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A child enticement report in Steiner Ranch was filed with the Travis County Sheriff ’s Office last week and a detective is looking into the case. “There have been no other reports,” said Roger Wade, Public Information Officer Travis County Sheriff ’s Office. “A detective is assigned the case. No one is in custody and there is nothing new to report.” The possible case of child enticement happened on New Year’s Eve when Traci Moening, who lives in Steiner Ranch, and her son were getting exercise. He rode a bike, while she ran. Moening’s seven year old son was about 100 yards ahead of


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her and stopped to wait for her at the corner of Quinlan Park Road and Capella Trail when a man in a blue pickup truck pulled up, rolled down the window and began talking to him. The man drove off by the time Moening reached her son, reports say. The boy told his mom that the man in the truck asked the boy if he was waiting for him and then asked if he wanted some cookies. When the boy didn’t answer again, the man in the truck rolled up his window and pulled away, Moening said. This allegedly happened around the same time frame as two other incidents in Cedar Park. Last

Lakeway Regional Medical Center is hiring hundreds of employees, getting ready for opening day in April. The $200-plus million hospital under construction at the southern edge of Lakeway plans to open in mid to late April, said Lakeway Regional CEO David Kreye. “Currently we are in the process of hiring. We have hired 15 people at this



Austin Energy rate hike public Polar Bear Swim-a-Thon raises hearing to be held this week money for MD Anderson By LYNETTE HAALAND

Austin Energy outlined its proposal for an average 12.5 percent rate increase in mid December and the first Austin City Council public hearing on it starts at 4 pm on Jan. 12 at City Hall. The utility is hearing from customers already but not in large numbers, said Ed Clark

Communications Director Austin Energy. “The key to the process will naturally be how the City Council views our response to concerns that are raised. Concerns will naturally be voiced during the public hearing Thursday at the City Council meeting,” Clark said. “The process goes from there. Our goal is to consistently demonstrate that the proposed rate

structure is fair and reasonable,” he added. Austin Energy developed its proposal with a recognition that it will be reviewed by the Public Utility Commission of Texas which has standards in every regard. City Council will set at least one additional public hearing for January and could set more. They could vote on the rate proENERGY, 4

A local 8th grader recruited 15 friends who swam collectively more than 44 miles outdoors on Sunday to raise money for MD Anderson Children’s Cancer Hospital. Zach Bezella , Canyon Ridge Middle Schooler, coordinated a Polar Bear Swim-a-Thon at the Jewish Community Association of Austin on Sunday. “The kids swam a total of 3,105 laps (44.1 miles) in 3 hours. The temperature was 52 degrees which didn’t seem to bother the kids at all,” said Cindy Bezella, parent volunteer. Zach Bezella has been a swimmer since he was 6 years old. He swims for both Steiner Stars as

well as Cedar Park Swim Team. Zach chose to raise money for MD Anderson as part of his mitzvah project for his upcoming Bar Mitzvah in March. “Sometimes I take for granted having my health and being able to do what I like to do. I’d like to use my ability to swim, to help kids that are sick from cancer, and are unable to do the things I can,” Zach said. As of Monday, the kids raised $2,048 for MD Anderson in Houston. The money raised will help the wish list of the pediatric patients; to help reduce fear, anxiety and POLAR BEAR, 7

River Place homeowners work together to Whataburger to open in protect community from fire danger weeks By LESLEE BASSMAN


For the past 20 years, River Place’s Dixon Gleason has enjoyed the forested view from his home on Eagle Trace Cove. However, while clearing heavy underbrush adjacent to his home last weekend, he acknowledged that the natural beauty of his surroundings comes at a high price. “They [fire department] told us in the past that our house would be sacrificed to save the majority of houses in the neighborhood (if wildfire broke out),” Gleason said. Gleason and other homeowners of River Place teamed up over the weekend with City of Austin Wildland Management officials, Lake Travis Fire Rescue officers and a neighborhood Cub Scout troop to clean up the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve. Their goal, reduce potential wildfire fuels in the area. Normally restricted, residents and volunteers were permitted to enter the preserve lands for work along Eagle Trace, Merrywing and Pelican Point. City officials provided tools, gloves, trash bags and drinks to participants. The workday, coordinated by River Place’s Firewise Committee, was designed to maintain an existing shaded fuel break and remove dead and downed material, potential wildfire fuels, along the fence line which delineates habitat preserve from home-

Leslee Bassman

The new Four Points Whataburger plans to open at the end of this month at the Trails at 620. “Sometimes weather can delay an opening but we are planning on a soft opening on Tuesday, January 31,” said Chris Powell, Regional Marketing Manager, Whataburger Restaurants LP. Whataburger will have its Grand Opening on Feb. 8 where not only will it give away free hamburgers during 5- 8 pm but it will also give away free hamburgers for a year for the first 15 customers, Powell said. There will also be a radio station remote and games. The Four Points Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting will be on Feb. 17 at 10 am. The Four Points store will employ between 40 and 50 part- and full-time staffers and, like the other stores, will be open 24 hours a day, only closing on Christmas. “We are a family owned and operated, Texas company and most of our stores are corporate stores which makes a huge difWHATABURGER, 5

RIVER PLACE, 5 Above: Eagle Trace neighbors Dixon Gleason (left) and Don Adams (right) cleared grasses and brush last week to make their River Place neighborhood a little safer from the threat of wildfire. Below: Cub Scout Pack 2030 was out in force to support River Place’s Balcones Canyonlands Preserve cleanup last Saturday. Pictured are (from left): Brenner Bussy, J. R. Crawford, Pierce Broe and Luke Crawford.


School......................................3 Opinion...................................4 Classifieds...............................5 Sports......................................7 Find us on Facebook Happy 2012! We wish you a warm holiday season with family and friends.

Leslee Bassman

Quinlan Crossing owner seeking resubdivision Property Development Centers, the owner of Quinlan Crossing where Randalls is being built, is seeking approval to resubdivid the site into smaller parcels. PDC is seeking to resubdivide some of the 60.9 acre tract from one lot into 14 lots, said Don Perryman, Senior Planner with the City of Austin.

The summary of request is for “commercial, open space and private joint access uses.” There is a public hearing scheduled for Jan. 17 at 9 am at the Travis County Commissioners Courtroom at 314 West 11th St. On the site, 23 acres are set aside for de-

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velopment while the remaining 37 acres are open greenspace, Perryman said. Usually in these types of requests, the owners are selling pad sites for other developers to build on, he said. Generically the site plans show retail and restaurants on the pad sites. This is the second public hearing for

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Page 2 • Four Points News, Thursday, January 12, 2012

Beautiful Custom Home With Incredible Lake Views!

Two Steiner Ranch families opening sports grill at Trails at 620 By LYNETTE HAALAND

with lots of healthy options and a super cool atmosphere to hang out in,” Pikoff said. The sports grill, which has yet to be named, will be located between the future Galaxy Theatre and Flores Mexican Restaurant. It will be 5,500 square feet inside with a 3,000 square foot outdoor patio. The restaurant will be located next to a playscape area that Trails at 620 is going to build. Pikoff, who created Games2U with his brother a few years ago, is working on some creative, family friendly David Pikoff, of Steiner Ranch, shows the location of the

Local entrepreneurs hope to open their family sports grill at the new Trails at 620 development in November. Steiner Ranch residents David Pikoff and Wade and Sharlyn Threadgill along with Austin restauranteur David Quintanilla are partnering on the venture. “We are opening a family sports grill with a great selection of chef prepared food at very modest prices


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John and Stephanie Landers, of Steiner Ranch, were recently recognized as one of the leading retail stores in the flooring industry by Mohawk Industries. Their company Landers Premier Flooring was awarded the Floorscapes Retailer of the Year for the South Central Region. This is the second year in a row that the Landers have received this honor over the nearly 3,000 flooring retailers in the states of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico and Arkansas that comprise the South Central Region. “We pride ourselves on be-

ing a reputable local business that always puts the customer’s needs first, and we are delighted that Mohawk recognizes our efforts,” said John Landers. “We are invested in Austin... and we want all of our customers to feel like they are part of the Landers family. We thank them for their support.” The couple was recognized in December at the Mohawk retailer gala in Nashville, Tennessee. Mohawk is a leading supplier of flooring. The Landers moved to Texas from California in January of 2005 to open Landers Premier Come see us at .. Botox I Peels I Facials FotoFacialRF Skin Rejuvenation Laser Hair Removal I Eyelash Extensions 512. 263. 2400 l l

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industry. She worked on such brands as Honey Nut Cheerios, Pop Secret, Yoplait yogurt, Coppertone, and Clairol for companies such as General Mills, Bristol Myers Squibb and Shering Plough. They opened their store in October 2005. Stephanie handles the marketing and finances for the company while John handles the installation crews, procurement and personnel. The Landers, who have two boys in grade school, moved to Steiner Ranch in January 2006. They picked the community because they love being by both Lake Travis and Lake Austin, the neighborhood amenities, great school district and the neighborhood feel while still being somewhat rural. “We feel very fortunate to have selected to be in Austin during the recession. We did well from the start but like most small businesses, 2008 and 2009 were tough years,” Stephanie said. But they stuck to their business model of providing excellent customer service, superb installation and a great value while giving the customers professional advice and a great shopping environment and “our business has been going strong every since,” she said.

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Flooring. They offer hardwood, carpet, tile, natural stone and laminate sales and installation from their 6,000 square foot showroom. “We moved here specifically to open our flooring business,” said Stephanie Landers. John is from Dalton, Georgia, the flooring capital of the US and most of his family is in the flooring business. He worked as a flooring district manager for Mohawk in California. He called on the mom and pop stores and dreamed of opening his own store. “We knew it was time to pursue our dream of opening our own store,” she said. They looked at several areas including Birmingham, Atlanta and RaleighDurham but Austin had so many things going for it. “We looked at several different things including the competitive environment, the cost of living and the projected business growth. We also loved the fact that it was a highly educated population which we thought would fit well with our business model,” Stephanie said. In addition, every time they visited Austin everyone was “so darned nice!” Stephanie’s background is in marketing brand management in the food packaged-goods


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hursday Four PToints News

January 12, 2012 • Page 3

School attendance boosts students success The fact is simple, straight forward and alarming: every 26 seconds, a student in the U.S. drops of out school. Knowing this, Leander ISD has aggressively used a variety of strategies to keep our students in school. And the results have proven effective. During recent years, LISD has steadily increased our completion rates by reducing the number of students who drop out of high school before graduation. But, recognizing that one dropout is one too many, we know we must continue to improve. One way we can help our students graduate is by simply encouraging them to come to school. Research has shown that school attendance is the top factor in determining the likelihood a student will graduate. It’s that important. Just last week in my column, I mentioned that students who

miss 10 or more unexcused days are 15.5 times more likely to drop out of high school before graduation. Added to that concern is the fact that if a student misses too many days, he or she may have to repeat a grade, and students who are held back are six times more likely to drop out. Absenteeism is a slippery slope that can potentially derail a student’s future. We believe that our students should wake up each morning motivated to come to school because they know it is important. And so to support our efforts to keep students on course for graduation, LISD is revving up our efforts with a simple message that every day matters. Students have a lot to lose when they miss school because there is a strong link between attendance and student achievement. School attendance boosts student success, improves the

quality of students’ educational of school missed, it takes at least experience and is an important two days for a student to catch component for college- and up, according to the Departcareer-readiness. It allows stu- ment of Education. Every time a dents to maximize instructional student is absent, in addition to time, a key facthe student havtor to student ing to make up learning, and work and catch helps students up on learnfeel connected ing, the teacher to their classmust also promates, teachvide the previers and other day’s lesson BRET CHAMPION ous school personwhile concurnel. rently continuing the educa When students miss school tional process for students who without a valid reason, they weren’t absent. probably don’t appreciate how As if these reasons weren’t their choices impact others. enough, in these budget-conThey may not realize that ab- scious times, we must consider senteeism impacts not only the that student attendance also imabsent student, but also their pacts the school district’s budget. teachers, classmates and the LISD loses roughly $38 a day for district. Consider that when a every student who is absent. student misses school, he or she Multiply this by hundreds of must work twice as hard to get students every day, and it could caught up because for every day mean the difference between

hiring staff, buying new equipment or funding a new program. A mere one percent increase in attendance could result in an additional $1.95 million in revenue this year. If you’re a parent, you might be wondering what you can do to help your student have regular and punctual attendance. I offer you three rules-of-thumb. First, if your child is ill, he or she should stay home to get well. Coming to school sick is not the answer and potentially puts other students and staff at risk of getting ill as well. That being said, except in the case of illness, many school absences can be avoided with a little more awareness. Parents should make every attempt to schedule all appointments, even doctor and dentist visits, before or after school hours and only take vacations and trips during school holidays. Second, to ensure that students feel ready for

school, parents should also see that their children get plenty of sleep. In some cases, aim for a stress-free morning by packing lunches and picking out clothes the night before to reduce tardiness. And third, consider that attendance is something every parent should be conscious of, whether your student is in elementary, middle or high school. Studies have proven that there is a clear correlation between dropout rates and poor attendance, even among students as young as kindergarten. Remember – every day matters! I encourage the LISD community to join us and help students be accountable by reminding them how important it is that they come to school. We are committed to every child having a passion for learning, and we foster that passion every day.

What type of parent are you? By RICH KEITH "The goal of parenting is to work ourselves out of a job," said the facilitator at a recent Leander ISD class. The topic was "Love and Logic: Parenting Teens." Three common teen parenting styles are as follows: The Helicopter. The Helicopter hovers. It rescues. It Protects. It won't allow children to fail. Helicopters steal learning opportunities from their child. The Drill Sergeant. The micromanager. Authoritarian. Controlling. Uses tight controls. Drill Sergeants use punishment instead of consequences. Both of these tactics will result in resentment, and ultimately rebellion. The Consultant. This style avoids dictating. Provides advice. Offers choices. Suggests possible solutions to problems. Shares control with the child. The Consultant asks questions rather than barks orders. Two of the guiding principles of Consultants are "Responsibility is caught, not taught," and, "Don't manage the process; rather manage the results." To learn more, attend January classes of: "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent". Visit Leander ISD's home page for details and registration.

Pictured left to right: Spandana Kamepalli and Zachary Weiss

Steiner Ranch Elementary Spelling Bee winner advances. Zachary Weiss, 5th grader, is the winner of the 2012 Steiner Ranch Elementary Spelling Bee Spandana Kamepalli, 4th grader, is the runner-up. Sixteen students competed in the event and the winner was determined on the 38th round, said Rebecca Pueringer, Assistant Principal Steiner Ranch Elementary. Zachary Weiss even competed against his brother, Sam Weiss, who is in 3rd grade. Zachary's winning word was "motley". He will compete at the regional/district level in February. Judges included Kris Lee-Nordin (owner of Cups & Cones), Lt. Gary Frederick (Lake Travis Fire Department), and David Rainey (Canyon Ridge Middle School Counselor).

Canyon Ridge Middle School students are participating in the Future Cities program. The program challenges students to design a city using Sim-City software and grow it 150 years into the future. During the program students have to tackle some engineering, environmental and political challenges. Competing teams attend a regional competition in San Marcos with the opportunity of winning a trip to the national competition in Washington D.C. This competition is sponsored by National Engineers Week Foundation.Foreground: L-R ; Luke Salazar, Nicholas Lesniack, Michael Carvalho, Peter Horvath. Background: L-R ; Zach Burky, Noah Balarbar, Tyler Driskill

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Page 4 • January 12, 2012

Who do you think will wind up in the Super Bowl 2012?

Martin Luther King leaves legacy to celebrate

Mary Regehr Grandview Hills

Matt Lytle Lakeway

New Orleans and New England

Saints and New England Saints or Green Bay Packers

Your Community Newspaper


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Editor & Publisher...........................................................................LYNETTE HAALAND Advertising Sales Representative....................................................HOLLIE KENNEY Circulation....................................................................................................FRED FRANCO Reporter.................................................................................................LESLEE BASSMAN Creative Services..............................................................................JENNIFER ROBERTS Contributors.................................................................BRET CHAMPION, RICH KEITH

ENTICEMENT FROM, 1 dents about “Stranger Danger.” 1. It is that time of year that we want to remind you about being safe. 2. Do not talk to strangers or anyone you do not know - stay at least a whole arms-length away from anyone you do not know. 3. Do not walk alone, always have a buddy. 4. If anyone approaches you, tell an adult. 5. If you or your child sees any suspicious activity, please notify the police immediately. We ask that you, as parents, also reassure your children to be aware, and to inform an adult about anything unusual, Fambrough said. Officers want to take this opportunity to encourage parents to talk candidly with their children and reinforce basic child safety lessons like those that can be found at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children website. Here are details about the Cedar Park reports. The first incident in Cedar Park occurred on Tuesday, December 27, 2011, at about 11 a.m. in the 700 block of Nelson Ranch Road, on the west side of the city, where a 9-yearold boy reported that a man in a pick-up stopped and said to him, “Do you want some

candy?” The man made no attempt to physically abduct the child, but followed him for a short way and then left the area. The suspect is described as a white male, mid to late 30s, with light brown hair, and a mustache and thin beard. The suspect was reportedly driving a blue pick-up, with paint scratches on the tailgate and a silver bumper. The second incident in Cedar Park occurred on Friday, Dec.30, 2011, at about noon in the 600 block of King Eider Lane, on the east side of the city, where a 9-yearold girl reported that a man in a pick-up stopped and said to her, “Hey kid, get in the car.” The man made no attempt to physically abduct the child, and immediately left the area when the girl ran away. The suspect in this incident is described as a white male, mid 20s to mid 30s, with “shaggy” hair and wearing sun-glasses. The vehicle description in this incident is a dark blue, newer model pick-up, with tinted windows, and 4-doors. Police have increased patrols and are aggressively investigating, but officers say the similarities in each incident warranted alerting the public and seeking further assistance.

This is Austin Energy’s first increase in base electric rates in 17 years. The target date for implementation is April 2012. The local utility, which provides power to most Four Points neighborhoods, says it needs to collect more revenue to cover costs to serve. It also wants to achieve greater rate equity between customer classes, among other reasons for the rate increase. While the overall system average increase is 12.5 percent, the actual increase per customer depends on their usage level, Clark said. For example, a customer who uses an average of 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month with an electric bill of $94 would see an increase of $9.60 a month or 10.3 percent increase But for the larger homes typically found in Four Points, a customer who uses an av-

erage of 2,500 kilowatt-hours a month with an electric bill of $250 would see an increase of $34 a month or 13 percent. A customer who uses an average of 4,000 kilowatt-hours a month with an electric bill of $406 would see an increase of $80 a month or 20 percent. Austin Energy proposes to raise rates for a variety of reasons including it has experienced large deficits in recent years. It projects a $75 million deficit for the current fiscal year. Key to the deficits has been the rising costs of materials i.e. power cable, poles and transformers have increased in cost by as much as 300% over 17 years. And growth in sales has slowed from 6% on average in the late 1990s to a 2% average since 2000.

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Letters to the Editor:

An “education for life”… starts at School in the Hills

Avery Dillon Westminster Glen

Four Points News

week, Cedar Park police received two reports of men trying to get children to Four Points News welcomes all Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed and include phone come to their vehinumber for verification. Deadline is Friday before publication. Four Points News reserves the right to edit letters for clarity, length and for libelous or objectionable statements. Letters containing more cles. Both men were than 400 words will be edited for length. reportedly driving Four Points News • 3129 Rippling Creek Ct. Austin, Texas 78732 blue pickups. Both Email: men reportedly targeted 9-year-old children. MEDICAL FROM, 1 SPORTS GRILL FROM, 2 On Friday, the Steiner Ranch HOA sent and we’ll have 200 or so when we entertainment inside the res- out a Safety Alert stating: “If you see a bright blue metallic older model full size pick up open. We’ll grow quickly from taurant. there,” Kreye said. Games2U, based in Four truck in SR please call 911 or if you can Investor Surgical Development Points, is a mobile entertain- safely see the plate # take it down. Police are Partners is guiding the detailed hirment company which offers looking for a man driving such a vehicle, the ing plan, he said. its mobile 4-D movie theaters, suspect has approached at least one child in Ultimately plans are to have beGiant Hamster Ball games, SR. The incident did not take place today tween 115 to 125 board-certified and more. The company has but he may come back into the area. A simiemergency physicians, hospitalover 150 franchisees now and lar incident took place in Cedar park also. ists, primary care doctors, general is international after recently Please make sure your kids are aware.” surgeons to cardiologists, intervengetting into Canada and Saudi Local schools last week also reminded tional radiologists and neurologists children of Stranger Danger and how to be Arabia. who are mostly live in the Lake The Threadgills are enthusi- safe. Travis area. astic supporters of Vandegrift Here is what Susan Fambrough, Princi When fully staffed, the hospital pal at Steiner Ranch Elementary, emailed to athletics. will employ 250 or so additional “We plan on embracing the parents: workers. community and being very in- It is that time of year to re-educate our stu The 274,000-square-foot hospivolved in the local community,” tal will open with more than 125 ENERGY FROM, 1 Pikoff said. beds. Quintanilla, owns local Ser- posal by the end of January or later. Later expansions are expected ranos restaurants and sites in The rate proposal and all background to take the hospital to an ultimate Houston and Galveston. Quin- information is available at www.rates.aussize of around 285 beds. The hostanilla Customers can also submit pital anchors a 54-acre medicallyand brother Adam Gonzales comments or questions through that web oriented development that will inopened their first Serranos in site. clude a medical office building. 1987. Today there are six family Residential customers can go to www. In addition to the emergency owned and operated Tex-Mex to see department, the hospital will have restaurants in the Austin area. specialized care in: neonatal, cara comparison between an electric bill they The grill is expected to have have paid in recent time and how it will look diology/cardiothoracic, radiation a variety of fare including burg- under the proposed new rates. They will oncology, surgery, gastrointestinal services, women’s health services ers, steaks, seafood and pasta simply type in the kWh from a previous bill, including obstetrics, infusion therdishes. click the correct month of the bill and they apy, radiology, and nuclear medi “This is something I’ve been will see the comparison. cine. passionate about for many Commercial customers can visit www. It also will offer respiratory seryears. The timing is right and to vices, physical therapy/sports medthe area is desperate for it,” submit a request for an Austin Energy staff icine, occupational therapy and Pikoff said. member to analyze how the recommended pain management. new rates will impact their electric bills.


Four Points of View

Publisher’s Point of View

Monday we celebrate Martin Luther King, sense of “somebodiness” but that on the other Jr’s Day and it gives us time to think about his hand I had to go out and face a system that lasting impact. stared me in the face every day saying that In 1964, King became the youngest recipi- you are “less than,” you are not “equal to.” She told me about slavery ent of the Nobel Peace Prize, which and how it ended with the Civil War. was awarded to him for leading She tried to explain the divided sysnon-violent resistance to racial tem of the South — the segregated prejudice in the United States. Four schools, restaurants, theaters, housyears later he was assassinated at ing, the white and colored signs on age 39. The Baptist minister became a drinking fountains, waiting rooms, civil rights activist early in his calavatories, as a social condition reer. The Montgomery Bus Boycott rather than a natural order. LYNETTE She made it clear that she put him in the nation’s spotlight in his 20s. He led the case when Rosa HAALAND opposed this system and that I must never allow it to make me feel inParks was arrested for refusing to ferior. Then she said the words that give up her seat to a white man on Dec. 1, 1955. The Montgomery Bus Boycott almost every Negro hears before he can yet lasted for 385 days and ended racial segrega- understand the injustice that makes them tion on all Montgomery public buses, accord- necessary: “You are as good as anyone.” At this time, Mother had no idea that the ing to reports. In 1963 King led the March on Washing- little boy in her arms would years later be ton, where he delivered his “I Have a Dream” involved in a struggle against the system she speech. The 17 minute speech called for racial was speaking of.” equality and an end to discrimination. He King’s lasting impact inspired the recent book and then movie The Help, which gives called for a “color blind” society. King’s motivations to change what he saw us a glimpse of the beginning of the Civil started early in his life. Here are some ex- Rights era. cerpts from The Autobiography of Martin To help celebrate the lasting legacy of King, Luther King; edited by Dr. Clayborne Carson. the Austin Area Heritage Council is hosting “I was born in the late twenties on the the 19th Annual MLK Community March. verge of the Great Depression. which was to You can be one of the estimated 15,000 who spread its disastrous arms into every corner will meet Monday at 9 a.m. at the MLK Statue of this country for over a decade. on the University of Texas campus. The march My mother confronted the age-old prob- will proceed to the Capitol for Gospel music lem of the Negro parent in America: how to and then onto the historic Huston-Tillotson explain discrimination and segregation to a University for more activities. small child. She taught me that I should feel a

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Four Points News

Community Events Jan. 14 Bikes 4 Kids From Kids drop off their bikes at Bella Mar Park in Steiner

Jan. 19 Four Points Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Featuring Bill Marquardt River Place Country Club, 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Jan. 21 Teen Life Coaching Workshop St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Feb. 8 Four Points Whataburger Grand Opening 5pm - 8pm

Feb. 9 Viper Band Fundraiser Last day to order mulch from

Feb. 17 Four Points Chamber of Commerce Whataburger Ribbon Cutting at 10am

hursday Four PToints News January 12, 2012 • Page5

Texas Tree VandegriftViper’s Pennies for Tamers earns Pasta kicks off with $1,200 goal 2011 Angie’s List award

Texas Tree Tamers was awarded the 2011 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor annually given on approximately 5 percent of all the businesses rated on the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews on local service and health providers. “We are honored to add this prestigious award to our list of accomplishments,” said Texas Tree Tamers officials. The company provides professional tree care services. “Thanks to all our customers for making it possible.” “Only a fraction of the businesses rated on Angie’s List can claim the sterling service record of being a Super Service Award winner because we set a high bar,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks. “The fact that Texas Tree Tamers can claim Super Service Award status speaks volumes about its dedication to consumers.” Angie’s List Super Service Award winners have met strict eligibility requirements including earning a minimum number of reports, an exemplary rating from their clients and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines. Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 2 million consumers across the U.S. rely on Angie’s List to help them make hiring decisions.

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Starting this week, Vandegrift High School is joining 25,000 schools nationwide in the Pennies for Pasta fundraiser for cancer research and funding. For the next few weeks, we will help children who are sick with blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The classes of the top 5 teachers who collect the most money will win a catered lunch from Olive Garden. RIVER PLACE, FROM 5 eowner property. Ignitable fuels such as limbs, brush, and litter, were carried to the curb on each of three streets and hauled away. According to Austin Water Utility’s Conservation Program Coordinator Amanda Ross, in 2008, city officials agreed to maintain the then newly-created shaded fuel break as well as establish a neighborhood watch program within the River Place community. Ross’ office is currently working with land management experts to make future developments safer from wildfires in the projected neighborhoods’ overall design and planning. Austin’s Wildland Conservation Division has also teamed with the Austin Fire Department to coordinate a controlled wildfire which would enable officers to be trained in this type of emergency.

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VHS has a goal to raise $1200. The drive will run through Feb. 3. Viper Key Club representatives will help collect the weekly totals. All students have to do is collect coins and other donations (checks-made out to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and dollar bills) and put them in the collection boxes that will be delivered to classrooms this week.

“Our focus is on mitigation efforts,” said John Durham, Assistant Fire Chief, Lake Travis Fire and Rescue. “The available fuels are looked at and a ‘prescription’ is written to reduce those fuels so that if a wildfire moves through, the chance of it having a catastrophic effect is less”. City of Austin Wildland Conservation Division Biologist Bill Reiner informed residents that “a fire is more likely to start on the urban side of the fence” and cites embers sparked by barbecue grills and construction equipment as causes for the blazes. Lightening remains the only danger for wildfire ignition on the wildland side. The heightened level of awareness stemming from the Steiner Ranch, Spicewood and Bastrop fires changed everything for homeowners who once sought the peacefulness of a wildland setting. “It was so scary to stand here and watch the fires in Steiner Ranch. The concept [shaded fuel break] is wonderful but it’s a daunting task to clear this and keep it cleared,” Gleason said. Unfortunately, following last year’s record setting temperatures and severe lack of rainfall, no

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end is in sight. “Our ‘new normal’ is that we’re not seeing the grass fires right now,” said Durham, “we’re having forest fires. That’s unusual for Central Texas. With the drought, even large timbers are affected and fires can move horizontally from tree to tree. The continuing drought will worsen that.” On site, Durham applauded the Four Points community’s efforts to decrease the area’s risk of wildfire. The Steiner Ranch neighborhood recently sponsored a similar program. “I’m sure you’ll see more areas targeted,” said Durham. “There are greenbelt areas owned by the HOA where there’s work to be done. HOA workdays are a wonderful way to approach this [wildfire safety] and open the lines of communication.” The River Place Firewise Committee plans to meet early this year to plan strategies for 2012. “The committee will try to prioritize need based on terrain and probable behavior of wildfires,” said Millard “Mac” McBurney, River Place Firewise Committee Chairman. “The distance from a wildfire where blowing embers settle and collect in nooks and crannies is very difficult to predict; therefore, we try to make homeowners aware of the possibilities in reducing risk before the wildfire season begins.”


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Page 6 • January 12, 2012

Four Points News

Viper Band member is First All-State at VHS Viper Band taking orders for mulch until Feb. 9 to raise funds By RICH KEITH

For the first time in the history of Vandegrift High School, a Viper Band member has achieved the distinction of reaching AllState with Texas Music Educators Association. Matt Szostak, who plays tuba and sousaphone, advanced after the auditions in December 2011. “This honor recognizes Matt as one of the top 21 tuba players in the entire state of Texas. This is the highest award a high school band student can receive. Great job Matt – we are very proud of you,” said Jeremy Spicer, VHS Band Director. “Making the All State Band has been a goal of Matthew’s since he started high school,” said his mom, Teresa Szostak. “Through hard work and focus, outstanding direction and instruction from the Vandegrift HS band staff, and the support of his fellow band members, it’s no surprise that he’s made it a reality. We’re very proud of him for this and all of his accomplishments,” she said. All-State, as students call it, is the final step of a five-month journey that begins in September, when 55,000 students audition at regional tryouts; the 1,500 of them who descend on the River Walk for the four-day event represent the mere 2 percent “who survived,” as TMEA folks like to say. At the convention, they audition once more, for chairs in the thirteen All-State ensembles, and then plunge into rehearsals for the weekend’s final concerts. The All-State audition process for high school winds and percussion students leads ultimately to qualification in one of seven


Rich Keith

Matt Szostak makes Vandegrift High School history by being one of the top tuba players in the state and making All-State with the Texas Music Educators Association. In this photo Matt is showing his mom Teresa Szostak how to play tuba at an event where band members taught their moms and dads to play their instrument, while marching.

All-State Bands that perform at the annual TMEA Clinic/Convention: ATSSB Jazz Ensemble, ATSSB Concert Band, ATSSB Symphonic Band, TMEA Jazz Ensemble, 4A Symphonic Band, 5A Concert Band, and 5A Symphonic Band.

With this honored distinction, Szostak will participate with other “All-State” musicians from across the state at the TMEA All-State Clinic and Convention to be held in San Antonio, Feb. 8 - 11.

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The Vandegrift High School band has launched its annual mulch fundraiser and is taking orders until Feb. 9. Love how your yard looks after it’s mulched but hate picking up dozens of bags? Now residents of Four Points can buy all the landscaping mulch they need at the same price as local homeimprovement stores, and Viper band members will deliver it to your home free of charge. The mulch comes in 2 cubic foot bags. The price is $3.50 a bag with discounts beginning with orders of 20 bags or more. Kirk Gravely, the coordinator of the annual fundraiser, indicated that most homeowners need between 20 and 80 bags of mulch for all their beds. Larger lots require more mulch. Delivery of mulch will be Feb. 18. Homeowners do not have to be home to take delivery. The band is taking orders now through Feb 9. Gravely suggests that residents get their orders in early, before the LISD winter break. Residents can choose between

two types of premium quality mulch from Landscapers Pride, a company in New Waverly, Texas. The Black Velvet Hardwood Mulch is composted on site in New Waverly using a natural colorant, producing a rich black colored mulch. Use it as you would any other top dressing. The Hardwood Bark Mulch is ideal for areas subject to wind or water erosion. Use on flower beds, walkways, play areas, or running tracts as a general ground cover. Not recommended, however, for tilling into the soil. To order mulch with free home delivery, call your friendly neighborhood VHS band student or visit . The VHS Band Booster Club is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization and helps support the band program by providing funds to offset expenses and keep student fees as low as possible. They also offer “effortless giving” through shopping at Amazon and Randalls, and by getting haircuts and ordering pizza locally. Visit fundraising/effortless-giving/ for details.

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Stars of the Week

Four Points News


Tyler Eyre -


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Basketball: I love Coach Dietzmann’s enthusiasm on and off the court.

Andrew Locascio -

Clarissa Branca -



Favorite part about being involved in Viper Swimming and Dive: I like the Vandegrift Swim Team, because I get to make friends. It is a good way to have fun. It is just something I enjoy doing. Getting better and progressing throughout the years is really nice also.

Cameron Corinaldi -


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Swimming and Dive: I like theatre because it is a lot of fun to act and spend time with the cast and crew of productions. Vandegrift Theatre is great because the director is really nice and we are always putting on fun shows. In our in-class production, Little Women, I acted as Mr. Brooke, a tutor. Earlier this year, I worked on the sound crew for our Fall Show, The Odd Couple. I liked doing the sound because it gave me a chance to experience the “behind the scenes” to putting on a show. This spring, I’ll be acting as Goren, a man with only one leg, in our One Act Play, Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon.

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April Dang

Vandegrift Boys Basketball Head Coach Cliff Ellis: The season has had its ups and downs and we currently have a record of 12-11. We have played some extremely tough teams (3 ranked 5A teams, 1 ranked 4A team, and 1 ranked 3A team) so far this year and hope that the tough non-district schedule has properly prepared us for district play. We opened up district with a win over Vista Ridge to start 1-0 then fell last Friday night to state-ranked Lake Travis. We host a very important game Tues. night vs Dripping Springs and then travel to Marble Falls this Friday. With 4 games left in the 1st round of district we really need to play well over the next 2 weeks to have a shot at the playoffs. Every district game is important and each team in our district is capable of beating one another on any given night. I expect the playoff picture to be unclear all the way up until the final game in Feb. Right now we are happy to be getting some key players back from injuries we sustained over the holiday break. Hopefully these players returning can add some firepower back into the scoring/win column.

Jan. 3 Viper Boys Hoops, Leander HS 52, Vandegrift HS 34

Senior Matt Dang.

April Dang


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Wrestling: Viper Theater is filled with so many amazing people with so many wonderful talents. There is room for everyone to share their abilities and for everyone willing to learn something new. I love the chance to create something different and entertaining for the audience and watch them enjoy something not only I, but the rest of the cast and crew, have worked hard on.


Four Points Middle School swimmer nationally ranked in top 10 Four Points Middle School 8th grader Taylor Abbott is in the top 10 in the recent USA Swimming, Inc. rankings. He achieved: • 3rd in 1650 freestyle (mile) • 5th in 1000 freestyle • 5th in 500 freestyle Abbott swims for Cedar Park Swim team and looks forward to high school swimming next year.

Senior Cody Witt dribbling upcourt.


Goal for this Viper Wrestling Season: Goal for this Viper Wrestling season: I chose my goal for this year’s wrestling season to make it to at least regionals on varsity. I also like wrestling because it gives me something to do and it keeps me in shape.

Friday night Boys Viper hoops Lake Travis over Vandegrift, 64 - 36


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Soccer: I love viper soccer because I really enjoy all my teammates.

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Favorite part about being involved in Viper Basketball: Having a good time and playing with my teammates.

Connor Cox -


January 12, 2012 • Page 7

Wendy Wan -


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Soccer: I like how we can joke around and have fun, but be productive at the same time.

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POLAR BEAR, FROM 1 uncertainty as they undergo cancer treatment. The list of Polar Bear swimmers includes: Zach Wok also a Canyon Ridge 8th grader, and Cameron Katzman a CODA swimmer swam 402 laps each; Jacob Stubbs a Cedar Park swimmer swam 350 laps; Jake Schueller an 8th grader at Canyon Ridge swam 250 and Kiani Bell also an 8th grader swam 250 laps; Jonathon Broughton, freshman at Vandegrift High School swam 250 laps; Molly Stringer and Savannah Broughton, 7th graders at CRMS swam 150 laps

each; Rachel Bezella, freshman at VHS swam 115 along with Rachel Tovar, 8th graders at CRMS; Austin Tovar, 8th grader at CRMS swam 100 laps; Kialyn Bell and Robby Tovar (3rd grader) from Laura Welch Bush Elementary each swam 30 laps; and Noah Wolk, a 4th grader at Steiner Ranch Elementary swam 156 laps. “Fantastic Job to all of the swimmers,” said CIndy Bezella. The Polar Bear Swim-a-Thon is still accepting donations. Please contact for further details.

Below: Keeping warm before they start (left to right) Zach Wolk, Reid Pitman and Zach Bezella.

Above: The girls celebrate after swimming their laps. (left to right): Molly Stringer, Savannah Broughton, Rachel Bezella, Rachel Tovar Below: Noah Wolk relaxes after having pizza. Noah is 10 years old and completed 154 laps


Page 8 • Four Points News, Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sweetheart contest to be held by Four Points News We want to hear your Sweetheart Story and possibly publish it in our Valentines issue. Tell us why the love of your life is so amazing and you may win a prize! You may have a fun engagement story to share or recall a time when you knew you were made for each other. Entries should be emailed to by Wed. Feb. 1st and be about 300 words in length. Please include a photo of you and your sweetheart.




with Harmon’s son, Tom, at the company helm, Whataburger still remains family-owned and operated. Now there are 700 Whataburger restaurants across ten states and the family owned corporation owns some 500 sites. The Four Points Whataburger will be the 20th Whataburger in Greater Austin.







tar Scho Gui o

12218 RR 620 North Austin, TX 78750 512 . 257.1073


Helping Four Points, Cedar Park, & NW Austin learn to play since 2004.

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ference in quality, friendliness, cleanliness and service,” Powell said. In 1950 Harmon Dobson opened up the world’s first Whataburger on Ayers Street in Corpus Christi. He had a simple goal: to serve a burger so big that it took two hands to hold and so good that with one bite customers would say, “What a burger!” More than half a century later,

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January 12, 2012 Issue  

Four Points News January 12, 2012 Issue

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