WELCOME to another edition of GORDY BUNCH GAZETTE where you will hopefully be interested and informed. This newsletter is the product of Gordy Bunch, The Woodlands Township Director at Position One. We hope you will spend a few minutes in a Woodlands “chat room” with news views and a few opinions thrown in. You will note that this is not your “typical” director’s newsletter, reporting a litany of facts, numbers, and votes. Oh, we have plenty of numbers, but they are the ones most meaningful to you as a resident or business owner in The Woodlands. Minutes and videos of every Township Board Meeting and Workshop are available online 24/7 at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov, so you don’t need them duplicated here. DID YOU KNOW you can watch most board meetings and workshops LIVE on the Township web site? Just click above Township link, and then click on Board Meeting Information and finally – Meeting Videos.
This is not a publication of The Woodlands Township. Any opinions stated herein are my own or as attributed.
PLEASE SUBCRIBE and Forward the GAZETTE to your friends so that they, too, can be informed, share the news, and also subscribe. Let me know what matters most to make living in The Woodlands the very best for you and your family.
|Subscribe and send comments to: email@example.com|
|If you do not wish to receive future issues, please respond and request UNSUBSCRIBE|
V O T E
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 6
Your Country. Your Vote. Your Future!
Sports Fields Amenities RollingReplacement of natural grass with all-weather turf is underway at Bear Branch Sports fields. Two of the six fields have been completed and will be ready for play by the end of the month. The remaining four fields (two at Bear Branch and two at Alden Bridge Sports Park) will progress two at a time with final completion estimated for mid-February 2012, according to John Powers, assistant general manager for community services at The Woodlands Township. The additional amenities: drinking fountains, bleachers, benches, etc. have been ordered and should be in place by the end of this year. Your Township board approved substantial upgrades for two of the major Sports Fields in The Woodlands with more drinking fountains, spectator bleachers, and player benches at Bear Branch and Alden Bridge Sports Parks. Those new amenities will be more than welcome for those busy Sports facilities at a cost of $141,236. But, there is another proposal, still pending, to add crushed granite 1.5 kilometer, 12-foot wide trail/track, at Bear Branch. Director Gordy Bunch suggested the track after consulting with experts and users. “I reached out to the cross country coaches, running clubs and triathlete training clubs for their needs; and their desire for a crushed granite path, was very high,” Bunch said. “Running on concrete is very damaging to the body.” He explained that the 12-foot wide path would also allow for competitive school and other meets.
-∞-Residents Need to Know:
Is 5% a Fair Admin Percentage for the Sheriff?At your board’s recent Workshop meeting, the renewal of Montgomery County’s Public Safety services agreement for additional coverage by the Sheriff for The Woodlands was reviewed with minimal challenges. However, GORDY BUNCH, Director at Position One, questioned the five percent administrative cost add-on in the contract and total amount being paid by The Woodlands Township. He proffered, strictly as an example, that five percent of an $8 million contract is $400,000 and considerably more than five percent of a $2 million contract which would be $100,000. He suggested that it might be time to insert a “sliding scale” as this administrative expense has gone up, but the Sheriff’s administrative costs would not necessarily be increased commensurate with that type of growth. DON NORRELL, The Woodlands Township President and General Manager, will discuss that issue in an upcoming meeting with the Sheriff and County officials.
93.3 % of local Sheriff Deputy’s expenses are paid from The Woodlands Township Tax (.3173) vs. being provided by the Montgomery County Tax (.4838).Currently The Woodlands Township funds all expenses related to 83.5 of the 89.5 Sheriff’s personnel assigned to The Woodlands. The contract requires The Woodlands Township to fund all Payroll, Overtime, Equipment, Benefits, Pension, Fuel, Maintenance and the above-mentioned 5 % Administrative expense which applies to all of the other expenses, bringing our actual costs closer to 98.8%. Prior to The Woodlands entering into this agreement, The Woodlands area had 26 county-funded deputies patrolling The Woodlands. I’m not sure how we agreed to reduce the county’s funding obligations down to 6 peace officers. Since the first agreement The Woodlands has grown in population and in the Tax Base our residents provide to the county. Our county-allocated Sheriff’s funding has not grown and I have asked that we begin the process to renegotiate this contract. I agree the current level of force is appropriate, but my issue is to get the county to appropriate funds commensurate with what is provided to the balance of the county – either based on our percentage of the total county population, population density, or tax base. Any one of these calculations will require the county to fund more than the 6 currently being funded. The counties other districts have an average of 30 county-funded deputies. The Woodlands Township has more than 100,000 of the county’s 470,000 residents, or almost 22% of the county population. And yet, The Woodlands Township represents over 40% of Montgomery County’s Property Tax revenues. I want to be clear that I truly appreciate the Sheriff’s Department and my only issue is advocating to be sure The Woodlands residents do not get taxed twice for the same service. The Township should only pay for the level of service above the normal levels provided throughout the rest of the county. According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s website: (http://www.mocosheriff.com), District 6 serves The Woodlands Township. District 6 has 89.5 assigned positions, which include a division administrator holding the rank of captain, one district commander holding the rank of lieutenant, five senior sergeants, one traffic senior sergeant, six patrol sergeants, one special assignments sergeant, one detective, 67 patrol deputies, two traffic division deputies, one K9 deputy, two civilian detention officers, one administrative assistant and one warrant clerk (part-time). Within the patrol division specialized units include a traffic division, crime prevention unit as well as foot and bike patrol. District 6 also is served by a K-9 team specially trained in narcotics scent detection. Funding for the 83.5 personnel and equipment is provided through a contract for services between Montgomery County and The Woodlands Township. Additional funding resources are provided through Montgomery County, providing for six patrol units. The Woodlands Township is a local governmental agency whose mission is to promote, develop, encourage and maintain economic development for the public benefit of The Woodlands Township and its 28,000 acres of residential and commercial areas.
TOWNSHIP PUBLIC MEETING BYTES, October 24, 2012
The electrifying topic at the public board meeting of Wednesday, October 24 was Centerpoint Energy and the “all-too-frequent” outages in the Villages of Creekside Park and Sterling Ridge. (Board meetings are held monthly at 6 p.m. if you would like to attend and comment on any subject) The other villages are serviced by Entergy. An in-depth review and plan was presented by a team from Centerpoint Energy in response to resident complaints. For more details or to add your comments or concerns, it is best to contact Centerpoint directly. An e-mail form is at their website www.centerpointenergy.com/about/contact/email/. Centerpoint phones are:
Customer Service / Report an Electric Power Outage: 713-207-2222 800-332-7143Contact the Villages directly at Creekside Park Village Association President, Nancy Decker Lent, firstname.lastname@example.org,; or Sterling Ridge Village Association President, Phillip Givens, email@example.com. PATHWAY IMPROVEMENTS – The Board approved $97,655 to resurface a 1.1 mile stretch of the Millbend Loop Pathway – one of the “original” asphalt pathways in need of repair in Grogan’s Mill, and a surface actually preferred by most runners. PUBLIC SAFETY GOOD NEWS from Marian Leck, Director of Law Enforcement for The Woodlands Township, included an apprehension in the Tiffany Jewelry store holdup and a new assigned detective for the Township, Melvin Franklin. AMERICA’S RECYCLING DAY is Saturday, Nov. 10. Bring your more difficult Recyclables to The Woodlands Recycling Fair like caps, corks, Styrofoam, and shredding. DID YOU KNOW The Woodlands recycles 1,890 tons a month! The Woodlands Township celebrates America Recycles Day at the 3R Bazaar and Compost Fair on Saturday, November 10, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at The Woodlands Township Parks, Recreation and Environmental Services office at 8203 Millennium Forest Drive in The Woodlands. An opportunity for recycling unique commodities, the event will offer collection of alkaline batteries, plastic caps, corks and foam food and packaging materials. “The community really got behind the effort last year—kids organized neighborhood collections, the villages were all active, even churches and businesses got involved,” notes Lynne Aldrich, manager of environmental services for the Township. A competition to collect the most caps and corks will determine which village in The Woodlands is Tops in Recycling.
Update from The Woodlands
Township on Hazardous TreesThe historic 2011 drought in The Woodlands left behind thousands of hazardous trees, in residential yards, commercial properties, all roadways, and parks and open spaces. The Woodlands Township has been actively addressing the removal of hazardous trees throughout 2012, removing 24,684 trees. There are an additional 4,427 trees tagged for removal. In all, The Woodlands Township has spent $2,265,136 to remove these trees and has utilized many different contractors. On October 24, 2012, The Woodlands Township Board of Directors authorized another $564,000 to remove the 4,427 trees that have already been tagged for removal. The Woodlands Township encourages residents and businesses to remove the hazards presented by dead trees on their own properties. The foundation of The Woodlands and its aesthetic appeal of a beautiful forest along with protection of property values derive from strict covenants on residential and commercial properties. All property owners in The Woodlands are bound by these covenants, including the removal of dead trees, which does not require pre-approval from The Woodlands Township. Although, it is appreciated when The Woodlands Township is notified. Please note, dead trees and other items including underbrush must not be discarded into forest reserves, which create unsightliness and fire hazards. Please dispose accordingly, either by hauling or curbside, depending on the amount of debris. Whose responsibility is it to remove a dead tree? The answer to this question depends on where the tree is located. For private property, commercial and residential property owners are responsible for removal of dead trees on their properties. For public poperty, please refer to the table below.
Training TipsEarly registration deadline is November 8, 2012 Entry fee includes t-shirt, refreshments and pancake breakfast. All registrations after November 8 will incur a late fee and will not be guaranteed a t-shirt. Please Note…Those failing to comply with the following race restrictions will be escorted off the course by security.
- No pets allowed at the event or on the course.
- No roller blades, bicycles, strollers or jogging strollers allowed on the 1-mile, 3-mile or 5 mile race courses.
- Strollers and wagons are allowed on the walk course only.
DANCING FOUNTAINS AT WATERWAY SQUARE™
DAZZLING HOLIDAY LIGHTS IN THE WOODLANDSThe incredible sights and sounds of the holidays will be in action throughout The Woodlands, from the bright, twinkling holiday lights in Town Green Park to the majestic, choreographed Fountains at Waterway Square, which will perform to a selection of festive holiday tunes throughout the holiday season. From November 17, 2012 to January 3, 2013, watch a musical performance of the fountain’s cascading waterfalls, booming water jets and colorful lights as signature holiday songs including Frosty the Snowman, Jingle Bells, Feliz Navidad, Winter Wonderland, Christmas Eve, Wizards in Winter and the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. The fountains will perform every fifteen minutes Monday – Friday from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 6 p.m. – 11 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 11 p.m. In addition to the dancing fountains, the one-acre public plaza will be highlighted by a 43-foot, lighted holiday tree. Dazzling holiday lights can be found nearby at Town Green Park, 2099 Lake Robbins Drive, where families can experience lighted holiday displays among rows of brightly lit trees, and illuminated holiday scenes such as doves and snowflakes. The park display is open from 5:30 p.m. – midnight, November 17, 2012 through January 4, 2013. In addition to eight illuminated doves on Lake Robbins Bridge, Donoho’s Jewellers Winter Wonderland, surrounding The Ice Rink at The Woodlands Town Center at the northeast corner of Lake Robbins and Six Pines Drive, visitors of all ages can stroll through an extraordinary fantasyland of magical, lighted toy soldiers, elves, doves, musical angels and snowmen every night from dusk until 11 p.m. Admission to Donoho’s Jewellers Winter Wonderland is free and open to the public November 17, 2012 through January 21, 2013. For more information, visit www.VisitTheWoodlands.com. Also, “like” The Woodlands CVB on Facebook at www.facebook.com/VisitTheWoodlands, “follow” them on www.Twitter.com/TheWoodlandsCVB and “view” them on YouTube at www.youtube.com/TheWoodlandsCVB.com.
WARM CLOTHING TOPS LIST OF NEEDS FOR HOMELESSThe end of Daylight Saving Time also means colder weather is just around the corner. According to the Campus of Hope, a homeless emergency shelter in Conroe, the greatest needs are for donations of blankets, coats, sweatshirts, and other protection against cold weather. “Cold weather is particularly hard on the homeless,” said Don Johnson, program director. “Many of these people have nowhere else to turn for help.” The Campus of Hope is a small facility, located behind the Dollar Store a5 735 ½ West Davis Street, that provides hot meals, washing machines, clothing, and other support to Montgomery County’s homeless. The Center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call 936-760-6700 for more information. And, do not forget our own Interfaith of The Woodlands which is always in need of donations from cash to foodstuffs and more. You can contact Interfaith at http://www.woodlandsinterfaith.org.
TALISMAN ENERGY PRESENTS HOLIDAY TOY DRIVE
AT LIGHTING OF THE DOVES & iWOW FESTIVALFamilies can make the holidays brighter for those less fortunate by bringing an unwrapped toy to the 30th Annual Lighting of the Doves and the 6th Annual International Winter On The Waterway (iWOW) Festival on Saturday, November 17, 2012 from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. Thanks to Talisman Energy, those who donate an unwrapped toy while entering the Town Center Parking Garage will receive free parking. Also, unwrapped toys also can be dropped off at the Talisman/Interfaith of The Woodlands booth in Town Green Park during Lighting of the Doves and iWOW. Donated toys can continue to be dropped off at Interfaith of The Woodlands, 4242 Interfaith Way, Monday – Friday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. from November 19 through December 21, 2012. “We’re grateful for the generosity of those who donate unwrapped toys every year and to Talisman Energy for sponsoring such a wonderful cause,” says Dr. Ann Snyder, President and CEO of Interfaith of The Woodlands. Talisman Energy also will serve as the presenting sponsor for Santa’s magical arrival at Lighting of the Doves when he arrives on The Woodlands Waterway® aboard a floating sleigh at the Celebration Stage just after 7 p.m. After a reading of “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Santa will flip the switch to magically light the doves, igniting an awe-inspiring display of fireworks and lights to officially announce the start of the holiday season. “Talisman is pleased to partner with The Woodlands Convention and Visitors Bureau to sponsor Santa’s big debut at the 2012 Annual Lighting of the Doves and Santa’s Mailbox this holiday season,” said Mark McDaniel of Talisman Energy’s Management Committee. “We are excited to be a part of this wonderful community and look forward to being a great corporate neighbor.” Interfaith of the Woodlands is a non-profit social service agency, providing support for struggling families or individuals in the community. Interfaith provides financial assistance, counseling, job training, and child care for people in crisis, and also works with member congregations, corporations, local businesses and other nonprofits to build a more loving and caring community. For more information on these holiday events, visit www.HolidayInTheWoodlands.com or call 281-363-2447. Also, “like” The Woodlands Convention & Visitors Bureau on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/VisitTheWoodlands, “follow” them on Twitter www.twitter.com/TheWoodlandsCVB and “view” them on YouTube www.YouTube.com/TheWoodlandsCVB. PHOTO CUTLINE Left to Right: Sabrina Wagoner, Talisman Energy Assistant to Vice President Global Supply Chain Management; Kelly O. Ingram, The Woodlands CVB Business Development Specialist; Nick Wolda, The Woodlands CVB President; Pam Tragesser, Talisman Energy Director, U.S. Communications; and Dr. Ann Snyder, Interfaith of The Woodlands President and CEO.
Music Takes Center Stage at the
17th Annual Children’s Festival
The Woodlands, Texas – Dance, bop, hop, jam and hustle your way to The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion’s 17th Annual Children’s Festival. Festival hours are Sat., Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sun., Nov. 11 from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $8 per person in advance or $10 per person at the door. Children under 2 are admitted free of charge. The daily admission fee includes every show and activity, so parents don’t spend the day dealing with tickets, tokens or endless lines. The Festival features music kids love with performers on multiple stages and fun characters strolling around the venue. Entertainment spans from local community performances to awarding-winning children’s performers, meaning you are sure to enjoy the show! Lots of activities are located in the different zones, so every child has something to enjoy. Put on your dancing shoes and join BarneyTM, KIDZ BOP Kids, Roger Day & the Mosquito Burrito Brothers, Manding Jata (Sat. only) and Trout Fishing in America as they jam their way to The Woodlands for Children’s Festival! These performers take the Pepsi Main Stage for a weekend full of music, dance and entertainment. Don’t miss the opportunity to see everyone’s favorite purple dinosaur! Get ready for a super-dee-duper time with Barney™ as he brings a celebration as big as your imagination. The loveable, huggable T-rex invites children to explore exciting places as he encourages sharing, caring, imagining, dancing and learning along the way! The KIDZ BOP Kids, the face and voice behind KIDZ BOP, the No. 1 brand for kids ages 5-12 in the U.S., are five talented young performers from across the country who sing, dance, and perform to a medley of today’s most popular hits. For the past two years, the KIDZ BOP Kids were named the No. 1 Billboard Kids’ Artists of the year. The LIVE 40 minute performance is a high energy, fully choreographed, interactive show that will have both kids and parents on their feet dancing to hits like “Moves Like Jagger” and “Call Me Maybe.” Since its launch in 2001, the popular music series has sold more than 12 million albums and has been connecting with millions of kids through music, live appearances, and its leading safe social networking site, KIDZBOP.com. Roger Day & the Mosquito Burrito Brothers perform action-packed, original children’s music while urging kids to reach their potential by using body and brain, mind and muscle. Roger’s award-winning songs, such as “A Mosquito Burrito,” “It’s a No-No to Kiss a Rhino” and “Marvin the Marvelous Moose,” guarantee maximum audience participation. Manding Jata: The Manding Empire Revealed (performing Saturday only) is a fast-paced, scintillating presentation combining powerhouse drumming with a dazzling display of strength, grace, acrobatics and dexterity that defy the laws of gravity. Complete with vibrant costumes and ceremonial masks, Manding Jata’s hypnotic movement and pulsating rhythms create a complex cultural circus. An electric folk/rock band best known for family music and children’s songs, Trout Fishing in America, brings music center stage. Songs like “My Hair Had a Party Last Night,” “18 Wheels on a Big Rig” and “When I Was a Dinosaur” have earned them a place in the hearts of kids and families everywhere. Keith Grimwood and Ezra Idlet met in Houston more than three decades ago and have been playing together ever since. See the attached Pepsi Main Stage schedule for performance times. Just around the corner from the Pepsi Main stage, enjoy hands-on arts and crafts, games, costumed characters and more in our amusing creative zones all around The Pavilion. The Wells Fargo Fun Zone features balloons, hat-making, a meet and greet area, arts and crafts with The Woodlands Children’s Museum and performances on the Community Stage. Head to the top of the hill where the adventure continues and kids can build and fly kites, run parachute races, pan for gold and play in the sand. Each day wraps up with the Kazoo-Dah Parade that begins and ends in the Wells Fargo Fun Zone. In the Anadarko Adventure Zone, kids can let their inner scientist come out studying fossils, using a robotic arm, discovering drilling with Anadarko Petroleum and making slime and silly putty with Mad Science of Houston. Live on the wild side with face painting and interactive games, creating their own work of art in the sidewalk chalk area and rocking out with the Radio Disney Road Crew, and much, much more. The Villager’s Arts Alley allows kids to unleash their creative side participating in arts and crafts and learning about the principles and elements of art by creating their own masterpieces. They will learn about lines, colors, shapes, patterns, unity, balance and more by using these elements to make imaginative creations. The Activity Tent is the place to be for a train ride and hands-on activities and games organized by local businesses including “Be a DJ” with K-STAR Country 99.7 FM, a fashion show, brain teasers, a coloring contest, instrument petting zoo, making Play-Doh, photos with the Sugar Plum Fairy, a coloring contest and lots of other great activities. The Children’s Memorial Hermann The Woodlands / Ironman Healthy KidZone promotes health and physical fitness for kids with sports games and activities like Bubble Runners, Bumper Boats, meeting professional sports teams, exploring an ambulance, learning the techniques of martial arts and soccer, performing gymnastics moves, health and wellness checks and more, plus performances on the Healthy KidZone Stage. For more information and details about Children’s Festival activities and performers, please visit www.woodlandscenter.org/childrens_festival or call 281-364-3010. Tickets for the 17th Annual Children’s Festival are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. This admission fee includes every show and activity for the day. Tickets can be purchased at The Pavilion Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., all Ticketmaster locations, online at www.ticketmaster.com, by calling 800-745-3000, or the day of the event. Children age 2 and under are free. Picnics are welcome, but beverages cannot be brought into the venue. Preferred parking is available in the on-site Town Center Garage, located along Six Pines Drive. Parking is $5 per vehicle for this and most performing arts events. Tickets for on-site parking can be purchased in advance at all Ticketmaster locations and The Pavilion Box Office. Guests also may park in any of the five free parking lots on the southwest side of The Pavilion. The free, color-coded lots are connected to The Pavilion by corresponding pathways with signs leading across The Waterway.
THE WOODLANDS TOWNSHIP 281-210-3800 - www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov
How to Stay Informed in an Emergency
THANK YOU TO Ron Mullins for compiling this information. firstname.lastname@example.orgWith all the incredible “Frankenstorms” throughout the world these days, it is more important than ever that you have a Family Emergency Plan. Here is information specific to The Woodlands. You should print this out and post it where the young and adults in the family can read and learn. Gordy Bunch
- Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed – Visit www.Ready.gov.
- To stay informed before, during and after an emergency, check The Woodlands Township Web site at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov, as long as electric power and Internet access permit.
- Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management at www.mctxoem.org and Harris County Homeland Security and Emergency Management at www.readyharris.org will post emergency information for their counties.
- In addition, The Woodlands Township has an agreement with K STAR Country, 99.7 FM radio, to broadcast emergency information specific to The Woodlands in the event of a community-wide emergency.
- In the event ALL communication efforts fail, residents may go to one of The Woodlands’ eight fire stations. The Woodlands fire stations will have the latest updates and information available for residents.
- Temporary Central Station and Administration Office – 29955 I-45 North
- Station 2 – 9303 Gosling Road
- Station 3 – 1522 Sawdust Road
- Station 4 – 7900 Bay Branch Drive
- Station 5 – 10100 Branch Crossing Drive
- Station 6 – 1100 Windsor Lakes Boulevard
- Station 7 – 26722 Kuykendahl Road
- Station 8 – 11800 Gosling Road
- Prepare now, so that you’ll be informed:
- Sign up for Woodlands Alert at www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov and click Woodlands Alert Signup. Be sure to select your preferences, which you may update at any time.
- Sign up for emergency notifications, general notifications and severe weather warnings for Montgomery County by visiting www.mc911.org and clicking CodeRED.
- Sign up for emergency notifications or general updates for Harris County (Village of Creekside Park) by visiting www.hcoem.org and clicking Harris County Alerts.
- Sign up for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training class. Contact Rachel Andrews at The Woodlands Fire Department for more information at 281-210-5833 or visit www.thewoodlandstownship-tx.gov/CERT.
- Call The Woodlands Township’s Neighborhood Services Department to schedule a Get Ready – The Woodlands Emergency Preparedness presentation. This presentation includes the basic steps to get prepared as outlined by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Join The Woodlands Watch and schedule your neighborhood presentation today by calling 281-210-3800.
Mark Your Calendar
17th Annual Children’s Festival Saturday, November 10, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. & Sunday November 11, Noon – 5 p.m. The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion is transformed into a giant playground of fun.
27th Annual Fall Fine Arts & Crafts Fair Saturday, November 10 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Panther Creek Shopping Center
Lighting of the Doves & iWOW Festival Saturday, November 17 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. The Woodlands Town Center
23rd Annual GE Run Thru The Woods Thursday, November 22 7 a.m. The Woodlands Town Center