Category Archives: Alice

ALICE, TEXAS. Alice, the county seat of Jim Wells County, is intersected by U.S. Highway 281 and State highways 44 and 359, forty-four miles west of Corpus Christi. The town originated in the defunct community of Collins, three miles to the east. About 1880 the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway attempted to build a line through Collins, which then had 2,000 inhabitants. The townspeople were not amenable to selling their land to the railroad company; consequently, the railroad site was moved three miles west, and in 1883 a depot called Bandana was established at its junction with the Corpus Christi, San Diego and Rio Grande Railway. Bandana soon became a thriving cattle-shipping point, and application for a post office was made under the name Kleberg in honor of Robert Justus Klebergqv. The petition was denied because a town named Kleberg already appeared on the post office list, so residents then chose the name Alice, in honor of Alice Gertrudis King Kleberg, Kleberg’s wife and the daughter of Richard King. The Alice post office opened for business in 1888. Within a few years the remaining residents of Collins moved to Alice, which was by then a thriving community.

Falfurrias, Texas: Smugglers taking toll on South Texas

https://i0.wp.com/usopenborders.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/human_smuggling.jpg

FALFURRIAS, Texas – After several hours of surveillance, the pursuit was on. A smuggler loaded down with illegal immigrants in an SUV last month tried to outrun a trail of law enforcement vehicles, with more waiting up ahead on Highway 281 north of Falfurrias.

Finally, yanking his vehicle onto the shoulder, stopping short of a landowner’s fence, the smuggler’s human cargo bailed out, running into the brush, followed closely by sheriff’s deputies from Brooks and Jim Wells County, and U.S. Border Patrol agents.

“We’re doing it with the manpower that we have and that’s where it hurts,” said Capt. Joe Martinez, of the Jim Wells Sheriff’s Office. “We don’t have the manpower.”

According to Susan Durham, executive director of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, most counties do not get federal funding for more manpower, unlike those that are within 25 miles of the border.

“There’s already funds in place for them,” Durham said. “But that’s not where the border is anymore.”

Durham said landowners often are being overrun by smugglers who crash through fences and gates, going cross-country from ranch to ranch, usually in stolen trucks.

She said just in the past eight months, several ranches in Jim Wells and Brooks counties have seen 24 bailouts.

Each incident has averaged $540 in repairs to fences and gates, Durham said.

“Now if they compensate the people right away, it would be a lot different,” said Raul Garcia, a longtime rancher.

After at least two bailouts on his property, Garcia said he was warned he would be prosecuted if he shot anyone.

Garcia said he’s heard other ranchers are putting spikes facing traffic on their ranch gates.

“They try to ram them, they’ll bust the radiator,” Garcia said.

Durham said her organization helped revise the state’s transportation code to reimburse landowners for the property damage.

She said the money initially would have been excess funds from the sale of abandoned vehicles.

“Excess means what’s left over after paying expenses such as towing and storage,” Durham said.

But Durham said there’s been a snag in the funding for the program that would have used Brooks County as a template for the rest of South Texas.

“Smugglers are gaming the system by using vehicles that are stolen or that have high liens on them,” Durham said.

She said they also use the “innocent friend excuse,” telling authorities they loaned the vehicle to a friend unaware it would be used for smuggling.

As a result, Durham said her organization will go back to the Texas Legislature, and even ask the federal government for help.

Source

Advertisements

Shale Drilling boosts South Texas sales tax revenues

image

By Mike D. Smith
Posted January 2, 2012 at 6:32 p.m.

CORPUS CHRISTI — Cities across South Texas are coasting atop rising sales tax revenues strongly driven by two factors: retail and shale.

The Texas Comptroller‘s Office allocated more than $4 million to Corpus Christi in December.

The payment brings the city’s yearly total to more than $62.7 million, or 12 percent higher than what the city received by late 2010, figures show.

Monthly sales tax revenue payments are staggered. The December figures reflect taxes collected in October, which vendors reported in November.

Retail activity has shown an increase, but the totals also show impacts of Eagle Ford Shale drilling more than 50 miles away are rippling into the city, interim Finance Director Constance Sanchez said.

“That would be the different companies that are needed for the Eagle Ford Shale and they’re buying equipment and things they need for that,” Sanchez said.

For the city’s fiscal year, which began Aug. 1, the city has collected 11.9 percent more revenue than what was collected during the same time in 2010 and 7.4 percent above what the city budgeted, Sanchez said.

While the city is happy with the positive difference, the windfall doesn’t mean officials can relax headed into the next budget season.

Property tax revenue increased at a much lesser rate than in previous years, Sanchez said. Preliminary property values will arrive in April.

Even with cuts, some city expenses have also increased such as utilities and contractual obligations, Sanchez said.

“We have to take all this into account,” Sanchez said. “It’s really too soon to say things are looking good because of the overall big picture.”

Eagle Ford’s effects are more pronounced in some of the cities at or near the heart of production.

George West in Live Oak County, for example, received a monthly allocation of more than $57,000, which is 56 percent higher than December 2010’s payment.

Through the December payment, George West is up 54 percent with more than $616,000, figures show.

Beeville‘s monthly allocation increased about 40 percent over December 2010, and the city is up 26 percent in collections with about $3.4 million.

Alice, away from the heart of drilling activity in Jim Wells County, continues to enjoy the retail and other side benefits of drilling as hotels are built and stores expand.

Alice’s allocations top $15.3 million, which is 44 percent higher than by the same time in 2010.

Statewide, the Comptroller‘s Office remitted $478.3 million to local governments in December — a year-to-year increase of 9.7 percent.

Source

Alice considers building multipurpose convention center amid Eagle Ford boom

image

By Mark Collette

ALICE — For a city that always has lived and died by the oil field, life is good right now.

Flush with cash generated from sales and hotel occupancy taxes — all bringing in money associated with the oil and gas boom — the town is planning something most South Texas cities couldn’t contemplate even a few years ago: paying for a new event center without dipping into reserves and without taking on debt.

In the past two fiscal years, Alice set aside more than $4 million in seed money for the project, envisioned as a multipurpose convention center and natatorium. It has committed $70,000 to an assessment to determine the type and scale of facilities the community wants.

This phase included a town hall meeting Tuesday night, dominated by the community’s swimmers, including swim team coaches and student athletes lamenting the practice time lost on hourlong bus rides to and from Corpus Christi, site of the nearest pool that serves their training needs

Years from now, Alice swimmers may not draw a connection between the convenience of a modern, hometown pool and the heavy oil field trucks that lumber to and from town with loads of sand, water and drilling equipment. But to project planners and city leaders, that connection is everything.

Alice sits just south of the Eagle Ford Shale, a 400-mile long underground rock formation in Central and South Texas unleashing ancient stores of natural gas and crude oil with new technology called hydraulic fracturing. In the past two years, oil field service companies have expanded their Alice facilities, brought hundreds of jobs and filled up every hotel room in Alice, prompting more to to be built.

“If Eagle Ford Shale was not in play to the level it is, there would still be a need (for a multipurpose center), but it would not be as big,” City Manager Ray De Los Santos said. “There would still be funding available, but it would not be as much.”

For the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Alice budgeted $650,000 a month in sales tax revenue. Only one month came in under $1 million, giving the city a $6 million surplus.

The event center project was being considered even before the Eagle Ford boom started in earnest in 2009. But the facility almost surely will be larger than what was initially imagined because the city can afford it, and because it anticipates the demand will be there to support it for years to come.

Oil boom and bust cycles notoriously are unpredictable and, at least in the past, short-lived on the boom end. But with Eagle Ford, analysts are expecting a ramp-up in production to last as long as 10 years, with production remaining steady at least another decade.

“This has changed the model for communities in South Texas because they have a long-term horizon where they can plan for capital improvements,” said John Michael, project engineer for Naismith Engineering. Naismith is conducting the needs assessment in Alice and has contracts with governments throughout the region.

Michael said there has been a dearth of new swimming pools in South Texas in the past 30 to 40 years because the last bust cycle drained the financial resources of communities and they never fully recovered.

De Los Santos said Alice isn’t taking Eagle Ford longevity for granted. Other South Texas cities have struggled with keeping convention centers and similar venues afloat. Last fiscal year, the American Bank Center convention center and Selena Auditorium in Corpus Christi posted a $1.3 million loss. And in Aransas Pass, the convention center has become a political football as officials try to figure out how to make it profitable.

It’s unclear how much the Alice multipurpose center would cost, where it will be built or exactly what it will entail. Project planners want to spend more time gathering input before making decisions.

The $70,000 study includes market analysis, financial projections, economic impact analysis, and aquatic and convention center complex conceptual analysis, De Los Santos said.

The general vision is a campuslike setting with meeting facilities, room for a privately-developed hotel, walking trails in a parklike area, and, of course, the pool.

Swim team coaches, members and athletes told the planners Tuesday that the city, with only one six-lane municipal pool that’s at least 30 years old, sorely needs a facility ready for competition, for family relaxation and for general health in a community suffering high obesity rates.

The town has a nonprofit swim group of more than 100 participants in the summer, and its school swim teams regularly compete at the state level.

Alice High School‘s senior class president, Horacio Rangel, said he rides two hours on the bus every day to keep up his swim training, but the bus isn’t the best environment for homework. He recently dropped to No. 22 in academic ranking in his senior class.

“I’d be top 20,” he said, “if I had more time to study.”

Source

Alice, Texas – 1900 to 1990

image

Alice Cotton Oil Co’s Plant, Alice, Texas

During the 1920s, as a result of the oil boom in Jim Wells County, Alice adopted the slogan “Hub City of South Texas.”

By 1900 the town had five churches, three public schools, a kindergarten, and a private Mexican school. The two weekly newspapers serving the town were the Reporter and the Echo. During that period Alice acquired the nickname the “Windmill Town” for its numerous windmills. In 1903 Eulalio Velázquez started publication of El Cosmopolita, a Spanish-language newspaper. Alice was incorporated on June 2, 1904, at which time it had a population of 887. F. B. Nayer owned the town site and donated land for early civic buildings. With the completion of the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway to Brownsville in 1904, the Alice-to-Brownsville stagecoach was discontinued. The telephone company was sold to the Eureka Telephone Company in 1904, and the Southwestern Telephone and Telegraph Company started providing long-distance service. Trinidad Salazar was instrumental in getting Alice a new elementary school, which was named for original settler F. B. Nayer. In 1909 a fire destroyed half of the Alice business section, but it was rebuilt and the town continued to grow. Alice was chosen county seat of Jim Wells County shortly after the county’s organization in 1911. The town also became the headquarters for Texas Rangers serving in South Texas during the 1912–16 border raids. By 1914 Alice had an estimated population of 3,500, two banks, a cottonseed oil mill, a cotton gin, an ice plant, and two weeklies, the Alice Echo and the News. The introduction of irrigation helped to continue Alice’s importance as a shipping center, and a shift was made from transporting livestock to transporting fruits and vegetables. During the 1920s, as a result of the oil boom in Jim Wells County, Alice adopted the slogan “Hub City of South Texas.” The town served as the distribution point for both supplies and construction to south Texas. Its population was estimated at 4,239 in 1931. In 1935 a public library opened. The town had an oil boom in 1938, when the Alice oilfield was discovered. By 1940 the population was 7,792.

image

Baptist Church, Alice, Texas

image

Hotel Alice, Alice, Texas

Alice made national headlines during the 1948 primary election for state senator. Lyndon Baines Johnson and Governor Coke Stevensonqqv both ran for the Democratic party nomination. It was alleged that Johnson won the primary because he had stolen the election with the help of George B. Parrqv, political boss, who controlled both Duval and Jim Wells counties. Alice became the focal point of a federal investigation when it was alleged that Alice’s Precinct 13 ballot box had been stuffed. By 1949 violence erupted in Alice. W. H. (Bill) Mason, a local broadcaster, was shot by deputy sheriff Sam Smithwick after he had alleged on the air that Smithwick was the owner of a dime-a-dance palace.

During the 1940s and 1950s Alice had an economy based on the oil and gas industry, livestock production, and the marketing of cotton, flax, grain, and vegetables. Industries manufactured oil-well chemicals and supplies, fiberglass, products, cottonseed oil products, and foods. Census figures indicated a population of 16,414 in 1950. In September 1951 Alice was struck by a flood. In 1960 the population was 20,861. In 1963 Alice had thirteen churches and seven schools. In 1966 the town reported 429 businesses, nineteen manufacturers, twenty churches, two libraries, two newspapers, three banks, a radio station, and a hospital. Around 1966 Mexican-American youths boycotted Alice High School in protest against discrimination on the part of students, teachers, and administrators. Alice had an estimated population of 25,100 and 462 businesses in 1970. During the 1970s the city continued to be an oil and agricultural center. Agribusiness in Alice contributed nearly $34 million annually to the gross income of Jim Wells County. The Alice trade territory embraced a population of more than 150,000 in a forty-mile radius. In 1982 naphthalene and penanthene were found in Alice’s water supply and traced to an oilfield drilling company working in the area. In 1985 there were over 250 oil and mineral industry companies in the area. At the time Alice had eleven public schools and two parochial schools, twenty-nine churches, a museum, a public library, a private hospital, 557 businesses, and ninety-four major employers. In 1990 Alice had a population of 19,788. In 2000 the population dropped to 19,010.

Timeline of Texas History – Alice

Alice, Texas – 1888 to 1900

image

Frontier Battalion Co. “E” Alice, Texas 1892.

The town’s first school was established in 1888 on the second floor of the Becham Place, a boardinghouse for men. The private school had nine students. Until 1886 Alice students who chose to continue their education attended Goliad College. The Catholic church at Collins was moved to Alice in 1889. Methodist services were held at Mrs. E. D. Sidbury’s lumberyard until 1890, when they were moved to a new school built by George Hobbs. A school board of trustees was elected, and a public school was started. In 1892 the town was served by a hotel, two saloons, two general stores, a weekly newspaper named the Alice Reporter, and a cotton gin. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway had completed its line to Alice. By 1894 Alice was the busiest shipping point in South Texas. The Alice Circuit of the Methodist Church was formed in 1895. By 1896 the town had an estimated population of 885, a library, a bank, the Episcopal Church of the Advent, and a second weekly newspaper, El Eco. The first telephone exchange in Alice was established by the Beeville, Alice, and Wade City Telephone Company in 1896. The first two telephones in the community were located at Trinidad Salazar‘s general store and home. In 1898 Alice flooded, forcing residents to move their houses. In February 1899 a smallpox epidemic hit one of Alice’s Mexican subdivisions, then located on the outskirts of the town. Consequently, the area was quarantined, and the two private Mexican schools in Alice were forced to close down. The epidemic became so widespread that the county commissioner ordered all schools closed and fumigated and authorized the county health officer to vaccinate every one in the area free of charge.

Timeline of Texas History – Alice

%d bloggers like this: