Local News Local News en-us Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Tue, 29 Jul 2014 04:07:36 GMT Synapse CMS 10 144 25 6 Investigates: Columbus Replicas: Rotten and Forgotten Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 5:45:06 PM Andrew Ellison - 6 Investigates: Columbus Replicas: Rotten and Forgotten

CORPUS CHRISTI - Two decades ago, they were the pride of Corpus Christi, and now, they're crumbling away.

Two of the three columbus ships that came here in 1992 are weeks away from being demolished.

The ships were built in Spain to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Columbus's voyage to the new world back in 1492.

They were built with the same wood, same materials, and same methods that were used for the original ones back in the 15th century.

They received such a great reception in Corpus Christi, that Spain chose Corpus Christi as the ships home.

The replicas were sold to a small group of residents called the Columbus Fleet Association.

Nelida Ortiz was part of that association in its final days. She says as soon as that group got the ships, everything started to go downhill.

"They didn't think about what it would take to maintain the ships. They didn't have anyone in the group that knew what to do with the ships, judging by the way they acted," she says.

The plan was to let residents sail on the ships for a fee, and the revenue would fund maintenance, but the planned boat rides never really happened.

Then, on a foggy night back in 1994, a barge struck the Pinta and the Santa Maria.

This is where the city enters the story, proposing that a $2.9 million shipyard be built at the science museum, where anyone could come and watch the ships get fixed.

Taxpayers footed the bill through a bond, and the original architect who designed the replicas, Francisco Monsalvete Mazo, came out to do the work.

"I went with six carpenters, the same guys who built them. We were there a year repairing the ships, and we left them in good condition," he told us.

Monsalvete went back to Spain, hoping that the ships would be returned to the water.

But when the Columbus Fleet Association couldn't pay off the debt from purchasing the ships, or pay for the shipyard taxpayers were supposed to get reimbursed for, the group went under, and the city took control of the replicas.

Thinking it would make for a good tourist attraction, the museum decided to keep the ships in the dry shipyard, and maintain them in the open where museum-goers could come watch.

"It was a terrible idea. The boats were built to navigate and their best place to be is in the water. The salt water preserves them infinitely better than if they're not in the salt water," Monsalvete says.

The city did it anyway, and hired several full time carpenters to maintain the ships.

In the beginning, the ships were sprayed with salt water occasionally.

But over the years, people lost interest in the exhibit, and the condition of the ships got worse everyday.

Museum Director Carol Rehtmeyer took over a couple of years ago, and immediately realized the exhibit wasn't really working out, especially after some of the workers were caught sleeping on the job.

They were let go, and that brings us to present, as the ships just sit there, dry-docked, and rotting.

"These (the ships) are indeed 25 years old, so they've long outlived the life of a boat," Rehtmeyer says.

And that's what the city will tell you. That the ships were never meant to last more than 10 years. That the humidity in South Texas makes it hard to maintain them.

"It's hard to look after something that wasn't designed to last forever and ever," Marina Superintendent Peter Davidson says.

Basically, the city says it did just as well as anyone would have done.

Monsalvete begs to differ.

He directed us to photos of Columbus replica ships in Spain, that are two years older than ours. These ships were built the exact same way with the same materials.

"These boats are in a museum, but in the water, and they have adequate maintenance, and the boats have been there since then, and they are in perfect shape," Monsalvete says.

And as for the city's argument about climate.

"It's actually harder to preserve a boat in the arctic where the wood might freeze and crack. But in the warm, tropic climates, they can be preserved well," Monsalvete says.

And while Monsalvete lives in Spain, he did get to see his creation one last time several years ago when he visited.

Of course, the sight of his ships in that condition was hard to bear.

"It makes me sad. I hate to see richness destroyed, and especially when I have contributed to something, it makes me even more sad. It made me very sad to see the boats like that," Monsalvete says.

Monsalvete asked us if we could preserve a nail from one of the replicas for him before they are demolished.

The museum has agreed to get with the demolition team and get one of those nails for us.

We will send it to Monsalvete.

On a happy note, the Nina remains intact largely because it stayed in the water, and because a small local group called the Columbus Sailing Association (not the Fleet Association) has been working weekend to repair the ship.

The group says she could be ready to sail in about a year and a half.


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Is Jury Duty An 'Optional' Requirement? Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 3:10:41 PM Janine Reyes Is Jury Duty An 'Optional' Requirement?

CORPUS CHRISTI -- Many of you consider jury duty just that, a duty.

But, what we've discovered is an alarming number of people consider it an option.

So, what happens when they don't show? Well, nothing.

Monday proved to be a busy day at the Nueces County Courthouse with about 500 people showing up for jury duty.

Vicki Valenta is a substitute teacher who missed out on sleeping in this morning after her summons. "Its a civic duty," she said, "not something I love to do, but something I do because its the right thing as a citizen."

Others who got this summons may have some catching up to do when they do return to the office.

"I'm missing out on work," Ken Brown explained, "this is important too," he addined.

"My employer is very understandable and it doesn't interfere with my job, and it can't according to the law," Kim McCarty explained her morning out of the office.

She's right, but, even with a line starting at the Central Jury Room and continuing out the doors and onto the sidewalk, only about a third of those summoned actually appeared.

Of the 1,600 people summoned this morning, 600 were excused, 500 showed up, but another 500, roughly a third of those who got this summons, just didn't show.

Kim McCarty knows what could happen in that case.

"Supposedly there are consequences up to a $500 fine if you don't show, minimum of $100," she said.

That's exactly what the summons says.

But, it's not exactly what happens.

"From $100 to $500 fine," Court Administrator Anne Lorentzen told us, "that's if they don't show up and that is really hard for us to prosecute because we don't have the manpower."

So, they don't. She says enforcement would remove constables and deputies from the streets and tie up resources we simply don't have.

So, because we don't have the manpower, what happens to those who don't show for an initial jury summons is nothing. But, if you're selected for a panel and you don't show up for that, it's a different story.

"A disappearing juror, then that fine can be up to $1000 and they can be found in contempt of court," Lorentzen explained.

At that point it is up to the judge in the case.

Judge Jose Longoria says that is a rare scenario, but it's happened to him, during a capital murder trial. He sent the sheriff's department to find that juror.

"If it's my panel, I take it seriously, because it's our tax dollars being spent," Longoria said.

In the meantime, for those who don't show for their duty, while the county won't come get you, your fellow potential jurors say: 'shame on you.'

"Its part of the responsibility of being a citizen and all the freedoms come with responsibilities," said Brown.

"That's part of being an american and the court system that we have today," McCarty explained.

She stood in line this morning for her second summons this year.

Some counties do have jury court, where missing jurors face fines and other punishments.

But, Nueces County Court administrators say that would tie up constables and deputies and add that they always have enough potential juries to fill their panels.



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Armed Men Rob Game Room in Bayside Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 1:37:38 PM Armed Men Rob Game Room in Bayside

REFUGIO - The hunt is on for a gang of armed men who terrorized employees and customers of a Bayside game room early Saturday morning.

The Refugio County Sheriff's Office says as many as six armed men came into Bayside Amusement firing shots in the air and ordering everyone to get on the floor.

Everyone had their hands zip-tied as the robbers took an unknown amount of cash from the machines. One employee was hit over the head, but later refused to be treated by medics.

According to deputies, all of the customers had already left the shop by the time they arrived to investigate.

Investigators already have the names of potential suspects, but are not releasing their names right now.

If you witnessed this robbery, call the sheriff's office at 361-526-2351.


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Texas State Aquarium Looking to be Rated Nations Best Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 1:25:45 PM Sara Donchey Texas State Aquarium Looking to be Rated Nations Best

CORPUS CHRISTI - If you're looking for one of the nations best attractions to take the family this summer, all you've got to do is cross the Harbor Bridge.

The Texas State Aquarium is competing in USA Today 10 Best Readers' Choice competition to be designated the best aquarium in North America.

The aquarium is currently holding the number four spot, but they're up against some tough competition, including the Georgia Aquarium, the biggest in the nation.

Readers vote for the winner, but to even be nominated to the list, aquariums had to meet some pretty high standards.

They were rated according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums guidelines that took multiple factors into account.

"It's not just attendance numbers and square footage and gallonage, but they used things like our conservation efforts and educational programming," said Marketing Director Kara Hahn. "I think that's why we've been narrowed down to the top 20."

Even though the Texas State Aquarium is beginning a project to more than double in size, they feel their ability to get visitors up close and personal to sea life is a big plus.

"You get such a personal connection with animals, and our staff are so well trained," Hahn said. "They really want to create an awesome guest experience for someone."

To vote for the Texas State Aquarium, visit the USA Today website.

You're allowed to vote once a day until voting closes on Aug. 18.


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Boyfriend Accused of Assaulting 4-Year Old Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 1:09:18 PM Boyfriend Accused of Assaulting 4-Year Old

CORPUS CHRISTI - A 23-year old man is in jail after police say he grabbed a 4-year old boy by the throat, threw him against a wall, and then punched the boy's mother in the face.

According to police, Mel Pena was arguing with his girlfriend about him going to the beach. The argument became violent and police say pena began to choke the woman.

When her 4-year old son began to cry, Pena is accused of assaulting the boy. The girlfriend was able to escape and call police.

Pena's charged with injury to a child and assault.


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Residents Reduce Water Use to Comply with Restrictions Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 12:10:54 PM Rachel Cole - Residents Reduce Water Use to Comply with Restrictions

CORPUS CHRISTI - The city is now enforcing stage two water restrictions and hoping the community will be vigilant, when it comes to protecting our water supply.

One resident, Anna Reeves says it's hard but she is adjusting to the rules. She says she's cut down on watering her plants from three days a week to just one, now that the stage two water restrictions are in place.

"They're not looking too good right now because we're only watering once or twice a week which is late at night," she said.

City officials say, if it is inconvenient for you to water your lawn on your trash pickup day, as mandated by the restrictions, there is an alternative. Residents can apply for a permit that would allow them to swap days. That application process takes about five to ten business days to get approval. If granted, a resident is then given a laminated permit.

Reeves says, she hand waters her plants with a hose, which is allowed under the restrictions and she tries to recycle any drop of rain that falls.

"I even have little areas and pots and cans that will catch the water when it does come to help us out with the plants," Reeves said.

Plus, she says even though she loves rose bushes, she is also cautious about which plants to put in the ground.

"We like all kind of bushes but we always look for ones that are more proper for the environment," she added.

City officials say responsible water usage leads to improved conservation that benefits everyone. As for Reeves, she loves potted plants but says being a good citizen is more important.

"I guess we'll just start again next Spring with new plants," Reeves said.

Last time Corpus Christi was in stage two water restrictions in 2013, people cut back on 1.1 billion gallons of water use. 500 warnings were issued but only 5 people were given tickets for non-compliance. The city hopes the community will remain vigilant when it comes to conserving water.

More information


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Local Shop Has Largest 'Mantique' Collection In Texas Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 9:42:21 AM Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS Local Shop Has Largest 'Mantique' Collection In Texas

CORPUS CHRISTI - Mantiques & More is the largest collection of man cave memorabilia in the Coastal Bend.

Mantiques and More was started by Cesar Elizondo of Corpus Christi Texas.

After many years in the auto motive industry, Cesar's passion for collecting antiques and hard to find artifacts drove him to opening his own store to help him share the love of rare and hard to find items with the South Texas Area.

Their collection comes from all over the United States and beyond.

Find them on Facebook here.


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CCISD to Vote on $100M Bond Election Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 9:05:00 AM CCISD to Vote on $100M Bond Election

CORPUS CHRISTI - The CCISD school board will decide Monday whether to put a $100 million bond on the November ballot.

Initially, the bond was set for $250 million, but the project was scaled back after learning more money is coming into the district.

The overall property valuations are up by about 6 percent.

As a result, the new bond package will not require a tax hike for homeowners. But the issue still requires a public vote.

The updated list of projects has Windsor Park and Los Encinos elementary schools being replaced.

Also, Calk and Wilson will be consolidated and several new rooms will be added to Oak Park Elementary.


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Boat Sinks in Copano Bay, One Man Dead Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 5:10:33 AM Boat Sinks in Copano Bay, One Man Dead

COPANO BAY - We're waiting to find out the identity of a man who died after a boat sank in Copano Bay.

The Coast Guard received a distress call from someone on the boat Sunday morning.

The three people on the boat, two men in their 50's and a 14 year old girl, were all wearing life jackets.

When the Coast Guard arrived, they found the teenager and one of the men clinging to a platform.

The other man was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The other two passengers should be okay.


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Man Stabbed, Pistol Whipped At Hotel Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 5:04:29 AM Man Stabbed, Pistol Whipped At Hotel

CORPUS CHRISTI - One man is in the hospital after he was stabbed at a southside hotel. And police are still looking for the men who are responsible.

Officers say it all started just before 2:30 this morning.

Three people were walking to their room inside the Sun Suites on Oakhurst.

According to police, the group came across two men standing in the breezeway. Things escalated quickly from there.

Lt. Michael Pena, Corpus Christi Police Department, said, "A confrontation started. One of our victims who fled the scene and was located elsewhere, he had a stab wound to the back, back part of his body and was also pistol whipped."

That victim walked to the nearby Embassy Suites to get help.

Another man was also pistol whipped.

A woman in the group was not hurt.

The two men who were injured are expected to recover.

Police are now working off a description from the victims to track down the attackers.


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City Leaders to Vote on Fireworks in Port Aransas Local News Mon, 28 Jul 2014 1:13:16 AM City Leaders to Vote on Fireworks in Port Aransas

PORT ARANSAS - For the past three weeks, a fireworks show has been lighting up the sky over Port Aransas.

City leaders say it was part of a "pilot program." The test phase ended last Friday, but council members will vote on the issue next month.

The idea is mainly geared toward tourists. Many local residents find it a nuisance, and plan to bring a petition to the next council meeting.


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Texas State Aquarium in Running for Best Aquarium in North America Local News Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:25:46 PM Texas State Aquarium in Running for Best Aquarium in North America

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Texas State Aquarium is in the running to be named one of the best in the nation and it needs your vote to make it to number one.

USA Today is holding their readers' choice awards, and currently, The Texas State Aquarium is ranked number five. That's down one spot from Friday when it was number four.

The Georgia Aquarium holds the number one slot.

If you want The Texas State Aquarium to hold the title of the "best aquarium", you can vote here.

Voting ends on August 18th.


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Enforcement of Water Restrictions Begins Monday Local News Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:22:02 PM Enforcement of Water Restrictions Begins Monday

CORPUS CHRISTI - Starting Monday, you will get a pretty hefty fine if you violate the stage two water restrictions.

Stage two means you are only allowed to run your sprinklers, or wash your car on your trash pickup day. You can still water by hand any day.

If you are caught watering illegally, you will get a citation and have to pay a fine.

First time violators will get a warning posted on their front door.

Future violations will lead to a citation of up to $500 per day.

To report violations, the city asks that you contact the call center at 826-2489.


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Fire Destroys Lake City Home Local News Sun, 27 Jul 2014 11:06:46 PM Fire Destroys Lake City Home

LAKE CITY - A fire destroyed a home in Lake City, just outside Mathis.

The mayor of Lake City, Jake Hoskins, lives across the street from the home. He told us a man knocked on his door saying to call 911 because the house across the street is on fire. He looked out the door, and the house was engulfed in flames.

The fire broke out Saturday night around 9:30.

A woman was inside the home at the time and was to get out safely.

The flames spread so quickly, they destroyed the house and everything around it in a matter of minutes.

The fire marshal will be out there Monday to try to determine what caused the fire.


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Barbers Gather for Battle Local News Sun, 27 Jul 2014 7:36:45 PM Barbers Gather for Battle

CORPUS CHRISTI-Hundreds of barbers gathered today to learn the latest styles and to show off their skills in a friendly competition.

Hair artists came from all over the state to the Holiday Inn airport for the Texas Barber Battle and Expo.
The theme here, is hair.
How to style...layer...fade...and design.
Some of these designs were pretty hard to make.
Learning these skills is what organizers, like Rick Morin, hope others get from it.
"I'm hoping that every student leaves here not only motivated for their career, but also, with more continuing education, that they've learned something new. If they learned just one new tool that'll help them in their industry, than I succeeded in hosting this educational portion of the expo."
Barbers came from as far away as California and Connecticut for today's event.


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A Handful Of Volunteers Impacting Hundreds Of Lives Local News Sun, 27 Jul 2014 5:26:12 PM Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS A Handful Of Volunteers Impacting Hundreds Of Lives

CORPUS CHRISTI - The Diggs family wanted to do something to make an impact, so they started cooking meals at home and then bringing them to the homeless. The results have been life-changing.

"They're God-sent angels," said Israel De Luna, who said he spends most of his life on the streets. "That's what they're here for."

Jennifer Diggs and her family are at the parking lot of City Hall every Sunday, feeding the homeless a home-cooked meal.

"It's a blessing," said 19-year-old Robert Diggs. "It's just awesome, being able to help."

They've been doing this since December, when Jennifer said her life changed.

"I sat down, said a prayer, and asked God to give me a purpose," she said. "A couple days later, I met a homeless man who said he was cold and hungry."

The very next day, she and her family cooked for that man and almost 70 others. Now, they're feeding almost 3 times as many people.

"We come out here and get to know them," she said. "Find out their stories, and they are people."

People like Charles Ramseur, who goes by his nickname, Grandpa.

"Without her, it'd be kind of lonesome and hungry," said Ramseur. "Because she's here every Sunday, rain or shine."

Grandpa is one of the many people that Jennifer said changed her life.

"He puts a real human face to it all," she said. "And for all of us, it makes it more family like."

She said people like Grandpa are the motivation behind her ministry, called "From Our Hearts."

The group meets every Sunday at City Hall around noon. If you're interested in helping, you can find out more information here.


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Two Arrested for Striking Officer, and Evading Arrest Local News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 11:27:24 PM Two Arrested for Striking Officer, and Evading Arrest

CORPUS CHRISTI - Two teenagers are facing felony charges after police say they hit an officer and almost struck another with their getaway car.

Police were called out to Winnebago St. around 3-o-clock Saturday morning. Police say, Crean Martin took off running into a field and jumped into a car.

The driver, 18-year-old Eric Earls, police say, struck an officer as they sped off. Along the way officers say the car almost struck another officer. Eventually the duo ditched the car and started running.

Police nabbed both teenagers a short time later.

The officers are expected to be ok.



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Bands Compete in Polka Dance Battle Local News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 9:20:09 PM Bands Compete in Polka Dance Battle

CORPUS CHRISTI - Polka fans glided across the dance floor Saturday.

Dozens of people danced the day away to some polka music over at Moravian Hall.

Two bands battled against one another to see who could pump the crowd up the most and get the most dancers on the floor.

Those who attended also got to eat authentic Czech foods.

The Czech society held the dance and say they just want to share their culture.

This is their second annual dance.

Folks came from as far away as Minnesota for this dance.


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Young Ladies Compete for the Title of Feria de las Flores Queen Local News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 9:14:39 PM Young Ladies Compete for the Title of Feria de las Flores Queen

CORPUS CHRISTI - Nearly a dozen young ladies took the stage Saturday night to compete for the title of queen.

These ten ladies ages 17 to 22 competed to be named Feria de las Flores Queen and for a $2,000 scholarship.

This is a 55 year tradition by LULAC to help young ladies pursue a college degree.

Each contestant participated in six month course that taught them leadership, communication skills, and cultural awareness.

The pageant took place at the Richardson Performance Hall at Del Mar College.


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Officers in Training Honor Fallen Police Officer Local News Sat, 26 Jul 2014 5:55:47 PM Miranda Leah - @MirandaLeahKRIS Officers in Training Honor Fallen Police Officer

CORPUS CHRISTI - For the first time since his death, the parents of fallen CCPD Officer John Sartain are back in Corpus Christi to attend an event dedicated in their son's memory.

CCPD Officer John Sartain was killed in the line of duty back in 1971, but his life continues to make an impact in our city.

"John Sartain," said CCPD Senior Officer Emily Perez. "He's an inspiration to our post."

The Corpus Christi Police Department held a competition today, with youth from all over the state of Texas.

The competition is dedicated to the memory of Sartian, who was shot and killed by a sniper more than forty years ago.

Sartain was only 22 years old, with a wife and a two-year-old daughter. His shooter, who was only 16, remains in prison.

Sartain's parents said their son would be honored by the event.

"John was the type of person who gave attention," said his mother Nancy Sartain. "He didn't ask for it. He always took up with the underdogs."

Mr. And Mrs. Sartain will present the award to the winning team of today's competition.


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