Liberty Hill Living 2019

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LIBERTY HILL

P R O U D LY C E L E B R AT I N G T H E C O M M U N I T Y O F L I B E R T Y H I L L , T E X A S

G N I M A K HILL Y T R E B LI

A LOOK AT THE PEOPLE + PLACES THAT MAKE OUR SMALL TOWN SPECIAL




PHOTOS BY CHARLEY WILKISON

Celebrating the art of living in Liberty Hill The sunsets here are masterpieces in the sky with sweeping, breathtaking colors that make you want to stop and stare, and maybe pull over and take a photo so you can remember it just the way it is, forever. Actual words aren’t adequate and sometimes natives of Liberty Hill just stop, smile and nod toward the West. A small town knows its treasures. And Liberty Hill has always been a receptacle for the humans who create, carve, chisel and brush their beliefs and ideas into existence. You don’t have to look any further than the Liberty Hill International Sculpture Park than to feel the magical influence of this community portrayed and illustrated. The bright planets and stars, which influenced foreign artists in 1976 to feel so at home here that they were able to create art in a new, strange place, still burn bright in our sky every night. Nestled on the south fork of the San Gabriel, Liberty Hill is the newlydiscovered jewel of Central Texas. It’s a place where good people settled and carved out a life where beauty and art have always existed. Remaining small and interconnected has brought us treasures that other places struggle and often fail to recreate. The small town atmosphere of knowing neighbors and having time to make relationships grow has strengthened a collective can-do attitude when it comes to dealing with crisis and need. The reason the sculptors and artists of long ago felt so comfortable and able to create such an artistic legacy to leave behind was because

LIBERTY HILL

PROUDLY CELEBRATING THE COMMUNITY OF LIBERTY HILL, TEXAS

of our people and our traditions of welcoming and taking care of one another. Our daily art of life is born out of strong belief and passion. The people of Liberty Hill are strong believers and don’t mind arguing with one another to achieve a greater good. That passion for helping one another during times of need is never more evident than during the annual Liberty Hill Day of Giving. Neighbors who are sometimes too busy working to know of one another’s needs spend time each summer learning about ways to help local nonprofit organizations that do good in our community. In two years, a small rural community has raised thousands of dollars from its own citizens to keep these local charities doing well. When the great Willie Nelson chose Liberty Hill as the site of his third July 4th picnic he was tapping into that same vein of art and music that courses through our town. The same tradition of art, music and food continues today. The same neighborly passion that brings folks together to make our community special is celebrated with festivals that are drawing visitors to the Shin Oak Ridge from across Central Texas. In this our fifth edition of Liberty Hill Living, we bring you stories of some of the things that make our hometown special. We appreciate the business leaders who care about our community and want their businesses to be part of a publication that shares the local flavor of the people and the place we proudly call home. Liberty Hill has the rich tapestry of art, music, food and beauty all around. It’s all around us -- in the smiling eyes of our children, in the music on the back porches and in the street, and in the sky right above us.

Welcome to Liberty Hill Living!

LIBERTY HILL LIVING | A Publication of The Liberty Hill Independent Newspaper PUBLISHER/MANAGING EDITOR | Shelly Wilkison PUBLICATION DESIGN | Stacy Coale ADVERTISING DESIGN | Rachel Viator ADVERTISING SALES | Stacy Coale, Shelley Einck WRITERS | Mike Eddleman, Rachel Madison, Keith Sparks, Lance Catchings PHOTO CONTRIBUTIONS | Alex Rubio, Kendra Cofer, Rachel Madison, Charley Wilkison, The Liberty Hill Independent

For advertising rates and information, or to obtain additional copies, call (512) 778-5577 or send email to news@LHIndependent.com. Find Liberty Hill Living online at www.LibertyHillLiving.com. The publisher appreciates the active support of Liberty Hill area businesses and local governments for their generous contributions to Liberty Hill Living. This publication is truly a collaborative effort of a professional design team, experienced journalists, advertising specialists, and many others passionate about sharing the story of Liberty Hill.

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Luxury, Value & Quality



p.17 LIBERTY HILL

PROUDLY CELEBRATING THE COMMUNITY OF LIBERTY HILL, TEXAS

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CONTENTS

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#LIBERTYHILLTX

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL FESTIVE Events that make this a special place

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL DELICIOUS The best bites in town

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL TENACIOUS Winning has a foundation in youth sports

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL CONNECTED How some make work and home work together Photo credits clockwise from top left, Kendra Cofer, Alex Rubio, Alex Rubio, Rachel Madison

I S S U E F I V E 2 0 1 9 | www.LibertyHillLiving.com

LIBERTY HILL

ABOUT OUR COVER

This year’s edition of Liberty Hill Living highlights what makes Liberty Hill a great INHGILL place to live, work and raise a family. MIBAEK Y T R L The first Whimsy & Wonder art and music festival epitomized that spirit of community. With a nod to neighbors, a connection to the arts, and an eye toward growth, we opened the door to our community in a magical way with a welcome and a smile signaling you’re never too small to do big things. On the cover, a young festival-goer poses under the elaborate dragon balloon arch that lead to the Children’s Imagination Garden. Photo by Stacy Coale T Y HILL, TEXAS P R O U D LY C E L E B R AT I N G T H E C O M M U N I T Y O F L I B E R

A LOOK AT THE PEOPLE + PLACES THAT MAKE OUR SMALL TOWN SPECIAL

LIBERTY HILL LIVING is a publication of The Liberty Hill Independent. (512) 778-5577 / www.LHIndependent.com / www.LibertyHillLiving.com The information in this publication was compiled with great care to assure the accuracy of editorial content and advertising copy. The Liberty Hill Independent assumes no liability for the accuracy of the information reported to us herein, and the opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Copyright ©2019 The Liberty Hill Independent All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without permission in writing from the publisher — The Liberty Hill Independent, PO Box 1235, Liberty Hill, TX 78642.

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL COMPETITIVE ACC brings new opportunities

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL INNOVATIVE LHISD programs open doors

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL COMPASSIONATE A strong spirit of giving

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL PREPARED With growth comes the need for planning

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL HOME Coaches build on history of success

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ADVERTISER DIRECTORY

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HELPFUL NUMBERS

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In a medical emergency, the last thing you need is a long drive. So it’s good to know that there are two convenient ERs in your community: the ER at Cedar Park Regional Medical Center and Cedar Park Regional Emergency Center in Leander. For all of your emergent needs, you’ll find care for your whole family at both of these locations. To reserve your spot at one of our two convenient ERs, visit CedarParkRegional.com.

WITH TWO LOCAL ERs,

QUALITY EMERGENCY CARE IS MORE CONVENIENT FOR YOUR FAMILY.

Cedar Park Regional Medical Center 1401 Medical Parkway Cedar Park, TX 78613 512-528-7000 • CedarParkRegional.com Cedar Park Regional Emergency Center 1751 Crystal Falls Parkway Leander, TX 78641 512-379-3500 CedarParkRegional.com/LeanderER . kwy alls P tal F Crys

ell N. B Rd.

. Blvd line Lake

w E. Ne

e Dr. Hop

. Blvd tone hites E. W

In a medical emergency, call 911.

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WE FOCUS ON

THE HEALTH OF FAMILIES LIKE YOURS.

Getting quality healthcare for your whole family is easy when you know where to look. The dedicated providers at Liberty Hill Physician Associates treat patients of all ages. Their services range from preventive care to treatment of everyday illnesses, and the careful management of chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. For your convenience, same-day appointments are available, and walk-ins are welcome.

To schedule an appointment, visit CedarParkPhysicians.com or call 512-778-5160. Se habla español.

14365 Hwy. 29 W., Suite 10 Liberty Hill, Texas 78642 512-778-5160

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SOCIAL

#LibertyHillLiving #LibertyHillTX #Liberty Hill Fun Liberty Hill is a great place to live and play – as confirmed by the photos we found on social media. Tag your social media photos with #LibertyHillLiving, #LibertyHillTX or #LibertyHillFun and look for them here next issue.

makenzielsmithh Liberty Hill, Texas

Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool. j.siver_photography Liberty Hill, Texas

“Looking at morning dew serenading on the petals of flowers is an ecstatic moment! This makes us realise that it is the simple pleasures of life that give us the most happiness!” - Avijeet Das

Best part of our new house: the NEIGHbors ;))

wildfeatherfarm Liberty Hill, Texas

This morning our sweet Ella surprised us with a tiny, wobbly baby!! This is our first goat birth here, and although I had suspicions I had no idea today we would walk out to find this little guy! He has stolen my heart. Ella and baby are both doing great! #wildfeatherfarm #countryfresh #homegrownhappiness #backyardgoats #farmlife #goats #nigeriandwarf #nigeriandwarfgoat #goatsofinstagram #iamcountryside #smallfarm #farmphotography #farmgirl #farmfresh #womenwhofarm #herdmom #babygoats #babygoatsofinstagram #goatbaby ALL IMAGES © PHOTOGRAPHERS AS NOTED.

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onceuponazebra

kassiecmoore

Liberty Hill Public Library

A little zebra in Texas making his little zebra world grow every day.

jbrandes734

Liberty Hill, Texas

Liberty Hill International Sculputure Park

Beautiful sky after the storm!

#libertyhilltexas #libertyhill #texasskies #farmlife #godscountry

Went to the Liberty Hill library today and signed up for their summer reading program. Travis is all about winning prizes, so of course he’s into it and has already read for 40 minutes today. The program even has a Star Wars theme.

the.light.inyou

Casa Rio De Colores

Summer camp Capsul through my lens. #texas #summer #weekend #nature #summercamp #danceweekend #openair #festive #creative #riverside

Sunday Roadtrip Continued ... Did you know there’s an International Sculpture Garden in Liberty Hill? We heard about it, so we checked it out. Contributions are from American artists as well as international artists from such places as France and Japan! How neat is that? Who’da thought such a collaboration would be right here in our neighbor’s yard? A hidden gem of a park with a running trail, playgrounds, and the Liberty Hill public library nearby—just about everything you’d need for a day trip with the family!

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M A K I N GY H I L L LIBERT

D IS O N A D IS O N A C H E L M IO + R A C H E L M A R Y B Y R RUB STO BY ALEX PHOTOS

1. Children painted a mural

downtown “Celebrating the Art of Fun in Liberty Hill�.

2. Desmond Blair, an artist who

was born without hands, amazed art lovers with his paintings.

3. Stilt walkers filled Main Street with their colorful costumes.

4. Cody Fisher engaged

visitors of all ages with his amazing street magic.

5. Myka McCraw was

painted as one of many art demonstrations at the festival.

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a humid and breezy evening in mid-May. Jazz music was playing, wine was flowing, the smell of gourmet food was wafting from local businessesturned-art galleries. Children were dancing and painting and creating. Their parents took photos as stilt walkers, a street magician and other whimsical characters roamed the street. One artist used a chainsaw to sculpt ice, while another used dirty car windows to create a mural. And for a moment, you forgot you were in a small town, but then you turned and saw your neighbor from down the street and remembered you were still in Liberty Hill.

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YOU WERE AT WHIMSY & WONDER, the city’s first interactive art and music festival. Believe it or not, five years ago, Liberty Hill didn’t have much going on in the way of major community events. Liberty Hill had its small-town charm and beautiful vistas going for it, but when it came to festivals, there was something missing. Four years ago, that changed when The Independence Day Spectacular was born. Katie Amsler, director of fun for The Liberty Hill Independent, plans several community events in partnership with the City of Liberty Hill and various other local sponsors. “When I moved to Liberty Hill four years ago, there was nothing to do,” she said. “The day we moved into town, I took my family into Liberty Hill to experience what 18

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really taken off,” Amsler said. “The organizers have put together a great event for years, but it hasn’t been publicized well so people didn’t know about it. We decided to amp it up this year by adding hot air balloons. Let’s give people something fun to do, and while they are there, teach them about our sculptures. Everything we are doing for this festival pertains to the three categories of appreciate, educate and celebrate.”

LIBERTY HILL’S NEWEST FESTIVAL, Whimsy & Wonder, is

1. Thousands

of visitors to downtown Liberty Hill enjoyed Whimsy & Wonder on May 18.

2. TJ Mclaskey

dazzled the crowd with his incredible ice sculpture.

3. Among the

many whimsical characters was the lady in the champagne dress.

4. Dale &

Waylon were one of five bands that participated in Whimsy & Wonder.

5. Young people

enjoyed chalk art at the end of Main Street.

there was to do in town, but there was nothing. That had to change.” Amsler started working for The Independent, and together with Owner/Publisher Shelly Wilkison, they planned and executed the first major Independence Day event. “We brainstormed, talked to businesses, got the community on board, and raised enough money to have this festival,” Amsler said. “We had four shuttle buses that year, and I remember how excited we were when the first shuttle bus showed up and it actually had people on it. The next year we got more sponsors and upgraded to eight buses. The following year the City of Liberty Hill got on board and funded it and asked us to run it. We had 20 shuttle buses last year, and we expect the event to continue to get bigger and bigger every year.” ANOTHER ANNUAL FESTIVAL, the International Sculpture Festival, is one that’s been going on every October for the last few years in Liberty Hill, but until this year, it’s been fairly small scale. “The sculpture festival has been around for a few years, but it’s never

very important to the city because of the international sculpture symposium held in town in 1976, Amsler said. “Mel Fowler brought all these sculptors from around the world here to create an international sculpture park,” she said. “It’s really special and not something a lot of towns have. We wanted the community to be aware of this treasure we have, and we want to continue to grow the arts here. The City of Liberty Hill had the idea to start an arts festival, and we wanted to take it up a notch, so that’s how Whimsy & Wonder was born.”

some farming.” Floyd said he can remember sitting on Loop 332 heading into downtown Liberty Hill and not seeing any cars for hours. Today, downtown is thriving. “That’s business growth and people growth and enthusiasm and energy,” he said. “And events like [the sculpture festival] give us some focus so we can make things better and hold Liberty Hill up for future generations. I have a lot of faith in our young people and these events give them opportunities to be more involved.” Floyd added that he doesn’t want Liberty Hill to be what it used to be – he is excited about making it something better, which means putting time, effort and money into events that bring people to town. Amsler agreed. “All these people are moving to Liberty Hill because they love it, and we don’t want them to leave because it’s not fun, so why not bring the best festivals here?” Amsler said. “Plus, people come from out of town to go to these events because they hear about how cool they are, and they don’t want to fight the Austin traffic. They get to come and see what our town is made of.”

LIFELONG LIBERTY HILL RESIDENT Larry Floyd, who serves as president of the Liberty Hill Development Foundation, which owns the sculptures and Lions Foundation Park, said events like the upcoming sculpture and hot air balloon festival are exactly what Liberty Hill needs to successfully grow. “I’ve lived here all my life, except when I went to college, and I believe that the stuff we do that enhances Liberty Hill and gets more people to come here, will bring in more businesses, which then means someone can make a living out here. When I was growing up, you could really only make a fair living here if you owned some property and you could run some cows and do

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Festival goers came from near and far to attend Liberty Hill’s Whimsy & Wonder art and music festival. Here, they share their thoughts on the community’s newest and most interactive event.

ON THE STREET AT

“This festival definitely exceeded our expectations by far. We expected a small event, and this is much bigger. It’s a good mix of kid and adult activities. The art is cool too. We’re not big art people, but we stumbled upon a lot of stuff that was really interesting.”

> Brian Platt, North Austin “We usually do things on the weekends in Austin and we were there and saw this event, so we decided to come. We will have a long commute home, but it’s worth it for a fun date night tonight. I like the free wine and the food, and the art scene is really cool. It reminds me of some of the events we’ve seen in Austin. I like the cultural aspect of it.”

> Mallory Taylor, Dripping Springs

A CHAT WITH

Chalk Artist Melissa Slight Before she attended Whimsy & Wonder in May, chalk artist Melissa Slight had never been to Liberty Hill. The South

“I’ve never seen a small town do something like this event before. I used to live in Dripping Springs, but even there they never did something quite like this. This is cool.”

> Aliana Hunt, Killeen

Austin resident was surprised at how “adorable and vibrant” the town was.

“I didn’t really think there was a

small town feel like this outside of Austin, but it’s pretty great,” she said, while putting the finishing touches on her chalk drawing, called “The Giving

“We live in a small town [near Chicago] and we have a little event every year, but it’s not near as nice as this. This is really cool. The opportunity to see the art dealers and taste some different wines is great. And everything has been so interactive.”

> Pat Theobald, Chicago

Angel,” during the event.

“I was originally just going to show my

work—I have some oil paintings hanging in the galleries—but then I decided to sign on to do chalk art as well,” Slight said. “The turnout at the event has been pretty great. I love how all the vendors and tables are close together. It gives it this really fun feeling and I’m just happy

“We love Liberty Hill. We’ve been here countless times. We also love the arts and this festival seemed like it would be perfect to come to. It’s pretty whimsical for lack of a better word. I saw the details of the event and I wondered if it would really be like it said it would be, but it was better than I could have expected. It’s pretty mesmerizing.”

> Lindsay Chamblee, Leander 22

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to be here. I’d love to come back again next year.” >> To check out Slight’s art, visit her online galleries at behance.net/ melissasli0290 or ArtWanted.com/ MelissaSlight.


UPCOMING Y COMMUNIT

A CHAT WITH

Jewelry Designer Shelley Moon Austin resident and

business as of last year.

jewelry designer Shelley

“I started out with two

local events a couple of

Moon isn’t a stranger to

different earring styles

months ago.”

the Liberty Hill area – she

and just grew from there.

Moon added that the

used to live in Leander – so

It was those earrings that

festival overall was a great

when she heard about the

kind of inspired me to start

experience—from gaining

chance to show her wares

making more jewelry.”

new customers to enjoying

at Whimsy & Wonder, she

Moon said when it

knew she had to take the

comes to making jewelry,

opportunity.

it’s all about putting the

“We used to explore

right components together.

this area quite a bit when

“I got some good

we moved here nine years

responses off Instagram

ago from the bay area in

from friends once I started

San Francisco,” she said.

making jewelry, and

“Jewelry making is my

the next thing I knew,

passion turned into a side

I was in business.

I just started attending

the art herself. >> To check out Moon’s jewelry designs, visit her website at www. shelleymoondesigns.com.

LIBERTY HILL INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECTACULAR

Liberty Hill City Park, County Road 200 > July 3, 2019 at 6 p.m. This family-friendly event includes activities for all ages including food trucks, children’s activities, raffles, beach ball drop, hot dog eating contest and a free concert by The Spazmatics. At dark, a 30-minute fireworks show will light up the sky.

LIBERTY HILL INTERNATIONAL SCULPTURE & HOT AIR BALLOON FESTIVAL Lions Foundation Park, Loop 332 > Oct. 19, 2019 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

“I’ve gotten really great reactions from everybody and lots of compliments,” she said. “This festival has been a great experience.”

For the first time, hot air balloons will be a part of Liberty Hill’s annual sculpture festival. Ten hot air balloons will visit the event—and one will even stick around to offer rides throughout the day—in addition to the annual tradition of on-site working sculptors, tours of the sculpture garden, vendors and food. The annual evening street dance will also take place at this year’s event amidst the glow of the balloons.

WHIMSY & WONDER – THE LIBERTY HILL INTERACTIVE ART & MUSIC FESTIVAL Downtown Liberty Hill, Loop 332 > May 2020, Date/Time TBA

At Whimsy & Wonder, downtown businesses transform into art galleries hosting works from local artists, live art demonstrations and music. Food and wine is served in whimsical ways, while the street is filled with performers, stilt walkers and local artisans. Visitors can interact with the artists, musicians and street performers, all while getting their own opportunities to create art. >> For more information on upcoming community events, visit www.libertyhillfireworks.com , libertyhillsculpturefestival.com and www.libertyhillfun.com.

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Jorge Vidal, cook at Boomer's Taqueria, prepares a Cubano sandwich for a customer. The taqueria's menu boasts a wide variety of tacos and more.

MAKING LIBERTY HILL

STORY + PHOTOS BY RACHEL MADISON

When it comes to good food in Liberty Hill, the city isn’t in short supply. From pasta and tacos to pizza and sandwiches, there’s something for every palate. Earlier this year, readers of The Independent voted for their favorite foods from their favorite restaurants. Here, we feature just a few of the tasty options that can be found around town.

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Best tacos in town BOOMER'S TAQUERIA

More on the menu

2019 BEST OF LIBERTY HILL AWARD:

Best Taco

WHEN BOOMER'S CONVENIENCE STORE was remodeled a couple of years ago, store management decided to expand the space and make room to include a taqueria, aptly named Boomer’s Taqueria. At first, they weren’t sure if the idea was a good one – but after earning the best taco award from readers of The Independent earlier this year, they knew they had made the right choice. “We achieved something we never expected, but we are really proud because it’s good that in our community people have something to come eat and enjoy,” said Sam Ali, manager at Boomer’s. “We are proud of that.” Ali said management chose to put a taqueria in the store because there wasn’t a location nearby that had “a really good taco.” “We got the idea from Austin,”

Build Your Own Taco

he said. “They have a lot of taquerias, and we wanted to try something in Liberty Hill, and it ended up working really well. A lot of people even before we remodeled would ask us for food. They don’t want it from a warmer—they want it made fresh. So that’s what we decided to do.” Hector Vidal, owner of Boomer’s Taqueria, is the man behind the taco recipes. He has been making tacos professionally for 20 years. His recipes are inspired by tacos served at Taqueria Arandas, a popular chain based in Houston. He said everything about his tacos makes them good, from the way the meat is cooked on the grill to the freshness of ingredients, including house-made pico de gallo and salsa. “Everything here is made fresh to order,” Ali added. “Hector owns the taqueria, and his cousin, Jorge

Boomer’s Taqueria is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week and is located at 13801 W. Hwy. 29. For more information, visit Boomer’s Taqueria on Facebook or call (512) 290-7741.

WRITER'S THOUGHTS When I visited Boomer’s Taqueria, I had to try a few different tacos. Owner Hector Vidal didn’t steer me wrong when he recommended the al pastor taco. The marinated pork was tender and flavorful, and the diced onions and cilantro added the perfect amount of freshness. I built my own breakfast taco with my favorite ingredients, including eggs, cheese and sausage, and I wasn’t disappointed. The eggs were fluffy, they didn’t skimp on the sausage, and the house-made green salsa added just the right amount of spice. I’ll definitely be back.

Choice of two toppings: egg, chorizo, cheese, bacon, sausage, beans, cactus, potato or ham. [Vidal], works here as well. They have backgrounds working in restaurants, basically since they were kids. It’s not like they’re just getting started – they have a lot of experience.” Ali said the taqueria is the busiest during breakfast time. The migas taco, made with eggs, corn tortilla pieces and choice of meat, as well as the chorizo and egg tacos, are the most popular choices, but customers also like to build their own tacos. “Everyone has their own preference, so the build-your-own tacos are very popular,” Ali said. “There are at least 10 different items they can add on to their tacos.” At lunch, the best taco on the menu is the al pastor, Hector Vidal said. This taco is made with marinated pork, diced onions and cilantro. Ali said when the taqueria first opened, not many people knew about it, but after a Pedernales Electric Co-op worker found out about it and started telling his co-workers, things got busier. Then, the same thing happened with a UPS worker who would occasionally drop off packages at the convenience store. “People have come in, and then have told other people,” Ali said. “Our tacos have gotten popular mostly by word of mouth.”

Torta

Choice of chicken, al pastor, picadillo, chicharron, barbocoa, stew meat or beef fajita served with lettuce, tomato, avocado & mayonesa.

Migas with Cheese & Bacon Plate Served with potatoes, beans & tortillas.

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Pizza, pasta and a pint 2019 BEST OF LIBERTY HILL AWARDS:

LIBERTY HILL BEER MARKET

Best Italian Food, Best Pizza, Best Place for Girls’ Night Out, Best Beer

LIBERTY HILL BEER MARKET has served Italian food, including pizza, since it opened its doors in late 2015, but when Renato and Mimoza Hajmeli bought the business in 2018, they gave the food an even more authentic Italian flair. “We are from Rimini in Italy, which is a little city about 100 kilometers from Bologna,” Renato Hajmeli said. “We came to America six years ago, and started in Chicago before we moved to Texas. We grew up with pizza. We were born with it. When we bought [Liberty Hill Beer Market], pizza was already on the menu, but we have really tried to improve the recipe and the ingredients.” The improvements have paid off, as the restaurant earned both the best pizza and best Italian food awards from readers of The Independent. The secret behind the pizza lies in the dough, Mimoza Hajmeli said. “We make our pizza dough daily,” she said. “I use flour, water, extra virgin olive oil, salt and fresh

More on the menu Jalapeño Pesto Fries

Crinkle cut French fries with jalapeño pesto sauce.

Cheese Board

Four cheeses with spinanta, fig confiture, fresh fruit and walnuts.

Liberty Hill Beer Market owners Mimoza and Renato Hajmeli show off just one of the many pizza options they offer on house-made dough.

Calzone

Pizza dough stuffed with ricotta, sausage and mozzarella, half moon shaped. yeast. We make the dough and put it in the fridge and after 24 hours, we pull it out, let it warm up a bit, and then work it by hand.” Renato added that the most popular pizzas at the restaurant include the meat lover’s pizza, which includes meats such as sausage, Canadian bacon and pepperoni, and the everything pizza, which comes with, well, everything, including various meats and vegetables. Lastly, classic cheese pizza is the most popular option with the under-12 crowd.

The restaurant, located at 13851 W. Hwy. 29, is open 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 10 p.m. on Sundays. For more information, visit Liberty Hill Beer Market on Facebook or call (512) 260-8787. “The culture of cooking comes from Italy,” Renato said. “We also serve stuffed shells and cannelloni. People love all of those Italian dishes. We make all these dishes in house, and the fillable pastas are handmade.” She does most of the cooking herself but does have assistance

from Renato and a cook. “Since I was little, I have enjoyed cooking,” Mimoza Hajmeli said. “My parents both worked, so I’d stay with my grandparents and they had a library with old cookbooks in it that I would read. It’s like I was made to be a cook. I really enjoy it.”

WRITER'S THOUGHTS Liberty Hill Beer Market’s stuffed shells are what dreams are made of. If you like pasta and cheese, then this is the dish for you. Not only is it the ultimate comfort food, but it also pairs perfectly with many of the Italian wines served from their bar. The star of the restaurant’s pizza is its house-made dough. Although it only contains a few simple ingredients, the flavor of the crust is addictive – and makes for the perfect base for whatever pizza toppings you prefer. In my opinion, the more toppings the better! CONTINUED ON PAGE 30

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A sandwich like no other MALTED GRAINS

2019 BEST OF LIBERTY HILL AWARDS:

Best Sandwich, Best Seafood Best Place for a Date Night

MELISSA DAY AND MICHAEL BIGGS know a good sandwich when they see one. That’s because they’re the brains behind every sandwich on the menu at Malted Grains, which directly correlates with why readers of The Independent voted their restaurant as the one with the best sandwiches. When Malted Grains first opened as Malted Grains nearly two years ago – it was Liberty Hill Bakery & Café for a year before that – there were only five sandwiches on the menu. Today, the menu boasts more than a dozen, but the most popular sandwich has always been the Yardbird, Biggs said. “You can get the sandwich with crispy or grilled chicken,

More on the menu Brisket Pachos

Homefries with brisket, grilled cheese and BBQ sauce. Topped with diced red onion, jalapeno and sour cream.

Black-n-Bleu Salad Mixed greens with sliced tomatoes, crispy onions, bleu cheese crumbles and blackened beef tenderloin with choice of dressing.

Liberty Stack

Brisket, ham, turkey with cheese served on a house potato bun.

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The Yardbird, includes panfried chicken and fresh avocado atop house-made focaccia.

L I B E RT Y H I L L L I V I N G 2 01 9

but it’s not deep fried, it’s pan fried, so it’s a little lighter,” he said. “It’s put on a nice, fresh focaccia bread, and topped with crispy onions and avocado. That’s the basic sandwich. From there you can make it your own, because we have a ton of different house-made sauces, like garlic aioli, chipotle mayo and cayenne honey mustard.” The name of the sandwich comes from a time when Biggs was first cooking and he worked in a hotel restaurant. His brother would call the hotel, disguise his voice and ask for Biggs to fix him a “yard bird.” “That joke is where the name for the Yardbird sandwich comes from,” he said. Day said what makes the sandwiches so good at Malted Grains is the bread. “Michael makes bread every day in house,” she said. “He makes focaccia bread, potato bread, and sourdough bread, which was actually born in Liberty Hill.” Biggs added that the live yeast used to make the sourdough has been alive since January 2017 and is exclusive to Liberty Hill. “Yeast is very specific to the region it’s in,” he said. “Sourdoughs are all similar, but it’s unique to have your own. Mine has a harder crust, which is best for grilled sandwiches.” Most of the sandwiches on the menu can be found during lunch hours, but some are also available during dinner or brunch hours. Biggs said one of the dark horses on the menu is the Chicken and Shroom sandwich, which is made on the house sourdough and topped with grilled, sliced chicken breast, mushrooms, onions

Malted Grains, located at 1004 Loop 332, is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The restaurant is closed Mondays. For more information, visit Malted Grains on Facebook, at www.maltedgrainstx.com or call (512) 548-6086.

and Swiss cheese. “Another one, called Three’s Company, I call a heart attack on a plate,” Biggs said. “It’s one of those sandwiches that’s kind of embarrassing to talk about, but it’s stupid good. It’s two grilled cheese

sandwiches made on potato bread, and in the middle of those is a hamburger with mushrooms and more cheese. It has a small following right now.” Biggs has been in the restaurant industry for 25 years and has been cooking since he was just a child. “It’s really fun to give somebody a plate and see their reaction. One lady told me recently, ‘My tongue didn’t know what to do because there were so many flavors going on.’ It was awesome to get that feedback.”

>> To see the winners of the other food categories in the 2019 Best Of Liberty Hill, visit lhindependent. com/best-of-liberty-hill.

WRITER'S THOUGHTS When Malted Grains owners Melissa Day and Michael Biggs told me the Yardbird was their most popular sandwich, I took their word for it. I wasn’t disappointed. My favorite part of the sandwich was the house-made focaccia bread with its buttery, crusty perfection and the crispy fried onions atop the pan-fried chicken. I’m sure any of the other sandwiches on the menu are equally delicious, but if you aren’t sure where to start, you won’t regret trying the yardbird.


Liberty Hill Lions Club meets on 1st and 3rd Fridays at noon at the Fellowship Hall, 102 Myrtle Street Liberty Hill

Liberty Hill Lions Club

We are a part of the largest service organization in the world, doing work to serve those in need in our community, our state and our world. We support Operation Liberty Hill, give scholarships to our graduating seniors, support Texas Lions Camp for disabled children, and many other worthwhile projects.We raise money for our projects with our quarterly fish fry, our Rip Roarin’ Ride, and our flag project. Check us out on our website: www.lhlions.org

Liberty Hill Development Foundation Is a 501(c)3 organization that was started before Liberty Hill incorporated, to provide the community facilities that make it a better place to live and raise a family. The opportunity came when land was given to the foundation. Some land was donated for the new fire department building, ball fields were built, and a hike and bike trail marked off. A library was built and Lions Foundation Park was created. Since then, the Foundation acquired the 1976 Symposium sculptures and is working on their preservation. Check out our webpage at: www.lhsculptures.com L I B E RT Y H I L L L I V I N G 2 01 9

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MAKING LIBERTY HILL

TENACIOUS

GROWING STRONG LIBERTY HILL YOUTH LEAGUES THRIVING Liberty Hill Youth Football and Cheer (LHYFC) President Kristen Hamilton is in her first year as president, but has been on the LHYFC board for 12 years. As the program has continued to grow, one advantage of that growth has stuck out to her as the most important. “They just get to know more kids, 34

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and now with the elementary campuses splitting up, I think it’s going to help them because they’ll get to meet kids that they’re not going to be in school with,” Hamilton said. “My son, when he was in fourth grade, that was the year they all split, so some of the kids that he had been with already from K through third, when they got to fourth grade, he didn’t see them anymore during the day, but then they got to see each other

at night at practice. Now, there’s lots of kids that won’t ever see each other until they get to junior high or high school, so it gives them the opportunity to meet each other.”

AS MORE ATHLETES CONTINUE TO JOIN, more teams

are created, thus allowing them to compete against a different team each week as opposed to playing the same


AS THE LIBERTY HILL COMMUNITY CONTINUES TO GROW, SO DOES ITS YOUTH SPORTS PROGRAMS. WHILE THAT CERTAINLY COMES WITH ITS CHALLENGES, THE PRESIDENTS OF EACH PROGRAM SAY THEY WOULDN’T HAVE IT ANY OTHER WAY. STORY BY KEITH SPARKS / PHOTOS BY ALEX RUBIO

competition over and over again. For Mathew Richardson, president of Liberty Hill Community League Basketball and “Swoosh,” the growth has given the league a wider variety of competition. Eight years ago, Richardson estimated that 350 basketball players were in the program. Today, that number is closer to 440. “It definitely helps us have more teams, so we don’t have to play each other over and over again every weekend,” Richardson said. “We’re having probably eight or nine teams per division now, and we try to keep those teams to max 10 kids, so each kid can get the right amount of playing time. The more kids, the better.” Liberty Hill’s junior high seven-onseven offseason football program started out with just a dozen kids, an easy number to manage for Shawn Lapuszynski. Just a few years later, though, the number has eclipsed to 60 junior high football players – 100 if you include the high school program. Now, Lapuszynski is considering creating a board to help with the logistics of sevenon-seven as it’s become more than any one person can handle. “The hard part for me, this year, was that I had 205 jerseys arrive this year, and that’s with the high school, as well,” Lapuszynski said. “With the high school and junior high, combined, there’s more than 100 kids playing. Trying to manage the jerseys has gotten so big, I’m probably going to need a board and all that. It’s just gotten so big that it’s quite a bit to manage, and I’m kind of a one-man show right now.” With the growth that’s occurring in each of these leagues, the most common challenge is finding an appropriate number of volunteers to handle the hundreds of elementary-age kids in the program. Hamilton said just about every CONTINUED ON PAGE 36 year it seems it

Opposite Page: A Swoosh Skills Camp participant guards the ball during a scrimmage. Above: Swoosh campers huddle up during a timeout. Left: A Swoosh camper attempts to put a shot up over a defender.

For Mathew Richardson, President of Liberty Hill Community League Basketball and “Swoosh,” the growth has given the league a wider variety of competition. Eight years ago, Richardson estimated that 350 basketball players were in the program. Today, that number is closer to 440.

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will be impossible to find enough volunteers for LHYFC, but every year it works out, thanks to the parents of young Liberty Hill student-athletes. “(They are) not really challenges in a bad way, but challenges as in we get more kids than we feel we can get coaches for, but in the end, it always seems to work out,” Hamilton said. “Like we always say, A Swoosh camper brings the ball up the floor through a group of defenders.

STARTING A FIRE Part of what has made Liberty Hill athletics so successful over the years is the buy-in from their athletes at every level. That means from kindergarten through seniors in high school. From the time Panther athletes are able to dribble, throw, catch, hit, or spike a ball, they’re given the opportunity not only to play sports, but to play in a league that’s created around setting them up for success at the next level. For football, Liberty Hill Youth Football and Cheer (LHYFC) President Kristen Hamilton said the elementary-age football teams use the exact same playbook that’s used at the junior high, giving them a head start when they start playing football at the junior high in seventh grade. “I think they have a major advantage because of us falling in line with the junior high and the high school,” Hamilton said. “They follow the plays, they follow the playbook, the coaches help our coaches, and it prepares them to get ready for junior high. From LHYFC, the next step is junior high, which then prepares them for high school.” Liberty Hill High School Head Football Coach and Athletic Director Jeff Walker said what might be even more important than learning the playbook is instilling a fire for the game at a young age, especially during a time when football’s reputation for head injuries is taking a toll on its popularity. “Kids that start playing at a young age, their

it’s a good problem to have when you have that many kids that want to play football, that want to cheer, and we’re just like, ‘Oh my gosh, what are we going to do? Are we going to have coaches?’ But in the end, it always works out.” Growth will always come with challenges, but the advantages the growth provides outweigh them in almost every scenario, and the Liberty Hill community has continued to step up year after year to make sure no challenge is left without a solution.

YOUTH LEAGUES MAKING AN IMPACT AT THE VARSITY LEVEL

parents get involved and like the sport, so I think we see a little more of a fire for the game, because it’s coming from home and their parents are excited about them playing and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is starting to get them excited about the game, because there are so many people that talk about injuries and stuff nowadays in football. It’s great to see that there are still some mommies and daddies that are still encouraging their kids to play a tough sport and be a part of it.” Playing year-round should benefit the kids regardless of who they play with, said Liberty Hill High School Head Basketball Coach Barry Boren, but playing in a local league allows them to build team chemistry early on that manifests itself in a big way at the varsity level. “Playing your sport year-round should only benefit you,” Boren said, “and the thing is, if you’re playing with kids from Liberty Hill, that just lends itself to building chemistry. One of the cool things about our banquet was there were slides that showed our kids together from the time they were in elementary school. It just lends itself to building that chemistry.” LHCLB and “Swoosh” President Mathew Richardson said the varsity players’ involvement with the youth league is a huge motivator for the elementary-age athletes, which then leads them to get involved when they reach the varsity level years down the line.

“Parker McCurdy and Jareck Naylor, they actually volunteered to coach a team at the fifthand sixth-grade levels amongst their playoff run and everything, so it’s really exciting to cheer them on and actually know the kids, Richardson said. “It definitely brings more excitement to the community knowing that those kids are local and

Two players in particular on the Panthers’ 2019 State Runner-Up basketball team grew up playing youth basketball together in Liberty Hill. Now, they help coach for the same organization they played in as kids, Liberty Hill Community League Basketball. have come up through the program from when they were really young.” The same can be said for almost every sport at LHHS, where the vast majority of the varsity roster played their sport in a local youth league, from softball to soccer and everything in between. While it may not seem worth it watching a kindergartener run the wrong way on a summer Saturday in 100-plus-degree heat, the State Championship appearances say otherwise.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

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A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN LIBERTY HILL YOUTH FOOTBALL AND CHEER START/END DATE: July - Nov AGES: Kindergarten - 6th grade LEAGUE SIZE: 160 (as of 2018) COST: Flag $125 Tackle $225 New Cheer $338 Returning Cheer $160 Camps $35 CONTACT www.lhyfc.com (512) 423-3672 kris.hamilton1213@gmail.com LIBERTY HILL COMMUNITY LEAGUE BASKETBALL START/END DATE: Nov - Feb AGES: Kindergarten - 6th grade LEAGUE SIZE: 361 athletes COST: $95 CONTACT: www.lhclb.com (512) 423-3672 lhclbasketball@gmail.com LIBERTY HILL YOUTH LEAGUE (BASEBALL & SOFTBALL) START/END DATE: Spring Season: Feb - May All-Star: June - June Fall Season: Sept - Nov AGES: Kindergarten - 8th grade LEAGUE SIZE: 500 COST: Tee Ball $85 - $150 depending on age CONTACT: www.lhyl.org (512) 777-8779 paxfigioli@yahoo.com COUNTRY FIRE VOLLEYBALL START/END DATE: Nov - May AGES: 9 - 18 NUMBER OF ATHLETES: 85 COST: $1250 - $3900 depending on age CONTACT: www.countryfirevolleyball.com (512) 658-9117 jasonctuggle@yahoo.com LIBERTY HILL YOUTH SOCCER ASSOCIATION START/END DATE: Aug - Nov AGE: 3- 18 LEAGUE SIZE: 350 COST: $70-$130 + uniform fees of $25-$64 CONTACT: www.libertyhillsoccer.org (512) 522-5506 info@libertyhillsoccer.org

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Liberty Hill High School Head Football Coach Jeff Walker joins LHYFC practice as a guest speaker.

PARENTS PLAY CRUCIAL ROLE IN YOUTH LEAGUE OPERATIONS Youth sports leagues simply would not exist if not for volunteer parents, and Liberty Hill is no exception. From coaches to concession stand workers and everything in between, parents serve in a multitude of roles every day that allow youth leagues to run like well-oiled machines. Pax Figioli, president of Liberty Hill Youth League (LHYL) baseball and softball, said the importance of parents’ involvement in LHYL is absolutely crucial to their dayto-day operations. “Actually, I put it right at 100 percent,” Figioli said. “I don’t know how everybody else is, but when your kids play sports, you show up and you figure there must be some kind of paid organization that does everything from cleaning the bathrooms to taking care of the fields to coaching to everything like scheduling. As it turns out, the only paid people are the umpires. Literally, every single other thing is volunteer work.” From the outside looking in, it may seem like somebody is making some money from league fees and concession stand profits, but Figioli said there isn’t a dime to be made after jerseys and trophies are purchased, fields are leased,

A FAMILY AFFAIR and umpires are paid, making parents’ volunteer work absolutely necessary to league operations.

“With youth sports, there really isn’t any money in it,” Figioli said. “We spend literally all the money we make on uniforms, umpires, and trophies. Everything else that we have, it’s all volunteer. I can’t say enough.” Kristen Hamilton, president of Liberty Hill Youth Football and Cheer (LHYFC) said it isn’t just the operations of the league that benefit from parents’ involvement. She’s noticed that when parents are there, even if it’s just to watch practice, their kids find motivation in impressing mom and dad. “I think it’s very important for the parents to be involved, because it shows the kids that the parents are there to support the kids,” Hamilton said. “If the parents aren’t involved, the kids are kind of like, ‘Who’s there to support me?’ If the parents

are volunteering, or at least showing up even at practices, staying through the practices and not just cheering them on at games… I understand we have lots of parents who have three or four kids doing three or four different sports, but there’s lots of parents that the sidelines at practice are almost as full as they are on game day. It just helps the kids, it boosts their confidence knowing that mom and dad are there, or aunt and uncle, big brother or little sister, what have you.” Maybe most importantly, the development of the young Panthers, both as athletes and as people off the field, depends almost entirely on the volunteer coaches that dedicate hours upon hours to running practices, games, and tournaments. Typically, those volunteers are mothers and fathers with a variety of other responsibilities. “Honestly, the success of the kids depends on coaches, and those are volunteers,” Figioli said. “They’re usually dads that we’ve asked to step up, or you end up with huge teams with too many players and not enough playing time, so I can’t emphasize enough how important it is. It either makes you or breaks you.”


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MAKING LIBERTY HILL

Many newcomers are trading a stressful commute and a hectic lifestyle to work from home in Liberty Hill. These days, they are able to stay connected to business opportunities in the Austin area while enjoying the benefits of rural living.

CUSTOM FIT

GREEN FAMILY MAKES HOME, BUSINESS WORK TOGETHER

Julie Green and her

husband, Ryan, had specific features in mind when searching for where to build their home and grow their family. In 2014, the Greens found their perfect place in Liberty Hill and they’ve known it was the right choice for the family of six ever since. “When we were looking for land, we drove out here and we ended up really liking it,” Julie said. “We have four kids, so we really had to scope the schools' ratings. The schools were excellent, so everything just fell into place for us to be in Liberty Hill.” Elaina, Rylie, Easton and Julianna are the Green children ranging in ages from four to 13. Julie and her husband had predetermined that she would be a stay at home mom before starting a family, but when Julie got the opportunity to

“Liberty Hill is awesome because anywhere that we do business with you can jump on the toll road and get to them. If it’s further than that we can go right to our local post office and ship parts at a great price. It is all right here and convenient.” –JULIE GREEN

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JULIE GREEN

Owner, CNC Machine Shop

TIME LIVING LIBERTY HILL: 4 years BIGGEST ADVANTAGE TO WORKING FROM HOME: Runs her

business on her own property and raises Longhorns.

4 CHILDREN:

Elaina 13, Rylie 11, Easton 8, Julianna 4

run her business from home the family could not pass it up. Julie runs CNC Machine Shop. She cuts precision parts for her customers ranging in things from guitar pieces to high end motorsports parts. “CNC stands for Computer Numeric Control,” she said. “We started our shop in 2012 while we were still living in Round Rock. At that time, we had one machine and did it out of our

The Green family enjoys spending time with each other since Julie can work from home.

garage. We also leased a building in Pflugerville for a while before we moved to Liberty Hill. One of our main goals coming out to Liberty Hill was that we needed space and a place to put our

Julie Green starts up her machines in her home workshop.

shop and our house. The shop we just built last summer and now we have grown to three machines out there.” The convenience of having a work facility just a stone's throw away from her bedroom has been a blessing for Julie. Not only is she running a full-time business, but she has the luxury of still being the mom that she wants to be as well. “I can basically walk from my driveway to our workshop,” she said. “Being right here at home I can shut down the shop if someone is sick or has a school activity going on and go be a mom, too. Since we have been in Liberty Hill, we have added GREEN CONTINUED ON PAGE 44


CONNECTED STORY BY LANCE CATCHINGS / PHOTOS BY ALEX RUBIO

COUNTING THE BENEFITS

ROBERTS RUNS SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS FROM HOME

Stephanie Roberts and her husband enjoy having more time together as she runs a business from their home.

One reason many people flock to the Liberty Hill area is they are trying to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. With the growth of technology, social media and the internet, many have turned their escape from the city into an escape from the office by working from home. Stephanie Roberts is an accountant who does most of her work from the comfort of her own home every day. “I live in Liberty Hill, but most of my clients are in Austin,” Roberts said. “My company is Stephanie’s Accounting PLLC. I provide bookkeeping and tax services, property taxes, sales taxes, and personal taxes. As an accountant, much of my work

STEPHANIE ROBERTS Accountant TIME LIVING LIBERTY HILL: 2 years BIGGEST ADVANTAGE TO WORKING FROM HOME: Multiple revenue streams (chickens, dog breeding), save 10 hours a week commuting back and forth or 520 hours a year.

is bookkeeping and tax work. I have been in the Austin area for about 20 years now, so I have the connections in the area to bring my business together.” The transition to a more rural lifestyle has many work benefits.

“My husband wanted acreage and to be out of the inner city, so he is the one that brought me out to the country,” Roberts said. “As a result of that, because I can work at home, I get more work done because I am not spending my time commuting. Many of my clients have no issue with the fact that I live in Liberty Hill. When I need to meet with them, I usually go to them or we meet somewhere in the Austin or Cedar Park city limits. It has really been beneficial for us because we are enjoying the small-town life and we are seeing it grow.” It has been said that happy workers are more productive workers and Roberts believes in the concept as well. Since she has cut out the time of commuting, she has found time to pick up more streams of revenue outside of her accounting job. “Living here and working from home is what led me to get a golden retriever and a poodle,” she said. “I will be breeding Golden Doodles and one reason is because we have the property to do it. The dogs can get out and run and play and I can watch while I work. My puppies are seven and three and a half months and I am always with them. Working from home gives me the opportunity to train and tend to them as I need to. I don’t have to kennel them and then rush home and try to feed them as I would if I was in an office.

“Working from home allows us the ability for multiple incomes because there is someone at home to keep an eye on things. With social media now and the internet you can also reach out to people that way. You benefit from the lack of traffic, the calm, and not facing the hustle and bustle of the city.” –STEPHANIE ROBERTS When it comes time to breed my female, I will be home and I don’t have to worry about leaving work. With social media now and the internet you can also reach out to people that way. You benefit from ROBERTS CONTINUED ON PAGE 44

Roberts also raises chickens and is breeding Golden Doodles.

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GREEN CONTINUED FROM PAGE 42

ROBERTS CONTINUED FROM PAGE 43

another machine. It has allowed us to grow slowly but surely. A typical day for Green starts early but she makes sure to get her work and family time in each day. “On a typical day we get up at 5:45 and have our kids on the bus by 6:30 a.m.,” she said. “I start up the machines and work until I can get a break for lunch and then I shut them down in the evening and make dinner after the kids get home.” Not only does the family run a successful shop from home, but they also raise

“When I lived in Austin, I lived North and I would commute all the way down to the river. I probably save two hours a day which, turned into 10 hours a week which was 40 hours a month. Also, we still benefit from being in proximity to Austin. We feel like we have the best of both worlds because we are close enough to go to the city when we want.” –STEPHANIE ROBERTS

the lack of traffic, the calm and not facing the hustle and bustle of the city.” Roberts has a third revenue stream in raising chickens. “I also have chickens that I raise and the space we can have here in Liberty Hill is one reason I have so many,” she said. “We free range our chickens and they have a half acre we fenced off for them. Since I work from home I can see when something is happening out there. We recently had a chicken hawk in the area and since I was home, I was able to gather them and get them back in the coop, so we did not lose any chickens.” She still remembers commuting when living in the city and is grateful to have left that lifestyle in the past.

“I love that I can come inside and help the kids with homework, or they can come outside to the shop and ask me questions. We have a basketball court in our driveway for them to play or they can ride bikes and it is enclosed so we don’t have to worry about traffic. If I was not able to work from home, they would have to be in daycare after school and I would feel like I never see them. We decided before we had kids that I would be a stay at home mom so the fact that it worked out this way is just a blessing.” –JULIE GREEN 44

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livestock. They have chickens, horses and even longhorns on the property. “When we first got the land, it was run by a rancher who kept his Angus cattle out here,” she said. “We wanted to keep our Ag exemption, we loved longhorns and they are fun and relaxing. We have five adult longhorns, four are cows and one is a bull and they all have babies right now. We have pens set up as well, so it is nice and convenient. They are just there to graze and are beautiful yard art. The land type out here is

exactly what we needed. We wanted ranch land and not farmland. Farmland is okay but there are no trees in Hutto, Granger and Taylor. We wanted somewhere we could build our house, enjoy the backyard and still have trees for the shade.” Living in Liberty Hill and working from the same place allows Julie and her family the type of life that most dream of. The ability to work close to where you live without the fuss and frenzy of commuting or the overhead of renting office space.

The Green family also raises longhorns, chickens and horses on their Liberty Hill property.


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MAKING LIBERTY HILL

COMPETITIVE

COURTESY PHOTO

The first building of the Austin Community College San Gabriel Campus sits on 100 acres that will one day house many buildings intended to service about 2,500 students.

STORY BY MIKE EDDLEMAN

A community is often measured by the opportunities it provides for residents to thrive, and higher education is a key component to opening that door to career and financial success. There may not be a college campus in Liberty Hill, but the city and school district have already forged partnerships with Austin Community College (ACC) – which opened its newest campus in Leander last Fall – to connect residents with programs that not only provide them increased opportunities but help the community grow.

THE NEW LEANDER CAMPUS opened with 23 classrooms, labs, a library, and most student services to include registration and testing. The 100 acres ACC owns around the building is expected to one day house many buildings that will service about 2,500 students. But ACC strives to be much more than a physical campus with traditional offerings.

A LOCAL ECONOMIC BOOST There are no tests to measure what a college campus can do to lift a community economically, but each time ACC opens a new facility, Chris Cervini, Associate Vice President, Community and Public Affairs, says the benefits are unmistakable.

“Any time there is a development like the San Gabriel campus, and that was the result of a long collaborative process with the City of Leander, it creates a boon to the local economy and I think you are starting to see that,” Cervini said. “We’re incredibly proud of that campus. We’re bullish on the future of the northern parts of our service area. That northern thrust has been very strong over the last five years and I think that reflects the growth in the population and the need for higher education options that are closer to the residents so they don’t have to drive down toward more central Austin campuses.” Liberty Hill is the next spot on the Central Texas map defined by

fast-paced growth and Cervini believes that even without a campus in town, the proximity to the San Gabriel campus and the partnerships already in place between Liberty Hill and ACC, great benefits exist. And these benefits go well beyond the traditional student model. “There’s the idea that more higher education opportunity is available to more citizens,” he said. “There are a whole lot of people out there who are mid-career, who maybe don’t have a certification. We’re in an economic zone where we need to fill 30,000 jobs and most of those jobs require some type of a certification and so having more opportunity readily available for the working adults, who may CONTINUED ON PAGE 48

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TAXES The 2017-18 total tax rate is $0.01008 (10.08 cents) per $100 assessed property value. The property tax rate for maintenance and operations is capped at $0.09 per $100 assessed property value. It cannot go above $0.09 without voter approval. There is currently a $0.0120 rate for retirement of the general obligation bonds for facilities.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 47

be piecing together two or three part-time jobs, to get some training to get a fulltime position is incredibly valuable for the overall economy of the region.” Cervini said ACC often serves as an economic development partner with communities competing for new jobs and recruiting new business. “If there was an economic thrust, or you were trying to get an employer in, we would be at the table with the team talking about how we ramp up a training program for (that need),” he said. “That’s one of the benefits and things about a community college that is a little different. We are very closely tied to the economic development efforts of the community.” Any advantage a city can find is critical in Central Texas, where every community is competitive. “The war for talent, so to speak, is getting more and more competitive, and having opportunities to be able to show our students that there are local opportunities is what’s important to me,” 48

COURTESY PHOTO

The ACC campus offers 23 classrooms, labs, a library, and most student services to include registration and testing.

said Liberty Hill Executive Director of Economic Development Lance Dean. “It’s great if kids want to go off and see the world, but I’d like them to be able to have opportunities here as well, and so having higher education opportunities locally will help.”

SIGNING UP The ACC district continues to grow, but just how does a community become part of that and what are the benefits and costs? Rather than focus on successful referendums in Elgin, Round Rock or other communities, Cervini said the lesson learned in Pflugerville’s failed vote is what any community considering a ballot measure should consider. “The community has to really do a self reflection as to whether or not this is something they want to do in terms of entering the taxing district,” he said. “I think it failed because the community was not 100 percent on board, so there was some opposition and as the group that was supporting annexation moved forward they ran into

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roadblocks from opponents.” While it only takes the signatures of 5 percent of voters as of last general election to begin the process, it is important to know that support exists from all parts of the community before moving forward. “In a community like Liberty Hill, I do think it would be an amalgam of the business community, the public school community, the local chamber and neighborhood associations coming together and thinking about whether this is something they want to do,” Cervini said. If the broad-based support exists and the signatures are gathered they are then turned into the college for review. If the signatures are approved, the issue is taken to the ACC Board of Trustees and the board would decide to put it on the ballot and publish a service plan for the area. That plan is a very detailed and concise breakdown of the tax rate, the in-district tuition. “In these types of situations the college’s view is that we can’t advocate for or against an annexation,” Cervini said. “All we can do is CONTINUED ON PAGE 50

Recent Tax Rate History 2017-18: $0.1008 2016-17: $0.1020 2015-16: $0.1005 2014-15: $0.0942 2013-14: $0.0949

TUITION Community members residing within the ACC taxing district receive lower in-district tuition/fees of $85 per credit hour compared to $361 for out-of-district residents.

Tuition for 2 years or 60 hours In district: $5,100 Out of district: $21,660

ACC DISTRICT Residents in these areas receive the reduced, in-district tuition rate and expanded access to programs and services in exchange for contributing to the district tax base. Austin ISD City of Austin Del Valle ISD Elgin ISD Hays CISD Leander ISD Manor ISD Round Rock ISD

Current Campuses

Rio Grande Campus opened in 1975 Riverside Campus (1984) Northridge Campus (1989) Cypress Creek Campus (1991) Eastview Campus (1999) South Austin Campus (2006) Round Rock Campus (2010) Elgin Campus (2013) Highland Campus Phase 1 (2013) Hays Campus (2014) San Gabriel Campus (2018)


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EVOLUTION OF EDUCATION A brick and mortar home may be the traditional vision of school, but ACC is tearing that old reality down brick by brick. “We recognize we have to be open access institutions,” said Donald Tracy with ACC Continuing Education. “We have to meet our community where they are. If you come to our doors we will meet you where you are and our goal is to get you the skills you need to leave here in a better place.” College degrees remain important for many in the job market, but for a growing number, the best options boil down to trade opportunities or certifications for very specialized skills. “We are in a technical and a certificate-based economy where most of the jobs created after the great recession have required some kind of a certification,” Tracy said. “That means when people have to hit the reset button and go from a job that maybe only required a high school diploma, there needs to be options for them to be able to get that little bit of training they need.” Dean has worked closely with ACC and Liberty Hill ISD to begin developing programs that can be taught right here in the community, and he agrees that certifications are critical. “These programs are in healthcare, in high 50

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The Accelerator offers computer access to students, complete with tutors available all the time, so they can work at their own pace through developmental courses.

“ Certifications are highly sought after. Getting a university education is almost like a key to get your foot in the door, but once you get there they want to see certifications.” - Lance Dean Austin Community College offers 120 different areas of training in workforce education, community programs and corporate training.

tech, in manufacturing and trades, in business, a whole range of topic areas,” Tracy said. “Then we have community programs area and that’s where we have a lot of our fun stuff. Things that many people may think of when you say continuing education like photography, flower arranging and things like that.” Everything about the new way of offering education is opposite of the traditional model, except for the results. “This model of going there, identifying a group of people who are interested in or need a certain kind of training, developing and then delivering that training there, at a time and place that works for the students, is the opposite of the traditional model,” Tracy said. Last Fall, ACC teamed up with Liberty Hill ISD and other local leaders to launch an effort to bring plumbing and HVAC classes to the high school campus in the evening. The

COURTESY PHOTO

do a just the facts (presentation), showing here’s how your property taxes will be impacted, here’s how the tuition will shake out, here are any other issues related to what coming into the district would mean.” The Board would hold a public hearing in the community to answer questions on the service plan prior to the election. Typical annexation is done by school district, and tax rates vary by area. “We work with the county to get the most up-to-date tax information and we put it in a spreadsheet so that everyone goes into the process clear-eyed,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to ever feel like they’ve come into the district and they’ve been sold a bill of goods. We want people to know right off the bat this is what it costs and this is what you get in exchange.” While Liberty Hill may not be ready today, future possibilities abound. “I’d love to have a university branch here, but we’re not quite there yet,” Dean said. “Looking at other long-term goals, in Eastern Williamson County you have a consortium of a few universities, I’d love to have a Western Williamson County component of that.”

numbers were not quite there in that first attempt, but the opportunity remains and organizers have gone back to the drawing board to look at what other opportunities might draw more interest locally. “We’re trying to find that class that’s not only going to get enough community interest, but also to work for our students,” said Liberty Hill High School Director of Career and Technical Education Kristy Kercheville. “We’re still meeting and still working on getting that going.” Tracy said ACC has proven that with a lot of research and planning, pretty much anything can be taught anywhere at any time. “A couple of years ago we challenged our team to make mobile as much of what we do as possible, and that means not just being able to come to a room and teach basic English or basic computer skills, but let’s make our trades programs mobile too in a real way,” he said. “We designed and built mobile training units that we can take virtually anywhere. We can teach a full HVAC, a full plumbing, a full electrical, even a full welding class there, wherever there is.” That’s the advantage this new-found freedom has given ACC in accomplishing its mission. “The flexibility of the community college, particularly through the continuing education area, is we can stand up programs in a matter of weeks not months or years, to provide targeted skilled training for individuals is important to that,” Tracy said. “We’ve had an opportunity to participate in a lot of these site visit discussions with companies that have come into Central Texas and or are considering moving to the region. We point out to them if they need a skilled training program in a certain area we can turn that around quickly.”



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Deborah DeBona of Realty Austin has made the list of The Top 500, a mid-year recognition for top earning agents based on closed sales from September 1, 2018 to February 28, 2019. These six months represent the first half of the Platinum Top 50 award year; thus, the Top 500 are on track to qualify for Platinum Top 50 end of year recognition.


MAKING LIBERTY HILL

INNOVATIVE STORY BY MIKE EDDLEMAN / PHOTOS BY ALEX RUBIO

COURTESY PHOTO

CAREER CATALYST

LIBERTY HILL ISD IS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR WAYS TO IMPROVE, AND MORE IN-DEPTH OPPORTUNITIES FOR STUDENTS TO GROW AND ACHIEVE. THOSE STRATEGIES INCLUDE INNOVATIVE, NEW STUDENT PROGRAMS AS WELL AS INNOVATIVE COLLABORATION METHODS FOR TEACHERS.

English, math, science and social studies have forever been mainstays in education, but each year school districts look for new ways to introduce new opportunities for students, and Liberty Hill High School is doing so through a robust expansion of its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program. For CTE Director Kristy Kercheville, staying on the front lines of the job market and new fields is the first step to creating opportunities for students. “The thing that I love about career and technical education is it gives you, the students and the community the best options,” she said. “Every year we’re looking at what the trends are, what’s in highdemand, what’s high wage, what’s in our area? The last two years it has been so nice to plan with people in our community, with the EDC (Economic Development Corporation), with Workforce and with ACC.” The list students can choose from is always growing, adding another seven options for the upcoming year. “Our programs have expanded like crazy,” Kercheville said. “Last year we Top: Dozens of professionals from around the Liberty Hill area came to Liberty Hill High School last fall to participate in Future Fest, spending time with students interested in learning more about different career options. Middle: Interest in robotics throughout the high school and junior high have made it one of the fastest-growing programs in Liberty Hill ISD. Bottom: As part of Future Fest, students got very creative in sharing their thoughts on how they imagine their future.

had 41 different courses, next year

we’re adding seven. Of those we have 11 of the 16 federal career clusters. We have 12 programs of study for students to choose from and all of those lead to a certification, an industry certification or a two or four-year transition period.” Working with the EDC and Austin Community College has helped the high school think outside the box – and outside the traditional schedule – to begin putting programs together for current students and adults in the community. “In the short term, the CTE program at the high school is an awesome program,” said Executive Director of the Liberty Hill EDC Lance Dean. “The alignment we have with ACC right now through the CTE program is the high school provides the space, and ACC provides the instructors and the equipment for HVAC and plumbing classes. Those are adult education classes, but it is open to students and is taught in the evening.” Programs such as the health sciences and engineering are expanding rapidly in both areas of study and student interest. “Our STEM areas, our engineering and robotics, are big,” Kercheville said. “This year we brought in AutoCAD certification, and that’s something where they’re going to walk out having that industry certification and that’s huge. Robotics is up and coming because the Junior High has a great program, so we’re seeing all those kids coming up and we’re CONTINUED ON PAGE 54

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really trying to prepare for that.” But Kercheville knows for Liberty Hill ISD to succeed for all students, it must come up with a desirable, workable situation for each student as they graduate. “We know every kid is different,” she said. “Some of them are going to go into the world of work, others are going to go military and others are going to go two years or four years. We want to try and give them as many options as possible and I think with career and technical education we do that because they’re getting that hands-on, real world experience. “This is what high school is about,” she said. “Try it, if it’s not for you cross it off, but it is great to know so when you do leave us you’re not wasting time and effort if you’ve already tried it here.”

COLLABORATION CORNER

It’s not a class, an extracurricular activity or new technology, but Professional Learning Communities have become a critical cog in helping teachers maximize methods of instruction and ways to reach every student in the classroom. It is not new, but it is a collaborative strategy that Liberty Hill ISD is seeing increased benefits from each year. “The whole purpose of the PLC is for teachers to collaborate together on lessons and have an end-goal in mind,” said Liberty Hill Intermediate School Principal Josh Curtis. “What they do is start with a common assessment and they will work backward to what they want the students to learn and achieve to take that assessment. The teachers do it collaboratively so they are all teaching the same thing. They may do it in their own style, but it’s working collaboratively so all students are being taught the same thing and we can share students and it’s not just teachers on an island.” Not only do teachers share solutions, but the planning and sharing of tasks frees up scarce time during the school week. “When you talk about time, this actually frees up teachers’ time because they are working together and as a team and they’re not doing CONTINUED ON PAGE 56

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RAMPING UP

The OnRamps program provides Liberty Hill High School students an opportunity to leave home for college with as many as four courses under their belts thanks to a partnership with the University of Texas. "In the past few years we’ve been working hard to provide more opportunities for our kids to take dual credit courses,” said Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Toni Hicks. “What that allows them to do is earn a high school and college credit at the same time.” The program began with a pre-calculus course and this year will include

DUAL LANGUAGE

Programs have long been in place to help students who don’t speak English learn the language, but Liberty Hill ISD is mixing it up this year by offering an opportunity for English-speaking students to get involved in a new program that will teach them Spanish at the same time others are learning English. “We’re starting for the first time ever dual language,” Hicks said. “We’re starting that in a combined class of pre-K and kindergarten and we will continue to bring that forward every year.” Not only will it help students get ahead in a world where being bilingual is more important than ever, students

rhetoric – an English class – U.S. history and college algebra. Completion of any one of these courses means three college credits that are transferable and save families money on tuition costs. “When our kids take this they’re actually enrolled as a University of Texas student while also being enrolled as a Liberty Hill Panther,” Hicks said. “The more opportunities we can offer our students to earn college credits in high school the better, so that they have an opportunity to get that experience in a safe environment with our teachers before they take that big step outside of the home and community.”

who stay in the program through fifth grade will earn a high school credit as a fifth grader. And teaching students at an early age is an advantage. “Research shows the younger students are when they learn another language the more receptive they are to that language and it just becomes a part of who they are and their communications skills,” Hicks said. The district is not stopping the bilingual opportunities with the students either. “We are also offering a chance for our employees to learn Spanish and we’re offering those in the evenings,” Hicks said.

EXPANDED MENTORING Liberty Hill ISD is proud of its staff and how well teachers work together and fit into the culture of the district, and a strong mentoring program is one of the foundations for that success. With a little extra training for mentors themselves, LHISD hopes to see that program become even better. “We’ve always assigned mentor teachers to new teachers in the district,” said LHISD Human Resources Director Bobby Mabry. “We sent one of our instructional coaches, Hollee Braun, and one of our elementary teachers, Cheryl Russell, to a trainer of trainers workshop. Each campus

did their own thing as far as we didn’t have a district mentoring plan, but they brought that training back so we can establish a district plan with expectations that at every campus you can expect certain things from mentor teachers.” Mentor teachers have to complete an application process, some summer training, then they get matched up with new teachers. The mentoring program is both for brand new teachers to the field as well as teachers just new to Liberty Hill.


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everything on their own,” Curtis said. “We allow them twice a week for 50 minutes to have PLC time, so it is built into the schedule.” Everyone wants to succeed, and across the Intermediate campus, Curtis has seen that teachers understand the best way to be the most successful is to work closely together. “They love it,” Curtis said of the collaboration. “We all have our strengths and weaknesses. If we play to everyone’s strengths then we’re just better off as a campus and bettering the students. The teachers love it because when you go through a whole year you’re not going to 100 percent know every lesson you have to teach. Why not listen to this teacher over here, take their advice back to your classroom or even teach your students because in the end it’s not about the teachers being the most successful, it’s about teaching the students.” Liberty Hill High School Principal Jonathan Bever has put more emphasis on the PLC concept since he took over last fall. What Bever sees coming out of these departmental meetings is something special.

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Liberty Hill High School students have five endorsement areas to choose from, with a wide variety of programs of study, including nontraditional opportunities like: ENGINEERING ANIMAL SCIENCE WELDING INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS MANAGEMENT FINANCE CULINARY ARTS EDUCATION LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY HEALTH SCIENCE “On this campus it was kind of introduced last year, but I have really pushed it and I really made it a part of the master schedule,” he said. “I have groups of people that are coming

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together and literally having conversations about things like, ’You’re average scores in your class are 92 and mine are 84, and why is that? What can I learn from you?’” The program is firmly entrenched today, and Curtis knows there’s no turning back from the success or the teacher buy-in. “I think the staff here would actually revolt against me if I got rid of the PLC process because they see the importance of it and they see how it helps students and they see how much it has taken off their plate by working as a team,” he said. Liberty Hill Intermediate is a twicerecognized campus for its PLC success, and it leads the way in a district where PLC programs are growing further entrenched as teachers see ever-increasing results. “It was huge for us,” Curtis said of the recognition for his campus. “When you’ve done something for so long and you’ve put so much time into it, being globally recognized – because there are only 172 in the nation – being one of those was just fulfilling knowing the work we’ve been doing wasn’t for naught.”



ll i H y t er b i L Making

e t a n o i s s a p m o C COURTESY PHOTO

The Arnold family is just one of many who benefited from Operation Liberty Hill’s Day of Giving campaign in 2018. From left, are Jakob, Sabrina, Jonah, Journey, Kalob and Anchor.

T

STORY BY RACHEL MADISON

HE LIBERTY HILL DAY OF GIVING

community responded to

year, another family can put

has shined a light on the

that call to give in a big way,

food on their table, another

community’s everyday spirit

pouring more than $35,000

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of charity and compassion.

into nine local nonprofits.

smile, another one of our

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Those funds purchased

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freezers, sheds, super hero

hand, and our most valuable

overwhelming support and

costumes, a roof and much

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protected and shared with

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someone else.

causes to meet critical

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of many more who have

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into the Day of Giving each

spirit of giving.

In 2018, the first year for the Day of Giving, the

58

These are the people

L I B E RT Y H I L L L I V I N G 2 01 9


FEEDING

Families AND SOULS

FAMILY GETS A BOOST THROUGH

L4CARES PHOTOS BY KENDRA COFER

OPERATION LIBERTY HILL, a Christ-centered organization that assists the Liberty Hill community with basic needs such as food and clothing, was the top fundraiser in the 2018 Day of Giving. It raised $13,304, which was used to purchase a new walk-in freezer for storing food, primarily meat. That purchase changed everything for the Arnold family of Liberty Hill. Sabrina Arnold is a single mother to five kids ranging in age from 11 to 1. “Operation Liberty Hill is vital to our existence because my older kids eat like horses,” she said. “Before the Day of Giving, we got one pack of OPERATION LIBERTY HILL meat and one pack of bologna. It was 1401 Hwy 183, Leander great and really (512) 778-4175 helped, but after www.operationlh.org the Day of Giving Contact: Susan Baker operationlh@att.net happened, we got so much more meat. Instead of getting one meal and sandwiches, we now get two or three meals and sandwiches. We don’t know what we’d do without Operation Liberty Hill.” Arnold added that she felt her kids weren’t getting enough protein in their diets before the increase in meat. “With growing kids, the protein is kind of a necessity to keep their bones growing,” she said. “And my boys just like to eat meat. With the new walk-in freezer, they can also keep more produce on the inside, so there are a lot more fruits that the kids get to eat as well. It’s just awesome because there’s so many more choices.” Arnold said before the walk-in freezer was purchased, food options were more limited, but now her kids have had the opportunity to try different foods, like bison. “A couple of weeks ago we got bison, and that was an awesome find,” she said. “We were able to make chili out of it and now my kids think it’s awesome that they had bison.” Arnold works full time as a caregiver for a man with cerebral palsy. She works up to 100 hours every two weeks, and said she needs the extra helping hand that Operation Liberty Hill provides. “They’ve blessed us,” she said. “It’s nice because food is my biggest expense besides rent, so that once-a-month box really helps. Everyone there just loves on me and my kids and and encourages me on days where it’s hard. We don’t have family here in Texas, so they are my family. They keep me motivated when I want to quit.”

L4 CARES, an organization that seeks to provide acts of kindness to “the least, the last, the lost and the lonely,” raised $1,610 through the 2018 Day of Giving. Just one of many beneficiaries of those funds was the Beatty family of Liberty Hill. “My daughter, Haley, had been sick for a while and kept getting sent home from the doctor with migraine diagnoses,” said mom Megan Beatty. “One day she told me she didn’t feel right, so we went to Dell Children’s to figure it out. They took her right back and later came back to the room and told us she had a brain tumor. The process was really fast after that. She had brain surgery and as the weeks went on for recovery, we found out it was aggressive cancer.” The Beatty family’s first encounter with L4 Cares came as they traveled home from Dell Children’s following the surgery. “L4 Cares had done a big yard sign that said ‘Welcome Home Haley,’” Megan Beatty said. “But since then, Kendra [Cofer, who heads up L4 Cares,] has done so much more than that.” Megan Beatty added that Cofer found her family an apartment to stay in for six weeks in the Houston area while Haley underwent cancer treatments.

Ca r ing

“We got to stay there for free for six weeks, and Kendra checked up on us that whole time,” she said. “When Haley got to ring the gong at the hospital after finishing radiation, she came all the way to Houston and brought characters with her like Wonder Woman and the Little Mermaid and we had a big party.” Haley Beatty started her eighth round of chemotherapy at the end of May. She has nine rounds to go through total, so by the end of July, she should be done with her treatments. “She’s doing great,” Megan Beatty said. “Her doctor said in all these years of oncology she has never been able to give a child a break like Haley, but she got a three-week break. She’s doing incredible.” Megan Beatty added that she believes her daughter’s successes are directly related to living in “an amazing community of prayer warriors,” like Cofer, who “truly has a heart of gold.”

L4 CARES (512) 515-6889 www.hopehouseaustin.org Contact: Kendra Cofer kendra@L4cares.org

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STORING

Hope

HOPE HOUSE, an organization that provides lifelong care to the most severe cases of mental and physical disabilities for adults and children, raised $6,300 during the 2018 Day of Giving. Those funds were used to build a storage facility at Hope House’s newest home for its residents. Erland Schulze, development director at Hope House, said he feels blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in 2018’s Day of Giving because it gave him an opportunity to share his organization’s story with local citizens. “We were able to raise funds for one of our most needed projects,” he said. “We were able to build a storage building for our newest home and add shelving and more equipment. With three homes and 34 permanent residents who are severely disabled, there are a lot of projects to do, and limited funds make it hard to complete most of them.” The project was ultimately completed thanks to a volunteer group from First Baptist Church Georgetown’s Liberty

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FOR THOSE IN NEED

Hill branch, who Schulze said really came through to help with the set up at the Independence Day Spectacular, where even more funds were raised to add to 2018’s grand total. “We are thrilled to be able to once again participate in this event,” Schulze said. “We are adding our fourth home and plan to use the funds to help remodel the bathrooms and bedrooms so we can provide more forever living space to those on the wait list.” g

HOPE HOUSE OF AUSTIN 1705 County Rd 285 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-6889 www.hopehouseaustin.org Contact: Erland Schulze eschulze@hopehouseaustin.org



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Road ExtensionHowell Way

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a plan that will guide the city into the “Future land use is in the 1869 future. comprehensive plan, and with that, the 3Sundance 32 Trail Extension 1869 “The next piece is going to be the tools to implement the goals and the land use plan, and what that is is that Libertyobjectives of the comprehensive plan City 332 the Unified you’re setting out a vision for the future Hill are accomplished through Hall LION'S FOUNDATION that promotes sound development, Development Code,” she said. “It’s PARK 332 promotes public health and safety and like the UDC is the tool to implement the welfare of the city overall,” she said. what’s in the comprehensive plan and 1869 “Basically when you’re looking at a land that’s where you get into zoning.” use plan you’re taking in the analysis of When the city plans infrastructure, CR 279 what’s happening right now and what’s it has an opportunity to plan future Howell on the ground. YouWay take inventory growth in many ways. basically and then from there you “Infrastructure is the most 279 integrate all of your other plans.” expensive part of all this, major A key component and tool in land-use roads, water lines, sewer plants,” planning is zoning, and while zoning said Pix Howell of Diverse Planning already exists in Liberty Hill, considering and Development. “But it’s also the future uses can help redirect the one that you have the capability to 29growth 332 214 patterns as the city expands. maybe aim in different directions and

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iberty Hill leaders have invested in planning in recent years, creating guiding plans that 200 address current and CR 282 Po future needs around tts Br Extension an ch infrastructure and quality of life. “This last year we have been updating portions of the comprehensive plan,” said Liberty Hill Director1869 of Planning Sally Sources: CAPCOG - McFeron. City Limits, Texas Google Imagery “We added in a comprehensive Preliminary - Work indrainage Progress (5/9/2018) plan. We’ve added in and LIBERTY HILL 29 CITY PARK 1869 adoptedFeet a comprehensive transportation 0 500 1,000plan. We 2,000 have a master parks plan and a master regional parks plan.” The next step in creating a River View Road Extension framework for city growth is a land use plan, and the wheels have already Little Cree k begun turning on how best to create

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Alignments, as show conceptual and for illu Q: What is the risk to a purposes fast-growing area like Libertyonly. Addi Hill if it doesn’t create a study/planning wo land use plan? to determ A: The risk isrequired like trying to steer a ship through an actual alignmen iceberg-laden sea without a rudder. Inevitably there will be some unintended consequences along the way.

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is carried out has lots of different options. Most times in America we have public hearings, which is an announce and defend approach that tends to not be very effective, whereas a participatory approach where there are workshops and visioning sessions and an argument and good feelings or bad feelings that gets those impacted by the plan genuinely involved.

to be successful, need to include Existing Collector the population outside the city limits as opposed to focusing on Future Collector those inside?

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of specific problems like water quality. Without that it’s like building a house on quicksand.

consuming process, but the emphasis needsNoto be on rth F San o Gab rk including the stakeholders, Rive riel r the users of resources and the decision-makers up front in the planning process in a genuine way. A strong, participatory process will lead to a plan that is more likely to be implemented over time. Liberty Hill can come up with the best technical plan in the universe, but it can then sit on the shelf and collect dust because no one knows about it, they weren’t part of it, there’s no ownership or commitment toward it. That process becomes really important, not just in making a better plan but in making sure that plan is implemented over the long term. ion

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Liberty Hill Transportation

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ready for development without A: A land use plan is literally really spending the big bucks until a spatial blueprint 183for a CR 279 someone comes along and puts community’s future. It is usually the outcome of a the product on the ground that 29 collaborative, participatory demands that use.” process that results in a Looking on a map of the thin document that sets forth east-west strip that makes up most specific goals, objectives and of the city limits today, McFeron policies, which is the jumping knows that a solid land-use plan off point for how a community is going to develop, grow and today can mean everything decades become vital economically and down the road. environmentally in the future. “With land use, you try to take it and look at it from a 30,000-foot Q: What are the goals a 279 perspective and realize that the community has in mind when it creates a good land use plan? future is going to change,” she said. A: It’s up to the community. “As you’re looking at terrain, and Usually in a good plan you your future transportation plan, or start with a vision of what in the City of Liberty Hill’s case the the community wants to be. railroad that comes through here.” A vision statement – while Like every plan, an effective land broad – can really set the tone whether it is economic use plan evolves and flexes with the development, sustainability, community it is built around. resiliency, and then the goals ch n a r “The cool thing about quality, B ton l are essentially value-based i m a H thoughtful regulation is that it phase-ins of what 183 that vision 1869 a stands the test of time, and there’s seeks to attain. A future land way to build a land use plan where use map is adopted, which guides the community on you build basically options of what what is going to happen where you can do,” Howell said. in the future in terms of And a plan will need regular development, conservation, review going forward. or a combination between the Stonewall “Like all the other plans, a land Extension two. Another indication of a 1869 use plan needs to be taken out, good plan is that it has a strong factual basis. The basis of the dusted off every three years to five Jinks Branch Jinks Branch plan is an inventory of the years and looked at to see if the Long Run physical natural environment, Extension assumptions still hold true and Long Run socio-economic characteristics, what needs to be done to update it,” Extension the existing laws and McFeron said. regulations and identification

You need a good foundation for the plan.

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Sam Brody has a Ph.D in City and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina. He is a professor in the Department of Marine Sciences at 183 Texas A&M Galveston, where he has done extensive research and writing on coastal flooding issues as well as on the topic of urban sprawl. He is a fellow at the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University.

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1201 LOOP 332 #500 | LIBERTY HILL 66

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There’s No Place Quite Like

Liberty Hill Calling Liberty Hill home for 12+ years, Shelley Clawson has seen firsthand the changes, growth and what the future holds for this incredible Hill Country town. With kids attending Liberty Hill ISD since 2009, she also knows the importance of choosing a home in a great school district. Allow Shelley’s personal knowledge of the area and professional real estate experience guide you

“home to Liberty Hill.”

Shelley Clawson

REALTOR®, Certified Military Residential Specialist

(512) 632-9393 | Shelley@MallachandCompany.com

Facebook.com/ShelleyClawsonRealtor | 304 W. Willis Street, Leander, TX 78641


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Watching a city grow without land-use

Land use plan: The long-

Zoning:279 The division of a city or county by legislative range plan for the desirable regulations into areas, use of land in the city as or zones, which specify officially adopted and as uses for real CRallowable 214 amended from time to time Extension property and size restrictions by the plan commission; for buildings within these the purpose of such plan areas. Also, a program that includes to serve as a guide implements policies of the in the zoning and progressive general plan. 279 changes in the zoning of land Stubblefield and to200meet the changing Extension needs of the community.

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RANCH “When you do that you have mix and support and buy-in. for expansion want to know where they CR 282COUNTY PARK match, you’re not getting the highest and best “It’s a pretty robust public input project,” can locate within a city,” said Lance Dean, Extension use,” McFeron said. “You’re not promoting a Howell said. “It’s generally more successful executive director of the Liberty Hill comprehensive view. Developers like to have when that’s the case. It is important to have 214 Economic Development Corporation. “Not Sundance Trailin it. You an idea of what is going on in a city. They your community leaders involved having a land use plan in place creates 29 Extension want to see the city is laid out well. They want people you recognize, that really have uncertainty in the site selection process. 200 understand regulation, they understand the an interest in how Liberty Hill grows. You The possibility of zoning changes or public CR 282 CR 214 Howell Way Extension importance of regulation for the health, safety to have meetings, pull out maps and LIBERTY discord is not how a new business or HILL 2want 9 Extension CITY PARK and benefit of everyone involved. It’s when mark stuff up.” residential development wants to start a 29 you are all over the map and can’t make up It can also serve as a great education tool relationship. From a planning perspective, ¬ « your mind that developers have a problem.” for the community as residents grapple with knowing where your business and Stonewall Howell Way Extension LIBERTY HILL 29 the stresses and strains that come along with residential areas are helps in the design and ¬ « CITY PARK 1869 the benefits of growth. implementation of city infrastructure and is “I hope it will help with the growth part a more efficient use of resources.” 29 332 Long Run of it and 200 the education piece for our citizens Any government regulation can become Extension Jinks Branch 2 9 ¬ Liberty Hill has never created a land use as well,”U McFeron said. “I’d too restrictive, but there are ways to protect « like to see it 332 V 214 plan, and while cities like San Marcos have as a couple of workshops to see what we the city and promote the growth residents recently been through extensive land-use have and to get everyone on the same page. want, without stifling it. planning initiatives, McFeron sees Liberty I think we will be more successful with “You want to be solid in your plan, and you 1869 Loop 332 Hill beginning somewhere else. that than if we paid want to make it a little bit difficult to change Extension 332 a consultant a million V U 3 32 “These things can cost millions of dollars,” dollars to come in and do a plan.” 1869 your plan,” McFeron said. “With careful Stubblefield Liberty Extension she said of the deep, involved process. “I’m communication and being open and working Hill City 332 V U Hall LION'S 2 9 FOUNDATION ¬ not sure Liberty Hill is ready for that at the with people who«come through the doorLiberty I Po tts PARK 332 Br V U Hill City an ch moment. What we’re ready for is to dip our think you can manage it.” Hall toes into it in a general overall effort to get Remaining flexible over time is key. Po 1869 214 tts the community involved, get1869 the business Branc While it may seem counterintuitive, most “As cities mature, the dynamics of their h CR 279 community involved, let’s start with the involved in development agree that a land needs and resources change,” Dean said. “A Sundance Trail Extension land use plan needs the flexibility to grow basics and talk about what’s out there and use plan – in spite of the restrictions it brings 1869 1869 279 ease through it.” – is a benefit for both businesses and the with a city. As with all plans, they change 200 1869 growth. The hope is that by bringing all community amid and will need to be updated as the city CR 282 River View stakeholders together in the planning “Developers, whether commercial or develops. Too much restriction can be just Road Extension Extension process, there will be wide community residential, when considering an area as detrimental as no restriction.”

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HOME MAKING LIBERTY HILL

SUSAN KEMPER ATTENDED LHHS: 2008 - 2012

LIBERTY HILL HIGH SCHOOL’S COACHING STAFF IS THE PERFECT EXAMPLE OF SUCCESS BREEDING SUCCESS. AS LHHS ALUMNI RETURN TO THEIR ROOTS TO COACH, THEY’VE INSTILLED A CHAMPIONSHIPOR-BUST MENTALITY IN EVERY SPORT.

YEARS COACHING AT LHISD: 1 CURRENT POSITION: Coach for track/cross country; Teaches English YEARS AWAY FROM LIBERTY HILL BEFORE RETURN: 6 SUSAN KEMPER MOVED to Liberty Hill in the third grade. From that point Kemper became a product of a very proud Liberty Hill school district as she moved her way through elementary, middle and high school as a Lady Panther. She found her niche in running and it opened a world of possibilities for her life that at the time she never imagined. Kemper is a former high school state champion in track in the 1,600 meters and won a cross country state championship her senior year. Her athletic accomplishments earned her a spot on the track team at the University of Alabama and later at the University of North Texas. Kemper is now a coach and English teacher at her former high school. It is not how she planned it, but her own personal experience with Liberty Hill coaches helped her carve out her path in life. “When I was at Liberty Hill High School I participated in cross country, track and National Honor Society,” Kemper said. “I started running in sixth grade physical education. I had a coach that was big into track already and she started us off with running there. That is when I realized I liked it and thought it 70

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STORY BY KEITH SPARKS + LANCE CATCHINGS

Susan Kemper stands with Coach Gretchen Peterson and a former teammate after winning State. Kemper was mentored by Peterson during her time at LHHS.

would be a good avenue for me to try out, so I started in seventh grade with cross country, track and basketball.” That coach’s name was Julie

Coach Shaffer,” she said. “I knew running was going well but she pointed out to my parents that this was something I should be doing. She saw something in me that I didn’t even see in myself. It led to me going to Alabama where I ran for two years and then transferred to the University of North Texas where I ran for three years and finished out my master’s degree.” Kemper always knew she wanted to be a teacher, but it was her own coaches’ impact on her that sparked her desire. “I knew I wanted to be a teacher since I was in elementary,” she said. “Coaching I thought would be fun because I had coaches that had a big impact on me and that played a big part in it. I had really good coaches in Liberty Hill and I started thinking about that.” It was some of those same coaches that helped bring Kemper back home to Liberty Hill. Current head volleyball/track Coach Gretchen Peterson coached Kemper when she was younger. Peterson even helped Kemper decide what college to attend. “Last summer Coach Peterson said they would be looking to fill a spot here in Liberty Hill,“ she said. “It wasn’t initially what I planned but the opportunity came up and it just seemed like where I was meant to be. I had

SUSAN KEMPER ON THE CRIMSON TIDE:

Shaffer, now Julie Shaffer Salem, and her impact on Susan Kemper in middle school would have a lasting effect on her life. “I owe a lot of my success to

“Coach (Gretchen) Peterson helped me decide which college to pick. Once I made my decision she also taught me who Nick Saban was before I went off to Alabama.”


LANCE JONES ATTENDED LHHS: 1994 - 1998 YEARS COACHING AT LHISD: 1

YEARS AWAY FROM LIBERTY HILL BEFORE RETURN: 19

good experiences here growing up so it seemed like the right place to be. You leave out into the world for college and to come back home is a great feeling. It is fun and I hope to think it is something that our students can look up to.” Now coaching at the school that helped her reach her athletic goals, Kemper still believes in the things that brought her back. The size of the school has changed but the relationships between coaches and students has not. “I graduated with 180 students and now the freshman class is more than double at this point,” she said. “There are times when it also still feels the same. When we went to state for cross country this year and we went around to all the schools that was a feeling I remember growing up as a kid. I think it says a lot that people graduate from here and want to come back as adults. I think it speaks to the coaches and teachers we had growing up. You see at a lot of places some people can’t wait to get away, so I think it speaks a lot that we want to give back to where we came from.” – LANCE CATCHINGS

Lance Jones (#15) dives to break up a pass in his senior season as a Panther. Jones has fond memories of playing sports for Liberty Hill.

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CURRENT POSITION: Liberty Hill Junior High coaching football, basketball and track; Teaches physical education

FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES Lance Jones “My mom was a coach growing up and loving was born and raised in Liberty Hill. He was a athletics I knew going into college that is what I Liberty Hill ISD student from kindergarten until wanted to pursue,” he said. “While I was in college, walking the stage at Liberty Hill High School on I met my wife in English class. We graduated his graduation day. and got married and then found ourselves in the “I went to The Hill from kinder through Dallas area. My first job was in Frisco at Pioneer fourth grade,” Jones laughed. “I went to our Heritage Middle School.” junior high, which is now the administrative While he was in the Dallas area, tragedy struck building and graduated from the high school, his family and it would ultimately be part of the which is now our current reason he returned to the intermediate campus, in 1998. Liberty Hill area. In 2004, his Let’s not forget we were a 3A younger brother, Levi, was killed LANCE JONES ON HIGH school back then.” in an automobile accident. SCHOOL ATHLETICS: Jones took the student“He was four years younger “We didn’t have enough athlete route through high than I was, and growing up kids in school [in 1994-98] school, which simply meant and he did the same things to only play one or two you played all the sports. I did. He went to school his sports, so we had to “Back then, I pretty much whole life in Liberty Hill and do it all.” did everything,” he said. then went to Tarleton to play “Our graduating class only football. He was 20 years old had 97 kids and we were the when he was killed in a car largest class to come through Liberty Hill at accident just outside of Liberty Hill. He was the time. I played football, ran cross country, coming back from working a camp in Austin and played basketball, ran track and played golf as fell asleep at the wheel. He wanted to be a coach well. We were a small 2A/3A town back then as well. I feel like now I am coaching for the and everyone knew everyone. You formed both of us, so to speak. I was 24 and coaching relationships easy. If you were in athletics you in Frisco when the accident happened. I had started the year playing football together and been coaching and married for one year when it continued down the line.” happened. He was just starting to get the itch of After graduating in 1998, Jones attended asking his girlfriend to marry him and getting Tarleton State University and walked on to the serious about graduating and coaching.” basketball team for a year. After retiring from Jones and his wife moved back to Liberty his athletic career, he focused on his pursuit of Hill roughly five years ago, but after stints in a degree and becoming a coach. Growing up the Frisco, Leander and 19 years away Jones is finally son of a coach he always felt that was what he working back in Liberty Hill ISD. wanted to do. He graduated from TSU in 2003. “I had always dreamed CONTINUED ON PAGE 72

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LANCE JONES ON HIS LOST BROTHER: “When I am here, I have the memories of when myself and Levi were in high school together and growing up in Liberty Hill. I feel his presence more coaching closer to home this year more than any year. There are several monuments around town in Levi’s name and there is even a tree planted out front at the junior high for him. Seeing things like that give me a peace of mind.

BLAKE BOREN ATTENDED LHHS: 2002 - 2006 YEARS COACHING AT LHISD: 8

about coming back to Liberty Hill and my parents still live here so that was a big factor for my wife and me. We wanted to be closer to family,” he said. This past year, Jones took a job at Liberty Hill Junior High where he is coaching football, basketball, track and teaching physical education. “For me the size of the school is the first biggest change,” he said. “We had three schools when I went to school here. They are getting ready to add another junior high on the other side of town.” What is the same after 19 years is the

Panther pride he experiences being back in his hometown. “The school spirit is still the same. You still feel the small town feel where if there are athletic events people are there and that’s cool to see,” he said. “I think that people wanting to come back and be here goes back to the community and the relationships you build. That small-town feel is still here. It’s cool to see people I graduated with come back and want to give back to this community that we all grew up in and were a part of.”

Assistant basketball Coach Blake Boren (left) talks to his father, Head Coach Barry Boren, during a Panther basketball game.

WHAT COACHING MEANS TO BLAKE BOREN:

PHOTO BY ALEX RUBIO

CURRENT POSITION: Liberty Hill High School assistant cross country coach and assistant basketball coach; Teaching Algebra 1 in 2019-20 YEARS AWAY FROM LIBERTY HILL BEFORE RETURN: 4

LIKE MOST WHO END UP back in their hometown, assistant basketball Coach Blake Boren didn’t anticipate coaching in Liberty Hill. In fact, he didn’t anticipate coaching for a living at all. As an underclassman at the University of Texas, Boren was prepared to go the business route. “I thought I wanted to make money. I thought that was going to be what made me happy,” Boren said. “Then I started coaching select basketball in the summer, doing camps, and I kind of bounced around majors in college. Once I started coaching, that brought more happiness to me than any of the majors I tried in college, so I ended up switching to teaching.” After changing his major, Boren student-taught in Austin 72

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– LANCE CATCHINGS

and Round Rock before becoming a long-term substitute at Liberty Hill Junior High. That substitute job ended up becoming a fulltime teaching position at LHJH, which eventually turned into a teaching and coaching position at Liberty Hill High School. When he began teaching, Boren knew immediately that he wanted to be back in Liberty Hill in some form or fashion. Whether or not he was able to land a job in Liberty Hill, Boren said he’d always have an allegiance to the Panthers, which made it a no-brainer when a position became available. “A lot of coaches bounce around, and most coaches want to go back to their roots, but for me, I’m already at that place,” Boren said. “I’m where I want

to be. My allegiance would be to Liberty Hill, regardless, because that’s where I’m from. I’m always going to be a Panther. You can’t ever take away the high school you graduated from.” Now that he’s back in Liberty Hill, Boren said he’s able to use his experiences as anecdotes with the student-athletes he coaches. “It’s been really awesome, because with this generation, I can rely on a similar experience,” Boren said. “I can say I’ve been through what you’re going through, not only as a player, but as a player of Liberty Hill.” Although there are a handful of LHHS coaches who attended LHHS as students, Boren is the only one coaching under his father, and he wouldn’t have it any

“My whole life I’ve seen my dad coach players and build teams based on discipline and character,” Boren said. “They win games every year, but the true success are the boys who go through this program and become better men. When the players come back after they have graduated and are excited to tell us all about the good things going on for them, that’s rewarding. That’s when we know that the lessons we taught them here have really benefited them in their lives outside of high school. Watching the impact my dad has had on the players, year after year, is what really made me get into coaching. Now I get to help my dad lead young men into being better players and people. The bonus is we get to play a game we love.”

other way. Head Basketball Coach Barry Boren eclipsed 700 career wins this season and recently made his first appearance in the State Championship after 40 CONTINUED ON PAGE 74



CONTINUED FROM PAGE 72

have my own son who can grow up in Liberty Hill is just amazing, because it’s a really good small town, even though we’re growing, the high school is still the center of the town, and it’s a special place. When you have a good community that’s centered around a good school, you don’t want to leave that.”

“It’s a really good relationship. With the younger generation, kids are changing. It’s been a good mix for me to bring in newer ideas. How many people get to say they get to coach with their parent?” he said. Boren and his wife recently had a son of their own, and he said he couldn’t have chosen a better community than Liberty Hill in which to raise him. “When I moved to Liberty Hill in high school, I really felt like I belonged,” Boren said. “The community embraced us and we started to build a basketball tradition. That’s what I wanted to be a part of and go back to coaching. Liberty Hill, the high school and the community kind of made me who I am and opened me up to where I felt confident and got my friends group. Now that I’m working there, I feel like I can give back and help younger men who are coming to our program to do the same and grow up to be successful men.” The addition of Boren to the Runnin’ Panther coaching staff has been nothing but positive, as the freshmen and junior varsity athletes he’s responsible for have been dominant, and the varsity team is coming off its first State Championship appearance in – KEITH SPARKS more than 20 years. 74

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JORDAN JOHNS ATTENDED LHHS: 2004 - 2008 YEARS COACHING AT LHISD: 2 CURRENT POSITION: Liberty Hill High School defensive line coach, assistant baseball coach; special education teacher YEARS AWAY FROM LIBERTY HILL BEFORE RETURN: 9

FOR ASSISTANT FOOTBALL and baseball Coach Jordan Johns, a return to Liberty Hill was primarily about family. Being forced to live apart from his wife, Johns saw the opportunity to return home and serve as an assistant for his former offensive coordinator as one he couldn’t accept fast enough. “What brought me back the most was being able to be with my family,” Johns said. “Me and my wife lived apart for a couple years while I was in Rockport. Coming here allowed us to be together and allowed us to be near our families. It allowed me to work for a great athletic director in Jeff Walker. He was a great coach while I was here. I’ve always looked up to

PHOTO BY ALEX RUBIO

years of coaching – a level of experience that any young coach would be lucky to learn from. “First of all, even if he wasn’t my father, getting to learn from somebody who’s got 40 years of experience is incredible,” Boren said. “I could take notes of everything we do. When we first started, that’s what I did. I took notes every day. I wasn’t really coaching, but I was just learning and learning and learning.” Boren said he has an advantage in being able to teach his father some things that other assistants might not feel comfortable with. Their unique relationship allows some back-andBLAKE BOREN forth that only ON LIBERTY HILL: a father and son “The fact that I could handle.

Assistant football and baseball coach Jordan Johns (right) observes a baseball scrimmage during the 2019 season.

him, and having a chance to coach for him in a place like this… you can’t pass that up.” Johns, a Liberty Hill native, always saw himself moving back home eventually, but he didn’t anticipate the move coming so early in his career. “I figured that I would travel around, be a coach, then eventually come back to Liberty Hill where me and my wife are from and finish my career, but I didn’t expect to come this soon,” Johns said. As a two-time State Champion football player for the Panthers in 2006 and 2007, Johns knew as well as anybody the expectations that come with coaching any sport in Liberty Hill. So far, Johns said his experience has lived up to his expectations. “I’ve had high

WHAT COACHING MEANS TO JORDAN JOHNS: “Throughout my time being a player, I had multiple coaches that made a huge effort to help me realize my full potential, not just as a player but also as a person. I wanted to be that person to help others realize that they can always become a better player and person.”

expectations for Liberty Hill ever since I was back in school. All the district championships, every sport going deep into the playoffs is what you expect from Liberty Hill and what it’s always been about in Liberty Hill. It’s meeting the expectations of what’s expected of us,” he said. Having already coached at Stephenville and Rockport, Johns said his current position at his alma mater has been more enjoyable if only for the fact that he knows a large percentage of the faculty and coaching staff. Coupled with the fact that Walker was his offensive coordinator for both State Championship seasons, Johns said it’s made for an easy transition. Johns has already been a part of one State Championship appearance for the Panther football program and a dominant season for the baseball program. If the current trajectory continues, he could have a few more championship rings awaiting him as a coach. – KEITH SPARKS CONTINUED ON PAGE 76


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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 74

CHRIS LANGE ATTENDED LHHS: 1984 - 1988

CURRENT POSITION: Liberty Hill High School head girls basketball coach; teaches biology

Liberty Hill Head Girls’ Basketball Coach Chris Lange addresses his team during a timeout.

YEARS AWAY FROM LIBERTY HILL BEFORE RETURN: 17

CHRIS LANGE IS NOT a Texan by birth, but he got here as fast as he could, moving from California to Liberty Hill in the sixth grade. He attended Liberty Hill High School from 1984-1988,

“I went to school to be an accountant or so I thought,” Lange said. “I ended up at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor and I was playing pick up basketball in the gym. The girls’ basketball coach,

playing tennis and marching in the Panther band. “I played the saxophone in the band in high school, but I didn’t let too many people know it,” Lange said. “At graduation if you were in the band you had to go up and play and then go back to your seat. The guy next to me at graduation was shocked when I got up and went to play. You would think in a class of only 70 people, people would have known but I kept in under wraps. Some people are surprised that I am coaching basketball now, but you never know how life is going to go.” Lange has led the girls’ basketball program for the past several years and under his leadership the program has thrived. Over the past four seasons the program is a combined 127-29. This all from a man who had no intentions of ever returning to Liberty Hill after graduation and never played high school basketball himself. A chance encounter with a coach in college changed his life path.

Cliffa Foster, was there watching. One day she pulled me in the office and asked if I ever thought about coaching. At the time it was just her and she did not have any assistants on the staff. She said if I was interested in coaching, she would love to take some of my help and that is how I started coaching girls’ basketball.” That journey began in 1992 and he has coached girls’ basketball ever since. “It happened by chance and I am still doing it today,” he said. “I coached for three and a half years at Mary Hardin-Baylor. We went to the NAIA National Tournament back-to-back years and it was a good experience. After that I got married and took that first year off and taught in Waco at an elementary school. Then I took a job at a junior high in Temple, worked there for a year and then went to a different Temple school. I spent about nine years working at the Temple middle school level and then became the coordinator of those schools. I wanted a high

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PHOTO BY ALEX RUBIO

YEARS COACHING AT LHISD: 13

CHRIS LANGE ON COACHING IN THE COMMUNITY: “Coaching in my opinion is not about the wins and losses. At the end of the day, it’s about the relationships you build with the kids and what you pass on to them that will help them in their future. It doesn’t matter if they want to be a coach or if they want to be a doctor. What can you help them achieve and make them believe in themselves? That is all teaching/coaching is for me.”

school job, so I got certified for high school biology. I Spent the next few years working at the high school in Temple and spent about 13 years there all together.” After 13 years away the circumstances aligned themselves for Lange to return to Liberty Hill. “My grandparents lived in Liberty Hill and needed some help taking care of things, so they sold me the house and five acres,” he said. “I looked at it as my retirement plan and I took a job offer in Liberty Hill and I have been here ever since. My first job was at the high school that is now our intermediate school.” Returning to his alma mater has been a lively experience for the head coach. “The experience is kind of cool knowing at one point you were a student in this district and now you’re a coach,” he said. “I get to

pass on my beliefs of coaching and my beliefs of how to treat kids. My philosophy of coaching is not always the same as everyone else’s and that’s okay. It’s all about the kids and I really enjoy being with the kids in the classroom and of course coaching is exciting and fun. I have had great support from everyone I used to go to school with and I have coached a lot of their kids, which has been pretty cool.” Lange believes that like himself others will continue to go out in the world and find themselves wanting to come back home to Liberty Hill. “People want to be part of the good experiences that they have had. It is nice to see ex-players come back and be a part of what they have learned and give back to the younger generation.” – LANCE CATCHINGS


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ADVERTISER DIRECTORY AIR CONDITIONING & APPLIANCE REPAIR ACA Appliance & Air Conditioning, LLC 325 SH 29 Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 219-0900 www.acaappliance.com ■ See our ad on Page 55

BREWERIES & DISTILLERIES

COMPUTER REPAIR

Fire Oak Distillery 4600 CR 207 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-6611 www.fireoakdistillery.com ■ See our ad on Page 29

HK Computers, LLC 1201 Loop 332, Ste. 400 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 257-8008 www.hkcomputers.com ■ See our ad on Page 81

CAR DEALERSHIP

American Home & Commercial Services PO Box 1023 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-6247 www.americanhomeandcommercial.com ■ See our ad on Page 78

COMMUNITY

Mac Haik Ford Lincoln Dealership 7201 South IH 35 Georgetown, TX 78626 (512) 930-3673 www.machaikfordlincoln.com ■ See our ad on Page 63

Liberty Hill Learning & Event Center 14875 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6533 www.lheventcenter.com ■ See our ad on Page 41

ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES

CHILD CARE

The Knot Hole 608 S. Water Street Burnet, TX 78611 (512) 756-1515 facebook.com/theknotholeburnet ■ See our ad on Page 80

Happy Trails Learning Center 14865 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-0555 www.happytrailslearningcenter.com ■ See our ad on Page 86

Liberty Hill Lions Club PO Box 1227 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-6447 www.be-a-lion.org ■ See our ad on Page 31

ART & GIFTS Mosaic Garden Treasures 143 E. Vaughan Bertram, TX 78605 (254) 368-0246 www.mosaicgardentreasures.com ■ See our ad on Page 80

Pre-K Corral 8445 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5930 www.prekcorral.com ■ See our ad on Page 56 CHURCHES

The Blue Door Gift Store & Boutique 14365 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 www.thebluedoorgiftstore.com ■ See our ad on Page 29

Andice Baptist Church 6570 FM 970 Florence, TX 76527 (254) 793-2557 www.andicebc.org ■ See our ad on Page 62

AUTOMOTIVE

Cross Tracks Church 101 Church Street Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-0070 www.crosstrackschurchumc.org ■ See our ad on Page 37

Davis Tire & Automotive 14855 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-6810 www.davistireandautomotive.com ■ See our ad on Page 39 Quick Service Garage 1100 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6316 ■ See our ad on Page 32 BANKS R Bank 360 SH 29 East Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 355-2121 www.rbanktexas.com ■ See our ad on Page 33 Verabank 13601 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-6300 www.verabank.com ■ See our ad on Page 25

Fellowship Church 3600 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-5579 www.fellowshiplh.org ■ See our ad on Page 79 First Baptist Church Georgetown Liberty Hill Campus 111 Holmes Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6636 www.fbg.church ■ See our ad on Page 60

Liberty Hill Public Library 355 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-6400 www.lhpl.org ■ See our ad on Page 31 CONTRACTOR, REMODELING Renovation Systems 331 Creedmore Drive Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 876-4570 ■ See our ad on Page 80 COUNSELING SERVICES Live-Your-Dream Counseling 150 N. West Street Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 569-1152 www.liveyourdreamcounseling.com ■ See our ad on Page 80 DENTAL CARE Liberty Hill Dental 14933 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-0171 www.libertyhilldental.com ■ See our ad on Page 40

COFFEE

Liberty Hill Orthodontics 14362 W. SH 29, Ste. 101 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-5040 www.lhortho.com ■ See our ad on Page 6

Agape Java 3610 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 441-7875 www.agapejava.com ■ See our ad on Page 66

Ortho 360 14365 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 716-0307 www.ortho360.com ■ See our ad on Page 73

West Family Dentistry 101 Jonathan Drive, Ste. 1 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-9977 www.westfamilydentistry.com ■ See our ad on Page 11 EDUCATION Dental Genius Assisting School 14933 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 484-4081 www.dentalgeniustx.com ■ See our ad on Page 41 EMBROIDERY, SCREEN PRINT, SIGNS Two Brand It 14262 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-5056 www.twobrandit.com ■ See our ad on Page 2 XLR8 13997 W. SH 29, Suite 2 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 775-6559 www.xlr8tx.com ■ See our ad on Page 32 FINANCIAL PLANNING Oak Crest Financial - Jason Stanley 1905 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-9034 www.oakcrestfinancial.com ■ See our ad on Page 31 FUNERAL HOMES, MONUMENT SALES Beck Funeral Home 1700 E. Whitestone Blvd. Cedar Park, TX (512) 259-1610 www.beckchapels.com ■ See our ad on Page 15 Cook-Walden Davis Funeral Home 2900 Williams Drive Georgetown, TX 78628 (512) 863-2564 www.cookwaldendavisfuneralhome.com ■ See our ad on Page 77 C&C Services Rockdale Memorial Co. (512) 775-7654 ■ See our ad on Page 32 Putnam Funeral Home 1010 E. SH 29 Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 355-8201 www.PutnamCares.com ■ See our ad on Page 37

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ADVERTISER DIRECTORY GOVERNMENT

IT CONSULTING & SUPPORT

LEGAL SERVICES

REAL ESTATE SERVICES

City of Liberty Hill 926 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5449 www.libertyhilltx.gov ■ See our ad on Page 82

Scott Solutions, LLC PO Box 203 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (508) 451-8227 www.scottsolutions.us ■ See our ad on Page 56

Law Offices of Jamie Etzkorn 925 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 800-6353 www.etzkornlaw.com ■ See our ad on Page 16

Deborah DeBona - Realty Austin PO Box 1845 Liberty Hill TX 78642 (512) 790-1550 www.deborahsellsaustin.com ■ See our ad on Page 52

MARKETS

Dream Homes by Kelly JP & Associates Realtor, Z Team 13809 Research Blvd., Suite 785 Austin, TX 78750 (512) 630-7069 www.dreamhome.kelly.com ■ See our ad on Page 61

Liberty Hill Economic Development Corp. 926 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5449 www.libertyhilltx.gov ■ See our ad on Page 51 GUNS A Texas Girl's Guns, LLC 13987 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill 78642 (512) 778-6677 www.atexasgirlsguns.com ■ See our ad on Page 66 HEALTH & FITNESS Flying H Fitness 209 Bell Street Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-5557 facebook.com/FlyingHFitness ■ See our ad on Page 81 HOME BUILDERS Giddens Homes 14000 Hero Way West, Bldg. B Leander, TX 78641 800-644-9083 www.giddenshomes.com ■ See our ad on Page 5 Milestone/Larkspur 106 Groesbeck Lane Leander, TX 78641 (512) 759-8849 www.larkspurtx.com ■ See our ad on Page 87 William Lyon Homes - Stonewall Ranch 79 Prospector Lane Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 809-4546 www.lyonhomes.com ■ See our ad on Page 49 INSURANCE Farmers Insurance McCoy Agency 12780 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 900-4422 www.farmersagent.com/cmccoy ■ See our ad on Page 16 SUNUP Insurance - A.J. Collins Harvest Ranch Insurance 14875 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 900-4402 www.harvestranchinsurance.com ■ See our ad on Page 75 84

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HEALTH CARE SERVICES Care First Walk-In Clinic 12701 W. SH 29, Ste. 5 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-5373 www.carefirstclinic.com ■ See our ad on Page 17 Cedar Park Regional Medical Center 1401 Medical Parkway Cedar Park, TX 78613 www.cedarparkregional.com ■ See our ad on Page 9 Liberty Hill Pediatrics 101 Jonathan Drive, Ste. 4 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5111 www.libertyhillpediatrics.com ■ See our ad on Page 81

The Market at Indian Mound Ranch 12805 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (956) 312-9263 www.indianmoundranchtx.com ■ See our ad on Page 3 MORTGAGE BANKING Guild Mortgage Residential Mortgage Loan Originator 13563 W. SH 29, Suite 1 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6185 www.guildmortgage.com/cnew ■ See our ad on Page 45 NEWS MEDIA, MARKETING, WEBSITES & GRAPHIC DESIGN

Liberty Hill Pharmacy 13740 W. SH 29, Ste. 4 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6838 www.LibertyHillPharmacy.com ■ See our ad on Page 81

The Liberty Hill Independent 14251 W. SH 29, Ste. B Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5577 www.LHIndependent.com ■ See our ads on Page 62, 81

Liberty Hill Physician Associates 14365 W. SH 29., Ste. 10 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5160 www.cedarparkphysicians.com ■ See our ad on Page 9

PRINTING & SHIPPING

Texas Physical Therapy Specialists 13740 W. SH 29, Ste. 3 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-6700 ■ See our ad on Page 57 HEARING CARE Hear It All 12701 W. SH 29, Ste. 3 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 357-8000 www.hearitall.us ■ See our ad on Page 39 LANDSCAPE SUPPLIES Whittlesey Landscape Supplies 14775 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-1336 www.989rock.com ■ See our ad on Page 14

DigiTEX 104b Brown Bridge Rd. Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-9191 ■ See our ad on Page 45 PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION Capital Metro 209 West 9th Street Austin, TX 78701 (512) 474-1200 capmetro.org/metroexpress ■ See our ad on Page 46 PLUMBING SERVICES Brandenburg Plumbing 4023 E. SH 29 Burnet, TX 78611 (512) 260-0010 www.BrandenburgPlumbing.com ■ See our ad on Page 78 PROPANE SERVICES P&R Propane 14251 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 259-4710 www.prpropane.com ■ See our ad on Page 24

Amy Gandy - Realty Austin 101 Skyview Lane Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 589-9005 amygandy@realtyaustin.com ■ See our ad on Page 16 Henry Mayes Co. PO Box 200339 Austin, TX 78720 (512) 219-1330 www.henrymayesco.com ■ See our ad on Page 80 Hughes & Company Real Estate 3106 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 810-0185 www.Hughes-and-Company.com ■ See our ad on Page 8 Independence Title 14362 W. SH 29, Ste. 202 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-0110 www.independencetitle.com ■ See our ad on Page 80 San Gabriel Realty 3103 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 635-7529 www.san-gabriel-realty.com ■ See our ad on Page 24 Shane T. White Team/RE/MAX Town & Country 13561 W. SH 29 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-5263 www.ShaneTWhiteTeam.com ■ See our ad on Page 88 Shelley Clawson - Mallach & Company 304 W. Willis Street Leander, TX 78641 (512) 632-9393 www.mallachandcompany.com ■ See our ad on Page 67 RESTAURANTS Main Street Social 1750 Loop 332 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 info@mainstreetsocial.com www.mainstreetsocial.com ■ See our ad on Page 10


ADVERTISER DIRECTORY Subway 13750 W. SH 29, Ste. 101 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-6321 www.subway.com ■ See our ad on Page 29

SALONS

SENIOR LIVING & MEMORY CARE

VETERINARIAN

Hair Necessities 1201 Loop 332, #500 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-6681 ■ See our ad on Page 66

RETAIL

Salon 29 14745 W. SH 29, Suite A Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 778-5155 www.salon-29.com ■ See our ad on Page 60

Riva Ridge Assisted Living & Memory Care Center 801 Riva Ridge Drive Leander, TX 78641 (512) 259-1330 www.rivaridgeassistedliving.com ■ See our ad on Page 78

Comanche Trail Veterinary Center 14370 W. SH 29, Suite 9 Liberty Hill 78642 (512) 548-5065 www.comanchetrailvet.com ■ See our ad on Page 39

Bertram Nursing and Rehab Center 540 E. SH 29 Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 355-2116 www.daybreakventure.com/bertramnursing-home-rehabilitation-center ■ See our ad on Page 80

WATER SYSTEMS

Bright Fire Cigars 12701 W. SH 29, Ste. 2 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 548-5388 www.brightfirecigars.com ■ See our ad on Page 69 Furniture Market 2082 US Hwy 183 Leander, TX 78641 (512) 778-6100 www.MyFurnitureMarket.com ■ See our ad on Page 37 ROOFING SERVICES MKCS Roofing 10305 Walnut Bend Dr. Austin, TX 78753 (512) 635-4316 www.mkcsroofing.com ■ See our ad on Page 69

Luckey Looks Skincare 14745 W. SH 29, Suite A Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (806) 478-2165 www.luckeylooks.glossgenius.com ■ See our ad on Page 60 Précis Brows Microblading 1201 Loop 332, #500 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 630-1411 ■ See our ad on Page 66 Radiant Salon & Boutique 2921 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 337-8155 www.radiantsalonlh.com ■ See our ad on Page 62

SWIMMING POOLS & SPAS

American Water 530 S. IH 35 Round Rock, TX (512) 388-0022 www.americanwatertx.com ■ See our ad on Page 77 WATER WELLS

Paradise Pools & Spas 3200 RR 1869 Liberty Hill, TX 78642 (512) 515-7665 www.paradisepools.com ■ See our ad on Page 14

Bee Cave Drilling, Inc. 3811 E. Hwy 29 Bertram, TX 78605 (512) 515-3004 www.beecavedrilling.com ■ See our ad on Page 24

TREE SERVICES Certified Arbor Care PO Box 1868 Round Rock, TX 78680 (512) 671-8733 www.certifiedarborcare.net ■ See our ad on Page 81

HELPFUL NUMBERS LOCAL UTILITIES

CABLE Spectrum Cable (512) 485-5555 ELECTRICIT Y Pedernales Electric Cooperative 888-554-4732 GAS P&R Propane (512) 259-4710 TRASH SERVICE Al Clawson Disposal (512) 746-2000 WATER City of Liberty Hill (512) 778-5449 City of Georgetown (512) 930-3640

Municipal Court (512) 515-5410

Liberty Hill High School (512) 260-5500

Tax Office - Cedar Park (512) 943-1603

Water & Public Works (512) 778-5449

WILLIAMSON COUNTY

Sheriff’s Office (512) 943-1300

FIRE

Animal Control (512) 864-8282

Vehicle Registration (512) 943-1602

Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 (512) 515-5165

Animal Shelter (512) 943-3322

Voter Registration (512) 943-1630

LIBERTY HILL ISD

Appraisal District (512) 930-3787

OTHER

Administration Building (512) 260-5580

Constable Rick Coffman, Pct. 2 (512) 260-4270

Liberty Hill Elementary (512) 515-6514 Bill Burden Elementary (512) 260-4400

CITY OF LIBERTY HILL

Rancho Sienna Elementary (512) 260-4450

City Hall (512) 778-5449

Liberty Hill Intermediate (512) 379-3200

Police Department (512) 515-5409

Liberty Hill Junior High (512) 379-3300

County Commissioner Cynthia Long, Pct. 2 (512) 260-4280 Health District (512) 943-3600 Information Line (512) 943-1100 Justice of the Peace Edna Staudt, Pct. 2 (512) 260-4210

Liberty Hill Public Library (512) 778-6400 The Liberty Hill Independent Newspaper (512) 778-5577 Over the Hill Gang (512) 778-5344 Social Security Administration (877) 531-4699 Texas Dept. of Public Safety www.dps.texas.gov US Post Office - Liberty Hill (512) 515-6293

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