News

Mon
01
Sep

MFPD seeks info on hit and run

By Alexandria Randolph

Marble Falls Police are seeking information on a hit-and-run accident that occurred at the intersection of US 281 and Mormon Mill Road last week.

Officer Dorian Turner said the incident happened Thursday, Aug. 21, at about 2:41 p.m. when the driver of a white midsized SUV turned in front of motorcyclist Kenneth Sisco, 56, of Kingsland.

“It was a witness call-in. He (Sisco) was injured on his shoulder and hand,” Turner said.

Turner said the motorcyclist was northbound in the right-hand lane approaching the Mormon Mill Road intersection when he had to make a quick decision to avert an accident.

“He saw the white vehicle headed southbound turning left to go east. The vehicle had a green light but not a protected turn,” Turner said. “He had to turn the bike over to avoid direct impact. The motorcycle struck the back of the SUV.”

Mon
01
Sep

Highland Lakes real estate not affected by Austin-area slump

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Unlike its looming neighbor Austin, the Highland Lakes region real estate market is going strong, according to several local realtors.

After years of home price and inventory increases, the Austin real estate market saw a three percent decrease in home sales in July, along with a rise in inventory, according to the Austin Board of Realtors on Aug. 21.

Not true here, said Chad Calhoun, broker and owner of Jim Berry Hill Country Ranch Sales, this past Friday, Aug. 29.

“We’ve had no such dip in real estate values here, but we didn’t have the meteoric rise in prices like Austin did,” he said. “What goes up must come down,” he said.

Calhoun said he does not consider a three percent drop a major trend; rather, he called it a “correction” in the market.

Mon
01
Sep

LBCC boasts record-breaking attendance at fish fry fundraiser

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The Lake Buchanan Conservation Corporation saw record-breaking attendance at the 9th annual fish fry fundraiser in Buchanan Dam Saturday. “We usually see 250-300 folks, this year it’s closer to 400,” said Ron Abshier, LBCC board of directors vice president. “People are figuring out that we do so much more than put fish in the lake,” he said. In addition to working with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department biologists to stock fish fry and fingerlings into the lake, which costs around $16,000, the organization works to extend boat ramps, improve fish habitat and support other nonprofit organizations.

See Tuesday's Highlander for more photos.

Mon
01
Sep

Teacher spotlight: Turner launches “rejuvenated” graphic design CTE program

New teacher Matt Turner (far left) stands proudly with seven of his eight “musketeers,” the seniors in his CTE graphic design and production class: (back, from left) Jack Oberle, Cobey Lusinger, Aiden Park, Noah Guillen and (front, from left) (Turner,) Savannah Vincent, London Gibson and Erin Downey.. “It kills me to know I won’t have them again next year,” Turner said about this group of seniors. Also a part of the group, but not pictured is Becky Phung.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Parents might be curious about the new faces on district campuses and among them is new high school instructor, Matt Turner. He described the last two weeks as a “whirlwind,” between getting situated in a new residence and readying his classroom for students.

Turner has been busy teaching three classes to grades 9-12: principles of audio-video technology, audio-video production and graphic design. The broadcast journalism graduate has hit the ground running in his first year at the district.

“This is the best time of year, it’s great to get things off the ground,” Turner said. “I’m blown away by how welcoming everyone has been, and administration and other teachers have been supportive.”

Mon
01
Sep

MFISD confronts turnover with new hires, internal shuffle

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Change can be both stressful and exciting for school districts. Either way, Marble Falls Independent School District students are seeing many new faces in classrooms and around campuses.

For the 2014-2015 school term, district administration hired 87 staff members, including 64 certified personnel (teachers, nurses and counselors,) said Wade Stanford, assistant superintendent of administrative operations, on Wednesday, Aug. 27.

“Teachers are super-excited,” he said. “Three days into school you can feel the excitement in the classrooms.”

Mon
01
Sep

Girl Scouts hosting open house Friday, Sept. 5

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The Girl Scouts will be giving people a sneak peak of the intensive renovations on its Johnson Park troop house today, Friday, Sept. 5, at 5:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, renovations are continuing at a frenetic pace, the troop’s leader said last week.

“It’s been challenging, but it’ll come together,” said Golden Downing.

The Marble Falls Scout House is the first to see the improvements and repairs as part of a three-year-long Girl Scouts of Central Texas “Master Property Plan” to get all houses up to code and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.

“It’s not a young house to begin with, and it deteriorated over the years so we had to vacate last year,” Downing said.

It will cost around $25,000 to renovate the Marble Falls Girl Scout House, according to a fundraising letter by Lynelle McKay, CEO of Girl Scouts of Central Texas.

Mon
01
Sep

Parishioners take the plunge in ALS ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’

Amanda and Tino Salazar react after their dousing with icy water Sunday.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The ubiquitous “Ice Bucket Challenge” to benefit people with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) has gone viral, even in Horseshoe Bay.

Parishioners gathered after mass at St. Paul the Apostle Chapel Sunday, Aug. 31,  to fundraise with their own ice bucket challenge -- all to help one of their fellow parishioners with the disease.

The bulk of the funds raised over the weekend will go directly to Eric Waltenbaugh, who was in the hospital Sunday and unable to attend the event, said event coordinator Claudia Haydon. Other funds will go to the ALS Association, she added.

Waltenbaugh is confined to a mechanical wheelchair because of the disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.

“We expect donations to be substantial, especially for a small parish like ours,” she said. “The generosity of people who don’t know Eric but know about the disease has been amazing.”

Fri
29
Aug

Tire-iron wielding man arrested after ‘spree’

Murl Lamb

by Alexandria Randolph

A Burnet man was arrested Thursday, Aug. 21, by Marble Falls Police after an alleged 24-hour crime spree across two counties.

Murl Shane Lamb, 40, faces Llano County charges of aggravated robbery, Marble Falls charges of robbery and Burnet County charges of parole violation.

Marble Falls Capt. Glenn Hanson said officers first came into contact with Lamb last week when he was found unconscious with a crow bar in his hand outside of Sana Vida on RR 1431 at 5:45 a.m. Wednesday morning, Aug. 20.

“He had knocked a window in and done some damage,” Hanson said. “He went to the hospital complaining of chest pain.”

Later, police connected him with damages found on two other buildings in town that had taken place over night.

Fri
29
Aug

“Bolts from the Blue": Lightning strikes dangerous in summer

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Sports teams at Marble Falls Independent School District (MFISD) are prepared for lightning strikes, especially “bolts from the blue” that strike miles ahead of a thunderstorm. Three children were injured Aug. 26 by lightning that struck their soccer field in the Bee Cave area, three miles ahead of the thunderstorm.

The Marble Falls High School soccer team coach, like all coaches at the school, makes sure his players are safe.

Rick Hoover, MFHS head soccer coach, said the district has an electronic system that sends him a text message if lightning strikes within 20 miles, and alerts him again to clear the field if it strikes within 10 miles. “We then have to be lightning-free for 30 minutes before we go out again.” Hoover said. All MFISD coaches have the same system.

Fri
29
Aug

‘Cultivating minds’: Texas Tech offering online courses in viticulture, enology

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Now that it’s harvest time at the multitude of Hill Country wineries and vineyards, some folks might wonder what it takes to be involved in the growing Texas wine industry. As it turns out, training is available here through Texas Tech University’s Worldwide eLearning programs at the Highland Lakes campus in Marble Falls.

“The wine industry is not just another agricultural product: There’s a big multiplier effect because of its connection with the hospitality industry,” said Dr. Edward Hellman, TTU professor of viticulture. “Wineries and vineyards are a good fit for the Hill Country because it’s already a tourist destination, and then you add the wine industry, which adds to the income of restaurants and hotels.”

Almost 1.5 million tourists visited Texas wineries in 2011, a 66 percent increase from 2005, according to the Texas Wine and Grape Growers Association (TWGGA.)

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