'Log on" at Marktplatz

Free wireless internet service has been made available to the public at Marktplatz, thanks to a cooperative effort led by the City of Fredericksburg, Hill Country Telephone Cooperative and a number of area organizations.

Officials representing the various sponsoring groups — including the city, HCTC, Fredericksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau, Fredericksburg Independent School District, Pedernales Creative Arts Alliance and the Market Square Redevelopment Commission — helped turn on the Wi-Fi during a special ceremony Tuesday morning.

“We could have thrown up Wi-Fi at any time,” Russell Immel, city technology director, said. “To build it to be able to accommodate the kind of huge crowds we have on huge weekends was a bigger undertaking.”


Old Fair Park: recreation or development?

Dan Sefko of Freese and Nichols design firm explains conceptual design options for the city’s Old Fair Park area, which go from little change to complete redevelopment. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Matt Ward —

Ardent supporters of the Old Fair Park athletic facilities located at Ufer and Lincoln streets spoke out in opposition to the potential redevelopment of the former home of the Gillespie County Fair Grounds Monday.

The Fredericksburg City Council met in regular session to receive a presentation from consultant Freese and Nichols about possible future development of the area south of downtown Fredericksburg.

“The city council and the city staff have not just gone out and had these plans drawn up for no good reason,” Mayor Linda Langerhans said. “We understand that losing ball fields or soccer fields and playground area is going to be hard for a lot of people to understand, but we have to look to the future.”


FTC's ambitious 'Fiddler' to open Friday for three-week run

Jeryl Hoover and Sarah Spillman star as Tevye and Golde in FTC’s “Fiddler on the Roof.” — Submitted photo

Sold out.

That’s perhaps the best way to describe the Fredericksburg Theater Company’s upcoming three-week run of the Broadway musical “Fiddler on the Roof,” which opens this Friday.

“[‘Fiddler’] sold out faster than ‘Les Misérables,” said Steve Reily, FTC’s executive director. “It’s the fastest show to sell out at FTC. Our patrons told us they missed ‘Les Mis’ or had a hard time getting tickets and wanted to make sure they had tickets for this.”

Reily added that musicals tend to be popular at the theater.

“Fiddler” will run Fridays through Sundays, Feb. 20-March 8. Show times will be Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

The two-act musical will be performed at the Steve W. Shepherd Theater, at 1668 U.S. Highway 87 South.

This production stars FTC founder Jeryl Hoover as Tevye.

Kerry Goff, director of “Fiddler,” described it as “refreshing” to hear the show has been sold out.


Science Mill opens young minds

Billy Richardson, age 4, front, and brother Jake, 2, both of Austin, work on a pulley activity at the grand opening of the Hill Country Science Mill on Saturday in Johnson City. – Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

Directors of the Hill Country Science Mill have added a “big city attraction” to small-town Johnson City, bringing a first-class science museum to the rural town while saving an old grain mill.

The Hill Country Science Mill held its grand opening on Saturday, and it hopes to help boost interest from students in biology, energy and other sciences.

Bonnie Baskin, founder and retired doctor, did everything from help with construction and landscaping to finding investors for the project. She began in 2011 in hopes of spurring interest in science.

“We’re both lifelong scientists, and we have a vision of getting kids engaged in the sciences and filling our country’s needs and careers,” Baskin said Saturday.

“Students weren’t becoming interested in sciences because they weren’t learning by doing,” she said. “But this is an interactive engaging museum that will interest both younger and older kids. We hope to get them interested early.”


Yesteryear's wheels

John Muraglia and friend Rose Hicks took advantage of the recent stellar weather to take a spin in Muraglia’s 1936 Auburn, a boat-tailed speedster. Muraglia purchased the rare car in Denver, and the car has unique details. He said Clark Gable owned the same car during his Hollywood heyday. – Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

'Year of the Goat'

Exchanging red cards of good will is a Chinese New Year tradition. Celebrating the Year of the Goat, which starts Thursday, are (from left) Sara Campbell and Kristina Carter, cashiers; Jake Campbell, waiter and Andrew Pai, owner of Panda Chinese Restaurant. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie —

Tomorrow it’s enter goat, exit horse as Thursday marks the beginning of the Chinese New Year.

Whereas 2014 was the Year of the Horse, 2015 will be the Year of the Goat.

The animals are part of the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, which one local family uses to mark the annual change. Andrew Pai, owner of Panda Chinese Restaurant, and his family don’t adhere to the beliefs taught in the zodiac, but he uses them for tradition.

“Traditions are very important to us,” Pai said.

The system also includes the dragon, dog, rooster, ox and other animals.

The next Year of the Goat will be in 2027.

Actually, among some, there’s debate whether it’s a goat or sheep since the Chinese character, “yang,” is somewhat ambiguous. The questions arise. Is it a sheep, or is it a goat? Or, could it be a ram?


'Rock Star' Festival will celebrate 'Dark Skies' designation Saturday

Enchanted Rock State Natural Area (ERSNA) will hold its first Enchanted “Rock Star” Festival on Saturday, Feb. 21, sponsored by Friends of Enchanted Rock.

The event will take place at the park, 16710 Ranch Road 965, 18 miles north of Fredericksburg.

Regular park admission applies and includes access to all activities, which run the entire day and into the evening, said Melissa Mial, spokesperson.

“This inaugural event is to celebrate Enchanted Rock’s designation as an International Dark Sky Park and Texas Parks and Wildlife’s Dark Sky Initiative and increase awareness of the benefits of dark sky friendly lighting,” Mial said.


Texas registration, inspection stickers are partnering up in Gillespie County

Gillespie County is gearing up for a new Texas Two Step.

Beginning March 1, the state will no longer issue vehicle inspection stickers and will move to a “Two Steps, One Sticker” program.

Under the new system, Texas vehicle owners will need to pass inspection prior to renewing their registration. The familiar blue-bordered Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) registration sticker will serve as proof of both inspection and registration.

“Gillespie County is prepared to make this transition as smooth as possible for our residents,” said Gillespie County Tax Assessor-Collector Marissa Weinheimer. “During the first year of the program, beginning March 1, 2015, all you will need to do is make sure you already have a valid passing vehicle inspection before you renew your registration in our office, online or by mail.”


Livestock judging underway in San Angelo, San Antonio

Two major livestock shows are underway in different parts of the state to keep local exhibitors busy.

Judging got underway last week at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo and over the weekend at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo.

Both the San Antonio and San Angelo shows continue through March 1.

From there, local exhibitors will head to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, March 3-22, and the Star of Texas Fair and Rodeo in Austin, March 14-28.

San Antonio

The San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo opened on Thursday, Feb. 12, and since then, the junior breeding swine, goats and junior breeding sheep have all been judged.

In all, 140 local youth will be participating in the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, including 72 Gillespie County 4-Hers, 56 Fredericksburg FFA members and 12 Harper FFA members.


Local school vaccine rates high, but some still opt out

By Richard Zowie

Concerns over an increase in measles outbreaks and parents who choose not to have their children vaccinated has risen to the forefront of national debate.

Most feel vaccinations are imperative to the preservation of public health, while others choose not to vaccinate over concerns about the vaccine itself and its effectiveness.

Here in Gillespie County, the numbers of parents who opt out of vaccinations is low, compared to some parts of the country. And one area school’s policy is simple: all students must be vaccinated, without exception.

Local school rates

Texas law requires full vaccinations, but allows exceptions.

Locally, the number of students with vaccination exemptions is small. In 2013-2014, Calvert Independent School District reported 124 exempted students (73.4 percent of its student body). In Gillespie, the numbers are nowhere near that figure.


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