STAR is coming to the King William Historic District on October 3 and 4. At its October 2014 meeting, the KWA board voted to donate $6,500 to the STAR program specifically for an event in the King William Historic District. Our donation will sponsor rehabilitation of five houses. Supporting the STAR program is one of the goals of the KWA Strategic Plan.

Have you ever found yourself in the embarrassing situation of not knowing that there are 10 historical markers in the King William district? Yes, I know. Maybe you do know the location of one or two markers, but can you remember what they say? Can you accurately describe to a visitor the shortest route to the Altgelt-Isbell House Historical Marker? Fear no more my fellow King Williamites! There are plenty of options to satisfy your historical marker hunger. Here are your options:

First, the basics. If you are using a computer, type “San Antonio Historical Markers” in the Google search page. This will produce a list with a link to Google Maps. For some algorithmic reason I cannot get the same result by typing the same query from within the Google Maps website.

Now, you can also use your smartphone. All apps do more or less the same things: they can give you a list of nearby markers, as long as you have your geo-location option activated, and they display the text of the marker. In the Google App Store I found four apps with very creative and distinctive names: Texas Historical Markers, TX Historical Markers, Historical Markers of Texas and Texas Markers. 

The San Antonio Police Department is creating a new Street Crimes Unit (SCU). The SCU will replace the current POP and Gang Units and the result will be a streamlining of what had been overlapping responsibilities of those two units.

The main benefit to taxpayers will be that several of the uniformed officers formerly from the POP/Gang Units will be re-deployed to the six patrol substations to provide better geographic coverage and help to further improve response times city-wide. The redistribution will allow for an expansion of the Downtown Bike Patrol Unit, increasing the coverage into areas like King William/Southtown and VIA’s new Downtown Transit Center.

In the US, 62 million volunteers contribute about 8 billion hours of service each year, the equivalent of $173 billion. The nonprofit sector would probably collapse without all our awesome volunteer. (Nonprofit with Balls blog, 7-13-15)

Charles Schubert moved to San Antonio in 1966, because his employer, architect O’Neil Ford had his office in the King William neighborhood. 

Charles’s first Fair experience was by accident.  He woke up one Saturday morning on the second floor of his apartment to see people with card tables along the curb.  On the various tables were sodas and crafts for sale.  He went to check it out and from then on became a regular Fair volunteer.  Charles said, “I remember one year I was in charge of cleaning the streets after the Fair.  I missed the Fair because I was in the hospital, but the next day when I got home, I started at the corner of Madison and S. St. Mary’s with my trash bag picking up litter.  By the time I got to Beauregard Street some neighbors came and joined me in cleaning up the mess.”  

The best place in my house to escape the Amazonian heat of August is a dimly lit little study just off the entry hall. The blinds are down and the light is low to protect a collection of Japanese prints from the late 18th and early 19th century. They are from a series called “The Road to Edo”, the ancient name for Tokyo. My father brought them home from Japan in 1946; he’d bought them in the ruins of the Imperial capital. After homecoming embraces, my mother dashed to Chicago’s Marshall Fields department store and spent two months of his salary having them framed. He was a graphic designer and printmaker who admired the technical virtuosity of Japanese print makers and the art of Japan. How he acquired them is a complex tale of trans-national ironies that underscore the 70th anniversary of the end of his World War, on August 14, 1945.

Last year many board members and neighbors attended our Strategic Planning meetings and provided input on what priorities for KWA to work on and goals to accomplish. With the help of a consultant, participants completed a Strategic Plan that the board adopted on August 14, 2014. The Strategic Plan and the KWA Charter help guide each board decision regarding programs and issues impacting our Association.

Despite the struggle to stay organized (and sane) through all of the construction and compromised space on the Bonham Academy campus during the 2014-15 academic year, two educators were able to earn SAISD Foundation Innovation Grants of $5,000 that will benefit the entire Bonham Academy community.  Both Holly Clifford and I will be able to use our grants to purchase equipment that will enhance the learning experience of our students.  

Hi, my name is Stout.  I’m a one-year-old French bulldog – sweet and spunky.  If you were to tell me how cute I am I wouldn’t hear you because I’m deaf.  But my lack of hearing doesn’t prevent me from having many adventures!  I like to escape my home in King William every chance I get.  I love to be chased, but I never thought it would get me into so much trouble…

One day last month, my owner decided to air out our house.  At last – the front door was open!  I crashed through my barricade and bolted through the door with my handsomely stubby legs out to the streets.  My owner lost sight of me as I turned onto Adams Street, where I stopped to munch on some grass.  It was here that, to my surprise, a black BMW drove up next to me and snagged me off the street, after the had driver moved some mysterious trash bags into the trunk!  Several neighbors watched this happen.  Nobody said anything, but, luckily for me, one of them wrote down the license plate of the car. 

I was walking downtown on the River Walk approaching the bridge that I consider to be the northern gateway to the neighborhood, at Cesar Chavez Boulevard.  Rounding the corner I heard, and then saw, a young woman seated on a folding stool playing a mandolin and singing an old bluegrass folk tune.  Her voice was clear and really beautiful.  She’d chosen the location under the bridge and at the water’s edge for shade and for the remarkable acoustic effects that seemed to amplify her voice – the reverberation was as good as a concert hall.

Annice Hill and her husband of 45 years, Keith, used to live in a gated community where they did not even know their neighbors.  Having just completed a house remodel, Keith came home one day and announced he would like to live a more urban lifestyle like walking or biking to a restaurant.  Stunned at first, Annice thought, why not!  Their search led them to King William in 2009.  Within a short amount of time of moving into the St. Benedict’s Lofts, they joined the association as a way to keep up with happenings in the neighborhood and to meet their neighbors.  

Some of you may have heard about a bar or restaurant that is planned for the windowless law offices at the corner of Madison and St. Mary’s (803 S. St. Mary’s). The King William Association has protested the issuance of a Mixed Beverage and Late Hours permit by TABC for the property. The neighbors of the proposed business and representatives of the KWA held a meeting on May 26 to discuss the plan and neighbors’ concerns. 

If there were a First Couple of King William, Roselyn and Bill Cogburn would definitely be prime candidates for the title.  Since that title does not exist, we are shining a very inadequate light on them by recognizing them this month.  Since choosing this neighborhood as their own, they have worked tirelessly to make King William a better place to live.  In quickly reviewing the formal jobs they have done to promote, assist and improve our Association, there appear to be very few things that have not been done by one or both of them during the 25 years they have lived here:  newsletter author, publisher and distribution chief; Home Tour chair; chief of various Fair areas, membership chair; Director, Officer of the KWA; general support and “what needs to be done” chair. 

I'm experiencing what all my neighbors are apparently experiencing.  All of our little envelopes from the county’s Tax Assessor’s Office have been found to contain explosive material – a surprise jump in property valuations by an almost unfathomable margin.  My next door neighbors have discovered that their house has jumped in value by 250% since their last tax bill.  In my case it’s a mere 200%.  If there is a saving grace it is that only the “improvements,” that is, the house and carriage house, have escalated in value; the land is still assessed at the same rate.  Dirt is dirt, I presume.  

As Michael Guarino mentions in his column on page 5, last year the City’s Office of Historic Preservation commissioned Donovan Rypkema, principal of PlaceEconomics*, to create a report on the value of historic preservation in San Antonio.  Historic Preservation: Essential to the Economy and Quality of Life in San Antonio was released last February.  

The report used the SA2020 framework to examine the role of historic preservation in relation to the goals of the 11 “cause areas” that were established in that community process.  Cause areas include Arts & Culture, Education, Downtown Development, Family Well Being and Transportation.  

Rose Kanusky and her husband, Joe Sheldon, moved into the King William neighborhood in 1997.  Rose is a committed volunteer who currently chairs the Transportation/Parking Committee for the KWA.  She served as Chair of the King William Fair in 2009, 2008, 2007, and as Assistant Chair 2006.  She has also headed up the Beverage Department, served on the Finance Committee, written articles for the newsletter, and still volunteers for the Fair each year.  While Fair Chair, Rose worked year-round with an immense time commitment, in addition to her successful career as an attorney at Norton Rose Fulbright.  She has always gone above and beyond the normal responsibilities of her volunteer role, including visits to other festivals and fairs to do research, always with an eye out for how the King William Fair can improve its operations.
Rose prepared the way for her successors to manage a successful and prosperous Fair by creating the first operations manual for the 40-year-old event.  She spearheaded the efforts that enabled the KWA to hire and put in place the first year-round staff position, creating a more professional and better-organized Fair.

Since the inception of the King William Association Grant Program in 2001, KWA has donated over $500,000 to 50 neighborhood nonprofit organizations for a wide variety of projects.  The source of this funding is our annual King William Fair.  In the early years of the program, KWA helped Bonham Academy library, Brackenridge HS band, Page Middle School and SAY Si.  We continue to help these fine organizations plus others such as ArtSmart, Jump-Start, Magik Theatre and The Cannoli Fund.  The outcome of our generosity is making a significant difference in our lives and the lives of our children and our pets.

Grant Application

The application is a reflection of the Grant Program structure.  The applicant completes the form to prove their nonprofit status, identify their Board of Directors, provide their annual budget, and contact information, and, if applicable, provide a letter signed by the school principal agreeing to host their project.  The project narrative needs to convince the reader the project will achieve its goal by describing the experience, training, tools and talent available for the project.  The narrative also needs to provide evidence of a strong connection between the organization and the KWA Charter; i.e., “preserve and promote.”  

On March 24, about a dozen of your neighbors enjoyed a free Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum tour offered to KWA members only.  We were greeted enthusiastically by Development Manager Elaine Leahy.  After a nice aperitif of wine, beer and other refreshing beverages, Elaine led us through the exhibit Back from Berlin, featuring works from local artists Ricky Armendariz, Cathy Cunningham-Little, Karen Mahaffy and Vincent Valdez.  These four are the first to participate in the Blue Star’s Berlin Residency Program.  Blue Star is the sole U.S. partner of the renowned Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin – and the only American artists participating each year in this prestigious program are Bexar County artists!  

I’ve seen a pair of new silhouettes in the sky above my pecan trees lately, two hawks who’ve found a new hunting ground.  One is larger than the other, if not a mature and immature male, they could be a mated pair.  In the world of hawkdom the females are larger than the males.  They are probably red tail hawks, the most common in the U.S., and distributed coast to coast. There are several subspecies but they all have very similar looks.  My Tennessee grandmother would have called them by their more familiar name, chicken hawks. 

During the 2012 budget process, the KWA finance committee recommended budgeting an additional $25,000 for sidewalks with the intent that the new Executive Director (ED) would work with the City to get new sidewalks on one complete block. The KWA Board approved the sidewalk budget and asked the ED to accomplish this task.

The ED obtained two sidewalk inventories, one form the City Public Works Department and one from the MPO (Metropolitan Planning Organization). The inventories classified sidewalk conditions. KWA Sidewalk Program Chair Fred Pfieffer, and his wife Maria, personally walked all the sidewalks categorized as “not present, impassable and limited damage,” and prioritized five locations spread throughout the KWA’s boundaries. In the interim, the ED began conversations with Councilman Bernal explaining that KWA wanted to team with the City to get a complete block of sidewalks repaired. Bernal was interested in our concept, and in finding a way to have the City use smaller contractors to reduce City construction cost while boosting employment opportunities for small businesses.

Joe and Mary Helen Mansbach have volunteered for the KW Fair for over two decades. They have worked Kid’s Kingdom, the parade and currently (for the past nine years) co-chaired Compliance. Compliance ensures that booths are set up correctly. On Fair Day, the Mansbachs jump in where needed, quietly and efficiently getting tasks done to help ensure the Fair operates smoothly. Their volunteer efforts don’t stop there. Over the years the Mansbachs have labeled newsletters, attended Basura Bash, organized graffiti wipe out events plus hosted many National Night Out events on Mission Street to get neighbors to meet each other. Behind the scenes, they assist with the setup and cleanup for our socials, always willing to pitch in a helping hand.

Since its founding in 2008, Blue Star’s MOSAIC program has helped develop high school students from across San Antonio into professional artists. The students commit to a year-round program, with some of them working in the MOSAIC studio after school and during the summers every day for multiple years. Led by renowned mentor Alex Rubio, the artist-students build their studio skills as they build portfolios for college applications, participate in gallery exhibitions, mentor younger students, and network with patrons and art collectors. The low student to teacher ratio ensures an intensive, focused arts education. Thanks to the support of our community partners, MOSAIC remains an entirely free resource for the students.

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