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FOCUS TURNS TO BASIC CITY SERVICES Councilman Joe Krier wants to build on infrastructure, public safety, fire and police

Improving school safety for NEISD campuses COMMUNITY NEWS VOL. 2, ISSUE 7



City representatives, superintendent, police chief meet with parents to discuss crosswalks and traffic PG.16 NORTH CENTRAL

78213 78230 78231 78248 78249

JUNE 2014



PG.08 Candidates’

victory in Castle Hills could set stage for VIA vote Lesley Wenger, Douglas Gregory take their seats at City Hall

PG.12 Two new faces,

incumbent win races for Shavano Park council Voters also approve two sales-tax propositions


COUPONS INSIDE Discover the city through LOCAL deals from restaurants, retailers and services in your community, and save money while you do it! pg. 30 WWW.SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM

PG.19 ‘Thank God I Had A Gun’ Castle Hills resident — former soldier, journalist, firearms expert — chronicles true stories of self-defense in book PG. 25 EAT LOCAL:

PG.22 Hardberger Park boasts

What could be Texas' first veggie burger drive-thru is coming to Park North

Programs encourage early love of nature in local kids


plenty of summer fun

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JUNE 2014


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EDITORIAL Executive Editor Thomas Edwards News Staff Collette Orquiz and Will Wright Contributing Writers Olivier J. Bourgoin, Joyce Hotchkiss, Miranda Koerner, Eileen Pace, Travis E. Poling, Gianna Rendon, Lucille Sims Thomas and Susan Yerkes ART Creative Director Florence D. Edwards Production Designer Pete Morales Contributing Photographers Aiessa Ammeter and Rudy B. Ornelas Contributing Illustrator Jeremiah Teutsch ADVERTISING Advertising Director Jaselle Luna Account Managers Kelly Jean Garza and Marc Olson Controller Keith Sanders READER SERVICE Mailing Address 4204 Gardendale Ste. 201 SA, TX 78229 Phone Fax (210) 338.8842 (210) 616.9677 Advertising Inquiries Story Ideas Website LOCAL Community News publications Zone 1: 78204, 78205, 78209, 78210, 78212, 78215 Zone 3: 78216, 78232, 78247 Zone 4: 78109, 78148, 78233, 78239 Zone 5: 78108, 78132, 78154, 78266 Zone 6: 78258, 78259, 78260, 78261 For advertising, customer service or editorial, please call us at 210-338-8842 or write to us at: Local Community News 4204 Gardendale Ste. 201 San Antonio, TX 78229 Reproduction in whole or in part without our permission is prohibited, 2014 Helen Publishing, LLC and Local Community News, LLC, all rights reserved.

A big welcome to new readers


ith great pleasure, I’d like to welcome our new readers north of Loop 1604 to LOCAL Community News.

This month the LOCAL edition serving the greater Stone Oak and Encino Park communities debuts. The launch of our newest paper marks another milestone for our 2-year-old company. During that short time, a vision to offer hyperlocal news content to readers in targeted zones through direct mail has grown from two initial newspapers to six, boasting a press run of more than 200,000 copies. LOCAL is not like any other publication. The readers holding the new Stone Oak edition are going to learn what fellow residents across the greater San Antonio area already know — LOCAL delivers in-depth coverage of neighborhood news, ranging from new restaurants and businesses to school activities and government. We hope readers living in ZIP codes 78258, 78259, 78260 and 78261 will find LOCAL as informative and enjoyable as established audiences from Shavano Park to Cibolo. In addition to great stories, other features offered each month include insightful commentary from veteran journalist Susan Yerkes, the Happening LOCAL calendar, synopsis of major stories and business items in LOCAL Lowdown, and stories about new dining spots and services under the EAT and BUY sections. We look forward to hearing your suggestions and comments. As always, I invite our readers to contact us at


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JUNE 2014


Shrinking Blue Hole reflects water woes by SUSAN YERKES


t’s going to be a long, hot summer, and here in droughtstricken South Texas, that has once again brought water issues

to the forefront. My musings about water got jumpstarted recently when my friend Rhon Bayes made a short film about the Blue Hole — the headwaters of the San Antonio River. I first visited the spot on what was then Incarnate Word College in the mid-1980s with the late Amy Freeman Lee, president of the college board at the time. She recalled swimming and boating in the clear blue waters flowing from the artesian spring, but during our trip, the deep stone well was far from full.

The most recent visit with Bayes’ film crew was a sad surprise. The stone well was dry as a bone, the parched bottom in disrepair. Where green space once surrounded the area, now parking lots, a retirement center and nursing home loom over the dry creek bed and the Blue Hole itself. Traffic noise from Broadway drowns out nature. Yet something sacred still remains — and some people have begun to reclaim, in some measure, the gift of water. Back in 2008, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word took a big step to preserve the last remaining undeveloped property they owned – 53 acres, including the Blue Hole, in the Olmos Creek Basin. They created the Headwaters at Incarnate Word, a nonprofit to protect and preserve the legacy of the springs. Long-time conservationist Helen Ballew, Headwaters’ executive director, is leading the restoration effort. Volunteers are cleaning trails, removing invasive brush, replanting native vegetation and creating footpaths. Students on field trips learn about the once-flowing streams that sustained humans here more than 10,000 years ago. The group is even in discussions with the National Park Service about expanding the Missions National Historical Park



to include the Headwaters Sanctuary. “You look at it (springs) now and it’s sad,” Ballew said. “In a way, it symbolizes the disconnect between humans and the natural world we depend on for survival; the way we draw water from the Edwards Aquifer like it’s going to last forever.” Civic leader George Brackenridge gave the Sisters of Charity more than 500 acres in the area. In the late 1800s he built a home (now the restored Brackenridge Villa), near the Blue Hole. Brackenridge owned the municipal water supply company, and his engineers suggested drilling wells to tap the aquifer’s clean, fresh water. “In 1891, when (Brackenridge) drilled the first big Edwards well, the springs went dry. He knew what was causing it. But he made the choice to supply clean water to a city where people were dying of dysentery for lack of it. To me, that is a symbol of the trade-offs we make,” said Gregg Eckhardt, an environmental scientist with the San Antonio Water System. Eckhardt cited the sad state of Medina Lake as a metaphor for the most pressing water issues South Texas faces today. “It’s not just the drought. The whole Hill Country is being gentrified; big ranches cut into smaller parcels, and everyone drilling their own well, putting in dam

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structures to hold water, “ he said. The Trinity Aquifer, which adjoins the Edwards, is being pumped faster than it can recharge. “Everybody loves the Hill Country, and we’re loving it to death,” said Annalisa Peace, director of the Greater Edwards Aquifer Alliance, a coalition concerned with water issues. “Comal, Bandera, Kendall, Bexar, Williamson, Travis and Medina counties have among the fastest-growing populations in the country now, and the practices we have of development are just unsustainable.” San Antonio itself is in good shape. With conservation and recycling, SAWS is pumping the same amount of water from the Edwards that it did 30 years ago, when the city’s population was smaller. And as Eckhardt noted, the springs supplying the Blue Hole will almost surely flow again – when we get enough rain. But with a forecast of progressively hotter and drier years, it’s critical to remember how important the ecosystem of land and aquifers all around us is to our daily lives. Isn’t it time to restore the sanctity of the Blue Hole, the legendary source of the water sustaining this city for centuries? What do you think? Email comments to syerkes@

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OUR TURN Views and opinions about your community

Educate, don't teach the test


exas lawmakers must continue efforts to reduce a reliance on one-size-fits-all standardized tests in public schools.

Not only are all the exams unnecessary, they also create a culture where educators are teaching the test instead of giving students a broad education. Schools should continue to promote vocational training to better serve those students who don’t want to go to college. Our leaders must ignore the siren’s lure of the so-called testing lobby, which is guided by profit motives and not the educational needs of students. Parents and educators should have a say-so in how high-stakes tests such as the State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness are handled, putting the issue back in the hands of the community. To bring out the best in our youth, the education process needs to stay with local school boards and parents. These standardized tests, when used, should not be the basis for deciding whether a child moves on to the next grade. Instead,


in total agreement with the antistreetcar editorial published in the April LOCAL Community News. We think the streetcar initiative is a bad idea that doesn't benefit the people of San Antonio. As taxpayers, we would rather see that kind of investment put to better use, such as education or technical training programs to improve the caliber of talent or the workforce in San Antonio. That in turn would attract more companies to the city and, consequently, fuel our city's economy. As residents of the city, we want to make sure politicos aren't pushing their own agenda, but are doing what is best for San Antonio and its people. Ayon Wen-Waldron


Yerkes' recent column on the Pre-K 4 SA program, I say "yes" to effective pre-kindergarten programs. Research shows that caring teachers and

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the exams are better utilized as one of many indicators to determine how much a child has learned and plan the curriculum accordingly. And families shouldn’t be kept in fear of the tests. Many parents, for instance, don’t realize the law allows them to opt their child out of the STAAR test based on religious or moral beliefs. The child still has to satisfy grade-level or graduation requirements. Gov. Rick Perry during the last legislative session signed a new law that rolls back testing requirements, reducing the number of end-of-course exams required of Texas students. The Legislature has listened to parents and made some necessary changes. But elected leaders mustn’t stop there. Already in place as of last summer are greater flexibility for school districts and pupils, additional control at the local level and a decrease in state-mandated tests. This year, educators are also looking at a system that asks students to start thinking early on about a career and pick the appropriate courses through high school. Nobody wants Texas students to fall behind their peers in other states or countries. But leaders also have to realize that education is not a cookie-cutter process.

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The editorial board is Harry Lees, Gregg Rosenfield and Thomas Edwards

involved parents are the greatest factors, by far, that influence student learning. Pre-K can help students who have needs to be school-ready, better than anything else. Michael J. Brown

TOLL ROADS USEFUL EDITOR: Regarding the recent editorial

about toll roads: I like toll roads. Not that I have more money but the fact is, if it will save me time and grief, I'll be happy to pay the toll. I take Texas 130 anytime I'm driving north from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Interstate 35 is packed with 18-wheelers in the corridor between San Antonio and Austin. I'm happy driving to Seguin and cut up through 130. My other gripe is the amount of personal pickups. This is Texas, so the truck is the vehicle of choice. However, the mega-land yachts are becoming ridiculous. Road dimensions have not changed since they were first designed, yet the trucks have become bigger. Drivers are not getting any better. They buy larger and larger vehicles, yet they drive worse. Driving through a parking lot holds little joy due to the size of the trucks and their numbers. I would love to tax the vehicle based on size. I have a truck, but it is midsize and I only drive it when I need to haul stuff. Rob Lee

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JUNE 2014 a star of Jewish rock. His popular concerts are family-friendly, and he’s a summer camp favorite. Downbeat is 6 p.m. The JCC is at 12500 N.W. Military Highway.


Plan your month with our calendar of upcoming events in the community.



members, friends and providers are all welcome. St. George is at 6904 West Ave.

HOME COMPOSTING & DRIP IRRIGATION Master Gardener Owen Keiser has expertise in both subjects, which emphasize careful use of resources. His program runs from 9 to 11 a.m. in the Urban Ecology Center classroom near the western entrance of Phil Hardberger Park, 8400 N.W. Military Highway. The class is free but donations are appreciated; to reserve a spot, call 207-3280 or 226-8339.



FITNESS IN THE PARK The SATURDAYS San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department and Phil Hardberger Park will help you work out and have fun on Saturday mornings. Try Zumba at 9 a.m. in the courtyard behind the Urban Ecology Center at the park’s western entrance, 8400 N.W. Military Highway. At 10:30 a.m., a class in Family-Friendly Yoga gathers near the playground by the park’s eastern entrance, 13203 Blanco Road. Both are free, and no registration is required. NORTH EAST INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT JUNE 16 Trustees meet at 6:30 p.m., 8961 Tesoro Drive at the district’s headquarters building.






TOWN HALL A community JUNE 21 meeting in Shavano Park is scheduled for 10 a.m. at City Hall, 900 Saddletree Court. SHAVANO PARK City Council meets at 6:30 p.m. June 23 in City Hall, 900 Saddletree Court. A town hall meeting is 7 p.m. June 24, same location.


NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT The board JUNE 24 meets at 7 p.m. in the board room, 5900 Evers Road. Meetings are held the fourth Tuesday of each month. JCC PRESENTS RICK RECHT The Barshop Jewish Community Center’s free summer concert series features a performance by Rick Recht,


INDEPENDENCE DAY Most federal, state and local government agencies will be closed in observance of the national holiday.



CASTLE HILLS The City Council meets at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 209 Lemonwood Drive.

ST. GEORGE EPISCOPAL CHURCH MENTAL HEALTH JULY 9 FAMILY SUPPORT GROUP This gathering takes place the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of the Parish Building (near the nursery). Patients and their family

Roads less traveled, now more traveled.

MOVIE NIGHTS There’s plenty of cinematic fun on tap this summer in Castle Hills with Movie Nights, starting at dusk on The Commons, which is on Lemonwood Drive between the municipal building and the fire station.



THEATER CAMPS The Playhouse is offering one- and two-week camps that allow youngsters to learn a variety of skills used onstage and backstage. There are three age groups, 5-12, 9-18 and 13-18. The classes run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. MondayFriday, and pre- and post-class care is available. For specific subjects, dates and costs, go to http://www.theplayhousesa. org/?q=shows/2014-summer-camps. The Playhouse is at 800 W. Ashby Place.


BOTANICAL GARDEN SUMMER CAMPS Kids who like to dig in the dirt and are curious about the natural world might enjoy the camps being offered by the San Antonio Botanical Garden. The weeklong sessions are geared to children as young as 3. The classes will cater to junior naturalists and



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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM junior gardeners as well as special-needs youths. For more on camp dates and costs, go to You can register online, by mail or in person. The garden is at 555 Funston Place at North New Braunfels Avenue. EAST TEXAS ARTISANS In a new exhibit, “Folklife in the Piney Woods of Texas,” the Institute of Texan Cultures, aided by the National Endowment for the Arts, has documented traditional art and crafts from a 33-county area, along with the people who keep those skills and traditions alive. The exhibit is open during regular institute hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission cost ranges from $6 to $8 and is free for ITC members and those with Alamo Colleges or University of Texas at San Antonio identification. The institute, part of the UTSA Hemisfair Park Campus, is at 801 E. Cesar Chavez Blvd.


MATISSE: LIFE IN COLOR The San Antonio Museum of Art is hosting a major exhibition of works by the 20th century master drawn from the collection of the Baltimore Museum of Art. The pieces, covering six decades of the French artist’s long career, include paintings, sculpture and works on paper. Admission will be by tickets with specific times, available on SAMA’s website, There will be a $15 fee on top of the regular admission, which is $10 for adults, $7 for those 65 and older, $5 for students and military personnel (with identification), and free for children under 12. Museum hours are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday, Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The museum is at 200 W. Jones Ave.


DISCOVERY CAMPS The San JUNE 16 Antonio Children’s Museum, - AUG 22 305 E. Houston St., offers a series of summer camps where science, art and creativity come together. The oneweek camps gear their subjects to 4- to 6-year-olds and 7- to 10-year-olds, with the younger campers’ sessions running from 9 a.m. to noon and the older group’s camp going from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Before- and after-care is available. To register over the phone, call 212-4453, ext. 1307. For details on the camps and the cost, and to register online, go to www. “GODZILLA: THE JAPANESE ORIGINAL” TPR Cinema Tuesdays offers the original version of the monster saga, uncut and undubbed. It’s been fully restored, and the subtitles have been completely revised. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. at the Santikos


Bijou theater, 4522 Fredericksburg Road in Wonderland of the Americas mall. Tickets are $10 for Texas Public Radio, $15 for nonmembers. Reserve a seat online at or by calling 614-8977 by noon the day of the show. The June 24 feature is “The Wizard of Oz” and on July 1, it’s “12 Angry Men.” SONS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION The San Antonio Chapter of the national organization will hold its monthly luncheon meeting at the Petroleum Club, 8620 N. New Braunfels Ave., at 11:30 a.m. Lunch costs $25. Reservations are required and should be made with Bob Clark, 4020871, or, by the Monday prior to the meeting. The chapter meets on the third Wednesday of the month (except for July and August).


CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT GROUP Meetings take place the JUNE 18 third Wednesday of the month at Baptist HealthLink, 188 W. Bitters Road, from 4 to 6 p.m. One main topic per hour is covered in the group discussions, which may be large or small. A syllabus and more information are available at http:// “TARZAN, THE MUSICAL” The Woodlawn Theatre will give the show, based on the Disney movie, its San Antonio premiere. Choreography will be by Eric Mota, a San Antonian who was part of the Broadwaytour production of the play. Shows are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays. Tickets cost $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and military personnel, and $15 for students and children. To purchase them, go to www. or call 267-8388. The theater is at 1920 Fredericksburg Road.

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VICTORIAN SILVERWARE The JUNE 21 dining room at Villa Finale Museum & Gardens has a stunning assortment of silver serving and decorative pieces. Drawing from that, the museum is offering a close-up look at specialized Victorian silver dining utensils in its collection, as well as some pieces from a private collection. The informal class will be in the dining room at 10:30 a.m., and it is free. To reserve a spot, call 223-9800. Villa Finale is at 401 King William St.

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A GOLF TOURNAMENT to benefit the Heidi Search Center is at the Canyon Springs Golf Course, 24405 Wilderness Oak St. with a 2 p.m. shotgun start, four-person scramble. The $80 fee includes greens,


HAPPENING continues on pg. 08

Lessons • Preschool • Parties • Gifts


JUNE 2014

HAPPENING continues from pg. 07 range, mulligans, prizes and a barbecue dinner. For more, contract Rob Freehauf, 669-8850, or Dave Sanchez, 385-6807. CHAIR-ITY FUNDRAISER Fundraiser Ronald McDonald House will be raising funds for its three facilities in San Antonio, its planned fourth House here and its two “family rooms” in Laredo with a gala and auction at Old San Francisco Steak House. The featured auction items will be chairs designed by local artists, celebrities and supporters. The event runs from 7 to 11 p.m. at the steakhouse, 10223 Sahara Drive. Tickets, $100 each, are available at; click on the event icon to find the ticket-purchase link.


SARR WOMEN’S 5K RUN/ WALK The 35th annual JULY 19 installment of this San Antonio Roadrunners event will follow a route through Alamo Heights; it raises funds for various charities and is open to all ages. Registration ends July 16 if you’re registering online or at one of

the sponsoring running stores; it ends July 14 (the postmark date) if you’re mailing in the form. The entry fee is $22 for SARR members and $25 for others through July 12; it’s $30 July 13-18; and $35 on race day. The chip-timed run sets off from the Lincoln Heights H-E-B, 999 E. Basse Road, at 7:30 a.m. July 19. For more, and to find the registration form, go to

ONGOING FIGHTING HUNGER ONGOING TexasMobilePack and Feed My Starving Children are seeking volunteers to help pack 4 million meals for hungry children overseas during a six-day event Sept. 25-30. The goal is to line up 20,000 volunteers to work two-hour shifts at two local sites. More on the organizations and their goals can be found at http://texasmobilepack. org/ and at


the details along with your contact information two months in advance to

CASTLE HILLS continues from pg. 01

Seeds for win possibly planted in last election by LUCILLE SIMS THOMAS


ASTLE HILLS — Two new members have joined the City Council — the wife of a former mayor and a former councilman — after they ousted incumbents in the May 10 elections, setting the stage for a possible vote on VIA bus service.

Observers are now keenly watching City Hall to see how the victories of political allies Lesley Wenger and Douglas A. Gregory could change the balance of power, including the fate of funds paid to VIA Metropolitan Transit that some say would be better spent on infrastructure. Place 1 Councilman Mike Catalani was defeated by Wenger, wife of former Mayor Bob Anderson. Wenger, a retired small-business owner, received 46 percent

of the votes while Catalani got 40 percent. Retired Air Force veteran John Kenny came in third with 13 percent of the vote. Councilman Tom Davis was ousted from his Place 5 seat by Gregory, who previously served on the council from 2003 to 2013. Gregory works as a senior vice president for Wells Fargo Advisors. Gregory received 58 percent of the vote while Davis got 41 percent. Place 4 Councilman Tim Howell ran unopposed. Residents also voted to extend a ¼-cent sales tax subsidy to help repair and maintain streets, an initiative favored by 82 percent of those casting ballots. Gregory and Wenger both support allowing voters to decide if VIA remains in Castle Hills by putting the issue on the November ballot. “I think we will fashion some question that people can vote on in November and they will have a clear picture,” Gregory said. “In the meantime, there will be plenty of time for people to discuss the issue and gather lots of information. It (VIA) has to be decided upon by the people, and I’m confident the council will put it on the fall ballot.”

CASTLE HILLS continues on pg. 09



Business expenses just got less expensive.

Former Castle Hills Mayor Bob Anderson said a vigorous campaign 'against the incumbency' using emails helped get former Councilman Douglas A. Gregory (left) and Anderson's spouse Lesley Wenger (right) elected to City Council May 10. The fate of using sales taxes to help fund VIA Metropolitan Transit bus service to Castle Hills could depend on the council's new makeup. Photos by Rudy B. Ornelas

CASTLE HILLS continues from pg. 08

Wenger was not available for comment. As part of his effort to return to the council, Gregory said he extensively walked the city and knocked on the doors of more than 400 homes to get an in-depth understanding of the problems facing Castle Hills. “I realized that there are a lot of things that have to be done — a lot of things have to be addressed,” Gregory said. “Fortunately, they all can be addressed and we can have a really good start at changing things for the better and building on the good things we already have.” He said the item that is on most people’s minds is infrastructure — what to handle first and how to pay for it. “We have a lot of flooding problems

that have to be looked at and we have a lot of maintenance problems that have to be addressed. Those two items are the critical ones that need to be addressed first,” Gregory said. Using the Internet to spread their message to Castle Hills voters, Anderson, Wenger and Gregory organized an email campaign that helped the two candidates get elected. “We have an email list that includes over half of the homes in Castle Hills. We ran a campaign against the incumbency,” Anderson said. According to Anderson, 7,000 to 8,000 emails were sent out in 11 phases in addition to using regular mail. Most of the emails focused on whether the town should keep VIA buses running on city streets or use the nearly $500,000 in sales-tax money paid to VIA to help fix the roadways. The seeds for the upset May 10 may have been planted during another election last fall. During the Nov. 5 election, voters in a massive turnout handily rejected a $13 million bond proposal that would have allowed the city to begin addressing street and drainage problems. At least 81 percent of the electorate voiced disapproval of the proposal during voting. It was the second time in three years voters have said no to such an initiative. Mayor Bruce Smiley-Kaliff at the time said city officials might have to explore other funding options. “We have to explore bonds; we have to explore tax increases; we have to explore pay-as-you-go alternate funding,” the mayor said. But in the aftermath of the November election, Anderson said it was time the council opened their ears to the populace and hinted that changes could be coming. “This (bond defeat) is what happens when you don’t listen to the people you serve,” he said.




JUNE 2014

LOCAL LOWDOWN Take a quick look at what’s new in the community from opening and closings to news tidbits.

Open and Opening Soon 1. EARTH BURGER, 818 N.W. Loop 410

just behind Frost Bank in the Park North shopping center, offers fast vegetarian food in what may be Texas’ first drivethru veggie-burger restaurant. It is scheduled to open in June with plant-based foods, organic cheese, organic sodas, no hydrogenated oils and no animal products on site – except the cheese. Soy milk is used in the mayonnaise. Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Friday. For more, visit the website at EatAtEarthBurger. com. (See story on page 25)


17103 La Cantera Parkway, has debuted at the Éilan Hotel & Spa. The new gourmet market brings fresh, locally produced foods and Crave Juices, Starbucks coffee and imported Mediterranean specialties

Address of local business Name of local business

to the “new-urban village Éilan,” a spokeswoman said. The café, located on the promenade above Éilan’s central plaza, also offers basic grocery staples as a convenience for residents who live in Éilan’s 650 luxury apartments. The shop serves residents, hotel and spa guests, diners, shoppers and office workers. Hours are 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For more, call 598-2928 or visit www. (See story on page 26)



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morning of May 20 being inspired to be responsible and keep their promises as part of the “Because I Said I Would” campaign, which focuses on getting students to make and keep their goals, commitments and promises. The Castle Hills Woman’s Club is serving as the school’s community partner for the project.


E. Ramsey Road, is a new charter school that just broke ground; campus officials are now registering students. The school will open in the fall with a projected enrollment of 500 students, but the goal is to eventually have 800 students. This is the second institution in Texas for the nationally ranked BASIS charter schools; the first is at 8519 Floyd Curl Drive. The newest campus will serve grades five through eight. For more, call the interim number at 319-5525 or visit http:// (See story on page 27)

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opened this second location May 28 in the Fiesta Trails shopping center. The Joint offers “affordable chiropractic services,” as well as “no appointments and convenient hours,” according to the company. The Joint’s first San Antonio location debuted this year in the Alon Town Centre, 10003 N.W. Military Highway, Suite 2110. Hours at both locations are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit

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High-fashion handbags and more fill Guidi, a Castle Hills shop featuring the designs created by Italian artist Piero Guidi. It is only the second Guidi storefront in the United States. Photos by Collette Orquiz

release. Officials said 15,609 people voted, with 65.28 percent casting yes ballots, making it the seventh consecutive bond issue NISD voters have passed since 1995. Voters approved a $535 million bond issue in 2010. Fifty-five percent of NISD’s latest bond will fund improvements to current campuses, while the rest will pay for new schools to manage NISD’s growing enrollment, now at 101,477. Enrollment is expected to top 115,000 by 2019. The bond will fund: 409 new classrooms at six new schools, including five elementary schools and one high school; major renovations of libraries, cafeterias and science laboratories at older schools and the replacement of entire buildings; upgrades to infrastructure systems such as roofing, heating and air conditioning; safety and security projects, including elementary security lobbies; updates to students’ and teachers’ technology, including “interactive white boards” at elementary schools; and more school buses. RESIDENTS ON MAY 10 ELECTED JOE KRIER to fill an unexpired term on the District 9 City Council seat with 57 percent of the ballots, defeating four other contenders. Krier, the former Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, was appointed to the seat in November after Councilwoman Elisa

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VOTERS IN THE NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT on May 10 approved a $648.34 million bond issue that paves the way for “much-needed improvements” at existing schools while continuing to keep pace with growth, according to a news

STUDENTS AND STAFF at Colonial Hills Elementary School dressed up in honor of Children’s Book Week, May 12-16. Educators said the students enjoyed taking part in theme days including Hawaiian Day, Mustache Day, Team Up Day and Book Character Day. Children’s Book Week, which celebrated its 95th anniversary, is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country, officials said.

Chan stepped down in an unsuccessful March Republican primary bid for state Senate District 25. Krier will hold the seat until next spring’s citywide elections. Officials said turnout for the District 9 special election was low. IN THE ONLY CONTESTED RACE facing North East Independent School District voters May 10, Place 2 incumbent Edd White won election to a sixth term, defeating challenger Bob Coster. Running unopposed were Sandi Wolff, wife of Bexar County Precinct 3 Commissioner Kevin Wolff, for the Place 3 slot, and Place 7 incumbent Brigitte Perkins. CAITLYN URY, a 13-year-old seventh-grader at Rawlinson Middle School, designed the winning logo to commemorate the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Northside Education Foundation. She received a $500 check from Security Service Federal Credit Union. The contest had 220 entries. The 20 finalists included eight elementary, six middle school and six high school logo designs. From those, a winning artist from each grade level was named, plus a grand-prize winner. The three grade level winners each received a $100 check. STUDENTS AT JACKSON KELLER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL spent the

SHAVANO PARK CITY MANAGER BILL HILL is encouraging residents to take part in recycling efforts involving paper, cardboard and aluminum, but to keep glass out of the bins. Hill wrote in The Shavano Park Roadrunner, “The city is generally given a rebate of 50 percent of the total value of the recycle material. However, the cost of taking the contaminated recycle to the dump is then deducted from the amount. Over the last year, (the city) potentially could have received $7,281.60 in rebate, but we only received $2,530.63.” That could mean, according to Hill, “Some customers who work hard at recycling because they want to protect and reuse resources by recycling often are having the opposite effect.” Other conclusions could be the city “is losing out on potential revenue” and “we should not be placing glass or other unauthorized items into our recycle bins.” SCARLETT MEMBRENO AND DENNIS MOSES have joined Century 21 Scott Myers, Realtors, as new agents. Membreno moved to San Antonio more than 10 years ago from Costa Rica, where she was a physician. Moses came to the Alamo City six years ago and served 26 years in the Navy.

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SHAVANO PARK continues from pg. 01

Fate of municipal tract a factor in city races by COLLETTE ORQUIZ


HAVANO PARK — Voters in the wake of the May 10 elections have welcomed two new aldermen to the City Council and returned an incumbent, along with approving two propositions regarding the use of sales taxes.

Two other incumbents — Charlie Brame and Dr. Etta Fanning — lost their bids for re-election. During the race, six candidates sought three at-large council positions. Bob Heintzelman took the lead, followed by incumbent Vicky Maisel, and Mary Ann Hisel secured the third seat. Allan Berrier also lost his race. They will serve two-year terms. Voters also said yes to continuing the Crime Control and Prevention District for

The Shavano Park City Council gathered for a budget workshop May 27 including members who successfully won their bids for office on May 10 — Alderman Bob Heintzelman (fourth from left), Alderwoman Mary Ann Hisel (center) and incumbent Alderwoman Vicky Maisel (right). Photo by Collette Orquiz

the next five years by approving funding for the district through sales taxes. Residents also gave a nod to using a sales-and-use tax at one-fourth of 1 percent to provide revenue for street maintenance and repairs. Both propositions received overwhelming support from voters.

HISEL Hisel, an employment attorney, considers herself a relative newcomer to the city and has lived there about a decade. She threw her hat into the ring over concerns about the future of a 22-acre municipal tract behind City Hall; she owns land next to it and wants to ensure the city develops

the property in line with Shavano Park’s “unique beauty and rustic peacefulness.” Suggestions for the tract have included a park, tennis courts, a swimming pool or a wilderness trail. “Supporting sensible proposals for the tract that are backed by clear citizen support and which ultimately benefit the

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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM entire community without burdening taxpayers now or in the future seem to me to be the way to go if development is the final conclusion,” Hisel said. She also believes it’s important to protect the qualities that make Shavano Park attractive to homeowners and future homebuyers. The budget is her number-one issue, and she said the city is in excellent financial shape. “The key is to keep our eyes on the prize and make sure expenditures do not exceed revenue,” Hisel said. Another priority is making municipal government more transparent and bringing it into the 21st century using technology in a cost-effective way to benefit the residents and staff, she said. Ideas include live-streaming meetings via the Internet, upgrading the city website, and creating a more informative and resident-friendly newsletter. She also wants to archive information on the website that allows for public searches of meetings and past newsletters. “It’s important to seek ways to continuously do better, which in turn protects property values and helps keep a rein on taxes,” Hisel said. The alderwoman used social networking as a part of her campaign strategy. Hisel is a volunteer on the Municipal Tract Committee, a commissioner on the Planning & Zoning Commission, and a member of the P&Z Hike and Bike subcommittee. HEINTZELMAN Heintzelman, a longtime resident, said he had been asked several times to run for office after volunteering for many positions over the years. “I just love where we live and I want to protect it and I want to make sure there’s some level-headed people making decisions on the council,” Heintzelman said. “That’s ultimately why I decided to run.” The alderman said he feels “plugged in” to the city because his three children all attend local public schools and his wife owns a law firm. Heintzelman works in

medical-device sales for Boston Scientific, specializing in cardiac equipment. A priority for him is opening communications with the public and remaining accessible to residents. “I’m very interested in hearing what people have to say. We have to look at what’s best for Shavano Park as a whole when we look at different opportunities or challenges or issues that citizens raise,” Heintzelman said. Fiscal responsibility is very important to Heintzelman. While city leaders have striven to balance the budget, there is always room for improvement, he said. Opportunities must be created to attract more businesses to the city to replace the loss in sales-tax revenue from ventures that move away. He also wants to be involved in the debate about the proposed municipal tract, and he feels the community should decide its fate. “I think the future of Shavano Park is very bright and I think we have a very good working council that has the best interests of the city in mind, so I’m proud to be a part of it,” Heintzelman said. MAISEL Maisel said she is honored to be re-elected and is ready to serve. Maisel, the president of Cowboy Cleaners Ltd. and property manager for Mardon Inc., said she is thankful voters have asked her to return for a second term. “It’s a real source of pride that they trust me to be in this position,” Maisel said. Her main objectives are to finish the projects that she started, including working on the management of the city’s assets and ensuring all city employees drive marked vehicles. She believes it’s important to sell or get rid of old equipment when the city buys something new. Maisel called Shavano Park great and said it has the “nicest people.” “It’s a real honor to … represent the people of Shavano Park and take their thoughts and their goals and their dreams and try and implement as many as possible and follow their directions,” Maisel said.

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ELECTIONS continues from pg. 01

New term gives councilman more time to finish projects by LUCILLE SIMS THOMAS


merging victorious from the May 10 municipal election, Joe Krier said he plans to use his term as the San Antonio District 9 councilman to focus on drainage issues, street repairs, library services, fire and police protection and enhancing area parks.

He also is pushing for a referendum on a controversial, multimilliondollar downtown streetcar project. Krier defeated four other candidates for the City Council seat and said he is ready to move ahead quickly on what he

JUNE 2014 contends are key issues for the North Side district, which includes one of the fastest growing areas in the city — Stone Oak. “I am grateful that the voters in District 9 shared my belief that the primary issue was getting back to supporting basic city services — and by that I mean adequate funding for streets and drainage, making sure we have the best police and fire that we can afford, taking care of our libraries and making sure that we are taking care of and expanding our parks,” Krier said. Krier, the president of the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce (now the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce) from 1987-2007, was appointed to the council Nov. 7, with then-District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules and District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor casting the dissenting votes in an 8-2 decision.

The District 9 seat came open when Elisa Chan stepped down to run for the Texas Senate District 25 seat in the Republican primary, which she lost March 4. Four opponents squared off against Krier in the special election to fill the unexpired, one-year term for District 9: Corey Clark, Weston Martinez, Bert Cecconi and Donald Oroian. Krier, who is married to former state Senator and Bexar County Judge Cyndi Taylor Krier, won with 57 percent of the vote in the balloting. He holds the seat until the term expires in May 2015. The councilman said he doesn’t think the city currently spends enough on streets and drainage. He was constantly being told by his constituents that maintaining and improving basic city services should be a priority, he added.

Joe Krier, who was appointed to the District 9 City Council seat in November, won a special election May 10 to fill the unexpired term. He wants to focus on improving basic services. File photo



SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM “I view the election as a mandate for the issues that I talked about,” the councilman said. He also believes residents deserve to vote on the proposed downtown streetcar project, which is projected to cost about $280 million, and said he intends to keep working to put the issue before voters. Streetcars have not existed in San Antonio since the 1930s. Proponents argue they will help spur downtown growth and attract tourists; critics say they are impractical, old-fashioned and too expensive. When he was first appointed, Krier said he did not intend to run in the special election. But a few months after being on the job, Krier realized that not only did he really enjoy being a councilman, he also decided most of the projects he was starting would require a lot more than four or five months to finish. “It was really rewarding to me to be able to help fix these problems in neighborhoods and to be at City Hall on the big-picture issues. And, residents in subdivisions who asked for my help repeatedly said to me, ‘We’d like a councilman who will be here to see these projects through,’” Krier said. The “big-picture issues” at City Hall include the city’s budget for next

year, the police and fire contracts and the matter of impact fees, which involves detailed discussions with San Antonio Water System. The city budget process is getting under way. Krier said he is ready to jump right in, but he also wants to hear opinions from District 9 residents. The council is expected to adopt the budget on Sept. 11.The city's 2015 fiscal year starts on Oct. 1. “My first effort will be to get into the middle of that (budget process) to learn as much as I can about it and to argue that we spend next year’s budget on basic city services,” Krier said. The councilman has open-door hours in a session called Java with Joe 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays at his district field office, 16500 U.S. 281 North at Thousand Oaks Drive, Suite 290. Meanwhile, voters in Hollywood Park decided to reauthorize the town’s ¼-cent sales tax for street repairs with 94 percent of the voters giving it their approval. In addition, incumbent Sudie Sartor defeated Dan O’Brien for the Place 2 seat while Chris Murphy defeated Andrew Moon for the Place 4 seat. Councilman Chris Fails ran unopposed in his bid to become mayor.

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JUNE 2014

NEISD continues from pg. 01

Hundreds of motorists break bus-passing law by EILEEN PACE


oncerns about making crosswalks and traffic areas safer for students at North East Independent School District campuses took center stage during a recent brainstorming session with police, city leaders, educators and parents. Audience members shared ideas with District 9 Councilman Joe Krier, NEISD Superintendent Brian Gottardy and Police Chief William McManus ranging from more emphasis on chaperoning students as they walk to school, to educating motorists about proper driving in school zones and around buses, more enforcement of anti-texting laws and additional collaboration. Much of the discussion was prompted by the death of Tatyana Babineaux, 9, who was struck and killed by a hit-and-

A recent community meeting on improving pedestrian safety for students at North East Independent School District campuses highlighted the need for greater awareness among pupils and drivers. Photo by Aiessa Ammeter

run driver while she was walking to Larkspur Elementary School in January. Krier during the meeting said Tatyana’s death near Braesview Street and Larkspur Drive made schoolzone safety very personal to him. “We met with neighborhood associations and streets people and the Police Department and came up with a lot of changes that make that (Larkspur) school zone safer,” Krier said. “What we

wanted to do tonight is to say to the rest of District 9 … tell us about your schools, tell us about your school-safety issues.” Mike Frisbie, director of the city's Transportation & Capital Improvements Department, told residents at the meeting in the Piper-Bass Community Student Center the city has begun replacing, repairing or adding signage and flashing lights, and in some cases, overhead flashing beacons to warn drivers to slow

down once they hit a school zone. However, it’s going to take time to work through the 1,100 school zones in San Antonio and the city can only proceed as the budget allows. Gottardy said the district has about 68,000 students, and only 60 percent are eligible to ride the bus. “So 40 percent of students are being driven to school by mom or dad or they’re driving themselves, or ride their bikes or walk to school,” he said. Gottardy said the district has a program to train teachers and administrators in some schools to help kids cross the street. “Our (NEISD) Police Department offers a variety of pedestrian- and driversafety programs to schools including a school crossing-guard training program. (NEISD) police officers are out early in the morning and late in the afternoon to help with traffic flow and help students who are crossing the street,” Gottardy said. He said the district is particularly proud of a new program called the Walking School Bus, which recruits parent chaperones to walk students to and from school in the morning and afternoon. “We encourage parents in the neighborhood that don’t have 100% Free No Registration Required All Ages and Abilities Welcome Wide Variety of Fitness Opportunities & Classes Available To Everyone

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Frisbie said although the city is enhancing warning systems, safety does not depend solely on motorists. “What we see with pedestrians a lot is that false sense of security,” he said. "They think that driver sees them and think they’re going to stop, when a lot of times (that pedestrian) is not seen. So they really need to pay attention and continuously watch where they’re at.” McManus told the group that safety in school zones involves cooperation between police, the city, educators and the parents. “One thing we must remember is that we cannot ticket or arrest the safety issue away,” McManus said. “When we’re present, when people see us, they’re going to slow down and do right. But there are 1,100 school zones throughout the city and we can’t be at all of them.”


Residents called attention to several locations where school-zone signage has

been damaged or working improperly, with lights flashing at incorrect times. Others expressed concern that children are walking to school while talking on phones or texting, and wondered if it was possible to regulate their phone use. Jill Rudik, a resident of a Coker Elementary School neighborhood off Bitters Road, showed the group signs she created using pictures instead of words to clarify the notexting phone law in school zones. “We had noticed last year that too many people were driving by while talking or texting on a cellphone,” Rudik said. “The signage that we have out there is written in English, so I’m suggesting a sign in universal language with a visual representation.” McManus said before City Council passed an ordinance in 2010 banning texting in school zones, he recommended prohibiting talking on handheld cellphones as well. “It was not well-received. So we kind of settled for the no texting,” he said. But the chief said the ordinance is difficult to enforce. “The driver is always going to say, ‘I wasn’t texting, I was looking up a phone number,’ or ‘I was answering my phone.’”

NEISD continues on pg. 18

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NEISD continues from pg. 17 Rudik also suggested a more durable paint for crosswalks around schools. “I’ve noticed they paint them at the beginning of the school year. And it actually fades in the first couple of months, so I wondered if there was some other kind of paint that stays or some kind of rubberized, more durable striping system," she said. Frisbie said the city is is considering different products that last longer and offer the best reflectivity. Rudik also emphasized parent and child education. She sees parents parking across the street to avoid long lines in the school drop-off lanes, and children often run between cars to get across the street. “Whenever humans mix with tons of metal in the same space, it’s a cause for concern,” Frisbie said. “We need to encourage pedestrians of all ages to cross at the right spot.”


Gottardy said traffic violations around school buses are also serious. Students are not supposed to wait at the curb, he said. “Students are supposed to wait at least six feet away from the curb and 10 feet

said. “And we were one of many districts across the state that piloted this program.” The fine for illegally passing a school bus is $1,250. “There’s no excuse for it,” Krier said. “I mean, think about that — we’ve got 13 school districts in this larger city area. So if it’s 700 times in one day in one school district, there are thousands of people violating the law around school buses in Bexar County.”

SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEISD CAMPUSES n Seek volunteers for the Walking School Bus program n Improve school zone signage and traffic lights n More durable paint for crosswalks n Educate motorists not to pass stopped school buses


n Emphasize no texting by motorists in school zones n Continued collaboration between educators, parents, police and city SOURCE: Community meeting Photo by Aiessa Ammeter

in front of where the bus is going to stop, but that’s hard to get kids to do,” he said. He said NEISD is part of a state pilot program using a camera system that takes video of cars that illegally pass a school bus.

A gasp rose from the crowd when he described the number of vehicles illegally going around a stopped school bus while loading or unloading children. “It was 750 times in one day – twice on the right side of the bus,” Gottardy

The concerned groups must continue working together, the chief said. “We can’t arrest it away. We can’t ticket it away. We can’t awareness it away. It’s got to be a continued collaboration and a continued effort among all of us,” McManus said. “We can’t assume that people are going to obey the traffic regulations. We can’t assume kids are going to cross where they’re supposed to cross. But they’re kids, so we’ve got to make the effort.” Now that the 2015 city budget is under review, Krier asked constituents to continue to provide input regarding safety. In the meantime, Krier has asked parents to talk to their children about pedestrian awareness just as they would the dangers of talking to strangers or using drugs and alcohol.

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Castle Hills resident and author Chris Bird has written two popular firearms books that deal with concealedcarrying laws and self-defense. His latest, the second edition of 'Thank God I Had A Gun,' details how armed citizens protected themselves as well as others against those seeking to cause harm. Courtesy photo



ASTLE HILLS — Veteran crime writer Chris Bird has made a career out of chronicling the cases of ordinary people defending themselves in extraordinary situations, and in each case the message is the same: “Thank God I Had A Gun.” It’s no coincidence that phrase is also the title of his latest book about armed citizens and how they protected themselves against assailants. “Thank God I Had A Gun” is filled with true accounts from individuals who used firearms to defend their lives and the lives of others. Now in its second edition, the revised “Thank God I Had A Gun” expands on previous accounts for a total of 17 stories. Bird, a longtime Castle Hills resident, details each episode with interviews and photographs, as well as a section in each chapter to reflect on lessons learned by those forced to protect themselves. “As you can read in those stories, if a lot of those people had not had a gun, who knows what might have happened

to them? They could be killed or wounded or beaten up,” said Bird, who has served in the British Army, worked as a television and newspaper reporter, and is still a firearms instructor. Bird also is the author of “The Concealed Handgun Manual: How to Choose, Carry and Shoot a Gun in Self Defense,” originally published in 1997 and now in its sixth edition. As to his second book, he got the idea for “Thank God” from countless people telling him they enjoyed the true accounts he included in the concealed-handgun manual, which helps concealed-handgun carriers know when it is time to draw their weapon. Bird is a gun enthusiast and believes in carrying one for protection. A strong supporter of the Second Amendment, he hopes his book reveals the positive uses of firearms so they can help everyday people defend themselves. “I’m all in favor of law-abiding citizens being able to wear guns, keep them (and) not just when they’re at home,” Bird said. “But it’s not for everybody. You have to

GUN continues on pg. 20


JUNE 2014 “I kind of enjoy getting as much information as possible and putting it all together,” Bird said. “I usually go and try to interview the people concerned.” Bird said the mainstream media ignores most of these stories, and added they are only broadcast if criminal charges are involved. Criminologists estimate about 2.5 million people in the United States use firearms during confrontations with criminals, but in the majority of these cases, not a single shot is fired and frequently the incident is not reported to police. Bird said the best situation is when you don’t have to draw your gun, and there are usually warning signs. “In a sense that means that perhaps you’ve failed to take notice of the warning signs because there’s usually

GUN continues from pg. 19 think it through, you have to play the what-if game (and) should anticipate situations because they happen.” The true-life incidents in “Thank God I Had A Gun” range from a woman protecting her infant child from an intruder breaking into her mobile home in Blanchard, Okla., to a Pizza Hut employee in Indianapolis who shot an attacker trying to rob him. These stories take time and patience to compile. In order to obtain the information, Bird has to submit openrecords requests and do extensive research. Sometimes he’s surprised by the amount of information in the police reports, and has had a few that number more than 300 pages. The first chapter is about Vic Stacy, a trailer-park resident living just a few miles north of Brownwood. Gov. Rick Perry presented Stacy with a high-end semiautomatic rifle after the latter shot a man who had killed two neighbors and their dogs. Bird not only drew from the files of the Texas Rangers probing the case, he also examined the autopsy reports of the three people who were killed including the gunman, various statements to the police, crime-scene photos and more.


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some sort of warning sign, because if you shoot somebody, that’s where your problems really begin,” Bird said. One of the stories included in the book indicates that things do not fare well for one man who tried to do the right thing. Bird said he thought it was important to publish the story because defenders do not always win when they draw their weapon. Sometimes even people who fire in self-defense face a grand jury investigation and civil litigation. Bird has always been fascinated with firearms, and has been shooting for years. He started with pellet guns as a young boy in his native England, and became a commissioned officer in the Royal Military Police of the British Army. He was stationed in Berlin and Belgium, where he served as the company weapon-training officer. Bird has won several awards for shooting competitions. Later he migrated to British Columbia, Canada, where he worked as a cowboy on a ranch. Then he changed jobs, becoming a crime and investigative reporter for The Vancouver Province newspaper of Vancouver and the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. He has also had stints as a salesman,

GUN continues on pg. 21


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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM GUN continues from pg. 20 a private investigator and a shotgun guard for an armored-car company in Australia. Bird married his wife Anita and came to Texas, joking that he “had to marry a Texan to get here…,” then added, “She married me because I had an oceangoing boat.” He is referring to a 27-foot sailboat that he built himself. In the late 1980s, Bird and his wife sailed from Vancouver to Sydney and then to San Francisco. He became a reporter for the San Antonio Express-News in 1989, covering crime and law enforcement for several years. Bird freelances for other publications, but mostly spends his time teaching concealed-handgun classes and

working on his new book. With all of the school shootings in the last decade, Bird’s next topic will address how people can deal with so-called active shooters who terrorize shopping malls and schools. He stressed that a lot of people go through life without realizing they could be in danger or are not paying attention. While he has not been involved in any noteworthy incidents of his own, he said the first rule of self-defense is to remain aware. “I put my gun on in the morning and I take it off when I go to bed, and then it’s easily accessible even at night, ’cause it would look really bad if having written all about this stuff I got caught unprepared,” Bird said. To order copies of his books, call 308-8191 or visit www.


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Visitors can see nature without leaving the city by MIRANDA KOERNER


hen temperatures climb and sunny days grow long, it’s not just kids who want a fun summer in the great outdoors. But don’t worry, no road trips are required to escape the city streets for a nature outing — just check out Phil Hardberger Park. The Urban Ecology Center on the west side of Phil Hardberger Park offers several classes and activities to make nature more accessible to children and adults. Photo by Rudy B. Ornelas

This summer, the North Side park — a 311-acre spread that was once the home of the sprawling Voelcker dairy farm — is offering plenty of programs for both kids and kids at heart. From a nature walk with local poet Mobi Warren to a pooch parade on June 7, the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy, in conjunction with San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department, the Alamo

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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM of fish they can reel in from Texas waters. There’s no water involved, so parents don’t have to worry about anyone falling in. “Our goal is to get kids outside and into nature,” Campbell said. “They’ll be taking care of this one day. There’s so much here—on the west side there’s great hiking trails. There’s a butterfly garden and wildflowers right here at your back door.” Adults might also be interested in a photography nature walk on June 25 taught by Donald Ewers, a former University of the Incarnate Word professor from the art and communication department. It will be held on the west side of the park in the Phil Hardberger Park Urban Ecology Center. Both adults and kids can learn about composting and drip irrigation from a Master Gardener on June 28 in the Urban Ecology Center classroom. Wendy Thornton, an Alamo Area Master Naturalist and park volunteer, became interested in visiting the park after hearing about the native plants there. “It’s not like any other park in San Antonio,” Thornton said. “It’s more than 300 acres of natural savannah and native plants—and it’s in the heart of these (North Side) neighborhoods.” According to Chuck Saxer, conservancy vice president, that blend of urban ease and natural plant life is intentional. He said the

Phil Hardberger Park is nature friendly, including crushed granite trails that allow rainwater to reach the roots of plants. Other programs call for the removal of invasive species. Photo by Rudy B. Ornelas

nonprofit conservancy is working hard to make the place attractive to visitors while respecting the natural flora and fauna. “The park is nature friendly,” Saxer said. “For example, on the trails, we have crushed granite rather than being paved. It’s a delicate balance and we want to

respect nature. We’re trying to provide an environment for native animals to come back and making an effort to get rid of the invasive species and return the plant life to a more natural state.” Future plans include restoring the Voelcker Homestead, which features a dairy

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barn, an antique windmill and the old stone Voelcker home, which is now watched over by a caretaker. While the windmill and dairy barn have been refurbished, the group is still working on the home and hopes to turn it into a living-history farm. “It’ll be a good opportunity for children and school groups to see things they typically don’t see when they’re in the city,” said Gail Gallegos, the park’s nature preserve officer. “Vegetables don’t just come from H-E-B.” If classes aren’t your thing, you can always take a hike or go on a biking trail. There are four dog parks, two each on both the east and west sides with a separate park for big dogs and small dogs. There are also two playgrounds and a sports field. For Saxer, the park serves as a relaxing place to unwind. On the weekends, he often works as a greeter welcoming guests to the park. “I go to the park daily,” Saxer said. “My favorite thing is the trees and being out with nature. You can escape without having to get in your car and drive for hours.” For more information about the park, visit http://www.philhardbergerpark. org/ or call 207-3284. For more information about educational events, call 207-3292.

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MONTH 2014


“The Happy Handyman is BACK!” Hands down the least expensive way to make a change around the house is paint. It can take a so –so house and with the right colors make it the “star” of the block. So when you are picking out paint how do you know what paint to use? If you believe the label, “it’s lifetime”, “self priming”, etc…but remember , it’s their label…and they can put on the can whatever they want. That happened to me a long long time ago when I was much younger. A paint company came in our lumber yards and wanted me to put in their paint line. And I asked him how long the warranty on the paint was. He looked at me as asked “how long do you want it to be”…”we can put anything on the label.” Well needless to say we didn’t put in that paint line. For San Antonio, Coronado paint is the best for the area. Coronado is great for Houston also. Coronado is made from a formulation that was originally Negley Paint Company. The chemist made sure that Negley Paint could withstand all the differences in temperature that we have in San Antonio, along with the extreme humidity. When Coronado bought Negley they were smart enough to keep the formula and that’s why we love Coronado Paint. A customer came in a couple of months ago and said she was having trouble with her paint on the west side of her home. It was peeling. She wanted to know what she could do about it. I asked her when did she paint the house. In 1972! That has been 42 years. We sold her Peel Stop, to stop the peeling on that side of the house and then another gallon of Coronado. Peel Stop is a new item for us and does something that I have never seen a primer do. It will stop peeling paint. It’s a clear primer and if you have some peeling paint, just sand off the flakey paint and then prime all over with the Peel Stop. Peel Stop is water based and low odor. Used by professionals to glue down peeling paint and extend the life of the paint. It will glue down the edges of cracked paint. Just remember preparation is real important when you do decide to paint. If you are painting outside you need to clean the surface. You can use Jomax. Prime any bare wood. Then use 2 coats of the best paint you can get. You always want to make sure you use 2 coats. I prefer to brush and roll on the paint because it goes on thicker. Last of all use a good caulk for around the windows and doors. Cheap caulk will crack and dry out. I like Big Stretch, it stretches, it’s paintable and is water cleanup. Well that’s about it for painting…you should be a expert now…if you have any questions call me or Trudy at the store in San Antonio.

NOW TO THE MAILBOX .... QUESTION: My son is a new driver. And we let him park his car in the garage. However since he is a new driver, he is not great at knowing when to stop in the garage and has hit my workbench a couple of times. Besides that tennis ball that hangs from the ceiling….is there another way to gently show him when to put the brakes on. ANSWER: There is a real simple item called a Parking Target. Just clean the area where you want to put it and then stick it down. You can use 1, and when the tire nudges it he will know to stop.

More parent volunteers needed at Vineyard Ranch by GIANNA RENDON


ineyard Ranch Elementary School will celebrate its second anniversary in August as one of the newest campuses in the North East Independent School District, with more developments to come. The school opened in January 2013 at 16818 Huebner Road, Principal Tammy Van Cleave said. “The children are very excited and eager to play on the field,” Van Cleave said. The school was not ready for students by its anticipated opening date in August 2012. It was one of two new NEISD campuses in Stone Oak that faced some much-publicized construction delays, forcing students in the attendance zones to temporarily enroll at other nearby schools. The other affected school was Las Lomas Elementary at 20303 Hardy Oak Blvd. It also opened in January. The two schools, budgeted at $27 million apiece, are designed to hold a total of 1,200 students and are part of a 2007 bond issue approved by voters. Vineyard Ranch, although relatively new, offers a variety of curriculums such as prekindergarten and a dual-language program. Van Cleave said Vineyard Ranch’s dual-language program is growing every year, and next year thirdgraders will join the program. In addition to academics, Vineyard Ranch offers activities such as a chorus, strings, safety patrol and a robotics club. “Everything has been going as planned this past year,” Van Cleave said. The school also incorporates Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” every day in the classroom

TAMMY VAN CLEAVE, VINEYARD RANCH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL Vineyard Ranch Elementary School, 16818 Huebner Road, is one of the two newest elementary campuses in the North East Independent School District (left). Principal Tammy Van Cleave (above) says technology, language immersion and teaching effective habits are helping students prepare for the future. Photos by Joshua Michael

through the “Leader in Me” program. “It’s important for (students) because it teaches them different character traits from a young age that they’ll use as they grow up,” the principal said. Vineyard Ranch is also a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED, certified school, which means the building was constructed using green materials. Technology is also part of the classroom experience at Vineyard Ranch. “We are very fortunate and we know that with all of the technology that we have here, and just promoting 21st-century skills along with leadership skills,” Van Cleave said.

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Although teachers are the ones educating students in the classroom, parents are also part of the learning community. “We have a great community with supportive parents and everyone really wants to be involved with their child’s education, and that’s always a big plus for our staff because they can work hand in hand with our parents as well,” Van Cleave said. One way parents can get involved is by joining the PTA, which helps organize various activities for the students such as Red Ribbon Week to fight drug use. Other events organizers hope will become traditions are the bike rodeo and Teacher Appreciation Week. The PTA is looking for WATCH D.O.G.S., or Dads of Great Students, to volunteer at least one day a year. The men can be fathers, uncles, grandfathers or other father figures. The PTA is also looking for more parent volunteers, but applicants must pass a criminal-background check. For more about the PTA and how to join, visit Parents can also call the school at 356-7200. NEISD has another far North Side school opening in the next academic cycle. David Lee “Tex” Hill Middle School, 21314 Bulverde Road, is projected to debut for the 2014-15 school year, said Jeff Kurth, NEISD director of research and information technologies.



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State’s first veggie-burger drive-thru comes to North Side by EILEEN PACE


IKE BEHREND WANTS TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR PEOPLE TO GET FAST, HEALTHY VEGETARIAN FOOD that also tastes great. So he’s opening what he said is the first drive-thru veggie burger restaurant in Texas. Earth Burger, scheduled to open the first week of June at 818 N.W. Loop 410, will offer plant-based foods, organic cheese, organic sodas, no hydrogenated oils and no animal products on site – except the cheese. “We use soy milk in our mayo,” Behrend said. It’s his own recipe. So is the “secret sauce” for the burgers. Behrend graduated from the St. Phillips College Culinary Arts Program. He’s been around restaurants since 1992, when he and his mother opened The Jailhouse Café. Mom, Lulu Singleton, sold her Main Avenue restaurant, Lulu’s, in 2006. Now she spends

her quasi-retirement working with Behrend and his brother Chris Behrend, who are coowners of Earth Burger, Green Vegetarian at the Pearl and at the Alon Town Centre, and the newest Green in Houston. All their food is kosher, and the Jewish community in San Antonio has embraced them, Mike Behrend said. Earth Burger’s menu is kid-friendly, and serving families is one reason Behrend said he wanted a vegetarian drive-thru. “We live in a fast-food culture. I’ve got two little kids and I get them in the car and I don’t want to get them out,” Behrend said. “There are no good options for food without getting out of the car.” Earth Burger has a gluten-free burger with sunflower seeds, rice, onions and herbs on Udis buns. Other items include a Chik-N Sandwich, a tofu fish sandwich,

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Earth Burger is a new drive-thru providing healthy vegetarian fast food, such as the No. 1 Earth Beef (left), billed as a non-meat patty on a whole wheat bun with a secret sauce, mustard, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions. The fast-food joint is one of the first of its kind in Texas to be strictly vegetarian, the owner says. Photo by Collette Orquiz

and a wrap with tofu, kale salad, hummus and olives. Kids will like the Chik-N Tenders basket with agave mustard sauce. Behrend said 85 percent of Green’s customers are not vegetarian but come for the great taste, and he thinks the same will happen at Earth Burger. “We’re raising the bar. We don’t preach to anybody about the benefits of vegetarianism unless they ask, but we want to offer great

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EAT LOCAL Learn about the newest neighborhood places for breakfast, lunch, dinner or drinks

New cafe at Éilan offers a view and a market by OLIVIER J. BOURGUOIN


HE MERCATO CAFE MARKET & DELI AT THE ÉILAN is a place with a view — and offers plenty more. With one gourmet food destination under its roof already, the Éilan Hotel, Resort & Spa added Mercato just a few months ago. Since then, the staff has been tweaking the menu and adding more items on the retail side. The café, located on the promenade above Éilan’s central Mediterraneanthemed plaza, also offers basic grocery staples as a convenience to residents living in the development’s 650 apartments, hotel and spa guests, diners, shoppers and those working in Éilan’s office spaces. The cafe is at 17103 La Cantera Parkway. One of the new items is the “Wall of Chocolate,” a full-size display of gourmet and organic chocolate bars from different

countries. On the shelves inside the roughly 1,000-square-foot cafe, customers also can find a selection of imported and domestic gourmet products, including an assortment of olive oils, balsamic vinegars, mustards, other condiments and pastas. Mercato also stocks coldpressed CRAVE juices and other healthy beverages, and brews Starbucks coffees. “It’s been a slow but steady process finding out what items are requested and then sourcing them,” said Charles Greub, director of food and beverage operations for Éilan. The Mercato serves breakfast — home-baked pastries, muffins, breakfast tacos, croissants, including the cheddar breakfast croissant, and farm-fresh eggs. Executive Chef Mike Collins is pulling double duty. His chief

Offering imported pastas (above left), domestic gourmet products, chocolate and sundries, Mercato Cafe Market & Deli also has a small menu that includes five rotating flavors of gelati, such as the cappuccino (above right). Photos by Collette Orquiz

responsibility rests with the main restaurant, Sustenio, but he also oversees food operations for the Mercato. One of his popular creations is the Mercato Muesli Parfait, made with Greek yogurt, fresh berries and organic granola. “What we offer is simple, tasty and healthy,” Collins said. Other menu items include a soup of the day, salads, imported cheeses and salamis and five rotating flavors of Italian gelati.

“The Italian-deli thing has been very successful,” Greub said. “Convenience is very important to our residents.” The cafe is open 6 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.

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New school touts itself as BASIS for education by COLETTE ORQUIZ


ATIONALLY RANKED, TUITION-FREE BASIS CHARTER SCHOOL is getting ready to open its second campus in San Antonio where science, mathematics and fine arts are at the forefront of education. BASIS San Antonio North is being built at 318 E. Ramsey Road and should be ready for the 2014-15 academic year, starting in August. Registration is under way. The existing school is at 8519 Floyd Curl Drive. “We offer a very rigorous curriculum, but coupled with getting kids to really love fine arts and thus loving education,” said Abigail Hasberry, the school director at BASIS Charter School in the South Texas Medical Center. The first BASIS Charter School was started in 1998 by Olga and Michael Block,

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the vice dean at Charles University in Prague and a Stanford-educated economist at the University of Arizona, respectively. Olga Block moved to the United States from the Czech Republic and was unimpressed by the standards of American schools for her daughter, but liked how they made children think and question, Hasberry said. There are 12 BASIS schools in the U.S., with four campuses opening in the fall including the new one on Ramsey, which is an open-enrollment public charter school. The new facility will enroll 510 students in grades fifth through eighth the first year, and eventually extend through 12th grade. The eighth graders will be the first graduating class, eventually bringing the total student capacity to 810. The teachers are experts in their fields,

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and many hold doctorates. Hasberry said the new school has hired an “amazing staff ” from diverse backgrounds and disciplines. “(It) gives children the freedom to ask questions … If they’re taking a class from a generalist, they just can’t get into that deep knowledge and that deep kind of passion for that subject,” Hasberry said. Students are encouraged to take advantage of the opportunities BASIS has to prepare them for college. Pupils on average take 10 Advanced Placement courses; are required to take Latin and either continue Latin or choose from French, Mandarin or Spanish; and take part in the arts and sciences. “(The) emphasis (is) on having a wellrounded child,” Hasberry said. “So if you expose them to all those disciplines,

there’s something that’s just going to catch them and captivate them.” There are still some open spots for the school year. To register, go to basisschools. org. For more information, call 319-5525. The newest BASIS Charter School at 318 E. Ramsey Road, which is under construction and should open in August, will mirror an existing campus at 8519 Floyd Curl Drive (pictured). Officials said BASIS San Antonio North will provide a world-class education for fifththrough eighth-grade students the first year. Photo by Collette Orquiz

BASIS SAN ANTONIO NORTH 318 E. Ramsey Road For more, call 319-5525 or visit


JUNE 2014

BUY LOCAL Learn more about newest purveyors of goods and services in your area

Guidi storefront makes debut in Castle Hills by OLIVIER J. BOURGUOIN


ASTLE HILLS — FROM MILAN, ITALY, TO NEW YORK AND NOW CASTLE HILLS, the new Guidi Italian leather goods shop opening here to offer high-end handbags and more is only the second store in the United States. Chef Ezio Di Rosa and wife Maria, both natives of Italy, have called San Antonio home for 17 years. They own and operate Rossini’s restaurant at Northwest Military Highway and West Avenue. They previously owned Grissini’s’ restaurant, which survived several different iterations — the last one on Broadway near Alamo Heights. Now the enterprising couple is branching out with Guidi Italian leather goods, 1177 N.W. Military Highway, Suite C. Italian artist and designer Piero Guidi is the creator behind the company, which in 2010 opened its first U.S. store in New

York City with a Soho storefront. The Castle Hills shop, which had a planned late May opening, will be the label’s second North American storefront (and only the fifth stand-alone store outside of Italy). Where did the couple get the idea to open the store? “We were on vacation in Lecce, in southern Italy, three years ago,” Ezio Di Rosa said. “Maria saw a Guidi handbag, a purse she really liked and she bought it. The idea came there, from scratch. I called the factory in Urbino and I spoke with Gionata Guidi. He is the son of Piero.” The negotiations got off to a slow start. “The first appointment took six months before we met at the factory in Urbino, and then we met again in New York in March of this year. After that things moved fast,” he said.


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Guidi in Castle Hills provides a selection of luxury Italian handbags, clutches, scarves and more, with whimsical patterns, a variety of colors and an array of styles for every occasion. Photos by Collette Orquiz

The collection features high-quality products. Before becoming a designer of leather goods, Piero Guidi began his career as a sculptor. Then, 60 years ago, Guidi Designs was born. The company’s tagline “Angeli Del Nostro Tempo” — angels of our time (a male and a female angel embracing) — is incorporated into every product. Handbags are the flagship of the line, but also popular are belt buckles, bomber jackets and briefcases. “I call it classic yet whimsical. It’s very distinctive with a style of its own

and you can’t find it anywhere else,” Maria Di Rosa said. “Each item is adorned with the angel logo either in leather or metal. Very high quality.” Other items include wallets and scarves, many featuring the Magic Circus design. Hours are 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

GUIDI 1177 N. W. Military Highway, Suite C For more, call 281-5231



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SOURCE: San Antonio Board of Realtors: Texas Market Trends report

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The properties are new listings put on the market from early April 2014. The properties may no longer be on the market by publication date or prices may have changed. Local Community News assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

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LOCAL: Castle Hills, Shavano Park, North Central, 78213, 78230, 78248, 78249 June 2014  

This month in LOCAL Zone 2: Former soldier, journalist, and firearms expert dwelling in Castle Hills chronicles true stories of self-defense...

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