Monthly Archives: September 2013

Non-toxic Household Cleaning is the Topic of the Civic Organization Meeting on Monday

The Coupland Civic Organization will meet on Monday, September 30, in the Coupland Fire Station. Tanya Suchomel will discuss using non-toxic chemicals in the home. Come for refreshments at 6:30 PM. The program will begin at 7 PM.

Tanya says, “I will talk about toxic chemicals in products we use everyday in our homes that we think are safe.” If you are wondering why this is important to her, listen to her own words:

For several years I have helped to educate others about toxic chemicals inside our homes that most people aren’t aware of. I came to this realization when our youngest son became very ill at age 11 and was suffering a slow death due to chemical toxicity. He is almost 25 years old now, and much, much healthier. We had to make a life or death decision to ‘go green’ with everyday consumables in our home. I found a very affordable way to do that.

One of the best reasons to go non-toxic: Let the kids help!

One of the best reasons to go non-toxic: Let the kids help!

Tanya’s program will include a video, handout material, and question and answer session.

[Publisher’s Note: This story was adapted from the August issue of the Coupland Herald, the quarterly newsletter of the Coupland Civic Organization.]

 




  • Flash Flood Warning Includes Coupland

    Issued by The National Weather Service
    Austin/San Antonio, TX

    Sat, Sep 28, 2013, 11:16 PM CDT

    THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN AUSTIN SAN ANTONIO HAS ISSUED A

    * FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR… EXTREME NORTH CENTRAL BASTROP COUNTY… NORTHWESTERN LEE COUNTY… EAST CENTRAL TRAVIS COUNTY… SOUTHEASTERN WILLIAMSON COUNTY…

    * UNTIL 200 AM CDT.

    * AT 1110 PM CDT… NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED SLOW MOVING THUNDERSTORM CELLS WITH VERY HEAVY RAINFALL TRAINING OVER THE SAME AREA FROM NEAR PHFLUGERVILLE TO COUPLAND. RAINFALL RATES OF OVER TWO INCHES PER HOUR WERE INDICATED IN THIS CLUSTER OF STORMS. IN ADDITION A COCORAHS OBSERVER REPORTED OVER 3 INCHES OF RAIN HAD FALLEN WITHIN THIS CLUSTER 4 NORTHEAST OF PFLUGERVILLE.

    * RUNOFF FROM THIS EXCESSIVE RAINFALL WILL CAUSE FLASH FLOODING TO OCCUR. SOME LOCATIONS THAT WILL EXPERIENCE FLOODING INCLUDE… PFLUGERVILLE… TAYLOR… WINDEMERE… COUPLAND… MANOR AND THRALL.

    PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

    WHEN WATER COVERS THE ROAD… TURN AROUND DON’T DROWN. THE LIFE YOU SAVE MAY BE YOUR OWN.




  • This Week at St. Peter’s Church of Coupland – New Directions

    Submitted by Pastor Frank Dietz:

    The final September Sunday brings us a guest in worship and at a festive mission shrimp boil (rsvp’s required but all are welcome!). Back Bay Mission is an outreach ministry rooted in long historical efforts of our United Church of Christ and predecessor Evangelical and Reformed Church. Images and stories abound from this ministry right at the heart (Biloxi, Mississippi) of Katrina before and after. This is an amazing story of efforts through the generations and how a missional effort at outreach reinvents and transforms itself for new and shifting challenges.

    IMG_3835

    One of the hand-carved plaques in the sanctuary.

    The shrimp boil will cover costs and serve to support a young intern scholarship program that often shapes young lives and career choices impacting a generation of mercy, justice and service. A worthy mission, indeed! The visiting pastor and BBM board member, Rev. Scott Martin and the service will take cues from Micah 6: “What does the LORD require?”

    Readings:

    Psalm 91: 1-6, 144-16

    Jeremiah 32:1-3a, 6-15

    1 Timothy 6:6-19′

    Luke 16:19-31




  • Coupland City Council Meeting Highlights for September 26

    At its regular meeting, the Coupland City Council took care of some necessary business and talked about a few possibilities for the future.

    There were 5 attendees at this meeting, which tied the previous record. In addition to Mayor Jack Piper, four of five Aldermen attended the meeting. Eldridge Tidwell was absent.

    L-R: Susan Garry, Barbara Piper, Jack Piper, Karen Marosko, Eldridge Tidwell, Susan Schmidt (September 12, 2013)

    L-R: Susan Garry, Barbara Piper, Jack Piper, Karen Marosko, Eldridge Tidwell, Susan Schmidt (September 12, 2013)

    Here are the highlights of the meeting:

    • Mayor Piper reviewed the process whereby the budget was developed, which included a public hearing. The budget ordinance for Fiscal Year 2014 was unanimously adopted. This budget becomes effective on October 1.
    • The Council approved a resolution to establish a fire protection/life safety code agreement with Emergency Services District #10. The exact terms of that agreement were a matter of inquiry for the Aldermen as well as one of the attendees during the Citizen’s Communications portion of the meeting. Mayor Piper said that, in essence, simply by passing the resolution, the City of Coupland is saying to EDS #10 that it does not have its own fire and medical emergency system and that it wants EDS #10 to provide such services to Coupland. [Publisher’s Note: The EDS does this through the Coupland Volunteer Fire Department as well as through mutual aid agreements with other, nearby fire departments and emergency medical services.]
    • The Council authorized the execution of an agreement with Oncor for franchise fee revenue. They will make an annual payment in December. The good news is that this first payment will be retroactive to the time that Coupland incorporated, which was November of last year. Mayor Piper reviewed the various factors that are included in the calculation of the payment. [Publisher’s Note: The purpose of franchise fees are to reimburse municipalities for costs they incur as a result of the effect of utility activities upon local infrastructure. This includes things like wear and tear on the roads.] The Mayor noted that the rates are the same for all municipalities. The agreement is valid through 2032 but it allows for the possibility of rate changes, which are sometimes mandated by the state.
    •  The Council engaged in a discussion of the possibility of establishing zoning within the city limits. Barbara Piper said that there had been someone looking into the possibility of establishing a wild hog slaughterhouse recently and that we need zoning for the preservation and protection of Coupland.  Other Aldermen were concerned about the possibility of landfills, sludge farms, and junk cars in or near Coupland. [Publisher’s Note: The subdivision ordinance covers all of Coupland as well as its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Zoning would only be effective within Coupland city limits.] Karen Marosko said she was opposed to zoning. She asked if zoning were to come to Coupland, how it would be done. No one could provide a clear answer and Ms. Piper said that more study was needed, including examining how it has been done in other cities. Everyone agreed that zoning would not affect current property usage but would affect future usage or changes in existing usage. Ms. Marosko wanted to know how zoning would affect the number of homes on a lot and how zoning itself would be controlled. Susan Schmidt referred to Hilltop Storage as an example of a business that would not have been allowed in a residential area if Coupland had zoning.  Susan Garry said that residential zoning is generally based on density, meaning the number of family units allowed in a given area. Everyone agreed that more research was needed, including input from citizens. Mayor Piper proposed that a planning and zoning committee be formed to get ideas from other citizens. He will ask for volunteers via the Coupland Herald. Formal establishment of such a committee would require Council action. Ms. Garry wondered how agricultural zoning would work within city limits. Ms. Schmidt said that other zoning areas (besides residential and agricultural) could include cultural, historical, and business zoning.
    • The Council discussed the mowing and clearing of areas that were blocking the views of oncoming traffic. Mayor Piper told the Council about a situation at the intersection of Herrin and North Austin Streets. He had received a complaint from a local citizen about vegetation that was obstructing the view of traffic coming over the hill from State Highway 95. The mayor talked to the owners of the property and contacted the state highway department. It turned out that the vegetation was in the right-of-way of FM 1466 and so the state came out and cut the bushes down. He said the property owner was grateful for the assistance. The Mayor encourages citizens to bring such issues to the attention of the Council.
    •  The Council engaged in a discussion about the possibility of a fall cleanup campaign. Ms. Piper said the civic organization used to be able to get dumpsters donated but is not able to do that anymore. Ms. Garry wondered about the costs of dumpsters. Ms. Piper said that little things make a difference. Mayor Piper said that the city should make an effort to encourage voluntary cleanup as an alternative to requiring people to clean up junky properties. Ms. Marosko said it would be nice to come up with a way to help people who are not able to clean up their own yards. Mayor Piper said he would like to promote the concept in the Copeland Herald. Ms. Garry noted that the next issue the Herald will be out by November 1.
    • During the citizens communication portion of the meeting, Luther Draehn inquired about state guidelines for agreements with emergency service districts. Mayor Piper said that he did not know the answer to that question. Mr. Draehn also said that he felt that we needed fire codes for new construction and said that fire code information could be obtained from the state fire marshal. He brought up other questions that were related to subdivisions but Mayor Piper said since it was not on the agenda he could not respond to those questions and referred Mr. Draehn to the subdivision ordinance.

    The next regular meeting of the city Council will be on Thursday, October 10 at 7 PM at the Coupland Fire Station.




  • Commissioners Court Sets Tax Rate

    Wilco

    September 26, 2013 (Williamson County, TX) – The Williamson County Commissioners Court adopted the current tax rate of 48.9029 cents per $100 of valuation for 2014.  The total county tax rate is comprised of three tax rates: General Fund, Debt Service and Road & Bridge.  The General Fund or maintenance and operation tax rate was set at 28.1529 cents, and the Debt Service tax rate was set at 16.7500 cents.  The Road and Bridge tax rate was set at 4.00 cents.

    Two public hearings were held on the adoption of this rate on September 10 and 17, 2013, both at 10 a.m. in the Historic Courthouse, 710 S. Main Street, Georgetown.  The public hearings were required as the Court proposed a rate higher than the effective tax rate, which is calculated to levy the same amount of property taxes as the prior year.

    The county budget can be viewed at www.wilco.org by selecting the Budget Office from the list of county departments or it can be viewed in person at the County Clerk’s Office in the Justice Center, 405 MLK, Georgetown.




  • “Foot Lip” is Jim Huntington’s Latest Creation

    foot lip

    This is Jim Huntington’s latest sculpture. He installed it on September 18th at the Huntington Sculpture Foundation. He calls it “Foot Lip.” It is made of granite and measures 36” X 40” X 82”.

    I asked Jim a few questions about it. Those questions and his responses follow.

    Stewart: Tell me a little bit about this piece. Where did the granite originate?

    Jim: Quarry @ Ausable Forks, NY. It’s called mountain green granite. Right now, it is my exclusive quarry, since the supply of granite in America is getting tighter by the year, for various reasons beyond my control.

    Stewart: What was your inspiration for it?

    Jim: God ….for everything, a blanket muse and grantor. Meaning, I have always felt that I am merely a messenger and God chose me to play on the art team as Neolithic chiseler.

    Stewart: What was the process of creating it? Did you encounter any unusual circumstances and, if so, how did you deal with it?

    Jim: Diamond is the secret to working granite; using diamond, the hardest stone to cut a hard stone. The stone had a lot of faults and seams and I repaired them with copper butterfly “bandages”, epoxied in place and the stone is now weather proof for TX because the freeze/thaw cycle is negligible.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The Huntington Sculpture Foundation is open every day and all sculptures are available for purchase. You don’t have to buy anything but if you enjoy this special place, drop a few bucks in the box and sign the guest book. Now that cooler weather is here, I suggest taking a lawn chair and a good book and just soak in the good vibes. Kids love it too but watch out for art-loving wasps.