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Fair Oaks Ranch teen singer aspires to be next pop sensation — PG. 12

LOCAL EDITORIAL - PG. 05 SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016

Venue has plenty of space to hold social events





GEARING UP FOR FALL Farmers markets serve as a community hub and source of fresh food, other goods — PG. 15


No-kill shelter in Fair Oaks Ranch seeks help Nonprofit facility has seen a drop in donations, but not canines — PG. 14


SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016



SINCE 1954.

President Harold J. Lees Assoc. Publisher Rick Upton EDITORIAL Executive Editor Thomas Edwards

Publisher Gregg Rosenfield Director of Operations Jaselle Luna

News Staff Collette Orquiz, Bain Serna and Will Wright Contributing Writers Valerie Bustamante, Kate Hunger, Miranda Koerner, Edmond Ortiz, Arthur Schechter and Susan Yerkes ART Creative Director Florence D. Edwards Contributing Photographer Neven Jones and Rudy B. Ornelas ADVERTISING Zone Manager Marc Olson

Controller Gracie Cortinez

READER SERVICE Mailing Address 4204 Gardendale St., Ste. 201 SA, TX 78229 Fax (210) 616.9677

Phone (210) 338.8842


Advertising Inquiries



Story Ideas LOCAL Community News publications Zone 1: 78204, 78205, 78209, 78210, 78212, 78215 Zone 2: 78213, 78230, 78231, 78248, 78249 Zone 3: 78216, 78232, 78247 Zone 4/5: 78109, 78148, 78233, 78239 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 St., Ste. 201 San Antonio, TX 78229 Reproduction in whole or in part without our permission is prohibited, 2016 Helen Publishing LLC and Local Community News LLC, all rights reserved.

An Army brat’s life


consider myself lucky to have grown up in a military family, the son of a career Army officer and a hard-working mom who was a schoolteacher. We moved often, and the experience taught my family to be adaptable, ready for challenges and tolerant of new people. These days, when I see strife in the United States involving various cultures and ethnicities, I wish others had the opportunity to grow up as I did. Life as a dependent on Army posts had its challenges, but the military has always been a great equalizer. Ahead of most civilian culture, the military closed gender and ethnic gaps. It created a level playing field where ability and not skin color, chromosomes or ethnic origin mattered so long as you did your duty for your country. The homes on the streets of the military reservations where I was raised held not only American families of all backgrounds, but Koreans, Germans, Filipinos, Japanese, French and others from a variety of cultures and countries. We never thought of ourselves in those terms. We were just Army brats, united by our shared experiences as our parents defended America. I have tried to teach my children the values I learned in a military family: Don’t judge based on skin color, gender, accent or faith, but on a person’s contributions to the well-being of the community. That’s what really counts.

THOMAS EDWARDS EXECUTIVE EDITOR ON THE COVER: With more urban encroachment into brushy areas, communities are banding together to prevent wildfires. The city of San Antonio has incorporated an initiative into its SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, and other neighborhoods are seeking Firewise Communities status. Courtesy photo

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Reimagining the Alamo by SUSAN YERKES


efore you read further, I’d like to ask you to do one quick thing. Ready? OK. Imagine the Alamo.

You probably thought about the Shrine of Texas Liberty, or the Battle of the Alamo or the iconic little stone building downtown. Even if you’ve never actually visited, you can probably picture it. Most of us have a pretty good notion of what the Alamo resembles now, and a vague, Hollywood-formed idea of its 1836 appearance during the battle immortalized in Texas history and legend.

If you’re keen on Texas lore, you may go further, and visualize what the Alamo might look like if you razed all the neighboring buildings and recreated the throes of conflict 180 years past. An endeavor of this magnitude has been advanced and shelved several times, but these days, such a sweeping reconstruction is in the works, since the state, the city and the private Alamo Endowment are raising many millions to finally act on an ambitious Alamo Master Plan. This time, something big is guaranteed to happen. It will take several years to do things right. It probably won’t involve reconstructing the entire compound, and while it will focus on the Battle of the Alamo, it will encompass much more. This go-round, the folks who will design the changes in Alamo Plaza aren’t just imagining the Alamo ­— they are reimagining — incorporating the most familiar images into a broader picture, starting with what was here even before the Alamo was established as a Spanish mission. It’s about understanding how the Alamo, the priests, and later the soldiers,

came here, changed life for the natives, and became part of the fabric of San Antonio. It’s even about how the building itself altered, and how downtown and thriving businesses grew around the crumbling fortress and almost swallowed it, until the Daughters of the Republic of Texas took a stand to protect and maintain it. DRT deserves much credit for its dedicated work, but the Daughters could never have mustered the kind of wallop the current partnership of city, state and private donors bring to the table. Today, the Alamo and the four other Spanish missions are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the Alamo has the most complex history. I really believe something fine is afoot after talking to folks who have been involved with the Alamo Plaza Advisory Committee since it was formed in 2014, attending the first Alamo Master Plan public meeting, studying and watching YouTube videos of fascinating daily briefings on a recent archaeological dig. The comprehensive project’s first draft won’t be ready until next spring; the

current timeline has construction starting in 2021. It’s likely the three landmark historic structures across the plaza from the Alamo and the beautiful old post office building at the north end will remain, with a visitors’ center, museums and exhibits housed in some of them. I’m hoping the street in front of the Alamo will close, enlarging the plaza and making it more walkable. Planners say accessibility remains a key. At the first Master Plan public session Aug. 2, George Skarmeas, whose firm Preservation Design Partnership was selected to integrate and organize the project, assured us there wouldn’t be an admission charge for the Alamo. He also predicted people will visit in timed groups, instead of just wandering in off the street, to prevent crowding. Skarmeas stressed how public engagement is critical. The Alamo is still profoundly emotional for many. Check out reimaginethealamo. org. Listen to all the presentations you’ll find there. Get involved, and let me know what you imagine.

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OUR TURN Views and opinions about your community

Graffiti cleanup


n spite of progress curtailing graffiti, the defacement of public and private property still plagues our community. One answer could be channeling the efforts of the taggers who create these eyesores into more creative outlets.

Like many local municipalities, San Antonio’s graffiti-removal program relies on both municipal crews and unpaid neighborhood helpers. Illegal markings are a year-round problem with an uptick in the summer when school is out. No matter when the offense occurs, these city employees and volunteers work hard to erase the defacement of bridges, buildings, street signs and other edifices. When tagging appears on walls and

spaces, it is not art — it is a crime. Showing disrespect to public possessions is showing disrespect to the community. Removal of the damage also is costly. San Antonio budgets about $1.2 million a year for graffiti abatement. A 15-member team labors six days a week, aided by 2,500 volunteers. Wouldn’t it be nice if all those dollars and man-hours could be spent on something more progressive than cleaning up messy doodles? The best deterrent is not only rapidly scrubbing the scribbling, but also encouraging taggers to alter their anti-social behavior through positive expressions of creativity. How about art class in school, painting on a real canvas or pitching in with a creative community project? Those, too, are artistic endeavors and don’t involve defiling someone else’s property. -The Local Community News editorial board includes Harry Lees, Gregg Rosenfield and Thomas Edwards.

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SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016


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





BOERNE CITY COUNCIL meetings are in 13, 27 Regular chambers, 124 Old San Antonio Road, the second and fourth Tuesday of the month 6-8 p.m. For more, visit


DO YOU HAVE A LITTLE EXPLORER? Most Wednesdays from 10-11 a.m. Cibolo Nature Center & Farm’s visitor center, 140 City Park Road in Boerne, hosts preschoolers. Young adventurers sing songs, make crafts, play games, explore the outdoors and listen to stories. For more, call 830-249-4616 or contact Stephanie Colvard at

SEPT. 14, 28 & OCT. 5

THEATRICAL PRODUCTION Boerne Community Theatre, 907 E. Blanco Road, presents “The 39 Steps.” Performances are 7:30 p.m. Thursdays; 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and a 2:30 p.m. Sunday matinee. Cost of tickets is $15-$22. For more and to make purchases, call the box office at 830-2499166 or visit

SEPT. 15-18 22-24


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From the $380s 830-980-6501


TPC Pkwy at Bulverde Rd

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From the $430s 210-777-8780

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Hwy 46 at Ammann Rd

CAN WE TALK? The third Thursday of each month, the 15 second floor conference room at Heath Public Library, 451 N. Main St. in Boerne, hosts a multicultural 10 a.m. coffee klatch. The “Soul Salon” brings folks together to discuss current and relevant topics in an informative and respectful manner. A library volunteer leads the program. For more, visit


FAIR OAKS RANCH CITY COUNCIL Regular meetings 15 begin at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month in City Hall chambers, 7286 Dietz Elkhorn Road. To verify dates and times, call 698-0900.




BRING YOUR DANCING SHOES Cactus Country will perform at Leon Springs Dancehall,





24135 Interstate 10 West. Happy hour is 6-8 p.m. Music begins 8:15 p.m. For more including cover costs, visit GOT TALENT? For the first time, Boerne Community Theatre holds afternoon auditions seeking Hill Country talent at Kronkosky Place, 17 Old San Antonio Road in Boerne. Two weeks later, an evening fundraising event features a silent auction, dinner, art for sale, beer and wine. For updated details including specific times and applications, visit

SEPT. 17 & OCT. 1

MOONDANCE CONCERT SERIES Enjoy live 17 entertainment, dancing, eats and fun at the Cibolo Nature Center stage, 140 City Park Road in Boerne. Bring lawn chairs, blankets, drinks and even friendly dogs on leashes. Food trucks ready to serve. Gates open at 7 p.m., with music starting 30 minutes later, for the event supporting the center’s natureeducation and outreach programs. The Lost Mule Band will perform, concluding the 2016 schedule. Cost is $7.50 for center members, $10 for nonmembers. Seniors pay $5; kids 12 and under admitted free. For more, contact Jennifer Wyle at or call 830-249-4616.


BISD TRUSTEES The Boerne Independent School 19 District board meets in the Administration Building at 123 W. Johns Road. Closed session begins at 5 p.m.; open-to-the-public forum is 6:30 p.m. For more, call 830-357-2000.


VISITING WITH MOTHER NATURE On the third 21 Wednesday of each month, Mother Nature makes a special appearance to preschoolers at Cibolo Nature Center &


HAPPENING continues on pg. 07


SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM HAPPENING continues from pg. 06 Farm’s visitor center, 140 City Park Road in Boerne, from 10-11 a.m. This time, she’ll focus on worms. Cost is $5 per family. For more, call 830-249-4616 or contact Stephanie Colvard at LAND HO! Cibolo Nature Center & Farm, 140 City 21 Park Road in Boerne, hosts attorney Thomas Hall, who’ll give a seminar on estate planning in the Hill Country from 6-8 p.m. in the auditorium. Learn what every landowner needs to know. Cost is $15 for CNC&F and/or Cibolo Conservancy members or $20 for others. For more and to register, visit or call 830-2494616 or contact


FUNDRAISER FOR ARMED FORCES Leon Springs 24 Dancehall, 24135 Interstate 10 West, will host the third annual Whiskey & Wishes Heroes Gala from 6 p.m. to midnight. Johnny Lee and the Urban Cowboy Band will perform. Also, see San Antonio celebrities including Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. Proceeds from a night of food, drink, raffles, live and silent auctions and more aid local military families. For ticket options, visit


HOW BRAVE ARE YOU? Does a crunchy grasshopper 24 taco sound yummy? Edible insects will be on the menu from 10-11 a.m. at Herff Farm, 33 Herff Road in Boerne. Bug fans say they are not only tasty, but also nutritious. Cost is $5 per family. For more, call 830-249-4616 or contact Stephanie Colvard at


HOT RODS Soda Pops Patio SEPT. Grill & Bar, 103 N. Main St. 24 in Boerne, hosts “Hot Rod Nights” starting at 6:30 p.m. Show your wheels, make new friends and enjoy live music from The Blast Band. For more, visit COUNT THE BIRDIE How many birds inhabit Cibolo Nature Center & Farm, 140 City Park Road in Boerne? Citizen scientists and bird enthusiasts can come to the pavilion

SEPT. 26, 28 & OCT. 1

from 8-10 a.m. to help find the answer. Bring a hat and binoculars. For more and to register, contact Donna Taylor at or call 830-331-8992. NISD TRUSTEES The Northside Independent School District 27 board regularly meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the conference room at 5900 Evers Road. Sessions are open to the public. For more, visit


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I’M ALL EARS It’ll be grooving SEPTEMBER at John T. Floore Country Store, 14492 Old Bandera Road in Helotes. Upcoming entertainment includes Pat Green (Sept. 16); Billy Joe Shaver (Sept. 17); The Mavericks (Sept. 23); and Josh Abbott Band (Sept. 30). For updated listings with costs and set times, visit FALL CLEAN-UP Meet at the Fair Oaks Ranch 1 Homeowners Association’s offices, 7286 Dietz Elkhorn Road, as the organization spearheads an AdoptA-Highway pickup from 8:15-10:30 a.m. Breakfast will be served before cleaning Ralph Fair Road. Rain date is Oct. 8. For more, visit


CONSERVATION TUTORIAL Herff Farm, 33 Herff Road 1 in Boerne, and John Kight’s house, host a rainwater-harvesting and solar-energy symposium from 9 a.m. to noon. The environmentalist will give advice and address latest technologies. Cost is $25 for CNC&F members, $35 for nonmembers. For required preregistration, call 830-249-4616 or contact Ben Eldredge at


GOLF FOR A CAUSE Join San Antonio Sports at 3 Dominion Country Club, 1 Dominion Drive, and support youth initiatives by delivering recreation and fitness programs to the most underserved city neighborhoods. The San Antonio Sports Charity Golf Classic, presented by H-E-B and KENS-TV, begins at 7 p.m. with breakfast and check-in; shotgun 8 a.m.; lunch and awards 12:30 p.m.; and Hall of Fame press conference

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SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016

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. THE ELKHORN RESTAURANT, 9120 Old Dietz Elkhorn Road in Boerne, offers casual and fine dining with a variety of wines including Texas selections. The 5,100-square-foot Hill Country establishment can accommodate weddings, parties and reunions. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more, call 830-755-5105 or visit www.theelkhornrestraunt. com. (See story on page 18) 2. SPECIALIZED FITNESS, 31007 Interstate 10 West, Suite 118 in Boerne, is the second location for this business, which aims to help clients with their training goals. The new spot, about 8 months old, is equipped with weight machines, ropes and tires. Body sculpting, yoga and boot camps are some other services

Address of local business Name of local business

offered. Hours vary. For more, call 830755-4838 or visit

3. ISOFLOAT, 5138 UTSA Blvd., Suite

117, provides relaxation for the brain, muscles, joints, bones and nerves using float therapy to lessen or remove external stimuli. According to a company release, the procedure “allows our bodies to better equip themselves to deal with all the stress and tension created by our hectic lifestyles.” Daily hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more, call 382-0748 or visit


Interstate 10 West in Boerne, serves TexMex and Southern meals in a casual, family environment. Originally opening in 2013, Mama’s Cafe is under new ownership,


which includes kitchen, staff and services. The menu features chicken-fried steak and the Texas Twister burger. Customers can bring their own beers and other drinks. Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday. For more, call 830-368-5028 or visit

IN OTHER NEWS ALL BOERNE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT INSTITUTIONS EARNED TOP ACCOUNTABILITY ratings through the Texas Education Agency, officials said. Trustees noted the nine campuses and the district received a “Met Standard” rank. TEA judges all Texas public schools and districts based on four indexes — student achievement, student progress, closing performance gaps and postsecondary readiness. Designations are chosen based on a comparison to 40 other campuses with similar student demographics. A BUC-EE’S IS COMING TO THE BOERNE AREA IN 2020 after the city and Kendall

County authorities recently approved economic-development incentives for the Texas convenience-store chain. The gas and mercantile center will cost an estimated $40 million to build, and sit on 35 acres at Interstate 10 and U.S. Business 87. Officials said it could bring 170 jobs to town. Under the agreement, the city and county over two decades will rebate “half their respective shares of sales taxes generated by the Bucee’s,” estimated at $5 million, officials said. AS OF JULY 7, FAIR OAKS RANCH STOPPED ITS TRAPPING AND TRAPRENTAL SERVICE because containment space was no longer available and there weren’t any sites to release the animals, officials said. If residents need an animal removed, contact a private company. DIETZ ELKHORN ROAD SAW AUGUST CLOSURES WHEN CPS ENERGY CREWS installed new cables in existing duct banks. The work began Aug. 1 at Dietz Elkhorn and Ralph Fair Road. Officials said the



LOWDOWN continues on pg. 09


SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM LOWDOWN continues from pg. 08 inconvenience didn’t interfere with school commutes. Workers labored weekdays 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. The community was alerted to be aware of flagmen, warning signs and police vehicles in construction zones. A $1.3 BILLION BUDGET APPROVED BY NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT trustees contained no tax hike. According to a statement issued by NISD, “Following a public hearing held Aug. 16, trustees accepted a recommendation that the property-tax rate not be increased, and would remain at $1.3755 per $100 valuation. Northside ISD has not raised the school-tax rate for the past six years. The adopted tax rate is less than the tax rate that was projected in school bond 2014 by $0.0889, which translates to an annual savings of over $158 for the average value home in Northside.” THOSE WISHING TO RECOGNIZE A NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT teacher or staff member can buy an honorary paver, which will be displayed at the Plaza of Influence when it opens in October. The NISD employee can be a former campus administrator, coach, support staff member or instructor who made an impact on students. Every $50 tax-deductible donation will go towards the Northside Education Foundation’s grant programs to benefit student and staff enrichment. Each representation will feature the purchaser’s name and the reason for selection, district officials said. The Plaza of Influence will be at Northside Sports Gym, located at Farris Athletic Complex, 8400 N. Loop 1604 West. A ceremony is set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 30.

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LEON SPRINGS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL AND CLARK HIGH SCHOOL are set to receive infrastructure upgrades for campuses via dollars approved by Northside Independent School District voters. Enhancements will involve about 50 percent of total construction funds available, officials said; betterments include heating, ventilation and airconditioning systems, widening play areas, and new lighting. OASIS, A NONPROFIT AND NORTHSIDE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT PARTNER, is recruiting grandparents and folks over 50 to tutor an elementary school student an hour a week for a semester. No experience is required and free training will be provided, officials said. Thirty-nine NISD elementary schools will participate; tutors are allowed to choose the institution. For more, email Gloria Jennings at or visit OFFICIALS ARE MOVING AHEAD ON THE PURCHASE OF A $3.7 MILLION tract that will house Boerne Independent School District’s third middle school, according to an online release. The 142-acre site is on the eastern edge of BISD at Texas 46 East and FM 3351. “This is a very forwardthinking move on the part of our board,” said Superintendent David Stelmazewski. “It also offers us flexibility 10 years or more into the future when the district grows to the point of considering a third high school.” BISD ended the 2015-16 school year with more than 7,800 students. The official enrollment for 2016-17 won’t be recorded by the state until late October, but district officials estimated attendance the first week of classes at 8,200 students. Plantation shutters and motorized treatments 20% off plus rebates!


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WILDFIRE continues from pg. 01

79 percent of brush fires happen near communities by EDMOND ORTIZ


he danger of out-of-control brush infernos on the far North and Northwest sides has prompted San Antonio officials, firefighters and neighbors to join forces in support of a community wildfire protection plan.

The city recently completed the initiative, incorporating the document with the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan. It identifies citywide risk levels; how neighborhoods can reduce threats; and how first responders should act when a wildfire erupts.

SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016 Thanks in large part to the completion of the protection guidelines, the San Antonio Fire Department accepted a $10,000 grant from the Texas A&M Forest Service, which spurred the plan’s creation. In the process of formulating SA Tomorrow, officials took what District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg called a “360-degree view of San Antonio.” District 8 covers the North and Northwest sides where communities, such as The Dominion and near the University of Texas at San Antonio, abut wide, hilly natural areas. “One of the existential threats has been wildfires because much of the city now extends into areas of open space and brush that could turn into kindling,” Nirenberg said. In addition to District 8, regions in District 9 including Stone Oak are prone to conflagrations. Municipalities, including Shavano Park, are also taking steps to protect vulnerable properties. A risk-assessment summary shows land west, northwest and north of San Antonio’s city limits has the highest likelihood

of seeing blazes start and escalate. Homeowner and neighborhood associations are eager to learn more specifics in San Antonio’s wildfire-protection plan. “Given The Dominion’s proximity to natural areas, The Dominion Homeowners Association is generally supportive of the city’s effort to develop such a plan,” said Rob McDaniel, HOA general manager. For years, San Antonio’s first responders relied on best practices and public education to prevent wildfires and prepare for incendiary incidents. “I think the wildfire plan, as it relates to the growth of the city and where our resources stack up, (is) a significant step forward,” Nirenberg said. The Wildland-Urban Interface is where manmade structures and other infrastructure blend with undeveloped wilderness or vegetative fuels. Accordingly, population growth within these borders greatly increases risks. Studies indicate 79 percent

WILDFIRE continues on pg. 11

The San Antonio Fire Department performs controlled burns to clear select open spaces of fuel buildup, lowering the chance of wildfires. Photo courtesy/San Antonio Fire Department


SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM WILDFIRE continues from pg. 10 of Texas wildfires occur within two miles of a community. The Fire Department reported 83 wildfires from 2007 to October 2015, most caused by what officials call miscellaneous factors, but burning debris — mainly brush — sparked several others. Local firefighters were extra busy in 2011 when a lengthy drought exacerbated dangerous conditions. Late last summer, several small blazes originated in Stone Oak. A utility truck accidentally caught fire and sparked a larger wildfire, which reached Stone Oak Parkway and Evans Road. Two days later, a grass fire at nearby Camp Bullis burned 150 acres, but no structures. “We encourage communities to develop protection plans,” said Logan Scherschel, a Texas A&M Forest Service WUI specialist. Scherschel and his colleagues worked with SAFD to discern high- and low-risk sectors citywide. “We did risk assessments on each community,” Scherschel said, adding

Ashe juniper, often called mountain cedar — prevalent locally — is the biggest potential fuel for a brush fire. Prolonged arid environs, affecting more than a third of Texas, compound the issue. Scherschel said newer Northwest Side developments typically feature noncombustible materials. However, older neighborhoods in low-risk parts of town remain ill-equipped. He noted many characteristics determine how fast and large a brush fire can develop: the density of a community’s tree canopy, proximity of edifices to foliage, and the amount of overgrowth, dead trees and brush. “Terrain also plays a big factor in a fire’s behavior. Preheating of a fire happens as it moves upslope,” he added. Goals of the wildfire-protection plan include ensuring residents’ safety, limiting property loss and promoting maintenance of healthy ecosystems. “A devastating wildfire can moonscape the landscape and make it difficult (to recover),” said SAFD Wildland Program

Coordinator Capt. Brian Stanish. The plan has numerous objectives, including identifying shelters and safe refuge locations for public evacuations; conducting civic education and awareness about such spots and risk reduction; expanding brush pickups; and working with state and city agencies to decrease fuel on public and private properties. The protection plan could also help first responders dispel residents’ misconceptions regarding eliminating habitat. “When people hear of trimming trees, we’re not talking (about) bulldozing them, but to clear the seal,” Stanish said, referring to creating gaps so wildfires don’t spread. Another objective in the protection plan is to identify candidates for Firewise Community designation. The National Fire Protection Association’s program enables cities and neighborhoods — regardless of size — to proactively outline how to

WILDFIRE continues on pg. 17

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Vocalist says songwriting and singing both fulfilling by MIRANDA KOERNER


AIR OAKS RANCH — Singer Savannah Garza knows her voice.

“I’m like a cross between Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne,” said the 17-year-old senior, who switched from attending Boerne Champion High School to home schooling in order to tour and promote her new extended play album in a few weeks. Hailed as a rising star by recordingindustry insiders, Garza recently released her second single, “Could Have Told Me,” and toured with Boys

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Savannah Garza, 17, rehearses with her band Aug. 12 at guitarist James Guerra’s father’s locksmith shop on 324 W. Nakoma Drive in San Antonio. Photo by Neven Jones

of Summer, a group of teen musicians discovered through social media. “Their promoter contacted me and asked me to be on the tour,” Garza said. “It was so much fun. My favorite city was playing House of Blues in Dallas. A lot of people showed up. The crowd was awesome and really energetic.” Participating in 10 shows, Garza performed during a 20-minute set featuring both original music and a cover song by Disney star Sabrina

Carpenter. The teenager’s father, Robert Garza, doubles as manager and travel companion; mom and her 7-year-old brother come to some performances. “My parents knew at a young age I had a great voice and loved to sing,” the entertainer said. “It was the past couple (of) years that I knew I wanted to make a career out of it, and it was like, if singing is what you love to do, why wait?” “I’m a consultant, so she’s been traveling and exposed to things more than most kids,” her father added. “We traveled more when she was 3 than most people have in their lifetime. She was exposed to a lot of different music and cultures.” He added, “She’s got a good head on her shoulders and I wouldn’t put her in this business if I didn’t have a good team behind us. I don’t walk into anything without consulting them first.” Producer Andrew Lane, an “America’s Got Talent” consultant and Grammy voter, was wowed after meeting Garza through colleagues.

RISING continues on pg. 13

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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM RISING continues from pg. 12 “She was very moldable and she was very talented and she had a complete total ‘it’ package and she was always willing to go outside of her comfort zone to go to the next level,” Lane said. “Her musical sound can be described as progressive rock and pop with a little bit of dance, with a lot of energy attached to it, graced with her vocals threading the music together.” As Garza gains more attention by performing and through social media, Lane believes promoters will take note, and predicts a career explosion by next year. “The sky is the limit and, working with her, I literally watch her grow every day in this music industry,” the producer said. “It’s amazing working with her in the studio. Not only does she take direction well, she puts her own unique style and even comes up with her own ideas.” Meanwhile, as dad concentrates on branding and refining Garza’s onstage presence, daughter focuses on music and fans. “She likes the interaction with people,”


the elder Garza said. “She got to meet a lot of people who support her on her tour. It makes her happy when she sees someone who knows her from somewhere else. She loves hearing her music has impacted their life in some way.” For the musician, writing songs is as cathartic as singing. “The songwriting process is very different for me,” she said. “My producers and I are very close and we feed off each other. We know what we like. I’m in (Los Angeles) every couple weeks. It’s my second home. I just want to get myself out there as much as I can. I just want to keep growing and share my music with the rest of the world.” Yolanda Salazar, Garza’s aunt, thinks the artist’s enthusiasm energizes the performances. “It’s progressive and young,” Salazar said. “She sings about her experiences. Her voice and personality are different. Her music is lively.” For more about Garza’s new single, “Could Have Told Me,” visit

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NO KILL continues from pg. 01

Older dogs at shelter need homes by KATE HUNGER


AIR OAKS RANCH — The director of a local nokill dog shelter is hoping to reverse a significant drop in contributions to the nonprofit. “For a small facility like ours, a little goes a long way,” said Paula Oberle of Heart of Texas SPCA. It has been at 28730 Interstate 10 West, Exit 546, for about five years, Oberle said, although she often hears from people who didn’t know the organization exists. The shelter rents its space, which consists of a small building for office and supply storage and outdoor kennels that can hold up to 33 dogs,

on about an acre. When there’s no room, staff must turn away animals. Teamed with one other employee and volunteer help, Oberle operates Heart of Texas SPCA. The group finds loving owners for 150 to 200 dogs a year. A recent open house was organized to publicize the shelter and raise funds. The nonprofit collected $25,000 in revenue from January through July this year, compared to $41,000 during the same period in 2015, Oberle said. Although adoption numbers in 2016 are on pace with last year at this time, donations from businesses and individuals have decreased. Heart of Texas SPCA charges $175 per adoption, which includes spay/ neutering, microchip, vaccinations and deworming, if necessary, she said. A typical animal without significant veterinary intervention averages about $100 in expenses, she said, with the figure ballooning the longer a dog remains at the shelter. A lengthy stay also means fewer new dogs can be accepted. Puppies are adopted quickly, but some adult dogs have been at the shelter for several years.

Oberle is trying to spread the word about the facility through newsletters and meet-and-greet events at local pet stores, and anywhere else she can arrange to introduce her furry charges to the public. “The internet doesn’t do them justice,” she said of the group’s more mature dogs. “Looking at a picture isn’t the same as meeting them.” “The dogs that are longtimers, we never recover that money, but it’s always good to find them a home,” Oberle said. Even well-established animal shelters have to work to secure sufficient year-toyear funding, said Brad Wright, marketing and public relations manager for the nonprofit Animal Defense League of Texas, which was chartered in San Antonio in 1934, and, like Heart of Texas SPCA, is a no-kill shelter supported by contributions. “Everybody’s doing good things,” Wright said of establishments dedicated to finding homes for pets. “We’re all in it for the ones who can’t speak — the companion animals.”

NO KILL continues on pg. 17

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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM FARMERS continues from pg. 01

Vendors find purpose helping customers by MIRANDA KOERNER


s the weather cools down and football season kicks off, farmers markets are busier than ever just north of metropolitan San Antonio. Locals and visitors alike can journey Saturday mornings to The Farmers Market at the Cibolo in Boerne or peruse another at The Rim on Sundays in the T.G.I. Friday’s parking lot. Whether looking for produce or local goods, vendors say the marketplaces won’t disappoint, offering everything from artisan breads and

gluten-free goods to grass-fed meats, pastries and even pet adoptions. While Hill Country Farmers MarketThe Rim was previously nomadic, its new home outside T.G.I. Friday’s, 18039 Interstate 10 West, has created a cozier, more intimate market, vendors said. Hill Country Farmers Market member and Great Harvest Bread Co. owner Abel Pena said fall is a great time to procure fresh squash, zucchini and peaches. “For farmers, it’s important for customers to visit, because purchasing produce here is giving back to the community,” Pena said. “It’s a friendly atmosphere. It’s not like going to the grocery store. Everything is local and produced here. It’s great for the community, getting folks together.” Pena appreciates the venue’s camaraderie. “I enjoy being with the other farmers and people out there,” Pena said. “They’re genuinely good people, who want to produce good products. Our customers are great. They’re anxious for us to set up there every Sunday. It’s almost a cult

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following. You have folks from all walks of life. We’ve had Spurs players come out, so it’s fun to see those guys.” Gerald Schroeder, manager of The Farmers Market at the Cibolo, agrees. He started as a volunteer before working part time at the market located at Herff Farm, 33 Herff Road in Boerne, associated with Cibolo Nature Center & Farm. Along with fresh produce and preserves, Schroeder loves the atmosphere there. This fall, pumpkins, collards, beans, peas and broccoli will be top picks, he added. “As Boerne grows, this will be a natural piece of land where people can come and enjoy (the) farmers market,” Schroeder said. “Typically, people come to market for local farm-fresh veggies, duck eggs, salsa and infused vinegars. Each vendor is unique to themselves.” Shopping at a farmers market can be a welcome change, he added. “People are in danger of falling victim to big-box produce,” he said. “Local farmers and families help support the

economy and ensure better-tasting food. A lot of clients like to know where food comes from and interact with vendors.” The Farmers Market at the Cibolo also offers activities for kids while parents shop. Possibilities include hunting for pet rocks, talking about wind and its importance to the environment, and which bugs are good for nature and gardening. Leashed pets are welcome, plus live music and cooking demonstrations round out the family fun. In addition, guests may explore the property and tour historic Herff Farm. “It’s not congested,” Schroeder said. “We have a lot of people who just come and sit and enjoy the morning. They come out there and enjoy the peace.” Hilary Woodworth, owner of Charming Pet Rescue, has held adoption events at The Farmers Market at the Cibolo several times. “Adoption events like this help our dogs get seen and let people know we were here,” she said. “It’s a good opportunity to show people we

FARMERS continues on pg. 17


SEPT. 12 - OCT. 10, 2016

HAPPENING continues from pg. 07 2 p.m. Space is limited. For more including registration costs, visit www. REPTILE TALK Cibolo Nature Center & Farm’s auditorium, 6 140 City Park Road in Boerne, hosts a snake symposium from 6-8 p.m. Expert Dave Barker will speak and present a live ball python for people to touch. Cost is $10 for adults; $5 for 12 and over; and free for youngster 11 and under. For more and to register, visit www. or contact Ben Eldredge at or call 830-331-8464.



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ART: IT’S MORE THAN A NAME On the second Saturday of 8 the month, stroll Boerne’s streets from 4-8 p.m. and enjoy a fine-art experience. During “Second Saturday Art and Wine,” participating galleries are free and open to the public. Meet artists and enjoy art, wine, hors d’oeuvres and live music. For more, call 830-248-1184.




PARTY FOR A CAUSE The 38th annual Cattle Baron’s Gala, benefiting the American

Boerne (830) 249-3955 Leon Springs (210) 698-8100 Cross Plains (254) 725-6141 * To qualify for the highest interest rate tier you must, during the monthly qualification cycle: have ten (10) debit card purchases post and clear; have at least one (1) automatic payment or direct deposit; receive your monthly statement by electronic means. At our discretion, we may change the interest rates for this account. Tier 1: an interest rate of 0.250% will be paid only for that portion of your daily balance that is $10,000.01 or more. The annual percentage yield (APY) for this tier will range from 1.500% to 0.250%, depending on the balance in the account. Tier 2: An interest rate of 1.490% will be paid on the entire portion of your daily balance that is less than $10,000.01. The annual percentage yield (APY) for this tier is 1.500%. The non-qualifying APY is 0.05%. The interest rate(s) and annual percentage yield(s) are accurate as of January 1, 2015. No minimum balance required; however, you must deposit $50 to open this account. Available to personal accounts only. No monthly service charge. Other charges may apply if applicable. ** If you have met your qualifications for the specified qualification cycle, we will reimburse you for domestic ATM fees up to $40 per qualification cycle. ATM fee reimbursements will be credited to your account within the first week of your next statement cycle.

Cancer Society, takes place 7 p.m. at Estancia at Thunder Valley, 1 Estancia Lane in Boerne. Award-winning country act Little Big Town will perform. Too, enjoy fine food, dancing, an auction and more. Tickets are $250 per person; table sponsorship begins at $2,500. For more, visit MARKETPLACE DEALS Located in the heart of 8-9 Boerne’s historical district on Main Plaza, 100 N. Main St., Boerne Market Days is a monthly two-day event, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Enjoy the outdoors and browse the wares of vendors, artists and craftsmen, while listening to Texas homegrown music. For more, call 844-8193 or visit


RUNNING AND INSPIRATION The I Am Second Run, an 8 empowering event asking individuals to place God and others before themselves, will take place at 8:30 a.m. from Boerne ISD Stadium, 1 Greyhound Lane. For more including registration costs, visit


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SALOCALLOWDOWN.COM WILDFIRE continues from pg. 11 reduce residential risks and encourage prevention options among property owners. Communities take five steps to earn Firewise recognition. There are four local Firewise Communities: Shavano Park, Los Reyes Canyons HOA in Helotes, the Stone Oak subdivision of Big Springs and Leon Valley. Shavano Park has been a Firewise Community for more than three

NO KILL continues from pg. 14 Felicia Niño, a San Antonio Humane Society spokeswoman, said contributions typically decrease in the summer and then build back up again to meet goals. “Local donations are a huge part of what enables us to help thousands of pets each year,” she said in an email. For now, Oberle is hoping such generosity will wind its way

months. Fire Chief/Marshal Michael Naughton said his department disseminates materials showing residents how to remove brush and debris and clear out trees. Plus, firefighters attend every Shavano Park city event to offer education. Naughton also said his city maintains strict building standards and code enforcement, which helps augment wildfire prevention. “We’re diligent about protecting our community,” he added.

to the typically large-breed dogs, which find themselves waiting to be adopted in Fair Oaks Ranch. “If the community wants us to keep helping them, they have to help us,” she said. For more, call 830-981-2300 or visit http://www.heartoftexasspca. com/. The shelter’s mailing address is: Heart of Texas SPCA, P.O. Box 691403, San Antonio, TX 78269.

FARMERS continues from pg. 15 specialize in family friendly dogs.” Along with produce, meat, breads and metal sharpening, browsers can also find skin-care services, cookies, gluten-free treats, preserves and coffee at The Rim’s farmers market Sunday mornings and afternoons. Lika Torline of In The Weeds Natural Skin Care has been there a year and a half. “Farmers markets are where I started, and helped me see this should be my career,” Torline said. “I have customers drive in from Austin just to see if I’m here.” Torline, whose spa products were named 2015’s Best of the City by a local magazine, sells at farmers markets across San Antonio. However, she considers The Rim a staple. Going to school for aesthetics, Torline began creating her own mixtures from natural products, and designing her own fragrances to avoid any harmful chemicals. Now, she delights in helping find cures for customers. Popular requests include her headache stick for those

Peppers from Grandma's Garden at Bebe are among the fresh produce found at The Farmers Market at the Cibolo. Photo by Collette Orquiz

who don’t want to take aspirin and an all-natural mosquito repellent. “I take a lot of pride in my products,” Torline said. “I test everything on myself. Because I’m at a farmers market and all my products are organic, all my products are 100 percent natural.” She added, “It keeps me going. When you feel you have that purpose and are helping people, it’s very fulfilling.” Hours for The Farmers Market at the Cibolo are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. For more, call Schroeder at 830-431-1351. Hill Country Farmers Market-The Rim is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.


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The Elkhorn restaurant in Boerne offers elegance with fine dining, wines and space for events such as weddings, conferences and other gatherings. Photo by Collette Orquiz

Veteran and family creating fine-dining experience at The Elkhorn by COLLETTE ORQUIZ


OERNE — Serving woodfired pizza, charcuterie, wine and more, the Wine and Fire Bistro recently debuted as the first phase in The Elkhorn Restaurant.

Owners Roman Blodgett, wife Lindsay and her mother Susan Mann wanted to create an elegant atmosphere for their slice of the Hill Country. “I saw the beauty on this property,” Roman Blodgett said. “The property holds a lot of key elements that can fit a large fine-dining restaurant. I just wanted to see if this dream could come true.” Blodgett, a Seattle native, served two tours in Afghanistan, one with the Navy and another as a naval defense contractor to train service members. He moved to San Antonio in 2012 and envisioned running an eatery. The restaurant, located at 9120 Old Dietz Elkhorn Road, sits on a 2.25acre property covered in oak trees. In

addition to the bistro, the property includes space for more dining and a whiskey bar, located in a 5,100-squarefoot house from the 1970s. The destination also will feature outdoor seating and double as a venue for weddings and other events. Blodgett said the bistro’s menu offers sophisticated pizza and charcuterie, while the fine-dining portion will serve steak, seafood and game. “This area wants something with more hospitality, ambiance and quality (for) meals,” Blodgett said. “We’re always going to be changing things and growth is going to be a large part of our project.” Opening dates for the other phases are tentative, but could happen in a matter of weeks. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

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LOCAL: I-10 Corridor, Leon Springs, Fair Oaks Ranch, The Dominion, Sonoma Ranch September2016  

This month in Zone 7: Neighborhoods are banding together against wildfires as the areas west, north, and northwest of the city hold the grea...

LOCAL: I-10 Corridor, Leon Springs, Fair Oaks Ranch, The Dominion, Sonoma Ranch September2016  

This month in Zone 7: Neighborhoods are banding together against wildfires as the areas west, north, and northwest of the city hold the grea...