John Wasilchak passes away
John Waslichak, 80, passed away Jan. 5. He and his wife, Fran, purchased a ranch and game preserve in Nemo in 1978 and moved to the county. Through an endowment, the couple created a music literacy and appreciation program uniting the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra and Glen Rose ISD.
Supreme Court hears election map case
Redistricting maps created by the Texas Legislature were taken to the high court as population growth, largely attributed to the Hispanic population, spurred the formation of four new congressional seats. Under the proposed maps, Somervell County was switched from Congressional District 17, represented by Bill Flores, to District 25.
Tiger Arena opens
An opening ceremony was held at Glen Rose ISD's Tiger Arena, a year after the school district broke ground on the facility.
Voters approved a $19.95 million bond election package that included the funding of a new band hall, expansion to the ag barn and technology upgrades.
TCEQ to consider water control request
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality considered an administrative law judge's proposal for a decision on the Brazos River Authority's application for control over the appropriation of water from the Brazos River. A busload of members of the Friends of the Brazos and area residents who opposed the authority's request planned to travel to Austin for the meeting.
Voting precincts merge
Somervell County voting precincts 4 and 5 were combined by favorable vote from commissioners. The move was estimated to cut election costs from $4,341 per election to $2,850.
Fossil Rim announces new addition
Fossil Rim WIldlife Center announced the bird of a white rhino. Ursula was born in October 2011 to Edith, who was brought to the facility in 2008. Ursula, who became part of the Special Survival Plan, was the 14th calf born to Edith.
Commissioners reclaim expo
Somervell County Commissioners voted to buy out a contract for the operation of the Expo Center and Texas Amphitheatre and shift the job to county employees.
Texas primary date remains in limbo
It still was not certain if the April 3 primary election would be pushed back as the fight over redistricting maps raged on. The fight had already delayed the election, which should have been held on March 6, "Super Tuesday."
NRC approves first new reactors in decades
The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted to approve the construction of two nuclear reactors in Georgia, boosting hopes that Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant could move forward with expansion plans. Local operators were among more than a dozen who had applied to build new reactors and proposed two new units at the Somervell County plant site.
Hagar named Citizen of Year
Donna Hagar, of the Somervell County Master Gardeners Association, was named the city's Citizen of the Year after bringing a state convention to the area and for her involvement in the "Put the Rose Back in Glen Rose" campaign.
Dollar amount placed on drought
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs estimated the impact of the 2011 drought at $52 billion.
Court favors Hollywood
A controversial sign at Hollywood & Vine restaurant, located in downtown Glen Rose, was backed by a municipal court ruling. The city's sign ordinance limits height to 15 feet tall, and the Hollywood sign measures about 16 feet. The judge agreed with co-owner Dobber Stephenson who argued the sign had become a landmark despite opinions that it detracted from downtown's historical character.
Report local poverty high
A report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation showed the number of Somervell County children living in high poverty and had risen over the past five years. The report supported the Glen Rose ISD's assessment that although the district is property wealthy, a large number of students are impoverished. The report also showed an increase in child abuse cases and decrease in the number of high school dropouts.
Court sets primary date
Following months of uncertainty, a U.S. District Court set May 29 as the state's primary election date, reopening the candidate filing period. The runoff election was scheduled for July 31. The move put election officials in a cramp, with two elections in the May - city and school board would be held May 12.
Fort Spunky reduced to rubble
Only Fragments of the last remaining historic building at Fort Spunky, a community east of Glen Rose where the city's founders, Charles and Juana Bernard lived, remained. Max Rhodes, owner of the property where the building was located, had previously vowed to preserve the building, but it was bulldozed without his knowledge.
Candidates line up
Eight candidates filed to run in the May 12 race for Glen Rose City Council. Incumbents Johnny Martin, Sue Oldenburg and Sandra Ramsay filed for re-election while Chris Bryant, Young Leutwyler, Pam Miller, Jimmie Thompson and Lavern West also filed. Meanwhile, incumbents Tom Lounsberry and Kevin Taylor filed for re-election to the Glen Rose ISD Board of Trustees, and challenger Chip Harrison filed for a shot at school board.
Band hall renovations complete
Students learned they would be enjoying the use of a new band hall when they returned from Spring Break. The news marked the completion of another project included in the almost $20 million 2010 bond election package. District administration estimated all projects planned for the bond would come in at about $750,000 under budget.
City administrator gets a pay raise
Before accepting his position as city administrator on April 2, Ken West countered a $70,000 offer, asking for a $90,000 salary, plus retirement, insurance and other benefits. Councilman Johnny Martin was the only to vote against the higher salary. Martin had supported the lower, budgeted salary.
Glen Rose ISD was one of only four districts across the state to be recognized by the Texas Education Agency for increasing graduation rates and preparing high schoolers for college.
County approves land swap
Somervell County Commissioners Court voted to trade a parcel of county-owned land for property that included recently discovered dinosaur tracks. The track site was owned by Larry Smith, Sr. Jerry Jacene, site foreman, had previously proposed that the county preserver the site where dozens of tracks were unearthed and lease it to a non-profit organization which who would maintain it, a visitor center and museum.
County hires public events director
Somervell County Commissioners vote to hire Frank Abbot to serve as the county's public events director, overseeing operations at the Expo Center and Texas Amphitheatre.
GRISD announce tech upgrades
Glen Rose ISD announced it would step up efforts to become leaders in '21st Century Learning.' The one-to-one student laptop program would put MacBooks in the hands of all sixth-twelfth grade students. In other business, the school district joined 300 other school districts calling on the Texas Legislature to re-examine the state's public school accountability system and lighten emphasis on standardized testing.
City hires events coordinator
Tara Janszen, who spent more than four years working in community outreach, marketing and media promotions at Texas Motor Speedway, was hired to serve as events coordinator under the direction of Convention & Visitors Bureau Director Billy Huckaby.
Six Republican delgates named
Somervell County Republican Party elected Nancy Beavers, Phil Boleng, Barbara Lancaster, Bob Lancaster, Allen Sumners and Jimmi Somners to attend the Texas Republican Party Convention in June.
Incumbents favored in city, school races
Johnny Martin and Sandra Ramsay were re-elected to serve on the Glen Rose City Council while former council member Chris Bryant reclaimed a seat on the council in the May 2 election. Meanwhile, incumbents Kevin Taylor and Tom Lounsberry also held onto their school board positions.
UFO symposium touches down in Glen Rose
Enthusiasts, experts, journalists and witnesses converged on Glen Rose for an out-of-this world symposium, which examined the data and eye-witness accounts of the "Stephenville lights." Steve Allen, of Glen Rose, was with three friends on a hill near Selden on Jan. 8, 2008, when they witnessed the strange occurrence that made headlines around the world. Other witnesses also made reports, sending a wave of media personnel and UFO enthusiasts to Erath County.
Voters weigh in on state, federal races
In addition to those looking to win the Republican and Democratic nominations for the November presidential race, a long-list of state and federal candidates, including 12 Republican candidates for Congressional District 25, appeared on the May 29 primary ballot. Glen Rose resident and veterinarian Mike Jones was one of three Republicans seeking the nomination to Texas House of Representatives, District 59. With an outpouring of county support, Jones' backing forced a runoff between long-time incumbent Sid Miller of Stephenville and J.D. Sheffield of Gatesville.
Property owners 'shocked' by valuations
Michelle Pearce, owner of Texas Treasures, spoke with the Reporter about issues with the Somervell Central Appraisal District. The value of the building that houses the downtown shop skyrocketed from $73,000 to $310,000. Tim Cecil, who owns the Talley Building, said he saw his appraisal more than quadruple from $85,170 to $359,860. Area business owners expressed fears that the hikes could 'kill' downtown.
Owners pack commissioners' courtroom
Property owners appeared in a "united front" at a Somervell County Commissioners Court meeting. The expressed concern over property evaluations that had risen by as much as 500 percent. One property owner cited research that showed values across the state had only increased by 2-3 percent. "According to our CAD, values have gone up 30 percent a year for the last five years," Lonnie Coble said. While commissioners do not appraise property, they do set the county's tax rate. Many property owners had already filed protests and planned to address the Appraisal Review Board in July.
Garrett appointed municipal judge
The Glen Rose City Council appointed Mickey Garrett to serve as municipal judge. He replaced Kay McPherson, who had held the position for seven years.
Undercover sting leads to arrest
K-2, a controversial synthetic marijuana product, which was among similar products outlawed by Texas legislature, led to the arrest of a 69-year-old Glen Rose convenience store clerk as a part of an undercover sting aimed at removing the product from shelves. Another local clerk and others in Johnson County were also arrested as a part of the joint law enforcement effort.
Doctors make case for district
Glen Rose Medical Center physicians advocated for the formation of a hospital district at a joint meeting of Hospital Authority Board and Somervell County Commissioners Court. Citizens at the meeting openly opposed the idea, due to the financial impact a newly-formed taxing entity would have on property owners.
GRISD asks for a 'seat at the table'
As the state looked to revise its accountability standards beyond standardized testing in public schools, Glen Rose ISD applied to be a part of a newly-formed High-Performing School Consortium created by the Texas Legislature during its last session.
Medical center options heard
Somervell County commissioners heard several options for addressing the fate of Glen Rose Medical Center, including closing the hospital, leasing the facility to a hospital management company, funding operations through the formation of a hospital district or continued support through the county. Spectators packed the commissioners courtroom for the meeting.
County approves purchase of river water
Commissioners approve the purchase of water from Brazos River Authority to irrigate Squaw Valley Golf Course at a rate of $62.50 per acre foot, or $21,875 for 350 acre feet and paying an additional $10 to Luminant for delivery.
Capitol mansion restored
Officials announced the Texas Governor's mansion was fully restored. The project was made possible by at $21.5 million appropriation by the Texas Legislature and an additional $3.5 million raised by first lady Anita Perry. The mansion sustained extensive damage when it was fire bombed on June 8, 2008. Four years later, a suspect has not been identified.
Bruners mark a milestone
Stephenville residents Dwain and Carolyn Bruner celebrated their 50th consecutive year of selling Chevrolet automobiles. The partnership with General Motors was recognized as one of the vehicle manufacturer's longest standing. The Bruner family, which also includes General Manager Greg Bruner, owns a used car facility and maintenance shop in Glen Rose as well as dealerships in Stephenville and Brownwood.
Texas well-represented in London
Various reports from across the state said Texas had at least 33 athletes competing in the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, England.
Officials issue West Nile warnings
Health officials urged Somervell County residents to take prevention measures after four cases of West Nile Virus were confirmed in neighboring Johnson County. Meanwhile, hundreds of additional cases or the mosquito born illness were reported across the state.
Fossil Rim announces births
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center announced the birth of three cheetah cubs on June 14. More than 130 cheetah cubs have been born at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center since 1987, helping the facility play a lead role in rebuilding a sustainable captive cheetah population in North America.
Standoff ends in suicide
A man being sought on a warrant out of Tarrant County reportedly committed suicide in the heat of a police standoff that lasted about 12 hours in Somervell County. The standoff ended when law enforcement officials deployed gas into the residence on CR 411 and found the suspect dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Fire erupts in restaurant
A passerby made a call for help in the early morning hours of Aug. 16 when smoke was seen coming from the kitchen area of Los Primos Mexican Food Restaurant & Cantina. A restoration project got underway, but the restaurant remained closed at the end of the year.
Residents react to annual cleanup
A group of residents issued concerns during the annul cleaning of the dam channel at Big Rocks Park. Somervell County Water District Manager Kevin Taylor said the process cuts down on mosquito breeding grounds and threats of West Nile virus and also allows water district personnel to remove silt buildup. Concerned citizens said the effort was killing fish and endangering the ecosystem.
Rulings issued in voting cases
Washington, D.C. court rulings tossed out Texas' redistricting maps and voter photo identification law.
In rejecting the maps, the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, said Texas "bears the burden of proving lack of discriminatory intent" and "has failed to show that any of the redistricting plans merits pre-clearance." Interim redistricting maps were used in the party primary, runoffs and would be used in the Nov. 6 election.
Meanwhile, a three-judge panel denied judicial pre-clearance of the "voter photo ID" law passed by the Texas Legislature in 2011, based on the Voting Rights Act because the cost and difficulty of obtaining official state photo identification harms minorities but negatively affects voters who live in rural areas, older Texans, the poor and the disabled.
City rallies around Webb
City personnel and fellow Somervell County residents joined forces for Darrell Webb Day. The event was organized to assist Webb, the city's former building official, and his family as he awaited a liver transplant.
Revenue increases again
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced mid-month that state sales tax revenue in August was $2.34 billion, up 18.5 percent compared to August 2011.
Senator honors fellow vet
On the 11th anniversary of 9/11, retired Lt. Col. Brian Birdwell, state senator representing Somervell County, made his way across District 22, sharing his story of survival with fellow Americans. Birdwell, who was in the Pentagon when it was attacked, stopped at Cherokee Rose Nursing and Rehabilitation in Glen Rose to honor Bill Baker, a prisoner of the Korean War. Baker was presented a flag that flew over the state capitol on Sept. 11, 2001.
Commissioners approve EMS change
Somervell County commissioners approved a scheduling change for EMS, implementing a new system and increasing the number of full-time EMS employees from three to six.
Mayor passes away
Mayor Jean King died of respiratory failure on Sept. 20 at the age of 73. She had been hospitalized for more than two weeks following an emergency surgery.
Man arrested for sex assault
Glen Rose resident Johnny Lee Wooten was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child after allegations were lodged by a victim, who made the outcry as an adult, years after the alleged abuse. Additional complaints from other male victims followed.
Dublin Democrat drops out of race
Dubliner Bill Norris pulled out of the race for State Representative District 59 citing health concerns. Voters were informed Norris' name would remain on the Nov. 6 ballot as the deadline to withdraw had passed.
Early voting gets underway
Voters flock to the polls in record numbers to weigh in on county, state and federal races. The large turnout was largely attributed to the presidential race, but county offices were also on the ballot.
Boy called a hero
Hunter Ellison, an eight-year-old Houston resident was honored for saving the life of Kamrynn-Rose Reedy, 2, almost drowned during a celebration on July 4. As a part of the honor, Ellison toured the county on an AirEvac Lifeteam medical helicopter.
Drought disaster continues
Gov. Rick Perry renewed an emergency disaster proclamation he originally signed on July 5, 2011, relating to statewide drought conditions. The proclamation, which remains in effect, said exceptional drought conditions posed a threat of imminent disaster in some 138 of the state’s 254 counties, including Somervell.
Glen Rose pie shop named No. 1
Pie Peddlers, a shop owned and operated by Rhonda Cagle and Jean Ford on the downtown square, was named the baker of the best pie in Texas by online voters at the Texas County Reporter website.
Record number registers to vote
Secretary of State Hope Andrade announced Texas reached a historical peak in the number of registered voters - 13,646,226.
Republicans win local votes in landslide
In the Nov. 6 elections, Republicans Kenneth "Woody" Wood and Craig Dodson, commissioner, Pct. 3 and constable, Pct. 2, respectively, won the seats in a landslide. J.D. Sheffield also garnered a large percentage of the vote in the race for Texas House of Representatives, District 59 while also won in State Senator District 22, U.S. Senator and U.S. Congressional District 25 elections.
Obama wins again
Democrat President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were elected to a second term after defeating a challenge from Republicans Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Obama won the nation while the challengers gathered the majority vote in Texas.
Perry says no to exchanges
Nov. 16 was the deadline for Texas and the other states to declare their intentions on the formation of health care exchanges under the "Affordable Care” law. Gov. Rick Perry’s on Nov. 15 letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius declaring his intention to not implement an exchange.
Commissioners support lease
Somervell County Commissioners Court gave the green light to the subletting of Glen Rose Nursing Home. Under the agreement, new management would take over the facility, which was operated by Glen Rose Medical Center and overseen by the Somervell County Hospital Authority, on Jan. 1.
Hammond's feast breaks record, again
Larry and Judy Higgins, owners of Hammond's B-B-Q in Glen Rose, hosted the restaurant's 14th annual community Thanksgiving feast. Five hundred and forty-nine diners, who were treated to traditional feast free of charge, donated $4,600 which the Higgins delivered to the Somervell County Food Bank.
Sales tax collections improve
Texas Comptroller Susan Combs reported state sales tax revenue in November was $2.34 billion, up 13.1 percent compared to November 2011. Local sales tax allocations totaling $552 million were sent to cities, counties, transit systems and special purpose taxing districts, up 15.5 percent compared to December 2011.
New ladder truck rolls in
Somervell County Fire Department received its new 2012 Crimson airmail platform truck equipped with a 100-foot bucket topped ladder. The $1 million truck, funded by the county, took an aged truck out of service and brought state-of-the-art lifesaving equipment and technology to the department.
Somervell County Hospital Political Action Committee began working to gather signatures on a petition supporting a hospital district election in May. The petition is expected to be presented to county officials on Jan. 15.
A Somervell County grand jury indicted Somervell County resident Johnny Lee Wooten for alleged sexual assault against multiple male child victims over two decades. He faces 25-99 years in prison after being charged with two first-degree felonies. He is expected to be arraigned in January.
Officials respond to shooting rampage
Following the murder of 26 individuals, including 20 elementary students in a school shooting rampage in Connecticut, schools across the state including Glen Rose ISD, began a re-evaluation of school safety measures.
Jobless rate falls again
Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Andres Alcantar reported the Texas unemployment rate fell to 6.2 percent in November, compared to 6.6 percent in October and 7.3 percent in November 2011.