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The Sugar Season is Here….Beware!

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Halloween is around the corner, and that means the start of “sugar season.” With that in mind the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District (Metro Health) is sharing some advice to manage the amount of sugar you and your family consumes.

Sugar does not need to be eliminated completely; however those foods with a large amount of sugar should be “occasional” foods not “everyday” foods.

Follow these tips to help reduce the amount of sugar kids will consume this Halloween and during “sugar season”:

  • Make sure your kids have a healthy meal before they go trick-or treating. Full tummies may lessen the amount of candy consumed.
  • Avoid using a large pillow case to collect Halloween candy. Let your child choose a smaller, festive collection bag.
  • Encourage children to take only one piece of candy from each house.
  • Buy snack size Halloween treats, and if you are the one passing them out – hand out one treat to each child, instead of letting them take what they want. This will help control your Halloween budget.
  • Cutting back on sugary treats also includes soda and sugar-sweetened drinks. Offer a festive punch made with sparkling water, a splash of 100% fruit juice and some fruit.
  • Instead of using sugar to sweeten cider, use fruit and spices like cinnamon, cloves, cranberries and orange slices.
  • Some healthier Halloween treats to try are tangerines or small oranges decorated to look like Jack-O-Lanterns (with non-toxic ink), 100% real fruit strips or ropes, snack sized packages of pretzels, popcorn, dried fruit, trail mix, nuts or pumpkin seeds.
  • Stay active with a family walk around the neighborhood.

And, as the holidays approach, remember the three ¡Viva Health! messages:

1)    Fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, every meal, every day.

2)    For portion control, use a smaller plate.

3)    Drink water, not sugary drinks.

Eat well; feel great, every season of the year! For information and materials on the ¡Viva Health! Campaign, visit: http://www.sanantonio.gov/Health/VivaHealth

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Student Volunteers Operate One of the Busiest Tax Offices in the City

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St. Philip’s College students will open San Antonio’s most productive income tax preparation site when the 2019 Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) season begins on Jan. 22.

Currently the top floor of the college’s Bowden Building, at 1801 MLK Drive, has been taken over by the VITA San Antonio program for training its entire corps of new and returning tax preparers. The St. Philip’s site, which was established in 1992 and run by students, is ranked No. 1 in productivity locally in 2018, No. 4 in productivity in the region, and No. 12 in productivity nationally.

Kenneth Bankston is the VITA college site leader and the instructor for the tax training center. He said they have already trained 300-400 volunteers on campus since December. VITA provides free income tax return preparation to taxpayers earning up to $60,000 annually. All VITA tax returns are prepared and submitted to the IRS electronically by volunteers. Taxpayers can anticipate receiving a check in seven to 10 days business days.

For the 2018 tax season, the VITA-St. Philip’s College volunteers processed $7.3 million in refunds for 4,170 clients. Many of the students who volunteer to help taxpayers are scholarship recipients of the HEB Student Engagement Grant.

Crystal Gandara is a 2015 alumna of the college’s liberal arts and business administration programs who began volunteering for VITA in 2014.

“For 2019, I’m going to help with Spanish speakers and see if we can serve 5,000 people. I think both are achievable,” said Gandara.

Lisa Alvarez is a 2018 alumna of the college’s computerized accounting program. Now she’s training this week to become the leader at VITA’s Brook Hollow site.

“When I got into VITA, I was no longer unsure what I wanted to do. When I tell people what I love do with taxes, they are like, well you are one of the few. When I get to Brook Hollow, I’m going to have my St. Philip’s College VITA experiences in my head the whole time. I love it, because this is helping people,” Alvarez said.

For details, contact site leader Kenneth Bankston at spc-vita@alamo.edu or call (210) 486–2122. To learn more, go here.

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New Interim District 2 Councilman

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Former Councilman Art Hall has been chosen as the interim District 2 Councilman to replace William “Cruz” Shaw. Hall previously served on the council, representing District 8. He has residences in both districts.

Hall was selected among a group of three finalists that included military veteran and motivational speaker Jada Sullivan, and Denver Heights Neighborhood Association President Aubrey Lewis. Thirteen people originally filed to be considered for the position. Hall said he will not file to run for the position in May. Hall must wait 10 days before being seated on the council.

Hall, who is an attorney and a dean at St. Philip’s College, served two terms from 2003 to 2007 when he represented District 8. The recent District 2 Council seat became vacant when Shaw resigned to accept an appointed judicial position at the Bexar County Courthouse.

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San Antonio City Council *Live*

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