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Š2020 The Liberty Hill Independent

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Thursday, March 26, 2020



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Williamson County issues A nod to our bright future ‘Stay Home Stay Safe’ order

From The Independent: We’ve already started daydreaming of a summer with all the trimmings. We’re thinking ahead to sunshine, thriving businesses, activities and opportunities to get out and have fun. That’s what this year’s edition of The Independent’s annual SUMMER GUIDE is all about. When this issue began taking shape, COVID-19 was no more than a news bit late in the broadcast. It was something few of us knew anything about or thought for a moment could have the impact on all of us that it has already, much less the potential impact to come. But it is here, and as a community we’ve already circled the wagons and dedicated ourselves to carrying on with heads high and a will of resolve. We are showing a determination that makes fighting through the unknown and so many new restrictions easier together. Part of that determination is a focus on what is to come. It is about what’s waiting for us on the other side. If we don’t keep our eyes on the prize of celebrating the freedom and opportunities of our lives, then we may lose our optimism over the future. This SUMMER GUIDE is about the future. It is about a future we hope is only a short time away, that is once again filled with sports, camps, swimming pools and road trips. Those thoughts may have us all shrugging and thinking, “that’s mighty optimistic today”. But in hindsight, where we sit today would have been

impossible for most of us to imagine only a month ago. If we’re ready for the worst, we should also start preparing for the very best. We still have time to claim our summer, and there’s no better time to reclaim the lives we love celebrating sunshine, exploration, entertainment and family. Today it’s cabin fever. By June or July we may be back to worrying most about hay fever and stifling humidity. The ideas for family fun and summer activities crammed into these pages are a blueprint for future plans and a way to put the worry and concern for today further behind us when we are a safe distance away from today. Each of us must be careful and cautious about the reality of what we face today with COVID-19. But it doesn’t mean we can’t keep one eye on that optimistic future and imagine when we are watching our children splash at Wetzel Park for the first time, soaking in the sun on the playground or in awe of some fireworks on Independence Day. The future is always something to be optimistic about, and this year’s SUMMER GUIDE, more than ever before, is your tool for planning to take advantage of every moment of that optimism when that future brings us back to our safe and happy places. ~ Mike Eddleman Managing Editor

Play Shop Local Bingo and help support Liberty Hill area businesses

The struggle and challenges facing Liberty Hill area restaurants and small businesses is very real as the uncertainty of the coronavirus inches closer to home every day. That’s why The Independent is sponsoring a Shop Local Bingo game, which appears on Pages 16-17 of this week’s newspaper. Play the game by removing the center pages of our Summer Guide, then visit the drive-thru or carry-out of the participating restaurants and outdoor market at Indian Mound Ranch, order gifts and other items online from retail businesses, and reach out to our service businesses. Then, take photos or provide

receipts when you complete a line, or better yet, blackout a card. Send that to us by email at news@LHIndependent.com and you will be entered to win gift cards. As Williamson County directed residents to stay home starting Wednesday, “non-essential” businesses are closing temporarily including many in our Bingo game. While restaurants need your support now, we will extend the deadline to submit entries into May. Just like our business partners, your hometown newspaper is making adjustments in the way we bring you the news each week. Every day, we’re posting news

on our website, www.LHIndependent.com, and breaking news appears on Facebook. com/libertyhillindependent. You can also still read the news in print on Thursdays. If you’re not a subscriber already, please consider it now and support local journalism. For only $25 a year, you can receive the newspaper in your mailbox every week or read the e-edition online. Or, better yet, fill our square on your Bingo card and subscribe for only $12.50. While the newspaper is an “essential business” and our office downtown is open, be safe and call us for the discount, (512) 7785577. ~Shelly Wilkison

By MIKE EDDLEMAN Managing Editor Leaders in Williamson and Travis counties came together Tuesday to issue what is being called a “Stay Home Stay Safe” order to cover all of both counties. “I signed an order effective at midnight tonight (Tuesday) for Williamson County to stay home and stay safe,” said Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell. “What we’re really asking Central Texans to do is to come together and care for those that are around us.” The order encourages nonessential businesses to close, people to work from home, and stay home as much as possible to enhance social distancing. Gravell joined county and city officials from throughout the two-county area to dis-

cuss the details of the orders – which were issued by the different governing entities – and the importance of compliance. The order emphasizes enhanced social distancing practices to help minimize the spread of COVID-19. “Our best enforcement in this challenge is our responsibility to each other,” said Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt. “COVID-19 depends on us to pass it from person to person and we have a small window of opportunity in which to flatten the spike of infection by taking aggressive steps right now. If it is not an essential activity, or an essential business, we’re asking folks to stay home and to stay safe.” According to Dr. Mark Escott, Health Authority for the City of Austin and Travis

County, the reason to act now is to address what is projected down the road if no action is taken. “Due to modeling that we’ve seen, we certainly suspect that even at this stage we have many more than that. We know we’re challenged by testing,” he said. “We know we’re challenged by getting folks through and getting results in a timely fashion.” Escott said as of Tuesday there were 86 cases of the virus confirmed in Travis County, but he emphasized that projecting future numbers was critical in working to avoid having to make decisions later when options are limited and limiting the spread is no longer an option. “That modeling suggests that in the next three to four

See ORDER, Page 29

The Liberty Hill Independent YOUR AWARD-WINNING HOMETOWN NEWSPAPER SINCE 1987 A Publication of Texas Independent News Corp.

(512) 778-5577 Send Email: news@LHIndependent.com www.LHIndependent.com www.LibertyHillLiving.com PO Box 1235 921 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642

The Liberty Hill Independent is published every Thursday at 921 Loop 332, Liberty Hill, TX 78642. Periodical Postage Paid at Liberty Hill, Texas. Publication #018932 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to The Liberty Hill Independent, P.O. Box 1235, Liberty Hill, TX 78642 Shelly Wilkison - Publisher Mike Eddleman - Managing Editor Scott Akanewich - Sports Editor Anthony Flores - Staff Writer Stacy Coale - Advertising Rachel Viator - Graphic Design

DEADLINE Noon Monday prior to Thursday publication SUBSCRIPTIONS Available for $25 per year in Williamson County, $29 per year in Texas outside of Williamson County, and $32 per year outside Texas. ADVERTISING DISPLAY RATES AVAILABLE ON REQUEST LETTERS TO THE EDITOR The Liberty Hill Independent welcomes letters to the editor, but requests that letters be limited to 300 words or less and address issues rather than personalities. Unsigned letters or those deemed unacceptable by the publisher will not be published. Children under the age of 17 must have signed parental permission. Phone numbers and addresses must be included for verification purposes. Opinions expressed in the articles, letters and columns do not reflect the views of The Liberty Hill Independent or its owners. COPYRIGHT The entire contents of each issue of The Liberty Hill Independent, including editorial and advertising copy, is protected under the Federal Copyright Act. Reproduction of any portion of any issue will not be permitted without the express written permission of The Liberty Hill Independent.



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Schools ramp up services, add week to closure


LHISD Police Officer Patricia Champion, Assistant Superintendent Brad Mansfield and Liberty Hill Elementary Nurse Michaella Ellis serve meals outside Bill Burden Elementary Monday morning. LHISD served 316 meals on the first day of the program. Breakfast and lunch will be available for all LHISD students on weekdays through April 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 Noon at the campus. The district also has a bus route delivering meals to specific areas. More information on meal distribution can be found on the district website at www.libertyhill.txed.net.

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN Managing Editor As Liberty Hill ISD has worked through its two most pressing needs in this first official week of school closures, the announcement of the “Stay Home Stay Safe” order from Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell added at least one more week to how long students will be at home. “Based on the Williamson County order, school will remain closed at least until April 13,” said LHISD Superintendent Steve Snell. “That’s the plan today, but we’re planning to go longer if we have to as well.” Despite some talking about schools remaining closed through the remainder of this school year, Snell said LHISD

is focused on getting back to class. “We’re doing everything we can, that’s not just Liberty Hill ISD, it’s a lot of people in our area, to do our part to slow the spread so we can get kids back in school as soon as everybody’s safe,” Snell said. “We want to conduct business as usual as soon as we can, so we’re not ready to throw in the towel. We want to continue to plan so learning continues while we’re closed, but we’re keeping hope things will slow down and we’ll be back to normal before the end of the year.” This week, the focus has been on meals and electronic device distribution. As of Wednesday at noon, the district had delivered 1,310 meals for students

through the bus route and pick up option at Bill Burden Elementary. By the end of the day Wednesday, Snell said nearly 1,400 computer devices had been distributed to students. About 600 high school students already had Chromebooks, bringing the total to 2,000 students served with devices. “We’re so thankful for our food service staff, our technology departments and (Assistant Superintendent) Mr. (Brad) Mansfield,” Snell said. “Their help in the massive distribution, along with the help of our curriculum team and principals on the online learning, are making this possible.” Device distribution has been helped by the number of

See LHISD, Page 29

OPINION Throwback Thursday

1966 was memorable year for students

By JAMES WEAR Columnist Fifty-four years ago students in Liberty Hill schools probably had little, if any, idea, that in their lifetimes they might be impacted by a major health scare. Back in 1966, three years into the Lyndon Johnson presidency, perhaps the biggest concern was the escalation of the war in Vietnam. It was quite a year. A new television show, “Star Trek”, made its debut on NBC, and offered a glimpse into the future with the cast playing the roles of characters who had all kinds of gadgets at their disposal, including a hand-held communicator that perhaps was the inspiration for the cell phones we carry around today. In August of that year, Charles Whitman climbed to the top of the University of Texas tower and unleashed a barrage of bullets that would claim the lives of 13 people and injure another 31. And while all of these outside events perhaps impacted how Liberty Hill students viewed the world, life in their small town remained relatively simple. The majority of the high school students belonged to either the FFA or FHA, and/ or took part in athletics. The graduating class of 1966-67 totaled 14, while 18 boys and girls made up the Liberty Hill first grade. The high school faculty num-

Serving as school trustees during the 1966-67 school year were, seated from left, Lloyd Myers, Steward Pogue and Thomas Foust. Standing, from left, were J.B. Williams, Dennis Chapman, James Hanley and Elroy Foust. (Courtesy Photo)

Chosen as Mr. and Miss Liberty Hill High School for the 1966-67 school year were Jimmy Holmes and Deniece Williams. (Courtesy Photo)

Nathan Wetzel, top left, served as sponsor for the 1966-67 Liberty Hill chapter of the Future Farmers of America. (Courtesy Photo) bered seven, including prin- social studies. Six teachers cipal Arlen Leeder who also made up the elementary facserved as a coach and taught ulty.

THE LIBERTY HILL INDEPENDENT Thursday, March 26, 2020 Page 7


No responsible reason to hold City election in May

The Liberty Hill City Council chose politics over public health when it voted Monday to go forward with the May 2 municipal election. It is ironic that in a meeting, which was closed to the public and streamed over the Internet to comply with mass gathering restrictions and promote the social distancing health officials say is critical to curbing the spread of COVID-19, the Council made a unanimous decision to carry on with the schedule that will bring Liberty Hill voters to the polling place in late April. Mayor Rick Hall said the decision was made to “get things completed and done” and that the Council was worried the local election items would get lost on the ballot in the November General Election. When asked about public health concerns, he said the situation is being monitored. The election is five weeks away and the current “Stay Home Stay Safe” order is set to run through April 13 if it is not extended. Not only would an extension of such an order creep into early voting dates (April 20-28), but the current order covers more than two weeks of key campaign time that limits how much the two candidates on the ballot can interact with the public and sell themselves as the next Mayor of Liberty Hill. The risk to public health is difficult to understand and there was no thoughtful reason given as to why holding this election in five weeks is so important.

But the Mayor and current Council have much to gain by holding the election, both in their support of extending their terms in office and a new salary for some. The Mayor, if reelected, and two Council members stand to begin earning a salary following the May election -- money they would not receive until November if the election were postponed. The Mayor will begin receiving the previously approved $40,000 annual salary and Council members Tony DeYoung and Kathy Canady – who did not draw opponents – will receive the new $12,000 annual Council member salary. If extended terms and compensation are not the reason to move ahead, why is it so important to hold an election now? The Independent is inviting Mayor Hall or any Council member to elaborate and give a more thorough explanation of the need to do so when no other cities or school districts in the area seem intent on doing the same. Liberty Hill ISD voted on the issue the same night as the Council, but chose to postpone the election. The city councils in Cedar Park, Taylor and Georgetown have already postponed their elections, as has Round Rock ISD. The Hutto and Round Rock councils are expected to vote on their elections in the coming weeks, and indications are that both will also postpone until November. Leander did not have any elections scheduled for May.

This decision not only flies in the face of what the state and county strongly encouraged cities and school districts to do to protect voters, but will also cost Liberty Hill more money because it will have to cover all of the election costs on its own. Hall said the estimated cost is about $20,000. Liberty Hill residents can’t walk into any City building right now due to the safety and health response to COVID-19. If the situation is so critical, surely it is questionable to ask citizens to line up outside of the municipal court building to cast a ballot, putting poll workers and every voter at the same risk we are so determined to eliminate today. There is nothing that makes a May election more important than a November one, except that voter turnout in November will be higher. If the Mayor and Council truly want voter participation, the clear decision should be to postpone the election. Any decision that causes voters to be hesitant or weigh the potential consequences of exercising their right to vote is irresponsible. And limiting opportunities to campaign and engage potential voters shows a further lack of respect for the importance of participation in the local democratic process. The Council is elected to act in the public interest. Today, the public interest is to make decisions focused on public health and not the personal interest of elected officials.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Council keeps May 2 election date

By MIKE EDDLEMAN Managing Editor The Liberty Hill City Council voted unanimously Monday to move forward with the May 2 city election. The decision came on the same night that Liberty Hill ISD decided to postpone its election, and went against the growing trend in Williamson County as cities and school districts are making the decision to postpone or appear poised to do so. “We’re going to go ahead with the election May 2 unless it is deemed unable to do so by the Governor,” Mayor Rick Hall said. “I think about every one of the Council members had a comment about this. They’re just wanting to get things completed and done. With this election we’ve got several items on here, then we also have the charter item on in November, and their concern is

the stuff on the local level will get lost in the big mix. They made the decision to just go ahead and do it as planned.” When asked if he had any concerns regarding public health in the decision to go on with the election, Hall said the situation would be monitored. “At this time we will continue the course for the May 2 unless anything changes that prevents this or the COVID-19 virus is at a larger risk,” he said. “This is being discussed and any updates we will advise you.” The two items slated for the City election are the Mayoral race between Hall and challenger Liz Branigan, and a measure asking voters to determine the length of council terms, either extending them to three years or keeping them at the current two years. Following the election and swearing in of the new Council, the winner of the Mayor-

al contest, as well as Council members Kathy Canady and Tony DeYoung – who did not draw an opponent in May – will be paid a monthly salary. The Mayor’s salary is $40,000 per year and Council members’ salary is $12,000. Council positions do not draw the salary until they next come up for election. The salary was approved as part of the current budget, passed by the Council in September 2019. The City has estimated the cost of holding the May election outside the November General Election date to be about $20,000. Gov. Greg Abbott gave city and school districts the option to postpone their May 2 elections until Nov. 3 with a proclamation March 18. Williamson County said it

See COUNCIL, Page 24



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More than 200 kids came to the library to create their own fairy gardens as part of 2019’s Summer Reading program. (Courtesy Photo)

Isabelle Kalish and Harley the dog dressed up during the 2019 Summer Reading Jedi training camp, where they learned how to master the force. (Courtesy Photo)

By RACHEL MADISON Staff Writer The community is invited to become like their favorite superheroes during the Liberty Hill Public Library’s annual summer reading program, which kicks off May 11. The theme, “Be a Superhero: Read,” was chosen by the library staff because everybody loves superheroes, said Angela Palmer, library director. “We always try to pick themes kids relate to and themes that encourage them to read,” she said. “We thought that might be a fun thing to do this summer.” Like past years, those who sign up for the summer reading program will get sorted into teams. This year’s superhero teams will include Ironman, Spiderman, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman and Groot. While signups for the program will begin May 11, actual programming will begin May 26. Several favorites, like the

in their life who reads, they’re more likely to read.” Last year’s summer reading program had about 1,275 children, 200 teens and 525 adults participate, and together they read over a million minutes, Palmer said. She expects to see that number grow this year. “They blew it out of the water last year,” she said. “It was amazing. We want to keep building our numbers up this year. The first year we had a summer reading program we had 200 kids, so we’ve quadrupled participation in the last several years.” Palmer said reading in the summer is extremely important for kids and teens because it prevents the “summer slide.” “During the summer, kids can lose the gains they’ve made,” Palmer said. “Tons of research shows when kids read through the summer, they retain more of what they learned in the previous school year and are better prepared for school in the fall. It’s fun, gives kids things

Liberty Hill Public Library’s Summer Reading Program to be ‘super’ Big Rig Petting Zoo on June 19 at 10:30 a.m. and the Austin Reptile Shows on July 23 at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., will take place once again, but new activities have also been added to the roster. “This summer we’re adding more performers we haven’t had before,” Palmer said. “We’ll have a magician, a clown storyteller, puppets, a ventriloquist and a magnet science program. We have several big performer events this year.” Other major events during summer reading include a Wildlife on the Move show at 2 p.m. on May 28, Flying Disc Dogs of Austin on June 9 at 9 a.m., the Singing Zoologist on June 29 at 10:30 a.m., and a Balloon Storytelling on July 20 at 10:30 a.m. The library will also host a variety of do-it-yourself crafts, like making a superhero board game and decorating a book bag. Superhero treats, scienceto-go kits and a kid’s code club

round out the library’s offerings for the summer. “This year we’re doing a little bit of what we’ve done in the past and some different stuff,” Palmer said. “We just try to mix it up a little bit to keep it fun.” Children, teens and adults are allowed to participate in the summer reading program. For every 600 minutes a person reads—or has read to them if they aren’t yet able to read— will qualify them for a prize and a raffle ticket. Prizes will range from gift cards to local eateries to crafting kits and action figures. “We count books you read, books that are read to you, and books you listen to,” Palmer said. “Literacy is good no matter what you’re doing. We even want toddlers to participate. It lets them participate and feel like they belong. We like to have teens and adults in the program because it helps model behavior for the younger kids. If they have someone

to do, and helps them remember what they’ve learned.” Palmer added that every activity the library hosts during the summer is completely free. “These events are something that are free for parents to take their kids to,” she said. “We provide educational and fun recreational activities. There’s a lot of great summer camps out there, but they cost money, and we try to be free for everyone.” The summer reading finale celebration will take place July 31 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. “We’ll probably do the water day again because it’s an annual tradition,” Palmer said. “We’re trying to decide of we’ll have ice cream or a treat, and we’ll have a bunch of stuff for the kids to do. I’m going to see if I can get the fire department over here to spray them down with water again.” Palmer said in addition to the traditional summer reading program, she and Jolie Jennings, the librarian at Bill

Burden Elementary School, are also going to start a pop-up summer reading program. “A lot of kids have working parents, so they can’t come to the library,” Palmer said. “Sometimes those are the kids that need us most. I feel like I’ve been letting down the community in that regard, so we’re collecting books to give away to kids in their homes, as well as science kits and craft kits.” Six different times this summer Palmer and Jennings plan on visiting various local neighborhoods to give kids these summer reading kits. “It’s our pilot project,” Palmer said. “We’ve never done it, but we’ll see how it goes and what response we get. We hope it’s successful because we just want to reach the kids. We’ll take the library to them and keep building on it if it works.” For more information, visit the library on Facebook or call (512) 778-6400.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Liberty Hill Public Library 2020 Summer Reading Program Calendar of Events Page 1 of Activities, Events, & Programs for May 11-June 20, 2020 for Be a superhero...Read! Sunday May 10

Monday 11

Tuesday 12

Summer Reading Begins!

Yoga Storytime

Stories & Stretches 10:30-11:00am

18 Color Your 19 Own Superhero Puzzle Storytime 3:00-5:00pm 10:30-11:30am Kids Code Club 2:00-3:00pm 3:00pm

Perler Beads 3:00-5:00pm


CLOSED May 23-25 for the Memorial Day Holiday. 31

June 1

Super STEM! Rocket Science 2:00-3:30pm 7



Making Memories Family Event

All Ages Storytime Stories, Songs, Crafts, & Fun 10:30-11:15am

21 Super Crafts! 22

All Ages Storytime Stories, Songs, Crafts, & Fun 10:30-11:15am

10 Get Your 12 All 11 Fun with Science Ages Silly Sparkles! Kit 2 Go! Storytime 10:30-11:30am While Supplies Last! 10:30-11:15am Super STEM! Clown & Superhero Craft Dog Man Superhero Storyteller! & Captain Baby aby Groot Slime & Fizzy Flying Disc Underpants Spiderwebs! Dogs of Austin 1:00 to 4:00pm Party 2:00-3:30pm 9:00-10:00am 2:00-3:30pm 3:30pm 15 16 Yoga 17 Get Your 18 Messy & 19 Big Rig Science Storytime Creative Art!

Make Electric Playdough & Create Squishy Circuits!


Saturday 16

23 The library is

CLOSED May 23-25 for the Memorial Day Holiday.

26 Music & 27 Get Your 30 Movement Science Stortyime Kit 2 Go! While Supplies Last! 10:30-11:00am 11:00am 10:30-11:15am Superhero Craft Decorate Your Create Own Summer Design Your Your Own Reading Own Superhero Bugs, Snakes, & Superhero Book Bag Board Game More, Oh My! 4:00pm 12:00-5:00pm 1:00-4:00pm 12:00 2:00-3:30pm 2 Babytime 3 Get Your 5 All 6 4 Magician Lapsit Storytime Science Ages Oscar Munoz 0-24 Mos. Kit 2 Go! Storytime 1:30-2:30pm 2:30pm 10:30-11:00am 11:00am While Supplies Last! 10:30-11:15am Superhero Craft Kids Code Club Superhero Craft Create 2:00-3:00pm Infinity Glove Your Own STEM, 1:00-4:00pm 1:00 4:00pm Supervillan Snacks, 1:00-4:00pm 1:00 & Fun!


Super STEM! Superhero Crafternoon & Snacks Come & Go 1:00-5:00pm

Friday 15

Spiderman Crafts 3:00-5:00pm All 28 Wildlife on 29 Ages the Move Show Storytime 2:00-3:00pm 2:00

STEM, Snacks, & Fun!

The library is


Make a Superhero! 3:00-5:00pm

Sign-Up Today! 17


13 Super Craft! 14 Come & Go Superhero

Stories & Stretches 10:30-11:00am

Kids Code Club 2:00-3:00pm STEM, Snacks, & Fun!

Kit 2 Go! While Supplies Last!

Sciencetellers 10:30-11:30am Interactive Science + Storytelling!



Petting Zoo

Canvas Collage Art



A “zoo” for the transportation enthusiast!

Please note that the events, activities, & programs on this calendar are subject to change.



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Page 2 of Activities, Events, & Programs for June 21-July 31, 2020 for Be a superhero...Read SRP! Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday 21

23 24 Get Your Shadow Science Factory Storytime Kit 2 Go! Puppet Show While Supplies Last! 10:30-11:30am 10:30-11:30am


Superhero Pajama Storytime

6:30-7:30pm 30 7:30pm



The Singing Zoologist, Lucas Miller, in Concert!


The library will be

CLOSED July 3-5 in honor of the Fourth of July Holiday 12

Making Memories Family Event

Superhero STEM & Snacks Come & Go 1:00-5:00pm 19

30 Music & Movement Stortyime 10:30-11:00am 11:00am Kids Code Club 2:00-3:00pm

2:00-3:30pm July 1 Get Your Science Kit 2 Go! While Supplies Last! Superhero STEM!

STEM, Bug Bots Snacks, 2:00-3:30pm 10:30-11:30am & Fun! Babytime 8 Get Your 6 Super STEM! 7 Lapsit Storytime Science 0-24 Mos. Kit 2 Go! 10:30-11:00am 11:00am While Supplies Last!

Build Pool Noodle Sculptures 2:00-3:30pm 13 Two Shows! 10:30am & 6:30pm

Lego Superhero Mosaics

Cool School with Ms. Maria


1:30-2:30pm 2:30pm

Fun with Music & Puppets! 2

Nancy & Her Friends

Ventroloquist Show!

Yoga Storytime

15 Get Your Science Stories & Stretches Kit 2 Go! 10:30-11:00am While Supplies Last!

Kids Code Club 2:00-3:00pm STEM, Snacks, & Fun!

Super STEM! Forensics, Spies, & Fingerprints 2:00-3:30pm

21 22 Get Your 20 Balloon Science Storytelling Storytime Kit 2 Go! with Mr. Mark While Supplies Last! 10:30-11:30am 10:30-11:30am Superhero Pajama Storytime

6:30-7:30pm 6:30 7:30pm

Super STEM!

Skyscraper Building Challenge 10:30am-12:00pm

etrope Superhero Animation 2:00-5: 00pm

Pom Pom & Straw Shooters! 1:00-5:00pm

The library will be

CLOSED July 3 3-5 in honor of the Fourth of July Holiday

1:00-5:00pm 5:00pm Come & Go!



Super STEM!

Black Panther Kimoyo Beads & Captain Marvel Necklace



All Ages Storytime 10:30-11:15am

Super Craft

Paint a Superhero Rock

Come & Go 2:00-4:00pm


16 Learn to Make String Stories 2:00-3:00pm


All Ages Storytime 10:30-11:15am Make & Eat Superhero Treats 2:00-3:00pm 17 All Ages Storytime 10:30-11:15am Super Craft



Perler Beads

Learn to Make 2:00-4:00pm String Figures!

23 Sponsored by 24 All Ages Storytime Austin Reptile Show


Stories, Songs, Crafts, & Fun 10:30-11:15am

10:30am & 11:30am

Two Shows!

29 Get Your 31 The library 27 Kids 30 The library 28 Magnet Science opens at 4:00pm READING Code Club is closed Science Kit 2 Go! LOGS MUST Summer 2:00-3:00pm today. Program While Supplies Last! BE TURNED Reading IN BY 6:00PM STEM, Snacks, Finale We are & Fun! WEDNESDAY, Celebration getting ready Superhero JULY 29, AT 6:00-7:30pm Crafts You May for tomorrow with Kim Lehman 6:00PM! Have Missed! evening’s 10:30-11:30am 11:30am 10:00-5:00pm finale!


Please note that the events, activities, & programs on this calendar are subject to change.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020



Liberty Hill churches adjust to new gathering restrictions

By ANTHONY FLORES Staff Writer In response to the new limits to gatherings and the need for social distancing brought on by COVID-19, area churches are adjusting to a new approach to worship. Still seeking to provide sanctuary to those in need, churches are reaching out to members through the Internet. “Church is a community, so we spend a lot of time doing life together,” said Pastor Andrew Fortner of One Chapel in Liberty Hill. “We do things in small groups but always meet together on Sunday in a large group. Everything else we do is through smaller groups that do Bible studies or pray together. None of that has changed, we have to think of creative ways to do it.” Fortner says that while they won’t be able to hold a traditional Sunday service, the opportunity to worship together remains. “We still have our Sunday morning worship service, we’re just doing it online,” said Fortner. “We have live service at 9 a.m. on Sunday at OneChapel.com, or people can watch on Facebook.” Making the best of the situation, Fortner sees some fun in using Facebook as a way to reach out to members of the congregation.

“It’s kind of cool to do it there,” said Fortner. “You can comment on the service, and that’s fun for a lot of people. You connect with people as they experience the service themselves.” Taking advantage of streaming and using Facebook Live, One Chapel is offering more than just Sunday service. “What we did last week is we had a panel of our different campus pastors up there asking questions about what was going on and how people felt,” said Fortner. Most of the small groups that meet during the week will also meet virtually. “Most of them are utilizing Zoom for video conferencing, and that’s how they’re going to conduct their meetings so they can all see each other,” he said. Pastor Derrick Norris of Andice Baptist Church is also holding online services. “We’re trying to keep all of our members safe, so all of our services are online,” said Norris. “Our Sunday School classes are online, too. “I’m doing a weekly prayer time. I’m doing a weekly update online where we video chat with the folks,” Norris added. “We’re still going to do Good Friday, but everything is going to happen from our sanctuary.” The church also plans to pro-

vide meal pick-ups for those who need a warm meal. “We’re going to try and serve meals on Wednesday nights from 5-7 p.m.,” said Norris. “It’ll be like a drive-thru where people come by, and one person will be taking orders. We’re going to call it a meal and a prayer. It’s something we want to do to help the people in the community.” Norris sees a need to be active in helping the community more than ever with the closing of many businesses. “So many things are shutting down, and there’s going to be a lot of people that are hurting. If we can help them, we want to be able to do that,” Norris said. In a post on The Independent’s Facebook page, churches shared how they’re continuing to worship. The majority of churches are going the route of streaming services. The main thing pastors want their congregations to know is that they still have a way to worship in these trying times. “Church is not canceled, it is never canceled,” said Fortner. “We have to adjust in different ways to make it happen. We’re going to roll with it. One of the interesting blessings that I think is going to come out of this is that I think it’s going to make people realize how connected we are. When it’s taken away, we need it.”

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Thursday, March 26, 2020


Prehistoric adventure awaits in Glen Rose

By RACHEL MADISON Staff Writer GLEN ROSE -One thing I learned quickly when I became a mom was that I was also going to become an expert on whatever my kids were into. There was the Curious George phase, followed by the trains and trucks phase, and then, of course, the dinosaur phase. That phase started about three years ago and is still going strong with my kids, which is why I knew we had to take a day trip to Glen Rose to see Dinosaur Valley State Park. This day trip is a win-win for me and my husband, because

we got to do what we like— breathe in fresh air and hike— and the kids got to do what they like—see real dinosaur tracks and pretend like they were in Jurassic Park. Getting there, like it is with most road trips, was half the fun. On the two-hour drive to Glen Rose up US Hwy 183 and then over to US Hwy 281, there’s a lot to be said about the lush, hilly scenery. Along the way are several small towns that ooze the Texas charm this state is so famous for. We made a few stops along the way for gas, snacks and the occasional bathroom break (thanks to two small children in the car), but the stops were well worth it. When we got hungry, we stopped for lunch in the small town of Hamilton. We found

ourselves at Dutchman’s Hidden Valley, which turned out to be much more than just a pitstop. The building, which looks small from the outside, is filled with room after room of Texas-style antiques and décor. And you can’t step into one room from the next without taking in the tantalizing smells of homemade fudge, chocolates, taffy, brittle and other confections. There’s one room where you can even watch the candy makers at work, and another where you—or your children in my case—can drool over the dozens of different chocolates showcased in the glass displays. Toward the back of the building is the restaurant, where German food is king. I


Therapod and Saurapod dinosaur tracks can be seen under the water of the Paluxy River at the See TRAVEL, Page 19 Main Track Site at Dinosaur Valley State Park. Tracks can be found in several spots around the park.




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recommend the Wurst Plate— which is anything but the worst. It comes with two different styles of German sausages, house made breads and cheese, German potato salad and sauerkraut. It’s enough for two people. If you want dessert and the candy isn’t tempting enough, try one of their homemade peanut butter cookies, which is made with peanut butter they’ve ground themselves. After we sufficiently filled our bellies, we continued on our way to Glen Rose, and passed through many more small towns. One small town, Hico, had one of the most picturesque downtown districts I’ve ever seen. If you’ve got time to stop and peruse, then do it. From a Billy the Kid Museum to the Hico Mercantile, which highlights wares from various locals, there’s a little something for everyone in the family to get excited about. Restaurants, a winery

and even a hotel round out the historic downtown. After our leisurely drive, we finally arrived at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose. It cost us $7 per person to get in, but our kids, since they’re under the age of 13, got in free. Once we were in, we drove around most of the park to check out the campsites, various hiking trails and enjoy the scenery. Once we got the lay of the land, we decided to go for a hike and look for dinosaur tracks. It didn’t take long before we stumbled upon the Main Track Site in the Paluxy River, which winds through the park. We saw footprints from both Sauropods and Theropods in the clear waters. The water was shallow enough that even my two-year old could navigate it with rain boots. We then explored the area around the Ballroom Site, which has theropod, sauropod and metatarsal tracks.

I understand that the dinosaur tracks are not always visible because they are usually underwater, but summer is supposed to be the best time to visit, because the water is low. There are five main track sites around the park; however, one of them is closed to the public because the viewing area is no longer stable. A bit of hiking is required to get to all the different track sites, but it’s easy enough for even a beginner to navigate. We found that at the track sites we visited, park rangers were readily available to answer questions and tell us the history of the dinosaurs that once roamed the park. The kids weren’t as excited about the history lesson, but it made things more interesting for the adults. In addition to looking for dinosaur tracks and hiking on the 20 miles of trails in the park, families can also picnic, mountain bike, swim, fish, watch for wildlife, geocache,

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ride horses or visit the park’s interpretive center. Kayaks can also be rented at the park, as well as galoshes to get a closer look at the dinosaur tracks without getting wet. I would recommend coming to the park prepared to get wet, because if you want to get up close and personal with the tracks, it’s going to happen, especially if you have kids. If Dinosaur Valley isn’t enough for your family to get their prehistoric fill, just down the road from the park is Dinosaur World, which features more than 200 dinosaurs along an outdoor path over the park’s 20 acres. The museum also has replicas and fossils, a dinosaur dig and a playground. Ticket prices at the park range from $9 to $19. If prehistoric creatures just aren’t your thing, that’s okay, because Glen Rose is also home to a nonprofit wildlife safari. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center has both guided tours


The wurst plate at Dutchman’s Hidden Valley in Hamilton is a great lunch option for those who want to try a variety of German-style foods, such as sausages and potato salad. and do-it-yourself tours, where you drive your own vehicle. Prices for the tours range from $15.95 to $34.95 depending on age and type of tour. The center focuses on everything from conservation efforts of endangered species to conducting scientific research, and is home to dozens of animals, like giraffes, zebras and

rhinos. In addition to tours, there is also a café, children’s animal center and nature store. Lodging is also available if you want to make it an overnight trip. Regardless of your interests, there’s plenty to do with your family in Glen Rose and all along the way. Happy summer day tripping!

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UPCOMING EVENTS Wetzel Park Splash Pad Grand Opening | May 30th, 10am–12pm Independence Day Spectacular | July 3rd, 6pm - 10pm | City Park Lego Camps – Registration Link at Experience LHTX Facebook page

Check out ExperienceLHTX.com for more events!

Transportation Master + Robo EV3 using LEGO (Ages 7-12) | June 8 –12, 9am – 4pm | Liberty Hill Municipal Court | $ 275 JEDI Starship + Robo WeDo using LEGO (Ages 5–10) | July 20 –24, 9am – 4pm | Liberty Hill Municipal Court | $ 275 Check out ExperienceLHTX.com for more events!

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Six local charities selected for Liberty Hill Day of Giving

By ANTHONY FLORES Staff Writer Six local charities are gearing up for the Liberty Hill Day of Giving, June 26, hoping to expand their presence in the community and raise money for their causes. The Day of Giving, which is in its third year, is an online fundraising campaign created and hosted by The Independent to help local nonprofit organizations do more to help the community. In its first two years, the Day of Giving raised more than $70,000 combined for local charities. Charitable organizations selected by The Independent this year include Hope House, Operation Liberty Hill, Panther Pit Crew, Liberty Hill Public Library, Spirit Reins and L4 Cares. Hope House Hope House provides those

with severe mental and physical disabilities with a permanent home where they receive the proper care they need. “Hope House has been in Liberty Hill for over 50 years serving the community and surrounding areas,” said Hope House Development Director Erland Schulze. Having had a longtime presence in the area, the organization has many residents who have spent the majority of their adult lives at Hope House. “We have four homes for residents,” said Schulze. “All of our senior adults were kids in the mid-60s still living here now. They get a home as long as they need us.” Hope House has 54 full-time staff members who work three shifts a day to provide care for residents. The job is vital because of the severity of disabilities. “Our children can’t speak, so

they’re unable to communicate, they aren’t high level and need our staff to help bathe them, use the restroom and eat,” said Schulze. “We have in-home speech and physical therapy.” The organization has participated in the Day of Giving the past two years, and in 2019 their involvement paid dividends, more than covering their needs. “Last year, we were trying to raise $10,000 to remodel bedrooms and bathrooms for our four homes,” said Schulze. “Doug Frazier and his sister Virginia Jackson saw us because of the Day of Giving and donated $6,000.” “We named one of our houses Grace’s home after their mother,” said Schulze. “They donated another $11,000 for fire sprinkler systems all because they learned about us during the Day of Giving.”

This year, the goal is to raise another $10,000 to cover repairs and replacements of several essential items. “We want to raise another $10,000 to replace all the washing machines and dryers in our homes because they get daily use, and the kids’ homes need more durable furniture,” said Schulze. Operation Liberty Hill Operation Liberty Hill has been a vital part of the community for a number of years. The organization provides a food pantry and thrift store serving those less fortunate. “The Day of Giving gives us a lot more visibility,” said Operation Liberty Hill Executive Director Susan Baker. “A lot of the people who donate during the Day of Giving end up donating more during the year.”

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Operation Liberty Hill is seeking support through the Day of Giving for its Summer Snack Program. (Courtesy Photo)




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This year, the goal for the food pantry is to raise money for their Summer Snack Program and their Laces for Liberty Hill Program. The Summer Snack program provides food for children who may not have meals available to them outside of school during the summer. “This year, the money is going to our summer snack program since there isn’t a summer lunch program in the district,” said Baker. We also do Laces for Liberty Hill, which provides athletic shoes for kids who need them. Anything we don’t spend on snacks goes to that.” Residents can donate money or requested food items to include in the healthy snack packs. “We’re going to provide a complete list of foods we put into the healthy snack packs, and people can donate specific items if they want to help that way,” said Baker. “Our goal is to make sure every child has a meal during the summer months.” Spirit Reins Spirit Reins is participating in the Day of Giving this year to help raise awareness locally. The organization utilizes horses to help victims of severe trauma. “Spirit Reins focuses on helping people who have dealt with major traumas in their lives through equine-based therapy,” said Development Director Austin Painchaud. “We work to help people normalize.” Patients involved with the group are paired with a counselor and a horse, and slowly work to create a bond with the goal that it helps them to be able to rebuild relationships. “Horses can tell when a person isn’t feeling good and will react to that,” said Painchaud. “Our goal is using horses to ease that person back into normalcy through hour-long sessions slowly. We want to help people relearn how to build

relationships.” While they do offer riding therapy as well, it’s limited in favor of relationship-building techniques. “We do some riding therapy because it is believed that the motion of riding a horse can help realign the brain mentally, but we mainly focus on just interactions between patients and our horses,” he said. Liberty Hill Public Library The Liberty Hill Public Library is taking part in the Day of Giving to raise money to help increase digital literacy throughout the community. “We want to teach more digital literacy,” said Librarian Angela Palmer. “These are things we’ve been asked for, and there’s nobody in town teaching these things.” Palmer sees this as a vital need in the community. “I see people come into the library every day that don’t have basic computer skills,” she said. “In this day and age, that limits the chances for jobs or anything. You need to know how to use a computer these days.” Palmer hopes to use any money raised from the Day of Giving to better equip the library with the equipment and even Wi-Fi hotspots they need to meet their goals. “There’s a need for teaching basic computer skills to seniors or helping people fill out job applications,” said Palmer. “What we’re going to be raising money for is laptops and a big TV to mount on the wall so we can teach what we’re doing. We need laptops and coding software.” Along with their focus on adults, Palmer wants to help build a digital skill foundation for children. “We want to do more coding classes for kids,” said Palmer. “Learning to code is essential. It’s the big wave of the future.” The library is hoping to raise $20,000 for new equipment. Aside from monetary help there are other ways members

of the community can help. “The easiest way for people to help out is to donate,” said Palmer. “If they have any skills and they want to teach, they can come and help us do that.” L4 Cares L4 Cares is a relatively young organization, celebrating its third anniversary this year. The organization focuses on helping members of the military as well as seniors and children. “We focus on four segments of the population that can get looked over by other larger nonprofit organizations,” said L4 Cares founder Kendra Cofer. “It’s a focus on our military, including active duty and veterans, we’ve partnered with the VA in Temple to support about 15 of their current programs.” L4 Cares pairs with different retailers, including Walmart, J Crew, and Nike, then donate pallets of goods to members of the military and others. “We pick up a donation from retailers, it could be a pallet or two per week of brand new items,” said Cofer. “We decided where the need is in the community and donate. We felt that the VA and military was our best bet.” Beyond the soldiers themselves, the organization also does what they can to help the families of those fighting for the country. “We do care packages from the community for families who currently have loved ones who are deployed to let them know that the community cares about them,” said Cofer. “We include activities for the kids. Like painting pottery for the soldier, and we do welcome home parades.” For the Day of Giving, L4 Cares is seeking to raise $15,000 to purchase a van that will make the delivery of goods much easier. Panther Pit Crew The Panther Pit Crew is working to help youth organizations in Liberty Hill.

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The Panther Pit Crew contributes to student organizations that participate in football tailgates in the fall. (Courtesy Photo)

“Our mission is we want to give back to the community and have fun doing it,” said crew member Arthur Zamarripa. The Pit Crew helps youth organizations by providing them with funds to do various things in their programs like taking club trips or purchasing supplies. “What we’ve done in the past and what we continually strive to do is provide opportunities to the various organizations in Liberty Hill, whether it be cheerleading or the STEM group,” said Zamarripa. “Any of those organizations. We try to provide resources to them to help fund programs they have throughout the year.” The organization’s primary way of raising funds for school programs is through its football tailgate. Organizations at tailgates compete and earn points

Spirit Reins provides equine-based therapy to victims of trauma. (Courtesy Photo) with the winners receiving donations. “With our tailgates, our primary source to get recognition is to promote team and spirit at the football games,” said Zamarripa. “We try to have a great tailgate atmosphere and see groups compete for points and then reward organizations for their spirit.” Panther Pit Crew is hoping that the Day of Giving will help spread awareness of their

cause and the various organizations they support. “I think the biggest thing we get from the Day of Giving is people seeing us,” said Zamarripa. “Learning that we’re a group of guys out there trying to have a good time while helping the community.” The goal for the group is to raise $20,000 to be distributed to various school organizations during tailgate events in the fall.











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Pop-up market brings the store to shoppers

By MIKE EDDLEMAN Managing Editor With area grocery stores facing long wait lines and being stretched to the limit for goods, some creative distribution is making life easier for some shoppers in the area.

Danette and Joseph Wicker found a way to help others and their own business at the same time with their own version of a traveling market, which set up Tuesday in Stonewall Ranch. The couple offers smiles and

conversation from behind a handful of tables covered in box after box of apples, oranges, lemons, avocados and other fresh vegetables. Each shopper gets a pair of gloves and is encouraged to give others their space as everyone looks for just the right items. The effort to share goods in bulk began with a common need identified on social media. “What I saw was on a Liberty Hill moms page where I hang out sometimes that everyone was having trouble at the store,” Danette said. “I didn’t want to go to the store and no one else wanted to go either so I put on there if people wanted to buy some produce and split


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it that’s what we’d do.” After a few days, the demand quickly outgrew social media discussions. “We’ve been doing it for about a week and it’s just gotten bigger and bigger and bigger over the last five days,” she said. “We’ve heard a lot of stories of people having to shop for their family who is in quarantine, and lots of young people out shopping for their elders in church. No one wants to go to the store and it just kind of became something more than what it was originally.” MIKE EDDLEMAN PHOTO The Wickers, who have Danette and Joseph Wicker have found a way to support his been in Liberty Hill for three wholesale food delivery business and lend a hand to local resyears, work in wholesale food idents looking to find produce and other hard-to-get grocery staples. The Wickers were at Stonewall Ranch Monday where See MARKET, Page 30 a steady stream of shoppers gathered to purchase food items.

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will not be supporting local elections in May, instead, using those resources elsewhere. “I can’t tell you what the cities may or may not do, and I can’t tell you what the Governor may or may not do about the May elections, I’m just telling you today we’re solving the problems with the resources we have,” said County Judge Bill Gravell. Gravell touched on what he said demonstrated the flexibility of county and other local officials, pointing to the temporary reassignment of some of the staff and re-purposing of much of the equipment in the County Elections Department. “Our Elections Administrator, Chris Davis, is currently been moved out of that office and he is operating a call center,” he said. “His Deputy

Director has moved to be part of the PIO team and their staff is continuing to do their work even though they’re not open to the public. All of our laptops that were used at voting locations have now been wiped clean and transitioned to be used in our health department and other urgent areas.” On March 20, Abbott postponed the May 26 Primary Runoff Election to July 14. The cities of Taylor and Cedar Park, and Round Rock ISD have already voted to postpone their elections until November. Georgetown and Hutto councils are voting on the issue this week, and the Round Rock City Council will consider it April 9. Neither the City of Leander or Leander ISD had an election scheduled for May. Legal representation

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Following the meeting’s executive session, the Council voted to dissolve the professional services agreement with the Bojorquez Law Firm, then made a second motion to hire Tad Cleaves as the City’s fulltime legal counsel. “It’s time that the City has our in-house counsel,” Hall said. “Effective April 27 or before – no later than April 27 – he will be our in-house legal counsel.” Cleaves has served as counsel for the City of Liberty Hill as an associate attorney with the Bojorquez firm since last summer, replacing former Bojorquez firm attorney Dottie Palumbo. An item on the executive session portion of the June 10, 2019, Council agenda called for the consideration of “continuation of legal services, in-

cluding city council evaluation of legal team’s performance, review of duties, and discussion of preferred attorney-client communications.” No action was taken on the item in open session, but following that meeting Cleaves replaced Palumbo as the Bojorquez representative at Council meetings. “This was a cost savings decision that the city has made and Tad has been doing a great job for the city and is the best choice for the move we are making,” Hall said. The attorney’s salary was not available by press time Wednesday.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Local chef offers tricks, tips for summertime outdoor cooking

By ANTHONY FLORES Staff Writer One of the summertime essentials in Texas is grilling and barbecuing. Whether it’s in the backyard with the family, for the whole neighborhood, or while visiting one of Texas’ many parks, coming together around the grill or fire pit is tradition. Chef Michael Biggs, co-owner of Malted Grains, has some tips for those looking to work the grill this summer. But first, there is a clear distinction between grilling and barbecuing. Even though many use the terms interchangeably, they are two different methods of cooking. “I think people get mixed up when they say barbecue and ANTHONY FLORES PHOTO think of the charcoal grill in Chef Michael Biggs, co-owner of Malted Grains, shares a few tips and tricks for working the grill the backyard,” said Biggs. or barbecue pit this summer.

“That is what grilling is. It’s direct heat over coals and fire, whereas barbecue is through your typical low and slow, smoker type of equipment.” For those looking to go the low and slow route and smoke their meat for 6-12 hours, there are many options for different types and cuts of meat. The traditional Texas cut of beef is the almighty brisket. When it comes to brisket, Chef Biggs suggests keeping the seasoning simple. “With brisket, I usually go with granulated garlic, granulated onion, salt and pepper,” said Biggs. “I usually smoke them for about four hours and then wrap them in foil for about six hours or so.” Brisket being a much thicker cut of meat with often a lot of fat, it requires more time on

a smoker, while with poultry and pork the time for smoking is much less. As with his brisket, Biggs still keeps the seasoning simple, using brine to instill flavor in the meat. “With poultry or pork, I usually brine it first in a mixture of water and seasonings to let the flavor really get in there,” he said. “I like to leave them in it for a few hours or overnight, if possible.” When it comes to pork, Biggs believes the ever-popular baby back ribs are overrated, suggesting a meatier alternative. “I personally prefer to use St. Louis style ribs,” he said. “The way they’re cut leaves a lot more meat on them than baby back ribs. One trick I do is I take the skin off the back of the

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Let’s Grill

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Chromebooks and iPads already spread throughout the district on different campuses. “Basically we just gathered up every device that we have in the district,” Snell said. “They’re all barcoded and so we can scan them in, attach them to the student that’s checking them out and we can track them down from there. We have enough to where we can get a device in every student’s hand right now.” The exercise in distribution this week has a silver lining



for the future, according to Snell. “We were probably as a district a year or two away from going to one-to-one devices with students, and because of this and our necessity to get devices in kids’ hands now, we’re ramping up what it’s going to look like when we get back to normal and seeing what we can do to let students have devices all the time,” he said. Getting the devices to students is the first hurdle in the

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weeks our hospitals could reach capacity,” Escott said. “It suggests to us that if we put schools back in session, if we put the businesses back on, if we allow people to go back to restaurants and bars and businesses today that by May we will need to be able to provide nearly 20,000 hospital beds a day for our community alone.” The key is promoting even more social distancing. “Right now we believe, before today, that we’ve been at 50 percent social distancing through the actions we’ve already taken,” Escott said. “That has bought us valuable time and we acted early. Now we’re hoping this action will get us to at least 75 percent. But I want to be very clear, we need to be at 90 percent. That takes all of you making individual decisions to stay home, to work from home, and to only go out if you need essential things. If you don’t need essential things you need to stay home, to be with your family and to connect with the world virtually.” The order does not require residents to stay home, but calls on the closing of all non-essential businesses, and says that when residents leave their home for essential needs that they do so alone and not with others. The order spells out what

constitutes essential businesses and activities: • Tasks that are essential to maintain health and safety, such as going to the hospital, obtaining medicine from pharmacies, clinics, veterinary offices and other healthcare service facilities • Getting necessary supplies for you, your family or household members, such as groceries, pet food, food bank, farmers’ markets, convenience stores, carry-out or delivery restaurants, and other essentials for staying at home • Getting to work for essential businesses or services, including roles needed to maintain basic operations such as security, payroll, and similar activities • Engaging in outdoor activities, such as walking, hiking or running—just as long as you maintain at least 6 feet of physical distancing • Caring for a family member in another household, and caring for elderly people, minors, dependents, people with disabilities or other vulnerable persons • Childcare facilities providing services that enable essential employees to continue functioning • Gas stations and auto repair facilities • Banks and financial institutions

plan for remote instruction. Facilitating that instruction and making it manageable for everyone involved is the second. “For this week and next we’re calling it phase one, and the number one goal is access and familiarity with the platforms and making sure kids have access,” Snell said. “We don’t want to overwhelm or confuse anybody. Some of the older kids already do a lot of e-mailing back and forth with their teachers and a lot of electronic

turning in of assignments, but we’re very aware that all our families have their schedules disrupted right now. There’s lots of uncertainty in our community with job futures and everything else going on.” Once students, parents and teachers are all familiar with the plan and new mode of instruction, curriculum will become more focused. “As the school closures prolong, we’ll start to ramp up specific lessons, specific opportunities to engage with

their teachers, and complete some work, but we’re still working out the details of what that might look like,” Snell said. The question still remains whether the lessons being provided to students will be graded or not. “If we don’t have kids connected or understanding it, and people are overwhelmed and they get lost in the translation it will be very difficult to produce quality work,” Snell said. “We’re going to take it slow so

we can go fast later.” The LHISD Board of Trustees voted Monday to postpone until November the Board election previously scheduled for May 2. “I think there is just so much uncertainty with how long this will last that we just thought it was in the best interest of everybody, based on what we know everybody’s dealing with, to move that election to November,” Snell said of

• Critical infrastructure including energy, water, solid waste collection and other governmental services • Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and other essential businesses • Educational institutions, for the purposes of facilitating distance learning • Businesses that provide social services and necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities But when pressed on the issue of what businesses should or should not close, Eckhardt emphasized that individuals needed to consider how essential the need to conduct business or be out in public is for them. “What we’re saying in this order is if your business is not essential to health and safety during this time of COVID-19, we are asking you to cease operations to the extent that you can’t operate at home or underneath our minimum basic operations requirements in the order itself,” Eckhardt said. Liberty Hill Mayor Rick Hall, who was not in attendance at the press conference, said he supported Gravell’s decision. “We will follow suit with

that and we will uphold that order here in Liberty Hill,” Hall said. “I support it, unfortunately it has had a little bit of a negative impact on the economics of the area. We are just trying to limit the exposure circle so this is going to have an effect on people. I get that, but I think it is for our best interest to keep our people, our citizens, our employees and our families safe.” While the orders issued Tuesday did not address school closures, which are already in place until April 6, Escott went a step further with his own request. “I’ve recommended to school districts – private and public schools – that they remain closed for the remainder of the semester,” he said. “The modeling we will be sharing in the next few days indicates very clearly that is a basic and necessary step to substantially mitigate this threat. If we don’t do that we will not be effective.”

each are in Round Rock and Georgetown with five in Cedar Park and two in Leander. Three cases in the County are in Austin. No cases have been reported in Liberty Hill, and there have been no deaths in the county in relation to the virus. Eight of the cases were in people age 18-40, nine in 41-

60 and four over 60. There has only been one case in someone 17 and under. The Texas Department of State Health Services reported a total of 715 cases in Texas and 11 deaths as of Wednesday. The total cases in Texas have more than tripled in five days.

Local case update The Williamson County and Cities Health District (WCCHD) announced three new cases of the COVID-19 virus in the County Wednesday, bringing the total to 22. The first four cases were announced March 18. Among the 22 cases, six

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delivery for restaurants, and that work has slowed in recent days. The added focus of doing local sales has turned into a blessing as business slows. “A good deed actually became a reward so it turned in to such a blessing for us,” Danette said. “I thought people were being overly appreciative and saying thank you, because I was just seeing this as something quick and easy for people, and I had to realize the stores were actually without the things people really needed. When I saw the pictures from the stores and the lines, then I understood.” She said people have asked most often for milk and eggs, beans and rice, and all of the items have been difficult to find at times. “We’ve gone to two warehouses and they are absolutely out of every kind of bean you can think of,” Danette said. “Plain white rice, which is normally about $8 for a 50-pound back we can’t even get. We had


to buy the $36, 40-pound specialty rice because there isn’t anything else here yet.” For many who have found it difficult to get to the store for a variety of reasons, the opportunity to do a little shopping closer to home has been a welcome surprise. “It is good for us because my husband is on call and he can’t leave home right now,” said Laura, who lives in Stonewall but preferred not give her last name. “We found them on Facebook last week when they were selling in Bertram and we went and got a few bags. We asked them if they could come to Stonewall. We knew everyone here would appreciate it. This is awesome.” Until the Wickers are able to get back to their business full time, Danette said they will continue to work to meet the local need as much as possible. “We’re just trying to get food to people who need it in communities that are requesting us to be there.”

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ribs. I stick the knife in at one end and slice in a bit, then it’s pretty easy to tear it right off. I like to give them a nice glaze and use salt and pepper when I make them. With pork ribs, it’s always easy to tell when it’s ready because the bone will slide right out of the meat.” The point of barbecuing and smoking meat is the flavor the meat takes on from the wood. The choices for different kinds of wood to use range from Alder, Apple, Cherry, Hickory, Lilac, Maple, Mesquite, Mulberry, Oak, Orange, Peach, Pear, Pecan, Plum and Walnut. Avoid using evergreen or sap heavy woods like Cedar, Cypress, Elm, Eucalyptus, Fir, Liquid Amber, Pine, Redwood, Spruce, or Sycamore. These tend to produce too much smoke and can create a bitter taste in food. Chef Biggs suggests trying to stick with wood found in the

area to save money. However, wood can be bought online or from various stores that sell grills and supplies. “Personally, I like a mixture of mesquite and pecan,” said Biggs. “When I was living in San Angelo, that was what was predominantly out there. We had mesquite and a lot of pecan as well. That’s where I learned to smoke meat, so I’ve stuck with that 50/50 blend. Mesquite for a nice heat and flavor and pecan is nice and mild.” While barbecuing may be too tedious for families trying to enjoy a meal on a beautiful summer evening, grilling is an excellent option. Whether it’s steaks, chicken, fish or sausage, grilling is the quicker option. Getting good results on the grill starts with embracing the heat and not being afraid of how hot the grill gets. “People are so afraid of burn-


Thursday, March 26, 2020

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the decision. “There wasn’t a whole lot of discussion. I think everybody would have been okay with keeping it in May, it is just that we don’t know if this is going to get better or worse, and if it gets worse and we still try to have an election we don’t know what that might look like. The decision was really based on uncertainty.” Place 2 incumbent and Board President Clay Cole chose not to seek reelection. In his place, three newcomers – Dana Munguia, Kendall Carter and Antonio Canas – will vie for the position. Terry Smith filed to run in Place 1, taking on incumbent and Board Vice President Clint Stephenson. With the focus on working out details and plans for immediate needs due to the closures, Snell said there is also a growing focus on making sure the district continues to prepare for the future as well. “Our number one issue right

ing their meat that they don’t let the grill get hot enough,” said Biggs. “You have to learn how to not be afraid of the heat. You want to let the charcoal get hot enough to where it turns fully gray and ash-colored. Then you spread it out and put the grill top on it. Let the fire burn for 20, maybe 30 minutes, and the grill gets hot.” When Chef Biggs works the grill, steaks are his go-to choice. His preference is the tasty bone-in ribeye. Leaving the bone in is a must to get all of the great flavors the cut of steak has to offer. “When I’m grilling steak, I usually sear each side over high heat,” said Biggs. “What people don’t know is that the hotter it gets, the tighter the fibers get until it gets too tough. Of course, if you cook it long enough, the fibers tighten until they snap, and it can get really tender.”

now that all staff are working versations because the wheels prepared for students when we on is we want to get students keep turning and we have to be come back.” fed, we want to get a device in their hand and we want to continue the learning as soon as we can. And then on the side ,we still have people going forward on all the business aspects of the district,” he said. “Construction will For more than 32 years, THE INDEPENDENT has continue and stay on schedule as much as possible. The conbeen the trusted source of local news. During struction companies will be these rapidly-changing, challenging times, you impacted by the slow down can continue to trust our coverage of COVID-19 a little bit, but right now the and the virus’ impact on our hometown. If plan is to keep on schedule you’re not already subscribing to the newspawith that.” The Board voted to pay per, please consider it now. Your subscription everyone per their regular (only $25/year) - either in print or online - helps schedule during the closure our locally-owned small business continue to and Snell said the district has provide critical advertising support for other people working at home to keep things going. small businesses in our community. Your sub“Future planning for the disscription also ensures that we can continue to trict will continue including provide you with the most current news from approving positions for next trusted, experienced journalists. year, and hiring staff, even if Journalism Matters! that might have to take place in a virtual format as well,” Thank you for reading. Subscribe today online he said. “In Liberty Hill we at www.lhindependent.com/Subscriptions can’t pause a lot of those con-

For a more natural flavor, if possible, avoid using charcoal briquettes and go with lump coal, Biggs’ preferred method for grilling. “When I grill, I prefer to use lump coal instead of charcoal briquettes,” he said. “They burn better, have a better taste, and don’t have chemicals as charcoal has.” While they are different in so many ways, grilling and barbecuing do share one thing in common. Sides and desserts. One of the most popular sides to go with meat on the grill is potato salad. Chef Biggs keeps it simple and uses his grandmother’s recipe. One of the tricks he suggests is allowing the potatoes to cool to warm after boiling. Mixing ingredients in when the potatoes cool too much creates a glaze on the outside. Mixing in while warm allows the ingredients to meld with the potatoes

“For sides, I keep it traditional most of the time,” said Biggs. “Usually a potato salad, which is just mayo, mustard, and the potatoes and seasoning of your choice. You can add tarragon, too, for some nice flavor.” Coleslaw is the other classic side for Biggs, and one he wants people to understand can be done so many different ways. “I also like to serve coleslaw, and the thing is people think there’s only one way to do coleslaw, but the truth is they can make it in so many different ways,” said Biggs. “Once you have a cabbage base, you can mix in different kinds of things.” For those interested in adding a healthier option to the sides, salad is an easy and straightforward choice. “A nice salad is always good with some meat off the grill,” said Biggs. “I like to mix romaine lettuce with some baby

green because they blend together really well. Of course, cucumber and tomatoes as well. For the dressing, people can use whatever they prefer.” As for dessert, Biggs doesn’t hesitate to share his preferred choice -- peach cobbler. “I like a good peach cobbler for dessert,” said Biggs. “Or you can even throw the fruit on the grill and have it like that for dessert, too.” No matter what choice is made when it comes to outdoor cooking, Chef Biggs says it’s all about the opportunity to commune with family and friends. “With the way things are now, grilling and barbecuing are such a great way to forget our differences and socialize with one another,” said Biggs. “It’s a good way to be part of the same team.”



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HOMES AROUND THE HILL Houses For Sale 261 N Showhorse Dr 3B/2.5BA 125 W Bear Creek 4B/2BA 2116 Red Oak Cir 3B/2BA 250 N Bear Creek Rd 2B/2BA + workshop 1616 CR 204 3B/3BA 2601 Greatwood Trl 4B/3BA/3 car garage + pool 103 Rolling Hills Rd 3B/3.5BA 1953 CR 250 3B/2.5BA 209 Estima Ct 3B/2BA 126 Robert’s Circle 3B/3BA Lots For Sale

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475,000 305,000 285,000 269,900 858,000 610,000 396,000 555,000 315,000 475,000

South Creek Circle Lot 150B Greystone Ranch Lot 14-B Commercial For Sale

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26,000 1.610 acres 130,000 10.03 acres

502 Willow St


Vanderveer Stonewall Ranch Dove Meadows Sundance Ranch William Hamilton - survey 17.7 acres Santa Rita Ranch Ph 1 Dove Meadows Berry Creek (Georgetown)

402 S Pierce St 149 Granite Path 429 Dove Trail 261 N Showhorse Dr 1200 County Road 284 200 Hedgerow Lane 433 Dove Trail 31451 Kingsway Rd

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Bear Creek - 7.3 acres Rio Ancho - Cul-de-Sac Lot Stonewall Ranch Georgetown Jenks Branch Autumn Breeze Pruddy Estates Stonewall Ranch

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3 Bldgs - 14 units Pending Contract 3B/2BA 3B/2BA 3B/2BA 3B/2.5BA 4B/4BA 4B/3.5BA 3B/2BA 6B/4BA Sold! 3B/2BA Lot 25 3B/2BA 2 Tracts 4B/2BA 3B/2BA 3B/2BA 5B/3BA

2620 sq ft 2130 sq ft 1806 sq ft 1360 sq ft 2608 sq ft 3060 sq ft 2560 sq ft 2909 sq ft 2258 sq ft 3473 sq ft

Cheryl Stephens Cheryl Stephens Cheryl Stephens Adrienne Hughes Shane T. White Amy Gandy Shane T. White Shane T. White Cheryl Stephens Adrienne Hughes Shane T. White Shane T. White

1,092,000 +/-10,736 sq ft Shane T. White 190,000 218,000 258,900 475,000 950,000 525,000 258,900 390,000

$ 499,900 $ 94,900 $ 1,695 $ 868,000 $ 259,900 $ 199,950 $ 325,000 $ 2,550/month

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Shane T. White Shane T. White Shane T. White Cheryl Stephens Amy Gandy Shane T. White Shane T. White Cheryl Stephens

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Thursday, March 26, 2020

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LH Independent, March 26, 2020  

LH Independent, March 26, 2020