Commissioners hear update on jail construction project

Although cold weather has thrown a few wrinkles into the mix, construction on the new Gillespie County Jail is progressing according to plan, county officials learned Monday.

“The project looks really good,” Gloria Barrera, of Vanir Construction Management, Inc., told commissioners meeting in regular session Monday, Jan. 27.

She said the new jail’s to-date construction could be judged on a three-fold basis, according to cost, schedule and quality.

As far as expense, the jail (which was bond-approved by voters up to a cost of $15 million) is still proceeding within its budget, Barrera said.

So far, the county has paid $1,266,308 to date, although some of the project’s more expensive items will come into play later in the schedule, she said.


Breaking News: Woman dies, three survive head-on accident Tuesday

FREDERICKSBURG emergency workers attempt to extricate the occupants of a 2002 Chevrolet Silverado pickup following a head-on collision Tuesday, Jan. 28, shortly before 9 a.m. on Texas Highway 16 South when the 2000 Toyota 4Runner (at right) lost control on ice and spun into its lane. The driver of the 4Runner, Tamara Pfiester Pate, 42, of Kerrville, was pronounced dead, while her three-year-old passenger is in “stable” condition. The driver of the truck and her passenger, both Fredericksburg residents, survived the crash, although the driver is in “critical” condition in San Antonio’s University Hospital. —Photo courtesy Gillespie County Sheriff’s Office

A 42-year-old Kerrville woman died and a three-year-old girl survived a head-on collision, in which icy conditions contributed, and two others were injured around 8:55 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, about six miles south of Fredericksburg on Texas Highway 16.

Tamara Pfiester Pate of Kerrville was pronounced dead at 9:45 a.m. at Hill Country Memorial Hospital in Fredericksburg by Dr. Todd Bell, according to Department of Public Safety (DPS) Trooper J.C. Spillman, who investigated.

Three-year-old Chloe Sage Pate was listed in stable condition at Hill Country Memorial Hospital later in the day, the DPS report said.

They were traveling southbound in a 2000 Toyota 4Runner on the Kerrville highway, when the vehicle reached an ice-covered part of the roadway, causing Pate to lose control of her vehicle, Spillman said.


Residents warned about leaf scam

Residents are being warned by Fredericksburg Police Chief Steve Wetz to not believe the information printed on pieces of paper being taped to houses in an attempt to secure landscaping jobs.

The fliers appearing in numerous residential areas around the city, starting last week and continuing this week, are reportedly from D&R Landscaping of Bandera.

The small notes make an attempt to gain customers for the company’s landscaping services by stating: “After January 31, 2014, you will be fined by the City of Fredericksburg if you have leaves on your property.”

 “The notes are wrong,” Wetz said, adding that there is no new ordinance and the advertisements are spreading misinformation.

“We’re now investigating the case for possible criminal charges, but we want to get a notice out to people now that this is simply not true,” Wetz added.


Council to play 'wait-and-see' on tax collection

By Matt Ward —

Strained relations between the City of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County may come to a head next month as the Fredericksburg City Council is expected to decide whether or not to continue to use the Gillespie County Tax Assessor-Collector’s Office for property tax collection.

Despite the fact that no proposal was brought before the city Monday during its regular council meeting, city officials indicated that a decision on whether to stay with the county tax office or switch to the Gillespie Central Appraisal District will likely be on a February council agenda.

(A separate story on Monday’s regular council meeting can be found elsewhere in this issue.)

Local taxing entities have expressed concerns about late and inaccurate reports from the county tax office along with a lack of timeliness in tax collections.


EDC leader praises local successes

By Matt Ward —

Despite the challenges of finding an adequate labor force in the city, Tim Lehmberg, executive director of the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission, reported Fredericksburg’s economy remains strong, thanks in part to healthy revenues in 2013.

Lehmberg presented his findings to the Fredericksburg City Council Monday evening during their regular session.

Local economy strong

After presenting the council with a longer, detailed written report Thursday, Lehmberg offered an overview of his findings for the local economy in 2013.

City sales tax revenue is up around seven percent through November, Lehmberg said, adding that he expects final lodging receipt numbers to break a record.

Through the first nine months of 2013, city gross lodging receipts are up about 14 percent over the same period in 2012.


St. Mary's to host Catholic Schools Week

DEBBIE KLEIN shows her first grade students (from left) Diego Guevara and Baker Seegers a “penny picking” exercise where they use coins to determine the change in mass of an object. From Jan. 26 to Feb. 1, St. Mary’s School will celebrate Catholic Schools Week. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

St. Mary’s Catholic School will join more than 7,000 Catholic schools across the country in observing the 40th anniversary of Catholic Schools Week from Sunday, Jan. 26 to Saturday, Feb. 1.

“The theme of this year’s celebration, ‘Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service,’ puts focus on the three main goals of a Catholic school education,” said Billy Pahl, St. Mary’s School principal.

St. Mary’s School has served the parish and the Fredericksburg community for 158 years.

“The school today continues to meet the needs of the families, just as it did in 1856,” said Pahl. “The school was established then to provide an education and Catholic formation of students.”

The school community has planned a variety of activities for the week.


Stonewall Chamber to host TTU wine instructor

ENOLOGY instructor Maureen Qualia is a Rio Grande Valley native. — Photo by John Sauer/TTU-Fredericksburg

A social and dinner, meeting, presentation of awards and guest speaker will be featured at the annual Stonewall Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Monday night, Jan. 27.

Set for the Stonewall Chamber Building, the evening begins at 6 p.m. with a social hour followed by the dinner at 7 p.m.

Maureen Qualia, instructor of enology at the Hill Country University Center, is the guest speaker.

Tickets for the banquet are $15 and can be purchased in advance at Allied Ag and Weinheimer and Son in Stonewall and at Stroeher and Olfers in Fredericksburg.

While advance ticket purchase is encouraged, tickets can also be purchased at the door before the event.

Any and all members of the community are invited to attend.

One of the highlights of the banquet will be the announcement of the recipients of the Outstanding Community Citizen Award and the Golden Service Award.


Homes, land, commercial sales up sharply in 2013

Home, land and commercial sales in the area showed a big jump in 2013, and show no signs of slowing down, according to numbers compiled by the Central Hill Country Board of Realtors.

Neal Reeh, broker for the Real Estate Advisory Team, said signs continue to point to positive real estate trends.

“Everything that I’m seeing and hearing is all positive. I think in our region, buyers seem to have a good attitude and seem optimistic about the future,” Reeh said.

“We’re a big retirement area, and as people have seen their investments gain value, that helps them gain confidence,” he said. “Those that had been putting their plans on hold have decided to move forward.”

Reeh said low interest rates have not spurred the market, as a high percentage of sales in the area have been cash sales.

He added that the area had more of a “pause” than a real estate “crash” as experienced in other parts of the nation.


Turquoise Topped at Gem and Mineral Show

ROCK-HORNS — Light blue and green gems and minerals adorn these two cow skulls, one of which had belonged to a longhorn. These were two of many items on display at last weekend’s 45th Annual Hill Country Gem and Mineral Show, held at the Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park Pioneer Pavilion, and sponsored by the Fredericksburg Rockhounds. The two-day event featured demonstrations and exhibits, and dealers were also on hand to sell jewelry and other wares made from gemstones, arrowheads, fossils, geodes and even meteorites. Learn more about the organization at — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

Pet rabies shots clinics to begin this weekend on January 25

The first in a series of clinics offering discount rabies vaccinations and other shots for pets will kick off this weekend in Gillespie County.

City of Fredericksburg

The start of back-to-back Saturday sessions in the City of Fredericksburg 2014 Rabies Vaccination Clinics is set this week on Jan. 25, while the second and final date will be the following Saturday, Feb. 1.

Pet owners are welcome to bring their “four-legged friends” to either clinic between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the City of Fredericksburg Consolidated Warehouse, 233 Friendship Lane (behind Fredericksburg High School.)

Administering the vaccines will be local veterinarians, Dr. Daniel Fritz of the Gillespie Animal Center and Dr. Curtis Eckhardt of the Fredericksburg Veterinary Hospital. They are sacrificing a portion of their normal fees so that local citizens can make sure their pets are protected.

Rabies shots will be $7 per animal for dogs and cats.


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