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TEXAS Communit y Guide 2021-2022


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Back on track Region



6 Affordability keeps Temple area growing 10 Pandemic both blessing, curse for projects 12 Temple’s history runs on railroad tracks 14 Railroad crossing gates, signals keep people safe

36 Temple’s major employers thrive 40 Pandemic didn’t halt investment into area 44 Bioscience district keeps growing 46 Telegram, community share partnership 47 Elected officials 48 BS&W projects advance despite pandemic 50 Community policing strengthens bonds 52 Temple honors military with annual event

54 Hike-and-bike trails for fun, exercise abound throughout Bell County 56 Fishing, boating and more can be found at Lake Belton, Stillhouse Hollow Lake 57 Entertainment venues 58 Museums preserve area’s rich heritage 62 High school athletics keep towns connected

16 Area housing projects on a roll 20 Increased numbers of students affect Temple, Belton, Salado 24 Area school districts building for future 28 Private Christian schools provide education 32 $124.9 million bond to fund TC expansion

On the cover Temple photographer Wes Albanese captured a sunset with an aerial view of the sprawling Baylor Scott & White Medical Center complex in Temple. The roundabout in the foreground is at the intersection of West Avenue U and South 13th Street. 4 / TEMPLE DAILY TELEGRAM

Schools 42 Temple Independent School District map 43 Belton Independent School District map 45 Charter and private schools list

June 27, 2021

June 27, 2021


Back on track: Bell County

Telegram file

Parade of Homes viewers check out a new residence built for the 2015 Parade of Homes by Eagle Ridge Builders in the Valley Ranch subdivision in Temple.

Affordability keeps Temple area growing BY SHANE MONACO TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

After a bumpy year full of issues, Temple and surrounding areas now are going full steam ahead on many long-awaited projects. Growth, and preparations for that growth, has made up a large number of the projects as the area looks forward. One thing that supports the growth is the fact Temple ranked among America’s 10 most affordable cities during the first three months of 2021, according to research compiled by the Council for Community and Economic Research. It included 265 metro areas across the United States, with Temple named the most inexpensive city in America for buying groceries — 23% below the national average. Adrian Cannady, president and

CEO of the Temple Economic Development Corp., said the city’s reasonable cost of living is one of the many reasons families from around the country and even within the state are choosing to call the Temple region home. “The factors of affordability coupled with great career opportunities are positioning the Temple region as a destination for those who wish to enjoy an exceptional quality of life,” Cannady said. Transportation projects Transportation has been a large point of focus for Temple, with many road projects already underway or on the horizon. One of the city’s most expensive and long-running efforts is the Outer Loop Project in west and north Temple. The project aims to connect the northern and southern parts of Interstate 35 in


Temple through a continuous series of roads. The two-part project is expected to take until at least 2027 to be completed, with the various roads comprising the project to hold their current names and be called the Outer Loop. The city also plans to start the expansion of Poison Oak Road as part of accommodating Belton Independent School District’s Charter Oak Elementary. In an effort to invest in neighborhoods, Avenue C in East Temple and other nearby roads are being expanded and improved. The improvements to these roads include their widening and the addition of sidewalks and bicycle lanes. Growth requires infrastructure City Councilman Wendell Williams, who represents West Temple, said the amount of growth being seen by the city re-

quires the constant addition and improvement of infrastructure to keep up. “Temple has been discovered and we are seeing unprecedented growth, and, fortunately, the city is doing a good job of keeping up with that growth as best they can,” Williams said. “There is a lot of stress on the budget to build all those roads, but you have to do it to have that quality of life that everybody wants in our community.” In addition to working on roads, the city is working on adding more spaces to park in its downtown area by designing two new parking garages. The two garages, at 1 N. Fourth St. and 107 N. First St., will provide more room for people wanting to come into downtown to shop or eat. In addition to having space for those coming in, the garage near the Hawn Hotel will provide space for future residents June 27, 2021

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Telegram file

Jose Lara Jr., center, with A&S Underground out of Copperas Cove wipes off a section of drainage pipe as he helps install a storm drain on Hogan Road near State Highway 317 in West Temple. According to excavator operator Harry Salas, left, the company was installing the storm drain, a 12-inch water main and an 18-inch water main along Hogan Road. that will reside in the building after it is remodeled. The historic hotel, along with the nearby Arcadia Theater, Sears Building and Professional Building, all are being restored to house stores and apartments. Temple Mayor Tim Davis said the city is either building these projects or giving tax abatements to them as a way to spur more investment. “Typically, private investment follows public investment,” Davis said. “So when, through the reinvestment zone, the Santa Fe Business Center was built, that brought more people into downtown.” Solar farms Areas outside the city also are seeing changes, such as new

“This growth in our population, while having numerous benefits, also comes with growth in the jail population, and this growth comes with increased costs. Growth requires more streets and roads to maintain, more parks to maintain, more police officers, more firefighters and more jail capacity. They are all increased costs.” Bell County Judge David Blackburn

solar farms planned for East Bell County. The first solar farm, east of Troy, is the Big Elm Solar project, which is set to take up about 3,000 acres and cost an estimated $195 million to construct. The second solar farm is east of Temple, between State Highway 53 and U.S. Highway 190, called the Chillingham solar farm. This project is estimated to cover about 2,300 acres of land and cost about $255 million to con-


struct. Bell County Judge David Blackburn said he expects many more such companies to come to the area in the years to come. “If you live near a substation or transmission lines, you can almost be assured, in my opinion, that over the next few years that you are going to get approached because that is the process right now,” Blackburn said. Bell County is seeing another growth-related project on the

horizon, the expansion of the county jail at 1201 Huey Drive in Belton. In May the Commissioners Court approved the issuance of up to $138 million in certificates of obligation to pay for both the jail and other needed infrastructure projects. Officials cited the current jail constantly being at or near capacity as the major need for this. “This growth in our population, while having numerous benefits, also comes with growth in the jail population, and this growth comes with increased costs,” Blackburn said. “Growth requires more streets and roads to maintain, more parks to maintain, more police officers, more firefighters and more jail capacity. They are all increased costs.”

June 27, 2021

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Back on track: Notable projects

Nan Dickson/Telegram file

Temple High School band members perform during a ceremony dedicating the new Wildcat statue in the center of the North 31st Street roundabout outside the entrance to the campus.

Pandemic both blessing, curse for projects BY SHANE MONACO TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

While the area has continued to grow over the past year, restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic have been both a boon and a burden to that growth. Projects throughout Temple and the surrounding county were impacted by the pandemic in different ways. For some work, the lack of traffic meant that construction could go quicker, while on other projects finding ways around restrictions took additional time. One example of work being hindered during the pandemic came from the county, which saw delays in its roadwork due to social distancing measures. County Engineer Bryan Neaves told county commissioners in January that figuring out how to repave roads while still staying safe slowed down work crews.

The slowing of this work lead to roads in county Precinct 4 not receiving their annual maintenance. Work on repaving roads is usually done between the middle of April and the end of September. “We had a problem figuring out how to assemble a crew and function with the requirements of the distancing, masks, getting in the pickups and having enough pickups to function,” Neaves said. “We lost a month in there.” The county crews plan to catch up on the work this year, completing the work needed this year and the work not finished last year. In Temple some other construction projects saw delays such as the rehabilitation of the Hawn Hotel, 114 E. Central Ave. Construction to renovate the historic hotel, as well as the nearby Arcadia Theater and Professional Building, had been expected to begin sometime in the fall of 2020. Work on the three


buildings still was not underway by the end of May 2021. While some projects have slowed down, others saw quicker construction as places being closed gave more room to construction crews. Kent Boyd, assistant superintendent for Temple Independent School District, said the lack of students on campuses allowed the district to start and complete two projects earlier than expected. He said the district also was able to expand the scope of another project during this time. Boyd said the project to build a roundabout in front of Temple High School was able to start two months earlier than planned due to the pandemic and reach completion three months ahead of schedule. Additionally, a project to renovate Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy began early and is expected to be completed two months earlier than

originally estimated. The shutdown also allowed the district to expand the scope of the fine arts renovation project at the high school to include the student center. “We knew that work would take about five months to complete in the student center and, under normal circumstances, would be very difficult to accomplish because that facility does not really shut down except for one month every summer,” Boyd said. “Therefore, with the building vacant from the beginning of the pandemic through late August, we had ample time to design and complete the project.” The only problems the school district experienced were delays in construction materials as well as their increased prices, though Boyd said the expedited projects outweighed the few challenges faced.

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Back on track: Train town

Jason Deckman/Telegram file

Long, parallel trains of flatbed cars carrying wind turbine blades, left, and tank cars await shipment in July 2020 in the BNSF rail yard in Temple.

Temple’s history runs on railroad tracks BY DAVID STONE


Temple is a railroad town in every sense of the word — the town itself was founded as a railway work camp and quickly evolved into a major train center. In Temple’s early years, crossing gates and signals were not needed, Justin Lambrecht of the National Railroad Museum said.

Trains moved through at a slow pace, and there were no cars competing for junction bragging rights. Trains were loud, and wagon drivers probably weren’t jamming to Van Halen or talking to friends on cellular devices. Within a few years, however, the number of tracks cutting through Temple became more numerous and trains began to run faster. Horse-drawn wagons started to give way to a new kind


of chariot, and these engine-powered beasts came with blaring music machines. The age of road distractions had arrived. It wasn’t long before speeding cars and fast trains collided, and the results were often catastrophic. “It became obvious that safety warning signs and signals should be set up to protect those wanting to cross the tracks,” Lambrecht said.

In Temple, signs were posted at crossings, and at busier junctions at busy times a watchman stood guard to warn drivers and pedestrians of approaching trains. Craig Ordner, a railroad archivist with Temple’s Railroad & Heritage Museum, said the watchmen served roles similar to today’s school crossing guards. “Basically they held signs that warned motorists and pedestrians that a train was coming,” he said. June 27, 2021

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Railroad crossing signals such as this one in downtown Temple are designed to keep people safe and save lives.

Railroad crossing gates, signals keep people safe

The red lights are flashing, the gate arm is coming down and you are in a hurry. It’s tempting to hammer down and beat the parade of rolling steel to the intersection. Don’t do it. About 7,800 Americans are hurt and more than 800 killed in an average year while crossing train tracks, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Justin Lambrecht of the National Railroad Museum said railroad crossing gates and signals are designed to keep you safe at a railroad crossing. “Gates and signals help, but you have to follow the proper safety rules and procedures,” he said. “Many people are negligent of their

surroundings when it comes to railroad crossings or feel that it is an inconvenience to wait for a train.” In addition to trying to beat a train to a junction of rail and road, some drivers are distracted by loud radios or cellphones, he said. “You have to be able to hear the dinging bells,” Lambrecht said. “Sometimes the lights don’t grab your attention or perhaps they are not properly functioning. Be aware of your surroundings. If you see a train and the signal is not working, by all means stop and let the train pass. If you can, call the railroad responsible for the crossing. The numbers and location are usually posted near the signal.”


The duties of the Temple railroad guard would change, however, because a mechanical device soon arrived in the new but bustling city — the railroad crossing gate. According to Lambrecht, the first U.S. patent for a crossing gate dates back to 1867 in Boston, but the devices were slow to arrive in the expanding West. These gates were hand-operated, which meant they had to be cranked up and down. Crank stations were built next to junctions, and the gates were lowered or raised by chains running through underground piping from the crank station to each gate at the crossing. The cost of manning every railroad crossing was expensive, and by the early 1900s the use of “cross buck” signs — the common “X” warning sign still in use today — became very common. This design was improved in the 1920s as vehicles became equipped with lights and night driving was common. Sign makers began using reflectors called cataphones, or “cat eyes,” on cross bucks to make them more

visible, Lambrecht said. Cataphone reflectors were replaced with reflective buttons in the 1940s, and automatic railroad gates arrived at some Temple crossings in the 1950s. The automatic gates not only raised and lowered without a human cranker, they also were fitted with bells to provide an audio alert. As Temple traffic increased, a passing train meant long lines of waiting cars. To speed things up a bit, viaducts were built on major thoroughfares to bypass the tracks. In some cities, underpasses were built to take roads — and vehicles — under the tracks. Temple opted for overpasses on roads such as 31st Street, Adams Avenue, Third Street, Avenue H and Central Avenue. Overpasses can present a big but fairly rare problem during an extreme winter — icing. Raising the street means cold air totally surrounds the bridged roadway and quickly freezes any moisture on the surface. Sand is used to provide traction during icy weather.

David Stone/Telegram file

An old steam locomotive on display at the Temple Railroad & Heritage Museum waits to be discovered by the curious. The locomotive is part of the museum’s collection of railroad cars and equipment on display on the museum grounds, next to an active railroad yard where trainspotters can observe daily operations and traffic of the BNSF and Amtrak. June 27, 2021

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Back on track: Housing

Nan Dickson/Telegram file

Construction workers use hammers and nail guns in March to install rafters in a house on a construction site at Drexel Loop and Lakeview Lane in South Temple.

Area housing projects on a roll 2020 was another record-breaking year for new Temple homes BY SHANE MONACO TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

While the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down many things, Temple and its surrounding areas have been on a roll toward growth. Over the past year Temple annexed many new tracts for proposed housing projects in the western and southern sections of the city, while construction has started on hundreds of new homes. The growth has affected many of the cities along Interstate 35, including Temple, Bel-

ton and Salado. In 2020 Temple saw another record-breaking year for the number of new single-family homes permitted at 1,265. The permitting of new homes was about 20% more than what was seen in 2019, when 1,016 singlefamily homes were permitted. So far in 2021 Temple is on its way to beat its previous number of homes permitted, with the first four months already reaching 402, compared to 372 during the same time in 2020. City Councilman Wendell Williams, who represents West


Temple, said the city has seen a lot of growth in recent years and has done a good job keeping up with it. “Temple has been discovered and we are seeing unprecedented growth, and, fortunately, the city is doing a good job of keeping up with that growth as best they can,” Williams said. “There is a lot of stress on the budget to build all those roads, but you have to do it to have that quality of life that everybody wants in our community.” Belton also has seen many new homes being built, including

hundreds currently under development to its south near Loop 121. City Manager Sam Listi said in January that it made sense the area has seen a lot of home construction, with previous investment for the growth already in place. “Development cannot occur without appropriate infrastructure to support it,” Listi said. “Water and sewer lines are in place within the Loop 121 corridor. Add to that the proposed widening of the loop and the 109-acre Belton ISD tract at June 27, 2021


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New homes and houses, some still under construction, are seen in December in Three Creeks, a sprawling subdivision off of Stillhouse Hollow Dam Road just outside of the Belton city limits. Loop 121 and Shanklin Road, and you can see why the area, with its quick access to I-35 and I-14, is so appealing.” The city also has experienced continued growth to its west in the Three Creeks subdivision, which has seen continuous phases of new homes steadily being built over the past year. Salado, also located along I35, has seen growth both inside and around the city in recent years. The Bell County Commissioners Court recently approved many new subdivisions located on county land to the east of the city, consisting of hundreds of planned homes. All this growth of new homes, along with the purchase of existing homes, has led to an increase in home prices. Temple has reported seeing the median prices for homes in April 2021 increase by about 14.9% compared to the

Telegram file

The future West Canyon Trails subdivision off of West Avenue O in Belton eventually will have 170 homes. It is one of more than a dozen subdivisions with 1,565 lots platted that are expected to be constructed in the area between Loop 121 and Interstates 14 and 35. same time a year ago. But the city is still ranked in the top 10 in affordability in the United States. Currently the months of inventory for homes in Bell County — the number of months it would


take to sell all properties currently for sale at the average monthly sales price — is about half a month. “A stable market typically has six months of inventory,” Billy White, chief appraiser at the Tax

Appraisal District of Bell County, said. “The record high demand, together with record low supply, produce increased sales prices and, therefore, increased property values.”

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Back on track: Boom towns

Courtesy photo

A student swims in the newly renovated James W. Hardin Swim Center at Temple High School.

Boom towns

Increased numbers of students affect Temple, Belton, Salado BY JOEL VALLEY TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

There’s a student boom in Central Texas and school districts along Interstate 35, the state’s busiest highway, are seeing students arrive by the dozens every month — an accelerating growth forcing many administrators to evaluate both short- and longterm solutions. In the Temple and Belton independent school districts, campus improvements are actively underway.

Map showing location of Temple ISD campuses. Page 42 But Temple school board President Dan Posey is excited for the developments. “It’s the first time we’ve seen growth in TISD in decades,” he said when a recent demographic report projected a sharp rise in enrollment. “We’ll definitely need it to make decisions about future and immediate needs for our district.”


Templeton Demographics’ report pegs Temple ISD to reach more than 9,700 students by the 2025-26 school year as more than 6,900 future housing lots are planned within its boundaries. Bob Templeton, vice president for Templeton Demographics, said his firm anticipates this growth in the real estate market to draw 600 new homes annually in about five years — an increase in population that would shift zoning measures for two Temple ISD campuses. “We do expect (new homes per year) to go from 200 to 600 in

Map showing location of Belton ISD campuses. Page 43 about five years … and RayeAllen Elementary and KennedyPowell Elementary will see the largest increase in new singlefamily homes,” Templeton said during Temple ISD’s board meeting March 8. That increase in new homes could push enrollment at these Temple ISD campuses past their “total functional capacity,” and June 27, 2021

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This parcel of land purchased by the Temple Independent School District near the corner of Old Highway 93 and Barnhardt Road eventually will house a new elementary school campus in the southeastern quadrant of the district. Temple ISD Superintendent Bobby Ott said it is leading toward an immediate need for expansion in the district’s southeast quadrant. Although Ott told the Telegram in May that a new elementary school in the southeast quadrant — which would take 18 to 24 months to construct — could alleviate some of the campus density, it is not likely to be the lone solution. “As far as planning goes … there will be a new (bond-funded) elementary school in the near future for the southeast quadrant, plus looking at Kennedy-Powell Elementary and expanding classrooms there,” Ott said. “You could buy some time (doing that). That’s just something to look at and just to kind of put in your mind.” Belton ISD Belton ISD also is signaling immediate preparations for its own growing enrollment. In March, Belton ISD trustees approved $1,060,000 in funding

for five portable buildings that will be installed at two of its elementary campuses: Tarver Elementary, 7949 Stonehollow Drive in Temple; and Chisholm Trail Elementary, 1082 S. Wheat Road in Belton. The portables were purchased with surplus funds from 2017’s $149.7 million bond election. However, Belton ISD Superintendent Matt Smith — who said the expense also will cover related infrastructure, technology and furniture — said it is just a temporary solution. “We have growth in the north and the south of our district, and we are only in the second year of new attendance boundaries,” Smith said. “We’d like to keep kids at those home campuses. When you add a new school, you have to change attendance boundaries. We want to avoid multiple changes and portable buildings will help us do that in the short term.” Templeton Demographics forecasts Belton ISD to see a 3,000-


student increase over the next five years, bringing its enrollment to 15,627 for the 2025-26 school year. Michelle Box from Templeton Demographics said these estimates — like Temple ISD’s — can be attributed to new home sales tripling in just the last six years. “Our job … will be to take this demographic information and pair it with our facilities assessment so we can make the appropriate decisions moving forward in a longrange facility plan,” Smith said. Salado ISD Further south down Interstate 35 in Salado ISD, Superintendent Michael Novotny said his district’s enrollment projections have shown to be mostly accurate. “It’s been a few years, but we used Templeton Demographics … but it did a 10-year enrollment projection,” Novotny told the Telegram. “Up until this year, we’ve always been real close to or even a little bit ahead

of those projections.” Although Salado ISD’s enrollment fell short of its 2,122 projected figure following the onset of COVID-19 in Bell County, Novotny anticipates the district will see an influx of students by next year. “I do think that we’ll see that growth again this coming year … but it probably will exceed (2,198) because we’re seeing more and more housing developments,” Novotny said. “In fact, one big one is across (from) our new middle school.” That development — situated southwest of the intersection of West Village Road and Williams Road — is an 86.7-acre property designated for mixed-use that is expected to bring in 175 new homes. In recent years, Salado ISD saw a number of changes, including a new middle school, improvements to the stadium, new sports facilities and additions to Thomas Arnold Elementary.

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Back on track: Area school districts

Courtesy photo

Academy High School student Alyssa Polnac poses for a photo with Rep. John Carter. Her piece titled “Impact” took first place in the paintings category of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition.

Area school districts building for future Academy, Rogers, Troy projects underway or in planning stages BY JOEL VALLEY TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

In Bell County, the Academy Independent School District is leading a pack of smaller local districts in growth, and is aiming to open a new high school campus in 2023 — a facility that will be funded by the $79 million bond issue voters approved in the May 1 election. Academy ISD Superintendent Billy Harlan called the upcoming project, which is being designed by Claycomb Associates, monumental. “We are so thankful to the Academy ISD school community for the support for the construction project … 68% approval is phenomenal,” he wrote

in his monthly newsletter. “The processes are already underway as surveyors, geotech engineers and architects begin to work on concepts for us to consider.” Templeton Demographics has Academy ISD — a school district with about 1,750 students — pegged to reach nearly 2,300 students for the 2024-25 school year as homebuilding in the city of Temple that is part of that district extends south. This projection report was completed for the district in the fall of 2019. “There’s a tremendous amount of property being purchased and annexed into our district ... that developers plan to build quite a few homes on,” Harlan said. “On the far northwest side of our district, there’s already a planned develop-


ment that’s underway. The streets have already been cut in and we’re expecting to see some new homes this summer and fall. That’s what we’re trying to plan for.” But the Academy ISD superintendent said the new high school, which will be built on the 80acre property just north of its existing high school site that Academy ISD purchased last year, will accomplish just that. “We’re going to spend about $45 million in phase one and that will get our students into the high school,” Harlan told the Telegram following a recent meeting with architects. “So you may not see all of the classrooms completed when it first opens … but as our growth starts happening, we will be able to work into

phase two and phase three.” Although Academy ISD expects the project to reach $60 million, Harlan said the benefits of a new high school will not be limited to its campus grounds. “Building a new high school relieves the pressure at the campuses below,” he said. “As a district we can decide, based on enrollment, how many middle school students will go into the existing high school … and that just works its way down to the elementary school level.” Rogers ISD Meanwhile in Rogers ISD, voters approved only Proposition A in the district’s $6.1 million fourpart bond issue during the May 1 election. June 27, 2021


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Nan Dickson/Telegram file

Hartley Jo Clayton, 9, of Rogers gives some affection to Haggard, a Palomino, before they compete in September during the Cavender’s Junior Classic as part of the Bell County Classic Barrel Race at the Bell County Expo Center Equine/Livestock Complex in Belton. However, Rogers ISD Superintendent Joe Craig said Proposition A — which totals about $2.3 million — contained the bond’s top priorities. Those priorities include replacing roofing older than 20 years, replacing buses older than 15 years, replacing heating and air-conditioner units older than 15 years and installing security enhancements. “We’ve got a lot of really old buses … and they’re going out of order faster than we can replace them,” Craig told the Telegram. “Most of our (school buses) are over 15 years old with over 200,000 miles … and if you can’t afford new ones, you have to keep the old ones running.” The superintendent said the district will purchase six new school buses this summer, and will have them delivered sometime this fall.

“There may not be time to get everything done in one summer, so some of the projects will be done either during the next school year or the summer of 2022.” Joe Craig, Rogers ISD superintendent

“A typical school bus is about $100,000 … and we’re looking at six buses. You can hardly get (the price) much cheaper than that,” Craig said. The Rogers ISD leader said the district is beginning to prepare for some of those projects outlined in Proposition A. “We will be working with an engineer to develop the specifications we will use when seeking bids to replace the identified roofs in the district over the next several years,” he said in a May newsletter to students. “We (also) will be working on as many of the safety areas as possible this summer to have them in place when staff and


students arrive back in August.” But given the district’s shortened summer this year, Craig emphasized how projects may not be completed by the first day of school. “There may not be time to get everything done in one summer, so some of the projects will be done either during the next school year or the summer of 2022,” he said. Troy ISD In 2019, Troy ISD voters approved an $18.25 million school bond issue that called for campus improvements. The district — located along Interstate 35 — was targeting addi-

tions and renovations to Troy High School and Mays Elementary, and improvements at Raymond Mays Middle and Troy Elementary schools. High school improvements involved building a new library, turning the library into new classrooms and building 10 entirely new classrooms. Troy ISD Superintendent Neil Jeter said the board worked closely with Templeton Demographics to estimate how much the student body will grow in the future. “We pledge our commitment to continue to be good stewards as we move forward with design and construction,” Jeter said when the bond issue was approved in 2019. “This is an important step forward for our students and the entire community. We are excited about the future of Troy ISD.”

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Nan Dickson/Telegram file

Daniella Holst, 9, right, of Temple gives candy to Eli Ramirez, 5, left, and his cousin Emily Ramirez, 5, both of Troy, during St. Mary’s Catholic School’s Fall Festival Trunk or Treat celebration during October in Temple. Daniella is dressed as a jellyfish while Eli is dressed as Spiderman and Emily is dressed as Wonder Woman.

Private Christian schools provide education BY JOEL VALLEY


Many private schools in Bell County — including Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Temple, Central Texas Christian School in Temple, St. Mary’s Catholic School in Temple and Providence Preparatory School in Belton — are dedicated to providing their students a Christianbased education. In April, St. Mary’s Catholic School, 1019 S. Seventh St., announced it will begin its transition to a “Catholic classical education” this fall.

List of area charter and private schools. Page 45 “Classical education will be phased in over several years, as teachers introduce the methods and content into their classrooms,” Renee Morales, St. Mary’s Catholic School’s director development, said. “In the first year, the focus will be on deeper faith integration, history and language arts.” However, the transition also is aimed to place an increased focus on age-appropriate methods and original sources.


“Modern education is almost totally based on textbooks,” Morales said. “(With original sources), students will read original sources, not just interpretations through textbooks. For example, rather than reading about the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution, they will read and study the actual documents.” Morales said parents can learn more about what a classical education entails online at 3fi2F5V. In Belton, Providence Preparatory School, 506 N. Main St., already has implemented a clas-

sical education approach in its classrooms. “We approach learning from a sense of wonder,” according to a statement from Providence Preparatory School. “We are amazed by God’s saving kindness to us, and by His glory that we see in all of life. All staff and board members affirm a view of life that is awe-inspired, historically Christian and broadly evangelical.” The institution’s campus also follows a university-style schedule. “Students in fourth grade or lower attend classes led by proJune 27, 2021

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Courtesy photo

Zachary Boore, left, plays the King, Julian Velazco plays the Jester and Gage Daniel portrays the Minstrel during a rehearsal of the musical comedy “Once Upon a Mattress” at Central Texas Christian School in Temple. fessional teachers on Tuesday and Thursday, while students in fifth grade or higher attend class Tuesday, Thursday and Friday,” according to Providence Preparatory School. “Teachers provide detailed assignments for students to complete at home on the remaining weekdays, where parents serve as ‘co-teachers.’ This approach promotes family time, academic performance, efficiency, accountability and preparation for the college schedule.” Like their Belton neighbors, Holy Trinity Catholic High School — 6608 W. Adams Ave. — strives to form Christian leaders. “Each student is seen as a gift from God and the future of our Christian community,” according

to a statement from Holy Trinity Catholic High School. “As stewards of these gifts, we feel it is our obligation to provide sound spiritual formation, as well as moral, academic and physical education of the highest quality.” The school, which gathers for a prayer service or mass every day of the week, emphasized how its aim is to help students grow in community through their love for Jesus Christ. “Students are provided with experiences and opportunities that mold their moral make-up,” according to Holy Trinity Catholic High School. “Moral decisionmaking is a major component of school life in general, with most classes and clubs incorporating is-


sues of the day such as poverty, abortion, politics, etc.” At the Central Texas Christian School, 4141 W. FM 93, students follow seven core values: Godly integrity, prayerful decision making, adherence to the authority of God’s word, relationships based on unconditional love, Christ-centered curriculum, academic excellence and Christ-like “servanthood.” “The mission of Central Texas Christian School is to educate students with the Transforming Truth of Christ, inspiring academic excellence, Godly character and integrity in life pursuits,” according to a statement from CTCS. “We are the largest and only interdenominational private school in the Bell County region offering the

full spectrum of academic achievement, athletics and fine arts.” This year, 30 seniors graduated from Central Texas Christian School — students that earned a combined $1.6 million in scholarships. “CTCS’s academic program equips students intellectually, and provides the skills and inspiration to encourage a desire to become life-long learners,” according to CTCS. “The programs, courses and instructional strategies are selected and implemented in a way that provides for the attainment of knowledge, wisdom, application and skills, inspiring a desire for even greater discovery.”

June 27, 2021

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Telegram file

Nancy Eaton, simulation coordinator for the Temple College nursing program, stands with one of the new Advanced Patient Simulators the program was able to purchase with funding from the JET program.

$124.9 million bond to fund TC expansion


Temple College is planning for a major expansion after voters approved a $124.9 million bond proposal in May. The bond proposal was approved by 55 percent of voters. The bond calls for a major expansion of the school’s Health Sciences Center to address a shortage of health care workers as well as providing updates to several college buildings that are 50 to 60 years old. “If approved, the new facilities

could be completed by 2026 when Temple College will be celebrating its 100th anniversary,” TC President Christy Ponce said. “These campus advancements would represent an important milestone in Temple College’s history of being trusted for generations and building for the future.” She said the bond proposal would aid Temple College in several ways: n Improve college facilities with new technology and tools since many lack modern upgrades, and have mechanical and


electrical systems that will need to be replaced soon. n Increase capacity of its health care training programs, including doubling the size of its nursing program as the school works to address worker shortages in Central Texas. n Expand education offerings through a University Center that allows TC students to earn bachelor’s or master’s degrees on campus through its university partners. n Fund a Workforce Training Center to serve as an economic driver by providing career, technology and workforce training for high-demand, high-wage ca-

reer opportunities. n Improve campus safety with better lighting and long-term growth parking. “Temple College helps create a skilled workforce that attracts new business to the area, with a positive economic impact of millions of dollars to our community,” Ponce said. College spokeswoman Ellen Davis said the new construction won’t start in the coming year. “They need to bid out the design work and then it will take a year to get the designs done,” she said. “Then they need to bid out the construction before that can start. They are looking at a June 27, 2021

Joel Valley/Telegram file

Jesus, portrayed by senior Steve Villalobos, contemplates his destiny during the 82nd Easter Pageant at the University of Mary HardinBaylor in Belton.

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Olivia Murr, left, a University of Mary Hardin-Baylor student, uses a paper marver on a piece of glass she is making while Hershall Seals, right, chair of the UMHB Art Department, helps her roll the glassblowing pipe and student Kassie Portillo blows air into the pipe during a Maymester Mester glassblowing class at Baugh Center for the Visual Arts on the UMHB campus in Belton. groundbreaking ceremony in late summer 2022.” Temple College will receive about $10.7 million in emergency federal funds that will be used for student aid and additional expenses incurred by the school during the coronavirus pandemic. The money comes from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund III, part of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan signed into law March 11, officials said. Temple College is grateful to have been awarded $10,785,585, Brandon Bozon, vice president for administrative services and chief financial officer, said. Of the HEERF III funds, about $5.5 million must be distributed to students in the form of grants,

Bozon said. Davis said the school will provide emergency grants to students as it did earlier during the coronavirus crisis. “We are going to give $300 emergency aid grants to all students who enroll in 6 hours of classes this summer, and $500 emergency aid grants to students who enroll in 12 hours of classes this fall,” she said. The remaining funds, Bozon said, will be used by the college on expenses incurred during the pandemic. TC will hire a new vice president of workforce development this year to expand technical program offerings, Davis said. “The new main building will have a new Center for Workforce


Development that will enable us to offer some programs that we are not able to offer now,” Davis said. The Texas Bioscience Institute will expand to a second location in Hutto, part of the college’s educational service area. UMHB normal operations In Belton, the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor has normal operations in place after COVID19 restrictions were relaxed. UMHB said in a statement that after resuming normal operations it would no longer require students, employees and guests to wear masks, social distance, follow occupancy limits or report coronavirus symptoms to the school. The school recently created the

Mayborn College of Health Sciences to deal with the demand for highly trained nurses, occupational and physical therapists, physician assistants and counselors. In July 2018, UMHB and TC gave approval to a plan that will help students save time and tuition dollars as they pursue their educations. The articulation agreement allows students completing their associate degree at Temple College to seamlessly transfer into completing a bachelor’s degree at UMHB. UMHB recently started its master’s of science in occupational therapy program and plans to produce its first cohort of graduates in 2022.

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Back on track: Businesses

Courtesy of Wes Albanese Photography

City and county officials tour the new KEG 1 O’Neal LLC distribution facility in Temple in 2019.

Temple’s major employers thrive STAFF REPORT

Temple’s location in Central Texas, coupled with low costs and a skilled workforce, are key strengths for local industries. Major Temple employers are global and national frontrunners in manufacturing, business support services, health and life sciences, and logistics and distribution, according to the Temple Economic Development Corp. New to Temple is Niagara Bottling, which invested $90 million and created 70 jobs at a new bottling facility and continues to expand. Battery maker East Penn Man-

ufacturing Co. has invested $106 million with the plan to create 266 new jobs to expand its Temple facility. Niagra and East Penn are among the major manufacturing operations that include Acer, Reynolds Consumer Products and Pactiv. Reynolds Consumer Products opened its Temple facility in 1970 and expanded in 2018 to make room for a new plastic film production line. Located near the crossroads of Interstate 35 and Interstate 14, Temple’s manufacturing industry offers robust interstate and freight distribution infrastructure via Union Pacific and BNSF rail-


roads, the Temple EDC said. With about $750 billion in goods traveling along the I-35 corridor through Central Texas, Temple’s strategic location makes it home to food, beverage and grocery distribution centers, including Walmart and H-E-B. Performance Food Group, the McLane Co. and Wilsonart have called Temple home for years. In addition, R+L Carriers, Tri-Supply, KEG 1 O’Neal and Nortech Lubricant Distribution have invested millions of dollars to bring new or expanded logistics operations to Temple, the Temple EDC said. “We look forward to a long

standing and growing presence in Temple,” Scott O’Neal, KEG 1 O’Neal president and partner, said in a news release. KEG 1 O’Neal’s $11 million investment in 2019 included the creation of 50 new jobs — nearly doubling the company’s Temple workforce. Logistics and distribution talent in Temple surged by 20% between 2007 and 2017, and is expected to continuing growing by another 8.5% by 2022, according to TEDC. Medical facilities continue to thrive in Temple. Baylor Scott & White Health, the largest not-for-profit health care system in Texas, operates June 27, 2021

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Telegram file

The Reynolds Consumer Products expanded its facility on Pegasus Road in Temple in 2018 to make room for a new plastic film production line. the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple and McLane Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital between Dallas and Austin. The Central Texas Veterans Health Care System operates the Olin E. Teague Veterans’ Medical Center, which is one of the largest veterans’ facilities in Central Texas. Everest Rehabilitation Hospitals recently opened a new $23 million state-of-the-art facility on a sixacre campus in Temple. Jay Quintana, Everest CEO, said Temple’s talented workforce was a key factor in providing care at the new facility. “We are absolutely thrilled to be able to provide a state-of-the-art physical rehabilitation hospital and a remarkably trained staff for the benefit of Central Texans,” Quintana said in a news release.

The Texas Bioscience Institute at Temple College promotes a skilled medical and biotechnology workforce at the high school level by offering students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. Most students earn an associate degree by their high school graduation. Support services also are thriving. TTEC, a business process outsourcing company, recently opened a new customer engagement center in Temple. The McLane Group, a holding company of industry-spanning ventures, developed The Lakes at Central Pointe, a 165-acre technology and office park in the city’s industrial park. The facility has become home to some of Temple’s key business support service employers, including PDI, McLane Technology Partners and Eye Care


Leaders. The facility has room for more with an additional 135 acres available for future development. Draughon-Miller Central Texas Regional Airport, a four-minute drive from Temple’s corporate center, continues to attract corporate clients and has a waiting list for companies or individuals that wish to rent hangar space at the facility. The Temple Health and Bioscience District continues to foster local entrepreneurship with a focus on health and bioscience. THBD is the only organization of its kind in Texas and is publicly funded by

the citizens of Temple. Local colleges and universities are helping to grow the health and life sciences workforce, the Temple EDC said. The Texas Bioscience Institute at Temple College promotes a skilled medical and biotechnology workforce at the high school level by offering students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credit hours in science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. Most students earn an associate degree by their high school graduation. Last year, Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine announced plans to open a new medical school campus in Temple as part of a partnership with Baylor Scott & White Health. The new campus is slated to open in fall 2023 with an inaugural class of 40 medical students, with plans to increase by 40 students per year. June 27, 2021


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Back on track: Businesses

Pandemic didn’t halt investment into area BY SHANE MONACO TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

While the pandemic strained many local businesses, it did not stop some from setting up shop or expanding to the area. Temple and its surrounding areas have continued to see investment and growth of new businesses that planned to come previously, and those that only recently made the decision. Many of the new businesses have come to Temple’s downtown, renovating its historic buildings and giving them a breath of new life. Treno Pizzeria and Taproom, which opened during the pandemic after renovating its building, initially had been delayed from opening due to COVID-19 and sold pizza from a food truck. The restaurant, at 110 S. First St., later opened in July 2020 alongside its adjoined coffee shop First Street Roasters. “I think (our delays were) a bit of a blessing in disguise, because if we had opened and been shut down this quickly I don’t know if we would have been able to rebound,” owner Jacob Bates said. “We got those couple (of) months to get the brand out there and do that trailer, that was brilliant. We’ve (now) got a lot of people who have tried our pizzas and that is a nice place to be because you normally don’t get that opportunity.” Other businesses only recently moved into downtown such as Mexiko, a restaurant serving a menu of fusion foods taking from Mexican and Korean cuisine. Owners Diana Zavala, who is half Korean, and her husband, Julio, who is Mexican, have merged their cultures to create a unique set of flavors. The restaurant, at 116 S. First St.,

Shane Monaco/Telegram file

Jacob Bates, owner of Treno Pizzeria and Taproom in downtown Temple, stands in front of a mural on the side of the building that houses his business. features a range of food from Korean dumplings to unique tacos and wings. “If people come in here thinking this is going to be another Mexican restaurant, we could not be any more different than that,” Diana said. “There are just parts of the culture of the two that we are combining, to create our own experience.” Downtown also welcomed Ras Kitchen, a new restaurant serving Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine that moved to the city from Killeen. The menu features food such as jerk chicken, whole red snapper and a variety of juices. The restaurant, at 17 S. Main St., took the space formerly occupied by Benny’s Ristorante Italiano with the aim to attract more customers from along In-


terstate 35. The city also helped provide more options during the pandemic, opening The Yard, a food truck park with utility connections and seating Downtown also saw the addition of a new entertainment venue, Tour Temple, which features guided tours of local breweries and wineries as well as having its own bar. In May the company launched its fleet of electric scooters that visitors can rent and ride around downtown. During the pandemic work started on the renovation of downtown’s Professional building, at 103 E. Central Ave. The renovation, featured in 2019’s Imagine the Possibilities Tour, plans to turn the historic structure into apartments

and retail space. Areas east and north of the city, on county land, have seen the proposed development of two new solar farms spanning thousands of acres. The two solar farms are to the east of Troy, called the Big Elm solar project, and to the east of Temple between State Highway 53 and U.S. Highway 190, called the Chillingham solar farm. The Big Elm project is expected to take up about 3,000 acres and cost an estimated $195 million while the Chillingham project plans to span 2,300 acres and cost about $255 million. County commissioners estimate the area will see more solar farm projects in the coming years due to local infrastructure and available land.

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June 27, 2021

121 N. East St. Suite A Belton, Texas (Next to My Giving Tree)



Cater Elementary School (K-5) 4111 Lark Trail P 254.215.7444 F 254.215.7479


Thornton Elementary School (K-5) 2900 Pin Oak Dr P 254.215.5700 F 254.215.5746


Wheatley Alternate Education Center 515 E Avenue D P 254.215.5665 F 254.215.5673


Hector P. Garcia Elementary School (K-5) 2525 Lavendusky Dr P 254.215.6100 F 254.215.6122


Western Hills Elementary School (K-5) 600 Arapaho Dr P 254.215.5600 F 254.215.5624


Dickson Administrative Offices 1100 S 33rd St P 254.215.6702 F 254.215.6728


Jefferson Elementary School (K-5) 400 West Walker P 254.215.5500 F 254.215.5545


Bonham Middle School (6-8) 4600 Midway Dr P 254.215.6600 F 254.215.6634


Central Administration Offices 401 Santa Fe Way, Temple, TX 76504 P 254.215.8473


Kennedy-Powel Elementary School (K-5) 3707 West Nugent Ave P 254.215.6000 F 254.215.6032


Lamar Middle School (6-8) 2120 N 1st St P 254.215.6444 F 254.215.6483


School Nutrition 208 W Ave F, Temple, TX 76504 P 254.215.6526


Meridith-Dunbar Early Childhood Academy 1717 E Avenue J P 254.215.5900 F 254.215.5944


Travis Science (IB) Academy 1551 S 25th St P 254.215.6300 F 254.215.6352


Transportation 919 N 31st Street, Temple, TX 76504 P 254.215.6969


Raye-Allen Elementary School (K-5) 5015 S 5th St P 254.215.5800 F 254.215.5843


Temple High School 415 N 31st St P 254.215.7000 F 254.899.6926


Scott Elementary School 2301 W Avenue P P 254.215.6222 F 254.215.6251


Edwards Academy (9-12) 300 S 27th Street, Temple, TX 76504 P 254.215.6944 F 254.215.6946



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June 27, 2021


High Point Elementary 1635 Starlight Drive, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.316.5000 •


Sparta Elementary 1800 Sparta Road P 254.215.3600 •


Belton New Tech High @ Waskow 320 North Blair P 254.215.2500 •


Pirtle Elementary 714 South Pea Ridge Rd, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.215.3400 •


Tarver Elementary 7949 Stone Hollow Dr, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.215.3800 •


Chisholm Trail Elementary 1082 S Wheat Rd P 254.316.5100 •


Lakewood Elementary 11200 FM 2305, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.215.3100 •


Belton Early Childhood School 501 E 4th Ave P 254.215.3700 •


North Belton Middle School 7907 Prairie View Rd, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.316.5200 •


Leon Heights Elementary 1501 North Main Street P 254.215.3200 •


Lake Belton Middle School 8818 Tarver Drive, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.215.2900 •


Lake Belton High School 9809 FM 2483, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.316.6200 •


Miller Heights Elementary 1110 Fairway Drive P 254.215.3300 •


South Belton Middle School 805 Sagebrush Drive P 254.215.3000 •


Charter Oak Elementary 8402 Poison Oak Rd, Temple, TX 76502 P 254.215.4000 •


Southwest Elementary 611 Saunders Street P 254.215.3500 •


Belton H.S./Career & Technical Education 600 Lake Road P 254.215.2200 •


Belton Middle School 1704 Sparta Rd P 254.215.2800 •

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Back on track: Temple Health and Bioscience District

Bioscience district keeps growing

Research, scientific innovation ‘alive and well’ in Temple BY SHANE MONACO TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

While many struggled during the pandemic, for the Temple Health and Bioscience District it was a time of growth. The district — which promotes bioscience companies in the city — has worked to promote research during the pandemic while also focusing on moving toward the future. In addition to its work, the district also has made a variety of achievements and changes. Tami Annable, executive director of the district, said the goal of the district is to foster jobs and fund education in the bioscience industry. “Despite the challenges posed during the past year, scientific innovation is alive and well in Temple,” Annable said. “As a city-supported nonprofit organization, we want to thank the citizens of Temple for providing us with a wonderful place to plant our roots and call home.” One way the district has helped during the pandemic is by supporting its tenant Industrial Genetics that helped develop a way to test for COVID-19 on surfaces and in wastewater in August. The district also has done a lot during the pandemic to look forward to the future and promote the bioscience industry in Temple. One way has been to look at developing ways for virtual tenets to join the district and its network without having to base out of the city. This will allow the companies to use the district’s contacts while giving them an initial step before they make the commitment to move to Temple. On top of bringing more startups into its incubator, the district commissioned a report to find

Telegram file

Patience Johnson, left, and Adolfo Martinez, advance placement students from Temple High School, watch Kailin Bailey use a pipette to measure fluid she is removing from a test tube during the students’ December 2019 visit to the Temple Health and Bioscience District office and lab facility. Tami Annable, executive director of the bioscience district, watches.

“I’m a bottom-line type of guy. And if we can get the results to make our city a healthy city and a medical destination where there are more high-paying jobs, that is what I want to do.” Thomas Baird, Temple Health and Bioscience District board chairman

where money was best spent to facilitate bioscience industry growth in the area. The report, approved in March, included 72 different recommendations and stated that for Temple to move into this space it would take, “major, long-term investments in assets and workforce.” The consultants behind the repport pointed out the city’s proximity to Interstate 35 and vacant land as attractors for businesses.


Board Chairman Thomas Baird said he knows facilitating a bioscience industry in a city can take many years, but hopes to see significant change in his lifetime. “I am a bottom-line type of guy,” Baird said. “And if we can get the results to make our city a healthy city and a medical destination where there are more highpaying jobs, that is what I want to do.” Along with all its other work,

during the pandemic the district was able to hold its first contested election for its board which saw two challengers for the four available seats on the board. Out of those who were running for the seat, Jason Locklin — one of the two challengers — was able to get onto the board along with incumbents Tyler Johnson, Robert Cortes Jr. and Michael Norman. “I’m thrilled to be joining the board to serve Temple,” Locklin said. “We had a strong group of candidates, and I hope that the two who were not elected will remain engaged in some capacity with the (district).”

June 27, 2021

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Back on track: Temple Daily Telegram

Telegram, community share partnership STAFF REPORT The Temple Daily Telegram is a committed partner to its readers, its advertisers and its community. “We have a strong commitment to the communities we serve,” Sue Mayborn, the Telegram’s editor and publisher, said. “We work daily to bring you the news that is important to your daily lives. It is our job to present the information to you fairly and accurately.” Local officials and civic leaders appreciate the role the newspaper plays as it strives to cover the news in Temple, Belton and the surrounding area with a comprehensive report in print and online. “I am proud of the strong partnership that exists between Temple ISD and the Temple Daily Telegram,” Bobby Ott, Temple ISD superintendent, said. “This partnership is very beneficial to our community and families because we both share a common goal of informing our public. Communities are highly interested in their local school systems and the more they are engaged, informed and involved, the better a school system can meet their expectations.” That sentiment was echoed by Randy Pittenger, the president of the Belton Chamber of Commerce. “The Temple Daily Telegram serves a critical role in helping connect our community with needed information,” Pittenger said. “We depend on our local daily newspaper to share timely information with the community about events, business activity, and a variety of issues relevant to economic development and quality of life. The Telegram is an important partner in making this such a great area in which to live,

Telegram file

The Temple Daily Telegram won 21 awards for journalistic excellence in 2020, including being recognized as “Online Newspaper of the Year” by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association. work, shop and play.” More often than not, the Telegram is the only news media present for city council meetings, school board meetings, Temple College trustee meetings, county commissioners meetings, high school games and other events. The Telegram has expanded regional coverage through FME News Service — a joint initiative with the Killeen Daily Herald. Combined, the two newspapers have the region’s largest news gathering operation. The newspapers also collaborate to publish Tex Appeal Magazine. The quarterly publication is distributed in each newspaper and also is available at dozens of Bell County locations. The Telegram print edition reaches a large audience that includes an estimated readership of 23,000 daily and 26,000 on Sunday.


The Telegram’s website,, which averages nearly 130,000 users a month, features local news, sports and entertainment along with an electronic version of the print edition and more than 240,000 archived articles and photos available to subscribers. The site was recognized as the “Online Newspaper of the Year” by the Texas Associated Press Managing Editors Association — one of 21 awards the Telegram won for journalistic excellence in 2020. The Telegram’s news app gives users instant access to the website as well as breaking news alerts from their phone, tablet or mobile device. The app can be downloaded for free at the Apple App Store or Google Play. In 2020, the Telegram and Herald launched JobsCentralTexas. com, a locally based employ-

ment site designed to connect job seekers and employers. The Telegram also operates C e n t r a l Te x a s Ti c k e t s . c o m , which helps local organizations promote and sell tickets to their events. The site has generated nearly 14,000 ticket sales and more than $200,000 for local entities since its launch in 2019. The Telegram has produced the Fort Hood Sentinel via a contract with the U.S. Army for more than 70 years. The weekly newspaper is distributed to all on-post housing and hundreds of newsstands across the region. “We feel strongly as a locally owned newspaper that we are in a position to better serve our communities and take an active role in supporting projects and programs that make Central Texas a great place to live,” Mrs. Mayborn said. June 27, 2021

Elected officials Congressional delegation

Bell County Commissioners Court 101 E. Central Ave., Belton

U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas Central Texas office, 221 W. Sixth St., Austin. 512-469-6034

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas Central Texas Office, 300 E. Eighth St. Suite 961, Austin. 512-916-5834

U.S. Rep. John Carter, R-Round Rock Bell County Office, 6544B S. General Bruce Drive, Temple. 254-933-1392

State delegation State Sen. Dawn Buckingham, R-Lakeway Bell County Office, 2180 N. Main St., Belton. 254-939-3854

Bell County Judge David Blackburn 254-933-5105

Bell County Precinct 1 Commissioner Russell Schneider 254-933-5101

Bell County Precinct 2 Commissioner Bobby Whitson 254-933-5102

Bell County Precinct 3 Commissioner Bill Schumann 254-933-5103

Bell County Precinct 4 Commissioner John Driver 254-933-5104

State Rep. Hugh Shine, R-Temple


4 S. First St., Temple. 254-742-7616

State Rep. Brad Buckley, R-Salado 1301 N. Stagecoach Road, Salado. 254947-5026

n Population: 79,110 n City Hall: 2 N. Main St. n Phone: 254-298-5700

n Mayor: Tim Davis

Belton n Population: 23,973 n City Hall: 333 Water St. n Phone: 254-933-5818 n Mayor: Wayne Carpenter

Troy n Population: 2,060 n City Hall: 201 E. Main St. n Phone: 254-938-2505 n Mayor: Michael Morgan

Little River-Academy n Population: 2,066 n City Hall: 509 E. Main St. n Phone: 254-982-4248 n Mayor: Drew Lanham

Morgan’s Point Resort n Population: 4,947 n City Hall: 8 Morgan’s Point Blvd. n Phone: 254-780-1334 n Mayor: Dennis Green

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Back on track: Medical hub

BS&W projects advance despite pandemic BY DAVID STONE SPECIAL TO THE TELEGRAM

While the coronavirus pandemic curtailed many construction and expansion plans at area medical facilities, two projects at Baylor Scott & White in Temple are moving forward. The construction of a new radiation oncology facility at Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center in Temple resumed late last year and is expected to be in operation by spring 2022, according to Dr. Niloyjyoti Deb, chairman of radiation oncology at the Temple hospital. “Construction started in October 2019 but was halted because of the pandemic,” he said. “Work resumed in November 2020 but we have had to extend the completion date.” With 27,000 additional square footage and new equipment, the facility will be able to treat an additional 70 patients every day, Deb said. “The addition will be adjacent to the existing Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center and will allow patients to receive all cancer treatments in one location,” he said. “Right now, radiation oncology is located in the hospital. It’s not far from the treatment center, but being in one place will be a tremendous help and convenience to our patients.” The expansion will give Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center additional treatment rooms, a conference center, more space for planning and offices, and the latest in cancer-fighting equipment, including two TrueBeam linear accelerators and a top-of-the-line CAT scan machine. “The linear accelerators will give us the ability to perform very specialized procedures,” Deb said. “The new facility will greatly improve the overall pa-

Telegram file

Alyssa Mayer, left, and her mother, Twyla Mayer, decorate horseshoes at the Give Cancer the Boot survivor event in June 2019 at the Vasicek Cancer Treatment Center in Temple.

“The new facility will greatly improve the overall patient experience, and allow us to perform more high-level procedures.” Dr. Niloyjyoti Deb, chairman of radiation oncology at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center-Temple

tient experience, and allow us to perform more high-level procedures.” The Baylor College of Medicine announced plans earlier this year to open a campus in Temple. Dr. Paul Klotman, president of the Houston-based medical school, said the campus will open in July 2023 with an inaugural class of 40 medical students. “We’re actively planning and building a foundation for the Temple campus,” he said. “This will give us the opportunity to train more doctors to help solve the state’s doctor shortage.”


Texas has a shortage of nearly 5,000 primary-care doctors and has the nation’s 47th-worst ratio of doctors per person, he said. Baylor’s new campus will replace Texas A&M in Temple. The Baylor Scott & White hospital in Temple was one of six clinical rotation sites for the Texas A&M medical school. Aggie med students receive first- and secondyear classroom instruction in College Station before spending their third and fourth years in hospital settings. A&M is leaving Temple to increase its presence at Baylor Uni-

versity Medical Center in Dallas and at Texas Medical Center in Houston. Pete McCanna, president of Baylor Scott & White Health, called the agreements with Texas A&M and Baylor College of Medicine a win-win situation for all involved. “These two long-term partnerships will ensure (Baylor Scott & White) patients throughout the state have access to breakthrough medical discoveries and cuttingedge treatments for generations to come,” McCanna said. Klotman said Baylor College of Medicine will offer the same curriculum in Temple that it does at its main campus in Houston. “Our first class in Temple will consist of 40 students,” Klotman said. “We will add 40 every year until we reach our capacity of 160.” June 27, 2021

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Back on track: Law enforcement

Joel Valley/Telegram file

Police Sgt. Chris Miceli, left, and Lt. Tim Simeroth whip up some burgers during Burgers with a Badge in June 2021 at the Santa Fe Plaza in downtown Temple.

Community policing strengthens bonds BY ERIC E. GARCIA TELEGRAM CITY EDITOR

Temple and Belton police departments seek to interact with community members through various meet-up events that offer free coffee, doughnuts and burgers. Temple Police Department met with community members in early June for its regular Burgers with the Badge event, held this year at the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum. Temple Police Officer Cody Close, who coordinated the 2021 event, was elated with the turnout at the museum. “I thought I was only going to have 30 volunteers today, but so

many more officers showed up,” she told the Telegram. “That support from our department is incredible. But obviously, this is an event that the department puts on for the community; to let them know that we’re here to serve you in more ways than one … and who doesn’t like free food.” Close said community events such as Burgers with a Badge are a positive way for local law enforcement to build a connection with the populations they police. Temple Police Chief Shawn Reynolds said officers strive to improve community connections through the meet-up events. “The police are the public and the public are the police,” Rey-


nolds said. “We welcome any opportunity to connect with the community, to build relationships, to build trust and to build good communication.” Last year, the city of Temple received a $375,000 community policing grant from the U.S. Department of Justice. The grant funded three new positions with the eight-member Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS, unit. Both departments participate in local National Night Out events usually held in August. Last year’s events were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Belton officers also work daily to build relationships.

“Approach is prevention focused with foundation based in building a partnership with the community we serve, Belton Police Chief Gene Ellis said. “Community policing is not a program with BPD, but rather an organizational philosophy. “ “We can only be successful in maintaining the great quality of life Belton enjoys by being actively engaged with the community,” Ellis said. “One of the ways BPD connects with the community is through involvement in over 100 community outreach opportunities (each year) in addition to informal contacts carried out by officers daily.”

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Back on track: Military appreciation

Joel Valley/Telegram file

Retired Lt. Gen. Paul E. Funk, left, shakes hands with former Navy Seaman Dennis Gottschalk during Temple Chamber of Commerce’s 2019 Military Appreciation Luncheon.

Temple honors military with annual event BY ERIC E. GARCIA


Temple’s strong ties to the military go back decades. The city — which housed Central Texas’ first Army hospital — honors veterans and active military each year with an appreciation event. The Temple Chamber of Commerce holds an annual Military Appreciation Luncheon for the community to express its gratitude to those serving the armed forces. The event was started by longtime Telegram publisher Frank W. Mayborn as a way to honor Fort Hood soldiers. “What is unique about this

whole thing — and this is the one item a lot of people don’t remember — Fort Hood happened because of Temple, Texas, and because of Frank Mayborn and the committee Frank Mayborn had at the Temple Chamber of Commerce,” Chamber president Rod Henry said. “That’s where it all began.” In 1942, the U.S. Army awarded Temple with an army hospital that was activated in June of that year, during World War II. The hospital — now part of the Temple VA campus — grew into one of the Army’s largest hospitals and was noted for its work on orthopedic cases, amputation and neurosurgery.


The hospital, later known as McCloskey Veterans Administration Center, was renamed in honor of U.S. Rep. Olin E. Teague, Veterans Affairs chairman for 18 years and a former patient of the facility. Those historic ties are honored with the annual appreciation event. Details about the 37th annual event have not been released yet. The chamber held a drivethrough event with to-go meals last year during the coronavirus pandemic. The event was renamed last year as the 36th Military & First Responder Appreciation Celebration due to the inclusion of honoring local emergency re-

sponders on the frontlines of fighting the pandemic. Henry said the theme for the 2020 event was unity within community. “Every one of the key components of the luncheon program that would have been held are being videotaped,” Henry told the Telegram. The entire appreciation event was compiled into a video posted on the chamber’s Facebook page before the 2020 Veterans Day. Henry said the video included most of what attendees at the previous events would experience, including speeches from local leaders and the honoring of former veterans.

June 27, 2021


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Back on track: Trails

Jerry Prickett/Telegram file

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech is featured at an educational stop on the popular Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail in Belton.

Happy trails for you

Hike-and-bike trails for fun, exercise abound throughout Bell County BY ERIC E. GARCIA TELEGRAM CITY EDITOR

There are dozens of miles of trails to hike or bike in Bell County. In Temple alone, 23 city parks have trails — some with short loops, others are longer for extended trips. The popular FM 2305 trail — which runs along West Adams Avenue — goes 5 miles through West Temple and connects with

other trials, such as the Pepper Creek Trail. The Pepper Creek Hike and Bike Trail goes more than 3 miles through west and north Temple — from West Adams to the Temple Industrial Park. Friar’s Creek Hike and Bike Trail No. 1 is another popular trail. It goes 3.65 miles through southern central Temple. In Belton, several trails are popular. The Chisholm Trail Park be-


hind Belton High School features a .79 mile walking loop. The Nolan Creek Hike and Bike Trail winds through the scenic creek area of downtown Belton to the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor — a 1.26-milelong trail that includes 10 educational stops and travels through Liberty, Harris Community and Yettie Polk parks. Miller Springs Nature Center, operated by the cities of Temple and Belton on FM 2271, is just

east of the Lake Belton Dam on a 260-acre site. The center is open year-round. The nature center, with scenic bluffs, small caves and streams, has several trails for light to moderate hiking. The park extends into Belton’s Miller Park, where locals gather to fish on the Leon River and observe the spillway. Chalk Ridge Falls Park, at 5600 FM 1670 near Belton, is a popular Bell County spot open yearJune 27, 2021

round known for its crystal-clear creeks, scenic waterfall and rocky cliffs. The park has a small suspension bridge over the river. “I was nervous to try the bridge at first since it looked a little rickety, but after watching a father and his young son navigate the bridge, I gave it a try,” Kelby Wingert wrote in the Fort Hood Sentinel. “It was a little wobbly, but felt sturdy enough

and the view is worth it.” The Stillhouse Hollow Lake Park is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which is updating its comprehensive land and recreational management master plan for the area. The plan, last updated in the 1970s, will guide the agency for the next 25 years, officials said. “The master plan study area includes Stillhouse Hollow Lake

proper and all adjacent recreational and natural resources properties under USACE administration,” agency spokesman Clay Church said. “Revision of the master plan does not address in detail the technical operational aspects of the reservoir related to the water supply or flood risk management missions of the project. Stillhouse Hollow Lake is a multi-purpose reservoir constructed and managed for flood risk management, water supply, fish and wildlife, and recreation.” Nearby Dana Peak Park, 3800 Comanche Gap Road in Harker

Heights, features an extended trail that overlooks Stillhouse Hollow Lake. The 600-acre park — on the 58mile shoreline of the 6,430-acre lake — has a 6.8 mile trail loop. The park has six different trails, each with its own level of difficulty. The guidelines for the park have been set by the International Mountain Bicycling Association and can be found on the trail board, at the trails’ starting point. Visitors should stay on the trails, the association recommends.

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Back on track: Bell County lakes

Nan Dickson/Telegram file

A kite surfer takes advantage of a steady breeze and surprisingly warm February temperatures to spend some time being pulled across the water by a power kite at Temple Lake Park on Lake Belton.

Fishing, boating and more can be found at Lake Belton, Stillhouse Hollow Lake BY ROBERT SUMMA TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

For residents or visitors looking for a way to relax in or on the water, two area man-made lakes provide that opportunity. Built in 1954 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of more than $17 million to control flooding within the Brazos River Basin, Lake Belton is surrounded by both Bell and Coryell counties. At 12,385 acres, the lake has 136 miles of shoreline. There are 16 parks at Lake Belton operated by the Corps. There also are three marinas along the lake — Frank’s Marina, 3269

Built in 1954 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a cost of more than $17 million to control flooding within the Brazos River Basin, Lake Belton is surrounded by both Bell and Coryell counties. Lake Road; Morgan’s Point Marina, 16 Calamity Jane Drive; and North Point Yacht Club, 3681 Cedar Ridge Park Road. Recreation facilities available at the lake include camping, picnicking, fishing, boating and hiking. There are seven campgrounds and day-use facilities at the lake. For those interested in fishing, some of the species found in Lake Belton include: Large-


mouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, white and hybrid striped bass and sunfish. Stillhouse Hollow Lake, built in 1968 by the Corps for more than $25 million, covers 6,429 acres. The lake, which is on the Lampasas River and is south of Interstate 14 and west of Interstate 35, has seven parks operated by the Corps.

Stillhouse Park, 4050 Simmons Road, has the lone marina for the lake. Within Stillhouse Park there are two group pavilions available for reservations, Island View and Tear Drop. Each can hold up to 120 visitors. There also are individual picnic sites around the beach area at the park, as well as a swimming beach and playground. Other recreation activities at Stillhouse Hollow Lake are campsites, boat ramps and trails. Fish available in the lake include: Largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, channel and flathead catfish, crappie and white bass. June 27, 2021

Back on track: Entertainment venues

Central Texas venues showcase talent BY RANDY RAY

Movie theaters


Central Texas is blessed to have numerous venues and facilities for the presentation of live entertainment: music, dance, plays and other cultural events. These venues greatly enhance the quality of life for residents, allowing them to experience a myriad of artistic performances, entertainment opportunities and cultural activities without having to travel to a larger city. As the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end and these venues reopen, performers of national and international renown as well as regional artists and local talent once again will perform at these area facilities. Azalee Marshall Cultural Activities Center, 3011 N. Third St., Temple. Call 254-773-9926 or visit

While streaming new movies online at home has grown in popularity amid the coronvarirus pandemic, for some people there is nothing like seeing a blockbuster on the big screen in person. For Central Texans craving Hollywood magic, the Temple-Belton area offers numerous cinema options, including: n Cinemark, 4501 S. General Bruce Drive in Temple

Temple Civic Theatre, 2413 S. 11th St., Temple. Call 254-7784751, or visit www.templecivicthe Frank W. Mayborn Civic and Convention Center, 3303 N. Third St., Temple. Call 254-298-5720. Bell County Expo Center, 301 W. Loop 121, Belton. Call 254933-5353, or visit www.bellcoun

n Temple Premiere 15 IMAX, located inside Temple Mall at 3111 S. 31st St. in Temple n Grand Avenue Theater, 2809 Oakmark Drive in Belton n The Beltonian Theater, 219 E. Central Ave. in Belton n Cinemark at Market Heights, 201 E. Central Texas Expressway in Harker Heights n The Last Drive-In Picture Show, 2912 S. State Highway 36 in Gatesville Mary Alice Marshall Performing Arts Center, Temple College, 2487-2567 S. Fifth St., Temple. Visit Sue and Frank Mayborn Performing Arts Center, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 900 College St., Belton. Call 254-295-5999. Tablerock Amphitheater, Table-

rock Festival of Salado, 409 Royal St., Salado. Call 254-947-9205, or visit O’Brien’s Irish Pub, 11 E. Central Ave., Temple. Call 254-2950518, or visit www.obrienstemple. com. Corkys Beer and Wine Bar, 13 S. Second St., Temple. Call 254314-2004, or visit www. Bo’s Barn Dancehall and Club, 4984 FM 93, Temple. Call 254939-7131, or visit www.bosbarn Schoepf’s BBQ, 702 E. Central Ave., Belton. Call 254-939-1151, or visit www.schoepfs Barrow Brewing Company, 108 Royal St., Salado. Call 254-9473544, or visit www.barrowbrew Johnny’s Steaks & Bar-Be-Que, 301 Thomas Arnold Road, Salado. Call 254-947-4663, or visit www.

2116 W Avenue H Temple, TX 76504 Office: (254) 773-8872

June 27, 2021


Back on track: Museums

Nan Dickson/Telegram file

Minnie Mouse, left, enjoys a nap as Jessi Avendano of Temple watches his daughter Alyssa, 6, color a paper kite during a Family Day at the Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum.

Museums preserve area’s rich heritage BY RANDY RAY TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

The colorful history and rich heritage of Bell County and Central Texas is preserved by local museums, where visitors can explore both permanent and temporary exhibits to learn a bit more about the world around them. Some of those museums are housed inside structures that are part of that colorful history. Bell County Museum The Bell County Museum, established in 1991 in a former Carnegie Library that was built in 1905, owns more than 12,000

objects related to Bell County and the Central Texas region. The museum, at 201 N. Main St. in Belton, features permanent exhibits as well as new traveling exhibitions throughout the year. This summer, visitors to the museum can view the new exhibit “Bell County Sports.” This temporary exhibit will be on display through Aug. 21, and will give viewers an opportunity to learn about many of the athletes, coaches and teams that helped establish a legacy of athletic greatness in Bell County. Visitors also can visit the museum’s permanent exhibits such as the moustache cup collection,


the Little River Log Cabin, the Miriam A. Ferguson Collection and the C.O. Buckellew miniature home collection. The museum offers periodic tours of the Gault Site, in southwest Bell County near Florence. The site is considered to be one of the most important archeological sights in North America, and a collection of artifacts collected from the site also is on permanent display at the museum. The Bell County Museum is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. For information about exhibits, tours or events, visit or call 254-933-5243. Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum The Temple Railroad and Heritage Museum is housed in the historic Santa Fe Depot, 315 W. Ave. B in Temple. The museum opened in 1973 and features permanent and temporary exhibits. The permanent exhibits are on the second floor of the museum and focus on railroad history, with an emphasis on the Santa Fe and railroads in Texas. The temporary exhibits explore railroad history, as well as general topics in U.S. history. The June 27, 2021

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“Mean” Joe Greene’s helmet from the Pittsburgh Steelers is one of many items on display as part of the “Bell County Sports” exhibit on display through Aug. 21 at the Bell County Museum in Belton. summer exhibit, “One Half of the People: Advancing Equality for Women,” will be on display June 16 to Aug. 18. Organized by the National Archives to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, this exhibit explores the stories of women’s struggles to achieve full citizenship. Other exhibits planned for later this year are “A Great Frontier Odyssey: Sketching the American West” Sept. 5 to Nov. 7, and “Facing the Inferno: The Wildfire Photography of Kari Greer” Nov. 20 to Jan. 15. The depot is a working Amtrak station where visitors can observe the BNSF rail line through the observation windows, learn about railroad equipment, view model trains and explore the telegraph room. Vintage locomotives, cabooses and passenger cars are displayed outside. The museum holds special events such as National Train Day, and educational programs. Family Days are 11 a.m. to 1

p.m. the first Saturday of every month and feature a range of themes and free activities. It also is home of the Fred M. and Dale M. Springer Archives. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For information, visit or call 254-298-5172. Czech Heritage Museum The Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center displays artifacts and holds programs that share the rich influence of Czech culture in the community. The effort to collect books and artifacts began in the 1960s under the names SPJST Library, Archives and Museum. In 2000, the Czech Heritage Museum and Genealogy Center was established as a nonprofit organization. The museum, at 119 W. French Ave. in Temple, features a variety of Czech artifacts, costumes, coins, instruments, Bibles and arts. It also offers a library with


the largest Czech genealogy collection in Texas. The museum also presents free Czech films on the second Tuesday of each month at the historic Beltonian Theatre in Belton. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, or by appointment. For information, call 254-899-2935 or visit

Wee Scotts Shop, which sells traditional Irish and Scottish apparel, accessories and literature. The museum holds the annual Scottish Gathering and Highland Games in November. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Admission is free. For information, call 254-947-5232 or visit

Salado Museum and College Park

The area’s newest museum is the Temple Children’s Museum, which aims to create a community that sparks the creativity and the curiosity of young children through hands-on learning and interactive play. It strives to provide a place where families can engage in play that inspires a love of learning, with a significant focus on interaction between parents/adults and children. Currently at 11 N. 4th St. in downtown Temple, the museum is raising funds to build a larger, permanent facility. It is open for private groups by reservation only.

The Salado Museum and College Park tells the pioneer history and cultural diversity of Central Texas. The museum is at 423 S. Main St., while College Park, located just south of the museum, is the location of the ruins and grounds of historic Salado College. One of the earliest group of settlers in the area was the Robertson Colony, established in 1825 by a group of 600 families, most of whom were Scots. The museum includes an exhibit room, an auditorium and the

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Back on track: High school sports

Ray Swindle/Telegram file

Temple running back Samari Howard scores a touchdown during the Wildcats’ playoff game in December 2020 against Rockwall-Heath.

High school athletics keep towns connected BY JOSH WEAVER TELEGRAM STAFF WRITER

Not long after Temple played Dallas Highland Park in the 2016 Class 5A Division I football state championship game, Amy ShawWilliams stood in one of the grand foyers of AT&T Stadium and got right to the heart of it all. “It doesn’t matter how far the team goes, win or lose, we are going to support the team. And I think (the players) see that and they see how much Temple loves them, and we’ll go to the ends of the Earth for them,” ShawWilliams, a 1991 Temple grad, said that winter afternoon. “Our heart bleeds blue.” That was the case for many that

particular Saturday in December, for many long before that, many today and many, many more in the future — even with the town’s evolving landscape — because roots are firmly planted. Temple residents live and breathe the deep, longstanding Wildcats traditions and they especially embrace their student-athletes through thick and thin, never resisting great lengths to show it. Around Temple it’s known as Wildcat Nation. At Belton High it’s Big Red. During its Class 3A football state title run in 2017, Rockdale had the initials “TFND” — which stood for Tiger Fight Never Dies — on its jerseys. It was a particularly stirring motto


that year as the town rallied around one of the players after his father died. Following his final high school game in 2016, former Temple football standout Ta’Quon Graham — who in April was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons after a four-year career with the Texas Longhorns — described what Wildcat Nation represents. “It just means that we have a whole lot of support backing us win, lose or draw, and you can’t ask for anything more from a fan base to be there game in and game out,” Graham said. “I love our fan support … and it’s just a great town to live in and be in, and be a part of.” Surrounding communities —

from Troy to Salado over to Holland, Cameron and Buckholts and more — also have their own brand of fervor, which was necessary and needed during the pandemic, when portions of the 2020-21 athletic season were carried out with attendance restrictions. Support at home or on the road miles away certainly goes beyond the gridiron, too. School pride overflows from every venue. In August, mask requirements didn’t dampen the crowd at a Rogers’ season-opening volleyball match — a five-set comeback win for the Lady Eagles that was well-attended even by visiting Fairfield fans. June 27, 2021

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Jon Farrow/Telegram file

Troy’s Kaycee Cavanaugh attacks against the block of Salado’s Lainey Taylor (24) during the Trojanettes’ four-set victory in September.

Ray Swindle/Telegram file

Lake Belton’s Casey Schultz hits a two-run home run in the third inning of the Lady Broncos’ 4-1 win over Robinson in May in an area-round series opener.

Ray Swindle/Telegram file

Academy’s Chris Preddie (23) tries to put up a shot over San Antonio Cole’s Adreaell Ray during a state semifinal game in March in Buda. 64 / TEMPLE DAILY TELEGRAM

In March, Academy boys basketball faithful filled to the brim their allotted section of Buda Hays’ Oran Bales Gymnasium when the Bees battled San Antonio Cole in the Class 3A state semifinals — which capped Academy’s best season since 2002. First-year athletic programs at Lake Belton already boast their throngs of avid followers, many of whom have tagged along during the spring as the Broncos baseball and softball teams advanced deep into the playoffs. During the 2020-21 school year area athletes/teams advanced to the state championships in cross country, tennis, basketball, socHigh schools in the Telegram sports’ coverage area Temple Academy Bartlett Belton Bruceville-Eddy Buckholts Cameron Yoe Central Texas Christian Copperas Cove Gatesville Granger Harker Heights

cer, golf, track and field, wrestling and powerlifting. As a small sampling of the area’s rich athletic history, across football, basketball, baseball and softball, teams have combined for 30 state championships. Success, certainly, is fun to celebrate. But, after all the practices and games, it goes back to being part of something much bigger. “Wildcat Nation is such an effective culture because the team is part of the culture. That’s the difference to me,” Temple head coach Scott Stewart told the Telegram in 2016. “These kids love seeing the fans, and those people love their football team.” Holland Holy Trinity Catholic Jarrell Killeen Killeen Ellison Killeen Shoemaker Lake Belton Lampasas Moody Rockdale Rogers Rosebud-Lott Salado Troy June 27, 2021

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