News

Mon
15
Sep

Cottonwood Shores officials in final contract negotiations with VFD

by Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

After almost six months of negotiations, the Cottonwood Shores Volunteer Fire Department (CSVFD) chief and the Cottonwood Shores mayor are attempting to iron out contractual differences.

The current fire department/city contract will expire Sept. 30, leaving little time left for fine-tuning on the agreement.

The Cottonwood Shores City Council is expected to address the issue at a regularly scheduled meeting Thursday, Sept. 18, while the CSVFD board of directors will discuss it tonight, Tuesday, Sept. 16, at a special meeting.

“We’re in a state of flux as far as the contract goes,” Mayor Donald Orr said Monday, Sept. 15.

Back during the council’s Aug. 21 meeting, Mayor Pro Tem Stephen Sherry had presented the contract to citizens and Judy Pace, president of the CSVFD board of directors, as a final product awaiting signatures from the department.

For the full story, see Tuesday's Highlander.

Thu
11
Sep

Congregation marks 9th anniversary of journey, discovery of Marble Falls

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
Pastor Willie Monnet and wife, Claudette, led a group of about 300 people in evacuation from the disaster of Hurricane Katrina and settled in their new homes in Burnet County.

by Alexandria Randolph

While the tribulations of those who nearly escaped the grasp of Hurricane Katrina are long behind, a local church recently celebrated the ninth anniversary of its transplant from the urban hub of New Orleans to the quiet countryside of Burnet County.

For Pastor Willie Monnet, the plan that God had for Smoking For Jesus Ministries was nothing short of miraculous.

“We only took clothes for three days,” he said, remembering their evacuation. Hurricanes had affected the Louisiana coastline regularly in the past, and residents had become accustomed to the storm warnings and evacuations.

“The previous year we ran from a storm that didn’t produce anything,” Monnet said.

Thu
11
Sep

‘Thunder on the Dam’ revving up

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Children of veterans who have died on active duty since 9/11 will benefit from the second annual Thunder on the Dam event Saturday, Sept. 20. Organizers expect more than 100 motorcycle riders from all over the state to participate in the ride around the Hill Country.

“Last year it was 99 miles, but this year it will be 80-something miles,” said Sean O’Brien, assistant road captain for the American Legion Riders and event organizer. “It’s not that it was too far, for a motorcycle rider -- 99 miles is nothing. But, it got kind of long because we stop along the way to support local businesses.”

This year, the American Legion has raised $1 million nationwide for the Legacy Scholarship Fund. Altogether, $30,000 has been raised locally since the program began, O’Brien said.

Thu
11
Sep

Hidden ‘gem’: Nail salon opens in Cottonwood Shores

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

Tucked away in a strip mall in Cottonwood Shores is a gem of a new business -- a nail salon and spa with an enthusiastic owner who is seeking new customers while continuing to work hard to keep existing customers happy.

Thi Nails & Spa Salon, which opened its doors at the end of June, is named after the owner’s one-year-old daughter, and also a historical person in Vietnam who is known for being beautiful, said owner Linh Tran.

“I liked the name,” she said.

After 10 years of working for her uncle at a nail salon in Marble Falls, Tran knew she was taking a chance as a new small business owner. “People told me I might spend money [to get the business started] and lose,” she said. Undeterred, she called her father in Vietnam and he encouraged her, saying: “It’s time for you.”

Getting her business started was a whirlwind: “In 10 days we had the place set up and bought all my supplies,” she said.

Thu
11
Sep

De-annex? City says ‘No’

Alexandria Randolph/Staff
City Manager Mike Hodge answers questions and concerns of Lake Marble Falls Subdivision residents at an open meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9.

by Alexandria Randolph

Marble Falls City officials advocated moving forward with the provision of services to the Lake Marble Falls Subdivision, regardless that they have already met legal requirements.

During an open meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9, Mike Hodge, city manager, addressed residents of the community and said the decision to not de-annex had already been made.

Hodge said the staff had met with a key group of Lake Marble Falls residents who had been designated to represent the community, and had come to the decision to continue improvements rather than de-annex.

“The city is committed to making improvements at Lake Marble Falls Subdivision,” he said, “it’s just a matter of time and money... The investment the city has made is significant. We didn’t want to throw it all away.”

Thu
11
Sep

Granite Shoals reviews tennis center future

By Glynis Crawford Smith

In a meeting Tuesday night that included final acceptance of the 2014-2015 budget and tax rate, the Granite Shoals City Council turned attention to the future of the Andy Roddick International Tennis Center.

Development of the center has been a project of the Andy Roddick Foundation (ARF) on land leased from the city adjacent to Quarry Park on Phillips Ranch Road. Marble Falls Independent School District elementary students already receive tennis instruction on the two QuickStart youth courts constructed on the site in 2011 and an after-school program also extends tennis instruction and life lesson guidance there.

The center was further bound to park development when the ARC pledged $64,000 toward a pair of covered adult courts for the park project that includes the Leo Manzano Hike, Bike and Run Trail—all with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department grants. 

For the full story, see Friday's Highlander.

 

Thu
11
Sep

Trio of teens saves unresponsive 5-year-old

By James Walker

Thanks to the quick and cool-headed actions of three undaunted Burnet teenage girls, five-year-old Jordan Johnson is alive and happily able to laugh and play with her two younger siblings.

Hannah Smith, Vanessa Escamilla and Brailey Hall were able to revive Jordan after she stopped breathing while in the family vehicle Saturday, Sept. 6, with her mother, brother and sister.

The three girls were planning to attend the much-anticipated Aaron Watson concert Saturday night in Burnet when Escamilla, who is 16, and Hall, 14, persuaded Smith, 16, to stop and gas up her vehicle beforehand at the Corner Store convenience store at the corner of US 281 and TX 29.

Smith and Escamilla are juniors at Burnet High School and Hall is a freshman.

Smith wanted to wait until after the concert to get gas but the other two girls prevailed, which turned out to be fortuitous for Jordan Johnson.

Thu
11
Sep

9/11: The Highland Lakes remembers

Marble Falls Rotarians raised the American flag in a heartfelt ceremony.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

On a bright, sunny Thursday, with only fair weather clouds high in the same sky that once contained terrorists on their mission to strike at the heart of our country, Hill Country first responders, veterans, Marble Falls Rotarians and citizens together remembered the loss of almost 3,000 people thirteen years ago on Sept. 11.

At Lakeside Park in Marble Falls, near one of mainstays of American life, the swimming pool, people gathered to pay their respects to both fallen heroes and heroes who save lives every day.

Thu
11
Sep

Llano eagles will be building a new home

Contributed by Cottonwood Photography
The eagle pair get comfortable in their Llano nest in January, 2014. The photographer, Jess Thompson, has been observing the eagle pair for more than 10 years.

By Emily Hilley-Sierzchula

The well-known eagle pair who had a nest along Texas 29 near the Llano River will be building a new home this fall after their nest collapsed about a month ago because of a combination of a rotted tree trunk, a heavy nest and a windy day, a Texas Parks & Wildlife Department official said Friday, Sept. 5. People have traveled from all over the country to see the eagle’s nest.

“It’s not their first rodeo: this was the third tree I know of they’ve had a nest in,” said Dale Schmidt, TPWD wildlife technician assigned to Llano and San Saba counties. The first nest fell with a limb about ten years ago; the second nest, which was also near the road and river, was abandoned around October 2010.

“It’s just part of being a bald eagle,” Schmidt said.

Mon
08
Sep

Parks get unforeseen ‘blessing’ In EDC’s $42,000 contribution

by Alexandria Randolph

Community projects got a boost Monday, Sept. 8, when the Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation contributed $42,000 in funding to the Parks and Recreation Department.

“I was approached by Christian Fletcher, executive director of the EDC. They had money left over in their budget for community leverage fund,” said Robert Moss, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, who added he was not initially aware of how much the EDC intended to give.

The projects Moss proposed the EDC Board of Directors assist in funding included lighting at Westside Park, a sidewalk at the Johnson Park parking lot and assisting in the construction of a second soccer field at the Greens.

For the full story, see Tuesday's Highlander.

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