Northeast corridor revitalization still on track PG. 13 Gallagher: Attracting new businesses, but more work needed HILL COUNTRY VILLAGE
VOL. 2, ISSUE 5
Neighbors hail street improvements coming to District 9
PG. 14 Some of the $25 COMMUNITY NEWS HOLLYWOOD PARK
million earmarked by city will go to North Central
NORTH CENTRAL 78216 78232 78247
D O O F Y H T L A E H H T I SCORING POINTS W GOOD EATS
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Right Bites program one of the first in the country, officials say by COLLETTE ORQUIZ
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PG. 11 NORTH SIDE LIBRARIES EMBRACING THE DIGITAL AGE Patrons can choose variety of formats â€” e-books, audiobooks, online reading clubs, databases and more
PG. 17 CRAWDADS Bayou dining on the menu with Cajun, Creole dishes
PG. 16 MCCI
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EDITORIAL Executive Editor Thomas Edwards News Staff Collette Orquiz and Will Wright Contributing Writers Joyce Hotchkiss, Lakendra Lewis, Eric Moreno, Travis E. Poling and Susan Yerkes ART Creative Director Richard Fisher Jr. Graphic Designer Pete Morales Contributing Photographer Elvira Hess Contributing Illustrator Jeremiah Teutsch ADVERTISING Advertising Director Jaselle Luna Account Managers Kelly Jean Garza, Cindy Jennings, Amber Montemayor and Marc Olson Controller Keith Sanders READER SERVICE Mailing Address 4204 Gardendale Ste. 201 SA, TX 78229 Phone (210) 338.8842 Fax (210) 616.9677 Advertising Inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org Story Ideas email@example.com Website www.salocallowdown.com LOCAL Community News publications
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Zone 1: 78204, 78205, 78209, 78210, 78212, 78215 Zone 2: 78213, 78230, 78231, 78248, 78249 Zone 4: 78109, 78148, 78233, 78239 Zone 5: 78108, 78132, 78154, 78266 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.
On track with traffic
eaders may have noticed during the past months a slew of stories focusing on an issue of utmost importance to the community: transportation. Forecasters predict that by 2050, the greater San Antonio metro population could reach 3.2 million, with the prospect of turning our roadways into parking lots. No wonder the subject of getting from point A to point B is never far from our minds. Many of us already experience the daily angst-ridden journey from home to work and back that should only take 10 minutes but instead stretches into 30 or 40 minutes — or longer — as Interstate 10, Loop 410, Loop 1604 and other roads become snarled by gridlock. So what’s the answer? Is it toll roads? Light rail? Streetcars? Improvements to existing roadways? Additional buses? Bicycles? None of the above? It’s hard to say. Seems like every proposed solution has its critics and supporters. History shows us that local leaders, in spite of their best intentions, are often way behind the curve when it comes to solving traffic problems. At least today there are more public hearings on projects. As a kid, I wondered if U.S. 281 would ever be finished (it was, sort of); and I remember wondering as an adult if traffic engineers would ever fix the interchange at San Antonio International Airport (they did, sort of). Which just goes to show that eventually there are answers to our traffic woes, even if we don’t agree with all of them. In the meantime, readers can be assured LOCAL Community News is here to help them stay abreast of the latest starts and stops for area traffic.
THOMAS EDWARDS EXECUTIVE EDITOR FACEBOOK.COM/SALOCALCOMMUNITYNEWS
and a e l c a r i m e a Life can b n both. i e z i l a i c spe fight. we Sometimes, the most powerful sound in the world is no louder than a heartbeat. The physicians and nurses at Methodist’s Women’s Services are dedicated to giving even the most fragile life a fighting chance. Our Neonatal ICUs are the most powerful weapon in helping newborns see their first birthday. For 50 years we’ve delivered a level of care that makes us the preferred choice. METHODIST HEALTHCARE INCLUDES METHODIST HOSPITAL AND ITS CAMPUSES INCLUDING METHODIST HEART HOSPITAL • METHODIST CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL METHODIST SPECIALTY AND TRANSPLANT HOSPITAL • METHODIST TEXSAN HOSPITAL • METROPOLITAN METHODIST HOSPITAL • NORTHEAST METHODIST HOSPITAL AND METHODIST STONE OAK HOSPITAL • METHODIST AMBULATORY SURGERY HOSPITAL
Methodist Healthcare: First and Only Hospital in South Texas to Receive Texas Award for Performance Excellence Methodist Healthcare has been selected to receive the Texas Award for Performance Excellence (TAPE) from the Quality Texas Foundation, representing the highest level of quality an organization can achieve in the state of Texas. Methodist Healthcare is the first and only health care system in South Texas and the third organization in San Antonio to receive the TAPE award since the inception of the award in 1994. Utilizing the same criteria and process as the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the Texas Award for Performance Excellence is an annual recognition of Texas organizations that have achieved performance excellence and have applied outstanding quality principles in their day-to-day operations. TAPE winners are role model organizations demonstrating exceptional performance in all areas of organizational management - leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, measurement, analysis and knowledge management, workforce focus, operations focus and results. “This award is a validation of the hard work our employees, physicians, volunteers and board members have accomplished over the past years in Methodist Healthcare’s journey to excellence,” stated Jaime Wesolowski, President and CEO, Methodist
Healthcare. “Our commitment to quality and process improvement enables us to provide better service and outcomes to our patients and that is what drives us to be nothing less than excellent,” continued Wesolowski. There are many milestones the health system has achieved in its journey; a few quality indicators the system excels in are: • Evidenced Based Care Measures (Composite Core Measures) are in the top 10 percent of the nation, for those care interventions known to improve patient mortality and complications.
State examiners from the TAPE Baldrige-based program visited Methodist Healthcare hospitals in January to evaluate how well employees, physicians, volunteers and board members demonstrate and standardize excellence across the system. Methodist will receive a detailed report from Quality Texas Foundation on the health system’s strengths and opportunities for improvement. Methodist staff will use the report to prepare for the national Baldrige process as part of the System’s continuing pursuit of excellence.
• The Methodist Healthcare in-hospital mortality is only 50 percent of what is expected given the severity of illness levels of Methodist patients. For Methodist this translates into 530 fewer patients dying each year than should be expected. • The Patient Safety Indicator (PSI) 90 is a composite score of several in-hospital patient complications. Methodist Healthcare scores significantly lower (better) at 0.46 than the national average of 0.6, indicating a much lower hospital complication rate than most hospitals.
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. CRAWDADS SPORTS BAR & GRILL, 12333 West Ave., has opened to offer authentic Cajun and Creole cuisine. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. For more, call 314-2339 or visit the eatery on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ crawdadspourhouse. (See story on page 17)
2. MCCI MEDICAL GROUP, 18414 U.S. 281 North, Suite 104, at the Legacy Place Medical Center, is billed as a state-of-theart medical clinic with an attached activity center that offers services to patients including the senior population. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more, call 495-0222. (See story on page 16)
3. PB&J KIDS SHOPPE, 555 W. Bitters Road, recently moved to its new location due to expansion. Though it is still in the Alley on Bitters, the children’s toy and clothing store is now located on the main boardwalk area, in front of Back Alley Antiques. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. For more, call 722-5931, check out the website at www. pbjellykids.com or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pbjellykids.
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Antonio District 10 councilman, who defeated Gerald Ponce in the GOP primary. Debra Guerrero and Tommy Calvert are headed for a runoff for the Democratic nomination to succeed Adkisson as Precinct 4 commissioner. The winner will face either Kirby Mayor Tim Wilson or Windcrest Mayor Alan Baxter, who are headed for a May 27 runoff for the GOP nomination.
IN OTHER NEWS DR. DONNA CAMPBELL, BEXAR COUNTY JUDGE NELSON WOLFF WON THEIR PRIMARIES as voters headed to the polls
IT’S A CHANGING OF THE GUARD after
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March 4 to choose nominees for several local offices. Incumbent Campbell of New Braunfels brushed back challenges by Elisa Chan and Mike Novak to win the Republican nod for state Senate District 25, avoiding a May 27 runoff. Chan had stepped down in October as the San Antonio District 9 councilwoman in her senatorial bid. Campbell will face Democratic nominee Daniel Boone in the Nov. 4 general election. Wolff also retained his position, as he easily bested Precinct 4 Commissioner Tommy Adkisson for the Democratic nomination. Wolff will face Carlton Soules, the former San
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three area high school coaches headed to new positions during February and early March. Longtime Madison High School football coach Jim Streety, who served as the Mavericks head coach for 23 years, resigned to become New Braunfels Independent School District’s new athletic director. North East Independent School District trustees during their Feb. 10 meeting honored Streety with a certificate of recognition and a plaque with a classic clock. Considered the longest-tenured coach in NEISD history, Streety was 343-131-3 in his 40-year career and 194-86-2 during his time at Madison, which he led to the Class 5A Division I state semifinals last season. He ranks fourth in all-time in victories among Texas high school football coaches. Madison assistant
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head football coach and offensive coordinator Glenn Mangold was selected as the new head football coach at New Braunfels High School. Mangold, who began his new job Feb. 24, spent six years at Madison, and was previously assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Judson High School. Judson coach Mark Smith will succeed Streety as Madison’s new coach. Smith, who took over for Jim Rackley in 2012, was 19-6 in his two seasons leading the Rockets, who bowed to the Mavericks in the Class 5A Division I regional championship game last December.
FROM THE NORTHWOODS ICE AND GOLF CENTER TO SOCHI, RUSSIA, three
local members of the U.S. Paralympic Sled Hockey team including team leader Josh Sweeney opened competition on March 8. Sweeney, a forward, along with defenseman Rico Roman and goaltender Jen Yung Lee of the San Antonio Rampage Sled Ice Hockey Team, competed for Team USA. They are among several veterans who have benefited from the many programs offered through San Antonio-based Operation Comfort.
DISTRICT 9 COUNCILMAN JOE KRIER recently met with residents to discuss
transportation and capital improvements projects, Redland Woods area-infrastructure issues, the Hidden Forest neighborhood’s request for field improvements at the nearby elementary school, and a San Antonio park construction update. Krier holds Java with Joe 9-11 a.m. every Monday at the district field office, located in the Frost Bank building, 16500 U.S. 281 North, Suite 290.
THE CITY’S 2012-2017 $596 MILLION BOND PROGRAM is moving ahead on
several District 9 projects, including the new Evans Road Branch Library; Gold Canyon Park; Hardy Oak Parkway (Stone Oak Parkway-Knights Cross); Panther Springs Park; Redland Road North (Loop 1604 to Ridgewood Parkway); Stone Oak Park; and the West Avenue low-water crossing.
THE CITY’S HOUSEHOLD HAZARDOUS WASTE DROP-OFF FACILITY has moved
to 1800 E. Bitters Road from the site on Culebra Road, which will reopen in the fall, according to District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher. Hours are 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The site accepts batteries, oil, spray and paints, but for a complete list of acceptable items,
call 311, go to www.sanantonio.gov/swmd or visit www.facebook.com/SASolidWaste.
Place 2 Jane Cronk and Alderman Place 4 George F. “Rick” Evans, officials said.
IN THE MAY 10TH SAN ANTONIO SPECIAL ELECTION, interim Councilman
IT’S A CROWDED FIELD IN HOLLYWOOD PARK for the May 10 political races.
Joe Krier in District 9 has announced he is running for the full term after being appointed by the City Council last fall. The District 9 seat came open when Councilwoman Elisa Chan stepped down in a failed bid to capture the GOP nod for state Senate District 25 on March 4. As of press time, other contenders who filed for the slot include Corey Clark, Weston Martinez, Bert Cecconi and Donald Oroian. Meanwhile, the city has canceled the election for the District 10 seat because no one filed against Mike Gallagher, who was appointed Jan. 30 when Carlton Soules stepped down to become the GOP candidate for Bexar County judge. Early voting in the city election is April 28 to May 6. If needed, a runoff will be June 14.
ELECTIONS ARE LIKELY TO BE CANCELED IN HILL COUNTRY VILLAGE after the only candidates filing for the May 10 contest were incumbents — Mayor Gabriel Durand-Hollis, Alderwoman
According to officials, candidates include Chris Fails and Steve Phillips for mayor; incumbent Sudie Sartor and Dan O’Brien for Place 2; and Chris Murphy, Andrew Moon and Tom Vincent for Place 4.
THE ST. THOMAS TECHTRONIC TIGERS, a robotics team of nine fourth- and fifth-graders from St. Thomas Episcopal School, recently walked away with top honors in two Robot Award categories — mechanical design and robot performance — in the Alamo FIRST LEGO League robotic challenge qualifying event at Canyon Middle School in New Braunfels.
H-E-B 2014 EXCELLENCE IN EDUCATION FINALISTS include Bradley Middle School
Principal Justin Oxley, who received a check for $1,000 from H-E-B employees while another $2,500 went to the school; and the North East Independent School District board. H-E-B will announce the top winners in Houston May 2-3.
www.sanantonio.gov/parksandrec 100% Free No Registration Required All Ages and Abilities Welcome Wide Variety of Fitness Opportunities & Classes Available To Everyone
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and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For information on identification and other required papers, go to www.goodwillsa.org.
Plan your month with our calendar of upcoming events in the community.
OUR GUIDE TO YOUR MONTH
GIRLS SOFTBALL LEAGUE
Registration is under way for spring league play for girls’ fast-pitch softball teams. Divisions start at age 8 and younger, and go to 14 and younger. Games will be played from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at various sites, including Alva Jo Fischer Softball Complex, 10700 Nacogdoches Road, and Rusty Lyons field at 6300 McCullough Ave. Team managers should call 207-3114 or 207-3127 to register their team, or for more information.
THROUGH APR 15
FREE TAX-PREPARATION ASSISTANCE Six San Antonio
Public Library branches, including Thousand Oaks, 4618 Thousand Oaks Drive, will host members of VITA
FITNESS OUTDOOR MUSIC
– Volunteer Income Tax Assistance – who will help people with incomes up to $60,000 prepare and file federal tax returns. The other branches are Bazan, Cody, Forest Hills, Guerra and Mission. For more on times, what to bring and where to go, visit http://vitasa. org/ and click on the 2014 Sites tab.
THROUGH APR 15
USED BOOK SALE The North East Independent School 4-6 District’s Council of PTAs will hold its annual Used Book Sale in Littleton Gym at Blossom Athletic Center, 12002 Jones Maltsberger Road. More than 80,000 books will be available. Hardback books and DVDs will cost $1; paperbacks are 50 cents. Admission is free. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Proceeds go to a wide assortment of PTA programs and scholarship funds.
VITA AT GOODWILL The
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will have volunteers at the Goodwill store at 13311 San Pedro Ave. offering free tax-preparation help to people whose household income is $60,000 or less. They will be there Monday-Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.;
SPRING NATIVE PLANT WALK Wendy Leonard, a
park naturalist, will lead a walk at 9:15 a.m. at Phil Hardberger Park, providing information about native plants and their adaptations along the park trails. The first 24 participants receive a free native plant and a kid-friendly craft is included. The walk is free, but donations are always appreciated. Enter at the park’s east entrance, 13202 Blanco Road.
ELEMENTARY FIELD INVESTIGATIONS Students
learn the skills of scientific inquiry using data collected during field investigations at Phil Hardberger Park. This program, which runs 9:3011:30 a.m., is part of the Elementary Spring Bloomers series for students age 7 to 10. Class size is limited. It is free, but a donation is appreciated; $3 for individuals, $5 for families. Enter at the park’s east entrance, 13202 Blanco Road. Call 207-3106 or e-mail Susan. Campbell@sanantonio.gov to register.
HOLLYWOOD PARK The City Council meets at 7 p.m. in City Hall, 2 Mecca Drive.
RETIRED TEACHERS The North San Antonio Retired 16 Teachers Association will open its monthly meeting with a “meet and greet” at 9:45 a.m.; the meeting begins at 10:15 a.m. The meeting place is San Pedro Presbyterian Church, 14900 San Pedro Ave., and members are encouraged to bring a friend. Meetings are held the third Wednesday of the month.
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Improving Health One Life at a Time. MCCI Medical Group of Legacy Place is a state-of-the-art, primary care medical clinic with attached activity center. Our medical clinic and activity center focus on senior health and wellness. Both the physicians and staff are bilingual. The Activity Center offers recreational, educational, fitness classes and support group activities which are open to the community, 55 or older. At MCCI Medical Group of Legacy Place our goal is for our patients to live the healthiest, active life possible. Mention Local Community News advertisement to receive a complimentary gift.
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18414 US Hwy 281 North, Suite 104 | San Antonio, TX 78259 | 210-495-0222
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 email@example.com, by the Monday prior to the meeting. The chapter meets on the third Wednesday of the month (except for July and August).
SCHOOL HOLIDAY Students
and teachers in the Northeast 18 Independent School District get the day off for Good Friday. Easter Sunday falls on Sunday, April 20.
BATTLE OF FLOWERS PARADE
Many municipal offices and schools will be closed in observance of the annual Fiesta tradition.
HYDROLOGY: IN OTHER WORDS, WATER Greg
Wukasch, San Antonio Water System education specialist, presents a program at Phil Hardberger Park about the water cycle and the importance of
protecting the Edwards Aquifer and other sources of water. A kids’ activity and craft included. Though it is free, a donation to the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy of $3 a person or $5 a family is suggested. The session runs 9-11 a.m. Enter at the park’s east entrance, 13202 Blanco Road.
GROWING UP WILD: WIGGLING WORMS In this session at Phil
Hardberger Park, which lasts 10-11:30 a.m., children explore a worm’s habitat, what it eats and how it moves. A kid-friendly craft is included. The class is part of the Growing Up Wild series for 3 to 7 year olds. Class size is limited. For more, call 207-3106 or contact Susan.Campbell@ sanantonio.gov to register. A donation to the Phil Hardberger Park Conservancy of $3 per individual or $5 per family is suggested. Access to the class is through the park’s east entrance, 13202 Blanco Road.
ELSEWHERE IN SAN ANTONIO FITNESS COUNCIL THROUGH AMBASSADORS Bexar County
help the city encourage healthful eating and physical activity habits at home and school and in the community. Students must apply online, at www.FitCitySA.com; click on the At School tab. Applications are due by May 2.
Television newswoman Jane Pauley is the headliner for this year’s event, to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Central Library, 600 Soledad St., and the adjacent Southwest School of Art. Nearly 80 authors will be there, doing readings and book signings. There will be a Technology Tent, a literary marketplace, cooking demonstrations, food trucks and music, too. The festival, presented by the San Antonio Public Library Foundation, is free. For more, go to http://www.saplf. org/festival. A sort of after-party starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre: the Literary Death Match, billed as a hilarious mash-up of Def Jam Poetry and “American Idol.” Tickets range from $10 to $50; more is available at the website above.
students in grades five through 12 are invited to apply to be ambassadors for the Mayor’s Fitness Council. The 40 who are selected will pinpoint problems and
SAN ANTONIO BOOK FESTIVAL
LIVING WITH ALZHEIMER’S
This free caregiving program 10 will deal with behavioral symptoms, including wandering, and ways
to keep a person with Alzheimer’s safe. It runs from 6 to 7 p.m. at Arden Courts, 15290 Huebner Road, and is co-sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association’s local chapter. To reserve a seat, call 408-9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FIESTA SAN ANTONIO Take
ALAMO HEIGHTS NIGHT
note – the big party has a longer run this year and encompasses both Passover and Easter. For a complete list of events, visit http://www.fiesta-sa.org/.
The city celebrates Fiesta with 11 an evening of food from top restaurants and caterers; bands, including Tennessee Valley Authority and a mariachi group; and a carnival midway with lots of family activities. The fun runs from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. around the University of the Incarnate Word Natatorium. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12-17 and those with a student ID. Organizers stress that tickets will only be sold at the gate.
SUBMITTING EVENTS: Email all the details along with your contact information two months in advance to email@example.com.
Proud to be the sponsor of the Girl Scouts Financial Literacy Initiative
We care because we know that the Girl Scout Cookie Rally is the perfect opportunity for these girls to learn money skills. For the fourth year, Wells Fargo is the sponsor of the Girl Scouts Financial Literacy Initiative, a program that teaches girls how to set goals and manage money. In addition to being a sponsor, Wells Fargo’s Central Texas team members volunteer their time to teach more than 10,000 Girl Scouts about savings, credit, and other financial skills using the Hands on Banking® program. Do business with a bank that shares your values, and values you. Stop by your nearest Wells Fargo location today or visit wellsfargo.com to learn more. Pictured here is Wells Fargo’s Jack the Dog, and Jennifer Moriarty, Wells Fargo Vice President Community Development, board member with Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas, and Girl Scout Troop 3005.
about how many cookies they sell wellsfargo.com © 2014 Wells Fargo Bank, N.A. All rights reserved. Member FDIC. ECG-1176716
an advertorial from
Harvest Fellowship Community Church
Pre-K for S.A.: Beyond child’s play by SUSAN YERKES
n November 2012, San Antonio voters approved Mayor Julian Castro’s Pre-K 4 SA initiative, a bold bid to boost early childhood education through unique city-run centers. Naysayers protested the 1/8-cent salestax increase the proposal required, as well as the role of the city. Leave schooling to the schools, they said.
Are you looking for the perfect church? Good luck! I often hear this question from people who have moved to our area. They are looking for a church that was exactly like the church that they came from. That is a problem for two reasons. First, the thing with churches is they are just like people. Every one is a little diﬀerent. Churches have a culture and personality just like people do. Churches may look alike on the outside but they are always diﬀerent in some ways. That is what makes them special. The second problem with looking for the perfect church is there is no such thing as a perfect church. People are by nature not perfect. It is a fact of life. Because churches are made up of imperfect people, they are imperfect places. Sometimes churches try to spend time making it seem like everything is perfect. You get the idea from visiting those churches that they are full of people who have it all together. That is a lie. I am not saying that churches don’t have answers, but our answers are never going to be perfect, not until we get to meet God per later. In the meantime, we weren’t meant to be perfect, we were meant to be together. God’s desire for church is for it to be a place where imperfections prove that we need Him. As we spend time together, God works through our imperfections to show just how great He imper is. Maybe you’ve been away from church for a while. Maybe you’ve never been a part of a church where imperfect people are not just welcomed, but celebrated! At Harvest, we’re not perfect, but we serve a God who is and loves shining through imperfect people. Come by and visit us if you get a chance and see how diﬀerent a church with imperfections can be.
JOIN US THIS EASTER Thursday, April 17 – Maundy
Thursday Communion Service @ 7:00 p.m. Friday, April 18 – Good Friday Service of Darkness @ 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, April 20 Easter Sunday Services - 8:30 & 11:00 a.m. Bible Study - 9:45 am
Darrell Lindsey serves as the Lead Pastor of Harvest Fellowship Community Church
Sunday Mornings @ 10:30 am Wednesday Evenings @ 6:30 pm
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Now, with the first school year almost over, and a new batch of youngsters being enrolled for next fall, how’s it doing? The fact is, it will take years to see what difference this pre-kindergarten program makes, as this first year’s class, and the following ones, move up. But some things are already clear. The North and South Side centers are already open. By August, the East and West Side centers will be, too. Each is a state-ofthe-art showplace, with 20-plus classrooms, play areas and other spaces designed to heighten the learning and socialization that help a child. This year, 44 master teachers, 14 professionaldevelopment coaches and 100 staffers, selected from thousands of applicants, are on board; hiring is under way for the new centers. “This year, we have about 350 students in each of the two centers,” says Pre-K 4 SA CEO Kathy Bruck, a veteran early childhood education specialist. “Ideally, next year we’ll have 400 in the North and South centers and 350 in the new East and West Side locations, and eventually we expect 500 a year in each center.” Through competitive grants to school districts and other educators, the program will also provide its services for an additional 1,700 children a year. By 2020, more than 22,000 students are expected to have attended.
It’s definitely a model program. There’s more leeway to focus on thinking skills and socialization than many traditional schools driven by testing, Bruck said. The four centers also are carefully designed. “One hundred percent of our children’s families were represented at our first round of parent conferences. I can’t tell you how pleased, and honestly, how surprised I was by that,” Bruck says. Nutrition is another highly touted component. The menus help establish sound eating habits early in this city where obesity and diabetes are top health menaces. The centers also have gardens where kids and parents can grow fresh fruit and veggies. The application process has also been tweaked. Last year it was cumbersome enough to discourage potential applicants; this year it’s been dramatically streamlined. More tweaks are in line, Bruck said. Next year there may be fewer “extended-day” students, who are at the centers from breakfast to late afternoon. “This started with the idea that if the city takes the very best of what it can find or create, add transportation, healthy food, state-of-the-art facilities and top staff, we could give students and families a head start on success, and help transform early education,” said board member Bob Bevard. “I’ve seen lots of preschool and day care situations. But I’ve never seen anything like this.” It’s an impressive program. But is it worth the $31 million or so in sales-tax revenue the voters agreed to support in 2012? So far, I’d say yes. In this first year, Pre-K 4 S.A. has become a model for the nation, hailed recently by the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and the Rockefeller Foundation. National leaders, from President Obama on down, are touting San Antonio’s outside-the-school-district plan as a model for the future. All this in itself is fairly stunning to anyone who has followed the state of local schools over the years. Now, we have shot to the head of the class in terms of national recognition. So far, I’d give Pre-K 4 S.A. a big fat A. Readers, what do you think? Email comments to syerkes@ salocallowdown.com
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ocal leaders should abandon plans for an expensive, go-nowhere downtown streetcar system. Its time has come and gone, which is why San Antonio hasn’t used streetcars since the 1930s.
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neighboring cities. Streetcar proponents are also seeking federal grants, which means dipping into more tax monies. In spite of repeated pleas from the public to abandon the project, local For more i n for m at ion , ca l l (210 ) 826 -7595 or v isit w w w. s a .wbu .e du are going full-steam ahead (210) 5 9 0 5 6 82 (210)politicos 5 9 0 - 5 6 81 ForFor more i n for m atmion , ca, lca l (210 ) 826 -7595 or orv isit s a .wbu .e.edu du more in for at ion ll (210) 826 -7595 v isitw w w. w w.sa .wbu to make this boondoggle a reality. Wa y l a nd Ba pt is t Un iv er s i t y - S a n A n t o n i o h a s b e en s er v i n g t h e h i g h er Nut IVh ETexas RS ITsiYnc eC 19 EN T ER BOERNE TEACHING SITE ni MO o andUSo 8 4. Wi t h a e duc at i o nal ne e ds of San AAntLoA Streetcars just don’t make sense for f o c u s o n t h e a d u l t l e a r n e r a n d a c o mmit o t hBeOUOnKi vEeRr sR it yD’s mi s s i o n of 8 3 0me 0 ntPtAT 1221 SOUTH MAIN San Antonio. Like the monorail at the c hall enging and dist inc tively Chr istia n educ ating students in an ac ade mic ally L I V E O A K , T X 78 2 3 3 BOERNE , T X 78006 env ir o nment , you w ill f in d an unp ar al l e le d c o ll e g e ex p er i enc e w it h us. (210) 8 2 6 -75 9 5 HemisFair Park, streetcars are quaint (210)old 618-7093 For more i n for m at ion , ca l l (210 ) 826 -7595 or v isit w w w. s a .wbu .e du relics that served their purpose and then faded into history. Today we have ample Wa y l a nd Ba p t is t Un iv er s i t y - S a n A n t o n i o h a s b e en s er v i n g t h e h i g h er private a bus system, nc e 19transportation, 8 4. Wi t h a e duc a t i o nal ne e ds of San A nt o ni o and So ut h Texas si shared-cycling f o c u s o n t h e a d u l t l e a r n e r a n d a c o mmit me nt t o t h e U ntaxis, i v e r s i carpools, t y ’s mi s s i obicycles, n of inc tivelyand, Chr istia n educ ating students in an ac ade mic ally c hall enging and dist programs of course, foot power. env ir o nment , you w ill f in d an unp ar al l e le d c o ll e g e ex p er i enc e w it h us. Bringing streetcars back doesn’t serve • Ages 18 months – 5 years purpose except to get a few For more i n for m at ion , ca l l (210 ) 826 or v–isit w w w. s amuch .wbuof.eadu • 9am – -7595 2pm Mon Thurs gawking tourists to go for a ride. • 9am – Noon Friday In fact, it offers little benefit to locals — much less residents in outlying suburbs who still fund VIA. VIA plans to break ground later this year on the project, which will cost
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an estimated $280 million to create a 5.9-mile system. It will chug-chug around downtown San Antonio, as well as head north on Broadway and travel south on St. Mary’s Street. It could be finished by 2017. The decision on whether to build streetcars should be left up to voters. Opponent Jeff Judson, an Olmos Park councilman and Heartland Institute board member, has announced a petition drive to collect 20,000 signatures to put the issue on a November ballot. He wants to amend the San Antonio city charter to prohibit the use of municipal-owned rights of way for light rail and streetcar. About $32 million for the streetcars is coming from San Antonio. Meanwhile, District 9 interim Councilman Joe Krier has even questioned whether that money should be spent on streetcars when San Antonio has so many other needs, such as street repairs and drainage. It’s plain to see that streetcars are not right for the Alamo City. They are an expensive novelty from a bygone era when mass transit was still evolving. They are unnecessary in today’s urban landscape. It’s time for the streetcar plan to hit the end of the line. The LOCAL Community News editorial board includes Harry Lees, Gregg Rosenfield and Thomas Edwards. Send letters to the editor
to tedwards@salocallowdown. com or snail mail them to Local Community News, 4204 Gardendale, Suite 201, San Antonio, TX 78229. We reserve the right to edit for taste, grammar and length.
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Digital continues from pg. 01
Many sites free to library cardholders by COLLETTE ORQUIZ
s technology advances, the San Antonio Public Library is writing the book on how to keep readers plugged in and connected — whether patrons are looking to check out a title or use one of the online services.
North Side patrons readily can find these resources at their local branch libraries. Although some readers may not be aware of all the new services, the library has been offering online access for years, according to Ignacio Albarracin, the digital services coordinator for the library system. As early as 2001, the library system began providing access to e-books — the electronic, non-paper version of a book — and it has been adding other services as they become available.
“We are constantly looking for new products and services out there that enable us to deliver products and services that people want in the formats they prefer,” Albarracin said. Whether for entertainment or learning, the library system offers multiple ways to download movies, music, audiobooks and e-books. Patrons can also access databases filled with information on history, culture, genealogy, health and medicine, and general research and science. Of course, the library still has oldfashioned print books and periodicals. Two databases, American Ancestors and Ancestry Library, are available only for use inside the library, but all others can be accessed from any Internet-enabled device at any time. The library also recently introduced an online international book club featuring immediate access to an e-book without holds or being placed on a waiting list. This model allows patrons to share the experience of reading a particular e-book with other readers across the planet, officials said. As a part of the Big Library Read program, library cardholders can download
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the book chosen by the club, with a lending period of up to three weeks. “It reminds people that public libraries, especially in this new digital era, remain uniquely positioned to connect them to new ideas that can positively shape their lives,” Albarracin said. The recent featured selection is “Keys to the Kitchen” by Aida Mollenkamp. “Knowledge is power” could be the unofficial motto of those who keep the city’s Central Library and 25 branches up and running, officials said — especially in the digital age. With so much information available on a multitude of subjects, readers need assistance filtering the different channels to get the details they seek, Albarracin said. “The community needs public libraries to help them curate this information so that they can more quickly and easily understand the key facts, theories, debates and trends in the world around them,” Albarracin said. Other services the library provides include free tutoring at Tutor.com and access to academic and practice tests with Learning Express Library, both of which offer virtual interaction. The
sites are free to library cardholders. On top of providing as many services to patrons as possible, the library system is constantly looking for solutions to help readers who want to succeed in the workforce or enhance their lives, officials said. The library’s website is undergoing a redesign so it can be displayed on any size screen, and mobile applications are being developed for easy access on smartphones and tablets. Libraries on the North Side include the Parman Branch Library at Stone Oak, 20725 Wilderness Oak St.; Brook Hollow Branch Library, 520 Heimer Road; Semmes Branch Library, 15060 Judson Road; Thousand Oaks Branch Library, 4618 Thousand Oaks Drive; and the Tobin Library at Oakwell, 4134 Harry Wurzbach Road. For more information on available services, visit http://www.mysapl.org/services.aspx. Meanwhile, on the South Side, a new kind of bookless library has taken shape. Called BiblioTech, it is a public digital library at 3505 Pleasanton Road and offers digital services, e-readers, computer training and more. It is operated by Bexar County.
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Initiative another way to help curb child obesity by COLLETTE ORQUIZ
new lineup at Northeast Independent School District concession stands is adding healthier selections to the menu of game-day staples such as hot dogs, popcorn, nachos, candy and sodas. Under the Right Bites program, the newly introduced items — which range from bottled water to chicken wraps — have less fat, less sugar and less sodium than traditional fare patrons munch on during a school sporting event. “I believe that Right Bites helps students understand that eating healthy snacks is just as important as eating healthy meals,” said District 3 Trustee Susan Galindo, who also is the school board president. She helped launch the initiative. NEISD is one of the first school districts in the country to provide and label healthier items in concession stands, officials said. “It’s very simple on paper, but you have so many intricate details and you have so many different people involved,” said Rachel Naylor, the director of physical education, health and athletics. “It’s possible when you have all the right pieces in place.” According to Galindo, NEISD is known for a strong wellness policy, but she and others felt the district sent a conflicting message by not having options during games that followed the guidelines set for meals during the regular school days. Because they couldn’t find a national model for the program, they started from scratch, beginning with a researchand-planning phase in spring 2012, then a soft launch at one concession stand in January 2013 that was so successful the new items sold out. The program spread to all concession facilities by the end of 2013. School officials said it has been very successful, and they continue to see an increase in sales. Galindo and the others also wanted to do their part to reduce childhood obesity. The school board president
served on a nationwide Leadership for Healthy Communities Cohort created by the National Association for Latino Elected Officials to combat childhood obesity among Latino students. Naylor said the district had already added a few more nutritional items prior to Right Bites, such as bottled water and granola bars, but Galindo wanted to push it a step further. Each concession stand has the bright orange Right Bites logo next to the items that are considered a better choice. Galindo saw this as a two-step process: Make it easier to select a healthy food, and also educate people on what is the best purchase. “We didn’t remove any choices. There’s still nachos, and there’s still sausage wraps and stuff, but we just provided a parallel opportunity next to it,” Naylor said. All of the stands still have popcorn, peanuts, nachos, hot dogs, sausage wraps, sodas — the typical food found at games. Officials said some game rituals revolve around food, and some fans want a specific item for fear a team will lose otherwise. “We don’t believe in removing anything. It’s all about moderation, but let’s help them be able to have a choice when they’re trapped in a situation,” Naylor said. Thomas Rau, Booster Club manager, and Sharon Glosson, executive director of school nutrition services, got together to purchase the new items at Sam’s Club. Menu additions at concession stands include Vitamin Water Zero, Dasani Water, Smart Water, string cheese, baked chips, Special K Fruit Filled Snack Bars, Fiber One Brownies, Nature Valley Honey & Oat Granola Bar, Austin’s Peanut Butter Crackers, a homemade frozen fruit cup, light yogurt and a grilled chicken wrap in a whole-wheat tortilla. Cognizant that sales at concession stands still need to generate funding for district extracurricular programs, the Booster Club has kept the prices of the new selections on a par with the old standbys. “There’s that thought that people won’t buy healthy food from a concession stand, and also the fear that changing anything could deter sales,” Glosson said. “The Booster Club was very open and willing to try whatever ideas we had.” While Naylor said getting the program up and running was relatively easy, the team also had to look at each concession stand’s appliances to see which ones could sell and store specific items.
Corridor continues from pg. 01
Feedback sought by ERIC MORENO
ince taking the reins of District 10 earlier this year, interim Councilman Mike Gallagher has touted his intention to continue the work started on the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative. Recently, during a town hall-like gathering, the councilman unveiled the goals of the initiative, which is aimed at giving an economic and aesthetic shot in the arm to an ailing Northeast Side business corridor. The effort could offer new life to vacant and underutilized properties, re-establish retail outlets and businesses that serve the community and help improve the look of buildings, signs and parking lots. “The meeting went very well,” Gallagher said. “What made me so happy about it was to see how enthusiastic everyone
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is about the project. We got very favorable feedback on everything.” A major goal of the 22-point, five-year plan is to draw more businesses to the area, so residents stay and shop there. The NEC revitalization plan, a hallmark of former Councilman Carlton Soules’ tenure until he stepped down Jan. 30 to run for Bexar County judge, covers an area from Perrin Beitel Road and Nacogdoches Road along the north side of Northeast Loop 410 running north and northeast to the south side of O’Connor Road. The NEC also includes all of Naco-Perrin Boulevard, portions of Thousand Oaks Drive and several side streets that intersect with the NEC. The city is doing what it can to provide incentives for development in the area, including the offer of a fee-waiver program for qualifying businesses that spurs redevelopment. The program is available to commercial property owners to help them make improvements, officials said. The District 10 office is also acting
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Site of fatal hitand-run gets improvements by LAKENDRA LEWIS
multimillion-dollar cityfunded street maintenance program is at last paving the way for more than 30 roadway improvements in District 9 — many of them long overdue, residents say.
Art Downey, president of the District 9 Neighborhood Alliance, is already seeing street maintenance taking place in his residential area along Stone Oak Parkway near the Stone Mountain community, a section he said has not had any work done on its streets in about 10 years. “I’m happy about the improvements,” Downey said. “I think anytime the (City) Council allocates funding for street repair, it’s usually a good thing.” The council recently voted to channel more than $25 million to street
maintenance across the city, with the funding covering 34 projects in District 9. These include repairs in some residential areas and at busy intersections. The council in February approved the 2014-2015 Street Maintenance Program, which designates contracts for street-anddrainage maintenance determined by the city’s Infrastructure Management Program. According to the IMP — a five-year rolling program focused on various maintenance improvements in San Antonio — the scheduling and cost of each project in District 9 has yet to be determined. “We schedule projects for each fiscal year, but we only budget for the current fiscal year, so the cost will vary. Every project is different,” said April Alcoser, public relations manager for Transportation and Capitol Improvements. Alcoser said a list of street projects was selected using various systems, including assessments of pavement conditions, 311 calls and any calls to council members. District 9 interim Councilman Joe Krier and his staff have been working closely with homeowners associations and neighborhood alliances such as Downey’s to identify problems and to push for approval of the Street Maintenance
Program, which appeared on the city’s annual fiscal budget in October. “One of the reasons I enjoy this job is that you get to see things happen and play a role in them happening,” Krier said. A special election called for May 10 finds Krier, the former CEO and president of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, facing several challengers. They include Corey Clark, Weston Martinez, Bert Cecconi and Donald Oroian. Early voting is April 28 to May 6. The council unanimously appointed Krier after three-term Councilwoman Elisa Chan stepped down in the fall to pursue an unsuccessful run in the March 4 GOP primary for the state Senate District 25 seat. Krier said one of the latest street improvements is the installation of new pedestrian safety measures at Braesview and Larkspur drives, where 9-yearold Tatyana Babineaux was struck by a suspected hit-and-run driver in January just blocks from her elementary campus. The fourth-grader at Larkspur Elementary School died later at a hospital. Krier recently met with Tatyana’s mother, Gina Babineaux, as well as city engineers, neighborhood associations
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and school officials to address complaints in that area for better safety. “I believe these improvements will help make our schoolchildren and all of our residents in this area safer,” Krier said after announcing the improvements. He also cited the assistance of Police Chief William McManus, Northeast Independent School District Superintendent Brian Gottardy, Colleen Waguespack of the North Castle Hills Homeowners Association, Chuck Saxer of the Summerfield Homeowners Association and city planners. The $90,000 in improvements will include a new crosswalk, overhead blinking school-zone lights, brighter signage, a countdown stoplight and a handicap ramp, all estimated for completion in September, or about the time the new school year starts. “You can’t make things 100 percent safe, but you can make them safer than before,” Krier said. “It’s a tragedy what happened, but we hope to make something good come out of it.” The councilman asked residents with complaints about street safety to contact Adam Trevino at 207-0953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Corridor continues from pg. 13 as a liaison between business operators, neighborhood groups and the city to work on zoning laws and other programs — such as a tax-increment reinvestment zone — to attract and foster development, officials said. “Over about the last 20 years, this area has seen some deterioration, especially in regards to the businesses,” Gallagher said. “This (project) is an effort to revitalize the area; this includes the neighborhoods, the apartments, the schools, the vacant lots. A great effort is already under way to refurbish the storefronts of these businesses.” According to city staffers, new businesses are already locating to the area or beefing up existing operations. In November, construction started on a new medical facility, First Choice Emergency Room, an established provider of care in freestanding emergency rooms, in the former Blockbuster Video store at 13434 Nacogdoches Road. Renovation costs are estimated at $2 million and the medical facility will create 15-20 jobs, officials said.
The Nacogdoches Village Shopping Center, located at the southwest corner of Nacogdoches and O’Connor roads, has recently undergone renovations including new facades and a more vibrant paint scheme, city staff said. Several new tenants have moved into the renovated shopping center or are moving there during the next few months including Texan Urgent Care, Wingstop, Pizza Patron and Unleashed by Peptic. In early March, Gallagher’s office announced that Ross Dress for Less is also coming to the shopping center Down the road, a new Whataburger opened at 12311 Nacogdoches Road, employing about 75 people. Meanwhile, Walmart has announced plans to hire up to 300 workers at its new Neighborhood Market Store at MacArthur View Street and Nacugdoches. In addition, a groundbreaking for the SkyMine plant at Capital Aggregates Cement was held recently. Touted as the first of its kind in the United States, the plant features “an electrolytic carboncapture technology that will selectively capture carbon dioxide, acid gases and heavy metals from the flue gas of the Capitol Aggregates Cement Plant,
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Community News that featured District 10 City Councilman Mike Gallagher indicated that improvements will be made to the Northeast Senior Multi-Service Center located at 4355 Center Gate. Instead, the city will complete a new facility at the intersection of Thousand Oaks Drive and Scarsdale Drive in 2015.
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businesses that will serve the population.” The councilman and his staff at the meeting invited feedback from the public, which will be collected and possibly used in some parts of the plan. About 100 audience members turned up Feb. 25. The presentation included an overview of the work already done on the project, as well as a report from the NEC Steering Committee. According to a release from Gallagher, “A range of responses were received including: help clean up neighborhoods and businesses, organize volunteer committees, advocate for additional resources, organize fellow business owners, visit the commercial establishments that exist and spread the word.” He asked anyone with ideas to contact NEC Manager Michael Taylor at Michael.Taylor@sanantonio.gov.
where the Capitol SkyMine plant will be retrofitted,” according to a statement on a District 10 NEC website. According to a study commissioned for the initiative, the population of the NEC stood at 94,392 in 2013. The area has seen growth of more than 700 people annually since 2000 and is expected to reach nearly 100,480 by 2018, which happens to be the end of the projected five-year plan of the project. “The findings of the study are fascinating,” Gallagher said. “The tradearea population, which is the portion of the population that is buying, this group is older, more educated and have a higher education, yet have a smaller household size in comparison to the rest of the city.” The study also found the median disposable income of the population is $43,094, and the highest median belongs to the 45-54 age group. “Over $95 million in unmet demand is in that area,” Gallagher said. “This means that the people who have the money to spend on goods and services in that www.toro.com area are having to go outside of it to get what they want and need. This is one of the goals www.toro.com of the NEC Revitalization Initiative, bringing in the types of
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ENIOR CITIZENS ARE THE FOCUS OF A NEW NORTH SIDE MEDICAL CENTER established by MCCI Medical Group, where the staff says they put their hearts into making patients feel comfortable and at home. MCCI Medical Group established The Legacy Medical Center on Aug. 1 in the Legacy Shopping Center, 18414 U.S. 281 North, Suite 104. Terry Hefner, the activities and events director, said the majority of patients are age 65 and above. “That’s really our primary focus, that’s where our heart is,” Hefner said. “We want the patients to feel like they’re coming to someplace special.” Legacy Medical Center is equipped with two primary-care physicians; two in-house referral coordinators, who
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MCCI Medical Group was founded in 1998 in South Florida, and moved to Texas four years ago to set up a network of primary-care doctors. It is a paperless organization, and patients’ medical records can be accessed digitally. Many patients are Humana HMO Gold Plus members, or on the Medicare HMO Advantage Plan, traditional Medicare and Humana commercial lines of business. “(We) try to manage as much as we can... always looking to save the patient money, time and stress,” Hefner said. MCCI Medical Group at the Legacy Medical Center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and closed Saturday and Sunday. MCCI Medical Group at Legacy Medical Center caters to senior citizens with primary-care doctors, an atmosphere that feels like a home, and free activities for patients and the public age 55 and older. Photos by Collette Orquiz
MCCI MEDICAL GROUP 18414 U.S. 281 North, Suite 104 For more, call 495-0222 or check out www.mccigroup.com
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LITTLE BIT OF SPICE GOES A LONG WAY AT CRAWDADS SPORTS BAR & GRILL, a Cajun- and Creolethemed destination spot opened in December by co-owner Paula McLure, her husband Brandon, and her sisters Sara Duano and Tracy Jaso. Paula McLure grew up in San Antonio, but left for 23 years, moved back to the city a year ago and married her Cajun husband. With a strong background in restaurants and the bar industry, they began looking for a place to call their own, and the location at 12333 West Ave. fell in their laps. Billed as a loud and fun sports bar, Crawdads serves up the tastes of Louisiana. “Our philosophy is we try to
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throw a party every day,” McLure said. “We try to do something fun for you to do every day.” The “Cajun pour house” features patio seating and two full bars, including the Bayou State’s Abita beers and more than 20 domestic bottled brews. McLure plans to have 18 beers on tap in the coming months. Each dish on the menu is her husband’s recipe, and made fresh daily. Items include po’ boys, gumbo, jambalaya and more. They also have crawfish boils every Saturday, and for events and holidays such as Fiesta and Cinco de Mayo. “A lot of people mistake Cajun for spicy; it’s not, it’s just exceptionally flavored,” McLure said. Hint: The Natchitoches Meat Pies are crescent-shaped, flaky pastries filled
with a savory mix of ground beef and pork with onions. This popular item originated in northern Louisiana, and is deep fried and served with hot sauce. Crawdads is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 am. to midnight Friday, 9 a.m. to midnight Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Crawdads Sports Bar & Grill brings a taste of Cajun cuisine to San Antonio with crawfish boils every Saturday night (top left), seafood po’ boys (bottom left) and tomato-and-basil bisque (above). Photos by Collette Orquiz
CRAWDADS SPORTS BAR & GRILL 12333 West Ave. For more, call 314-2339 or check out www.crawdadspourhouse.com
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