Liberty Hill Living June 2021

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Local destinations to satisfy your wanderlust

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nlike the uncertainties of summer 2020 when COVID-19 dictated extreme caution, this month signals a new beginning in the community's quest for a return to normalcy. With the expectation of beginning a new school year in person in August, more families are traveling this summer while others are seeking adventure closer to home. This month, Liberty Hill Living shares some Staycation ideas including spelunking adventures at area caverns. Consider a trip to Balcones Canyonlands where nature trails beckon bird watchers and hikers. And don't forget about local and area parks that offer child-friendly activities and options to stay active this summer. If you're looking for a fun day trip, try the refreshing waters of Hancock Springs in Lampasas, a historic site that is sure to delight visitors of all ages. In this issue, we also introduce you to the newly-reopened Globe Theatre in Bertram where country music awaits this summer. The theatre is under the new direction of Liberty Hill's own Emily Ann (Hamilton) Cavalcanti who is bringing a bit of Nashville to Bertram. Look for more entertainment options in our area Event Calendar.

Liberty Hill’s signature event - The Independence Day Spectacular - which was created by The Liberty Hill Independent in 2016, is now hosted by the City of Liberty Hill and returns with all the fun July 3rd at Liberty Hill Junior High.

Our mission here at Liberty Hill Living is to share with you the best of our hometown. While newcomers are busy getting settled before the start of school, find time this summer to enjoy what makes this a special place.





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Explore area caverns, the Balcones Canyonlands, and area parks.



Escape the stress and cool down in the rejuvenating waters of the historic spring-fed pool in Lampasas.



Whether it’s a custom-made motor- cycle seat or a 3D manufacturing creation, the ingenuity of the local business community is impressive.


A slice of Nashville is coming to the historic Globe Theatre.


10 | LIVING Local

Meet local bluegrass musician Teresa Garner

52 2 1 | VOL 7, ISSUE 3 | JUNE 20




Fun with slime

42 | LIVING Four Legged


Loving life in the saddle

44 | LIVING Snapshots

The horses of Liberty Hill

48 | LIVING to Eat

Local destinations to satisfy your wanderlust

Firehouse cooking 60 | LIVING for Fun

Explore upcoming local events

Adventure awaits! No need to pack a bag this summer to escape your routine and explore the natural beauty of the area. The serenity of Liberty Hill area landscapes is captured in this view of the Balcones Canyonlands. PHOTO BY MATTHEW GUTHRIE & KATY COLE

LIBERTY HILL LIVING | A Publication of The Liberty Hill Independent Newspaper/Texas Independent News Corp. PUBLISHER | Shelly Wilkison PUBLICATION AND ADVERTISING DESIGN | Stacy Coale, Megan Sela ADVERTISING SALES | Stacy Coale CONTRIBUTING WRITERS | Mike Eddleman, Scott Akanewich, Anthony Flores, Rachel Madison, Stacy Coale The information in this publication was compiled with great care to assure the accuracy of editorial content and advertising copy. Liberty Hill Living and its parent company assume 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. For advertising rates and information, or to obtain additional copies, call (512) 778-5577 or send email to The publisher appreciates the active support of Liberty Hill area businesses for their generous contributions to Liberty Hill Living. This publication is truly a collaborative effort of experienced journalists, a professional design team, advertising specialists and many others passionate about sharing the story of Liberty Hill, Texas. Find Liberty Hill Living online at Copyright©2021 The Liberty Hill Independent/Texas Independent News Corp. 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.

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Teresa Garner


Music has been part of Teresa Garner’s life for as long as she can remember. From singing Loretta Lynn tunes to her grandfather to playing guitar alongside her uncle, it’s no surprise that in adulthood she formed and played in numerous bands, including the Teresa Garner Bluegrass Band and The Showmen Bluegrass Extraordinaire. In 2020, after a 12-year hiatus, she formed a new band, The Teresa Garner Band. She and her three bandmates play in the Liberty Hill area and focus on vintage country and bluegrass style music.


LHL: How did you get interested in music?

Teresa: I grew up in a family where singing was happening all the time. I thought everybody sang and played music when I was a kid. My grandparents were sharecroppers, and we were basically poor. Entertainment comes from within when you’re poor. We didn’t go to concerts or shows — we made our own entertainment. It helped that we all had a little bit of musical ability. There were always records being played in the house, and my mother would sing around the house as she worked. It was just a natural thing to sing and be around music as I grew up.

LHL: What instruments do you play?

Teresa: I played clarinet all through junior high school and then in high school I switched to the trumpet. I didn’t actually get a guitar until I was 13 or 14. I self-taught and I had an uncle that taught me. I wanted to play all the instruments while I was growing up, but you just can’t. I do like learning new instruments though. I play upright bass, the mandolin, the banjo and the lap steel. I don’t play any of those well, but I try. Bass is my favorite instrument.

LHL: What gave you a renewed interest in having a band after taking a long hiatus?

Teresa: It was something to do through COVID. We’d get together once or twice a month and play, and as things started to open we made the decision that we were willing to go out in public to play. So far we have played at Dahlia’s and Agape BBQ, and I think we’ll play at Dahlia’s again this summer. I also play bass for The Showmen Bluegrass Extraordinaire twice a month at Llano Cowboy Church. We provide the worship music. 10

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LHL: Why did your band decide to specialize in playing vintage country and bluegrass music?

Teresa: As I started to play music in my teen years, I gravitated to bluegrass. Around 18, a friend of mine took me to my first bluegrass festival, and I was just amazed. I had discovered a whole brand-new kind of music, and the more I played it, the more I searched for tunes to play. It was like discovering a new song whenever I found one of those old folk tunes. We also focus on vintage country, which is pre-1960s. That includes Pasty Cline, Hank Williams, Bob Wills and even a few old cowboy tunes from back in the pioneer times. We may throw something newer in there or do some traditional gospel hymns once in a while, but I love the older country music.

LHL: Do you ever write your own songs?

Teresa: I have written songs. I think all musicians have. I don’t perform them very often, other than if I were doing a solo set somewhere. When I had my original band some years ago, we did do a couple of bluegrass tunes I’d written.

LHL: What would you want the newcomers to Liberty Hill to know about this place in the past? Teresa: I moved to Liberty Hill in the early 90s. Liberty Hill’s core group of citizens was very sincere and kind, and I hope Liberty Hill continues to be that. The community was made up of people who weren’t rich, but who were willing to put what they had on the table to help each other out. I hope that continues as well. People move to the country for a reason, and I hope newcomers keep that in mind.

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Cave exploration opens a whole new world STORY BY SCOTT AKANEWICH


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Crystal City is one of the larger rooms featured at Longhorn Cavern State Park in Burnet.


when descending the stone staircase that leads down to the entrance Of the cave complex at Longhorn Cavern , State Park, it s like going back in time, as the sunlight above is slowly swallowed by the limestone in leaving darkness below where an entire world exists beyond the surface. The 645-acre site in Burnet, which was opened to the public in 1932, offers a wide variety of recreational options, including the Backbone Ridge trail system and picnic areas, as well as its sister park, Inks Lake State Park, which is only a few miles away. Longhorn was developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s, a process during which 2.5 tons of silt and debris were removed in clearing out the complex. However, according to park manager Evan Archilla, it’s not only the natural architecture that dazzles visitors, but the legends behind the caverns that make it so special. “Longhorn Cavern is one of the most unique places in the entire state of Texas,” said Archilla. “Not only in terms of the geology of the caverns, but in terms of the human stories behind it – they’re definitely Texas-sized.” Such as the rumors of the caverns being used as a speakeasy during the prohibition period, a hideout for the infamous outlaw Sam Bass and also by Confederate soldiers during the Civil War. Longhorn offers two different tours depending on how in-depth – literally and figuratively – one wants to immerse oneself in exploration. The Cavern Walking Tour is a 90-minute excursion that takes visitors on a 1.1-mile stroll as far as 130 feet below the surface in exploring all manner of different formations that are found in various rooms, with

names like Crystal City, the Hall of Marble, the Gunpowder Room and the Hall of Diamonds. For the more adventurous, the Wild Cave Tour allows spelunkers to experience a physically-demanding two to three-hour journey for which safety gear is provided and includes wriggling and crawling through the area known as “The Basement,” a series of rooms below the main complex. Archilla said the mystery of it all is what is perhaps the most attractive aspect of a subterranean plunge. “There’s a sense of adventure when you’re talking about going down into a hole in the ground,” he said. “You’re definitely going to see something you don’t see every day.” While Longhorn Cavern is situated in the rolling hills of Burnet County, Inner Space Cavern is located in Georgetown just off IH 35. In fact, the only reason the complex was ever discovered in the first place was because of the highway construction in 1963, when surveyors were drilling to determine if a railroad overpass could be supported by the land. Inner Space features five miles of cave passages to explore, with tour options for explorers of all levels. The Adventure Tour is a 1.1-mile walk along paved passages through some of the more notable rooms of the cavern, including the majestic Cathedral Room, which features a series of CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

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The entrance to Longhorn Cavern is partially obstructed by overgrowth and limestone outcroppings.


unique rock formations containing stalagmites and stalactites that have taken thousands of years to form. For more ambitious guests, the Hidden Passages Tour explores an undeveloped area of the complex that is also unlighted, requiring a provided flashlight for illumination. Finally, the Wild Cave Tour is a three to four-hour quest that includes squeezing and crawling through openings as small as 12 inches wide while geared up with a lighted helmet, gloves and elbow and knee pads. Inner Space assistant manager Patty Perlaky said the cavern got its name due to the current events that swirled back during the time of its discovery. “In the 1960s, everyone was focused on outer space with the race between the U.S. and Soviet Union to put a man on the moon,” she said. “But, the original owners believed you didn’t have to go to the moon to experience a different world – there were plenty of things on Earth we could appreciate.” One thing both caverns have in common, though, is the presence of the tricolored bat, a solitary creature that can be found roosting throughout the passages. However, the fact they’re singular means you won’t encounter swarms of them like their brethren who congregate at the Congress Avenue Bridge in nearby Austin. Fossils from creatures such as mammoths, giant sloths and sabertoothed tigers have been unearthed over the years, left over from the Ice Age when animals would fall to their demise through giant sinkholes that developed in the area, of which there were as many as five with the largest being the size of a football field. With 2021 being named the International Year of Caves and Karst, 16

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While Longhorn Cavern was created BY underground river-like water flow, Inner Space was formed when a series OF vertical fractures along the Balcones fault line allowed water to move through the limestone and mix with carbon dioxide that would create carbonic acid, dissolving the rock it moved through, which resulted in the caverns. Perlaky said there’s no better time for people to be educated on the important role of places such as Inner Space in the grand scheme of the environment. “It’s really important to know about these kinds of things,” she said. “For example, the Edwards Aquifier, which is located just below us, supplies much of the water supply for Georgetown and Austin.” Whether you want to be wowed by natural beauty, filled with knowledge of all things underground or simply have a sense of daring to satisfy, local attractions such as Longhorn Cavern and Inner Space offer the opportunity to explore and experience extraordinary encounters without the need to stray far from home. •

LONGHORN CAVERN STATE PARK Open daily 9-6 (May 31-August 15, 2021). Access to hiking trails, picnic area, and historic CCC buildings is free. Tickets for the Cavern Walking Tour (1.5 hours) or Wild Cave Tour (3 hours) can be purchased online or the park visitor center. 6211 Park Road 4 South, Burnet, TX | (512) 715-9000 | INNER SPACE CAVERN Open daily 9-5. Visit website to purchase tickets. 4200 S IH 35 Frontage Rd, Georgetown, TX | (512) 931-2283 www.


A vast assortment of rock formations is featured in the many rooms at Inner Space Cavern, which were created by surface water combining with carbon dioxide in forming carbonic acid and combining with air once reaching a cave.

There is a wide variety of parks in the area – including Liberty Hill and Leander parks, as well as Williamson County parks – each one offering a unique opportunity to enjoy the outdoors close to home. VETERANS PARK | Liberty Hill Veterans Park is a small memorial to those who have served, tucked into the middle of downtown. It features a memorial with names inscribed of local veterans, and visitors are greeted at the entrance by a sculpture created by Florence sculptor Bob Ragan. In addition, the seals from the different military branches are featured prominently near the entrance. WETZEL PARK | Liberty Hill Named after the town’s first mayor and respected community leader, Wetzel Park is home to a splash pad. It also has bike racks, water stations, a playground and restrooms. Planted around the park are several crepe myrtles, which were planted in memory of long-time resident and city council member Wendell McLeod. LIONS FOUNDATION PARK | Liberty Hill Located on Loop 332 just east of downtown is a lovely park that includes baseball fields, a pavilion, playground, picnic area and a walking trail. In addition, the

Wetzel Park Liberty Hill Public Library is also located on the grounds. However, perhaps the most interesting aspect of the park is the vast array of sculptures on display by artists from around the world. GAREY PARK | Georgetown A 7,000-square-foot splash pad is the prominent feature of this park, which includes 28 different water features controlled by motion sensors, five water cannons, two water tunnels, a spider spray and a water mill. The park is located on RM 2243 and is open year-round.

LAKEWOOD PARK | Leander Among the many available activities at this park are a splash pad and a kayak launch on the 125-acre site located east of US 183A and south of Crystal Falls Parkway. In addition, there is a large pavilion with restrooms, playground, dog park, fishing pier, vehicle parking areas, trails, skate park, and basketball and volleyball courts. The park is open from dawn until dusk year-round. WILLIAMSON COUNTY REGIONAL PARK | Leander A sprawling park that includes 11 soccer fields, two softball fields, a football field and stadium with a 400-meter track, eight tennis courts, six basketball courts and a playscape. The park also includes a network of crushed granite and natural surface hike and bike trails ranging from .14 to 1.84 miles in length. The regional park is also home to the Quarry Splash Pad, operational during the summer months, and the Cedar Rock Railroad.

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Birdwatching at Balcones provides escape STORY BY SCOTT AKANEWICH

Listen carefully, and hear the call. While wandering the trails at Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge, several species of birds can be seen for avid birdwatchers, but first you will hear them, said Kelly Purkey, Balcones refuge manager. “You can tell what kind of bird it is by the cadence,” she said of a nearby wren. “Some birds have more complex calls than others.” More than 290 different species of birds can be found at Balcones, chief among them the black-capped vireo and golden-cheeked warbler – which are both classified as endangered songbirds – as well as a wide range of species including hawks, eagles, vultures, woodpeckers, crows, cardinals, jays and owls, just to name a few. The reason Balcones attracts such a wide variety of birds is due to the variance in the refuge itself, said Purkey. “The diversity of the habitats is what makes the 18

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difference,” she said. “You have the big live oak motts, the understory and the grasslands.” The refuge is a crossroads where both eastern and western birds flock, creating an aviary melting pot featuring the best of both regions simultaneously. Balcones features four different public areas available for hiking, wildlife observation, photography and hunting, but the winged creatures are the primary attraction for the enthusiasts known as “birders,” with 12 different trails to hike in search of one’s favorite. The trails vary in length from as short as 0.2 miles, such as the Pollinator Path, all the way up to Rimrock Trail, a rugged 1.6mile loop that takes hikers high above their surroundings for a spectacular panoramic view of the Texas Hill Country. Balcones is open year-round from sunrise to sunset and also features Shin Oak Observation Deck and a headquarters that also serves as a visitors information center. Admission is free. In order to fully enjoy the birdwatching experience, there are CONTINUED ON PAGE 20 ABOVE: Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge is a paradise for birdwatchers. Visit the Shin Oak Observation Deck on RM 1869 near Liberty Hill. LEFT: The Golden-cheeked Warbler is one of the prized bird-watching sights at Balcones Canyonlands Wildlife Refuge. MELISSA CHEATWOOD PHOTO

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The view from Balcones Canyonlands sunset deck is not to be missed.


certain must-have items hikers should plan to bring along, said Purkey. “The most important thing is a good pair of binoculars, along with a guide to be able to identify the different birds,” she said. “Mornings are usually the best

time because that’s when the birds are the most active.” Adding bird watching to the hiking experience provides an extra incentive to many, said Purkey. “I think it gets people outdoors with a purpose,” she said. “Also, some people like the challenge of tracking down particular birds.”

BALCONES CANYONLANDS WILDLIFE REFUGE Public use hiking areas are open 365 days a year from sunrise to sunset. No reservations are required and entrance is free. Doeskin Ranch 10645 FM 1174, Bertram, TX | Shin Oak Observation Deck RM 1869 near Liberty Hill, TX | Warbler Vista 21646 FM 1431, Lago Vista, TX | (512) 339-9432 | refuge/balcones_canyonlands/

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Take a dip into the history of the oldest spring-fed pool in Texas STORY + PHOTOS BY RACHEL MADISON

What serves as a local swimming pool and city park today in Lampasas was once a popular tourist destination for early settlers and travelers to the area. Recognized as the oldest spring-fed pool in Texas, Hancock Springs first started to gain notoriety with settlers in the early 1850s when they found Native Americans using the mineral springs as “curative waters.” Soon after, the town was quickly developed around the springs, and took on the name of local landowner John Hancock. In 1882, promoters of the Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe railways extended their lines to Lampasas, making travel to the area easier. Investors who came through the area saw opportunity and quickly built hotels and tourist facilities surrounding the springs. Around the same time, land at this site was sold from the John Hancock family to George L. Porter of Harris County, who transferred the property to the Lampasas Springs Company. The company built a bathhouse, which included changing rooms, facilities for hot and cold baths, and bathing pools for men and women. The company also erected the Grand Park Hotel, which was located northwest of the bathhouse, although the hotel closed a few years later and housed a college for a short time until it burned down in 1895. A mule drawn streetcar connected the bathhouse with the passenger depot on the other side of town. Hancock Springs quickly became known as the South’s “finest health resort” and the “Saratoga of the South,” in reference to the famed New York spa community. Waters remained at a constant 69 degrees year24

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round (the water remains the same temperature today) and since first measurements were taken in 1886, about 70 gallons of water courses through the channel each second. Sulphur Creek, which is fed by Hancock Springs, has flooded several times since construction of the bathhouse. The roof of the facility was gone by 1920, suspected to have been carried away by floodwaters. Portions of the limestone walls of the bathhouse remain today. In 2003, the City of Lampasas stabilized the remaining bathhouse walls to preserve the area’s history. At the turn of the 20th Century, Hancock Park served as a Baptist encampment. The First Baptist Church in Lampasas helped in the organization of the Lampasas Baptist Association in 1896 and assisted in the establishment of the Lampasas Baptist Encampment, which met annually on the present site of Hancock Park through 1928, according to the City of Lampasas. As the encampment grew each year, the need for bathing facilities did as well. Hancock Park Swimming Pool developed from that need in 1911. That year, local resident Dan Culver excavated a large open air swimming pool in Hancock Park utilizing the spring fed waters. The pool was then used as a large bathtub, complete with soap and towels. Baths cost 15 cents each, and men and women had separate bathing opportunities, according to the City of Lampasas. The pool also served as a baptistery. The last Baptist encampment took place in July 1928. Charles Baker and L.N. Little were the next locals to purchase the property in 1929. They used materials from the Baptist encampment’s dining hall to build the Hostess House, which was a two-story building that included a reception hall and changing rooms for the swimming pool. It also had an open-air dance platform on the second floor where local bands and nationally

known performers alike would come to perform. In 1936, the City of Lampasas bought the park from Baker and Little Boating and Swimming Club for $15,000, including the Hostess House. The area was dedicated for use as a park and the springs were used to supply water to the community. In 1939, the Hostess House was leased for $5 per month, and at that time, the prospect of an Army camp near Killeen was under discussion. In 1942, Camp Hood opened (now Fort Hood) and military officials became interested in the Hancock Springs Swimming Pool and Hostess House, according to the City of Lampasas. The federal government leased the park from 1942 to 1946 as a convalescent camp for the Army, naming it Panther Recreation Park. In June 1946, the government canceled its lease, and the City of Lampasas restored the name to Hancock Springs Park. In 1948, the City built a nine-hole golf course, a playground and other facilities for $165,000. The City also made improvements to the Hostess House, including a limestone veneer. A re-dedication ceremony was held in June 1948 with the reading of a formal proclamation by Mayor W.M. Brook. That ceremony was also attended by then Texas Governor Buford Jester and then U.S. Congressman and future President Lyndon B. Johnson. For many years following, the people of Lampasas continued to swim in the pool and attend dances on the second floor of the Hostess House, but by the early 1990s the building had fallen into disrepair. The City then leased the building to the Oran Milo Roberts Chapter of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, which coordinated fundraising to renovate and restore the Hostess House and continue its public use. The DRT received a $250,000 gift from Ora CONTINUED ON PAGE 28 L I B E RT Y H I L L L I V I N G | JU N E 2 0 2 1



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and Mary Ulrich and Louise Stapp in honor of their parents, which allowed for completion of all renovations. The sisters’ parents were Lampasas pioneers Louis Madison and Mary Leannah Casbeer Ulrich. Today, the Hostess House is available for weddings, receptions, rehearsals and class reunion gatherings, while the Hancock Springs Swimming Pool is open to the public every summer.


“Shelley was very professional, helpful and answered all of our questions. Her knowledge of the area and expertise of the process ensured that we had a successful buying experience coming from a different part of the state. From buying, inspecting, appraisal and closing she led us through each step. We can’t thank her enough for providing her invaluable service.” – THE PAVLOVSKY FAMILY “We knew we would be able to sell in the current market but had no idea how quick it would be and for how much. Shelley listed our house on a Friday evening and we had 15 offers within 48 hours! That Monday we accepted an offer and closed three weeks later. Her professionalism, positive attitude and caring nature made our selling process seamless.” –THE ROSSON FAMILY

HANCOCK SPRINGS SWIMMING POOL The pool is open Thursday through Saturday from 12 Noon to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 1 to 6 p.m. Admission is $2.50 each for ages 2 to 12 and 55 years and older, and $3.50 each for ages 13 to 54. Children under 2 get in free. 1600 US Hwy 281 South at Hancock Springs Park in Lampasas. (512) 556-4048

After a day of swimming, you’re bound to work up an appetite. Check out these eateries for a bit of local flavor. EVE’S CAFÉ If German fare is your thing, look no farther than Eve’s Café in downtown Lampasas. The café offers a variety of German dishes, from bratwurst to spätzle, but specializes in schnitzel — breaded pork loin smothered in various toppings. The Rahm Schnitzel and Kase Schnitzel are two personal favorites. If you’re looking for a lighter meal, try any of the salads (pictured, left), and don’t even think about skipping dessert, or you’ll miss out on everything from homemade cheesecakes to German pastries. Eve’s is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. 521 E. 3rd Street | 512-556-3500 | YOUNG’S BBQ & MORE You can’t visit a small Texas town without trying the local barbecue. That’s where Young’s BBQ & More comes in. The restaurant recently relocated due to a fire, but never skipped a beat in serving the local community their line up of brisket, sausage, pulled pork, ribs and burritos. You can’t go wrong with any of the mesquite-smoked meats from Young’s, but the brisket and sausage are especially delicious with a side of beans and potato salad. Young’s is open every day except Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 504 N. Key Ave. | 512-564-1220 |

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STORM’S DRIVE-IN RESTAURANT There’s a few Storm’s Drive-in restaurants around Central Texas today, but the original opened in Lampasas in 1950. Old-fashioned burgers and fries are king here. And speaking of The King, Elvis Presley himself ate at Storm’s many times while he was stationed at Fort Hood during his service in the military. Elvis was onto something, since the burgers and fries Storm’s makes have only grown in popularity over the last several decades. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the cordon bleu burger—you won’t be disappointed. Storm’s is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. 201 N. Key Ave. | 512-556-6269 |

commercial & residential service general pest control termite control • fire ant programs WILDLIFE/RODENTs • WDI REPORTS Lampasas may be a small town, but there’s plenty to do and see besides Hancock Springs. If you have time, visit some of these other local sites. LAMPASAS COUNTY COURTHOUSE The courthouse is the third oldest operating courthouse in Texas— built in 1884—and makes a statement in the center of Lampasas’ downtown square. If you’d like to take a look inside, a tour, offered on Saturdays only, will give you a firsthand look at the building’s original vaults, pressed tin walls and 25-foot ceilings. The courthouse is located at 501 E. 4th Street.

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HANNAH SPRINGS SCULPTURE GARDEN The sculpture garden is a great place for a leisurely stroll and some appreciation of the arts. It is family and pet friendly, and free to the public. Each year the Lampasas Association for the Arts hosts an Art in the Park event that allows a small group of artists to display their work for a year, which means the sculptures are always changing and there’s always something new to enjoy. The sculpture garden is located at 501 E. North Ave.

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WORLD’S LARGEST SPUR What’s more Texan than a giant spur? Check out this record-setting spur as you drive by 902 US Hwy 281. The spur was erected in 2016 and weighs in at 10,000 pounds, is 35 feet tall and 20 feet wide. It was created by artist Wayland Dobbs and has been verified to be the largest spur in the world, according to The Guinness Book of World Records. A parking lot is adjacent to the spur if you’d like to stop and get some photos.

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Part toy, part science experiment – this gooey substance is simply irresistible.



ccording to the dictionary, slime is a thick, sticky and slippery matter that is often regarded as repulsive. It’s no wonder kids are attracted to this simple science experiment! Liquids usually take the shape of the container they are poured into. We call these ‘normal liquids’ Newtonian fluids (named after Sir Isaac Newton). But some fluids don’t follow this rule. These ‘strange liquids’ are nonNewtonian fluids. Slime is a non-Newtonian substance that – depending on temperature and pressure – can feel like a solid that is easily stretched and squished or can feel like a liquid that will flow and run through your fingers. The creation of slime relies on the chemical reaction between two main ingredients; polyvinyl alcohol and borate ion. Polyvinyl alcohol is found in school glue and borate ion is created when baking soda is mixed with contact lens solution. Yay science! Slime was wildly popular back in 2016 and I’ve been firmly anti-slime since then. I did not understand its gooey appeal and was the mean mom that had a zero tolerance policy on playing with slime the car or house. Fast forward five years. We’re all 32

older (and wiser!), so when given the opportunity to make slime with my kids for this story, I reluctantly volunteered. My initial horror began to fade after our first sticky recipe sloooowly came together into a stretchable and oddly satisfying blob of glittery goo. The verdict? I’m now on Team Slime! I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to come around. The experience wasn’t the messy disaster I anticipated. Nothing was ruined and my kids got a big kick out of proving me wrong. This super easy activity using a few ordinary household ingredients reinforced patience, communication, teamwork, and (bonus) we all had the opportunity to act like kids for a few precious hours.

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SLIME TIPS ● Keep in mind that the slime recipes shared here are not edible. Be sure to supervise your child at all times while making or playing with slime. ● Cover your table with an outdoor tablecloth for easier cleanup. ● For best slime results, contact solution should contain boric acid and sodium borate. ● Remember to wash your hands and avoid touching your mouth while playing with any kind of slime. ● Check out the Dollar Store for affordable options to purchase glue, baking soda, glitter, tablecloths, etc. ● Slime will become harder to clean off once it dries (the main ingredient is glue, after all). Soak bowls and mixing tools in warm soapy water while you play, and give your work space a wipe-down when you are finished. ● If slime gets on clothes or in hair, first remove as much slime as possible. Then pour dish soap or vinegar on your slime spot (over a sink, outside or in a container to minimize the mess). Give clothing a good rinse and wash right away in washing machine. ● To extend the life of your slime, store in a plastic food storage bag or plastic storage container with a tight fitting lid. Your slime should last a couple of weeks, though the texture may change.


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⁄2 cup White School Glue 3 cups Foaming Shaving Cream 1 ⁄2 tsp Baking Soda 1 tbsp Contact Solution Food Coloring (optional) STEP 1: Measure 3 heaping cups of shaving cream into a bowl. STEP 2: Stir in 5 drops of food coloring into shaving cream. If you want a darker color, add more food coloring. Food coloring will temporarily stain hands, but will eventually wash off. If your child is sensitive to food colors, do not use. STEP 3: Add glue to the shaving cream and mix. 1

STEP 4: Add ⁄2 tsp of baking soda and mix. STEP 5: Add 1 tablespoon of the contact solution (the slime activator) to the mixture and begin stirring. Once mixture is thoroughly incorporated, you can pull it out with your hands. It will be sticky and stringy at first but keep kneading with your hands and the consistency will change.

SLIME TROUBLESHOOTING Each batch of slime is a mini problem solving exercise. Does it need more activator (contact solution), more glue, is it too sticky, too hard? Kids get comfortable problem solving each time they make slime. To keep the slime from sticking to your hands, you can apply a few drops of contact solution on your hands before picking up the slime. Keep in mind that adding more activator reduces stickiness, but will eventually create a stiffer slime. You can always add but you can’t take away. If your slime is too stiff, add a small amount of warm water to the mixing bowl and work warm water into the slime. Add small amounts of water until you reach your desired texture.


This summer, reduce energy use during Power Rush Hour®, a time of high energy demand on the state’s electric grid. Conserve energy and shift use outside of 2-7 p.m. By doing so, you can reduce your bills now and later by conserving from June to September. Join the Summer Savings Squad! Shift and save energy use for your chance to win one of 10 Nest Learning Thermostats. Sign up at Together, we can make a difference. Pedernales Electric Cooperative

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GLITTER SLIME 6 fl oz Clear Glitter Glue in desired color 1⁄ 2 tbsp Baking Soda 1¼ tbsp Contact Solution STEP ONE: Pour out the entire contents of a 6 oz of glitter glue into a bowl. STEP TWO: Add 1⁄2 tbsp of baking soda and mix thoroughly. STEP THREE: Add 11⁄4 tbsp of contact solution. STEP FOUR: Mix with spoon or spatula until mixture gets harder to mix and slime begins to form. Be patient, it will come together. Kneading the sticky slime is part of the fun!

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Bob Pena has spent decades creating custom motorcycle seats for customers across the country.

Liberty Hill may be known by most as a small town, but one thing it’s big on is business—and plenty of the businesses across town have taken it a step further by creating custom products for customers around the country. Whether it’s a custom-made leather motorcycle seat or a 3D manufacturing creation, the ingenuity in the business community breeds strong. STORY BY RACHEL MADISON

ob Pena, known locally as Steelhorse Cowboy Bob, has been making custom motorcycle seats for more than 40 years. After growing up in Corpus Christi and making the move to Central Texas, he started out customizing the interior of vans in 1978. He graduated quickly from customizing vans to cars, trucks and boats. After that, he became interested in leather work alongside the custom upholstery. That’s when he started working on motorcycles. “I make motorcycle seats from scratch,” Pena said. “People come here and want custom seats made out of marine vinyl, alligator, ostrich. It can get real expensive to get a seat like that, but I’ll do whatever you want.” Pena worked for a van shop in Georgetown for nearly 20 years, and during that time he opened his own shop to do custom orders on the side. That side job ended up being his saving grace after losing his job at the van shop. “I was never much of a man of God, and I got fired from that job, but that’s what got my own business really going,” Pena said. “My mom was always telling me to go to church, and I’d tell her I didn’t even believe in God, but God changed my life real quick there. I remember I got on my bike and was going down [Highway] 29 toward Liberty Hill. I stopped at the intersection of [Highway] 29 and [Highway] 183, and my eye caught the billboard of the Williamson County Cowboy Church, so I rode straight there and got off my bike. They had a Bible study, and I went in there and told them I’d lost my job and my girlfriend, and I didn’t know what to do, and

they laid hands on me and prayed for me. I felt wanted there, so I came back again and again. I eventually got baptized in a horse trough and even started hosting Bible studies in my shop in Georgetown.” Pena worked from his Georgetown shop until he moved to Liberty Hill in 2013. He moved locations again, within Liberty Hill, in 2015. He has been at his current location

Bob Pena works on one of his custom motorcycle seats. He uses a wide variety of materials, from marine vinyl to ostrich.

for six years. Throughout his career, Pena has made more than 1,000 motorcycle seats, and each one is customized to exactly what his customer wants, whether it’s leather, fringe, studs or stitching. “I love doing motorcycle seats, and nobody else does them around here,” he said. “When I make a seat it comes from nothing, and it takes me three to four weeks to finish it. I’m almost at 285 completed seats within the last two years. People come from all over to see me, like Dallas, Houston and Corpus [Christi]. I give a oneyear warranty for every seat, no matter what. If the seat gets cut or the bike is in a wreck, that seat is covered for one year.” Pena said making a bike seat from start to finish is a tedious process. It includes covering the motorcycle in plastic and cutting out a section where the seat is, using

hey say every great start up begins in a garage, and that couldn’t have been more true for Brian Bauman, founder of Varia 3D. “I started the precursor to Varia 3D in my garage in 2012,” he said. “My ex-business partner had a 3D printing business at the time, so we merged our companies and formed Varia 3D in 2014. At the time we had different plans. We distributed and sold 3D printing materials and printers around the world, but over time, we just went to more of a services type of business for people using the equipment. Now we don’t sell the equipment anymore, we use it to build custom products for our customers.” Bauman’s mission at Varia 3D is to make customers’ ideas come to life. If someone has a product they want to design, they can use his company’s services to create several different iterations to figure out the one that will work best. From there, they can go to production or use Varia 3D to create their product. For example, Liberty Hill business Hammerfab, an automotive fabricator, uses Varia 3D to print parts for projects. “Hammerfab upgrades and modifies old vehicles and sells them to the public, so we print 3D parts for them to do that,” Bauman said. “They also manufacture tools for modifying automotive pieces, so we 3D print those and they sell them on their website.” Another Varia 3D customer is Austin-based Metro Case, which is a case for high-end STORY CONTINUED ON PAGE 38

layers of tape to cover the frame and fender of the bike, and then mixing and putting resin on the bike. “You have to build up that resin to a quarter-inch think, let it sit overnight, and then grind it,” he said. “That’s also when I make my brackets and bolts for the back. I always have the customer come sit on it as I’m carving it out to make sure it’s a good fit. Some people are short, for example, so they need more foam in the back to push them toward the handlebars, and I have to consider all that.” Pena is also a dealer for ProPad, which is a gel pad that can be built into the motorcycle seats for comfort. He joined forces with them after attending Sturgis in 1999. “I used to do 32 rallies a year for about 13 years, but I had to stop because of my health,” he said. “I still go to two or three a year, but I mainly work out of my shop now.” Outside of his work, Pena spends time riding his own motorcycles—he has six Harleys—as well as horses, part of the main inspiration for his business’ name. •

Varia 3D may have started in a garage, but now the company creates products for a number of industries.

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Thank you to our DONORS for making THE difference for teachers & students!

Distinguished Donors Elizabeth & Ed Horne

Diamond Donors Paulette & Aubrey E. Grumbles

Gold Donors Michael & Tammy Beevers Pfluger Architects Turner Construction James “Jimmy” Waterson, Jr.

Silver Donors Deanne & Jerry Vance

Thank you to our local boutiques for your support!

The Liberty Hill ISD Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that shares a vision of enhancing education with the Liberty Hill Independent School District. The Foundation works to increase private support for educational activities in LHISD, benefits LHISD students and staff personnel by supporting activities not funded by tax dollars, fosters creative approaches to education through private grants and involvement, and awards Foundation funds through a volunteer Board of Directors made up of business, community and educational leaders.

calls for finding new resources to assist in building and increasing excellence, like the Liberty Hill ISD Education Foundation.

The Foundation was created in 2019 to support educational programs for both the students and staff of LHISD. The Foundation will provide funds for educational programs and activities which either have not been funded or have been under-funded by the normal operating budget. These funds will be used to facilitate student achievement and skill development, to recognize and ­ encourage staff excellence, and to expand ­ ­ ­ community involvement from individuals, businesses and civic organizations. The Foundation will achieve its mission by ­ ­ directing resources toward innovative teaching grants, recognition of student achievement, recognition of LHISD has developed a quality educational program that provides teaching excellence and student scholarships. students with enrichment, acceleration and attention to special needs. Sustaining excellent educational programs and services requires technology, laboratories, cultural experiences, up-to-date occupational To make a donation, scan here, or visit the and technical equipment, resource materials and, primarily, outstanding Liberty Hill ISD Education Foundation online: teachers. Meeting the current and future educational needs of all students so that they may be productive citizens of tomorrow also LHISDEducationFoundation requires a substantial investment. In the state’s conservative economy, @LHISDEDUFOUNDATION most school districts no longer have discretionary funds for services and @ISD_HILL activities that exceed minimum needs and requirements. The situation

A special thank you to the Horne family Without Elizabeth and Ed Horne, the Liberty Hill ISD Education Foundation wouldn’t be what it is today. Because of their distinguished donation, the Foundation has been able to thrive since its beginnings in 2019. The Hornes, who are the developers of Santa Rita Ranch in Liberty Hill, generously donated $30,000 to the Foundation. These monies are being used to help the Foundation achieve its mission of partnering with the community to enhance teaching, inspire learning, and maximize innovative opportunities for all staff and students. Thank you, Elizabeth and Ed, for your dedication to our students, teachers and school district.

Make your a


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A special thank you to the Walker family The Coach Jeff Walker Endowment is dedicated to the life and legacy of Coach Jeff Walker, who served most recently as athletic director and head football coach for Liberty Hill High School until his passing on Nov. 30, 2020. The Walker family partnered with the Liberty Hill ISD Education Foundation to create an endowment fund with the objective of supporting students who face adversity through annual “Walker Tough” scholarships. Thank you, Walker family, for your dedication to our students and their futures.

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cameras created by an Austin photographer. “He developed this case that screws onto the camera and the look and feel of it is still ergonomic for the user,” Bauman said. “We have been working with him making those cases for years now.” During the height of COVID-19, Bauman said Varia 3D was commissioned to make

a special mask for an Austinbased choir director and music teacher. “This teacher invented a mask to protect singers, but it also allowed people to sing properly while wearing a mask,” Bauman said. “Most masks you buy from the store restrict the tonal sound of a singer, so we 3D printed a mask frame for him and he attached a special material to create a mask that didn’t mess up the sound. That’s another example of what we can do—somebody can create a solution without needing to go to high-end production to get it done.” Bauman added that most plastic (ABOVE) Varia 3D makes custom parts like these cases for high-end cameras. (LEFT) Varia 3D uses different machines to create 3D products, all customized to each customer’s specifications.

pieces today are manufactured through injection molding, which can be expensive and is mainly done overseas. “With 3D printing we can directly produce components without any of those costs,” he said. “We can directly print them and completely avoid the whole injection molding cost and waiting for weeks from things to come from overseas.” Bauman said Liberty Hill has been a great place for his business to grow because the area is more economical than larger surrounding cities, especially for manufacturing companies like his. “We aren’t a large 3D printing services company, but we are specialists,” he said. “We probably do a couple hundred projects a year, and some of those projects have tens of thousands of parts.” For more information on Varia 3D, visit Customers can also upload their 3D digital files to get instant pricing for services.



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“We worked with Deborah DeBona to sell my mother’s house and she was just excellent. I’ve never had a realtor do so much ‘extra’ as Deborah did. She is an amazing stager and followed through on everything she said she was going to do in a prompt manner. Very efficient, organized and professional. I will definitely use Deborah again for future real estate transactions. When she said at the beginning that she would be there every step of the way, she wasn’t kidding. She has becomea lifelong friend to the family. Thank you so very much, Deborah! – Michele Hammer

• These are unprecedented times for sellers.

• Have you thought about downsizing or buying up? • Now is the time to sell your home and get TOP dollar. • No more sitting on the market waiting to sell. • Buyers are lining up with multiple offers and sales are exceeding sales price. • I can help guide you through the process and garner you not only the highest bid but the best offer.

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REALTOR®, MRP 512-790-1550 “Liberty Hill is Home”

Peyton Carr enjoys spending time with horses on her family’s ranch in Bertram when she’s not competing in equestrian.

Loving Life in the Saddle Local equestrian rider enjoys equine involvement STORY BY SCOTT AKANEWICH


n her family’s ranch in Bertram is where Peyton Carr feels most at home. For it’s on this large swath of land where she connects with her horses – Fly, who is 12 years old and Ronnie, 20. Carr, who is currently an eighth-grader, competes in the sport of equestrian and rides for Lone Star Equestrians, a team based in Marble Falls comprised of riders from all over central Texas. It’s an endeavor that takes her and her teammates to destinations far and wide in the constant quest for the perfect ride. However, it’s back home where she can relax and spend time with her pair of four-legged friends – although it’s a relationship that takes time to develop – at least to get to the point of having the kind of synergy necessary to have a genuine connection. “You really have to know what you’re doing,” said Carr, who has been riding since the age of five. “You start off walking and then move up to trotting.” Carr has experience in several different equestrian disciplines including English, Hunter-Jumper and Cross Country, but now 42

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competes in Western Horsemanship, which involves piloting a horse through various patterns across the arena floor with an emphasis on reining and control while walking, jogging and trotting at various degrees of difficulty. After so much time in the saddle at this point in her riding life, she said she feels more comfortable aboard a steed than on a bicycle. “Whenever I’m on a bike, it just feels really unstable,” she said. Despite that fact, though, Carr has had her fair share of tumbles from the saddle over the years and when she competes these days, riders are drawn onto random mounts that they aren’t familiar with, but that’s the good part of being on a team, she said. “We get to watch the horses and how they behave during a warmup,” said Carr. “Also, someone else on the team might’ve ridden one of them before.” Dealing with the unknown of an unfamiliar ride can create a rather high level of anxiety, she said. “You don’t really want to get something wrong or bad things can happen,” said Carr. “Of course, it all depends on the horse. Some are




Carr first took riding lessons at the age of five.

DID YOU KNOW? ● Horses drink at least five gallons of water each day. ● Male horses have 40 teeth when they are adults (usually from around age 5), while mares have 36 teeth. In both cases horses’ teeth take up more space in their heads than their brains. ● Horses have around 205 bones in their skeleton, but some Arabian horses have fewer ribs and lumbar vertebrae than is typically found in other breeds of horse — 5 lumbar vertebrae rather than 6 and 17 pairs of ribs rather than 18.


well-trained and very good and others aren’t to the point where you’re saying ‘I don’t completely trust you.’” But, away from the big arenas and bright lights of competition, Carr finds solace in simply spending time on the range with her equine acquaintances. “I just like being around horses in general,” she said. “When I’m upset about something, I can calm down around them – they’re easy to talk to.” According to Carr, building a bond with a horse allows one to be able to gauge the animal’s mood on a given day, which is often reflected in what it is or isn’t willing to do. “Some days, they’re super-fresh,” said Carr. “While on others, they just decide they don’t want to go in a circle or whatever you want them to do.” Recently, Carr competed in an Interscholastic Equestrian Association

● Equine have bigger eyes than any other land mammal. They also have a third eyelid that lies on the inside of the eye and closes diagonally over it for added protection.

regional event in Westmoreland, Kansas, where she finished fourth in her division, while as a team Lone Star placed second, which means she will next be headed to the American Paint Horse Association’s Western National Finals on June 30-July 1 in Fort Worth.

● Horses can sleep both lying down and standing up thanks to a special locking system in their legs, but they can only achieve REM sleep when lying down. Source:

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Horsin’ Around

Many families looking to escape the city crowds often find respite with their equine friends in the open spaces of Liberty Hill.






LESLEY JORDAN Photos courtesy


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Firehouse Cooking Comaraderie served in big portions at WCESD #4

The firefighters of Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 enjoy each other's company over home-cooked meals in the firehouse.



ntering the kitchen of Liberty Hill’s Fire Station #1, the first thing that catches the eye is the long dinner table. This is where the men and women of the Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 enjoy homecooked meals during their shifts. “I think it’s about the time together, working together,” said firefighter Tina Anthony. “Sitting together and not just talking about training or firefighting, actually getting to know someone’s life outside of work.” The menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner is constantly changing in the firehouse. “Everyone makes different meals and cooks differently so, that’s why we rotate,” said Anthony. “Me personally, everyone likes my green chili chicken enchiladas. That’s what they usually ask me to make.” Preparing a meal for a large group can be a challenge. The key to success is proper 48

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planning, which begins with keeping the pantry well stocked. “We take turns with who does the shopping and the cooking,” said Anthony. “We rotate through that, but we all kind of help. Everybody pitches in and helps cook. We sit down at the end of our tour and try to plan what we want to eat, what do we have, what do we need to get, and we all help with that when we get here.” Anthony finds herself involved in kitchen activities on every tour — tasks she enjoys. “Once or twice a month I’ll be responsible for picking up the food and being the one to make most of the choices,” she said. “I cook every time I’m here just to help out because there are so many people you’re cooking for. There’s a lot of food to prepare. There are several of us who always come in and get things ready.” What happens when planning falls to the

wayside? Well, the squad adjusts as best as they can. “We did have an incident where nobody planned anything at all so, we had nothing,” Anthony said, laughing. “So, we had to go out and eat. We like to cook and eat here normally because it saves a lot of money. It’s nice to go out and eat every now and then, but it’s nicer to sit down together and eat together.” Meatball subs, green chili enchiladas, breakfast tacos in the morning, hamburgers, chicken leg quarters, and beef kabobs are some of the favorites. “I’m not a great cook or anything. I do what I can,” said firefighter Brett Johnson. “Over here, the cooking is more structured than it is at my house. With my wife and twins, we just fly by the seat of our pants at home. Here there are more people you have to cook for so, you have to be more prepared.” On occasion, firehouse meals can make their way onto the menu at home for some firefighters. “I used to be really picky, and being here has helped me a lot,” said Anthony. “Sometimes I think that something is good and I’ll make it at home. I take a lot of ideas from here back home. It’s good but never as good as when they cook it here.” With the demands of their job, dinner can end just as quickly as it starts. “A lot of times we’ll finish cooking dinner, and when we sit down, we’ll get that call,” Johnson said. “Everything goes into the microwave, and we come back to a cold plate.” On some occasions, not everyone is needed, and a few can stay behind to watch over things.

The kitchen in the firehouse is equipped with all the necessities – a large stove and oven, a refrigerator, and a pantry. The squad also has a gas grill outside. “We don’t have a true smoker or pit,” said Lt. Rowdi Bizzel. “On some shifts, people will bring their actual pits up here on trailers, and they’ll smoke something all day, and man, it’s great. They’ll use wood or charcoal. It’s not as frequent as us using the gas grill.” Smoked meat is a favorite in the firehouse. “Our battalion chief, Chief (Mark) Rosenbush, he built a smoker,” said Anthony. “So, when he comes, he’ll make ribs and pulled pork, and man, it’s the best. It’s one of my favorite things.” The firefighters of WCESD #4 are a family just like any other. Each member brings their own unique tastes to the team's dinner table at mealtime. “I think it helps us feel like family,” said Anthony. “You know, we have a no cell phone rule at the table. We might debrief and talk about the day, or in the mornings preparing for the day. Maybe we’ll talk about what everyone did on their days off or what they have planned. This helps us bond.”

FIREHOUSE BEEF KABOBS A dish popular in the firehouse is beef or steak kabobs. Kabobs are easy to prepare and highly customizable. Tip: Cut beef cubes as uniform in size as possible so they will cook evenly. Marinate the cubed meat for anywhere from 1 to 6 hours. The longer you marinate, the better the flavor. If using wooden skewers, soak them in a shallow pan of water at the same time you marinate your meat so they won’t burn up on the grill. 1 lb. Sirloin Tip (or preferred cut of beef), cut into 1 1⁄4" cubes 1 tsp. Salt 1 tsp. Pepper 1 tbsp. Lemon Pepper 1 tbsp. Olive Oil (or any preferred oil) 1 tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce 1 Onion (white, yellow, or red), cut into 1 1⁄4" cubes 1 Bell Pepper (any color), cut into 1 1⁄4" cubes 1 Pineapple, cut into 1 1⁄4" cubes Skewers In a large bowl, combine olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, lemon pepper and oil. Whisk to combine. Add cubed meat, vegetables and pineapple to the bowl and toss to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 6 hours. Soak wooden skewers in cold water for at least 30 minutes.

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Using charcoal, wood or gas, get the temperature of the grill to 400 degrees. Remove meat and veggies from the fridge and begin preparing the kabobs. Thread the meat alternating with vegetables, aiming for about 4-5 pieces of steak per skewer until all skewers are filled. Place kabobs on the grill directly over the heat for 8-10 minutes, flipping every 2-3 minutes, until the meat is cooked medium-rare to medium and the vegetables start to char around the edges (or until the internal temperature is 145º). Remove from grill and rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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Emily Ann (Hamilton) Cavalcanti of Liberty Hill is bringing new life to the historic Globe Theatre in neighboring Bertram. COURTESY PHOTO


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A slice of Nashville coming to Globe Theatre STORY BY MIKE EDDLEMAN

Globe Theatre has sat on the west end of Vaughan Street in downtown Bertram for nearly nine decades, at times full of life and at others abandoned aside from the thousands of memories packed inside its walls. It has thrived and struggled, then thrived again, but there’s a new twang in the air and shuffle on the floor as a new song is written for the future of the historic venue. New owner Emily Ann (Hamilton) Cavalcanti, the sister of former owner Zach Hamilton, stands in front of the restored stage, the rustic star painted on the stone wall behind her, looking out over the intimate 200-plus seat venue, and shares the mixed emotions of excitement and a sense of responsibility. “It’s surreal to me that we’re here,” she said. “This is the holy grail of a dream that my brother had and I am very proud to have this.” The new song being penned for The Globe will be all its own, tethered to Hamilton’s dream, but it will probably leave a Nashville tone echoing through town. Cavalcanti, and her husband Jesse Lee

Jones, are the proud owners and operators of two musical mainstays in downtown Nashville – Robert’s Western World and the Ernest Tubb Record Shop – that are always found on the “must see” lists for tourists. “I know what locals here want,” Cavalcanti said of Central Texas music fans. “But we’re also in the heart of the number one tourist city in America in Nashville, so we know what tourists want. I feel like if we can take the old and bridge it with the new we can do this.” The pair has wide-ranging dreams for dancing options, dining and possibly a second Ernest Tubb Record Shop for Bertram, but it all starts with live music and The Globe. Like their dedication to music first in Nashville, the local focus will come from wanting to share the experience in Central Texas as well. “We truly feel like we are responsible for perpetuating and protecting real tradition,” she said. “(Robert’s Western World) is the last home, and the last honky tonk in downtown Nashville.” Connecting to ongoing traditions, such as the national late-night radio show

“Midnight Jamboree” is a way to bring it all together, whether in downtown Nashville or downtown Bertram. “We’re working on bringing Ernest Tubb and his namesake, and open a record store here in Bertram,” she said. “We hopefully will be going live once a month with the ‘Midnight Jamboree’, airing after the Grand Ole Opry. We have a lot of really cool ideas. “Our goal is to take what we know, then my brother’s vision and what we believe will be respectful to his vision continue that, but also pump some fresh blood through here,” Cavalcanti said, looking toward the stage at The Globe. “We know how to do music.” The Globe seats just over 240, and for Cavalcanti, that’s not a barrier but an opportunity. “We feel very confident we can give people a more intimate, once in a lifetime experience here with some of our acts, but also do what Mr. Tubb did and give a stage to the up and coming that aren’t playing anywhere else. We’re planning on bringing in some Grand Ole Opry members, some big hitters on the level of some really CONTINUED ON PAGE 54 L I B E RT Y H I L L L I V I N G | JU N E 2 0 2 1


Mr. Tommy Knight (second from left) is pictured with his family at the 2015 Grand Re-Opening of The Globe.


big acts everyone has heard of.” There’s also what Cavalcanti sees as a golden opportunity to share the history of the music she loves so much. “We truly feel responsible for pushing and promoting the good old stuff,” she said. “It’s not what it is, it is what it was. That’s our focus because everything comes back around. We always tell people when they walk in to Robert’s, ‘welcome to honky tonk 101’. People want to know it. This will be something where we teach them music history.” The grand reopening did just that in early June, with a first weekend packed with Bruce Robison and Kelly Willis, Lee Roy Parnell, and a third-night finale with Robert Earl Keen. The Globe has not hesitated to bring in well-known musicians in the past, and Cavalcanti just plans on making an even bigger splash in the future.

Mr. Knight’s long history with The Globe began in the 1940’s and 1950’s when he helped his older brother run projection. In the 1970s he acquired the theater, as well as some drive-in theaters – one of which was in Bertram. In 2008, Zach Hamilton and his business partner approached Knight with an offer to buy the old theater. Knight was concerned about plans for renovation, but after a successful interview a deal was made with the promise that Knight could run the projector.

Outside The Globe, she sees a wealth of opportunity in the community she grew up in. “We plan on reviving this strip of downtown in Bertram,” Cavalcanti said. “It’s a great place between Liberty Hill and Burnet, there’s subdivisions going in like crazy, I think it can be a place people can bring their kids and get a taste of the new and bridge it with the old.” Cavalcanti has family roots in the Bertram area dating back to the 1960s, and remembers The Globe from her childhood,

as well as the dream her brother developed early on for the historic structure. “This was a vision and dream of my oldest brother Zach,” she said. “He saw it was in disrepair and the last showing prior to my brother and his business partner’s grand reopening was 1985, I believe. It was in pretty bad shape, but the owner at that time, Mr. (Tommy) Knight, said he couldn’t part with it. It was a part of who he was.” As it fell into further disrepair in the late 80s and early CONTINUED ON PAGE 56

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90s, the City of Bertram was on the verge of condemning the building, and that’s when Knight opened the door to Hamilton’s idea. “My family spent every weekend working on this,” she said. “Zach spent weeks on end for The historic theatre , which was renovated in 2015, offers an intimate experience with years on this, and had the the finest musicians set to take the stage grand reopening in 2015. beginning this summer. Tommy Knight was able to come down that night in his suit and tie and take tickets at the door.” The magic was reignited and The Globe was reborn, after nearly three decades, but a few years later Hamilton decided he knew who would be best to take the theatre to its next stage in life. “My brother came to us and said he didn’t know anybody else that would be able to make a run at it and just make it work and be successful,” she said. “We took over, but our goal is to perpetuate my brother’s vision for this and hopefully keep the history going.” Was buying a theatre and music venue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic a good business move?

“I don’t know if it was a good idea, but I’ve always been a risk taker,” Cavalcanti said, laughing. “We have the experience from having success in Nashville. We will always be a place the locals can come, so we know how to do that. This is a blank canvas, and you have to market to different communities.” With big shoes to fill as she steps in for her older brother, Cavalcanti said she’s not nervous, but sees this new journey as a special opportunity she is already savoring. “I have sat in here and just listened to some Hank Williams, some Marty Stuart, Marty Robbins, Tammy Wynette, Brenda Lee and just dreamed,” she said. “I have a vision and a plan for making that vision come to life. “I have no idea what all this can be, but we’re going to find out though,” she said. “We’re only here for a time and simply the caretakers of this. As long as these doors are open to the public we can’t fail.”



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