Island Leftovers

September 21, 2017 | Issue #701

When Evelyn Pless-Schuberth’s grandson was about to visit she thought about buying beach toys for him to play with. But then on her morning walks on the Michael J. Ellis Seawall she kept noticing that a ready supply of toys were left behind each week by visitors who didn’t take them home.

“Mostly on Sunday and Monday,” she says.

So she began collecting them and even after she got enough for her grandson she kept right on and before she knew it she had a small mountain of sandy but gently used toys collected in her condo. When Evelyn caught a plane for Berlin this week she left her collection behind and wants to donate them to kids headed for the beach. If you are interested call us here at the Moon office and a bucket, a shovel, and sandcastle-making mold can be yours.

 

 

Adopt-a-Beach This Saturday

September 21, 2017 | Issue #701

 

The annual Adopt-A-Beach cleanup sponsored by the Texas General Land Office will be held this week at three locations around the Coastal Bend. No cleanup is scheduled at Port Aransas or San Jose Island due to large debris left by Hurricane Harvey. GLO officials said cleanups in those areas were cancelled due to federal rules which prohibit volunteers from working alongside contractors working at the sites.

 

Volunteers can sign up to help clean the beaches at www.TexasAdoptABeach.org or show up on-site Saturday morning to take part in a fun-filled day at the beach that makes a difference. The event begins at 8:30 a.m. and lasts until noon.

 

 Locations in the Coastal Bend are:

Baffin Bay

 Kaufer-Hubert Park, FM 628 by the observation tower

Contact: Letty Couch

361-522-9861

letty.couch@texasadoptabeach.org

Padre Balli Park

Padre Balli Park Office, 15820 Park Road 22

Contact: John Vaughn

361-779-0477

john.vaughn@texasadoptabeach.org

Jim Needham—Surfrider Foundation

james.needham@texasadoptabeach.org

Padre Island National Seashore

Malaquite Visitor Center, 20420 Park Rd 22

Contact: William “Buzz” Botts

361-949-8068

361-949-8069

buzz.botts@texasadoptabeach.org

 

The Texas Adopt-A-Beach program began in the fall of 1986, when 2,800 volunteers picked up 124 tons of trash.  Since then, more than 512,000 volunteers have removed more than 9,495 tons of trash from Texas beaches. Each volunteer will be given data cards, gloves, pencils and trash bags. All volunteers are advised to wear closed-toe shoes, bring sunscreen and plenty of drinking water. The Texas General Land Office Adopt-A-Beach cleanups are held rain or shine!

 

Texans who are not able to attend the cleanup can help keep their beaches clean by making a tax-deductible donation online at www.TexasAdoptABeach.org. There are several different Adopt-A-Beach sponsorship levels ranging from $25 to $25,000, allowing both individuals and corporations to contribute to this major cleanup effort.

 

 

Everyone who signs up online and checks in at their cleanup location will be entered to win an RTIC Soft Pack 20 cooler or one of three 64-ounce stainless steel bottles. The random drawing will take place after the cleanup. Winners will be contacted directly.

 

 

To learn more about the Adopt-A-Beach program, visit www.TexasAdoptABeach.org or contact the GLO at 1-877-TXCOAST. Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/texasadoptabeach or follow us on Twitter @TXAdoptABeach.

 

 

 

Harvey is Good News and Bad News for Packery Channel

September 7, 2017 | Issue #699

 

The six-foot tide that washed over North Padre Island during Hurricane Harvey was a mixed blessing for Packery Channel.

 

The good news is that the outgoing water, pushed by the northwesterly wind moved out the sand that had accumulated in the mouth of the channel reducing the depth to about four feet and posing a hazard for boaters. A check of the channel Tuesday found the depth to be about seven feet through the channel inside the Packery Bridge on State Highway 361 and seven to ten feet from the bridge to the opening of the channel into the Gulf.  The Island Strategic Action Committee which had been pushing for a dredging project in 2018 told city staff at their Tuesday meeting to proceed to with permitting for the dredging next year but the project may now be unneeded.

 

The bad news is that the rushing water did serious damage to the Packery jetties, particularly the south jetty where the water destroyed the rip rap that lined the channel, in some spots hollowing out the sand under the adjacent walkway.

City officials to the ISAC Tuesday that while estimates are still preliminary the cost of repair is estimated at around $2 million.

 

 

Schlitterbahn in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

September 7, 2017 | Issue #699

 

By Dale Rankin

Schlitterbahn Riverpark and Resort Padre Island is in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Judge Craig Gargotta in the Western District of Texas ruled Tuesday morning in San Antonio to place the troubled park into reorganization and is set to appoint a trustee to oversee a reorganization plan which must be in place by December 4. If not, according to Gargotta’s ruling Axys Capital Credit which holds a lean against 270 acres surrounding the park will be allowed to foreclose on the property and sell it at auction on December 5. Axys had requested that the land be separated from an Involuntary Bankruptcy filing by companies owned by the Henry family, owners of Schlitterbahn waterparks so it could be sold immediately, that request was denied, but his decision to appoint a trustee was a move to push the partners, who have been at loggerheads for over a year, toward a resolution that will put the park on stable financial footing going forward.

 

Testimony at the four-day trial in San Antonio was that if Axys was allowed to foreclose on the land then the primary lender in the project IBC Bank could call a separate note for $28 million on the waterpark likely forcing it to close while new owners were sought. To avoid that outcome Gargotta gave the partners until the December 4 date to come up with a reorganization plan.

 

At one point in the hearing in San Antonio, Gargotta asked Deborah Williamson, a lawyer for Gary Henry, if selling property would be the solution.

“At the end of the day, the only way this is going to work is if something is sold,” she answered. “And the park may be the one that is easier to sell. It may be easier to attract capital because it is an operating entity.”

 

The problems began when the builders of the park, Henry Brothers Construction, added on to the size of the building at the park from an original plan calling for less than thirty separate “treehouse” rooms to the current 92-room facility which increased the cost of the development from the original $28 million to over $58 million forcing the owners, Upper Padre Partners to raise an additional capital leading to the borrowing of $18 million from Axys using the land as collateral.

 

Accoridng to court filings from Axys attorneys, “Cash flow from the Debter (UPP) operations is insufficient to repay obligations on any reasonable, confirmable basis. The Henrys control the management of the Debtor’s general partner and, as a result, the Debtor. For all practical purposes, the Debtor has a dysfunctional management and is incapable of effective operations.”

Garotta’s solution was to appoint a trustee to work with the partners and find a long-term solution.

 

The trustee, yet to be named, along with the Henry family who own two-thirds of the park, and developer Paul Schexnailder whose company owns one-third, must now decide whether to sell some or all of the interest in the park and surrounding land or find an investor or lender to provide about an estimated $10 million to bring the park up to the original design specifications.

 

Schexnailder said after the hearing that while the park is an integral part of a 500 acre, 552 acre development it is not the main focus of the project.

 

“This is a project much bigger than just a waterpark,” he said. “The park is part of something much bigger and that project is continuing.”

 

He was referring to a planned 3600 foot Beach Walk development with retail and commercial elements which would connect the current canal system to Lake Padre and the Gulf of Mexico through the planned Water Exchange Bridge under SPID. The canals to each side of the bridge site are dug and bulkheads in place on the Lake Padre side. However, work to excavate the canal to connect with the existing canal near Cruiser Street near Whitecap was halted Wednesday by order of the City of Corpus Christi over permitting issues.

 

The Chapter 11 ruling is not expected to have an impact on park operations as plans call for the waterpark to close during the winter season, as it has in previous years, and re-open in the spring.

 

“The judge understood that this park is important to the future of The Island,” Schexnailder said, “and this ruling allows us to keep it operating as we look for a long term solution.”

 

 

Island Birds Lose Their Best Friend

September 7, 2017 | Issue #699

 

Since 1978 when anyone found an injured bird or turtle on Mustang, Padre, or San Jose, islands there was always someone there to help. Port Aransas resident and founder of the Animal Rescue Keep at the University of Texas Marine Science Center Tony Amos would answer the call and rescue marine wildlife and take it to the ARK for rehabilitation and release, or in the case of some long-living injured turtles who could not be released into the wild provide them a permanent residence.

 

Amos passed away Monday at a hospice in San Antonio after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. He was born in London and grew up on the island of Bermuda and his career as a naturalist began as a research scientist in Physical Oceanography at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory in New York and took him on 35 voyages Antarctic and to every ocean on 30 different research vessels. He made landfall at the Marine Science Center in Port Aransas in 1976 and soon after he began walking area beaches three times per week from San Jose Island south collecting and recording what he found and observed to provide a comprehensive view of the ecology and man’s effect on it. He began the ARK shortly thereafter as a way of taking care of injured wildlife. He was named among the first twenty “most interesting Texans” by Texas Monthly Magazine. A portion of beach in Port Aransas bears his name for posterity.

One of his favorite stories involved a frantic call from an Islander who found an injured “eagle” on the beach.

 

“I thought wow, an eagle, I dropped what I was doing immediately and rushed over there,” he said. “But the wind had been blowing through the phone and the man was hard to understand. When I got there I found that it wasn’t an injured “eagle” but and injured “seagull!”

 

Seagull or eagle, when wildlife was in need of help Tony was there. He also was called on several occasions when whales and other large sea animals washed up on local beaches.

“These creatures are the essence of our coastal environment," Amos said. "The coast wouldn't be the coast without the pelicans and the laughing gulls. They're all wonderful animals."

 

The coast won’t be the same without Tony Amos either. He leaves behind his wife Lynn and a legacy of conservation and caring that will be long remembered in Port Aransas and across Texas.

 

 

Islanders Work to Help Storm Victims

September 7, 2017 | Issue #699

Moon columnist Rachael Warner-Heintschel and a group of Islanders have been busy since Hurricane Harvey collecting and distributing supplies to storm victims from Port Aransas to Refugio. Their warehouse at 14330 SPID is full of outbound supplies.

To donate or to request help contact Rachael at 858 752 7717 or Andrea at 808 206 0891.

 

North  Padre Dodges a Bullet, Port Aransas Takes a Direct Hit

Storms Cause Major Damage to Island Cities

August 30, 2017 | Special Edition  #698

 

The eye of Hurricane Harvey raked across Port Aransas in the dark of night Friday, damaging an estimated sixty percent of the homes in Port Aransas – twenty percent of them destroyed and inundating the city with more than seven feet of water and 135 mile per southwest winds for seven hours. On North Padre Island damage was widespread but limited with no homes completely destroyed. No fatalities were reported in either place.

 

By Saturday evening residents on North Padre Island were back home with power restored, while the road to Port Aransas was cleared of debris but residents were not allowed to return to assess the damage until late Monday.

 

“We hope to have power back on in weeks instead of months,” Port Aransas Emergency Manager Rick Adams said Monday. “People can come back in to check their homes, but we have no infrastructure. There is no water, power, or sewer services. For the most part streets are clear but if residents return they will have to pretty much fend for themselves, we took a hard hit.”

 

The south end of Harvey’s eye cut a path of destruction across the north end of Mustang Island, sparing North Padre Island from the heart of its power. We dedicate this special early edition of the Island Moon to those who are digging out from the storm, together we will rebuild our Island.

Dale Rankin

 

 

Island Restaurants Dig Out

Island Italian Roof Collapse

August 30, 2017 | Special Edition  #698

 

Tony Tagliaferro was seventeen when he took a job washing dishes at Island Italian Restaurant. This week some thirty years later he cleaned out the building and wonders about the future of the venerable Island establishment founded by his father three decades ago.

 

“From the outside the building looks fine,” Tony said Monday. “But inside it’s all gone.”

The roof on the cinderblock building just south of Whitecap on SPID was flat and when the weight of the water on the roof of the building was too great it came crashing in, drowning out three decades of memories in the place where Tony’s parents founded Island Italian in 1987 after beginning with a hotdog cart. The future of the building and Island Italian will now depend of the building’s owner who faces a tear down/re-build decision.

Since its inception Island Italian has been an integral part of the fabric of Island life, initially the daily gathering place for the few souls who called Padre Island home where they would lock up behind themselves long after Toni’s father had gone home and leave the money for their tab in the jar. It was home to the draft of the oldest NFB fantasy draft on Padre Island which included former Port Aransas Mayor Keith McMullin, Island Moon founder Mike Ellis, long-time Islander Gladys Choyke, among others.

 

Over the years Island Italian evolved from a evening gathering place into a full, popular dining place for Islanders and visitors alike, especially Winter Texans who packed the place every Sunday night for live bluegrass music.

 

“We’re not sure what we are going to do next,” Tony said, as he and friends cleaned out thirty years of Island memorabilia on Monday. “We hope to re-open here but it will depend on what happens with the building.”

 

Snoopy’s and Doc’s Take Damage but Will Re-Open Soon

 

Snoopy’s Pier and Doc’s Restaurant along the Laguna Madre took the brunt of Hurricane Harvey but both survived relatively intact and plan to be re-open as soon as next week.

Doc’s owner Fred Soward said that while there was extensive damage to the docks in the back of the restaurant the interior of the upstairs was unharmed.

 

“We will be back open sooner rather than later,” Fred said Saturday.

 Ernie Buttler, owner of Snoopy’s Pier had similar damage to the back docks, but the interior suffered only minor water damage due to a leak in the roof and by Tuesday morning the inside of the restaurant was well underway toward being ready for a re-opening.

 

“We have had calls from Marines and veterans from all over the state offering to help us,” said Ernie, who over the years has done extensive work with the wounded warrior and other programs aimed at helping military veterans. “We took a little hit, but we’ll be back.”

 

The Long Drive to Port A.

August 30, 2017 | Special Edition  #698

 

A drive up the Island Road to Port Aransas on Sunday told the tale of Harvey’s destruction.

 

As we rolled north up State Highway 361 the high water mark was not enough to cover the northbound lane at Packery Channel, but a sailboat sitting where it shouldn’t have been on dry land along the north side of the channel and the metal roof from Island In the Son United Methodist Church piled in the parking lot told us the worst was yet to come.

Not far up the road crews had removed grass that had blocked the road and was now piled head high on both sides as crews opened a lifeline to Port Aransas. As we drove further north the high-water mark on fences was at four feet over the roadway and by the time the utility poles on the west side of the road leaned over and touched the roadway the grass was caught on cables as high as six feet over SH 361.

 

The record will say that Hurricane Harvey pushed 7.5 feet of water over Port Aransas, but we were on the dirty side of the storm where the wind from the southern edge of the storm snuck up on us from out of the southwest instead of the Gulf. As the water moved from the Laguna Madre toward the Gulf of Mexico the dune structure acted like an impervious barrier piling the water up to the point that it put a foot of water inside the office at Pioneer Trailer Park which is nine feet above sea level.  The downed grass pointed the way the wind and water had come from and where it was headed.

As well rolled on toward Port Aransas the high-water line on fences and structures continued to rise and the damage to structures more acute. The streets were still crisscrossed with downed power lines and everywhere streets were littered with the scattered remnants of vinyl fences which don’t do well in high winds.

 

On through Port Aransas there was grass, wood, and debris piled against the west-facing walls of buildings. Wind-blown boats were everywhere, some of them already removed from roadways where Harvey’s winds had left them.  Port Aransas was a ghost town full of nothing but law enforcement officers looking for looters with only a few locals in golf carts looking around.

 

One of the striking lessons from Harvey is that the newer homes, built with more stringent building codes and more modern materials, stood up to the storm. At Cinnamon Shore and other developments south of town well-planned drainage and modern construction techniques and materials left whole neighborhoods looking ready for residents to return as soon as power could be restored.

 

Meanwhile, the older, wood-frame houses along Gulf Street and surrounding blocks looked the worse for the wear. Trailers and recreational vehicles left behind were strewn around the city like so many discarded toys, coming to rest only when they met with a palm tree or telephone pole. Some golf carts were in place looking ready for the next arriving tourist to rent while others showed their shiny side down. The damage around the City Marina was extensive with boats pointing in every direction and some showing only their topside above the waterline.

 

As Port Aransas rebuilds city planners will have a chance to take the city in a new direction as Harvey left behind large blank spaces on the city’s pallet. Urban renewal by storm. Often, as in the case of New Orleans after Katrina, the destruction from a hurricane speeds up the gentrification of a city as building costs under more stringent codes after the storm drive out those who cannot afford to rebuild. Decisions made in the next year will define Port Aransas at least until the next big storm hits the reset button once again.

 

But on Sunday Port Aransas was a quiet ghost town, silent in the fading light of an uncertain future but unbowed in the knowledge that it had been through storms like this in the past and had always come back and it will come back this time. But history tells us it will be a different town. How different is the question before us.

 

 

Something is Attacking Dasmarinas Dogs

August 17, 2017 | Issue #696

 

In the long dry days of an Island summer it is not unusual to hear reports of coyotes roaming our streets. But it is unusual to have multiple reports of coyote(s) attacking dogs in backyards, but that has been the case in recent days as at least three dogs have been attacked and killed in the area around Dasmarinas backing up to the golf course.

Two small dogs were attacked and killed inside a fenced yard and a third, a 40-pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel was being walked by its owner on a 75-pound test leash tethered to a stake when an animal the owner described as a “huge wolf like thing” snatched the dog, uprooting the stake. The owner estimated the size of the attacker at about 150 pounds, much larger than even an adult male coyote. They found the dog’s body the next morning on the golf course. Other eyewitnesses have reported seeing a large canine in the Dasmarinas area during morning jogs. There have also been sightings of wild hogs reported in that area in recent weeks, as well as in the area around Lake Padre.

Another eyewitness reports: “I can confirm the hybrid coyote or whatever super wolf this is, as we almost hit it with our car back in June. Night had just fallen, and this thing darted from a house on Dasmarinas, across the street over to the golf course. My sister in-law and myself thought it was a deer because it was so large and moved so fast. I stopped the car, rolled down the window and was able to stare at the animal as it stared back at us from the brush/tall grass. Biggest ears I have ever seen... huge coyote wolf. Just an FYI - this animal is definitely real.”

Another eyewitness said: “I too saw this huge coyote some months back on crossjack . By itself coming home from work and it crossed right in front of my car.”

 

Game Warden Saul Aguilar said when dry weather hits the coyotes, and other wild animals, migrate toward the ponds on the golf course in search of water.

“There are a lot of solutions to a coyote problem,” Aguilar said, “but there is also a lot of red tape involved in implementing them inside city limits.”

Various types of traps can be used, he said, but they can also catch dogs and other domestic animals.

Islander Shannon Bumstead had her two small dogs attacked and killed while they were in her fenced yard in the middle of the day.

It may turn out to be nothing more than regular Island coyotes, or it may turn out to be a single large predator, but something is attacking Island dogs, especially around the open area behind Dasmarinas. Pet owners, beware and be prepared.

If you see coyotes or have any kind of encounter with one, please post on our Facebook page so we can pass the information along to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

 

 

A Look Back at Hurricane Allen the Last Big Storm to Hit The Island

August 17, 2017 | Issue #696

 

By Dale Rankin

We are in the heart of Hurricane Season 2017 so it is a good time to take a look back at the last big storm to hit the area; Hurricane Allen which struck in August of 1980.

The eye of Hurricane Allen hit Port Mansfield in the early morning of August 10. The Island was in the northeast quadrant of the storm, the portion where the counterclockwise winds and tidal surge are highest. The storm put a 17-foot surge tide on The Island and destroyed the seawall and also dumped almost 20 inches of rain.

Bob Hall Pier was nearly destroyed and the JFK Causeway itself was inundated cutting The Island off from the mainland which eventually led to the raising of the causeway. When a six-foot concrete barrier placed in the centerline of the causeway to prevent traffic accidents was overturned by the incoming water the wave of energy it produced found its way into the back of the canal system destroying several hundred feet of bulkhead on Cruiser and the Gypsy Bridge and Cruiser Bridge over Whitecap as the tidal flow rushed to find its way back to the Gulf of Mexico.  It is worth nothing that even with the 17-foot tidal surge it was not rising water getting into homes that caused the damage on The Island, it was the water trapped behind The Island trying to escape that did damage on the west side of SPID.

Allen is ranked all time as one of the most powerful storms ever to roam the Atlantic with its winds crossing the Category Five threshold a record three times during its lifetime.  While Allen was not a Category Five storm when it make landfall it still packed wind gusts of 129 mph. But it was the 17 feet of water is pushed that did the most damage on The Island.

By the time Allen hit the coast its pressure had fallen to 909 mb, or 26.84 inches of Hg. By the time it hit the coast Allen was a Category Three Hurricane with maximum sustained winds falling to 115 mph, and its central pressure rising to 945 mb, or 27.91 inches.  It ended a long drought much like one we are experiencing now in Texas.

Allen caused $42 million in damage in the Coastal Bend and spawned a tornado in Austin which caused $100 million in damage making it the costliest tropical cyclone-spawned tornado in recorded history. Repair of the Michael J. Ellis Seawall became a huge issue because it is privately owned by the property owners there. Who would pay the $3 million-plus cost became an issue. It was finally done with one-time-only money from the state, leaving open the question of who will pay for repairs if/when it happens again.

It has been 47 years since The Island took a direct hit by Hurricane Celia in 1970, doing much more damage than Allen. Since 1851 Texas has been hit by 10 major storms with 90 percent of those coming between August 15 and September 15. It is also an alphabetical anomaly that the storms that have done the most damage has been storms which begin with the letters A,B, and C; storms early in the cycle of storms for that year, hence the low letters in the alphabet, but relatively late in the hurricane season.  Across the Gulf region about 30 percent of the storms hit between June 1 and August 23. On the Texas Coast storms hit on average once every three years.

 

 

Island Improvements Welcome

August 17, 2017 | Issue #696

 

Excavation work has begun to connect the new canals on the west side of SPID to the existing Island canal system.

The sprinkler system designed to fight the flying sand around Lake Padre is in place and working. The water comes from small ponds which capture ground water.

 

Couple Purchase IGA Grocery Franchise for Padre Island

August 10, 2017 | Issue #695

By Dale Rankin

When Mohsin and Lori Rasheed moved to Padre Island three years ago their plan was to retire and take things easy. But that plan has taken a detour as last week Lori purchased a franchise from the Independent Grocers’ Alliance (IGA) and are moving forward to have a grocery store open on Padre Island in the next nine months.

“Every time we asked people what we should put in the shopping center we are building they always said, a grocery store,” Mohsin  said this week. “We are part of the Island community now and Padre Island wants and needs a grocery store, so we are going to build one.”

 

The Rasheeds have been married for 39 years with three kids and during that time have built, owned, and operated restaurants and shopping malls in Sacramento, where they owned 38 restaurants, and Houston where in the last fourteen years they have built 18 shopping centers, three of which they still own. The center they are building on Padre Island is located adjacent to Seashore Middle School along SPID, where the earthwork is currently underway. As designed it will have a total of 33,500 square feet, with the grocery store occupying 18,000 square feet and another 6000 square feet to be a restaurant, with a tenant yet to be determined. There are also eight retail spaces.

They were nearing a final agreement with the Sprouts chain until a few weeks ago when Amazon announced its purchase of the Austin-based Whole Foods Chain.

 

“Everything in the grocery business just came to a stop after that,” Mohsin said. “There is no movement in that business right now. So Lori just decided to buy an IGA franchise and we will do it ourselves.”

 

Each IGA store is its own franchise and the local owner decides what to stock.

“With 18,000 square feet we won’t have ten kinds of ketchup,” Lori said. “We will only have a few and we want to know from Island residents what brands and items we should stock. We will stick strictly to groceries, we won’t be competing with CVS or other existing stores, we are only going to sell groceries.”

 

Plans call for 32 parking spaces along the south edge of the center’s parking lot for parents picking up kids at the middle school.

 

“I know there has been talk of a grocery store on Padre Island for a long time,” Mohsin said. “But this is going to happen.”

 

With permitting and funding in place, it looks like after decades of wishing, Islanders are about to have a place to buy groceries without having to go OTB.

 

“This is going to be a first-class operation,” Mohsin said. “We are going to do this in a way that Padre Island will be proud of.”

 

Dispute between Schlitterbahn Partners Revealed in Court Filings Released this Week

Cost of park escalated from original $28 million to $58 million

August 10, 2017 | Issue #695

The veil around the details of the dispute between partners in the Schlitterbahn Waterpark & Resort on The Island was lifted this week with the release of a cache of documents from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the Western District of Texas in San Antonio. The filings reveal a deep-seated acrimony between the partners and a park with costs which increased during construction from an original construction price of $28.5 million to a final cost of $58,026,983. Responsibility of covering the cost those overruns is at the heart of the dispute.

 

The involuntary bankruptcy filing was done on behalf of companies owned by the Henry family, owners of the Schlitterbahn parks across the state and two-thirds owners of the Island park, who seek to push the local park into involuntary bankruptcy in an apparent attempt to sell off some of the 270 acres of undeveloped land surrounding the park to pay for cost overruns on the park and adjacent building.

 

The lenders on the land, Axys Capital Credit Fund, filed a brief saying the 500 acre, $552 development surrounding and including the park is saddled with a “dysfunctional management (that) is incapable of effective operations.” Axys is owed about $18 million on the land, which they say is now worth between $11.8 million and $15.8 million, and the firm’s attempt to foreclose on the property was stopped when the Henry owned companies filed the involuntary bankruptcy request in May. According to the Axys filing Upper Padre Partners, owed jointly by the Henry family interests (two-thirds) and investors represented by developer Paul Schexnailder (one third) in a second tranche of financing borrowed $16 million against the land to complete the park and building at an interest rate of 15% which increased to 18% (the highest allowed under state law) when the note went to default in November 2016 and since that time the amount owed has increased at $8000 per day, plus attorney fees, together comprising the $18 million figure. Attorneys for Axys filed a claim that their original loan agreement with UPP allows them to foreclose on the land regardless of any bankruptcy claim; a matter which is scheduled to be heard before Bankruptcy Judge Craig Gargotta in San Antonio on Monday, February 28.

Attorney Ray Battaglia, the bankruptcy attorney for Upper Padre Partners has told Gargotta that the partners are deadlocked and appear incapable of coming to an agreement on how to proceed pending the outcome of a binding arbitration process expected to be complete by the end of 2017. In the interim, the identity of the final owners of the park, is currently unknown, pending the outcome of the bankruptcy and/or arbitration processes.

 

The acrimony in the dispute is caught in an e-mail included in the filings, written by Jeff Henry, who directly oversaw construction of the park through a Henry-owned company, and addressed to both Schexnailder and Jeff Henry’s brother and partner in the Schlitterbahn company, Gary Henry shortly before the death of the brothers’ 89 year-old father and company founder Robert “Bob” Henry in June.

 

“I am extremely tired of both of you guys, consider me your lifelong enemy now, as I have sworn on dads grave to avenge,” Jeff Henry raged. “Believe me now, I’m going to blow both of you out of the water or worse sink you below it. You may win in court but let me assure you you will not win in the end. Hell is where you both belong. Don’t worry Paul, Gary, one in the same, judges will eat you both!!!”

 

Judging from the contents of the court filings matters only deteriorated from there.

A section of the filings titled “Failures to Honor Promises and Duties Owed,” filed by IslandWalk Development, a shareholder of Upper Padre Parters, LP, claims that Jeff Henry increased the size and cost of the park without gaining permission of the UPP board as required, they say, under the original contract. According to the IWD filing the original funding for the park was spent by April, 2014, long before the park was complete, and UPP was required at that time to borrow an additional $19 million with a claim by the Henrys that the additional money would eventually increase the before tax profits of the Water Resort by 168%. The filings say that $15 million of the additional funding was borrowed by IBC Bank, who provided the original funding for the project, with an additional $4 million coming from UPP in additional equity, with the Henry family agreeing to temporarily cover the additional $4 million.

 

Subsequently, in the face of continually escalating project costs, the filing by UPP claims the Henry’s established an additional $7 million line of credit with Frost Bank and by June, 2014, unbeknownst to the other UPP partners, and when that money was spent, the Henry’s threatened UPP with bankruptcy unless additional equity was put into the project to cover the $7 million borrowed.

 

At that point, according to the filings, the project began a downward spiral which will culminate with the August 28 hearing in San Antonio. The complaint alleges “various causes of action, including claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, breach of contract, conspiracy and other claims.”

 

A section of the filings by IWD called “The Perpetration of Fraud” aimed at the Henry brothers, claims they: “Made a series of false and/or reckless representations, and omissions of material facts” on “when the waterpark would be completed” and the “financial risk to UPP associated with the funds borrowed by (the Henry’s) related party, to continue expanding the park without authorization.”

 

The filing goes on to claim that unapproved expansion of the park by the Henry companies incurred $30 million in debt obligations against the park accounting for the increase in overall cost from $28 million to $58 million, that the Henrys and their companies now have more than 20 creditors, and that “Cash flow from the Debtor’s (Henry’s) operations is insufficient to repay these obligations on any reasonable, confirmable basis.”

 

For his part, in an e-mail from Jeff Henry in December, 2015, he blamed “interference at all levels” by Schexnailder for the problems. He could not be reached for comment for this story.

 

Groundbreaking on the Island park was done after completion of a $117 million tax incentive package was approved by the City of Corpus Christi in 2012 with the completion of the 25-acre park set for summer 2014. That date was pushed back after the size of the park doubled by mid-2015. All but $5 million of the incentives involve Sale Tax and Hotel/Motel Tax, meaning the funds are remitted to the park owners only after being collected on the park’s cash flow.

 

 

August 10, 2017 | Issue #695

Island Moon Columnist Holds Book Signing

August 10, 2017 | Issue #695

 

Island Moon columnist Andy Purvis has been writing about sports and the people who play them for more than two decades. During that time he has written four books highlighting the people and experiences he has gathered along the way and is working on the fifth book of what he now refers to as the “Greatness Series.”

But in “This Close to Greatness,” now out, he takes a detour from his usual format with a book of photographs he has taken during his three-plus decades traveling through the world of sports. He will hold a book signing at Barnes & Noble on Saturday, August 26, from 1-3 p.m.

 

“The 492 never before seen photos mark the time and these people are part of my past.  This scrapbook reminds me of how incredibly blessed I have been to meet and visit with so many of my childhood sports heroes.  As fans we get so few opportunities to meet or see someone up close and in person, who is considered to be a great athlete.  To get a chance to interview them is a whole new ballgame and a privilege,” Purvis said.

 

The photos begin when the autograph craze hit the sports world in earnest in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s as athletes came to understand that their fans would pay good money just to meet them and take away a smile, a handshake or a memento from that meeting in the form of an autograph. These photographs bring that era to life as they chronicle Purvis’ personal travels through that world through the lens of his camera.

Many of the shots show familiar sports heroes in the prime of their careers and capture fleeting moments in time otherwise forgotten. It was the blue collar poet Merle Haggard who said, “Everything does change except what we chose to recall,” and with these photographs Purvis has frozen these recollections in time, recollections of a road well-traveled.

It is available at Purvisbooks online.

 

Dale Rankin

 

The Tide is High

August 11, 2017

 

Beaches at Padre Island National Seashore are closed to driving until further notice due to super high tides.

Corpus Christi, Texas- Due to Hurricane Franklin waves have surged onto the beaches of Padre Island National Seashore up to the dune line. To protect visitors the beaches at the seashore are closed to beach driving until further notice. The public will be notified when conditions improve enough to open the beaches once again to driving.

In addition there is a very high danger of rip currents, so swimmers should think twice before going into the water.

 

Feud Upends Development Around Schlitterbahn on Padre Island

This story was published in the San Antonia Express News on Friday August 4, 2017

 

By Patrick Danner

 

The Schlitterbahn water park and resort near Corpus Christi was supposed to be a centerpiece of a massive development on Padre Island that would include residential properties, a marina and a waterfront experience modeled after San Antonio’s famed River Walk.

 

Yet five years into what’s supposed to be a 25-year project reportedly worth $552 million, it’s in jeopardy. A feud among the development partners — including Schlitterbahn principals — has triggered lawsuits and an arbitration proceeding, and forced the filing of an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceeding against the partnership by two Schlitterbahn-related companies.

 

The May 1 bankruptcy filing in San Antonio put a halt to a foreclosure set for the next day on more than half of the 500-acre project. Nevertheless, one of the partnership’s lenders wants to foreclose on the 270 undeveloped acres Sept. 5 if the parties can’t reach an agreement before then.

 

Upper Padre Partners, which was formed to build and manage the development of the 500 acres, is saddled with a “dysfunctional management (that) is incapable of effective operations,” Austin-based Axys Capital Credit Fund, the lender seeking to foreclose, stated in a June court filing. It’s owed about $18 million, Axys lawyer Eric Taube said.

 

The warring factions are Gary Henry, 63, president of New Braunfels-based Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts, his brother Jeff Henry, 62, described in a 2015 Texas Monthly article as a “self-taught savant of water park design,” and Paul Schexnailder, 73, a major North Padre Island land owner. According to a court filing, they each control through different entities roughly one-third interest in Upper Padre Partners.

 

Schexnailder, who contributed the land for the development, initiated an arbitration proceeding against the brothers in September 2015 with claims of fraud, conspiracy and malfeasance, among other allegations. The case, brought on behalf of Schexnailder’s company and Upper Padre Partners, seeks more than $30 million in damages and is scheduled to be arbitrated in November.

 

The water park and resort — the first phase of the project — ran into funding troubles when Jeff Henry decided to expand it from about a dozen rooms and 28,000 square feet to 160,000 square feet with 90 rooms and event space, Aquatics magazine reported in 2015.

 

Schexnailder railed against the Henrys and their various entities for failing to cover the cost overruns for the water park and resort. He said the cost ballooned to $58 million, more than double the original budgeted cost of up to $27.3 million. He accused the Henrys, who were responsible for building the water park, of draining Upper Padre’s coffers by paying “illegitimate and unapproved claims” to their construction company and other entities they control.

 

None of the partners responded to requests for comment.

 

The Henrys won’t comment on “family matters” or ongoing litigation, Schlitterbahn spokeswoman Winter Prosapio said last week. Prosapio wouldn’t say if Gary and Jeff Henry also are at odds. But an exchange of emails included in a June court filing by Schexnailder exposed a rift among all three men.

 

On Oct. 25, just days before Robert “Bob” Henry, the 89-year-old founder of the Schlitterbahn chain, died, Schexnailder sent a note of condolence to the brothers regarding their father’s grave condition.

 

The next day, Jeff Henry responded with a blistering email to Schexnailder that Gary Henry was copied on.

 

“I am extremely tired of both of you guys, consider me your lifelong enemy now, as I have sworn on dads grave to avenge,” Jeff Henry raged. “Believe me now, I’m going to blow both of you out of the water or worse sink you below it. You may win in court but let me assure you you will not win in the end. Hell is where you both belong. Don’t worry Paul, Gary, one in the same, judges will eat you both!!!”

 

A December 2015 email by Jeff Henry blamed Schexnailder’s “interference at all levels” for delaying completion of the water park’s 90-room hotel.

 

“You already took out so much cash that none of your partners want to put any more money in,” Jeff Henry wrote.

 

Discussions between Jeff Henry and Schexnailder about building a water park on North Padre Island date to 1999, according to an undated interview Henry gave the blog Texas Beach Homes.

 

The pair eventually became friends, but it would be years before anything came out of their talks. At one point, plans included a retractable roof for the water park so it could be used throughout the year, the Corpus Christi Caller-Times reported in 2011.

 

The master plan also called for a bridge to “connect Lake Padre to a residential canal system and create an experience similar to the San Antonio River Walk, but on a much smaller scale,” the newspaper reported. Hopes were high that the bridge would “set off a chain reaction of new hotels, restaurants, shopping centers and homes on the island.”

 

In 2012, the Corpus Christi City Council approved zoning changes and a $117.2 million incentive package for the development. The following year, the partners broke ground on the water park resort and set an opening date of summer 2014.

 

But problems plagued the project. The general contractor overseeing construction of the resort sued for nearly $700,000 in late payments. Several other vendors also filed liens. In early 2015, Schlitterbahn released a statement acknowledging it has struggled to finance the 25-acre park, which it said had nearly doubled in scope and cost, the Express-News reported at the time. Schlitterbahn did not release specific dollar figures.

 

Records show Upper Padre Partners landed $16 million in financing from Axys Capital, the Austin lender, in 2015. The loan was secured by first liens on the 270 acres that Axys later sought to foreclose on. Axys, in its June court filing, says Upper Padre Partners also borrowed in excess of $28 million from Laredo-based International Bank of Commerce, or IBC Bank. The bank holds second liens on the 270 acres and first liens on other parcels in the development.

 

Delays pushed back the water park’s opening until 2015. Prosapio said work on the park, which she described as a “river park” with “four different types of rivers (that) are all interconnected,” is completed. She could not comment on the other parts of the development because she only works for the company that operates the Schlitterbahn water parks.

 

Within months of the park opening, Schexnailder filed the arbitration claims against the Henrys and their companies.

 

Ayxs’ loan went into default in November, according to Taube, the lender’s lawyer. The note matured in February, and the 270 acres were posted for foreclosure in April.

 

It’s “unfortunate that we were not able to manage our resources and our capital better so that it would not have had to happen,” Jeff Henry said of the foreclosure notice in an interview with KRIS-TV in Corpus Christi.

 

But a day before the foreclosure was to occur, two Henry group affiliates run by Gary Henry put Upper Padre Partners into involuntary bankruptcy. The companies, including Waterpark Management Inc., which manages the Schlitterbahn water park, listed combined claims of almost $4.7 million.

 

Schexnailder, in a June court filing, said he did not consent to the involuntary bankruptcy filing and believes it’s an attempt by the Henrys to “circumvent” the upcoming arbitration and “avoid their obligations.” Thomas Rice, a lawyer for the petitioning creditors, did not respond to a request for comment.

 

Jeff Henry’s position isn’t known and it’s unclear whether he’s hired an attorney.

 

Schexnailder wants the court to toss the bankruptcy case, appoint a trustee to or convert it to a Chapter 7 liquidation. “Gary Henry’s conflict of interest (having used entities he controls to initiate the involuntary petition) prevents him from participating in decisions concerning the involuntary petition,” a court filing by Schexnailder says.

 

Axys, meanwhile, is asking for court permission to foreclose on the 270 acres. At a bankruptcy court hearing last week, Taube said the parties have agreed to mediate the disputes. If a resolution can’t be reached, then U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Craig Gargotta will take up the issues at an Aug. 28 hearing.

 

Ray Battaglia, bankruptcy lawyer for Upper Padre Partners, described in court how the partners are “deadlocked.”

 

“I’m kind of in a trap,” he said. “I can think of 10 different plans I can throw on the table tomorrow, but I suspect that all of them require unanimous consent of all the (partners), and I’m not going to get that, so I’m handcuffed.

 

“The mediation really asks the partners to confront the economic reality of where they are today, what it’s going to take to fix this or confront the very real risk that they lose everything,” Battaglia added.

 

He noted that Upper Padre Partners “doesn’t have cash in the traditional sense.” The company that operates the park and generates the cash “has been generally operating at a deficit, although this is the season where it makes money,” he added.

 

About two weeks after the involuntary bankruptcy, two lawsuits were filed in connection with the development within a little more than an hour of each other in Nueces County district court.

 

In the first, Axys sued Schexnailder, the Henry brothers and their sister, Jana Faber, for breach of the guarantees they each allegedly made on its loan.

 

The second suit was filed against Gary and Jeff Henry by eight parties who allege the brothers defaulted on various loans.

 

On July 24, court records show, state District Judge Bobby Galvan entered a default judgment totaling almost $4.4 million, plus attorneys’ fees, against Gary Henry.

 

pdanner@express-news.net

 

New Development on Lake Padre

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

Brite Star development this week announced a new condominium and marina project on the south end of Lake Padre.

 

The project will be located at the site of a house constructed on Aruba more than three years ago but never completed, until now. The project, as designed, will be called Aruba Bay and will have 52 units ranging in price from $199,000 for a one-bedroom to $359,900 for a three-bedroom on the water. Plans include a resort style pool, and 30 boat slips.

 

 

Sea Oats Group Announces Opening of Five Town Center at Cinnamon Shore

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

The Sea Oats Group this week announced the spring 2018 opening of Five Town Center, the first mixed-use development at Cinnamon Shore, Mustang Island’s premier “new urbanism” resort

living community.

 

“We are excited to lead the charge in bringing mixed-use development and exceptional retail to Mustang Island,” said Jeff Lamkin, CEO of Sea Oats Group, developers of Cinnamon Shore. “With Five Town Center, we will significantly increase the upscale retail and creative dining options available within a short stroll of Cinnamon Shore owners’ homes.”

 

Five Town Center will house several distinctive restaurants and retailers, including Max’s Coal Oven Pizzeria, a contemporary, restaurant that will serve coal-fired New York-style pizza, fresh Italian pastas, salads, desserts and signature coal-fired chicken wings; The Bottle Shop, a boutique liquor shop featuring specialty liquors, unique wines and mixers; The Market, a small grocery offering fresh fruits, vegetables and specialty items; and an ice cream and candy shop, the name of which will be decided via a contest among local elementary school children. Already open nearby at the Kiera Pool is the C Bar Café, a poolside café serving lunch and dinner, with a full cocktail menu.

Cinnamon Shore is a master-planned “new urban” development

 

With phase I of Cinnamon Shore 85 percent sold out, Sea Oats Group last month announced it is embarking on a $1.3 billion, 300-acre expansion featuring new home designs and a wide array of appealing amenities. The phase II expansion will take place over 15 to 20 years and will more than quadruple the size of the existing community. It will encompass Cinnamon Shore South, an $800 million investment, and Cinnamon Shore Bay Shore, projected to be a $500 million buildout. Sea Oats Group envisions four primary pillars of distinction for phase II: (1) home craftsmanship and a lifestyle unrivaled on the Gulf Coast; (2) a dining district with dozens of restaurants to please any palate or mood; (3) enticing destination retail; and (4) a health and wellness center.

 

Phase II will include a 3,300-foot wide beachfront, maintained daily – almost three times the size of the beach at Cinnamon Shore North. Eventually, the development will lie on both sides of State Highway 361, about a mile south of Cinnamon Shore North, with a golf cart bridge enabling residents to access amenities on both sides of the roadway. Plans include multiple swimming pools and lakes to provide refuge and enhance the landscape. A key feature of phase II – an approximately 10-acre lake, which

will be encircled by a mile-long boardwalk. The development will also feature honeymoon cottages, town centers for retail within each phase and a boutique hotel opening in 2018. Site work is already underway, and Sea Oats Group expects to begin building homes on the property in mid- to late-2018.

 

“With Five Town Center, we are taking a significant step toward fulfilling our vision of making Cinnamon Shore an unparalleled place to live, work and play on Mustang Island,” said Lamkin. “Phase I has already been extremely well-received, but as we roll out our phase II plans over the next several months, we anticipate an exponential increase in interest in our development as an ultimate coastal destination.”

Construction of Five Town Center will be completed in late 2017. Its retail establishments will open in the first quarter of 2018, in time for spring break.

 

Tortuga Dunes Project Moving Forward

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

The Tortuga Dunes project on Zahn Road took a step forward last week as the plans for reviving the development were reviewed by the Nueces County Beach Management Advisory Committee and forwarded to the Nueces County Commissioners Court.

The project is owned by the Sea Oats Group, which also owns Cinnamon Shore in Port Aransas. Precinct 4 County Commissioner Brent Chesney sent the following statement on the project this week:

 

“We just got the memorandum recommending a limited approval of 20 lots from the BMAC Chair. Staff is drafting a letter for Judge Neal’s signatures for the Tortuga Dunes application and for Lot 58 La Concha. Staff should have the letter out to Judge Neal this week. After Judge Neal sends the letter to the GLO we have anywhere between a week to 20 working days to get the GLO response. Since this is an exemption as soon as we receive the GLO response within a week Public Works sends out a letter authorizing construction.”

 

The Tortuga Dunes project was stalled for several years due to the high cost of flood insurance for the single-family homes planned at the site after streets and infrastructure were installed. The property was purchased by Sea Oats several months ago and President Jeff Lamkin said plans call for small condominium style units priced under $150,000 which can be leased as overnight stay. Insurance costs would be included in the monthly ownership fees.

 

Packery Pointe Work Continues

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

As work continues at the Packery Pointe development on the east side of the Aquarius/SPID intersection the plan for the future of the site, included in this issue, shows what will be built there when the project is complete.

 

The project consists of seven lots to be sold to commercial developers. The developers of the project have said previously the space will include retail spots, including a Starbucks coffee shop, and possibly an on-again, off-again 105 room hotel. Current work at the site is to install infrastructure and raise the elevation.

 

Tom Turner of Turner Holdings, LLC, is the developer of the project and, according to information released this week the project was financed with a loan originating from SouthStar Bank, with title and escrow work by Austin Title Company.

 

 

Two Port Aransas Projects

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

Two new projects under construction in Port Aransas have been getting attention. The first, near the intersection of Cotter and Station streets looks like a new condominium development but is actually a large private residence.

 

The second, just up the street near the intersection of Station and Beach streets is a new high-rise bar to be called Blue Water Cowboy which is owned by a San Marcos area businessman.

 

 

Tony Celebrates 80!

August 3, 2017 | Issue 694

 

Since 1979 when anyone on The Island found an injured bird, turtle, or any other animal they could call Tony Amos, founder of the Animal Rescue Keep in Port Aransas, and he would rescue the animal and take it to the ARK for rehabilitation.

For the last four decades, Tony has walked local beaches every other day noting changes in the beach conditions and the animals who call the beaches home, making more than 5000 trips.

 

To help Tony celebrate his 80th birthday Friends of the Ark are holding a fundraiser Saturday, August 12, at the Port Aransas Civic Center. Tickets and tables are available. For reservations go to friendsoftheark.org. Also, to see some of the things Tony has collected on the beach over the years see the Island Report at 10 p.m. on KIII TV Wednesday night

 

 

Island Trashbusters!

July 27, 2017 | Issue 693

 

For the past seven years Islander Judy Stadransky and a group of volunteers have been picking up trash on Padre Island National Seashore twice each week. On Friday, with help from Islanders Flo (not pictured) and Bob Walker they found a mattress and several left-over pop up tents.

“We think it’s a privilege to work in the National Park system,” Judy said. “We get to see the result of our work immediately, when we start the beach is full of litter, but when we look back behind us it is clean. That makes it all worthwhile.”

 

 

Padre Island National Seashore Proposes Fee Hikes

August 5 open house scheduled for discussion

July 27, 2017 | Issue 693

 

Visitors to Padre Island National Seashore would find increased entrance fees in 2017 under a plan to be discussed at an open house scheduled for August 5.

 

The meeting is scheduled from 10 a.m. – Noon at the Malaquite Visitor Center Complex (Education Auditorium, 20402 Park Road 22.

The fee schedule changes are as follow:

Single Vehicle (7 day pass) - Current: $10 Proposed $20

Annual Pass - Current $20 Proposed $40

Individual (7 day pass) - Current $5 Proposed $10

Motorcycle (7 day pass) - Current $5 Proposed $15

Commercial tour flat rate fees would remain at current rates. The following interagency passes would remain at current rates: Annual ($80), Access (Free), and Active Duty Military (Free).

Boat Launch Ramp Fees – Current $5 Proposed $5

Annual Boat Ramp Fee – Current $10 Proposed $30

Camping Fees – Current $8 Proposed $14

Bird Island Basin Campground (1-6 people) – Current 5 Proposed $8

Park officials say in 2016 more than 643,000 PINS visitors contributed $27 million to the local economy and supported 406 jobs related to tourism.

 

To attend the proposed fee increase open house stop by the Malaquite Visitor Center Complex (Education Auditorium) located inside the national seashore at: 20402 Park Road 22, August 5th, 2017 from 10 a.m. 12 p.m.

 

 

Turtle Poaching: What are the Rules?

July 27, 2017 | Issue 693

 

This week our Facebook page theislandmoonnewspaper lit up after a writer posted that she witnessed people trying to catch turtles with a dip net in Packery Channel. That sent us in search of rules on catching sea turtles, here is what we found.

 

In 2007, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopted new restrictions on turtle collection within the state. Wildlife biologists say the new nongame regulations are needed in part because of increased pressure from out-of-state collectors and dealers, fueled in part by a growing demand for turtle meat sold to China and other Asian markets. In recent years, an average of 94,442 turtles per year were collected or purchased by at least 50 Texas dealers, mostly for export from the state.

 

“We currently have a huge and growing demand for turtle meat, coupled with unrestricted commercial collection, and we need to move toward sustainability,” said Matt Wagner, PhD, TPWD wildlife diversity program leader. “It is a fact that unrestricted take of any species from the wild, including turtles, over the long term leads to population declines. If we need to further restrict activity in the future, based on ongoing monitoring, we can.”

Due to increased regulation, turtle poaching has decreased state wide.  “This (turtle poaching) is very rare,” said Dr. Donna Shaver, Texas coordinator of the Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network.   Although it is now a rarity. Dr. Shaver has been worried about the safety of local turtles and has reported her concerns to Operation Game Thief.

 

Most sea turtles native to Nueces County are either endangered or threatened species.  Loggerhead and Green sea turtles are currently listed as threatened – which means that they are close to becoming endangered.  Endangered species (those that are facing extinction) are the Atlantic Hawkbill and Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles.

 

Endangered and threatened species are protected by both State and Federal Law under the Endangered Species Act.  Texas State Law also makes provisions for the safety of these animals:

 

Section 68.015 of the TPW Code states that no person may capture, trap, take, or kill, or attempt to capture, trap, take, or kill, endangered fish or wildlife.

State penalties for violation of the law include:

1ST Offense = Class C Misdemeanor:

$25-$500 fine

 

One or more prior convictions = Class B Misdemeanor

$200-$2,000 fine and/or up to 180 days in jail.

 

Two or more prior convictions = Class A Misdemeanor

$500-$4,000 fine and/or up to 1 year in jail.

 

Federal violations can be prosecuted separately and often carry higher penalties.

 

Operation Game Thief

Operation Game Thief is Texas’ wildlife Crime-stoppers program, offering rewards of up to $1,000.00 for information leading to the arrest and conviction for a wildlife crime. Begun in 1981 as a result of laws passed by the 67th Legislature to help curtail poaching, the program, a function of the law enforcement division of Texas Parks and Wildlife, is highly successful. In the last ten years OGT has provided over $600,000 in grants to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for the purchase of specialized and technologically advanced equipment for Texas game wardens. Privately funded, the program is dependent on financial support from the public through the purchase of OGT memberships and merchandise, donations, sponsorships, and gifts.

 

For more information on the Operation Game Thief program, contact Lt. Jason Jones at 512-565-3963. Operation Game Thief offers up to a $1,000 dollar reward for information that leads to prosecution. Lieutenant Jason Jones of Operation Game Thief said that signage that indicates which species are protected and lists the penalties for taking them is available through the TWP website.

 

 

Corpus Christi has Fourth Highest Unemployment Rate in Texas for June

Corpus Christi shows 5.9% unemployment,
statewide rate is 4.5%

July 27, 2017 | Issue 693

 

Corpus Christi had the fourth highest unemployment rate in Texas for the month of June according to statistics released by the Texas Workforce Commission this week.

The TWC showed 197,000 workers out of 209,000 total employed, for a local unemployment rate of 5.9% well above the statewide average of 4.5%.

The statewide rate is 4.5% with the lowest rates being 3.4% in Austin and Amarillo, 3.5% in Midland, 3.8% in Bryan/College Station, Lubbock 3.9%, San Antonio and Sherman/Denison 3.9%, and Dallas/Fort Worth 4%.

 

The highest rates of unemployment were: Brownsville/Harlingen at 7.8%, Beaumont/Port Arthur 7.3%, McAllen/Edinburg/Mission 8.3%,

The Texas economy expanded in June for the 12th consecutive month with the addition of 40,200 seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs. Texas’ seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, down from 4.8 percent in May. Texas’ annual employment growth outperformed the previous two years with 319,300 jobs added over the year, bringing the state’s annual growth rate up by 0.4 percentage points to 2.7 percent.

 

“Texas employers added 319,300 jobs over the past year, with ten out of eleven industries adding jobs in the dynamic Texas economy,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “TWC will continue to support strategies that boost the job creation efforts of Texas employers and equip Texas students and workers with in-demand skills."

Education and Health Services recorded the largest private-industry gain over the month with 13,100 jobs added. Manufacturing experienced its largest over-the-year employment gain since July 2012 with 4,600 jobs added in June and Mining and Logging employment expanded by 4,400 jobs.

 

“All Goods Producing industries showed positive employment growth in Texas, including Manufacturing, which expanded by 4,600 jobs in June,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Julian Alvarez. “The Texas labor force has continued to provide employers with the skills and expertise needed to keep the Texas economy growing.”

 

Falling Tree Makes Big Sound

July 27, 2017 | Issue 693

 

We had several calls Tuesday morning when crews began cutting down this Australian pine at the Aquarius/SPID intersection to make way for a water line. But not to worry, the stand of Australian pines at the location will remain with the lone causality being the tree growing right in the path of the line.

The works is part of the improvements at the site to make it ready for a retail and commercial development. The elevation at the site will be raise by about four feet.

 

Shrinking Packery

Public access along Packery Channel becoming more restricted.  South side easement may be the answer

July 20, 2017 | Issue 692

 

By Dale Rankin

Places for anglers to fish along Packery Channel have started to shrink in recent months and it is a trend that looks to continue as The Island becomes more developed.

Crews this week began work on the east side of the Aquarius/SPID intersection that will eventually lead to development on private property there which will limit or eliminate access to the private land that lines the bend in the channel that has traditionally been a popular place for public fishing.

 

Public access was recently restricted on the north side of the Packery Bridge over State Highway 361 due to littering by people fishing there. Public access now is limited to the narrow right of way between the roadway and wooden bollards marking private property. Access on the north side of the channel near the bridge is also limited leaving anglers with limited access all along the channel. Public access on the channel is now limited to the city park on the north side of the channel and Packery Channel Park about a mile inside the bridge.

 

However, there is some good news for people looking for a fishing or gathering spot along the channel. In recent weeks city crews have done work to improve the sand road that runs behind the beach parallel to the South Packery Jetty leading from the beach to the water gate at the entrance to Lake Padre. The city has a 300-foot wide easement from the south jetty to wooden bollards marking the boundary of private property. The city leases the land from the Texas General Land Office and District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith this week said he is pushing to make improvements there to allow for better public access and amenities in the future.

 

“Think of Roberts Point Park in Port Aransas,” Smith said, referring to the open green space and pavilion adjacent to the ship channel and ferry landings there. “That area gets a lot of use by the public and this space along the Packery could be the same for us on Padre.”

 

When Packery Channel was approved by voters in 2000 on of the tenets in the subsequent agreement in the digging of the channel ceded control of the 300-foot easement to the city. Over the years plans and development along the channel focused attention on the area north of the channel with little thought, until now, being given to the south side easement accessed previously by a rut-filled, deep sand roadway accessible only by four-wheel drive vehicles. But as public access along the banks of the channel have come under pressure due to plans by private owners the south side area is now being seen as a way to increase access.

 

 

PINS Lifetime Passes for Visitors 62 and Older Going to $80

July 20, 2017 | Issue 692

 

The price of a lifetime pass to national parks for people 62 years of age and older is about to change.

 

On August, 28, the cost of a lifetime pass to the national parks for those 62 and older will jump from $10 to $80. So if you are 62 years old get your lifetime pass before August 28 and you can access the more than 2,000 sites and parks across the country that are managed by the National Park Service. Those who purchase the passes before Aug. 27 will never have to pay an additional fee to visit any of the national parks, according to the NPS.

 

Passes can be purchased online for an additional service fee of $10 or at any of the parks without the extra charge. Passes also can be purchased through the mail, though applications must be postmarked by Aug. 27 to secure the $10 price.

The park service has offered the lifetime senior pass for $10 since 1994. It covers all entrance, day-use and vehicle fees, and provides discounts for things such as tours and campsites. At a site that charges per-person fees, pass holders can bring along three other adults for free. Seniors can still opt to buy an annual pass for $20. Those who purchase an annual pass for four straight years can convert their pass to a lifetime senior pass.

 

Single park-admission fees to the most popular sites can run as much as $30.In late 2016, Congress approved legislation, the National Park Service Centennial Act, that raises fees and sets up an endowment to help pay for projects and visitor services.

 

 

Flocking Craze Hits Padre Island

July 20, 2017 | Issue 692

 

You may have noticed yards around Padre Island full of plastic flamingos lately. It’s not a new decorating craze but a fundraiser for a new playground at Billish Park. The fundraiser was started by Jennifer Seymour who has been raising funds for improvements to the park since 2014. So far, they have raised over forty one thousand dollars and the equipment is estimated to cost just over fifty one thousand dollars.

 

Any person or business that donates $500 or more will get name listed under the special thank you section of the permanent sign. If you would like to flock someone or just donate to the park improvements you can contact Jennifer at 816-547-1444.

 

 

Work Begins on Irrigation System Around Lake Padre

July 13, 2017 | Issue 691

 

Crews are at work on an irrigation system at the property around Lake Padre from whence blowing sand has been emanating during high winds.

 

The city requires an eighteen inch silkscreen around construction sites and currently there are four on the site at a cost of $60,000. The city requirements are that the property owner prevent sand blowing off site in “Fresh” winds which are defined at between 19 and 24 miles per hour. However, the screens are generally designed for projects on smaller acreage and demonstrably do not work on that area when winds are above that amount which has been often as the open area of Lake Padre, upwind from the site means plenty of fetch and reach.

 

Winds this week have been under 24 mph and the sand has not been moving. However, due to the ineffectiveness of the eighteen inch screens the city has been levying fines of $1000 per day, regardless of wind speed, and the total is now over $61,000.

 

To elevate the problem crews began work this week on a $100,000 irrigation system which will be fed by water from a ten-acre pond being built on the site to capture ground water which seeps from below the surface. The system is expected to be in place within the next few weeks and when finished will apply water to the north end of the site along State Highway 361 to keep the sand from blowing.

Dale Rankin

 

 

 

Port Aransas Beach Amenities Draw Questions

July 13, 2017 | Issue 691

Editor’s note: The beach chairs and umbrellas on the beach at the Cinnamon Shore development in Port Aransas prompted several inquiries this week. The question is what are the rules regarding private, or semi-private use of the beaches in Port Aransas. Keep in mind that the rules for Port Aransas beaches and those in the Corpus Christi City Limits are governed by different beach management plans. The Texas Open Beach Act, passed in 1959, is the overarching document for rules on beach access and maintenance, however, the act can be altered by cities which file a Beach Management Plan which both Port Aransas and the City of Corpus Christi have filed.

We forwarded the question on the rules in Port Aransas to the city’s Director and Planning and Development. Here is his response.

 

By Rick Adams

Director Planning and Development

Port Aransas EMC

 

Let me see if I can address the issue and trust me, it’s a little complex. Let me start by explaining that all of the private beachfront developments South of access road 1A actually own to mean-high-tide (MHT). There are a few exceptions such as Beachwalk I - II  Mustang Royale I - II that deeded a buffer of property between MHT and the back of the dunes to the City of Port Aransas as it was undevelopable and they didn’t want to pay property taxes on it. Although they own the property to the water the developments are still subject to the open beaches act (OBA) and must provide for and not block public access.

That is where the challenge arises as we try and balance these owners’ rights along with public access. The Cinnamon Shore beach chairs and umbrellas are set up in linear fashion on their property; approximately 1200 linear feet. These are for the use of owners, guests and visitors. There is no prohibition however, for any beachgoer to set up in this area and I routinely see this happen. I have personally set up in this area on a crowded weekend.  This same scenario is applicable to the other developments south of 1A that own to MHT (Palmilla Beach, Sunflower Beach, Cinnamon Shore II, etc.). Our coastal management plan (currently in review and revision) does reference the open beach act and the prohibition against blocking off the beach. The setting up of the umbrellas although aggravating to some, simply does not constitute a “blocking” of the beach.

 

The takeaway in my opinion… all of the property to our South that was forever vacant has been purchased by developers that own all the way to the water. These owners are entitled to the use of their property but must grant the public access within the confines of the OBA. Unfortunately, we are all painfully aware of the impact the “Severance” ruling had to that sacred statute and the precarious line we walk in interpreting these access issues. For now, we continue to watch the developer’s activities to ensure the public’s free and unrestricted right of ingress and egress to the public beach is maintained.

 

Fences Along Whitecap

July 13, 2017 | Issue 691

Editor’s Note: We had questions this week from homeowners along the south side of Whitecap regarding the policy of the Padre Isles Property Owners Association concerning  Whitecap on through lots with their front facing adjacent streets and their back fences facing Whitecap.

 

A check there will find that some of the fences are ten feet from the road, at the border of the city easement, and others are thirty feet back from the road, and some have gates and some do not. This has meant that some homeowners there can’t get boats and other vehicles into their back yards. We forwarded the question to POA Executive Coordinator Maybeth Christensen. Here is her response.

 

They are guidelines which were adopted and are on our website as Policy and Procedures Standards under the building forms tab. The rule had always been fences that were on “through” lots – i.e. those that had Whitecap on one side and another behind them, fences were to be built no closer to Whitecap than 30 feet.

Around 2005 or 2006, we started looking at it and really wanted to do something to improve the appearance of Whitecap. The first attempt was to require a stucco wall on all new houses, but after seriously looking at the cost, the Board sent it back to the ACC and asked them to come up with another plan.

 

So, the plan that eventually passed was – if you wanted to increase your backyard, you could by installing an approved vinyl fence at the 10’ line, but you could not put a gate in the fence off of Whitecap.  The City will not allow curb cuts on the South side of Whitecap so no driveways are allowed, thus no gates.  The incentive for owners to do the vinyl fence in addition to gaining more back yard is that the PIPOA will reimburse the owner one half of the additional cost of the difference between a vinyl and wood fence. So, if the vinyl fence costs $3,000 and a wood would have cost $1,000, the reimbursement is $1,000.

There are homes built prior to 2000 or earlier which front on Whitecap.  As I understand it, the Post office requested that Homes front on the other streets – Catamaran, Captain Kidd, and Blackbeard, so the City will not allow homes built now to front on Whitecap.

No one is “grandfathered” however, we have not demanded the folks who have kept the wood fence with the gate change to the vinyl fence to eliminate the gate.

 

 

Blowing Island Sand Catches Attention of City and State Authorities

 

Windblown sand emanating from the development site around Lake Padre has drawn the attention of city and state regulators.

 

The City of Corpus Christi said this week it has issued 72 code violations regarding the blowing sand with fines totaling almost $62,000. District 4 City Councilman Greg Smith said this week he is monitoring the situation and working closely with city staff to look for a solution to the problem. (See Letters to Editor in this issue).

 

Meanwhile the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issues the following statement this week.

 

From TCEQ:

 

Since March 27, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has received 21 complaints regarding sand blowing and traffic hazard conditions emanating from a development currently under construction. The investigation is addressing multiple complaints and is currently ongoing. The investigation report will be available upon completion. The city of Corpus Christi is also investigating this matter.

If the TCEQ documents any violations during its investigation, the TCEQ will follow its enforcement initiation criteria to determine the appropriate course of action to pursue. To promote consistency in addressing air, water and waste violations, the criteria specified in this document are used to determine the appropriate level of enforcement action.

 

Documented violations are addressed by an enforcement action, either through the issuance of a notice of violation or the issuance of a notice of enforcement. An NOV documents the violations discovered during the investigation, specifies a time frame to respond, and requires documentation of compliance. Most violations are quickly corrected in response to notices of violation. If an entity receives a NOV and fails to achieve compliance within a specified timeframe, the matter may be referred for formal enforcement. An NOV does not contain fines/penalties but does become part of a regulated entity’s compliance history calculation.

 

For more serious or continuing violations identified during an investigation, the TCEQ initiates formal enforcement and the business or individual investigated receives an NOE. The issuance of an NOE begins formal enforcement, which is a process that usually results in an order and a fine/penalty. The NOE documents violations and puts the recipient on notice that a violation(s) have been referred to the TCEQ. The notice also provides information on the appeal process if violations are believed to be in error/or if new information is available.

 

Sand is composed of particles of varying sizes, but are typically too large to enter the deep airways of the lungs. Sand particles can become trapped in the nose and throat and are usually coughed or sneezed out of the body. Sand can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat, but these symptoms typically resolve after exposure has stopped.

If the violation(s) meet the criteria for formal enforcement, the amount of the penalty is dependent on the violation cited and the applicable statutory authority. There are a number of statutes that provide direction to the Commission in determining a penalty amount, including Texas Water Code Chapters 7, 11, 12, 13, 16, and 28A; Texas Health & Safety Code Chapters 341 and 371, and Texas Transportation Code Chapter 548, which are incorporated into the commission’s penalty policy. Copies of this regulatory guidance document are available on the TCEQ’s website at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/publications/rg/rg-253.html.

 

The developer of the property, Paul Schexnailder, said this week he is in compliance with all applicable state rules and expects to have crews at the site next week to begin installation of a sprinkler system to keep the sand from blowing off the property.

 

 

Work to Resume at Balli Park

Work crews are scheduled to return to Balli Park next week to begin a reworking of the improvements at the site which have been stalled for several months due to problems with the design and contractors on the project.

 

Nueces County Coastal Parks Director Scott Cross told the park board last week that the “hard-pack sand” which the original design of the $1.3 million Phase I improvements called for did not meet standards for the Americans with Disabilities Act and would have to be upgraded to hot mix asphalt. Also, a new water line to use during construction will have to been installed at a cost of $18,000 and an additional $55,846 for improved irrigation.

 

The landscaping at the site will have to be redone.

 

The work is part of what will eventually be more than $4 million improvements to the park, some of the money will come from $7.5 million granted to the parks department in the settlement of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

Precinct 4 County Commissioner Brent Chesney and Nueces County Judge Lloyd Neal raised $320,000 needed to finish Phase I of the project which was begun over a year ago. That includes new sites for recreational vehicles, with water and power hookups, new restrooms, and campsites also with power and water hookups.

 

Cross said the county will try to get the improvements in place to be ready for the arrival of Winter Texans in early 2018.

 

 

Fourth of July Lights Up the Sky

 

The canals around the Padre Island Yacht Club were lined with boats Tuesday night as the fifth annual Island Blast Fireworks Show hit the sky at the end of Whitecap.

The show began with an idea by Jerry and Sharon Watkins who decide to launch the event after attending a similar show in the Rio Grande Valley. The show is paid for entirely with donations and has become the largest boating event on The Island as boaters have turned it into a day-long party on the water.

 

Jerry is already collecting for next year’s show and donations can be made to Island Blast, addressed to 14890 Granada Dr. #205, or drop them here at the Island Moon office, 14646 Compass. All the money goes directly to the show.

A complete list of donors is on page A15 in this issue and we thank everyone who helped out.

 

 

 

Christensen Resigns POA Post

 

After eight years as Executive Coordinator of the Padre Isles Property Owners Association Maybeth Christensen has tendered her resignation effective September 29.

 

“I have loved working for the residents of The Island,” Christensen said, “But I would like to do some traveling while I still can!”

She said LK Jordan has been contracted  to find a replacement and all resumes will be done through them – not the PIPOA office. The job description will be complete in a few weeks and we will keep you updated as things progress.

 

4th of July Island Blast Fireworks set for Tuesday

June 29, 2017 | Issue #689

 

The fifth annual Island Blast Fireworks Show will take to the sky at sunset Tuesday, July 4. The launch site is the lot just west of the Padre Island Yacht Club at the west end of Whitecap.

 

 

Event organizer Jerry Watkins said there will be portable restrooms along Whitecap which is prime viewing for the show, as well as at the Caravel ramp. Parking lots around boat ramps are always popular viewing spots. With the vertically challenged topography of The Island just about any spot with a clear view of the western sky will provide a good vantage point.

 

Boaters can beach up on the spoil islands around the launch site but the passageway between the site and the adjacent island will be closed to boat traffic about half an hour before the show and remain closed until after the show. The Ski Basin is also a good viewing spot. No anchoring will be allowed within five hundred feet of the launch site and the no-anchor zone will be marked with buoys.

The $15,000, 22-minute fireworks show is funded by donations from Island residents and businesses and is done by a professional fireworks company hired for the occasion.

It’s time to put some fire in the sky on the 4th of July everybody. Get out there and enjoy!

 

Aquarius Rising!

June 29, 2017 | Issue #689

 

When Islander Andrea Holley got tired of gardening in pots in her yard she decided to do something about it. Two years ago she filled out the paperwork to adopt Aquarius Park to put in community gardens. But she didn’t hear back until a few weeks ago when she found out she is now the proud parent of a portion of the 8.62 acres located at the corner of Aquarius and Schooner.

 

“I was surprised to hear back after all that time,” she said. “But the Parks and Recreation Department has been great in helping me move forward.”

She has staked out the location for gardens near the Aquarius/Schooner corner and the city has agreed to install the water lines and provide water.

 

“We are going to pretty much do this with volunteers,” she said. “If anyone wants a garden spot there they can contact me and we will get going.”

She is also looking to upgrade and expand the playground equipment in the park, which now contains a basketball court, a picnic area, and a shade structure but not much else.

 

“We are open to anything residents want to help with,” she said. “Some people have asked if you could include a running track.”

 

There are 191 parks in the City of Corpus Christi, five on The Island covering a total of 49 acres. Voters recently approved the sale of sixteen city parks because the city lacks the funds to maintain them beyond mowing. No Island parks were on the list because when Padre Island was developed, with the stated intent of turning the parks over to the city when the areas was annexed, the developers chose to include large park space rather than include sidewalks in the design. As a result Island parks cannot be sold into private hands without violating the annexation agreements. But keeping out the stickers and making them usable by the public is another matter. Any upgrades and maintenance require their adoption by residents.

 

So if you are interested in helping to make Aquarius Park a usable space, or if you have an idea of what improvements should be included in plans, or if you want to donate time of money to the cause, call Andrea at 409-682-5403 Or email her at Andrea@acceleratewithandrea.com and let her know. Putting green anyone?

 

It’s the dawning of the age…

 

Island Gelato Shop Makes Top Ten Ice Cream Shops in Texas

June 29, 2017 | Issue #689

 

Founded by two chefs who studied at Le Cordon Bleu Vita Jarrin and Gail Huesmann who have competed in various competitions, including one on Food Network, A La Mode Gelateria prides itself on hand-crafted gelato made with local ingredients, fresh culinary inspiration, and the utmost expertise. See their ad in this issue of The Island Moon.

 

4th of July Fireworks Rules

June 29, 2017 | Issue #689

 

Everyone looks forward to fireworks on the 4th of July, but the Corpus Christi Fire and Police Departments want to remind citizens about firework safety and City ordinances before starting holiday events.

 

It is illegal to set off fireworks inside or within 5,000 feet of the city limits. Violators will have their fireworks seized and could be issued a fine up to $2,000 for each open package of fireworks. If anyone wishes to call and report the discharge of fireworks, call the hotline at 886-COPS (2677). Do not call 911 for firework complaints.

In 2013, there were more than 11,000 injuries from fireworks, according to a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission Report. The City wants to keep everyone safe and an easy way to do this is by watching the free firework show on the Bayfront during the Mayor’s 4th of July Big Bang Celebration.

 

Fireworks Facts

  • The use of all fireworks inside the city is illegal. This includes the beach.
  • Fireworks must be transported in the trunk of the car or behind the last row of seats.
  • Violators could face a citation of up to $2,000 per package of fireworks.
  • Every year fireworks users suffer blindness, deafness, loss of hands, fingers and other serious injuries and burns.
  • Sparklers burn at over 1,200 degrees, which can cause third-degree burns.

 

If You Plan to use Fireworks

  • Have land owners permission.
  • Make sure you are at least 5000 feet outside of the city limits.
  • Children should be supervised by adults.
  • Children should never pick up fireworks that may be left over, they may still be active.
  • Have some sort of extinguishing method nearby.

 

 

 

 

TCEQ Statement on Blowing Dust around Lake Padre

Editor’s note: The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued the following statement Wednesday regarding the dust blowing from the area around Lake Padre. The City of Corpus Christi has not publicly addressed the situation.

 What is the status of the investigation, and has the TCEQ issued any citations?

 

The investigation is addressing multiple complaints and this investigation is currently ongoing. The investigation report will be available upon completion.

The city of Corpus Christi is also conducting an investigation into the facility and its operations.

How many complaints and of what nature has the TCEQ received concerning this?

 

Since March 27, the TCEQ’s regional office in Corpus Christi has received seven complaints regarding blowing sand and traffic hazard conditions emanating from a development currently under construction.

 

What rules does the TCEQ use that might apply to such a case?

 

Rule applicability includes, but is not limited to, the following:

 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Chapter 101 (specifically Sections 101.4 and 101.5 relating to nuisance and traffic hazard, respectively)

Texas Health and Safety Code Section 382.085

30 TAC Chapter 281 (specifically Section 281.25(a)(4))

Storm water General Permit for Construction Activities

 

Surf's WAY Up

We got our first brush with Hurricane Season 2017 as beachgoers Wednesday morning encountered flooded beaches and surfers hit the waves in droves. The flats along Packery Channel were covered with tidal water and water levels in the canals were touches the bottom of decks.

As we went to press on Wednesday afternoon the highest winds were 59 miles per hour. Around here that doesn’t count for much and we could have used the eight inches of rain. But it’s reminder that it’s time to reason with hurricane season so get everything ready in case a real storm heads our way and we have to bug out in a hurry.

 

 

 

Rules for Island Golf Carts

 

Editor’s note: We often get questions about the rules for golf carts both on North Padre, inside the Corpus Christi City Limits, and Port Aransas. Carts on North Padre are legal everywhere except SPID. Carts can be driven on any street on Padre Island with a speed limit at or under 35 miles per hour. Here are the officials rules for both Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.

Corpus Christi

As of April 2017

Sec. 53-109. - Operation of golf cart.

As authorized under V.T.C.A., Transportation Code § 551.404(a), a person who holds a valid driver's license may operate a golf cart on a public highway with a posted speed limit of not more than thirty-five (35) miles per hour if:

(1) The person is employed by a political subdivision of the State of Texas, and is performing a duty for the political subdivision that requires the operation of a golf cart owned by the political subdivision;

(2) The person is crossing a public highway at a marked or designated crossing that connects portions of the golf course separated by the public highway;

(3) The person is employed by a restaurant, hotel, or tourist related business, and is transporting guests in a golf cart owned by the restaurant, hotel, or tourist related business, to and from the parking lots to the business;

(4) The person is employed by a restaurant, hotel, or tourist related business, and is transporting supplies between two (2) facilities under common ownership in a golf cart owned by the restaurant, hotel, or tourist related business;

(5) If the golf cart is operated on a highway within the city limits on Mustang Island east of S.H. 361 and north of Packery Channel;

(6) If the golf cart is operated on portions of Mustang and Padre Island within the city limits that are south of Packery Channel; or

(7) If the golf cart is operated on a highway within the city limits on North Beach east of U.S. 181 and north of the Harbor Bridge.

(Ord. No. 028318, § 1, 9-22-2009; Ord. No. 028367, § 1, 10-20-2009; Ord. No. 028916, § 1, 1-11-2011; Ord. No. 030608, § 1, 9-15-2015)

Port Aransas

There are currently 3,105 golf carts registered in Port Aransas and the carts are legal on all streets except a State Highway where the speed limit exceeds 35 mph. Here are some frequently asked questions with answers.

What do I need to obtain a golf cart place for my golf cart?

First, a valid Texas Liability Insurance *for the golf cart* (most vehicle insurance providers also provide golf cart insurance) and a copy of your drivers license.

 

I had it registered last year, how can I renew it? Don’t you have my information from last year on file?

You must complete the same process each year. All information from last year has been sent to storage and is not readily available.

 

Are off-road vehicles allowed?

ATV?s (Kawasaki, Polaris, Mules, 4-wheelers) are NOT considered golf carts. It is not legal to be drive these 'off-road' vehicles on any Texas road, per state law. They are meant for off-road-hunting, ranching and rural roads. The beach is a public roadway and all normal traffic laws apply.

 

How much does it cost to register my golf cart?

Registration is $50.00 per year for year-round resident and $100.00 per year for non-resident. You may also obtain a beach parking permit, required to park on the beach, for an additional $12.

 

When does my license plate expire?

It expires on December 31st, every year.

 

Snoopy's Hits the Times!

The Island made the June 11 edition of the Sunday New York Times Travel Section with a feature on Padre Island National Seashore and a visit to Snoopy’s for dinner which included a photograph. The writer arrived in a compact, two-wheel drive car and couldn’t make it past Little Shell but it was still good attention for The Island.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Island Moon Newspaper | 14646 Compass Drive, Suite 3 | Corpus Christi, TX 78418 | (361) 949-7700 | email: editor@islandmoon.com