The 30th Annual Ranch Hand Breakfast and the Ranch Hand Weekend activities in historic downtown Kingsville over the weekend is being labeled a "major success" by community and business leaders and by the general public.
Thousands of people of all ages attended either the Breakfast on the legendary King Ranch on Saturday morning or the plethora of activities downtown on Friday night and Saturday, with the entire weekend capped on Saturday night by a great Steve Wariner concert at J.K. Northway Expo Center.
Visitors came from all over the state of Texas, and the parking lots contained license plates from such places as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida, New Mexcio, Colorado and a myriad of other states.
"I've talked to a number of people and they were very complimentary about the Weekend downtown," said City Councilwoman Ana Marie Torres. "They were from Bishop and Corpus Christi."
Mayor Sam Fugate agreed.
"It was a great event at both the Ranch and Downtown," Mayor Fugate said. "The staff of the Tourism Department did a wonderful job and the Ranch event was well attended."
A nice crowd participated in the Holiday Sip and Shop Wine Walk and watched the Christmas tree lighting go off without a hitch at the Train Depot on Friday night.
On Saturday morning, Nick Harrel and his son Nicholas lit the large pile of logs to start producing the coals that would heat the
At Monday evening's Kingsville City Council meeting, there was a hearing (2), an appearing, and then the city will be disappearing until 2022 after the December 13 meeting of the Council.
The meeting started with two public hearings led by Planning Director Uche Echeozo. The first hearing was seeking a replat of property located in the Paisano Creek Subdivision. The property owned by John and Dena Wensche is not physically in the city
limits (borders it), but is subject to zoning restrictions in the area. After a brief presentation by Echeozo, the hearing was closed and the city later approved the replat of the property into seven lots.
The second public hearing was a Brownfield request by Echeozo involving the old hospital on Caesar Street. The property has been identified as having asbestos in the facility, and Echeozo wanted to ask the council to apply to the Environmental Protection Agency for remediation of the site and to tear the building down. According to City Manager Mac McLaughlin, the city would seek $500,000 from the EPA, then would have to pony up the rest of the cost of the program which could exceed S1 million in total remediation costs. The public hearing was closed, and the planning department and city manager were authorized to pursue the grant while trying to determine the actual cost of the remediation project.After the hearings were over, Kingsville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Manny Salazar made a presentation outlining the beginning of a process to create a City of Kingsville Economic Development Grant Program. Salazar began his presentation by stating the program was an evolution of the current city Facade grant program, but would provide needed capital to help local businesses expand by helping with the purchase of fixed assets, or helping new businesses get started but with a firm caveat that the businesses buy locally and hire locally. In addition, the grants were not to be cash grants without severe restrictions on how the grant monies could be used. An administrative board would be set up to vet applicants for the grants, but Council would have final say and the authorization to actually approve the allocation of a specific grant request.
At the conclusion of Salazar's remarks, which were supported by City Manager Mac McLaughlin who helped in the writing the grant manual, Council Member Hector Hinojosa immediately went on the attack to oppose the program.Hinojosa aggressively tore into the proposal, stating: "I don't think the Chamber should be in control of the money...I think our Finance Department knows finance better than anybody on the Chamber board." Hinojosa continued to rail against the proposal, and Salazar tried to assure him the proposal was a work in progress, and anything the Council members wanted input or wanted change--could still be done. Salazar and the City Manager strongly encouraged the Council to offer any input or suggestions on the proposal.Finally, Mayor Sam Fugate stepped in to stop the mayhem, and it was ultimately decided to have a work session in December to deal with Council questions and concerns and try to come to an agreement on how to put the program together. The Council also agreed to approve $25,000 to help for the Wings Over South Texas Air Show at Naval Air Station Kingsville on April 2 and 3 in 2022. City Manager McLaughlin said the city has always paid cash and donated in-kind services for the show, and that the city had budgeted $50,000 for next year. Both the Mayor and City Manager pointed out the money would be well spent as the Air Show brings in well over $100,000 in use and sales tax revenue when it is held.
It was announced that slain Kingsville Police Department Officer Sherman Benys will be the Grand Marshall for this year's La Posada parade. This posthumous honor will feature the Grand Marshall car but no one will be in the car. The family has approved this honor.
The next city council meeting will be held on December 13 and will be the last meeting of the year for Council.
The Kleberg County Commissioners Court met in regular session on Monday, November 22 and had a relatively "normal" business meeting until the very end of the session. That's when the subject of the county redistricting maps that affect county commissioners' districts and voter polling precincts came up.
It was clear from the very beginning of the discussion that the entire board was unhappy with the maps and the lack of input they had in the drawing of those precincts.
"I want to make it clear for the record that this is not what the board wanted to have happen," County Judge Rudy Madrid firmly stated. "Due to the mandates of the 2020 Census, we had to redraw our districts based on population and other demographics but we had virtually no notice or opportunity to discuss this or have input on this.
"On November 1st we received a letter from the Secretary of State's Office informing us we had to approve the maps being put together by Raven Public Affairs by November 13th. We had no input on what the districts might look like or how we could try and keep voters voting at the places they have always voted at but we weren't given the opportunity by the state or the Feds. We chose to approve these maps just so we could stay in compliance with the state.
"I've talked to other County Judges and they tell me they all feel the same way we do."
While the Judge was speaking, the other boards members were nodding their head in agreement.
On Monday, November 29, the Commissioners Court will vote to approve the maps one more time to have it certified by the Secretary of the State and then will inform the elections department of the new polling precinct lines. The board is urging everyone in the area to review the maps which are on the inside back page of this week's Kingsville Record and contact them before next Monday's meeting if they have questions.
In other business, the county decided to share its Appraisal Board appointment votes equally between Roy Cantu and Daniel Morales. This means Morales will continue to serve the county on the Appraisal Board. One Commissioner said "He's done an excellent job for us over the years" while the appointment of Cantu will give the Riviera-Ricardo area a seat on the board for the first time in a few years. Judge Madrid said it was an injustice that the area had not had a seat at the table in two years.
The Judge also had good news on the COVID-19 front as he informed the Commissioners the green light has been given to have all people 18 years and older the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine booster, and that the county was ready and able to vaccinate all kids 5 and up.
"Plus, it doesn't matter if you had the Pfizer shots and get the Moderna booster or vice versa," Judge Madrid said. "That's just great news for the county. We'll even bring the boosters to you," he added. "If your business or school wants the boosters, we'll bring it. If you're old and can't get out of the house, we'll bring it to you." In one other piece of business, the Court agreed to allow Data Projection out of San Antonio to house Kleberg County purchased-equip ment in their San Antonio Office until the Kleberg County Emergency Operations Center is completed at J.K. Northway Expo Center.
"They will receive the equipment we have ordered then they inspect for us before then accept shipment," said Commissioner Chuck Schultz. "That's a win-win for us."