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After more than a year of review and extensive public feedback, Austin Energy last week outlined its proposal for an average 12.5 percent rate overall increase. This is its first increase in base electric rates in 17 years. The target date for implementation is April 2012 but public input is being sought first. The City Council has set a public hearing on the rate proposal on Jan. 12 beginning at 4 p.m. at City Hall. “They will set at least one additional public hearing for January and could set more. They could vote on the rate proposal by the end of January or later,” said Ed Clark, Communications Director Austin Energy.

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. A large part of the 12.5 percent overall increase would come in the form of a flat fee. The utility has calculated a $22 per customer flat fee per month to cover the $34.12 fixed charges it has to be able to serve each customer. Here is where the $22 flat fee comes from: • Increase the monthly Customer Charge from $6 to $12 to pay more of the $19.70 fixed cost to serve each customer for billing, meters, call center and other account management. • Establish a monthly $10 Electric Delivery Charge to pay

more of the $14.42 fixed cost to serve each customer for the construction, maintenance and operation of the electric system. Austin Energy also wants to move from a two-tier to five-tier rate structure. • Increase the current 2-tier rate structure to a 5-tier structure. Customers who use less power pay the lowest rates and those using higher levels pay higher rates. A 5-tier structure encourages energy efficiency and conservation, Clark said. “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 would see an increase of $9.60 a month or 10.3 percent increase while a customer who uses an average

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Steiner HOA developing guidelines for fire safety, evacuations By RICH KEITH The Steiner Ranch HOA is working to integrate fire safety into their overall community plan and architectural guidelines. It is also working with Travis County on evacuation plans. Though the fire season is over, the impact of the summer fires will be felt for several years. The goal of the HOA is to improve the community’s preparedness and response to fire without adding a cost burden to residents. “We want residents to keep the focus on fire safety even during the wet months. This means looking at fire prevention by inspecting your home for fuel sources, and being safe in parks and in playgrounds,” said Scott Selman, Executive Director of Steiner Ranch As-

sociations. Three of the top priorities in fire prevention include construction, landscaping and fencing. Recently four new construction plans have been received in Architectural Review with the HOA, and the HOA expects this marks the beginning of the rebuilding wave for the 23 homes lost in the Steiner fires. Overall Selman indicated that Steiner Ranch construction is pretty good with respect to fire safety: homes must be constructed with a minimum 70% masonry or fire-impervious cover. Shake and other wood roofs are disallowed currently so no modifications are required there. But even if a home is 100% combined masonry and fiber cement siding, the fascia and trim can still be


ignited. This can happen when leaf gutters are full and embers fall on them, or when tree branches or large shrubs are allowed to touch the home. Landscaping goals for the HOA include limiting the “ignition zone” of plants and trees near a dwelling. Residents can be coached and trained to select, install and trim vegetation and trees in accordance with accepted standards for fire safety. Fencing has been identified as a big problem in Steiner Ranch. Fires love dry, isolated cedar fences. “Fencing is like a fuse which, once lit, brings the fire right up to your home,” said Nathasha Collmann, organizer of the Steiner Firewise group. The HOA is considering how to encourage residents to replace wood fencing with HOA, 8

Steiner Ranch retiree makes a living from “pet projects” By LESLEE BASSMAN Painting was always a creative outlet which Steiner Ranch’s Charlotte Soens enjoyed since she was a young child in Munich, Germany. Artistry was in her genes, having had a grandfather who was a noted painter and photographer during World War I. However, for Soens, now retired, the ‘hobby’ has turned into a profession as she wields her paintbrush on canvas to capture the soul and personality of local pets. “I always liked to paint,” said Soens who is self-taught. “I picked up the Old Master style while in Italy and just taught myself.” Soens sold her first painting while in her 20’s, a portrait of a German farmer in a Tyrolian hat, for 400 or 500 marks or about $375. “That started me off,” recalled Soens who moved to New York City, married and later lived on the East side. “I never had to speak English there; they were all German”. While in New York, Soens took a break from painting to raise her child and resumed her

Steiner Ranch Elementary fifth graders from Mary Palmer and Heather Sabel’s classes made it through the school halls on Friday carolling to the classrooms. Above: Four Points artist Charlotte Soens stands proudly in her home studio surrounded by her pet and flower portraits. Right: Artist Charlotte Soens credits her grandfather, Christian Koehnlein (pictured), with her creative talent. Koehnlein was a German photographer during World War I. Photo contributed by Charlotte Soens

Leslee Bassman

‘passion’ after relocating to Florida. “I was bored and picked up painting again,” Soens said. “I took my baby to all of my shows SOENS, 2

Viper catcher Higginbotham to represent Texas in worldwide event Vandegrift High School catcher Drew Higginbotham has been named to the 2011 Power Showcase All-World Baseball Team. Higginbotham will represent


School......................................3 Opinion...................................4 Letters to Santa......................5 Classifieds...............................6 Sports.................................. 7-8 Find us on Facebook We wish you a warm holiday season with family and friends.

the U.S. in a game that will feature the most prolific amateur prospects in the world, including 15 countries. The 6th Annual Power Showcase is being held Dec. 27 - 30 at Chase Field in Phoenix, home to Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks. Dec. 27 will be “Scout Day” at the San Diego Padres Spring Training Complex located in Peoria, AZ. Each player will demonstrate their five-tools in front of Major League Scouts. Pitchers, including Higginbotham, will each throw a bull-pen. DREW, 8

Read all about it! Read the letters to Santa from Laura Welch Bush Elementary and River Place Elementary first graders on page 5.

LISD Board authorizes reappraisal of property damaged by wildfires

Drew Higginbotham, a senior at Vandegrift High School has been selected to represent Texas in a baseball Showcase event Dec. 26 - 29.

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The Leander ISD Board of Trustees voted on to allow the reappraisal of properties damaged or destroyed by wildfires at their meeting Dec. 15. Section 23.02 of Texas Property Tax Code permits jurisdictions to authorize the central appraisal districts to reappraise property damaged by wildfire this year, in areas declared to

be natural disaster areas by the Governor. Both Travis and Williamson County parcels were affected by wildfires last summer, with 24 homes listed as destroyed in the Travis County area of Steiner Ranch, 28 with damages, and 10 destroyed in the Leander fires, with three listed as moderate damage. Both Williamson County



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Page 2 • Four Points News, Thursday, December 22, 2011

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SOENS, FROM 1 and was very busy there. I sold a lot of paintings.” Following a divorce, Soens wound up in Darien, Connecticut, where she picked up a brush and canvas once more. While in Connecticut, Soens paid the bills working as a Special Education assistant in the public school system. “I love to paint, it’s my life,” Soens said. One more move and Soens ended up in Austin where she concentrates on pet portraits and oil paintings of flowers.

“Today, people want decorations in their homes and buy prints because it’s much cheaper,” said Soens. “The art of painting is dying unless you have a name or are completely crazy. It’s almost an insult for us artists. But I paint for myself. I enjoy painting and I take pride in it.” Soens’ pet portraits involve studying photos of the pet and even meeting the animal to get a sense of its personality which she then portrays on a canvas over a three or four week period.

“As you see,” said Soens, “my dogs have personality. I don’t just paint from a photograph.” After briefly attempting individual portraits, Soens limits her subjects to only flowers and dogs. “I tried that [individual portraits] in Florida,” said Soens. “I was too honest. If you have wrinkles, I’d paint the wrinkles. No thank you.” Soens exhibited her portraits at the River Place Country Club’s Yuletide Treasures event earlier

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this month. Although painting for over forty years, Soens is surprisingly unable to name a personal favorite portrait. “An artist is never satisfied,” said Soens, now in her 60’s. “I want to get better and better. My best work is not done yet.” For more information on Soens’ portraits, see LISD BOARD, FROM 1 as well. Once reappraised, the homeowners would be eligible for a prorata refund of taxes paid, effective with the date of the loss. Williamson County estimates that this would approximate $27 for each mobile home owner and as much as $325 based on the average price of the homes lost in the Moonglow fire. Travis CAD uses a formula that appraises the remaining foundation at 18% of the home's value, and the land cost appraised the same. It is expected that the impact on the district's finances will be minimal since LISD is still partially funded under the target revenue system; most of the impact would be on the I&S side.

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Four Points News

hursday Four PToints News

December 22, 2011 • Page 3

Ethical Principles shine during holiday season This time of year, one of my greatest joys as superintendent of schools in Leander ISD is celebrating how our students and staff go above and beyond to spread holiday cheer to those in need. LISD takes pride in being a district that models ethical behaviors and promotes a culture of caring. This week, I thought it would be timely to take you on a brief tour of “holiday giving” in LISD, noting just a few of the gifts given by students and staff throughout the district. The first stop on our tour is none other than our own transportation department. (You may have seen a story about this last week on Fox 7.) For the last couple of years, our transportation department has collected teddy bears for Dell Children’s Hospital. This year, their efforts were aided by some of our students involved in the Self-20 program, who took it upon themselves to give back this holiday season. Together, these students and staff members

donated almost 200 teddy bears, giving the gifts of warmth and comfort this season. But they aren’t the only LISD folks giving the cuddly keepsakes to Dell Children’s Hospital this month. For several years, Cedar Park High School has participated in a service project called Jasmine’s Bears. This project was inspired by a CPHS student and cancer survivor, Jasmine Subia, who knew firsthand how meaningful the soft toys were to her during her difficult treatment. Historically, CPHS has rallied behind this cause and literally filled rooms with plush bears. This year, the CPHS community did not disappoint and will certainly brighten the spirits of many young people with their gift of more than 1,360 stuffed animals! But CPHS’ efforts do not end there. Students Lindsey Koski, Lindsey Stawowy, Catherine Jordan, Connie Zhao, Nico Hawes and Jeremy Martin — all members of the Destination ImagiNa-

tion team, the Diving Cheese — benefitted a local family that has have spent the last four months been dealing with health care excollecting children’s books also penses. Most recently, RBMS held for Dell Children’s Hospital. At “PJs and Polar Express Night,” last count, they had received more where students and families were than 600 books. invited to watch Truly, all of the popular these gestures movie, eat popwill do much corn and drink to lift spirits at hot cocoa. StuDell Children’s dents who came Hospital this were encourholiday season. aged to donate toy, and at the The next stop BRET CHAMPION aend of the night, on our tour is Running Brushy Middle School. more than 65 toys were given to Students at this school have been Blue Santa. very busy this fall. For example, Traveling across the district to the entire school came together Canyon Ridge Middle School, we to support the Coats for Kids find the student body there accampaign, and RBMS collected tively engaged in helping others. more coats for this cause than any Phillip Ahern and Drayton Whother middle school in Central iteside, members of the National Texas! And earlier this fall, the Junior Honor Society (NJHS), International Jr. Thespian Troupe started a campaign to collect genat RBMS collected change during tly-used sporting equipment and lunch as part of a community ser- clothing for “Safe Place,” a facility vice project through the Austin for abused women and children. American-Statesman. The funds The NJHS at CRMS is also col-

Canyon Ridge Middle School 6th Grade Band had their first performance of the year on Dec. 5 at Vandegrift High School. This year the 6th grade band is the largest class for Canyon Ridge with over 150 students. It was standing room only. It was a stellar performance with the 6th grade class playing a variety of Winter songs . After they performed several selections the students then taught their parents how to play their instruments and the parents played a song for the audience.

lecting dental hygiene products to send to children in Cambodia. All of these items will be a blessing to the children, both near and far, who will receive them. Our next two stops speak to how our schools are helping to provide for the basic needs of others. Earlier this fall, 15 members of the Rouse High School Habitat for Humanity club joined Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County to help frame a house and level a yard for an Ethiopian family. And just down the road at Block House Creek Elementary, students donated 850 pounds of food to Hill Country Community Ministries. Our last stop is Bagdad Elementary, where the school’s choir gave the precious gift of friend-

ship to residents of The Pointe Assisted Living Community in Cedar Park. As you might imagine, these young singers were welcomed guests. After an outstanding performance of holiday songs, the students gave handmade cards to the residents, along with hugs, smiles and conversation. And so we conclude our holiday giving tour. These gestures of the Ethical Principles modeled by the students and staff of LISD are a great reminder that some of the best gifts we can give this season don’t come in packages. They come from the heart. Have a very happy holiday!

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76 Coats made and given to Austin ISD students Pre-K and kinder students at Blackshear Elementary School, in Austin ISD, received an early holiday surprise. Susan Sullivan, the Principal, and Sue Floyd the Administrative Assistant, at Canyon Ridge Middle School worked throughout the year sewing coats for these students. The students came in and picked out the coat that was special to them. The principal at

Blackshear Elementary, Teresa Longoria, knew how much her students loved receiving the new coats. Alfonso Longoria, the Assistant Principal at Canyon Ridge Middle School, and the son of Ms. Teresa Longoria, accompanied Ms. Sullivan and Ms. Floyd to help distribute the coats to the 76 students. The student’s smiles were worth every moment of work.

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Four Points News



Page 4 • December 22, 2011

Four Points News

Four Points of View

Publisher’s Point of View

Spirit of Christmas seen in Four Points

Who is your favorite holiday tradition?

Last night there were two versions of believe that it has done me good, and will A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens do me good; and I say, God bless it!” showing at the same time on TV. Later that Christmas Eve Scrooge got a First published in December 1843, this chance to examine: the background that story was an instant success and made him bitter, and that his has never been out of print. actions do not show a sense of The transformation of Ebresponsibility for those around enezer Scrooge is so inspiring him. He also got a glimpse of his that it stands the test of time. death when his stuff is divided It reminds me of the spirit of without care and his grave is Christmas evident in Four untended. Points. Scrooge wakes up The scene is set with the Christmas morning overLYNETTE whelmed with joy. He shares mean-spirited, miserly old man at his desk counting transac- HAALAND his new found Christmas spirit, tions on a frigid Christmas sends a giant Christmas turkey Eve. His clerk shivers because Scrooge to his clerk’s house and attends his nephrefuses to spend money on heating coals. ew’s party. Going forward, he honors Scrooge’s nephew stops in and invites Christmas with all his heart. him to his annual Christmas party. So many Four Points families show this Scrooge questions Christmas motives attitude and not just at Christmas time. and merriment but his nephew counters: Last weekend at nearby Armadillo RV “There are many things from which I Park, volunteers helped Mobile Loaves & might have derived good, by which I have Fishes share meals. Cooked at St. Thomas not profited...Christmas among the rest... More, more than a dozen turkeys were But I am sure I have always thought of carved and served, and God’s love was Christmas time... as a good time: a kind, shared. forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the In another instance, one River Place only time I know of, in the long calendar first grader seems to naturally have the of the year, when men and women seem Christmas spirit. Sabrina Bleu wrote to by one consent to open their shut-up Santa asking for nothing but instead askhearts freely, and to think of people below ing what his favorite holiday is and letting them as if they really were fellow-passen- him know that she likes him because he is gers to the grave, and not another race of nice. creatures bound on other journeys. And Share the joy of the season and Merry therefore, uncle, though it has never put Christmas and Happy Holidays to our a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I Four Points community.

Courtney DuBose Steiner Ranch

McKenna DuBose Steiner Ranch

Steve Cochran Steiner Ranch

Jack Hirschhorn Volente

Candle light service at church.

Getting together with family and celebrating.

Reading Christmas stories with the kids the night before Christmas.

Boar’s Head sweet slice dinner ham on the Christmas dinner table.

Four Points News Your Community Newspaper



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

Published weekly in Four Points, Texas by Four Points News LLC. For subscription information, email inquiries to

Letters to the Editor:

Four Points News welcomes all Letters to the Editor. All letters must be signed and include phone number 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 than 400 words will be edited for length. Four Points News • 3129 Rippling Creek Ct. Austin, Texas 78732 Email:

Ms. Jennifer Schuelke, of Canyon Ridge Middle School, was recognized in the book, The Connected Educator: Learning and Leading in a Digital Age by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Lani Ritter Hall. Ms. Scheulke was acknowledged in the book for her review of the publication.

The Fiber Arts Club meets every week after school at Canyon Ridge Middle School. Their current project is taking plastic grocery bags and crocheting them into durable reusable bags. From the front going clockwise in the photo: Savannah Mills, Sydney Levine, Kayla Husband, Megan Whiting, Macy Rex, Whitney Tran, Kyra Patel, Sammy Levy, Michelle Patanella, Ashleigh Soule, Megan McKinney

Grants awarded to LISD fine arts programs Officials from the Texas Music Educators Association announced recently that four Leander ISD fine arts organizations have been awarded a total of $13,800 in grants from the Texas Fine Arts Instructional Support

Program. The LISD programs that will receive these grants are: • Cedar Park High School band - $5,000 • Canyon Ridge Middle School band - $1,800

• Leander Middle School choir $4,000 • Rouse High School band $3,000 for new music The funds will go to help provide additional resources for LISD students, including new

instruments, instructional supplies, technology items and music. The grant is dedicated to the purchase of instructional supplies for public school music, art and theatre programs.

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Four Points News

Letters to Santa

Let Our Family Take Care of Your Family • Free Estimates • Lot Clearing • Tree Trimming • Chipping/Mulching

Contact your local Steiner Ranch arborist today! Russell Crawford 512.689.2747 Crawford has worked on trees at over 1,000 Four Points homes!

St. Luke’s on the Lake Episcopal Church welcomes you to worship with us this holy season

Dear Santa, I want legos. I also want a robot. I want a joke set with iching powder. I realy want a toy gun. love, Philio Dear Santa, I would like an I touch and a electrie scooter. I would also like a Best friend locket and three gold fish. A new pair of shoes and a moon ring. Love, Sydney Dear Santa, I would like a Pekachu pokemon and a Dragnoid bakugan please. Beacause they are hard to find. I have been a good boy. I’m not kidding they are hard to find. Love, Jacob

Dear Santa, I do not know if I ben good or bad. I want a I tuch and a noock tablit and a tramplen and a elf of the shelf and a new friend and a

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December 22, 2011 • Page 5

Laura Welch Bush Elementary First Grade

Dear Santa I would like you to give me a biger sut cas. I would like you to give me a magic tree hows. #3 I would like you to give me a Tweed brid alarm clock. I would like you to give me a cuter fery book. I would like you to give me Gogo my wocing pup. Love Allison

Dec. 24 Christmas Eve


Santa hat. Are you rel Santa. And can I have a laptop and a canndy mushen? love, Dylan Dear Santa, I went a chuch Santa. I went a startrak toys. I went a starwars toys to. by, Connor Dear Santa, Can I have Kanea the amircan girl and the huge Angry bird. Love, Kelsey Deart Santa, I don’t know if I am on the good list. I am only allowed to get a elf on the shelf. please I want a real puppy in my stocking like my cousins I want an I pad and on the case, it is dark blue. I don’t care what I get for the rest of the presend. Love Livia Dear Santa, I don’t no if i am good or bad. I want a big Optumis prime for Crismas. Thank you santa for all the prezants. i love you santa. Love Jaimin Dear Santa, I want a itouch 4, and a football

eraser for studdies, I love studdies. I want a go cart. By Ishaan Dear Santa, I would like a coat. Also an electic scooter. I also like a toy tank with army people. The shoes with weels on the bottom are cool too. love, Morgan Dear Santa, How do you get to everyone in one night? Dear Santa, I have been good. Would you please bring me a remote control helicopter. Love, Hank Dear Santa, This year I would lik a Happy Naper. I will cuddle with it. I will snuggle with it. I will even sing with it! I would like a dog and it’s puppy. Love, Kate Dear Santa, I would like a videogame because I like videogames. I have been good since the holidays. I can not wait for you to come to my house. Love, LUKE

Dear Santa, I would like an ipod and a remote car. When you come to our house, you will see our Christmas tree. I will have cookies and milk for you. Thank you. Love, Emily Dear Santa, I would like some more skwinkies to play with. I would also like a few movies too. I like Lion King, Bambi, and Rio. What I really want is a Schrech Hero set. Santa can you please send me a picture of you, your sled, and your Reindeer? Do you really have a Roldoph? ______________ (your answer) Do you really have flying Reindeer? ______________(your answer) Love, Fiona Dear Santa I would like a Toys R Us gift card pleas. I have been a good boy. I would also like a remote cantrole car. So me and my dad can have races. The reason why I want a Toys R us gift card is because I can pick what I want. The last think I want is an alektrick gutar because I can make music! thank you. Love, Connor

River Place Elementary First Grade Dear Santa, I think every one ben good but me. Can I iklest get one toy? bekus I will be juch fine if I get one. If I do get one toy can I pese like it so much it will be my favrit toy? love Ava Dear Santa Closs, I want for Christmas a Xbox 360 Live and I want a livepool ticket with a livepool t-shirt sind by Suarez. and a Elf on the shelf for Christmas. and I wan F50 socer boots. I wan’t to see Suarez for Christmas. Love, Fergal Dear Santa Claus, For real I want Motion Monster toys. Sincerely, Klarissa

“Balancing the scales of justice in your favor”

Dear Santa I want lego. I want a elf on the shlf. I want starwars movie.

Love Matthew

Dear Santa, 1. I want to evrebady to have evrecing that they want but if they are bad, don’t bring presents. Sincerely Paula Dear Santa Claus, I want to get a baskboll game. And a toy! love Scotty Dear Santa Claus, Win Mary cems to god. Tell me if I will git presints. I hope I git a good rport. If I was noty or nise. Sincerly, Ellie

Dear Santa, I like you. What is your favfrit holday? Wat lut me gas it is Christmas. I like you becus you are nies. You are nies. Sincerely, Sabrina Dear Santa, I know what I whant as a pet, a Panda and a Pupyy that is a Begol. My sister has bene very meen to me and I think you shood give her cole. Can I have a ilv in my medil bascit in my room on my hoous by my bed. I wonder if I cood get 2 that are bouth 3 years old and identicole. Love Lily

the Agges. Texas lost agenst the Sooners, Cowboys, Tigers, Wildcats and the Bears. Sincerely, Tucker Dear Santa I want a lot of thangs this yer. some are big some are smal. I want a pool. More we game rumots and more games for we. I also want some moves and a basckeball. Some cool deckurashons for my room. love,

Dear Santa, Texas is going to a bowl. Why? Becas you have to win 6 football games. Texas won 7. They beat the Owls, Coogers, Bruins, Cyclons, Jayhawks, Redraders, and

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Page 6 • December 22, 2011

Four Points News

VHS hosts Region Band auditions, local students shine By RICH KEITH

Vandegrift High School was selected to host the Texas Music Educators Association Region Band Auditions earlier this month. Many Viper Band students excelled during the contest which involved schools from LISD, Georgetown and Round Rock. A large number of local parents volunteered to run the all-day events on Dec. 2-3. “All students who participated in the Region Band process are to be commended for their hard work and determination,” said

VHS Director of Bands Jeremy Spicer. Region Band preparation is a cornerstone of the Vandegrift Band program. Through this process, students develop individual skill sets that deepen their understanding and awareness of music as a whole. “It is my hope that all students understand they have grown no matter the outcome of the audition. Disappointment is a natural reaction when we do not achieve our goals, but I challenge us all to use it as a growth moment for improvement,” Spicer said. Congratulations to the follow-

ing VHS students for earning a position in the TMEA Region 26 Band(s): Caitlin Hall – Piccolo (1st Chair, Symphonic Band – Area Qualifier) Rhea Adhikary – Flute (1st Chair, Symphonic Band – Area Qualifier) Olivia Schmitz – Flute (Symphonic Band) Lienne Ng – Flute (Symphonic Band) Janet Karpenske – Flute (Concert Band) Kristen Abbarno – Flute (Concert Band) Danielle Crider – Oboe (Con-

cert Band – Area Qualifier) Kelly Schriner – Eb Clarinet (1st Chair, Symphonic Band – Area Qualifier) Taylor Gaskins – Clarinet (Concert Band) Sean Flaherty – Clarinet (Concert Band) Jordan Sekiya – Clarinet (Concert Band) Lane Chipman – Contra Bass Clarinet (1st Chair, Symphonic Band – Area Qualifier) Sabrina Cheshire – Tenor Saxophone (Concert Band) Darren Castrillion – Trumpet (1st Chair, Concert Band) Emily Jensen – French Horn

(Concert Band) Graham Scott – French Horn (Concert Band) Caroline Slater – French Horn (Concert Band) Moriah Gonzalez – Euphonium (Symphonic Band – Area Qualifier) Calvin Geng – Euphonium (Concert Band) Matt Szostak – Tuba (1st Chair – Area Qualifier) Conor Stuart – Tuba (Concert Band) Mitch Stipek – Percussion (Concert Band – Area Orchestra Qualifier) The following students re-

Donut, hot chocolate stand fundraiser Thurs.

Twas the Morning of State Twas the morning of State, and all through the land, Not a creature was stirring, except for the band. The instruments were placed by the buses with care, In hopes that we all, soon would be there.

Our black shoes were shined, the smudges erased, On went our gloves, with our fingers rightly placed. Mitchel was drumming to keep us in beat, As the drum majors led us inside the dome and off the street.

Oh, the drums were lined up and the brass were all shining, But the children were mostly complaining and whining. “It’s dark, it’s cold, it’s early,” they all said, “Why must we rehearse when we should all be in bed?”

Kristen’s hands were raised and the down beat was made, And the band started playing like is never has played. Our show was performed and remembered to this day, As the Vandegrift Marching Band led the way.

In the band hall they gathered all blinking and glaring, And they heard their esteemed band director declaring. “It is time we did something long overdue, There’s a wrong to be righted, it’s been left up to you.” “For tonight we will march in the center of the dome, And we’ll play for our families, who are here instead of home. We will greet them with horns, and with woodwinds galore, With drums we will thrill them, they will beg us for more!” And the children all nodded, needing little persuasion, For they realized this was a momentous occasion. To be one of the best 24 bands in the state, What a wonderful chance, we mustn’t be late!

A few families from Hill Country Bible Church are hosting a donut, coffee, hot chocolate stand at John Simpson Park Thurs. The group is looking to raise $200 for a family in need in the area. The stand will be open from 7 - 10 a.m. and again in the evening from 5 - 7 p.m. on Dec. 22.

How about hosting a tapas dessert party?

Head back to the buses with a euphoric kind-of mood, Everyone feels much better once they’re filled with food. They announce finalists at last, and for what it’s worth, The band heard the good news, they had gotten fourth!

By Caitlin Hall, drum major in the VHS Viper Band. The state competition was in November.

The children were all nestled all snug in their seats, While visions of “VISIONARY” danced to a beat. And Spicer in his coat and Pape in his orange cap, Had just settled their brains for a short, restless nap.

With a short, young director, so spazzy but nice, We knew in a moment it must be JSpice. More rapid than eagles his companions came, And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

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“Now Howard! Now Pape! Now Nedley and Spradlin! On Kelly! On Emily! On Kristen and Caitlin! To the buses we go! Just listen for my call! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!” They went back to the buses and told everyone to get ready to go, We had our last ever performance, we couldn’t be slow! Suit up fast, get those horns out and warm up with zeal, They had done this many times, but now this time it’s for real.

When we arrived to the dome, there arose such a clatter, We sprang from our nap to see what was the matter. We looked to the windows and saw a big splash, We heard thunder all around us, and felt a massive splash.

And the drummers they drummed, and flutists they fluted, While the saxophones honked and the trumpets tooted. Click, click, click, click, it’s started, step, step, step, step, it’s done, Walk ‘round back to the buses, gather round everyone.

It was cold, it was dark, it was rainy and wet, When the directors came on the buses and told us not to fret. When, what to our wondering eyes should appear, But a once-hidden sun and a day that was quite clear.

Great music was played, some excellent marching as such, But for whatever reason, these judges didn’t like it as much. However, it doesn’t matter what five people say, The only thing that matters is how awesome we play!

We hopped off the buses all eager to play, While the chaperones and parents cheered a quiet “Hooray!” We quickly warmed up and got our instruments tuned, And we put on our shakos, majestically plumed.

As we all loaded up and got ready to go, We all couldn’t believe we had such a great show. Return late to the band hall, as we turn to Spicer with delight, “Everyone did a great job today, especially tonight!”

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Favorite part about being involved in Viper Swimming and Dive: I love working out more than most people do before 9:00 a.m. I also have met a lot of great new people.

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Favorite part about being involved in Viper Soccer: I love the camaraderie between teammates; we’re all a family. I’m also proud to be on a team that has made playoffs for two consecutive seasons and has stirred statewide attention. I’m excited to see what this season brings.

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Favorite part about being involved in Viper Wrestling: My goal for wrestling this year are bigger than last year. I want to qualify for regionals. The reason I like wrestling is the bond that you make with all your teammates and coaches.


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Favorite part about being involved in Viper Basketball: I enjoy playing basketball because I like the competitive nature of it. I love playing with the girls on the team and winning!

Favorite part about being involved in Viper Soccer: Soccer is a sport I’ve played my whole life. It’s not only a way for me to stay fit, but also something that I really enjoy to play with my friends.

S W I M M i N G

December 22, 2011 • Page 7

Sophia Duffield -


Favorite part about being involved in Viper Basketball: Getting to start a brand new program and be a part of starting new traditions are my favorite parts.



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Lady Vipers won 53-39 Vandegrift Lady Vipers played at home Friday night, hosting Rouse. The Lady Vipers won 53-39. In fact, all three Lady Vipers teams won Freshmen, Junior Varsity and Varsity.

Above: Kelsee Pitman (#23, junior) playing defense Left: Paige Lichtenberger (#11, senior and co-captain) driving on the Rouse defense Right: Katy Gallien (#32, senior and co-captain) driving on the Rouse defense Photos by : John Lichtenberger

Viper Swim & Dive takes 1st at Christmas Classic By SANDRA RAGO Contributor The Vandegrift High School Swim Team took 1st place at the Mary Jobe Christmas Classic Invitational Swim Meet on Dec. 10 in Killeen, TX.

There were over 700 swimmers from 16 different schools in attendance. Three new school record times were set at this meet. Kayleigh Rago set a new school record in the 100 butterfly. Christopher Flynn re-set his school record in the 100 free-

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style, and Connor Cox re-set his school record in the 100 breaststroke. Viper team members tallied 20 time improvements overall at the meet. The team travels to Burnet, TX for the Tex Robertson Invitational on Jan. 6 before the District 25-4A meet on Jan. 2728. Individuals and Relay teams must finish in the top 6 in the district in order to move on to the Region 7 meet Feb. 10-11 in San Antonio. The State meet will be held Feb. 24-25 at the University of Texas pool in Austin for State qualifiers. At the recent Mary Jobe Christmas Classic Invitational Swim Meet, the Women's 200 medley relay scored 5th and 7th places. The Men's 200 medley relay took 6th place. In the 200 Freestyle, Kayleigh Rago was 3rd among the women, and Chris Flynn was 1st for the men. In the 200 Individual Medley, Sydney Sanders took 6th for the women, and Connor Cox was 4th for the men. The Women's 50 freestyle had Lindsey Thompson in 4th, Isabella Voelkl in 5th and Jordan Reyes in 7th. The Men's 50

freestyle saw Everett Fitzpatrick scoring 6th place and Brandon Maas taking 7th place. The Women's 100 butterfly had Kayleigh Rago take 3rd, Hanna Brown in 4th and Sydney Sanders in 7th. Liam Newton took 5th in the Men's 100 butterfly. In the Women's 100 freestyle, Isabella Voelkl was 3rd and Lindsey Thompson 4th. Chris Flynn took 1st in the Men's 100 freestyle, and Everett Fitzpatrick was 6th. In the 500 freestyle, Rachel Bezella was 6th among the women, and Matt Dehne 7th among Above: Steve Gerken the men. The Women's 200 free- Below: Sidney Sanders style relay teams took 2nd and 4th places. The Men's 200 freestyle relay teams were 3rd and 6th. The 100 backstroke saw Hanna Brown take 2nd and Haley Driskill 6th among women, while Steve Gerken turned in a 4th place among men. In the 100 breaststroke, Devon Gerstenhaber was 6th for the women, and Connor Cox was 1st for the men. The 400 freestyle relays end the day with the women's teams taking 1st and 7th places, and the men's team finishing 3rd.


Page 8 • Four Points News, Thursday, December 22, 2011

ENERGY, FROM 1 of 2,500 kilowatt-hours a month would see an increase of $33.57 a month or 13.4 percent. Austin Energy proposes to raise rates for a variety of reasons. Officials say that in spite of stringent budgeting, AE has experienced large deficits in recent years and 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 while the utility has added 115,000 new customers since 1995, growth in sales has slowed dramatically from 6% on average in the late 1990s to a 2% average since 2000. Growth is projected at between 1% and 2% for the near future. The rate proposal and all background information is available at www.rates.austinenergy. com. Customers can also submit comments or questions through

that web site. Beginning Jan. 3, residential customers can go to this web site rrcalculator to see a comparison between an electric bill they have paid in recent time and how it will look under the proposed new rates. “They will simply type in the kWh from a previous bill, click the correct month of the bill and they will see the comparison,” Clark said. Also beginning Jan. 3, commercial customers can visit crateanalysis to submit a request for an Austin Energy staff member to analyze how the recommended new rates will impact their electric bills. Schools were cut a 10 percent break on what they would otherwise pay, while churches were not.

HOA, FROM 1 new construction is almost done in Steiner Ranch, but one idea is that when fences need replacing they could be replaced with safe materials. Additionally the HOA is also helping the Steiner Firewise group to draft a set of guidelines which residents can use. This document will be called the Community Wide Protection Program (CWPP), reported previously. Selman also commented about other measures the HOA is working on that stemmed from the Steiner fires. The HOA has recommended an information-sharing plan to the Travis County Sheriff for orderly evacuations in case of

natural disaster such as fire. This plan is under review, Selman said. While the Sheriff would like to give rapid information back to the HOA to post online, they remind the HOA that emergency situations shift and change rapidly. Thus the Sheriff would be hesitant to recommend, for example, that a group of neighborhoods should evacuate to a certain school because that area was deemed safe, when the wind could shift and the firefighters would need that area cleared out to fight a fire, Selman explained. As the HOA and Travis County work out the details together, the first line of defense remains with residents.

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DREW, FROM 1 Later that evening the Welcome Dinner & Uniform Presentation Ceremony is held at the Sheraton Downtown. The 2011 All-World Team is announced; players will receive their jerseys’ with their names on the back, along with the abbreviation for their state/country in place of the number. Dec. 28 will be the Power Showcase Home Run Derby. The top 50 players in the world will demonstrate their current and future power hitting ability in world-wide live internet broadcast. Dec. 29 will be the 6th Annual Power Showcase where the top 50 players in the world will participate. It will also be live via internet broadcast. Dec. 30 will be the inaugural All-World & All-American Baseball Classic. The event will be broadcast live on the Power Showcase website. The participants will receive a total of 25 outs, which will be broken into two rounds. The players will use both metal and wood bats. When all 50 prospects have hit, the top five will advance to the Championship Round. For more information, go to

December 22, 2011 Issue  
December 22, 2011 Issue  

December 22, 2011 Issue