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Outstanding O’Connor Athlete: Braylen McMillenBy Sally KalosB raylen G McMillen, a senior at O’Connor High School, has a passion for basketball that began at the tender age of six. Throughout his academic journey, Braylen has been greatly inspired and supported by his loving mother, who has set a high standard as a supportive parent to him and his olderbrother.At O’Connor High School, Braylen foundfurther inspiration in his coaches, including Coach Brett Jewasko, Jordan Kouremetis, and Trey Anderson. These mentors not only taught him basketball fundamentals but also imparted valuable life skills that will shape his future.In addition to his dedication to basketball, Braylen has achieved notable academic accolades. He has consistently received “A” honor roll distinctions and academic all-district recognition. Furthermore, he is a member of the National Science Honor Society (NSHS) at O’Connor and has secured academic scholarships to Texas colleges.Braylen’s commitment to both sports and academics is evident as he has been selected as one of the 2023-2024 O’Connor basketball team captains and received an all-tournament selection this season. Beyond basketball, he is actively involved in the National Honor Society and NationalScience Honor Society.Looking ahead, Braylen plans to pursuea career in the medical field, majoring in public health with a concentration in dentistry. He emphasizes the importance of taking academics seriously to create future opportunities.Outside of school and sports, Braylen works at The Meadows Frozen Custard Shop in Helotes alongside his best friends and teammate since elementary school, AJ Ramirez and Chris Williams. In conclusion, Braylen McMillen exemplifies dedication, both on and off the basketball court, and is poised for a promising future in the medical field, thanks to his unwavering commitment to academics.BTy Kathi Holzschuheralk about being “driven crazy,” andyou might just be talking aboutthe construction on Hwy 16. It has been enough to drive drivers over a cliff. But thereisgoodnewstoshare!PerTxDot(Texas Department of Transportation), the project is 63% complete and due to be wrapped up “midyear” this year. Though there were rumblings of an expedited finish date, the project remains on the original schedule.The project is expected to relieve traffic congestion on Bandera, particularly atthe Hausman/Leslie and the Cedar Trails intersections, where drivers experience long wait times at the traffic signals. Drivers are waiting through four directional signals at the red light before their light turns green. The long waits cause traffic to back up, and congestion ensues.The answer from TxDot is to create an RCUT intersection that forces traffic to make right turns and uses turnarounds for optimal traffic movement. The result should be drivers waiting through just one signalchange at the red light. Since this writer is not a civil engineer, it’s best to hear from someone with a degree in Urban Planning, Brian Purcell. Purcell researches, writes, and maintains The Texas Highwayman website ( explains the RCUT intersection like this; “At the conventional intersection, drivers who arrive as the light turns red have to wait for three or four other directions to get a green light before their light turns green again. At an RCUT intersection,drivers only have to wait for one signal change before they get green again.”These diagrams from TXDot of the RCUT intersections, with directionals provided by Brian Purcell, will give readers a visual understanding.As most construction projects go, this could get worse before it gets better, so hang on to your sanity. In the end, it will provide drivers a less stressful journey along Highway 16. Stay tuned for more updates.An End in Sight to Crazy ConstructionPhoto By KJ Toso PhotographyW3 Fun Event Ideas That Can Benefit Local Businessesith so much to gain from a at night event can feature special discounts and shop for that special someone, while a thriving local business scene, during a time of year when business might Halloween festival can encourage people community leaders and otherwise be slow. Community organizers to spend time outdoors patronizing localresidents can plan and embrace events that showcase the many small businesses that make their towns and cities unique. There are many ways to promote local businesses, and the following are three creative event ideas to get locals and non-locals alike excited about the businesses that offer so much to your community.• Shop local at night: Many communities participate in restaurant weeks that draw scores of visitors to the cafes and eateries in their town. A similar approach can be employed to bring people to Main Street for something other than food. A shop localcan close Main Street to vehicle traffic throughout the week to encourage people to walk around and visit all the small businesses in their communities.• Holiday festivals: Holiday bazaars may be most often associated with the holiday season that runs from Thanksgiving weekend to New Year’s Day. But there’s no reason why communities cannot plan and promote similar festivals during other popular holidays, such as Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day. A Valentine’s Day festival the week before the holiday can encourage locals to get outbusinesses during a time of year when the weather is welcoming for all.• Workshop week: Workshop weeks can be great ways for local businesses to inspire interest in their offerings while showcasing the many talented individuals who help them thrive. Each night can feature a different workshop hosted by local businesses. For example, a Monday night restaurant workshop can feature chefs from local restaurants teaching locals how to prepare a certain dish. Another night during the week can feature local artisans offering lessons on the basics of their skills, such aswoodworking, framing or gardening. Such an event is a great way for local businesses to put a face on their companies and meet locals who appreciate their talents.There’s no shortage of ways to promote local businesses. Special events in which local businesses are the star is a great way to inspire locals to support the companies that help make their communities unique.8www.heloteshighlights.comFebruary 2024

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