Tag Archives: Pearland Journal

Hooters coming to Pearland

570e9f79c834f.imageWest Pearland will soon be home to a new Hooters restaurant.

To be located in front of Sam’s Club along State Highway 288, the new restaurant is currently under construction with plans for a July opening, company officials recently confirmed.

“Hooters will open a fresh new prototype restaurant in Pearland including more comfortable seating with revamped high back chairs and booths to sleek finishes and top-of-the-line AV packages designed to enhance the guest dining experience from the moment they walk through the doors,” Mark Whittle, senior vice president of global development at Hooters of America said when contacted by The Journal.

The west Pearland Hooters will also feature large flat-screen TVs for sports fans, patio seating and a menu to include burgers, salads, seafood and of course, chicken wings.

“It will also feature a centrally located bar area, offering a wider selection of cocktails and craft beers,” Whittle said.

Company officials contracted with Belisle Construction to build the new restaurant, which is valued at $1.25 million according to a report by the City of Pearland Community Development Department.

“The building is 6,000 square feet with a 400 square-foot patio. It will be built at 15838 S Hwy 288 on a 1.62 acre lot,” Whittle said. “Hooters Girls will begin warmly welcoming fans in July 2016.”

Hooters of America, LLC is the Atlanta-based operator and franchiser of over 430 Hooters locations in 28 countries. The privately-held corporation owns 160 units.

Officer Anthony LaSagna retires after 26 years of service

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LaSagna receives the traditional rocking chair retirement gift from Chief Doyle.

Michael “Tony” LaSagna retired after 26 years of service with the Pearland Police Department on Friday (Jan. 29). Officer LaSagna’s service was distinguished by his being a ‘steady hand’ for the department.

According to Chief J.C. Doyle, “Tony is every Chief’s dream. He came to work when he was supposed to, did his job and always went home at the end of his shift. Tony was a mentor and friend to many and will be missed.”

LaSagna will begin a new career with the Lake Jackson Police Department. When asked to give a speech, he said, “On behalf of my wife and kids, I appreciate everything this department has done for me. Never in my life did I think I’d be here more than 10 years. I appreciate everyone celebrating this day with me!”

Mayor Tom Reid said, “I’ve attended many new hire ceremonies and promotion ceremonies, but not many retirement ceremonies. That is a tip of the hat to this department and says a lot about the quality of the city and the quality of the Pearland Police Department.”

Texas tech student from Pearland stabbed to death outside Lubbock bar

Kafer

Kafer

Texas Tech student Zachary Kafer, 20, from Pearland, was stabbed to death outside a bar called Mesquites in Lubbock early Thursday (Jan. 14) morning.

Police were called to the bar in the 2400 block of Broadway Ave. at 1:15 a.m. Police say Kafer had an altercation with John Henry Allen, also 20, when Allen stabbed him multiple times.

A witness helped Kafer’s roommate transport Kafer, who was already unconscious, to the hospital, where he passed away.

According to police, Allen claims that several males, including Kafer, started yelling at him as he sat in his car with a passenger in front of an ATM machine next to the bar. He says one of the men reached in and punched him in the face. Allen then started swinging a knife out the window at the men.

Police say that Allen confessed to the stabbing, and a knife believed to be the murder weapon was recovered in his vehicle.

Allen

Allen

Police arrested Allen at his nearby apartment. He is being held in the Lubbock County Detention Center with a $500,000 bond.

NIX: Some Pearland ISD school bond history is in order

When discussing the questions of a possible school bond election next November, I suggest readers consider what happened in 2006 when Pearland voters approved roughly $115.6 million in school bonds.

In a district press release issued a month before the election, officials told voters projections showed enrollment was expected to reach 28,600 by 2014. Voters were also told the bond would fund a new high school and two new elementary schools, among other things.

Currently, Pearland ISD enrollment is roughly 21,115, more than 7,400 fewer students than projected. And although the bond provided construction funding for Dawson High School which opened in 2009, elementary schools twelve and thirteen were never built. Why? I don’t know but I’d guess these are questions voters and trustees may soon be asking.

Another question to consider: only six years after it opened Dawson High School is now the district’s most overcrowded campus. Why? I don’t know but what I do know is PBK Architecture, a firm that was involved in the construction of Dawson High School, last year agreed to pay Allen ISD millions in damages for their part in structural defects that led to the year-long closure of the district’s new $60 million high school stadium. Yet just last month, administrators gave PBK Architecture a perfect score on bid tally sheets and advised trustees to again hire the company on an “as-needed” basis.

According to the 2015 financial audit, the district’s total long-term debt equals approximately $356.1 million, or roughly $16,822 per student. Do we need to add to that number? At this stage, that’s a question to be carefully considered by members of the Long Range Facilities Planning Community Committee and later, by trustees. Let me be clear, I have great respect for every one of the Pearland ISD trustees. They each work tirelessly on behalf of Pearland students and I have no doubt they will carefully consider all these questions and many others before allowing a bond proposal to come before voters.

And in covering this process, it’s not my intent to tell anyone whether they should vote for or against a bond proposal. My intention is provide accurate information and uncover the facts as they are made available via public meetings, agenda documents and other official reports. Readers deserve to have accurate information during every step of the process.

Stay tuned.

Pearland resident victim of overnight shooting

On Friday (Jan. 8) at approximately 12:50 a.m., Pearland Police were dispatched to a report of shots fired at the Villas of Shadow Creek Apartments in the 2000 block of Business Center.

Upon arrival, the responding officer found a 32-year-old male victim with a gunshot wound to the left thigh. The victim stated that two or three subjects wearing ski masks riding in a dark black or blue vehicle, possibly a Honda, had pulled up to him outside his apartment and began shooting at him.

Officers canvassed the area but were unable to locate the suspects. The victim was transported to Memorial Hermann Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No motive was immediately apparent for the shooting.

The investigation is ongoing.

Pearland Police promote two to sergeant

The Pearland Police Department promoted two of its officers to the rank of Sergeant on Wednesday (Dec. 13). Det. Jeff Jernigan and Officer Adam Carroll took their oaths as other officers, family and friends looked on.

Police Chief J.C. Doyle administered their oaths of office.

Jernigan had been named the 2014 Exchange Club Officer of the Year. He was pinned by his wife Katy. His children Shane and Lexee were in attendance.

Carroll was part of the Motorcycle Unit and a past president of the Pearland Police Officer’s Association. He was pinned by his children, Rylie and Zach.

For more information, visit PearlandPD.com.

Incumbents face little opposition in Brazoria County primary races

With the March 1 primary races just around the corner , election season is now officially underway. In Brazoria County, a large number of incumbent candidates will return unopposed to serve another term.

At the national level, incumbent Congressman Al Green is unchallenged in the Democratic Primary and will face Jeff Martin, the lone Republican candidate, in the Nov. 8 general election.

In the race for Congressional District 14, incumbent Randy Weber is challenged by Keith Casey for the Republican nomination with Michael Cole as the lone Democrat to file in the primary race.

Incumbent Congressman Pete Olson is running unopposed for the Republican nomination for District 22. Mark Gibson and A.R. Hassan will compete in the Democratic Primary.

Incumbent Republican Larry Taylor is running unopposed and will serve another term as the District 11 Texas Senator.

Incumbent Rodney Ellis also drew no opposition and will serve another term as the District 13 State Senator.

Incumbent Republican Dennis Bonnen also drew no opposition and will also serve another term as the District 25 State Representative.

Incumbent Republican Ed Thompson will run opposed in the Republican primary and will face the lone Democratic candidate John T. Floyd in the Nov. 8 General Election.

Incumbent Republican Jack Wagner from Lake Jackson drew no opposition and will serve another term as Brazoria County Sheriff.

Another Lake Jackson resident, Donald “Dude” Payne, the incumbent candidate for County Commissioner Pct. 1 drew no opposition and will serve another term.

Pearland-resident Stacy Adams, the Republican incumbent for County Commissioner Pct. 3 is also running unopposed and will serve another term.

Incumbent Republican Ro’Vin Garrett from Angleton is running unopposed and will serve another terms as Brazoria County Tax Assessor Collector.

In the race for Brazoria County Justice of the Peace Pct. 1, Place 1, three candidates will compete for the Republican nomination with no filings in the Democratic primary.

Pearland-resident Suzanne Hanneman is running against incumbent Jack Brown from Lake Jackson and John Vasut from Angleton in the Republican Primary.

Alvin-resident Mike Merkel drew no opposition and will serve another term as the Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 Place 1.

For Justice of the Peace Pct. 4 Place I, incumbent Sharon Fox from Brazoria is challenged by Janis Varner Phillips, also from Brazoria in the Republican Primary with no candidate filings for the Democratic nomination.

Pearland-resident C.B. Buck Stevens, the Republican incumbent for Brazoria County Constable Pct. 3, drew no opposition and will serve another term.

For Pct. 2 Constable, Republicans Willie Howell from Angleton and David Thacker from Lake Jackson are competing for the Republican nomination. There were no candidate filings in the Democratic primary race.

For Pct.4 Constable, Manvel-resident Lance Willis, Angleton-resident James Brawner and Pete Gamboa from Sweeny are competing for the Republican nomination with no filings for the Democratic nomination

Pearland woman sentenced to six years in prison in connection with drowning death of twin daughters

5685ad37b6ba7.imageA Brazoria County jury sentenced Barbara Russo, 22, to six years in prison in connection with the drowning death of her twin toddler daughters in her Pearland home earlier this year. Russo appeared in court Tuesday (Dec. 30) and plead guilty to two third-degree felony counts of criminally negligent homicide.

The 14-month-old daughters, Sabrina and Savannah, drowned last February after Russo left them alone in a bathtub with the water running for more than 20 minutes.

“This was a highly emotional case as it should be,” Brazoria County District Attorney Jeri Yenne said when contacted by The Journal. “It was important to me that she be a convicted felon and that she go to prison.”

Russo will serve three years in prison before she becomes eligible for parole.

“There had to be some significant consequences for this level of criminal negligence,” Yenne said. “Two wonderful people lost their lives and their deaths were entirely preventable.”

School bond election strategy aims to target parent voters

Pearland ISD officials recently began working on two critical planning steps to advance plans for a November bond election: strategic planning and facilities planning.

Trustees recently approved two consulting contracts designed to help guide the district through bond election strategy and the planning process. A $27,000 contract was approved with Engage, a firm that specializes in strategic planning and a $20,000 contract with Scott Milder, who works as an elections strategist for Stantec, a construction and architecture company.

Milder described his approach to election strategy in “Targeting voters in a school bond election”, an article published online by the School Superintendents Association.

Using special software, Milder can merge the voting history for a school district with with student directory information to create a list of likely registered voter parents by campus. According to the article, that data can then be merged with lists of local civic club memberships, booster clubs and an employee directory.

“Many registered voters never or rarely vote. Identifying those most likely to vote allows a targeted, one-to-one approach with those voters most likely to impact the outcome of your election,” Milder writes.

Using the targeted list, school administrators and staff members are then encouraged to start making phone calls.

“A voter who receives a call directly from the superintendent reminding them to vote and asking whether they have any questions is inspired to vote… and vote yes,” Milder writes.

But before focusing efforts toward a list of targeted voters, Milder recommends organizing a 45-50 person committee of community members and district staff to review the district’s goals and needs and make bond recommendations to the board.

“In many cases, the members of this committee create a political action committee to get out the ‘vote yes’ message, so it is important they have a positive experience.” Milder writes.

According to agenda documents, Milder’s $20,000 consulting fee will be reimbursed to the district via any future construction contracts awarded to his employer, Stantec.

Stantec and KBR

Stantec and the Houston-based architectural firm KBR were picked by trustees to provide architectural services on an “as-needed” basis at the Dec. 8 Board of Trustees meeting.

Trustees reviewed a list of 14 firms who submitted a statement of qualifications for the position including Stantec, KBR, CRE8 Architects, DLR Group, Corgan Architecture, Fanning Howey + House Partners, Huckabee, IBI Group, Kirksey Architecture, Pfluger Architects, Harrison Kornberg Architects, Powers Brown Architecture, SBWV Architects and VLK Architects.

Four Pearland ISD administrators and the City of Pearland Director of Engineering met and ranked each firm using six evaluation criteria measures: background and experience, previous experience with PISD and other districts, pre-bond planning, coordination and public relations, key project personnel, corporate financial qualifications and project management plan.

Of the 14 firms, KBR was awarded a perfect score. Stantec was ranked second and SBWV Architects was ranked third.

Trustees voted to approve the committee’s recommendation to hire KBR and Stantec.

According to agenda documents, the contracts with each firm will be negotiated at a later date once the details of future bond projects are known.