News

Mon
25
Aug

Robotics programming now ‘in the books’ for Marble Falls’ engineering students

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Randy Guffey’s aerospace engineering students at Marble Falls High School are accustomed to doing cool things like building and launching rockets, but his students this year will also get to learn how to use cutting edge robots.

This fall, upperclassmen will learn how to control and program a FANUC robot, a product of FANUC America, which is a robotics company that accounts for about 70 percent of the industrial robotics market share, Guffey said.

 “I’m looking forward to seeing it,” Guffey added, saying the robot will arrive in September or October.

The robot is on order from Technical Laboratory Systems, Inc. (Tech-Labs), a company founded to help accelerate technical and vocational programs at educational institutions in Texas and in Oklahoma.

Mon
25
Aug

Cottonwood Shores council faces tax increase, economic growth

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Public input was aired Thursday evening, Aug. 21, in the first of two public hearings on a Cottonwood Shores City Council proposal to raise property taxes in 2015 to generate $20,000 more for the community.

A tax rate of $.543800 per $100 valuation, which would amount to $26.60 for every $100,000 worth of property, was considered at the city council meeting Aug. 7.

The goal of the hearing was to give residents a chance to ask questions, offer solutions or voice concerns. A second public hearing is planned Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. in city hall.

Aside from Councilman Tony Satsky and Mayor Donald Orr, who are both over 65 and eligible for frozen property tax rates, several council members pointed out that raising property tax rates is an equitable way to raise needed funds for the city.

Thu
21
Aug

Two women injured in accident yesterday

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
A wreck on TX 29 about two miles from the RR 1431 intersection hospitalized two women with non-life threatening injuries Thursday afternoon, Aug. 21.

By Alexandria Randolph

Two women were sent to Austin-area hospitals on Thursday morning following an accident in Buchanan Dam yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 21.

Burnet resident Sheila Straw was flown to Seton Medical Center Williamson and Linda White of Magnolia was transported to the same hospital by ground unit. Neither woman sustained life-threatening injuries, according to reports.

The wreck took place at about 12:15 p.m. in front of Citizen’s Academy on TX 29 two miles east of the RR 1431 intersection. 

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper Jose Colombo said the accident occurred when Straw pulled her vehicle, a burgundy 2009 Ford Edge, into the roadway in front of a red Ford F250 pickup truck, of which White was a passenger.

For the full story, see Friday's issue of The Highlander.

Thu
21
Aug

Community responds to Burnet shooting

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
Burnet County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the 5800 block of CR 340 when two young men were fatally shot Tuesday morning.

By Alexandria Randolph

The community of Burnet and the families of two young men are in mourning this week after a fatal shooting cost them their lives.

Elijah Adam Benson, a 17-year-old Burnet High School student, and Travis Leslie Fox, a 26-year-old Burnet High School graduate, were shot multiple times at a residence in the 5800 block of CR 340 – the home of a mutual friend – on Tuesday morning.

“There is sense of loss between all families,” said Kyle Byrd, Pastor at The Church at the Epicenter in Burnet, where Eli Benson and his family attended.

Byrd and Fox’s family members said the two men were at the house celebrating Benson’s birthday, which was last week. The two, along with Garret James Ballard, 21, who is accused in their deaths, were in a band together.

A celebration of Benson’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday morning in the Burnet High School Auditorium. Plans for the memorial of Fox have yet to be finalized.

Thu
21
Aug

Granite Shoals woman charged with 33 counts credit card abuse

Amanda Hiesler

By Alexandria Randolph

A Granite Shoals woman was arrested on 33 counts of credit card abuse after allegedly stealing an employer’s credit card to make a multitude of purchases.

Amanda Ann Hiesler, 39, was arrested at her home on Monday, Aug. 18, and booked into Burnet County Jail at 6:15 p.m.

She is accused of using the stolen credit card to make purchases between the last week of July and Aug. 10, according to Granite Shoals Capt. Gary Boshears.

 “Over a period of three weeks she used (the card) a total of 33 times here in town,” he said, and added that the items bought were of miscellaneous nature.

“The highest (purchase) was $30,” Boshears said. 

Hiesler had been frequently employed by the people she took from – an elderly couple in Sunrise Beach, Boshears said.

For the full story, see the latest issue of The Highlander.

Thu
21
Aug

Death & Taxes: Marble Falls Council to decide new rates

By Alexandria Randolph

Marble Falls City Council held readings for cemetery fees and tax rates; both of which will face decision in upcoming meetings.

In a meeting Tuesday, Aug. 19, the council held a first reading of a city ordinance that, if approved, would change rates for plots at the Marble Falls City Cemetery.

Parks and Recreation Director Robert Moss relayed to council members that the cemetery board, which is the same as the Parks and Recreation Commission, has been discussing ways to generate revenue over the last few months.

“The board’s recommendation is to raise the plot fee from $600 to $1,200,” Moss said, adding that the board was also considering a requirement that all gravesites be marked.

 “We called around to other cities that had city cemeteries,” he said, and added that the plot fee range was between $400 and $1,500, with Lampasas at the lowest price and Boerne at the highest.

Thu
21
Aug

Conceal or Carry? Residents weigh in

By Alexandria Randolph

After the year anniversary of the Open Carry Texas movement, opinions on the wisdom of open carry and constitutional carry of handguns are still widely dispersed.

Currently, Texas law allows for the open carry of rifles and shotguns, but prevents the open carry of handguns, and the concealed carry of handguns without a license.

Open Carry Texas, a movement originating in Temple, aims to educated the public about their rights to openly carry long-barreled firearms.

C.J. Grisham, a Temple man and active duty US Army Master Sergeant stationed at Fort Hood, is the president and founder of Open Carry Texas. He decided to form the group last year after a personal firearm related incident.

“I was arrested while hiking with my son; legally carrying,” he said.

Thu
21
Aug

ESD 6 proposes lower tax rate for rural Marble Falls

By Alexandria Randolph

The Board of Emergency Services District (ESD) 6 announced Monday that a reduced tax rate has been proposed for the 2014-2015 fiscal year.

The ad valorem tax rate will affect those living in the district’s area, which roughly encompasses the rural area surrounding Marble Falls, excluding the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction.

ESD 6 supports the Marble Falls Area Volunteer Fire Department.

The board proposed a rate of .0835 per $100 valuation, amounting to about $83.50 for a $100,000 property. This is slightly less than the rate of .08611 for the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

ESD 6 Board Treasurer Herb Holloway said that property valuation for the ESD’s taxable area went from $259 million in 2013 to $269 million in 2014.

For the full story, see the next issue of The Highlander

Thu
21
Aug

DeLancey indicted

by Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

A former Marble Falls Independent School District (MFISD) employee was indicted on six felony charges Aug. 5 in the 424th District Court of Dan Mills.

Deavon DeLancey, 31, of Cottonwood Shores, was arrested by the Burnet County Sheriff’s Department June 5 on charges of aggravated assault of a child and possession of child pornography.

He was indicted by a grand jury on six charges, some of which have more serious penalties than his original two charges. The charges are: three counts of “super aggravated sexual assault on a child,” one count of “indecency with a child through sexual contact,” and two charges of “possession with intent to promote child pornography.”

He has been in the Burnet County Jail on a $1.1 million bond since he was arrested.

Thu
21
Aug

'Coach' retires

by Alexandria Randolph

‘Coach’ Larry Berkman is selling CoachWash, his car cleaning business after ten years.

CoachWash is now Wingman Car Wash, owned by Dustin Wing and John Paige of Wingman Oil Change Center.

“I’ve owned CoachWash since 2004. Wingman wanted to expand their business. They made an offer and I accepted,” Berkman said. “It’s been a great business. We’ve had a lot of good years. It seemed like a good time to move into another arena.”

Berkman co-owned the car wash with Dale Brown and Jeff Bingham.

Berkman, who previously served as a Marble Falls High School coach for 30 years, said he will still be involved with the Marble Falls community including his position on the Marble Falls ISD School Board.

“I’m going to take time off, but I still have something to contribute to the community,” Berkman said. “I’m not ready to go out to pasture yet.”

Berkman said he thinks Wing and Paige will take good care of his business.

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