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Gonzales Inquirer

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What a year: 2008 news review part 2

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Posted: Monday, January 5, 2009 12:00 am

Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part series looking back at the year 2008. Dates listed at the publication days of the newspaper.

Editor's note: This is the second of a two-part series looking back at the year 2008. Dates listed at the publication days of the newspaper.

July 4

Marjorie Fairchild retired as the postmaster in Harwood. She started with the postal service in 1971 and became postmaster in 1990.

The first step in mapping out the future of the city of Gonzales took place with a presentation to the city council and zoning commission.

July 8

The historic museum in Gonzales is crumbling and will cost around $3 million to fix. That was the word given from an engineering expert who addressed the Gonzales City Council about the matter. The unique museum is one-of-a-kind in Texas and ties directly to the "First Shot," the Alamo and the eventual winning of Texas independence.

Nikki Maxwell joined The Gonzales Inquirer as managing editor. Maxwell came to Gonzales from Virginia, where she had been in the military working as a journalist for several years.

July 11

Officials formally announced that Bret Michaels would be the featured performer at the first Gonzales Thunder Rally, scheduled for October.

Gonzales City Councilman Russell Grant paid off a judgement against him for back taxes. Grant had earlier failed to appear in court about the matter but then paid the taxes in full.

July 15

Scott McNabb was named the new fire chief in Gonzales. McNabb has been a firefighter for 22 years.

July 18

The Gonzales Independent School District board of trustees voted unanimously to implement a dress code in the schools. Superintendent Vic Salazar said safety was the main reason for implementation of the dress code.

The United States Department of Justice issued a directive that a certain amount of election workers had to speak Spanish and be at the polls. County clerk Lee Riedel said she was "frustrated" with the directive, noting she has no control over the election locations.

Greg Sengelmann was hired to head the Gonzales Underground Water Conservation District.

July 22

Grass fires continue to plague the area and one large fire threatened a poultry hatchery on FM 1116. Officials continued to warn area residents about the high fire danger.

July 25

The future of the Lynn Theater in Gonzales was uncertain following a discussion by the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation board of directors. A foreclosure on the property was deemed as possible.

Johnson Oil Co., of Gonzales celebrated its 50th anniversary. In doing so, the company remodeled its flagship store, The Tote, in Gonzales.

July 29

Parents of students in the Gonzales school system began questioning the timing of the new dress code, many saying the board should have given more warning when it came to issuing the code. Many said they had already done their school clothes shopping and now they would be forced to go back and get different clothes.

Aug. 1

The new dress code brought out of town attention to Gonzales, including some national coverage about the purchase of jump suits by the district. Those jump suits are to be worn by the students if they are out of compliance with the dress code. Many national news organizations quickly picked up on the issue and it also became a hot topic of blogs all across the country.

The Texas Youth Rodeo Association finals got under way at J.B. Wells Arena in Gonzales. Hundreds of people were in town for the event.

Aug. 5

Human bones were found on the said of FM 466 near Cost. The bones appeared to be those of a female and officials believed it could have been an illegal alien who had died. The bones were found by a mower operator working in the area.

Aug. 8

County commissioners began looking at ways to cut their budget for the upcoming year. Each line item of each department was reviewed by commissioners.

Aug. 15

A large crowd of community members attended a meeting of the school board, pleading with members to do something about the dress code situation. Parents asked board members to reconsider the code and put the issue back on the table for public debate. The board did not agree to such an action. No board members spoke during the meeting.

The Lynn Theatre in Gonzales officially closed. A sign hanging on the theatre door indicated it was no longer in business. Foreclosure procedures were implemented by the Gonzales Economic Development Corporation.

Aug. 22

Joel Harris is the first-ever Gonzales High School graduate to attend West Point. The 2006 GHS grad is in his third year at the prestigious military academy.

Aug. 29

A state probation officer was accused of sexual misconduct with a client. Russell Springs was the subject of the investigation and he promptly retired from his post.

The Commissioners Court of Gonzales County did an about-face concerning salary increases. During a meeting, commissioners decided to give elected and appointed officials an 8 percent raise just like the other county employees. Previously, commissioners had voted to only give a 5 percent raise to elected and appointed officials.

Sept. 5

Gonzales High School senior Ashley Catchings received the trip of a lifetime thanks to the Gonzales Oddfellows lodge. Catchings was given a 10-day trip to the East Coast to visit some of the most historical sites in the nation. It was all part of the United Nations Pilgrimage program through the Sovereign Grand Lodge.

Sept. 12

Hurricane Ike became a major headline as the storm was making its way through the Gulf of Mexico. At one point, Gonzales was listed as in the patch of the storm. Local officials began bracing for the weather as well as the anticipate onslaught of people from the coast of Texas. Emergency shelter preparations were put into place.

The Wells Fargo bank in Smiley was robbed for the second time this year. Few details were released about the robbery.

Sept. 16

Gonzales County was spared by Hurricane Ike. In fact, not even any rain landed in the county. But many evacuees made their presence known as churches opened their doors to those from the coast. In Galveston, total devastation became world news and the island was slammed by the massive storm. Estimates locally indicated around 1,000 people were in Gonzales, evacuated from their homes.

Sept. 19

A Waelder restaurant was robbed, burned and three employees were threatened. Police said an assailant brandishing a weapon entered Ethan's Taco, stole money and then set the building on fire while three employees were inside.

The Gonzales Inquirer filed a formal complaint against Gonzales Independent School District with the Attorney General's Office. Violation of the state's open records law was the basis for the complaint.

Sept. 30

Little Keelie Ramirez was born weighing just 15 ounces when she was born 19 weeks premature. She was fighting for her life in a San Antonio hospital. By age two months, though, she was off life support and doing much better.

Oct. 3

The annual Gonzales Healthcare Systems gala was a rousing success this year, with "Dinner With the Captain," as the theme. More than $125,000 was raised during the gala, all of it going toward the Wellness Center.

Oct. 7

Gonzales once again celebrated with the annual "Come & Take It" festival. A carnival, car show, cook-off events, canoe races and much, much more was featured at the event, which drew thousands of visitors to the city.

Oct. 14

Crowds were small and many deemed the first Thunder Rally as anything but a success. The rock concert did take place, however, at J.B. Wells Park. Controversy erupted when it came to whether or not local police acted properly in not allowing "colors" to be worn by motorcycle riders.

The Ottine dam near Palmetto State Park broke, causing danger to canoers and others who use the river.

Oct. 17

Quality Chevrolet, a staple car dealer in Gonzales for year, abruptly closed its doors. The auto group, which had dealerships all across central Texas, apparently shut down because of difficult economic times. Employees at Quality in Gonzales did not know about the impending closure and found out when the arrived for work in the morning.

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples paid a visit to Gonzales Elementary School during National School Lunch Week. He urged all students to practice healthy eating habits.

Oct. 21

Live, professional theatre in Gonzales was announced by Crystal Theatre officials. A production of "The Glass Menagerie" was set for late October and early November.

Oct. 24

A political forum sponsored by The Gonzales Inquirer was held at the local VFW hall. Featured candidates were those running for constable in Precinct 3, county attorney and county sheriff.

A Gonzales man was shot in the back near an apartment complex on Sycamore Street. Police were unsure of the motive.

Oct. 28

A new 1900s wing was dedicated at Pioneer Village in Gonzales. The addition features a print shop as well as a school house, post office boxes and doctor's office.

Nov. 4

A gala to honor contributors to Norma's House was held at the home of Gonzales resident Connie Kacir. The event was attended by many local officials, including Heather Hollub, the county attorney-elect from Seguin.

Nov. 7

The November election finally came and went. Sheriff Glen Sachtleben retained his seat with a win over challenger Clay Allen. Paul Watkins was elected the new county attorney as he defeated Martin Clauder. Raleigh Measom won the Precinct 3 constable race by defeating challenger Pedro "J.R." Renya. On the national level, it was a historic election as Democrat Barack Obama became the nation's first African-American President-elect after defeating Republican John McCain.

The Gonzales City Council voted to demolish 40 structure in town which were deemed unsafe.

Warrants were sought for suspects in a shooting which took place from one vehicle to the next near Gonzales Elementary School. Police Chief Tim Crow said innocent lives were put in danger during the incident.

Nov. 14

Veterans were honored at the VFW with a ceremony and their annual lunch. City manager David Huseman spoke during the event.

Nov. 18

Prosperity Bank foreclosed on the Lynn Theatre, setting it up for public auction. Local businessman Dean Wyman had been working on a deal to purchase the theatre and said he would continue to pursue that effort despite the foreclosure.

Nov. 21

Danny Navarro, 18, of Gonzales, was arrested in the recent shooting incident near Gonzales Elementary. His brother, Damion Michael Navarro, 17, remained at large.

Nov. 25

The new Sleep Inn hotel in Gonzales officially opened for business. A flag-raising and ribbon-cutting ceremony were held and tours were provided to those who attended the event. The hotel has been in the works for more than a year and will greatly add to the room capacity in the area.

Dec. 5

The Gonzales City Council voted to demolish 19 homes instead of the 40 structures originally targeted.

Dec. 9

A local group of landowners reached an agreement to sell their underground water to San Jose Water, Inc. That group provides water in the Canyon Lake area. The agreement sparked major controversy in the county from those opposed to selling water to outside companies.

The city of Gonzales installed new four-way stops in part of the city, a move which has been called for by many local residents for years.

Dec. 12

Gonzales County officials implemented a burn ban, citing the extreme dry weather which has plagued the area for more than a year.

Dec. 19

Smiley Mayor Donnie Janicek said he is concerned about the future water supply for the town. Janicek said Smiley has been opposed to the sale of water to San Antonio Water System for many years.

Dec. 23

It was reported a four-year-old girl was injured while riding home on a school bus. Driver Sheila Hastings was accused by the family of slamming on the brakes resulting in the injury. Hastings was fired by the Gonzales Independent School District.

Dec. 26

The city of Nixon voted to end its law enforcement contract with the Gonzales County Sheriff's Office. The city is using the funds to build its own police force.

Officials with the Caterpillar company announced a new plant would be built in the Seguin area, creating 1,400 jobs in two years. The state of Texas helped the company by providing incentives to construct the plant.

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