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       I have to start this week’s column with a correction. Sea Doo raffle winner Chris Heerlein did NOT buy 3,000 tickets, as I thought I had been told; he actually bought $3,000 worth of tickets. That means that he had just a little more than one tenth of the tickets, so winning the Sea Doo was not at all a sure thing. Still, I’m told that his purchase was the biggest in Aqua Boom history, so I’m glad he won (and if that “fact” turns out to be wrong, I’ll let you know next week!)

John Hallowell, Editor       I have been very happy with my paper’s circulation lately; I rarely have to pick up even close to ten percent of the papers I put out, and I think that more people are reading the Highland Lakes Weekly than ever before. In addition to the actual printed papers, there is an online flip-through edition posted every weekend, and I’m hearing from more and more people who read it. And this past week, Facebook informed me that I had 42,914 “post engagements” (whatever that means) on my Aqua Boom albums. I want to say “Thank You!” to everyone who pays any attention whatsoever to my efforts; you make me feel that I’m doing something worthwhile, and that thought gives me great satisfaction.

Photo of the Week

       Now that I’ve got so many people paying attention, it really seems like a shame to announce that I am taking my annual vacation in three weeks, and that there will not be a paper on August 4. I don’t count that against my tally of consecutive deadlines met (I’m at 318 now); there just won’t be a deadline that week to miss.

       Of course, my business is still very new compared to a lot of the other businesses in the Highland Lakes area (especially in Llano and Burnet). I am told that the First State Bank of Burnet will be presented with a Texas Treasure Business Award from the Texas Historical Commission (THC) during the Burnet County Commissioners Court meeting on Tuesday, July 25, for its 109 years of providing employment opportunities and support to the state's economy. First State Bank is the first Burnet County business to receive the award; it was chartered on October 5, 1908, and has served Burnet and surrounding communities ever since. It was first located in the two-story brick building on the southwest corner of Pierce and Jackson Streets (on the square); it has been at its present location since 1964.

       A brand-new business in Burnet has almost as much history. It is The Napping Mouse, at 304 Main St. The building (built in 1915) had been used for storage the entire time that I lived in Burnet, but at one time it was home to Hern’s Meat Market and the Debo family’s Cowboy Café. It has been beautifully renovated by new owners Danny and Berenice Dugain (see photo on page 12), and should be visited even if you are not in the market for cards, gift wrap, scrapbooks or stationery (or at least didn’t THINK you were!) The most striking feature of the store is a 1915 wall mural that was uncovered during renovations; another fascinating exhibit is a copy of a photo from local historian Darrell Debo, showing employees and furnishings of the Cowboy Café.

       Back to the present, Highland Lakes United Methodist Church will be having a fan donation drive through the end of July; fans will be distributed through Sharing the Harvest in Kingsland.  If anyone wants to donate, fans can be brought to the church near the intersection of 1431 and 29 in Buchanan Dam (Fuzzy's Corner) between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday.  Please help those in need.

       And in the very near future, a Firewise Communities presentation has been set up for July 15, from 10 am to noon at the First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall in Marble Falls. Burnet County ESD No. 6 and the Marble Falls Area Volunteer Fire Department invite everyone interested to come and hear about local solutions for residents in reducing, managing and preventing fire losses. Call 512-567-3204 for more details.

       On Tuesday, July 18, Llano County Commissioner Mike Sandoval will hold a Town Hall meeting will from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Kingsland.

       The Burnet County Historical Commission is hosting a regional training session by the state's Texas Historical Commission in Burnet from 8:30 to 4 on Thursday, August 3, at the AgriLife Extension Building (607 N. Vanderveer).  The session is free and open to all, but advance registration is required (find the commission online or call 512-463-7812).

       The next production at the Hill Country Community Theatre will be “9 to 5: The Musical” (July 20 through August 6), but the theatre is already planning for “Senior Moments” (opening September 21). Auditions will be held Monday, July 24, and Tuesday, July 25, at 7:00 PM at the theatre in Cottonwood Shores. “Senior Moments” is a poignant and hilarious view of aging. There are multiple roles for seniors and adults. For more information, please call the theatre at (830) 693-2474 or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

       CASA will begin training a new group of volunteers on August 1. If you’d like to learn more about this good cause, you can call 325-388-3440 or look for Casa of the Highland Lakes online.

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