ANTONIAN COLLEGE PREPARATORY HIGH SCHOOL in Castle Hills has opened a center for academic excellence, completing the first phase of a renovation campaign. The Petit Family Center for Academic Excellence was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony in early September. The first floor is home to the student resource center, as well as a library, lounge and the Learning Center. The second floor will feature six classrooms. The center will provide ACT and SAT training and resources for students with learning difficulties.

THE NORTH EAST INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD HAS APPOINTED JOSEPH TREVINO as the Single Member District 3 trustee. He will hold the seat through May, and then an election will decide who gets the spot next. Trevino, who was appointed during a special meeting Sept. 18, takes over from trustee Sandi Wolff, who resigned after moving out of the district. According to NEISD, “Trevino has been an active member of the PTA for several years and is currently the PTA president at Colonial Hills Elementary School. He is also an active member of the NEISD Council of PTAs and the chairman of the Back the Future committee. He and his wife have one daughter who attends Jackson Middle School.”

A LOWER PROPERTY TAX RATE THAN PREVIOUS YEARS ADOPTED BY the North East Independent School District Sept. 18 could result in savings of up to $160 annually for the average NEISD homeowner. The rate is $1.365 per $100 valuation. “The tax rate adopted tonight marks the third straight year the district has lowered the tax rate,” said Brian Moy, NEISD executive director of finance and accounting. “Over those three years, the tax rate has gone down by just over seven and a half cents.”

THE PROCESS TO CHANGE THE NAME OF LEE HIGH SCHOOL has started, and North East Independent School District officials asked the public to choose an idea — not a person. Submissions were accepted through Sept. 25. On Aug. 29, the board voted to change the name of the high school after patrons complained it honored Gen. Robert E. Lee, who championed the Confederate States of America and its practice of human enslavement. The change takes effect after the end of the current academic year. According to a release, “The board set forth criteria that the name should reflect an idea, not a person. … Name submissions should embody a wholesome image that would be expected to stand the test of time. A proposed name should be welcoming and identifiable to the general public.”

AFTER 42 YEARS, THE ALLEY ON BITTERS HAS CHANGED HANDS and is under new ownership. The local father-and-son business team of Charles and Ryan Haag in June purchased The Alley, a 4-acre retail and dining complex at 555 W. Bitters Road in Hill Country Village, for $2.4 million, according to a release issued in late September. “Immediate improvements include parking lot resurfacing, updating signage, repairs to decking that connects shopping and dining structures, replacing outdoor carpeting and landscape improvements,” the release stated. “Previous owner Carolyn Coyne purchased Artisan’s Alley in 1975, where local artists and craftsman were housed in vintage rustic, wooden and galvanized clad structures reminiscent of a small Texas town.” The statement said Coyne decided to retire. The Haags’ portfolio of local businesses include condominiums, a service station, automated car wash and several retail shopping centers.

FRANK HAKSPIEL, A 1999 CLARK HIGH SCHOOL graduate, was awarded the Pillar of Fairness for 2017 by the Northside Education Foundation during a gala Sept. 21. Hakspiel left his native country of Colombia as a teen and enrolled at the Northside Independent School District campus as a freshman. At 20, he joined the Navy and served until suffering a life-threatening neck injury, officials said. He later worked as a government contractor and tried his hand at other jobs, eventually creating Fralo’s — a pizza restaurant and live-music venue — with his wife, Lori. The gala is NEF’s largest funding event, raising money for NISD faculty and staff grants. Every year six graduates are chosen from over 100,000 alumni to represent the six character traits, or pillars, of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

CLARK HIGH SCHOOL’S TEXAS NOVICE CERTAMEN GROUP WAS  NAMED NATIONAL CHAMPIONS IN THE LATIN QUIZ BOWL held in Troy, Alabama, at the National Junior Classical League Convention. The winning team included Ester Ko, Guy Martin (alternate), Tony Rodriguez and Teddy Trakas. The Texas Intermediate Certamen team placed second in the nation, and included Domenic Ferreris, Grace Johnson, Natalie Johnson (alternate) and Tim Reynolds, who also placed fifth overall in Academics Sweepstakes.

A PROJECT TO IMPROVE DRAINAGE ON WEST AVENUE near Nakoma Drive finished in early September, city officials said. District 9 Councilman John Courage and a host of city leaders were on hand to celebrate the completion of the $6.6 million endeavor, which improved the low-water crossing northeast of Nakoma. Workers built a 322-foot-long bridge that allows floodwaters to safely pass underneath. Additional improvements included upgrades to signal lights, sidewalks, curbs and driveways. It was funded by the 2012 voter-approved bond program.

PERFORMING ARTS SAN ANTONIO HAS ANNOUNCED MAIN STAGE UPGRADES as a result of the recent citywide Big Give drive. PASA, 15705 U.S. 281 North, provides “state-of-the-art education and training” in the performing arts and recently completed improvements to its lighting and sound systems, as well as enhancing views of the Main Stage Theatre stage from the seats. Also added are new bistro tables to enhance the overall theater experience, a representative said. PASA kicks off its season in November. Visit for more details.

VIGILANCE IN HARDBERGER PARK IS URGED BY DISTRICT 8 COUNCILMAN MANNY PELAEZ after a woman reported she was sexually assaulted during a morning run in September. Pelaez asks visitors to “be vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times.” The councilman’s office released a series of tips from the San Antonio Police Department for visitors to area parks in an effort to maintain safety, including: Go to parks and trails with a buddy, avoid going out at dusk or in darkness, leave valuables at home instead of having them on your person or in your vehicle, and always let someone know where you are going.

COLONIAL HILLS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL HAS STARTED A VERTICAL GARDENING PROGRAM to improve the health and wellness of students, educators said. Members of the school’s Kids Health Advisory Council, a group of second- to fifth-graders who serve as the “voice” of students when it comes to wellness issues at the school, recently recommended the inclusion of vertical gardening as part of the expansion of the current garden. The new vertical garden tower will allow students to grow produce with less water and at a faster rate.

FORMER ARKANSAS GOVERNOR AND TWO-TIME GOP PRESIDENTIAL HOPEFUL MIKE HUCKABEE spoke at Christian School of Castle Hills during the annual Eagle Banquet. The longest-serving Arkansas governor delivered a keynote speech offering insights on leadership. Huckabee, who also is a New York Times best-selling author, hosted “Huckabee” on the Fox News Channel until 2015. The annual Eagle Banquet promotes the school’s capital campaign, which over time has raised $2.7 million to go toward the purchase of a permanent home for the school.

SANTIKOS ENTERTAINMENT DELIVERED $10 MILLION IN CHARITABLE GIFTS to the San Antonio Area Foundation during a recent ceremony at the Embassy Theater at U.S. 281 and West Bitters Road. The John L. Santikos Foundation, established in 2014, has given funds to more than 200 area organizations. The $10 million presented to the area foundation was the second installment of 2017, with total funds expected to reach nearly $26 million. In 2015, Santikos became the only cinema company in the country to operate as a social enterprise benefiting its local community by returning theater proceeds to San Antonio area nonprofits.

SHAVANO PARK RALLIED TO HELP DISASTER VICTIMS by supporting the San Antonio Food Bank’s Hurricane Harvey Response. Donation bins set up at City Hall through Sept. 30 were used to collect nonperishable food, water, baby food, diapers, flashlights, batteries and new or packaged clothing.

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