North East ISD coffee talks PG.08 Issues aplenty for Superintendent Gottardy’s morning chats; voters approve $500 million bond issue PG. 04 LOCAL EDITORIAL
Good idea moving city elections to November
THE RINGER PUB
PG. 07 LOCAL LOWDOWN
PG.15 New bar pays homage to 'The Big Lebowski'
What's open and opening soon in your neighborhood, plus latest news
WWW.SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM VOL. 4, ISSUE 1
HILL COUNTRY VILLAGE
COMMUNITY NEWS HOLLYWOOD PARK
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NOV. 30 - DEC. 28, 2015
Churchill High students investigated in crime spree Greater Harmony Hills targeted in 60 incidents; social media played large role in keeping neighbors informed of vandalism by COLLETTE ORQUIZ
PG.12 Hollywood Park drone pilot’s
work seeks to reinforce positives of using unmanned aircraft
PG. 03 LOCAL COMMENTARY SUSAN YERKES
Holidays bring plenty of great books about San Antonio, Alamo and Texas
The arrests of five Churchill High School students have police probing for links to a crime spree in Greater Harmony Hills involving 60 incidents that included shattered windows and stolen cars. Vandals armed with BB guns targeted homes and Harmony Hills Elementary School during a crime wave that began in mid-September and culminated with arrests Oct. 20, police said. The dozens of cases under investigation include the suspected thefts of 14 vehicles, added officers with the San Antonio Police Department. “The suspects were apprehended as the result of a collaborative effort from members of the community, detectives from North Property Crimes and our Vehicle Crimes Unit,”
HARMONY continues on pg. 10
NOV. 30 - DEC. 28, 2015
FROM THE EDITOR THE CENTER OF ATTENTION
President Harold J. Lees Publisher Gregg Rosenfield Assoc. Publisher Rick Upton EDITORIAL Executive Editor Thomas Edwards News Staff Collette Orquiz, Bain Serna and Will Wright Contributing Writers Olivier J. Bourgoin, Joyce Hotchkiss, Neven Jones, Edmond Ortiz and Susan Yerkes ART Creative Director Florence D. Edwards Contributing Photographer Rudy B. Ornelas Contributing Illustrator Jeremiah Teutsch
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Season for peace
ne of my fondest memories about growing up at Fort Sam Houston is the weekday, lateafternoon observance that included a short burst of solemn music and the simulated firing of cannons. No matter what you were doing, if you were outside and heard the music you stopped and turned in the direction of the flag flying over the MacArthur Parade Field, close to Beach Pavilion. Army brats like me and adult civilians stood at attention to honor the Stars and Stripes, but if you wore a uniform or BDUs like my dad, you saluted. Even if you were in a car or on a bike, you braked, got out or got off, and paid your respects to Old Glory. The cannon fire always followed. I loved everything about that tradition. Participating in the daily ritual made me feel patriotic toward my country and proud of the job my father and his fellow soldiers carried out to keep America safe. Growing up on military reservations, I often heard the term “peacekeepers.” Now it may surprise some of you to think that men and women who wage war are called peacekeepers. But as my dad always reminded me, soldiers are the last people who want a war, and the first ones to pray for peace. This time of year we're going to hear a lot about peace on Earth. This is a wonderful sentiment. But as folks mouth the words and sing the songs, and thoughts of presents and candy canes dance in some heads, let’s not forget the warriors stationed here and abroad safeguarding us so that we can enjoy these glad tidings. Remember the peacekeepers. Bless them, bless you and may all enjoy a safe holiday.
THOMAS EDWARDS EXECUTIVE EDITOR
ON THE COVER: Justin Moore of Hollywood Park, a drone pilot, is a strong advocate of the many uses of the unmanned aircraft, from aerial photography (inset) to public safety. Large photo by Collette Orquiz
The gift of reading, San Antonio style by SUSAN YERKES
hen I think of holiday
gifts, my thoughts turn to books. Blame my upbringing — I grew up in a bookstore. When we moved to San Antonio in the 1960s, my parents opened H. R. Higgins Books, named after my stepfather. (It later became The Twig.) I love to read, and I had permission to take most books home and peruse them, as long as they came back spotless. (Even today, a peanut butter and jelly stain on a book page sends me into a momentary panic.) For years after my folks sold the shop I couldn’t walk into
a good bookstore without buying half a dozen titles. And despite occasional Amazon buying binges, I still feel fiercely loyal to independent bookstores, where the proprietors read voraciously and recommend skillfully. In fact, I’d like to give all my readers the gift of a book this Christmas. But since that’s not in the budget, I’ll settle for recommending a few San Antonioflavored books I’ve enjoyed this year. “San Antonio’s Spanish Missions: A Portrait,” by Lewis Fisher, with beautiful photos by Mike Osborne and a foreword by the Rev. David Garcia, celebrates the beautifully preserved missions, now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Another of Fisher’s books, “American Venice: The Epic Story of San Antonio’s River,” tells the history of the River Walk in photographs and text. “San Antonio: The Saga” is another magnificent tome full of images from the fantastic sound-and-light show in Main Plaza. With big changes coming for the Alamo, Paul Walker’s “Remember the Alamo: Texians, Tejanos and Mexicans Tell their Stories” brings a new perspective to the mission’s tale. There’s also the new biography by Ron J. Jackson Jr. and Lee Spencer White, “Joe, The Slave Who Became an Alamo
Legend.” And rock star Phil Collins’ “The Alamo and Beyond: A Collector’s Journey” is a sumptuous book on the Briton’s huge collection of Alamo artifacts, which he subsequently donated to the state. It features many of the historical pieces that will someday be on display in an Alamo museum downtown. Classic film fans will enjoy “Not Thinkin’…Just Rememberin’…The Making of John Wayne’s ‘The Alamo.’” Paula Allen’s fascinating “San Antonio Then and Now” pairs stories of the city with past and present photographs. Most recent of all is “San Antonio: Our Story of 150 Years in the Alamo City,” from Trinity University Press – a big, impressive coffee-table book with a sesquicentennial’s worth of stories and pictures. Foodies will love restaurateur Cappy Lawton’s “Enchiladas: Aztec to Tex-Mex” or “San Antonio Beer,” an account of the city’s brewing biz from the 19th century to today by LOCAL Community News contributor Travis E. Poling and Jeremy Banas. Sandra Cisneros’ new memoir “A House of My Own” is high on my hot list of fiction books. Jan Jarboe Russell’s “The Train to Crystal City” is an important, eye-opening account of the long-secret internment camp in Crystal City, where
thousands of Japanese and German families were imprisoned during World War II. Cynthia Leal Massey’s “Death of a Texas Ranger: A True Story of Murder and Vengeance on the Texas Frontier” is a great Wild West read. Bryce Milligan’s Wings Press is a San Antonio treasure, and you’ll find some great books on the website wingspress.com. Notables are the new anthology of Texas women’s work, “Her Texas: Story, Image, Poem & and Song”; poet Naomi Shihab Nye’s new offering “Famous”; and Joe Holley’s rollicking story “The Purse Bearer: A Novel of Love, Lust and Texas Politics.” Also new is a book that brought back many memories for me: Mary Carolyn Hollers George’s “Rosengren’s Books: An Oasis for Mind and Spirit.” The beloved downtown bookstore was my parents’ biggest competitor. And finally, here’s a great tip for all readers – a free app called OverDrive that gives you access to e-books, audio books and more from hundreds of libraries, including the San Antonio Public Library. In return, the best gift you could give me is to recommend the books you have enjoyed this year. Happy holidays, and read on! email@example.com
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Move city elections to November oter participation in local elections continues to drop, but District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg has an idea to stop the decline that is worth supporting — move the balloting from May to November.
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Nirenberg touts the example of Austin, which saw a 40 percent rise in electorate turnout when municipal elections switched from the spring to mid-fall, to coincide with state and national balloting. Another advantage to changing election dates is the savings passed on to taxpayers by combining one election season managed by the Bexar County Elections Department. Analysts know that more voters turn out during a countrywide contest, such as the one to select a president, so why not build on that momentum by adding municipal
balloting? If not, voter apathy could worsen, with participation continuing to fall. During the key race for San Antonio mayor in May, in which 14 candidates sought the position, only 14 percent of registered voters even showed up at the polls. When fewer voters cast ballots, then special-interest groups and those with very narrow agendas control the balloting and the ultimate fate of a city. Nirenberg’s idea deserves consideration. So far, most of his colleagues on City Council have not exactly given the notion a ringing endorsement. Mayor Ivy Taylor even worries that partisanship could enter the local races if they are held the same time as state and national contests. Truthfully, local elections for City Council rarely have split along party lines and have a lot more to do with money, demographics, neighborhoods and geography. Plenty of cities in the area already hold November elections with nary a whiff of partisanship or problems — Converse, Cibolo and Windcrest come to mind. This idea has merit and could boost local democracy. Contact your San Antonio council member and let them know you support moving the elections to November.
-The Local Community News editorial board includes Harry Lees, Gregg Rosenfield and Thomas Edwards.
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Plan your month with our calendar of upcoming events in the community.
OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH
COCKTAIL PASSPORT As a lead-up to its Jan. 1417 event, the San Antonio Cocktail Conference is offering a “passport” for admission to a special party at the conference. Purchase a passport, buy a cocktail at each of the 15 participating establishments and get a stamp at each one; they include the Hoppy Monk, 1010 N. Loop 1604 East. Order the passport at http://www.sanantoniococktailconference. com/store/2015-cocktail-passport. Profits from all Cocktail Conference events go to children’s charities.
THROUGH JAN. 13
SANTA’S RAILROAD WONDERLAND Christmas lights and trains of all sizes make for a festive outing at the Texas Transportation Museum on Saturday and
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Sunday from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be train rides and big trains to tour, plus all kinds of model train setups, indoors and out. Vintage autos are on display, and Choo Choo Claus is available for pictures. The dates are Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20 and 26. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for kids 2-12; call 490-3554. The museum is at 11731 Wetmore Road. URBAN FORESTRY IN SAN ANTONIO San Antonio City Forester Ross Hosea talks about how the local urban forest is faring. Participants can learn how to plant a tree properly, and the first 25 families can “adopt” a tree in a 1-gallon pot. There will be a kid-friendly craft, too. The event, from 9 to 11 a.m. at Phil Hardberger Park’s Urban
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HAPPENING continues from pg. 05 Ecology Center, is free but a donation of $3 per person or $5 per family is suggested. The center is near the park’s western entrance, 8400 N.W. Military Highway. NEISD TRUSTEES North East Independent School District trustees are scheduled to meet at 5:30 p.m. in the NEISD board room, 8961 Tesoro Drive.
HOLLYWOOD PARK The City Council meets at 7 p.m. at City Hall, 2 Mecca Drive.
Pedro Presbyterian Church, 14900 San Pedro Ave. For members only, it costs $20; checks payable to NSARTA must be mailed by Dec. 2 to Carolyn Pfeiffer, 8310 Magdalena Run, Helotes, TX 78023. Regular meetings are the third Wednesday of each month during the school year. Members are encouraged to bring friends CHRONIC PAIN SUPPORT GROUP DEC. Meetings are from 4 to 6 16 p.m. the third Wednesday of each month at Baptist HealthLink, 288 W. Bitters Road. A syllabus and more information are available at http:// chronicpainsupportsa.wix.com/cpsgsa.
EVENING AGLOW MEETING San Antonio Evening Aglow International, a Christian “transformational kingdom” group, meets the third Tuesday of each month for fellowship, song and an inspirational message. The gathering starts at 7 p.m. at Anne Marie’s Catering, 12475 Starcrest Drive (at Bitters Road). Everyone is welcome. For more, visit www.aglow.com.
SAN ANTONIO CIVIL WAR ROUND TABLE The group meets the third Thursday of each month at Grady’s Bar-B-Q, 6510 San Pedro Ave., for a 6 p.m. dinner and 7 p.m. meeting. Those interested in Civil War history are invited to share stories and ideas. No reservations are required. For more, contact Nancy Hodges at firstname.lastname@example.org or Daniel Snell at email@example.com.
RETIRED TEACHERS MEETING DEC. North San Antonio Retired 16 Teachers Association holds its annual Christmas luncheon at San
URBAN BIRDS Identifying the DEC. birds that call San Antonio home 19 is made easier by Greg and Jana Gibbons’ fun-and-games approach.
The class is from 10 a.m. to noon at the Urban Ecology Center at Phil Hardberger Park, and includes a kid-friendly activity. Admission is free, though a donation of $3 a person or $5 per family is suggested. The center is near the park’s western entrance, 8400 N.W. Military Highway. HO, HO, HO – SCHOOL’S OUT Campuses at the North East Independent School District will be closed for Christmas break.
DEC. 21 - JAN. 1
LIBRARIES CLOSED Brook Hollow Branch Library, 530 Heimer Road, and Thousand Oaks Branch Library, 4618 Thousand Oaks Drive, will be closed Dec. 24-27 as well as New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
HOLLYWOOD PARK PLAY GROUP Tuesdays at 9:30 a.m., Hollywood Park moms and their small children can get together for playtime and snacks; meet at the swimming pool. For more, call Janet Ruiz, 313-6098.
FELINE FRIDAYS The Animal Defense League will focus on reducing overpopulation
by spaying or neutering 30 owned cats and 30 feral cats every Friday. Animals can be brought in between 7 and 9 a.m., and it’s first come, first served until the 60 slots are filled. Fees range from $35 to $70, and owned cats must have proof of rabies vaccination. The cats will be ready for pickup from 4 to 5 p.m. the same day. The surgeries are performed at ADL’s hospital, 11215 Iota Drive, just off Nacogdoches Road. For more, go to adltexas.org and click on Spay/Neuter Services under Programs & Services. CIRCUIT TRAINING Weekly boot camp and circuit training sessions in McAllister Park can help increase your strength, stamina and speed both before and after the holidays, and they’re free. The sessions are 10 to 11 a.m. at the Turkey Roost Pavilion in the park, 13203 Jones Maltsberger Road. For the latest on all the Fitness in the Park sessions, go to www.sanantonio. gov/ParksAndRec/Home.aspx.
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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. COWABUNGA KIDS DENTISTRY,
17006 U.S. 281 North, recently opened and focuses on easing anxiety and fears surrounding children’s dental experience. The owner, pediatric dentist Casey Elkins, teamed up with award-winning Hollywood-style set designers to create an office that makes children feel safe, happy and relaxed, according to the staff. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more, call 892-3500 or visit cowabungakids.com. (See story on page 14)
2. THE RINGER, 2826 Thousand Oaks Drive, is a bar inspired by the Coen Brothers’ 1998 crime and bowling humor movie, “The Big Lebowski.” It’s owned by Doug Ackerly, William Huey and Matt Rapp, the operators of The Hangar Bar & Grill and The Three Legged Monkey. The owners held a midNovember opening. With 1,800 square feet, there is table seating and an outdoor patio, and games are on tap. Many libations are offered including — of course — The Dude’s favorite, White Russian cocktails. (Fans of the movie will understand.) Hours are 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Friday, and the management is considering opening noon to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday for football. For more, visit www. theringerpub.com/. (See story on page 15)
IN OTHER NEWS
CITY COUNCIL RECENTLY APPROVED AN ORDINANCE TO IMPLEMENT Safe Exchange Zones at six police substations across San Antonio, including the San Antonio Police Department North Substation at 13030 Jones Maltsberger Road serving the North Side. District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher said SAPD helped spearhead the effort, designed to reduce the likelihood of criminal activity during online marketplace exchanges. “Providing the community with an option to safely conduct business like this is long overdue,” Gallagher said. “With the establishment of Safe Exchange Zones, not only will our residents be afforded an opportunity to safely conduct e-commerce exchanges with strangers, but they will also have the opportunity to meet their neighborhood patrol officers.” Safe Exchange sites will offer designated parking lot spaces and inside lobbies at SAPD substations for residents to use in completing transactions, as well as monitoring by security cameras, officials said. The new program will not incur additional costs to taxpayers. For more, visit a link at the SAPD website, www.sanantonio.gov/sapd.
Address of local business Name of local business
BE WARY OF AGGRESSIVE PANHANDLERS on U.S. 281 North, Blanco Road and area shopping centers on the North Side, according to Capt. Laura Anderson of the San Antonio Police Department, who spoke at a recent City Council District 10 community meeting. Anderson, commander of the SAPD North Substation, asked residents not to give the panhandlers any money, for fear they might be involved in illegal activity. If approached by an aggressive panhandler, Anderson said, retreat to a safe place and call 911. HOLIDAY DECORATING JUDGES ARE NEEDED for the North Central Thousand Oaks Neighborhood Association decorating contest. Judging is Dec. 14 and each judge will be assigned to a specific section of the neighborhood. To learn more, email email@example.com.
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IN HOLLYWOOD PARK, RESIDENTS OK’D A PROPOSED $3.7 MILLION BOND FOR improvements to city parks and recreational facilities during the Nov. 3 election, with 622 casting ballots in favor and 138 opposed. THE GROUNDBREAKING CEREMONY FOR THE Donella Drive Street Project in Hollywood Park was held Oct. 21. Construction is scheduled to last 188 days. The project, which is designed to improve one of the city’s main thoroughfares and its infrastructure, including natural-gas services, is the biggest the city has seen in 10 years, according to Mayor Chris Fails. THE STOP SIGNS IN HOLLYWOOD PARK AT THE intersections of Voigt and Skyforest drives, and Voigt and El Portal Drive, were incorrectly placed and have been moved, officials said. Residents phoned to complain, and after an investigation, the Public Works Department relocated the signs to reflect the correct positions under the City Code, said municipal leaders. Now, drivers headed north on Voigt will no longer have to stop at Skyforest and El Portal. However, the cross traffic on Skyforest and El Portal will have to brake at Voigt. HOLLYWOOD PARK RECENTLY REDESIGNED ITS WEBSITE, http://hollywoodpark-tx. gov/. Residents can now watch City Council meetings from their home or other locales, with the video posted the morning after a meeting. City officials said live streaming is in the works.
LOWDOWN continues on pg. 08
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Mother’s/Father’s Day Brunch 4th of July Celebration Monthly Cooking Classes Happy Hour Mixers Outdoor Movie Under the Moon Breakfast with Santa
Do ’t Mi Out on the 2016 Year! Contact the Membership Depa tmen Today for More Information on Your Stay-Cation Here at The Club at Sonterra! Pleasse Contact Deborah Routon, Director of Membership, 210.483.4292 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to start having some fun!
NOV. 30 - DEC. 28, 2015
LOWDOWN continues from pg. 07 THE HOLLYWOOD PARK CODE COMMITTEE IS LOOKING for new members. The committee usually meets at 6 p.m. on the first Monday of the month, but communication is also maintained through email. Those who are interested should contact Councilwoman Sudie Sartor at email@example.com with their name, explaining why they want to serve on the committee. Residents can call 496-2997 with any questions. VOTERS NOV. 3 APPROVED A $499.95 MILLION BOND ISSUE in the North East Independent School District for facility improvements. According to officials, 66 percent of those who cast ballots favored the district’s referendum, which outlines 69 projects to renovate and upgrade out-of-date facilities at older campuses and enhance other needs. NEISD officials said the bond will not increase taxes for at least five years, with most of the money designated for campus improvements, $225.8 million; extracurricular programs, $89.8 million; technology upgrades, $72.4 million; district operations, $60 million; safety and security, $20 million; bondprogram management, $17 million; and a
$15 million bond-contingency program.
NEISD continues from pg. 01
MADISON HIGH SCHOOL HELD ITS 34th annual Arts and Craft Show on Nov. 7 and 8, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Madison’s dance and cheer teams.
No new high school planned north of Loop 1604
BEXAR COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY Nicholas “Nico” LaHood kicked off Red Ribbon Week in October at Eisenhower Middle School, and shared details of his life as well as a drug-free message with 339 eighth-graders. AMERICAN AIRLINES IS INTEGRATING reservation systems with US Airways at San Antonio International Airport. As of Oct. 27, US Airways no longer exists and customer flights will be through American Airlines. Check-in locations for all flights will remain in Terminals A and B. American Airlines’ Terminal A will have Gates A15 and A17 and Terminal B will have Gates B2, B4 and B6. THE CITY REDEDICATED public artwork by the late local artist, Chuck Ramirez, at San Antonio International Airport. Originally commissioned and installed in the parking garage in 2008, these pieces have been recreated and relocated along the lower levels of Terminals A and B.
by EDMOND ORTIZ
t’s 7 a.m. on a recent weekday at the Reagan High School library and Superintendent Brian Gottardy is hard at work covering dozens of topics with residents including a major bond issue.
On Nov. 3, voters in the North East Independent School District approved by 65 percent the nearly $500 million bond to upgrade facilities. Among other efforts, those preelection chats with district patrons — which NEISD termed coffee talks with the superintendent — helped push the bond issue into the spotlight and allowed voters to digest pertinent information before going to the polls, Gottardy said. “I’m proud of the entire process,” he said after the vote. “We provided so much
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information to our community, and we could not have been any more transparent.” The superintendent plans to continue the coffee talks, which were held at NEISD high schools in October and September. “I think they have gone over well. Yes, 7 a.m. is early but people can attend, then go to work or whatever else they have to do,” Gottardy said. Attending parents said they like the access to information that Gottardy and his office provided to the community. “It’s nice to know he’s giving honest answers,” said Andrew Norwood, who has a son at Las Lomas Elementary School, which is in the Reagan feeder cluster. “For the superintendent to make himself available like this to parents and taxpayers is wonderful,” added Mandi JohnstonMendoza, also a Las Lomas parent. On that particular Wednesday morning in October at Reagan, Gottardy had no shortage of topics to cover with a handful of community members – campus construction, security, public school financing and more, in addition to the bond issue. Fifteen to 20 people, many of them parents toting coffee and pastries, surrounded Gottardy to hear what he had to say.
NEISD continues on pg. 09
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9 NEISD continues from pg. 08 NEISD's top administrator answered various questions from several audience members. The inquiries ranged from student population projections to public school funding. On the latter, Gottardy said he hopes the Texas Supreme Court will rule within the next five months on public schools’ collective effort to sue the state over its current financing formula. Gottardy said he appreciates the small yet eager crowds that attended his early morning information sessions. “I’m a firm believer in listening to the community. This is just another venue to listen to their concerns,” he said. At the meeting, Gottardy described how district residents convinced a citizens’ steering committee to pare down initial projects and estimates in the bond package before the school board called for the election. This is the fourth time in 12 years NEISD has floated a bond issue. It allocates money for, among other things, upgrades to facilities, technology, safety and security, and portable building replacements districtwide. “That was $43 million freed up to go to equity and technology,” Gottardy told the audience about bond preplanning. “We and district staff started with Plan A. We’re now on Plan I.” Higher appraised values in recent years have enabled the school district to pay down its overall debt. That has given the district room to refund and refinance old bond obligations. That will help NEISD to hold off on a taxrate increase for at least five to seven years with the new bond program, Gottardy said. “My goal has been to keep your taxes low as possible,” he added. Gottardy said he expects no more new middle schools for NEISD north of Loop 1604, especially with the lack of available land. He also said the district foresees that Reagan and Johnson high schools will keep growing, but there’s no long-range plan for a third high school north of 1604. The superintendent added that the district, with bond approval, will seek to do what it can with existing facilities to accommodate student-growth projections. One line item in the new bond converts NEISD’s complex on Perrin Central Boulevard and Wurzbach Parkway into a trade/career academy. The superintendent added that a career/ trade academy could lure away some students from other NEISD high schools, but would also give each of those campuses some flexibility in student-population capacity. Now that voters gave the new bond their blessing, it will take most of 2016 for the district to bring on consultants and design plans for any renovations or new construction.
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HARMONY continues from pg. 01
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said Police Chief William McManus. While the crime wave left residents shaken, it demonstrated the importance of knowing one’s neighbors and surroundings, said Michael Apolinar, president of the Greater Harmony Hills Neighborhood Association. “I think it was a great result from a very bad situation,” Apolinar said. Social media played a large part in keeping the neighborhood informed, officials said. According to police, two 17-yearold males have been charged with auto theft in connection with the investigation. Three others — two aged 14 and a 15-year-old — were charged under juvenile delinquency laws. Police said all five attend Churchill. In the overall cases reported to investigators, damage ranged from $200 to $2,000 in each episode, and officials with the North East Independent School District estimated it cost Harmony Hills Elementary more than $3,000 to replace the shattered windows. Members of the Greater Harmony Hills community said they are relieved after receiving news of the arrests. Maria Teixeira, a taxi driver and mother of three, said she had trouble sleeping after the driver’s window on
her Toyota Prius was shattered. “I’m a little bit more relaxed now, but before I was crazy and I got no sleep,” Teixeira said. A little over a month after the episodes ended, Teixeira said she still doesn’t sleep in her own bedroom, but rather in one of her children’s rooms just as a precaution. She saw a vandal fleeing the scene, and remained constantly on guard afterwards. Teixeira spent about $400 in repairs on her car. Residents are confused as to why vandals ran rampant through Greater Harmony Hills, saying it is usually a very quiet place to live. Teixeira called on parents to keep an eye on their children. “If I have a teenager in my home and he’s not at home at 1:30 in the morning, I’m saying ‘Oh, something happened, I need to pay attention,’” Teixeira said. “These teenagers are getting out of their home every night.” The city has a curfew for youths 9 to 17 years old, which bans young people from driving, walking outside or loitering in public places from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday. The curfew starts at midnight on Friday and Saturday. Exceptions to the ordinance include work, having parental permission,
HARMONY continues on pg. 11
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11 HARMONY continues from pg. 10 caring for an elder or an emergency. Patty Gibbons, special events committee chairwoman of the neighborhood association, said she chose to live there three years ago because of the ambiance and the proximity to the business she owns with her husband. “When we first moved in, we wouldn’t lock our doors. We’d leave and come back; we never felt any need to,” Gibbons said. She added the North Side neighborhood has 22 entrances, which makes it more vulnerable. A social media site for neighborhood conversations, Nextdoor.com, helped keep the community informed about the crimes. Users logged in on their computers or through the mobile app. The Internet also provided resources to pay for damages. A single mom of two who is an unemployed student posted a narrative describing hundreds of dollars in damage to her vehicle after an attack Sept. 26. Gibbons used gofundme.com, a crowdsourcing site, to gather donations to help. On Nov. 8, she was able to give the beleaguered mother a financial helping hand. Gibbons said neighbors came together to fight back. On Oct. 6, the neighborhood held its National Night Out, with almost 400 residents attending to get to know their neighbors and police. Though the vandals remained at large at the time, the communal gathering helped soothe and comfort many. “There was a real neighborhood effort to care for each other, care for our neighborhood, and the peace that we had,” Gibbons said. “I don’t know how many other neighborhoods do that, but I was really surprised.” Apolinar met with District 9 Councilman Joe Krier, McManus and other concerned residents to talk about the crimes and how to put a stop to them. Within a week of meeting and gathering information, arrests were made. “I am thankful to the SAPD for their diligent work in stopping the wave of property crimes that plagued Harmony Hills recently,” Krier said. “This disappointing episode in Harmony Hills once again highlights the need for homeowners to watch out for and report suspicious activity in their communities. Vigilant Harmony Hills residents helped bring these accused vandals to justice.” The investigation is continuing, with victims waiting for compensation to cover damages. Krier’s office has offered to purchase more Citizens on Patrol signs for the neighborhood after the price rose.
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DRONE continues from pg. 01
Firefighters will learn to use drones by COLLETTE ORQUIZ
OLLYWOOD PARK — Often where there’s an aerial drone, there’s a pilot trying to change perceptions.
Justin Moore, who has lived in Hollywood Park since 2013, is one of those pilots. He has been working with municipal governments and nonprofits to show that unmanned drones can be used for good, despite the negative press they have received after incidents at the White House and a U.S. Open match. “We can’t let a few reckless people paint this technology as evil,” Moore said. “This technology is groundbreaking and it has so many capabilities that can benefit communities.” Currently federal law doesn’t require pilots to register their hobby or recreational drones, but on Nov. 20, the Federal Aviation Administration’s task force recommended
The DJI Phantom 3 Professional camera drone is Justin Moore's go-to device for shooting aerial photos in and around his home in Hollywood Park. He remotely controls the unmanned aircraft system through an iPad. Photo by Collette Orquiz
ways to register unmanned aircraft systems. Under FAA rules, drones can’t fly higher than 400 feet, can’t come closer than 5 miles to an airport and must stay away from schools. “Registering unmanned aircraft will help build a culture of accountability and responsibility, especially with new users who have no experience operating in the U.S. aviation system,” said U.S.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in a press release. “It will help protect public safety in the air and on the ground.” Moore added this is a big step towards making it easier to identify unsafe pilots and holding them responsible. Drones flying up to 400 feet can take pictures from a perspective that is rarely photographed and is very beautiful, according to Moore.
One of the most common misconceptions is that drones are being used as stealthy Peeping Toms. Moore said drones are hardly inconspicuous, and sound like a cloud of buzzing insects. Moore, who is on the city’s Economic Development Corp., has used his drone to help promote Hollywood Park, including a series of aerial images to show off the town and a video he created to promote the Fire Department. “Hollywood Park is currently ‘rebranding’ itself as a great place to live, with large oak trees, many deer, excellent Police and Fire departments, (and) parks and recreation,” said Brent Lane, EDC president. “Being able to tell that story and ‘see’ Hollywood Park in its true state is a huge advantage.” Moore fell in love with photography when he was little, and started his own business as a side project, offering portraits, landscapes and nature photography in 1999. He was also interested in flying, and in 2001 he received his private pilot certificate. “Before the drone came out, there was a photography passion in my life, then there was a flying passion in my life, and so imagine my intrigue when a flying camera came onto the scene,” Moore said.
DRONE continues on pg. 13
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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM DRONE continues from pg. 12 There are limitations to where a drone can fly, such as near airports. Moore said that his model, which is controlled by an iPad, has a system that prevents it from lifting off near a no-fly zone, demonstrating a conscious effort by manufacturers to deter wrongdoing. Believing that drones can save lives, Moore has offered his drone and services to the Fire Department, such as for a search and rescue mission. Below 400 feet is too low for a helicopter or manned aircraft, making a drone the perfect replacement. With its ability to get into nooks and crannies, and ease of flying around buildings, it erases the need for manpower, firefighters said. “In the past, if we would ever need an aerial view, we would have to call for a helicopter, which we really don’t do,” said Fire Chief John Butrico. “There’s cost involved, there’s time involved for the helicopter to get up in the air and get out there.” Butrico added they are able to get a real-time view of what is happening from the ground with the drone. Future exercises are planned with the firefighters so they can learn to operate the drone. When Moore isn’t working at USAA,
spending time with his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Sarah, engaged with the EDC or running the bike club in Hollywood Park, he’s snapping photos with the drone for other organizations. He’s collaborated with the San Antonio Parks & Recreation Department, the Mitchell Lake Audubon Center and Green Spaces Alliance. Working with Parks & Recreation was one of his first “drones for good” projects. Janet Martin, the department’s assistant director, said drone photography is a great asset to the department. “Utilizing a drone for photography takes the images to an entirely new level, allowing residents to see many of our parks from a bird’s-eye view and enabling (us) to make note of all the great amenities located in the park,” Martin said. She added Moore has provided aerial images of 30 of their parks and along the Leon, Salado and
Medina River greenway trails. “He is always looking at ‘the big picture,’ literally and figuratively,” said Patsy Inglet, the education outreach chairwoman for San Antonio Audubon Society and a member of the Stewardship Board at Mitchell Lake Audubon Center. “He has been volunteering his time and his drones to nonprofit organizations in and around San Antonio and is always eager to help organizations that are working to conserve the quality of life we all value.” Inglet added the drone enabled the society to design a new nature center that offers a view of the lake and wetlands. “In short, we in Audubon are Justin Moore Fan Club members and are most grateful for his skills and willingness to share them,” Inglet said. To see some of Moore’s work or contact with him, visit TexasByAir. com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
THIS TECHNOLOGY IS GROUNDBREAKING AND IT HAS SO MANY CAPABILITIES THAT CAN BENEFIT COMMUNITIES. JUSTIN MOORE, HOLLYWOOD PARK RESIDENT
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efore opening Cowabunga Kids Dentistry just a few months ago, pediatric dentist Cassandra Elkins — known affectionately as Dr. Casey — saw patients at another practice for 23 years until it was sold. She wanted to find and invite them to her new place, 17006 U.S. 281 North, so she started a “Flat Stanley” style contest. “Patients were calling me, the ones that had my cellphone number, saying, ‘Where are you? Where is Dr. Casey?’ and so that’s kind of when the light went off,” she said. Elkins created a drawing of herself for patients to print, color and photograph with themselves on vacation. Patients posted the photos on social
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media with the tag #WhereIsDrCasey. She was able to reconnect with old patients and find new ones. The challenge ended in September and the winner received a gift card; the dentist holds new contests quarterly. Elkins is also passionate about educating children about healthy eating, brushing properly and flossing. “A lot of times as dentists we are quick to just jump in and fill the teeth without talking about how the teeth got that way,” Elkins said. Her gentle approach is why Natalie Montana brings her children Reece, 5, and Sophia, 9, to see Elkins. Reece keeps a picture of Elkins by his bed despite having six cavities filled during one visit, Montana said.
“She works really well with children. She just makes them feel very calm,” the mother added. Sophia has been a patient since she was 2, but Montana was in no hurry to bring her son in because he is “rambunctious,” she said. She was relieved when her son not only had a good experience but also wanted to come back for cleanings after having so many teeth worked on, she added. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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f you’re a fan of White Russian cocktails and the 1998 cult movie “The Big Lebowski,” you have double reasons to rejoice.
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already cut its management teeth on the bar scene with The Three Legged Monkey, 2313 N.W. Military Highway and more recently The Hangar Bar & Grill, 8203 Broadway north of Alamo Heights. Huey also has ownership interest in restaurants Hung Fong and Ding How, with another on the way. Novelty reminders of the cult film will decorate the new lounge, located between Oak Leigh Street and Jones-Maltsberger Road in the Adobe Creek shopping center. “We are collecting old posters from the movie and from ‘The Lebowski Fest,’ and already people are reaching out to us on social media from all over the country,” Ackerly said. The 1,800-square-foot space in what used to be a medical office building has undergone extensive renovations. Up to a dozen employees serve customers, and in a nod to the movie
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Hollywood Park’s drone pilot is working and seeking to reinforce positive of using unmanned aircrafts, Five Churchill students were investig...
Published on Nov 23, 2015
Hollywood Park’s drone pilot is working and seeking to reinforce positive of using unmanned aircrafts, Five Churchill students were investig...