Luther moves from fire to public service

After 25 years of unbroken and dedicated public safety service to the citizens of the City of Burnet and Burnet County, Assistant Fire Chief Jim Luther Jr. is leaving Burnet Fire Department to take on his new role as Precinct 1 Commissioner for Burnet County.

Luther joined the Burnet Volunteer Fire Department in 1991 and served as a firefighter, captain and treasurer of that organization over the following seven years. In 1998 he attended the Austin Community College Fire Training Academy in Taylor to improve his knowledge and skills in firefighting. At 36, he was the second oldest in his class, only to fellow Burnet Firefighter Roy Hallmark who was 54.

Both Luther and Hallmark were hired by the City of Burnet in 1999 as the second and third paid firefighters for the city, filling the day time shifts working 40 hour weeks. They moved to 24--hour shifts in 2003 and Jim served as Interim Fire Chief for one year between 2005 and 2006.


From Black Friday forward: shop at home

The Marble Falls/Lake LBJ Chamber of Commerce not only is supporting businesses appealing to shoppers on Black Friday, but the chamber is promoting the American Express Shop Small initiative on Saturday, Nov. 26.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Some shoppers may lay down their Thanksgiving Forks and hit the hay for distant Black Friday deals, but out in the Hill Country the finds may be right out our back doors.

Up and down US 281 from furniture at Aladdin Home Store up north to fine jewelry and fashions down south at Salem's and in between at Blair's Western Wear, hometown shopping offers variety and special savings.

“If we don't have it, you don't need it,” said Blair. “We've added lotions and perfumes besides all the small gifts for a Western home. Everybody knows about the upscale western wear, but now we even have Birkenstock sandals.”

For 70 years, Salem's Jewelry has kept Burnet County shoppers at home for fine jewelry, but when they added fashion in 1981 they broadened the field. They have a list of merchandize especially for Black Friday, but they offer something more, doing business with people they know.


Tell us what you're thankful for!

In honor of our upcoming Thanksgiving edition, The Highlander would like to poll our readers on what you are most thankful for. Message us on Facebook, email us at lew@highlandernews.com or call us at 830-693-4367 and let us know what you are thankful for this year!


Mitchell receives Texas State alumni award

Ron Lynn Mitchell

Ron Lynn Mitchell, vice chairman, president and CEO of Horseshoe Bay Resort, has been awarded the Texas State University Distinguished Alumni Award.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is the most prestigious honor bestowed by Texas State University and the Texas State University Alumni Association. The award recognizes graduates who have achieved prominence and distinction in their chosen business, profession or life work on a national or international level.

The first Distinguished Alumni Award was presented in 1959 to Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson later served as the 36th president of the United States.

Mitchell, an Austin native, is embarking on his 42nd year of involvement in the development of Horseshoe Bay Resort. He has been a leader in the company overseeing its vision, growth and development almost since its conception.


Legion of Honor conferred on Kingsland vet

Kingsland man to be honored with French Order of Legion of Honor


A Kingsland man will be honored Friday, Nov. 11, with the medal of Knight in the French Order of the Legion of Honor for his service during World War II.

Sujiro Seam, the Consul General of France in Houston, will honor Capt. Gerald Stoddard, who is unable to attend the ceremony, which will be the highlight of Austin’s Veterans Day Celebration. It will take place after the parade, on the south steps of the Texas Capitol at 11 a.m. Friday.

Stoddard, born Jan. 19, 1924, enlisted in the U.S. Army in June 1942. After graduating from flying school as a second lieutenant, he joined the 55th Fighter Group and became a fighter pilot for P-38 and P-51 planes.


MFAEMS celebrates 40 years Saturday


Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Services (EMS) conduct resuscitation practice. The EMS received a $22,256 community development grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative in April for new Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) equipment and they train community members in basic CPR. The MFAEMS will celebrate 40 years of service to south Burnet County at an event from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the station, 609 Industrial Boulevard in Marble Falls.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

An event billed as “food and lots of memories” will celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Marble Falls Area Emergency Medical Service from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29.

It will take place at the EMS station at 609 Industrial Boulevard in Marble Falls and it will be a rare chance outside the throes of an emergency or the clamor of a community celebration to visit with paramedics and technicians.

And the memories will be many for an organization that has grown from a fledgling ambulance in Marble Falls in 1976 to a force of six MICU (Mobile Intensive Care Unit) capable ambulances and two SUV first responders housed at stations in Marble Falls, Granite Shoals, and Horseshoe Bay.

The service runs up to 4,000 calls each year in as many as 450 call per month by 9-1-1 and inter-facility transfers. They are staffed by 48 paramedics, 32 of whom are are full time.


Halloween sparks ghostly tales

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Lahonda Tiner puts the finishing touches on the grim reaper who welcomes guests to her home at 307 Avenue F in Marble Falls. Her ghostly decor is all in fun, but spooky stories always emerge this time of year. Read this story from a former Bertram resident and, in the Friday edition of The Highlander, Managing Editor Lew Chon's own account .

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

There is no better time for a ghost story than Halloween and there is no better ghost story than one one told first-hand.

The trail of a story shared by Michele Hart (aka “the Rug Queen), owner of La-Ti-Da & Elements in Marble Falls, led to Bonnie Estes. She lives in Dime Box today, but her ghostly encounter was in Burnet County territory.

“I'd bought this house, a 1917 Colonial in Bertram,” she said. “I was the third owner who carried the name Bonnie, which was strange enough.

“I bought the house along with its contents because the owner was moving out of state and couldn't take anything.

“I set out a box of things to keep and a box of things to throw away where all the sticky old Tupperware and trash went.


Books in her blood

By Phil Reynolds

The Highlander

Jackie Cundieff may have taken over as director of Llano County libraries, but that doesn’t mean there’s an upheaval in the system’s future. For one thing, Cundieff thinks the system is “awesome” the way it is.

She was named director of the three-library system (Llano, Kingsland and the Lakeshore Branch at Buchanan Dam) by county commissioners, effective with the retirement of longtime director Dian Ray on Sept. 30.

She’s no stranger to Llano; she’s lived there for 27 years, her husband, Rick, is pastor at First Baptist Church of Llano, and they’ve raised two children, a boy and a girl, both grown.

However, Cundieff said she grew up in Burleson, south of Fort Worth where her mother was school and church librarian.

It’s kind of in her blood.

And after years in the education system, Cundieff went back to school herself and got a Master of Library Science degree from the University of North Texas.


Officials gather input for Wirtz Dam bridge

Alexandria Randolph/Highland Lakes Newspapers

Near the site of the proposed Wirtz Dam bridge are, from left, Burnet County Judge James Oakley; Burnet County Commissioner Pct. 4 Joe Don Dockery; Jim Luther unopposed candidate for Pct. 1 commissioner, and Ashby Johnson, executive director of Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO).

By Alexandria Randolph

Highland Lakes Newspapers


Residents and commuters now have opportunity to weigh in on the proposed Wirtz Dam, a transportation project that has been in the making since 1974.

The community outreach program for the dam project, which began in September, is the culmination of years of anticipation for Burnet County officials.

“This was on the 1974 Burnet County Transportation Plan,” said Joe Don Dockery, Burnet County Precinct 1 commissioner.

The next step wasn't completed until 2005, when a feasibility study was completed indicating that a bridge at Wirtz Dam would be beneficial to the community.

Following a meeting conducted by CAMPO (Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization) on Sept. 9, the campaign for public opinion regarding the Wirtz Dam Bridge is officially underway.


Granite Shoals honors Alyssa Flores as Make-A-Wish recipient takes spotlight


Singer/actress Selena Gomez welcomes Alyssa Flores of Granite Shoals to her June concert in Austin. Meeting the star was granted by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Friends for Wishes in honor of Alyssa's fight against leukemia.

Glynis Crawford Smith

The HIghlander

One of Granite Shoals youngest citizens was honored as “a champion in fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)” by the Granite Shoals City Council Tuesday, Oct. 11.

Seven-year-old Alyssa Flores accepted the fanfare with the poise of any celebrity. After all, she already had spent an evening with Selena Gomez.

Alyssa is the first local child to have been granted a dream come true by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. That wish was to meet the actress and singer, whose hits include “Love You Like A Love Song” and “Come and Get It.”

“She was going to choose a swim with dolphins,” said Kathrin Brewer, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Austin. “But they were driving past the Long Center in Austin and saw that Selena Gomez was playing. She said she absolutely wanted that more than anything.”


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