Newsletter March 2014

Newsletter March 2014

2014 Annual Meeting

We held our 2014 Vance Jackson Neighborhood, Inc. (VJNI) Annual Members Meeting on Wednesday, January 22, 6:30PM at Colonies House banquet hall, 3511 Colony Drive.

I opened the meeting by recognizing our special guests: District 8 (D8) Councilman – Ron Nirenberg; D8 Director of Constituent Services/Zoning – Coda Rayo-Garza; Northside ISD Trustee – Katie Reed; Cody Library Manager- Hayley Latshaw; and extra special guests – Melly & Teddy. I thanked our 2013 VJNI Officers: Vice President – Joy Dillon; Treasurer – Jennifer Curfman; Secretary – Norma Baird; and regular board member – Jimmy Turner.

For a president’s message, I outlined the various cases and issues from 2013:

  • David Hooks from San Antonio major projects to provide information about a street/drainage/flood control project to take place on Vance Jackson south of Wurzbach.
  • Huebner & Honeycomb Alcohol Issue
    • Judge William E. Donovan, Justice Court, Precinct 2 heard the case on April 3, 2013
    • NISD legal representation
    • Jimmy Turner and I attended the hearing and I gave testimony
    • Outcome: the permit was denied as we had requested
  • Two small rezoning cases in the Huebner Area:
    • A medical practice & Pineapple School Parking
    • VJNI & D8 organized meeting between owners and neighbors, including neighborhood flyers
    • Outcomes: medical case opposed; school parking agreed to
  • McCombs Enterprises Request to Expand into Easement Area
    • Jimmy Turner spearheaded multiple meetings with McCombs staff, D8 staff and affected neighbors
    • Outcome: Reached an agreement
  • Zoning Case No. Z2013158 CD at Rustic Lane and Honey Comb Drive
    • Mr. Frank J. Corte, Jr. is a long term resident in the area and applied for rezoning to allow a professional office at 4203 and 4211 Honeycomb Drive.
    • VJNI & Mr. Nirenberg’s office sponsored a meeting in his constituents office for Mr. Corte and affected neighbors. Substantial agreement at the meeting
    • Outcome: the rezoning was approved with association agreement
  • Rock Creek Project
    • Currently, the project is under construction with excavation for the rock retaining walls taking place.
    • For the January and February months, the contractor will continue to construct the rock retaining walls in the creek for the portion of the project between IH-10 and Oak Cliff Street.
  • Esplanade Fence Project
    • Approved at the last annual meeting
    • Formal bids requested
    • Short timing between newsletter announcement and the current Annual Meeting
    • Officers & Directors decided to extend the bidding period
    • Note: We will keep the bidding open until we receive a reasonable number of competitive bids

I announced association retirements of some long term contributors:

  • I am stepping down as President in order to devote more time to my family and personal commitments, but have offered to continue to act as Newsletter Editor and Database Manager
  • Norma Baird is stepping down as Secretary of the association, after many, many years in this capacity.

I identified some challenge areas for 2014:

  • Our publisher is starting to charge us for newsletter postage, of $.15 per copy and approximately
    $500 total per issue. Hopefully, sometime in the future the economy will become more robust, allowing the page count and advertising income to increase, but in the meantime, this expense is not sustainable, so we are considering options to reduce the annual expense: emailing copies and/or reducing the publishing frequency.
  • District boundary changes. District 9 is now within the association boundary and we will need to reach out.
  • VJNI is a voluntary association and member support and participation will determine if it will continue.

I presented the board nominations for 2014 Officers, which were approved:

  • President – Open
  • Vice President – Joy Dillon
  • Treasure & Secretary – Jennifer Curfman

I introduced District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg and highlighted his prior civic service:

  • Northside Neighbors for Organized Development (NNOD) board member
  • Summerfield Homeowners Association board member and past president
  • Government Affairs committee, San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • Transportation and Water committees, Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
  • Brackenridge Park Conservancy board member

Mr. Nirenberg mentioned a number of issues and concerns in the district.

He told us of a new Wal-Mart at the corner of De Zavala and Lockhill Selma. He indicated concerns regarding large trucks going from I10 to Lockhill Selma on De Zavala while passing schools and residences. He indicated trucks could not go from 1604 to De Zavala on Lockhill Selma because of laws restricting trucks on any roads adjacent to Shavano Park. He has the D8 office taking action against bandit signs, in terms of contacting offenders about their liability to legal action by the City. He discussed extensive planning involved for the Hausman Road improvement, which was recently started.

Finally Mr. Nirenberg emphasized the value of associations like VJNI in facilitating individual inputs to the deliberations of the City.

Ted Trakas

President Emeritus

Cody Library

In early January the Cody branch library unveiled its new Express Collections. You’ll be able to find some of the most popular titles and bestsellers without waiting. These items may be checked out like other items but they cannot be placed on hold or renewed. Stop in and find your next read!

VITA is helping do tax preparation for individuals and families with low to moderate income (generally $60,000). Hours are: Tuesday – Thursday 12 – 5pm; Friday 10am – 5pm; and Saturday 10am – 2pm.

The San Antonio Public Library is excited to offer IndieFlix for its library customers. Shorts, features and documentaries from over 50 countries are available to stream on your Roku, Xbox, and other Internet-enabled devices. For more information, visit

Starting in March, patrons can check-out Nexus 7 tablets for seven days. This new program allows patrons to interact with tablet technology. You can use the digital downloads like Overdrive and Indieflix, other apps from the Google Play app store, or just play around with a tablet. Here’s your chance to explore this widely liked technology.

Hobby Middle School and Cody Library teamed up to present students’ artworks on display at the library. The works ranges from colorful and playful portraits that look like playing cards to Georgia O’Keeffe inspired pastels. The display is installed in the Children’s area.

The Tween Book Club has just started happening. The group is looking for more tweens to join, ages 9 – 12. The next Tween Book Club meets on March 19 at 4pm. Bigger Than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder is the month’s book.

Other children’s programs that are happening are:

  • Lego Club Tuesday, March 18 at 6pm
  • Beginner Readers’ Club Wednesday, March 12 at 4:15pm
  • Springtime Arts and Crafts Thursday March 6, 3 – 5pm

Teens at Cody Library are gearing up for Teen Tech Week. Two programs happen during Spring Break, getting teens involved with technology: CodeNerd features guest librarian Caroline Mossing. This program is pretty nerdy, teaching people how to write JAVA and other introductions to coding languages. Sunday March 9, 1 – 3pm. Vinylism and Cassette Culture features two turntables, a cassette deck, a sound system, and lots of vinyl records. Bring your records to play Tuesday March 11 6 – 7:30pm. All teen program are teens only, ages 13-18.

Visit for a list of events.

Hayley Latshaw

Mitchell Lake Audubon Center
A Celebration of San Antonio’s Natural Heritage

When you visit the Southside of our city, you may not be aware that directly off 410 is a true Texas environmental gem. Mitchell Lake, one of the largest natural freshwater bodies in our state, is a critical stop along the Central Flyway for hundreds of thousands of waterfowl, shorebirds, raptors, and songbirds each year. Once aptly called “Lake of the Ducks” by Spanish settlers, Mitchell Lake has always been a mecca for birds and related wildlife, even during the mid-20th century when the area was utilized by SAWS for sewage irrigation. Over 300 species of birds have been recorded at the location, including Painted Buntings, Greater Roadrunners, American White Pelicans, and more.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Mitchell Lake and surrounding habitat being managed by the National Audubon Society, one of the oldest conservation organizations in the country. Now a vibrant center of learning and conservation-in-action, the mission of Mitchell Lake Audubon Center (MLAC) is to connect people with nature through conservation and community education focused on birds and their habitats. MLAC’s first priority is educating San Antonio youth through experiential science programs, with public engagement extending to adults through advanced volunteer training and a growing Citizen Science program.

Through the end of March, MLAC is offering Vance Jackson Neighborhood Association members $2 off their entry fee to experience this beautiful site firsthand—just bring this article with you to receive your entry discount. With over seven miles of hiking trails, countless wildlife viewing areas, and fun community programs, there is something for everyone at Mitchell Lake! Upcoming programs include Owl Night (2/27), Birding by Ear (3/15), and Intl. Migratory Bird Day (5/10).

Visit for more information on all the ways you and your family can enjoy our city’s natural heritage through Mitchell Lake Audubon Center!

Alex Antram

Hello Vance Jackson Neighborhood Friends

Northside School District is moving forward on lots of initiatives to assure that our students will succeed. We are now working to implement the new State guidelines that will give our High School students a wider choice of courses so that our students will be better prepared for their futures-whatever that might be.

Northside also continues to grow by more than 2,000 – 3,000 new students each year. So we must continue to build new schools but we are also committed to maintaining our older campuses. We have a Bond proposal for $648 million on the ballot for the May 10th election. There is a city council election in District 9 at the same time but there really are no other items on the ballot in Northside. We really need for you to PLEASE GO VOTE and support this Bond. More than half of it is for renovations and additions to existing schools since we want all of our students to know that they are in great facilities.

You will be receiving in the mail a copy of Lessons with all the specifics of what is included in this Bond and if you have additional questions, I would be happy to visit with you. Remember that persons over 65 have their taxes frozen and this will not affect them.

Katie Reed
Board of Trustees, Northside 210-308-5555

Treasurer’s Report

February in San Antonio is always a diverse month, filled with sweet nothings for adults with Valentine’s Day and Mutton Bustin’ for kids at the Rodeo!

With February winding down and March quickly approaching, it is time to begin my Fiesta work out. Fiesta – the San Antonio tradition of celebrating arts and culture with music, parades, great food and cool drinks. This is the perfect time to celebrate family, friends and neighbors. Have a mini fiesta on your block, gather a few tables and chairs, introduce yourself to your neighbors, and share some interesting facts about your neighborhood and how it has grown with the city.

San Antonio is known for many great things and one I often hear is even though our city is a major metropolitan, we have a small town feel. Do you have a small town feel with your neighbors? Are you connected with your community? Do you know all your neighbors by name? Do you know how to connect with your councilman, representative or congressman? We have a great community, one that has maintained its reputation for excellence help us continue to keep our community great.

Make a goal for March – get to know two new neighbors, become familiar with those who represent our district. Become involved, share ideas help keep our neighborhood and our neighbors safe, proud and connected.

The closing 2013 association account balance was $13,386.36. When renewing or becoming a new member, please consider making a small donation towards the Colonies North Maintenance Fund. Building this fund will help keep us towards our goal of redesigning the deteriorating Esplanade.

Jennifer Curfman