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AROUND TOWN News from the Community Library


A LOOK BACK C. Bud Stockton


PEOPLE Programs by Jarrell's Own Justice of the Peace




EDUCATION Igo Elementary Student Leaders


76537 LIFE Q&A About HOAs & COAs




PARTING SHOT Egg-cellent Adventure


ON THE COVER: Family Emergency Room of Georgetown provides personalized patient service & enhanced emergency care, without the wait, less than 15 minutes away.

28 5 Jarrell's original school building began serving students in 1916. Renovations included in the 2021 School Bond will allow it to serve again, for adult education and as a community meeting space.


Jarrell ISD and Sonterra MUD Propositions


Family Emergency Room of Georgetown

PARTING SHOT The Mom Tribe Jarrell mom's group put a new, modern spin on the traditional egg hunts for kids all over town. Pictured: Sawyer (14 mos) getting in on the hunt (photo by Brianna Briggs) A P R I L 2 0 2 1  M Y J A R R E L L M O N T H LY


EDITOR'S NOTE | CAMY REYNOLDS Published by Fidelis Publishing Group, LLC



Cathy Payne


Camy Reynolds

Camy is a native Texan and mom of three who has lived in Jarrell since 2009. She serves her community as a director on the Sonterra MUD Board, is on the board for the Jarrell Education Foundation, is the PTO President for Igo Elementary, and founded the local Facebook group Mom Tribe Jarrell that has over 700 members.

SENIOR WRITER Charlotte Kovalchuk CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jodi Cunningham • Greta Bauer GRAPHICS & DESIGN Zion Pistole • Ann Marie Kennon

For me, Spring is the most cheerful season. Beautiful, bold, and vibrant colors start to pop up everywhere as the outdoors begins to come to life. My kids enjoy more frequent bike rides on these long, sunny days, and we take full advantage of soaking in the beautiful weather. For me everything about Spring— the characteristics that make it unique among other seasons—brings extra joy and cheer that’s simply good for the soul. Several of our stories in this issue bring that extra joy; you can’t help but smile while reading them. The Igo Elementary Student Council saw a need in their school and worked together to fill a void that was felt by some of their classmates. It’s so inspiring to see their dedication and determination at such a young age. Their passion to help others is shaping a better tomorrow and a better Jarrell. I’m also thrilled there is a space in our community that helps bring those in Jarrell and Sonterra together and creates a sense of unity. The Jarrell Community Library is working hard to not only cultivate a passion for reading, but also provide resources that have an impact in the lives of those who participate in their programs.

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rudy Ximenez • David Valdez • Todd White SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR • Jenny Campbell ACCOUNT SERVICES • Debbie Tolliver ADMINISTRATION • Kristina Poché DISTRIBUTION • David Schumacher IT/WEBMASTER • Jesse Payne CONSULTANT • W. Ben Daniel

ADVERTISING Jenny Campbell 254-251-9167 (Cell) 512-598-6538 (Direct) jenny@myjarrell.com

My Jarrell Monthly is a Fidelis Publishing Group, LLC publication. Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved. My Jarrell Monthly is published monthly and mailed USPS, free of charge, to homes and businesses in the 76537 zip code. Mail may be sent to My Jarrell, P.O. Box 213, Jarrell, TX 76537.

Email: info@myjarrell.com 2

A P R I L 2021  M Y JA R R ELL M O NT HLY

I had the wonderful opportunity to sit down with Superintendent Dr. Toni Hicks and have a one-on-one conversation about the Jarrell School Bonds. Her passion and fire for our school district is motivating and contagious. You can’t help but get excited listening to her paint the picture of what the future looks like here for our children. It’s most certainly a bright future. “Eggs”tra fun is being had all across our area as moms and kids hide eggs and treats in each others' yards to celebrate this Easter season. No matter our age, we all enjoy little things in life that make us smile; beautiful weather, hidden surprises, and opportunities to make a difference.

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A P R I L 2021  M Y JA R R ELL M O NT HLY

by Ann Marie Kennon · annmarie@myjarrell.com


Bond Election • May 1


arrell voters have the opportunity to approve funding that will prepare the city and the school district to accommodate predicted growth that is, to some degree, already happening.

JARRELL ISD The Bond Committee presentation affirms the Jarrell ISD growth rate has nearly doubled over the past five years. Bond improvements will mitigate or prevent overcrowding that will otherwise occur in all of the District's schools by 2025. Demographers predict enrollment will increase from the current 2,314 to 6,799 by 2030. With this bond in place, the District would be able to repair and renovate aging facilities, and cover educational needs for the nearly 1,000 new homes expected, annually, for the next three years. The 2021 bond is made up of two propositions totaling $113.73 million, and voters can vote For or Against individually. Jarrell is already at the state maximum of $.50 allowed for school taxes, so with passage of either or both, the District's tax rate will not increase. As new homes and businesses are built, they are added to the district’s Taxable Assessed Value; i.e., growth will pay for itself without placing the full burden on residents currently paying taxes.

ISD PROPOSITION A $111.6 M School Facilities

 New Elementary School, PK-5th grade  Expansion for Middle and High School  Expansion for transportation facility; new buses  IT infrastructure upgrades  Enhanced safety & security district-wide  Land purchase for future school sites  Athletic improvements at the high school  Renovations for adult learning and community meeting space


Stadium Improvements & Expansion  Additional visitor seating and restrooms  Accessibility and ADA improvements See District ad, inside front cover

VISIT JARRELLISDBOND.COM AND VOTE The ISD bond website provides more details about the contents of each proposition, allowing voters to compare cost options with personal views on what is best for the community and make an informed decision at the polls. Contact Jennifer Bailey to schedule a presentation to your agency or group; Jennifer.Bailey@jarrellisd.org 512-746-2124 ext. 1005.

SONTERRA MUD The Park and Recreation bond propositions, if passed by majority vote, will allow the Sonterra MUD to sell bonds at an amount not to exceed 1 percent of the Total Assessed Value of the entire municipal utility district. These funds may be used to build trails, parks, basketball courts, fencing, splash pads, and recreation facilities. These bonds will not increase residents' yearly tax bill because the MUD’s current tax rate is sufficient to satisfy the bonds. For example, the Total Assessed Value of Sonterra MUD, as assessed by the Williamson County Appraisal District, is approximately $600 million; one percent of which is $6 million. This means the MUD has $6 million in revenue available, which may be used to build parks, trails, etc. MUD General Manager Andy Bilger says, "The great thing about these bonds is that the MUD can decide which recreational facilities they wish to construct over the next 20 years, and be able to sell bonds over the years to continue meeting the needs of the community."

AT THE POLLS: For bond elections, the state requires “THIS IS A TAX INCREASE” printed on the page. This is necessary because property taxes are correlated to bonds of any kind. In this case, the increase is $0.00. A P R I L 2 0 2 1  M Y J A R R E L L M O N T HLY




Family Emergency Room at Georgetown Personalized Patient Service & Enhanced Emergency Care



welcoming, personal greeting in a comfortable waiting area awaits patients who come to Family Emergency Room at Georgetown. The goal of this premier healthcare provider—located at 1210 W. University Ave in Georgetown, next to Walgreens—is to provide personal, patient-centered care that combines state-of-the-art facilities with caring attention. Their beautiful Georgetown facility is able to treat children and adults in a private setting that truly puts patients first. Dr. John Valentini, Dr. Ryan Prudoff, and Dr. Rick Daniels are all Board Certified in Emergency Medicine, and are well prepared to handle any emergency, from broken bones to heart events. The facility includes a seven-bed emergency center with a 24×7 Certified Impact Concussion Center, CT scanner, X-ray, and ultrasound, as well as rapid laboratory services. They also offer cutting edge cardiac CT scanning that directly visualizes heart vessels and can accurately determine early stage heart disease. Medical Director, Dr. John Valentini, provides outstanding administration, which allows his team to focus on patient care. “It is my hope that patients receive a level of care that will make stressful situations more comfortable. Patients deserve that personal attention.” To accomplish this, doctors and staff take time to build rapport with every patient, and every patient leaves with the doctor’s contact information; “We’re here to support our patients even after they leave,” said Dr. Valentini. In addition to his wealth of knowledge and experience, Dr. Ryan Prudoff brings compassion to Georgetown. “I wanted to practice personalized emergency medicine in an environment that would allow me to spend as much time with the patient as needed. This is an exceptional opportunity that allows me to truly focus on patient needs while ensuring an effective treatment plan.”


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Family Emergency Room at Georgetown is part of Family Hospital Systems. From day one, founders Dr. Henry Higgins, Dr. Nathaniel Greenwood, and Dr. Daniel Matulich’s mission was to create a place where caregivers could focus on their practice, and patients would receive the care and attention they deserve—with no wait times. That vision has inspired seven free-standing Family Emergency Rooms in Central Texas, including the Georgetown location, which serves the fast-growing communities in northern Williamson County. “We are honored to provide medical services to the Jarrell community,” Dr. Valentini says. “And to serve as a trusted community partner.”

EMERGENCY MEDICINE DURING A PANDEMIC Family Emergency Room at Georgetown offers drivethrough PCR COVID testing, rapid antibody testing, and an monoclonal antibody treatment known as Bamlanivimab, or “BAM,” in a designated separate area of the facility. Dr. Valentini added, "We ensure the highest safety standards are in place to provide a safe environment. Our facility maintains an exceptional standard of sanitation, including individual in-room and central HEPA filtration, UV and chemical sterilization, and fresh linens for every patient. This is our commitment to patient and staff safety in our effort to eradicate COVID-19 in our community. All of our physicians are fully vaccinated against COVID." To learn more about Family Emergency Room at Georgetown, call 512-6904590, email info@familyhospitalsystems. com, or scan the code to visit their website.


by Charlotte Kovalchuk • charlotte@myjarrell.com

Turning the Page on the Pandemic Jarrell Community Library Starts a New Chapter of Growth


espite a challenging journey over the last few years, the Jarrell Community Library is well on its way to becoming a cornerstone in a community that is fostering a cohesive culture in which residents uplift one another. The young library, now in its second year, has led by example by offering programs for all ages, including story time and crafts, Home School Hang Out, tutoring, book signings by local authors, art exhibits, ESL classes, a local writers’ group, traveling exhibits; and Senior Gals, Games, and Gab.

LEARNING EXPERIENCE While most libraries require about ten years from start to launch, Board President Robin Barfield says, “I’m proud to say we did it in five—and that was just with donations and a group of volunteers passionate about creating a community hub for a growing Jarrell." It all started in 2014 with one unlikely donor—a fourth grader named Hayley Warren. Hayley kicked off the fundraising phase for the library by opening a checking account at the Schwertner State Bank for the “Community Library of Northern Williamson County.” The previous summer, she wrote a letter to the City Council explaining that when school let out for the summer, it was difficult to find all the books she wants to read. Her family “has to drive all the way to George-

town to the public library, and some people in Jarrell don’t have cars. We need books to study or use our imagination. And it’s not just for kids; adults can enjoy reading and learning as well.” Jim Schwertner himself was on hand to show Hayley the vault where her money would be safe and grow. He also contributed $500 to the fund on behalf of the bank employees, putting Hayley’s first day total at $1,000. Thanks to volunteers who continued Hayley’s literary legacy, other Jarrell kids now have the chance to check out books right here in their hometown. The Jarrell Community Library celebrated its grand opening in May 2019 at the Sonterra MUD building in space still generously donated to date by the Sonterra MUD. The all-volunteer group says the venture was certainly a learning experience. “None of us on the board had a library background,” Robin says. “I knew the Dewey Decimal System existed, but I didn’t know how to use it.” Like the rest of the library team, she came to the project with a heart for books and community, one that kept her involved long after she thought she would. “I said I would give two months. That was two years ago,” she says. “It’s been a real labor of love.” The challenges volunteers have overcome over the last seven years are the same as those they face today—fundraising and awareness. “So many people, if they’re not connected through social media, do not realize Jarrell has a library. It’s hard to get the word out,” Robin says.

ACCREDITATION Another difficulty has been getting accredited by the Texas Library Association. Accreditation is an honor that not only provides a sense of legitimacy, but would allow the library to be eligible for more grants, inter-library loans, and an expanded collection. Board members also want to hire a part-time library director to help grow programs and increase hours. They have asked the City to assist with both initiatives but, Robin says, there has not been any movement yet. 2014: Bank President, Jim Schwertner looks on, while Hayley and her family complete the first deposit slip. 8

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ARO UND TO W N In the meantime, board members continue to work on winning City support, which is integral to accreditation, and the library is turning the page on the pandemic after reopening to the public over the spring break. Meanwhile, volunteers are working to restart in-person programs in early summer and, despite COVID, the library was still able to gain new patrons, “but not as many as we would have liked,” Robin notes. The library currently has 649 cardholders, and volunteers hope to double or triple that number in the next year.


photo courtesy Robin Barfield

 Check out the library at the Sonterra MUD building, 113 Limestone Terrace Ste. 500 in Jarrell, 11am-6pm Tuesday through Thursday, and 11am-4pm Saturday. For more information, call 512-5411036, email jarrelllibrary@gmail.com, or visit JarrellCommunityLibrary.org.  To help the library flourish, donate at JarrellCommunityLibrary.org/ donate or on the library’s Facebook page.  Shop at smile.amazon. com. AmazonSmile is a program that donates 0.5 percent of eligible Amazon purchases to a charity of the shopper's choice.  Volunteer: The library needs help with... • website development • grant writing • book shelving • evaluating donated materials for shelf-readiness • social media coordinating • cleaning • programs • occasional handyman/woman • office supplies listed on the library’s Amazon Wish List.  Spread the word on social media by liking and sharing the Jarrell Community Library’s pages and posts.

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by Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@myjarrell.com photos courtesy of Jeff Stockton

"If you need anything, just C. Bud."


ow that there is a shiny new highway sign on IH35, you may be wondering who C. Bud Stockton was, and why there's a loop named for him. Charles Allen Stockton (1931-2002), or "C. Bud" as everyone in Jarrell called him, was an embodiment of Texas. Father, veteran, and educator, cowboy and entrepreneur, community servant and business leader, and among those who put wheels in motion to ensure Jarrell would always control its own destiny. His son, Jeff Stockton, owns Stockton Real Estate at the same location where his parents owned and operated Bud's Western Store, which sold cowboy boots, blue jeans, and all things 'cowboy' in the 1970s.

" D A D WA S O N E O F T H E ' G O O D G U Y S .' T H E W O R K H E D I D B E N E F I T E D E V E R YO N E I N T H E CO M M U N I T Y — H E B E L I E V E D A R I S I N G T I D E H E L P S F LO AT A L L S H I P S ."

Jeff recalls, "C. Bud lived in the Houston area, but he was a visionary—proactive, and good at looking at what the future might hold for Texas regions. He anticipated Georgetown-Jarrell would be an area for good economic growth, and a great place to raise a family. We moved to Georgetown in 1967, then to Jarrell around 1970. At that point, Dad's businesses were doing well, he started the Jarrell Lions Club, got very involved with schools, and regularly sponsored FFA programs. He carried his Christian values with him always, and was the first person to sign up for benefits and fundraisers for churches, disabled veterans, the American Cancer Society, or anything else for a neighbor in need."

JARRELL, INC. In the 1980s, Bud realized Jarrell had grown enough to have its own real estate company, but as a keen businessman, he also diversified. "We built the Central Texas Livestock Auction," Jeff says, "and Dad was always working to bring business to Jarrell. Without an EDC, Dad was pretty much it, and among his recruiting successes was Al Clawson, who has made so many great contributions to Jarrell in his own right."

Jarrell FFA (circa 1977) Sponsored by C. Bud's Western Wear 10

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Recognizing both were continuing to grow, Bud canvassed the Jarrell community to gauge their willingness to incorporate, to keep from being annexed by Georgetown. Jeff says, "Dad told them, 'This community can either control its own destiny or it will be controlled by someone else someday; we will become a subdivision of Georgetown.'"

Growth continued and Bud asked again in 2000, with the notion that Georgetown was annexing frontage property on IH-35, which Bud knew to be potential revenue for the Jarrell community. This time, Bud, Jeff, and a few others did the research, found an attorney, personally surveyed and drew the city lines, and... Jarrell became a City. "Dad passed away shortly after but is remembered for his community service. He always felt fortunate, and enjoyed being able to raise a family and make a good living in Jarrell because this was the best place in the country, the state, and in the heart of the county."

When the County began planning for future mobility, Jeff and his mother and sister donated family land for what is now the C. Bud Stockton Loop. When asked, they donated more, and even built a new fence to protect the cattle that still grazed where the road would go through. Jeff says, "When the City realized the totality of the donation we made, they were kind enough to offer to name the road after him. It was a tremendous honor; I believe every leader we've had in this city has been a blessing, and I'm glad our city is very financially sound, thanks to good conservative values and management. I'm proud of what we have accomplished for a city our size."


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Making a Splash in the Community LNH Pool Service Offers Family Friendly Service


Allen, Kendra, and Emina

o understand how family friendly LNH Pool Service is, just consider its name and slogan. Both were inspired by owner Allen Hill’s daughters. He honored his late daughter, Lillyith Nova Hill, by using her initials in his business name, as well as a pep talk from his other daughter, Emina, which became LNH’s slogan: “We’re so cool, we rule by the pool.” Having that family feel is important, Allen says, because customers want to make sure they can trust the pool cleaner coming into their space where their kids might be playing. “It makes people feel more at ease if they know who’s coming into their backyard,” he says. That’s been his goal since January, when he opened LNH Pool Service in his hometown, Jarrell, a “friendly community that still has a small-town vibe, but is growing really fast.”

FOCUS ON CARE After working in the pool industry for 15 years and seeing companies lose their customer care focus as they grew, he decided to open his own pool business to give clients more personal service. “As pool companies grow, they tend to cycle out their pool cleaners and you find someone new in your backyard every few months. I’m a familiar face,” he says.


FOR YOUR LIFESTYLE Services include but aren’t limited to tile and filter cleaning, hot tub cleaning, and Green 2 Clean—in case your pool turns green from the Texas elements. For night owls and kids who love to swim in the dark, LNH Pool Service also offers a special solar light for safe night swimming. Overall, Allen says he wants to help people enjoy their backyard by assuming the burden to make sure their pool is safe and sanitary for swimming. “There’s more to a pool than adding chlorine and jumping in. It has to be sanitized properly,” he says. He invites homeowners to call or visit his website to learn more.

512-521-6621 LNHPOOLS.COM


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by Charlotte Kovalchuk • charlotte@myjarrell.com photos courtesy Williamson County • Office of JP3

Combining Justice with Compassion Judge Evelyn McLean Offers Program to Break Cycle of Citations

JP3 award: County Commissioners Terry Cook, left, and Cynthia Long, Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Evelyn McLean, County Judge Bill Gravell, Alan Bristol (county relations officer with the Texas Association of Counties), and Commissioner Valerie Covey celebrate the county’s victory in being one of the 2020 County Best Practices Award recipients during a Commissioners Court meeting.


s Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace, Evelyn McLean’s goal is not to dole out punishment, but to prevent the need for it in the first place. Through initiatives like Teen Court and the Financial Literacy Program, kids and adults in Jarrell and elsewhere in Williamson County Precinct 3 get second chances, and learn how to become successful citizens of our community. In Teen Court, high school “attorneys” defend and prosecute teenage offenders, and a teen jury sentences them to community service and jury terms. The Financial Literacy Program was inspired by drivers unable to pay their citation fines, and a compassionate judge who strives to break the cycle of repeat citations.


A P R I L 2021  M Y JA R R ELL M O NT HLY

Having noted a pattern among people who received repeated citations for driving without car insurance or a driver’s license, or with an invalid license, Judge McLean created the Financial Literacy Program. For many of them, some of the repeat citations were due to an inability to pay initial fines that, over time, compounded until the total reconciliation was unaffordable. The program launched with the help of the Financial Literacy Coalition of Central Texas and two grants totaling $107,000 from Experian. The free, one-hour class teaches first-time offenders general spending and budgeting tips to improve their financial stability, which, in turn, should help them avoid more citations. The defendant’s citation is dismissed once they complete the class. So far, the program has led to the dismissal of more than 1,000 cases.


The program has helped people of all ages and backgrounds, including many single parents and single adults, as well as college students and relatively new drivers just getting out of high school. “It’s clear to me that we don’t always manage our money as well as we should,” the Judge says. “I feel, if we can equip people with knowledge and skills to manage their money better, it will help in other places as well, not just with their driver’s license and insurance. It will hopefully keep them out of the court in the future. Overall, the community is a better place when our citizens are more financially stable.” In Class: After receiving a citation they couldn’t pay due to financial hardships or to avoid future driving The program caught the eye of record consequences, Financial Literacy Program attendees learn about money management to have the Texas Association of Counties, their case dismissed and avoid repeat offenses. which named Williamson County a 2020 County Best Practices Award Program. Judge McLean says the Financial Literacy Prorecipient for its Financial Literacy gram is easily replicable and that her office will provide Program. The success of the class inspired other county information on the program to any agency interested in officials and departments to adopt the program, includstarting a similar program. ing Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace Edna Staudt, Juvenile

Services, and the Williamson County Emerging Adult

You can learn more about the Financial Literacy Program by calling the JP3 office at 512-943-1501.

community service and jury terms. “It’s a win-win for all because young offenders get a view of the court system, but it is run by their peers, so it’s less stressful,” Justice of the Peace Evelyn McLean says.

GET INVOLVED A resident of Jarrell herself, Judge McLean invites readers to take advantage of the opportunities her office provides, to people of all ages, to help change lives. Teen Court is a great chance for students hoping to gain leadership and public speaking skills. The program allows high school “attorneys” to defend and prosecute teenage offenders, and a teen jury sentences them to

For adults, becoming a court mentor can be incredibly rewarding. Court mentor volunteers are paired with children who commit a minor offense, and help guide the youths in the right direction by talking with them once a week during the school year about issues they might be facing. They also give advice about things like getting a driver’s license. “As a former mentor myself, it’s extremely rewarding to get to work with a child and spend that time with them,” the Judge shares. “Often times I felt like I received more than I gave through that relationship.” For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Nora Rodriguez at 512-943-1570.

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A P R I L 2021  M Y JA R R ELL M O NT HLY

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Texas Wildflowers


Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@myjarrell.com

“ W H E R E F LO W E R S B LO O M , S O D O E S H O P E .” L A DY B I R D J O H N S O N


ver wonder why Texas roadsides are covered in bright wildflowers each spring? It’s just another great benefit to living in a state as big as Texas—the great diversity of land and climate types we have. “Everything’s bigger...” may help explain why there are more than 5,000 native flowering plants in the state. Wildflower season is typically late March through May, which is also when our state flower, the bluebonnets, are in bloom.


Yes, that is plural. In 1901, the legislature chose the Lupinus subcarnosus as the floral emblem, but some people thought it was the least pretty of the subspecies they found. After much debate, in 1971, the state decided all varieties of bluebonnet would be the state flower. Historian Jack Maguire explains, “The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the cherry blossom to Japan, the lily to France, the rose to England, and the tulip to Holland.” In all cases, the appearance of the flowers continue to pay homage to brave Texas pioneer women who wore bonnets to shield themselves from the sun.

W HAT MAK E S T E X A S “ T E X A S ” WHAT TO KNOW Experts say, based on our February deep-freeze, we can expect the peak of the 2021 season to be a bit later than normal, but, the bluebonnet watch has already begun in earnest. Where and when you can find the best views tends to change from year to year. Weather and local conditions play a big part in the bloom volume; a place that had a lush pillow of color last year isn’t guaranteed to provide a repeat performance. But, if you do hear about a great spot, don’t wait, if you can help it. A few days can mean the difference between peak colors and untouched grass, and fewer fresh blooms with footprints all around because everyone shared your stash.

BACKGROUND While she was First Lady of the United States, Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson promoted and lobbied for national beautification. Mrs. Johnson pushed Congress to pass the Beautification Act of 1965, known as “Lady Lady Bird Johnson 1977 Bird’s Bill.” That bill limited the amount of signage and junkyards on the sides of U.S. interstates, and encouraged scenic improvement. In 1965 she said, “Though the word beautification makes the concept sound merely cosmetic, it involves much more: clean water, clean air, clean roadsides, safe waste disposal, and preservation of valued old landmarks as well as great parks and wilderness areas. To me…beautification means our total concern for the physical and human quality we pass on to our children and the future.” The First Lady’s efforts were not just focused on Texas, but she did put a spotlight on wildflowers, which are ubiquitous here. Fortunately, the Texas Department of Transportation had been taking care of the state’s roadside wildflowers since 1934. Today, the agency continues to delay roadside mowing until after the wildflowers bloom, which means late Spring or early Summer.

TxDOT also scatters 30,000 pounds of new seeds on Texas roadsides every year; a mix of grasses and wildflowers that set up the Springtime blooms. They then schedule and time their strip mowing to foster native plant growth, including wildflowers.

IF YOU’RE TEXAN... While you won’t get your Texas card revoked for not getting the yearly bluebonnet photo of your children and family, you will certainly be missing out on this... sort of, required... annual pilgrimage. They are distinctive to the state and there aren’t many things that make you stop and stand still better than a sea of wildflowers. And, you don’t want to be the only one without swashes of blue on your social feed. Plus, getting out to the Hill Country and enjoying everything about being outside is a lot more fun than looking at other people’s photos, y’all. Lady Bird certainly deserves credit for spreading Texas’ love for roadside wildflowers to the rest of the nation, and while some may try to tell you it‘s against the law to pick or cut down bluebonnets, it is not. It is illegal to damage public property—like mowing a roadside— but a law that specifically prohibits damaging wildflowers is just legend. It’s just nice to leave the fields full of color for the next visitor.

A REAL BLUEBONNET LEGEND ...tells the tale of a Comanche tribe suffering after a bitter winter. The medicine men knew they would have to sacrifice their most prized possession to appease the Great Spirit. Overhearing their conversation, a young girl decided she must sacrifice hers—a little doll adorned with blue jay feathers. After everyone went to sleep, she burned the doll and scattered its ashes in the wind. The tribe awoke the next morning to see the hillsides blanketed in blue.

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by Jodi Cunningham • jodi@myjarrell.com photo by Bridget Jarrett

Igo "StuCo" Nurturing Leadership


nly in its second year, Igo Elementary School has hit the ground running, and has a thriving student council to prove it. These hallowed grounds now include 20 student council members, with four officer positions; President, Vice President, Secretary, and Historian (pictured*); elected at the beginning of the school year.

2020-2021 Student Council Officers • L-R: President, Vice President, Secretary, Historian

As part of their campaigns, each officer secured recommendations from two staff members, which, based on the plans and programs executed since the election, were well made. Individually, and as a group, they have demonstrated integrity, creativity, and commitment to the student body, the school, and its employees.

PROMISES KEPT Among the Council's most successful programs was a campaign to collect change to help students in need. Bridget Jarrett, Librarian and Student Council sponsor explained, "One of the 3rd-grade room representatives noticed some students who had to see the nurse to get a mask, or they wore the same mask, every day. When she ran for office, her platform included her idea to help purchase masks for the whole school. After she was elected, she shared her idea with the Council." The Council liked her idea and members placed jars in every classroom to collect coins. Each class was challenged to fill the jar, and winners for each grade level were determined by weight. After jars were collected and weighed, Bridget had the coins counted at Eagle bank, and reported a total of just over $1,200. Mask purchases are still in process, but Bridget says Council members have proven to be excellent stewards of the funds. They are also being very intentional in their shopping; choosing to budget their money for bulk items; a box of 50 "kid-sized" masks for each classroom.

In addition to the mask campaign, all of the officers and room representatives—20 in all—provide service to the school by picking up trash around the campus during their recess times as an ongoing service project. “They continually amaze me with their empathy and ideas,” she brags. “We are planning a bathroom cleanliness competition for after Spring Break, as well as a cereal drive in the coming weeks!” Bridget also spoke highly of 3rd grade teacher Rachel Gausemeier, who contributes so much of her time with the Student Council. Rachel says, “I have so enjoyed getting to see the ideas that all the kids come up with and how creative and service-oriented they are. They see the real issues, notice problems, then advocate for themselves and others.” When asked what their first experience in leadership has meant, the Secretary says, “I loved it. I would still like to have more lunch ladies and more salary for the teachers, but we know we can't really control that." The Vice President added, "The experience of getting to help people and the community makes you feel better inside.” The Historian says, “It makes me feel like a better person." And the Council President says, “We are proud of the coin drive and all of the money we raised. We help the students here, and that gives them the idea to spread helpfulness to others outside of school. It spreads hope and happiness.” The sky is the limit, young ones! Aim High!

T H E I G O S T U D E N T CO U N C I L W I L L P R O M OT E L E A D E R S H I P, F R I E N D S H I P, A N D S C H O O L S P I R I T W H I L E W O R K I N G TO M A K E I G O E L E M E N TA R Y A N D T H E J A R R E L L CO M M U N I T Y A B E T T E R P L A C E . *The school expressed a preference that we include their council titles rather than names.

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M A R C H 2 021  M Y JA R R ELL M O NT HLY

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76537 LIFE "76537 Life" is Q&A that is all about municipal details and information that will, over time, add to our knowledge base and help readers understand the differences between living in the city limits of Jarrell, the Municipal Utility District (Sonterra), and other associated neighborhood groups. While everyone in this zip code has a Jarrell address, we will address things readers may like to know about the variables within. As a new, or long-time resident, you may have questions like, “Why do I have a Jarrell address if I live in Sonterra?” or "Why can I vote for School Board, but not for Mayor?" and other similar topics.

HOA & COA • What's the Difference? HOW DO I KNOW IF I AM IN A COA OR THE HOA? Both Condo Ownership (COA) and Home Owner's Association (HOA) information is disclosed by the home builder and the title company at the time of purchase. Membership is not optional and is determined by the location of your home. A simple distinction is the road material at your home address. If your home is adjacent to a concrete road, you are in a Condo Association (there are two in Sonterra, currently). If you have an asphalt road, you are in the Home Owners Association. DOES THE HOA HAVE DIFFERENT RULES THAN THE COA? Both organizations provide protection to you, the homeowner, that with enforcement of CCRs by the HOA or COA, your property values will continue to increase. While rules between the COAs and HOA are similar in Sonterra, each is governed by a separate board and certain regulations or permissions may differ. DOES ONE COST MORE THAN THE OTHER? COA roads are private. As such, ownership requires a road fund, which is sourced by an additional $312 annual fee. Many COA streets include sidewalks. IF THE COA HAS PRIVATE ROADS, WHO MAINTAINS THOSE AND WHO PAYS FOR THE MAINTENANCE? COAs maintain their own roads via each COA's road fund. HOA roads are maintained by Williamson County. 24

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IF YOU LIVE IN A COA DO YOU STILL HAVE TO PAY THE MONTHLY $24 PARK AND REC FEE? Yes, the Park and Rec fee is a MUD fee to cover parks, the community pool, and landscaping. DOES THE SAME BOARD THAT OVERSEES THE HOA ALSO OVERSEE THE COAs? No. They have different boards (currently run by the developer) that will be made up of home owners from their respective sections/neighborhoods when certain criteria are reached (see next question). WHEN WILL THE HOA BOARD BE RUN BY THE RESIDENTS? When the developer has reached 95 percent completion of the project. WHEN WILL THE COA BOARDS BE RUN BY THE RESIDENTS? COAs will be handed over to residents this year, following elections held by each. Elections would normally have taken place earlier, however, they were delayed out of an abundance of caution over pandemic concerns. In an upcoming issue we will address some practical differences between living in a COA v. the HOA. Did you know that is legal to park on the street in some neighborhoods, but in others you may get towed? We'll bring you those details and more!

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I Need a Hero I

feel fortunate to have been able to hear Apollo 16 Astronaut Charlie Duke at the Williamson County Mayors’ prayer breakfast last month. The grown-up side of me is still thinking about the bravery he showed— not walking on the moon, which was extraordinary, of course—but by telling a room full of strangers about his personal failures on his journey to finding peace with God. I fail all the time, but I am in no mood to tell anyone about it. Given I am not scheduled for my first space walk any time soon, it’s not like I have that far to fall in anyone’s estimation, but I’m still not in a rush to shine a light on it. Speaking to an American hero in person, despite his mission being nearly 50 years ago, I couldn’t help but marvel at what he did, and how unfortunate it is that we aren’t honoring people like Charlie every day. No matter how many apps, gadgets, or planets we conquer, no other humans will ever be able to say they were Apollo astronauts. That said, there’s always the Leigh side of me that can’t do anything without amusing myself in the process. For instance, how does General Duke keep from responding to people who want to brag about, literally, anything, with a bit of a wink? “Oh, you have two million followers on Instagram? That’s nice. I don’t post many pictures but there is one photograph, lying on the moon, of me and my kids.”   “Yes, that is a nice Rolex. I don’t really go for brand name stuff, unless you count my hometown wanting to name an elementary school after me. My friend Buzz Aldrin has one in Virginia.” “Oh, you created Facebook? That’s pretty cool; I ‘created’ a parking spot on the moon when I left the lunar rover there.” Conversely, we know his tenacity wasn’t always about super-achievement.  “Hmm, I spent 71 hours on the moon when I was 36. It was kind of challenging to know


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where to go in my career and my goals after that, but go ahead and tell me about your mid-life crisis.” As classy as General Duke is, I’m sure he never said, or even thought, any of those things, so I’m happy to be sassy for him in retrospect. Naturally, one need not walk on the moon to be a hero to Leigh. I also have great admiration for any person who can read a disagreeable social media post without flaming the poster and calling him/her a bunch of socially trendy -ist names. I also love every adoptive parent, ever. Particularly the foster mom in Texas I just heard about who adopts orphans in need of organ transplants because they are not eligible for treatment unless they have a home. She is equally prepared and fortified to care for children who will have a lifetime of special needs, or whom she may grieve as quickly as they become family, just to give them the chance.   I might be good enough to gift someone a kidney, but she is next-level love. No contest.   My point, I guess, is that I don’t always subscribe to the worldly view of heroes. There are probably thousands of people worthy of our praise and thanks, and we will never know them because they don’t do it for Likes. Some days, the bravest thing I do is open my e-mail. Someone is always upset at something and it appears I’m never going to grow a writer’s thick skin. Honestly, I don’t know how people truly in the public eye get out of bed in the morning. Outside of that, I suppose I could confess that half the stuff I do as a mom, I do for Likes. But, just from that one kid, and I’m only successful about 50 percent of the time. So, like Charlie, I will continue look to the universe in wonder, and be grateful for the little blue ball that seems to be hanging in the blackness of space. And I will also be grateful there are still many blobs of carbon-based matter on it, however unfamous, who have the Right Stuff. To you, I say, “Godspeed.”


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by Camy Reynolds · camy@myjarrell.com

Egg-cellent Adventure

Above: Brinley (7), Walker (5), and Colt (3) prepare to "egg" their first home. Top: Sebastian (2) and Xavier (7) prepare for the hunt in Sonterra (photo by Alex Munoz) • Bottom: Alexis (6) on the hunt! (photo by Bianca Copeland)


he "Mom Tribe" is a Facebook group for moms and friends in and around Jarrell. Last month, moms and kids had a "You've Been Egged" eggstravaganza in celebration of the Spring and Easter seasons. The adventure begins when one family receives two addresses from the list of those who would like to participate. The kids then "egg" the yard and home exterior; i.e., hide a dozen eggs for the


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hunt. Once all the eggs are found in their yard, the "egged" family picks two more addresses from the list and repeats the eggstravaganza. The moms started with more than 40 addresses, and were still adding to the list at press time. Kids all report that it is just as much fun to "egg" the houses as it is to discover that their own house has been "egged" and it's their turn to go on the hunt!

P.O. Box 213, Jarrell. TX, 76537


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My Jarrell Monthly • April 2021  

My Jarrell Monthly • April 2021  

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