News

Galveston’s First Female Mayor Passes Away by Trishna Buch

Janice Coggeshall, the first female mayor of Galveston, passed away on Monday June 19 at the age of 81.
Coggeshall was elected to the position of mayor in 1984. This appointment came five years after she was selected to join the Galveston City Council, in 1979. Though she was officially elected mayor in 1984, she was mayor pro-tem from 1983 to 1984. She held the seat of mayor until 1989. Her five year stint as mayor was followed by an attempt to run for a position as county commissioner of precinct two; an attempt which ended up being unsuccessful.
Despite serving the city passionately for several years, Coggeshall was not BOI (born on the island). The former city official was born in 1935 in New York. She spent her days growing up in Rochester and moved to Wellesley, Massachusetts—to attend Wellesley College. Following this, in the 1970s, she moved to Galveston because her husband—Richard—was employed at UTMB.
Coggeshall’s passion for helping the city and its residents was shown during her time as mayor and mayor pro-tem. She was instrumental in helping the city get back on its feet following two calamities—Hurricane Alicia in 1983 and the Alvenus Oil Spill in 1984. And Coggeshall’s passion for civic duty ran beyond her years as mayor and mayor pro tem. Her most recent act of duty was serving on the city’s Ethics Commission since 2011. She was also a member of the Galveston Housing Finance Corporation/Galveston Property Finance Authority and the Arts And Historic Preservation Advisory Board. In addition to this, she was also a member of the Election Recount Committee in 1991, and was appointed to the Mayor’s Tourism Roundtable in 1997; in which she served as the chair. She was also heavily involved in the Rosenberg Library. Coggeshall was also passionate about education, and this led her to be the founder of the Galveston College Foundation, along with assisting the creation Galveston College’s Universal Access 21st Century Scholarship program.
Coggeshall’s position as the first female mayor of Galveston was one to be prideful of. She was named as such, following 145 years of the city’s history. And, prior to her election as mayor, she was only the second female to be named to the Galveston city council, after Ruth Kempner in 1960. And, in an article published by The New York Times in 1988—when Coggeshall was in her last year as Galveston mayor—she was labelled as “determined” and “enthusiastic”, as well as being called “an unflagging cheerleader for Galveston.”
“Jan was a great mentor and inspiration to those that she encountered,” Carolyn Sunseri, Galveston city councilmember of district six, told me. “She was very helpful to me when I was running for election and continued to give me advice through my tenure as a council person. She will be sorely missed.”
Mike Doherty, Galveston city council member of district four, also spoke to her passion for bettering the city.
“Jan loved Galveston and dedicated her life in Galveston to making it a better place; from historic preservation, the Library, to City Council and Mayor, to health and human service issues and overall quality of life matters. She will be missed.”
A memorial service for Coggeshall took place yesterday, Saturday, at the First Presbyterian Church at 2pm

 

A New Skipworth-y Member In Town by Trishna Buch
College Of The Mainland has a new face in its ranks, with the selection of Melissa Skipworth to the college’s board. Skipworth was selected to position five, which was previously held by Roney McCrary. She was selected after winning the runoff election on June 17.
Skipworth, who is a resource manager for the accounting firm Grant Thornton, has been involved with the college since she first moved to Dickinson. And her involvement is a family affair, with her husband being a professor of government at the college.
Skipworth submitted a guest column to The Post last month to speak about her passion for the college and the need for the board to listen to the community, and do whatever they can to help improve the college as the years pass.
She wrote: “Do you want a community college for our mainland that is successful in spite of its leadership or do you want a college whose success is enhanced by that leadership?”
Prior to running for a seat on the COM board, Skipworth had no political background or experience. However, she is no stranger to community involvement. According to a release from the college, Skipworth is a member of her neighborhood’s homeowners association and volunteers during community impact days.
Skipworth attended the University Of Houston, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Business. She also holds 15 years of experience in human-resources, which will assist her as she takes on her new role as COM board member. And, in a release from COM, Skipworth addressed her fondness for the college and the fact that she wants to work with COM president, Warren Nichols, to improve the college’s facilities not only for the students, faculty and staff; but also for the community as a whole.
In the guest column she submitted to The Post, she said: “Many of you watch or act alongside students in COM’s theater productions, learn new skills in COM’s continuing-education programs or create memories with your families while feeding the ducks at Lake Eckhart. COM is an invaluable community resource and great things happen there every day.”
Skipworth will be joining Rachel Delgado, Kyle Dickson, Donald Gartman, Rosalie Kettler, Bennie Matthews and Alan Waters in serving the college, its students, faculty, staff and surrounding community.
“Community colleges are becoming more important as university tuition increases and the demand for employees with degrees is increasing,” Skipworth said in a release.
“COM has a great workforce and 50 plus programs. “We have high-quality staff and faculty who care about students. We’re a resource in your backyard.”

By Trishna Buch

Kites aren’t just for kids, y’all! If you’ve never had the opportunity to witness a sky full of vibrant colors and unique designs, you’re truly missing out. Luckily, Texas City hosted its third-annual kite festival and what a show!

Photos taken from City of Texas City Facebook

The weather was bright and beautiful on Saturday June 10, and people from all over took full advantage by making their way to the Kite Festival. Men, women and children went out to the intersection of Dike Road and Skyline Drive to enjoy an entire day of kite-flying. Along with kite-flying, the event was also filled with tanker surfing…The idea is to follow a tanker, and surf its wave, drone flying and hydrofoil kitesurfing Riding a kite with a hydrofoil board under your feet. Hydrofoils have been used on different watercraft since 1906, when Enrico Forlanini, an Italian inventor, introduced the first foil design in a boat whose hull is fitted underneath with shaped vanes (foils) that lift the hull clear of the water to increase the boat’s speed.  Awards were handed out for stellar performances in the varying water sports and Houston Hydrofoil had some of its best members walk away with three trophies. With all sorts of food vendors, bounce castles for the children, plus anything from t-shirts to toys, the Texas City Kite Festival made for an exciting and successful event certain to be much anticipated next year and for many years to come!

 

Photos taken from City of Texas City Facebook
Photos taken from City of Texas City Facebook

By Trishna Buch

Sharing is caring. You’ve all heard that old adage right? When we were younger it was all we would hear. It didn’t matter if we were in school, at home or on the playground; because our parents or guardians would always say to us: remember to share!
This aspect of sharing has carried into our adult lives. And for good reason. Because sharing really is caring. When someone shares their items or nuggets of wisdom and advice, it shows the person on the receiving end of the sharing that their well-being is important to the one doing the sharing. In other words, when a person shares, it tells the individual on the receiving end that “I care about you and want you to have what I am lucky to have.”
Texas City understands the importance of sharing, and that is why they have joined the bike sharing program Zagster. With this bike share program, residents of the city can rent a bike for a portion of the day—or an entire day—for a low price! What is this price? You can rent a bike for just $2 an hour and up to $20 per ride!
The introduction of Zagster to the city comes at the perfect time. Now that the summer has arrived, and children are spending more time outdoors, the program provides these children with another activity to participate in over the next few months. And, of course, the program is a benefit to adults as well! We are always searching for ways to get outside and raise the level of exercise we do—so why not do so by riding a bike around the beautiful city you live in? Grab a bike and ride the trails located near city hall! Grab a bike and ride to, and around, the various parks the city has to offer; Bay Street Park, Goddard Park and Nessler Park, to name a few. Ride alone, ride with friends, ride until you feel like you’re flying. Just ride, ride, ride! And several individuals did just that when they rode bikes around the city a week and a half ago.
So how does Zagster work? According to the program’s website, renting a bike can be done in just four easy steps. However, before you can dive into the four steps, be sure to download the Zagster app on your phone.
Once you have downloaded the app, choose a bike and locate its number. Once you have done so, enter that number into the app and get your bike code. Put that code into the lockbox on the bike and retrieve the key. Then, unlock the bike with the key, put the lock into the basket and start riding! Once you have finished your trip, make sure to return your bike to a Zagster location, close out your ride in the app and shut the lockbox.
And if you don’t have a smartphone, don’t worry! You can still participate in the program by texting SMS to 202-999-3924 to get information on how to ride by text message. For a complete set of instructions on how to gain access to a Zagster bike, go online to bike.zagster.com/texas-city.
Personally, I think that the bike sharing program is an excellent addition to the city. I have always loved bike riding. Unfortunately, it has been a few years since I have rode, but hopefully this program will change that! However, when I was younger, I was riding all the time. I used to live in Europe, and seeing people riding around the city streets was a very common sight. My family was especially fond of having family bike rides every Sunday; when we would put water bottles and snacks into our baskets, ride the trails near our home and end our ride with a picnic lunch. This weekly family bike ride evolved into biking for errands. Instead of driving to the grocery store, a friend’s home or a video rental location; we would ride our bikes. It was the perfect way to get out of the house, get some fresh air and get some exercise!
I urge everyone in and around Texas City to do the same by taking full advantage of Zagster! And once you have enjoyed your ride, tell everyone you know about it! Because remember, sharing is caring!

By Trishna Buch

Santa Fe residents rejoice! Your city has earned a spot in a SafeWise study that determined the 50 safest cities in Texas.
According to a release by SafeWise, “crime rates are dropping across the state, with Texas leading the way for diminishing urban crime rates.” Furthermore, SafeWise cited a study by the New York University’s School of Law’s Brennan Center For Justice, which said that “the crime rate in five of Texas’s most populated cities dropped an average of 6.48% between 2014 and 2015.”
With this information in mind, analysts at SafeWise decided to determine the 50 safest cities in Texas in 2017. According to SafeWise, in order to determine the cities that made the list, the analysts “reviewed the most recent FBI crime report statistics from 2015, along with population data.” The analysts then shortened the list by choosing not to include any cities with fewer than 10,000 residents or ones that didn’t send in a crime report to the FBI, before evaluating the rest of the cities. According to SafeWise, the analysts conducted the evaluation by narrowing it down “based on the number of reported violent crimes and property crimes and motor vehicle theft in each city.”
The analysts also took the approach of “calculating the likelihood of these crimes occurring out of 1,000 people in each city” said the release by SafeWise.
Now I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seat in anticipation, waiting for me to tell you how Santa Fe scored. Well, wait no longer, because your city earned a rank of 40! With its previous rank of 62, Santa Fe improved in safety, proven by its 22 spot leap. It earned a violent crime per 1,000 score of 2.46 and a property crime per 1,000 score of 13.48. I will take this opportunity to point out that violent crime refers to crimes such as aggravated assault, robbery and murder; while property crime refers to crimes such as arson, larceny theft and motor-vehicle theft.
Santa Fe’s score, and rising result from the previous study, shows that the city’s residents are the type of people who would much rather focus their time on bettering their city and helping out their fellow residents, than partaking in horrific acts. The fact that Santa Fe was included on this list speaks to the kind and welcoming personality every Santa Fe resident shows. I have been to Santa Fe a few times for work and I have always felt safe and welcomed whenever I visited. But now, Santa Fe residents, your goal is to crack that top 20, with an end-goal of hitting the number one spot.
Other cities included in the list were Friendswood at 11, Seabrook at 35 and Clute at 39. The top three spots went to Trophy Club, Colleyville and Murphy respectively; while the bottom three spots went to Lumberton, Kyle and Schertz. If you would like to look at the full study, go online to safewise.com/blog/safest-cities-texas/.

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