Local News Headlines–6/29/2016

Shortly after midnight, College Station police responded to the area of Cherry Street and College Main for a robbery. Three women say they were approached by a man who displayed an electronic device that they believed to be a Tazer. The suspect demanded their wallets, but they ran and did not give him any property. The victims described the suspect as white or Hispanic with an unshaven face and a mustache. He was wearing a gray t-shirt and baggie jeans.

Around the same time at the intersection of Graham Road and Victoria Road, a College Station police officer conducted a traffic stop. According to the report, the officer saw a backpack in the passenger seat floorboard and asked the driver and received consent to search the vehicle and all contents. During the search, the officer found several ID’s and credit cards belonging to an individual other than the two in the vehicle. After further investigation, it was found that the driver, 19-year-old Ronald Swede of College Station, had burglarized a vehicle and stolen a purse and he was arrested. The passenger was not arrested, but the case is still under investigation.

Bryan police officers responded to a collision at highway 30 and FM 158 shortly after 1:00 yesterday afternoon. According to the report, a Chevy car traveling westbound on FM 158 failed to yield right of way turning left onto Harvey Road and struck a city garbage truck traveling eastbound on Boonville Road. The garbage truck veered off the roadway, striking a light pole on the northeast corner of the intersection, which knocked out the signal light. Both drivers were transported to local hospitals and are considered to have non-life threatening injuries.

Last week there was a background hearing on a new piece of legislation addressing issues surrounding the mandates of renewable fuel. Congressman Bill Flores of Bryan is one of four representatives to introduce the legislation that he says limits the Renewable Fuel Standard mandate to levels that our nation’s small engines can safely handle. Flores says gasoline consisting of more than ten percent ethanol can be detrimental to small engines including cars, boats and even lawn mowers. Flores says the issue started in 2005 when congress started to mandate ethanol production and had it blended into the gasoline supply. He says the gasoline supply has flattened out, but the ethanol amounts keep increasing. Flores says experts have looked at the environmental impact of corn ethanol and found it to be worse for the environment than regular gasoline. He says the use of corn for ethanol has also spiked food prices. He says the proposed bill will fix the issue and come up with a market based solution.

Local News Headlines–6/28/2016

The College Station school board has called a special meeting tonight to sell and purchase land. Six years ago, C-S-I-S-D purchased almost 24 acres at the southeast corner of Holleman and Deacon as a future school site. Administrators are now asking the board to sell that land in order to purchase almost 19 acres to the south at the northwest corner of Holleman and Rock Prairie. C-S-I-S-D would pay $3-million. What the district would get from selling the other property has not been disclosed. The district has also not revealed the buyer, who went through a bid process. The move would shift the future school site from The Barracks to the Oak Creek subdivision.

For the first time since 2001, Brazos County commissioners will be considering changes in its subdivision regulations. County engineer Alan Munger says it reflects the changes in the type of residential construction outside of city limits the past 15 years and mostly mirrors the requirements for residential streets in Bryan and College Station. Munger says the proposal takes into account future highway needs around the twin cities. The draft also gives county commissioners the option of participating in the infrastructure costs of future developments and establishing a fee schedule to pay for county reviews and inspections. The proposal calls for five different types of roadways, three in urban locations and two in rural areas, but does not specifically require concrete pavement. The draft also calls for creating fire protection requirements and requiring cluster mailboxes in future subdivisions located outside city limits in Brazos County. The 108 page draft will be considered by county commissioners after the July fourth holiday.

Now that the Supreme Court has had its say rejecting provisions of the state’s abortion law, state republican lawmakers are already talking about their next move. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick remains furious over the Supreme Court’s handling of the Texas abortion law. Patrick says they’ll revisit the issue in the Texas senate. Democrat state senator Donna Howard said their job will be to anticipate and counter any Republican efforts. The issue is expected to come before the state legislature again in 2017.

College Station police are looking for a man accused of assaulting an elderly man over an argument about a parking space. According to the report, the assault happened on Sunday night. The elderly man had injuries from being slapped or punched in the face, but did not require medical treatment. The unknown suspect is described as a white man, average build, sandy blonde hair, about 40 years old and was driving a white truck. Anyone with information about the incident in the 1800 block of Potomac Place is asked to contact CSPD.

Local News Headlines–6/27/2016

The City of College Station celebrated Fire Chief Eric Hurt’s career Friday. Hurt announced his retirement last month after 35 years with the department. Hurt says the department has come a long way since he joined in 1981. The College Station Fire Department recently became only one of seven in the state of Texas to be accredited by the International Association of Accreditation for Fire Services. June 30th is Chief Hurt’s last day.

D-P-S troopers were involved in a high speed chase Saturday night that started in Wixon Valley and ended in Bryan when the S-U-V went airborne and crashed. According to the arrest report, 65-year-old John Webber the second of Bryan was ejected but was found alert and lying on the pavement with road rash. Webber had to be held down to be handcuffed and to wait for an ambulance. At the hospital, Webber told troopers he had consumed alcohol and smoked marijuana that was likely laced with cocaine. No one was else was injured during the pursuit on Highway 21 that troopers said exceeded 100 miles per hour.

A softball game Saturday evening at Sue Haswell Park in Bryan ended abruptly when one of the players pulled out a handgun from his waistband and pointed it at the head of another player. According to the arrest report from Bryan police, 30-year-old Crispin Urbano, Junior stepped into a dispute between the batter and the first baseman and pointed the gun at the first baseman. No shots were fired and no was injured. Urbano was found at his house. After initially telling police he pointed a pocket knife, according to the arrest report Urbano’s wife was going to ask their 11-year-old daughter tell police what happened. Urbano then admitted to pulling out a gun and showing police where he had hid the .380 semi-automatic pistol.

Repairs to the freeway’s Briarcrest overpass, which was hit a week ago today, could start next month. State inspectors have determined one beam needs to be replaced and a second needs to be repaired. That’s after a semi hauling an excavator that was too tall hit the bridge. The TxDOT district office in Bryan reports working on an emergency contract where a contractor could be hired within three weeks. The state will pay for the repairs, estimated at between $500,000 and $600,000, and then seek reimbursement from what TxDOT describes as the responsible party.

Local News Headlines–6/24/2016

Arrests have been made in the murder of a 26-year-old Bryan man two months ago. Luis Enrique Ibarra was shot at his apartment on April 20th at the April Court Townhomes on Carter Creek. Initial reports stated it did not appear to be a random act. A relative of Ibarra’s was also assaulted during the incident. Last week, direct indictments were issued for three Bryan men, all who have been arrested, 19-year-old Zaquarius Glover, 26-year-old Robert Jones and 30-year-old Brandon Reed. Due to the indictment, the details of the case have not been released.

For the fourth time, Blinn College has been given state funding that can provide students the money to pay for two years of education. Spokesman Richard Bray says new, transfer, and current Blinn students can apply for their piece of the $400,000 pie. Up to $5,000 is available to each qualifying student taking science and technology courses. Bray says the application deadline for the T-STEM scholarship is July 12th.

A church playground was the setting of an apparent attempted kidnapping reported to Bryan police. Officer Kelley McKethan says a ten-year-old girl playing with two friends says a man tried to pull her off playground equipment outside First United Methodist Church. The children were not taking part in a church activity at the time. The ten-year-old kicked the man and pulled out his cell phone. That caused the man to leave. The children went to the church to tell their parents.

Before too long, motorists in south College Station will start dealing with changes to cross the railroad. County engineer Alan Munger says at the new Greens Prairie Trail extension west of Wellborn, Union Pacific is installing crossing arms and warning signals. Munger also says TxDOT will be improving the intersection of Wellborn and Greens Prairie Trail. As part of closing railroad crossings at Straub and Wade Roads, Munger says the county and College Station is working on a quiet zone from Greens Prairie Trail south to Duck Haven. Munger says when the Greens Prairie Trail extension is open U-P will close the crossing at Straub. The crossing at Wade will remain open through the end of the year.

Local News Headlines–6/23/2016

Motorists in and around the twin cities are experiencing traffic delays. One involves those who use Highway 30 at the Navasota River. The TxDOT district office in Bryan reports a backup continues today while the pavement is being resurfaced. There is only one lane traffic that will be guided by pilot vehicles. Another local backup is on the freeway for northbound traffic approaching Briarcrest. One northbound lane will be closed today to examine damage after a too tall load hit the overpass on Monday. TxDOT expects the lane to reopen in time for the afternoon commute. The city of Bryan reports Sulphur Springs Street between Texas and South College closes today for three weeks to replace the street surface. And, on Highway 21 east of Madisonville, TxDOT says there will be one lane of traffic from 6 pm until 6 am tonight and again Sunday night.

For the 23rd year, the Bryan Rotary Club has recognized the ten fastest growing small businesses based in Brazos County. Club president Cathy Hastedt was among those congratulating the winners of the local business performance awards. Topping this year’s list, with a three year sales growth of 441 percent, was Pitman Custom Homes. The lifetime business achievement award went to Texas Commercial Waste and the rising star award went to Dr. James Monroe of Texas Thermal Expansion Solutions.

College Station’s new curbside recycling program is making an impact on reducing the amount of trash going to the landfill. Deputy City Manager Chuck Gilman says ten percent of residents are participating, compared with four percent a year ago. From January through April, 778 tons of recyclables were collected. That’s compared with 275 tons during the same period last year.

Earlier this week, a federal judge ruled against Obama administration rules regulating fracking on federal land. Congressman Bill Flores of Bryan, a retired energy company executive, pointed out the judge was an Obama appointee. Flores has reintroduced legislation that recognizes states’ authority to regulate fracking on federal land. And, Flores anticipates more successful legal challenges to what he calls the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach.

Local News Headlines–6/22/2016

A two vehicle crash in Bryan Monday night claimed the life of a Somerville woman. Police report a car driven by the victim, 52-year-old Margaret Alexander, was rear-ended by an S-U-V on Highway 47. Both vehicles spun and struck a concrete barrier. The other driver did not require medical attention, and the crash remains under investigation.

The Bryan school board is adding almost $4-million to employee pay next year. Two months after the board adopted a new merit pay system for teachers, the board Monday night approved next year’s raises. After a nearly hour long executive session, the board unanimously voted to give a three-percent raise for qualifying administrators, professional, paraprofessional, and auxiliary positions. The Bryan board also selected the next principal at M-C Harris alternative school.  Michael Watts has held a similar position in Brenham. The M-C Harris position also includes a new middle school alternative program.

College Station school board members last night approved pay raises for next year of two-and-a-half percent for all employees. Board members were also told the effective pay increase for teachers will be two-percent, due to state legislation phasing in an increase of teachers contribution to their retirement plan.

Brazos County commissioners have approved an application to pursue grant money for an early flood warning system on a well-traveled county road east of Bryan. County engineer Alan Munger says the application was in the works before last month’s severe storms. If approved, signs and flashing lights could come to Elmo Weedon Road over Wickson Creek. The equipment will measure water depth and activate warning lights when the road is impassable. Munger says they’re in the process of making permanent repairs from damage caused by last month’s flooding. Munger says a combination of county employees and private companies will take care of what could be at least a million dollars of repairs along with this summer’s list of road and bridge projects.

A global technology company that began in the twin cities is expanding to the bio corridor’s ATLAS master planned community.  ATLAS principal Spencer Clements says ViaSat, which bought out the company Net Near You, will start building its 80-thousand square foot Texas headquarters a year from now. ViaSat’s corporate campus, at H-S-C Parkway and Traditions Drive, will house more than two hundred employees. Clements says ViaSat is the first corporation on the College Station side of the ATLAS development, joining Texas A&M’s pandemic influenza facility.

Local News Headlines–6/21/2016

A semi hauling an excavator too tall to clear the bridge on the Rudder Freeway struck the Briarcrest overpass in Bryan yesterday afternoon. Bryan police report a piece of concrete fell and struck a van. The driver was injured but did not seek medical treatment. For more than 11 hours, northbound traffic had to get off at the Briarcrest exit, and the northbound on ramps were closed at Harvey and University. Eastbound traffic on Briarcrest was down to one lane while repairs were made.

The Texas Department of Transportation is hosting two public meetings this month to receive citizen feedback on upcoming projects. The purpose of the first meeting this afternoon in Bryan is to receive comments on the Rural Transportation Improvement Project, or TIP. Spokesman Bob Colwell says the TIP is a mechanism used by TxDOT and the Federal Highway Administration to fund projects for the next four years. Colwell says the district counties include Brazos, Burleson, Freestone, Grimes, Leon, Madison, Milam, Robertson, Walker and Washington counties. Colwell says today’s meeting is at the Bryan District office on North Earl Rudder Freeway from 3:00 until 5:00. The second public meeting, a week from Thursday night in Navasota, will present the proposed preliminary design for the construction of the Aggie Expressway officially known as Highway 249 from FM 1774 to Highway 105 in Grimes County. Doors open at 5:30 at the Navasota Junior High School.

The Texas Reds Festival has announced its headline entertainment for its tenth anniversary year. Rodney Crowell will be performing Saturday and Ray Wylie Hubbard on Sunday, September 24th and 25th. Sandy Farris of the Downtown Bryan Association says 30 more entertainers will also be performing during the festival. New to the festival will be a Sunday steak and egg brunch in the area where the steaks are served on Saturday night. And, there will be a first-time kickoff dinner at Messina Hof Winery and Resort on the Thursday night, September 23rd, before the festival.

Local News Headlines–6/20/2016

A Bryan woman was killed yesterday morning in a two vehicle crash on Harvey Mitchell Parkway near Villa Maria. Bryan police reported a southbound car was driving in the northbound lanes when it struck a pickup. The driver, 83-year-old Toshiko Bessette, died at the scene. The driver of the pickup was taken to a hospital with serious but not life threatening injuries. The roadway was closed for approximately four hours.

A week from now, phone calls will begin asking for opinions about what should be included in a Y-M-C-A. College Station city councilman Karl Mooney is a member of the advisory council recruiting the Houston Y to open branches in both Bryan and College Station. Results of the survey are expected on August first.

A rare community meeting involving the state agency that regulates residential care facilities took place this month, involving a facility for eight through 17 year old boys northeast of Bryan. State Representative Kyle Kacal says he gathered the interested parties due to a disturbing number of criminal occurrences around Everyday Life Boys Ranch. Kacal says he wants to ensure the safety of the neighbors and hold the ranch to state standards. Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk says deputies respond to calls from the ranch as well as the neighborhood. Kirk says at the ranch last year deputies detained 28 residents and responded to 31 reports of runaways which led to neighbors’ complaints of trespassing. Bryan School District Superintendent Tommy Wallis says there have been more days than not that a ranch resident in the fourth through 12th grade is involved in an incident at any of seven affected schools. The incidents range from classroom disruptions to assaults. Julie Moody of the Department of Family and Protective Services, the agency that regulates the ranch, says they met with law enforcement and the ranch in 2013 over many of the same issues. Ranch founder Cedrick Payton, who has been with the family owned facility since it began in 2001, says he was unaware and surprised at what he heard. Payton says he wants a good working relationship with his neighbors. Kacal says he is hopeful there is a mutually beneficial resolution for all the parties involved.

A fire in Bryan yesterday looked worse than it really was. Fire Chief Randy McGregor says an oil tank fire was extinguished behind a nursing home west of Blinn College. No one was injured and residents of the Lampstand nursing home were not evacuated. Firefighters from Bryan and College Station spent 30 minutes to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire has not been determined.

Local News Headlines–6/17/2016

A construction worker at the site of new Texas A&M student housing at George Bush and Penberthy was taken to the hospital yesterday after he was knocked off a piece of construction equipment into a 10 foot deep hole. University Police Lieutenant Allan Baron says the victim was operating equipment that was boring a hole under Penberthy. College Station fire department Battalion Chief Greg Rodgers says the rescue of the worker who was pinned by heavy equipment in the hole went fairly smoothly. Rodgers says many hands were involved in lifting the worker up a ladder and out of the hole. The worker was taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries. His condition is not known.

Habitat for Humanity is about more than building houses, and as a result this weekend, one local family’s home is getting a face lift. For over 25 years, Habitat for Humanity has provided affordable homes to families in Bryan College Station. What some don’t know is they also offer revitalization services. “A Brush with Kindness” is part of Habitat for Humanity’s revitalization program. Development Coordinator, Ashley Burk says the focus is on the outside of the home. Burk says volunteers can paint, do landscaping and perform other small repairs. Burk says Girl Scout Troop 9036, habitat home owners and other volunteers will be working on the home in the McCullough neighborhood tomorrow morning. More information on applying for the “A Brush with Kindness” program or volunteering for Habitat for Humanity is online.

Congressman Bill Flores says the Orlando shooting was an attack on all Americans. Flores says the Orlando shooting points out the weaknesses of the United States’ ability to deal with radical Islamic terrorism and the lack of a clear plan to deal with the problem. Flores points to a failed Middle East policy by President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that expanded what the congressman described as radical Islamic terrorist philosophy.

Local News Headlines–6/16/2016

A 25-year-old man was hit by a train in College Station early yesterday morning. A spokesman for Union Pacific railroad identifies the man as a trespasser who was walking south along the tracks parallel to Wellborn near Holleman about five am. U-P says the man, who was wearing headphones, did attempt to get out of the way of the oncoming train. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. No one on the train was injured and the 110 car grain train headed to Houston did not derail.

A College Station home near Barron and Alexandria was the scene of a D-P-S search early Tuesday morning. Two men who live at the home on Mullins Loop South and two people from Bryan were arrested on felony charges of possessing methamphetamine and other controlled substances. According to the arrest report, one of those inside dumped a large plastic bag full of meth into a toilet as officers were approaching the home. The search yielded nine syringes loaded with meth, hundreds of used syringes throughout the home, and other drugs and paraphernalia. The occupants who were arrested were identified as 25-year-old Kristofor Edwards and 37-year-old Reagan Cole. Also arrested were 27-year-old Devin Coleman and 20-year-old Hannah Barton.

Victims of last month’s severe weather can apply for federal assistance at a FEMA disaster recovery center in Bryan starting tomorrow at noon. The center is located on the Bryan High School blue campus. FEMA spokeswoman Robin Smith says victims could qualify for what’s considered by Congress basic items to be safe and sanitary. The center will also be staffed by representatives of the group Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster.

College Station police arrest four men after determining they traded gunfire during a two vehicle chase after a pound and a half of marijuana was purchased with $4,300 in counterfeit money. The arrest reports noted no injuries from the incident. The suspects told police the counterfeit money was to buy an Xbox console. Two men from Lufkin, 18-year-old Kendall Bryant and 19-year-old Chadwick Garrett, were arrested for having the marijuana and the counterfeit money. Two men from Iola, 22-year-old Richard Russell and 23-year-old Denzel Edwards, were arrested for using their car to ram the S-U-V driven by the other men at least four times.

The Hastings store in Bryan remains open after the company files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But there are new restrictions. From the Hastings website, their gift cards expire July 13th. The company’s buyback program has been suspended, it no longer rents games, and they will no longer accept or honor deposits for movie purchases.