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Republicans Moving Forward to November by Ann Marie Ludlow

Williamson County’s Republican nominee for County Judge is looking forward to walking arm in arm to the ballot box with his fellow nominees in November. Judge Bill Gravell says, “I am humbled to be the Republican nominee, and I look forward to working and serving in public office with the best in the state. I am proud to stand beside them for this momentous election.” Judge Gravell referred particularly to fellow nominees with Democratic challengers in the November general election; Congressman John Carter, Brandy Hallford (County Court #1), Evelyn McLean (JP3); "One of the hardest working people I've met", and Cynthia Flores (TX 52), "Cynthia Flores is very spunky and is the future of this party. I know Judy Hobbs and Dain Johnson are all hardworking and the races are going to be exciting." He says he is proud of the races each ran and reminded attendees at the recent county convention to consider the party standards moving forward. “We will honor Ronald Reagan’s 11th commandment to speak no ill of fellow Republicans but, also, we are going to speak ill of no one else. We do not honor God or Texas to say disparaging things about candi-

dates or elected officials." Gravell challenged attendees at the convention, and especially those on the ballot, to be kind in what they say and only talk about who they are and what they offer rather than tearing down other people. At the podium he assured the assembly that he will personally hold people accountable for doing so and will call them out publicly. “It is time that we all start looking out for each other." On the campaign trail, Judge Gravell says he has no plans to change his platform or do

anything different in the general election. “I am not charging anyone to do anything different to support me and I will continue to stand on everything I’ve said for the past year. People are coming back from the primary race and supporting the party nominee as they should.” The candidate is continuing his race for public safety, leadership and fiscal responsibility. "A county with 1,700 employees and 550,000 citizens should have a good leader. We need your prayers, your help, and your

financial support. I am excited to be through round one and headed, together, to the final bell." While he continues to stay above the negative press of the primary race, he is not unaware of the effects it had on the party and the electorate, and joked; "There were a lot of people who did not like Donald Trump in the primaries and claimed they would never get over it. But, they still call him 'Mr. President.' I want to say thank you to all the people who supported me in the primary and for those who did not, I so much

look forward to gaining your support this fall." Gravell affirms that while primaries are individual races, the general election is a team sport and, "People will see our team come together in a way that is honorable, stunning and exciting. But I want people to be vigilant; anyone who takes these fall elections for granted is a fool. We must work hard to win." Judge Gravell has already met with his Democratic opponent, and they have agreed to run an honorable campaign based on who they are and what they stand for. Gravell is also planning to work closely and appear with all the candidates and says people can look for some exciting things to start happening around July 4th. "I want people to get to know those they elect and their impact. Voters are sick and tired of complaints that are nothing but mudslinging. We want voters to turn out, so we will be inspirational." He also encourages voters to be ready to vote May 7 for city elections. "These entities have greater taxing authority than the county, and those races count for a great deal. There are good conservative Republicans running for those offices, so please get out and vote them in." Visit to help.

The Culture and Class of John Carter by Ann Marie Ludlow

Congressman John Carter has been serving and leading in Central Texas for more than 35 years. From 1981 to 2002 he was Judge of the 277th District Court and admits, at that time, he had no desire to run for Congress. On September 11, 2001, he decided to leave a job that he loved for one of the toughest in the country. After

witnessing what he believed to be the most blatant criminal act on United States soil since Pearl Harbor, he decided the victims—and America— should have someone on Capitol Hill who knows how to deal with criminal activity and hold people accountable. With 20 years’ service, including many high profile cases, Carter believed he was up to the job, “I always thought when you elect someone to

go 2000 miles away and cast a vote on your behalf, you should know what he’s done and the promises he has kept before you send him there.” Now running for his eighth term, John Carter is keeping his promise to be a good leader, work hard in the best interests of his district, and take care of the country at the same time. To make the most of the trust his district put in him, Carter wasted no See Leadership, A10


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Politics PAGE 2


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GEORGETOWN CITY COUNCIL • MAY 7 ANNA EBY How long have you lived in Georgetown? What do you love about it? I have lived in Georgetown 17 years. I love Georgetown's distinctive character and feel, as well as its natural beauty. I love that, despite the growth, Georgetown is still a place where you know your neighbors and where you run into your friends around town. Please describe the background and education you believe qualifies you for this position. I have an undergraduate degree from Southwestern University, where I learned

how to think critically and consider varying points of view. I received a law degree from Baylor Law School, where I learned how to read, analyze, and understand vast amounts of information in short periods of time, think on my feet, and stay cool under pressure. I have put these skills to work as a trial

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attorney for the last 10 years and as a law firm owner the last 3 years. These skills are all important qualifications for serving on City Council, as are collaboration, independent thinking, open-mindedness, and most, importantly, the ability to listen. Have you served on or participated in any other offices, boards, commissions or non-profit organizations? I currently serve on the Animal Shelter Advisory Board, the South Georgetown TIRZ, and the Clean Air Coalition Committee of the Capital Area Council of Governments. I have previously served on the Georgetown Transportation Enhancement Corporation and as the chair of the Historic and Architectural Review Commission. I am a co-founder of two nonprofits, one of which rescues animals in need and one that provides disaster relief to Texas families. What do you believe City Council is doing well, or could be improved? What plans do you have to continue or correct these? I believe City Council has done well at consistently lowering the tax rate, approving good budgets, and focusing on key issues, like managing growth responsibly. We need to continue to develop and consistently implement policies relating to growth and development, as well as continue to focus on ways we can innovate and think “outside the box” to address the opportunities and challenges we face. I believe we also need to increase our awareness of the less fortunate in Georgetown, and focus on how we can more effectively provide services and partner with other entities to address unmet needs, such as affordable housing and viable transportation options. I plan to prioritize and focus on those issues, in addition to pushing for the reinstatement of our ethics ordinance and Ethics Commission.

MARY CALIXTRO How long have you lived in Georgetown? What do you love about it? I was born and raised in Georgetown. I love that I can still name families, remem-

ber landmarks that once were, and sitting and talking on the square at 10pm with my kids. Please describe the background and education you believe qualifies you for this position. I graduated from Georgetown High School; married and raised six kids. In all those years I have been working and helping people in my community, volunteering at church and different organizations. Five of our children graduated from GHS and the youngest graduated in the inaugural class of East View High school. I also provided professional support for my husband to help run his business. Have you served on or participated in any other offices, boards, commissions or non-profit organizations? For five years, I served as a First Responder while working at Tellabs. I was the Coordinator of Hispanic Parents in Action for two years and on the Board of Directors of Getsemani for 18 years. I have been the Hispanic Ministry Coordinator at St. Helen's Catholic Church for eight years and five years on the Neighborhood Conference Committee (Truancy Program). I participated in the GISD District Performance Council for one year, also the Servicios Bilingues for one year and last year I co-founded the Southeast Georgetown Community Council. What do you believe City Council is doing well, or could be improved? What plans do you have to continue or correct these? I believe Council could improve outreach to community leaders. I plan to be accessible as much as possible and be intentional in scheduling outreach to the community.

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Editor Cathy Payne Senior Writer Ann Marie Ludlow Graphics & Design Elysia Davis Distribution Tom Higgs Address of Record: 181 Town Center Blvd. Suite 500 Jarrell, Texas 76537 512-746-4545

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The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of The Advocate, administration, staff or contributing writers. The views expressed in all letters to the editor and signed opinion articles are those of their authors. All letters to the editor must include a name, address and phone number for verification. Anonymous and unverified letters to the editor will not be printed. The Advocate reserves the right to edit letters for length and journalistic style, and has a recommended length of 300 words. "To know the will of God is the greatest knowledge, to find the will of God is the greatest discovery, and to do the will of God is the greatest achievement." ~Author Unknown

Politics PAGE 3


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GEORGETOWN ISD TRUSTEES • MAY 7 Georgetown will be voting for school board trustee positions May 7. GISD has a seven-member Board; each serves a three-year term. Trustees are elected at-large by voters and do not represent a specific geographic location. Places 6 and 7 are up for election this year.

Gonzalez for Place 6 Marcos Gonzalez is running for the open seat in Place 6 to replace Greg Eady, who is not running for re-election. Gonzalez and his wife were born and raised in Georgetown. After some time in the Ozarks, they came back, he says, "Because I always knew I wanted to. I love this place and I am happy to raise my children here." The Gonzalez family has one student at Annie Purl and one at Wagner. Marcos is on the board of the Georgetown Education Foundation, a nonprofit committed to ensuring the students, educators, staff, and parents in our Georgetown public schools are afforded exceptional academic and social opportunities to maximize personal achievement. He has also been involved in the Georgetown community as a multi-sport coach. He has coached softball, basketball and flag football and enjoys being a mentor for high school students. "I have worked with many kids our are transitioning out of high school and need direction. I wanted to help at an earlier phase; help them prepare for big life changes while they still had time to be flexible in their planning. The School Board is the ideal place to do that." His wife teaches Criminal Justice at East View High School and he believes

her transition from juvenile services to education has brought their whole family closer together. "She has the patience and heart for kids and always wanted to help. We both feel like mentorship has grown on us and within and this election is a natural next step for me. I want to be in a position to be a greater advocate and affect more kids from every perspective." Gonzalez says he is also eager to assist and support teachers in the ISD as well. "Many of our friends are educators so I understand their priorities and concerns, while simultaneously understanding the priorities and needs of parents." He believes safety is top of mind for many families and that GISD is doing an excellent job of communicating programs and progress. "I think people still want to be more aware and I would love to create and be part of that transparent body; with insight as part of the board but also the voice that connects families with the system." Gonzalez is also well-connected in the business community and looks forward to forging new partnerships and support for school success.

Stewart for Place 7 Ben Stewart has been a member of the GISD Board of Trustees since November 2016 when he was appointed to fill the Place 7 seat. In the five years he’s been a Georgetown resident, Stewart, who has two daughters at Carver Elementary, has taken an active role within multiple levels of the GISD system; as a volunteer from the onset, then serving as the PTA Treasurer and later the President of the PTA at Carver, as well as a member of a district committee. Stewart’s experience at Dell played a key role in his focus on enhancing technology integration within the GISD, and he was active in the formation of the Citizens Advisory Committee which was integral to the passage of a recent bond that included a great deal of technology. "I am always looking for more technology; not just gadgets but integration in the learning paths and technology as part of the curriculum. We can always do more."

As a committed proponent of Community-Based Accountability, Stewart also actively engages with the district, community and constituents for accountability and focus. Regarding achievements in his first term, he believes the Board is handling the growth of the district very well. "We are pleased that our community is very supportive of bond elections and the subsequent infrastructure to keep our campuses safe and effective." The Citizens Advisory Committee is currently looking at growth and will make recommendations. Stewart says the Board is looking at additional bonds

and being strategic about passing them. "We were entrusted with a $160 million package in my first term and we saved $10 million so far. We want residents to know that we are good stewards of their tax money. And, thanks to our consistent growth, if the current CAC asks for a bond, we can pass up to $130 million without tax implications." Stewart added that the Board is focusing on the southeast quadrant of the city, which accounts for 50 percent of the development and the Board is prepared to accommodate those numbers. "We have made Georgetown a great place to live and people are coming." He also encourages all residents to vote. "In small elections, a few votes matter and your school board and city council have a direct impact on your tax dollars." Early voting begins April 23 and elections are May 7.

Jones for Place 6 Stevie Nicole Jones is running for the GISD Board Place 6 because she wants to bring greater diversity, transparency and equal rights to all students and parents across the district. "I feel strongly about those issues because while I believe we do many things well. I think transparency and communication is a big concern in the District." Jones says families feel a lack of full communication with regard to good and bad news. "I have seen a lot of frustrated parents who want to know the details and the ins and outs of what is going on in the District." She believes in light of frequent acts of violence in schools and against children, it is especially alarming, and the feedback she gets is that parent's want more than just a declaration that "you can trust us" to have a plan. "People today don't want assurances, they want to know what the plan

is, or at least participate in a forum of some kind where they can receive concrete information and provide feedback." Jones works in finance, but previously spent more than a decade in the classroom as an elementary school teacher. "I began teaching as a senior in high school and have always been a strong advocate for early education. It is one of the primary priorities in a child's life and I believe that experience will be fundamental to my effectiveness on the board. I can approach concerns and projects from that classroom

perspective." Jones believes that education experience sets her apart from her opponent, who is also in the finance sector. "We are both savvy when it comes to money, but I have classroom experience and I have always considered community service a part of my life. I have taken advantage of many opportunities to advocate for others and work for community projects and neighbors since I was a young person. Being on the school board was not a sudden decision; I believe it is a natural next step in contributing my experience with and compassion for children to help my community grow and improve." For more information or to donate to her campaign, visit her on Facebook at Stevie Jones For GISD School Board Trustee, Place 6



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Expanding Education is a Family Affair

Over the past decade, the increase in private school enrollment has been spurred by several things. The majority report wanting their school to provide instruction in a particular faith or value system. Others prefer a smaller school, and some were looking for a safer environment or better discipline than the available public schools. Fortunately, in Georgetown and Jarrell, Kids' Zone Learning Center is one of those schools and they are expanding another grade level because their first grade families want to be able to stay for another year. “We knew our first graders were interested in coming back again,” owner Whitney Hicks says. “The need was there, it’s a fun age and gives us the opportunity to complete those important K-2 years that prepare kids for testing and greater

challenges that come in the 3rd grade.” The 2nd grade teacherto-be and head teacher at the school is McKenzie Teer, a certified educator who has been teaching for many years in private and public school, and is in her second year at Kids Zone. "I was born to be a teacher. It's the best thing after being a mother, and I live for those moments when I see the light bulb go on in a child's eyes." Kids Zone teaching is based on the ABEKA curriculum, which is a Christian-based program that encompasses math, reading, science and social studies from a Godly perspective. It is heavily influenced by phonics and very rigorous. All classes use a method of spiral review and teach standards as well as necessary TEKS skills so students will be prepared when they

Sisters McKenzie Teer and Whitney Hicks on the playground at Kids' Zone Jarrell.

reach 3rd grade. They also learn Bible verses and incorporate them into science and social studies. Teer says, "These kids are judged on themselves and their peers here, not the whole county or state. We test and assess to make sure they are where they should be on their grade level." Kids' Zone is proud to have unanimous positive feedback and believe their class parents are part of a large extended family. "The kids are happy and they talk out feelings using sensory tools that make them feel empowered." The school is accepting applications now and Hicks encourages parents to schedule a tour to get a first-hand look at their facilities and meet Teer to talk about the program. "To know her is to love her. God put us here for the symbiosis that will make this school even greater." Visit

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Williamson County PAGE 5


Community Library Seeks Support

Meals on Wheels Champions for Senior Independence

Creative Economy at work in Jarrell The previous two centuries were heavy on manufacturing and technology. The 21st century is more about creativity and innovation— the world of information in your pocket—so where does that leave libraries? First, it's not news that Williamson County is a rapidly growing community and many are working hard to keep up with services, education and amenities. Not the least among these is the Community Library of Northern Williamson County, which has a small group of dedicated board members and supporters working to find or build one. Second, while this planned facility will still have books and videos, the modern role of libraries is providing informal education in a safe space. Members of the community can work with emerging technologies for essential services or participate in the innovation that drives our economy. President Julia Dade says, "We have

a long way to go but having a place where the past, present and future come together to serve the residents is worth it." The Board is reaching out for local and regional support to lease or build a facility that will provide more than the standard library materials; literature and movies. There will be public wi-fi connections, business services, emergency shelter, community meeting rooms, visiting scholar series and possibly an amphitheater for outside performances. "These services are critical for individuals who otherwise do not have access to research materials or Internet connections to apply for jobs, classes or benefits," Dade says. Costs for leased space or construction of a new building as well as operating costs will be substantial. Some will come from grants and government entities but local contributions must demonstrate community investment in


the project. They are organizing volunteers and fundraisers in the meantime to provide opportunities for individuals and businesses to be a part of the process and get some positive exposure in the process. Donations of books, computer equipment, office supplies, silent auction items, or event services are welcome. Cinco de Mayo fundraiser May 5th at the American Legion Post 317 in Jarrell 7pm–midnight. Dinner, dancing to live music, Silent Auction and

MAY 5, 2018 CINCO DE MAYO DINNER & DANCE 7:00PM - MIDNIGHT $25 per individual / $30 at the door

50/50 raffle. Business sponsorships and silent auction opportunities are available. Ticket information on Facebook at Community Library of Northern Williamson County Businesses or individuals interested in helping contact Julia Dade at 512-943-8301 or Robin Barfield at 512-496-7956.

Above: Volunteer Trish Trofe, Commissioner Valerie Covey, and Julie Sharifian (Cong. Carter's office) • Below: Sheriff Chody, MOW client Julie Gonzalez and Julie Sharifian Meals on Wheels of Williamson & Burnet Counties celebrated March for Meals with a Champions event at the Madella Hilliard Center in Georgetown. Elected and community leaders were invited to champion the need for seniors to live independently and age in place by providing nutrition and well checks on a daily basis. March for Meals brings visibility and awareness that seniors should not be forgotten. MOW of Williamson & Burnet Counties serves over 170,000 meals each year in five congregate centers and to home bound seniors. Sheriff Robert Chody did a delivery ride-along with volunteers. "This is an opportunity to reach out and help our fellow community members. I have a mother and if she ever has that need, I love that my own community will be there to help her. I'm back for my second Champions Week; I'm inspired by the work they do; it does my heart good."

Presented by The Community Library of Northern Williamson County Join us for a fun charity dance and dinnerWHERE: to raise AMERICAN LEGION money for a public library in the Jarrell Community. POST 317 With your support we can fund the Jarrell 201 Library with E Fm 487, Jarrell books, classes, new technology, and more!! Call usMORE to get FOR INFORMATION: your ticket today! Julia Dade- President 512-943-8301


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Georgetown PAGE 6


GPD Out and Around Town L-R: Jack, Caleb, Noah, Derrick, Ellie Jean and Sgt. Duncan start their Safety Center tour

A Blue Birthday

The Georgetown Police Department continues to set the standard in community outreach. Georgetown officers make a consistent effort to support and demonstrate trust with kids and Captain Evelyn McLean volunteered to provide a very special and unique experience for 8-year-old Jack's birthday party. Sgt. Dale Duncan gave Jack and his friends a full tour of the Safety Center, let them climb around the cruiser and even try on his handcuffs. Their only disappointment was that the jail cells had glass walls instead of the bars like the ones on TV and in the movies. Jack received a special gift "Blue" to celebrate his big day and par-

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ents report the kids are still talking about their special visit.

Assistant Police Chief Roland Waits and firefighters Roland Azua and Jonathan Gilliam manned the drive-thrus at the Austin Avenue McDonald’s March 30. On Good Friday, McDonald’s restaurants throughout Central Texas partner with The 100 Club of Central Texas to give a portion of their sales to support all of the area’s first responders. McDonald’s has been a partner of The 100 Club of Central Texas for several years. Each year the event raises approximately $14,000 for Central Texas first responders. Volunteers and first responders visit as many area McDonald’s locations as possible to help raise funds. The money raised on Good Friday allows The 100 Club to be the first response for first responders. The Club provides financial assistance and support for families of first responders who are critically injured or killed in the line of duty. Support includes immediate assistance and scholarships. They serve peace officers, firefighters and EMTs in Bastrop, Bell, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties. They also provide memorials for K-9 animals that die on or after active duty and help with funds for cremation and services with full honors. The Georgetown crews worked the lunch crowd from 11am-2pm and agree that fighting fires and bad guys is probably easier than the lunch rush. With new respect for the challenges of retail food service, all were pleased to meet customers taking a break from the Spring weather on what was a holiday for most. To donate to the 100 Club or join, visit

Business PAGE 7


Cross-Town Social Multiplies Chamber Reach Chamber Celebrates Ambassador Anniversary

Georgetown Chamber Membership Coordinator Christina Tomaszewski, Jarrell Chamber President Regina Wharton and Liberty Hill Chamber President Rick Hall. Officers and members of four local chambers of commerce met at CookWalden Davis in Georgetown March 29 in the second Cross-Town social to help members make new and bigger connections outside their immediate areas. The event included officers, members and a few elected officials from Jarrell, Liberty Hill and Leander, and focused not just on building business but also the inter-relationship between the many chambers in the county. Newly elected Jarrell Chamber President Regina Wharton said, "We're all still growing, the county in general and individually in

our cities. Working in the aggregate helps everyone." The Social is the brainchild of Georgetown's membership coordinator, Christine Tomaszewski; "Too many new members expressed a concern that while membership is a value purchase for their business, it was difficult to pay for multiple chambers to gain greater networking and visibility opportunity. Since I'm from Chicago where our two baseball teams cross territories to play games, I decided to bring other chambers into other territories to do the same thing and it's been very well-received. It's a way to help small businesses make

big connections and also for the chambers to work together as a team to build all business in Williamson County." Tomaszewski says networking events like these are another value proposition for companies trying to stretch their advertising dollars between multiple channels, and word of mouth is still the best way to build a business. She plans to hold socials at least annually and, ideally, quarterly and will "mix it up" with different cities to provide fresh contacts for new and growing businesses. Contact Christina@ for info.

Christian Brothers Automotive in Georgetown celebrated one year under new ownership with a customer appreciation party and an official ribbon cutting hosted by the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce to recognize their membership. Owner Keith Guyton, surrounded by family, cut the ribbon and talked about services; major to minor repair, oil changes, inspections and his amazing staff. "I appreciate the opportunity to earn all of your business and we are pleased to be a part of this wonderful community of Georgetown." Christian Brothers has become a Owner Keith Guyton and wife Mauri (top) were surrounded by friends, valuable communifamily and chamber members to celebrate the milestone. ty partner; offering free oil change days for School to teach kids the basics of car care; single moms and military wives. They offer changing a tire and checking the oil. complimentary rides to and from the shop Chamber Membership Director Christine for customers and owner, Keith Guyton is Tomazewski was pleased to welcome the a motivational speaker and mentor for local Guytons, who immediately signed up to be youth. The management and staff also plan Ambassadors. to provide free classes at Georgetown High

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If you’re from Georgetown, then you know probably remember the names Jerry and Coco Honnell. If not, you certainly know their food. The Honells owned “The American Bistro” in Georgetown for years before moving to Round Rock to up their game. And up it, they did with the acquisition of Lucky’s Chicago Style Grill. To know something about this unique couple means to understand their background. Jerry harkens from New Mexico, where he grew up in a decades-old family restaurant featuring New Mexican specialties. Honnell says, “Growing up in the restaurant business, my father taught me to cook from a young age, and he only knew one way to do anything—the right way. He never skimped on ingredients or anything else it took to make food the very

best it could be. So that’s what we do now.” If you knew Honnell is Georgetown, you’d recognize his signature made-from-scratch burgers. People drove from miles around to get them and the eclectic variety he created. As a New Mexico native, his Green Chili Burger rivals any you’ve tasted.

Honnell proudly notes, “Of course we roast our own peppers. It improves the taste tremendously.” At Lucky’s Chicago Style Grill you’ll find the gambit of authentic Chicago specialties. From Dogs, Brats and Polish Sausages to Italian Beef Combos and Meatball Subs, all are made from original Chicago-style

recipes using authentic ingredients including Vienna Beef and signature bread. If you like Portillo’s, you’ll love Lucky’s. Dogs are steamed; sausages are steamed and grilled; and all the fixings are the exact same brands you’ll find anywhere in Chicago. “This is a family business,” says Honnell. We understand how important your business is, and when you come here we’ll treat you like family. And, if you can’t come to Lucky’s, let Lucky’s come to you. Delivery is available using Ubereats and If you need a taste of the Windy City for an event, Lucky’s will cater your heart’s desire. “We work hard to make sure our customers are 100% happy, and we appreciate their business. We encourage you to come and ‘try a little piece of Chicago right here in Texas.’” Visit for the full menu.

Education PAGE 8


Public Schools Doing Texas Proud

Dr. Marsha Farney (above) has always been an advocate for education excellence in Texas. She has been a teacher, trustee, Board of Education director and a Texas legislator and has combined her years and diverse experiences into a research consulting effort that shares student success in public schools across the state. Texas Public School Proud is a research organization born out of Farney’s three-fold mission to celebrate student success and achievement in public schools across the state. One principal motivation is to correct what Farney believes is a misconception that Texas public schools are failing. “Individuals at the capital have called it an epidemic and most people are

unaware of how well we’re really doing. It’s positive, not political.” Second, she believes the data and news repository she is building will be instrumental in demonstrating to Texas taxpayers that their money is being well spent in the public education system. Third, her compilation will show potential partners or sponsors the strong correlation between community support and school success. “We have three high schools in the state, including Georgetown HS, that have aerospace engineering programs and have actually built and flown a plane. Granberry ISD is building F1 cars and racing them. We are not just consumers of great technology, we are producers.” Aside from the mission, the work itself—finding, interviewing and spotlighting superlative student achievement—has brought great joy to everyone involved. “People need to be aware of the amazing accomplishments. We have fifth graders in Burleson ISD who worked on a science project called ‘The Kidney Stone Conundrum’ and came up with a process to dissolve kidney stones in space. Most people aren’t even aware that zero gravity causes unique health prob-

lems and 11-year-old Texas geniuses created a solution for astronauts on the International Space Station. Farney highlights all the advances being made with 3-D printers; “Children as so much more creative and it’s amazing the things they come up with. Students are making prosthetics for human and animal use; they are creating things to help people and the only limitation is their own imagination. With these printers, you don’t need hundreds of items, just one box of material that can be printed into hundreds of things in any location.” Texas Public School Proud is furiously researching and posting stories from all over the state and they have a podcast that has thousands of hits every month. “We are gaining momentum,” Farney says, “We always feature an exemplary student or an expert in a field. Some of our shows have more than 1500 listeners and I am so proud to bring about a change in the misconceptions of our success. Plenty of people see our athletic triumphs but now we are also celebrating STEM, fine arts, foreign languages and all the students leaving high school with college credit or certifications to go right into professional technical jobs.” Farney intends that taxpayers around the state will understand the student success in public schools outside of their own districts. “Too often, people don’t know where their tax dollars are going but I want to show everyone that,

2018 Service Academy Nominations

among other things, our SAT scores are above average and our dropout rate is very low; below 2 percent. I want to show that our investment in public education is paying big dividends and if we have a reduction of funding in public schools, we will not be able to offer so many great four-year or integrated professional and arts programs. So we are highlighting the balance between and among STEM, technical and professional students who will be self-sufficient and financially independent tax-paying citizens. We are showcasing a rich, dynamic curriculum that lets students think outside the box. ” Dr. Farney is continuing to grow her non-profit at, on Facebook and Twitters and continues to add ambassadors and communication channels every month. “Our only limitation is our ability to visit and speak to more than 1200 ISDs in the state. We hope to get the word out and that the news will come to us too.”

Congressman John Carter (TX-31) has begun the TX31 United States service academy nominations. “One of the many honors I have as the representative of Texas’ 31st Congressional District is nominating the best and brightest for an appointment to the military service academies. The desire to serve one’s country is commendable, and it is a privilege to work with these students as they complete the process for an appointment. I look forward to continuing the tradition of nominating our rising stars,” Congressman Carter said. Visit Carter.House.Gov/ service-academy-nominations/ for an application packet, deadlines, and additional information. Applications must be received by Oct 10, 5:00 pm CST to advance. The Nomination Board will hold interviews for applicants in November.

Education PAGE 9


One-Day Academy Gives Students Best of Both Worlds

by Ann Marie Ludlow

As more and more families nationwide choose non-traditional education programs, organizations like One Day Academy (ODA) are growing in numbers and strength. Founded to provide good value—and Christian values—to homeschool families, ODA is a viable and valuable opportunity that keeps parents and students in the driver's seat. The program provides a campus and congregate learning for home-schooled students, who attend one day per week at one of 17 local (and growing) campuses. Founder and Director David Swarbrick (pictured) has created a program with more than 170 courses appropriate for students equivalent to 3rd through 12th grade. "We do not have grade levels here and

all courses are available for students who wish to race ahead or learn at a comfortable pace." He says enrollment has a bell-shaped curve; most are in the equivalent of middle school and most of his high school students are also taking college level courses elsewhere as well. Course curricula include traditional academic content in the sciences, English, history, etc., and academic electives, like American Sign Language and economics. There are also classics like rhetoric and Latin, all the way to fine arts and Tae Kwon Do. "We believe we have or can provide anything our students want to learn," Swarbrick says. Students and parents choose courses based on need or preference. "Many of our parents feel comfortable teaching their children in elementary-level subjects, but paying by the hour for tutors when children advance can be prohibitive. At ODA, classes work out to about $6.50 an hour for small groups, so students can still ask all the questions and get the specialized attention they need."

Another benefit of ODA is the exceptional faculty. "Our teachers all have degrees in their field, two-thirds have graduate degrees and we employ 12 Ph.D.s." Bottom line; having instructors with advanced degrees in an academy setting means if your student is ready for calculus in the 8th grade, they have an expert ready to teach it. Swarbrick was a youth pastor for eight years and a quite-content math professor at UT. He began tutoring in 1998 and by 2003 was tutoring over 400 math students. "Parents began telling me their students wanted more than math," so in 2005 he opened his first campus, hired seven teachers and welcomed 100 students. Swarbrick says he never imagined the path his life would take but says; "This is a great student body and I love working with them. I love what I do and I enjoy the adventure of doing something I never expected. I am eager to continue developing and adding to the program." ODA is now in 23 locations across the state and boasts more than 2000

students. He is also training others in the ministry of ODA to spread the mission and the opportunity. "It takes about 18 months to develop a campus and we consider ourselves educational entrepreneurs who partner with kids for great opportunities." Swarbrick added that the program is also compatible with some special needs. "We have many high-functioning students who are thriving here because everything about our campuses is predictable and very well-planned. Every student knows what is expected in and out of the classroom." Academy fees start around $50 per class per month, which primarily

covers operation costs. "We focus on teaching rather than tracking and testing but I am pleased to know that our seniors are getting into the colleges of their choice, and we average seven merit finalists every year." Swarbrick reports great feedback from students who enjoy seeing friends and he has a 95 percent retention rate. "Home-schooled students are now in demand at colleges because they are graduating in unparalleled numbers, have lived a lifestyle of accountability and have been trained to work independently." ODA does not do standardized testing but, Swarbrick says, students

typically test 1-1/2 to 2 years ahead of expectations. ODA conducts interviews to ensure parents and students know what is expected and what they can expect with regard to discipline, faith activity and supervision at home. "Kids must be supervised when learning and we want commitment. We don't tell students what to take, but we do have a pace and an expectation of excellence." ODA also provides summer classes as a means to give students a peek into the learning environment or just enjoy some summer enrichment. Classes for summer and the next academic year will be posted April 15 at

6th Annual Chase the Chief

Despite cloudy skies and a few downpours, Georgetown ISD's 6th Annual Chase the Chief was a huge success. More then 1300 registered for the Chief's Challenge, Fun Run and 5K; all designed to get kids and families off the couch and focused on fitness.

Georgetown Police Chief Wayne Nero says, "It's not really about chasing me, although that does motivate some. It's about chasing your best time and highest level of fitness. We want people to look at what they did last year at this time and try to do even better."

Top: Assistant Chief Cory Tchida with Georgetown Troop 64 • Above: Jurnee is in 2nd grade at Carver Elementary and worked hard at the Chief's Challenge

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time becoming a principal among leaders, and has moved into ever-greater leadership roles since he arrived in Washington. While in his freshman term, and on the advice of long-time representatives, he ran for and was voted onto the Steering Committee that determines in which committees the majority members will serve and who will chair. "The big job was to find a place where all 26 freshman members could serve effectively and also satisfy their desire to achieve. I was able to get everything my class wanted, so in my sophomore term I was rewarded with a bump to the Appropriations Committee; a post most people wait ten years or more to reach.” In his sophomore term, Carter was also elected Secretary of house/majority leadership; "In that role, I worked on big projects I felt were priorities and was able to attack and change the attitudes of bureaucrats, including forcing [Democrat] Charles Rangel to pay his income taxes." Today, Rep. Carter is in his sixth term as Chair of Homeland Security Appropriations, which gives the 31st District a stronger voice than most; "All members of Congress are respected but, as leaders, we get the inside story; more access and responsibility. I am lucky and have been diligent, right from the start, about staying in leadership roles for that purpose." All of the Committees he serves on are high priority subject matter in District 31. As Chair of Homeland Security Appropriations, he is able to lead with respect to border security and immigration control; two things, he says, rate high in voter concerns. “I will continue to fight for Texans, defend our border and fix our immigration system. I was part of a bipartisan—and secret—‘miracle’ committee for two years that created a comprehensive reform plan. Twenty Republicans and Democrats met to see if we couldn’t fix it without killing each other and we got it done. The House wasn’t ready for it at the time; at that time it was not the will of the Hill. But it is a good plan, it has strength for law enforcement and compassion for the people, and ultimately, I believe when the time comes, we will be able to implement it.” Outside of defense, the Congressman has a background in commerce, justice and science. He went to bat in Salado when highway construction put a halt to so much business, and state representatives were in

and out of office; i.e., unable to get anything finished. He also forced a policy change that allows the VA to pay for civilian organ donation to Veteran recipients. “I met a soldier whose son was a match for his transplant, but the VA would not pay for his son’s operation. It was unreasonable to force a Veteran to rely on a 1 percent chance of finding a match within the Veteran ranks, and, further, that it would be within the prescribed distance to be viable.” Currently, Carter is working on a program that will provide private sector certification based on military training that will enable veterans to get jobs upon discharge without going through redundant or expensive re-training. Alternatively, troops will have the flexibility to get specialty civilian training while still on active duty, to shorten the time before they can be hired in the private sector. “An easy example," he explains, "our medics are qualified to be EMTs the day they get out and we should allow them to do so without a lag in training or pay. We don’t want to see any of our talent going to waste, even for a short time.” He is also working on security in the virtual world. "In the aggregate, the three subcommittees I am on do about 80 percent of the work on this nation's cybersecurity. As leaders, we are obligated to know a little about a lot and have the resources to hire and manage the best experts in the field. Just like when I was a judge, I wasn't a doctor, but I heard from the best in the field when we needed medical testimony." Congressman Carter's list of accomplishments is long, and will share his plans and platform issues over the next six months so voters may get to know how important it is for us to have consistency and experience casting those votes on our behalf. And, while clearly influential at the Capitol, he remains present here in the home District because that is his first priority. "I am not an absentee congressman. In 16 years, I have spent only five weekends away from home because I love my wife, my family and my Texas. I want to be in touch with the places and the people I represent." Learn more at Carter.House.Gov.


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Advo-Pearls I'm not a wise person, so I can't take credit for most of the pearls I live by. I am, however, smart enough to have remembered them because I have found myself chewing on the rough side of my own foot on many occasions when I've said the most wrongest thing. First, always go to the funeral—for anyone you know—if you can. People who never met my father came to his services out of respect for me and it is those people I recall vividly because it was a warm surprise to see them. It meant little when people told me "It gets easier." But my boss at the time, MGEN Tony Studds, said "Just know that every day when you wake up, you will have a few more moments of peace before you remember to be sad." That was concrete information I could use. When I find out someone is suffering from a recent loss, I always ask them to tell me their favorite story about their lost loved one. Or what was your favorite thing about him/her? What did he/she love to do most? Bringing to mind the love and happiness is a relief, even momentarily, from grief and that person is likely to remember that you brought some cheer. My friend Tod gave me help on gift giving. I was struggling to find a gift for a new boyfriend that would mean something (i.e., impress him). Tod said, "If you don't know yet what is important to him, give him something that is important to you so he will think of you when he uses it." The

boyfriend turned out to be a sociopath but Tod is still my friend and his advice is still good. It is also handy when you've known someone a long time and have run out of cool ideas. Next, it never hurts to stockpile canned questions or responses if you've found yourself back-pedaling with a red face in the past. I've been on the receiving end of an awkward question or two so I have conversations in my head all the time to avoid the same mistake. When people ask me how old my grandson is and I reply He's my son and he's 8, I usually follow up with "Parenthood turned my hair white early" or something similar. Thus, when I see an adult and child together, I never presume to know their relationship and simply say What a cute little boy/girl, you look happy together. Recently I had occasion to visit with a couple, older than me, who have no kids. I didn't ask but I'm sure they have been asked a million times "Why not... didn't you want them... couldn't you have them?" I figure that conversation always included pity if they couldn't, or mild guilt if it was a choice. I decided to just say "Well you are so great, you make everyone feel like family." I've complimented them and deflected from kids entirely. When I was a military wife, people said all kinds of stupid things. I love my husband too much to let him deploy; or—my favorite—I know how you feel, my cousin's husband is deployed. (Oh yeah, that's exactly the same.) In that case, it's perfectly proper to go with the standard, "Thank you for your sacrifice and his/her service" because unless you are or have been a military spouse or parent, you really don't

PUBLISHER'S CORNER know how it feels to watch scary news alone every night. I had occasion to be friends with WWE Smackdown champion John Layfield. He was also a finance guru who had a regular spot on Fox News and his pearl was profoundly helpful in my younger years. "When you get out of college, or any time, look around the home you grew up in and resolve NOT to go out and duplicate that in a hurry. Your parents took 30 years to earn that and you'll just dive into debt if you try to do it any faster." One thing I am proud to have taught myself is how to recognize, acknowledge and be grateful for the things I am *not* good at. Realizing that I am a Do-er and not a Decider saved me from banging my head against a wall throughout the second half of my life. Back when I was an EMT, I possibly, literally, saved lives by not being in charge or making decisions, and just performing important tasks as instructed. I was not meant for leadership or C-level jobs because I think best deliberately and creatively...not decisively or on my feet. The latter ended in frustration or failure so I finally decided to quit trying, and focus on things I do well. Not swimming upstream was a huge relief. Connecting what I am good at has made me supremely confident in my ability—in the right time and space—to create, execute and produce great things. I no longer waste time trying to be something I'm not. It's quite liberating. So, while my pearls will not make you rich, or necessarily happy, I hope maybe they help someone avoid a future random awkward moment. That's a pretty nice reward too.

Stewart Will Continue the Good Work at GISD by Mike Payne

Ben Stewart has been a member of the GISD Board of Trustees since November 2016 when he was appointed to fill the Place 7 seat left

vacant by Ronna Johnson. Then, Stewart was elected by voters in May of 2017. In the years he’s been a Georgetown resident, Stewart, who has two daughters at Carver Elementary, has taken an active role within multiple levels of the GISD system; as a volunteer from the onset, then serving as the PTA Treasurer and later the President of the PTA at Carver, as well as a member of a district committee. Stewart’s experience at Dell played a key role in his focus on enhancing technology integration within the GISD, and he was active in the formation of the Citizens Advisory Committee which was integral to the passage of a recent bond

that included a great deal of technology. As a committed proponent of Community-Based Accountability, Stewart has demonstrated that he will continue to be a Trustee who looks to the district, community and constituents for accountability and focus. Considering his experience and demonstrable dedication to the interests of the students and the District, Stewart is unequivocally the right man for this job. The AdvocateNewsTX Editorial Board endorses Ben Stewart, and strongly believes he should continue in Place 7 on the Georgetown School Board of Trustees.

Join in Honoring



WHAT: Come join the Carry The Load Relay team along the West Coast Route of the 2017 National Relay. Meet us at the Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown to greet the relay team on their stop in Georgetown. To register as a participant and find our more go to and click on Memorial May Rallies.

WHERE: Williamson County Courthouse 710 S. Main Georgetown, TX

SCHEDULE: 7:30 AM Coffee and Donuts served by SportClips and Walmart 8:00 AM Carry The Load Relay Team and The Parade arrives at the Courthouse led by The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association of Ft. Hood. - Colors Presented by The Son’s of the American Revolution - Invocation by Veteran, Father David Peters, Assistant Rector of Saint Marks Episcopal Church - National Anthem Sung by Caroline Manning - Pledge of Allegiance is led by Master of Ceremonies Ted Acheson, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919 - Music by Georgetown Fire Department Pipe and Drum Corps - Opening Remarks by Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross - Comments by Veteran Todd Boeding, Carry The Load - Music by The East View High School Choir - Comments by John Augustine, Commander of The Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919 - Comments by Veteran, Williamson County Sheriff, Robert Chody - Comments by Gordon Logan, Vietnam Veteran and Founder of SportClips - East View High School Choir sings God Bless America - Vietnam Pins awarded by John Burkhardt, Military Order of the Purple Heart Chapter 1919 9:00 AM Carry The Load Relay Team departs and led by The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association of Ft. Hood

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