Council narrows choices for city manager position

The City of Llano has narrowed its field in the search for a city manager.
After a 51-minute closed session during Monday’s regularly scheduled meeting, Mayor Mike Reagor announced that three finalists have been selected for the position. Reagor declined to name the three candidates after the meeting. He said he would do so once the interviews with the candidates have been set up, because if a candidate declined to be interviewed, another person may be selected for an interview.
“We’ll be negotiating with times for interviews for those three individuals,” Reagor said after the council returned from its closed session. “We hope that in July those interviews will take place. We’re also negotiating with people to be on the citizens interview committee.”
Reagor said the council hopes to have a new city manager in place by early August, but added that depends on the interview schedule.
The new city manager will replace Brenton Lewis, who started in the position in April 2013 and was fired in February.
The council unanimously approved a lengthy budget amendment for both revenue and expenditures in several departments. The budget changed to add $45,000 in revenue for Llano Main Street and $30,000 for the Christmas lighting committee, which were added through fundraising for both organizations. The golf course added $22,000 in revenue, with $16,000 coming from alcoholic beverage sales and $6,000 coming from merchandise sales. The utility fund also saw an additional $3,000 for the sale of hose bib vacuum breakers and toilet tank clips.
Added expenses in the budget amendment include $45,000 for Llano Main Street activities, $40,000 for the Christmas lighting committee for the lighted Christmas display and Fourth of July celebration, and $7,000 for fencing and maintenance at the city pool.
Other added expenses to the budget include an additional $19,000 for the golf course, which includes $13,000 for alcoholic beverage purchase and $6,000 for pro shop inventory, which will also be sold. The LanTex Theater also saw an increase of $1,5000 to pay for a Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission beer and wine license.
The administration department’s expenses increased $6,200 for salary and benefit adjustments; the water plant’s budget increased $18,000 for legal fees associated with the Riley Mountain water project and $12,5000 for the annual lease payment; and the water department saw a $3,000 increase to its budget for the purchase of hose big vacuum breakers and toilet tank clips, which will be sold to utility customers to comply with a customer service inspection.
The council also set budget workshops for the new fiscal year. They will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, July 11-12, in the city council chamber.
The council unanimously approved three interlocal agreements between the city and county. One agreement concerns the use of manpower and equipment for striping, lighting, landscaping and brush cutting. Another agreement is for inspection and permitting of on-site sewage facilities. Under the agreement, the county will permit and inspect all on-site sewage facilities constructed in city limits. Under the third agreement, the county will provide equipment and manpower, not to exceed $15,000, for city street maintenance and seal coating.

Flying (not so) high above Llano

Jim Sheets, who lives at Buchanan Dam, was one of 15 motorized parachute enthusiasts who spent the weekend flying about near the Llano airport. Others who came in did so from McAllen, Houston, Galveston and Baytown, and the name of the group is Bay Area Flyers. The group stayed at the River Way RV Resort and voted to come back to Llano next year.

Jim Sheets, who lives at Buchanan Dam, was one of 15 motorized parachute enthusiasts who spent the weekend flying about near the Llano airport. Others who came in did so from McAllen, Houston, Galveston and Baytown, and the name of the group is Bay Area Flyers. The group stayed at the River Way RV Resort and voted to come back to Llano next year. (Photos by Briley Mitchell)

Softball tourney to help LISD ‘Backpack Buddies’ program

Find your glove and get your game on, it’s softball time in Llano.
Members of the Llano High School student council are hosting a softball tournament July 1-2 at the Moore Complex in Llano to benefit the Backpack Buddies program at all four Llano ISD campuses.
The Backpack Buddies program at LISD helps feed students in need over the weekend through the use of backpacks filled with food.
Lisa Petty, LHS student council advisor, said the five-year old program is almost completely run by the students. It serves about 200 students district-wide each year. The program has plenty of student help packing the backpacks throughout the year, she said, but money is needed to keep the program going. It costs $120 to feed a child for the entire school year, which means $24,000 is needed to fund the program each year.
The students planned the softball tournament to raise funds for the program, Petty said.
“They got together while I was on vacation and met and planned all of it,” she said. “They said, ‘We’ve got this Mrs. Petty.’”
The cost to enter the tournament is $150 per team. Entry forms can be dropped off during summer business hours, Monday through Thursday, at the high school.
Anyone who doesn’t want to play softball but would still like to donate can drop a check off at the high school front office. Petty said people have come up with creative ways to donate since the program’s inception, such as sponsoring a child for a year or sending in money for memorials when someone dies.
Petty said the program is confidential and is handled differently by each school. Those who are given backpacks each week are recommended by teachers or counselors, before further research is done by administration.
The program has also allowed other agencies to provide additional help in other areas, Petty said. Hygiene items are provided in different by the Wesley Nurse when they are needed and a “clothes closet” is now available to provide clothing to students who need it.
“It’s just a win-win-win program for everyone,” Petty said.
For more information about the tournament, contact tournament director Jaden Napolez at 325-320-3755 or Petty at 512-923-2872. The deadline to enter is June 28.


Get on your soap box

Ms. Potato Head arrives in Marble Falls. Ms. Potato has fattened up so she can mash the tracks in California and Portland, Oregon.

MARBLE FALLS — If you’re tired of the agony of the ball sliding two inches wide of the wicket; if you’re sick of the misery of missing a four-foot putt to save bogey; if you’re angry at bringing your back-up lacrosse stick to the semifinal game, boy do I have a deal for you!
They come with names like Water Hole Special, Flintstone Flyer, Laser, Old School Jalopy, and Bikini Watch. These are soap boxes, and June 17-19 was the 7th annual Marble Falls Soapbox Classic, also known as The Adult Soapbox Derby.
You’ll see Clayton Kershaw give up two grand slams in a game before you’ll see one of these drivers frown.
“It was a blast,” said the host city’s Steve Ramsey, describing his quarter-mile journey on Third Street. He was inside The Reaper.
The 44 cars take several turns on the track in pairs. When they’re not enjoying the rush of the contest, they’re having fun in the pits — which have a great resemblance to large tents spread across downtown. The 100-degree temperature doesn’t seem to interrupt the fun.
Nothing motorized, it’s just one car’s body and wheels, and a driver yelling, “Giddy Up,” so the little box can reach its destination.
The Apple couple probably made the longest trip here: Gary and Gloria are from Grass Valley, California, which is near Sacramento and Lake Tahoe, Nevada. They not only covered a few miles — “Go East Young Man” — they brought the biggest soap box in the race’s history: Mr. (or Ms.) Potato Head — two versions. “Fully loaded,” I was told, and Gloria added, “Fueled on carbs.”
Both drove the towering, somewhat overweight potato, and I asked, “Could you see?” — out of what was a bad imitation of a windshield.
“Not much,” Gary Apple replied.
Mark Gustafson of Buda, near Austin, drove “2 D,” and it looked like what Mickey Rooney and Clark Gable drove on those “daredevil” tracks in the movies in the 1930s and ‘40s. “{We wanted to capture} the look of the Dry Lake and Salt Flats’ racers,” of 60-and-70 years ago. “I think we captured it,” he observed. I wanted to see Myrna Loy or Lana Turner waiting at the finish line. No such luck.
The Merkels were back. I don’t think Team Penske is any bigger: “Four cars and eight drivers,” Larry Merkel advised. The soap boxes and folks behind the wheel all looked alike — dressed in Burnt Orange. “Texas Fight” for these Austinites.
Linda Kalaher, who works at Printworks, not far from the starting line, drove “Mamma’s Worry.” No need to — Linda won her heat easily but told me, “I didn’t turn around to watch {my foe}.”
73-year-old Alice Gardiner competed and said, “85-year-old John Camden built her car.” He has some experience according to Gardiner: “He was the engineer on the original Corvette.” Now I’ve met someone who knew SOMEONE!
Of course there is a Hat Derby at these competitions. And Beverly Wallis from the big city — San Antonio — was victorious. The hat had all sorts of color — a bird and flowers — I think. The upset in this fray was that Mike Steele of Burnet was third — first among the males, the only contestant. He sported a bunch of balloons.
Kids are told to enjoy their youth — don’t grow up too fast, but adults have no barrier when it comes to revisiting their childhood. For a weekend, they took over a sport made famous more than 80 years ago by youngsters, and they didn’t care one bit if someone yelled, “You’re acting like a child!”

Meat judging team qualifies for nationals

The Llano meat judging team earned a berth to the national competition to be held in Denver, Colo., in January. Pictured, from left, are coach Joe Dan Tarter and team members Kaymon Lange, Dane Black, Blake Dillard and Caleb Cowan.

The Llano County 4-H meats judging teams recently competed at state 4-H roundup in College Station and earned a berth to a national competition to be held in January.
The Llano teams qualified to participate at the state contest by placing first and second at the district contest this past spring. Llano County Team #1, consisting of Dane Black, Caleb Cowan, Blake Dillard and Kaymon Lange, placed second at the state contest. That finish gave the team a berth to compete in the Western National 4-H Roundup, which will be held in Denver, Colo., in January.
Llano County Team #2, consisting of Ashten Altizer, Dalton Bauman, Ray Dixon and Edgar Montoya, placed fourth at the state contest.
Individually, Kaymon Lange placed fourth high, Dane Black was eighth, and Ashten Altizer placed 10th.
“Congratulations to these kids on their accomplishments,” said coach Joe Dan Tarter.

‘I’ve got a Martini shaker and I’m not afraid to use it’

Play canceled this weekend due to actor injury

It was non-stop laughter as the Llano Community Theatre performed the Dixie Swim Club at the Lantex Theater.

Live theater at the Lantex Theater, the perfect venue for the latest production of the Llano Community Theatre, the “Dixie Swim Club” by Jones Hope Wooten Comedy.
Rehearsals began six weeks ago, and have been held two hours a day for four days a week. As the play got closer, they were held for three hours per day for five days a week.
The Llano County Community Center offered their back room for rehearsals and set design, the acting city manager helped work a contract for the fledgling theatre troop to move the play from the Methodist church, which they had outgrown, to the roomier Lantex Theater. Lots of planning, hard work by the cast and crew, and community support made a formula for success.
The play revolves around five ladies that were on a swim team in college and their yearly get-togethers in August. There is Sheree, played by Lisa Davis, who is the ultimate organizer and health food fanatic. Trecy Johnson plays Dinah, the lawyer who has it all together, except maybe Dinah has a bit of a drinking problem - she enjoys her martinis early in the morning until bed time. Then there is Lexi, the flirtatious member of the team who is portrayed brilliantly by Kari Miller. Lexi doesn’t have good luck with men, going through a number of husbands as the years go by.
Connie Turner has the casting job of playing Jeri Neal, the “Nun that went bad,” whose character is one of the more complex of the group. Then there is Vernadette, played by Cheryl Crabtree, who seems to have one calamity after another, but also has the best one liners in the show. Jay Polanco is stage manager and the play is directed by San Lorenz.
Behind stage are set designer Danielle Carmichael, and crew members Sherry Simpson, Marion Bishop, Connie Bishop, Gary Estes, Summer Vaught, and Megan Wolf. Light and sound is provided by Jeff White.
The play starts with the group meeting at a beach house 22 years after graduation, then five years later, then another five years, and the final scene is 23 years later, for a total of 55 years of friendship. We see the cast age throughout the production, their characters mature, and the closeness of the women grow over the years. Each scene has a mention of their coach, who they all remember fondly.
The Lantex is the ideal setting for the Llano Community Theatre, and audiences seemed to enjoy the spacious seating and general ambiance of live theater in the historic movie house.
The play was due to be performed twice this weekend, but has been canceled due to an unforeseen accident to one of the main cast members.