Office of Special Council Closes Case Against Inks Dam National Fish Hatchery

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on Tuesday, Nov. 14, closed a case over allegations of health and safety violations at a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fish hatchery at Inks Lake near Burnet.

Concerns brought forward by a whistleblower, who chose to remain anonymous, generally were substantiated by a Department of the Interior Office of the Inspector General investigation initiated by OSC’s referral.

The case resulted in a department-wide memo reiterating the importance of safety and training when using chemicals and pesticides and a separate asbestos abatement investigation.

“I am encouraged by the agency’s continued focus on the remediation of asbestos-containing materials and, most importantly, the health of its employees,” Special Counsel Henry J. Kerner wrote to President Trump of the Department of the Interior’s review of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service concerns.


Williams touts Jump Start America plan

From left, state Rep. Terry Wilson, Burnet County Judge James Oakley, Congressman Roger Williams, state Sen. Dawn Buckingham, Burnet County Republican Party chairman Donna Wilcox and Burnet County Sheriff Calvin Boyd attended the Monthly Leadership meeting, hosted by Oakley.





By Jenn Robison

Burnet Bulletin

Congressman Roger Williams told Burnet County elected officials Thursday, Aug. 17, he wants to see Congress enact tax reform that would help their constituents where they need it most — by putting money back in their pockets.

Williams met with Burnet County elected officials at the Highlander restaurant in Burnet to discuss several important issues.

“We've got the highest tax rate in the world and we wonder why jobs leave here, people leave here and they don't come back and so forth,” Williams said. “It's because were not competitive at all.

“The greatest asset we have is not America, it's Americans. It's Main Street America; it's moms and dads, it's grandpas and grandmas. People that go to work like us everyday, trying to get their kids to school, trying to make that car payment, trying to make that house payment and it is tough, so we've got to get competitive.”


Buckingham praises Senate work during first two months

By Lew K. Cohn

Managing Editor The Highlander


State Rep. Terry Wilson briefs locals on Legislature

State Rep. Terry Wilson (R-Granite Shoals) recently met with local constituents Craig Magerkurth, Wade Whiteside, Frank Reilly, Brandon Ross and Mike Hall over coffee to provide an update on the 85th Texas Legislature. Wilson took office on Jan. 10 and represents District 20, covering Burnet, Milam, and part of Williamson counties. Rep. Wilson discussed his staff hires for his capitol and district offices, noting that he has brought on two seasoned legislative staffers, Jeff Frazier, his chief of staff, and Michele Samuelson, his district director. Wilson also explained the constitutional and Texas House Rules that govern the movement of legislation, adding that because of those rules, the House sees very little floor action in the first 60 days of the session. He has been spending his time learning procedures, studying issues and legislation, and meeting with constituents.


Tensions run high as PEC investigates merit of complaint filed against Oakley

By Frank Shubert

Bulletin Publisher

At a meeting held Wednesday by the Complaint Committee established by the Pedernales Electric Cooperative (PEC) on November 30, tensions ran high and continued Thursday regarding a complaint filed against board member James Oakley. The executive session  that followed PEC member comments was ended when Complaint Committee member and director Kathryn Scanlon left the proceedings. They continued on Thursday.

The Complaint Committee, which included Scanlon, board president Emily Pataki and director Paul Graf, was joined by general council Don Ballard and special council Don Richards. The committee was charged with investigating a complaint filed by PEC board member Cristi Clement against Oakley.


Court-ordered voter options announced

Court-ordered voter options announced

By Glynis Crawford Smith

Highland Lakes Newspapers



Burnet County Elections Administrator Doug Ferguson has issued a statement dated today, Aug. 31, outlining court ordered changes in voter identification rules for Texas voters in the Nov. 8 election.

“My office is working to make sure all the voters in Burnet County are ready to cast a ballot,” said Ferguson in preface. “These new options for voters who cannot obtain a photo ID are currently in place and will be used in the November Election.”

Texas voter identification law is not a new debate and new changes have had a long road coming.

The law that had taken effect in 2011 was struck down in court and placed on hold in October 2014.


County lowers 2017 tax rate by 1.4 percent



Burnet County Commissioners Court officially decreased the ad valorem tax rate for the second fiscal year in a row.

Commissioners Court met on Tuesday, Aug. 23 and approved an effective tax rate for the 2017 fiscal year that is a 1.4 percent reduction compared to last year's rate.

Burnet County Judge James Oakley said the new rate, which is .3969 per $100 valuation, will amount to a $369.90 tax per year for a property valued at $100,000. For those residents whose property values didn't rise this year, the new tax will represent a 1.4 percent reduction in their county taxes.

The lower effective rate is the “culmination of rising property values in the county,” Oakley said. “It would have been a lot lower this year, but we had a lot more seniors qualify for the tax freeze.”


Election Day is Tomorrow

Texas and Highland Lakes voters have their last chance to vote for the Democratic and Republican nominations during the election on May 24.

The election will finalize the nominations for the Nov. 8 general election.

The only Burnet County Democratic runoff is for the Texas Railroad Commissioner between Grady Yarbrough and Cody Garret.

While Republicans have various local and state races which they are able to cast their ballots for.

GOP side, the runoff races are:

• Railroad commissioner — Gary Gates and Wayne Christian

• Place 2 Court of Criminal Appeals judge — Ray Wheless and Mary Lou Keel

• Place 5 Court of Criminal Appeals judge — Scott Walker and Brent Webster

• District 24 state senator — Dawn Buckingham and Susan King

• Burnet County Precinct 1 commissioner — Sam Cox and Jim Luther Jr.

• Burnet County Precinct 1 justice of the peace — Michael Horton and Roxanne Nelson


Laudenschlager, Lester, Thurman elected in Burnet


With three positions up for grabs on Burnet City Council during the May 7 election Joyce Laudenschlager will remain on the council after receiving the most votes during the election.

Danny Lester coming in 202 votes will take his new position on the council and Phillip Thurman will retain his position on City Council after coming in with the third most votes of 189, beating out candidate Paul Shell who received 167 votes.

“I will work to bring the term ‘WE’ back to our city council, all the votes and decisions I make will be for all the citizens of Burnet,” said Lester after the final votes.

“I will be conservative yet I will be very progressive to bring new ideas to the council and businesses to our city,

“Lastly, I would like to thank the voters of Burnet for their confidence in me and I promise I will not let you down,” said Lester.


Bertram Council Candidates

Kim Klose

Kim Klose declined the opportunity to answer the Burnet Bulletin Q&A


Adam Warden

Q: What is the next step Bertram needs to continue to properly manage growth and development within city limits?

A: I believe we need to take a more in depth look at our zoning practices to insure Bertram remains presentable to road and train traffic.

Q: Do you think the city is doing a good job walking the line between accountability to neighbors and individual rights?

A: Bertram has done a good job walking that line, I believe it could be polished and shined but overall a good job.

Q:  What, if any, programs or facilities would you like to see the city implement in the next five years?


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