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What’s Happening in Copper Canyon – July 2016

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Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml
Copper Canyon Mayor Sue Tejml

No Fireworks allowed in Copper Canyon!  Enforceable by Court Fine!

No Fireworks allowed in Lantana by Homeowners Association!

For the safety of all our families, homes, and even pets – Please comply.

Resident Issues with Frontier Communications

If you are experiencing difficulties with connections or repair services with Frontier Communications, please contact Town Hall with the details.

(940-241-2677 Ext 0)

Woodland Women’s Club Sponsors Traditional Copper Canyon 4th of July Parade with Hotdogs & Drinks at Town Hall afterwards!

For years the Woodland Women’s Club has sponsored our traditional 4th of July Parade.  Parade lineup will begin at 9:30 a.m. Monday, July 4th, in front of Town Hall, 400 Woodland Drive, with the parade starting at 10 a.m.  Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger will again provide our Argyle Fire District red fire engine to head the parade.  Children are welcome to ride on top of the engine, but the limited numbers of seats go fast. Many thanks to the firefighters who volunteer their time to drive the engine – and to help our children and their parents up and down the vertical rear ladder to reach the top of the fire engine. The parade route winds slowly through the Woodlands Subdivision, returning to Town Hall.

Chairman Carol Owens invites you to “Come join the fun.  Be in the parade.  Decorate your car, golf cart, tractor, motorcycle or anything that moves (trailers, bikes, scooters, even wagons – if you can jog at a pace to keep up with the parade.)  Bring the kids and get ready to have fun!  If you don’t want to be in the parade, join us on your front lawn and cheer the parade on!  Immediately after the parade, everyone is welcome for hotdogs & drinks in front of Town Hall.”

NOTE:  Town Hall will be open with restrooms available and tables and seating inside in the air conditioned space.

Proposed new subdivision in Highland Village to have 100 Homes with Main Entrance on Chinn Chapel Road in Copper Canyon at the East Jernigan Intersection.

Copper Canyon Residents encouraged to attend Public Comment on July 11th Monday 7 p.m. at Town Hall for Joint Council and P&Z Meeting.

It’s unusual for a proposed subdivision in one town to have its main entrance in a neighboring town.  But that is what a developer is proposing to Highland Village.  The over-55 age restricted subdivision will build 100 homes on the current 28-acres of the Marschel Ranch in Highland Village.  However, the main entrance of the Ladera project will be on Chinn Chapel Road in Copper Canyon.

Difficulties of ingress and egress to the tract: The difficulties of ingress and egress to the tract were obvious when Highland Village annexed it. The 28-acre Marschel Ranch is a long triangle. The long east side of the triangular acreage abuts a railroad track in Highland Village.  Railroads will now only allow a new road crossing over a railroad track if the county gives up TWO existing road-railroad crossings.  As a practical matter, this is almost impossible for a County Commissioners Court to do.

The south side of the ranch triangle is adjacent to an existing Highland Village residential subdivision.  No Homeowners Association is going to welcome a 100 new homes entering and exiting through the winding roads of their residential subdivision.  And for the marketing purposes of the developer of the proposed Ladera subdivision, wandering through an older, existing subdivision is hardly an attractive “entrance” to his new over-55 age-restricted project.

The long west side of the triangle is along Copper Canyon’s Chinn Chapel Road.  But almost the entire length of this side of the acreage is in a flood plain.  The developer would have to build a “causeway” to cross the flood plain and exit onto Chinn Chapel Road.

Thus the proposed entrance/exit to Ladera is where the current Marschel Ranch Road exits onto Chinn Chapel Road.  However, this exit is offset to the entrance across the street of East Jernigan Road to Chinn Chapel Road.  Offset intersections are not very safe.  And motorists exiting East Jernigan have an additional safety complication due to a blocked view of southbound Chinn Chapel traffic coming from the north.  (The safety problems are much easier to understand when seen on a visual presentation of the proposed intersecting roads.)

Pros and Cons of the Ladera Development:

The pros of the proposed development are very favorable for Highland Village.  Unfortunately, the negatives rest entirely on Copper Canyon.

Favorable for Highland Village:

  • Huge Increase in Property Tax Revenue. Highland Village is virtually “built out.” 100 new homes valued at $250,000 to $500,000 is a significant addition to the city’s property tax value!
  • Age Restricted Communities for Senior Citizens are Very Popular. This would be a welcome addition to Highland Village’s current residential offerings.
  • No Highland Village Streets must be improved or built to access the Development.  Highland Village has virtually no overhead costs to accommodate this development.

Negatives for Copper Canyon:

Two years of Construction Traffic on our Chinn Chapel Road.

Chinn Chapel is a two lane asphalt road in need of rebuilding.  Heavy earth

moving equipment would be needed to prepare this site.  Then concrete

trucks would travel our roads while the streets and then a 100 slabs for homes were poured.

  • 100 Additional Homes enter and exit on our Chinn Chapel Road.

Fortunately the traffic count would be low, due to the age restriction of the development.  Many residents would be retired.  And, there would not be the usual traffic of children attending school and extracurricular activities.

However, Chinn Chapel Road is the main entrance and exit for both the Woodlands Subdivision and the residential streets off of Rolling Acres Drive.  And for four of our long cul de sacs – Estates Drive, Mobile Drive, Blackjack Lane, and Waite Drive – Chinn Chapel is their only access to Denton County.  The extra 100 homes of Ladera increases the residential homes of Copper Canyon directly accessing Chinn Chapel by about 33%.

  • All Highland Village’s “First Responders” will use Chinn Chapel Road.

Regular daily police patrols, fire engines, and all ambulances and emergency medical personnel will use Copper Canyon’s road to access the 100 Ladera homes in Highland Village.  This alone is a unique factor, but doable by Copper Canyon simply for the safety of the over age-55 residents living in those 100 homes in Highland Village.

There is a second gated entrance-exit to Ladera in the Highland Village subdivision to the south of the Marschel Ranch.  But no responsible First Responder vehicles would rush on an emergency run through a residential subdivision with winding streets and children possibly playing nearby.  The safest and fastest entrance to Ladera for emergency vehicles is from Copper Canyon’s Chinn Chapel Road – and in emergencies, minutes saved in responding equate to lives and homes saved.

  • The current East Jernigan-Chinn Chapel Intersection has safety issues.

Adding traffic from 100 more homes to that intersection only increases the safety concerns.  And, Copper Canyon already anticipates more vehicles using East Jernigan Road when long time Copper Canyon resident Kaki Lybbert’s 100 plus acreage to the west begins residential development.

Mitigating Factors:

  • Limited Route for Construction Vehicles:

Highland Village’s City Manager Mike Leavitt has agreed to limit all construction vehicles to a sole ingress and egress route from FM 2499, west on Harlington Drive, and then north on Chinn Chapel Road to the Ladera entrance.  This would expose only two blocks of Chinn Chapel Road to construction traffic and additional wear and tear on that section of road in Copper Canyon.  Our County Commissioner Andy Eads had agreed to maintain Chinn Chapel Road until the County funded the road’s rebuilding.  However, this additional two year stress on Chinn Chapel by construction vehicles was not anticipated.

  • Developer Agrees to Escrow $50,000 for Right Turn Deceleration Lane:

The developer has agreed to fund a right turn, deceleration lane into Ladera for traffic northbound on Chinn Chapel Road – similar to the one at Harlington Drive.  This would certainly be beneficial to all drivers on Chinn Chapel Road, especially during the two years of daily construction vehicle traffic.

  • Developer Agrees to Escrow $50,000 for a Railroad Quiet Zone:

A Quiet Zone Crossing of the railroad track on Chinn Chapel would be the final one necessary to make all of Copper Canyon a Railroad Quiet Zone.

This would not only benefit the developer of the adjacent over age-55 community, but it is something Highland Village has long sought.  Many of Highland Village’s premier residential homes are just east of the Chinn Chapel Railroad Crossing and thus routinely exposed to the sound of the train engine’s horns.

  • Developer Agrees to a Safer Ladera-East Jernigan Intersection:

Copper Canyon’s engineering plans for a safer East Jernigan intersection onto Chinn Chapel Road proposed moving the intersection further south.  This would allow East Jernigan drivers a better view north to southbound vehicles on Chinn Chapel road.  This would also require right-of-way from the northwest corner of long time Copper Canyon resident Scott Doores’ 20 acre home site corner.  (None of this has been finalized with landowner Doores.)

However, the Ladera developer has negotiated an agreement with the Highland Village Homeowners Association to the south to allow a more southern entrance of Ladera onto Chinn Chapel Road that would be directly opposite the location of our future East Jernigan intersection.  Not having an “offset” intersection would be safer for all concerned!

  • Copper Canyon and Highland Village have a Good Working Relationship:

Highland Village has been a “good neighbor” to Copper Canyon.  Their City Council works well together without “drama”.  And Mayor Charlotte Wilcox works devotedly for what is best for all Highland Village residents!  The HV police department has been a model for a safe community with minimal crime! This makes Highland Village a welcome town on Copper Canyon’s eastern boundary!  Because a crime prone municipality can “leak over” its thieves and criminals into an adjacent community. Many thanks to former Police Chief Ed O’Bara and current Police Chief Doug Reim for making our entire community area safer!

And, Highland Village has been one of the best managed municipalities thanks to long time City Manager Mike Leavitt!  Certainly Copper Canyon residents have benefitted from the quality nearby retail-restaurant developments in the Shops of Highland Village and the Walmart complex!

  • It Is Easier for a County Commissioner to Commit Funds for a Road Supporting Multiple County Precincts – and Chinn Chapel Road Definitely Needs Rebuilding in the Near Future.
  • Possible Future Joint Highland Village and Copper Canyon Retail-Restaurant Developments:

This is a KEY variable.  Possibilities are being discussed after my deadline for the “What’s Happening in Copper Canyon” mayor’s article.  The Town has long sought a commercial area that would broaden our revenue base with sales taxes.  Our hopes for the Town Center along FM 407 seem to have stalled indefinitely.  So, a northern location for development would definitely be fortuitous for Copper Canyon!

If you live in Copper Canyon, please come and share your views with P&Z and Council at the joint meeting July 11th.  I hope I have fairly shared the pros and cons of the proposed over-55 age restricted development in Highland Village – and its possible impact on Copper Canyon.

Copper Canyon Home of Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger & wife Karla has Severe Fire Damage

Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger and wife, Karla, accept a gift card from Brightside Boutique in The Shops at Highland Village to help replace the clothes they lost in a house fire on June 21st.
Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger and wife, Karla, accept a gift card from Brightside Boutique in The Shops at Highland Village to help replace the clothes they lost in a house fire on June 21st.

Our Argyle Fire Chief Mac Hohenberger stopped by his home Tuesday afternoon June 21st to change clothes.  He saw smoke coming from his home’s interior.  He immediately called 911, broke out a window, and rescued his family’s pet dogs.

The fire had started in the master bedroom closet, where two circuit breakers were located.  Mutual aid from surrounding fire districts was swift: Flower Mound, Highland Village, Double Oak, Justin, Roanoke, and Denton.

After the fire was extinguished, Channel 8 News televised a sobering view of a severely scorched and blackened interior of the home.  But, firefighters were able to save many of the Hohenberger family photos. The irreplaceable kind of mementos that a family treasures – baby pictures, past birthday events, graduations, weddings.

The family lost all their clothes, except what they were wearing.  Chief Mac joked that his wife Karla was most upset about losing her favorite collection of shoes.

Mac said, “But, I still have the uniform I was wearing – but, wouldn’t you know, the shirt is too small.”

Once the insurance company has completed their investigation, many friends have volunteered to help in the cleanup of the home.  And, other friends have already given gift certificates for basic clothing for Mac and Karla.

In the interim, Chief Mac and Karla are living in their motorhome on site!

Special Required “New Student Conference” shared with freshman granddaughter Sydney Tejml, entering A&M University as a Terry Scholar

There were 40,650 applicants for A&M’s Fall 2016 school year.  10,000 were accepted – 49% female and 51% male. Physically, A&M College Station is the largest campus in the US with 57,394 students.  There are 64,000 students in all of A&M’s combined facilities – including the Galveston Medical Center, The Port Aransas Marine Sciences Center, the Fort Worth Law School, and a facility in Qatar in the Middle East.

It’s a little daunting to admit 10,000 plus freshmen to A&M University at College Station.  How do you assign dormitory rooms?  How do you be sure the courses the freshmen are registering for actually fit their degree plans?  And – 60% of freshmen will change their major in the first year!

600 plus incoming freshmen apply for the Terry Foundation Excellence Award and 300 receive it.  It is a grant of $21,000 each year for four years, assuming the recipient maintains a certain grade point level.  It covers tuition, books, room, board, and travel expense for any Study Abroad program.  The Terry scholars all live in the older Hobby dormitory and are expected to attend regular leadership classes.

Mandatory two day New Student Conferences on Campus:

Throughout the summer A&M conducts an ongoing series of mandatory two day New Student Conferences on campus.  And, the University strongly encourages parents and family members of the freshmen students to attend also.  The University realizes that it can be traumatic for parents, as their child turns 18 and leaves home to begin an independent life.  And, the University also realizes what a personal financial commitment a family makes to fund a student through four years of college to graduation and a college degree.

Parents and students are taken on campus tours conducted by upper classmen volunteers.  Meal Plans are explained and “Dining Dollars” which can be used in multiple places on campus, so a student doesn’t have to carry cash.  The food at Sbisa Hall for the multiple dormitories was delicious and the portions generous.

Books can be a major college expense.  But upper classmen explained how to find textbooks on Amazon.com and Facebook.  Students can “buy” the textbooks or just “rent” them and return them.  Most textbooks for freshmen courses are not kept.

There is a free shuttle bus service for regular attending students that comes by each stop on the extensive campus every six minutes.  But the parents went everywhere the “new” students did – hiking literally miles across the extensive A&M campus in our Texas summer humidity and 90-100 degree heat.

Both Sydney’s parents and twin sister and younger brother were working in the Austin-Hutto area, so I attended the Student Conference as the representative of her “family”.  (As a GRANDparent, my granddaughter Sydney noted to her Dad that “Nana walked awfully slowly across campus!”  And I did.)  Sydney and I got up at 6-6:30 a.m. each morning, ate breakfast, and then began the search for a “parking space” on campus.  (Despite the many multiple story parking garages and open lots, parking remains in short supply at A&M.)  At the end of our long days, Syd and I visited until long after midnight each night.  But, how special for me to just listen and learn – as she shared her much younger “view of the world.”

A&M’s University Health Center is an outstanding facility, accredited both nationally and by our State.  Services are free to all students.  Interestingly, one in four college students nationwide suffers from depression.  The next most diagnosed student issue is anxiety.  (I did not know that.)

And there are sessions on personal safety for students and how to report any unwanted harassment or stalking.  On campus 25% of women and 7% of men will experience unwanted touching of a sexual nature.  8 out of 10 victims do not report the incident. A&M has initiated a campaign called “Step In, Stand Up” to encourage observers to come to a student’s aid.  And, the University cautions students against posting anything on social media that they would not want the general public to read or view.

The university emphasizes that freshmen should not “over commit” themselves.  They are expected to take a minimum of 12 hours of courses.  (If the student can handle more hours, the tuition remains the same as for 12 hours.) But, the University also advises against taking simultaneously their very first semester both tough math courses AND multiple science courses with accompanying 3 hour labs.  For 15 semester hours, the students are cautioned to plan for 45 hours of additional personal study time per week.

“Getting Involved” in the A&M Community:

Interestingly, the University also encourages students to “get involved” in the A&M community.  To join one campus group “just for fun” and one volunteer group in their academic major.  For “fun”, Sydney auditioned for one of A&M’s musical groups and will play the flute in their “wind ensemble.”  She wanted to also take up ice hockey as an intramural sport.  She has never played ice hockey, but has enjoyed figure skating competitions on ice.  I suggested she might look at sports AFTER adjusting to her first college semester as a freshman.

Sydney is in the College of Biomedical Sciences with a major in Veterinary Medicine.  The College realizes how competitive it is to be admitted to the professional post graduate schools – i.e. medical school, vet school, etc.

So, a Biomedical Sciences Students Association was formed to aid undergraduates in preparing their resumes for the coming critical competition for acceptance to a professional school.  Students are advised in the next four years to “shadow” a physician or vet in a clinical setting.  Two hundred hours of “shadowing” are recommended.  These could be volunteer hours or paid hours of employment.  The Association also helps the students with “mock interviews” and suggests that general statements are not productive to admission to a professional school – i.e. “I just love animals” or “I just want to help people.”

Any indication of “cultural diversity” is a plus!  Study abroad is strongly encouraged for all disciplines.  This is an acknowledgement of the global community and its influence on all professions and businesses.  Study abroad is usually in the summer and research based.

“The Spirit of Aggieland”

“The Spirit of Aggieland” is a little hard to describe, unless you have experienced it.  It is truly unique.  More officers in World War Two came from A&M than from any other military institution, including West Point.  My second father Herb DeLee was a Drum Major in the Aggie band and an Army Colonel in Europe during the battles of World War Two.  All three of Emil’s and my children graduated from A&M.  And now our third generation of grandchildren are entering A&M.  (Sydney’s brother Trey Tejml will follow her next year, but her twin sister Emily is on scholarship at UT Austin and also in Biomedicine.)

The Aggie Yell Leaders led parents and their students in a 9:00 p.m. (not quite the traditional Midnight) Yell Practice.  And, we all swayed side by side to “Saw Varsity’s Horns off!”  And then there is the beautiful A&M school anthem – beginning “Some may boast of prowess bold, of the school they love so well…”  Not every A&M student embraces “The Spirit of Aggieland.”  But for those who do, it is a lifelong commitment.  And, each year Aggie Former Students have one of the highest percentages of college alums who give back financially to their University.

I thank A&M staff and students for the concentrated effort they make to not only welcome new students – but also their parents and family!  And, to acknowledge and recognize the financial and personal commitment parents and family make to put their special student through four years of university.

Did you know that…..

 Interesting tidbits you learn as a family member of a student entering A&M’s Biomedical Sciences College.  The following items passed on a big screen – to help pass the time waiting for the actual New Student Conference to begin:

  1. Apples, not caffeine, are more efficient at waking you up in the morning.
  2. When you sneeze, all bodily functions stop, even your heart.
  3. The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of planet Earth.
  4. The cost of raising a medium size dog to the age of eleven is $8,000.
  5. Most of us have eaten at least one spider in our sleep. (UGH!)
  6. More than 3,000 books are published EACH DAY!
  7. What is the only food that doesn’t spoil?
  8. There are about 540,000 words in the English language. This is about 5 times as many as during Shakespeare’s time.
  9. Dalmatians are born without spots.
  10. The only two animals that can see behind themselves are the rabbit and the parrot. (What about the owl?)
  11. Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
  12. When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red.
  13. It takes about 20 seconds for a red blood cell to circle the whole body.
  14. Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, never called his wife or mother because they were both deaf.
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About The Author

Sue Tejml is mayor of Copper Canyon, TX.

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