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COASTAL BEND BUSINESS

MAGAZINE

MAKING A DIFFERENCE CASA OF THE COASTAL BEND LEND A PAW THE GCHS #PAWSTOGIVE CAMPAIGN

A FAMILY TRADITION

NIKO SISSAMIS AND

AND NIKO’S STEAKHOUSE TIME TO MOVE

PINNACLE PERFORMANCE & FITNESS CONTINUING THE LEGACY JAN/FEB 2017

LEGENDS BARBER SHOP I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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CORPUS CHRISTI’S ONLY LOCALLY OWNED AND OPERATED FORD DEALERSHIP

*Based 2014 Retail I N S Pon IRE C O A Total S TA L New BEND M A GSales . C O Mfrom Ford Motor Co. Sales Report 2


www.samesford.net

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361-851-7600

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4721 Ayers St. 78415 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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Salsa Bar (made fresh daily) Express Lunch Menu Off Site Catering ďƒ‹ Party Room available Like us on Facebook

Gulfway Shopping Center 6042 South Padre Island Drive CC TX 78412 (361) 334-6081 www.molerestaurant.com

I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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CONTENTS JANUARY. FEBRUARY 2017

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BUSINESS COACH 14 An Ounce of Prevention SPECIAL FEATURE 16 Stellar Service FEATURES 18 Holiday Advertising 20 Grand Garnets 22 Think of the Possibilities 24 Did You Know ...? REAL ESTATE 44 Let the Fun Begin 46 Insure Your Success TRAVEL 50 Get Your Travel Savvy On TASTE 52 Bringing Out the Best 54 The Sky’s the Limit NONPROFIT 56 Making a Difference 58 Lend a Paw INSPIRED STYLE 60 Dr. Meridith Carter

COVER AND TABLE OF CONTENTS PHOTOS BY: WILLIAM RUSSELL

26 NIKO SISSAMIS AND NIKO’S STEAKHOUSE

30 PINNACLE PERFORMANCE & FITNESS

A strong and successful family legacy in Corpus Christi three generations in the making, Niko Sissamis proudly continues the tradition at Niko’s Steakhouse.

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Far from your ordinary gym, the brainchild of Adam Farrell is a community dedicated to helping clients succeed in a fun, safe environment.

36 LEGENDS BARBER SHOP A family legacy 45 years in the making, Marc Mungia continues his grandfather’s work by servicing clients of all ages with a focus on loyalty, community and camaraderie.


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MEET THE STAFF

COASTAL BEND MEDICAL MAGAZINE

ADRIAN GARZA

It’s ART Time at

Tracey’s Studio of Arts and Crafts

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES adrian@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.548.1044

JANUARY.FEBRUARY 2017 CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF SALES Adrian Garza

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS HOLLY DUVALL

CO-PUBLISHER EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS holly@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 479.935.0868

Holly Duvall

EDITOR Erin O’Brien

ART DIRECTOR Elisa Giordano

SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

Where all you need is your imagination!

Greg Duvall

SOCIAL MEDIA Morgan Bartel

ERIN O’BRIEN

After School Activities Drawing Painting Ceramics Mosaics Clay Crafts Wreaths • Water color and Acrylic Classes • Mixed Media Classes • Weekly Homeschool ART Classes • ART Birthday Parties • Art Parties for all Occasions! • Kid’s Night Out! Second Friday of every month • Walk-ins are always welcome

EDITOR erin.editorial@gmail.com

ELISA GIORDANO ART DIRECTOR hello@elisagcreative.com 210.716.5320

Mandy Ashcraft Colton Bartel Kim Bridger-Hunt Kaitlin Calk Ali Choe Tim Clark Jessica Dusek Kathryn Hyatt Stephanie Kusy Connie Laughlin Brian Niemann Sylvia Slezak Judy Smith Kelly Trevino Dayna Worchel

PHOTOGRAPHY Dustin Ashcraft David Olds Fotografie William Russell

GREG DUVALL

SALES & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT greg@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 361.944.7336

361-371-5023 5922 Yorktown Blvd. Ste. 110

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS

www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com For advertising information, please call 361.548.1044 or email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com. For editorial comments and suggestions, please email adrian@inspirecoastalbendmag.com.

MORGAN BARTEL SOCIAL MEDIA morgan@ inspirecoastalbendmag.com 620.417.5392

7957 Wolverine Corpus Christi, Texas 78414 Phone: 361.548.1044 Copyright © Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine. All rights reserved. Reproduction without the expressed written permission of the publisher is prohibited.


WANT A CHEAPER ELECTRIC BILL?

Why Choose us: Our customers come first. The Stellar Energy Solutions and Hudson Energy support team is made up of people who understand the industry and care deeply about helping you in every way. We are here for you.  Dynamic Pricing: We have several clear advantages over other suppliers, including market experience and purchasing power, which add up to more value for your business.

 Environmentally Sound: We see the big picture. As an industry leader, it's our responsibility to explore green energy product options and offer affordable ways for companies to reduce their environmental impact.

 Energy Advisors: Our team of industry specialists will work with you to create an energy solution that meets all of your company's needs from budget to roll-out and support.

 Fully Integrated Partnership: Stellar Energy Solutions partners with Hudson Energy because our business values align. There is a mutual trust in our white glove approach to serving your business needs.

361.884.8973 | www.stellarnrgsolutions.com


STATE OF THE CITY KEYNOTE SPEAKER: MAYOR DAN MCQUEEN

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2017

AMERICAN BANK CENTER

11:30 A.M. - 1:00 P.M. TABLE OF 8: $600*/ $700 INDIVIDUAL TICKET: $75*/ $85

*indicates exclusive chamber member pricing

FOR TABLES & TICKETS CALL 361.881.1800 OR VISIT WWW.UNITEDCORPUSCHRISTICHAMBER.COM S P O N S O R S H I P S N O W AVA I L A B L E . C O N TA C T E M I LY AT E M I LY @ U N I T E D C O R P U S C H R I S T I C H A M B E R . C O M

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Great Food. Great Times. Great Experience. Happy Hour 4-7pm

7 Days a Week

5409 Saratoga Blvd., Corpus Christi nikossteakhouse.com 361.992.2333 Sun-Thurs 11am-1am

Fri & Sat 11am-2am I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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5510 Williams Drive | Corpus Christi, Texas | 361.991.8383 | floors@alexanderscarpetone.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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BUSINESS COACH

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION

The top two troubles for today’s business owners – and the strategies to fix them By: CONNIE LAUGHLIN

FINDING TALENT

CONNIE LAUGHLIN is a business consultant for UniqueHR, which provides payroll administration, workers’ compensation insurance, safety programs, risk management, human resources programs and, optionally, benefits as a package. For more information, you may contact Laughlin at 361-8526392 or conniel@ uniquehr.com.

A key advantage of successful leaders is bringing in the best talent to assist with growth of revenue through their experience, professionalism and leadership. An efficient use of time is finding talented people to assist in areas where you, the business leader, lack either sufficient knowledge or the time to devote to management. Do you know how to find and retain these key employees? Mature professionals realize the lack of robust HR is a telltale sign of inexperienced or lackadaisical management. It goes a long way to have a business that’s professionally branded in a multitude of ways, one that’s legally compliant with the countless worksite laws and one that utilizes effective management tools and programs. Per Wikipedia, “The professional discipline and business function that oversees an organization’s human resources is called human resource management (HRM, or simply HR).” HR refers to the body of individuals who make up a workforce; terminology varies as some refer to their workforce as human capital. The fact of the matter is: Employees are an asset! The word, “asset,” is positive and refers to something or someone that’s of use, that’s valuable and that contributes to success. Employees are a valuable asset to be cultivated and protected. Bersin, by Deloitte, delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations in their efforts to deliver exceptional business performance. They’re one of the most highly noted and sought-after analysts to Fortune 100 companies. Bersin’s research shows mature companies spent 34 percent more on training and other talent initiatives than companies at the lowest maturity level. Companies are investing more in their “human capital,” which is nothing but good news for today’s workforce. All businesses, from two employees to 20,000, should invest in their “human capital.”

KNOWLEDGE

Highly successful mentors with instinctual vision are a saving grace. Now more than ever, creative thinking needs to happen. Salespeople must use consultative sales techniques and be highly regarded in their communities, as the old methods are no longer useful. Finances need attention now more than ever. Don’t leave your assets hanging out there for someone to take a big bite. If you don’t have a strong HR and risk management background, you could be done on both sides pretty quick. To some businesspeople, this could be an opportunity. Is opportunity knocking at your door, but you’re so busy with back office stuff you can’t hear it? Today you may find yourself using more time to strategize and streamline

ALL BUSINESSES, FROM TWO EMPLOYEES TO 20,000, SHOULD INVEST IN THEIR “HUMAN CAPITAL.”

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your operation. Many businesspeople are not managing, but actually doing the work themselves because they had to let people go or don’t want to hire additional staff. So who’s effectively managing exposure to the liabilities associated with employees (workers’ compensation insurance administration, payroll taxes, safety programs and compliance with federal and state regulations)? There are a multitude of areas where you need protection. I don’t care if you have one employee or 100. Beware of compliance issues such as sexual harassment and other EEO stuff that could empty your nest egg and fill someone else’s. Likewise, workers’ compensation insurance administration can be tricky even in white-collar companies. Keep in mind, significant trips and falls in the office could mean a huge increase in the experience modifier rating resulting in higher costs to you. You need a really good risk management program, regardless of your industry.

STRATEGY

Try to find a way to provide yourself with a predictable cost for your worksite employees and reduce your liability. One alternative is to work with a professional employer organization (PEO). With a PEO, you are not going it alone. No longer do you have to worry if you are an incident or two away from skyrocketing cost. You need to be focused on high performance – not the same old worries of the rising costs of everything. Keep rising costs at bay, do your homework and get on with business! As Benjamin Franklin said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”


ARCHITECTURE

IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE BUILD MAP PICTURE PLAN FORM MAKE TRACE COMPOSE ASPIRE MOLD CONSTRUCT DRAF DR AFT T FR FRAM AME E SH SHAP APE E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY DY D DEP EPIC ICT T DO DOOD ODLE LE IINV NVEN ENT T PR PROD ODUC UCE E FA FABR BRIC ICAT ATE E D DRE REAM AM D DIS ISCO COVE VER R IM IMPR PROV OVE E DRAFT IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE BUILD MAP PICTURE PLAN FORM MAKE TRACE COMPOSE ASPIRE MOLD CONS CO NSTR TRUC UCT T DR DRAF AFT T FR FRAM AME E SH SHAP APE E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY DY D DEP EPIC ICT T DO DOOD ODLE LE IINV NVEN ENT T PR PROD ODUC UCE E FA FABR BRIC ICAT ATE E DR DREA EAM M DI DISC SCOV OVER ER IMPROVE IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE BUILD MAP PICTURE PLAN FORM MAKE TRACE COMPOSE ASPIRE MOLD PLOT CONSTRUCT FRAME SHAPE DRAW STUDY DEPICT DOODLE INVENT PRODUCE FABR FA BRIC ICAT ATE E DR DREA EAM M DI DISC SCOV OVER ER IIMP MPRO ROVE VE IIMA MAGI GINE NE D DES ESIG IGN N CR CREA EATE TE BU BUIL ILD D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR URE E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE CE COMPOSE ASPIRE MOLD CONSTRUCT FRAME SHAPE DRAW STUDY DEPICT DOODLE INVENT PRODUCE FABRICATE DREAM DISCOVER IMPROVE IMAGINE DESIGN CREATE BUILD MAP PICTURE PLAN FORM MAKE TRACE COMPOSE ASPI AS PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC ICT DOODLE LE IN INVE VENT NT P PRO RODU RO DUCE DU CE FAB ABRICATE TE DREAM DISC DI SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IIMA MAGI MA GINE GI NE DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REATE BUILD MAP PICTURE PLAN FO FORM RM MAKE MA KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD CON ONST STRU ST RUCT RU CT FR FRAM AME AM E P PLO LOT LO T SHAPE DRAW STUDY DEPICT DOODLE INVENT PROD PR ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IIMA MAGI MA GINE NE D DES ESIG ES IGN IG N DR DRAFT CREATE BUILD MAP PICTU TURE RE P PLA LAN LA N DRAF DR AFT AF T FO FORM RM M MAK AKE AK E TR TRAC ACE AC E CO COMP MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T F FRA RAME RA ME S SHA HAPE HA PE D DRA RAW RA W ST STUD UDYY DE UD DEPI PICT PI CT D DOO OODL OO DLE DL E DRAF DR AFT AF T IN INVE VENT VE NT P PRO RODU RO DUCE DU CE F FAB ABRI AB RICA RI CATE CA TE D DRE REAM AM D DIS ISCO COVE VER R IM IMPR PROV OVE E DR DRAF AFT T IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE E BU BUIL ILD D MA MAP P PICT PI CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T PL PLOT OT F FRA RAME RA ME S SHA HAPE HA PE D DRA RAW RA W ST STUD UDYY UD DEPI DE PICT PI CT D DOO OODL OO DLE DL E IN INVE VENT VE NT PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E F FAB ABRI AB RICA RI CATE CA TE D DRE REAM RE AM D DIS ISCO IS COVE CO VER VE R IM IMPR PROV PR OVE OV E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DESI DE SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE D DRA RAFT RA FT CO COMP MPOS MP OSE OS E A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD C CON ONST ON STRU ST RUCT RU CT FRAM FR AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW ST STUD UDY UD Y D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E DR DRAF AFT AF T FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IMAG IM AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FRAM FR AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IN INVE VENT VE NT PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IIMA MAGI MA GINE GI NE DESI DE SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD C CON ONST ON STRU ST RUCT RU CT F FRA RAME RA ME SHAP SH APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY DE DEPI PICT PI CT DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IIMA MAGI MA GINE GI NE D DES ESIG ES IGN IG N CREA CR EATE EA TE IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE TR TRAC ACE AC E CO COMP MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE MO MOLD LD CONS CO NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE FORM FO RM M MAK AKE AK E TR TRAC ACE AC E CO COMP MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW ST STUD UDY UD Y DE DEPI PICT PI CT D DOO OODL OO DLE DL E INVE IN VENT VE NT P PRO RODU RO DUCE DU CE F FAB ABRI AB RICA RI CATE CA TE D DRE REAM AM D DIS ISCO COVE CO VER R IM IMPR PROV PR OVE OV E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN CR CREA EATE EA TE IIMA MAGI MA GINE GI NE D DES ESIG ES IGN IG N CREA CR EATE EA TE B BUI UILD UI LD P PLO LOT LO T MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD C CON ONST ON STRU ST RUCT RU CT F FRA RAME RA ME SHAP SH APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE INVEN ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E DR DRAF AFT AF T FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IMAG IM AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE E PL PLAN AN F FOR ORM OR M MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE C COM OMPO OM POSE PO SE A ASP SPIR SP IRE IR E MO MOLD LD C CON ONST ON STRU ST RUCT RU CT DRAF DR AFT AF T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE DRAF DR AFT AF T IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E D DES ESIG ES IGN IG N CR CREA EATE EA TE B BUI UILD UI LD M MAP AP P PIC ICTU IC TURE TU RE P PLA LAN LA N FO FORM RM M MAK AKE AK E TR TRAC ACE AC E CO COMP MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CONS CO NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T DR DRAF AFT AF T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FA FABR BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IMPR IM PROV PR OVE OV E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E IM IMAG AGIN AG INE IN E DE DESI SIGN SI GN C CRE REAT RE ATE AT E BU BUIL ILD IL D MA MAP P PI PICT CTUR CT URE UR E PL PLAN AN FO FORM RM MA MAKE KE T TRA RACE RA CE COMP CO MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D PL PLOT OT CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC E FABR FA BRIC BR ICAT IC ATE AT E DR DREA EAM EA M DI DISC SCOV SC OVER OV ER IIMP MPRO MP ROVE RO VE IIMA MAGI MA GINE GI NE D DES ESIG ES IGN IG N CR CREA EATE EA TE B BUI UILD UI LD M MAP AP P PIC ICTU IC TURE TU RE P PLA LAN LA N FO FORM RM M MAK AKE AK E TR TRAC ACE AC E COMP CO MPOS MP OSE OS E AS ASPI PIRE PI RE M MOL OLD OL D CO CONS NSTR NS TRUC TR UCT UC T FR FRAM AME AM E SH SHAP APE AP E DR DRAW AW S STU TUDY TU DY D DEP EPIC EP ICT IC T DO DOOD ODLE OD LE IINV NVEN NV ENT EN T PR PROD ODUC OD UCE UC EF FAB ABRI AB RICA RI CATE CA TE

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SPECIAL FEATURE

STELLAR SERVICE

Meet Stellar Energy Solutions Employee of the Month Rosie Sanchez, who is being recognized for excellence in service to her community. By: TIM CLARK

T

he heart of Stellar Energy Solutions lies in its employees – hardworking, caring people who love to serve their community. Most recently, the staff and their family members prepared and served 150 brown-bag lunches to families in our city. In December, they delivered bicycles to Evans Elementary School for children to have a brighter Christmas. More such events are planned for the future.  Pictured here is Rosie Sanchez, who joined the energy brokerage after 30 years of service as a teacher and school administrator. She has

worked tirelessly in the previous months to assist in opening Stellar Energy Solutions South (the new branch in the Rio Grande Valley). When asked what she likes about her job, Sanchez says, “It’s a joy, not a job. I hope to bring the wonderful benefit that Stellar Energy Solutions provides for commercial businesses to schools and nonprofit agencies so they, too, can redirect their savings to critical programmatic needs.”

For any and all of your electricity pricing needs, please contact Rosie Sanchez at rosie@stellarnrgsolutions.com.

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A GRADE

ABOVE THE REST

FREE ESTIMATES RESIDENTIAL & COMMERCIAL

®

Ed “Chip”Green 361.244.8442 | sales@thevertexroof.com | www.thevertexroof.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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FEATURE

The Better Business Bureau offers advice for preparing your business for seasonal sales. By: KELLY TREVINO

T

he New Year is here, and business are continuing to advertise seasonal sales, discounts and specials to attract customers. According to the National Retail Federation, holiday sales reached more than $600 billion in 2015. As part of BBB’s Standards for Trust, BBB Accredited Businesses are required to advertise honestly and follow BBB’s code of advertising. BBB’s code of advertising serves as a guide for businesses to ensure your advertising is fair and truthful, and so that customers can have a satisfying shopping experience. It’s also important for your business to advertise any special offers, like one-time-only coupons and hours of operation since many businesses may be closed on Black Friday. Communication is key, so be sure to regularly update your customers on your website or social media sites of special offers and business hours. When you prepare to advertise

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lowest price, they should have evidence to verify their claim.

• Comparative price, value and savings claims: Advertisers may offer a price reduction or saving by comparing their selling price with either their former selling price, the current selling price of identical merchandise or the current selling price of comparable merchandise sold by the advertiser or by others in the market area.

• “Up to” savings: Savings or price reduction claims covering a group of items with a range of savings should state both the minimum and maximum savings without undue or misleading displays of the maximum.

• Sales: The word, “sale,” should be used only when there is a significant reduction from the advertiser’s usual price. The “sale” must be for a limited time. If it exceeds 30 days, an advertiser should be able to substantiate that the offering is a valid reduction and has not become the regular price. • Lowest price: Because prices fluctuate rapidly, sellers have a difficult time comparing their lowest price with all competitors. If advertisers claim to have the

• Free: The word, “free,” may be used in advertising when a business is offering an unconditional gift. If getting the free item requires a purchase: - The advertiser must disclose this condition clearly and together with the “free” item. - The normal price of the merchandise or service to be purchased must not have been increased or its quantity or quality reduced. - The “free” offer must be temporary – otherwise it would become a continuous combination offer.

For more important business advice, visit our website at www.bbb.org/central-texas under the “For Businesses” section, or our independent blog, www.watchyourbuck.com. Kelly Trevino is the regional director for the Corpus Christi/Victoria area of Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal and Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. Trevino is available for media interviews and speaking engagements. You can reach her at 361-945-7352 or ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

STUDIOWORKSTOCK/BIGSTOCK.COM

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http://pinnaclersi.com I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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GRAND GARNETS

Experience garnet, a truly versatile group of gorgeous gems. By: COLTON BARTEL

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arnets have been used to adorn royalty and the wealthy for centuries. Pharaohs were buried with them, Romans used carved garnets in rings to make wax seals on important documents and garnets were the favorite of clergy members for hundreds of years. Today, garnets have taken a backseat to more “desirable” stones and are seen as almost too “common.” The truth of the matter is that garnets are very beautiful stones that come in a wide range of colors, but have been given a rough life only because they are more plentiful than most gems. Most people think of brownish-red stones any time they hear “garnet”; however, garnet doesn’t refer to just one particular stone. Garnets are actually a group of stones that have very similar shared properties. It is, of course, much more technical than that, but unless you intend to study gemology, there is no reason to bore you with the details. Since they are a group, it allows for a lot of variety. As a matter of fact, there are more than 20 different species of garnet, but only five of those are significant to the jewelry industry: 1. Pyrope 2. Almandite 3. Spessartite 4. Andradite 5. Grossularite The two that make up the vast majority of garnets in the industry are Pyrope and Almandite. Both of these are primarily red in color, but can vary from purple to orangey red. These two are popular because they have some of the more desirable colors, they are plentiful in a lot of different sizes

and shapes and even large stones are usually very affordable. Garnet is the birthstone of January; therefore, beautiful red Pyrope and Almandite garnets are perfect for birthstone jewelry. Spessartite garnets are a little bit lesser known, but still used quite often in jewelry.

Generally they are an orange to yellow stone that is very bright and is sometimes confused with sapphire and even diamond. They are significantly more rare than the previous two, and though they are all garnets, few would actually know what they are at first sight. Some of the better examples of Spessartites can almost appear as though they are on fire or glowing hot; this appearance definitely sets them apart from the group. Because they are more rare and also desired by collectors, they are usually much more expensive than the usual red varieties. Even more rare than the Spessartite is Andradite garnet. Andradite makes up some of the yellow and green varieties seen most often only in collections, but occasionally in unique jewelry pieces. The most notable type of Andradite is Demantoid. These garnets are usually similar in color to the yellowish green of Peridot, but they can have one of the most unique inclusions of any stone, horsetails. Horsetail inclusions only occur in this one specific variety of garnet and in no other stone, and they appear just how they sound: like horsetails. The inclusion looks like golden strands of hair flowing in the wind either in one small area or throughout the entire stone. To make it even more interesting, those who are looking to purchase these lively green gems actually want to see this inclusion in the stone and are cut to display the horsetail! Unfortunately for Demantoids, they are quite soft and susceptible to abrading and scratching, which is why they are not more widely used in jewelry. Finally, there is Grossularite! This is my personal favorite variety of garnet. To be more specific, this is the Tsavorite garnet. Tsavorites are a very rare type of beautiful green garnet, often confused with emerald! Like most garnets, they are usually very clean and really bright. Top-quality Tsavorites look like museum-quality emeralds and can sometimes command prices that rival emerald. Most of these stones come from East Africa, and they are by far the most important green variety of garnet. They are much more durable than the Demantoids and are usually more vibrant in color. Collectors love them, as well as discerning jewelry buyers. Tsavorites’ color and intensity definitely demand attention and make for great conversation pieces. Though they are more plentiful than other green garnets, Tsavorites’ beauty and consumer demand keep the prices relatively high. Garnets of all varieties have their own special place in the industry, and few others are as versatile. Though many may have discounted their beauty or have forgotten them altogether, garnets still stand as some of the greatest contributors to the jewelry industry and history. I encourage you to visit your jeweler and really experience this group of “grand garnets” for yourself. They won’t disappoint!

To experience garnets for yourself or ask questions, please contact Colton Bartel, G.G., A.J.P., with Susann’s Diamond Jewelers, located at 4254 S. Alameda in Corpus Christi, Texas. You may also visit Susann’s online at www.susanns-jewelers.com or on Facebook, or you can call 361-991-7565.

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PHOTOS COURTESY OF GIA

FEATURE


INTERSTATE ALL BATTERY CENTER - CORPUS CHRISTI

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Cell Phones  Cameras  Alarm Systems  Wheel Chair  Laptops  Solar  Flashlights  Watch / Key Fob

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FEATURE

dors in order of importance to you (e.g. 1. Décor, 2. Venue, 3. Photographer, etc.) and breaking up your overall budget into what you think is realistic for each category. This will help you find vendors that are more perfect for you and your wallet!

WHILE YOU’RE THERE…

Bring a friend whose judgment you trust. Your friend will help you remain focused on your vision while keeping things light and fun. Chances are your fiancé wants the same things you do, or at least supports the things you want. So it’s OK to leave him at home with a case of beer for the day. This is a day for you to have fun and dream up all the possibilities of your big day. In my experience, it is more fun to gush with a girlfriend about lace dresses with sparkly beading. Really try to engage with vendors. Use the keywords you listed, and see who is the most responsive to you. Though you want vendors with really impressive work, you also want to surround yourself with positivity and people who reflect your personality. This will make your big day even more enjoyable. The ones who really give you their interest will likely bend over backwards to create that one-of-a-kind experience for you. Bring a pen. You will get a lot of brochures that day, so make a little star on your favorite vendors. This will help you remember them when you get home and pull out 200

THINK OF THE POSSIBILITIES

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re you going to the Corpus Christi Wedding Fair in January? Prepare yourself for wedding chaos. You are going to see about 100 wedding professionals who all want to make your big day as special as possible. So to make getting through the room with your sanity intact, I’ve put together some tips for you.

BEFORE YOU GO, YOU SHOULD KNOW…

Firstly, you are going to need some information about your wedding ready to talk to vendors. Make a quick guest list to determine the size party you will have. Have a date in mind – but be flexible! There’s nothing worse than finding your dream venue, only to learn that they don’t have your one single date available. But they will have other options for you. Printing out labels that have your name, phone number, email, wedding date(s) and number of guests will save you from writing this information 50 times.

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By: ALI CHOE

Come up with a vision. Knowing what you want will help you find the most compatible vendors for you. Gather five to six keywords to describe your dream wedding, and watch your perfect vendors’ eyes light up when you hit their trigger words – “rustic,” “industrial,” “nautical,” “unique,” etc. You want vendors that are passionate about your big ideas because they will be most willing to go above and beyond to create that perfect day for you. Make a shopping list. Knowing which vendors you are looking for will help you breeze through the room a lot easier. If you already have a photographer booked, don’t confuse yourself – be confident, walk by and continue looking for the vendors you still need. And possibly most importantly, make a budget! You probably don’t know how much a centerpiece with dahlias and eucalyptus costs, and you don’t have to at this point. There are many tools online to help you narrow down a budget, both overall and for individual vendors. I suggest listing your ven-

pieces of paper. You can also make important notes on their brochures as needed. If you already have a dress, skip the fashion show! Most people like to watch the show, so all the vendor aisles are clear for you to get through with ease. You won’t be bumping into others, and you’ll have more time to talk with vendors. Don’t overwhelm yourself! All the vendors approaching you can be quite intimidating, so just stay focused and take a break if you need it. This is supposed to be a fun day for you to get ideas about possible resources for your wedding – nothing has to be decided immediately.

WHEN YOU GET HOME…

Rest! You’ll need it after walking around the booths all day. You’ll have some time to discuss things with your fiancé and narrow down your selections over the next few weeks. And if the wedding fair didn’t present you with your perfect vendor, there are more out there! Continue the planning and dreaming of your wedding day – it will be here before you know it! For more information, contact Ali Choe at alyssa_choe@comcastspectacor.com.

ALPHASPIRIT/BIGSTOCK.COM

How to be a bride at a wedding fair


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FEATURE

DID YOU KNOW…? CityOf.com shares some fun facts and trivia about the Sparkling City by the Sea. By: SYLVIA SLEZAK

 The city has one of the highest average wind speeds of coastal cities in North America, with wind speeds often reaching to 25 miles per hour and gusts reaching more than 35 miles per hour.  According to the National Weather Service Office in Corpus Christi, the city received 4.4 inches of snow on Dec. 24 and 25, 2004 – more snow than had fallen in all previous years combined. Because of the uniqueness of the event, three separate books were made documenting the event: “Snow,” “More Snow” and “More Snow for Kids.” All of these feature the theme of the South Texas Christmas miracle.

HISTORICAL BEGINNINGS AND RECORD “FIRSTS”:

 In 1519, the Roman Catholic Feast of Corpus Christi marked the discovery of a lush semi tropical bay by Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda. He therefore named the bay, “Corpus Christi,” which translates to “Body of Christ” from Latin.  City was founded in the 1830s as a trading post and commenced with growth as a port in the 1920s.  The King Ranch, founded in 1853, is the largest ranch in Texas, covering more than 825,000 acres, with more than 35,000 cattle, 200 quarter horses and more than 350 species of birds. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

CORPUS CHRISTI HAS A TOTAL AREA OF 460.20 SQUARE MILES.

 Padre Island, the largest Barrier Island in the nation, is only 25 minutes from downtown Corpus Christi.  The fourth deadliest hurricane of the 20th century hit Corpus Christi in September 1919. The death toll was between 600 and 1,000 people, and only three structures survived.

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 The city is home of Midget Ocean Racing Fleet, also known as MORF, which promotes sailing in the Coastal Bend. The Wednesday night races held by MORF are the longest-running weekly races in the United States.

CELEBRITIES BORN IN CORPUS CHRISTI:

 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Corpus Christi has a total area of 460.20 square miles of which 154.6 square miles is land while water covers 305.6 square miles.

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 Whataburger, the most popular Texas burger chain, was founded in Corpus Christi and spread across Texas like wildfire. The original two-story location, opened in 1950, is still open today, serving juicy burgers at 121 Shoreline Blvd.

 Kevin Abstract (musician, rapper, singer-songwriter)  Roger Creager (country music singer-songwriter) Attended Tuloso-Midway High School  Farrah Fawcett (actress and artist) Graduated from W.B. Ray High School  Ernestine Jackson (actress and singer)  Jeremy Jordan (actor and Broadway performer who currently plays Winslow “Winn” Schott Jr. on the CBS/CW DC Comics-based superhero drama series “Supergirl”)  Ashley Kidd (world champion wakesurfer; as of July 2016, she was ranked No. 1 in the women’s professional division of the Competitive Wake Surf Association world rankings)

ROSCHETZKYPHOTOGRAPHYBIGSTOCK/BIGSTOCK.COM

H

ow much do know about the Coastal Bend? How many celebrities can you name who were born in the Sparkling City by the Sea? We’ve compiled a list of interesting facts for you to compare with the ones you already knew.


 Bobby and Terry Labonte (NASCAR champions – one of only two pairs of brothers to have both won the Sprint Cup championships)  Christopher Layton, aka “Whipper” (musician-drummer who acquired his first drum set at age 13) Graduated from W.B. Ray High School, where he was part of the school band, and attended Del Mar College  Eva Longoria (actress, producer and director) Worked at a Wendy’s restaurant part-time for three years while attending high school, received her B.S. in Kinesiology at Texas A&M University-Kingsville and won the title of Miss Corpus Christi USA in 1998; returned to Corpus Christi in 2008 for the day to work behind the counter at Wendy’s and serve up hamburgers, fries and shakes once again  Victoria Moroles (actress and dancer) Raised in Rockport, Texas  Larry Norman (musician, singer, songwriter, record label owner and record producer who is considered one of the pioneers of Christian rock music and has released more than 100 albums)  William Norris “Billy” Powell (musician and songwriter)  Jessie Pavelka (fitness expert and television host) Attended Calallen High School from 1997 to 2001  Selena Quintanilla Perez (the “Queen of Tejano Music” pop legend, singer and songwriter) Raised and suffered a tragic death in Corpus Christi; the Selena Museum pays tribute to the iconic singer, and a bronze statue of Selena looks out over Corpus Christi Bay at the downtown seawall

Food.Wine. Full Bar. Music. Come ... Be Social.

WINE -O WE D es by t he Glas NESDAY s Rotat ing Spe cials All Tex TEX-MEX THUR & Mex SD Beer/Li quor/W AY ine on SERVI Special C E I N $4 You DUST C R all I YS 1/2off Sharea t Vodka/Whi UNDAY bles, H s alf Pric key/Tequila, $4 TexM e Wine ex Bee B $8 "Ha rs, $10 Pizza ottles, s ndheld , s" $5 Win

 Pepe Serna (actor)  Lori Singer (actress and Julliard-trained cellist)

FILMING IN CORPUS CHRISTI: 1979 – “Tilt,” with Brooke Shields and Charles Durning 1985 – “The Legend of Billie Jean,” with Christian Slater and Helen Slater 1985 – “Target,” with Gene Hackman and Matt Dillon 1991 – “Knight Rider 2000,” with David Hasselhoff and Edward Mulhare 1997 – “Selena,” with Jennifer Lopez 2001 – “Pearl Harbor,” with Ben Affleck, Josh Hartnett and Alec Baldwin (a portion was filmed on the USS Lexington) 2005 – “The King,” with Gael Garcia Bernal 2009 – “The Open Road,” with Justin Timberlake and Jeff Bridges

Sylvia Slezak is the director of marketing and social media at CityOf.com. For more information on where to relax, have fun and enjoy the hidden treasures of the Coastal Bend, visit us online at www.cityof.com/corpuschristi to explore the featured premier restaurants, attractions and local events.

Weds-Thurs: 4pm-12am • Fri, Sat, Sun: 4pm-2am

4102 S Staples St, Corpus Christi, TX 78411

361.728.6445

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COVER STORY

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Niko Sissamis and Niko’s Steakhouse: three generations of a strong and successful family legacy in Corpus Christi

By: DAYNA WORCHEL Photos by: WILLIAM RUSSELL


iko Sissamis is a modest man. He has tears in his eyes when he remembers the enormous sacrifices his grandfather and family made and the courage they showed when they journeyed from their home on the Greek island of Karpathos to start a new life in America. Grandfather Louis Sissamis came in 1939, before the start of World War II. Dad Paul Sissamis came over at the end of the war. The successful owner of Niko’s Steakhouse on Saratoga Boulevard for the past 11 years recalls the hard work and determination of his grandfather, “Papa Louie” Sissamis, his dad, Paul, Uncle Bill and Aunt Anastacia Sissamis as they gave up everything to learn a new language and a new business in the hopes of creating a better life for themselves and their families. He credits the work ethic of his father, his grandfather, his uncle and his aunt in helping him become the success he is today. “They are truly the heroes of our family,” he said. He also praises his hardworking restaurant staff for allowing him to juggle fatherhood and church volunteer work with the 70-hour workweeks he puts in at Niko’s Steakhouse. His steakhouse comes from a strong and successful family legacy in the restaurant business that goes back three generations in Corpus Christi, starting with the Hasty Tasty diner opened at the corner of Leopard Street and Port Avenue by Louis Sissamis and Louis’ brother-in-law. They later opened a second Hasty Tasty location. The financial success of these restaurants enabled Louis to slowly bring his family over from Karpathos, one by one. Eventually, Louis Sissamis sold out his partnerships in the Hasty Tasty to venture into the steakhouse concept in 1957. He built The Astor Restaurant that year, with his children, Paul, Bill and Anastacia, and it still operates today. It was Louis Sissamis who first came to the United States shortly before the outbreak of World War II. He came through Ellis Island in New York and left his wife and three children behind in search of a better life. But once the war began, there was no way to communicate with his family because there was no mail or phone service in Karpathos, Niko Sissamis said. “My dad, Paul, when he was 12, dropped out of school to support the family,” he said. “It was very hard times. They weren’t in tune with the world. They lived in a small village in Karpathos, an island of Greece.” He recently made a visit back to the house in Karpathos

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where his dad grew up. “It would bring tears to your eyes. They all lived in what amounts to a 10’ by 10’ room,” Niko Sissamis said. After Germany conquered Greece during the war, Paul Sissamis had to chop wood for the Germans in Karpathos all day to earn one loaf of bread to bring home afterward as payment. “They would all share it. My father would often not eat so others in the village could,” Niko Sissamis said. When Paul Sissamis turned 18, he decided the time was right to go to America and look for his father, who was already settled in Corpus Christi. After the war ended, Louis Sissamis started sending money once again to his family to let them know he was alive and well in Corpus Christi. But the journey to the United States was full of challenges for young Paul Sissamis from the beginning. “When he got to Athens, they wouldn’t let him board the ship because he didn’t have any shoes, nor had he ever owned a pair,” Niko Sissamis said. So Paul Sissamis, who was too poor to afford to buy shoes, went back to the island and borrowed a pair from a cousin. He boarded the ship and made the trip, where he too landed at Ellis Island, not speaking a word of English. “He walked through the streets of New York until he found someone who spoke Greek, and then he found a job washing dishes at a restaurant there,” Niko Sissamis said. With his first paycheck, Paul cleaned up his borrowed shoes and sent them back to his cousin in Karpathos. Paul Sissamis worked his way up through the ranks at the New York restaurant from dishwasher to manager. A successful string of family-owned restaurants in Corpus Christi has followed ever since. Niko Sissamis also co-owns The Ol’ Steakhouse Company on Alameda with his cousin. His brother, Bill Sissamis, also owns and operates the very successful and award-winning Silverado Smokehouse. Niko earned a bachelor’s degree in finance with a minor in accounting from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Earning that degree was a promise he made to his dad, Paul Sissamis, after he expressed an interest in going into the restaurant business as a child. “My father knew I wanted to be in the restaurant business, and he wasn’t very happy about it,” Niko Sissamis said. “I remember we talked about it. I was getting ready to graduate from high school. He asked me what I was going to pursue after college.” When he said he wanted to go into the restaurant business, his dad tried to discourage him because of the long hours and very hard work involved. But Niko Sissamis wouldn’t be discouraged. He and his six siblings had grown up working in the restaurant. “And cooking is my passion,” Niko Sissamis said, adding that, “there is no success without stress.”


Photo by Paul Marshall

Photo by Paul Marshall

Balancing a job as a restaurant owner while married and raising sons, ages 3 months and 2 years, is not easy. His wife, Shermane, is taking a break from teaching calculus and pre-calculus at St. John Paul II High School to be home with the boys. “My wife has been very supportive. A lot of the credit goes to her. There is a lot of truth to the saying behind every successful man is a strong woman,” Niko Sissamis says. He also serves as board president of the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, the same position once held by his father. Niko Sissamis also credits a long-tenured and hardworking staff for helping him with being successful. He has several managers who have worked with him for more than 20 years. And there are more than 100 people who work with him at Niko’s Steakhouse. “I can juggle a lot, and I am very blessed because

of them,” he said. “My staff deserves a lot of the credit.” The now 45-year-old Niko says he has been blessed to be able to take everything he has learned over the years from his family and chefs who have worked for him from all over the world and apply it in his steakhouse. “We make everything from scratch, from the salad dressings to the desserts included our sauces and rubs,” he said. “Our steaks have the biggest rapport with our guests. This is due to the quality of meat and our 60-year secret family steak recipe.” There are always new seasonal specials on the menu. “Our best-selling entrees are the Black & Blue Ribeye and the Seared Ahi Tuna,” he said. He recently added Tropical Chipotle Fish Tacos with grilled Mahi Mahi and homemade mango salsa as a permanent menu item at the request of customers after it had been featured as a special. There are some plans in the works to remodel his restaurant in 2017 The seating capacity will stay the same, but he said he will rework the dining room to accommodate guests more comfortably and give it a fresher look. “Despite the hard work and the long hours, it’s all been worth it,” he said. “God has blessed me with a beautiful family, wonderful crew and tons of knowledge and wisdom.” Niko Sissamis said he would probably be utilizing his finance degree working in a bank if he had decided not to go into the restaurant business. “If you want to be successful, then you have to work hard. It’s been nice, but it has not been easy,” he said. But he insists emphatically that his relatives who made the daring and brave journey across the ocean all those years ago who are the true heroes. “They were humble people who came from very limited means to a country they did not know,” he said.

For more information on Niko’s Steakhouse, visit www.nikossteakhouse.com.

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PROFILE

YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR WEALTH Pinnacle Performance & Fitness: Corpus Christi’s sports performance and fitness solution

By: STEPHANIE KUSY Photos by: DAVID OLDS FOTOGRAFIE

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The best stories often come from when people leave behind careers to pursue their true passion. Adam Farrell, owner of Pinnacle Performance & Fitness, walked away from the comforts of a regular paycheck to become an entrepreneur. Feeling inspired after participating in a sports performance mentorship back in 2004, he returned to town and announced to his supervisor and staff at the fitness and wellness program at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi he would be leaving to open his own gym. “The mentorship provided a whole new way of looking at training,” Farrell recalls. The focus on fitness shifted from the typical bodybuilding mindset to a process that dealt with how to help people move better first, and resistance and weightlifting second. His new outlook would encompass many forms of training from stretching, plyometrics and speed development to power development, pilates, breathing and conditioning. At 29, he made his vision a reality and opened his own gym. “I didn’t know how to run a business,” Farrell said. “I didn’t know how to make money or market a business, or anything about sales, and my idea was unlike anything in South Texas. I wanted to bring sports performance training to South Texas. Nobody even knew what that was then.” Fast-forward to the present, and Farrell’s trained in his current facility in the Taylor Center off Alameda since 2011. “It’s gone really well,” he said. “There are a lot of gyms built on the business model that hope their members don’t show up after they create a membership. Our whole philosophy at Pinnacle is that if our clients aren’t successful, we won’t be successful. We want to see our clients at least three days per week.” Pinnacle Performance & Fitness isn’t just a gym; it’s a community. The staff and its members are committed to an authentic lifestyle centered on performance and physical fitness. Increasing metabolism, mobility, strength and endurance in a fun, safe environment is the staff’s top priority. Farrell and two certified strength coaches cater to anyone looking for a change of pace. From large group personal training, one to one and semi-private personal training to sports performance training for competitive athletes, all clients can find their niche. Fitness clients commit to a three-day-a-week schedule (say, Monday, Wednesday and Friday), where each training session provides an opportunity to stretch, strengthen and get better. Two coaches carefully design each and every workout, putting in hours of testing to make sure

each person receives the greatest benefit from their workout. “We take an exercise and completely dissect it,” said Coach Nadene VolkoffKoester, who goes by Coach V. “We look at it and think how would this work for a 70-year-old and how would it work for a 20-year-old. We can make sure everyone has a great experience and a good workout.” Coach V trains many of the group personal training sessions, and said they average around 12 participants. Her goals center on making sure clients achieve the results they desire. “I love that their lives get a little bit better because they are in here getting a little bit better each day,” Coach V said. “I love to be a part of that.” For her, it’s not just about clients changing their body composition, but also helping people get stronger, sleep better and just live better. “I enjoy working with people who are striving to find the champion within themselves. I believe that each one of us has a champion who strives to be the best they can be, and I hope to help people bring that out.” For those trying to shed a few pounds in the New Year or making the commitment to live a healthier lifestyle, try the 28-Day Metabolic Reboot. This month-long program offers clients three-day-a-week training with certified coaches, nutrition plans, grocery lists and tips for eating out. What truly sets this gym apart from others in town, though, is the coaches hold their clients accountable. Too tired to make a workout? Farrell or one of his coaches will notice. They send emails, text or even make personal phone calls when someone fails to show up for a workout. “It’s not about us,” Farrell said. “It’s about our clients, and that they get the most out of what we have to offer.” On average, a client loses a pant or dress size within the first 30 days of joining. Classes end with a cool-down and everyone gathering around, hands-in, shouting, “get better.” If that’s not empowerment, I don’t know what is. Still a skeptic? Farrell encourages everyone to try a group personal training session. One Saturday a month, Farrell opens the gym to the community to raise money for a different nonprofit. A minimum donation of $10 gets you a pass to sweat, and 100 percent of the proceeds goes back to support a local organization. Over the past three years, they’ve donated close to $25,000 through these popular workouts. “The community is a big piece of what we do,” Farrell said. “I grew up here, and I’m committed to our success. It’s a difficult battle. South

“OUR PHILOSOPHY AT PINNACLE IS THAT IF OUR CLIENTS AREN’T SUCCESSFUL, WE WON’T BE SUCCESSFUL.”

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Texas has not yet embraced an active physical culture, but I have seen this mindset changing for the better over the past few years.” Just ask Janet Freeman, who has been working out at Pinnacle Performance & Fitness for more than six years. “At that point, my 50th birthday was 17 months in the future, and rather than making another New Year Year’s resolution that I clearly had no idea how to fulfill, I made myself a promise,” Freeman recalled. “My gift to myself for my 50th birthday would be that I’d get in shape once and for all, and I’d no longer face the first challenge of the day in my closet trying to find something comfortable to wear that didn’t look awful on me.” Now she cannot imagine not waking up early to get herself to the gym. “I’ve lost weight, but the number on the scale has become simply a collateral benefit to the fact that I’m aware of and pleased with my body composition – lean mass to fat proportion,” Freeman said. “I’ve

reframed my perspective of myself from a person struggling with her weight to an athlete physically capable of engaging in and enjoying physical challenges – both competitive and those presented in my daily life.” Jennie Dibala experienced similar results. “I was looking for a gym that I could stick to long-term and not plateau or get bored,” she said. “Pinnacle offers the most efficient and effective workouts and they change every five weeks to keep me challenged. I also appreciate that each exercise has various levels so that people of all fitness levels feel welcome, and there is also always room for improvement.” Farrell shows no signs of slowing down, either. He continues to learn from the best in the health and fitness industry to make sure he’s delivering the most effective workouts to his clients. He even hopes to eventually open up a second gym. With his drive, anything is possible.

Pinnacle Performance & Fitness is located in the Taylor Center at 3636 S. Alameda, Ste. L. For more information, visit www.bepinnaclefit.com or call 361-985-0631.

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PROFILE

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Legends Barber Shop: a legacy 45 years in the making By: JESSICA DUSEK Photos by: WILLIAM RUSSELL


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He named it Legends. “I got my [business] name, Legends, from the movie, ‘The Sandlot’: ‘Legends never die,’” he quotes a famous line from the hit ‘90s film. As a child, it was Mungia’s Saturday visits to his grandfather’s shop (Mingo’s Barber Shop) that became a catalyst for his own passion for the industry. As a child, he observed trust and loyalty in the hangout as a place of sanctuary for men to talk about life while receiving shaves, haircuts and, most importantly, camaraderie. Mungia decided he wanted to create his version of that experience, building on fond memories as a child. “I definitely wanted to bring the old school barbershop that my grandfather once had. That was my goal – customers, greeting people and getting to know people.” Located on Yorktown, Legends Barber Shop sits at 615 square feet with other barbers on staff. “We service clients from 3 years old to 80 years old,” explains Mungia of their clientele base. Opening last year, the shop continues to grow in popularity. “We remain steady throughout the week,” he describes. “Fridays and Saturdays are booked.” Servicing classic men’s haircuts and razor shaves, he has five barbers on staff. Equipped to provide services to eight patrons at one time, Legends has become a hot spot for bachelor party services, entire wedding parties (males only, ladies) and events. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Mungia attended Ray High School, graduating in 2005. He received his license from the South Texas Barber School, located right off of Ayers in Corpus Christi, and graduated in 2010. “Pretty much all of my family is here in Corpus,” he explains. Yet it was the family barber shop that kept a supportive and tightly knit family spot. “Uncles come by, grandparents come by – my family is very supportive.” The loyalty and trust Mungia witnessed was inspiring. “It was the overall clients that would be going to him for 10 to 15 years. Some have been going to him since he first opened,” he adds. It was his grandfather who suggested that Marc consider the family business. “My grandfather mentioned I should go to barber school,” he recalls. “My first job when I got my license was to work in my grandfather’s shop in 2011.” After working there for one year, Mungia gained a prime audience for I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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barber shop appreciative customers at the Corpus Christi Naval Base. Opening Legends, Mungia carries on that legacy to a new generation of clientele, offering an array of services for male patrons. “I want to help the community any way I can because their support will keep [Legends] around for years to come.”

A fresh, clean face shave

 Old military flattop hair cut  The gentleman cut – “it’s a basic haircut,” Mungia describes. “It is the most requested, and I really enjoy doing that cut. It changes the appearance – [clients’] confidence.”

Yet most of all, what fuels Mungia is a personal passion to serve his community of Corpus Christi. Over the next year, they plan to continue getting involved in local causes and organizations. “The involvement within the community – it’s almost like they become part of your family,” Mungia says. It’s a place to socialize, catch up and have conversations. Knowing the camaraderie of family and giving back, Mungia’s involvement has carried over into help with the Veterans Memorial school and local baseball programs. “There are these little festivals that go on through the schools,” Mungia notes of his haircut contributions to these events. Continuing on the legacy with community in mind, Mungia has also become involved in the March of Dimes. “I’m trying to give back how I can.”

For more information, please visit Legend’s Barber Shop online at www.barbershopcc.com.

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Women’s fashion clothing, accessories and gifts

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bniemann@farmersagent.com (361) 437-4646 I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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REAL ESTATE

LET THE FUN BEGIN

Get inspired to bring your coastal home or vacation bungalow décor into 2017. By: JUDY SMITH

D

ecorating? Updating? Getting your house ready for the New Year? This can be the year you get inspired to update your home or vacation bungalow, whether you want to toss everything and start over, or you just want to bring your surroundings into 2017. The trends are fun, romantic, elegant and casual. Yes, odd as it sounds, all of these interior design elements can be in one place. New colors and artwork are the easiest and most noticeable changes. While beige is a staple of the color pallet, step out and do grey, blue, yellow or green tones. Do what you like. This year, hues of blue, grey and green accent many of our condos and homes. It’s a bright, clean combination, and it’s a great starting point for most any style of décor. Artwork can be as simple as a single focal-point picture, a collage of pictures or fun, catchy nostalgic pieces. Pick a theme for a

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NEW

COLORS AND ARTWORK ARE THE EASIEST AND MOST NOTICEABLE CHANGES.

you have particular colors or current furniture to match, you can always order you the accent chair, complementing rug or throw pillows to pull the room together. Your entry/foyer can become fresh looking with a new mirror, entry table, coat rack or pieces of artwork with complementary rug. Maybe it’s your dining room. Sometimes trading out old, tired chairs for a couple of new chairs or a bench can freshen up this area. As far as your living room, add a new chair, area rug, side tables, lamps or artwork. Color enhances old spaces, and old spaces have some pieces worth saving. You might love the serenity of sand, shells and beach scenes. Pick a mood, pick a style and bring your guests into a fresh new environment this year. Color up, freshen up and accessorize your space for the New Year.

For more information, visit www.mycoastalhometx.com.

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particular room, and let the fun begin. Budget? Yes. Everyone has a budget. If you don’t want to hire a design consultant to help you pull together items you already have in your home sprinkled with new items to make your home become a place you love to walk into, then visit local stores with furniture and see how shopping local can be very fulfilling. If


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REAL ESTATE

2. ESCROW YOUR INSURANCE PAYMENTS WITH YOUR MORTGAGE PAYMENTS.

INSURE YOUR SUCCESS Four tips to help you get a handle on homeowners’ insurance By: BRIAN NIEMANN

B

uying a home can be so overwhelming that it’s easy for first-time homebuyers, especially, to give minimal thought to the homeowners’ insurance process. Yet, if something happens to your home, homeowners’ insurance can make or break you. Before you just sign on the dotted line, here are four tips to guide you:

1. IF YOU CONTACT OUR COMPANY, WE WILL GIVE YOU THREE QUOTES. 1. Replacement cost quote with ACV on roof 2. Replacement cost with 10 percent extended replacement cost and roof replacement 3. Replacement cost with guaranteed replacement cost (GRC) and roof replacement cost Your mortgage lender can – and probably will – require you to have homeowners’ insurance. You may be required to purchase additional insurance, like flood insurance. You aren’t required to buy from a particular insurance company. Instead, compare coverage limits and price levels with our three quotes. Be sure you get the right type and amount of coverage. Since you’ll mainly

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If you’re like most homeowners, you’ll tack monthly insurance payments onto your mortgage check. The lender will pay your insurance premiums (usually your property taxes, too) out of your escrow account. Lenders prefer this option because it lets them know your insurance premiums are being paid, and their investment is well protected. Most likely, you’ll need to pay for one year of insurance at closing. Bring information about the insurance policy you have chosen and the money to cover the first year’s premium.

3. MAKE SURE YOU’RE GETTING ADEQUATE COVERAGE. The most important part of homeowners’ insurance is the coverage. Avoid paying for more than you need. Sometimes land cost can be high, depending on where you live, and you want to avoid overpaying for the additional coverage limits due to the higher land costs. Remember, we’re insuring your home, not necessarily your land, for replacement cost.

4. UNDERSTAND THE DETAILS OF YOUR POLICY. It’s not enough to get the right policy level. Before you make a decision, understand these homeowners’ insurance terms, limits and coverages:  Deductible: This refers to the amount you must before your insurance kicks in; the higher the deductible, the lower the annual premium.  Liability coverage: This is coverage that will pay medical or legal bills if

someone is hurt on your property, usually due to negligence.  Personal property: Sometimes called the contents of your home, this is tangible property such as furniture, electronics and clothing.   Premium: This is the price you pay, usually annually or monthly. If the loan is financed, the bank will usually have you make the payment through an escrow account. Banks like to make sure the premium is being paid and the policy is active.  Replacement cost: This is the kind of insurance that pays the full cost of replacing your dwelling or personal property, up to a maximum dollar amount. Most standard policies offer replacement cost, but you want to be sure the maximum amount is high enough.  Riders: These are policies you can include on your overall insurance policy to cover specific items. For instance, expensive antiques, jewelry and artworks are often covered under their own rider because they’re too valuable to be covered as regular personal property. Ask your agent for expensive items coverage limits.  Electronic signature: Using electronic signature for policies helps speed up the process and gives agencies, like mine, the capability to write insurance anywhere within the state of Texas, especially the Coastal Bend.  Be sure you understand how all of these terms work together in your homeowners’ insurance policy. Ask questions to ensure you have the right amount of coverage at the right price!  Please give my agency – Brian Niemann Insurance Agency, Farmers Insurance – a call for your existing home or new home-closing insurance needs. We can get the quotes out on the same day in most cases.  Our agency also offers windstorm, auto, business and life insurance. Call us today, and let’s get your new insurance quote started!

For more information, visit www.farmersagent.com/bniemann.

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deal with insurance companies during times of disaster, make sure the company you choose has great customer service and your best interest at heart.


I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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SNO-BALLS ARE NOT JUST FOR SUMMER!

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TRAVEL

GET YOUR TRAVEL SAVVY ON TSA PreCheck takes some of the hassle out of the travel experience. By: KIM BRIDGER-HUNT

W

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TIME TO RECONSIDER?

I don’t travel often. And I can count on one hand the times when I have experienced TSA lines that were really long. It generally happens at the larger airports that are handling literally thousands of travelers per hour. It can be frustrating, and it can certainly add to the already hectic reality of air travel these days. TSA PreCheck won’t alleviate all of your travel stresses – but it can certainly come in handy when you’re traveling from busy airports at peak travel times. PreCheck allows you to bypass some of the traditional security motions (like taking off your jacket and shoes and taking your com-

TSA PRECHECK CAN COME IN HANDY WHEN YOU’RE TRAVELING FROM BUSY AIRPORTS AT PEAK TRAVEL TIMES. puter out of your carry-on). At most airports, there is a separate PreCheck entrance that, in part, because of low enrollment, rarely has a line and so is much faster than the standard wait times. I gave in to PreCheck recently after deciding that I’d rather take steps to avoid the long lines than find myself hung up in one of them someday. I found that the process of applying for TSA PreCheck is surprisingly simple. Because it requires fingerprinting, applicants must make an appointment and show up at their chosen time and location. For me, the fingerprinting appointment took no more than 10 minutes. It was during this appointment that I paid my $85. If you’re

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CCIA

e live in a time when traveling through our nation’s airports has taken on a life of its own. Gone are the days when you could show up 20 minutes before your scheduled flight, check a bag, run to your gate and get on the plane. Security requirements add to the time we spend in airports, and there’s no way around it. But there is a way to take some of the hassle out of your experience at TSA Security Checkpoints. TSA PreCheck began back in 2011, and until recently, I never seriously considered enrolling in it. I wasn’t alone. It’s estimated that fewer than four million people have enrolled in the program. That number is much lower than what was targeted. According to the TSA’s website, the agency would like to get 25 million people enrolled in PreCheck. It’s hard to know exactly why enrollment has not met expectations. It’s possible that people are not getting the information they need to fully understand the process or benefits of PreCheck. It’s also possible that occasional travelers simply don’t think it’s worth the time and money to pursue it. Even after reading about it and talking to people who had enrolled, I had reached the conclusion some time ago that it was something I could live without.


approved for PreCheck, that fee gives you five years of expedited TSA screening at airports all over the nation.

THE PROCESS WENT SOMETHING LIKE THIS: • I pulled up the application on tsa.gov and filled it out.

• While still online, I chose a location for fingerprinting and made an appointment (for two days later) at Identgo, which is located in Corpus Christi at Greenwood and SPID. • I showed up at my designated time with my approved form of I.D., answered some questions, got fingerprinted and paid the $85 fee. • I waited to receive my Known Traveler Number (KTN), which will be used when booking future trips on participating airlines.

PRECHECK VS. GLOBAL ENTRY

There has been some confusion over PreCheck and other Trusted Traveler Programs like Global Entry. Global Entry is a different, but similar process that when completed, will allow international travelers to again by pass long lines at Customs when returning to the United States from other countries. For those who take international trips frequently, Global Entry is the way to go. And here’s the great news: When you apply, pay $100 and receive Global Entry status, you are automatically enrolled in TSA PreCheck. The reverse, however, is not true. If you enroll in PreCheck and later decide that you want Global Entry, you will have to apply for it and pay the $100 separately. So, if you want both, apply for Global Entry and get both of them for $100.

PRECHECK AT CCIA

Corpus Christi International Airport (CCIA) is a PreCheck airport, and during peak travel times, you’ll find the TSA set up to accommodate PreCheckers. It’s at other airports, however, where you will fully appreciate the benefits of expedited screening. If you would like more information about TSA PreCheck, visit tsa. gov. If you are interested in Global Entry, you can learn more about it by visiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. Both programs will save you time and hassle while traveling.

Kim Bridger-Hunt is the marketing manager at Corpus Christi International Airport. For more information, you may contact her at kimb@cctexas.com. I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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TASTE

BRINGING OUT THE BEST

P

airing wine with food during special occasions doesn’t have to be a daunting task to intimidate the host. The goal of a fine wine should be to complement a meal and help bring out the best flavor in the food instead of overpowering it, according to John Dykema Jr., a local, self-described wine aficionado and business owner. For instance, with a main course of turkey or ham, he says it’s a good idea to serve a wine like a Pinot Noir, a Merlot, or a Cabernet. “White wines can be overpowered by the fruit, sugar and salts in a typical turkey dinner,” he says. If someone serves a soup or salad as the first course, the type of wine depends on the type of appetizer. “A light soup

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THE GOAL OF A

FINE WINE SHOULD BE

TO COMPLEMENT A MEAL.

doesn’t really need a wine because most wines would overpower the taste of it,” Dykema says. “Creamy soups or stuffed mushrooms would go well with Chablis and other inexpensive white burgundies such as Alsace Pinot Blanc, Pinot Grigio and other neutral Italian whites such as Soave, Spanish Albarine and crisp Sauvignon Blancs like Pouilly Fumè or Sancerre.” Choosing wines to be served with a salad can be complicated because there are so many kinds, he says. For instance, a Greek salad with the dominant ingredients of feta cheese and olives only can work well with a “good citrusy white Sauvignon

MIKHAIL_KAYL/BIGSTOCK.COM

Local wine aficionado and business owner John Dykema Jr. talks wine pairing and the 29th Annual KEDT Food and Wine Classic. By: DAYNA WORCHEL


Blanc.” The same wine is a good choice for a goat cheese salad. “Once you introduce meat into a salad, you’re better off to think in terms of reds than whites,” Dykema says. “Pinot Noir is the obvious pairing, and other light-bodied reds from southwest France work well, too.” He recommends a sweet, white wine called a Sauterne as a good dessert wine that can stand on its own. “Alternatively, there are various Port wines, which are a delicious closer to a wonderful meal,” he says. And a good choice to accompany a slice of apple, pecan or pumpkin pie is an Ice Wine. “They are generally made from Riesling, Vidal Blanc or Vignoles grapes harvested after the first frost. Silky and rich, Ice Wines are lusciously sweet and full of concentrated flavor, with a vibrant acidity that keeps them fresh-feeling,” Dykema says, adding that they usually pair well with desserts made with fruits such as nectarines, peaches or apples. Dykema knows of what he speaks. He’s been co-host of both the 29th Annual KEDT Food and Wine Classic and the accompanying VIP Party for the past 20 years with his wife, Biby Dykema. Together, they own Dykema Architects, which designed the new KEDT studios on South Staples. “I enjoy seeing all of my friends, and I enjoy giving back to the station. I listen to it all of the

time,” Biby Dykema says. “The best part is that all of the money raised goes directly to the station. The wine is donated, and the place is donated. We don’t have a lot of overhead, so this is a really good fundraiser.” The VIP reception on Jan. 24 will take place at the KEDT studios. “It’s a beautiful facility. We are excited to host our patrons while they enjoy an evening of great food, wine and fellowship in what is essentially their station,” says Samantha Koepp-Stemplinger, director of fundraising events at KEDT. There will be live musical performances inside the Grace Dobson studio and throughout the building. A photographer will take photos of guests as they arrive to a red-carpet entrance, with guests receiving a four-by-six commemorative photo to keep. A top local caterer will provide a specialty food sampling, and presenting sponsor H-E-B will provide the selection of wine tastings at both the VIP and main events. On Jan. 26 the Food and Wine Classic event will take place at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History. “An assortment of wine tables with world-class imported and domestic wines and over 20 restaurants and caterers offering gourmet food will be featured throughout the museum,” Koepp-Stemplinger says. The semi-formal evening will include live musical performances and a photo booth.

The tradition of the partnership between the Butt family, owners of H-E-B, and South Texas Public Broadcasting goes back to the early 1970s. Charles Butt, then a Corpus Christi resident, collaborated with a group of Corpus Christi businessmen to bring a PBS station to South Texas.

IF YOU GO:

The VIP reception for the 29th Annual KEDT Food and Wine Classic will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Jan. 24 at KEDT Studios (3205 S. Staples). The cost is $200 for the VIP reception, which also allows for entry into the KEDT Food and Wine Classic at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History on Jan. 26. And the 29th Annual Food and Wine Classic will be held from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History (1900 N. Chaparral St.). The cost to attend the Food and Wine Classic alone is $100.

Tickets may be purchased online, at the station or at the door on the night of the event. For more information, go to www.kedt.org.

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TASTE

THE SKY’S THE LIMIT

Satisfy your sweet tooth in a fun, healthy way by making your own granola.

IT’S A LITTLE difficult when “baking season” rolls right into “New Year’s resolution season” – when you crave holiday sweets, but the fact that Valentine’s decorations are already in stores reminds you that spring is coming quick! Crunchy granola sprinkled over a bowl of oatmeal or fresh fruit satisfies your sweet tooth in a gym-fuel kind of way. The fun thing about making your own granola is that it’s absolutely customizable. Want more protein? Add a scoop of powder. Hate nuts? Leave them out. Got an over-ripe banana? Mash it up, and stir it in. The sky’s the limit – just BYOS (bring your own spoon)!

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups old-fashioned oats 1/2 cup uncooked white quinoa 1/4 cup flax or chia seeds (or a mixture of both) 1/2 cup sliced almonds 1/3 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup brown sugar 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 1/3 cup dried cranberries 1/2 small Gala apple, chopped into small pieces Zest of 1 orange Maple syrup for drizzling INSTRUCTIONS: 1/ Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. 2/ In a large mixing bowl, add all ingredients except for maple syrup. Use a spatula to combine ingredients well. 3/ Spray a large baking sheet with non-stick spray. Pour mixture onto tray, and spread out into an even layer. Drizzle with maple syrup; as it bakes, it will create clusters. 4/ Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes, stirring around every 20 minutes to allow it to get crunchy without burning. 5/ Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from tray. 6/ Store in a sealed container.

By: MANDY ASHCRAFT Photo by: DUSTIN ASHCRAFT

For more information, visit www.mandyashcraft.com.

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New year. New home. New memories. PrimeLending is a name that’s stood for strength, stability and commitment to customer care for 30 years. We treat our customers like neighbors, not numbers.

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All loans subject to credit approval. Rates and fees subject to change. Mortgage financing provided by PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company. Equal Housing Lender. ©2016 PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company. PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company (NMLS: 13649) is a wholly owned subsidiary of a state-chartered bank and is an exempt lender in TX. v021216.

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be inspired FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: ADRIAN GARZA 361.548.1044 ADRIAN@INSPIRECOASTALBENDMAG.COM

5503 SOUTH STAPLES ST. CORPUS CHRISTI, TX 78411 361.991.4967 FAX: 361.991.2361 TOLL FREE: 866.991.4967 WWW.THEFRAMEUPCC.COM I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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NONPROFIT

MAKING A DIFFERENCE How CASA helped make positive changes in the lives of five children after parental rights were terminated By: KATHRYN HYATT

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but low-performing academically and prone to spending part of several days a week in a disciplinary environment. When I met the two youngest children, they were in a foster care setting about three hours separated from where the older siblings were in care. The 3-year-old, Alissa, was par for her age

PHOTOS COURTESY OF CASA

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o one I know actively wishes for termination of parental rights at the time a case begins. The court, the investigator and the CPS-assigned caseworker all are hoping the family can be salvaged. The ideal solution is sought to return the children as soon as possible. When it is apparent that return will not be immediate, a CASA is requested by the court to act as guardian ad litem for the child, or children. The CASA serves that function until the case is resolved. Sadly, in some cases, the resolution that is best for the child/children is termination of parental rights. In that event, the CASA stays with the kids until adoption. Anita, age 26, was a single mother of five children, ages 10 years to 9 months. Although four fathers were identified, Anita had never married. Prior CPS interventions for neglectful supervision had provided about 13 months of family-based social services for Anita and her then paramour. The children remained in the home. The removal, some six months later, occurred based on a sexual abuse outcry from the oldest child, Maya. The outcry was made at school. It was against the instructions from Anita, who had told Maya not to tell anyone and that she would handle it. The morning of the event precipitating the removal, Anita had returned to the apartment unexpectedly and found Maya and the paramour in bed together. Maya was not clothed. While Anita and the paramour fought, Maya dressed herself for school and started for the bus stop. Anita followed Maya and slapped her across the face because Maya had not told her what was going on. Foster care for five siblings could not be found, and the siblings were separated. The oldest was a single foster placement. The two next older, both boys, were placed in one local setting. Both were of average intelligence,


group with respect to size, but had minimal language skills, except for cursing. In that she was fluent. She was reported to be combative and to have no impulse control. The baby, Joseph, was 9 months. He lay on his back in a crib, awake, but with no movement. He could not turn over. His eyes did not make contact with others. He did not reach out to be held. He was silent. Though Anita had originally been given overnight visitation, it was quickly rescinded when it was discovered that she had allowed her sex-offender father to move into her apartment. It was determined that termination would be sought against mom and the two remaining fathers. Both of them were in prison. One was imprisoned for the sexual assault of Maya. The other was imprisoned for assault of elderly and carjacking. The caseworker, the AAL and I agreed that the first step was to get as many of the kids out of foster care as possible. We were able to locate and interview the fathers of the three oldest children. They jumped at the chance to take responsibility for their respective children. Background checks were run. Home inspections were conducted. The children were felt out concerning how they felt about the possibility of living with their dads. After some trial visitations, it was decided that the children could live with the dads until a resolution concerning mom was achieved. When termination was granted, it was determined that the children would stay with their birth dads. That left the two youngest in foster care. CPS began to immediately search for a more suitable placement. A foster-to-adopt family was found to take both children. The placement was also three hours from where the other siblings lived, but the new foster parents offered to do whatever was necessary for the children to maintain contact. The children all got together biweekly. The ensuing year in the new environment resulted in changes that every CASA lives and breathes for. With speech therapy and lots of one-on-one time with the new foster parents, Alissa became age appropriate in both language and social skills. Vision testing and corrective lenses resulted in correction of fine motor skill deficiencies. In one year, Joseph went from suspected cerebral palsy accompanied by mild MR to a fully functioning, age-appropriate 2-yearold. And the icing on the cake was that I was privileged to be present at the foster-parent adoption of Joseph and Alissa in Judge Timothy McCoy’s County Court Five. CASAs make a difference. Become one.

For more information, visit CASA of the Coastal Bend online at www.coastalbendcasa.org.

3006 Niagara, Corpus Christi, TX

• Serving Corpus Christi, Alice and surrounding areas • Affordable funeral services and cremations • Prearranged funeral plans with low monthly payments • Family owned and operated since 1995

Honoring our veterans with a military casket at no charge

120 E. Front St., Alice, TX

Corpus Christi: (361) 879-0085 Alice: (361) 668-1116

www.trevinofuneralhome.net I N S P I R E C O A S TA L B E N D M A G . C O M

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BONITA

has been at GCHS for over 1,800 days.

LEND A PAW This giving season, remember the homeless animals of the Coastal Bend by donating to the Gulf Coast Humane Society’s #PawstoGive campaign. By: KAITLIN CALK

Hero and Bonita were both dumped at the front door of the Gulf Coast Humane Society (GCHS), wide-eyed and hairless with skin so irritated that it was bright-red and bleeding. Both received treatment for Demodectic mange and a ton of love from our clinic. What is the difference between these two stories? Hero (a Lab-mix puppy) was adopted within 38 days, and Bonita (a Pitbull) has been waiting for that same happy ending for more than 1,800 days. It costs approximately $25 per day to care for just one animal at GCHS, and there are currently 200 animals within our walls and in foster care. While many animals like Hero are only here for a matter of days, the majority of them spend months or even years waiting behind the bars of a kennel before they are adopted. Bonita is just one of 18 animals with over 1,000 days spent waiting behind bars for the forever home that ev-

ery domesticated animal deserves. Troy is one of these dogs. He was returned to GCHS after he was paralyzed in an accident over 2,800 days ago. A cat named Stink Bug has been at GCHS for over 2,900 days because of his extremely shy and fearful personality that he has only recently begun to come out of. Lily is a Pitbull with nearly 1,800 days spent in a kennel, most likely because of her breed and her tendency to be dominant with female dogs. As you may know, we are a nonprofit organization. As such, we rely solely on donations from the public to continue operating. Not only do your donations cover the cost of vaccinations, food, water, heartworm prevention and general shelter upkeep, they also cover the cost of maintaining our animals’ happiness should they have an extended stay here. Your donations allow us to have dedicated employees, an excellent volunteer program, a dog park and other enrichment items and programs that keep our animals as happy as possible while living in a shelter. It may go without saying that the generosity of our community is absolutely essential to every aspect of these animals’ lives. Throughout the month of November, we participated in the #GivingTuesday campaign. This is a worldwide donation campaign that focuses on giving to nonprofits, civic organizations, businesses, corporations, families and individuals. We have decided to continue our own extension of the campaign, #PawstoGive, through to the end of 2016. We are doing this with the hope that it will encourage our community to think of the homeless animals of GCHS during their end-of-year giving. GCHS accepts donations of all kinds – monetary donations, blankets, towels, toys, grooming supplies, office supplies, leashes, collars and cleaning supplies. We also accept donations of dog and cat food, which we in turn donate to members of the public in need of help feeding their animals. We ask that you share this story with your friends and family, and that you donate so that we can keep animals like Bonita healthy and happy until they find their forever homes.

You can donate to GCHS on our website, www.gchscc.org, on our Facebook page or at our facility. We are located at 3118 Cabaniss Parkway in Corpus Christi, Texas.

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PHOTO COURTESY OF GULF COAST HUMANE SOCIETY

NONPROFIT


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INSPIRED STYLE Mother, Entrepreneur, Teacher and Volunteer

PHOTOGRAPHY DAVID OLDS FOTOGRAFIE WARDROBE JULIAN GOLD HAIR ATELIER SALON MAKEUP HALCYON MED-SPA


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My passion: The Lord leads me; therefore, telling my story seems clear and pretty definite. But that is not really how life is. About five years ago, God kept bringing to my mind young girls caught up in sex trafficking. At that time, I had no idea of how to get involved in helping combat this, but I knew I had to and said, “OK, God, if this is what you are asking me to help with, show me how and I will do it.� Shortly after, I became familiar with a lady named Minta who had started an organization to fight for victims and survivors of human trafficking. I called her and asked if I could meet with her for coffee. When we met, I told her that I felt that God had directed me to give part of my income from my Rodan and Fields business to her organization, but I did not have the time to help otherwise. Well, God had another idea for me and I was urged to raise money and build awareness. In 2013, I initiated a fundraising luncheon for the New Life Refuge Ministries, and have been involved in the annual events since. This year, I have been speaking to groups to educate them on this issue. My philosophy: I trust in God, and he leads me. Just like with how I got involved with New Life Refuge Ministries, and after waiting for 15 years for our second child, I did not lean on my own understanding.

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RD WO S TO L

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BY: E V

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6

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