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News-Dispatch Volume XXXIX No. 44
Serving Western Hays County, Texas since 1982
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Landowner wins $230K Kinder Morgan settlement BY MOSES LEOS III
From the moment he purchased 53 acres of property in Blanco County two years ago, Matt Walsh knew that’s where he wanted to build his dream home. Those dreams quickly turned into a nightmare
when Walsh fought Kinder Morgan’s attempt to carve part of its 420-mile Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP) through his property. It was one of the first condemnation hearings involving the PHP in the Hill Country, a project that could impact Blanco, Hays and Caldwell counties.
While Walsh eventually won a $233,500 settlement Aug. 6 allowing Kinder Morgan to use the land – 11 times more than the firm’s initial appraisal – he is now looking to chase his dreams elsewhere. All the while, Walsh remains frustrated with Kinder Morgan, with whom he
felt lacked transparency in the process. However, Alan Fore, Kinder Morgan Vice President of Public Affairs, refuted claims of a lack of transparency, adding the company plans to appeal the settlement.
KINDER MORGAN, 2
“It was so unrealistic on how they (Kinder Morgan) determined compensation and they don’t take into account how many trees you lose, or a creek that might be destroyed or dealing with construction for two years.” –Matt Walsh, land owner in Blanco County
Wimberley council votes to dissolve Short Term Rental committee
Making 290 safe
Officials discuss regulating cell phone usage
BY EXSAR ARGUELLO After a year of work, the controversial Short Term Rental (STR) Committee in Wimberley will conclude its services after city leaders Aug. 1 voted 3-2 to deny a one-year extension and workshop. Council members Gary Barchfeld and Craig Fore both cast dissenting votes. Conceived in August 2018, the committee was formed and charged to draft an ordinance to bring out of compliance STRs into compliance. But the group’s work became the center of controversy as residents argued the committee was trying to solve a problem that did not exist. A year later, with $7,500 spent on drafting the ordinance and on legal counsel, the group will cease to exist without having a workshop with the council. Mayor Pro Tem Rebecca Minnick and Councilmembers Christine Byrne and Bo Bowman led the charge to not extend the committee and not schedule an Aug. 1 joint workshop. The committee helped update the STR ordinance, identify the eight noncomplaint STRs in the city, outlined a procedure for staff to follow to
STR COMMITTEE, 2
BY CAMELIA JUAREZ
Grit on the gridiron
PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III
Dripping Springs High senior Chance Wylie (left) fights to escape from the grasp of teammate Jeremy Hack as they complete a drill Tuesday at Tiger Stadium. Earlier this week, Dripping Springs’ football team opened preseason practices in preparation for the 2019 season. More photos can be found on Page 3.
Local area farmers markets help generate $3.3M in sales BY CHRISTOPHER GREEN
More than $3.3 million in total sales was made during the first six months of 2019 by six different area farmers markets, including those in Dripping Springs and Buda. That metric, part of a report from the Texas Center for Local Food (TCLF), showed an economic impact from farmers markets in the Austin area. The $3.3 million derived from farmers markets in Sunset Valley, three in the Austin area, as well as markets in Buda and Dripping Springs. According to the report, there is roughly 17,192 acres of diversified farmland that’s in production by those who regularly attend farmers markets. However, Travis County loses nine acres of farmland every day to development. The six Austin area markets support 188 businesses over the course of the year. Farmers markets allow new and small businesses to enter the marketplace, according to the report. Sue Beckwith, executive director for the TCLF, said the six markets measured help bolster local and regional economies. “Every dollar that’s spent on locally grown food goes almost entirely to the farm-
Distracted driving, along with reducing speeds on U.S. 290, topped a list of resident traffic concerns discussed by State Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) and Hays County law enforcement leaders Aug. 8. One part of that conversation centered on strengthening Texas’ Hands-Free law, which prohibits drivers from texting or making calls on their phone while driving. However, Hays County Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hood said police are struggling to enforce the law because the language only prohibits texting or calling. A driver is exempt from a citation if a they are reporting an emergency
MAKING 290 SAFE, 6
PHOTO BY LAUREL ROBERTSON
A farmer displays his harvest at the Dripping Springs Farmers Market. In 2018, the Dripping Springs Farmers Market was named No. 1 in Texas for farmers markets, according to results of the Farmers Market Celebration, a contest organized by American Farmland Trust. Dripping Springs’ Farmers Market was also tabbed as 7th best in the nation.
“Direct marketing, from the farmer’s hand to the consumer’s, means the product is fresher, it means the money is circulating in the economy and shopping at a farmers’ market ramps that number up significantly.”
market ramps that number up significantly,” Robertson said. In a statement, Edwin Marty, Food Policy Manager for the City of Austin, said the Austin area has always been known for its great food and the farmers that supply the food are in great demand. –Laurel Robertson, “From the thousands Dripping Springs Farmers Market Manager of acres of Central Texager, said that farmers as land, they carefully er. Those famers are cultivate and protect, markets help people then spending that get products in a better to the thousands of money at their local jobs they create, we manner rather going stores, so that money must do everything through big corporastays here,” Beckwith possible to ensure our tions. said. “It’s as much as farming community is “Direct marketing, an eight times higher return when you spend from the farmer’s hand well supported,” Marty said. “There’s no better to the consumer’s, your money to supway to do that than means the product is port a locally owned by going to your local fresher, it means the business.” farmers market and money is circulating Laurel Robertson, putting your dollars to in the economy and Dripping Springs work.” shopping at a farmers Farmers Market Man-
County spends $1.5M to outsource inmates BY EXSAR ARGUELLO The continued practice of outsourcing Hays County inmates to nearby counties will continue even as the county so far has spent $1.5 million this year alone. Approved by the Hays County Commissioners Court on Aug. 6 in a 4-0 vote, a new agreement will now outsource prisoners to neighboring Travis County. Currently, Hays County houses inmates in Bastrop, Bell, Burnett, Caldwell, Fort Bend, Guadalupe, McLennan and Walker counties. This new agreement with Travis County could raise the amount spent on outsourcing inmates, which hit a new high in early August. From July 28 to Aug. 3, Hays County spent $83,921 outsourcing inmates.
COUNTY INMATES, 2
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Continued from pg. 1
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PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III
Zwiener opens Kyle office
On Saturday, State Rep. Erin Zwiener (D-Driftwood) joined staff and the Kyle Chamber to cut the ribbon to her new office near the corner of Miller and Main Street in downtown Kyle. Zwiener, who was elected to the House District 45 seat in November 2018, went through her first legislative session this spring. During her freshman session, Zwiener filed 51 bills and was a joint-author to 16 more pieces of legislation. Zwiener’s House Bill 1044 was companion to Senate Bill 483, the latter of which was signed into law by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in June. SB 483 allowed Buda to store fresh water in the Trinity Aquifer.
STR Committee: Council dissolves Continued from pg. 1
identify properties not in compliance, and made recommendations to the council, Byrne said. “I do appreciate the chairman’s (letter to the council), and I’m sorry he chose not to present to the city council at our last meeting which I requested that he do,” Byrne said. “At this time I feel like I have a good understanding of the issue and do not feel a workshop is necessary.” Both city leaders and residents questioned the motives behind the committee’s charge. In March, the committee estimated some 200 STRs in the city were out of compliance with the ordinance. In May, that number shrunk to 15. By late July, there were eight STRs out of compliance in the city. In a letter to city leaders, STR Committee Chair Albert Valera said there were outstanding issues that needed to be resolved. However, since there was widespread
Owner/Address Not Yet Identified
May 1, 2019
May 15, 2019
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communication of the committee’s work, the city experienced a “significant decrease (93%) in noncompliant STRs” from 123 to eight. Recommendations from the committee included adopting an administrative renewal fee, as well as directing City Administrator Shawn Cox to implement new guidelines on STR regulation. “Therefore, the STR Advisory Committee cannot guarantee a smooth transition, much less sustainability, of the
STR Program to the city,” Valera said. Council members Gary Barchfeld and Craig Fore felt the committee should have a joint workshop with the council after a year of work on the ordinance. But the meeting took a turn when STR committee member Tim Dodson periodically interrupted city leaders and raised his voice during the Aug. 1 meeting. Minnick, who was running the meeting in Mayor Susan Jaggers’ absence, asked Dodson to
not interrupt the council’s discussion. Dodson continued to yell over Minnick, as she repeatedly asked him to stop. Cox had to step in the frenzy and asked the chair of the meeting to take charge. Bowman said he has seen members of the STR Committee abuse city staff during its meetings throughout its tenure, which he believed was intolerable. Additionally, Bowman felt the financial cost of the committee was a burden to the city.
“The per diem rate for detention services under this agreement is $2,000 per day for up to 50 Hays County inmates per day,” per the agreement with Travis County. In the event Travis County reduces the permissible maximum number of 50 Hays County inmates per day, the per diem rate for detention services shall be reduced at an equivalent ration, according to the agreement. Outsourcing inmates to nearby counties has consistently been a concern of residents and local activists organizations. Critics say outsourcing inmates causes representation issues for inmates who, in some cases, are more than one hundred miles away from their legal counsel. With the criticism in mind, members of the Commissioners Court called for a plan to keep inmates closer to Hays County. Hays County Pct. 1 Commissioner Debbie Ingalsbe said outsourcing inmates to Travis County could allow inmates to be housed closer to Hays County. Commissioners are hopeful the agreement with Travis County will help with the problem of representation. The jail’s current capacity sits at 311 inmates. The expanded jail project will add 190 beds to the facility. Hays County Sheriff Gary Cutler said Travis County officials previously did not show any interest in housing Hays County inmates. Cutler said housing inmates in Travis County will bring inmates closer to legal representatives in Austin. “I personally think it’s a win for us to bring inmates (closer) …,” said County Judge Ruben Becerra. “… to keep them more accessible for representation and access, so I’m grateful this is actually the direction we are taking at this window in time.”
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Kinder Morgan: Land owner wins settlement Continued from pg. 1
“After I found out about the pipeline, all my plans have been put on hold, maybe indefinitely,” Walsh said. “I don’t feel safe living close to a massive pipeline like that.” Walsh said he first got notice of Kinder Morgan’s intentions to use his land in October 2018. Initially, a Right-of-Way (ROW) agent with Kinder Morgan identified himself and informed Walsh about what they were seeking; Walsh said he wasn’t interested. Several weeks later, Walsh was contacted by another agent who said if he didn’t give permission for them to access his land, the company would issue a temporary restraining order against him. From there Walsh obtained legal representation and began to combat Kinder Morgan. During the fight, Walsh said he and his neighbors dealt with agents who were “rude and pushy.” Many
“There will be those (cases) where there is a disparity between the valuation and award. Those will happen and will continue to happen.We are pleased with the progress of landowners and we have easement proceedings completed every day.” –Alan Fore, Kinder Morgan Vice President of Public Affairs
agents didn’t notify Walsh or his neighbors when going on their land to conduct an appraisal. Fore said he was not aware of any allegations of inappropriate behavior by land agents “that is substantiated and we can follow up on.” Kinder Morgan also has a “very visible” informational process where landowners receive “significant amounts” of literature about the condemnation process. He added that it “bothers me to an enormous extent when folks are being treated unfairly” or are not getting information they need. Kinder Morgan agents are “professional”
and any behavior that goes beyond their training shouldn’t happen and should be reported, Fore said. “We have an obligation to follow a process and we’re following that process and if there’re instances where it’s not being followed, I want to know about it,” Fore said. Kinder Morgan officials submitted a $16,000 appraisal for a 50-foot easement on the land, citing no damage would occur, according to officials with the Texas Real Estate and Defense (TREAD) Coalition, a group working with landowners impacted by the PHP.
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otherwise. Darby said commissioners were “savvy” with the impact the pipeline could have on the Hill Country. While condemnation hearings are taking place in various parts of the Hill Country regarding the PHP, Darby said more According to a cases are forthcoming this third-party appraisal by a fall. company Walsh consult“Kinder Morgan is ed, impact and damage grotesquely low balling caused by construction offers to landowners, even of the easement devalued though they’re saying his land by approximately they’re trying to be fair,” $261,000, leading him to Darby said. reject the offer and go to Fore said TREAD’s court. allegations of “low balling” “It was insulting and property owners is “abquite frankly a joke,” Walsh surd,” adding TREAD can said. “It was so unrealistic “say whatever they want, on how they determined it doesn’t meant it’s the compensation and they truth.” Fore said the ruling don’t take into account is an isolated incident that how many trees you lose, he felt TREAD was “blowor a creek that might ing out of proportion.” be destroyed or dealing However, Fore didn’t with construction for two comment on the specific years.” figures in Walsh’s case as On Aug. 6, a commiscondemnation negotision of real estate experts ations are confidential ruled in Walsh’s favor between the landowner during a hearing held at and Kinder Morgan. the Blanco County Court While 60 percent of House. Patrick Reznick, a landowners along the condemnation attorney pipeline route have settled representing Walsh, said in with Kinder Morgan, Fore a statement he wasn’t sur- did not go into detail prised commissioners un- where settlements have derstood the “significant taken place. Fore said the damages” the pipeline settlement is a preliminary could have on land and decision and they plan property values. Reznick to take the case into the said Hill Country landappellate courts. owners have been saying “There will be those “for months” the pipeline (cases) where there is a could devalue their land disparity between the by 20 to 40 percent. valuation and award. Kelly Darby, a TREAD Those will happen and will representative, said continue to happen,” Fore Walsh’s experience consaid. “We are pleased with firms that Kinder Morgan the progress of landownis not offering landowners ers and we have easement fair value for property, proceedings completed despite the firm claiming every day.”
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Tiger XC aims for return to state BY MOSES LEOS III Seeing approximately 120 faces eager to hit the trails for the first team practice of the 2019 season Aug. 5 was a welcome moment for Dripping Springs head cross country coach Marisa Tuzzi. While there are a handful of position and role questions that must be answered, Tuzzi was confident her Tiger team comprising of mostly underclassmen will step up when needed. That was evidenced by the commitment of those 120 waking up before the break of dawn ready to get the season started. By instilling a culture that’s passionate about running, Tuzzi hopes to guide her program to another district title and perhaps a return trip to state in November. “It will be more of a challenge that it has been in the past, but it is doable,” Tuzzi said. “Our goal is to win district on both (boys and girls) sides and getting to region and getting those top teams out (to state).” For the Tiger girls team, finding depth is critical for success in 2019. As a result, Tuzzi, along with assistants Kourtney Morris and
Karsen Bobb and Marleena Mickel
Thomas Acker, will turn to a large group of underclassmen to fill the void. Sophomores Karsen Bobb and Marleena Mickel lead the youth movement for the Tiger girls team. Bobb returns from last season’s state meet team and is motivated to bounce back from a “less than stellar” performance at the end of last season, Tuzzi said. Meanwhile, Mickel joins the team after reaching the UIL state track meet in May. Helping them will be junior Maddie Livingston, who has been a leader for younger runners, as well as Ellie Hovre, who also returns from last season’s trip to state. “We’re excited we have a good core and we’ll have to pull from the younger ones to fill up those 10 spots,” Tuzzi said.
On the boys side, Tuzzi said despite some inexperience, the Tigers are slated to be a deeper group this season. Caleb Lopez, who reached the UIL state cross country meet in 2018 and excelled in track in the spring, is the heir-apparent to former Dripping Springs distance runner Bobby Holt, who graduated this past summer, Tuzzi said. Joining Lopez is Kylar Myers, who Tuzzi said has worked hard this summer, along with sophomore Brandon Melton. “There’s a lot of depth and there will be a lot of competition for those top spots,” Tuzzi said. While the goal is to help younger runners progress, Tuzzi said making sure they’re not overdoing it is also important. Overtraining is a con-
cern Tuzzi and her coaches monitor; all of them help runners gradually improve over time. The need to progress training from freshman to senior year is imperative. “It’s hard to see, as a coach, a talented freshman but not throw them in with seniors in training,” Tuzzi said. “You have to adjust miles and tweak training plans to where they’re still fresh and compete at a high level.” For Tuzzi, fostering a love of running in her athletes is equally, if not more, important that the accolades and success earned over the years. It’s all a testament to the students and parents who believe in the program ever year. “We have goals with our varsity to be on the podium every year at state, but we also want to foster a love of running health and fitness,” Tuzzi said. “We’re competitive on the top, but we also want to teach them the discipline of running.” Dripping Springs’ cross country team opens the 2019 season with its home meet held at Dripping Springs Ranch Park Aug. 24. The 25-5A district championships will be held Oct. 18 at Lockhart City Park.
Avery Kalsu and Mackenzie Murray
Tiger volleyball takes 6th in Turner Classic BY MOSES LEOS III
straight sets. After bouncing back Five wins over by defeating Fort Worth three days helped the Boswell, Dripping Dripping Springs Tiger Springs fell to Pearland volleyball team secure Dawson in three sets 6th place out of a 58in the 5th/6th place team field at the 2019 contest. Adidas John Turner Tiger seniors MackClassic tournament in enzie Murray and Avery Pearland last weekend. Kalsu both earned The Tigers (7-4) all-tournament honors accomplished the feat for their performances. by outlasting several So far through 22 totop-tier opponents, tal sets played, Murray including a 13-25, 25leads the team with 72 19, 25-21 win over Fort kills and six aces, while Bend Ridge Point, the Kalsu has notched 67 top team in Class 6A, kills and seven aces. during pool play action. Sophomore Madi Dripping Springs Lund leads the team earned the top seed in with 13 solo blocks, the gold, or winners, while junior Nicole bracket, but dropped Herbert has 107 digs. their quarterfinal Dripping Springs match against 6A foe hosts Copperas Cove San Antonio Reagan in Aug. 20 at 5:30 p.m.
Practices underway for Tiger football BY MOSES LEOS III Preseason practices are officially underway at Tiger Stadium as Dripping Springs prepares for its Aug. 30 opener against Kerrville Tivy. Dripping Springs will look to make a return to the playoffs after finishing 8-3 in 2018 and notching the program’s third straight trip to the postseason. The Tigers will also vie for an unprecedented fourth-straight district title in a row, either shared or outright. Last season, the Tigers finished in a three-way tie with Seguin and LBJ at 6-1 in district play. The Tigers will once again compete in District 12-5A, Division I which also includes Austin Northeast (formerly Reagan), Navarro (formerly Lanier), Travis, Crockett and McCallum. The Tigers are slated to return several key cogs including Jacob Cox, Cameron O’Banan and Zach Tjelmeland. Next week, we take a deeper dive into the Tiger program and who will be on the field when the season kicks off later this month.
PHOTO BY MOSES LEOS III
Above, a Dripping Springs Tiger wide receiver quickly hits the deck to snag the ball during a team passing drill Tuesday. Top right, a defensive lineman bursts through a line of JV teammates during an instructional drill. Bottom right, quarterback Cameron O’Banan rears back for a pass.
Dripping Springs goes clear in 2019 SUBMITTED REPORT Following in line with actions taken by several area school districts, Dripping Springs ISD in 2019 will enact a clear bag policy at all varsity football games. The policy limits the size and type of bags fans will be allowed to enter the stadium with, all in the name of enhancing safety and security. Districts such as Hays CISD, San Marcos CISD, Austin ISD, Lake Travis ISD and Eanes ISD have enacted similar clear bag policies in recent years. All bags are subject to inspection prior to entry. Guests attempting to enter the stadium with
nonconforming bags will be asked to return the items to their vehicles. Exceptions will be made for medically necessary items and credentialed news media or photographer equipment bags. Those individuals should check in at the pass gate table upon arrival, which is located at both the home side entrance and the north entrance gates). In addition, members of student groups involved with the event are permitted to enter with equipment bags when entering with their team or group, in uniform, and with the director or coach. Dripping Springs’ home opener is Sept. 6, against Hays High.
So what bags will be allowed in Tiger Stadium this season? · Clear plastic Tote Bags (no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”) · One-Gallon Plastic Freezer Bags · Small Clutch Purses (smaller than 4.5” x 6.5”)
What isn’t allowed in Tiger Stadium? · Backpacks · Purses · Binocular or Camera Cases · Diaper Bags · Fanny Packs · Cinch Bags · Printed Pattern or Oversize Tote Bags
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Thursday, August 15, 2019
Opinion Tell the truth, Kinder Morgan From the Sidelines by Moses Leos III
ocal landowners 1, Kinder Morgan 1. That’s the feeling among many in the Hill Country who are keeping score in the ongoing battle between the Houston-based energy firm and those fighting its planned 42-inch, 420mile Permian Highway Pipeline (PHP). While a Blanco County commission’s decision to award an area landowner $233,500 for the impact the PHP will have on his land doesn’t seem like much, you get the impression that it sets a precedent for those trying to fight the firm’s quest to obtain private land for public use. If Kinder Morgan officials have to shell out close to a quarter-million dollars for this case, one of the first condemnation cases to come up in the Hill Country, they might have to dig a little deeper into their pockets to complete the eminent domain process, something that’s caused an immense amount of heartburn locally. Granted, the case is far from over. Kinder Morgan is planning to fight the decision, which they said was preliminary, and take it to the appellate court. Keep your eyes peeled for an update. Perhaps the greater concern is the seemingly false front Kinder Morgan takes when it comes to these condemnation hearings. Kinder Morgan officials will say that the decision was isolated and that more than half of the land needed for this project has already been acquired. Officials also allege they don’t low ball property owners for access to their land. The more than 1,000% difference between what Kinder Morgan allegedly appraised the impact the pipeline could have on the landowner’s property versus what the commission decided tells a far different story. It shows just how many property owners might have succumbed to Kinder Morgan’s bullying tactics and took
a lower settlement, all because they might not have access to adequate legal representation? Getting to the truth of the matter (more specifically the numbers associated with this particular case) is something that might not be accessible for the public or the media. Officials with Kinder Morgan won’t comment on the financials of any condemnation case as they claim it’s confidential. Sorry, but there’s nothing confidential about this process now. It’s that lack of transparency that should rub people the wrong way when it comes to this proposed pipeline. Kinder Morgan has been the target of litigation and opposition from municipalities and governments who allege the pipeline company was never fully honest from the start about the scope of the PHP. So why should the lying stop now? While we’re at it, Kinder Morgan’s attempt to be good community partners based on an increased amount of visibility in areas impacted by their pipeline feels to many like a wolf donning a wool jacket. Contrary to popular belief, visibility does not equal transparency. Answering questions as honestly as possible makes for much better community relations, whether it’s dealing with landowners’ properties or how this project could impact the ecosystem in the long and short term. Quite frankly, the general public deserves, and rightfully should demand, better from Kinder Morgan. That demand also extends to a handful of lawmakers who support the oil and gas industry, but also tend to forget about that thing called property rights. Changes need to be made on that level, but will take some time. In the interim, Kinder Morgan can do itself a favor by doing one thing. Just tell the truth.
Woodstock at 50: What might have been
or various reasons, my graduating class has seen two milestone anniversaries sail by without a class reunion materializing. So, I can understand the disappointment of those on the slightly older end of the baby boom generation who have now seen the 50year reunion celebration of the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival collapse. Although the organizers had no aspirations of matching the 400,000 attendance of the original Woodstock, they did originally envision a threeday multi-generational event for 100,000 or more guests, held at a Formula One racetrack in upstate New York. A whopping $32 million in talent fees was guaranteed upfront. It was sad to watch the Woodstock 50 promoters keep haggling and downsizing the festival.By the time the plug was finally pulled, I understand the talent and venue could best be described as "that annoying guy in the next cubicle, humming an off-
also being relevant to the youth of today. It's sort of Tyree’s weird for the generation that cautioned "Don't trust Tyrades anybody over 30" to try by Danny Tyree talking their grandkids into finding an Uber driver with a psychedelic Volkswagen key rendition of 'I Get by bus for picking up old With A Little Help from My hippie hitchhikers. ("Don't Friends.'" worry. After 50 years, the Perhaps the Woodstock shrapnel from the collapsanniversary is marred by ing stage only occasionally the same mixed emotions gives him nightmares.") as the recent Apollo 11 Don't get me started golden anniversary. We talking about Woodstock haven't done a lot with 1969 attendees who feel space exploration since the compelled to tell their midmoon landings; and Wood- dle-aged children, "Enjoy stock, which was supposed the ride. This is a bootleg of to be part of the "dawning the 20-minute drum solo of the age of Aquarius," you were conceived to. Or hasn't exactly inspired somebody was conceived overachievement of its to. You'll love it. Let me goals of peace, love and know if you need any more harmony. Half a century details." later, while we keep waiting The world has changed for the break of day, some- so much in the past 50 one has painted a swastika years. The newspapers on the paperboy's bicycle and TV networks reveled and threatened the rooster in salacious reports of the with an assault rifle. mind-altering drugs freely Woodstock 50 was a pre- available at Woodstock. carious balancing act from Now minds CAN'T be the start. It was envisioned altered. ("Don't bother me to celebrate the spirit of with your well-rehearsed the original festival while talking points. I KNOW
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that Trump's fiery rhetoric was directly responsible for the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials.") The sort of public nudity that scandalized a nation in 1969 would just lead to confusion among the younger generation nowadays. ("Wait â€' based on your gender and my gender, I can't remember if I'm supposed to be turned on or not. Where are my notes???") I'll keep on listening to music from 1969, but perhaps the demise of the 2019 Woodstock is for the best. I'll bet most of the people who attended the original will remember it as a convergence of cultural forces that could never be replicated. It would be like catching lightning in a bottle. Or, like the popular LSD-enhanced Woodstock game of catching unicorns in a butterfly net. ("It's so pretty. It'll look so good in President George McGovern's Oval Office!")
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NewsDispatch Providing you with your most important local news for Dripping Springs, Wimberley and surrounding communities
Good causes need sponsorship funds STAFF REPORT
the major event can be purchased online and doRaising funds for good nations of silent auction causes mean two orgaitems are being gathered. nizations in Dripping The event at the Salt Springs are gearing up for Lick will include tastings their major events this fall. of local libations in the The Friends Foundahospitality area, dancing tion, which provides food to the music of Hot Texas for food insecure resiSwing Band and silent dents, short term financial auction sales. help for low-income elFor more information, derly, smoke alarm instal- email info@thefriendslation or MediAlerts, will foundation.org or call have its annual fundraiser 512-592-1345. Oct 10 at the Pecan Grove Another group raising Pavilion at the Salt Lick. funds is Helping Hands, At this time, the Founwhich is putting on its dation is looking for 22nd Annual Empty Bowls sponsors for the event. Project. Sponsorship range in This event will be held price from $100 to $5,000. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 3 In addition, tickets for at the Dripping Springs
Ranch Park. The event is co-sponsored by Helping Hands and the city of Dripping Springs. Sponsorships of this event run from $100 to $2,000. Helping Hands raises funds for food for families in the area. In 2018, the organization raised $35,344 for 175,000 pounds of food for families. The organization has served Dripping Springs now for 33 years. During the event, empty bowls are created by area artisans and sold to customers. Tickets to the event are $25.
I’m glad you made the trip BY JERRY HALL Immigrants from Mexico are much in the news these days and opinions vary widely on whether these newcomers are a good thing or a bad thing. But one immigrant seems to be welcomed by almost everyone. I speak of the house finch. Originally a native of Mexico, this little bird, like many others, made its entry into the U.S. in New York City. Around the turn of the century, birds poached from Mexico were sold in New York pet stores under the name “Hollywood Finches.” When such sales were made illegal by the Migratory Bird Act of 1918, shop owners released their stock of finches en masse to avoid prosecution. The house finch quickly spread from sea to shining sea and since female finches produce three broods a year, with up to five chicks at a time, the species proliferated. In some areas, the house finch displaced
Male house finch
another bird, the house sparrow, a bird regarded by many as a genuine nuisance. At any rate, the house finch seems here to stay and I personally enjoy having it around. The male finch has a red forehead, throat, eye-
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Police Blotter The following is a tally of all calls made to law enforcement within Hays County between August 5 and August 11, 2019. Inj to Child/Eld/Dis...........................1
Suspected Gang Activity.................1
Civil Process Service.......................1
Sex Offender Resgistry...................1
Foot Patrol ......................................5
Assault - Agg...................................1
Assist Fire Dept...............................5
Assist Outside Agency..................13
Unauth Use Vehicle.........................1
Recovered Stolen Vehicle................1
Accident Hit and Run......................8
Disturbance Physical Fight............12
Violation of Order.............................2
Attempt to Locate.......................181
911 Hang Up...................................1
Mental Health Follow Up.................7
Discharge of Firearm.......................4
Mental Health Invest........................3
Mental Health Transport..................8
Police Incoming Call........................2
brows and rump, with a brown-streaked belly. The female is a mostly nondescript, streaky brown bird. I have house finches at my place and they are welcome little critters. I’m glad they made the trip up from Mexico.
Making 290 Safe: State rep hears concerns Continued from pg. 1
via text or call or if they are using GPS. Drivers can lie about what they were using their phone for to avoid citations. Hood recommended adjusting the law to allow law enforcement to see the driver’s phone and confirm if they were using it for an emergency. “If we have the ability to ask to see their device, they can refuse,” Hood said. “We’re not going to force them, but if you refuse then we can give a citation or confirm they were using their phone for lawful reasons.” Currently, Hood has his officers perform a “safety stop” to enforce the law. “If my officers spot a distracted driver, they have been instructed to inform the driver that texting and driving is against the law,” Hood said. “If they claim they were texting to report an emergency or using their GPS, we will provide assistance with their emergency report or give directions.” Distracted driving accounts for approximately 25% of all motor vehicle crash fatalities, according to Teen Safe data. Zwiener said distracted driving is one of several safety concerns for the residents who commute or live along U.S. 290 in the Dripping Springs area. There have been 22 fatal accidents along this section of US 290 from 2010 to 2019, according to data from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
“If my officers spot a distracted driver, they have been instructed to inform the driver that texting and driving is against the law. If they claim they were texting to report an emergency or using their GPS, we will provide assistance with their emergency report or give directions.” –Ron Hood, Pct. 4 Constable
The most recent accident in May left a man dead after an SUV collided with a semi-truck. There was another fatal accident in April that killed one man and left five others injured. “We need a mix of strategies. A lot of accidents are attributed to speed or timing of lights, but distracted driving is a major issue. We need to make sure law enforcement has tools to make sure everyone is keeping their eyes on the road,” Zwiener said. Keeping up with growth is also a factor. Within the next six years, there could be an estimated 9,000 homes built in the Dripping Springs area, according to Dripping Springs ISD data. Zwiener recognizes it’s a legislator’s responsibility to keep enough funds available for planning and construction in a fast growing county. “When I first started driving 290 regularly there was a light at Nutty Brown Road and the next light was at (RM) 12. That road
has changed so dramatically, so quickly,” Zwiener said. “We need to make sure our transportation and infrastructure keeps up with the use.” Additionally, the U.S. 290 Safety Coalition is asking TXDOT to reduce the speed limit on the road from 60 to 55 miles per hour (mph) in the Dripping Springs area. Some factors for the request include the number of schools in the area and the road being used for residents’ errands, according to their website. TXDOT makes changes based on data and has already conducted research on that stretch of the road. In response, the U.S. 290 Safety Coalition is using its own data to argue that a slower speed limit is needed sooner rather than later for the safety of the community. Zwiener said she is ready to support updates to distracted driving laws and willing to work with the U.S. 290 Safety Coalition and other constituents.
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