News Bulletin Castroville • La Coste
MV takes silver at state track meet Page 8
Meet the new, more efficient public works department Page 3
Thursday, May 16, 2013 Castroville, Texas
Public works move sent back to airport advisory board James Armstrong Staff Writer Optimists would say the Castroville City Council has appropriately hit the reset button on moving the public works yards, pessimists would say that now we’re back to square one. Tuesday, the city council tasked the Airport Advisory Board with determining the appropriate location, if any, for a public works yard on the airport grounds. The final vote was far
from unanimous, with the city council voting 3-2 to approve the motion from Councilman Jeff Gardner. Members Sammy Tschirhart and Kyle McVay were two dissenting votes. Earlier, Tschirhart made a motion to completely rule out moving the yard to the airport. That motion failed for lack of a second. The meeting began with almost a dozen public comments related to airport issues. Speakers voiced their
disapproval of the firing of Clif Eissler as airport manager and called for more communication with airport tenants regarding the yard relocation. At least three of the speakers also found Eissler’s appeal process was unfair. City Administrator Paul Hofmann, whom speakers said presided over Eissler’s firing, made the final decision on appeal. Eissler himself attended the public comments portion
but did not speak. The meeting also saw discussion on renovating the current public works yard on Paris Street. City staff had been directed to produce the estimates at the April 9 meeting. The only official estimate from Arthur Lee Homes would renovate the existing building for $208,100, excluding concrete work to address flooding issues. The company submitted a $264,538 estimate to construct a new build-
ing on site. Public Services Director Kim Davis said her staff adjusted the estimate to exclude non-essential items like HVAC to bring the final price down to $183,000. Councilman Eric Cherry’s motion postponing action on the estimates carried 4-1 with Tschirhart opposing. Mayor Bob Lee, who said he originally supported the move to the airport, said the ensuing debate and public disapproval helped change his mind.
In a memo to city staff, Lee expressed his continued belief that the city should cancel moving the yard, improve the street view of the current facility and await a facilities master plan. Tschirhart agreed, saying the yard had been used for over 60 years and a few more would be acceptable. The debate dates back to Feb. 12 when the council voted to move the Paris Street public works yard to the airport grounds.
Bulletin founder remembered Alicia Ramirez Staff Writer In 1958, Joseph Lawrence Schott and his wife Bobbi moved back to Castroville after being away for a couple of years and founded The Castroville News Bulletin, at that time called the Medina Valley and County News Bulletin. Schott passed away last Friday at his home in Castroville with his wife of 57 years by his side. He left behind a legacy of journalism that started when he used to hitch rides to San Antonio to work in the sports department at the San Antonio Light. The year was 1946 and Schott was still in middle school. “He was an idea man,” Schott’s wife said. “He could come up with ideas off the top of his hat. He was just a real idea man and he loved interacting with the people. He always had a smile on his face and never met a stranger.” Schott met his future wife when she was 14 and he was 19. Soon after meeting her, he was drafted into the Army, but returned to Castroville to marry her two years later. “He was one of the most kind people I have ever met and that’s why we started dating because he was just so kind to me when I was about 14 and treated me so nicely that I couldn’t help but fall in love with him,” she said. “Then we got married when I was 16 and he was 21 and we’ve been together ever since.”
Joe L. Schott Soon after getting married, the two moved to Petersburg, Virginia where Schott was stationed and worked as editor of the Ft. Lee Traveler. During his time in the northeast, they also established the Richmond News Leader, which covered the news in the suburbs of Petersburg before heading back to Castroville in 1958. “When we came home, we realized that there was no newspaper here in Castroville, so we decided that we were going to start one,” Schott said. “We borrowed $5,000 and started the paper and just treated it like a child and we really got involved with it.” When they started the Bulletin, Schott was still working fulltime at the San Antonio Light as a reporter and would come back to Castroville late at night to work on the paper behind Schott’s Supermarket. “We eventually got over to the office where [the paper]
used to be and it started to grow pretty good,” Schott said. “We had our troubles here and there and if you did something that people didn’t like, they’d threaten to cancel their subscription, even though at the time we didn’t have subscriptions, so we thought that was something.” One thing that the paper was known for was its sports coverage, as remembered by former Medina County Commissioner Beverly Keller. “They did such a good job covering the local school sporting events and that was where I probably paid the most attention to it because I was a cheerleader,” she said. “They were always featuring the sporting events and cheerleaders and stuff.” For Keller, having a hometown newspaper in a town the size of Castroville was special because it reported not only on the stories that the San Antonio papers would pick up on, but also on the events and clubs that were active in the community. “I think that [the Schotts] seemed to care so much about the community and always wanted to report the good things that were going on and rarely do I remember much of anything negative in the paper and that was just part of being a small town newspaper, trying to do good reporting, but always highlighting the good things that
End of the run Above, Coach J.D. Beltran talks with the Panther team after their elimination at the hands of the Moody Trojans in the Regional Quarterfinals. Below, Blake Owen rolls a pair when it was broken up with the slide by Rio Grande. Both teams were knocked out of the playoffs. (Photos by Janine Modgling and Andy Keller)
See ‘Schott’ on Page 3
Food fair draws over 100 families James Armstrong Staff Writer Cars lined up almost four blocks May 10 as part of a food fair organized by the Castroville Ministerium. Volunteers arrived in Houston Square at 8:30 a.m. to set up tables and await the arrival of a food truck from the San Antonio Food Bank. As the event was wrapping up around noon, over 100 cars had passed through to collect food. A survey of the first 50 cars found that nearly all of them were picking up supplies for two families. One of the recipients, Jessica, is living off of a Social Security disability income and said hunger was a major issue in Medina County.
“It’s hard to find anything out here and there is a real need for a lot more,” Jessica said. Jessica found out about the Castroville event after receiving an e-mail from the food bank. Despite the hardship, Jessica said there are people worse off than her and that she would like to volunteer at future food fairs. Previous attempts to find help by dialing 211, a Texas Heath and Human Services department service, yielded no results. “I called 211, I gave them my zip code, [the operator] said, ‘I don’t have anything in my database for you,’” Jessica said. “She said, ‘I don’t know what to tell you.”
Jessica is also on food stamps and said things will get tougher when school ends and her children, ages 10 and 13, will not get breakfast and lunch. “I’ll eat last but I need to get food for my children,” she said. Theresa Standage, one of the organizers with the Wesley Nurse Ministries in Hondo, said while area residents are on food stamps much of that money only amounts to $8 to $16 at a time. “There is a perception problem,” Standage said. “[People] think, ‘Well they’re getting food stamps so they’re taken care of.’ That is not true.”
Standage said the goal was to hold a food fair in the county every month. The next city serviced will be D’Hanis in June followed by a July event in LaCoste. The food bank truck arrived over an hour late due to a morning storm that knocked the power out at its station. Janie Brock, a board member with the Medina County Food Pantry, said she and other volunteers would have helped out even if it were pouring rain, just like the postal service. “God is good, it could have been raining but it stopped for us to do this,” she said.
Volunteers unload supplies from a San Antonio Food Bank truck May 10 in Houston Square. The truck’s arrival was delayed, leading organizers to distribute donations of bread to waiting vehicles beforehand. (Photo by James Armstrong)
Former airport manager’s reinstatement claim denied James Armstrong Staff Writer City Administrator Paul Hofmann upheld the decision to fire Airport Manager Clif Eissler May 9. Eissler had filed an appeal of his firing April 25
and met with Hofmann in person May 1 to make his case for reinstatement. “He made some statements as to why he thinks he should not have been terminated, Hofmann said. “We followed up on those statements and investigat-
ed those statements and then responded.” Administrative Services Director Marie Gelles conducted interviews with city employees regarding the matter. Eissler was informed of Hofmann’s decision by
e-mail. Eissler was fired by Public Services Director Kim Davis April 19 after having served as airport manager for three years. The city is currently collecting applications in the search for a new
airport manager. Phil Andrews, a retired Air Force colonel, was hired to fill the position on an interim basis April 19 after being referred to the city by the Alamo Area Council of Governments. Andrews is one of the applicants for
the position. Hofmann, who will decide who to hire as the new airport manager, said they hope to conduct interviews by the end of the month.