There may be a cold snap or two still in store, but the rivers are flowing and bluebonnets are growing in Kingsland (this photo was taken on Tuesday, February 21 at Drace Vacation Camp) and all around the Highland Lakes area! Spring is a wonderful time in the Highland Lakes area, and some great events are planned for the next two months. Some of those events are listed in the “Upcoming Events” article, beginning on page 2.
I had a great weekend, celebrating my 60th birthday with several family members, but I have a bunch of “business” items that I want to mention, so I’ll try not to ramble.
The deadline for registration in Central Texas College’s free classroom-training for plumbers is February 24. If you are an early reader of this paper, you may still be able to call 830-265-8754 and reserve a spot. It sounds like a great deal; I hope it will benefit many in the Highland Lakes area.
My friend Hoss Anderson will be hosting his Fish Head Karaoke program from 6 p.m. to whenever at the Brass Hall in Marble Falls on two Thursday evenings in March. The dates are March 2 and March 16.
The “KATTL” band from Bandera, which won top honors in the “Battle of the Bands” at last fall’s FiestaJAM in Marble Falls, will be back to open for Cameran Nelson at the Uptown Sound Theater on Friday, March 17.
A free Weather Spotter Training class will be conducted by the National Weather Service (NWS) from 5:30-7:30 pm. on Tuesday, February 28, at the Llano Public Library. As technologically advanced as our modern detection systems are, we still depend on actual people telling us if it is hailing in their neighborhood and how large that hail is, or if a specific area has received an unusual amount of rain in a short period of time. This information helps to save lives and property and is an easy and effective way any citizen can contribute to the greater good of our community. This training happens only once per year and is free of charge. Even if you do not want to be a “spotter” the presentation is fun and informative and well worth the time spent.
County Commissioner Mike Sandoval (Llano County Pct. 3) will hold a town-hall meeting from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21, at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall in Kingsland so residents can share ideas, voice concerns, etc. Light refreshments will be served.
The Llano Library has several events planned for next week. At the free technology class (3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 21), you can learn “How to Save money Using Online Services: Groupon and Living Social.” At the “Website Basics” workshop (5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 22), you can learn how to create and manage your own website. And at the next “Back to Basics” workshop (5:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 23), you can learn how to build and improve your garden soil. Call 325.247.5248 to R.S.V.P. for these workshops and to learn about future events (Or visit www.llano-library-system.net)
The Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation (MFEDC) has partnered with the Rural Capital Workforce Solutions Board to receive a grant that will bring close to $30,000 in TWC training funds here, matched by an even greater investment by the city. Funds are available to provide nearly 200 hours of Central Texas College credit courses for 12 plumbers and 12 electricians. The first course begins the week of February 20 for 12 plumbers. Each course requires a commitment of two 3-hour evening classes per week over a period of several months. Individuals must be 18 years old and eligible to work in the U.S. Call 830-265-8745 or 830-385-2601 for more information and to register for the program. Training for 12 electricians will begin in the summer.
Sixty years ago on Valentine’s Day, The Llano News had several interesting stories on its front page. One headline announced a planned new post office (the one that’s still in use today) at the corner of Berry and Sandstone Streets, on the southwest corner of the courthouse square. Postmaster A.P. Box reported that the new building would be a 3,000 square-foot, one-story masonry building equipped with air conditioning and fluorescent lights. It would be a big improvement over its predecessor (location not mentioned), which was only 1,926 square feet. The previous building had housed the post office for 17 years; prior to that, the post office had been “on East Main Street, in the Dr. Darnall building where the Deluxe Barber Shop is now.”
The other big story that week was a possible deal to begin large-scale mining operations at Iron Mountain, near Valley Spring. A mining firm had purchased surface rights to the property of Mrs. E.S. Larremore, about a mile west of Valley Spring, where large quantities of iron had been mined “many years ago” from a lode estimated to be 865 feet long and 121 feet thick. Mining had been resumed during World War II. The mining company had a contract to “supply magnetite to a large oil company,” and was expected to employ about 75 workers for two years.
A small news item reported that 150 Llano County residents had taken advantage of the “new” polio vaccinations, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk. Dr. Dan Hoerster announced that “all the local doctors have the vaccine, and are offering it to all Llano County children up to 20 years of age and to pregnant women” for the discounted price of $1 per shot. Any other adults would have to pay the full price.
It’s really not my fault that my coverage of Groundhog Day was limited to a few lines here. The people who organize this kind of things should consult me before they schedule their events on a Thursday. Seriously, one of the several reasons that I chose to have my paper printed on Thursday is because there usually isn’t that much going on, and I thought I’d have time to get all my papers delivered each week before the next week’s news got started. Because of that decision, Thursday is the worst day for me to be running all over the countryside taking pictures. So I was chagrined to realize that February 2 was a Thursday, and I wouldn’t be able to cover either the Armadillo Day festivities in Bee Cave (a throwback to my Hill Country magazine days) or the Donkey Day event in Bertram.
The Highland Lakes Weekly is basically “closed” on Thursday mornings because I end up working most of the night on any given Wednesday. I usually (but not always) start work at noon on Thursday, and I try to be in Marble Falls by 1 p.m. to pick up my papers from the printers. Then I deliver papers as fast as I can (which varies depending on how wide awake I am), and the only events I usually cover on a Thursday are those which happen along my delivery route: I’m usually in Kingsland from 3 to 5 and Llano from 5:30 to 7, and anything else before I finish up in Marble Falls again around 9:45 p.m. means leaving at least a few stops to add to my (more relaxed) Friday route. On some weeks I feel amazingly productive, but on others I feel quite inadequate. But that’s my business plan, and I’m sticking to it; sorry I don’t have armadillo or donkey pictures!
I do have several pictures of the Llano Bridge in this paper; that’s partly because it is there whatever time I am, but partly because it is a unique and important part of Llano’s history and identity (and the only way to get across the river!) I was living in Llano when TxDOT announced plans to replace the bridge, and I remember the group of leading citizens who persuaded them to renovate it instead. I appreciate them more as I learn more of its story (see page 6). It is a real historical treasure.
Not to change the subject, but the LCRA has announced that the refill of Lake LBJ will begin this Friday, February 10. It should be back to normal by next Monday. It will take about 1.07 feet of water from Lake Buchanan to refill Lake LBJ. For more information, visit lcra.org/lakelowerings.
On June 4, 1936, Llano had gone for nearly a year without a real bridge, and high water in the river had repeatedly rendered the temporary “low water crossing” impassable. A front-page story in The Llano News told how Postmaster Will Collins had felt compelled to walk across the flooded crossing (rather than risking his car) to get some important documents from a postal inspector who had come from Austin on the train. The article said “he slipped in the swift, deep current. He was carried 50 or 60 yards down stream before he managed, unaided, to set foot on terra firma.”
The contract with Austin Bridge Company had set a deadline for completion of the bridge, and on June 4 there were only “30 working days” (with allowances made for bad weather) before the company would incur a penalty of $75 per day until the bridge re-opened. Another front-page story reported that “Riveting of the first span has not been completed, but meanwhile the erection of the second span, which was interrupted by high water, has been resumed.”
And speaking of “riveting,” a riveting story (pun attempted) just below that one told about a steel worker from Austin, named Gene Germany, had been injured the previous week. “With a bucket in hand, the past Friday morning, he was snatching red-hot rivets out of the air as they were slung almost the length of a 200-ft span from where the forge stood. One pitch either went wild or Germany failed to catch. It struck a beam and bounced back on his head. The red-hot metal burned through his hair and laid open his scalp. Blood was splattered freely about the neighborhood. Friday afternoon, with his head swathed in bandages, Gene Germany was back at work.”
It seems to me that, not long ago, February was one of the “slow” winter months. I’m pretty sure that things slowed down for me in the middle of December when I first started this paper, and didn’t start getting really busy again until at least the beginning of March. It’s not that way anymore!
I tried to get everything in my Upcoming Events article, but since I finished those pages a few hours ago, I’ve come across quite a few other events that should have been in it. I’ll try to catch up here.
But first, I want to draw your attention to the ad for CelesteCare of Llano, on page 9. If you’re not one of the first readers of this week’s paper, the Open House and Ribbon-Cutting will already be over. CelesteCare wants you to know that you can arrange for a tour even if you missed the public event. Just stop by or give them a call.
And I also want to mention something I found on Facebook. I was introduced to Facebook several years ago when my sister informed me that we could play Scrabble online. Then when I couldn’t fit all my pictures in the paper, I was delighted to find that I could upload huge albums to Facebook, and anyone could see them at their own convenience. Recently, I’ve discovered that there is a fascinating and/or horrifying political world on Facebook, and it seems less like a blessing. But the other day, I saw a speech by one of the actresses in the new movie, “Hidden Figures.” It was so uplifting that I decided I had to see the movie; that evening I noticed the marquee on the Lantex Theater, which said that it would be showing there at 7:30 on Friday (also 4 and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday). I have nothing on my calendar yet for Friday evening, so I hope to go and see the movie!
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Highland Lakes Weekly
P.O. Box 911
Kingsland, TX 78639