Lockhart Post Register (Newspaper) - December 13, 2012, Lockhart, Texas By Kathi Bliss
Editor/ POST- REGISTER
It was business as usual during a marathon meeting
of the Caldwell County Commissioners Court on
Monday, as the Commissioners caught up on routine
business, held a questionable executive session, and
reversed a decision they made not more than a month
The heavily padded agenda may have been required
because the Court opted not to hold their last
regular meeting in November because of the Thanksgiving
holiday, and because they will have only one
more regular meeting this year. Whatever the reason,
the 25- item agenda ran well into the afternoon, despite
a prompt 9 a. m. start to the meeting.
The gallery was asked to wait for more than an
hour while the Commissioners discussed behind
closed doors the notion of installing GPS equipment
in certain non- law- enforcement vehicles belonging to
the County. During public comments, the Commissioners
were accused of wanting to install the equipment
in an effort to “ spy” on some County employees.
The Court did not answer those allegations, but offered
no real explanation as to the need for secrecy
after the executive session was complete.
After the agenda was published last week, this
newspaper filed a formal complaint with Caldwell
County District Attorney Trey Hicks, attempting to
block the executive session, which was slated referencing
Section 551.076 of the Texas Government Code,
which allows an elected body to meet behind closed
doors to discuss the deployment of security personnel
or devices. By press time, Hicks had not offered
an official response to that complaint, but was not
present at the meeting and apparently took no steps to
keep the executive session from happening.
When the Court reconvened, the Commissioners
voted to deploy GPS equipment, on a trial basis, in
County vehicles. They did not specify which vehicles
would receive the equipment, but suggested the GPS
equipment would be installed for two- week trial periods
in some vehicles, before being moved to other
vehicles. The action, Commissioners said, was to determine
whether the use of the GPS equipment would
be effective and useful for county employees. The
equipment, they said, would protect the County from
liability in the use of the vehicles, and could safeguard
employees as they travel in rural parts of Caldwell
There was also extensive discussion to reverse a decision
made by the Court last month in regards to the
employees’ retirement fund.
Retirement funds, which are currently invested
with the Texas County and District Retirement System
( TCDRS) took a hit in 2008 when stock market activities
created a significant loss, leaving the County’s
fund $ 740,000 short of being completely vested.
Though TCDRS has taken steps to adjust those funds,
including changing the rate at which investments are
calculated, the Court voted last month to set $ 740,000
aside in a Certificate of Deposit to cancel the “ liability”
on the books.
In what appears to be coming a habit for the Commissioners
Court, one of the Commissioners did additional
research after a vote was taken, and asked the
Court to reconsider the decision made last month.
Over the objections of Judge Tom Bonn and against
the recommendations of the Caldwell County Auditor
and the county’s investment committee, the Court
voted 4- 1 to cancel the purchase of the certificates of
deposit, and invest the funds with TCDRS.
In other business, the Court heard an update on the
county’s Feral Hog Bounty Program, which has been
more successful and gleaned more attention than
Texas Watershed Protection Program representative
Nick Dornak expected when he introduced the notion
Dornak said the program, which offers a $ 2 per tail
C OMMISSIONER B IDS
F AREWELL T O C OMMUNITY
S EE L ETTERS , P AGE 4A
Volume 140, Number 50
( USPS 317- 200)
www. post- register. com
Thursday, Dec. 12, 2012
22 pages, 2 sections
O N E E
D O L L L LAR
The Post- Register can be recycled
at locations across Caldwell
County, including collection
points at most LISD schools.
G O G REEN !
W EEKEND W EATHER ... F RIDAY : S HOWERS 71/ 60 S ATURDAY : C LOUDY 75/ 50 S UNDAY : P T . C LOUDY 72/ 47
A ROUND T OWN
- The Lockhart Post- Register will
be publishing a special “ Christmas
Greetings” issue , and sending Letters
to Santa on behalf of the children of the
community. If your child would like to
have his or her letter or drawing delivered
to Santa Claus with his copy of the
Post- Register on Dec. 20, 2012, please
drop the letter in Santa’s Mailbox outside
the office at 111 S. Church St., in
Lockhart, before 5 p. m. on Friday, Dec.
- The Caldwell County Transportation
Plan Advisory Committee will
hold a meeting at the First Lockhart
Baptist Church on Thursday, Dec. 13,
from 6 - 7: 30 p. m. The committee will
be discussing evaluation criteria and
ranking for potential projects.
- Please join us at VFW Post 8927,
7007 S Hwy 183, Lockhart, as Boy
Scout Troop 115 conducts a Flag Retirement
Ceremony on Saturday, Dec.
15, beginning at 4 p. m. The community
is invited to bring any US flags that are
frayed, worn and faded for proper retirement
and observe the ceremony.
This ceremony provides an explanation
of, the etiquette related to destroying a
worn US flag as the flags are retired.
- At 6: 20 p. m. on Saturday, Dec.
22, Santa Claus will make one last
stop to the Lytton Springs Store via
fire truck to hear all the children's lastminute
Christmas wishes. There will be
music and treats for the kids. Photos
with Santa will be provided for a small
fee. This is our third year of the Lytton
Springs Christmas Celebration.
- The Texas Extension Education
Clubs in Caldwell County will hold
their bi- monthly food distribution on
Wednesday, Dec. 19. New clients must
bring proper I. D. and a document with a
physical address proving they are residents
of Caldwell County.
The food will be distributed in the following
Lockhart: W. B. Clark Community
Center, 809 Redwood Circle, 10 a. m.-
Luling: Central Baptist Church
Recreation Center, 10 a. m. - noon.
Martindale: Martindale City Hall,
Main Street, 1 p. m.
Prairie Lea: Tri- Community Civic
Center, 11: 30 a. m. - 1: 30 p. m.
Distribution is held six times a year,
always on the third Wednesday of February,
April, June, August, October and
The Texas Extension Education Association-
Caldwell County does not discriminate
in regard to race, color, sex,
disability, religion, age or national origin.
Call Clara Smith at ( 830) 875- 9429
L IONS S TRUGGLE AS
D ISTRICT P LAY N EARS
S EE S PORTS , P AGE 1B
By Kathi Bliss
Editor/ POST- REGISTER
Bella Mercado is just like any other third grader.
Fidgety and full of life, she is more interested in talking
her parents into another visit to Austin’s Park and
Pizza and talking about the toys she won there then
she is in explaining the award she received during her
Bella would rather give her counselor a hug and
show off her blue “ HUGS” bracelet than explain how
a 9- year- old from Lockhart became Texas’ top individual
fundraiser for the St. Jude’s Give Thanks Walk
held on Nov. 17.
Because Bella has no idea she’s done anything special.
The only thing she knows for sure is that she saw
a way to help other kids, and she thought she should
Last year, the toddler son of one of Sarah Mercado’s
college friends was diagnosed with an inoperable
brain tumor nestled deep inside his brain. Little
Carter’s parents, insistent upon using every option
available to them to wage the war on their son’s disease,
sought treatment for the toddler at St. Jude’s.
When she heard about little Carter, though she’d
never met him and likely never would, Bella knew
she had to do something to help.
“[ St. Jude’s needs] to make money to help other
kids,” she said during a brief interview last week. “ So,
that’s what I did.”
With her parents’ help, Bella learned about the St.
Jude’s Give Thanks Walk, and decided to put together
Why give so much? Why not?
Lockhart youth tops state fundraising for St. Jude’s
Photo courtesy of Sarah Mercado
Bella Mercado, 9, ( center, holding sign) united her friends, her family and her community for a common purpose
this year, and was named the state’s top individual fundraiser for the St. Jude Give Thanks Walk on
Nov. 17. Asked why she decided to give up her birthday presents and raise money for the research hospital,
the Clear Fork Elementary third grader asked, “ Why wouldn’t I?”
S EE B ELLA 7A
S EE C OMMISSIONERS 6A
Marathon meeting ‘ business as usual’ for Commissioners