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TORNADO STRIKES ‘09 A tornado with winds up to 120 mph passed through the Dijon Heights neighborhood in North Central shortly after 10:30 p.m. Feb. 19, causing severe damage to area homes and offices, as well as many condos in Chateau Dijon Townhomes and the adjacent Dijon North complex, between 7707 and 7731 Broadway. Reports of adverse winds also came in from Linda Drive. The Oak Park-Northwood neighborhoods, as well as Northern Hills on the North Side, also sustained damage, according to District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher. A total of  five tornadoes — including the one that touched down near the 6100 block of San Pedro Avenue and moved east past the Alamo Quarry Market, carving a swathe of destruction over 4 miles — touched down in the greater San Antonio area during a major thunderstorm, damaging 117 structures but causing no serious injuries, according to authorities. A day after the downpour, nearly 1,600 homes in the Alamo Heights area remained without electricity, according to reports. Woodridge Elementary School also was closed for a day due to a lack of power. For more on this story, pick up next month’s LOCAL Community News. For a photo gallery, visit www.localcommunitynews.com.

FOLLOWING A NATIONAL SEARCH, TRINITY UNIVERSITY HAS SELECTED HUGH DASCHBACH as senior director of alumni relations, according to officials. Daschbach, Trinity Class of 1995, started work in late February and succeeds Carol Mansen, who had served as interim director since October .

SAN ANTONIO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT’S FIRST HIGH-TECH HIGH SCHOOL, CAST Tech, unveiled design plans Feb. 14 for what officials are calling “an innovative environment designed to encourage a radically different high school experience.” CAST Tech is an in-district charter school of SAISD, and will be housed in two former vocational buildings on the downtown campus of Fox Tech High School. Officials also announced $150,000 in donations from AT&T and Frost Bank to help build the facility, “a first-of-its-kind model that will work hand-in-hand with the local tech industry to train students in coding, gaming, cyber-security, business entrepreneurship and more,” according to a spokeswoman. CAST Tech was made possible by a lead gift from Charles Butt of $2.6 million and an additional $1 million from H-E-B. Butt is chairman and CEO of the grocery chain. In addition, Graham Weston’s 80/20 Foundation put up a $600,000 challenge grant to spur contributions from the tech and business sector. SAISD officials and other guests attended the Feb. 14 event, which featured a 3-D video presentation of the interior design, followed by tours.   

THE TERRELL HILLS CITY COUNCIL APPROVED A CONTRACT with Texas Towing for wrecker services for city-owned vehicles, as well as non-consent towing of vehicles as determined by the Police Department. The contact was approved Feb. 13.

IN AN EFFORT TO IMPROVE ELECTRICAL SERVICE RELIABILITY IN ALAMO HEIGHTS, CPS Energy is trimming trees, according to officials. CPS has identified specific areas in and around the city that are “prone to create electric outages due to tree limbs being in contact with main primary or secondary electric service lines.” CPS has contracted with McCoy Tree Service to complete the project. The work began on Jan. 9 and is expected to take three months, officials say.

CONTROVERSY OVER PERMITS AND FEES FOR PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS LED DISTRICT 1 COUNCILMAN ROBERTO TREVIÑO to file a Council Consideration Request asking for a staff review of the city’s First Amendment policies relating to free speech and peaceful gatherings, according to reports. Residents have told his office they were informed they could not hold peaceful demonstrations because they lacked proper permits, which may also require a fee, the councilman said. Trevino and other council members support creating policies they view as less restrictive, according to officials. Council members Rey Saldana, Ron Nirenberg, Alan Warrick and Shirley Gonzalez joined Trevino in signing the request.

SAN PEDRO AVENUE BETWEEN QUINCY AND MAIN AVENUES will remain closed until summer, followed by other lane closures on Main and Navarro Street, due to the construction of the Main, Navarro & San Pedro Roundabout project. The roundabout is part of the 2012-17 Bond Program Downtown Streets Reconstruction Project, according to officials. The closure began Jan. 30.

THE SAN ANTONIO ZOO RECENTLY RECOGNIZED the Valero Energy Foundation and Lowry Mays and the Mays Family Foundation as recipients of the San Antonio Zoological Society’s 2016 Wildlife Conservation Award. The new, annual award is “bestowed upon those in the San Antonio community who exemplify a strong commitment to conservation leadership.”

ARCHBISHOP GUSTAVO GARCIA-SILLER ON JAN. 24 VISITED THE BEXAR COUNTY REENTRY SERVICES CENTER, a near-downtown facility that provides help and services to those released from jail or prison. The center opened in June 2016 and is the only county-run facility of its kind in Texas, according to officials. Garcia-Siller’s visit highlighted the recent implementation at the center of a “faith-based component” now available to formerly incarcerated people.

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