San Antonio Ranked #1 Best Performing City

December 22, 2011

San Antonio Ranked #1 Best Performing City by the Milken Institute



While San Antonio moved up 13 positions to Number 1 out of 200 large metros, 4 out of the 5 top cities were Texas cities. Out of the top 25 cities, 9 Texas cities made the list. This is ranked based upon economic growth and prosperity taking into account the jobs, wages and technology performance of the city. San Antonio has had military base realignments with Fort Sam Houston having a huge base construction with regards to the new military mission support group. There has been a major BRAC move involved with this new endeavor bringing in many new troops. This along with the Eagleford Shale discovery in South Texas has contributed greatly to the economic growth in this area of San Antonio and Wilson County.

The new drilling techniques that are being used in the Eagleford Shale formation caused a boom from San Antonio south to Corpus Christi. The heaviest concentration is in Karnes County, McMullen County and Frio Counties and a lot of other southern counties which are south of San Antonio but there is a big ripple through all of South Texas. Common thoughts are this is moving northward and will be an economic impact for the next 20 years.

Housing prices fell less than 5 percent from the beginning of the recession in 2008. However, new residents are buying up available housing as they vie for available jobs. The typical seasonal lull has affected San Antonio per the San Antonio Board of Realtors. Per their statistics sales were down 5% in November of 2011 from November 2010. This is probably not a trend that will continue due to all the people moving into the area.

Texas employers created one out of every six new jobs in the United States for the year ending Oct. 31. 2011. The report indicates that Texas benefits from a lower reliance on durable good manufacturing, low business costs, the ongoing consolidation of military bases, increased trade with Mexico and South America, energy exploration, and development and aggressive recruiting of employers from less business-friendly states. This does not even mention the fact that Texas has NO state income tax and is a business friendly environment.

Per the institute’s chief research officer the cities that did the best took advantage of all these factors and as a result the housing markets with the most resilience are in those cities.

The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan economic think tank, based in Santa Monica, Calif.

The full Milken Institute report with city rankings is available by clicking here.

Sayings with rich meaning

November 29, 2011

“A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life, wrote a blank check made payable to ‘The United States of America’  for an amount of ‘up to and including my life.’ That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it.”

American Canvas Works, Floresville, TX

November 28, 2011

American Canvas Works, Floresville, TX has been in business at 1314 2nd St since April 1, 1985.  Bryan and Karla Holcombe opened their doors when they moved back to Floresville from Victoria. If you know Bryan you know why they opened on Aprils Fools Day. He loves a good joke.

Bryan does canvas work and did some auto upholstery in the past.

They specialize in any type of canvas awnings or covers. Any color that you desire.

He started his business providing canvas items for agricultural use and oilfield use as well as anything you need for residential use such as awnings.
Bryan stayed busy when he was in Victoria doing wind breaks for the oilfield rigs. He currently has been kept busy with
the boom with the oil companies doing business in Karnes City, Kenedy, Floresville, and Pleasanton areas
because of the Eagleford Shale. He worked until he perfected a shale shaker curtain that works.
He also has done wind breaks for oilfield rigs and other items needed in the oilfield. If you need it done and at a fair and honest price, call Bryan at 830 393-3677.

Bryan & Karla Holcombe in American Canvas Works, Floresville, TX.

Who OWNS the water under your land?

April 19, 2011


If you don’t, Who does?

Landowners in the towns of Floresville, La Vernia, Poth and Stockdale have traditionally been either farmers or cattle ranchers until the last 10-15 years. Many of the people in Wilson county have been here for generations but a new era has arrived. We are so close to San Antonio that many, many people are moving here. This migration began about 25 years ago but really started to escalate in the last 5 years due to cheaper land prices and subdivisions being developed with acreage. People who move into subdivisions do not question things such as who OWNS the water under their land as it is not a really important topic for them. Nor do they question mineral rights as the property developer almost always retains the mineral rights.

But if you were to ask most large landowners in this area the above question, most would answer that they do. But that may not be the case anymore if the underground water districts can change it. As the daughter of a farmer and cattle rancher, water has always been an important part of my life so this topic drew my attention.

Precedent has long been a case in 1904 that has long been relied upon. It is the case of Houston & Central Texas Railway CO vs East. At that time the TEXAS SUPREME COURT established the Absolute Ownership Rule of groundwater ownership. The court reasoned that the owner of the land was the absolute owner of the soil and percolating water, which is a part of, and not different from the soil, and the groundwater is the same as the land and cannot be distinguished in law from the soil.

Groundwater conservation districts (GCD) now number about 100 in Texas and for the most part do a good job. The local GCD for Wilson county has been very good in representing the citizens interest in the past when San Antonio wanted to buy our water.

Wilson County is in the Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District while San Antonio is in the Edwards Aquifer Authority. Edwards is a well known UWCD because of many news stories in the past. Controversy about the snail darter and if it was endangered was a big topic in the past. Much of their recapture zone is north of San Antonio in the rocky areas of the state. Evergreen UWCD is in the parts of the state that are less rocky and have more sand so our capture is different.

Our farmers were up in arms when they felt their water was threatened by SAWS (San Antonio Water Systems) wanting to purchase and hold water for times of water shortage in Bexar County. If SAWS is storing Bexar, Atascosa and Wilson County water for use in Bexar county, how does the citizenry of Wilson County know that we will be able to maintain our water for our needed use. At that time many of the farms were irrigated and farmers were concerned about their water tables dropping. The other issue that was hotly debated was for the southern border of Bexar county which affected about 3,000 acres was the SAWS aquifer storage and recovery (ASR). The ASR project, years in development, envisions the wet-season storage of excess Edwards Aquifer water in a small portion of the Carrizo Aquifer for withdrawal in drought. The Carrizo Aquifer is located in the Evergreen aquifer rather than the Edwards Aquifer and has a different composition.

San Antonio Commission court’s resolution said the ASR project would be of “significant benefit to the citizens of Bexar County” and all who rely on the Edwards Aquifer.

Concerned southern Bexar county landowners petitioned Evergreen UCWD for annexation to protect their Carrizo wells. These landowners were concerned about the water draw down and how it would affect them.

In 2002, SAWS and Evergreen came to an agreement with SAWS agreeing to operate under the restrictions of the Evergreen UCWD with specified pumping limits.

The former executive director of the Texas Alliance of Groundwater Districts and general manager of the Edwards Aquifer Authority, Greg Ellis has repeatedly stated his belief that “Groundwater is like the clouds, no one can actually own it.”

So the issue of water rights has long been a major player in Texas.

To address this issue, Senator Troy Fraser has introduced a bill to clarify the surface owner’s Texas groundwater ownership.This is the press release from Senator Troy Fraser’s office:

For Immediate Release
February 22, 2011
Contact: Janice McCoy
(512) 463-0124

Fraser Passes Water Rights Measure

Austin — Senate Bill 332 by State Senator Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, was adopted by the Senate Committee on Natural Resources on Tuesday, March 22, 2011. Under SB 332, the Texas Legislature recognizes that a landowner has a vested ownership interest in the groundwater below the surface as an interest in the landowner’s real property.

“The right to produce groundwater from beneath your property is one of the most basic of all property rights,” Fraser said. “This right was reaffirmed in 1904 when the Texas Supreme Court ruled that groundwater was the private property of a landowner and that a landowner could not be held liable for harming a neighbor’s well by exercising their right to capture the groundwater.”

“For over 100 years, landowners have believed that the Texas Supreme Court gave them a vested private property right in the groundwater beneath their land,” said Fraser. “And, that the ownership interest gives them a constitutionally-protected right to drill a well and produce groundwater for their use.”

The vested ownership interest outlined in SB 332 entitles the landowner to a fair chance to produce the groundwater below the surface of real property but would not entitle a landowner to the right to capture a specific amount of groundwater. It also would not affect the existence of common law defenses or other defenses to liability under the Rule of Capture.

The legislation is intended to work in conjunction with local groundwater conservation district regulation. The substitute language adopted by the committee clarifies that groundwater districts continue to have the same authority granted to them under Chapter 36 of the Water Code to regulate and conserve groundwater.

“Landowners recognize that locally elected groundwater conservation districts play an important role in helping manage water to ensure it is available for future generations,” said Fraser. “But there is a big difference between managing how much water is pumped and denying property owners the right to access the water beneath their land.”

“This was an important step forward,” Fraser said. “The management of this important asset is key to developing the State Water Plan and ensuring that water is available for the future.”

This bill went to the Texas House on March 30.

Opposition to the bill involves some GCDs stating it could lead to taking lawsuits without the payment of just compensation. This is a complex issue that can be addressed in another article.

Texans who want to keep the answer “I do” are urged to support SB332.

Gardening Day in Wilson County, May 5, 2011

March 12, 2011

Wilson County holds an annual Gardening Day in Floresville, TX around the first of March.  This year it was held at the Floresville Alternative School and was highly attended.   Crowds of people came out to view the displays and buy plants and flowers.  The parking lot was jammed packed with vehicles.

Butterfly Bush

The event is sponsored by the Wilson County News, The San Antonio Water System, KLUP Radio, Milberger’s Gardening and more    Clubs such as the Chamber of Commerce set up booths and helped with the activities.   There was a live broadcast of Milberger’s “Gardening South Texas” show from noon to 2 pm.   This show is broadcast each week and features the popular Dr. Calvin Finch and Dr. Jerry Parsons.

There was a silent auction with many handmade items along with demonstrations and topics of interest.  The Texas  Parks and Wildlife Biologist Ryan Darr presented a seminar on feral hogs while Dr. Jerry Parsons who is a horticultural specialist with the Texas Cooperative Extension in San Antonio presented “Texas Superstar Plants”.  Dr. Calvin Finch dazzled with “Twelve Months of Color.”

There was a moon bounce for the kids and food for everyone along with drawings for gift certificates.  Coordinator for the event was Jerry Kotzur with SAWS.

Everyone who attended enjoyed the day even though it was cool and very windy in Floresville.

What does your GPS tell thieves?

November 25, 2010

Reading Todd Clarks Active Rain post about the Iphone: Did you know your iPhone can help get you robbed–my past clients didn’t until now made me think of some other safety issues.
Did you know what your GPS tells a thief? Do you realize that if your vehicle is stolen, the information in the vehicle helps a thief?

You are enjoying the local high school football game. Your car is either broken into or stolen. What is in the car to help a thief?

Your insurance identication cards have your name and sometimes every vehicle that you own listed with your address.

The garage remote will open your garage door for the thief to gain entry to the house. If you don’t lock the door from the house to the garage, easy entry.

Your GPS? Enter “GO HOME” and it will give the thief the easiest route to get to your home.

So while you are enjoying the game, the thief has your address, your garage door opener and the amount of time you will be away from home.

One suggestion for the “Go Home” feature is to key in a business address close to your home. Now the insurance card and garage door opener are a different problem. Open for ideas and suggestions for safety on those problems.

Watching the World Go By

October 9, 2010

Sometimes don’t you wish you could just sit and watch the world go by?

Our animals add so much to our lives.  They are consistent in their love and are always happy to see us.  No one else jumps up and down and greets you so enthusiastically at the door when you come home each day.

Dolce loves to have the window open and watch the traffic and people on the street.  It is so much fun to observe the world in all its activities.  The smells, the excitement of barking at someone or another dog, the sheer joy in watching.

We could take a lesson from their attitude. It is just a joy to watch the world go by.  Plus adding a few barks along the way makes it even better.



Floresville, TX – Wilson County – Tour of the Town

October 4, 2010

Enjoy the historic town of Floresville, TX located in Wilson County, south of San Antonio.

Floresville is the county seat and the home of the annual Peanut Festival. It has excellent schools and an easy commute to work.

Why HomePath may be a good option for you

September 10, 2010

If anyone is looking to buy a foreclosed home, any home with the HomePath logo means that it is available for HomePath financing.

The HomePath benefits include: a low down payment and flexible mortgage terms even if your credit is less than perfect. It is available for not only homeowners but investors. The down payment while required to be at least 3% can be made in a variety of ways: your own money, a gift, a grant or a loan from a nonprofit organization or maybe through state or local government programs or an employer program. There may be no mortgage insurance which lowers your monthly payment. No appraisal fees. The property may also be eligible for a HomePath Renovation Mortgage. This type of financing is available from a variety of lenders. Ask yours to see when you find a HomePath home.

One of our clients looked at one yesterday that was a very nice home for a nice price.

Study shows People in Foreclosure are in Depression

September 3, 2010

There was a Penn State study done that concluded that people going through the foreclosure process are in a state of depression. Well duh should I say we needed a study to figure this out??

The good point about this study is the effect that financial situation is placing on other areas of the homeowners’ lives. Some of the people in a foreclosure situation are in a truly tight place. They have lost jobs and a major part of their income which affects all their life choices such as food, vehicles, medical and living accommodations.

The study concludes that the foreclosure crisis is also a health crisis. Not only do they have depression symptoms (duh), but may be skipping or skimping on their health care. Many are uninsured and do not have the ability to purchase medicine or visit the doctor. Some of the foreclosures are due to health issues. I personally have seen several of my clients being affected by someone in the home having health issues. One client had a major wreck and then her husband had a stroke at work so both are unable to work at this time and in danger of losing their home; one client is getting older so has health issues so that he cannot always work; his sister has diabetes and had to retire so she is uninsured and is struggling with her health care costs. She may have to sell soon but she is managing to continue to pay her house payments while neglecting her health. Another client’s husband had a severe leg break at work and then their daughter had a major wreck and is still recuperating. Mom had so much pressure she could not function at her job; they are in a loan modification program right now and we are watching with bated breath to complete that and save their home.

Anyone dealing with foreclosures and short sales sees the pressure and depression that come with this situation. We need to be compassionate and help our clients deal with the situation as best as we can. The coping mechanisms humans use to deal with stress become more prevalent as the foreclosure process proceeds. Some of those behaviors are not always healthy. I understand the study results are valid but did we NEED a study to prove this? My thoughts are that our taxpayer dollars are hard at work again proving the obvious.

When you are working with a homeowner who is either in a short sale situation, foreclosure situation or even a divorce or relocation situation they are under stress. Stress takes many avenues and affects all people differently but as a real estate professional we need to be ready to handle this in the best, most helpful manner. And the general public does need to be aware of the toll it is taking on our nation.