East side supermarket not likely
Consultant: Bringing a store to East Temple would be a hard sale because of small population, low median household income.
Temple hired a consulting firm to determine the feasibility of attracting a large grocery store to the east side. The firm says higher income growth should come first.
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Although a new grocery store in Temple’s east-side neighborhoods is high on residents’ wish lists, a Chicago-based consultant hired by the city has recommended against pursuing such a venture.
Erin Smith, assistant Temple city manager, said surveys and discussions with East Temple residents by the city’s Love Where You Live team have consistently shown desire for a supermarket in the Ferguson Park and Crestview neighborhoods.
But according to Hunden Strategic Partners — a real estate development consultant — there’s not enough people living in East Temple today to attract grocery stores such as H-E-B, Kroger, Publix or Trader Joe’s.
Two possible store sites were identified in the study — one at the intersection of Avenue H and 24th Street in the Ferguson Park neighborhood, the other on Avenue H just west of Loop 363. A grocery store on either of these sites wold be the closest food market for the area that encompasses nearly all of the east side and a portion of the north side that’s east of 8th Street.
According to Hunden’s report: “Within this boundary there is a population of 12,198 residents.” Grocery companies generally require about 20,000 residents before they would consider locating a store in that area. They also require a median household income in a neighborhood of $40,000 to $75,000 or higher.
East Temple falls significantly short in both population and median household income.
While the median household income in the Temple and Belton trade area as a whole is $56,313, the numbers for East Temple are almost half that. According to Hunden’s report, the median household income for East Temple is $30,373.
The east-side neighborhoods are currently served by Supermerado Guanjuanto (La Michoacana Meat Market), a chain of Hispanic grocery stores located across Texas. The store has a wide selection of fresh meats, produce, packaged goods and an in-store taqueria.
But while Supermerado Guanjuanto is the only full-service grocery store in East Temple, but it caters primarily to Hispanic tastes.
Also on the east side are two independent meat markets and a Dollar General that sells prepackaged and some frozen food items.
The Hunden report also said the Adams Avenue H-E-B is only 2.5 miles from the east side neighborhoods, and grocers typically view a 3-mile radius as their customer base.
Aldi, the South Temple H-E-B, Walmart and Sams are at or just under four miles from Ferguson Park and Crestview.
The report concluded by saying “a grocery store is currently not feasible on the east side of Temple” because the populations and median household incomes are too low and because the 3-mile trade area of existing grocery stores has “significant overlap” in Ferguson Park and Crestview.
Smith, Temple’s assistant city manager, pointed out that the east side is growing and is projected to continue to grow in the future. But, that growth must include higher incomes to attract a sizeable supermarket.
Smith said the city is not obligated to follow Hunden’s recommendations.
“This hasn’t been presented to City Council yet,” she said. “They could still move forward with trying to attract a grocery store, or they may decide to wait until the population increases.”
WEDNESDAY | MARCH 2, 2022
Bold Republic Brewing (above), Fire Base Brewing, Tanglefoot Brewing, 3 Texans Winery, Moose & Goose, Axis Winery, Dancing Bee, En Gedi Vineyards and Red Caboose Winery are the stops during this year’s Spirit of Santa Fe Trail.
Spirit of Santa Fe Trail has 9 stops
By DAVID STONE Our Town Temple
The 2022 Spirit of Santa Fe Trail will be April 1-3 and this year’s version features stops at six wineries and three breweries.
“This is an opportunity for the Temple Chamber of Commerce to showcase member wineries and breweries,” said Rod Henry, chamber president.
Tickets for this year’s “trail” are $25 per person and include tastings at all nine stops. Tickets can be used any or all of the three days.
Breweries on the 2022 trail include Fire Base Brewing and Tanglefoot Brewing, both in Temple, and Bold Republic Brewing in Belton.
Winery stops include Moose & Goose and 3 Texans, both in the Temple area, Axis Winery in Salado, Dancing Bee near Rogers, En Gedi Vineyards & Winery in Cameron and Red Caboose Winery in Clifton.
Participants will receive a card to have punched at each location, and those who visit all nine locations will be entered into a drawing for a beverage center stocked with beer and wine.
The Spirit of Santa Fe was designed to be a festival at Santa Fe Plaza, but because of COVID, it was revamped into a trail two years ago, said Kaylee Blumenfeld, events coordinator at the Chamber of Commerce.
“We had about 200 participants last year and about 50 punch cards were returned,” she said. “During the trail, wineries and breweries will offer ticket holders exclusive discounts. The trail is a great way to experience the flavors of Central Texas at your own pace.”
Blumenfeld recommends checking business hours before heading to out of town locations.
Tickets for Spirit of Santa Fe Trail can be purchased here:
Steven Ramirez of Little River-Academy is a Bell County weather spotter and storm chaser. He has attended multiple SKYWARN programs.
SKYWARN program teaches tornado safety and trains storm spotters
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
Spring is just three weeks away, and that means severe-weather season is almost here. To prepare Bell County residents for whatever Mother Nature may throw their way, the National Weather Service is conducting a free storm-spotting training class on March 8.
The two-hour class will begin at 6 p.m. in the Bell County Communications Building, 709 W Ave. O in Belton.
“Our SKYWARN Storm Spotter class is being held in partnership with the Bell County Office of Emergency Management,” said Jennifer Dunn, a Warning Coordination Meteorologist with the NWS in Fort Worth.
“We want you to be ready for the spring storm season,” she said. “There is no cost to attend this class — you don’t even need to register.”
According to Dunn, the class is for anyone with an interest in severe weather, established storm spotters and people who want to know more about severe-weather threats in Central Texas.
“The class teaches you how to be prepared for spring weather,” she said. “The program also reviews thunderstorm characteristics and features associated with storms.”
The program highlights severe-weather safety and teaches participants how to report information to the National Weather Service and local public safety officials, said Tom Bradshaw, Meteorologist-in-Charge of the NWS Fort Worth office.
“By participating in this training session, you will gain a better understanding of Texas’ severe-weather season,” Bradshaw said. “Waiting until storms are on your doorstep is not the time to start thinking about preparedness. We hope you attend these free classes to learn more about the storms that impact our region every year.”
Steven and Kevin Ramirez, brothers from the Little River-Academy area, are veterans of the SKYWARN program.
“I’ve been in person at least twice, and during the pandemic I participated in the streaming version of the program,” Steven Ramirez said Tuesday. “SKYWARN teaches you how to report severe weather, and if you complete the course you can become a weather spotter.”
The Ramirez brothers take storm spotting to an extreme level — they also chase tornadoes.
“I run Bell County Severe Weather here at home,” he said. “And I’m in my brother’s group — South Central Storm Chasers. I’ve followed storms all over Texas and in Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Kansas and Arkansas.”
“We both have been fascinated with severe weather since the Jarrell tornado in 1997,” he said. “I was in seventh grade. I guess I started chasing storms right after I got my driver’s license.”
The Jarrell tornado killed 27 people on May 27, 1997, and was one of 20 twisters confirmed that day along the I-35 corridor between San Marcos and Waco.
Seven of those tornadoes touched ground in Bell County, including a strong storm that destroyed the Morgan’s Point marina at Belton Lake and a weaker tornado that touched down in Belton in the vicinity of Belton High School.
The Bell County severe weather program is one of several training sessions the Fort Worth NWS office will conduct between January and March 2022.
The Fort Worth office provides forecasts, warning and weather services for 46 counties in North and Central Texas.
This is the marina at Morgan’s Point just minutes after a May 27, 1997, tornado. This photo is credited to the Associated Press but it likely was captured and submitted to AP by Killeen Daily Herald photographer Diane Olson. Our Town Temple publisher David Stone was an editor at the Daily Herald at that time, and he and Diane were sent out to cover a severe storm. The team was at Belton High School covering a live twister there when a call came over the radio about the Morgan’s Point storm. About a half-hour after arriving at the demolished marina, a second call came over the two-way — this one in regards to a massive tornado bearing down on Jarrell. That storm would kill 27 Jarrell residents. SKYWARN, a storm spotter class, will be conducted March 8 in Belton.
This map shows verified Texas tornadoes since 1950. As you can see, very little of the state has not been affected by the storms.
Topsarge lands Army training contract
Our Town Temple
Topsarge Business Solutions of Temple is one of four small businesses awarded a $120 million contract to facilitate development and training of U.S. Army personnel, the Department of Defense announced Tuesday.
Under the agreement Topsarge will deliver services to the Army Sustainment Center of Excellence at Fort Lee, Va., and 12 other Department of Defense locations in the US.
“Topsarge Business Solutions and our subcontractor will continue in our role as a contributor to training missions of the United States Army,” said project manager Bob Sempek,
“Though the contract is a testament to Topsarge’s commitment to soldiers and their success, it also marks a new milestone for the company,” he said.
Established in 1991, Topsarge Business Solutions LLC is a Texas-based veteran-owned firm that provides training and professional services to federal, state and commercial clients.
Workshops at CTCOG to focus on proposed Diversion Center
By DAVID STONE, Our Town Temple
A proposed Diversion Center designed to keep people with mental health and addiction issues out of jail will be the topic of discussion this week at the Central Texas Council of Governments in Belton.
The event is being held Thursday and Friday in conjunction with Baylor Scott & White Health, Advent Health and Central Counties Services,
“Our goal is to identify individuals with mental illness, substance abuse issues, and intellectual and developmental disabilities who otherwise would be taking up jail cells or hospital beds,” said County Judge David Blackburn. “We want to connect them with the care they need.”
Johnnie Wardell, executive director of Central Counties Services, said that organization is “excited to join our community partners in prioritizing the mental health needs of individuals that interface with the criminal justice system.”
“The proposed Diversion Center will allow us to provide the right support and services at the right time, while reducing the burden the mentally ill can place on our law enforcement, judicial and hospital systems,” Wardell said.
This Sequential Intercept Model Mapping workshop will begin Thursday at 8:30 a.m. at CTCOG, 2180 North Main Street in Belton.
Jennie M. Simpson, state forensic director for Texas Health & Human Services Commission, will facilitate the workshop, which will be attended by more than 50 representatives from dozens of organizations around Bell County, including hospitals, behavioral health providers, police departments and legal institutions.
“It has been inspiring to see just how many organizations have been not just willing but eager to partner with us to shape this program and make the Diversion Center a reality,” Judge Blackburn said.
Blackburn said the goal of the meeting is to develop a strategic action plan for the Diversion Center and its programing, and to identify resources and opportunities to enhance mental-health offerings in Bell County.
Speakers will discuss data trends and best practices being utilized by similar facilities around the state, he said.
Book sale under way at Temple library
Our Town Temple
The Friends of the Temple Public Library will hold the 2022 Mid-Winter Used Book Sale, which features used books, audio books, VHS tapes, compact discs and DVDs for sale, starting today.
Most items will be priced at $1 to $2 each.
The sale will continue through Saturday at the library, 100 W. Adams Ave. in Downtown Temple.
Hours for the sale will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
A preview for group members will be held 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday. Memberships will be available at the sale.
Teachers will receive a 20 percent discount with ID every day except the final day of the sale.
For more information, contact the Temple Public Library at (254) 298-5556 or visit www.friendsofthetemplepubliclibrary.org.
Tickets on sale for May 7 Heritage y Familia Music Festival featuring Bobby Pulido, Las Fenix, Rick Trevino & more. The festival will be Downtown Temple.
What was Temple’s first news source other than word of mouth?
ANSWER AT END OF TODAY’S ISSUE
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
On this day in 1836, Texas became a republic. On March 1 delegates from the seventeen municipalities of Texas and the settlement of Pecan Point met at Washington-on-the-Brazos to consider independence from Mexico. George C. Childress presented a resolution calling for independence, and the chairman of the convention appointed Childress to head a committee of five to draft a declaration of independence. In the early morning hours of March 2, the convention voted unanimously to accept the resolution. After fifty-nine members signed the document, Texas became the Republic of Texas. The change remained to be demonstrated to Mexico.
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On this day in 1886, the Semicentennial of Texas Independence celebrations began. Scattered meetings included orations at Brenham, a ball in Fort Worth, and a small gathering of Galveston County veterans. The major events occurred on April 21--San Jacinto Day--in most Texas towns. Parades, picnics, and speeches were typical. Waco and Belton used the occasion to break ground for new college buildings. Militia drills and athletic contests were frequent attractions. The Texas Veterans Association met in Dallas for the most important single celebration of the semicentennial. More than 200 old soldiers received an elaborate welcome, which added musical presentations to the other forms of entertainment. Semicentennial speakers drew several comparisons between the Texas Revolution and the American Revolution, such as the relation of both to the growth of liberty and stable government. Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, and others were compared to the Founding Fathers. The emphasis remained, however, on honoring the living veterans.
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TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: Temple's first newspaper appeared in 1881, the same year the city was founded. The population was just over 500 when W.D. Cox bought “a shirttail full of type, a Washington hand press which could print two six-column pages at a time, a Monumental lever press and jack-knife for a paper cutter” to establish The Temple Times. The first and only totally digital, totally green newspaper, however, would be Our Town Temple!
Today in the Our Town Temple Facebook group, we’re taking a Burger Poll. Readers are picking their favorite ‘Old Temple’ burgers from a group that includes Pop’s Burgers, Charcoal Inn, Old Jody’s, The French Quarter, Smitty’s and Where It’s At. Who’s the winner? Stop by and find out!