My mother was a Francophile.  She attended a convent school run by French nuns and she was always very fluent in the language, even writing in French to friends.  She made certain that our childhood included trips to Paris.  That was all about walking endlessly, street food, elegant food, blue collar dining, and the edifying march past the great art works of the world in kilometers of museum galleries. 

Just now I’m sitting at her little provincial writing desk looking through the rain drops on the window, or are they tears?

Read more: City Lights: December 2015

The H-E-B South Flores Market officially opened to the public on December 2.  Located at the corner of Cesar Chavez Boulevard and S. Flores Street, the 12,000-square-foot market is within walking distance of the River Walk and King William.  

“At the H-E-B South Flores Market, our customers can grab lunch on the go, shop for everyday essentials and pantry staples, enjoy a relaxing meal on the patio and even fuel up their vehicle,” said Nick George, Store Director.

Read more: H-E-B Opens South Flores Market

I came home Saturday evening, just at dusk, after having walked downtown to run errands.  I ambled up the driveway to the back door fumbling for keys with one hand; the other holding the afternoon’s spoils from my consumer expedition.  Out of the corner of my eye I noticed something odd, a dark shadow between the leaves of the doors of my tool shed.  The shadow was a gap, the doors were open and the compartment inside was empty.  No more bicycle, bicycle pump, or helmet.

Read more: City Lights: November 2015

Living in an historic district comes with responsibilities.  Any changes to the exterior of a property must have a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) from the Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) or the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC).  This does not take the place of required permits, but allows one to proceed towards the permitting process.  Work done without a COA is subject to a $500 application fee and a Stop-Work order may be issued. 

Read more: Architectural Advisory Committee – Here to Help

KWA wins its fourth Centro BEST award.  Since 2012, KWA has won an award every year from Centro’s BEST award.  This year KWA submitted a nomination to Centro BEST in the category of BEST Downtown Neighborhood. 

BEST Wild Card category was won by Alamo Beer Company which is owned and operated by neighbor and KWA member Eugene Simor.  Alamo Beer Company made their debut at the KW Fair in 2015 and will be back in 2016.  Congratulations! 

- Cherise Bell

I am a walker.  I walk every day in the neighborhood and on the river walk.  I admit I am not a dog owner, having been bit by a dog when I was 18 years old I have a respect and yes, fear of dogs.  I like dogs, but I stand clear of striking distance.  With all the new apartments there are more people walking.  More people means more dog walking also.  I like the interaction of greeting people and their dogs when I walk.  

Having your dogs on a leash is the law.  Picking up poop after your dog is also the law.  To all my neighbors I ask for your courtesy, please leash your dog and clean up after your dog.  On Labor Day I witnessed a dog attack another dog.  Both dogs were leashed but for whatever reason, the one dog attacked.  This event was traumatizing for all involved including the mom and son whose dog initiated the attack.  They were stunned. 

Read more: Dog Days of Summer

The Graffiti Abatement Program (GAP) is working on some new initiatives.  Would you like to get active in our program?

Reporting Graffiti is easy!

Any writing, etching or scrawling without permission, is considered graffiti and is illegal.  Getting it cleaned up is key to preventing more!  Report graffiti on City owned or private property via phone to 311, online at sanantonio.gov, or download the 311 app.  If you spot vulgar graffiti, please report this as soon as possible.  Cusswords, lewd drawings, etc., will be removed promptly.  If graffiti is on non-City owned property, such as bus stops, utility poles, highway signs, etc., you will need to contact that agency directly, or you can call our hotline at 207-BUFF (2833).

If you see someone committing the crime of graffiti vandalism, report it immediately to 207-SAPD (7273), with a detailed description of the offender. 

Volunteer Workshop

Learn the history of the graffiti program and how to properly report and remove unsightly graffiti in your neighborhood using free supplies provided at the workshop. Held the last Thursday and Saturday mornings of each month.  For more information contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 207-5430. 

 - Lisa McKenzie, Neighborhood Services Coordinator/Graffiti Development Services Department, City of San Antonio

Volunteers needed!

Volunteers needed for King William area – we need help removing graffiti and stickers.  Adopt a block!  Contact the KWA office at 210-227-8786 or info@ ourkwa.org.

 

Many of my friends know that in my vanished youth I worked as the architect for archaeological excavations in southern Italy and Turkey. The Turkish job offer was a bolt out of the blue from Harvard’s Fogg Museum. For a century the museum has supported work at Sardis, about 95 kilometers inland from the Aegean coast. 

Prior to my departure I received a package containing various supplies with instructions to include them in my baggage. The one package that concerned me was a kilo bag of crystallized restoration glue. it looked exactly like a bag of crack cocaine. 

Read more: City Lights: October 2015

So far we have been singing the praises of our long-time volunteers, but we are lucky to have kids in our neighborhood who also volunteer.

Nico asked his mom, Maureen, if he could help with the 2014 King William home tour. Nico was handed a script and greeted guests on the front porch at 241 King William. Not an easy assignment as the front porch volunteer had to check tickets, provide information and monitor traffic flow.

Jared is seen at many KWA socials and meetings. You may not have known that he helps set up and breakdown these events, moving chairs, loading and unloading his mom’s car. Jared is not only helping his mom out as the KWA Social Chair, he is accumulating hours needed to get his Boy Scout merit badge.

Read more: Year of the Volunteer: Kids

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.

Read more: S.T.A.R. is Coming!

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. 

Read more: Historic Markers Go High Tech

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.

Read more: New SAPD Unit Targets Street Crimes, Boosts Patrol Numbers

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.”  

Read more: 2015 – Year of the Volunteer: Charles Schubert

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.

Read more: City Lights: August 2015

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.

Read more: KWA Strategic Plan Update

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.  

Read more: Bonham Teachers Receive Innovation Grants

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.

Read more: City Lights: July 2015

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. 

Read more: Stout’s Incredible Escapade

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.  

Read more: 2015 – Year of the Volunteer: Annice Hill