Main Street Façade and Sign Grants for Downtown Businesses

The Georgetown Main Street program has presented a number checks this year to businesses for Façade and Sign Grants. The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund is a matching grant program for commercial buildings in the historic downtown area. (Click on photos to see a larger version.)

ThunderCloud check 2-1000

ThunderCloud Subs at 814 S. Main Street received a $10,500 grant for an awning, façade work, and signs. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Bob Weimer, Cheryl Owens, Jim Wilson, Vicki Jackimiec, Nathan Wolfers (general manager), Marcy Urban, Nick Watkins (senior manager), Bethany Powell, Bill Hart, Julie Laderach, and Shelly Hargrove. Find out more about ThunderCloud Subs at ThunderCloud.com.

Camille's check-2-1000

Camille’s Unique Apparel at 706 S. Austin Avenue received a $300 grant for new signs. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Bob Weimer, Julie Laderach, Shelly Hargrove, Cheryl Owens, Bethany Powell, Camille Sweezy (Camille’s owner), Dick Sweezy (co-owner), Vicki Jackimiec, Jim Wilson, Bill Hart, and Marcy Urban. Find out more about Camille’s at www.CamillesLadiesApparel.com.

Hughes trust check 2-1000

The owners of the Dimmit Building at 719 S. Main Street received an $8,000 grant for an awning, exterior painting, and façade work. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Marcy Urban, Shelly Hargrove, Bill Hart, Ellen Hughes (owner), Jim Wilson, Coco Ledyard (owner), Julie Laderach, and Vicki Jackimiec.

Sweet Lemon Inn check 2-1000

Sweet Lemon Inn at 812 S. Church Street received a $10,500 grant for signs, exterior painting, and façade work. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Marcy Urban, Shelly Hargrove, Rachel Cummins (owner), Bill Hart, Julie Laderach, Vicki Jackimiec, and Jim Wilson. Find out more about Sweet Lemon Inn at www.SweetLemonInn.com.

Goodwater check 2-1000

Goodwater Wealth Management Group of Raymond James at 103 E. Eighth Street received a $424 grant for signs. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Marcy Urban, Bill Hart, Angie Spinner (registered client associate), Greg Bowden (vice president), Jaynie Guerrero (registered client associate), Rod Dahl (vice president), Doug Noble (vice president), Jim Wilson, and Shelly Hargrove. Find out more about Goodwater Wealth Management Group at GoodwaterWealth.com.

Southern Hippie check 2-1000

Southern Hippie at 809 S. Main Street received a $3,550 grant for an awning, exterior painting, and façade work. Pictured (left to right) in the photo are Bill Hart, Marcy Urban, Elizabeth Lockhart (owner), Jim Wilson, and Shelly Hargrove. Find out more about Southern Hippie at ShopSouthernHippie.com.

The Main Street Façade and Sign Fund provides reimbursement grants to business owners in the historic downtown area for a portion of improvements made to building facades and new signs. Sign matching grants are for up to $500 and façade matching grants are up to $10,000 for exterior work on a historic building.

Georgetown Main Street promotes historic preservation and economic development efforts in the historic downtown. Main Street is a program of the City of Georgetown Division of Downtown and Community Services. Learn more at mainstreet.georgetown.org.

Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute Opens

building front-2-640Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute officially opened their doors on Thursday with a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by tours of the new facility. The 118-bed behavioral health hospital at 3101 S. Austin Avenue offers outpatient and inpatient services to provide care to people with a range of mental health conditions. They are currently serving adults, but have plans to expand services in the coming year. (Click on the photo to see a larger version.)

The hospital has outpatient group therapy rooms, patient rooms, visitation areas, a pharmacy, a fitness room, a cafeteria, and a gym. Physicians, psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, social workers, and other health professionals staff the facility to help patients return to healthy living practices. The hospital began admitting patients in July.

Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute is one of ten behavioral health acute care hospitals owned by Signature Healthcare Services.

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Officials who helped to cut the ribbon at the new facility include (left to right) Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute officials Dylan Peeples, clinical liaison, CEO Patrick Moallemian, and Blair Stam, executive vice president for Signature Health, joined by Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross, Williamson County Precinct 3 Commissioner Valerie Covey, and Williamson County Judge Dan Gattis. (Click photo to see larger version.)

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Dr. Michael Nacol, contracting physician for internal medicine, and Dr. Keith Caramelli, chief medical officer, also attended the opening. (Click photo to see larger version.)

Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute currently has a staff of 50, but plans to grow to 200 employees in the coming years.

For more information on Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute, visit www.georgetownbehavioral.com.

Georgetown Lifeguard Teams Win 1st and 2nd in State

Lifeguard teams from the City of Georgetown took the top two spots in the state lifeguard competition in College Station yesterday. The state lifeguard team competition was part of the 2014 Summer Games of Texas sponsored by the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation.

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Team Dauntless from Georgetown took first place in the competition. Pictured above in the photo (left to right) are Curtis Morgan with TAAF and members of Team Dauntless including Trevor Carey, Cameron Speegle, Hunter Boyd, and Baylee Hill with Stephanie Darimont, aquatic coordinator for Georgetown Parks and Recreation. Team Dauntless qualified for the state finals after placing first at the Texas Superguard regional competition in July.

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Placing in second at the state competition was Team ReGuardless from Georgetown. Pictured above in the photo (left to right) are Curtis Morgan and members the ReGuardless team Saige Culbertson, Mason Sheppard, Sydney Sorensen, and Kate Krause with Stephanie Darimont.

The two top teams from Georgetown were among 12 teams statewide that qualified for the state finals competition. The top three teams from four regional competitions this summer qualified to compete in the state finals. Each team in the state finals yesterday competed in four events. In the events, teams demonstrated proficiency in first aid, CPR, and other rescue skills.

A third team from Georgetown that qualified for the state competition and participated in the finals was Team Four Bravery, including Bailey Vandegrift, Emily Sargeant, Jack McLean, and Trevor Springer.

The three Georgetown lifeguard teams were composed of lifeguards who work for the City of Georgetown in the Parks and Recreation Department at the City’s outdoor and indoor pools.

FM 971 and Austin Avenue Sidewalk Projects

A number of improvements are planned for FM 971 and N. Austin Avenue that will improve pedestrian and vehicle mobility in northeast Georgetown. These transportation improvements occurring in multiple phases will decrease congestion and help provide a safer route for students walking to Georgetown High School.

The first phase of this work is the construction of a sidewalk on the east side of N. Austin Avenue from the Recreation Center to Georgetown High School. Construction on the sidewalk starts this summer and is scheduled to be complete by the end of the year.

A second phase of work involves the realignment of the intersection of FM 971 and N. Austin Avenue. This project will alter the grades of the roadways and eliminate steep angles that hinder sight lines. Soccer fields and the walking trail in San Gabriel Park are being moved this summer to allow for the realignment of FM 971. The extension of the Austin Avenue sidewalk under the FM 971 via a pedestrian tunnel also is part of this project. This phase is partially funded with City road bonds authorized by the voters in 2008. If the remaining funds can be secured, construction could begin in 2015 and would take approximately one year.

A third phase of work would involve the Northwest Boulevard Bridge over Interstate 35 and the extension of Northwest Boulevard from Fontana Drive to N. Austin Avenue. The project will align with FM 971 to create a new east-west connection across I-35. Design work for this project is underway. This project is being considered for a potential City transportation bond election in May 2015. A road bond committee appointed by the City Council is currently reviewing potential projects and is planning to make a recommendation to the City Council.

In the future, another project in this corridor would complete the widening of FM 971 to four lanes from Gann Street to NE Inner Loop. Partial funding would come from available authorization from the 2008 City road bonds. These funds would be leveraged with state and/or federal money to complete this section.

Lifeguards Win Regional Competition

A team of lifeguards from the City of Georgetown won a regional lifeguard competition last week and has qualified to compete in the statewide competition.

Team Dauntless from Georgetown placed first at the Texas Superguard regional competition in College Station on July 7.

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Members of Team Dauntless (pictured left to right in the photo) are Trevor Carey, Cameron Speegle, Baylee Hill, and Hunter Boyd. Among the 22 lifeguard teams in the regional competition, Team Dauntless earned the top rank. Teams must perform a variety of life-saving scenarios and are scored on their proficiency.

Also at the regional competition, Hunter Boyd was awarded overall top male lifeguard and the Four Bravery lifeguard team from Georgetown placed seventh overall.

The Dauntless team will compete in the state lifeguard competition in College Station on August 4.

New Phone Payment Scam Targets Utility Customers

Two Georgetown utility business customers contacted the City yesterday to report on an attempted fraud scheme. The businesses report that they were called by someone claiming to be with the City utility who demanded immediate payment to prevent the disconnection of their utilities.

In each case, the business recognized that the call was suspicious and reported it to the City without falling prey to the scam. The Georgetown Police Department has filed an incident report on the scam attempt.

The City utility does not call customers and demand payments over the phone says Leticia Zavala, customer care manager for Georgetown Utility Systems. “We will never call you demanding money or come to your home or business demanding payment. We will only call customers to advise them of a past-due balance.”

If a bill payment is overdue, Zavala says there is a three-step notification process:

First, late notices are mailed to customers with unpaid balances the day after the billing due date.

Second, an automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account two weeks after the billing due date.

Third, a second automated phone call is provided to the phone number on the account three weeks after the billing due date.

It is strictly against policy for any customer service representative to accept payment in the field.

If customers have questions about a utility bill, call the Customer Care Center at (512) 930-3640 before giving out financial information regarding your utility account.

Dogs and Fireworks Displays Not a Good Mix

Dog of week 6-28-14-500Leave your dogs at home. That’s what the City Georgetown Animal Shelter is asking residents to do on July 4.

Each year people bring their dogs to the fireworks display at San Gabriel Park, and each year some dogs become petrified and escape from their owners, often with dire consequences.

One year, a bolting dog from the park ran across University Avenue causing an accident. The dog died. Other dogs have run and kept running, never to be found, much to the chagrin of their well-meaning owners. Many dogs are picked up by animal control officers and taken to the City Animal Shelter, where at least they are safe. However, sometimes these dogs are not reclaimed by owners.

“Why would you want to take your loved animal to a place where you know they are going to be nervous, at best,” says Animal Services Manager Jackie Carey. “Most dogs are scared enough of fireworks in the distance, much less right over their heads.”

In addition to not taking dogs to firework exhibitions, owners should make sure their dogs are secure at home, preferably inside. If your dog has a tendency to become anxious at loud noises, Carey suggests staying home with the animal. Playing music in the house can help to drown out the noise of fireworks. You may also consider buying a product like a Thundershirt, which is a shirt that “hugs” the dog. Your veterinarian also may be able to provide a tranquilizer for the dog.

At the shelter, employees give mild tranquilizers to the dogs on July 4 since the fireworks are launched nearby at the McMaster Fields. This allows the dogs to sleep through the fireworks and minimizes effects from the noise.

For more ideas on keeping your dog safe this holiday, go to Ten Fourth of July Pet Safety Tips at www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/care/fourth-of-july-pet-safety-tips.

Vaccine Protects Dogs from Parvo Risk

Recently a number of dogs that were picked up in the southeast side of Georgetown have tested positive for parvovirus, a serious, often fatal canine disease.

dogs of week 06-14-14-250In the past two months, five dogs have tested positive for parvovirus. All were picked up by Georgetown Animal Services in the southeast area of Georgetown. Dogs that are not confined to a yard can roam and spread the disease through contact with other dogs.

Parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that can be passed from one dog to another. Symptoms include lethargy, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. If your dog is exhibiting symptoms of parvovirus infection, contact your veterinarian immediately.

The parvovirus vaccine is highly effective in preventing the disease. Georgetown Animal Services reminds residents with puppies that the first round of vaccinations should be given at six to eight weeks. A common vaccine called a 5-in-1 protects dogs against parvovirus and four other common diseases. Puppies typically receive a series of vaccinations at three to four week intervals after the first shots. All dogs should receive regular vaccinations after the first year.

As with all animals in their care, Georgetown Animal Services employees take several precautions to prevent the spread of disease among dogs at the shelter.

According to petmd.com and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the type of parvovirus that affects dogs cannot be transmitted to humans.

For more information on parvovirus, including symptoms, prevention, and treatment, go to the ASPCA site at www.aspca.org/pet-care/dog-care/parvovirus.

The Georgetown Animal Shelter website is pets.georgetown.org. The shelter is located at 110 W.L. Walden Street next to the McMaster Athletic Complex. Contact the Animal Shelter by phone at (512) 930-3592 or by email at animalsvc@georgetown.org.

Mosquito Team Aims to Zap West Nile Risk

A joint effort to trap mosquitoes, identify potential risk from West Nile Virus, and inform residents continues this summer in Georgetown. The City of Georgetown and the Williamson County and Cities Health District started trapping mosquitoes in early May. So far this year there have been no positive tests for West Nile in mosquitoes collected in Georgetown. Testing will continue through the fall.

Each week, traps are placed in different locations in Georgetown by City employees in Transportation Services. The traps are collected by an employee with the Health District and taken to Texas Department of State Health Services lab in Austin for analysis. The Health District also is trapping mosquitoes in other parts of Williamson County this year in an expansion of the monitoring effort. Results are posted to the Health District website at www.wcchd.org.

The Health District brings new expertise to the team this year with the addition of Catherine Zettel Nalen, an integrated mosquito management program specialist. Zettel Nalen is identifying trap locations, analyzing sampling data, and leading community outreach efforts to reduce the risk of West Nile Virus in Williamson County.

At a recent talk in Georgetown, Zettel Nalen emphasized the important role that each resident can play in reducing mosquito breeding areas and increasing personal protection against bites. “Check your yards and empty any container that can hold water,” she said. That can include clogged gutters, wheelbarrows, drain pipes, or toys left in the yard. Bird baths and plant saucers should be emptied twice weekly to prevent the formation of mosquito larvae.

For rain barrels or low-lying areas, Zettel Nalen suggested the use of larvicides such as mosquito dunks. They contain a naturally-occurring bacteria that is harmless to people, pets, fish, wildlife, or other insects. The larvicide disks are available at local hardware stores.

While the City is using the larvicide disks in drainage ponds and areas with standing water, Zettel Nalen highlighted the role each resident plays. “Studies have found that 25 percent of mosquito complaints can be traced to the caller’s own property.”

So far this year, there have been no human cases of West Nile Virus in Texas. The peak of West Nile Virus activity in mosquitoes and in human cases tends to be in the late summer or fall.

According to the Health District, 80 percent of those who become infected with West Nile Virus do not have any symptoms. Of those who become infected, only 1 in 150 cases have the most serious symptoms.

The City and Health District continue to promote these four steps to reduce mosquito populations and Fight the Bite:

  • Dawn and Dusk are times to stay indoors when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Dress in long sleeves and pants when outdoors (especially at dawn or dusk).
  • Drain standing water in flower pots, pet dishes, or clogged gutters so mosquitos don’t have a place to breed.
  • Defend against mosquito bites with an EPA-approved insect repellant.

For more information on the mosquito monitoring and outreach effort, visit the Williamson County and Cities Health District website at www.wcchd.org. For more information on West Nile virus and the response in Texas, go to the Texas Department of State Health Services website at www.dshs.state.tx.us.

Georgetown Ranks Seventh on Fastest-Growing City List

The Census reported this week that Georgetown is among the fastest-growing cities in the country. According to a news release from the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday, Georgetown ranks number seven on a list of the fastest-growing medium-sized cities in the U.S.

Radiostar stage Ximenez 1-600“San Marcos, Cedar Park and Georgetown—each near Austin—ranked among the 10 fastest-growing cities with populations of 50,000 or more during the year ending July 1, 2013,” according to the Census news release.

Georgetown’s growth rate was 4.5 percent from July 1, 2012 to July 1, 2013, resulting in a 2013 population of 54,898 residents. Georgetown’s 2010 census population was 47,400. (Photo credit: Rudy Ximenez)

Housing starts have continued at a steady pace in Georgetown with 690 new home permits issued in 2013.

Growth in Georgetown shows no signs of slowing down. Housing communities in all areas of the city continue to add new residences, including developments such as Water Oak, Sun City Texas, The Brownstone at the Summit, and La Conterra. Other neighborhoods such as Wolf Ranch—a Hillwood Communities development with more than 2,000 residences—are in the planning stages.

Why is Georgetown growing so fast?

One reason is Georgetown’s location in the Austin metropolitan area, which has been the fastest-growing metro region in the nation for the past four years. The Austin metro continues to add jobs as well as retirees at a rapid pace.

Other reasons for Georgetown’s growth include the historic downtown area and Courthouse Square, parks and trails, dining and entertainment options, good schools, safe neighborhoods, and one of the lowest property tax rates in Texas.

To find out more about moving to or living in Georgetown, go to livehere.georgetown.org.