program is scheduled for Tuesday night at The Heritage Museum in downtown Seguin.


Jim Dyess, one of the coordinators of the group, says the newly organized chapter is under the umbrella of the Texas Master Naturalists Program. He says the statewide program is designed to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers who provide education, outreach and service dedicated to the beneficial management of natural resources and natural areas within their communities across the state. Dyess says these regular programs hosted by the local chapter will help facilitate a partnership with the community.

“The purpose of the Texas Master Naturalists Program and the Guadalupe County Chapter – who we’ve named The Guadalupe Master Naturalists – our purpose is to develop some knowledge and be well informed volunteers so that we can go out and educate, outreach and serve in a community. So these monthly programs is one of our opportunities to outreach or reach out into and educate within the community. So our goal will be to develop programs or cover topics tied to the management of our natural resources in the natural areas within our greater Guadalupe County area. So we'll be seeking out speakers and our first one for Tuesday, March 25th is going to focus on the people of Guadalupe County -- future monthly meetings maybe focusing on wildlife, plant life, changes in our natural environment," said Dyess.

Dyess says John Gesick, of the Seguin-Guadalupe County Heritage Museum and of the Guadalupe County Historical Commission, has been invited to lead the first presentation. He says the title of the program is "The People of Guadalupe County from the Indigenous Peoples to Present Day.”

"With that, we mean we'll go back to the first humans that showed up in Guadalupe County tens and thousands of years ago and as we were looking around for a speaker, he seemed to be a good gentlemen to have to come and talk to us at our inaugural talk because whenever you considering nature, we need to recognize that humans are part of nature as well. So we wanted to kind of get a good starting point in what will be a very short one hour talk about the people that have been in Guadalupe County and people that will be here today and people that will be present in the future," said Dyess.

The local chapter, itself, began its first training in January. The 20 trainees participating are set to graduate in late May. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension serve as the sponsors for the program.

This first public monthly presentation gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the museum located at 114 N. River St.

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Smart Growth workshop to discuss improvement of water quality

March 24th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- City, county and all others who have leadership or an interest in area waterways and resources will be spending a full day Tuesday learning how to better protect them.

Ward Ling, the extension program specialist for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, says the Smart Growth workshop is being hosted by the AgriLife Extension and Guadalupe Blanco-River Authority (GBRA) as part of the implementation of the Geronimo and Alligator Creeks Watershed Protection Plan.

"The workshop is designed to better equip decision makers so that they are able to consider the impacts of nonpoint source pollution in their daily activities, by gaining a better understanding of how Low Impact Development techniques reduce storm water runoff and improve water quality. A combination of in-class presentations and outdoor demonstrations will be used during the class. Certificates of attendance will be provided to each attendee," said Ling.

The workshop will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the GBRA Annex building at 905 Nolan St.

Although the workshop and catered lunch are free, seating is limited and reservations are required. Reservations may be made by calling 979-845-6980 or via email at wling@ag.tamu.edu.

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Victim shot in shoulder outside Aumont Hotel

March 21st, 2014

(Seguin) -- Seguin Police continue to investigate a shooting that occurred early Friday morning. Shortly after 3:30 a.m., officers responded to a shooting outside the Aumont Hotel located at 301 N. Austin Street.

Upon arrival, officers made contact with a male who had been shot once in the shoulder. The victim told officers he was taking garbage out and was walking back to his apartment when he heard a man say "give me your money." The victim says he told the suspect he did not have any money. At that time, the victim says the suspect shot him in the shoulder.

The victim was airlifted to a San Antonio hospital. His injury was reported as non-life threatening.


Seguin Police Sgt. James Springer says the suspect is at-large and there are no witnesses to the incident.


“We urge people to always be vigilant and to watch their surroundings, especially in the dark,”said Springer. “If you ever feel uneasy about a situation, call police.”

Police are expected to re-interview the victim upon his release from the hospital to get more details about what occurred.

Anyone with information on the shooting is asked to call 379-2123 or the Guadalupe County Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-877-403-TIPS.

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Council chooses firm to handle design of new community park

March 20th, 2014

By Darren Dunn
(Seguin) -- A voter approved community park is well on its way to the city’s west side. The Seguin City Council Tuesday agreed to allow the city to hire Rialto Studio, Inc. to handle the design of the park and to oversee the construction of its many planned amenities.

Parks Director Jack Jones says Rialto was one of the top three firms submitting their qualifications for the job. Jones says staff ultimately thought Rialto was the best fit for the project, because it was already very familiar with the overall project.
 
"They are very knowledgeable and familiar with the site seeing that they did the master plan originally back in 2009 and 2010. They also updated the master plan in 2013 prior to the bond election. They are familiar with the public input process here in Seguin and they did some related work as to the Hoermann Property such as Brackenridge Park in San Antonio which the Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes and I toured last month and then they also have some detail construction administration experience which we need for the project to make sure that the project is done on time and within budget," said Jones.
 
One of the major features at the park with be a skate park. Jones says Rialto will be able to assist the city with the development and construction of this feature.
 
"Rialto Studio has worked with the skate park company called Grindline Skate Park out of Seattle, WA. and for a park in San Antonio called Lady Bird (Johnson) Park. So this project is going to be similar in that there is going to be a skate park done at the park and they'll have to work with the skate park company to make sure everything is done properly," said Jones.
 
The park is to be built on Vaughan Street using $5 million in bond money approved by voters in November. The park has not officially been named, but it’s often referred to as Hoermann Park, because it will sit on a tract of land that was owned for many years by the Hoermann family. That land was sold to the city in 2007 to be used for a community park.
 
The council's action on Tuesday gave City Manager Doug Faseler the green light to negotiate a contract with Rialto. Jones says that contract should be ready to come back before the council for approval in about two weeks. He says at that time, they should be able to provide the public with a proposed timeline for the park improvements. 

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Cajun Jamboree returns to SOLC with all-you-can-eat crawfish, shrimp boil

March 20th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Buckets and buckets of crawfish are waiting to hit your table during this year's annual Cajun Jamboree.

A limited amount of tickets are still available for the Saturday night jamboree at the Irma Lewis - Seguin Outdoor Learning Center.
SOLC President Stephen Finch says the event will include an all-you-can-eat crawfish, shrimp, and sausage boil with potatoes and corn. He says the event, held on the grounds of the SOLC, is a true transformation of Louisiana. He says it brings together its southern cooking and sounds of Zydeco and Cajun music.
 
"It's a great opportunity to mix and mingle with probably around 600 people, give or take enjoying all-you-can-eat crawfish, live from Louisiana and a shrimp Cajun boil as well as adult beverages and water and ice tea. We do have a live band, the Gulf Coast Playboys are coming back. They've played every year for us and they play some great Cajun, Zydeco and Country tunes to entertain and dance to," said Finch.

Finch says this year's event will be even more special as the outdoor learning center sets out to dedicate the Cajun Jamboree to the life and memory of the late Irma Lewis. He says Lewis, who died in September, was the founder of the center.
 
"We'll have a short ceremony at the beginning of the event. (KWED General Manager) Darren Dunn is going to emcee that portion of the program for us. We plan to have some very brief remarks followed by a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting commemorating the change in the name of the learning center which took place last fall, but officially recognizing it as the Irma Lewis Seguin Outdoor Learning Center," said Finch.

Finch says plenty of entertainment is in store during the event including the chance to dunk the crawfish.
 
"We, of course, have the usual silent and live auctions. We have a pick of the litter bead raffle and this year, we're having a dunking booth called the Boil the Crawfish Dunking Booth which replaces the crawfish races that we've had in the past. Kevin Frazier, game warden, has volunteered to sit in it. One of our employees is going to sit in it and I think, we've got another young lady who's going to sit in the hot seat for a while. Basically, you'll pay for the opportunity to dunk the crawfish or boil the crawfish and if you succeed in doing so you, you will get a raffle ticket to drop in our bucket raffle," said Finch.

The event will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $50 per person and are encouraged to be purchased in advance at Keepers, Sister Suzie’s and at Gift & Gourmet. All proceeds benefit the SOLC. The center is located at 1865 E. U.S. Highway 90.

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Team Pink to host Relay for Life fundraiser, concert in Belmont

March 20th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Belmont) -- A local group of friends and family is ready to paint the Guadalupe County town of Belmont "pink." The Guadalupe County Relay for Life team, Team Pink, is inviting the community to head east on Alt. U.S. Highway 90 for an evening of food, games and music at the Belmont Social Club.

Team member Misti Abrameit-Guenther, says the group has put a lot of planning into Saturday’s fundraiser featuring music by 13-year-old singer Madelyn Abrameit and The Hillbilly Jug Band.
 
"My uncle has owned the Belmont Social Club for the last two or three years and Madelyn has sang each year for us and she sings for donations for Relay for Life. So she usually does really good. They give her tips. She's going to be singing from 6 to 9 p.m. and then after 9 o'clock, The Hillbilly Jug Band is coming out to help us raise money. This is the first time that they'll be performing. It will be a $10 cover for them. We'll have raffle prizes, door prizes and a 50/50 raffle and it's a dance from 9 p.m. to midnight and from 6 to 9 p.m. the restaurant will be open. They can have dinner and listen to Madelyn sing," said Abrameit.
 
 
The fundraiser is one of many being scheduled these next few weeks in anticipation of the 2014 Relay for Life event. This year's American Cancer Society event will be held on Saturday, April 26 at the Guadalupe County Rodeo Arena. 

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seguin gold

Seguin, Navarro Project Graduation committees to host pair of weekend fundraisers

March 20th, 2014

(Seguin) -- With high school graduation just a couple of months away, a pair of local project graduation committees are doing their part to raise money for a safe post graduation party for their seniors.
 
First, the Seguin High School Graduation Committee will host its annual 5K Run/Walk beginning at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Max Starcke Park East. Cost is $22 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Registration forms are available at the Wellness Center at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center or at Anytime Fitness.
 
Hosting its events in the evening will be the Navarro Project Graduation Committee. The group will be hosting a washer pitching tournament beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Grain Bin in Geronimo. Cost is $50 per team. Other events include a barbecue brisket and sausage dinner, silent and live auctions plus live music by Emmerson Biggins. Plates will be $8 each.
 

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Seguin PD solves 1989 murder case

March 19th, 2014

Suspect: Paul Anthony Juarez



Victim: Leonard Grimm


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- A man has been arrested in connection with a 24-year-old murder case. Seguin Police Detectives say on Aug. 14, 1989, officers found the victim, Leonard Grimm, dead in the 600 block of W. New Braunfels St. They say Grimm had been stabbed several times in his vehicle.


Sgt. James Springer says after months of revisiting the case, both Det. Jaime Diaz of the Seguin Police Department and Texas Ranger Joey Evans were able to name a suspect and make an arrest on Tuesday. Taken into custody in the Dallas/Fort Worth area was 49-year-old Paul Anthony Juarez.


"Just like any type of case like this, we're going to put every effort that we have into it, but unfortunately, as time went on, the case just turned cold for us and with a lack of leads, we kind of had to back away from it. These type of cases are always active, but we do put them to the side because we have to start working on other cases, but we from time to time we do go back to the cases to see if there's anything else that we might of missed. Of course, if we get any leads on it, then we go right back into the case. A couple of years ago, we started looking at our cold cases again, especially on the homicide cases that we wanted to assign a detective to those cases. On top of his regular case load, he would be able to look over these cases again and maybe have some fresh eyes look at it. On this particular case, the Texas Rangers, especially Ranger Evans and Detective Diaz started working this case a couple of years ago and were able to develop some more leads which led (to the) arrest," said Springer.


Although detectives have solved this crime, authorities are continuing to seek additional information that could help with prosecution. Springer says officers are specifically requesting the public's help in identifying the woman, who 24 years ago, provided a very important tip to authorities.


"In 1989, we had received a phone call from a female who did not give her name and this female was able to tell us where the clothing was placed, where the clothing was hidden. If we can get that female to call us back, we would like to get some more information," said Springer.


Springer says the Seguin Police Department applauds the efforts of all departments and officers that worked together in helping to solve this crime.


"Anytime that we have a large case of this magnitude -- where somebody has been murdered or serious bodily injury or depending on the type of crime -- it takes everybody’s effort to work together. In this case, just like a lot of other cases like this, it takes the district attorney's office, the county attorney's office, prosecutors, investigators from this department, other departments, DPS, of course, the Rangers. It takes all of us to come together and to put together a case like this and bring it to completion," said Springer.


Juarez, who was arrested and charged with murder, has been transported to the Guadalupe County Jail. He currently remains behind bars on a $2 million bond.

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City encouraging TxDOT to make it safer for Weinert walkers to get to school

March 19th, 2014

By Darren Dunn
(Seguin) -- The Seguin City Council wants to better protect some of the children who walk to and from Weinert Elementary School. The school is located at 1111 N. Bruns St., but it's approximately a block south of Kingsbury Street (Highway 90). The council voted on Tuesday to ask the Texas Department of Transportation to consider installing a school zone on Kingsbury Street, especially in the area near Heideke Street where a large number of children cross the highway each day. TxDOT must approve the school zone because it's responsible for maintenance and rules along the highway.


City Engineer Joe Ramos says this isn't the first time that the city has tried to have the school zone created in the 800 block of East Kingsbury Street. He says TXDOT officials have turned it down in the past, because the school's location didn't meet TxDOT's criteria for the school zone.


"In prior years, we've made requests to them and they had pretty much stated to us that without the school actually having its front on the street -- but I went through their guidelines -- their actual procedures that they have online -- and they do have some verbiage that states that basically they'll consider (those) schools located adjacent to highways or visible from highways. Obviously, the elementary is visible from Kingsbury Street. So we're hoping that we can get a positive ruling on this. This is a resolution requesting that they restudy that area," said Ramos.


Councilman Ernest Leal says he knows first hand how badly this school zone is needed near Weinert. Prior to being elected to the city council, Leal spent several years on the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. He says he tried to have the school zone created then, but was told that it couldn't happen based on the state's criteria. Leal was pleased the city was again going to try to get the school zone designation for that part of the street, but he was also a little upset that this hadn't happened sooner when he first requested it.


"Rounding it up with the school district, this particular street, Kingsbury and Heideke, they told me that the property, F.C. Weinert was not touching the street of Kingsbury. That's why TxDOT said they couldn't do anything about it so maybe I should have come to you at that time," said Leal.
Ramos told Leal that the decision is still left up to TxDOT, but he says they think they will be able to make a stronger case in support of a new school zone.


Local resident Rudy Serna has spent the past few weeks talking to anyone that would listen about the need for the school zone. Serna says he's already experienced some hesitation again on the part of TxDOT during a conversation that he had with them this week. Serna says it's true that there's a traffic light near the school, but he says we should try to do all we can to make that area safer for the children who travel across that highway each day.


"Basically, what he was telling me is that because there's a red light there at the corner of Heideke and Kingsbury Street -- there is a school crossing sign there which is right there before where it's way too late -- you've done run over a kid. There should be lights further back, flashing lights, a 30 mile zone or 20 miles zone to let them know there is a school crossing there. There's a guard but a guard is not going to stop a car from running over children. Last month, a little girl, 9-years-old, was run over in front of the school in San Antonio. She lost her life. San Antonio now is going to be putting up lights there. It's too late but it will protect other children and I'm here because I don't want any children to get hit," said Serna.


The council unanimously approved the resolution requesting that TxDOT study the issue and determine if the school zone, plus flashing lights could be installed on Kingsbury Street. Mayor Don Keil says the city will also forward the request onto State Representative John Kuempel, who lives within the Weinert Elementary School attendance zone.
 

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Seguin ISD postpones second half of superintendent evaluation

March 19th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Time ran out Tuesday night to fully finish up the evaluation process for Seguin ISD's top administrator. Just after 3 and half hours behind closed doors, members of the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees decided to wait until next week to continue and finish up the evaluation process for Superintendent Irene Garza. That's according to Sean Hoffmann, the Seguin ISD Public Information Officer.


"The Seguin ISD School Board met and after opening the meeting, went into closed session and were discussing probably the superintendent's evaluation. There was also two other agenda items to discuss -- appointment employment and duties of professional employees as well as acknowledge resignation of professional employees. So, it was kind of a three point agenda item they were addressing behind closed doors. After a few hours, they decided that since these are important issues and it was getting late into the evening, they wanted to go ahead and continue this meeting and continue the discussion on March 26th which will be next Wednesday night," said Hoffman.


The process was originally postponed for Tuesday night after a pair of board members were unable to attend a meeting earlier this month.
Hoffmann says the board, which has already met for two consecutive nights, simply wanted to ensure enough time to thoroughly go through the process.


"There was no vote taken either way in regards to any of the agenda items and simply because it's been a long day and the board members were tied up behind closed doors for several hours, they wanted to ensure that they could meet again and address this in fresh minds," said Hoffmann.


Again, the board will wait to continue the superintendent evaluation until Wednesday, March 26th. The board at the time is also expected to consider Garza's existing contract with the district.

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SHS invites families to a fairytale evening

March 19th, 2014

Cinderella Waltz will be the feature presentation for the Seguin High School Theatre Arts team. The group will present the theatre production at 7 p.m. today in the high school auditorium. Tickets are $8 a person. Courtesy photo. 

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Seguin named among the "Cities on the Rise in Texas"

March 19th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Eyes throughout the state, country and even the world continue to be on the city of Seguin as it earns another feather in its cap. Due to its 9.3 percent increase in employment growth from 2009 to 2012, Seguin has earned "a notable ranking" among the 2014 “Cities on the Rise in Texas.” In a report published Monday by NerdWallet.com, Seguin was listed among 20 booming markets in the state of Texas, coming in third in the state in the employment growth category.


Terry Trevino, the executive director for the Seguin Economic Development Corporation, says the ranking is just further evidence that the community continues to grown as an economic powerhouse in the state.


"Seguin is home to more manufacturing jobs per capita than any other market in the state and now we are being nationally recognized for our employment growth,” said Trevino. “These accolades should make our entire community proud because they honor our skilled workforce, our diversified industries, a strong economy and our pro-business leadership. The growth we have experienced during the years they studied is the result of our strong commitment to economic development in Seguin.”


The NerdWallet report also refers to analysis from the Martin Prosperity Institute, which has ranked the Dallas-San Antonio-Austin economy as one of the “biggest 25 economies in the world” due to its combined $700 billion in annual economic output. As part of the San Antonio-New Braunfels Metropolitan Statistical Area, Trevino says Seguin can therefore claim a piece of that accolade as well.


Citing statistics compiled from 2009 to 2012, NerdWallet “evaluated growth in the percentage of employed residents." That's according to NerdWallet’s Maggie Clark. “We evaluated 126 cities, towns and census-designated places (CDPs) in Texas for this study,” wrote Clark.


In the employment growth category, only Port Arthur and Del Rio ranked higher than Seguin. Last year, NerdWallet ranked Guadalupe County the “fastest growing county in Texas” and “second fastest growing county in the U.S.”

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Convicted killer admits to old murder case

March 19th, 2014



By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- A convicted killer is admitting to a 1984 murder in Seguin. Guadalupe County District Attorney Heather McMinn says Miguel Angel Nunez was given 18 years behind bars this week for stabbing 77-year-old Orie Tausch to death at a home on Old Seguin Luling Road in the 1980's. The sentence was part of a guilty plea made before the court of 25th Judicial District Judge William Old. McMinn says Nunez is already serving 15 years in prison after being convicted in the 2003 stabbing death of a 79-year-old Seguin woman, Evarista Solis.


"I'm thankful that we were able to close out this cold case. The sheriff's office and the rangers put a substantial amount of time into investigating this case. It's unfortunate that it was not solved at the time and he was out on the street where he could actually perpetrate on Mrs. Solis, but we're glad we were able to get some closure. Due to the amount of time between the original offense and now, we had some issues with some of the evidence. We did have eye witnesses that remembered his car at the scene who had come forward at the time and were still available today," said McMinn.


McMinn says she is grateful that despite the years that separated both cases, justice has been served for these women.


"Mr. Nunez is an extremely violent man. In the comparisons between the two cases, both victims were in their late 70's. Both victims were females who lived alone. Mrs. Tausch was stabbed 19 times and several of these stab wounds, there was such force used that there was immediate bruising around the stabbed area. Mrs. Solis -- her face was crushed in, her ribs were fractured, she had sustained repeated blows to the head. I mean both offenses just show a tremendous amount of anger and rage towards the victim. Both of these women had no type of ties with Mr. Nunez that would cause such rage or anger or any type of relationship. So it's just very concerning that someone like this has been in our community for so long just preying and perpetrating on innocent people," said McMinn.
She says the sentence handed down this week will be served concurrently with the punishment for Solis' death.


"With his history, he actually went to the penitentiary back in the early 1980's for an assault. Other than that, he's got assault family violence, violation of protective orders, the man slaughter case from Mrs. Solis' that he's still serving his sentence on and now he'll begin serving on for Mrs. Tausch's murder. So it's very unlikely that he's going to parole anytime soon. He has to do at least half of his time before,” said McMinn.
McMinn says she is grateful to law enforcement officials who have gone back to open up some local cold case files. She says the outcome of this particular case is evidence that cases can be solved and the suspects can finally be held accountable.


"We're very thankful that the (Guadalupe County) sheriff's department and the Texas Rangers are spending so much time on these cold cases. We want people in the community to know that just because the cases are old, it does not mean they're closed. We're working very hard to solve some of these cases that are in our community and that have been out there for years. Anyone in the community who has any information about any offenses that they know occurred, we are urging them to call law enforcement. Just because it was a long time ago, maybe if you were scared to come forward at the time or if you think you have new information, we are really urging those in the community to contact the sheriff's department, the police department, the Texas Rangers or our office. We really want to bring justice to these victims," said McMinn.


The sentence comes nearly a year in which Guadalupe County Sheriff Arnold Zwicke announced in a press conference that the reopening of the cold case investigation had led to a capital murder charge, naming Nunez as the suspect.

 

 

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town and country

Seguin ISD holds off on approving construction manager-at-risk

March 19th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The decision of who will help build Seguin's new high school has again been put on the back burner. The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees on Monday night voted to table the selection of a construction manager-at-risk. The motion to table the item involved the district's consideration of a second item which dealt with the approval of a program manager (PM).
The program manager (PM) and the construction manager-at-risk (CMR) are two separate items.


Making the motion to wait to hire a construction manager-at-risk was Trustee Ishmael Flores. Flores says protocol is usually for a district to have a program manager in place before hiring a construction manager-at-risk.
"The reason behind it is because I firmly believe that it is important to have a program manager on staff, on site for a large project like this. Yes, it seems like we're delaying, but I think for this large amount of hours that are being spent, tax dollars that are being spent, the right process is to hire a program manager. A good practice which is even recommended by TASB is to hire a program manager and I think we've had some lessons learned in our past bonds that we just weren't too experienced with and I really feel that a PM will keep us on the right track and let their be a cost savings for the tax payers," said Flores.


The decision to table the item was made four hours after the board sat through five 30 minute presentations hearing from potential program management companies -- all of who were vying for an opportunity to become part of the building process.


The selection of a construction manager-at-risk has already been tabled by the school district. The board decided to hold off on the issue earlier this month due to a couple of absent trustees --- one of them which happened to be Flores. The other was Trustees Barbara Effenberger. The district has three top construction manager at risk companies in which to choose from -- those companies include American Contractors, Koehler/Bartlett Cocke and Lee Lewis.

Supporinting the idea was Trustee Ricardo Guerra. However, Guerra did state that this particular item can not be put off anymore.


"I would like for Mr. Flores to make sure that this will be the last time we will postpone this decision. Hopefully, we can get somebody on board real quick that can do what we want where we feel like it's needed and maybe by Friday or next Tuesday, we'll go ahead and close this team and before April the team will be on board and we need to get on with this project," said Guerra.

Voting against the decision to table the item was Trustee Nancy Ayotte. Ayotte says she didn't think waiting to take action would have made much difference.

"I just feel like we're far enough along in the process and yes, we're kind of doing this a little bit backwards. The program manager generally is actually contracted almost at the same time the bond is done and so from this process, we're so far along in the process -- I'm not sure delaying it will really change the end result. The program manager is going to need to work with whoever we decide. We've looked at the construction people.

They will be looking at not a presentation but at paperwork. They wouldn't see what we saw and so I'm not sure that it was necessary to postpone," said Ayotte.

Flores says a program manager specialist is a new building concept that is being endorsed by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) and is being utilized by many districts for their bond projects.

Although endorsed by TASB, some members of the board ---such as Ayotte -- question their overall need and success of working in partnership with the architect and construction manager at risk.

Flores says the concept is still unique and has only been around for a decade or so. Yet, he says they are proving to help save districts large amounts of money.

"It's probably best described as an individual that works for the board. They report to the board. They answer to the board and they ensure that all parties involved -- architect firms, the construction managers-at-risk and sub contractors -- they ensure that all are providing the best value for the dollars that are given. If there's cost savings on some type of material -- that a specific sub contractors uses then usually, the PM will come in and oversee and say well ‘hey you can save the tax payers ‘X’ amount of dollars by using this other type of material. So it's just another set of eyes for checks and balances that a lot of large companies use. It's fairly new, probably within the last decade it's been practiced. The terminology is new, but it's a methodology that has worked and I believe it will help us in succeeding in saving money for this bond," said Flores.

School district officials say they are hoping to have all construction teams in place by April 1.

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Man lies about being robbed at gunpoint

March 19th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Making a false report to the Seguin Police Department has landed a local man behind bars. Seguin Police Detectives say security in and around the Guadalupe County Justice Center including the Saegert Sixth Grade Campus was immediately heightened Tuesday morning following a report of a robbery incident in which a man was believed to have been held at knifepoint.

Sgt. James Springer says after the quick mobilization of officers on West Court and Camp Streets, Kyle Crouch, 21, was later found to have lied about the robbery incident. The man apparently had also lied to a female friend who helped him call police. Police say the man went as far as to describe and incriminate a man that the couple had been talking to at the Justice Center. After immediately locating that suspect, detectives say the man admitted to lying. They say a possible transaction of some type of illegal material might have gone wrong -- causing a dispute between the two men.
Springer says he applauds officers for quickly arriving on scene and protecting the public in that very congested area of the city. Although a lockdown was not initiated at the Saegert Sixth Grade Center, Springer says the officer working at the school immediately closed the outside gates monitoring all activity around the campus. Crouch was arrested and transported to the Guadalupe County Jail.

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Christian Cupboard seeks donations; Food pantry grocery bill continues to grow

March 18th, 2014

bare shelves

The shelves at the Christian Cupboard are too bare, and your help is needed.  Monetary and non-perishable food donations are needed now.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Shelves continue to get emptied at the Christian Cupboard. Regina Lee, the president of the Christian Cupboard's board of directors, says there's always a need to keep shelves filled at the local food pantry.

Lee says three years into the new year and already, volunteers are noticing an increase in the demand for food. She says the majority of clients continue to be working families. She says more and more people are living paycheck to paycheck forcing them to seek assistance at the non-profit organization.

"I personally was in HEB Monday and was personal shopping and HEB was packed, but when I went to the Cupboard I found that we were even more packed than HEB. I couldn't believe it. I kind of felt this was going to be a lull right now. I don't know why I thought that and it's been just the opposite. So we've had the need for our staples -- the peanut butter, the eggs, tuna, the beans, cereal - it's a constant that we have to have them. I know a lot of things aren't donated items. I don't expect people to donate eggs per say , or milk. That's what I need money for, but I love when you bring those canned beans or those packages of soup and definitely cereal. Those are the things I like to keep on the shelf. For years, we have not purchased jelly because it's so high. It's a high end item. It's nice to have it. If I don't, we live without it. However, that's a nice item to donate. Anything you eat we use. Anything you bring through the backdoor, it comes out the front door. It doesn't have a long shelf life. I'm not going to have a marked down basket or giveaway. Whatever comes in is what we pass on to our clients," said Lee.

christian cupboard

Lee says not only are they seeing the food fly off the shelves but the cupboard's budget is seeing a direct impact. Lee says when you compare this year to last year, the cupboard is paying approximately $3,000 more for food.

"I have people that donate regularly, constantly, a lot of the youth groups, the churches, individuals -- my budget, I'm still spending $10,000 a month on food," said Lee.

Lee says the cupboard does all that it can to help make sure food is properly distributed and that no food goes to waste. She says there have been many
changes to ensure that families not only eat but that they eat the foods that they most need and enjoy.

"The community as a whole does wonderful. We don't just do the best we can, we do better than that and people are very generous and even our clients who remember to save the egg cartons - they make sure they're clean so we can re-use the egg cartons because we purchase eggs from the egg farm. We don't purchase them from the store anymore. That helps us. We have gone to using recycle bags, those cloth bags. People are actually bringing those in for us to actually give away and our clients are using them. That helps. But what helps people more, at the Cupboard we do what's called client choice. We give them a list of items that we keep on hand and things they don't want, they don't check. That means there's no waste. There's no throw away, no giveaway and that's a big help. I think that has helped us overall because the price of food is very expensive. I pay what you pay at HEB and Wal-Mart or any place else I shop. I don't get a discount, I pay exactly what you pay. So when you see me in there cleaning off the shelves with the tuna, their mac-n-cheese, their cereal, I'm paying what you pay," said Lee.

The cupboard continues its operation through its partnership with the San Antonio Food Bank and local donations.

The Christian Cupboard is located at 516 N. Camp St. Non-perishable food donations and monetary donations can be dropped off Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Checks may also be mailed to P.O. Box 1895, Seguin, Texas 78156.

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Trustees to evaluate Seguin ISD Superintendent job performance

March 18th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The evaluation of Seguin ISD's top administrator returns to the agenda tonight. Members of the school board are scheduled to meet behind closed doors to discuss the annual performance of Superintendent Irene Garza. The agenda also calls for the board to consider her contract which could include an extension. Any action on Garza's evaluation or contract will be made in open session. Garza has served as the school superintendent for the last nine years.

District officials say the board was forced to table the items earlier this month until all six trustees could be present at the meeting.

Also on the agenda is the possible selection of a construction program management services company. If approved, the action will allow the district to begin negotiations with the services' group to help with the building of the new Seguin High School building.

The special meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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Texas report shows that 2,000 more children were abused, neglected last year

March 18th, 2014


(Austin) -- Every eight minutes, a child was confirmed as a victim of abuse and neglect in the state of Texas last year, according to figures released by the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services last week. In the latest reporting period, 66,398 children were confirmed as victims of abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2013, which ended Aug. 31, 2013, according to DFPS. In the previous year, 64,366 children were confirmed as abuse and neglect victims –an increase of 2,332 children.

“We are going in the wrong direction,” said Norma Castilla-Blackwell, Executive Director of CASA of Central Texas, a child advocacy organization which serves Caldwell, Comal, Guadalupe and Hays Counties. “One child being physically, sexually or emotionally abused is too many. But 182 children every day should be an outrage.” And the abuse isn’t just limited to the big cities.“In Guadalupe County, 311 children were confirmed as victims of abuse and neglect and 215 were in the foster care system,” said Castilla-Blackwell.

Statewide, the number of child-abuse related fatalities has declined. In 2013, 156 children died from abuse and neglect, down from 212 children the previous year. However, that still translates into a child being killed by abuse and neglect every 56 hours in Texas. Tragically, more than 80 percent of the children who are killed are under the age of 3, the most vulnerable children of all, said Castilla-Blackwell.

While foster care is supposed to be a short-term solution by removing children from an unsafe environment and finding them safe, permanent homes, too often children stay in the system too long and as a result are re-traumatized, said Castilla-Blackwell.

“Because something was done to them by adults who should have protected them, the children feel like they are the ones being punished. They are the ones who are removed from everything and everyone they know and often placed with strangers, sometimes far from their homes, schools and friends. And then moved again and again. Imagine how that would affect your own children.”

Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, volunteers can help change the game for children in the foster care system, said Castilla-Blackwell. CASA volunteers are carefully screened and professionally trained and then appointed by judges to look out for the children’s best interests while in the state’s custody.

Last year, 7,611 CASA volunteers were able to serve 23,621 children in the state’s custody. That means that nearly half of the 46,649 children in foster care did not have CASA volunteers to speak up for them in court and in the child welfare system. In Guadalupe County, CASA of Central Texas served 68 children with 45 CASA volunteers. The next CASA training session is this month. Those wishing to learn more are asked to call 830-626-2272 or visit www.casacentex.org.

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Single mom straps on tool belt, building dreams for her children; Habitat for Humanity breaks ground on 18th home in Seguin

March 18th, 2014

habitat

Rain didn’t spoil the excitement for Denice Salinas, back row far right, and her five children as they are were announced the recipients of this year’s Habitat for Humanity Home. Joining the groundbreaking celebration in the 300 block of Mesquite Street were Salinas’ mother, Juan Chavez, the chair of the selection committee, left and Seguin Mayor Don Keil, right.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Although they didn't get much for Christmas, Denice Salinas' five children knew that come this year, they'd be getting the best gift of all -- a new home.

Dreams of decorating their own bedrooms and having a own place to call home will soon be a reality for Salinas and her five children. The family has been named the recipient of Habitat for Humanity's 18th home.
Rain on Saturday afternoon didn't damper the groundbreaking ceremony held at 313 Mesquite St.

The young single mother says she's appreciative to the Guadalupe Valley Chapter of Habitat for Humanity for considering her determination in owning a home.

"I gave up hope because they took a while to contact me back. So, I was like, it's not me. I was telling my mom and everybody, ‘it's not me.’ She's just like you never know and I'm just like ‘ok,’ so I just left it like that. Then, he came knocking on my door and he's like I just wanted to tell you, ‘you were selected’ and I was silent. I was lost for words. I didn't know what to say and I'm just like really? Really? I kept telling him are you sure? He's like ‘yeah I'm sure’ and I just said thank you. I've been renting an apartment. We've been in the same apartment for seven years. It was just going no where and I'm just always telling all of my kids ‘one day we'll get a house, one day’ because you know we can't have anything there and the day is here. We're getting a house and we're excited. They're happy. Everyday they're asking is our house done yet? Is our house done yet? I'm just like ‘no not yet,’" said Salinas.

Stepping in as the man of the house will be 10-year-old Nathaniel. Nathaniel says he so excited about being able to do things that he and his brothers and sisters have always wanted.

"I'm excited because I can have my own room here. We can get a swimming pool and a trampoline," said Nathaniel.

Chris Parker, the vice president for Habitat for Humanity, says the local chapter is fortunate to again be building a new home. He says the program has helped provide the dream of home ownership to many deserving families.

"We've been very fortunate this year. In the past, we've been building one home a year. We got a few grants that we hadn't gotten before. We had some wonderful donations, some large donations and now every year, we have to have fundraisers to raise enough money to buy materials to get our volunteers on site. It's always been a real struggle and just this year, we're blessed enough that we had the money to start when we wanted to. Usually we start in June and everybody would be in the heat of the summer which is really hard especially on the families which usually they're not used to construction, but the families do put in sweat equity. They help us build their house and that's a very special thing that we give them. We always like to say, ‘it's a hand up not a hand down,’" said Parker.

Juan Chavez, the chairman of the family selection committee, says in addition to putting in the 200 hours of sweat equity into the project, components of being selected include a need and the ability to make payments on the home.

"The earnest money was like $100. She's done paid that. Then the closing will be like $1,000. The mortgage should be with escrow by the way, should be around $500 or so and so we're certainly proud she's part of the Habitat for Humanity," said Chavez.

Habit for Humanity is always seeking volunteers to help build the homes. Construction is held each Saturday at the property. Volunteers are encouraged to call 830-401-0422 or simply stop by at 8 a.m. Saturdays.

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Leroy Alves.jpg

Democratic candidate disqualified from November General Election

March 17th, 2014



By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- The Democratic candidate for the Guadalupe County Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace seat has been forced to remove his name off of the ballot during the November General Election.
 
Duane McCune, chairman of the Guadalupe County Democratic Party, announced this weekend the removal of Manuel Cevallos from the general election ballot as a Democratic candidate for the JP 2 position.
 
"It came to (my) attention that Mr. Cevallos had voted in the Republican Primary. According to Texas Election Law, this make Mr. Cevallos ineligible to be the nominee of the Democratic Party. Mr. Cevallos inform(ed) him of his removal from the general election ballot today," said McCune.
"What has happened is that Manuel Cevallos voted in the Republican Primary and Texas Law strictly prohibits that from happening. If the candidate has filed, in our case for justice of the peace in the Democratic Primary, he must vote in the Democratic Primary. Manuel voted in the Republic Primary, therefore, he is ineligible to be our nominee for justice of the peace on the November ballot. There is a lot of little technical things that go on behind the scenes and one of them is me certifying to our elections administrator that these are the nominees of the Democratic Party. I did that Friday morning. Immediately after I sent the email to Sue Basham, she sent me an email saying that we have a problem. I called her. We talked about it. She sent me the sign-in sheet where Manuel actually voted in the Republican Primary. I turned around and called my state party -- spoke to an attorney there and he confirmed what I had already knew -- he was ineligible to run in November. So I called Manuel and visited with him and I told him -- you are ineligible. I can't certify you and therefore, you will not be on the ballot in November as a Democrat," said McCune.
 
Cevallos, a former Seguin City Councilman, says there's no doubt that he's disappointed with what has happened.
 
"I'm very devastated on this unfortunate turn of events and the results of what I call 'this harmless act' and believe me, if I would have known that this act would lead to these consequences -- jeopardizing my opportunity to serve my community, I would have not done it because it is my passion to serve my community as you well know. But I guess since I am a public servant and not a  politician, I am not too familiar with party rules or election laws," said Cevallos.
 
Cevallos says he apologies to anyone who might feel offended or betrayed. He says it was never his intention to hurt anyone throughout this process.
 
"I was simply exercising my right to Democracy and playing my role in the Democratic process -- just exercising my right to choose and vote for my county judge of choice and mind you, there was no Democratic candidate for judge so I just don't understand how this could be wrong or how it could disqualify me. It's very devastating but I guess this has occurred also because of who I am and what I believe in which is  -- I always believed in 'We the People, For the People' and not so much 'We the Republicans for the Republicans or "We the Democrats, For the Democrats.' In my last elections (with the city of Seguin), as you know that I ran in what were both non-partisan -- which I enjoyed and did well in because I believe in the person running and his or her attributes being vital for the well-being of this city or county and no so much their affiliation. I'm just very devastated because I don't believe in your right to vote being deprived simply because you are a candidate and they are not in your political party," said Cevallos.
 
McCune says it is definitely a disappointment to lose such a good candidate.
 
"It is very difficult and we are very, very disappointed that this happened. We were looking forward to and we thought or we still think that we can win in Precinct 2. We are going to run a vigorous campaign this summer and into the fall. We thought we could with justice of the peace and then with Mary Louise Gonzales who is our candidate for County Commissioner Precinct 2. We feel like we can win these races. So it's unfortunate. We are very disappointed but those are the facts and that's the way things are," said McCune.
 
Although Cevallos will not appear on the ballot,  McCune says the Democratic party will still have a candidate for the position this fall.
 
"What happens next is that in the Primary, people filed for precinct chair positions and they along with me form the County Executive Committee. When we are sworn in on June the 16th for our 2014-2016 term, that night, we will select a nominee for the Democratic Party for Manuel's old position for justice of the peace and there will be a process that people can go through to submit an application -- just similar to what happened in the county judge's race back in 2012-2013, whenever that was. Hopefully by that time, we'll have several people who would have applied to be our nominee and then there is a process that we'll interview them and then our CEC will make a selection. So it's not a difficult process. Like I said before, it's very disappointing," said McCune.
 
As for Cevallos, he has no plans to give up. He says he hopes to investigate any and all options available to him. 
 
"For now, I'll be seeking legal advice as to what my options are because I'm not giving up. My passion to serve is that strong that I am going to look into every option available to continue to fight to serve my community even if it means running independent, a write-in -- whatever it takes. I'm not going to give up that easy because of my passion to serve," said Cevallos.
 
Prior to this latest development, Cevallos was in position to challenge Republican candidate Sheryl Sachtleben who won the party's nomination during the March 4th Primary Election. Sachtleben, who currently serves as the JP 2 Judge, defeated challenger Dale Brueggemann for the chance at a re-election.
 

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Improvements coming to Manuel C. Castilla Park

March 17th, 2014

(Seguin) -  By the time summer rolls around, city of Seguin residents will get to experience new upgrades at a local park.
Seguin is announcing a number of  improvements already underway at Manuel C. Castilla Park located on North Guadalupe Street.
 
"This project will enhance and expand recreational opportunities at Manuel C. Castilla Park," said Doug Faseler, Seguin City Manager. "We are very excited about what this will mean for families who visit the park."
 
The first phase of the work is already underway. City crews have started adding fresh dirt to the soccer and baseball fields to cover exposed rocks. Irrigation systems will also be added to the fields and the turf will be replenished.
 
"We received some concerns about rocks on those fields," said Jack Jones, Seguin's Director of Parks and Recreation. "The dirt should alleviate those concerns and make the fields safer for everyone who enjoys using them."
 
The walking trail will be resurfaced and lights will be added. In addition, two new sand volleyball courts will be installed and each will receive new lighting. The medium-sized pavilion will also receive new electrical plugs and lighting.
 
A new handicap accessible sidewalk will be constructed. It will connect the pavilion, restroom building and the existing asphalt parking lot.
Funding for the improvements comes from the Park Development Fund ($5,000) and a $50,000 donation from CPS Energy.
 
"CPS Energy has proven to be a great partner in Seguin," said Faseler. "This generous donation reiterates their commitment to this community."
 
The work at Manuel Castilla Park is expected to be completed by June.
 

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Residential curb-side recycling service exceeds 100 tons

March 17th, 2014

(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin has 100 tons of reasons to celebrate. City officials says thanks to its residents, Seguin has no doubt become more environmentally friendly. Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard says during the first four months of the city's new Residential Curb-Side Recycling Service, 363 tons of recyclables have been collected. He says the city is especially excited because in January alone -- 100 tons of recycled items were collected citywide.
 
“The collection numbers break down as follows: October 2013, 83 tons; November 2013, 85 tons; December 2013, 95 tons and January 2014, 100 tons," said Packard.
 
City officials hoped to consistently improve tonnage each month with an overall improvement of 10 percent by the end of fiscal year 2014. Packard says at this point, the city is already at an increase of about 20 percent.
 
The service started Oct. 1, 2013 and is provided by Progressive Waste. An additional monthly fee of $2.50 per household is assessed on each monthly residential utility bill.
 
"This service makes recycling more convenient and manageable for our residential customers,"  said Packard. "It allows residents to help the environment, ease strain on landfills, reduce contamination and litter, and return recyclables to commerce. "
 
Residents still having questions about the recycling service is asked to call 830-379-3212. 

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seguin gold

Tons of trash equals successful city wide clean-up effort

March 17th, 2014


(Seguin) --  The city of Seguin is known for hosting both a spring and fall clean-up day. But what really goes on during those events and how much trash is really collected? According to Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard, Seguin undoubtedly become tidier after every clean-up. He says the evidence was clear during the Spring Clean Up Day held recently.
 
In all, he says 22.92 tons of trash, 1.98 tons of metal, 4,000 pounds of paper and 859 junk tires were collected during the four hour event.
 
"The results are a great sign of the passion of our residents," said Packard.  "Seguin residents have shown their desire to make the city an even better place to live and work."
 
Packard says thanks to a number of volunteers and partnerships, the collection of unwanted items was all free for city of Seguin residents.
 
"Several city employees volunteered during the effort. Progressive Waste Solutions provided trash collection service. Shred It provided a mobile paper shredder for residents to dispose of sensitive documents. Tires were collected by Earth Energy Tire Recycling," said Packard.
 
Packard says tons of trash also made it to the dump thanks to Texas Lutheran University who participated as part of its Day of the Dogs event. Student volunteers worked hard at several locations around the city. At Seguin Max Starcke Park, 33 tables were painted, loose gravel was shoveled back within borders and the Kids Kingdom Playscape was sanded to get rid of splinters.
 
Riverside Cemetery was also improved after six trailer loads of debris were removed. At the Hoermann property, 10 bags of trash were collected and an old pole barn removed. Four trailer loads of trash and debris were also removed from along Walnut Creek and Walnut Creek Park. TLU students were also kept busy working in the neighborhoods near Dolle, Williams and Jones Streets. The clean-up gives every resident in Seguin the opportunity to get rid of those unwanted items around their home.
 

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ARF teams up with local business to host pet adoption event

March 13th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
 
(Seguin) -- This weekend might be the best weekend to welcome a new member to your family. The Seguin Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF) and D&D Farm and Ranch are teaming up to host a Spring Break Pet Adoption on Saturday.
 
ARF Founder Barbara Upper says several area rescues will be on hand to present vetted and ready to go home dogs.
 
"We're partnering with six or seven other rescue organizations to do a big Spring Break adoption at D&D. D&D is sponsoring us and it's going well --beyond what's expected. They've given us so much support. We're all committed to funding homes for animals. Almost all of these dogs that you'll see are coming from our public shelters. There will be groups from Luling, from Gonzales -- they'll also bring animals from their public shelters as well as a few individuals who have found dogs and have taken care of them and have fostered them on their own. We require all of the dogs to be fully vetted. Most of them will be spayed and neutered and if not, for folks that live in the city of Seguin, Seguin Animal Services is going to have a presence there. They are going to assist us by giving a $10 microchip for any pet, dogs or cats and then also, I'll distribute some of their vouchers for free spaying and neutering for dogs that are owned in the city of Seguin. So we're just trying to take an overall approach. This is responsible pet ownership starting with pet ownership," said Upper.
 
 
Upper says what makes the event more special is that both ARF and Seguin Animal Service volunteers will provide low cost micro chipping for owned pets. She says they will be chipping both dogs and cats for $10. Seguin Animal Services will also be on hand to provide vouchers for spay and neutering of dogs for the citizens of Seguin.
 
Upper says thanks to students at Texas Lutheran University, many of the animals up for adoption this Saturday, will be made available with various levels of training.
 
"We have got all kinds of dogs. We go from Chihuahuas and Dachshunds to big outdoor dogs. Some of our dogs have been trained through college students. They're part of a class that our dogs help teach at Texas Lutheran. So you'll have some dogs that will have various degrees of training. Some will be house broken. It just kind of depends. So come and give yourself enough time to find a dog you like," said Upper.
 
 
In addition to taking home a new pet, families are invited to come out and take part in various fun events.
 
"We're setting up a reading area where your kids can come and bring a book and we have a therapy dog that will sit down and read with your kid and demonstrate his skills at doing supportive reading. We have trick dogs. We'll be doing dog demonstrations throughout the day. We've got coloring books and little prizes for the kids. D&D has some giveaways. So, there's a whole lot of stuff. We'll be doing a raffle of some wonderful items. There's a lot of stuff going on to celebrate this," said Upper.
 
 
 
The pet adoption event begins at 10 a.m. Saturday at D&D Farm and Ranch located on Interstate 10.
 

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Wilson Pottery Foundation to host annual gala

March 13th, 2014


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
 
(Seguin) -- A local family this weekend will continue to share the story about its pottery making ancestors. The Wilson Pottery Foundation will again be hosting its 12th annual Spring Gala and Awards Program.
 
 
The gala being hosted by the Descendants of the Hiram, James, and Wallace Wilson Historical Foundation, Wilson Pottery Foundation: A Texas Heritage is scheduled for Saturday night at the Silver Center.
 
Descendent Joe Reid says the foundation is based on the pottery business which began in southern Guadalupe County in 1857 and was later operated by the former slaves who mastered the pottery craft -- a craft that Reid says is displayed throughout most of the state's prestigious museums. A local museum was unveiled last year at the Sebastopol State Historic House here in Seguin. 
 
Upon learning the history of its ancestors, Reid says the family established the foundation in effort to create awareness of the family and the legacy that will forever remain through the pieces of pottery that still exist. As part of that foundation, the group each year invites the community to its Spring Gala.
 
Reid says this year, guests will be treated to something a bit different.
 
"It's going to be the same tradition in terms of most of the format of the event. Except for this year, we will not feature a keynote speaker. Instead, we will have entertainment. The entertainers will be the Renaissance Guild Players of San Antonio and the Carver Kids which are a group of children who are students at the Carver Academy in San Antonio and they also do singing themselves. So those two groups will be our entertainment for the evening," said Reid.
 
Reid says the gala is an important event that continues not only the family's legacy but the legacy of the Seguin and Guadalupe County area. He says the pottery business is noted as the first African-American business in the state of Texas.
 
"The gala, primarily, is a fundraising event and since we have opened our museum that hasn't been quite open a year yet -- the Wilson Pottery museum -- the majority of the funds that we raise at the gala will be applied to the museum and it also serves as an opportunity for family members to have like a mini reunion. They can come and socialize like we do at the big reunion that we are going to have -- as a matter of fact -- later on this year in June. The gala serves to inform everybody about what our agendas are and what we have in mind for the future and things like that," said Reid.
 
 
The gala social and a silent auction gets underway at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Seguin Silver Center. Dinner and entertainment will follow at 6:45 p.m.
 
Tickets are $25 for adults and $12 for children 12 and under. Tickets are encouraged to be purchased in advance at the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce office.
 
 

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Aggie Moms to host annual Howdy Dinner

March 13th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Get ready to see plenty of maroon this weekend. The annual Aggie Moms Howdy Dinner fundraiser returns to the McQueeney Lions Club. The event featuring a fajita dinner and dessert bar is scheduled for Saturday night.
 
Club member Kay Martin says the event is guaranteed to provide plenty of lively Aggie spirit.
 
"It's our only fundraiser during the year that we have, so it's a big deal to us and a lot of the people enjoy it because it's a potluck dinner. All the Aggie Moms cook, so they like that too. We're going to have a little bit of different things this year. We're going to have some entertainment by Big Daddy Dean. So we'll have music going on, a live and silent auction and we're pretty excited about it," said Martin.
 
Raffle items this year include two super-box Spurs tickets with dinner; a Yeti cooler and two tickets to see the Fightin' Texas Aggie Football Team open its 2014 season in the newly renovated Kyle Field. Both silent and live auctions plus a Wine Pull will also be a part of this year's event.
Martin says the group looks forward to coming together every year.
 
"All the people come in that haven't seen each other for a while and we have a time of visiting and get to see everybody, so that's really fun. For the past four years in a row, we've raised over $10,000 at this event and it funds our scholarships for the year. We gave out 17 scholarships last year for incoming students -- pretty impressive," said Martin.
 
Dinner tickets are $10 each and can be purchased at Tri-County A/C and Heating or at Gift and Gourmet. The event gets underway at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at the McQueeney Lions Club.
 
 
 
 

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LA

Community invited to come out to support Team Dakota

March 12th, 2014


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Friends and family will be rallying around a Marion High School athlete who continues to defeat all odds after breaking his neck during a football scrimmage in August of last year. A day of fundraising is scheduled for Saturday in honor of Dakota Harding. The fundraiser scheduled at the Guadalupe County Fairgrounds will include a number of activities including a barbecue/beans cook-off, a pair of co-ed softball and volleyball tournaments, vendors, a raffle, an auction and a live dance featuring music by Clint Taft and the Buckwild Band.
 
Although still in recovery mode, Dakota's mom, Kim Topperwein-Wahl says her son's positive attitude combined with his endless hours of rehabilitation and physical therapy are a great inspiration to others.
 
"When he was in the hospital after the surgery, the doctors would come in and check him. He could not move his right hand period. I mean there was nothing there and our main thing was baseball. That was his love. That was everything and the doctors told him he may never play again and he would not play this year and he cocked his eyes because he couldn't turn his head to the doctor and he said ‘I will play this year.’ They took me to the side and they said ‘I hate to burst anybody's bubble but that boy will not be playing this year.’ They said he couldn't run for six to nine months, so that threw out baseball right there," said Topperwein-Wahl.
 
 
Now despite being told that he would never again be able to play sports, Dakota has returned to the field that he loves the most. This spring, Wahl says Dakota is illustrating his perseverance by playing baseball.
 
 
"We went to the first visit. They said everything was healing great. The next visit, they took the (back) brace off and then the next visit, we went in and the doctor said that the bones where they replaced the C6, they put screws in the C5 and the C7 and all of that had fused with bone and said he was cleared. I thought the boy was going to jump through the roof. I thought he was going to run back home from San Antonio. He was so happy. Before we even left the hospital, he was texting Coach Fox, ‘I can play. I can play’ and Coach Fox said ‘What? You can what?’ So they're slowly working him in," said Topperwein-Wahl.
 
Although Dakota is on the road to recovery, that road since his injury has included some very difficult times both emotionally and financially for the family. Family friend Samantha Orozco-VanderWaal says it truly is an amazing sight to see Dakota out on the field and encourages anyone to come out and watch the young man play. She says if there was ever a family deserving of Saturday's full fundraising effort it would be this one. She says Dakota, his mom and his step-dad Ray Wahl, Jr. have all been an important part of the community -- giving back whenever they can.
 
 
"Well right now Dakota has some numbness on the left side and he still has partial paralysis of his right hand. He will consistently be in physical therapy until a later determined date by the doctors and the big part is, the medical bills are coming due. For the bed alone, which seven days in a bed -- that doesn't include anesthesiologist, doctors, surgeries, nurses anything -- the bed alone was $52,000. So those bills are coming due and we have a family that works hard and has always given back to the community and those bills are going to be huge," said Orozco-VanderWaal.
 
The family is encouraging anyone who can contribute or participate in Saturday’s fundraiser to contact organizers right away. Events unofficially get underway Friday at the Guadalupe County Fairgrounds Dance Slab with the registration for the barbecue cook-off. Cost is $100 or $50 with the donation of a brisket. Registration for both the softball and volleyball tournament will be held Saturday morning. Registration, however, is encouraged in advance. Cost is $150 for softball and $50 for volleyball. Those interested are asked to call 830-556-7437. Vendors are also encouraged to reserve a spot for $25. A series of items will also be up for grabs during a raffle and live auction. The family says a handmade bar created by Dakota and some friends will also be unveiled for the first time during the event. They say Dakota has worked on the bar as part of his rehab efforts.
 
Rounding out the day on Saturday will again be the dance featuring Clint Taft from 8 p.m. to midnight. Cost is $5 a person. Those unable to make it or who would like to make a donation to the family is asked to go online to gofundme.com. Following a search for Team Dakota, individuals will be able to make a donation. Gridiron Heroes, a spinal cord injury foundation, is supporting the benefit making donations to the cause tax-deductible.
 

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Tri-County

Seguin music artist to perform at SXSW

March 12th, 2014


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Seguin's artistry will be well represented during this week's South by Southwest Festival in Austin. The unique convergence of original music, independent films and emerging technologies will include music artist Slim Rob, a.k.a. Robby Heyward of Seguin.

The up and coming soul, hip hop and R&B artist will look at headlining one of the many concerts overtaking the state’s capital on Saturday. Slim Rob says he was grateful to have performed last year as an opening act. He says this year, things have taken off even further for his career. He says most notably, he has been contracted to share his music through MTV's Artist to Watch website.
 
"Getting a contract on MTV, MTVartist.com, for them to want to share my videos and download and sell my songs and stuff like that -- even before all this, I was on the platinum recording album with another artist that I had rode on  like Young Artist/Cash Money -- the same album with Lil Wayne and people like that. So that was a big deal for me too and also the response by South by Southwest -- it's been great," said Slim Rob.
 
According to the website, "soon after, he made a single called 'She Wobblin' which made its way into clubs in the south and into the ears of the first Young Money/Cash Money artist 'Trill Real,' who was on multiple albums and mixtapes with 'Lil Wayne'. He later put Trill Real on the remix and began touring under "Scoremore Shows & Red Oceans Ventures,' which featured other artists Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Gorilla Zoe, Kendrick Lamar, Tyga and Curren$y. After touring the South and West Coast with these artists, he realized it was time for him to take the next step as an artist and work on completing his first Mixtape and CD. Determined to be booked & to headline shows off his original singles, 'Slim Rob's' hard work finally paid off after he wrote the R&B single 'Fee Fi Fo Fum.'"
 
Slim Rob says his ability to sell out shows across the state and in other parts of the country has helped land him the opportunity to take the stage once again at SXSW. He says much of that credit goes to his many fans here in Seguin.
 
"When I have different shows in different areas, hundreds of people from Seguin always come and I'm really thankful for Seguin. I'm thankful for the small town support," said Slim Rob.
 
SXSW Interactive is considered Austin's signature event with interactive events lasting for five days, music for six, and film running concurrently for nine days. Slim Rob is set to perform Saturday night at Spinners in Austin. Spinners is located at 14106 N. IH 35. No SXSW badge required. RSVP's can be made at Beth@VTGproductions.com.
 
 
 

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Teatro De Artes to host Noche De Gala contest on Saturday

March 12th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Teatro De Artes De Juan Seguin will be presenting its 29th Annual Noche De Gala Competencia de Vocalistas (Mariachi singers competition) on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Texas Lutheran University's Jackson Auditorium. The competencia will feature 11 vocalistas who will be competing in the youth division, amateur division, and professional division. Mariachi Los Herraderos De San Antonio will accompany all contestants with their top-notch sound.

Tickets are $7 and can be purchased in advance at Davila's BBQ, the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce office, the Seguin-Guadalupe County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce office or at Teatro's Cultural Arts Center. Limited tickets will be sold at the door. 

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town and country

Lt. Gov appoints McQueeney resident to statewide education advisory committee

March 12th, 2014


(Austin) -- Grace Mueller, a McQueeney resident and an eighth-grade language arts teacher at Miller Middle School in San Marcos CISD who serves as the 2013-14 state president of the Texas Classroom Teachers Association, will represent educators across the state on two statewide advisory committees.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has appointed Mueller to serve on the new School District Mentoring Program Advisory Committee that the governor, lieutenant governor and speaker of the House of Representatives were required to create as a result of House Bill 2012, passed by the 2013 Texas Legislature.
 
The committee will evaluate the implementation of the state school district mentoring program and make recommendations for improvement; develop guidelines that align teacher induction and mentoring activities with expectations for new teachers based on teaching practice standards; and issue a report by Jan. 1, 2015.
 
In addition, the Teacher Retirement System of Texas Board of Trustees recently selected Mueller to serve on its Retirees Advisory Committee. The committee meets twice annually on issues related to TRS-Care, the health insurance program for retired TRS members, recommending minimum standards and plan features. At her first meeting on Feb. 3, 2014, Mueller was elected to serve as the committee's vice chair.
 
 
Mueller holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology/sociology from Texas Lutheran University. She earned her teaching certification from Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State University) in secondary reading and psychology/sociology. She also holds a special education endorsement.
A resident of McQueeney for more than 20 years, Mueller gives back to her community as a middle school/senior high Sunday school teacher at Spirit of Joy Lutheran Church and serves as a team captain for the Guadalupe County Food Bank. She and her husband John have two children, Chris and Jennifer.
 
The Texas Classroom Teachers Association is the leading teacher organization in Texas. Founded in 1927, TCTA is a nonprofit, independent professional association based in Austin that serves 50,000 members statewide. It is the only statewide teachers' group that limits active-level membership to those directly involved in classroom teaching or teaching support, including librarians, counselors and teacher aides.

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New ARB members

March 12th, 2014

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new

Woman gives birth to baby in backseat of vehicle; Couple pulls into local fire station for assistance

March 12th, 2014

baby1

Proud parents Raul Sandoval and his fiancee Brenda Irwin show off their new bundle of joy. The New Braunfels couple will forever remember the birth of their baby girl in Seguin. Baby Nevaeh just couldn’t wait to embrace the world and was born in the backseat of the couple’s car. The couple who was on their way to Guadalupe Regional Medical Center early Tuesday morning was forced to stop at the Seguin Fire/EMS station on State Highway 123 Bypass for assistance.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Instead of roaring sirens pulling out the fire house doors, it was the sweet cries of a newly born baby girl that rolled into the Seguin Fire Station #3 parking lot early Tuesday morning. Seguin Fire Officials say just before 7 a.m., a vehicle pulled into the fire station as firefighters were leaving for another call. They said a man got out of the driver seat, got the attention of a firefighter and went to the back seat of the vehicle where a 29-year-old woman had just given birth to a baby girl.

Delivering her baby in the backseat of that car while her fiance drove was new mom Brenda Irwin. Irwin says the couple, who lives in New Braunfels, were on their way to Guadalupe Regional Medical Center when their baby girl, Nevaeh Nichole Sandoval, decided she just couldn't wait any longer.

"By the time I got my daughter to the person that was going to watch her, I said ‘I don't think I can hold it much longer’ and then he told me ‘well wait because it's 20 minutes away, you can hold it.’ I was like ‘I'm trying’ and I felt like I needed to push. He was like ‘no don't be pushing’ and I said ‘no I'm trying not to but I can't help it.’ So then, I try not to push, but I did and I felt like it was the head and then I end up doing it again and that's when the baby was born. So I was holding on to her and then we pulled up at the fire station and they freaked out. I mean they knew what to do, but they freaked out because it never happened I guess before to them. I was holding on to her. She was still attached," said Irwin.

Doing his best behind the wheel was the baby's father Raul Sandoval. He says his daughter came into this world just as he turned off on State Highway 46 and onto Kingsbury Street. Realizing he couldn't wait any longer, Sandoval says GRMC officials directed him to the fire station located at State Highway 123 Bypass.

"I was just going on 46 and she says I think the baby's out and I put my hand down there. I said ‘oh my gosh,’ so I call the hospital. I told the doctor I'm on Kingsbury and the baby is out and I'm all panicky. He was like’ just calm down there's a fire station on 123, where are you at right now?’ I said I passed Guadalupe Street. (He says) you're about three or four-five more minutes -- turn into the fire station. I said well ‘I just passed some red lights man I'm nervous, I'm freaking out.’ (He says) just pay attention to the road. Do not wreck. Pay attention to the road. Concentrate on the road. There's a fire station on the right hand side. So I pulled up to the fire station. Finally, I'm here and I pulled up right there and they're like what's going on? I said my fiancee just had a baby right now. I can't believe it happened like in the car. I've only seen that in the movies. I've never seen it in real life," said Sandoval.

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Nevaeh Nichole Sandoval

Irwin says the delivery is indeed a miracle. Irwin, who has two other children, says she was originally scheduled for a Caesarean section (C-section) this Thursday. She says after having a C-section with her first child, a not so easy delivery with her second, she is grateful that other than being quick, this delivery was a success.

The couple says they can now laugh about being at odds with each other during the whole ordeal. Irwin says in the end, they have been blessed with a healthy child.

"It's like I had the baby and he was like 'no you didn't' -- He thought I was lying and I said 'no I did and what I did was I turned her around and then I kept her real close to me. She cried at first and then when I flipped her around and put her on my chest, she just was sleeping," said Irwin.

According to Seguin Fire Officials, by the time the car pulled into the parking lot, they found the baby resting on her mother's chest. They said after the mother and baby were evaluated and seemed to be in good health, they were immediately transported to the hospital.

Among those in the fire house that morning was Firefighter Ryan Hale. Hale says "it's definitely a unique call. I've heard of it happening but I had not experienced it before."

Baby Sandoval weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and is 20 inches long. Hospital officials say both baby and mom have been resting well and are expected to be released soon.

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Team recruitment continues for Relay for Life 2014

March 12th, 2014

relay

Photo courtesy relayforlife.org

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- There's still plenty of time to plan and begin a team for this year's Guadalupe County American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The overnight team event which raises money in the fight against cancer is scheduled for Saturday, April 26.

Team recruitment chair Dalena Krueger, says the local organization is looking to exceed the number of teams that participated last year.

"We currently have 36 teams registered. We had 50 teams last year and this year, our goal is 51 teams," said Krueger.

Krueger says although many teams consist of local businesses or church groups, there is no particular design for how a team is organized.

"The minimum requirements per person I guess in order to get a t-shirt, we'd like for everybody to raise a minimum of a $100 for each individual. It really doesn't take much to put a team together, just grab friends, co-workers, family members, whatever and just register your team and start fundraising. Every little bit helps. In order to get a t-shirt, you have to raise $25, but they'd really like each individual to do the $100 if possible -- minimum. But we've got some that raise thousands of dollars as individuals -- just ask your family, people in the community and anybody who wants to help out," said Krueger.

Krueger says starting up a team is not only simple but important in helping to save lives.

"We need you. I'm sure that you've had loved ones or friends you know or family that have either lost their battle or are still fighting their battle. This is how we help. this is how we help to end cancer, how to find that cure to help raise money so that they can continue to do research and continue to support these families that are struggling daily with their loved ones that are fighting. (This is) all the money we can raise, everything we can do to possibly help them," said Krueger.

Those wishing to register a Relay for Life team are asked to register online at relayforlife.org/seguintx. They may also contact Krueger by calling 830-832-1476 or by emailing her at dkrueger@gvec.net. This year's Relay for Life event will be held at the rodeo arena at the Guadalupe County Fairgrounds.

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Local library works to keep families busy during Spring Break

March 12th, 2014

library

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Families are invited to spend part of their Spring Break at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Public Library. Activities such as story time, crafts and movies continue this week. Even the sounds of Irish music will make its return to the local library on Thursday.

Children's Librarian Debra Lindenburg-Morrow says this week is one of their busiest -- offering kids and adults plenty of things to do.

"We do have our story time program. (It starts today) at 10:30 a.m. and that's welcomed for all ages three to five years old. During that program, of course, we're going to sing songs. We're going to read books. We're going to do a little short craft at the end. It's a lot of fun and the kids really enjoy it. Then of course on Thursday, we're going have our Teen Thing at two o'clock and that's a different day for the Teen Thing because normally we do have the Teen Thing on Wednesdays, but we are moving it to Thursday for the Spring Break week since they are off. Of course, during that program, it welcomes all teens ages 13 to 18 and they get to come and have a lot of fun, hang out with their friends, play some games, make some crafts and just socialize and just have a good old time here at the library," said Morrow.

Morrow says the library this week will also continue its Kids Movie Special.

"Friday at 2 p.m., we do have our kids movie special and that's going to be the second part of Despicable Me and of course, that's open for all families, all ages. We will have popcorn while supplies last and it's just a lot of fun here at the library," said Morrow.

Friends of the Library will be hosting an evening of Irish music. The music will be provided by The O'Malarkeys Trio beginning at 7 p.m. Thursday in the library's community room. Group members says the public is invited to enjoy some good Irish songs and a bit of banter in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. The music concert is free and open to the public.

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Only two names file for Seguin ISD school board election

March 12th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The campaign officially begins for a pair of men looking to be the next member of the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees.

Carlos Moreno and Craig Thomas will appear on the May 10th ballot for District 3. The men were the only ones to file for a place on the ballot.

The winner of the election will go on to fill the unexpired term left behind by Trustee Irma Lewis who died in September. The term is scheduled to run until November 2016. The deadline to file for candidacy was Monday.

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Local sculptor recognized for contribution to the arts in Seguin

March 12th, 2014

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Local sculptor Marika Bordes talks with Helen Stein, left, a founding member of the Seguin Art League. Bordes was recently named this year's Outstanding Contributor of the Arts by the Seguin Commission on the Arts. Courtesy photo.

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Commission on the Arts named Marika Bordes “Outstanding Contributor of the Arts” during the recent Pachanga del Arte event held at the Texas Theatre. Mayor Don Keil made the announcement as part of the annual fundraiser for the arts in Seguin.

In announcing the award, Mayor Keil noted that since Bordes and her husband Dennis Martin chose to settle in Seguin, she has been at the forefront of public art in Seguin. He says she has spoken about the arts to local groups, exhibited her art work in shows throughout the community, contributed two commissioned sculptures to enhance the public art at Guadalupe Regional Medical Center, and was a key participant in the first ArtsFest, working with children and adults to create a public art piece for Seguin.

He says she has taught wood carving classes helping others discover their artistic talents and was a driving force behind the creation of the Seguin Commission on the Arts as well as the creation of the Bird Sculptures in Walnut Springs Park, raising funds, working with other artists, and creating sculptures that celebrate Seguin’s status as a bird sanctuary.

Her accomplishments include raising over $10,000 in funds through art for disaster relief in Haiti, being featured in numerous publications and on Texas Country Reporter, and being showcased in a National Endowment for the Arts-funded Folklife project through the Institute of Texan Cultures.

Through the years and in spite of challenges, Bordes has held on to her vision for Seguin to become known for the arts.

Past recipients of the recognition include the Texas Theatre and Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin.

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Woman gives birth to baby in backseat of vehicle

March 11th, 2014

Nevaeh Nichole Sandoval


Proud parents Raul Sandoval and his fiancee Brenda Irwin show off their new bundle of joy. The New Braunfels couple will forever remember the birth of their baby girl in Seguin. Baby Nevaeh just couldn’t wait to embrace the world and was born in the backseat of the couple’s car. The couple who was on their way to Guadalupe Regional Medical Center early Tuesday morning was forced to stop at the Seguin Fire/EMS station on State Highway 123 Bypass for assistance. 

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Instead of roaring sirens pulling out the fire house doors, it was the sweet cries of a newly born baby girl that rolled into the Seguin Fire Station #3 parking lot early Tuesday morning.  Seguin Fire Officials say just before 7 a.m., a vehicle pulled into the fire station as firefighters were leaving for another call. They said a man got out of the driver seat, got the attention of a firefighter and went to the back seat of the vehicle where a 29-year-old woman had just given birth to a baby girl.
 
Delivering her baby in the backseat of that car while her fiance drove was new mom Brenda Irwin. Irwin says the couple, who lives in New Braunfels, were on their way to Guadalupe Regional Medical Center when their baby girl, Nevaeh Nichole Sandoval, decided she just couldn't wait any longer.
 
"By the time I got my daughter to the person that was going to watch her, I said ‘I don't think I can hold it much longer’ and then he told me ‘well wait because it's 20 minutes away, you can hold it.’ I was like ‘I'm trying’ and I felt like I needed to push. He was like ‘no don't be pushing’ and I said ‘no I'm trying not to but I can't help it.’ So then, I try not to push, but I did and I felt like it was the head and then I end up doing it again and that's when the baby was born. So I was holding on to her and then we pulled up at the fire station and they freaked out. I mean they knew what to do, but they freaked out because it never happened I guess before to them. I was holding on to her. She was still attached," said Irwin.
 
Doing his best behind the wheel was the baby's father Raul Sandoval. He says his daughter came into this world just as he turned off on State Highway 46 and onto Kingsbury Street. Realizing he couldn't wait any longer, Sandoval says GRMC officials directed him to the fire station located at State Highway 123 Bypass.
 
"I was just going on 46 and she says I think the baby's out and I put my hand down there. I said ‘oh my gosh,’ so I call the hospital. I told the doctor I'm on Kingsbury and the baby is out and I'm all panicky. He was like’ just calm down there's a fire station on 123, where are you at right now?’ I said I passed Guadalupe Street. (He says) you're about three or four-five more minutes -- turn into the fire station. I said well ‘I just passed some red lights man I'm nervous, I'm freaking out.’ (He says) just pay attention to the road. Do not wreck. Pay attention to the road. Concentrate on the road. There's a fire station on the right hand side. So I pulled up to the fire station. Finally, I'm here and I pulled up right there and they're like what's going on? I said my fiancee just had a baby right now. I can't believe it happened like in the car. I've only seen that in the movies. I've never seen it in real life," said Sandoval.
 
Irwin says the delivery is indeed a miracle. Irwin, who has two other children, says she was originally scheduled for a Caesarean section (C-section) this Thursday. She says after having a C-section with her first child, a not so easy delivery with her second, she is grateful that other than being quick, this delivery was a success.
 
The couple says they can now laugh about being at odds with each other during the whole ordeal. Irwin says in the end, they have been blessed with a healthy child.
 
"It's like I had the baby and he was like 'no you didn't' -- He thought I was lying and I said 'no I did and what I did was I turned her around and then I kept her real close to me. She cried at first and then when I flipped her around and put her on my chest, she just was sleeping," said Irwin.
 
According to Seguin Fire Officials, by the time the car pulled into the parking lot, they found the baby resting on her mother's chest. They said after the mother and baby were evaluated and seemed to be in good health, they were immediately transported to the hospital.
 
Among those in the fire house that morning was Firefighter Ryan Hale. Hale says "it's definitely a unique call. I've heard of it happening but I had not experienced it before."
 
Baby Sandoval weighed in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and is 20 inches long. Hospital officials say both baby and mom have been resting well and are expected to be released soon.
 

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Former Seguin ISD teacher turns herself into authorities; Seguin PD investigation alleges inappropriate misconduct with student

March 11th, 2014

shannon spradlin

Shannon Rae Spradlin is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a male student at Seguin High School.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A former Seguin High School teacher has turned herself into authorities after law enforcement officials obtained an arrest warrant for the woman, who is believed to have had an improper relationship with a student. Seguin police detectives say Shannon Rae Spradlin, 31, of New Braunfels, turned herself in to authorities at the Guadalupe County Jail.  

Detective Lance Wright on Friday obtained a warrant for Spradlin's arrest on a charge of Improper Relationship between Educator and Student. The warrant was issued by Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Darrell Hunter.

Detectives say their investigation revealed Spradlin had an participated in inappropriate conduct with a 17 year old male student at Seguin High School. As of now, they say there is nothing that has led them to believe that any of the inappropriate conduct occurred on school property.

Seguin ISD officials say Spradlin had been employed with the school district since 2006. She worked both as a teacher's aide and as inclusion teacher.
An inclusion teacher is a special education teacher who works with those students who have disabilities, but who are able to function in a regular general education classroom.

"She passed a criminal history background check when she was hired. As Seguin ISD officials became aware of the alleged inappropriate conduct two weeks ago, Spradlin was immediately placed on administrative leave and subsequently resigned her position. District officials worked closely with law enforcement and child protective services throughout the process. The State Board for Educator Certification has been notified," the district said in a written statement.

Seguin Police Detectives last week applauded the Seguin ISD for quickly responding to the allegation and contacting both the police department and child protective services. They say they remain in contact with The Kyle Law Firm out of New Braunfels, who is representing Spradlin.

Spradlin, who was being held on a $50,000 bond, has since posted bail and has been released from the Guadalupe County Jail.

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Guadalupe County to move forward with finding new contractor for Ag building

March 11th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court is expected to continue its plan to find a new contractor for the renovation and remodel of the Agri-Life Extension building. The court last week decided to stop any and all negotiations with Gallagher Construction Company which was selected in January to do the job.

The decision was made after Architect Lyndsay Thorn told the court that a decision on the overall price of the project just couldn't be worked out with the company.

Today, the court is expected to officially approve the request for competitive sealed proposals for general contractor services and its legal notice advertisement for public posting.

The county in October vacated the building. It later moved the Ag building programs to the Mary B. Erskine Health Science Academy building. The county shut off the building to all county employees and members of the public after reports of mold were confirmed in the building located on Live Oak Street.
The meeting begins at 10 a.m. today in the Guadalupe County Justice Center.

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City of Seguin recognizes outstanding employees; Employees honored for service, safety and attendance

March 11th, 2014

employee

Members of the Seguin Electric Department have received the city of Seguin's Safe Department Award. This is the second year in a row that the electric department has been honored with the award. A number of service and perfect attendance awards were also presented during a special lunch hosted by the city. Courtesy photo.

(Seguin) -- Some of Seguin's dedicated employees are not going unnoticed. The city of Seguin recently recognized and honored some of its outstanding employees. Dozens of awards for service, safety and attendance were presented during a special lunch held at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum.

Tammy Garcia, director of human resources for the city of Seguin says these valuable employees have displayed passion, dedication and integrity. She says Seguin residents should be honored to have these outstanding men and women working to provide city services.¨

A total of 10 employees were honored for 20 or more years of service. They include 20 year veterans Denera White, Juan Villarreal and Martha Rodriguez. Serving 25 years of service are Aaron Hartwick, Helena Perez, Tommy Schriewer and Joel Strzelczyk. Recognized for his 30 years of service to the city was Randy Odom. Rounding out the group were Nona Vogel and Billy Rodriquez with 35 years with the city of Seguin.

Several employees were also presented individual safety awards for avoiding loss of time accidents. The electric department, itself, was recognized with the Safe Department Award for the second year in a row.

"The safety and attention to detail displayed by our electric workers is outstanding," said Garcia. "Safety is always our top priority and this department is the perfect example of how to be efficient and safe."

Perfect attendance awards were also extended to three city employees. Jon Hennig was recognized for five years of perfect attendance, Gregorio Duenes for 10 years of perfect attendance and Aaron Krause with 15 years of perfect attendance.

"If showing up is half the battle, these three employees are warriors," said Garcia. "Not only do these fine folks show up every day, they do their jobs with passion and integrity."

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Seguin Police Department seeking next round of citizens for police academy; Application deadline for community academy is Friday

March 11th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Citizens are invited to take a behind the scenes look at the day and night experiences of Seguin's finest. Applications are currently available for this year's 2014 Seguin Citizens' Police Academy.
The 10 week academy starts Wednesday, March 19 at 6 p.m. at the Seguin Police Department.

Officer Willie Ybarra says each class, which runs about three hours, provides an unique experience into local law enforcement.

"First, they'll get the experience of what we experience as police officers on a day to day basis. People are always asking reasons why we have certain laws, why we arrested certain individuals for certain things -- well this academy helps shed a little light on the reasons why we do the things we do. I enjoy doing it because we get a good number of people to come out and take part in this academy and it's a lot of fun," said Ybarra.
Ybarra says various crime fighting tactics will be shared with the class each week.

"The class will be involved in our criminal investigation. We'll have someone from that department come out and talk to them and we'll have our S.W.A.T. team. They’ll come out and they'll do a demonstration out the shooting range. They'll also talk to them on what they do and how they train. It's a pretty elite group of guys and they train often and they have to be very good at what they do. We'll also go to the shooting range and they'll also shoot some of our weapons and that's part of the academy. They'll also drive some of our patrol cars and we'll do felony stops in certain areas of the city. It'll be a good experience for them," said Ybarra.

More specifically, the academy will teach citizens how police officers, telecommunication staff and support personnel protect citizens and prevent crime. Students will interact with the chief of police, patrol officers, narcotics investigators, detectives, telecommunication staff and K-9 units. Police personnel will provide instruction in ethics, communications, narcotics, officer safety, patrol, traffic stops, DWI, use of force, handcuffing and building searches.

A tour of the juvenile probation center and the Guadalupe County Jail is also scheduled during the academy. Ybarra says upon completion of all classes, students will participate in a graduation ceremony and will be awarded certificates.

"The residents – they see how hard we work on a day to day basis, but they just don't understand the reality of police work and law enforcement. When they step into our door and when they come into our class, we'll show them videos and we'll give them the nearest experience that we deal with on a day to day basis on what we deal with. It opens their eyes. They see what's on TV versus reality and it really opens their eyes," said Ybarra.
Applications are available on the second floor of the police department and on the police department page of the city of Seguin website. Applications are due no later than this Friday, March 14. All applicants will undergo a background check prior to the start of class. Applicants may not be high school students and must be older than 18 years old.

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Seguin businessman prompts others to make donations toward antique fire truck restoration

March 11th, 2014

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Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner, top left, is presented with a $500 donation from Parker's City Pharmacy. The money will go to help restore Seguin's antique fire trucks. Presenting the check are Parker's City Pharmacy owner Doug Parker, right, and his son, Zack Parker.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local businessman is challenging others to step up and help protect some important history for the city of Seguin. Restoration efforts on three antique fire trucks will continue thanks to the generosity of a Seguin businessman. Doug Parker, owner of Parker’s City Pharmacy, recently presented Seguin Fire Chief Dale Skinner with a $500 donation.

Parker says it just makes sense to donate to the fire museum located at State Highway 123 Bypass and East Kingsbury Street.

"Number one, we're the oldest retail business in Guadalupe County and Seguin. We go back -- Parker's City Pharmacy goes back to 1907 and so history is a part of us and we're the seventh oldest pharmacy in the state of Texas. So old artifacts and antiques just interest us and I talked to Chief Skinner a few weeks ago about wanting funds that weren't available through the regular budgeting process for the Seguin Fire/EMS for restoration of these three beauties we have here. So I approached Chief Skinner with the idea of what about if Parker's makes a donation to you and we can do a photo opp and an interview -- like we're doing right now – then maybe that'll be a way to, like I say, jump start, get some more interest for other businesses or individuals to donate to these beauties that we have and that so reflect our long history in Guadalupe County," said Parker.

Parker says his pharmacy and the fire department share a special relationship.

"Obviously, Parker's going back to 1907, all three of these instruments would've been guarding our old building at 110 N. Austin which is now the site of Pickett's Arts and Craft. I built my new pharmacy about 13 years ago. These relics here were guarding Parker's City Pharmacy back, way back when, in the 1915's and the 20's and so forth and they're still guarding Parker's today -- the new equipment. So, we think it's just important. We're proud that we are the supplier for the city of Seguin Fire and EMS for all their medical needs and so forth. So naturally, we're really partnering up with tremendous people and we're glad to help and hopefully, we do some good," said Parker.

Chief Skinner says the fire department certainly appreciates the Parkers and their very generous donation toward the cause.

"I was so excited when he called me the other day for this opportunity and today, we can say that we have the money to purchase the tires which are necessary for the one that is still running and then we can upgrade some of the engine components so that it can be a little bit safer and easier to start and then hopefully, this will jump start the community to help restore the history of the Seguin Fire Department and we can see all of these beautiful trucks in a parade some day," said Skinner.

Skinner says Seguin is fortunate to have the pieces of history that even the bigger departments don't have in their own communities.

"We have a 1916 American LaFrance Pumper, which was originally purchased new here in Seguin. Then, we have next to it a 1922 American LaFrance Pumper which is the one that is still currently running. Some of the (readers) may have seen it at the Heritage Museum during the Seguin Pecan Festival and that is the truck that we're wanting to get restored. Then, we have the ladder truck which is unique in itself. The ladder portion of it was originally horse drawn. It dates back to 1905. It was purchased by the city of Seguin from Texarkana. I believe it was somewhere around 1920. It was converted. It was original horse drawn and now it is pulled by a Wichita Tractor dated to 1912 and as we understand, there are only one or two of these that are still operational in the United States," said Skinner.

Those wishing to help restore the antique fire trucks are asked to make donations at the Seguin Fire Department. Donations can also be made by calling Chief Skinner at 830-401-2310.

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Powerhouse dance production to perform tonight at TLU; Families invited to celebrate the artistry of tap

March 10th, 2014

tap

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Get ready to have your feet do all the tapping. TAP - The Show will be making a stop in Seguin tonight. The show is free and will be held on the campus of Texas Lutheran University.

Steve Anderson, TLU’s assistant to the president for administration and public affairs, says the school is excited about hosting the talented group. The show is described as a powerhouse production, "celebrating the artistry of tap dance from around the globe."

"It's been a long time since we've had a dance, a show at Texas Lutheran. So we thought this would be a very timely thing and when we saw this company was touring in the area, we decided it would be a real fun performance for not only the campus community but the Seguin community and the whole region. It's a very high energy program from everything that we've seen and read about it. It sort of reminded the members of the committee who selected this event of STOMP, which of course was a big hit on Broadway a few years back, and it's that kind of level of energy, except it's all tap dancing," said Anderson.

He says the international, award-winning non-stop Broadway, style, song and dance show is described as "dynamic from start to finish."

"The program is very diverse. They've got performances from Broadway shows like 42nd Street, from some of the old movies like Singing in the Rain. They've got tributes to Shirley Temple and Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly and some of those great dancers from the past -- as well as some dances from around the world - Flamenco , Irish -- you name it. So it's a very diverse program and like I said a very high energy program," said Anderson.

Anderson says the group's performance on Monday is perfect for some Spring Break fun.
"We certainly invite whole families to come out. It's a great program for all ages," said Anderson.

The free show gets underway at 7:30 p.m. today at TLU's Jackson Auditorium.

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Downtown road closures to begin; RSMH Project Phase I underway

March 10th, 2014

(Seguin) -- If Downtown Seguin is part of your daily commute, then you should expect a few detours.

The city of Seguin is reminding drivers of some road closures in and around downtown Seguin. The closures are part of phase one of the River/San Marcos/Heideke Street (RSMH) project.

Starting today, Walnut, Ireland and Elm Streets will be closed between River and Austin Streets. These closures are expected to happen in rotation, meaning all three streets may not be affected simultaneously. This set of closures will last approximately 10 days. Detour signs will be posted.

The entire RSMH project includes utility, storm drainage, water, electric and sewer upgrades. Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard says the streets will be reconstructed and sidewalks added. The improvements will alleviate current concerns with storm water drainage, sewer issues and water pressure.

"The road closures required to complete the project will inconvenience some folks who live or work in the area, including us at city hall," said Packard. "We ask residents to be patient because when this is all said and done, it will be a tremendous improvement."

Handling the improvements will be Jordan Foster Construction. The project is expected to take two years to complete.

replica wathces replica Rolex replica watches

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City of Seguin officials brush up on hotel occupancy tax law; Seminar offers expert advice

March 10th, 2014

(Seguin) -- In an effort to become better educated on hotel occupancy tax distribution and usage, several city of Seguin officials and organizations were invited to learn the real importance behind the phrase "heads in beds." A special workshop on the hotel occupancy tax law was held recently.
Among those taking part was City Council Member Jet Crabb who also serves on the Seguin Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee.

“I was so happy that most organizations receiving hotel occupancy tax sent one or more representatives to learn the rules about the distributions,” said Crabb. “It shows they are interested in gaining an understanding of what it takes to qualify for the money. I applaud their diligence."
Scott Joslove, President and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, led the seminar and followed up with helping to answer the questions by those in attendance.

Of the 10 organizations that receive funding from Seguin’s hotel occupancy tax, eight were represented at the seminar. Those groups represented included the Seguin Conservation Society, Mid-Texas Symphony, Teatro de Artes, Seguin Heritage Museum, Seguin LULAC, Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce, Seguin Art League and Fields of Huber Ranch.

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Seguin ISD filing deadline arrives

March 10th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Today is the last day to guarantee your spot on the Seguin ISD election ballot. The filing deadline has arrived for those looking to campaign for District 3 seat on the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees.

So far, only two candidates have officially filed. They include Carlos Moreno and Craig Thomas. The winner of the election will go on to fill the unexpired term left behind by Trustee Irma Lewis who died in September. The term is scheduled to run until November 2016. A special election is scheduled for Saturday, May 10. The deadline to file for candidacy is 5 p.m. today.

Applications for the position are currently available in the Seguin ISD Central Office.

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Guadalupe County employees begin Walk Across Texas challenge; New health initiative to help county departments establish regular physical activity

March 10th, 2014

walk

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County employees will be traveling across the state of Texas. However instead of jumping in their vehicles, employees will be plugging in their headphones and snapping on their pedometers. A total of 24 teams, each consisting of eight members, have begun their Walk Across Texas challenge.

Gillian Lyerla, the county's human resource clerk, says the challenge is just another initiative in the county's health and wellness program.

"The program is actually through the Texas A&M Agri-Life Department. So through the extension agent, she's helping us kind of put this together. It's just a free program and on the honor system -- eight weeks and you're on teams of eight. So your team’s goal is to technically walk the distance of Texas, 832 miles in the eight weeks, averaging about 13 miles a week per person and other things count -- if you're riding a bike, if you do lawn gardening, fitness classes such as Zumba and Body Pump and all these other things. All of that can be converted technically into miles," said Lyerla.

Lyerla says about a year ago, her office set out to create a new health culture throughout the county. She says despite having a small wellness committee of nine people, the employees themselves have risen to the challenge.

"I was shocked with the number of people who wanted to sign up for this. The one major department that really got involved is the jail. So everybody out there is almost on a team, but yes just shy of 200 people, almost half of our entire work force, so yes it's pretty big," said Lyerla.

Lyerla says the group officially began the challenge on Sunday, March 2. She says with the day being Texas Independence Day, it was a great way to kick-off the contest. She says at the end of the eight-week challenge or April 27th, the group with the most miles will be recognized.

"There will be little incentives, but they haven't even been announced. So nobody is really doing it for the incentive which is amazing because most other things that we've done or when you go to any classes or seminars about how to get people motivated, it all ends up being that you have to offer them something at the end. So I've told all the team captains that we're going to do something small either lunch for the winning team, or we're trying to come with something that is slightly creative," said Lyerla.

Walk Across Texas is a free, eight week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity. Since 1996, thousands of Texans have participated in Walk Across Texas. Those interested in taking part in their own journey are asked to visit walkacrosstexas.tamu.edu.

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TLU Bulldogs fall in NCAA DIII first round to John Carroll 74-62

March 8th, 2014

(Crestview Hills, KY) -- An historic Texas Lutheran Women's Basketball season came to a close Friday in the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship first round with a 74-62 loss to John Carroll (Ohio).

At Thomas More College's Connor Convocation Center, John Carroll hit seven three-pointers, shot 44.3 percent from the field and put four players in double figures against the Bulldogs.

John Carroll improved to 22-4 overall and advanced to the NCAA DIII second round to face No. 1-ranked Thomas More, a 95-58 winner over Salem (Va.), also on Friday.

TLU finishes 2013-14 with a school-record 23 wins, a school-best 23-6 overall record and numerous other program bests. The Bulldogs made their first NCAA Division III tournament after winning the program's first conference title since 1985.

TLU won the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship in its first season as a member of the SCAC. The Bulldogs and Head Coach Mel Dixon engineered a 15-win improvement over last season. Dixon was named the SCAC Coach of the Year.

Against John Carroll, the Bulldogs cut a 17-point second-half deficit down to six, at 68-62, with three minutes to play. TLU went on an 18-7 run from the nine-minute mark to the three-minute mark.

TLU freshman forward Kristen Lye (San Antonio/Clark) scored 10 of the Bulldogs' 18 in the run. Bulldog sophomore Taylor Dydalewicz (Lake Travis/Dripping Springs) added seven in the TLU spurt.

The six point deficit for TLU would be as close as the Bulldogs would get. JCU's Emily Taylor answered with a lay-up, and Allison Lustig hit four straight free throws to push the lead back to 12 two minutes later.

"I was proud of the way we came back and made it interesting," said Dixon. "This team always fights back when we are down. They don't give up. They don't fold the tent. They keep fighting."

"We're disappointed with the loss, but nothing can take away what these girls have done this year. They set a lot of school records and did a lot of things that this program has never done. I couldn't prouder of what they accomplished this year."

Dydalewicz paced the Bulldogs with 17 points and eight rebounds. The Bulldog forward hit seven of her 14 shot attempts and grabbed four offensive rebounds. She also dished out three assists and tallied a pair of steals.

Freshman guard/forward Savannah Hight (San Antonio/Brandeis) hit a pair of three-pointers and scored 15. She also pulled down four rebounds. Lye chipped in 14 points and four rebounds. Junior center Chelsey Stolle (Falls City/Falls City) added four blocks and five rebounds.

Melissa Spahar, the third-leading scorer in NCAA DIII, scored 20 and had 10 rebounds for the Blue Streaks. Spahar scored 16 in the first half. Lustig, the JCU point guard, hit four three-pointers and five of her eight total shots in scoring 18.

JCU's Emily Taylor and Katlyn Spahar each scored 14.

Rebounds were even at 39, and John Carroll turned the ball over 11 more times than TLU (21-10). But the Blue Streaks out-scored the Bulldogs 21-9 at the three-point line and by four at the free throw line (13-9).

The Bulldogs lose only two players from the 2013-14 squad. Seniors Natasha Benavides (San Antonio/South San) and Dalia Camargo (Mission/Mission) each played four seasons for the Bulldogs and will graduate in December 2014. Benavides served as the team's captain for three seasons.

TLU will return four starters, the top five scorers, and eight of its 10 rotational players for 2014-15.

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TLU women ready for inaugural NCAA tournament experience; Coverage to air on KWED

March 7th, 2014

TLU

TLU forward Taylor Dydalawicz, a third-team All-SCAC selection this season, looks to help the Bulldogs continue the momentum of a school record 14-game win streak in the first round of the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship against John Carroll in Crestview Hills, Ky. Photo by Josh Moczygemba.

(Cresview Hills, Ky.) – The Texas Lutheran women’s basketball program opens its first ever appearance in the NCCA Division III Championship tournament today with a first round game against John Carroll (Ohio) on the campus of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.

Thomas More hosts the four-team “pod” that includes TLU, John Carroll, Thomas More and Salem (NC.). John Carroll will be the home team, and TLU will be the visitor for the first game, slated for 4 p.m. central (5 p.m. eastern) this afternoon. Thomas More will be the home team, and Salem the visitor for the second game at 6 p.m. central (7 p.m. eastern). The winners of the two first-round games will meet at 5:30 p.m. central (6:30 p.m. eastern) Saturday.

TLU takes a 14-game win streak and an overall record of 23-5 into the NCAA tournament. The 14 consecutive wins and 23 total wins in a season are both school records. Win or lose today or later in the tournament, second-year head coach Mel Dixon’s squad is assured of the best single-season winning percentage in school history.

Texas Lutheran earned its NCAA tournament berth with a thrilling 54-52 win over Trinity on Sunday in the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game at Trinity’s Sams Gymnasium in San Antonio. The Bulldogs turned a two-point deficit into a two-point lead after Kristen Lye’s put-back lay-up and Karisa Cantu’s game-winning jumper with just 2.3 seconds remaining on the clock. Both Lye, a freshman forward, and Cantu, a junior point guard, were named to the SCAC All-Tournament Team, and Cantu was voted the Tournament Most Valuable Player.

Dixon normally uses a 10-player rotation throughout the game. His consists of starters Natasha Benavides (senior point guard), Natalie Vella (junior shooting guard), Bianca Casas (junior shooting guard), Taylor Dydalewicz (sophomore power forward), and 6-foot-4 Chelsey Stolle (junior center). The second unit consists of: Karisa Cantu (junior point guard), Dalia Camargo (senior shooting guard), Savannah Hight (freshman small forward), Kristen Lye (freshman power forward), and Autumn Shead (sophomore post). Only Cantu averages more than 20 minutes per game of playing time (21.4), and the other nine players in the rotation average between 15.7 (Shead) and 19.7 (Dydalewicz) minutes per game. Cantu, averaging 12.6 points, 3.5 assists, and hitting 41.6 percent of her threes, was named First Team All-SCAC last week, while Dydalawicz (10.9 pts, 5.1 reb.) was a Third Team selection.

John Carroll, like TLU, is making its first ever appearance in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball Championship. The Blue Streaks, an at-large entry from the Ohio Athletic Conference, bring a 21-4 record into the contest. Head coach Kelly Moronne’s squad is one of the most prolific offensive teams in Division III basketball. John Carroll ranks ninth nationally in scoring average (81.6), and the Blue Streaks feature the nation’s third leading individual scorer in senior forward Melissa Spahar, who averages 25.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game. She also hits 53.8 percent of her field goal attempts and shoots 86.8 percent from the free throw line. John Carroll’s other key players include Spahar’s freshman sister Katlyn Spahar (13.5 pts, 5.1 reb.), forward Beth Switzler (11.4 pts, 7.3 reb.), and point guard Allison Lustig (9.7 pts, 4.6 ast., .436 3FG).

Thomas More (28-0), the automatic qualifier from the Presidents’ Athletic Conference, is one of three remaining undefeated teams in Division III, and ranked first nationally in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Thomas More leads the nation in scoring average and has the nation’s top individual scorer in Sydney Moss, daughter of former NFL great Randy Moss. She averages 28.6 points per game and just last week set the new DIII single-game scoring mark with 63 points in a conference tournament win.

Thomas More’s first-round opponent, Salem (21-4), won the Great South Athletic Conference tournament. Salem is led by Great South Player of the Year Satavia Taylor. She averages 23.4 points per game and ranks seventh in the nation in scoring. Taylor also collected 9.2 rebounds per game. Taylor is 46th nationally in blocks per game, 2.12, and she ranks 20th in three-pointers made per game, 2.8.

TLU will have a live video webcast of its first round game (and second round, if the Bulldogs advance) from www.tlubulldogs.com and a live radio broadcast on Seguin radio station KWED 1580 AM. KWED also will have an audio-only webcast on www.seguintoday.com. KWED Sports Director Mike McBride will have the call from Crestview Hills.

Friday’s broadcast coverage starts at 3:50 p.m. If TLU advances to the second round, Saturday’s broadcast begins at 5:20.

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Seguin PD investigates alleged incident between teacher and student

March 7th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- An investigation has been launched into an alleged incident involving inappropriate conduct between a Seguin ISD teacher and a student.

Although details of this case are limited, the school district in a statement to the Seguin Daily News did confirm that the alleged incident involved a teacher at Seguin High School.

"Last week an allegation of inappropriate conduct between a teacher and student was brought to our attention. As a result, the teacher was placed on leave pending the outcome of an investigation. During the investigation and while on leave, the teacher submitted a letter of resignation. From the onset of the investigation, appropriate authorities were informed. The district continues to cooperate with authorities regarding this former employee," the district said in a written statement.

The Seguin Police Department is conducting the investigation.

Sgt. James Springer on Thursday confirmed that the alleged incident is part of what is now an ongoing investigation. He says due to the sensitivity and nature of the case, detectives are not ready to release any further information.

He did say, however, that appropriate action by the Seguin ISD was taken.

"The school did jump on it very quickly and started handling it. They immediately contacted both the police department and child protective services," said Springer.

The teacher, whose name has not been released, has not been formally charged with any crime.

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Ramos to retire from Seguin ISD administrative team; Chief operations officer appreciative of his time with school district

March 7th, 2014

matador scholar

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- When students and staff return from their Spring Break vacation, Chief Operations Officer Rene Ramos will no longer be a familiar face around the various Seguin ISD campuses.

The Seguin ISD is saying good-bye to Ramos, who after 19 years of serving the Seguin ISD, has elected to retire from the school district.

Throughout his time with the district, Ramos has worn many hats. Many of his unofficial roles have helped make a difference in departments such as transportation and truancy.

In recalling his years with the district, Ramos, a Seguin native, says he was fortunate to have returned to his hometown after a long and successful career in the U.S. Navy.

"I would sum it up as rewarding towards me. Hopefully, I did good. I'm not going to be one who is going to judge myself and say 'I did a great job or I didn't do a great job.' I tried to do my best but it was rewarding to me. The 19 years that I worked -- not only the fellow employees that worked with me, alongside me -- supporting me and helping me but also the families and the students that I met in the 19 years so hopefully, I had some type of influence. That's what rewarded me and helped me become a better person I would say because of the things that happened to me during the 19 years," said Ramos.

Ramos says he feels privileged to have worked with a good group of quality people. He says times in the classroom have definitely changed.

"Whether it's building a new building and the buildings that we built -- Rodriguez, Barnes, Golide Harris and the going K-5. A lot of things did happen. A lot of things happened while I was working there but I believe it is all for the better and I just don't tell you this because I was in Central Office but a lot of people don't realize how much heart is put into all of the decisions that happen in the school district. I mean there are people there that they give their life to what they do and they give their hearts and they are effected by the ups and downs of education as well whether it's in the state or local (level). A lot of people have given a lot of their heart to what they do and they are going to continue doing that with or without me. They are going to continue to put their heart into it. So it's all been postive changes and education is changing and I always joke with people -- I always say that when I was in first grade. We were reading Dick and Jane books -- see Dick run, run Dick run -- and simple books like that. Well kids in first grade now have computers and they are telling me how to use the computers. The potential of our little kids to learn is
fantastic," said Ramos.

Although he is retiring, Ramos says his endeavors are not over. Ramos says hopefully soon he'll continue on to find where the next chapter of his life will take him.

"First of all, I'm going to reflect. I mean 19 years is a long time and I'm sure that I could've kept on going, probably if I really thought I could -- mind you -- but I woke up one day and I knew that it was time. It's time to retire. So what I'm going to do is reflect first and review my life up to this point and then read. I was mentioning to you earlier that I love to read and so hopefully I’ll get a chance to read again like I use to. I love to read. Then, I want to volunteer. My initial thing that I want to do is volunteer, in particular in the veterans hospital to help deliver a magazine here, wheel somebody to x-ray or whatever, listen to their stories because I've been blessed in my life and I know that I want to give back. So I want to pay back -- so to speak. Then, I'm going to try to find myself something to do because I'm still young at 60 and I believe that I still have some things to offer and I'd like to get involved in the public arena. Not in education, but in the public. There are some issues I think in our world, in our nation that need addressing and I hope to be a voice that's going to be involved in those areas. Not necessarily politics alone, but yes politics. But not for me as a politician – don't get me wrong but being a voice for the people. I want to be able to make sure that we're all heard and that the people are heard," said Ramos.

Ramos' dedication was recently recognized during a Seguin ISD school board meeting. Ramos was also honored by being named the Quarterly Matador Award of Excellence.

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City selects company to help build new voter approved library; Council authorizes city manager to begin contract negotiation

March 7th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Seguin residents are one step closer to seeing its new library complete. The Seguin City Council has approved a resolution selecting Byrne Construction Services as the city's construction manager at-risk for the Seguin Public Library project.

Eleven proposals were submitted to a selection committee. Tammy Garcia, the city's director of human resources, says two proposals were eliminated due to non-compliance issues. The remaining nine were rated by committee members on a variety of criteria, including financial strength, legal status, references, management, project-specific expertise, approach and philosophy.

"Based on the tabulation of the committee members' scores, as well as their opinions regarding the company that is 'most qualified' and the 'best value' for this project, the committee recommends that city council approve Byrne Construction Services," said Garcia.

In addition to Garcia, the selection committee consisted of City Council members Carlos Medrano, Bob Pees and Donna Dodgen, Assistant City Manager Rick Cortes, Library Director Jacki Gross and Project Manager/Architect Maureen Arndt.

The resolution authorizes Seguin City Manager Doug Faseler to begin negotiations and the appropriate contract with Byrne Construction Services.

The $14.8 million library project, approved by voters will be built along Walnut Springs Park on West Nolte Street.

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Nine Seguin ISD DI teams gear up for state

March 7th, 2014

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By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD has again shown is strength in DI competition. Following this year's Destination ImagiNation (DI) Regional tournament in New Braunfels, nine teams are advancing to the problem solving state competition. The contest is scheduled for next month in Pflugerville.

Overall, 11 teams from Seguin placed with nine first place finishes, a second and a third. Four teams won the Renaissance Award for outstanding design, engineering, execution and performance. One team brought home the DaVinci Award for taking a unique approach to a solution, risk taking and outstanding creativity.

Michael Olstad, district DI coordinator says Seguin ISD again illustrated its long standing tradition of doing well in DI competition.

"All of our teams did a tremendous job representing their campus, Seguin ISD and the Seguin community and we appreciate the community's support," said Olstad. "We are all extremely excited about the state competition in Pflugerville next month and look forward to bringing more honors home to Seguin."

State qualifiers include the Seguin High School team of Sara Dibrell, Morgan Donsbach, Mariaelena Ramirez, Nick Stephens and Janelle Weinman. They group also brought home a Renaissance Award. A second Seguin High School team of Bethany Offer, Ashley Hastings, Austin Hastings, Hannah Montes, Stacey Melton, Adriana Urrutia and Cameron Bargfrede also advanced to state competition.

The Barnes Middle School team of Emma Bamsch, Jessie Behal, Ariann Canales, Kayson DeLaGarza and Ashlee Hernandez (Renaissance Award winners) are state-bound along with Jayce Holmes, Serenity DeLeon, Jaden Tovar, Kenidy Holder and Korbin Nesbitt.

Cameron Saunders Matthews, Nikkolette Reyes, Synida Soto and Benjamin Gustafson of Briesemeister Middle School also took first place honors, a Renaissance Award and advanced to state.

Two teams from Saegert Sixth Grade Center advanced: Savannah Luensman, Andrew Bamsch, Andy McDowall, Hailey Thornton, Chanse Hernandez and Emilie Weber (also DaVinci Award winners), plus Trinity Ramirez, Isis Rivas, Briana Steans, Aryanna Pizana and Emiliana Pizana.

Weinert Elementary this year doubled up its state showing with two teams including Evelyn Alvarado, Leo DeLeon, Kaitlyn DePalermo, Rammy Ramos, Syndi Stevens and Zander Ulbricht, winners of a Renaissance Award, along with Isabella Garcia, Reid Skinner, Reese Janda, Kenzie Kluth, Paige Wilke and Cameron Patek.
Also placing were a Barnes team with second, Vogel Elementary with third and two Weinert teams finishing fifth.

The state DI contest is scheduled from April 11-12.

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Free community concert

March 7th, 2014

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The Mid-Texas Symphony and The Silver Center are partnering to present a free concert of chamber music performed by The Mid-Texas Symphony Chamber Players on Sunday at 3 p.m. in the Sagebiel Hall of The Seguin Silver Center. The performance, titled "The British Invasion", includes works from Sir William Herschel, Sir Benjamin Britten, Gustav Holst and Rebecca Clarke. A wine and cheese reception will follow. This free concert is funded by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts and the Seguin offices of Edward Jones Investments.

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City of Seguin officials brush up on hotel occupancy tax law; Seminar offers expert advice

March 7th, 2014

(Seguin) -- In an effort to become better educated on hotel occupancy tax distribution and usage, several city of Seguin officials and organizations were invited to learn the real importance behind the phrase "heads in beds." A special workshop on the hotel occupancy tax law was held recently.

Among those taking part was City Council Member Jet Crabb who also serves on the Seguin Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee.

“I was so happy that most organizations receiving hotel occupancy tax sent one or more representatives to learn the rules about the distributions,” said Crabb. “It shows they are interested in gaining an understanding of what it takes to qualify for the money. I applaud their diligence."

Scott Joslove, President and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, led the seminar and followed up with helping to answer the questions by those in attendance.

Of the 10 organizations that receive funding from Seguin’s hotel occupancy tax, eight were represented at the seminar. Those groups represented included the Seguin Conservation Society, Mid-Texas Symphony, Teatro de Artes, Seguin Heritage Museum, Seguin LULAC, Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce, Seguin Art League and Fields of Huber Ranch.

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TCEQ to host public meeting on landfill permit

March 6th, 2014

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By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality will be hosting a public meeting tonight as part of the permitting process of the proposed Post Oak Clean Green Landfill.

Earl Lott, the director of TCEQ's waste permits division, says the public meeting is designed to further address the permit (Permit No. 2378) request authorizing the proposed municipal solid waste landfill in northeastern Guadalupe County.

"As part of our permitting process, we provide opportunity for our public meeting on any potentially permitted facilities that we have. The purpose of this meeting is really to address any concerns and really educate the public on this proposed landfill as well as take any comments on the proposed site or concerns that we can consider during our technical review of the application," said Lott.

Lott says this particular public meeting will concentrate on all parts of the submitted application.

"This application was a little bit unusual in the fact that there's four parts to a typical application. They submitted parts one and two separately and then they followed up and submitted parts three and four at a later date. So what happened is they merged all four parts of the application together and this public meeting covers parts one through four of the application. So it's the application and its entirety. We will be considering comments on all parts of the application," said Lott.

Lott says there are other steps to be taken. However, he says the TCEQ wants to be sure that everyone gets to submit a comment if desired.

"We're still in the technical review of the application. We recently received the parts three and four, which is all of the technical information regarding the application. So that's really the substance part of the application. We have submitted one notice of deficiency at this point on parts three and four of the application. There is still a quite a bit of review that has to go on, or take place on this application, before it is even considered to be technically complete and if it does go that direction," said Lott.

The landfill, being proposed by the family of Tom Funderburg, has been the center of opposition by a number of groundwater district, municipalities and water supply utilities in the region due to its reported location on the recharge zone of the Wilcox Aquifer. Leading the fight has been the group Stop Post Oak Dump.  The landfill, located approximately 16 miles east of Seguin at 7787 FM 1150, is also said to be very close to the Carrizo Aquifer.

However landfill supporters say the company is dedicated to an environmentally safe solution of solid waste streams through a proven procedure which will dispose of solid wastes while maintaining "our ecology in an environmentally protected manner."

The public meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. today in the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum.

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Seguin accepts unique approach to an Early College High School

March 6th, 2014

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By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- It's imagined that in a few years, Seguin High School and the city could easily be the model for all other schools and communities in the state.

That's according to John Fitzpatrick, the executive director of Educate Texas. The public-private initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas is responsible for introducing and bringing the early college concept to Texas nearly 10 years ago. Fitzpatrick say what first began as a goal of 15 early college high schools has now grown 109.

He says although Seguin High School has joined the ranks of becoming an early college high school, it is the journey that it has selected that will be unique to all other schools. He says next year, Seguin will only be one of a half dozen schools that operate as a stand-alone "comprehensive school" or "College for All" campus -- giving all incoming ninth graders the opportunity to be college and career ready.

"Seguin is being a pioneer in that you are providing this college for all, early college strategy to your entire high school. You're not just doing it for a couple of hundred students, you're doing it for the entire high school and what we're seeing in other districts that are on the point of the arrow the way that Seguin is, is that that impacts the middle school, that impacts the elementary school -- the whole community will start raising their horizon and start thinking about college and career differently," said Fitzpatrick.

The college high school is an initiative that works in partnership with a college campus to allow students an opportunity to earn a high school diploma and up to 60 college credit hours at no cost to the student or his or her family.

Fitzpatrick says Seguin High School will indeed operate unlike the majority of other college ready campuses currently out there.

"So there's about half a dozen right now, there's probably going to be about 15 a year from now that are going to be starting out. Yes, so Seguin -- with over 2,000 high schools in the state of Texas, 2,300 high schools -- Seguin's at 15 out of 2,300. So it's something Seguin should be very proud of, being that type of pioneer and being very bold," said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick says Seguin's decision to embrace this program not only helps it align itself with new educational standards set forth by House Bill 5 but it will help reshape and cultivate a new community of higher education thinking within Seguin.

He says because the program was introduced almost 10 years, they now have quantitative data that shows a higher number of kids graduating and moving on to higher education after high school. He says this is based on both state and national figures. He says they also show that kids apply for college more quickly. He says the objective behind the program, all in all, was to marry the high school and college institution. He says the group works to bridge the two parts of educational learning. He says often times as graduation arrives, the public school system unleashes the students leaving all future endeavors in the hands of their parents.

He says the ability to equip and foster a community of higher learning in the end will benefit the entire community.

"I think Seguin is competing against San Antonio and Austin and Shanghai for employers and talent. I think in the 21st Century, the regions that either grow their own, or who have to recruit talent from other places in the country are going to be the ones that are going to have the good jobs. I think this is going to give Seguin -- not in three years, but over 10-15-20 years -- a better supply of talent that I think is going to help keep the employers you have make it an attractive place to live and work," said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick says more importantly, the culture of going to college -- despite your income -- should inspire generations of new hope.

"Every parent wants the best for their child. Not every parent knows how to go after and get that. I think what the Seguin College ‘For All’ model is going to do is -- it's going to give every kid the opportunity to go after it, but the parents are going to have to make sure their students are working hard, they're keeping their nose clean, they are reaching -- whether it's for the two years associate degree or graduating high school and focused on a great job and a great career, but I think if the parents can start asking questions, spending the time with their child, starting in eighth grade and then every year -- you know kids change their mind. That's what teenagers do, right? Start being actively engaged, but I think this is going to give every parent in Seguin the opportunity to get something better for their child," said Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick's comments were made during a special board workshop held this week by the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. The school district continues to meet with all parents and children about the program. The program essentially allows four pathways in which a student can select. The pathways are designed for those who are uncertain about their future to those who definitely know that college is their next step. The program is being made available through a partnership between the Seguin ISD and St. Phillip's College, one of the Alamo Colleges in San Antonio. A series of field trips to the various college campuses have already been hosted for local eighth graders. District officials say when this batch of middle school students graduate, they'll either be college ready or will have their associates degree in hand.

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County commissioners head back to the table to find new contractor for Ag building

March 6th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- After at least a couple of months on the job, the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court has decided to stop any and all negotiations with the company that was selected to help renovate and remodel the Agri-Life Extension building.

The decision was made after Architect Lyndsay Thorn told the court that a decision on the overall price of the project just couldn't be worked out with the Gallagher Construction Company. Commissioner Kyle Kutscher, who serves as the lead with this project, says unfortunately, it is difficult to determine at the beginning, what that final price tag will be.

"They were the single contractor that submitted qualifications. We decided at that time because of the strict timelines to move forward with them. We spent a tremendous amount of time going through the building, looking at the condition of it, putting bid numbers together and when the bid numbers did come back, they were high. We had talked about $758,000 as far as a rough budget for the Agri-life building and bid numbers came in over a million dollars --$1.2 – $1.3 million. Once we worked a little bit more, we got those numbers down to about a million dollars. But the architect and members of the court were not comfortable with moving forward past that point with one contractor with those bid numbers. So we decided today in commissioners court to open it back up for new contractors to come forward and hopefully bid the project," said Kutscher.

Although they will go back out for proposals for a new contractor, Kutscher says they will not be starting from scratch.

"Going through this process, we are opening it back up but we're not starting at square one again. We are looking for more contractors to come forward, and hopefully bid the project and be at a more reasonable number on the renovation of the building, but through this process, we have found that we do have a structurally sound building. We found some other areas that need to be addressed that we weren't aware of to begin with which is always good, but we do have basically a complete set of plans -- a better idea for the scope and timeline of the project that we were kind of guessing at -- to be honest -- in the beginning of the project that we just wouldn't know unless we had gone through the process and spent this much time going through every facet of that building," said Kutscher.

Publicly stating that he was disappointed with the architect and the loss of time was County Judge Larry Jones. Jones says he knew from the beginning that the court should not have entered negotiations with the only company who replied to the county's request. Jones says from the very beginning, this entire project has been deemed "an emergency" by the majority of the commissioners. He says the fact that this project needed to be completed by the end of May should have never made the court rush on the project. Jones says he continues to remain suspicious behind the urgency to get this project off the ground.

"I never ever ever thought there was an emergency over at the Agri-life building. We had a study. There was no asbestos. There was some mold that the recommendation from the environmental health company that did it was to clean the mold, not to remodel. But this court against me and Greg Seidenberger, voted to shut it down and remodel it and they called it an emergency for public health. That same mold and the asbestos that they alleged is in our courthouse but they don't want to shut that down yet. So this whole thing has been a fiasco of emergencies. We shut the thing down as an emergency then nobody did anything for two months or three months and then on January the 7th, they said that we couldn't go out for another bid but I knew that one bid is not adequate. This community knows it. You don't, on a project that size, only take one proposal -- exactly what I told them what happened. This proposal will have a blank check and they're going to write a huge check, because nobody else is bidding against them. The proposal was $1.4 million about. So now, all of a sudden, there's no emergency and at that meeting, they said in 10 days they would know and then we could go back out. It's been 60 day," said Jones.

Kutscher says in January, a large part of the emergency was based on the fact that the county would have to find a new home for its Ag office programs that are currently being operated out of classroom space in the Mary B. Erskine Seguin Health Science Academy building. At the time, it was clear that the county would have to be out by the end of May. However, Kutscher says that timeframe is now much more flexible, thanks to the Seguin ISD not needing that space -- giving the county additional weeks if needed.

"Looking back, it would've been nice if we had five or eight or 10 contractors that bid, but the fact is, we only had one as the county. We had a hard decision to make, to say 'alright we're going to try to move forward and see if this is possible to meet a timeline' and if it doesn't work, we always had this option and left that door open as the court and the county to say if it's not within what we want as commissioners court and what's ultimately best for the Agri-life building and the taxpayers then we can always open it back up, have other contractors bid the project and hopefully move forward at the point and that's where we are now," said Kutscher.

In addition to ending negotiations with Gallagher, the county on Tuesday also approved the decision to move forward with a competitive sealed proposal for finding its next contractor. County officials say many companies said it was the holidays that prevented them from submitting a proposal the first time. They say, hopefully, the county can now have a bigger batch of qualified companies in which to choose from.

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Kutscher wins county judge race; Several other races decided

March 6th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County will soon have a new county judge. Kyle Kutscher defeated Incumbent Larry Jones for the position during Tuesday's Republican Primary Election. Other races saw Elizabeth Murray-Kolb and Robin Dwyer advance to a May 27 runoff in the race for county court at law. Sheryl Sachtleben won the Republican nomination in JP 2 race. Jack Shanafelt won the GOP nomination in the race of County Commissioner Precinct 2. And there will be runoff featuring Bubba Kunde and incumbent Judy Cope in the race for the Precinct 4 Commissioner's seat.

A state district judge from Seguin lost his bid to become a member of the state's highest criminal court. W.C. "Bud" Kirkendall came up short in his attempts to win the GOP nomination for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9. David Newell will now run unopposed during the November 4 General Election.

Click here to see local election results.

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Tri-County

Seguin ISD holds off on taking action on pair of agenda items

March 4th, 2014


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Two decisions that were going to be made by the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees were put on hold last night. Seguin ISD officials say the agenda items include the annual evaluation of Superintendent Irene Garza and the selection of a construction manager at risk for the building of the new Seguin High School campus. District officials say the board was forced to table the items until all six board members could be present at the meeting. They say Trustee Ishmael Flores was absent due to work while Trustee Barbara Effenberger was sick. District officials say they hope to revisit the items when the Seguin ISD returns from Spring Break.

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Congregations observe Ash Wednesday

March 4th, 2014

Local church to host annual fish fry
By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Today is Ash Wednesday. The day is being celebrated by many Christians around the world. The religious holiday, not counting Sundays, marks the 40 days until Easter.
While the Catholic Church's observance of Ash Wednesday may be the most well known, many protestant churches also celebrate the Lenten season.
Religious leaders say the observance marks a spiritual time for most Christians. They say today a number of different churches will mark the occasion by hosting their individual services. Then in a few weeks, believers will gather together again in celebration of Easter.
As part of an ongoing tradition, both St. James Catholic Church and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church will host their annual Joint Ash Wednesday Service at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. The service begins at 7 p.m. The first Tri-Methodist worship Ash Wednesday service is also set for 7 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. A family friendly Ash Wednesday service will also be held at 5 p.m. today in the First United Methodist Church's Christian Life Center. Grace Lutheran Church will also have a Ash Wednesday Service beginning at 7 p.m.
During Lent, a tradition for Catholics has been to abstain from meat not only on Ash Wednesday but also on Fridays. Helping serve up this year's menu will again be Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and its famous Lenten Fish Fry recipe. That's according to Sandy Carrillo who has helped to organize the fish plate fundraiser for years.
"It comes with three sides -- cold green bean salad, French fries, coleslaw and you can choose from either catfish, cod fish or shrimp. Our cod plates are $9. Our catfish and shrimp plates are $8. It's delicious fish. The plates are very well filled. You'll get your moneys worth, I promise you," said Carrillo.
The church will be hosting its annual Lenten Fish Fry today and every Friday during the Lenten season. The cod, catfish and shrimp plates will be served today at the church from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 5 to 7:30 p.m. The meal will also be available every Friday during Lent between 5 and 7:30 p.m. in the church hall.

 

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town and country

Voters head to polls for Primary Election

March 4th, 2014

election day

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Area voters will be deciding several local races today, including the position of Guadalupe County Judge. Polls will be open for the March Republican and Democratic Primary Elections.

Although there are no local contested races on the Democratic ballot, there are several contested races on the Republican ballot. The first is the position for county judge. Challenging Incumbent Judge Larry Jones is Commissioner Precinct 2 Kyle Kutscher. The winner of today’s race does not face opposition during the November General Election.

With Kutscher running for county judge, his seat on the commissioners court will be up for grabs. Looking to fill his seat in Precinct 2 are Newcomers Ralph "Jack" Shanafelt, Sr. and D.L. Schraub. The winner of this contest will go on to challenge Democratic candidate Mary Louise Gonzales in November.

Also on the ballot is the race for County Commissioner, Precinct 4. A total of five people are campaigning for the position. Looking to hold onto her seat is Incumbent Judy Cope. Those challenging Cope are Candidates Mark Miller, Dr. Kevin "Bubba" Kunde, Edward "Pete Maierhofer and David Scagliola. The winner of this contest will earn the seat outright and will not have to face anyone in the fall.

Four names will be vying for the position of County Court-at-Law Judge. The winner will replace Linda Z. Jones who has opted to retire from the bench. Those on the ballot include Robin Dwyer, Elizabeth Murray-Kolb, David Eveld and Melroy "Mel" Koehler. There is no Democratic opponent.

The final local race appearing on the Republican Primary ballot is the position for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2. Challenging Incumbent Sheryl Sachtleben is Dale Brueggemann. Either Sachtleben or Brueggemann will face Democratic Candidate Manuel Cevallos during the November election.

A couple of other larger ballot items featuring folks with ties to Seguin will also be on the ballot. The first is the statewide campaign for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. State District Judge and former District Attorney W.C. "Bud" Kirkendall is seeking the Republican nomination for Place 9 on the court.

Doug Carlile, of Guadalupe County, is also seeking the Republican nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives in Texas District 15. Carlile, who lives in New Braunfels but works in Seguin, faces Eddie Zamora during today's Primary election.

Voters today are reminded to cast their ballots at their normal voting locations. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Those not knowing where to vote are encouraged to contact the elections office at 830-303-6363. They may also find their polling location online at www.guadalupe.tx.us. Seguin Radio will provide its live election coverage immediately after the polls close at 7 p.m. Results can be heard on AM 1580 KWED or online at seguintoday.com.

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Seguin ISD superintendent evaluation on tonight's school board agenda; Trustees to select contractor for new high school

March 4th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The evaluation of Seguin ISD's top administrator is up for review tonight. Members of the school board are scheduled to meet behind closed doors to discuss the annual performance of Superintendent Irene Garza. Garza has served as the school superintendent for the last nine years. The agenda also calls for the board to consider a possible extension of her contract. Any action on Garza's evaluation or contract will be made in open session.

Trustees tonight are also scheduled to approve a construction manager-at-risk firm to help build the new $78.3 million high school. Tonight's action will allow the superintendent to begin contract negotiations with the selected company. Seven interested companies initially responded to the district's request. The list was narrowed down to three by a district committee.
The final three companies were then invited to make a presentation to the district. The firms to be considered tonight include American Constructors out of Austin; Bartlett/Cocke/Koehler, A Joint Venture of San Antonio and Seguin and Lee Lewis Construction, Inc. out of Frisco.

The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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new

Taking a stand against suicide, celebrating life

March 4th, 2014

walk for life

A handful of individuals and families took to the streets to celebrate life on Saturday. The group was part of this year's Precious Life Walk-A-Thon and Rally. The group marched up North Austin Street in observance of suicide prevention. This is the 19th annual event for the local non-profit organization.

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AACOG helping uninsured get health insurance; Meeting on Affordable Care Act set for today in Seguin

March 4th, 2014

ACA

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- If you don't have health insurance, then you'll want to attend a special event being hosted today by the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG).

Affordable Care Act's open enrollment period ends on March 31, and people who are uninsured or have insurance that they can't afford are encouraged to find out more about what's available through the Health Insurance Marketplace.

Dan Goetz, of AACOG's Alamo Area Agency on Aging, says the will be there to provide unbiased information about the program best known as Obamacare.

"We're going to have some certified counselors there that can answer questions about the new health insurance plans and also there will be navigators there to help people actually enroll into the plans," said Goetz.

Goetz says they want to provide good information to people who need health coverage. He says their goal is to educate people about what's available to those who need it.

"We particularly want those people who don't have health insurance or perhaps their insurance is too expensive or maybe it's inadequate. Come on out we'll be there from 3 o'clock until 9 o'clock," said Goetz.

Goetz says that AACOG is not interested in the politics on either side of the Affordable Care Act. He says its goal is to try to give people the best information available.

"AACOG is sponsoring this and our whole intent is to reach out to folks that don't have insurance," said Goetz.
The Affordable Care Act event in Seguin runs from 3 to 9 p.m. today in the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. A second event will be held in Guadalupe County next week. It's scheduled to run from 1 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at the Schertz Public Library, located at 798 Schertz Parkway.

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new tlu

Community garage sale event planned for this weekend; RE/MAX promoting, paying for permits issued for the community-wide event

March 4th, 2014

garage sale

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- A local business wants to help you make a little extra money just in time for Spring Break. RE/MAX Realty in Seguin is hosting a community garage sale.

Realtor Natalie Land says that they are signing people up now for the garage sale. She says all you have to do is let them know you want to participate this weekend, and they'll get you signed up, and they'll even pay for your permit and help to promote your sale.

"The best thing to do is to get it out there and make some money right before Spring Break. With all their garage sale items, people are always looking for different things. So, we thought it would be great for RE/MAX -- Bob and I -- to actually sit down and let everybody know that we'd be able to pay for the permit for them and then we'd put them on a map and you can find certain things in different places all over our community," said Land.

Signing up for the community garage sale is easy, but you're running out of time if want to be included on the map that will be given away as part of the event.

"We've got registration packets at Five Star (Title), Seguin Radiator, here at our office at RE/MAX and Tri-County (Surveyors) -- they can pick those up. They can actually fill it out and then what they need to do is just turn it into us here at RE/MAX and then we'll take it from there. We'll go ahead and make sure that they have their permit, they'll make sure that they have a little packet from us that has everything to do with the garage sale and then we're going to have a map so that they can pick up the map -- anybody and everybody who wants to go to these particular garage sales -- it's going to have a map that says 'you can find furniture at location A, you can find baby clothes at location B' and so that's how it is going to work," said Land.

Land says they aren't looking for anything from those who sign up. She says they just thought this would be a fun way to help the community do a little spring cleaning. She says not only are they hosting the community garage sale, but they'll also host a poker run and give away a free gas card as part of the event.

"So the poker run is just something that we did for a twist, which is actually going to be kind of fun, because as you know whenever you go to say, have a treasure hunt or something like that, everyone of these places you go to, the more you go to, you're going to get a playing card at each one of these. At location A, location B, location C, if you make all of them, you're going to come to RE/MAX at the very end and you're going to come by here and the one with the best hand, you're going to make a hand, poker hand out of all the cards that you've collected and it's going to win the gas card," said Land.

The community garage sale will officially run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday. Those interested in participating need to get signed up by Wednesday in order to get the free permit and to be included in the promotion of the community-wide event. Packets can be picked up today at Seguin Radiator, RE/MAX, Tri-County Surveyors, and Five Star Title.

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TLU women advance to NCAA DIII tourney with 54-52 SCAC Championship victory over Trinity

March 3rd, 2014

tlu women

The Texas Lutheran University women's basketball team is headed to its first ever NCAA Division III Tournament.  That's after winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship game 54-52 over Trinity on Sunday.  TLU will learn its NCAA opponent and destination on Monday. The NCAA DIII Women's Basketball Selection Show starts at 1:30 p.m. central on ncaa.com/sports.

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Leroy Alves.jpg

New Marriot property on its way up

March 3rd, 2014

towne place

Construction workers are taking Seguin to new heights thanks to their dedication on this new Marriott TownePlace Suites being built next door to Chili’s Restaurant at Interstate 10 and State Highway 123. Construction on the 118-room, four-story hotel is said to be on schedule.

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Accident claims life of truck driver

March 3rd, 2014


By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The driver of an 18-wheeler is believed to have been killed upon impact following a single vehicle accident on Interstate 10. Sgt. Aaron Seidenberger of the Seguin Police Department, says the crash happened during the early morning hours on Saturday.

"At approximately 2 a.m., there was an 18-wheeler hauling oil field equipment. It was a flatbed and right past the 617 (mile marker) traveling westbound, he left the roadway on the north side of IH 10 and went down kind of an embankment, almost to a ditch -- crashed through a few trees and really smashed the cab of the 18-wheeler. The driver was out of the 18-wheeler when the officers got there. We assumed he was ejected from the 18-wheeler. When he was checked, he was found to be deceased," said Seidenberger.


The victim has been identified as Leo Sinegal, 61, of Washington, Texas. He was apparently driving a vehicle out of Lafayette, LA.


Seidenberger says at this point of the investigation, it is not to clear whether or not the driver was wearing a seatbelt.


"The cab was so badly damaged that I mean there is always that chance that he was wearing a seatbelt and was still ejected. Had he still been buckled in, the chances are that he probably wouldn't have made it anyway, the cab was that smashed," said Seidenberger.


Seidenberger says both a fuel spill and the weather proved challenging for the officers and other emergency personnel who were on scene.


"TxDOT notified Hazmat and it was hazmat spill because of the fuel. It was a flatbed trailer but because of the diesel fuel in his tanks, it had to be removed before the tractor could be pulled out, said Seidenberger. "It was extremely fogging last night. We went through almost three boxes of flares due to the fog. It was pretty bad. Luckily, no accidents because of this."

Seidenberger says officers were not able to clear the accident scene until about 11 a.m. Saturday. Investigation into the accident continues.

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MPO invites public to special meeting; Transportation plan to unveil 55 future projects, residents encouraged to chime in on discussion

March 3rd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- You're invited to have a say in the future of transportation in and around Guadalupe County. The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will be hosting a public meeting regarding its Mobility 2040 Transportation Plan and Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Call for Projects. The meeting is scheduled for tonight at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum.

MPO spokesperson Scott Ericksen says the organization, created by federal law, is responsible for designing a cooperative transportation planning process that supports funding for roadway, transit, rideshare, bicycle and pedestrian projects.


"The MPO is required to do a long range transportation plan and very recently, we've incorporated Guadalupe and Comal Counties and Boerne into our planning areas. We do a demographic forecast and we are estimating about another 1.5 million people coming to the San Antonio region including (Seguin, Guadalupe County) and so when we put all those extra cars and trucks on the road, the congestion that may seem very mild today is going to get pretty fierce. We are having this long range plan meeting in order to see how people feel about what will be the best growth patterns for the long range plan. So for our long range plan, this is the second round of public meetings. We've been out there once before and we hope to see a good turnout tonight," said Erickson.

Ericksen says tonight's particular meeting will help unveil new projects

"We're also showing a list of 55 projects -- road projects -- that have been requested by all the partner agencies for the MPO and people will be able to look at this list of projects and select or vote which ones they'd prefer to see," said Erickson.

Erickson says the projects totaling approximately $435 million have been requested by 14 agencies for MPO funding. He says public input is also needed for three potential growth scenarios developed for the MPO's next long range plan, Mobility 2040. He says all projects and plans will be laid out for public consideration.

The public meeting will be held today from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Coliseum. Project maps for the MPO are available at www.mobility2040.org.

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seguin gold

Seguin ISD Trustees to further discuss early college high school designation; Construction manager-at-risk also on tap for discussion during board workshop

March 3rd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees will be taking an even closer look at what it means for Seguin High School to be designated as an early college high school. The district will welcome an early college high school specialist to share more details and benefits of the program. The specialist will be on hand during tonight's special board workshop.

The district last week announced that it was one of 44 schools to receive the early college designation from the Texas Education Agency for the 2014-2015 school year. There are only 109 similar campuses across the state.

The designation essentially allows students the opportunity to earn up to an associates degree in conjunction with a high school diploma. The program will officially begin with this year's incoming freshman students and will offer four pathways in which to earn various amounts of college credits.

Superintendent Irene Garza say this will be presented as an opportunity for each incoming ninth grader. She says at the end of their high school career -- all credits can be transferred to any Texas public university. Many of the academic course credits will also be accepted by Texas private universities.

During the workshop, trustees will also further discuss the selection of a construction manager-at-risk for the building of the new $78.3 million high school. The board recently heard presentations from the top three companies who made the final cut. Those companies include
American Constructors out of Austin; Bartlett Cocke/Koehler, of Seguin and San Antonio and Lee Lewis Construction of Frisco. No decision on a company will be taken tonight. A decision, however, is expected to be made during Tuesday's regular school board meeting.

Tonight's board workshop gets underway at 6:30 p.m. in the Seguin ISD Board Room.

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Highway 123 Bypass Water Tower project more than half way done

March 3rd, 2014

(Seguin) -- An increase in water pressure is on its way to several local homes. Work on the $2.5 million dollar water tower project off of State Highway 123 Bypass in north Seguin is approximately 60 percent complete. That's according to Scott Packard, the city's new public information officer.

“This project is moving along right on schedule. We anticipate quite a bit of growth in that area. This project will ensure there is adequate water to support both the residential and commercial in north Seguin," said Packard.

The anticipated increase in water pressure is only one of the benefits of this project. Packard says the new one million gallon tank will replace the nearby 150,000 gallon tank built in 1982. He says the older tank currently must refill up to five times daily to keep up with demand.

"The base of the new tower is nearly finished. Construction of the actual tank itself is also now underway. It is being built on site and will take about a month to complete. The tank will then have to be raised and installed," said Packard.

City officials say the tower will initially be painted white until the city council decides on a possible image and/or slogan. Seguin City Manager Doug Faseler says an LED light system will also be installed allowing the tower to be illuminated in a variety of colors.

“The light system is exciting and will be visually appealing,” said Faseler. “For example, we could light the tower pink during breast cancer awareness month. The options are plentiful. It will be something residents can really be proud of.”

Funding for the project comes from United States Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration ($1.18 million), the Seguin Economic Development Corporation ($880,000) and the city of Seguin ($440,000).

Work on the project should be complete by October 2014.

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City of Seguin officials brush up on hotel occupancy tax law

March 3rd, 2014

(Seguin) -- In an effort to become better educated on hotel occupancy tax distribution and usage, several city of Seguin officials and organizations were invited to learn the real importance behind the phrase "heads in beds." A special workshop on the hotel occupancy tax law was held recently.

Among those taking part was City Council Member Jet Crabb who also serves on the Seguin Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee.

“I was so happy that most organizations receiving hotel occupancy tax sent one or more representatives to learn the rules about the distributions,” said Crabb. “It shows they are interested in gaining an understanding of what it takes to qualify for the money. I applaud their diligence."

Scott Joslove, President and CEO of the Texas Hotel and Lodging Association, led the seminar and followed up with helping to answer the questions by those in attendance.

Of the 10 organizations that receive funding from Seguin’s hotel occupancy tax, eight were represented at the seminar. Those groups represented included the Seguin Conservation Society, Mid-Texas Symphony, Teatro de Artes, Seguin Heritage Museum, Seguin LULAC, Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce, Seguin Art League and Fields of Huber Ranch.

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Candidates meet deadline for Marion ISD ballot

March 3rd, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Marion) -- Marion ISD voters will have four people in which to choose from during this year's school board election. The four candidates will be seeking one of the three available seats up for grabs. Those filing for candidacy include Incumbents Shane Osbourne and Mike Purcell along with newcomers Eric Smith and Laverne Vick. Incumbent Joe Peck opted to not seek re-election. The at-large election is scheduled for Saturday, May 10. Friday was the deadline for candidates to request a spot on the ballot.

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LA

City of Seguin observes National Pancake Day in support of sick children; Seguin teams up with IHOP to support Shriners Hospitals

March 3rd, 2014

pancake day

Members of the Alzafar Shriners gather with Seguin Mayor Don Keil to proclaim March 4, 2014 "IHOP's National Pancake Day and Shriners Hospitals for Children Day." Those on hand for the proclamation are, left to right Seguin Mayor Don Keil along with Shriners John Dunn, Kenneth Neuse and Allan Ditmore. Courtesy photo.


(Seguin) -- You might want to gear up your taste buds for a good cause this Tuesday. Seguin Mayor Don Keil has proclaimed March 4th, 2014 as “IHOP’s National Pancake Day and Shriners Hospitals for Children Day.” Members of the Alzafar Shriners recently gathered to watch Mayor Keil officially sign the proclamation into order.

“It is an honor for our city to participate in an event that raises money for such a great cause,” said Keil. “This would not be possible without IHOP’s commitment to serving the community.”

On Tuesday, The International House of Pancakes location in Seguin will offer each guest a free short stack (three pancakes) of their buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. In return, IHOP encourages each guest to make a donation of their choice to Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The campaign is designed to raise awareness of Shriners Hospitals for Children, a health care system with 22 locations - founded by the Shriners International fraternity. The hospitals provide children with expert pediatric specialty care, regardless of the ability to pay for services. Since the first Shriners Hospital opened in 1922, the health care system is said to have improved the lives of more than 1 million children.

Since beginning National Pancake Day in 2006, IHOP locations across the country have given away nearly 22 million pancakes and have raised $13 million for charity.

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Tri-County

Top Story of the Week: Seguin Early College High School officially a "Go"

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
                 
(Seguin) -- This coming fall, incoming freshman will not only be new to Seguin High School, they'll also technically be new college students.
 
The anticipated approval of the Early College High School (ECHS) designation for the Seguin High School campus has been announced this week by Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams.
 
Seguin ISD Superintendent Irene Garza says the district is ecstatic over the news. She says the district submitted an application in December for this “College for All” program in partnership with St. Philip’s College that will allow students to earn up to an Associates Degree in conjunction with a high school diploma. She says the Seguin Early College High School will have a tremendous impact on the community as each student will have the opportunity to earn college credits free of charge.  Garza says with this campus designation by the state, every single freshman student next year will follow one of four pathways --- each placing college credits under their belts.
 
"The students can op for an Associates Degree where they complete 60 college hours and by the time their seniors, they graduate with a diploma in hand and an associates degree in hand. They can choose a pathway to be Core Complete where they can acquire up to 42 college credit hours, continue to be active in extra curricular activities all while being able to access many more courses under the designation then they would otherwise be allowable for dual credit courses. We also have a pathway that falls right in line with the Career Tech Ed component where students can earn a license or certification and then they can continue to earn an applied arts associate degree or even move on to earn a bachelor of applied arts degree through either Texas A&M in San Antonio or through Texas State in San Marcos. Then, we have another pathway for students that we want to make sure they are TSI ready which is a college and readiness assessment (test) so that when students graduate from high school, they have options at their disposal," said Garza.
 
 
Since last spring, Garza says the Seguin ISD has been working closely with the Alamo Colleges, St. Philip’s College and Educate Texas on the Early College designation for Seguin High School. She says this initiative was a priority with the 2013 Vision team which was comprised of Seguin ISD stakeholders who all provided input on the district’s 2013 Visioning Document, which serves as a blueprint for the district’s operations.
 
"This is a great opportunity to transform not only our district, but to transform the community where it is a culture of career and college readiness with resources and support systems that will be implemented to help students be successful. Getting the early college high school designation, I think, removes barriers for higher education access for all of our students. In our community, we have many students who will be first generation college going students and the support systems that we can offer them while they're still in school will be of tremendous assistance. It is a real transformation," said Garza.
         
Garza says not only is the new early college high school going to be introduced, but it's going to be introduced along with new graduation requirements recently implemented by the state.
 
"Along side with this, we have all of the House Bill 5 graduation requirements that have come into play that also identify five different endorsements for students. So the next piece of this process is for us to continue to have conversations with parents and students so that they can also select an endorsement that will also have pathways and sequences -- of course -- so that students can complete their diploma with an endorsement as well at the end of their high school career. That's under the House Bill 5 Legislation that was passed this last legislative session. We have been blessed in our district that we started this process just about a year ago and that through this process, we have ended up really ahead of the game in articulating sequences of courses and articulating career tech ed course offerings that will align with the House Bill 5 endorsements in the early college high school component," said Garza.
 
Dr. Garza says the district has been working for weeks getting parents of eighth graders to understand the dynamics and benefits of this early college high school. She says not only do college credits help military students jump in rank but they also provide a good basis of education and certifications for those looking to immediately enter the workforce. More importantly, she says accumulating those college credits before graduation can sometimes help inspire new dreams of going on to a four-year college or university -- especially for those students who never thought that it could be possible.
 
Garza says at the end of their high school career --  all credits can be transferred to any Texas public university. Many of the academic course credits will be accepted by Texas private universities. She  says families in the end can save up to $10,000 in college savings just by going through the program at Seguin High School.
 
 
She says the district has hosted parent meetings to share how this new initiative can benefit their children and families. She says it is rewarding to see firsthand the genuine interest that their students and their parents have in the Seguin Early College High School. She says families are indeed excited to have the opportunity to access higher education in Seguin at no costs for tuition or books.
         
"We encourage the community to be involved with us. We encourage the community to stay informed of the transformation because this undertaking, this cultural transformation, is not only a Seguin High School transformation. It's something that we'll need to start at the Pre-k level for us and all throughout the elementary, middle school and on into the high school and it will certainly be a change in the conversations that I think are occurring in households in the community because we are already seeing the changes in those conversations that are occurring just based on visits that students have taken to St. Phillips for them to experience all of the different career opportunities that are available to them. So there are some exciting times here in the Seguin ISD," said Garza.
 
 
While school board members and the district's administrative team praised the work of Superintendent Garza, Garza returned the recognition by applauding a handful of people who have been steadily working to obtain the designation. She says it's been a real team effort to get this off the ground. She especially thanked U.S. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa who initiated a delegation from Seguin to visit a career college campus in The Valley. She says the Congressman spent two full days with the group showing off a campus in action.
 
 
"Ultimately, the goal of the school board is to support students' interests in college and careers and to personalize learning opportunities through course pathways. The end result will be higher levels of college graduation, college enrollment and career readiness for our Seguin ISD students," said Seguin ISD Board President Louis Q. Reyes III.
 
Officials from the Alamo Colleges and St. Philip's College are also sharing their excitement over this announcement.
 
"The Alamo Colleges is excited to partner with Seguin ISD on the innovative Early College High School initiative, a program that provides students with access to a college education while still in high school at no cost to them. This program gives students the opportunity to earn significant college credits, possibly enough to satisfy the requirements for an Associate's Degree, while they simultaneously work toward a high school diploma, dramatically improving their academic and career prospects. It has been a pleasure to work closely with Seguin ISD Superintendent, Dr. Irene Garza, who is a strong advocate for quality education. The partnership could not have been created without her strong leadership, vision and support," said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie.
 
St. Phillip's College President Adena Loston agrees and says the real winners are the eighth grade middle school students who will make history in 2014 as the first group of students in their community to enter a freshman Early College High School.
 
"We can't wait to get to know them and build their knowledge as they navigate their way to both the marketable skills and transfer to a four-year college that the right two-year college experience positions them for," said Loston.
 
Seguin High School is only one of 44 campuses to receive the early college designation from the Texas Education Agency for the 2014-2015 school year. There are only 109 similar campuses across the state. 

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Showcase Seguin 2014 brings businesses, community together

February 28th, 2014

showcase ship

Vacation specialists Vicki Black and Sarah Dozier help people realize that booking the vacation of their dreams is possible. Ascot’s Custom Travel was among the booths participating in Thursday’s Showcase Seguin event at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. The event is hosted each year by the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce. This year’s theme was “Believe.”

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town and country

Today marks last day of early voting

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- You still have one more day in which to cast your vote early during the Joint Democratic and Republican March Primary. Guadalupe County Elections Administrator Sue Basham says election clerks have been stationed all throughout the county working the early voting polls since Tuesday, Feb. 18.
 
Although the final day of early voting has arrived, Basham says she is a bit disappointed in the turnout thus far.
 
"The numbers are really low. I would hope that more people would come out today because they have an opportunity to vote early. The lines are very short. I don't know whether people are waiting to vote on election day or if we are just going to have a low turnout on this election. But I would encourage all the voters to come out today and vote early. We've got five different locations and we are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. So bring their photo ID and that's all they need to do," said Basham.
 
Locally, there are several contested Republican Primary races appearing on the ballot. Those races include Guadalupe County Judge, Guadalupe County Commissioner Precinct 2; Guadalupe County Commissioner Precinct 4; Guadalupe County Court at Law Judge and Guadalupe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2.
 
Early voting locations include the Seguin Elections Office, Grace Memorial Church, the Central Texas Technology Center, the Schertz Elections Office Annex and the New Berlin Community Center. Today, Guadalupe County voters may cast their ballots at any of these locations. Early voting will be held until 7 p.m.
 
The Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4. At that time, voters will need to cast their ballots at their specific polling locations.

Those not knowing where to vote on election day are encouraged to contact the elections office at 830-303-6363.

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City to host Spring Clean Up Day; Clean up efforts to be held in conjunction with TLU's Day of the Dogs

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- TLU will unleash its dogs this weekend. Texas Lutheran University's annual day of service, Day of the Dogs, returns to each corner of the community. The event this year is being held in partnership with the city of Seguin's Spring City Wide Clean-Up Day.
 
Jessica Anderson, the civic engagement coordinator for TLU's Center for Servant Leadership, says the event gives students the opportunity to reach out to various service projects in the community.
 
"This spring will be the most students that I have ever registered for a day of service. Right now, we are right about 400 students, faculty and staff and some of their family members that will be going out to over 25 different locations in the area. We even have a group of students that aren't necessarily staying in the area because they are participating with the National MS Society -- the MS walk event in San Antonio. While our focus is really here in Seguin working with 25 different sites between helping with the city wide clean-up -- multiple places with that with the parks department and the city -- working at multiple community gardens, at the organic farm over at My Father's Farm, working over at Eden Cross, helping out with Teatro, participating with the Boys & Girls Club for their day of play with kids. We're just going to have students all over the place and especially here on the west side of town where near where the new Hoermann park is going to be. Expect to see us everywhere," said Anderson.
 
In addition, all Seguin residents are encouraged to bring unwanted items from around their own homes this Saturday for disposal at the coliseum parking lot. They must show proof of residency either through an electric bill or photo ID.

Vehicle tires will be accepted only. No tractor, mower, bicycle, ATV, tires with rims or tires larger than 19.5 will be allowed. The city will also not be collecting brush, hazardous chemicals, building debris or old fences. Appliances with Freon are also prohibited.
 
Paper shredding will be available for free to Seguin residents only.
 
Unwanted items will be collected during the city wide clean up from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday.

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new

Seguin to celebrate Texas Independence Day; Toast to Texas event scheduled for Sunday

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Don't forget to proudly wave your Texas Flag this weekend. Sunday marks Texas Independence Day. 
 
Texas declared its independence from Mexico with the signing of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2nd, 1836, at Washington-on-the-Brazos. 
 
The state became known as the Republic of Texas, but the Alamo fell to Santa Anna just days later. Santa Anna was defeated at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21st, and Texas would remain an independent nation for about 10 years before joining the United States.
 
Seguin will again join others around the state this Sunday in celebrating 178 years of Texas during the annual Toast to Texas event being held at the Sebastopol House. 
 
Karen Willis, president of the Abishai Mercer Dickson Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, says events will get underway on the steps of the Sebastopol House Historic Site.
 
"It definitely is a day to celebrate. It's the Texas Declaration of Independence. That's huge in our history. It's what Texas is and it's what Texas is all about. The children -- it's a great, great history lesson for them and we welcome the entire community out to celebrate. It's free of charge and it's just a wonderful event. I know there's been some inclement weather. But we have never cancelled it nor do we plan on cancelling it. So, hopefully, we'll have a great day and everybody can come to Sebastopol and help celebrate," said Willis.
 
Willis says she especially invites the community and families to come out for the special patriotic event and help raise a bottle of spring water in a Toast to Texas.
 
Serving as the master of ceremonies will be Texas State Representative John Kuempel. Joining him for the reading of the names of Delegates of Washington-on-the-Brazos will be Seguin Mayor Don Keil.
 
The annual tradition begins with a fly over the Sebastopol lawn at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. The official toast will be delivered around the world at exactly 2 p.m. Area church bells will also be ringing throughout the city. The Sebastopol House is located on Zorn Street next door to the Seguin Boys & Girls Club.

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Seguin invited to take stand against suicide during annual Walk-A-Thon

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
 
(Seguin) -- Seguin is invited to come out this weekend for one important walk. That's according to Nancy Turner of Precious Life Suicide Prevention and Crusade. Turner says Saturday marks the 19th Annual Precious Life Celebration of Life, Walk-A-Thon and Rally in downtown Seguin.
 
Turner says the idea behind the annual campaign is to not only to help save lives but to make sure we celebrate them.
 
"We're dealing with life always, 24/7. We're trying to just get the awareness to stay out there and the support. What's going to happen is we're going to have our walk and from the walk, we're going to have a rally and we're going to serve lunch. We're going to have some churches there. They will be doing some singing, some praise dancing and some testimonies of people that are suicide survivors. That's what we're dealing with right now, people that have the experience of someone dying in their family or a friend. So we have a couple of ladies who are going to come forward and talk about that and just celebrate life. That's what it's about. Just celebrate living, not dying -- going through your crisis with hope that there will be a tomorrow and that's what it's all about," said Turner.
 
Turner says Seguin is not immune to fighting the pain that goes along with acts of suicide and the ideas of suicide by friends, family and community.
 
"Learn the signs, be educated in what to do if there are signs and not to panic because there's always hope. As long as there's life, there's hope and not to give up on difficult situations and I think that's what's happening in our community. People don't see the help. They don't have the hope and they think there's no hope and that's where it gets sad to me. There's always hope, always and never give up on anyone. No matter how depressed they may seem, or detached they may seem, isolated, change of habits, appearance whatever, don't give up. Don't give up on your children and each other. Just don't give up. Just know that there's help out there and it's not just Precious Life. There's other organizations out there that can help. We can work together as a team to keep our -- especially our children alive, because they're dealing with so much now. I've been doing this going on 20 years and I've seen not a decrease. I've seen an increase in people that have no knowledge on how to save a life. They really don't know what to do," said Turner.
 
Registration for the event will be held from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday in downtown Seguin. The walk begins at 11 a.m. The group will make its way to the Precious Life office located at 1420 N. Austin St for food, entertainment and awards.

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Deadline arrives for Marion ISD School board filings

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Marion) -- The Marion ISD is looking to fill three seats on its school board. The district has ordered an election to fill the positions during its May 10 election. The seats up for grabs include those currently filled by trustees Joe Peck, Mike Purcell and Shane Osbourne. Interested individuals are encouraged to file for a spot on the ballot by 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28. Applications are available in the Marion ISD Central Office.

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Boys & Girls Club to host community fair; Food, music, carnival games planned for local fundraiser

February 28th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Boys & Girls Club will be opening its doors this weekend for some carnival fun. The non-profit organization, formerly known as the Seguin Activity Center, will be hosting the games and entertainment in conjunction with its first ever Community Fair. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
 
Site Coordinator Oscar Banda says there will be plenty of things for the family to enjoy. He says various community vendors have all signed up to be a part of the event.
 
"What we hope to have here are just a number of games for kids to participate in. We'll have prizes. We're looking at having the ambulance and fire truck out here for demos -- just a bunch of games and activities for the kids. Bouncy houses, snow cones, hot dogs, sodas, chips, anything you can name, we might have it," said Banda.
 
Banda says the community fair will be an excellent time for local families to stop by and see what the nationally recognized program has to offer. He says the organization is known for keeping kids and adults not only active but involved.
 
"What we really want is for the community to just take awareness that we are here. We're offering a lot of stuff, not only for kids but for families. Of course, we want to help promote our after school program which is very beneficial for a lot of the kids here in Seguin. So prices are very affordable. It's free to get into the fair and to participate in any of the games or buy any of the foods that we are selling. We're doing tickets and the tickets are 25 cents per ticket," said Banda.
 
The Boys & Girls Club is located at 624 Zorn St just behind the Laser Car Wash on West Court Street.

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Seguin recognizes impact of local softball complex

February 28th, 2014

(Seguin) -- A local softball complex is continuing to score big for the city of Seguin.

The 2014 Seguin Matador Invitational got underway Thursday morning at the Fields at Huber Ranch. More than 30 regional teams are taking part in the three-day softball tournament. New Seguin Public Information Officer Scott Packard says the Matador Invitational along with other similar tournaments are important to boosting the local economy.
   
“When you have that many players, parents and fans coming to Seguin, it’s great for the economy,” said Packard. “Many of these folks stay overnight in our hotels and eat at our restaurants.”
   
Packard says this tournament is just one of dozens that the softball complex holds all year long. In 2013, the Fields at Huber Ranch hosted more than 40 similar tournaments.
 
“The folks at the Fields at Huber Ranch do a great job organizing these tournaments. The complex is a great asset to the City of Seguin,” Packard continued. “We look forward to continued success.”   
 
The 12 acre softball complex consist of five, fast pitch softball fields and is located at 3000 Huber Rd. 

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Good luck Navarro Lady Panthers

February 27th, 2014

1950s team

Members of Navarro's 1955 girls' state tournament basketball team pose with the 2014 Panthers at the Navarro Events Center Wednesday morning. The head coach of the '55 team, Harvey Vogel, was also on hand and is seated next to current Navarro Coach Darrell Harborth on the right side of the front row. The meeting was part of a pep really celebrating the Lady Panthers trip to the UIL State Tournament scheduled today in Austin. Seguin Radio KWED will broadcast the game live beginning at 1:20 p.m. You can hear the game on AM 1580 KWED, online at SeguinToday.com or by accessing the FreeRadio app on your phone or tablet. Click here for Iphone or Ipad.  Click here for Android.  Photo by Mike McBride.

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Seguin Early College High School officially a "Go"

February 26th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
                 
(Seguin) -- This coming fall, incoming freshman will not only be new to Seguin High School, they'll also technically be new college students.
 
The anticipated approval of the Early College High School (ECHS) designation for the Seguin High School campus has been announced this week by Texas Education Commissioner Michael Williams.
 
Seguin ISD Superintendent Irene Garza says the district is ecstatic over the news. She says the district submitted an application in December for this “College for All” program in partnership with St. Philip’s College that will allow students to earn up to an Associates Degree in conjunction with a high school diploma. She says the Seguin Early College High School will have a tremendous impact on the community as each student will have the opportunity to earn college credits free of charge.  Garza says with this campus designation by the state, every single freshman student next year will follow one of four pathways --- each placing college credits under their belts.
 
"The students can op for an Associates Degree where they complete 60 college hours and by the time their seniors, they graduate with a diploma in hand and an associates degree in hand. They can choose a pathway to be Core Complete where they can acquire up to 42 college credit hours, continue to be active in extra curricular activities all while being able to access many more courses under the designation then they would otherwise be allowable for dual credit courses. We also have a pathway that falls right in line with the Career Tech Ed component where students can earn a license or certification and then they can continue to earn an applied arts associate degree or even move on to earn a bachelor of applied arts degree through either Texas A&M in San Antonio or through Texas State in San Marcos. Then, we have another pathway for students that we want to make sure they are TSI ready which is a college and readiness assessment (test) so that when students graduate from high school, they have options at their disposal," said Garza.
 
 
Since last spring, Garza says the Seguin ISD has been working closely with the Alamo Colleges, St. Philip’s College and Educate Texas on the Early College designation for Seguin High School. She says this initiative was a priority with the 2013 Vision team which was comprised of Seguin ISD stakeholders who all provided input on the district’s 2013 Visioning Document, which serves as a blueprint for the district’s operations.
 
"This is a great opportunity to transform not only our district, but to transform the community where it is a culture of career and college readiness with resources and support systems that will be implemented to help students be successful. Getting the early college high school designation, I think, removes barriers for higher education access for all of our students. In our community, we have many students who will be first generation college going students and the support systems that we can offer them while they're still in school will be of tremendous assistance. It is a real transformation," said Garza.
         
Garza says not only is the new early college high school going to be introduced, but it's going to be introduced along with new graduation requirements recently implemented by the state.
 
"Along side with this, we have all of the House Bill 5 graduation requirements that have come into play that also identify five different endorsements for students. So the next piece of this process is for us to continue to have conversations with parents and students so that they can also select an endorsement that will also have pathways and sequences -- of course -- so that students can complete their diploma with an endorsement as well at the end of their high school career. That's under the House Bill 5 Legislation that was passed this last legislative session. We have been blessed in our district that we started this process just about a year ago and that through this process, we have ended up really ahead of the game in articulating sequences of courses and articulating career tech ed course offerings that will align with the House Bill 5 endorsements in the early college high school component," said Garza.
 
Dr. Garza says the district has been working for weeks getting parents of eighth graders to understand the dynamics and benefits of this early college high school. She says not only do college credits help military students jump in rank but they also provide a good basis of education and certifications for those looking to immediately enter the workforce. More importantly, she says accumulating those college credits before graduation can sometimes help inspire new dreams of going on to a four-year college or university -- especially for those students who never thought that it could be possible.
 
Garza says at the end of their high school career -- all credits can be transferred to any public or private university. She says families in the end can save up to $10,000 in college savings just by going through the program at Seguin High School.
 
 
She says the district has hosted parent meetings to share how this new initiative can benefit their children and families. She says it is rewarding to see firsthand the genuine interest that their students and their parents have in the Seguin Early College High School. She says families are indeed excited to have the opportunity to access higher education in Seguin at no costs for tuition or books.
         
"We encourage the community to be involved with us. We encourage the community to stay informed of the transformation because this undertaking, this cultural transformation, is not only a Seguin High School transformation. It's something that we'll need to start at the Pre-k level for us and all throughout the elementary, middle school and on into the high school and it will certainly be a change in the conversations that I think are occurring in households in the community because we are already seeing the changes in those conversations that are occurring just based on visits that students have taken to St. Phillips for them to experience all of the different career opportunities that are available to them. So there are some exciting times here in the Seguin ISD," said Garza.
 
 
While school board members and the district's administrative team praised the work of Superintendent Garza, Garza returned the recognition by applauding a handful of people who have been steadily working to obtain the designation. She says it's been a real team effort to get this off the ground. She especially thanked U.S. Congressman Ruben Hinojosa who initiated a delegation from Seguin to visit a career college campus in The Valley. She says the Congressman spent two full days with the group showing off a campus in action.
 
 
"Ultimately, the goal of the school board is to support students' interests in college and careers and to personalize learning opportunities through course pathways. The end result will be higher levels of college graduation, college enrollment and career readiness for our Seguin ISD students," said Seguin ISD Board President Louis Q. Reyes III.
Officials from the Alamo Colleges and St. Philip's College are also sharing their excitement over this announcement.
"The Alamo Colleges is excited to partner with Seguin ISD on the innovative Early College High School initiative, a program that provides students with access to a college education while still in high school at no cost to them. This program gives students the opportunity to earn significant college credits, possibly enough to satisfy the requirements for an Associate's Degree, while they simultaneously work toward a high school diploma, dramatically improving their academic and career prospects. It has been a pleasure to work closely with Seguin ISD Superintendent, Dr. Irene Garza, who is a strong advocate for quality education. The partnership could not have been created without her strong leadership, vision and support," said Alamo Colleges Chancellor Bruce Leslie.
St. Phillip's College President Adena Loston agrees and says the real winners are the eighth grade middle school students who will make history in 2014 as the first group of students in their community to enter a freshman Early College High School.
"We can't wait to get to know them and build their knowledge as they navigate their way to both the marketable skills and transfer to a four-year college that the right two-year college experience positions them for," said Loston.
Seguin High School is only one of 44 campuses to receive the early college designation from the Texas Education Agency for the 2014-2015 school year. There are only 109 similar campuses across the state.  

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seguin gold

SHS becoming early college campus

February 26th, 2014

echs

The Texas Education Agency recently designated Seguin High School an Early College High School.  Its a big announcement for the Seguin ISD, and offers new opportunities for students at Seguin High School.  Students will now have a chance to not only earn a high school diiploma, but they may also be able to finish their high school careers with an associates degree.  Click here to listen to our story on the new designation.

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Looking to keep things safe; City wants traffic signal installed at busy intersection

February 26th, 2014

Bypass and business 123

Bypass and business 123 2

The Seguin City Council wants to try to make this busy intersection safer. The council recently approved a resolution asking the Texas Department of Transportation to study the need for a traffic signal to be placed at the intersection of State Highway 123 Bypass and Highway 123 Business near the Continental Plant. The agenda item generated a great deal of support from Seguin Mayor Don Keil and several members of the council. TxDOT will now review the need for the signal and determine if it warrants a placement at that location.

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SHS Class of 2001 reaching out to former classmate; Class president utilizes social networking, media to help rally support

February 26th, 2014

Michelle

The Seguin High School Class of 2001 is seeking monetary support for former classmate Michelle McCord Waag. Waag suffered a head injury earlier this month and is currently in the ICU at the University Medical Center Brackenridge in Austin. Donations can be made at any Bank of America location. Courtesy photo.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Despite having graduated 13 years ago, one Seguin High School Class President is calling on his former classmates, teachers and community to help generate support for a former Matador.

Carlos Hiracheta says a bank account has been established for former classmate Michelle McCord Waag. He says together with other classmates, the group has established a way to help financially support Waag who suffered an accident earlier this month at her home in Austin.

"Michelle was at home on Valentine's Day and had a head injury. She fell at home and hit her head on the floor causing a severe head injury that caused her to have some sort of brain injury that she had to have emergency surgery on. Then she went into coma and was placed in ICU. From what I know up to today, they have taken her off the ventilator but she is still in ICU and still being watched in her progress," said Hiracheta.

Hiracheta says Waag served as their class vice president while in high school. He says the reconnection made possible via social networking has given a whole new purpose to supporting old friends.

"I think social media has really helped out especially with us being class officers of our senior year. It's been a way for us to just keep in contact with everybody no matter how drastic of how busy our schedules are. We are able to just drop by and say 'hey, how are you doing?' and just keep up. That's how I found out about this and being that from my sophomore year to our senior year, I was with Michelle as an officer. You just build a relationship and when you graduate from high school, you don't realize it until you get older -- you still have a deep relationship that you were classmates with and you remember the good times and you remember the laughing. So it's something you -- that in your heart --you feel to reach out with and you hope that everybody else does the same as well," said Hiracheta.

Monetary donations can be made to the SHS 2001 Class Alumni account available at any Bank of America location nationwide. Hiracheta says all donations will go to help support Waag's recovery and provide financial assistance to her family which includes her husband Jon and their infant son, Jack.

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State district judge, former DA from Seguin picks up endorsements for Court of Criminal Appeals; Kirkendall makes run for Texas Court of Criminal Appeals during March Republican Primary

February 26th, 2014

bud kirkendall

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A state district judge from Seguin is seeking a seat on a higher court this March 4. W.C. Bud Kirkendall, a district judge of Texas for the Second 25th Judicial District and former district attorney, is seeking the Republican nomination for Place 9 on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.

The nine elected judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals is the highest criminal court -- making some of the state's toughest decision. It is described as the final arbiters of the state's criminal law, "determining, among other things, if and when the state has the authority to take a person's life."

This year's election is described as pretty significant in that of the nine elected judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, three current judges -- all Republican -- have opted to not seek re-election while a fourth judge has his eyes on the Texas Supreme Court. Officials say if successful, then that seat will also be up for grabs -- leaving the court with a number of new faces.

Kirkendall is one of two Republicans vying for Place 9. The seat is being vacated by Judge Cathy Cochran, who has opted to not seek re-election. Challenging Kirkendall during the March Primary is David Newell, an assistant district attorney in Harris County.

Kirkendall was recently announced the winner of the State Bar of Texas Judicial Preference Poll for the Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9. In addition, Kirkendall has also received endorsements of several other major conservative organizations including Texans for Lawsuit Reform, Conservative Republicans of Texas and the Texas Patriots PAC as well as the Texas Bipartisan Justice Committee.

The winner of next week's Primary will go on to face George Altgelt, a Green Party candidate and William Bryan Strange III, a Libertarian during the November General Election.

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Wednesday marks deadline for Showcase Seguin Premiere Party tickets; Annual chamber trade show to return Thursday to Coliseum

February 25th, 2014

chevy cruze

You might just be the lucky person to drive off in this 2014 Chevrolet Cruze. Seguin Chevrolet General Manager Shawn Driscoll, left and Owner Bill Lowe show off the racy red vehicle that will be up for grabs at this year’s Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce Showcase Seguin event. The one day trade show is scheduled for Thursday at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. The Cruze will be offered to the lucky roller of the dice that spells out the word "Believe" during the event's Premiere Party event to be held from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets to the party are $25 in advance and include a $6 Show Day ticket. Show Day is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Courtesy photo.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Don't forget to purchase your ticket to this Thursday's Showcase Seguin Premiere Party. Complete with heavy hors d'oeuvres, open bar and live music, the party helps wrap up the trade show at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. That's according to Showcase Chairperson KayLynn Hawkins.

Hawkins says the Premiere Party is the final activity during the one day event scheduled for this Thursday. She says plenty of new and exciting things are in store for this year.

"First of all, we changed the layout of the Coliseum so the booths will run in a little bit of a different direction. We changed the stage to the center of Coliseum so that people can actually see what's going on instead of all at one end. We also are doing some exciting new things. Seguin Chevrolet has graciously offered to give away a brand new beautiful red Chevy Cruze. So we're really excited about that. We're really asking people to try come into the evening event. It's a $25 ticket," said Hawkins.

Although the event is scheduled a few days earlier than usual, Hawkins hopes that by holding the event this week, the chamber will welcome more people.

Chamber officials say the Cruze will be offered to the lucky roller of a dice game. They say the person that spells out the word "Believe" – this year’s theme -- during the event's Premiere Party event from 5 to 9 p.m. will get to drive home in the vehicle.

This year's trade show will kick off with a free job fair from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Individuals are encouraged to polish up their resumes and be ready to talk face to face with a potential employer.

Show Day will follow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will feature door prizes, exhibitors who are promoting their goods and services and a silent auction. One of the newest events will be a health fair from 2 to 4 p.m. Several area food establishments will also be serving samples from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $6 a person.

The Premiere Party will get underway at 5 p.m. Tickets for the evening social are $25 and include a complimentary Show Day ticket.

In addition to the chance of winning a car, a Colonial Company grandfather clock donated by Tic Tock Doc and valued at $600 will also be given away.

The deadline to purchase Premiere Party tickets is 5 p.m. Wednesday at the chamber office located at 116 N. Camp St. Tickets are also available from any chamber ambassador or member of the board of directors.

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Tri-County

McQueeney man files for District 3 on the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees

February 25th, 2014

craig thomas

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local man has entered the race for a seat on the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. Craig Thomas, a 1986 Seguin High School graduate, has officially filed for the District 3 seat. The seat was left vacant following the death of Trustee Irma Lewis in September. A special election is scheduled for Saturday, May 10.

Thomas, who grew up in Lake McQueeney, currently is in the mortgage finance business. Thomas says it’s been his dealings through this profession that has helped him identify a desire to serve the community while fully supporting students throughout the district.

"First of all, I'm a product of Seguin. I grew up here. I went to Seguin High School. I went to Briesemeister Middle School. We moved here in the '70s. This is my home. I went away to college and then on to Houston for a number of years, but I've chosen to come back to Seguin and call this my home. I'm passionate about community and I want to do everything that I can to help raise the bar and make Seguin and Seguin ISD all that it can be. I work in this community and I'm in the mortgage finance business so all too often, I see individuals and couples come into this community and start to look for a home in this environment and they like the city. They like everything about it, but when they start to dig a little deeper and look into the school district, they realize the academic standards are a little bit below par. The facility, the high school, it's in dire need of some improvement and repair and guess what, we end up losing out on these great prospects that go down the road to either New Braunfels or Cibolo, Steele or wherever they may go. It affects all of us, not just the high school and the opportunity to have those students in our school, but it affects our whole economic community," said Thomas.

Thomas says in 1990, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University. From there, he entered the commercial and industrial market in Houston. Thomas says he believes the experience gained throughout those years makes him a qualified candidate especially considering the district’s current building of the new high school.

"I ended up in Houston and worked for United Technologies Carrier Corporation where I worked in the commercial sales division. We sold mechanical equipment to a number of different industries but primarily in the education sector with colleges and universities -- primarily with different school districts. I did that for about 14 years. We worked with the architects that design the schools. We worked with the engineers that design the equipment and laid out the equipment for that as well as the mechanical contractors that installed it, the general contractor. We were involved at all different levels of the process whether it was renovation, new construction. I've been to bid meetings, bid openings, we've dealt directly with a lot of school districts. We have performance contracts, so hopefully, some of my experience with all those different degrees of involvement, I will be able to contribute to the board and this time with Seguin ISD. We're in a really exciting time to be in this environment and be a Seguin Matador. We're successful in passing this bond in the election. Now, we've got close to $100 million to build a great new school and improve on our community," said Thomas.

After moving back to Lake McQueeney from Houston four years ago, Thomas says he became active in the school district while raising his step-son and daughter. Thomas is a member of American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, the Texas A&M Century Club, 12th Man Foundation and the Mid Texas Symphony. He is also active with the Lake McQueeney Ski Bees and is a member of the Lake Breeze Ski Lodge.

Seguin native Carlos Moreno is the only other person who has filed for the position thus far. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the unexpired term. The term is scheduled to run until November 2016. The deadline to file for a place on the special election ballot is Monday, March 10. Applications for the position are currently available in the Seguin ISD Central Office.

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Conference Attendees Spend Money, Boost Hotel Occupancy, Retail Revenues

February 25th, 2014

Special by Mary Jo Langford, Main Street Program director

(Seguin) -- The recent Texas Main Street Program state-wide training held in Seguin netted a nice infusion of spending boosting hotel occupancy and retail sales. Forty-four participants of the training that lasted the better part of a week filled out an Economic Impact Survey which indicated attendees spent an average of $404 each. With a total attendance that topped 75 people, that translates into a projection of over $30,000 spent in Seguin as a result of the training conference.

Most of the expenditures went for accommodations, with over 50% of the dollars going to local hotels and bed & breakfast establishments. Money spent on meals and shopping were about equal, each roughly 25% of the dollars spent while in Seguin.

The majority of the training attendees stayed two or more nights. For about 70% of the respondents, this was their first time to come to Seguin.

The training was part of the annual program offered by the Texas Main Street Program which provides services to over 80 cities in the state, supporting the economic revitalization of our historic downtowns. Different cities in Texas host the training and this was the first time it has been held in Seguin.

When the survey respondents were asked what they were most impressed with about Seguin their comments included: beautiful buildings and plaza square, very clean downtown area, friendly people, interesting history and architecture, neat historic homes, the restored Texas Theatre, several great retail stores, the community support for downtown, and the quality of the bed & breakfast accommodations. Other comments included surprise at how large Seguin was, the enthusiasm of volunteers they met, and the passion of the people for their downtown and community.
When asked about any disappointments they may have had the comments were mainly the desire for more options for dining downtown, that retail stores aren’t clustered together, and one person really wished for a hotel with an indoor pool.

In addition to the legwork completed by our local Main Street Program, two other programs need to be recognized for their assistance. The Seguin Convention & Visitors Bureau was key to working with the local hotel industry to secure room blocks. They also provided volunteers to help staff registration and information tables, provided funds for hospitality and conference expenses, and provided items to place in “goodie” bags for the attendees, which Starcke Furniture also contributed to.

The other key player that assisted with conference development was the Seguin Economic Development Corporation (SEDC). The SEDC was able to assist with bringing in great speakers on topics related to business development including the use of advertising on social media, getting downtown “retail ready”, and ways to incorporate health and fitness into downtown design to enhance public well-being.

Christy Hopper with our local Main Street office worked with downtown merchants to create a coupon sheet and incentive to reward shoppers. Attendees who spent money in Seguin could show a receipt and then were given a ticket. The more you shopped, the more tickets, which were then used for drawings. Prizes included gift baskets from the Texas Theatre, Convention & Visitors Bureau, Paperback Ranch and Fashion Magic Boutique.

A special thanks goes to Steve Tschoepe at the Texas Theatre for his assistance in coordinating the weeklong training held there, as well as to the business owners who were part of the training program, sharing tips for the success of their ventures with the attendees.

With the addition of several new hotels and two options for bed & breakfast accommodations, Seguin is in a position to attract more of these types of training and conference venues. It’s easy to get here and there are many options for places to hold meetings for groups from a few dozen to several hundred.

If you are a member of a business, club or organization and are in a position to encourage your group to come to Seguin for conferences or training then by all means do so and allow local businesses and the community to reap the benefits. You can contact the local CVB office at 830-401-0810 to ask for assistance.

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town and country

City of Seguin announces hire of public information officer

February 25th, 2014

scott

(Seguin) -- Seguin City Manager Douglas Faseler is announcing the latest member of the city's administrative team. The city has selected and hired Scott Packard as Seguin's new public information officer.

Packard has worked as a news reporter and photographer with WDHN-TV and WIAT-TV network television affiliates in Alabama for the last four years. As a reporter, Faseler says he has experience behind and in front of the camera. He has been responsible for writing and editing news stories and scripts. City officials say he has had the opportunity to report on all types of television news stories and has had several of his stories picked up by the national networks and has even reported live on CNN.

Packard is a graduate of Sam Houston State University and holds a bachelor's degree in Mass Communications with a minor in history. He is a member of the Alabama Association of Broadcasters and is relocating to Seguin from Santa Fe, Texas.

Packard officially began his job on Monday.

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Noted author to visit Jefferson Avenue Elementary; Seguin invited to learn how to encourage children, families foster the concept of citizenship, voting

February 25th, 2014

book

What better way to stress the importance of voting than through a book. Jefferson Avenue Elementary School tonight will be teaming up with Texas Lutheran University to help encourage children to learn about citizenship and the importance of voting. The school during its STAAR Academic Night is inviting the Seguin community to join it as it welcomes Renowned Author Barbara Renaud Gonzalez. Gonzalez will be on site to read her book, "The Boy Made of Lighting: The Willie Velasquez Story." School officials describe the book as an interactive journey through a child's eyes and how a boy sets out to change the world. School officials say children "will also have a hands on opportunity to learn and understand voter registration. Events also include a public book fair from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; a Student Gallery Walk from 6 to 7 p.m. and the book reading by Gonzalez at 7 p.m. in the school cafeteria. The event is free and open to the public. Courtesy photo.

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Seguin, a safe place to be; Police Department publicly shares latest numbers in criminal activity, arrests

February 24th, 2014

SPD

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Living, playing and doing business in Seguin just got safer. With crime in the United States beginning to slowly rise after a decade of record lows, the Seguin Police Department is reportedly and visibly an exception to this trend. That's according to Seguin Police Chief Kevin Kelso. Kelso tells the Seguin Daily News that the city in 2013, reported a significant decrease in its crime rate.

"We have developed our stats for 2013 crime trends and looking over our stats, it appears that Part 1 Crimes which are, of course, those major crimes that include murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assaults, burglaries, thefts -- they are down four percent of what they were last year and then over the last five years since 2009, our Part 1 Crimes are down 13 percent. We had a huge reduction in our crime rate for our city. Just alone, one of our most staggering numbers since 2009 -- our violent crime has dropped 49 percent. So almost 50 percent of our violent crime has gone down within the city. Ag assaults alone are down 51 percent in that time frame so nice reductions in our crime rate," said Kelso.

Kelso says the actual numbers themselves provide assurance that results are being made out on the streets.

"From last year, our aggravated assaults -- we had reported 44. This year we reported 34. But from five years ago, we had reported 70 so in 2009, there were 70 aggravated assaults. This year, they were down to 34. Our robberies are down from 34 in 2009 to 21 in 2013. The one area that our crime did go up from 2012-2013 was robberies. We had 12 robberies reported in 2012 and we had 21 reported in 2013. Those numbers are somewhat skewed because we had one individual who committed a large number of robberies and we were able to capture that individual," said Kelso.

crime stats

Kelso says the department has adopted "Smart Policing" strategies that are proving to be beneficial. Kelso says this helps the police department in recognizing the trends within a community along with those particular "hotspots" of activities that need combating.

"Hopefully, everyone is noticing us being more visible, us being more professional and trying to develop and rekindle that partnership with our community. Pretty much all of this is attributable to our partnership with our community and building trust into them and that when they see something going wrong or not right or appears hinky that they are not afraid to call us and trust in us that we will get the job done. So I think a lot of this is attributed to our community plus the hard work and dedication for our employees who are really dedicated and loyal and trying to make Seguin a better place live," said Kelso.

While the crime numbers are declining, Kelso says the call logs or calls for service coming into the police department have increased by almost 20 percent over the past four years. In 2010, there were 40,000 calls that made their way to dispatch. In 2013, that number went up to 49,000 calls. Even though this spike in calls is "an indication of the workload being placed on the police department," Kelso says the overall decrease in the crime rate shows that the calls are successfully being addressed by those officers.

calls

Captain Maureen Watson says not only are officers addressing criminal activity in Seguin but they are also confronting the matter in a safe and effective way.

"People talk about use of force an awful lot. It's something that we focus on also. In Seguin, if you look at the number of calls that we respond to every year, the Seguin Police Department uses force less than two percent of the time to affect an arrest and force just means -- you didn't necessarily do what we wanted you to do, so we had use some force to affect the arrest. I think there was only one injury that was as of result and you've got to consider how many arrests we made. We made over 1,400 arrests so if you look at how many times we had to use force, it was a miniscule number that we actually used force. One thing I want to clarify is that there is something that is called 'pointing no weapon to affect an arrest.' All that means is again sometimes, we have to draw our weapon and point it to cause people to do what we are telling them to do because we are in a very dangerous situation. It's very rare that we do it but when we do it is because the situation alone mandates it. Many agencies don't even count that in our stats. We are very responsible, a very transparent agency. We believe in reporting anytime that we do use force and Chief Kelso considers that a use of force because you are causing someone to react. Again, we only use that in very dangerous situations," said Watson.

In addition to the 2013 numbers, the Seguin Police Department reported a 20 percent increase in narcotic arrests. Police officials say drugs are often the root of other evils such as burglary, assaults etc.

Kelso says it's important that the public fully understand the dip in the crime statistics. He says they are the result of a team effort.

"Often times you hear different stigmas attached to Seguin or negative things being said about Seguin and the disturbing thing is those are usually from our own residents which really bothers me because I'm very proud to live in Seguin. I'm from the area. I've adopted Seguin as my home. I'm very proud of what we are doing here. The numbers speak for themselves. Seguin isn't what some people might want to make it out to be. Seguin is a wonderful place to live. It's a wonderful place to set up business and it's a wonderful place to raise your children," said Kelso.

Kelso says although Seguin is often compared with surrounding communities, he doesn’t believe that an accurate comparison can be illustrated when it comes to their crime rates. However, nation wide, Seguin falls well below the average of a safe city.

"We don't compare ourselves to them because we are different worlds. Trying to compare ourselves to San Marcos is like apples and oranges. We report the numbers as they are here in Seguin and as a national average obviously but trying to compare us to San Marcos or New Braunfels, I don't think is fair. Where does it stop" asked Kelso?

Kelso says he hopes the partnership with the public continues to remain positive. He says being able to fight crime is and will always be a community effort.

"I just think that the more and more successes that are community sees that we are achieving together, the more opportunity there is for us to even do more and when they can call us and see that we have done something about it -- not always are we able to bring it to the resolution that they like because there are certain guidelines and things we have to follow -- but when they can see us bring it to a resolution, they are not afraid to call on something else when it doesn't appear right. That's what we are trying to get," said Kelso.

TPCA

The Seguin Police Department says it has not only lowered the crime rate in Seguin, but it's doing it while making the agency more professional.  The Seguin PD is one of only a handful of municipal law enforcement agencies to receive the prestigious recognition.

Other noted items in the 2013 crime report show that Seguin Detectives were able to clear 1,052 cases, an increase in three percent compared to 2012. The police department was also able to recover $56,424 in stolen property.

The Seguin Police Department continues to operate under the accreditation program, The Texas Best Practices Recognition Program. The program is prestigiously known as the new "Gold Standard for Texas Law Enforcement." The Seguin Police Department is one of only a few departments recognized under this standard.

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YSC

Seguin Police Detectives warn residents about credit card scam; Residents urged to stop short of verifying personal info over the phone

February 21st, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Police Department doesn't want you to fall victim to the latest credit card scam to hit the area. Seguin Police Detectives say residents are being warned about verifying and providing their personal credit card information over the phone.
 
Sgt. James Springer says the San Antonio Police Department has forwarded the warning over to their office.
 
"What makes this a little bit different is that they are calling people up and they already know the people's credit card number, the name on the credit card and in some cases, the expiration date and their address and so they are saying 'we are from MasterCard and we just need to verify some information.' So it sounds very legitimate. It sounds like they have all the information. The only thing they are verifying is the six digit number on the back of the credit card and out of that digit, they only want the last three. That's the only thing they need to complete a transaction over the internet. So what it boils down to is that MasterCard, Visa or any credit card company is not going to call you and ask for the verification on any of that information because it's their card. They already have it. They don't need it from you," said Springer.
 
With recent headlines regarding credit cards being compromised in a data breach at a large retailer, Springer says he felt it was important to pass along this information since many folks had been contacted by their financial agencies. He says at the end of the day, those agencies were giving instruction of what to do and were not asking their customers for secured information.
 
"So anybody who calls you saying they are from the bank or from MasterCard -- any credit card whatsoever, they don't need your information. Do not give them your information. If they tell you that they insist on it, just say 'I'm sorry' and hang up the phone. If you wish to call MasterCard yourself and see if they called you, you can do so. But MasterCard has always said 'we don't need that information, we already have it,'" said Springer.
 
Anyone who feels like they have been victimized by such a scam is asked to contact the Seguin Police Department at 830-379-2123.

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new tlu

Seguin approves sidewalk expansion project

February 21st, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- Margaret Mead once famously said: "Any town that doesn't have sidewalks doesn't love its children."  If any of that rings true for you, then the Seguin City Council provided a little more love for our youth this week.  The council approved an agreement with TXDOT that will allow several sidewalk projects to be expanded. 
 
City Engineer Joe Ramos says these projects will bring some much needed sidewalk space to some local neighborhoods. 
 
"Basically what it's going to be, we're going to build five foot light sidewalks along Jefferson Street, College Street and Cedar Street -- Jefferson from basically Volunteer Street to Guadalupe Street, College Street from Milam to King Street and Cedar Street from Milam to King Street as well. These projects were previously part of previous applications to the state for safe routes to school program that were not awarded. Since we already had those studies done, it made it easy for us to apply for this program. It made it successful so we'll get them constructed," said Ramos.
 
The Texas Department of Transportation grants were awarded to the city last summer, but Ramos says it's taken the state agency some time to get all the paperwork together to allow the projects to move forward.
 
“What we did today is approve a funding agreement with TxDOT. It's basically a formalizing of the projects. The relationship between us and TxDOT allows us to go forward and actually prosecute the job. We will hire now a consultant to design the projects and to get all the project documents ready so we can turn them over to TxDOT so they can have them constructed. So it basically starts the process to get these projects going," said Ramos.
 
Several current and past members of the city council have been working for years to try to expand the city's sidewalk system.  The lack of sidewalks in some locations has made it difficult for pedestrians to traverse the city.  In many cases, children are forced to walk in the street as they make their way to and from local schools. 
 
TxDOT will pay for 80 percent of the costs for the project, while the city will pay for the remaining 20 percent. 

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Candidates Corner...Precinct 4 County Commissioner

February 21st, 2014

It's a crowded race for the Precinct 4 seat on the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court.  Five candidates are vying for the position during the March 4 GOP primary.

Mark Miller

- Tell us why you're running?
 
I’m eager to bring my Conservative viewpoint, Texas work ethic and experiences as a lifetime public servant to the Office of Commissioner.  I believe that this position should be full-time, and I intend to be available at all times for the constituents in Precinct 4.  Being Commissioner will be my Only job, and I have the energy and ability to devote the time necessary to make the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court more effective and efficient.
 
- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?
 
Getting Guadalupe County and the cities within the county to work together has been a major obstacle in the past.  I believe that bridging the gap between all governmental agencies within the County will make everyday life smoother for my constituents at no additional cost.  Working as a K-9 deputy throughout the county has given me the unique opportunity to deal with the heads of most departments within all of the cities and the County, and I intend to use those relationships to bring everyone together to work for the common goal of providing the best possible services to the people while keeping taxes low.
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?
 
With the time I have spent in law enforcement, I have had the opportunity to be on the streets talking to the people of Guadalupe County from all walks-of-life.  I am comfortable dealing with any situation, and have a record of bringing people together.  I am trained in handling emergencies and have experience doing so on a limited budget.  I am the only candidate who has dedicated his life to the safety of the community, and keeping the citizens of Guadalupe County safe is my priority.

Judy Cope
 
- Tell us why you're running?  

I have had the honor and privilege of representing the residents of  Guadalupe County for the past 11 years.  In that time we have seen much growth.  With this growth comes more demands for services.  We (Commissioners Court) have been able to provide more and better services to the residents with out raising your taxes.    The tax rate has not fluctuated more than one and a third cent in the time that I have been in office. We were even able to lower the tax rate this year, the first time in over 20 years.  We have frozen the tax rate for 65 & over and the disabled.  Since I have been in office the funding for our fire departments has increased by $272,948.00. Due to the growth in the county, the fire department will need additional funding to keep up with the need of more and better equipment.  Working with the cities of Guadalupe County, we have been able to bring more jobs to Guadalupe County.  Guadalupe County is now rate fourth in the nation for job creation.  I am a staunch advocate and supporter of our veterans.  Guadalupe County now have a full time and a part time veteran's officer to help our veterans.  I am running on my record.  I would like to see some of our current projects completed and also to insure that we continue on the path that we are now on which includes:  continued low tax rate, more and better service, more jobs and to insure the health and safety of our residents.  I would like to continue to serve you as your representative for Pct. 4.
 
- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

Along with the growth in Guadalupe County comes the need for more infrastructure in the county. As the county grows we will be looking for more space for offices and storage to meet the demands of the residents.  The sheriff's dept. is in need of more office space and this will be addressed by the court shortly.  The court will be looking at plans to remolding some of  older buildings to make them more functional.   Another major issue is how to utilize the Court House.  I do not want our Court house to ever become vacant.  As soon as everyone moves from the court house to the Justice Center, the court can start planning on who will be put back into the Court House.  A major issue that we face is the issue of water due to the fast pace growth of Guadalupe County.  The Schertz Seguin Local government Corp. was formed approx. 15 years ago in order to make sure that there was water in times of a draught.  The water issues will continue to become a bigger issue as we grow and we must be vigilant and continue to work on this issue.    The more growth that we have the larger the mobility issues become.  The county is working with TexDot on projects in order to keep up with the growth and we now have a representative on the MPO.  Working to bring more businesses to Guadalupe County in order to keep creating jobs for our residents and our future generations.  I have an excellent working relationship with all of the cities and have continually worked to bring jobs with good benefits to Guadalupe County.  Guadalupe County is now rated forth in the nation for job creation.  I also work with the cities on other enter local agreements to benefit all of the residents of Guadalupe County.
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

My diversified back ground in emergency management, criminal justice, accounting, former licensed realtor (21 yrs.), former business owner and rancher as well as currently being a DPS concealed handgun instructor gives me experience in many areas.  I have been the county representative for the residence of Pct. 4 for the past 11 years which during that time I have formed working relationships with many other officials which has included many of the legislatures.  Due to having already established a camaraderie with different officials, I have been able to stop bad legislation that would hurt the county or the residence and to help get good legislation passed.  I have worked with the cities to make Guadalupe County a better place for all of our residents to live. Representing the residence of Guadalupe County as County Commissioner is my only job.  The health and safety of the residence of Guadalupe County is my first priority.        

Dr. Kevin "Bubba" Kunde

- Tell us why you're running? 

I am running for Guadalupe County Commissioner Precinct 4 because I want to be the voice of the constituents of precinct 4 and have their concerns not fall on "deaf" ears anymore.  The constituents of precinct 4 have had a commissioner the past few years that has been present on a part time basis at best.  Major decisions were being voted upon every week in Commissioners Court with the absence of Commissioner  Cope.  Yet Commissioner Cope is taking credit for many agenda items that have been passed and voted on by the remainder of the Court.   I want to be the one that best represents the voters and taxpayers of Precinct 4 with my accountability, visibility, and approachability  as their next commissioner.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

The biggest challenge facing the winner  for Commissioner of Precinct 4 is to continue providing governmental services and improved infrastructure for the county while keeping the tax rate low. Our tax rate has remained stable the past years only because of the increase in new property added to the tax roll, increased vehicle registration, and the first double digit sales tax growth in years.  Up to this point, the county has only been reactive.  We need to be proactive and look to the future with 5 and 10 year strategic plans.  Although the increase in new property, vehicle registration, and sales tax looks good on paper, this will also require an increase in infrastructure i.e. county equipment, facilities, and services, water availability and distribution, highway and transportation improvements, and  educational growth and funding to our schools to provide a qualified labor force.  These necessities and services  will continue to be present whether or not the growth continues which could increase the M&O and cause additional burden to the taxpayers.  We need to be planning now for the future of Guadalupe County and its constituents.

- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

My conservative, nonbiased,  commonsense approach to local government combined with my accountability, visibility, and history of being a proven leader in my community.   The knowledge I have gained being a school board member, small business owner, rancher, father, Christian, and tax payer will guide the decisions I make for the constituents of my Precinct and the County.  I am the only candidate for commissioner of precinct 4 that has not accepted any monetary donations from individuals or entities to fund my campaign as evident from our campaign finance reports.  I don't want to have any obligations or commitments to any entity which would try to influence decisions on commissioners' court through monetary donations to a campaign.

What sets me apart? Life experience.  I was born and raised in this community, fifth generation to live on the family farm in Precinct 4.  When my dad passed away, I was only 11.  I learned what it meant to pull together as a family with my mother, my older sisters and brother, and even my aunt and uncle, to keep the family farm together.  I knew I had to be successful at Texas A&M.  I met the challenge, and could not wait to come back to this community because it is my extended family.  I am the only candidate with the combination of having been born and reared in this community, obtained a secondary education, and returned to this community to own and operate a small business as a property owner and employer.      

Edward “Pete” Maierhofer

- Tell us why you’re running?

I am running for Guadalupe County Commissioner precinct 4, because I have lived in this county all my life, 64 years.  I have seen the many changes in the county and would like to have an opportunity to be a part of the future growth of the county.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

Our county is one of the fastest growing counties in the nation and we need to have a good infrastructure to meet the demands of the future.  The commissioner’s court has done a good job of this so far and I am ready to work with the commissioners team to get things done.  I am prepared to address the infrastructure needs by researching other counties that have had the same growth issues and find answers according to the plans that worked for our county.

- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

I have had 34 years of service working with TXDOT in Seguin and feel the experience on the road and working with individuals in the community gives me a unique perspective of our county.   Owning and running a small business in the New Berlin area for seven years provided me with experience in purchasing, inventory, managing financial records, creating good rapport with customers in the community, and the opportunity to be involved in the county.  What sets me apart from my opponents is that I will never vote for a pay raise.  I have been involved in the area of agriculture as a farmer and rancher which will give me more experience in making decisions about the county.   Since I am retired from my state job, I will be able to give 100% of my energy to the position of County Commissioner Precinct 4.  I will listen to the members of the community and work hard to carry out their requests to the best of my ability. I would never vote for a pay raise.

David L. Scagliola

- Tell us why you're running?

The dynamics of Guadalupe County are changing rapidly and adaptive strategies are required to meet our future needs.  I believe we need experienced, proactive leadership and a new voice to advocate for the residents and businesses in the fastest growing precinct in Guadalupe County.  I believe I can provide that voice because I have a proven track record!  In addition to my military training, I have over 7 years of experience as a councilmember in a city that has earned a reputation for smart growth, economic development and quality of life initiatives.  I am running for County Commissioner with the desire to bring conservative values, fiscal responsibility and regional collaboration to meet the needs of our growing communities. 

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

  As stated: The dynamics of Guadalupe County are changing.  I am prepared to bring workable solutions and adaptive strategies to meet the challenges expected.   I believe we need a collaborative, regional commitment to meet our short-term and long-range goals.  I will propose actions to promote regional cooperation for public services and economic development activities.  I will champion a commitment to infrastructure improvements to fix our roads, and deal with water, sewer and drainage concerns.  I will support those providing essential public services to our citizens; like law enforcement, fire protection and emergency medical services.  Furthermore, I will acknowledge and pledge my continued support to organizations dedicated to quality-of-life activities that strengthen and improve our communities.   
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

I spent over 25 years in the military and learned the skills necessary to succeed: leadership, responsibility, accountability and integrity.  As a councilmember, I have been actively engaged in the managed growth of the city, and view sustainable economic development as an investment in our future.  I have a solid understanding of the political process; courtesy of the time spent on the city council combined with my advanced studies in management and organizational leadership.   I have experienced the political process from the outside-in and from the inside-out.  I know how the system works, and what actions to take when the system does not satisfy the common good or the needs of the people.  I am respected for my authenticity, fiscal responsibility, conviction and a hands-on common-sense approach to government.  I believe in teamwork and have worked closely with residents, civic leaders, members of our business community, and city officials in our surrounding communities to initiate positive change.  I believe that together, we the people of Guadalupe County can make a difference; and I will bring that positive, can-do attitude to the Commissioners’ Court. I appreciate your assistance in getting my views out to the citizens and residents of Guadalupe County.

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Wine tasting, entertainment to support the Arts this Saturday at the Texas Theatre

February 21st, 2014

Special By Mariah Kilbourne, Seguin Economic Development Specialist
 
(Seguin) -- It’s time to celebrate! ArtsFest 2014 is featuring a one-of-a-kind art party at the Texas Theatre. La Pachanga del Arte will be held Feb. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The colorful celebration of Seguin’s vibrant arts community includes beautiful art, live music, and delicious food and wine that ends with an exhilarating performance featuring professional talent from Teatro and Mariachi Herraderos.
Tickets to La Pachanga del Arte are $20 per person. They are available at Gift & Gourmet, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Main Street office.
   
With your ticket you will be entitled to three wine tastings from Blue Lotus Winery. There will also be wine available for purchase. Complimentary tapas appetizers prepared by Seguin Chef Paul Schroeder of Ambrosia Catering will be served as well. Tapas are small snacks or finger foods originating from Spain and presented in a very artful way. They typically are made with olives, chorizo, vegetables, etc. As you sip your wine and nibble on your beautiful and tasty tapas, you can listen to an amazing young guitarist play music. You can browse through the artwork on display and bid on your favorite piece in the silent auction.
   
“The Silent Auction is a very important part of the evening because hopefully we will raise a large amount of money to put toward the next public art installation in Seguin,” said Cathy Cordes, ArtsFest 2014 co-chair. “Every great city in the world, large or small, has public art. It's unusual and amazing that a town the size of Seguin has the foresight to keep public art as a priority. Mostly local artists are donating artwork for the silent auction. If the artwork sells, the artist may be reimbursed a minimal amount but for the most part the work is donated. There will be oil paintings, sculptures, watercolor paintings and acrylic paintings available for sale.”
   
In addition to the original works of art, there will be art experiences for auction. Acting lessons, guitar lessons, photography sessions and commissioned portraits are a few of the "experience art" packages. Silent Auction winners will be announced at 8:30 p.m. Must be present to win.
 
La Pachanga del Arte is the finale to a full day of ArtsFest activities, starting with the Color Me Nutty Run that was such a huge success last year, a kids Eco Friendly Art Project, A Celebration of Poetry, Kids Talent Show and Pet "Pooch"anga.
   
“The overall mood for this entire day and evening should be fun, fun, fun,” Cordes said. “If you can't make it for the whole day, pick your favorite part and come to that. If you can't make it for the evening La Pachanga del Arte, be sure to come by during the day and bid on the art. The Silent Auction will open at 11 a.m. That is also the time for the Celebration of Poetry, and that is something you might want to listen in on. Someone will be on hand to help with the bidding all during the day. Please come out and support public art in your community. It's important. It's cool. It can help say a lot about who we are as a community.”
 
A complete schedule is available at www.seguinarts.com.

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SEF gears up for annual Denim and Diamonds fundraiser; Diamond raffle tickets still available for purchase

February 20th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Some lucky person this weekend will be walking away wearing over $4,000 in diamonds. Tickets are still on sale for this year's annual Seguin Education Foundation Denim & Diamonds Gala Fundraiser. The fundraiser is scheduled for Saturday at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum.

SEF Administrator Katie Edwards, says the diamond raffle is the featured entertainment at the event.
 
"Last year, we changed it up and added a few more things to our diamond raffle and we did the same this year. So we have an amazing pair of diamond earrings and a necklace set that has 1.65 karats total weight. We also have a $500 Visa gift card, a new Samsung digital camera which is the kind with the interchangeable lenses and Wi-Fi connectivity and finally, one of everyone's favorite an iPad Mini with the retina display," said Edwards.
 
The administrator says the style in which the raffle tickets are drawn helps to make the night that much more exciting.
 
"You don't have to be present to win. We narrow down throughout the evening so before dinner, we'll start to narrow it down to 20 people and then do 10 and five and then the final five, they get to come up and pick a box and included in the box will be the item that they won," said Edwards.
 
Raffle tickets are $20 each while tickets to the evening gala are $40 a person. Edwards says each gala ticket offers a complete night of food and fun.
 
"Denim & Diamonds always starts off with a cocktail hour provided by American Bank so there will be some free cocktails for everyone who has a ticket. We have a silent auction that will be going on all night. We started that last year and it has been extended this year and we have some amazing items both from shops around town and campus provided baskets. We will be having a family style dinner provided by Nash Catering, desserts provided by Sweet Treats -- entertainment throughout the night (will be provided) by Paul Sanchez and Wrangler Country and of course toward the end of the event, we'll have our live auction and our final diamond raffle," said Edwards.
 
Tickets for both the gala and diamond raffle are available for purchase. Gala tickets can be obtained at San Anthony Jewelry, Gift & Gourmet or at the Seguin ISD Central Office. Raffle tickets can also be purchased at the central office or from any SEF board member. Saturday's gala fundraiser begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m.

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Artsfest 2014 to kick off with Color Me Nutty 5K; Kids Run and 50-yard dash for toddlers added to event

February 20th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) --  Get ready for a splash of color Seguin. The second annual Color Me Nutty 5K Fun Run in Max Starcke Park returns this weekend. The Saturday morning event will kick off this year's ArtsFest 2014 schedule. ArtsFest is sponsored by the Seguin Commission on the Arts.
 
Lisa Burns, one of the organizers and supporters of the 5K, says the group is again excited about hosting the Color Me Nutty 5K. She says last year's event brought in over 300 people. She says this year's event has even expanded to include the most smallest of participants.
 
"The basic gist of the Color Me Nutty Run is that we turn humans into canvasses. You come in white. We have white t-shirts and they are provided by our sponsors that you wear and as you do your 5K, you get splashed with the color along the way. Each person turns into a unique artwork with the different color that they have -- the different color stations that they go through. The 5K begins at 10 a.m. and we are doing something different this year. We are adding an area for the kids. My kids last year where sad after seeing my husband and I and how much fun that we had had -- they wanted a chance to do it and so at 9 a.m., we are going to start a Kids Run. The kids get to come. It's a one mile run. They'll have an equal four color station. They'll just be a little closer together and then at 9:15 a.m., we'll have a 50 yard Dash for those little babies (up to) 3 and you can just see in your mind them just toddling along with little splashes of color on them," said Burns.
 
Registration for the “no timed” run is available locally at GNC or at athleteguild.com.
 
A list of other ArtFest 2014 events will follow the 5K and Kids Run. All events this year will be consolidated at the Texas Theatre. In the the past, the event has been held in conjunction with Trade Days in Downtown Seguin. Commission on the arts group members say they have worked throughout the year to offer up this unique day of various activities. The schedule includes a student art competition from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; a silent auction of art and opportunities for artists at 11 a.m.; poetry reading at 11 a.m. and a kids talent show beginning at 2 p.m.
 
Even local pets can get into the action with this year's Pet Art "Poochanga" Backstage at the Texas Theatre. The event begins at 5 p.m. Saturday Registration is available at Thunderpaws located at 206 S. Austin St.
 
Wrapping up the night is the all new La Pachanga del Arte at the Texas Theatre from 7 to 9 p.m. Organizers say the event is a "colorful celebration of Seguin's vibrant arts community." Admission is $20. The cost includes three tasting tickets for wine and mead from Blue Lotus Winery, Tapas hors d'oeuvres, and live entertainment celebrating the rich culture of Mexico and Spain. A complete schedule of ArtsFest 2014 can be found online at seguinarts.com or at visitseguin.com.

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seguin gold

Guadalupe County farmers, ranchers to sell $1 hamburgers; Annual effort designed to connect with community

February 20th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) --  Guadalupe County farmers and ranchers are inviting you over for $1 hamburgers. The farmers in Guadalupe County will be reaching out to connect to local customers to talk with them about how their food is grown during Texas Food Connect Week, Feb. 16 - 22.
 
As part of that effort, the Guadalupe County Farm Bureau will be hosting its annual $1 hamburger cook out on Friday at the State Highway 46 office parking lot.
 
Gary Braune, the president of the Guadalupe County Farm Bureau, says the annual $1 hamburger sale is about sharing what they do on the farms and ranches to grow our food, fuel and fiber. He says young people and adults have questions about their food and agriculture and how much it really cost to feed people. He says this week simply gives farmers the opportunity to start a conversation with them.
 
"Food is one thing that connects everyone. We work hard every day to provide families with fresh, nutritious and affordable food," said Braune. "We're looking forward to connecting with our customers. We will have a limit of two burgers per person. The time is from 11:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. unless we sell out before that time. Sodas will also be offered for $1 each."
 
Thanks to local donors, the hamburgers will be "real hamburgers" according to farm bureau officials. They say the meat will be actual pork.

Texas Food Connection Week, formerly Food Check-Out Week, was established to connect farmers and ranchers with their customers and spur conversations about agriculture and food-related issues, including affordability, nutrition, animal welfare, profitability and productivity.

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Candidates Corner - Guadalupe County Court-at-Law

February 20th, 2014

It's time again for the Seguin Radio KWED/Seguin Daily News Candidates Corner. All week long we have been introducing the candidates appearing on the March 4 Republican primary ballot. There are no local contested races in the Democratic primary. Today, we are featuring the race for Guadalupe County Court at Law Judge. The race features four candidates looking to replace longtime County Court at Law judge Linda Z. Jones, who is retiring at the end of the year. 

Elizabeth Murray-Kolb

- Tell us why you're running?

I am running because the citizens of Guadalupe deserve a hardworking, conservative, and independent judge who has a proven record as a public servant.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

I believe our justice system belongs to you and must represent all citizens equally as guaranteed by our Constitution.  A judge must not be influenced or even appear to be influenced by person or group.

My goals for the court’s activities include:

Probate and Guardianship Cases
The County Court at Law probates the estates of deceased persons and implements guardianships for those aged and incapacitated citizens who need help protecting their family and property. I pledge to preserve and protect the last wishes of the deceased, and the rights of the incapacitated and the elderly.

Additionally, with Guadalupe County’s rapid growth, especially in the area around Schertz, I believe there is a need to have at least one probate docket in Schertz.

Family Law Cases

The Guadalupe County Court at Law has concurrent jurisdiction with District Courts for family law matters. I pledge to work effectively and efficiently with these courts and will provide additional court dates and increased access to dockets so these cases can be set and heard with a minimum of delay and expense to the citizens and taxpayers of Guadalupe County.

Criminal Cases and Juvenile Matters:

1. Ensure that all judicial decisions are made only after a thorough review of a Victim Impact Statement; this will ensure that the victims of crime have their date in court too.

2. Require that full restitution to victims of crime be a part of all criminal sentencing. Place special emphasis on juvenile offenders and require that both the juvenile and the parents take responsibility for their actions.

3. Make the actions of the Court entirely transparent so that you, the taxpayer, can see where and how your hard-earned tax dollars are being spent.

4. Institute new and innovative sentencing guidelines that will relieve jail overcrowding, while ensuring that violators never again want to see the inside of a courtroom.

5. Work closely with probation officers, who supervise criminals, to ensure that the orders of the court are being upheld and that justice is being served.

6. Make programs more efficient and have fewer wasted dollars by implementing “evidence based programs” which means, using only programs that verifiably work as measured by the number of offenders who repeat the crime

- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

I have close to 20 years of experience working in the County Court-at-Law with 12 of those years as your elected County Attorney and Prosecutor. I have a proven record of independence, impartiality, ethics and integrity. I bring with me unique perspectives and experiences having been a prosecutor, civil attorney, mediator, community leader, and educator; thereby, giving me an in-depth understanding of this court and how to meet the challenges ahead. In summary, the best gauge of an effective public servant is to have a proven track record I invite you to review my track record by visiting my web site at www.voteelizabethmurray-kolb.com. When you vote for me to be your Judge, you are demonstrating a commitment to ethics, integrity, and common sense - a commitment that I upheld as your Guadalupe County Attorney and one that I will continue to uphold as your next Judge. I need your support to bring my experience and leadership to the Office of Judge for the Guadalupe County Court at Law and I humbly ask for your vote on March 4th.

Melroy "Mel" Koehler

- Tell us why you're running?
 
I am running for office because I believe we deserve a Judge who will work for the people, someone who shares our values and commitment to improving the quality of life for all citizens of Guadalupe County and Texas.  If elected, I would strive every day to make decisions in a way that holds offenders accountable, promotes community safety, and protects family values and our constitutional rights.
 
- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

I believe the biggest challenge will be continuing the specialty courts that are in place.  The court currently has a Veterans Court and Drug Court. The Veterans court is designed to help individuals who have served their country and then get into criminal trouble. They are often subjected to unimaginable trauma and many have psychological issues that need to be addressed. Many times they self-medicate, which gets them in trouble with the law, and these addictions and behaviors also need to be addressed. They deserve our help to turn them back into a productive member of society, after all, they are someone who was willing to sacrifice themselves for our country. Without such a program these individuals would be convicted and labeled a criminal, and be a continuing burden on our communities throughout their life. Upon the successful completion of the rigorous program and rehabilitation the case is, by statute, dismissed and the veteran avoids the label of criminal and is returned to being a productive member of our society(being employed and paying taxes rather than burning up resources being incarcerated or on probation over and over again). The Drug court is structured similarly, taking individuals who desire to get help. These individuals, after completion of their program avoid the stigma of a conviction and also return to being productive members of our community.
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

I am set apart from my opponents by my endorsements. I am proud to point out that almost every elected official in Comal County where I work that can endorse me, has endorsed me.  Please look at my web page for more information from them.  I am also very proud to have the endorsement from Sheriff Arnold Zwicke, the District Attorney Heather McMinn, and the County Attorney David Willburn.  I would argue that most people never appear before a judge or know what it takes or what a good judge would be.  All of the people endorsing me work in a Courthouse.  They know what it takes to be a Judge and they also know all of the candidates.  They believe that I am the best choice for your next County Court at Law Judge. Another way I believe I have an advantage over my opponents is dealing with specialty courts. I was a founding member of the Comal County Accountability Court, a DWI court program. This program is designed to reduce the recidivism of DWI offenses. Statistics show that those who get a DWI 1st seldom ever get a second DWI charge, they learn their lesson after the first and never drink and drive again. The problem is that statistics show that once an individual gets a second DWI, they have a 75% rate of recidivism, which means 3 out of 4 of those individuals will either get a felony DWI, kill or injure themselves in a DWI, or kill or injure someone else while Driving Intoxicated. The reason I believe in the specialty courts dealing with DWI cases is that statistics also show that after completion of the DWI specialty court program, the recidivism rate goes from 75% down to 25%. That is a huge reduction, and something worth doing in my opinion. I have been to numerous trainings and conferences dealing with the creation and successful continuation of specialty courts and I want to bring that experience to Guadalupe County and continue the specialty courts already in place, and add a DWI specialty court to reduce the DWI rate in our county. Which in turn would protect the community and save resources, namely tax dollars.  The current specialty courts are not much different and my training and experience would make me the best candidate to continue these programs.

Robin V. Dwyer

- Tell us why you're running? 

I am running because I believe I am the most qualified and experienced person to handle the type of civil work currently constituting the great majority of cases being heard by Guadalupe County Court at Law.  I have been in the active general practice of Law for 34 years and a career goal has been to finish my legal career a judge of a trial court in  Guadalupe County.  I ran in 2002 when the new Court No.2 was created but lost in a close runoff with Frank Follis who sits on that bench today and is running without opposition.  He is handling almost exclusively the misdemeanor criminal docket in the CCL and the original CCL is doing the Probate, Civil cases up to $200,000, family law matters and Juvenile Justice matters under the Family Code (concurrent jurisdiction with District Courts) and appeals from Justice of the Peace Courts  (small claims and evictions) and the specialty courts that have criminal matters referred to them (Veteran's and Drug Courts). My experience in all of those matters makes me uniquely qualified to handle the work of this Court.
 
- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

A.  Like all of Guadalupe County, this Court will face the continuing challenge of dealing with population growth and the resulting increase in the number of cases which will inevitably come to be heard on these various civil  and criminal dockets in the two County Courts at Law.  The Judges will need to coordinate their dockets and workload  and work with the juvenile board and District Judges to handle ALL of the various matters that the Constitution and Legislature require we handle  with specific deadlines within the Constitutional guarantees provided to all the citizens who come before these Courts. 

B.   I have been involved in many Civic endeavors in all areas of this County, know the people in the City of Schertz and Seguin and have been involved in solving problems of the future like Water ( founding director and past President of Schertz Seguin Local Government Corporation); many years as the Chairman and board member of  Downtown Seguin Main Street Committee and how the County facilities located there can be inexpensively reused to handle the growth and uses required by the Courts, Clerks of those Courts and staff in an efficient and common sense fashion.  As a past president and board member of the Seguin Conservation Society for over 20 years I can assure that the historic fabric of our County seat, that helps make our great County special and unique, will be preserved.  I know and work well with others and can contribute to the discussion of the Commissioners Court and the community to bring County government and the County Courts at Law into the 21st Century.  I live in near downtown and will work hard to accomplish the Court's work every day.
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

First, I grew up in this communtiy, am a fifth generation resident of Guadalupe County and returned here after living in "the big city" to raise my family, work for the betterment of Seguin and Guadalupe County and make a difference through involvement in its public life. I think my record of Community Service reflects that I am a person of action, not just words:

    *SCHERTZ SEGUIN LOCAL GOVERNMENT CORPORATION, President 1998-2008, founding director 1998 to present.
    *SEGUIN MAIN STREET ADVISORY BOARD, 10+ years
    *MAIN STREET HISTORIC REVIEW BOARD, 5 years
    *SEGUIN CONSERVATION SOCIETY, past president and board member over 20+ years
    *WALNUT BRANCH PARK COMMITTEE, start to finish
    *GUADALUPE  COUNTY WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT ASSOCIATION, President 2012-2013
    *ELDER, FIRST PRESBYTERIAN  CHURCH OF SEGUIN
    *GUADALUPE COUNTY GROUNDWATER CONSERVATION DISTRICT, helped establish and General Counsel for 7 years
 
I have practiced law for 34 years, first in a law firm in San Antonio for 16 years and then in Seguin  exclusively since 1996.  My experience and practice have been primarily in the areas of law that this Court is handling now and will most certainly continue to handle should I be elected. I have been in the courtrooms of Central and south Texas throughout my career and know what and how their work should be accomplished. I have been licensed in Federal Court since 1982  and the 5th Circuit since 1984, practicing primarily Bankruptcy for Creditors and Debtors. I  successfully fought the Seguin City Council  in District Court and the Court of Appeals  and forced it to honor its City Charter provision to allow a VOTE on a referendum and preserved the Citizens' right to vote on the sale of Seguin's Landfill. I have managed, developed  and added acreage to the family Ranch in Eastern Guadalupe County  since I was in college (more than 40 years) and understand agriculture, economics of small business and what it takes to  survive in our  current environment. I have the Common sense, understanding of the entire county, and  Independence needed to fairly administer Justice to all persons coming before this Court. 
  
In conclusion what sets me apart from the other candidates is EXPERIENCE, INDEPENDENCE, COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT AND KNOWLEDGE and LOVE  for GUADALUPE COUNTY and its heritage which my wife DOTTSY and I hope to pass on to our children and grandchildren who also reside and make their homes here.

David Eveld

- Tell us why you're running? 

I think we all have an obligation to be leaders in our community in any way we can.  I love Guadalupe County.  I’ve lived here for 18 years and raised my kids here.  Being a judge in this Court is my opportunity to be a leader in my community. 
 
I am running to be Judge of the County Court At Law because I have practiced more in this court by far than any other court.  This court covers a lot of different areas of the law (family, civil, probate, juvenile, criminal), and I have handled and tried many cases in all of these areas throughout my career.  I have the real trial experience to preside over this court from day one.
 
County Court At Law is also special to me because of the impact it has on our community through its handling of the juvenile cases.  We have to be tough on our youth that get in trouble but work to getting them back on track.  Judge Jones and our juvenile probation department do a fantastic job in this area.  I would like to continue their good work and build on it.
 
- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

Our district courts are about to move into the Justice Center in the next few months.  The Justice Center is going to be pretty close to capacity at that point.  The courts are going to need to work together and coordinate dockets so that the Justice Center does not get overcrowded and make it more difficult to get the various courts’ business accomplished.
 
I am the only candidate that actually has a plan for improving the efficiency of the court.  Currently, County Court At Law #2 handles all of the misdemeanor cases.  Judge Follis does a great job in this area, and there is no reason why he should not continue to handle the bulk of misdemeanors cases.  But I believe that County Court At Law should also be handling misdemeanor cases.  Taxpayers are paying for both County Courts At Law to hear these cases. 
 
By opening the County Court At Law’s dockets up to handle some misdemeanor cases, the two courts could more efficiently dispose of these cases.  And this would create more flexibility coordinating the county court at law dockets with the district court dockets.  Guadalupe County is growing fast and we need to be proactive in making our court system more effective and efficient.
 
- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

I strongly encourage voters to examine the experience of all the candidates in this race.  County Court At Law is predominantly a civil court.  It handles a large number of family law cases, all of the county’s probate cases, other civil matters, and juvenile cases. 
 
I have been a trial lawyer for 18 years, all in Guadalupe County.  I have been in our County Court At Law literally thousands of times and have an active trial practice handling and trying all of the types of cases heard in the County Court At Law.  To use a sports analogy, County Court At Law is my home court.  I am the only candidate with the relevant legal experience to preside over this court.  

I am also the only candidate with a plan for improving the court and making the court more effective and efficient by reinstating the handling of misdemeanor dockets by the County Court At Law.
 
The last thing I think voters need to pay attention to in this race is to make sure they elect a candidate that is free of outside influence.  A judge must be fair and impartial at all times and should avoid even the appearance of bias.  As your next County Court At Law Judge, Guadalupe County citizens can be confident that all of my decisions will be based on the law and facts alone.  I will be tough, but fair and impartial.

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Seguin High School bond project continues; Trustees hear from top three construction companies

February 19th, 2014

new SHS

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Seguin ISD School Board members have some tough homework ahead of them. After presentations by three finalists, it is now up to the trustees to decide who is the best company to help build Seguin's new high school. The board Monday night sat in on three separate presentations each conducted by the top three construction manager-at-risk companies vying for the $78.3 million project. Each were given 20 minutes to explain why they were the best company for the job. The presentations were then followed by 10 minutes of the board asking questions.

The first to present their company was American Constructors out of Austin. Company officials solidified their work behind a veteran team with over 100 years of combined experience. They say together, they have worked on major high school projects such as Dripping Springs High School, Lake Travis High School and Temple ISD additions and renovations.

The company says it prides itself on being "solutions driven and doing it right the first time." Featured areas of expertise according to the contracting team include their focus on the preconstruction effort, their extensive site investigation which they say helps identify any potential delays or future change orders, their ability to minimize temporary construction and utility rework and their experience in “creating spaces before removing spaces” at a school.

The company also applauded its efforts to package jobs for local subcontractors and work to keep a very accurate budget. Project Director Joe Charlton tells the Seguin Daily News that it is their strength in being a technical builder that sets them apart from any competitor.

“We're not just sub-contract managers. We know the pieces and parts of how things go together and technically, we know the average education level of our folks. Most of them are college degree and then, they've got a minimum of 10 years of experience in construction. So just the technical ability really is what sets us apart," said Charlton.

Upon its best estimation, American Constructors say they could have the school built in 30 months.

Next to present to the board was the joint venture of Bartlett Cocke/Koehler. The team is a combination of the San Antonio Bartlett team and the Seguin based The Koehler Company -- the only locally based company to submit a proposal to the school district. The partnership team was established in 1998 to pursue clients with larger projects in the Seguin market. The company stressed its long history of already working with the Seguin ISD with previous bond issues and having the knowledge of the district and its infrastructure.

Noted projects include Carrizo Springs ISD and the current building at Texas Lutheran University. The team prides itself in being "construction manager-at-risk experts" and says it has extensive experience working on occupied high school campuses. Such campuses include East Central High School and Smithson Valley High School. Its keys of success include holding the entire team accountable during preconstruction and establishing “a comprehensive construction phasing and site logistics plan” while implementing an open book process.

Project Executive Steve Koehler tells the Seguin Daily News that he doesn't think there's going to be anyone more passionate about this particular project. He says it is no surprise that the company has a personal enthusiasm for the new high school. He says "there's many Matadors at my office" and says it is the "heart" that sets them aside from anyone else in the nation.

"This is very important to our community, probably one of the most important projects that’s ever been done in this community and I and Harry (Moeller of Bartlett) have tried to put together a joint venture team that can handle this project to make it a really good thing for our community. The team that we put together knows Seguin, knows what it takes to build a good project like they did in East Central. I guess the bottom line, I think -- I'd have to tell you that what makes us the best choice or the best value for this project is because we care about our community," said Koehler.

The completion for the project according to Bartlett/Koehler was suggested at 27 months.

The third finalist to present its construction manager-at-risk services to the board was Lee Lewis Construction of Frisco. The company prides itself in being ranked as one of the best in the business. The company says it is rated as the #1 Educational Builder in Texas and Louisiana and recently received word that it had jumped in rank to #64 in the Top 100 CM-at-risk firms in the U.S -- according to Engineering News-Record (ENR).
Prior to Monday's presentation, company officials say they had spent some time in Seguin evaluating the day to day operation of the high school campus - such as where students walked to their cars, parent drop-offs etc. They even illustrated a detailed sequence of the possible construction process utilizing a 3-D model -- a process they say they hope to implement to help with cost and the accuracy of the building. Company advantages they offer include extended warranty -- beyond the one year; their ability to "always be on budget", the ability to return money to the owner and initiating strong communication with not only the district but with the community.

Project Superintendent Lee Lewis tells the Seguin Daily News that his team is committed to making sure that they do the best job they can for the community. He says after all, it is the community that agreed to the school.

"Well one, we're one of the largest school builders in the United States, so we definitely understand schools, but I think what separates us from others is we understand the community involvement it takes to build the projects. So every where we go, into a new district, the first thing we want do is we partner with the community. That starts with the community to the residents, to the students, to the mothers, the fathers -- the community is the most important thing about it. Now, I think our attention to that is what separates us," said Lewis.

Lee Lewis' estimation for completing the school was 24 months.

While each company fostered unique ways of doing business, all agreed that the Seguin High School Project would be challenging in the fact that a whole new school will have to be built on top of its existing location. Each company also had high regard for the safety of all students, parents and those living in the residential areas around the campus. Plus, each committed to fostering a community and charitable relationship with not only the school district but also the Seguin community. Each company was also asked to submit cost projections. According to district officials, they say each of the estimated costs were in line with one another. They, however, stress that those figures are only projections and are not accurate measures for final selection.

Trustees have now been assigned with further reviewing the paper proposals submitted by each of the finalist. As part of a grading system, the top three companies were initially selected from a group of seven companies that all submitted proposals for consideration. District officials say they plan to select a company with hopes of beginning negotiations during its Tuesday, March 4 school board meeting.

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Silver Ring Thing returns to Seguin; Faith based event designed to stand against what culture says is normal

February 19th, 2014

srt

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." That's the message that a couple of groups hope kids will learn during tonight's Silver Ring Thing. This year's theme is "One Night Stand." The annual event which fosters purity in relationships is set to return to the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. Hosting the event will again be the South Texas Pregnancy Care Center and Area Wide Youth Alliances.

Tim Ball, the executive director of the pregnancy center says the idea behind the nationally recognized event is to take a stand against what culture says is normal and stand for what God says about relationships.

"It's been said about the generation that it's a meet up, hook up and break up culture -- where anything goes in this generation. No commitments are needed. We can just hook up and break up, but the Silver Ring Thing is an intentional focus, relevant and fun event that will challenge this generation to consider God's plan for love and relationships -- not just hooking up and breaking up and then use comedy, drama, music and videos to proclaim the relationship that God has for this generation through love and finding the right one," said Ball.

silver ring

Ball says the event is not specific to any particular religion. He says it's an opportunity for all families to come out and celebrate a person's own identity.

"The ring comes in as a reminder of your commitment. You will have opportunity, at the end, to purchase a ring for $20 where you wear on any finger that you want and it reminds you of the commitment -- that I'm waiting for that special person in my life. I've made a commitment not only to God, but to my parents and to myself, which I believe is more important. Making that commitment to yourself – that I will wait until the right person comes in my life," said Ball.

Ball says the purchase of the ring is not mandatory during the event. He says 700 people are expected to attend tonight. Last year, the event pulled in approximately 675 people. Organizers say in order to accommodate the crowd, people are encouraged to register in advance online at www.silverringthing.com. Cost is $6 online or $8 at the door. The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. A parent session is also being scheduled from 6:30 to 7:15 p.m.

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Candidates Corner

February 19th, 2014

All week long KWED has been introducing the candidates appearing on the March 4 Republican Primary ballot. There are no local contested races in the Democratic primary. Today we focus on the race for the GOP nomination for the Precinct 2 seat on the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court.

Jack Shanafelt

- Tell us why you're running?

Guadalupe County needs a team effort to keep it moving forward. I very much want to be a part of that forward-moving team. When I look back at my experiences serving as a Seguin City Councilman and as a Seguin Independent School District Trustee, I realize just how fortunate I have been to have had those experiences. It’s time for me to pay back my community for the many blessings that I have received while serving in those wonderful leadership positions. I am ready, willing and able now to join with the other members of the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court by making a positive contribution in the form of experience-based government service to the benefit of my life-long county community.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

One of the biggest, if not the biggest, challenges facing our Guadalupe County Commissioners Court is our county’s rapid population and business and industry growth. The commissioners court will play an important role at the decision-making table when it comes to balancing out the needs of infrastructure and public service demands with the ability to provide them without over-burdening the community financially. With growth comes the need to provide additional law enforcement and fire protection services, road maintenance and improvements, and other public services that are typically population driven. My experience with both municipal and school district growth challenges and identified problem solutions will contribute to the problem solving process that our commissioners court faces now and well into the future.

- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job? In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

During the past two months, I’ve had a great time knocking on the doors of many families living within the boundaries of Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Precinct 2. During this time, I’ve had the opportunity to make many new friends and to visit with many life-long friends. I’ve listened to their comments and concerns and have sought out their help and support in my effort to be their commissioners court representative--their “go-to” person when a problem or concern about the county surfaces. As a person who has dealt successfully with resolving community problems in the past, I will be a county commissioner who works to resolve most if not all county issues outside of the confines of a civil courtroom. In the final analysis, I’ll be a county commissioner who helps, respects and listens to all of our community’s citizens. My door will always be open and you’ll find a listening ear awaiting you. What sets me apart is my past experience as a community-wide team player, local business owner, concerned father and husband, and a life-long champion for good causes which benefit all of the citizens of Guadalupe County.

D.L. Schraub

- Tell us why you're running?
I believe my business and legal experience provide me the unique ability to provide commissioners’ court with a viewpoint that is different from the status quo. I believe we need a court that is unified and consistent. My goal is to help create new leadership that will bring a proficient, competent and professional atmosphere that county citizens deserve and expect.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

The biggest challenge facing the winner of this seat is the significant growth and development currently taking place in Guadalupe County. This unprecedented growth means facing big issues on infrastructure requirements, roads, water, and money while maintaining the quality of life and affordable living that we all hope to enjoy. My extensive business background allows me to understand and apply common sense ideas to these issues. I believe we should take a practical approach to all of these concerns. Using infrastructure as an example, county buildings in many locations are bulging at the seams with county employees. These employees tell me that they are less efficient due to these crowded conditions. By putting “best business practices” into effect, the county can create a proactive plan that will allow us to invest in our infrastructure on a timely and debt-free basis. Such efforts will allow our employees to put forth their best efforts at the jobs we hired them to do.

- What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job? In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents?

I believe my business experience combined with my legal education and experience sets me apart from my opponent. I have business experience in budgeting, policy making, and human resources. My legal experience has brought me into contact with most every office in the county including the environmental health department, county clerk, county judges, district clerk, district judges, Sheriff’s office and the Justice of the Peace. As such, I understand and appreciate how those departments operate and what their needs are on a day to day basis. My business plus legal experience allow me a point of view that cannot be duplicated in this race, and without a doubt, makes me the best candidate for the job.

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Tri-County

Polls open for early voting; Democratic, GOP primaries slated for March 4 

February 18th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Early voting officially begins today in the March 4 Primary Election. Voters looking to cast their ballots early in the election will have several locations in which to choose from. That's according to Guadalupe County Elections Administrator Sue Basham.
 
Basham says while most early voting locations are the same, there are a few changes.
 
"We opened the Seguin Elections Office here on Milam street in Seguin and we're also opened at Grace Memorial Church on FM 725 in New Braunfels; the Central Texas Technology Center which is a new location for us. It's right next door to the New Braunfels Airport on FM 758. The Schertz Elections Office in Schertz at the county annex office over there on Elbel Road and the New Berlin Community Center which is also new this time. We've been at the New Berlin Community Center before in the past but we've changed from the city hall back to the community center for this election and for the November election. We'll be there as well," said Basham.
 
Basham reminds Guadalupe County voters that anyone can cast their ballot at either one of these locations throughout the early voting period. Voters are also reminded about making sure that they bring along at least one proof of ID to the polling location.
 
"In the November election, everyone had to show a form of photo I.D. and there are just certain forms that they're allowed to use. Those are listed on our website, a Texas driver’s license, a Texas identification certificate, a personal identification card issued through DPS, a concealed hand gun license issued by DPS, a U.S. Military I.D. card containing their photograph or a U.S. citizenship certificate containing their photograph (or) U.S. passport -- also they have come back and said that the Veterans I.D. and Veterans I.D. disability cards are acceptable," said Basham.
 
Basham says she encourages voters to take advantage of the early voting period. She says the process just makes things easier.
 
"More and more people are starting to vote early. In fact, over half of our voters vote early now -- that way you don't have one day when everyone rushes to vote on election day and you avoid those lines. We have a lot more equipment in our locations where we're open for early voting. So we tend to get the voters in and out a lot quicker than we do on election day," said Basham.
 
Locally, there are several contested Republican Primary races appearing on the ballot. Those races include Guadalupe County Judge, Guadalupe County Commissioner Precinct 2; Guadalupe County Commissioner Precinct 4; Guadalupe County Court at Law Judge and Guadalupe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2. The winners of the Commissioner Precinct 2 and Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 races will face challengers in November.
 
Early voting begins today and runs through Friday, Feb. 28. Polls will be open today through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday from 1 to 6 p.m. and Monday through Friday (Feb. 24-28) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Primary Election is scheduled for Tuesday, March 4.
 
EARLY VOTING LOCATIOS AND TIMES:
 
SEGUIN ELECTIONS OFFICE
215 So. Milam St.

GRACE MEMORIAL CHURCH
3240 FM 725
New Braunfels, TX

CENTRAL TEXAS TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Room 118 Conference Room, 2333 FM 758
New Braunfels, TX

SCHERTZ ELECTIONS OFFICE ANNEX
1101 Elbel Road
Schertz, TX

NEW BERLIN COMMUNITY CENTER
8815 FM 775
New Berlin, TX

Hours:

Tuesday, Feb. 18th through Friday, Feb. 21st
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 22
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday, Feb. 23
1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Monday, Feb. 24th through Friday, Feb. 28th
7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Affordable Care Act,  Seguin Area Chamber wants to tell you what you need to know; Chamber to host business seminar this week

February 18th, 2014

By Sherry Nefford-Esse, Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce, President

(Seguin) -- The Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce is inviting owners and managers of small businesses to attend a seminar addressing the Affordable Care Act on Wednesday, Feb. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the GVEC Western Operations Center located at 6400 IH 10 West.
 
Speakers will include UTSA Small Business Development Center Instructor, licensed insurance agent, Diana Edwards and Guadalupe Healthcare Network Executive Director Deana Henk.
 
Information will be shared regarding the ACA as well as deadlines and penalties facing small businesses.
 
The Guadalupe Healthcare Network will close the session by sharing information on local providers of medical services for those who choose to enter the open market insurance program. It is important for policy holders to know what they are buying and where their plans are accepted and not be surprised when services are needed.
 
This is not to be confused with an open enrollment event. There will be no representatives on site selling plans. This is an information only seminar to better equip our business owners in navigating the Affordable Care Act.
 
This is the first in a series of professional development programs for 2014 offered by the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the UTSA Small Business Development Center. Additional seminars on developing your own webpage and maximizing your presence on YouTube for business marketing will be held in the coming months.
 
Seating is limited so call the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce at 830-379-6382 to reserve your space. The seminar is free to all members and a minimal fee of $25 will be charged for non-members. Special thanks to GVEC for providing the seminar location.

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town and country

Candidates Corner

February 18th, 2014

All week long KWED and the Seguin Daily News will be introducing the candidates appearing on the March 4 Republican primary ballot. There are no local contested races in the Democratic primary. Monday we introduced you to the candidates for Guadalupe County Judge.  Today, we continue with a look at the candidates for the Guadalupe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 seat.

Sheryl Sachtleben
  
- Tell us why you're running? 

I am asking the voters of Pct. 2 to re-elect me as their Justice of the Peace so that I may continue the good work that we started in 2011.  The residents of this Precinct now have a full-time Judge that they can count on to work hard, be available, and to treat each individual with respect and courtesy.  Our office has tripled in the amount of business we have done in the past three years, and based on January case filings, that number will triple again just in 2014.  I work hard and fast, which allows our office to be efficient and productive.  It is an enjoyable opportunity and an excellent avenue for me to continue the serve this community and the people of Precinct 2.
 
 - What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

In 2011, the biggest challenge in the office of JP Pct 2 was establishing and building a professional office and developing working relationships within of our community.  The biggest challenge we face now, is the ability to continue to process the extensive increase in case filings with the minimal staff and space that we currently have.  However, it is our intention to maintain and sustain without any increase in either.  The biggest challenge facing a new Justice of the Peace would be to continue the amount of casework currently in the court.  Our office is successful at hearing and disposing of criminal and civil cases very timely.  This requires the Judge to be able to fill in and assist with daily operations of the office, outside of serving on the bench, which includes many clerical duties.  The office of JP 2 is now very face-paced and efficient and any reduction in momentum would be a cost to taxpayers. 

 - What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

I have been a community leader in Seguin and Pct. 2 for 25 years.  My educational background includes a degree in Criminal Justice and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, which have both been essential in serving as your Justice of the Peace.  My 25 years of experience in our community has been specific to making a difference in the lives of our residents.  After 8 years in Juvenile Probation, I developed a successful prevention program, Seguin Youth Services.  These efforts include converting an old washateria into an afterschool program for neighborhood youth in 1995, to still camping with 40-50 kids several times a year. 
What makes me different from my opponents is that I have no political ambitions.  My service as your Justice of the Peace for Pct 2 is not political stepping stone for me; it’s an opportunity to serve.  I have never ran or served in any other elected office, and have no intentions of any career in politics.  I have sincere love for our community, our residents, and for this office and I am passionate about everything I do.  My work ethic and determination to make a difference in our community clearly makes me the best choice to continue as our Justice of the Peace for Precinct 2. 

Dale Brueggemann

- Tell us why you're running? 

In 2012, I ran for Congress to bring our conservative South Texas common sense and values to Washington. I was unsuccessful in my bid, but I did not lose my enthusiasm to serve our community. This community has been good to my family and I believe we should try to give back when we can. I find myself in the position and age, where I can give back if given the opportunity. As a taxpayer, I am no different than anyone else in the community by wanting to receive as much as possible for our hard earned tax dollars. All of us work hard for our money and we have to watch our dollars. The Court is no exception to this rule, and I will work hard to keep the Court's budget as low as possible, while maintaining and expanding pertinent services. I believe I offer a different perspective and I plan to work full time to ensure that the Court meets the public's needs and future expectations.

- What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?

Due to the rapid expansion of the County and Precinct Two, the Court faces challenges in meeting service demands while keeping its budget in line with the public's budget expectations. My plan is to scrutinize every item in the budget to ensure proper allocation of our money and to increase the Judge's share of the time necessary to meet the public's needs. In my case, I plan to extend the Court's office hours by extending my own hours. As the judge, I receive a salary so I am paid to be in the office as much as necessary to provide full accessibility to the Court. Another challenging area regards truancy. The Court hears truancy cases and can use fines and probation as corrective measures. Unfortunately, that action only comes into operation after there is a problem. My perspective is to try to find a solution before there is a problem. I am proposing a Honorary Juror program to aid in this matter. My plan calls for seeking at risk children and having them sit in the juror's box in non-trial settings to give them a "birds eye" view of how our judicial system works and how all of the people involved interact with one another. I plan to have our constable and other good mentors such as area business leaders talk with these children about various areas of interest they have and why they should stay in school for the betterment of their future. Hopefully we can reach some of these children by appealing to their interests and working with their parents to curb truancy and foster good productive citizens.

 - What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 

I constantly hear people who are in public service call their positions, jobs. I believe when a person is elected to a position, it is not a job. I believe anyone elected has been given a public trust to perform public service. Public service should never be about compensation or entitlement. If elected I will be an example of these beliefs. I will budget my salary to pre-2010 levels and I will never take a raise or any auto allowance, as is present in the Court's current budget. We must come full circle back to the attributes that built this country, whether in Washington or at the local level, and I have a clear perspective of the future demands of this Court and how we will meet those challenges. I have the heart to serve, and I will absolutely not fail my community in discharging the duties of the Court. I humbly and respectively ask for your vote in this primary election.

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Couples say “I do” at Valentine's Day ceremonies

February 17th, 2014

wedding

Alvin “Lee” Brown, Jr. and Angela “Angie” Fansler, of Schertz, were among those who took advantage of the free Valentine’s Day wedding ceremonies hosted at the Guadalupe County Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 office. Judge Sheryl Sachtleben says she helped six couples tie the knot on Friday.

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Construction manager-at-risk candidates to sale product to Seguin ISD; Public encouraged to sit in during construction manager-at-risk board workshop

February 17th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees tonight will hear more from the three construction companies who want to oversee the building of the new high school. Trustees are scheduled to hear from the top three construction manager-at-risk candidates during a special board workshop.
 
Superintendent Irene Garza says although no official action will be taken tonight, the board will get to hear individually from each of the construction companies.
 
"The positives coming out of the construction manager-at-risk process that occurred -- we put that information out in November and we received all of the different proposals from the RFQ's. We ended up receiving seven proposals that came in as we came into the new year. So to have seven RFQ's to look through was real positive because the more you have involved in the process, the more you can compare what their qualifications are and what they are able to do," said Garza.
 
Garza says this is a two step process as mandated by law. She says the criteria for the group was based on a grading system -- a system she says helped rate the selection committee's top choices.
 
"From the seven, there was a committee that got together to read through all of the proposals. We had both Mr. (Ricardo) Guerra and Ms. (Barbara) Effenberger that were part of that process. We have not done any interviews. Everything has been looking at the paperwork that was submitted and all of the criteria that was identified that needed to be followed for them to submit their packet," said Garza.
 
The three recommended companies by the district’s committee include include American Constructors, Bartlett Cocke/Koehler and Lee Lewis Construction.
 
The other four companies who submitted proposals for consideration were Cadence McShane Construction Company, Gallagher Construction Company, MW Builders and Texas Descon.
 
Garza says selection of a construction manager-at-risk is a very important step in the building project. Garza says she encourages the public to come out and listen to what each of these companies has to offer.
 
“On Monday, the board has set that date as a board workshop so they can hear the presentations from the three companies that are being brought forward to the board so those presentations will be public presentations and we certainly welcome the public to come and be a part of the process and come and listen to the interviews and board workshop,” said Garza.
 
The presentations could include proposed fees and prices for fulfilling the general conditions of the building projects for the district. The board workshop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. today in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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Countdown beings for ArtsFest 2014; Seguin encouraged to make plans to attend ArtsFest events

February 17th, 2014

(Seguin) -- ArtsFest will make its return this weekend to Seguin. The Fourth Annual ArtsFest will be held Saturday at the renovated Texas Theatre. The event will highlight a festive day of artistic activities including a 5K color fun run, local artists on exhibit, a student art competition, poetry readings, a kids' talent show, pet art show, a silent auction, and La Pachanga del Arte which is an evening of live entertainment, wine and mead tastings, awards and silent auction winners - all to benefit the next public art installation along Walnut Springs Park in downtown Seguin.
 
Events will kick off with The Color Me Nutty 5K Fun Run in Max Starcke Park East at 10 a.m. Participants will enjoy the fun of being “splashed” with different paint colors at different stations along the run, each emerging as a unique work of art. Registration is available online at www.athleteguild.com or at the local GNC Store.
 
Local poets and those who appreciate poetry are invited to gather at the Texas Theatre at 11 a.m. for “A Celebration of Poetry.” A roster of readers will share poems they have written along with selections from their favorite authors. There is no charge to attend.
 
A Kids' Talent Show will follow at 2 p.m. Prizes will be awarded. They include include a bike, tablets, and backpacks filled with school supplies. Kids will be competing in one of three different age groups: ages 5-8, ages 9-12, and ages 13-17. Video auditions are required and there is no fee to enter. Registration forms are available at www.visitseguin.com or at the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce office.
 
Seguin is also invited to paint up their pet or gussy up their pup in its finest frock for the event's newest event -- the Pet Art Poochanga! Registration begins at 4 p.m. that day. The Poochanga itself will kick off at 5 p.m. from the stage in the Texas Theatre. Participating pets can be registered any time prior to the event at Thunderpaws or on site the day of the event, with a $10 suggested donation.
 
The evening ticketed event, La Pachanga del Arte, begins at 7 p.m. with music by Spanish classical guitarist Mara Benitez, Spanish “tapas” hors d’oeuvres served by colorfully costumed performers, wine and mead tasting from Seguin’s local Blue Lotus Winery, and a silent auction featuring art and arts activities. Winners of the student art contest and silent auction will be announced and the evening will close out with a performance featuring Mexican folklore dancing, Conjunto and mariachi music. Teatro de Artes de Juan Seguin will present Fiesta Noche en Seguin featuring professional performers and Mariachi Los Herraderos. Tickets to the evening event are $20 and can be purchased at Gift & Gourmet or at the Seguin Area Chamber of Commerce.
 
Serving as sponsors of this year's ArtsFest are The Seguin Commission on the Arts, Seguin Main Street Program, Seguin Convention and Visitors Bureau, Alligator Dental, Seguin's Wellness Task Force and Guadalupe Regional Medical Center. A list of events can be found at www.seguinarts.com or www.visitseguin.com.

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Navarro ISD to discuss future facilities, new gym

February 17th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Geronimo) -- Planning for a new gym continues in the Navarro ISD. The Navarro ISD Board of Trustees will look at moving forward with plans for the possible construction of a new Intermediate campus gym. A more comprehensive plan would also include renovating the HVAC system at the Event Center and adding restrooms, concession stands and tennis courts to district facilities.
 
District officials say an initial planning meeting has been held with architects to begin design development for the gym along with a survey and soil testing. Tonight, the district's financial advisor, Duane Westerman of SAMCO, will be on hand to help discuss possible options for funding the capital projects and provide direction to the administration for possible future action.
 
The meeting begins at 7 p.m. in the Junior High School Cafeteria.

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Candidates Corner 2014

February 17th, 2014

Seguin Radio KWED and the Seguin Daily News this week will be featuring the candidates appearing on the March 4 Republican Primary Election Ballot. Each candidate was asked to respond to the following three questions. Early Voting begins on Tuesday and runs through Friday, Feb. 28.
 

LARRY JONES

Tell us why you're running? 
Being the County Judge this last year has provided a unique avenue for seeing into the future. The reality is that Texas is experiencing a new era of growth; it is blooming with opportunity for every citizen in the state. I would like the Guadalupe County Court House to play an integral role in facilitating opportunities for the citizens of this great County. I would like Guadalupe County to be primed and ready to accept any opportunity that may present itself. Guadalupe County is already recognized as one of the best places to live, let’s make it the best place to live and work.

What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?
The biggest challenge for every resident of Guadalupe County is the impact of the impending growth we will be experiencing this decade.  The challenge is: Will we as a community be prepared? The consequences of unplanned, unorganized, and lack of overall preparation could be detrimental. My vision as County Judge is a unified community effort lead by our Guadalupe County government. A joint effort involving all the local municipalities, local school districts, local water districts, local chamber of commerce, local economic development councils and of course, the local public. Let us approach this as a team; discussing, planning, preparing, after all, we are all in this together. And together we can insure that we are making Guadalupe County the best place to live and work.

What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 
That’s obvious, EXPERIENCE, in big capital letters. In just one short year as County Judge, I have identified and completed agreements and ordinances that have benefited the residents across this entire County financially and improved quality of life.

- Lowered Your County Taxes
- Passed a Landfill Ordinance to Protect Your Water Resources
- Created Transparency in County Government
- Secured $30 Million for Roads in Seguin
- The leadership skills and expertise that I have acquired working within the political system of county government allows me to recognize the steps necessary to get things done. And most importantly, my experience helps me identify what direction is good for the county and guides me to make the correct choice. My years of experience allow me to concentrate my efforts on  Quality Not Quantity ----- of County Government.  

KYLE KUTSCHER

Tell us why you're running?
I am running for office because I believe the biggest responsibility a county judge has, is to bring a collective group of people together to work toward common goals that will keep the county moving in a positive direction.  I have had numerous residents ask me to run because they believe I will bring professionalism and integrity to the office of county judge and promote teamwork within commissioner’s court and the county. 

What are the biggest challenges facing the winner of this seat, and how are you prepared to address those challenges?
Working to keep the tax rate low should always be priority.  Commissioner’s Court should always strive to be a conservative group of elected officials that provides the best possible services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. As county growth continues, water, transportation and development will also be important areas of focus.  I’ve been fortunate enough to work with elected officials and water entities to add potential routes to the regional water plan.  As the county, we should do everything we can to help provide an abundant and affordable water source to residents.  I am also actively communicating the transportation needs of Guadalupe County to the region and the state as the county’s designated representative on the Metropolitan Planning Organization which is the regional transportation planning group.  It is important that the county stay engaged and communicate the needs of the county to the state and region.  Commissioner’s court and the county have been proactive in seeking out economic development opportunities that help provide local jobs and additional tax base.  We should continue to do so while respecting the heritage and tradition of a small business community and a historically rural and agricultural county.  

What do you believe makes you the best candidate for the job?  In other words, what do you believe sets you apart from your opponents? 
Having served with three different county judges has given me a unique perspective as to what it takes to be an effective leader as county judge.  As county judge I will be a consensus builder while promoting teamwork through honesty, integrity and leadership.  I believe my agricultural background, business degree, appraisal and tax experience, service as county commissioner and willingness to work with and respect others makes me the best candidate.  I would appreciate your vote and the opportunity to serve as your county judge. 

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Listening to your sweet tooth

February 13th, 2014

Erick Rubio picks up a few Valentine's Day treats at Chocolate Monkey located at 1511 N. Austin St. Owners Jo Roc and Irma Rodriguez say they are armed and ready with plenty of sweet treats for that special someone. This year's specialty product is a chocolate heart box with strawberries on the inside. Special holiday hours on Friday will be from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Normal store hours are Mondays through Thursdays from noon to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays from noon to 8 p.m.

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Seguin ISD bond rating to save taxpayers additional money

February 13th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- The Seguin ISD has not only officially sold its voter approved bonds but it has also saved some money in the process.

Seguin ISD Superintendent Irene Garza says the school district's financial advisor, Southwest Securities, delivered the great news during Wednesday night's school board meeting. Garza says the school district will celebrating a low interest rate on its bonds for a new Seguin High School.
 
"We're extremely excited about the pricing that came in. We attained a fixed interest rate of 4.22 percent over the life of a 30 year bond issue. The original budget was 5.4 percent. So, we came in well under that budget. I think the price is still continues to follow today, so our financial advisor was really pleased as were we as well," said Garza.
 
 
Dr. Garza says it was the school district's credit rating that helped to secure the lower rate.
 
"Our S&P (Standard & Poor’s) Rating for the district is Double A Minus and Double A 3 by Moody’s (S&P). We do get a credit enhancement as being a Triple A bonded because of the Texas Education Agency Permanent School Fund guaranteed for school districts. So again, it's exciting to continue in that process as we continue to move forward and eventually have a new construction of a high school," said Garza.
 
Seguin ISD voters in November approved $83.3 million in bonds. The price tag includes $78.3 million for a new high school, and $5 million for technology upgrades district wide.
 

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Curriculum assistant superintendent resigns

February 13th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- This week's resignation of Seguin ISD's Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction has the district reorganizing and redirecting responsibilities from that position.
 
Superintendent Irene Garza says John Burks resigned on Monday. She says Burks stepped down after filling the job for the last seven months.
 
"We have individuals that have been very stable here in the district in the curriculum department and have some excellent employees that know instruction quite well. So the work will continue in addition to that. I mentioned earlier that we will be utilizing Bill Lewis in the curriculum area. He did the House Bill 5 presentation this evening and has been quite involved with the instructional piece as it has been connected to technology as well. Once again once the organizational chart is complete and looking at some of the movement, then we'll be ready to continue with the progress that we have been making and feel very confident in the staff that we have at the district level," said Garza.
 
Carlos Moreno, who recently filed as a candidate for the District 3 position on the school board, publicly addressed the issue to trustees during Wednesday night’s meeting. Moreno says he is concerned about Burks' sudden resignation and encouraged the district to carefully look into what has triggered the district to lose three people in the last few years.
 
"The only questions that I had were, if this position is too overwhelming, should they do what they did at the campus level -- which was implementation of assistant principals. If there's something that they can do to help, whether it's financial resources or giving someone some help, or just looking into the issue -- why are there recent turnovers in three and a half years, what's going on there? It's such an important position for the curriculum and instructions throughout the whole district," said Moreno.
 
In response to Moreno's comments, Garza told the Seguin Daily News that the reasons for the resignations by the prior assistant superintendents were each specific.
 
"As several years back in the C&I Department, we had Jolene Yoakum that was a part of the curriculum in instruction department. She was here with us for a couple of years and then ended up moving out of state to be closer to family. Following her, we had Carlos Rios, that had been with the district before and had rejoined the district. He is an individual that had the opportunity to go back home to Del Rio and serve in the capacity of superintendent in the hometown that he grew up in. So that was promotional for him to move up. Mr. Burks has assisted in different districts and is a retired rehire. He is an individual that I go back with, I think about 20 years in having worked alongside with him here in Seguin ISD. So we wish him the best. It was a personal decision that he made and at this point, we are in transition too – as I mentioned before to get our organizational chart," said Garza.
 
Moreno says his statements were not an attack on the district but more a sense of concern for the important position. Garza says although responsibilities will be shared, the district will still need someone to spearhead curriculum -- a position that she says could later domino into another position that opens up.
 

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seguin gold

Juan Seguin Burial Site fundraiser scheduled for Saturday

February 13th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera
(Seguin) -- Thanks to a couple of Seguin City Council members, the Juan Seguin Burial Site is on its way to getting a much needed face-lift. Council members Carlos Medrano and Tomas Castellon say plans are currently in place to help spruce up the resting site of Seguin's namesake Col. Juan N. Seguin. The site is located across the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum on S. Saunders Street. A barbecue plate fundraiser has been scheduled this weekend to help fund the tools and amenities to make the project happen.
 
Medrano says the team of council members initially took up the beautification project last year.
 
"We did some landscaping up on the top and the city guys got with us. Jack (Jones) helped us out with irrigation and more plants and it just turned out real nice. So we figured, we'd go ahead and finish the bottom part with new landscaping. We've got new grass coming in. We've got benches coming in, new flag poles, the city donated the flag poles and we just thought it'd be something nice to fix up. I guess for maybe about couple of years, we hadn't seen any movement, so we figured something could be done there, so we did that. We'll go ahead and get that area cleaned up and landscaped," said Medrano.
 
With all the new projects beginning in Seguin such as the new park and Walnut Creek trail, Medrano says he wanted to make sure that this particular space was not neglected.
 
 
"All the money that we receive will go into buying all the stuff we need. So we're looking at probably at the first of March hopefully, because we've got to get together with Jack, our parks director and get the plan going so we can start. We kind of know what we want. We want all native plants -- that are drought resistant – (or for) whatever weather hits Texas. But, I'm hoping we start within two weeks," said Medrano.
 
Barbecue plates will include chicken, sausage, rice, beans and tea. Entertainment will also be provided during the catered lunch. The fundraiser is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Seguin-Guadalupe County Coliseum. Cost is $7 a plate. 

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Seguin invited to elementary, middle school art show reception

February 13th, 2014


Each of these area students were named winners during the 2013 Elementary and Middle School Art Show hosted by the Seguin Art League. The winners of the 2014 contest will be presented this Sunday during the show’s awards reception scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Selig Room in the East Campus of the Guadalupe Regional Medical Center. Refreshments will be provided, and awards and prizes will be presented beginning at 4 p.m.  The artist or a parent must be present at the reception to receive a cash prize. Courtesy photos. 

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Color Me Nutty 5K Fun Run to return to Seguin

February 13th, 2014

 

The Color Me Nutty 5K Fun Run will again splash participants with plenty of color. The Arts Fest event is scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at Max Starcke Park East. Different paint colors at different stations along the run are tossed onto participants -- each emerging as a unique work of art. The early registration fee of $20 includes a t-shirt and can be completed online at www.athleteguild.com or at the local GNC Store located at 1350 E. Court Street. Registration the day of the race begins at 8:30 a.m. in the park but does not include a t-shirt. There are also races and arts activities for children beginning at 9 a.m. Those wanting to get a t-shirt are asked to register online by the end of Friday, Feb. 14. Courtesy photos

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Every child deserves to be loved this Valentine's Day

February 13th, 2014

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(Seguin) -- Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate the people you love and who love you. Most children receive colorful cards and heart-shaped treats from their family and friends. But for children in the foster care system, “love” is a four-letter word whose meaning is often unfamiliar.
CASA of Central Texas is challenging the community to turn Valentine’s Day  into a lifetime of love for abused and neglected children in foster care in Central Texas.
 
Each year, more than 700 children in Central Texas enter the overburdened child welfare system. Last year, only 421 of those children had CASA volunteers to help guide them through the system and into safe, loving homes. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate ®) volunteers are trained members of the community who provide a voice for these children and work to serve their best interest in court.
Every child in foster care needs a CASA volunteer who will make sure they do not slip through the cracks but instead find a loving home where they can grow and flourish. CASA of Central Texas is encouraging people on Feb. 14 to take the first step towards becoming a CASA volunteer.
“By becoming a CASA volunteer, you can help ensure abused and neglected children find the safe, permanent homes they need to thrive as members of our community,” said CASA of Central Texas Executive Director Norma Castilla-Blackwell.
 
In 2013, more than 200 CASA of Central Texas volunteers spoke up for abused and neglected children who, through no fault of their own, ended up in foster care. Unfortunately, about half of the children in care did not have CASA volunteers.
 
Consider becoming a CASA volunteer. To learn more, visit www.casacentex.org. Volunteer training sessions will be held in March.
 

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LA

Ellen to the Weddin video hits social media; Seguin native seeks RSVP from TV talk show host Ellen DeGeneres

February 13th, 2014

ivy

Seguin native, Ivy Koehler, hopes to do more just appear on screen on the The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The woman has released an “Ellen at the Weddin” video in hopes of getting the talk show host to attend her wedding in Austin on March 22. Courtesy photo.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- If you have a Facebook account, then chances are that you have already seen a graffiti-fied bride rapping her wedding invite to TV Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres. Seguin native Ivy Koehler is making a video plea to help get "Ellen at the Weddin." Although planning a wedding can often times be stressful, it hasn't put a damper on this bride's plans to get the Los Angeles talk show star to attend her wedding in Austin on March 22.

Koehler says the video, "Ellen at the Weddin" is the latest in a series of attempts to capture Ellen's attention. Koehler, an actress, says it's always been her dream to be on the show and this video is just one more attempt at making her dream come true.

"The original idea was, I've done all of these Ellen videos in the past and I needed to do a new one. It was time to do a new one. So the reasons I've done the videos in the past have been to be a guest on her show or to be a red carpet interviewer or a sideline reporter for different events and so I needed some event to revolve the video around and it just turns out the wedding is the biggest thing on my mind right now. It seemed right. I'm not anticipating her arriving at the wedding as I walk down the aisle or see her in the audience – it is kind of a launching point I guess," said Koehler.

With the video in place and the day of matrimony just weeks away, Koehler says she is at least glad to know that many friends and family members have already offered to gladly give up their seat at the reception just in case.

"The goal to all of these videos has still been to be a guest on her show or somehow in someway connect with her. I feel like we might be kindred spirits at some level and I just have to get into a room and prove that to her, but if she shows up at the wedding -- I'm sure she can give some stand up comedy moments at the reception or I don't know -- maybe she can read a poem or something. Like I said, I don't anticipate her arriving mainly because it's very soon and I really think that it's mainly just about kind of getting out there and having fun -- a creative outlet. If anything comes of it ever, it is ok to have a dream and chase it and follow and also to be goofy and have fun and be silly and that's I guess -- I hope people get that from watching the video," said Koehler.

ivy2

Hashtag “Ellen at the Weddin” is Ivy Koehler’s latest video effort to gain the attention of TV Talk Show Host Ellen DeGeneres. This time, the local actress, is inviting the star to her Austin wedding. Courtesy photo.

In hopes of making things happen, Koehler says she hopes this video reaches out well past her Facebook friends. She says in the end, it's Ellen who will need to make that final decision.

"Ellen if you're listening, give me a call. We can play a round of golf, or hang out or like I said, the ultimate goal is to be a guest on the show and get to hang out with Ellen. So if you're listening, then give me a call. We'll get it posted online and then hopefully it'll get shared to Facebook and share it again and share it again and if you happen to see a random girl in a wedding dress rapping to ‘Thrift Shop’ with a graffiti background then hit share button. You don't even need to watch it. Just hit share and maybe it'll make its way to Ellen's desktop," said Koehler.

Koehler, a 2005 Seguin High School graduate, is set to wed finance Dan Meehan.

Those wishing to view and share the video are asked to visit Ivykoehler.com or vimeo.com.  Click here to listen to the radio version of this story.

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Tri-County

Tierra Tejana to perform in front of home crowd; Local band continues its legacy tour with anniversary dance in Seguin

February 13th, 2014

Tierra Tejana

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) --- It was over a year ago that a Tejano band from Seguin announced that it would be returning to stage after nearly 20 years. Now after a year of performing in concert venues throughout the country, that band, Tierra Tejana, will finally answer its fans' requests by performing in front of its hometown this weekend at the El Fiesta Ballroom. Throughout the 80s and early 90s, the band was hailed as one of the top Tejano bands in the world.

Band member Pete Gonzales says he and his brothers are excited about performing this weekend. He says performing in Seguin makes the milestone of this weekend that much more special.

"This Saturday, it's a Valentine's Day Dance and also (it’s us) celebrating our 37th anniversary. In fact, Feb. 14 of 1977 was our very first gig as far as Tierra Tejana," said Gonzales.

Gonzales says up until now, the band has invested its time and energy in performing during its Legacy Reunion Tour. Gonzales says the band has performed in all of the major cities in Texas and has even traveled to New Mexico.

"It's been awesome. We would hear that our music was being played out there. People were asking about us, but to perform in these places, the response we've been getting from the people, it’s just been awesome. It's been great. We've been getting fans of all ages now," said Gonzales.

This weekend, the band will be sharing the stage with other performers. Kicking off the concert will be Rudy Palacios & Alamo City Band. Closing out the show will be Yayo Castillo Y Rumors. Gonzales says Tierra Tejana purposely scheduled its set in between both bands. He says the group wanted to make sure that they had enough time to meet with their fans.

"Like always at every concert, we've designated an area for us to meet and greet, sign pictures (and) posters. In fact, we'll have posters to give away. That way we can say hello to the people we haven't seen in a long time and at the same time make new friends," said Gonzales.

The dance will be held from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday. Tickets are $15 in advance or at the door before 9 p.m. Advance tickets can be purchased at the El Fiesta Ballroom or at JPs Bakery.

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Mid-Texas Symphony to host Valentine’s Day concert

February 13th, 2014

romantic music

The MTS will perform on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. in the new Canyon High School Performing Arts Center on IH 35 in New Braunfels. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, with soloists Craig Sorgi, violin; Rita Linard, flute; Jennifer Berg, oboe; and Andrew Gignac, trumpet, opens the program. Beethoven's Leonore Overture No. 3 and Brahms Symphony No. 2 round out the concert.

(Seguin) -- The Mid-Texas Symphony has a solution for all those looking for something special to do this Valentine's Day weekend.


The Mid-Texas Symphony orchestra will feature guest soloists, and concert lovers of all ages for a post-Valentine’s Day treat on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 4 p.m. at the new Canyon High School Performing Arts Center located at IH-35 North in New Braunfels. Soloists Rita Linard (Flute), Jennifer Berg (Oboe), Andrew Gignac (Trumpet), and Craig Sorgi (Violin) and the orchestra will perform Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major. Also on the “We’ve Got Your Bach” program is Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3 and Brahms’ Symphony No. 2 in D major.

The state-of-the-art acoustics in the center assures the music reaches every ear. Conveniently located on the Canyon High School campus on IH-35 North in New Braunfels, there is ample parking for everyone.

Mid-Texas Symphony President, Cathy Talcott announced a new collaboration between the Comal Independent School District and the Mid-Texas Symphony, its artists and guest artists. For the first time in decades, the school district will offer violin lessons in elementary schools. It is Superintendent Andrew Kim's vision to have established orchestras in CISD middle and high schools within a few years, enriching the students’ lives and tapping into the many demonstrated educational gains that result from studying music. The Symphony will assist by having its musicians and guest artists visit schools, inviting students to attend rehearsals, and encouraging the development of the orchestral program in as many ways as possible.
“We’ve Got Your Bach” presents timeless music from the “Three B’s,” the great composers Bach, Beethoven, and Brahms. Musicians love performing this challenging, engaging music, and audiences too are drawn into concerts featuring works by these composers.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.mtsymphony.org, or by calling 830-372-8089. Tickets are $5 to $30 each.

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town and country

Guadalupe County commissioners approve new tax abatement guidelines

February 12th, 2014

court

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Let the recruiting and enticing of big businesses continue in Guadalupe County. The Guadalupe County Commissioners Court Tuesday approved its guidelines and criteria for granting tax abatements and reinvestment zones. According to county officials, no significant changes were made to the guidelines other than modifying the information sheet so that things are easier for people to follow and understand.

Guadalupe County Judge Larry Jones says these documents are vital in keeping the county on top of its fast and growing development.

"When these large companies come in here promising jobs, the county does not have an economic development corporation. Our major cities do, such as Terry Trevino here with the city of Seguin and we have two, City of Cibolo and City of Schertz. Normally,those businesses don't want to locate out in the rural area because there's no infrastructure to support it. So they're usually going to be in the cities where they can get water and sewer and those kind of services. We've partnered up with city of Seguin and the Seguin Economic Development Corporation with the Schertz Economic Development and Cibolo and we say, here's the criteria that we want and we have the guidelines of what we'd like, which pretty much mimic what those cities want and we tell Terry or any other economic development corporations, if they will do those kind of things for us, which are similar to what their requirements are by the way, then we will grant some abatements, but we're only going to look at them on an individual basis. So it's not a blanket that you come in and you meet this criteria and you get it. In other words, we don't want any dirty industries coming in. We don't want any unbeneficial type industries. So we can pick and choose with who we do the abatements with, but with great people like Terry Trevino and she is absolutely the best in the business, we have full confidence that she will advise us on which companies to give what to," said Jones.

Prior to action by the court, Resident Michael Barrow did publicly share his concern with the current incentive package for business recruitment. Barrow suggested that the court hold off on approving the guidelines until it analyzed its incentive structure with other counties. Using the Caterpillar engine plant as an example, Barrow stated that the salary package, initially noted for its employees, is much lower than promised and wanted companies to offer an incentive structure that would "pay more of a living wage and more benefits."

Addressing those concerns in front of the court was Terry Trevino, the executive director of the Seguin Economic Development Director. Trevino says as for the guidelines currently in place, they are very competitive and fall in line when compared to other communities. Trevino says in reference to Caterpillar, she says it was definitely the catalyst needed to infuse long term economic growth in the area.

Thanks to the performance agreement set in place years ago, Trevino says the city and county can now see a return on investment for recruiting and incentivizing this particular company.

"One of those things was a performance agreement to put in place that actually determined how many jobs they would hire. Their performance agreement indicated that they would hire 1,465 jobs and have a required payroll of approximately $63,645,000. Today, their compliance report shows that they have 1,495 jobs and their payroll is about $83,745,539 to be exact. If you see that from $63 million to $83 million, they're in excess of about $20 million. So $63 million to $83 million, that's a lot of excess. Now, if you take the $1,495 and you divide that by what their current annual payroll is, that comes out to approximately $56,000 which was their average wage and if you take the $56,000 and you divide that by hours worked which is approximately 40 hours a week or we like to divide it by 20/80, which is 40 hours a week over a year, here average payroll is about $26.93 an hour," said Trevino.

Trevino says the average payroll an hour is definitely a benefit to the local workforce no matter how it is offered to the employee.

Now, yes it includes benefits. It does include insurance and of course, they have a retirement system and everything like that and some people may displace that as not actual income into their pockets -- in other words, at the end of the day what they get on their paycheck and what they get to spend on their families. They disqualify that but without having that insurance and without having that retirement fund, that is still their money. So it's still the employee's benefit and so we have to see that as something that we would have to pay either way. So if a person was unemployed, they would go into unemployment and receive unemployment benefits which is what a taxpayer pays. Our unemployment rate is 4.8 percent. It is the lowest that it has been in years -- I think as a result of the fact that these companies that are coming in here and expanding or building with incentives are hiring people," said Trevino.

Trevino says Caterpillar's five year operation in Seguin has also helped enhance the salaries of its committed employees.

"Sometimes people have a misunderstanding. They are going to start a job at Caterpillar. Yes, they may have a entry level pay -- average wage -- but now that the plant -- again, remember they are in their fifth year already -- these people have gotten raises over time and are passed the probationary periods and are in different positions and have developed different skills and have gone through Cat Academy so that's why we see such a jump. The reality is that the average rate has gone up by $4 probably because of these people going in and getting increases which is good because not everybody can start at the top, unfortunately and then those who do start at the top also have that opportunity to grow which are some of those executives," said Trevino.

Other commissioners on Tuesday also voiced their commitment to doing what they can to help attract businesses and jobs to the area. Commissioner Jim Wolverton reassured the public by saying that the approved guidelines are not cookie cutter. He says "we review each and every tax abatement that comes in."

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Seguin Mainstreet welcomes new downtown business

February 12th, 2014

fashionmagic

By: Mariah Kilbourne, Seguin Economic Development Specialist

(Seguin) -- Abracadabra! A new shop located at 115 West Court Street is making ‘Fashion Magic’ happen for ladies in Seguin.

“I call it a ladies shop,” Mary E. Powell, owner, said. “It is a friendly atmosphere. I give personal care. I help people coordinate outfits and things. I have tops and blouses for the ladies that aren’t too revealing, yet are fashionable. I have two kinds of hangers in the store. I have black hangers that are sizes small to extra large. I have tan hangers that are sizes one, two and three extra large.”

Fashion Magic gets new styles in frequently and features items that are great for Valentine’s Day – from the outfit to the accessories. The store features a clay based jewelry line, as well as purses and lotions.

“I carry the Camille Beckman hand cream line,” Powell said. “It is a hand cream that has been well established. I carry four of the fragrances. I carry Camille, French Vanilla, Morelia Monarch and Mango Beach. They all have very nice fragrances to them.”

Opening a clothing shop has been a longtime dream of Mary E. Powell.

“I graduated from college with a Home Economics degree and wanted to be a buyer,” Powell said. “As life goes along it didn’t work out that I could do that right away. When I got married I followed my husband with his things that he did. We had a son and moved around the country a lot. I always thought about it because I shop a lot. I can’t help but to shop by feeling, seeing and looking. I would always think of a little dress shop somewhere. Particularly right now I am a little older, so I thought ‘I guess I’m not going to ever get to do that.’”

However, hearing a sermon at church one day helped Powell take a leap of faith and turn her dream into a reality.

“It was about a cancer doctor talking to a patient,” Powell said. “And the patient said ‘I always wanted to be a fireman.’ And the doctor said ‘Well go be a fireman.’ He said ‘I can’t. I’ve got cancer.’ And the doctor says ‘Do what your passion is.’ And I thought ‘I want to have a [clothing] shop.’ I’ve always wanted to have a [clothing] shop, go to market and what not. And then things just started happening. Believing in God and seeing that things I couldn’t possibly do were happening.”

Historic downtown Seguin has been the perfect location for Powell’s dream to become a reality. Fashion Magic is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. And Saturday 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information call 830-549-5118.

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Downtown theatre opens doors for dining under the stars; Annual Valentine's Day Dinner scheduled at The Texas, ticket deadline is Thursday

February 12th, 2014

V-DAy

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The Texas Theatre wants folks to follow their hearts by attending its annual Valentine's Day Dinner. The downtown historic theatre will be hosting the fundraiser on Friday night.

Marty Keil, one of the organizers of the event, says the theatre definitely ranks high as one of the best locations for the romantic occasion.

"We're calling it ‘Dining With Your Dearest’ and of course, that can be your significant other or just your very dearest most special friend. So we have a nice menu. It'll be a buffet beginning with appetizers and complimentary wine or beer at 6:30 and then the buffet at 7. That will be prime rib, Chicken Florentine, new potatoes, vegetables and of course, there will be salad and dessert," said Keil.

Keil says the menu will be provided by Fritz's Catering in New Braunfels. She says following the presentation of a red rose, guests will be treated to a nice evening of musical entertainment.

"There will be piano music, love songs and show tunes performed by Rusty Haygood. He was in 12 Angry Men that we did at the Texas Theatre a while back and just a real talented pianist. So he'll be entertaining us that evening," said Keil.

Keil says seating is limited and so reservations are encouraged as soon as possible.

"It should be a great easy evening for people not to have to leave Seguin and go stand in a line or have to take a long drive for a very nice evening out in a beautiful place and we hope that people will turn out for the event. It's a great fundraiser for the Texas as well. We're still paying on a note there and real close to getting that thing paid off. So we're going to be real happy when that day arrives," said Keil.

The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the theatre located on North Austin Street. Tickets are $50 per person. Tickets can be purchased in advance at Gift & Gourmet or at Cascades Gift Shop. Tickets are encouraged to be purchased by noon Thursday.

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Seguin ISD to continue with bond project process

February 12th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The talk about the construction of a new Seguin High School continues tonight. The Seguin ISD Board of Trustees is expected to approve the second step in the selection process for the hiring of a new construction manager-at-risk. The school board in November approved the construction manager-at-risk delivery method for the 2013 bond construction. Seven firms reportedly responded to the district's request. The district tonight is set to approve the top three companies selected by a district committee and schedule them for presentations at a future board workshop.

The district tonight is also scheduled to approve the resignation of Rene Ramos, longtime Seguin ISD chief operations officer. Ramos has elected to retire effective April 1. The board will meet during a specially scheduled Wednesday night meeting. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. in the Seguin ISD Board Room located inside of Oak Park Mall.

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Business, family man looking to campaign for a seat on the SISD

February 11th, 2014

moreno family

Family members of Carlos Moreno are supporting his latest efforts of becoming one of Seguin’s newest public servants. Moreno has filed for the District 3 seat on the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. A special election to fill the vacant seat is scheduled for Saturday, May 10. Courtesy photo

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local business owner wants to be the newest member of the Seguin ISD Board of Trustees. Seguin native Carlos Moreno has officially filed for the District 3 seat which was left vacant following the death of Trustee Irma Lewis in September. A special election for the position will be held on Saturday, May 10.

Moreno recently served as the co-chair for the Seguin '13 organization. The organization was publicly applauded for "being instrumental in promoting and passing the November 2013 bond issues" which included a new high school, new library and new city park.

The Seguin High School 1995 graduate says it was his time spent on this particular organization that has helped foster the desire to continue serving the community.

"We're just coming off of doing a lot of the stuff with the Seguin '13 and you know the bonds that were passed. I really liked that process and became very interested in how the local politics work and kind of getting to understand that the board is really where things takes place and policies take place and so just going through that Seguin '13 process, it really opened my eyes and I became very interested in wanting to get involved, to continue to be involved in ultimately the children of Seguin," said Moreno.

Moreno says he looks to submit positive change toward improving the quality of education for all children.

"My mother was an educator for the Seguin School District for 36 years and an administrator as well. My wife currently is an administrator and principal at Koennecke and I have three boys that go to Koennecke. Their ages are 11, seven and six and so that's also why I'm very interested. It's just for the kids of Seguin and even my own vested interest for my family -- for the betterment of the school – in making sure that the school system is very competitive," said Moreno.

Moreno attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in manufacturing engineering. He currently is the owner of LoneStar Home Solutions, a remodeling company here in Seguin. Moreno also currently serves on the city of Seguin Contractors Advisory Board, is a board member for Crossroads Church, and a member of the local Rotary club.

The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of the unexpired term. The term is scheduled to run until November 2016. The deadline to file for a place on the special election ballot is Monday, March 10.

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Valentine's Dinner Show to feature the beautiful, ugly, the ridiculous; Dinner show fundraiser to benefit local animal rescue effort

February 11th, 2014

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By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Thanks to the Mosheim Mansion securing that perfect Valentine's Day gift is just a reservation away. The bed and breakfast will be opening its doors later on this week for its annual Valentine's Dinner Show titled "Love, The Beautiful, The Ugly & The Ridiculous."

Carol Hirschi, the owner of the local bed and breakfast, works each year to produce the candlelight dinner theatre as a charity fundraiser.

She says the dinner show features a combination of "comedy, tragedy and love inspiring pieces."

Working alongside her is local actor Griffin Darklighter. The pair says the variety show celebrates all the aspects of love and romance.

"This is a play by Harold Pinter. It was performed by BBC back in 1963 actually, which makes its subject matter so shocking because back then -- oh my God, they've got lovers, they each have lovers -- and discuss it amongst themselves,” said Darklighter -- “But there's a surprise because it's not really what you think it is, but I didn't want to spill the beans. So they'll have to come (yes no spoiler alerts) and see the show, yeah that's right," added Hirschi.

Hirschi says the quality of entertainment being planned for this event helps create the perfect atmosphere for a Valentine's evening.

"The theme of the evening, of course, is love because it's Valentine's, “"Love, The Beautiful, The Ugly and The Ridiculous.” So we have some very talented singers coming in from TLU who are going to be performing songs from the 40's and 50's. Tom Engler is going to be playing the violin for us during dinner and then of course, Dennis Martin is going to be doing a reading -- a piece that he wrote specifically for this evening and Griffin and I will be doing scenes from Harold Pinter's, “The Lover” and from another piece “Man and Superman” so it ought to be a fun evening," said Hirschi.

Hirschi says a special chef, Paul A. Schroeder, formerly of San Francisco, will also be on hand to help signature the event from the very beginning.

It's of course not just for couples and the show is with a dinner. We're doing a French dinner, that includes coq au vin, appropriate sides and a chocolate truffle cake for dessert. It's a fundraiser for Etosha, which is a local dog rescue and an all Texas dachshund rescue which of course covers all of Texas, but they've really been doing a lot of work and helping us a lot in the Seguin area with not just dachshunds," said Hirschi.

Hirschi says the romance and rich decor of the historic Mosheim Mansion on North Austin Street helps provide that perfect experience of "this ever changing variety show."

"The house is very romantic, so it's appropriate for an event like this. It's an 1894 mansion with a lot of antiques, but we're fortunate, it's not a huge room. We have a room big enough to accommodate a small number of people for an intimate evening and entertainment like this. If they come out to it once, they'll definitely want to come back. Every year, it's a benefit for some worthy cause," said Hirschi.

Vegetarian or other special meals are available if requested at the time of the reservation. In addition, dinner guests are welcome to bring their own libations. A suggested donation will also be accepted for other complimentary beverages. Seating is limited so reservations are encouraged as soon as possible. Show days are at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Arrival time is 6:30 p.m. Cost is $39 per person. Reservations may be made by calling 830-372-9905. Tickets can also be purchased in advance at Thunderpaws Canine Solutions, Gift and Gourmet or at Aunt Maudie's Attic Antiques.

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Smoke detector saves the life of local family; Seguin Fire/EMS Department seeks smoke detector donations to help protect others

February 11th, 2014

smoke detector

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A working smoke detector in a local home has again proved life-saving. Seguin Fire Officials say it was a smoke detector -- over the weekend -- that helped save the lives of a family living in a home located in the 900 block of Walnut Street.

Fire Chief Dale Skinner says it was the piercing sound of the smoke alarm that helped the family escape their burning home in time.

"In this particular case, the smoke detector alerted the occupants which gave us an early detection that there was a fire and it was able to save the house," said Skinner.


Not only should families have smoke alarms throughout their house but it's also important, according to Skinner, that they make sure that they work.

"Check it once a month. Push the button once a month. Check it. Make sure it's working and operating correctly. Then change the batteries when you change your clocks. Again, this particular fire proves the value of a smoke detector," said Skinner.

Skinner says donations of smoke detectors for local families are always accepted. He says the department operates a yearlong effort to help make sure lives are protected.

"At the fire department, we do have a smoke detector program that we will come in and install smoke detectors in the homes of people that can't afford a smoke detector. We will be glad to come out and do that, but we need assistance from the public in this program. So anybody that wants to donate to that program, they can contact us at the fire administration and we'll be glad to accept their donations to purchase more smoke detectors so we can have more outcomes like this," said Skinner.

Anyone wishing to donate smoke alarms to the Seguin Fire Department are asked to drop them at the fire administration office located in the city's municipal building on State Highway 46 South.

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Local business celebrates two decades of doing business with Facebook contest; More prizes to be given away by Tri-County AC & Heating

February 10th, 2014

Facebook contest

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local company is tapping into some Facebook fun to help celebrate 20 years of doing business in Seguin. Tri-County A/C and Heating is inviting the public to enter its 20 Days of Giveaways contest. Co-owner Kay Martin says the days figure in each Friday that a prize drawing will be held for those who log onto their business Facebook page.

"It's a 20 week giveaway contest and all you have to do is go to our Facebook page and you have to like the picture of the prize of the week. Then, we're going to announce the winner on Friday. The contest each week will run from Monday through Thursday night and then Thursday night, we'll count the people that liked it, put their names in a hat and we'll draw a winner (on Friday). So we have a lot of neat prizes like a WiFi thermostat installed, cases of filters, $50 gift cards, digital thermostats installed -- we're doing a lot of things for our customers and it’s not all air/conditioning related. So we're excited," said Martin.

Martin says the business, including her husband, Bubba, felt that reaching out to its customers and to the Seguin community was the best way to celebrate.

"We wanted to appreciate our customers because without them, we wouldn't have done this for 20 years and just kind of go through an appreciation that kind of would last a little bit of time. We're going to celebrate this entire year and make the whole year special because we started our business in 1994 and here it is in 2014. So we're celebrating the whole process and I was talking to our daughter the other day, she's going to take off and come home and she said ‘I wouldn't miss it mom and I just feel like we had a lot to do with this too.’ So it's kind of neat. We're excited," said Martin.

In addition to its Facebook contest, Martin says the business is also finalizing plans for a Friday afternoon bash next month.

"We are going to have a customer appreciation barbecue on March the 28th and that's what I was talking about -- our kids are coming home for that. So we're kind of excited about that. We have a couple of employees. They are actually barbecue cook-off winners and they're really good. So we're going to have a band also. We're going to have the Hillbilly Jug Band come and play for us. So it's going to be March the 28th from 4 to 8 p.m. right here in our shop," said Martin.

Earning the first prize of the contest last week was Barbara Brittain Elliot. Elliot on Friday was announced as the winner of two tickets to a San Antonio Spurs game.

To enter the contest, visit Tri-County A/C & Heating on Facebook. The business is located at 510 N. Austin St.

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Breezy students do away with the R-word; Campaign designed to be more sensitive to intellectually disabled people

February 10th, 2014

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Seventh grader Breanna Balderas is reminded of her beauty as she fixes her hair in this mirror that has a sign that reads "beautiful." Thanks to the “Spread the Word to End the Word” campaign, every student at A.J. Briesemeister Middle School now can be reminded of positive attributes thanks to these signs that hang throughout the campus. The signs are part of a national campaign to do away with the R-word. A group of students have been working all year to keep people from using the word "retard(ed). They say it is exclusive, offensive and derogatory.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- It's not only the teachers that are dishing out some important lessons over at A.J. Briesemeister Middle School. A group of students are also pretty busy helping teach their peers and the rest of the public why the "R-word hurts." A Special Olympics initiative, "Spread the Word to End the Word" has taken shape throughout the campus. The initiative is designed to help remove the word "retard" and "retarded" out of a person's vocabulary and to help show more respect to those that are intellectually disabled.

Leading the campaign at the campus is Special Education Teacher Valerie Hines. Hines, who has a combination class that provides both special and general education services, says she's proud that the campaign started at the beginning of the year appears to be making a difference.

"It has been just recently that they changed the terminology from mental retardation to intellectually disabled. So that shift came when they changed the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) for a couple of years ago. Now, it's becoming more aware that just the word itself just doesn't give a true accuracy of a person’s ability. The way I present it to my students and not my students that I see on a daily basis but to students around campus -- you just don’t know who you're standing next to in line somewhere. You don't know people around. You don't know their personal situations. So when we throw those negative words around, we don't know who we're offending. So that's what I would say to people. It's not for me to tell them that they're doing something wrong. It's just me telling them to be more aware of the words that they use and how they may be perceived by somebody that they don't even know," said Hines.

Hines says over the last several months, her students have successfully gotten behind this campaign and continue to lead by doing things such as hanging positive words around campus. Hines says on March 5, a Special Olympics Global Ambassador will be on campus to address students at a rally. She says March 5 is also the nationally recognized day for the campaign.

"I started getting the word around campus through students who I had in my classroom – if they had other friends or classmates they thought would be interested. I actually have about 25 students who are my core campaign delegates and so they meet with me once a week. We put out a public service announcement about the use of the 'R' word and that went over really well. We have since put up several flyers across campus which have very positive words on them. They have created a buzz around campus because the students are starting to wonder, what could these words mean? Why are these words hanging up? Really, it's just us trying to get them to understand that it's just as easy to say something positive as it is to say something negative. So we just want to bombard with them with positive statements on campus," said Hines.

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This core group of students led by Special Education Teacher Valerie Hines is leading the campus campaign to stop people from using the words "retard" and "retarded." Students have spent the entire year making other people more sensitive to the feelings of others.

In addition, the campaign will allow for parents and even siblings of those with intellectual disabilities to get up and talk in front of students. Hines says through this effort, there have been many siblings who have teamed up to show their support as a family. Rallying behind seventh grader Alfredo Buitron, are siblings Andrew Nieto, Ryan Nieto and Alexis Buitron.

Andrew, an eighth grader, says he is proud to be sticking up for this brother and for all those who are negatively impacted when called the R-word.

"I think the word needs to be spread out that you can't say that. It's just disrespectful. I mean, put yourself in their shoes. It's not nice. You shouldn't be doing that at all. You shouldn't be saying words like that. It is personal because I have a brother with a disability and I don't like it when people talk to him in mean ways. It just got to the point where I had to do something with a group," said Nieto.

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Standing together as a family in the spirit of doing away with the R-word is this family of students. Supporting their brother Alfredo Buitron, left, who faces the everyday challenges of being intellectually disabled, are, left to right, sister, Alexis Buitron and brothers Andrew and Ryan Nieto. All four siblings who happen to be students at A.J. Briesemeister Middle School are among those who have joined their peers in helping others to be more sensitive and respectful.

The only sister in the group, Alexis, says she too stands by her brother. She says there is definitely strength behind numbers.

"At our old school, everybody would make fun of him and everything and they'd always call him retarded or an idiot or stupid. When we came over here and I heard about this, Mrs. Hines -- she had asked me if I wanted to join and I said ‘of course because I have a brother that has a disability and I hate when people make fun of him.’ It just really annoys me," said Alexis.

As for Alfredo, he couldn't be more proud that there is a plan to get others to be more respectful. Plus, he says it's much easier when you've got not only your classmates but your family in your corner.

"It feels good to have my whole family helping to not let others say like the word, because you got to respect the word to end the word," said Alfredo.
The middle school's overall effort is to get everyone on campus and everyone in Seguin to join the campaign by making an online pledge to not use the word and to help raise awareness about the hurtfulness of the R-word. They say language affects attitudes and attitudes affect actions.

According to the movement of acceptance, there is an online campaign asking that people publicly pledge "to stop saying the R-word.” Organizers say it is a starting point toward creating more accepting attitudes and communities for all people. The online pledge, which allows individuals to share their own stories, is available at r-word.org.

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seguin gold

Texas winter fun 2014

February 7th, 2014

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Four-year-old Brayden Hurt, top, shows off his mighty snowman topped with a carrot nose, while Navarro ISD second grader Jaylah Torres, bottom, circulates the snow back into the air. Children got the chance to play in the white stuff before heading off for school early Thursday morning. As a precaution to the winter precipitation found on the ground, Seguin, Marion, Navarro and other local private schools had a two hour delay to the start of class. As for the snow, Seguin reported Graupel or snow pellets. Graupel consists of snowflakes that become rounded, opaque pellets ranging from two to five millimeters in diameter. It is sometimes mistaken for hail but tends to have a texture that is softer and more crumbly. The weather did not cause any delays or cancellations on Friday. Courtesy photos.

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Seguin ISD Trustee named president of statewide organization

February 7th, 2014

Louis Reyes

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Improving the quality of public education is now a statewide effort for Seguin ISD Board President Louis Q. Reyes III. Reyes recently was elected to fill the position of President-elect by The Mexican American School Board Members Association (MASBA).

MASBA is a professional statewide organization of elected school board officials dedicated to improving the education of Mexican American/Latino children in Texas elementary and secondary schools. Reyes says members are non-partisan and represent a diverse constituency ranging from large urban districts to mid-size and small rural school communities.

"As board members, administrators and educators, we need to remember it is not about us. Rather, it is about our children in our public schools regardless of race or socioeconomic status," said Reyes. "It is our duty to provide all children with the best education possible. We have to realize that our public schools need to improve focus on developing a strong work force. All of our graduates must be college and career ready. If a student chooses not to go to college, that student must be prepared with a trade such as welding, cosmetology, diesel mechanics, construction or plumbing, for example. Students can gain college and career ready educations through early college high school programs and academies that create a variety of educational opportunities."

Membership to the organization is open to all Texas school districts and all current elected school board members from those districts.

Joe Munoz, MASBA executive director, says he looks forward to Reyes' leadership.

"Congratulations, Mr. Reyes, with your help and experience. MASBA is looking forward to a very successful year. Having a complete board will improve communication and planning for the 2014-2015 school year for the organization," said Munoz.

Reyes was announced as the group's new leader during MASBA's general assembly meeting held on Feb. 1 in McAllen.

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Local art league collecting art entries from local elementary, middle school students

February 7th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Local kids are being invited to show off their art skills. Art submissions for this year's Seguin Art League Elementary and Middle School Art Show will be collected Saturday morning.

Seguin Art League President Robin Walker says the group is always amazed by the various levels of talent that is submitted to the contest each year.

"We have over the years been in different locations and this year, we'll be hanging the exhibit over at the GRMC Selig Room, but every year, we have a really enthusiastic response from the elementary and middle school and because of the strength of these art teachers, it is just a remarkable showing," said Walker.

Walker says kids are invited to enter any type of art media. She says up to two entries per child will be accepted.

"We had some sculpture. We have had acrylic water color drawing. We get a lot of graphite which is pencil drawing and colored pencil. Any media is acceptable, there are some rules. They need to look on www.seguinblogspot.com and the prospectus will tell them how to prepare their picture. We just need to be able to get it up on the wall once it gets to us. So they need to follow those rules, but it's nothing complicated and we are going to have cash prizes," said Walker.

Art entries will be accepted at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Selig Room located in the far east end of Guadalupe Regional Medical Center. An awards reception for the art show will be held Sunday, Feb. 16 from 3 to 5 p.m. at GRMC. Those having questions are asked to contact Walker at 830-876-8980.

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Local church targets specific age group for new Sunday night ministry; College, career, young family ministry to begin this weekend

February 7th, 2014

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The Loft is a newly renovated space at New Life Fellowship Church. The space is home to the new Relevant College/Career Ministry designed for people ages 18-35. The first service is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Sunday. Courtesy photo.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local church is channeling its efforts onto a particular age group in hopes of reigniting people's faith and better recognizing their spiritual needs. Equipped with a non-traditional worship space and a community based ministry, leaders at New Life Fellowship Church say they are excited about launching, Relevant, a new church service for people ages 18 to 35 years old.

Pastor Chris Larson says the college/career ministry is the first of its kind in Seguin or surrounding area. He says for whatever reason, many people within this age group are often not as active in a church community.

"I was speaking at TLU and I was speaking to their SGA and I asked them, I said, ‘how many of you really go to church regularly’ and most of them don't. The statistics show 60 to 80 percent of people in college or in their young career age leave their faith. That's pretty heartbreaking numbers. So it's going to be a service directly for 18 to 35 and they're the future leaders of the city. They're the future leaders of family. We have a city full of divorce, full of father problems and mother problems and we have all these things in the area. The people that we need to be reaching are the ones going into families, the ones that are going into business and so we don't want to wait until they are older to give them an opportunity to change old habits, give them an opportunity to change old ways, so it's a ministry for that group of people," said Larson.


Larson says the new ministry's intention is not to pull people away from their home church. Instead, he says it is designed to act as an additional source of support for young people and families who find themselves needing it.

"We're waiting (for you) -- no matter what background you are, no matter what you've been through, even if you don't like church and the hard part is, a lot of times when it comes with college, people are coming from out of town and they're coming from outside the city or from sometimes from outside the state and they don't know anyone. What we're going to be doing, is it's not just going to be every other Sunday night, having a service, sitting in a chair. Some Sundays we're going to meet together in the city and do something to help the city, maybe feed the poor, those type of avenues, because I don't want it just to be about sitting in a chair. I want to be how can I make this relevant in my everyday life," said Larson.

Larson says an environment has been created where people can come as they are whether they grew up in a church or aren't sure whether or not they even like it. He says people who attend will find food, great live music and a message geared specifically to them.

"We have a loft that is fairly large. It can fit easily over 500 people and it's very different. It's not your traditional church room. It's not the normal white walls with pews which there is no problem I have with that. I grew up in a traditional church with pews, but it's kind of a mixed situation I guess because it's not about the room at all. I believe we can meet in a white room sitting on the floor and have the same type of service, but at the same time, when you walk in, a lot of times you have your guard up. People are so used to just being judged (so) when you walk in, you see that it's a comfortable place for you to be," said Larson.

The new church service will meet for its first time this Sunday at 6:30 p.m. in the Loft at New Life Fellowship Church. The service will be held at the same time every other Sunday night. The church building is located at 16489 S. State Highway 123.

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LA

Light snow, ice causes delays

February 6th, 2014

(Seguin) -- Schools were delayed for two hours on Thursday due to the winter weather conditions.  There's a chance of more icy drizzle tomorrow (Frdiay).  If schools are delayed again, we'll make that announcement on Seguin Radio AM 1580 KWED, or online at SeguinToday.Com.  Here's a look at the light snow that fell overnight 

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(Courtesy Photos)

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Tri-County

City bonds to have smaller impact on tax rate; Park, library bonds secure low interest rates

February 6th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) -- The city's taxpayer got some favorable news during Tuesday night's Seguin City Council meeting. The city officially sold its voter approved bonds for a new library and a new park. The city's financial advisor Duane Westerman, of SAMCO, says the city got a low interest rate on its $19.8 million in bonds.

Mayor Don Keil says the low interest rate means the bonds will have a smaller impact on the city's tax rate. Keil says the city's chances of securing the lower rate were aided by the fact that the city's credit rating was recently upgraded. He says it's all good news for the city and its taxpayers.

"It's all due to the way that, I think we presented this to S&P. They decided to upgrade us to a double A- up from an A+ and we're very proud of that. I think that had a lot to do with giving us such a good bond rating," said Keil.

The city originally indicated that the library and parks projects would add nearly five cents to the debt service tax rate, but that was based on a conservative interest rate of 4.5 percent. The actual rate of 3.9 percent means significant savings for the city.

Voters last November approved $14.8 million for a new public library to be built on Nolte Street in downtown Seguin. Voters also approved $5 million to upgrade the city's parks system, including the creation of a new community park near the intersection of Vaughan Street and San Antonio Avenue on the city's west side.

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City manager gets thumbs up during evaluation, council approves pay increase

February 6th, 2014

By Darren Dunn

(Seguin) --Seguin City Manager Doug Faseler got a major vote of confidence during Tuesday's meeting. The Seguin City Council gave Faseler a pair of raises based on his performance over the past couple of years.

Faseler was not evaluated during 2013, so Tuesday's performance review effectively covered both fiscal years 2013 and 2014. Mayor Don Keil says he believes Faseler has done a great job for the city, and that the four percent increase for last year and this year is well deserved.

"Yes, we gave him four percent retro active last year as well as this year. I could probably be at fault for not doing that. It's just something that frankly, we had a very busy year last year and it just got left behind. We just did not get to that and frankly, I didn't think it was fair to him to evaluate him right after we have a brand new council that hasn't worked with him. I kept pushing it off and finally, we got to be able to do it this year, but he’s done an excellent job," said Keil.

The council approved the increase by a 5-2 margin. Councilmembers Fonda Mathis, Nick Carrillo, Bob Pees, Jet Crabb and Donna Dodgen all voted in favor of the raise, while Councilmembers Tomas Castellon and Ernest Leal voted against it. Councilman Carlos Medrano was not present for the meeting.

Councilman Leal says he had no problem with Faseler’s performance as city manager, but he did have problems with the amount of money being offered by the council. Leal says money has been tight for the people he represents, and that's one of the reasons why he said “no” to the increase.

"We didn't vote for recycling because I didn't think my constituents should pay for that. So now if I vote for Doug's raise, what am I telling my constituents?” said Leal.

Councilwoman Dodgen said she believed that the pay raise was justified, and she thinks that Faseler has done a good job for the city and its residents.

"I think he’s continued to move this city forward, juggling many projects and many planned projects. I want to see him continue here so we can continue to move in the positive direction that we are going. I want these projects to be continued and to be overseen in the manner in which he does it. I think he handles his staff very well. He has an open door policy for us as council persons -- coming in and being new, he was very open and willing and heard my suggestions and never thought any question was really too stupid or an idea was too simple. I really appreciate that and I think he should be rewarded for that," said Dodgen.

Mayor Keil says Faseler continues to show his ability to lead the city. He says the recent visit by the bond rating agencies was a clear indication to him that the city had the right person in place to lead its day-to-day operations.

"His professionalism is incredible. I was really impressed like I said when we had the evaluations by the bond rating firms with S&P and Fitch about how professional he and the staff were in presenting this city to these bond rating firms. It really made me proud and I think every citizen should be proud of the way that he and his staff presented this to the city. You would be very very impressed because even these bond rating people who were sitting there listening to the presentation, kept nodding and also agreeing and saying ‘wow you guys are really doing the right things.’ They all had great answers to every question that the rating firms had. They answered everything affirmatively and with great knowledge in what they were doing. It was just so very impressive for me to see that. That's something that is not happening in every small town in America, but it's happening here," said Keil.

The council met with Faseler in closed session to conduct his review, and later approved the increase in open session. Faseler has served as Seguin's city manager since 2006.

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town and country

JP court to offer free Valentine's Day weddings; Couples encouraged to get their license today for free nuptials

February 6th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Forget the flowers and box of chocolates. A local judge wants you to have the opportunity to give the gift of saying 'I do" this Valentine's Day.

Guadalupe County Judge Precinct 2 Sheryl Sachtleben is again looking to help couples tie the knot in her courtroom for free. Sachtleben says this will be the fourth year that she opens up her courtroom on Valentine's Day for the free wedding ceremonies.

"It gives people an opportunity to think about tying the knot and being able to do it for free. So, I want to give everybody the information so they can get their license. They'll need to go to the Justice Center and get that license by Monday by 5 o'clock and then they'll be able to come in here on Valentine's Day. We'll be doing free weddings from 10 a.m. to noon. They can call our office and get a time slot and then they will come in and we'll take care of them," said Sachtleben.

Sachtleben says hosting the ceremony for free helps couples save anywhere from $75 to $100. She says each year, she does what she can to help make the day special.

"I do cookies and punch and we have flowers. We take pictures of them and everybody has a time slot so they do have the courtroom with their families and to themselves so that they can do their vows and enjoy a little time with their family and take some pictures before we bring in the next person. So we are doing them about every 30 minutes," said Sachtleben.

Again, couples looking to get married on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14 must register for their marriage license before the 5 p.m. Monday deadline. They should also contact the JP 2 office for an appointment. The office can be reached by calling 830-379-2214.

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American lyric soprano to return to TLU for free concert

February 6th, 2014

Jennifer Black

Jennifer Black performs tonight at TLU.  The performance is free.

(Seguin) -- The Texas Lutheran University School of Music tonight welcomes soprano Jennifer Black in a return engagement. Black will perform in recital on beginning at 7 p.m. today in the Ayers Recital Hall of the Schuech Fine Arts Center on the TLU campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The American lyric soprano returns to the TLU School of Music after her 2009 performance with renowned composer Jake Heggie. Black’s program will include arias and selections by Libby Larsen, Jake Heggie, Rachmaninov and William Bolcom, among others.

Black’s young career is marked by numerous debuts, including the role of Lisa in the Metropolitan Opera’s new production of La Sonnambula in 2009, and her 2010 role as Micäela in Carmen. With the Santa Fe Opera, she made her debut as Micäela in Carmen during the 2006 summer season, and has since returned for role debuts as Mimi in La Bohème summer 2007 and Adina in The Elixir of Love during the summer 2009. With the New York City Opera, she made her company debut as Musetta in La Bohème in April 2006, and recently returned as Micäela in Carmen.

Additional noted engagements from the past two seasons included her Los Angeles Opera debut as Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi and Suor Genovieffa in a new production of Il Trittico, her Minnesota Opera debut as Mimi in La Bohème, her Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse debut as 5th Magd in Elektra, Mlle. Jouvenot in Adriana Lecouvreur at the MET, her role debut as Juliette in Romeo et Juliette with PORT Opera (Maine), and her role debut as Violetta in La Traviata in concert with the Greensboro Opera.

In concert, Black recently performed Carmina Burana with New Choral Society, Schumann duets with Matthew Plenk and the MET Chamber Ensemble in Weill Recital Hall with Ken Noda at the piano, and was presented in recital by the George London Foundation at the Morgan Library in NYC. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with harpist Grace Cloutier.

Awards and recognitions include a 2008 Opera Index Award, a 2007 George London/Leonie Rysanek Award and second place in the 2007 Loren L. Zachary Society Competition. She was also a 2000 Metropolitan Opera National Council Awards finalist, a recipient of a 2005 Sullivan Grant, and a finalist in the Dallas Opera Guild Competition, the Houston Grand Opera’s Eleanor McCollum Competition, the Connecticut Opera Guild, and the MacAllister Awards.

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Light snow, ice causes delays; Most schools to start 2 hours later

February 6th, 2014

Temperatures dropped well below the freeze mark overnight, and that has led to the delay to the start of the school day for most children in the area. Most schools will have a two hour delay to the start of the school day. The delay impacts students and staff in the:

- Seguin ISD

- Navarro ISD

- New Braunfels ISD

- Comal ISD

- San Marcos CISD

- Lifegate Christian School

- St. James Catholic School

- Faith Lutheran Pre-School extended care opens at 9 a.m.

- Emmanuel's Lutheran Day School

- First United Methodist Church Pre-School

- St. John's Lutheran Daycare 9:30

- Guadalupe County Grand Jury will delay its meeting time to 1 p.m.

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City offers discounts to have dogs spayed or neutered; Vouchers now available on first-come, first serve basis

February 5th, 2014

puppy

12-week old puppy available for Adoption: Call 830-401-2335

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- The city of Seguin is making it easier for you to help protect your dog's health while helping to reduce the pet overpopulation. Seguin Animal Services is encouraging dog owners to take advantage of the city's low-cost Spay/Neuter Assistance Program (S.N.A.P).

Animal Services Supervisor Leah Lewis says although the program has already been in place, she wanted to make sure that all new dog owners are supplied with this important information.

"The Seguin Animal Services Spay Neuter Assistance Program actually started in 2013, but with the new year underway, we wanted to remind the public that anyone who resides in the city limits is eligible. We strongly encourage the public to take advantage of this grant funded program which is available for all owned dogs residing within the city limits of Seguin," said Lewis.

Lewis says there are many benefits to having pets spayed or neutered.

"It improves the dog’s health, benefits the community and reduces pet overpopulation and it also helps reduce a number of strays on the streets and in addition, it helps eliminate the possibility of unplanned litters and helps reduce your dog from running away from home to look for a mate," said Lewis.

Lewis says through this program, dogs can be neutered for as little as $15 or spayed for as little as $25.

"It's a set fee that's based upon the sex of the animal and the weight. The vouchers are good at the local participating vet clinics here in Seguin, but the only additional fees that you could encounter is – let’s say your female dog is pregnant or in heat. As long as the surgery is routine, the voucher will cover the entire cost of the sterilization," said Lewis.

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She says any additional services requested by the dog owners such as a rabies shot will not be included in the price of the voucher. Lewis says the vouchers are available to any Seguin resident. She says the program is not based on income. However, additional financial assistance for low income residents might be available with proof of income.

"There's two locations where you can obtain the vouchers. It's at Seguin City Hall and then Seguin Animal Services. There's no appointment necessary. It's first come, first served. Each resident is eligible for four vouchers. That's just so you're also compliant with city ordinance because there's only to be four dogs at each residence," said Lewis.

Applications can be obtained at Seguin City Hall between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. The Seguin Animal Services office is located at 809 S. River St. The office is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon and again from 1 to 5 p.m. The office is also open on Saturdays between 9:30 a.m. and noon.

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Guadalupe County awaits approval of state award to help repair area roadways

February 5th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County's application to TxDOT is officially in the mail. The application is Guadalupe County's attempt to seek money from the state to help repair the damaged roadways caused by the heavy truck traffic being brought into the area by the Eagle Ford Shale oil industry.

Guadalupe County Judge Larry Jones says action during Tuesday's meeting completes the county's application for the state money.

"My information from TxDOT is that we have a guaranteed, rounding it off to about $1.5 million. We're applying for more than that, about $5.4 million worth of projects or what is in our application. Now the reason is that if other counties don't apply or there's money leftover, they may fund other projects for us and give us more money. So the minimum is $1.5 and the court moved through with that today," said Jones.

Judge Jones says the commissioners court approved what is being called Area A. He says this area of the county includes a majority of the roads that are desperate for repair.

"The southern part of our county, which includes Zion Hill Road, some of the most impacted roads are in that area A. Now all that really means is that we'll get a statement of what the values of everything in there are worth today, any value that goes up -- in other words any development, any oil wells, anything like that that goes in there -- all that money that's created from the increased value will be spent in that area for roads. It can't go into our general fund or anything like that. So that's an important part that we were looking at too because if there's going to be oil development, we think it'll be in that southern part of our county. The grant money can go anywhere in the county. Now that's the difference and we talked about it in length today in court because there's some interpretation that said all the grant money has to be in the zone that you created. But our attorneys are telling us that that's not (quite right). It's only the extra tax revenue -- as the oil wells come in or things like that come in -- that money has to be spent only in that area, but the original grant money we can put anywhere in the county," said Jones.

Judge Jones says county commissioners have been working hard and consistent to make sure the application was completed and forwarded to the state. He says this is too big of an award to pass up.

"I am absolutely ecstatic. Is it enough money? No, but does it help? Listen my entire yearly budget and that includes labor and everything is only about $7 million for road and bridge. So you can imagine that the bulk of that is for payroll. For the court to get $1.5 million for our county -- that we can put into our road and bridge to help maintain our county roads -- is pretty huge. It's not just a little bit of the crumbs that they pass to us, that's a pretty good amount of money. I think that we may still get up towards that $5 million. Now if we got that kind of money, we really really really would be excited and I think that we're going to get more than the $1.5," said Jones.

Up to this point, the application process had included a public hearing and determination of what section of the county was in need of the most repair. Part of the action this week was also the approval of five members to the Guadalupe County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zone Advisory Board. Those names include Oil and Gas members Robert Crabb, Bruce Meyerson and Jud Alexander along with public members Jennifer Hartman and Steve Johnson.
County officials say they expect to hear more about the award in late April.

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Seguin invited to spend part of its summer in Chicago; Limited bookings available for motor coach trip

February 5th, 2014

chicago

The great lights of Chicago and a list of other destinations are being planned for this year's RSVP motor coach trip to the Windy City. Each year, the group organizes trips to help fund its local program.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- How would you like to spend nine days in the Windy City? Trips are currently being booked for a motor coach trip to Chicago.

Seguin's Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) is working to fill each seat needed for its summer trip to Chicago. The trip is scheduled from June 21-29.

RSVP Director Steve Doerr says the trip is part of the program's annual effort to raise money for the local program. He says each year, the group organizes a similar motor coach trip to destinations all across the U.S. He says anyone in the community is invited to book a seat on the trip.

"We have a good time because we do bingo. Then we watch movies and of course, we stop about every two hours so we don't get too cramped. (We stop) for a morning break, for a lunch break (and) mid-afternoon break. It's a long way from South Texas, but once we get up there, we'll be spending four nights in the same hotel doing lots of interesting things. We'll be going not just to the Willis Tower, but we're taking a city tour. We'll go onto the Navy Pier and on the way back, we stop at the Spurlock Museum in Urbana, IL. and then also at the Clinton Library on the way back as well," said Doerr.

Doerr says the affordable cost per person makes booking the trip easy. However, he says seating is limited making it important for individuals to sign-up today.

"The price per person for double occupancy is $809 which is actually pretty all inclusive. It covers not only the lodging and attractions, but even the gratuities for the driver and the city guide and travel insurance is also included. So, about the only thing that's not included are the lunches (and) a few of the dinners," said Doerr.

Doerr says similar trips have been taken to Atlantic City, Miami, New York, Memphis and New Orleans.
Final payment for this year's trip is April 15. Those interested in the trip to Chicago are asked to contact the RSVP program at 830-379-0300.

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Seguin Smiles to host Soup Social; Seguin invited to lunch, dinner at local dental office

February 5th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- A local dental office wants to warm you up with a smile. Seguin Smiles is inviting the public to stop by its offices today for a bowl of soup. The annual Soup Social returns today at the office of Dr. Janice Weinman.

Dr. Weinman says this will mark the fourth year that her office has opened its doors for the event.

"It came about four years ago and we just decided we wanted to have something we could give back to the community, we could promote our business, we could allow people to actually come to our business and see our business and it just ended up being just such a fun thing. We said we've got to continue to do this and allow people to get together, fellowship with each other, enjoy each other’s company, have a chance to win great prizes and at the same time, learn some things about our office and about dentistry in general," said Weinman.

Dr. Weinman says five different soup recipes will be featured. She says the featured soups are the results of a Facebook contest.

"So we started doing this, it was a way to get people to go onto our Facebook page, learn about us (and) give them an opportunity to win a $50 Visa card – for patients, our Facebook fans to go ahead and submit a recipe online and we allowed them to vote on it (and) whoever gets the most votes is the one that we pick," said Weinman.

Winning first place is Allison May and her Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup. Other lucky folks who will have their soups featured include
Judy Campbell and her E-Z Microwave Broccoli Cheese Soup; Carrie Hallmark and her Loaded Baked Potato Soup; Pat Harper and her Crock Pot Style Mexican Chicken Chowder and Teri Puhrmann with Taco Soup.

Dr. Weinman says in addition to tasting some great soup recipes, all guests will get the chance to walk away with some great door prizes.

"Just come in and you can register to win the prizes if you'd like to. We give them away at least every 30 minutes and you just go into the different rooms. We serve five different soups and you just go into each one of the rooms and say I want to try some of this soup. We give you a cup of it and you go to the next room and try the next one," said Weinman.

The free Soup Social will be held today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and again from 5 to 7 p.m. Seguin Smiles is located at 1460 Eastwood Dr.

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Heading West

February 4th, 2014

trail ride 2014

Trail riders made their annual trek through Seguin Monday afternoon. The covered wagons are on their way to the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo. Seguin is commonly a route for various trail rides that make the annual trip west to SA. Photo by Andie Rangel-Jenner.

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Texas Main Street directors wrap up visit to Seguin; Visitors statewide recognize the uniqueness of downtown Seguin

February 4th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- It was a week well spent in downtown Seguin. That's according to participants of last week's Texas Main Street Professional Development Series. Individuals responsible for their own downtowns traveled to Seguin for a comparison and contrast of their programs to others. The idea behind the meeting was to help generate new concepts that can be carried back with them to their respective cities and communities.

Among those packing a few new ideas was Amy Miller, the community development director for the city of Elgin. Miller says she was impressed with Seguin’s Main Street Program which is under the direction of Director Mary Jo Langford. Miller says there was plenty to learn.

"We are particularly impressed with the public private sector partnership reinvestments that they have going on. We've gotten to see a couple of really exciting major renovation efforts in the downtown. Overall, the public infrastructure is just great in terms of their accessibility. The beautiful Central Park, that's really lovely," said Miller.

Among those getting the long distance award for travel was Beth Duke, the executive director of Center City of Amarillo. Duke says it's always good to see what others are doing.

"Seguin has been inspiring to me. I'm a native Texan. I've been all over San Antonio, all over South Texas but this is my first trip to Seguin and I will say just seeing the Texas Theatre marquee and the lights just makes me know that this town has a story and you are protecting your history and really keeping the things that make Seguin unique because you can go to a strip mall or a shopping center in any city and you might not even know where you are, but when you see these landmarks you really get a sense of history," said Duke.

Duke says although each city’s mission is different, there does appear to be a similar challenge.

"I think our challenge is that historic preservation is so important, but at the same time, it is so expensive and getting people to truly, literally buy into preserving their history. When you see the Texas Theatre, you see that it can happen with community volunteers. It gives you that inspiration to go back to Amarillo and say we can do it too," said Duke.

Although hosted in Seguin, last week's seminar also proved beneficial for those here at home. Taking in all the new information as the newest member of the Seguin Main Street Advisory Board was Andrea Hoffmann. After hearing folks from across the state, she says it didn't take long for her to realize the excellent program that exist right here at home.

"You know if I had to say the one thing that stands out to me the most right now, it's how fortunate we are to have Mary Jo (Langford) because she does so much for us and for our community that looking at other towns, it's really dependent on the volunteers to do a lot of the stuff that Mary Jo does. So we're super fortunate to have her and I don't know if people realize that, but getting to be here meeting other Main Street managers, I really can see the difference in how fortunate we are," said Hoffmann.

City leaders say approximately 75 visitors spent the week in Seguin participating during the Main Street development and training session.

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seguin gold

Guadalupe County Commissioners to apply for road repair funding

February 4th, 2014

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- Guadalupe County will look at tapping into some state funding to help repair damaged roads tied to traffic with the Eagle Ford Shale oil industry. The action is expected to be taken during today's meeting of the Guadalupe County Commissioners Court.

After due notice and a public hearing in late December, county commissioners say they are ready to approve the creation of one or more County Energy Transportation Reinvestment Zones. They say money is being made available for those counties who continue to deal with damaged roads. They say the roads are being impacted by the trucks traveling to and from oil fields in counties located south and southeast of Guadalupe County.

The state requires that counties who are interested in the funding complete an application. A large portion of southern Guadalupe County was selected during the public hearing as an area for the reinvestment zone money.

The meeting will be held at 10 a.m. today in the Guadalupe County Justice Center.

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Texas Lutheran University to host U.S. Navy Band

February 4th, 2014

Navy band

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- America's Navy is coming home to Seguin. Seguin is one of 22 cities in six states that has been selected to host a performance by the United States Navy Concert Band during its 2014 national tour.

The United States Navy Concert Band's performance is scheduled to perform next week at Texas Lutheran University’s Jackson Auditorium.

The United States Navy Concert Band, recognized as one of the finest wind ensembles in the world, presents a wide array of marches, patriotic selections, orchestral transcriptions and a modern wind ensemble repertoire.

As the original ensemble of the Navy Band, the Concert Band has been performing public concerts and participating in high-profile events for nearly 90 years. The concert is described as one of the Navy's signature outreach programs.

One of the U.S. Navy Band's primary responsibilities involves touring the country. All of the band's primary performing units embark each year on concert tours throughout specified regions of the country, allowing the band to reach out to audiences in areas of the country that do not have opportunities to see the Navy's premier musical ensembles on a regular basis.

The concerts are family-friendly events, meant to be entertaining to veterans, families, individuals and those interested in joining the Navy.

"America's Navy has only recently adopted the motto, 'Being There Matters,' but it's been a part of what we do for many years - through music - and therefore Navy bands are integral to our national security," said Capt. Brian O. Walden, the Navy Band's commanding officer. "Today, Navy bands are still performing around the world, acting as agents of public diplomacy for the American government, improving relations with our allies and winning the hearts and minds with the universal language of music."

These national tours return following a year in which sequestration and its impact on outreach spending forced several of them to be suspended. Pentagon officials announced a plan Oct. 18 that enables the military services to resume conducting community and public outreach activities in 2014, albeit at a significantly reduced capacity.

"Community and public outreach is a crucial Departmental activity that reinforces trust and confidence in the United States military and in its most important asset - people," said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in an internal memorandum to service chiefs and other military leaders. "These proactive engagements showcase our superior combat power, demonstrate readiness to defend the nation, and help to preserve the all-volunteer force."

The Navy Band's 2014 tour includes 22 performances in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The band will travel more than 5,300 miles, traveling by bus and truck an average of more than four hours each day.

The concert in Seguin will get underway at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 13. All Navy Band performances are free and open to the public. Tickets, however, are required. Tickets can be reserved online at secure.acceptiva.com or by calling 830-372-8063. They may also be picked up from the TLU Bookstore.

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Planning for the future

February 4th, 2014

barnes

Barnes Middle School eighth grade students listen intently as AnnaLisa Garza, Seguin High School college and career coordinator, explains the Seguin Early College High School program on Jan. 23. All fall 2014 incoming freshman at Seguin High School will have the opportunity to earn college credits while earning their diploma thanks to a partnership with St. Philip's College in San Antonio. Courtesy Photo.

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UIL releases new football districts; Most schools move up with the start of 6A districts

February 3rd, 2014

District 27-5A
Boerne Champion
Floresville
Kerrville Tivy
Lockhart
SA Alamo Heights
San Antonio Kennedy
San Antonio Memorial
San Marcos
Seguin

District 25-6A
Cibolo Steele
Comal Canyon
Comal Smithson Valley
Converse Judson
New Braunfels
San Antonio Wagner
Schertz Clemens

District 13-4A
Geronimo Navarro
Hondo
Llano
Lytle
Wimberley

District 13-3A
Comfort
Ingram Moore
Luling
Marion
San Antonio Cole
Universal City Randolph

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GRMC gets top notch nationwide rating; Another year, another Five-Star designation for local hospital

February 3rd, 2014

5Star rating

HealthGrades representative Dan Sheets speaks during a ceremony at GRMc, while GRMC CEO Robert Haynes looks on.

By Cindy Aguirre-Herrera

(Seguin) -- GRMC is again celebrating being named one of the nation's five star hospitals.

HealthGrades, the leading destination for patients to research and select a physician/provider has again recognized Guadalupe Regional Medical Center for its success in 2013-2014.
 
During a recent reception celebrating the news, Dan Sheets, the director of client development for HeathGrades, says GRMC is again recognized for being in the top 10 percent in the nation for orthopedic surgery excellence. He says that includes five stars for total knee replacement surgery and for hip fracture -- a designation that the hospital has held onto for the last seven years in a row. In addition, GRMC celebrates five stars in respiratory failure and in gynecological surgery.
 
"The significance of these awards shows the commitment to quality for patient care, bottom line. So, Guadalupe puts the patient first and foremost. So no longer does the patient lose their person, lose their name when they come in here. They're not just a number. They matter to the staff and the physicians which comes from leadership," said Sheets.

The Five Star rating,  according to HealthGrades, is defined as a reflection of the "hospital performance that is statistically better than expected in treating a condition or conducting a procedure, as measured by clinical outcome rates for risk-adjusted mortality and complications."

Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Jack Deetjen says each year, HealthGrades analyzes three years worth of data regarding such things as the overall outcome of the surgeries and the lack of complications.
 
"When people walk into a doctor's office and see a white coat, their blood pressure goes up. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says ‘I'd really like to go to the hospital today.’ Two major things like mortality and complications -- I think is a very good test for health grades to look at. If we look at what happens in our hospital, in orthopedics with regards to total knee replacement, we know that if you go into our hospital and have a total knee replacement, you have a 40 percent less chance than national average of having a complication. If you have a hip fracture and you come to our hospital, you have a 53 percent less chance than the national average of having a complication. Complications are what people are afraid of and if we can keep that down, I'm very happy," said Dr. Deetjen.
 
Representing the Five Star Gynecological Surgery team at GRMC was Dr. James Colvin. Dr. Colvin says the rating is indeed the result of a team effort.
 
"We couldn't do what we do unless we had the good nursing staff and the OR crews that we do. That's the basis for us performing. I always tell the ones in OR, give me what I need, not what I ask for and they're good at doing that. Nurses will always bring up things that maybe I overlooked or didn't think about when we were caring for a patient in the hospital. So, it's them that really make this work. We do want to do the procedures but it's the care afterwards that makes a whole lot of difference. We're very very appreciative of this and very thankful for the recognition," said Dr. Colvin.
 
This also marked the second year in a row that the Treatment of Respiratory Failure at GRMC was also rated as five star. Dr. Gustavo Gross says like the other recognized groups at the hospital, he too applauds the dedication of all the doctors and staff that come together to provide the best experience ever.
 
"This is something that obviously we couldn't have accomplished without the excellent ICU staff that we have and the guidance, the everlasting guidance of Dr. Hong who is always available for us as back up. I'd like to say that Dr. Hong, from the very first time I came to this facility, has always been a great inspiration for us in ICU. As time went on, the staff really revealed itself to be an exceptional ICU staff and there's no, absolutely no way we that we could accomplish the things that we've accomplished there without their help and support," said Dr. Gross.
 
Celebrating the news with the entire hospital family was GRMC Chief Executive Officer Robert Haynes. Haynes says the five star rating is a recognition that the entire community can take pride in.
 
"I want Seguin to know and this community to know there is no what if, you are making a difference. I'm very much proud of you, of the physicians that do what they do. I've done this for a long time. I don't know how much longer I'll do it, but I've done this for a long time and I'm telling you, you don't find a jewel like this on the river everyday," said Haynes.
 
According to HealthGrades, the organization offers quality performance ratings in three categories. They include five star, three star and one star. Three star is expected treatment while one star is "statistically worse than expected in treating a condition or conducting a procedure." HealthGrades has reported on the quality and safety of the nation’s hospitals since 1998.

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Tri-County

Life sentence given to child molester; DA, County Attorney offices work together on prosecution

February 3rd, 2014

Edgar Javier Gonzales

Edgar Javier Gonzales will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

By Darren Dunn
 
(Seguin) -- A Guadalupe County jury has handed down a life sentence to a 36-year man accused of molesting a local child for years.  The sentence was handed down Friday against Edgar Javier Gonzales. 
 
Guadalupe County Attorney Dave Willborn says Gonzales was convicted and sentenced on a charge of continuous sexual abuse of a child victim under the age of 14. 
 
"Over the course of about five years or so, Mr. Gonzales was molesting one of his step-daughters. She was age six when the molestation began and it lasted over the course of about four years," said Willborn.
 
 
Willborn's office normally handles misdemeanor cases but he's talking about this felony case because his office jointly worked the trial with the office of District Attorney Heather McMinn. Willborn says the idea behind the collaboration is to provide the best team possible t