Year: 2015

Seven reasons the Round Rock Public Library will never go extinct

In honor of #Dinovember (and we highly recommend you click that link before proceeding), we’ve asked our local dinosaur friends to help us count down the reasons why the Round Rock Public Library is so valuable to our community. (Just don’t tell them Round Rock High School’s mascot is the dragon!)

Dinovember dino-mic

  1. The Library offers “dino-mic” programming for all ages — from infants to entrepreneurs. Check out our online calendar to find out what’s happening this month at the Library.dinovolunteer
  2. The dinosaurs try to lend a hand at the library, but our volunteers have it under control! Last year, our volunteers logged 8,025 hours. They do a range of tasks — from checking in materials to mending books to teaching computer classes.dino with bookpack
  3. The Library has more than 225,000 items to check out. In addition to books and DVDs, we have a host of non-traditional items including Google Chromebooks, Raspberry Pi kits and Playaway Launchpad tablets.
  4. Not sure if dinosaurs had friends, but the Library does! Thanks to the support of the Friends of the Round Rock Public Library, we are able to organize special events and programs, update library furniture and shelving and much more. Support the Friends by shopping at the Book Nook at the Library, where you can find great deals on used books, DVDs and CDs!dino viewing eBook Bluebonnet list
  5. The thought of not having access to the library collection 24/7 is so Jurassic! With a library card, you can access our databases, eBooks and eAudiobooks on your computer or mobile device at any time.Dinovember with Paleo Society of Austin 2015 (2)
  6. The Library works with many partners, including the Literacy Council of Williamson County, TechShop and the Round Rock Area Serving Center, to enhance the lives of our community members. The dinosaurs’ favorite partner was the Paleontological Society of Austin who recently visited the Library’s Rockin’ Kids Club, an afterschool program for elementary-aged students.dino stamps
  7. The dinosaurs would like to take credit for the high level of customer service at the Library, but that honor is reserved for our staff! Our knowledgeable and friendly staff do everything from ordering books and other materials to answering reference questions. Come by and meet us! Unlike our dinosaur friends, we don’t bite!

New fire stations, by the numbers

Eleven shovels stand at the ready for the groundbreaking event.

Eleven shovels stand at the ready for the groundbreaking event.

The City did a two-fer on Monday, breaking ground at one site for two new fire stations.

Here are some numbers that tell the story:

  • The two most important are 6 and 90. As in, the new stations will help the Fire Department achieve its goal of responding within six minutes to 90 percent of its emergency calls. The response time is key to saving lives. Once a heart attack occurs, or a victim stops breathing, if firefighters can administer advanced life saving actions within six minutes the odds of survivability increase significantly.
  • Cost is $4.1 million per station; each will be 11,779 square feet, one story, with three apparatus bays
  • It will take 11 months, weather permitting (fingers crossed!), to complete construction
  • Addresses are 1301 Double Creek Road for Station No. 4, and 1612 Red Bud Lane for Station No. 8
  • Alert readers will note we already have a Station No. 4, at 3300 Gattis School Road. The growth in southeast Round Rock and the critical need to improve response times is why we need two stations to serve that section of town. The existing Station No. 4 will likely be repurposed by the Fire Department.
  • Last but certainly not least, voters approved in 2013 a $16.5 million bond proposition for fire facilities. These stations are the first projects to be funded from those bond proceeds.
  • And here’s one great video that captures today’s ceremony

Images of remembrance

Honor, patriotism and pride were on display at the Veteran’s Day ceremony at Veterans Park earlier this week. These images tell most of the story.


If you haven’t been to the park and seen the Veterans Monument, take a few minutes and do so. It’s on the banks of Brushy Creek in an area many of us believe to be the most beautiful spot in town.

It’s a fitting location for the monument, which was built by the City as a place of honor and remembrance for all who are serving or have served to protect and defend our American heritage. It is where veterans can show their pride for having served; families and friends can honor their veterans for their service; and citizens and businesses can support the recognition of those with a historical attachment to Round Rock.

The Monument was dedicated with 177 bronze plaques purchased by veterans or their families. There were another 154 bronze plaques paid for by citizens and businesses that supported those veterans who are part of Round Rock history but have no family to honor them. New bronze plaques will be installed in the plaza area twice a year.

Since the dedication, veterans have purchased plaques — they are $60 — to show their pride of military service, and families and friends have honored their veterans with plaques.

Process for recognizing a veteran
Fill out a Veterans Monument-Round Rock Recognition Form with all of the appropriate information. If the veteran you are nominating has been Killed in Action, held as a Prisoner of War, or declared Missing in Action, please be sure to check the appropriate box so the proper recognition can be made.

For questions, contact Rufus Honeycutt at 512-773-5335 or Katie Baker at 512-341-3355.

We remember

vet park monumentVeteran’s Day is this Wednesday. Round Rock will mark the holiday with a ceremony at Veterans Park, where we dedicated a new monument earlier this year.

If you’re not familiar with the memorial, know this: The monument was built by the City as a place of honor and remembrance for all who are serving or have served to protect and defend our American heritage. It is where veterans can show their pride for having served; families and friends can honor their veterans for their service; and citizens and businesses can support the recognition of those with a historical attachment to Round Rock.

If you know a veteran with a Round Rock connection and want to honor them at our monument, you can find information on how to do that here.

In that spirit, we’d like to honor those employees — along with former employees and family members — who have served. Our Police Department hosts a lunch for them every year, but we believe these folks merit additional recognition.

And to everyone else who is reading this who has served, we say simply, Thank You.

  • Felipe Aleman, Marines
  • Gabriel Apodaca, Army
  • Alain Babin, Army
  • Alan Babin Jr., Army
  • Rosalinda Babin, Army
  • Paul Brent, Navy
  • Gregory E. Brunson, Army-National Guard
  • Ron Clark, Air Force
  • Tracey Cole, Army
  • Christopher Cox, Army
  • Ronnie Crutchfield, Army/National Guard
  • Edgar Delarosa, Army
  • Patty DeSilva, Marines
  • Bob Drawbaugh, Army
  • Jesse Eckard, Air Force-National Guard
  • Jesse Eckard, Army
  • Randall Frederick, Coast Guard
  • Rolando Garcia, Marines
  • Alysha Girard, Army Reserve
  • Jeffrey Gogolewski, Marines
  • Kenneth Goldwire, Army
  • Marc Gray, Marines
  • Richard Guillory, Navy
  • Jerry Hallford, Air Force
  • Logan Harper-Hill, Army
  • Brian Hollywood, Army
  • Manuel Martinez III, Army
  • Shelby Ingles, Army
  • Donald Knowles, Army
  • Deborah Knutson, Army
  • Michael Krogmann, Army
  • Jay Light, Navy
  • Mike Losoya
  • Meagan Spinks, Navy
  • Chad McDowell, Army
  • Evaggelos Marmarinos, Marines
  • Mary Martinez, Army
  • Kasheala May, Army-National Guard
  • Kurtis McBride, Marines
  • Steven McDaniel, Navy
  • Carlos Meraz, Army
  • Ronnie Mueller, Army
  • Shawn Normand, Army
  • Larry Osborn, Army
  • Domenique Pagan, Air Force
  • Bonnie Parks, Air Force
  • Amber Pearson, Army
  • Terry Pringle, Navy
  • Brian Quick, Army
  • Louis Rackley, Army
  • Edward Ramirez, Army
  • Marshall Reynolds, Army
  • James Richards, Army Reserves
  • Dwayne Roberts
  • Elaine Rodriguez, Air Force
  • Jesse Rodriguez, Army-National Guard
  • Jesse Rodriguez, Navy
  • Robert Rosenbusch, Army
  • Michael Salinas, Marines
  • Lindsey Scheffler, Army
  • Lance Shellenberger, Marines
  • Nicholas Simpson, Navy
  • Tom Sloan, Marines
  • Christopher Smith, Marines
  • Rachel Somers, Air Force
  • Jeffrey Spencer, Air Force
  • Joseph Teiber, Air Force
  • Timothy Travis, Army
  • Ardeen Urbantke, Navy
  • Kevin Vaughn, Army
  • Bernado Villegas, Army Reserves
  • Charles Wadley, Air Force
  • Jason Watson, Navy
  • George White, Army
  • Travis Wilkes, Marines
  • Bryan Williams, Army
  • Christian Wilson, Army
  • David Wongwai, Army
  • Brian Young, Air Force
  • Nathan Zoss, Army

My water bill is how much??

I know I have heard this too many times this summer,faucet-with-dollar-sign-234x300 “there’s NO WAY I used this much water!”  “It’s impossible!”  “The meter must be wrong,” or some version of  “the City isn’t really reading the meters, but estimating.”  Well, let me tell you, it IS possible to use a lot of water (I’m talking 30,000 gallons, 50,000 gallons, 70,000 gallons…or more!).  I’ve seen it.  A lot.  I have seen it due to leaks, or from sprinkler systems, but I’ve never seen it from someone stealing water from their neighbor!  (ha!  People say that a lot too.)

I say this with 15 years of experience behind me doing this type of work.  So, not just this year, but over many years of looking
at sprinkler systems and how they are set and reading water meters.  I still get surprised that people are surprised to find out that high water use is possible and the City ISN’T wrong.  We just really use more water than we realize we do, especially when it comes to sprinkler systems.  This really boils down to an education problem.

When we receive our bill, we automatically look at how much we owe, right?!?  I know I do.  That’s what really affects me anyway, how much do I owe the City?  What we really need to look at is what’s included in that final cost AND actually look at the gallons of water that we used.  That will tell you much more than the amount you owe.

On Round Rock’s water bill, what’s also included in that cost (besides the water), is wastewater (sewer) charges, garwater use chartbage and recycling collection, stormwater (or drainage) fees, and taxes.  The water portion of the cost is maybe less than half of what the actual amount is you owe.

Look at that little graph. That shows you the gallons of water your household has used that month, and the past several months.  It’s also under the “water” section of the bill on the back.  That’s a better way to judge how much water you are using each month.  [Of note, a very average amount of water used each month is 2,000 gallons per person, per month.  Again, that’s pretty average.]  If you are using more than that for your family, you may check toil
ets for leaks, or consider replacing any old toilets with new, efficient ones (remember, the City has a rebate for that), and bring your water use down.

Also, the graph should, ideally, be shaped like the one in picture, that’s what we expect to see.  It’s a bell curve:  Low use in the winter, a little higher in spring, peaking–the highest–in summer with the highest month usually August or September, then lower in fall and back to lowest in winter.  That’s a water use curve that is expected and means you are paying attention to the seasons, and the weather patterns and not using water outdoors when not needed (winter).

The water rates will go up, so just looking at the dollar amount isn’t always helpful, or provides any insight to what you’re using.  I challenge you to look at your bill in more detail this month!



Art is where you find it. And you’ll find a bunch of it in Downtown

If you haven’t been paying attention, you may not have noticed. But it’s true. The arts are rockin’ in Round Rock. And especially in Downtown.

Scot Wilkinson, the City’s Arts Director, has done an amazing job in his three short years here in Round Rock. But one of his earliest successes was the installation of sculptures at various locations Downtown. If you’re heading Downtown this weekend for Dia de los Muertos, take a few moments to enjoy the amazing pieces below. If you snap a picture, be sure to use #downtownroundrock. Or, heck, make a special trip just to check them out. It’s worth it.

Adam by Michael Epps
Adam by Michael Epps
Alter Ego bull by Pokey Park
Alter Ego bull by Pokey Park
Atlas by Craig Blaha
Atlas by Craig Blaha
Balance by Terry Jones
Balance by Terry Jones
Cyclops by Craig Blaha
Cyclops by Craig Blaha
Dancer by Herb Long
Dancer by Herb Long
Dr Peters by Jim Thomas
Dr Peters by Jim Thomas
Dragon Fly by Marla Ripperda
Dragon Fly by Marla Ripperda
Gabriel by Johnny Shipman
Gabriel by Johnny Shipman
Gift of Love by Dan Pogue
Gift of Love by Dan Pogue
Horatio  by Marla Ripperda
Horatio by Marla Ripperda
Humbaba by John Christensen
Humbaba by John Christensen
Iron Face Isabella Puhala
Iron Face Isabella Puhala
La Fiesta by Dan Pogue
La Fiesta by Dan Pogue
Lollipop Tree by Dar Richardson
Lollipop Tree by Dar Richardson
Monarch by Marla Ripperda
Monarch by Marla Ripperda
No Ryme or Reason by Michael Epps
No Ryme or Reason by Michael Epps
Painted Gourd by Dar Richardson
Painted Gourd by Dar Richardson
RockNRollSkateboard by Pokey Park
RockNRollSkateboard by Pokey Park
Saturday Night Blues by Terry Jones
Saturday Night Blues by Terry Jones
Pop the Whip by Bob Coffee
Pop the Whip by Bob Coffee
The Distortionists by Ho Barron
The Distortionists by Ho Barron
The Shaman by Pokey Park
The Shaman by Pokey Park
Thor's Hammer by Sun C. McColgin
Thor's Hammer by Sun C. McColgin
Upstream by Terry Jones
Upstream by Terry Jones

And most are for sale (But don’t even think about buying Doc Peters and Bear. Not gonna happen!) Touch base with Scot if you’re interested.

Downtown comes to life on Dia de Los Muertos

dia-de-los-muertos-LOGO_SinglOne of our community’s newest and bestest events, Dia de los Muertos, will be held from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Prete Plaza on Main Street. If you’re unfamiliar with Dia, it’s a Mesoamerican holiday dedicated to ancestors; it honors both death and the cycle of life.

There’s music, dancing, sugar skulls, and sweet remembrance. And it’s Downtown, so what’s not to love?

Pictures really tell the story of Dia best, so here are some of our favorites (thank you Joe Alfaro, who shared these on our Flickr account) from the inaugural celebration, held two years ago.




Six questions for a 36-year employee

Randy Gordon for Quarry

A younger Randy Gordon — note the clunky computer monitor and Rolodex on his desk.

Employee Recognition 2015 V4Last week, we honored 110 employees who reached milestone anniversaries (10, 15, 20, etc.) working for the City. We laughed, we cried and we were just so doggone proud of all the great work represented by these good folks. The infographic on the left tells some of the story. (Click to enlarge)

For a more personal story, we asked our longest-tenured honoree, Parks Manager Randy Gordon, to share some of the highlights (and one lowlight) of his time here. If you’ve ever enjoyed a City park or an event like Christmas Family Night, you owe a thank you to Randy.

What’s the biggest difference in our parks system today compared to 36 years ago?

The size of Round Rock and the number of parks. We had only three people in the entire department then. Now there are 44 just in the parks division. When I came to Round Rock in 1979 there were about 12,000 people and now it’s over 105,000. We started with just a couple of pieces of equipment — an old truck that rattled just driving down the road and a mower or two. Now we have to keep inventory of all that we have.

What’s the most unusual item we’ve found in a Round Rock park (that we can share with the general public)?

Someone sleeping in the grass one morning and not knowing if they were OK. It turned out they had a big party the night before and fell asleep in the middle of a park. When I first saw what looked like a person laying in the grass early one morning, my mind had all kinds of ideas what I was about to walk up to. Thank goodness the young person was OK. I woke them up and they just seemed to walk on home like nothing had happened. What a relief!

What happened on your best day working with the City?

The best day working for Round Rock is actually two days — July 4th and Christmas Family Night. Sure it’s a lot of work, but at the same time it’s great to see so many people enjoying all the efforts our team had put into it. The tradition continues to grow and change.

How about the worst day?

The worst day has to be when not only our city but our nation witnessed the tragedy of the twin towers in New York. It just reminded us all that we not only belong to the community of Round Rock, but also to the larger community of our nation. Such a tragedy seen from our offices and homes seemed to be a surreal experience that has changed the way we look at the world around us. It won’t be forgotten. I have to also mention that when you’ve been here a while and you lose someone here at work that you know, you can’t help but think about how short life is. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 90. We should be thankful for what God has given us and not take any of these gifts for granted.

What’s your favorite ice cream?

Chocolate mint.

If you could have dinner with three people, living or dead, who would they be?

I would like to have dinner with my grandfather because I was very young when he passed away and I’d like to hear his stories about working a cotton farm in West Texas. I’d also like to have dinner with Jesus Christ because, well after all he’s the only one in the world who has demonstrated His love to us all when He not only died for our sins but also rose again to give us new life, hope and purpose. The third person is someone I haven’t met yet so I look forward to finding out who that will be.

The 6 amazing ways the Round Rock Sports Center amazes

Sports Center LogoThe Round Rock Sports Center is an amazing facility. Not even two years old, the Sports Center — designed to provide indoor sports capacity to our Sports Capital of Texas tourism program — is rockin’ on all eight cylinders.

Or rollin’ like a top. (Mix your own metaphor here).

The financials are off the charts — in a good way — as the facility more than pays for itself. And that includes debt service. Which, if you are familiar with municipal finance, is nothing short of incredible. That’s amazing point No. 1. In the first fiscal year of operations, it brought in $880,000 more revenue than it spent. This past fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, it looks like it’s going to be $1 million to the good. That fund balance will go into a reserve to be used for major repairs, if needed, and/or possibly making some additional debt payments.

So what else could be so amazing, you ask? Obviously, there’s a lot of folks playing basketball and volleyball at the Sports Center. (Not familiar with the Sports Center? Take 3 minutes to watch this.)

Here are 5 other amazing sports and activities the facility has hosted.

Amazing Sports Center

1. Futsal

It's like indoor soccer, with a smaller ball

RRSC bridal show

2. Cake Wars

Better call Saul, because we're pretty sure the Breaking Bad lawyer will want to sue for unlawful use of likeness. This was one of the winners from the 2015 That Takes the Cake Sugar Art show. It'll be back Feb. 27-28.

bass pro job fair

3. Job fairs

Angling for work? We hosted the Bass Pro Shops job fair at the Sports Center

rrsc table tennis

4. Table Tennis, anyone?

We've hosted national pro and collegiate tournaments. Just don't call it ping pong, OK?

rrsc speed agility training

5. Dance classes

We're kidding. It's speed and agility training. Though we suspect these guys could bust a move if necessary


October’s Everyday Hero

Everyday Heroes logoAn organization is only as good as its employees, and we’ve got some great ones here at the City of Round Rock.

Each month, we’re going to introduce you to one of those great ones by sharing the winners of our annual Customer Service Week awards. These outstanding employees are chosen by their peers. We’re going to start with our overall winner, who you have probably met — and been greeted with by a smile, certainly — if you’ve ever been to City Hall.

Cynthia Mouser

Cynthia Mouser

Meet Cynthia Mouser, the receptionist at City Hall. Cynthia’s been with the City for 20 years and is an absolute joy to work with. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what her fellow employees had to say about Cynthia:

  • For Cynthia being here so long, she has done one heck of a job as our City Hall Receptionist. Always such a caring individual to her co-workers and most importantly CORR citizens. Her attitude has been the same since day one & that’s what you call a dedicated individual! You ROCK Cynthia.
  • Cynthia is always kind and helpful to everyone.
  • Cynthia constantly provides excellent customer service. She is always friendly and smiling.
  • Cynthia is always pleasant to be around. She is an excellent ambassador for the City.
  • Cynthia is always very helpful. She must deal with not only the employees, but the citizens as well.  She is always cheerful and does it with a smile.
  • Positive, helpful, reliable.
  • Cynthia is always so sweet and tries to help in anyway she can. She always has a smile on her face.

Congratulations, Cynthia!