News

Thu
18
Sep

Home schooling proves to be a good option for families

Ashley Andujo, 9, Emily Greenwood, 7, Harrison Otto, 6, Georgia Bramlett, 7, and Sophia Bramlett, 5, all work together on art projects at the Herman Brown Free Library in Burnet last week.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Although most parents choose to send their children to public, private or parochial schools, an increasing number of families in the region are choosing to home-school their kids. Texas has a lobbying organization, the Texas Home School Coalition Association, to defend the rights of these parents.

At a book club for home school families at the Herman Brown Free Library in Burnet last week, parents gave several reasons it’s a good choice for their families.

“My daughter is a leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone kind of person,” said Zuly Zambrano. “She likes to read and study and not bother anyone else.”

Yet her easygoing daughter was bullied in school.

Thu
18
Sep

Runaway car sets shop on fire

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
A Buick ran off the road and ignited the Burnet County Cycles shop Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18.

by Alexandria Randolph

Motorcycles, burning cars and a damaged building usually sum up the action sequences of a Hollywood flick, but it was an accident that may have been a lot worse if not for the help of Marble Falls firefighters on yesterday afternoon, Sept. 19.

Marble Falls Police Officer Jimmy Cole said no one was injured when a Le Sabre Buick ran off the road and into Burnet County Cycles, 1610 US 281, at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 18.

“The vehicle was headed northbound when the driver noticed the car was possibly on fire,” Cole said. “He could smell the smoke and see it coming out from underneath the vehicle.”

The driver pulled off the highway and into the parking lot of the bike shop, but “the engine was already off,” Cole said. “The driver tried to brake, but the brakes weren’t working. By that time the car was already on fire.

For the full story, see Friday's Highlander.

Thu
18
Sep

Highland Haven keeps its property taxes low; fire protection costs rise

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The Highland Haven board of aldermen voted Tuesday, Sept. 16, to keep its property taxes at $.1125 per $100 property valuation, a city official said Thursday.

“We have low taxes because we keep our expenses low,” said Mayor Irene Dauphin. She explained the city’s biggest expenses are for emergency services and fire protection. “We actually run the city on about $70,000, including around $30,000 budgeted for roads,” she said. Dauphin added that the city does not use the entire amount budgeted for road improvements and maintenance.

Residents will be paying $1.50 more per $100,000 than last year. Property values have risen and more properties have been added to the tax roll.

Granite Shoals Fire Rescue will get more than $68,000 from the city in fiscal year 2015, which is up from around $66,000 last year. The cost of fire protection has risen from $10,000 in 2010 to an expected $70,000 for fiscal year 2016, she said.

Thu
18
Sep

Upper-basin stakeholders laud ‘sound’ water plan after LCRA decision

By James Walker

Central Texans’ primary drinking water supply will be significantly better protected by a new plan for managing the water in the Highland Lakes, stakeholders from the Colorado River’s upper basin said after what many termed a historic vote this week.

The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) board of directors -- often bitterly divided into largely upper- and lower-basin camps -- voted unanimously Wednesday, Sept. 17, to approve a revised Water Management Plan (WMP) that includes stronger protection for the utility’s premium-paying firm customers like the cities of Austin, Burnet, Marble Falls and others who serve the more than a million people in the region.

Thu
18
Sep

Get ready for a Spicewood smash-up this weekend

By Alexandria Randolph

Junkyard warriors and clunker racers are putting the final touches on their derby vehicles for the Annual Spicewood Demolition Derby to take place Saturday, Sept. 20.

Racers who have put together derby cars will fight to remain the last car running in the arena. The demolition derby benefits the Spicewood Volunteer Fire Department and EMS

Gates will open at 4 p.m. and races will begin at 6 p.m., said Spicewood Assistant EMS Coordinator Jamie Ludwig.

“We already have pre-registered 20 racers,” she said, “and we allow people to register day of, so we may get more. We’ve got enough compact cars registered that we’re thinking about have two compact car heats.”

Thu
18
Sep

Marble Falls gets new website, fire equipment

By Alexandria Randolph

A new website was celebrated and the purchase of a new fire truck was approved by the Marble Falls City Council at its meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16.

City staff updated the city website to be easier-to-use and cohesive with social media platforms.

“We wanted to give the community a new website that was user-friendly and useful,” said Robert Moss, director of the city’s parks and recreation department. “What we’re trying to do is to get people to come to this (website) for everything.”

The city now uses Civic Plus software, which is currently being utilized by several surrounding cities such as Granite Shoals, Llano and Johnson City. Citizens can become members of the site and build their own dashboard, Moss said.

“They can customize and get information they’re interested in,” he said.

Thu
18
Sep

Search on for missing person with more rain to come

By Alexandria Randolph

Forecasts show more rain for the area after the Highland Lakes received on Wednesday, Sept. 17, just under four inches and the Austin area a total of 6.01 inches, creating high-water incidents in which a law enforcement officer has gone missing.

A Travis County deputy remains missing after heavy rains caused flash flooding in the Austin area. The deputy was reported to have been checking a low water crossing in the 3400 block of Fritz Hughes Park Road when she made a call to dispatch at 1:52 a.m. to say that she and her vehicle were being swept away in high water.

As of Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18, Travis County authorities have located her vehicle, a patrol sedan but not the deputy, who has not been named.

Tue
16
Sep

Wreck at First Street causes traffic congestion

Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Southbound lanes on the US 281 bridge in Marble Falls were temporarily closed at about 1 p.m. this afternoon due to an accident at the First Street intersection.

Northbound traffic was backed up on the bridge for about 15 minutes. Marble Falls Police and EMS responded to the scene. At 1:30 p.m., authorities began allowing southbound traffic through.

Mon
15
Sep

Kingsland gets Kinky

Emily Hilley Sierzchula/Staff

Kinky Friedman, musician, author and former Texas gubernatorial candidate, visits with fellow Democrats and signs autographs at the Kingsland Library Saturday, Sept. 13. “I’ll sign anything but bad legislation,” he said. Friedman was in the area on an invitation from the Llano County Democrats.

Mon
15
Sep

Family rallies for Round Mountain teen

by Alexandria Randolph

Friends and family members are rallying around a Round Mountain teen who was critically injured in an accident on US 281 last week.

Kelsey Spillman, 18, remains in an Austin area hospital after being injured in a vehicle accident on Friday, Aug. 29, when rainy conditions are being blamed for the hydroplaning that led to the crash.

Friends of Spillman are having a garage sale this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20-21, at 616 Pecan Lane in Cottonwood Shores starting at 8 a.m. All proceeds are going into a “Kelsey Spillman” benefit account at the American Bank of Texas in Marble Falls.

Donations can be sent directly to the account at American Bank C/O Lisa Martz - 418 Main Street/PO Box 888, Marble Falls TX 78654.

The group is also taking garage sale donations and will pick up items. To donate items, contact Kimberlee Kohutek at 214-236-3813.

For more on the story, see Tuesday's Highlander.

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