Burnet County Texas news

Fri
03
Mar

Commissioners split tax note, welcome new VetRide van

Lew K. Cohn/The Highlander

Following the Feb. 28 meeting of the Burnet County Commissioners Court, members viewed a new VetRide van provided by an anonymous donor. Gathered around the handicap accessible ramp of the van, from left, are Russell Graeter of Precinct 2, Joe Don Dockery of Precinct 4, VetRide Coordinator Sophie McCoy, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, Jim Luther Jr. of Precinct 1 and Billy Wall of Precinct 3.

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Burnet County commissioners set a historic precedent last year by selling tax notes to raise money for special road improvements in the county. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, commissioners voted how to distribute those funds, choosing a method which splits funds more closely in line with the taxable values of the four precincts, yet also allows for a little more equitable distribution of funds.

Last year, commissioners voted to approve issuance of $5.85 million in bonds to pay for road projects outside the normal scope of the work they do, based on estimates provided to the court by KC Engineering. Burnet County Judge James Oakley said the issuance of these bonds “doesn't affect the tax rate.

Wed
22
Feb

Courthouse steps go online in Burnet County: a Texas first

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

Burnet County will be the first county in Texas to take advantage of new legislation which allows property tax foreclosure auctions to be held online instead of on the front steps of the courthouse, a tax attorney assisting the county said Feb. 14.

The Burnet County Commissioners Court voted unanimously that morning to adopt a resolution permitting such sales to occur online and approving the setup of an online sales platform with assistance from the law firm of McCreary, Veselka, Bragg & Allen P.C. (MVBA), which performs delinquent property tax collections for Burnet County and other taxing entities.

Fri
03
Feb

CAMPO reports on Wirtz Dam bridge study

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

On Wednesday the final report of the Wirtz Dam study by the Capitol Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) was released online, with tabulations of those 18 community meetings, 848 completed surveys and 812 comments.

“It was a positive, strong response,” said Burnet County Judge James Oakley, a member of the board of directors of CAMPO. “We had a first reading of the report last month and it will come back to the Transportation Policy Board on Feb. 13.

Wed
25
Jan

Red Flag Warning issued for fire danger

 The National Weather Service in Austin has issued a Red Flag warning in effect through 4 p.m. today, Jan. 25, for the Rio Grande Valley that places all of South Central Texas in a moderate danger zone due to low humidity and strong northwest winds. Low relative humidity values and gusty north to northwest winds behind a dry cold front will produce locally critical fire weather conditions across portions of the Rio Grande Plains, read the early morning alert. Rapid fire growth and spread will likely occur in cured fuels such as dry grasses. Winds initially will be out of the northwest at 10-20 mph with gusts to near 25 mph this morning before becoming more northerly as they weaken this afternoon. Relative humidity values, now around 36 percent, could fall below 20 percent and remain below those levels until around sunset. Winds should weaken to help decrease fire spread concerns by 4 p.m.

Tue
24
Jan

Grand Jury indicts two in Burnet on indencency with child, pornography

By Lew K. Cohn
Managing Editor

The Highlander

A Burnet man arrested last year for using surveillance equipment to spy on his neighbor getting undressed has now been indicted on child pornography and indecency charges, while his fiancee was indicted on three counts of indecency with a child, including once by sexual contact.

James Williamson, 45, and Fatima Sparks, 35, were booked into the Burnet County Jail on Friday, Jan. 20. Williamson is being held in lieu of $100,000 bond on charges of indecency with a child by exposure, possession with intent to promote child pornography and possession of child pornography.

Sparks is being held in lieu of $75,000 bond, or $25,000 on each of three counts against her, one for indecency with a child by sexual contact and two for indecency with a child by exposure.

Sun
22
Jan

Fire Weather Watch issued

The National Weather Service has issued a Fire Weather Watch.

A potent weather system to our north is pushing the strong and gusty northwest winds that began late last night and promise to persist through Sunday afternoon. The strongest winds, with gusts to around 45 mph, will occur during the day on Sunday. Along with the wind, relative humidity will drop below 20% out west near the Rio Grande Sunday afternoon and and below 35% elsewhere.  This wind threat alone will be enough to carry fire quickly, especially in wildland grasses that are cured for the winter. A Fire Weather Watch has been issued for all of South Central Texas, and some locations could be upgraded to a Red Flag Warning.

The high wind could also result in hazardous driving conditions for high profile vehicles, displace loose objects, result in minor property damage, and cause isolated power outages.

The NWS forecast for Marble Falls and surrounding area:

Mon
02
Jan

Sunday, a grand swearing-in day

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

Newly elected officials at the annual ceremonial oath of office event at the Burnet County Courthouse Sunday, Jan. 1, are Precinct 1 Constable Leslie Ray, Precinct 4 Constable Missy Bindseil, Precinct 4 Justice of the Peace Debbie Bindseil, Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace Roxanne Nelson, Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd, Texas House District 20 Representative Terry Wilson, Precinct 3 Commissioner Billy Wall and Precinct 1 Commissioner Jim Luther, Jr.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

A standing room only crowd filled the Burnet County Courthouse Sunday, Jan. 1, for the New Year's Day ceremonial oaths of office for elected and appointed officials.

The new Texas House District 20 Representative, Terry Wilson, was on hand to congratulate the local officials. The Marble Falls resident, who won his spot to replace Marsha Farney in the Republican Primary, will be sworn in officially at the Capitol on Jan. 10.

No only elected officials were included. Almost the entire contingent of Burnet County Sheriff's Department deputies came forward to be sworn by new Sheriff Calvin Boyd.

Thu
29
Dec

Local officials take oaths of office Jan. 1

See the photos at The Highlander facebook page: http://bit.ly/1MZW51U

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

The public is invited to the ceremonial administration of the oath of office to Burnet County officials at 10:30 a.m. New Year's Day at the Burnet County Courthouse and to a 10 a.m. coffee reception that will begin at 10 a.m.

Each office holder will be sworn in, individually, by an official of choice; many by Burnet County Judge James Oakley.

Tue
27
Dec

Obama commutes sentence of Burnet County man

President Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of more individuals than the past seven presidents combined, calling it commitment to reforming the criminal justice system in a 'Nation of Second Chances.'

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor

The Highlander

A Burnet County man is among those who have received a commutation of sentence from President Barack Obama as the final days of the Obama administration wind down.

Larry Dwayne Hill, 42, of Granite Shoals was originally sentenced to 262 months imprisonment and five years supervised release when convicted Feb. 2, 2007, of aiding and abetting to conspire to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, aiding and abetting the possession with intent to distribute more than 50 grams of methamphetamine and two counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Under the commutation granted Dec. 19 by the president, Hill's prison term is set to expire on Dec. 19, 2018, provided he enrolls in a residential drug treatment program.

Mon
19
Dec

Boyd announces new chief deputy

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

In front of the Burnet County Law Enforcement Center Monday, Dec. 19, Burnet County Sheirff-elect Calvin Boyd is joined by his command officers for the announcement of new Chief Deputy Mike Cummings. Pictured, from left, are Capt. Ricky Bindseil, incoming Administrative Capt. Chris Jett, incoming Sheriff Boyd, incoming Chief Deputy Cummings and CID/SOU Capt. Dwight Hardin. Not pictured is Burnet County Jail Capt. Matt Kimbler.

By Glynis Crawford Smith

The Highlander

Burnet County Sheriff-elect Calvin Boyd introduced his choice for a new chief deputy Monday, Dec. 19, introducing Mike Cummings of Houston at a morning press conference.

“Mike Cummings has a great resume and he is going to be really good for the Sheriff's Office,” said Boyd. “There is a lot of excitement in the Sheriff's Office.”

Boyd, who won his post handily in the Republican Primary, will quietly take the oath of office at midnight on New Year's Eve to step into the shoes of retiring Burnet County Sheriff W.T. Smith.

He went on to enumerate the chain of command reporting to Cummings: Chris Jett, as the new administrative captain; Capt. Ricky Bindseil, continuing as patrol captain; Capt. Dwight Hardin, in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Special Operations Unit (SOU), and Capt. Matt Kimbler, in charge of the Burnet County Jail.

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