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Slipping Out of Darkness

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Now that we’ve thawed out a bit and temperatures have been warmer and closer to average, maybe we can return to some normalcy. However, around this time last week countless individuals and families had taken in the exquisite views of measurable snow in San Antonio, a rare scene for locals since 1985 and a very first for others. There were plenty of snowball fights, constructed snowmen and snowwomen that stood out in front of yards along with a great deal of makeshift snow-surfing festivities that took place; all were a nice little mental and physical break from the harsh realities of our “new norms” in the age of Covid-19. Unfortunately, little did San Antonians and Texans know that this excitement was just a little “calm before the storm,” and like the remnants of Covid-19, we’ll be paying the price for the pleasure.

Things quickly took a turn for the worse by the evening of February 14, 2021. With record breaking temperatures in the forecast and potential snowfall, many rushed out to local grocery stores in an effort to shop for essential food and water in the event roads and stores would be closed. Shoppers arrived at stores having to wait in long lines only to discover semi-bare shelves and slim pickings of items to purchase because many heeded protocols and prepared home-cooked meals and celebrated their first socially distanced Valentine’s Day at home with loved ones. Adding insult to injury, thousands of San Antonians began experiencing the bitterness of frigid nights and temperatures that led to incredible snowfall amounts. Then what started as rolling electricity blackouts (typical in summer months in Texas) to protect and conserve the entire Texas power grid abruptly became a little more permanent for millions of residents across the city and the state. And as if sitting in the dark for hours and then days was not enough, it immediately became clear that loss of electricity would cause a hurdling domino effect of catastrophic events. CPS Energy, San Antonio’s municipal electric utility company shutting off of electricity started to trouble the city’s water supply because pumps that assist with water pressure and flow were disabled causing businesses and residents to experience low water pressure, and in far too many cases residents experienced having no water at all.

The historic 2021 winter storm nicknamed “SnowVid” really made its presence known. Major roads and highways closed, school districts canceled classes for the week, Covid-19 vaccinations were brought to a halt, basic essentials like food and water were scarce, and people were basically trapped in their homes ingesting a great amount of uncertainty. And now that power and water have been restored, pocketbooks and bank accounts will take another hit as business owners and citizens repair busted pipes, service vehicles, replenish food pantries, and most likely bear the burden of higher utility bills, etc. in an already bleak future.

According to reports ERCOT (The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, Inc.) which operates Texas’s electrical grid and supplies power to more than 25 million Texas customers and represents 90% of the state’s electric load) says Texas was 4 minutes and 37 seconds from total blackout that could have lasted months. Undoubtedly, this storm will never be forgotten; the good, the bad and the ugly.  Kudos to all the essential workers who endured the storm to in an effort to keep us all safe, functional and informed.

Several resources are currently available to assist with recovery

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County and San Antonio Food Bank opened a total of 13 bottled water distribution sites that will remain open for two weeks. Residents will be able to pick up one case of bottled water per day per household. The sites will remain open through March 6.

Bottled Water Distribution Sites

  1. Wheatley Heights Sports Complex – 200 Noblewood Dr.
  2. Brooks – Challenger Dr. @ Research Place
  3. Texas A&M University – San Antonio – Main Campus – One University Way
  4. Port San Antonio – 907 Billy Mitchell Blvd
  5. SeaWorld San Antonio/Aquatica – 10500 Sea World Drive
  6. Six Flags Fiesta Texas – 17000 IH 10 West
  7. Food Bank – 5200 Enrique M. Barrera Pkwy  
  8. Our Lady of the Lake University — 411 SW 24th St
  9. Community Bible Church – 2477 N Loop 1604 E
  10. Heroes Stadium – 4799 Thousand Oaks Dr.
  11. Rolling Oaks Mall — 6909 N Loop 1604 E
  12. Bullis County Park – 27583 Old Blanco Rd
  13. Julius Matthey Middle School – 20350 Red Forest Ln

The locations were selected to be within the closest proximity to areas that are still facing water outages. 

The City will also provide bottled water delivery to homebound seniors, San Antonio Housing Authority properties without water, nursing homes, boarding homes, some dialysis facilities and residents with medical needs. These locations have been identified and coordinated with partner agencies. Delivery availability is limited but can be requested by calling 311.  

The sites will abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, including wearing masks and practicing physical distancing. 

For more information or to receive the latest weather information from the city of San Antonio and Bexar County.

  1. Download the Ready South Texas app, available in the iTunes and Google Play stores
  2. Text COSAGOV to 55000 to receive SMS text message updates
  3. Follow @COSAGOV on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  4. Bookmark www.sanantonio.gov
  5. Follow other partner agencies on social media:
    1. SAPD: https://twitter.com/SATXPolice
    2. SAFD: https://twitter.com/SATXFire
    3. Bexar County:  https://www.facebook.com/BexarCountyTX
    4. TxDOT San Antonio: https://twitter.com/TxDOTSanAntonio
    5. CPS Energy: https://twitter.com/cpsenergy
    6. SAWS: https://twitter.com/MySAWS
    7. VIA Metropolitan Transit: https://twitter.com/VIA_Transit

Community

Applicants Sought for Community Action Advisory Board

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The City of San Antonio is accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Community Action Advisory Board (CAAB). The CAAB advises the City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) and San Antonio City Council on needs, concerns, and goals of low-income persons; recommends policies; and advises on the allocation of federal Community Services Block Grant funds. The CAAB also oversees key responsibilities regarding the Head Start Policy Council of the City’s Head Start Program for its benefit and effective governance. DHS  also administers the Community Action Program for the city and Bexar County. 

“This is an opportunity for residents to get involved & make a difference in the lives of low-income children & families in our community,” stated Minerva Hernandez, Family Support Coordinator with the Department of Human Services.

Applications will be accepted for representative(s) of low-income individuals and families in the following areas: 

  • Area I – City Council Districts 1 & 2 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area II – City Council District 5
  • Area III – City Council Districts 3 & 4 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area IV – City Council Districts 6 & 7 and Adjacent Bexar County area
  • Area V – City Council Districts 8, 9 &10 and Adjacent Bexar County area

Applicants interested volunteering on the CAAB, must be 18 years of age or older and a resident of a selected service area and committed to serving low-income individuals and families living in poverty.

The Board is comprised of 15 members: five elected public officials (four City Council Members and one County Commissioner), five representatives of the community’s low-income residents, and five representatives from private groups and organizations.

Interested residents can apply with the Office of the City Clerk on the City’s website. If you have any questions or need assistance with your application, please contact Nancy Cano, Boards & Commissions Coordinator, at (210) 207-7257 or via email at Nancy.cano@sanantonio.gov.

The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, Dec.6, 2022, by 4 p.m. with the Office of the City Clerk.

In the event more than one candidate applies for Low-Income Representative from the same area CAAB Elections for Low Income Representative(s) will be held on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2022, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the following polling locations:

  • Area I – West End Park Senior Center – 1226 N.W. 18th St., 78207
  • Area II – Normoyle Senior Center – 700 Culberson, 78225    
  • Area III – Willie Cortez Senior Center – 5512 S.W. Military Drive, 78242
  • Area IV – Doris Griffin Senior One-Stop Center – 6157 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 120, 78238
  • Area V – Northeast Senior Center – 4135 Thousand Oaks, 78217

Each election site will have paper ballots available with the name of the candidates for each area. For information about the Community Action Advisory Board Contact Liaison: Minerva Hernandez LMSW at 210-207-5917 or email: Minerva.hernandez@sanantonio.gov.

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Community

SeaWorld Christmas Celebration

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Texas’ Biggest Christmas Celebration Offers the Largest Light Display in the State and an Exciting New Christmas Nativity Musical Extravaganza

Beginning November 10, SeaWorld San Antonio is trimming the tree and hanging the lights for the return of SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the biggest Christmas event in Texas. For 42 days the marine life park will transform into a holiday wonderland featuring millions of sparkling lights, decorations, holiday festivities, and scrumptious holiday treats and eats. Along with returning favorites, the park will premiere the brand-new O Wondrous Night, an exciting, multi-faceted live action musical!

NEW O Wondrous Night Stage ShowThe greatest story never told – the story of the Nativity as seen through the eyes of the animals who experienced it – makes its debut this year at SeaWorld San Antonio. This magical experience features amazing puppetry, more than 30 inspirational carols, and dance set against the backdrop of the very first Christmas. This glorious live stage show celebration will charm, entertain, and delight people from all walks of life as they experience the true glory of the season. Singing, special effects, and holiday spirit combine to make O Wondrous Night yet another reason to make SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, the largest in all of Texas, an annual part of family holiday traditions for years to come.

NEW Christmas Party Zone, Snowman Jam – SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration may be a winter wonderland, but things will heat up at the holiday party zone! Amongst the many holiday areas to visit, guests can catch a special Christmas vibe at Snowman Jam. A DJ spinning the sounds and Festive Flurries fill the air with snowflakes at this club-like section of the park, all centered around the new Frozen Fusion Bar that will serve up specialty cocktails like the Mistletoe Margarita!

Returning Favorites– Guests can renew holiday traditions and encounter 12 uniquely themed holiday areas. Guests will experience the joy of the season while enjoying returning favorites like millions of festive twinkling lights and displays around the entire park, meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, watching the Sesame Street Christmas Parade, or strolling through Christmas Market and visiting Santa himself. Park-goers can also savor the season with chef-created holiday treats served up in cozy holiday settings with visits from Santa, Rudolph, and a cast of memorable holiday characters. Returning holiday festivities include:

  • Twelve Yuletide-Themed Areas – A country Christmas can be discovered at Christmas Market, with a unique Christmas tree made entirely of cowboy boots. Park goers can also stroll through Christmas Cove, a 1950s-inspired wonderland, as well as enjoy a whimsical Snowman Village where they can pose with life-sized snowmen. Additionally, guests can make their way through nine more holiday themed areas featuring millions of lights adorning every corner, putting guests in the ultimate holiday mood.
  • Holiday Shows and Festive Animal Presentations – World class entertainment awaits those craving the holiday spirit. Enjoy a bit of Fiesta flare with the Merry Mariachis, hear the story of the first Christmas told through song in Peace on Earth, and be inspired by the festive beluga whale and pacific whitesided dolphin presentation, Ocean Discovery: A Splash of Christmas set to the music of The Nutcracker.
  • Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Friends – Guests can immerse themselves in the story of Rudolphwhen strolling past life-size story book vignettes featuring the classic tale and can meet beloved characters including Rudolph, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, and Bumble.
  • The Sesame Street Christmas Parade features fantastic, festively decorated floats with show-stopping performances that celebrate the magic of the holiday season! The whole family will experience an energetic Christmas celebration with Sesame Street friends, including Elmo, Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby Cadabby, Bert, Ernie, and more. Families are sure to sing, dance, and be merry with their favorite furry friends!
  • Coca-Cola presents Fireside S’mores and a Holiday Scavenger Hunt – Families and friends alike can create memories as they cozy up around a toasty fire and experience the tradition of roasting marshmallows for delicious holiday smores. Afterwards, guests have the chance to become Insta-famous and featured on billboards around San Antonio by participating in a jolly photo scavenger hunt. Upon completion guests will receive a Coca-Cola theme festive holiday prize.
  • Festive Food and Beverages – Plenty of holiday inspired treats and eats will satisfy cravings with seasonal candies and baked goods, festive funnel cakes, piping hot chocolate and coffee, and winter cocktails including and the NEW Santa-Gria and the Grinch Cocktail with melon liqueur, and rum! Those wanting a traditional holiday meal can join Mrs. Claus in her kitchen for Dinner with Santa as she serves up a Christmas feast and welcomes the big guy to read stories to the kids! Families can also delight in holiday food and fun as they Dine with Rudolph and Friends. (Reservations required for Dinner with Santa and Dine with Rudolph.)

No visit to SeaWorld is complete without spending time with some incredible marine animals. Guests have the opportunity to view, engage with, and learn about everything from orcas, dolphins, belugas, sharks, and puffins; to tropical fish, sea turtles, birds, and more.

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Community

Neighborhood Leadership Academy 

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Applications Now Open for City of San Antonio’s Neighborhood Leadership Academy

The City of San Antonio is now accepting applications for the eighth cohort of the Neighborhood Leadership Academy. The Neighborhood Leadership Academy equips residents with the skills, knowledge and resources to better advocate for their neighborhoods. There is no fee to apply or participate.

The Neighborhood Leadership Academy brings together neighbors from all parts of San Antonio to learn more about how their local government works. This valuable program also helps our neighbors learn how they can make their voices heard for issues that are important to their own communities,” said Alanna Reed, City of San Antonio Director of Communications and Engagement. 

Participants in the program will hear from guest speakers and City staff about pressing local issues and how they can get involved and share feedback. They will also participate in group discussions, networking opportunities and a specially curated behind the scenes tour of City facilities and services. Past participants have included neighborhood association leaders and residents who are interested in leading their own association or community group. 

Applications are open to anyone who lives within San Antonio city limits. There is no cost to participate in this program. Program sessions will take place once a month from January 2023 through June 2023. The deadline to apply is November 10, 2022.

For more information or to apply, visit www.saspeakup.com/2022NLA101.

Interested residents can also email Neighborhoods@sanantonio.gov or call 210-207-6920.

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