News

Wed
24
Sep

Bluebonnet Button Club attracts collectors from all over Texas

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

It’s a niche hobby, but collecting unique buttons from historic times into the modern day is fascinating to some folks with an eye for beauty and appreciation of history. The eleven members of the Bluebonnet Button Club are hosting a regional meeting of aficionados and button dealers Saturday, Sept. 27.

“It’s a time for button friends to get together and buy buttons, trade and talk,” said Janet Graves, club member and event organizer from Marble Falls. Button collectors have both a state and nationwide organization, along with an official blue book of values.

Tue
23
Sep

Llano County authorities identify wanted man

Rocky Drew McIntosh

by Alexandria Randolph

The Llano County Sheriff’s Office has identified the suspect wanted in a vehicular assault incident that occurred on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Rocky Drew McIntosh, 36, is wanted on charge of aggravated assault of a peace officer after allegedly backing a stolen truck into Sunrise Beach Police Chief Laurie Brock during a traffic stop.

McIntosh has been described by authorities as a white male, approximately six feet tall, and 200 pounds. He has brown hair and was last seen wearing black shorts, a baseball cap and carrying a dark colored backpack.

He has a history of resisting arrest and assault of a police officer, but does not appear to have any local connections, said a Llano County Sheriff’s Office news release.

For more on the story, see Wednesday's Llano County Journal or Friday's Highlander.

Mon
22
Sep

Growing pains evident in MFISD transportation department

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Even as the Marble Falls Independent School District added two new buses to its fleet last week, the department is still confronting equipment that is becoming outdated and in need of repair or replacement, according to discussions at the MFISD board of trustees meeting Monday, Sept. 15.

“I’m tickled to death about the new buses,” said George Hamilton, director of transportation. He said that a few routes are nearing their maximum capacity of students.

“Our bus fleet is aging: the fleet drives between 550,000-600,000 miles each year,” he added. The bus fleet has 53 buses that carry between 1,700 and 1,800 students each day, in addition to events and field trips. “We cover 265 square miles a day,” he said.

A new bus costs around $90,000, and buying refurbished buses is not a viable option, Hamilton said.

Mon
22
Sep

Horseshoe Bay council passes budget, discusses FEMA, development

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

At the Horseshoe Bay City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 16, a city budget was passed with the same property tax rate as last year, members discussed the FEMA floodplain study, extended the deadline for a proposed strip mall and focused on the possibility of a long-range planning committee.

“It took six months to put the budget together, now it’s up to staff to stay on budget,” said Mayor Steve Jordan. Residents will continue paying $0.25 per $100,000 property valuation. City officials expect more than $18.9 million in expenditures and more than $12.9 million in revenue, according to the budget, which is posted on the city's website.

The 2015 Fiscal Year plan includes more money for a technology initiative, for health insurance for city employees and $70,000 more for the ongoing water reuse effluent project, according to council discussions.

Mon
22
Sep

Authorities still searching for suspect at-large

by Alexandria Randolph

Multiple law enforcement agencies are still searching for a man suspected of stealing a pickup truck and committing vehicular assault against the Sunrise Beach Police Chief on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Llano County Sheriff Bill Blackburn said Sheriff’s Deputies as well as Texas DPS Troopers, Sunrise Beach Police and Texas Rangers have been searching for the man for the last 24 hours, and continue to search.

It all started on Sunday morning just after 9 a.m., the Sheriff said, when a black, two-door pickup truck was reported stolen from the Speedy Stop convenience store in Kingsland.

Sunrise Beach Police Chief Laurie Brock, spotted a vehicle of the same description on RR 2233 at 9:45 a.m.

“She stopped him and was getting out of her car and he backed into her car door,” Blackburn said. “She sustained cuts and bruises.”

The suspect took off, and authorities began the search.

Sat
20
Sep

Two women sent to hospital after charter bus flips their car

The McLaughlin's from Meadowlakes comfort the charter bus driver at the accident scene Saturday.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Two women, ages 69 and 85, were involved in a car accident Saturday evening, Sept. 20, and one was still hospitalized two days later receiving treatment for injuries received when their SUV was struck by a charter bus traveling on TX 71 near the U.S. 281 intersection.

Both the bus and car were heading eastbound when a witness said the car suddenly veered across the median in front of the bus.

"The bus driver laid on her horn," said witness Jerry McLaughlin, of Meadowlakes. "They were oblivious to the bus. The bus driver did nothing wrong," he said, adding it seemed as if the car’s driver had missed her turn and was attempting a U-turn.

Thu
18
Sep

Murder victim’s family speaks out

Nicole Lynn McKee

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

“For me as a mom, there is a hole in my heart and soul. Nikki wasn’t just my beloved daughter, but also my best friend and soul mate.” These are the tender words of a mom in mourning.

Nicole Lynn McKee, 40, was murdered in January 2013, allegedly after suffering a beating at the hands of her boyfriend. Her daughter, now just four years old, witnessed her mother’s murder.

It was a brutal assault that lasted three days, said her step-grandmother, Caryl Calsyn, of Marble Falls.

She, Nikki’s mother (Linda Calsyn) and Nikki’s brother (Andrew Calsyn,) who also both live in Marble Falls, will travel to a Travis County courtroom next week to face James Palacio, the accused murderer. He was Nikki’s boyfriend at the time and father of their daughter.

Although she spent most of the last three months of her life in Marble Falls, Nikki died in Mustang Ridge, south of Austin.

Thu
18
Sep

VFW goes smoke free: Grand Reopening Oct. 17

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
Post Canteen Manager Tom Fox and Former Post Commander Lloyd Crippen said the environment of the canteen has improved immensely after it became a non-smoking establishment.

by Alexandria Randolph

In honor of its 40th Anniversary, the Marble Falls Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10376 got a major facelift.

“We’ve totally redecorated and repainted,” said Former Post Commander Lloyd Crippen, and added that the biggest change for the post is “we’ve gone non-smoking.”

Crippen said the post is also starting a live music program, and will celebrate all these changes by hosting a grand reopening on Oct. 17.

“We’re trying to get a new demographic to come check us out,” Crippen said. “It’s a great place with great people.”

Canteen Manager Tom Fox describes the post canteen as “a tavern of loyal Americans exchanging ideas,” and added, “We want our smoking friends to still come. We have tables outside.”

For the full story, see Friday's Highlander.

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.

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