'River cane' chokes creeks in watershed

Barons Creek is choked with “River Cane,” or Arundo donax. A Frantzen Park cleanup will provide a demonstration area for landowners to see how to treat the invasive plant. – Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke

Arundo donax is its Latin botanical name, but trouble is what it spells for the Pedernales River.

The 20-foot stalks of cane have gained a foothold in Fredericksburg along Barons Creek and Town Creek. The cane is visible from many bridges and has crowded waterways.  

“About three weeks ago, we did an aerial survey in the upper reaches of the Pedernales and tributaries, including Barons Creek and Town Creek. We found around 300 sources of the plants,” said Katherine Romans of the Hill Country Alliance. “We identified arundo as an issue for the health of the river, impacting creeks and the whole hydrological cycle.”

The invasive grows in clumps. The plants develop deep roots, so chopping, mowing or pulling them can only increase their aggressive growth.

Beginnings, infestations


Details prepared for $16.5 million in school projects

Fredericksburg High School's look hasn't changed much since its construction in 1964. Bond passage would mean a major facelift and improvement in "curb appeal," Supt. Eric Wright said. — File photo

By Richard Zowie

Voters in the Fredericksburg Independent School District will decide in the May 9 election whether to approve the district’s $16.5 million bond proposal.

They will also have a trustee election.

The bond proposal consists primarily of construction and upgrades at Fredericksburg High School and Fredericksburg Primary School, along with improvements at each campus and additional items for custodians, transportation and technology.

Even if voters approve the bond, the FISD tax rate would remain the same and not change.


HOSA students advance to state

Advancing to the HOSA State Conference in April from Fredericksburg High School are, in front from left, Leeanne Shackelford, Emily Phair, Hailey Nicosen, Emmanuel Delatorre and (in back) Blake Tatsch, Makenna Olfers, Baylie Staedtler, Trent Bullion and Valeria Herrera. Not pictured are Lizeth Albiter and Janet Arias. — Photo courtesy FHS Campus Comet

Eleven Fredericksburg High School students will be competing at the HOSA State Conference, April 9-11 in Dallas.

The students qualified for state competition after placing in the top three at the Area 1 Spring Leadership Conference on Saturday in Austin.

(The meet was originally scheduled for earlier in the month, but was postponed due to the winter weather conditions.)

Finishing first and qualifying for state was the MRC Partnership team of Hailey Nicoson, Emmanuel Delatorre and Valeria Herrera.

For more on this story, read this week’s print and online editions of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post. If you are a print subscriber, your full online subscription is free. All you need to do is call 830-997-2155 to get a password. If you are not a subscriber, call 997-2155 or click on the ‘Subscribe’ button on the left side of the home page and sign up today!


Film festival announces official selections

Hill Country Film Festival announced official selections for their sixth annual event Monday evening, featuring 88 total selections and eight competition features.

The festival, slated April 30 through May 3, will be held at Fritztown Cinema, located at 2254 U.S. Highway 87 South.

Competition features include the documentaries “Mount Lawrence” and “Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman,” dramas “One Eyed Girl,” “Sunny in the Dark” and “Wildlike” and comedies “Night Owls,” “The Origins of Wit and Humor” and “Somebody Marry Me.”

“Night Owls” recently had its world premiere at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.


'Wings of Freedom' tour here this weekend

Vintage World War II air-craft will fly the friendly skies in Gillespie County as the “Wings of Freedom” tour visits the airport this weekend. — Submitted photo

Vintage aircraft from World War II will be the guests of honor as the Wings of Freedom Tour of World War II vintage aircraft will visit the Gillespie County Airport, Friday through Sunday, April 3-5.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. on April 3 at the airport’s main ramp.

Among the aircraft to be displayed will be the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Consolidated B-24 Liberator and North American P-51 Mustang.

The B-17 is one of only eight in flying condition in the United States.

Also at the event will be the “Huey” helicopter, the type of chopper that Medal of Honor winner Stephen Pless flew on several combat missions during the Vietnam War.

Visitors are invited to explore the aircraft inside and out, at a charge of $12 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

WWII veterans can tour through the aircraft for free.


Pioneer Museum to host Easter egg hunt

Pioneer Museum will host an Easter egg hunt and display on Saturday, April 4.

The museum is at 325 West Main Street.

The festivities begin at 10:30 a.m.

Children age 10 and under are invited to participate. They are urged to bring their Easter baskets.

Hundreds of eggs will be hidden around the grounds of Pioneer Museum. A special toddler’s hunt area is planned for children under five years of age.

Also, the Easter Bunny will be at the hunt and will be available for pictures.

Pioneer Museum opens at 10 a.m., and the normal admission fee will be waived for all children accompanied by an adult.

Entrance to the Easter egg hunt will be at the Milam Street gate.


State park to host Easter event

A chance to celebrate “Easter at the Sauer-Beckmann Living History Farm” will be offered from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.

The Sauer-Beckmann Farm is located in the Lyndon B. Johnson State Park and Historic Site at Stonewall.

Visitors can step back to another era and celebrate Easter as a traditional German family would have in 1915.

As part of the celebration, the staff and volunteers will dye Easter eggs using natural dyes and a traditional “lamb cake” will be on display.

Visitors will have the opportunity to construct their own personal “friendship card” and try their hand at building a grass nest for the Easter bunny.

Activities will be conducted at the living history farm by costumed interpreters dressed in farm clothing appropriate for the 1915-1918 time period.


Candidate forum slated Tuesday

Individuals seeking seats on the Fredericksburg City Council have been invited to participate in a candidate forum from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7, in the H-E-B Room of Hill Country University Center.

Fredericksburg Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, will host the forum, which is designed to enable the voters of Fredericksburg to become more familiar with the candidates for city council.

The Chamber and newspaper, as respective organizations, do not promote or endorse any one candidate or political party.

The goal of the forum is to provide a platform for communication in a neutral, positive and informative atmosphere, said Chamber CEO Penny McBride.


Daily Update for April 1


• An accident on Tuesday, March 31, on FM 2093 claimed the life of Donna Ketchbaw, 73, of Fredericksburg. The accident occurred around 3 p.m., approximately a quarter of a mile west of Leyendecker Road.

      • Today is the deadline to submit scholarship applications to The Zonta Club of Fredericksburg. Girls in Gillespie County or surrounding counties are eligible for a $1,000 scholarship.


County receives clean bill of financial health

By Matt Ward —

Finances for Gillespie County received a clean bill of health from independent auditor Keith Neffendorf of the accounting firm Neffendorf, Knopp, Doss and Company during a regular meeting of the Gillespie County Commissioners, Monday.

“This is the best opinion you can get,” Neffendorf said. “The county is in good financial shape. You’re in a real good position as witnessed by your bond rating of AA last time you issued bonds and your low interest rate.”

The county received a positive financial report in spite of findings late in fiscal year 2014 that nearly $90,000 was shorted from local government agencies by the county tax assessor-collector’s office.

“Most of the shortage is due to the county and appears to be due from improper accounting and processing of refunds,” the independent audit reported.


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