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Photo of the Week       Since I still can’t afford Christmas cards for everyone (and because I won’t be publishing a paper next week), I’m using this week’s paper as a substitute card, and wishing all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
       I believed something I read on the internet last week, and wrote that there would be a community Christmas dinner at the Red Barn in Buchanan Dam. From what I’ve heard since then, I think that was wrong. I know that Joel and Rose Deupree, who had done most of the work for the past fourteen years, announced their retirement last year. I don’t think anyone has been found to take their place; I haven’t seen the usual flyers put up around town, and I’ve heard third-hand from someone who is probably right that there is not a Christmas dinner this year.
John Hallowell, Editor       There are probably other dinners planned somewhere around the Highland Lakes, but I have not heard; there IS a dinner planned at the VFW Hall in Burnet for 1 p.m. on Christmas Eve for active duty personnel, veterans and immediate family members. To RSVP or learn more, call or text 830-956-8786.
       Speaking of Christmas dinners, I read somewhere that a researcher claims that “eating a salad every day could help keep your brain young.” I’m very sorry to say that I have conclusively disproved that theory; in fact, the many salads I have eaten did nothing at all to help my brain, which decided several years ago that it was too old to work full-time any longer.
       That’s one reason why I decided to take a “staycation” next week; I think a break from my regular duties would be beneficial to my health. The other reason is that I think I may be able to get my Kingsland history book done if I take a week (when there’s not a whole lot of public events going on anyway) and focus completely on the long-overdue book.


       So I won’t be covering the Christmas Eve events (and probably not many of the New Year’s Eve events). This week’s paper will be almost completely Christmas pictures, and the January 5 paper will probably have a lot of construction pictures instead of my usual community event photos.
       I did manage to finally finish my series of history articles from 1917 Llano. I had no idea it would take this long, but I timed the last installment (Christmas in Llano 100 years ago) pretty well. You’ll see that article on page 6.
       I don’t usually cover events in Brady, but Tracy Pitcox (who does such a good job with the Llano Country Opry, and has such a loyal following in the Highland Lakes area) asked me to mention that there will be a New Year’s Celebration on Saturday, December 30 and Sunday, December 31, at the Brady Civic Center in Brady. Tickets are on sale at www.heartoftexascountry.com.
       Faith Academy is proud to announce that a “cornerstone” lead gift from Ray and Rebeca Britton of Horseshoe Bay will make possible the construction of a new athletics complex.
       The three-phase expansion, which will span Faith Academy’s rural campus east of Marble Falls, is estimated to cost $5.9M. It will include a football field, track, softball field, baseball field, gymnasium, tennis courts, and additional parking. According to Nunnally, they expect to break ground on the football field, track, and additional parking area in early 2018, and their goal is to be completed with all three phases of the athletics complex within 12-18 months. Faith Academy also plans to construct a new elementary building by 2021.
       I remember when Faith Academy was still in the planning stages, and a few of the organizers held a “press conference” (maybe 2001?). I wished them well, and gave them some positive publicity, but I wondered about their chances of success. A few years later, my youngest daughter was going to school there; in the years since then I’ve seen one improvement after another, and heard all kinds of success stories. I am impressed!
       That’s probably all I have space for right now, so I’ll sign off. Have a Merry Christmas; I’ll be back next year!

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