Top 10 most-viewed Highland Lakes stories of 2016

We’ve seen a wide range of stories in the Highland Lakes in 2016. New businesses and developments were a popular topic this year. With that, transportation issues also were addressed.

Stories about crime and law enforcement are always widely read, too.

We took a look back at stories posted to DailyTrib.com this year and ranked them by webpage views from Jan. 1 to Dec. 26. Below, in order, are the most-viewed stories of 2016.

10. Marble Falls man faces charges after children receive tattoos

Marble Falls police arrested John Michael Vincent Castillo on two counts of violation of tattoo/body piercing regulations for giving tattoos without the proper state license. He was booked into the Burnet County Jail on Sept. 14 and was held on a total of $6,000 in bonds.

The arrest came after two mothers notified the police in July that their children returned home with tattoos. Neither mothers gave permission for the body art, though one youth’s father allegedly did.

9. Authorities bust marijuana grow operation in Round Mountain

The Blanco County Sheriff’s Office seized 54 marijuana plants March 10 on a Round Mountain property. Joseph William Beck, 53, of Round Mountain faces charges of felony possession of marijuana (more than five pounds); felony possession of a controlled substance (suspected methamphetamines); and a misdemeanor terroristic threat.

8. Two dead in back-to-back crashes on Texas 71 near Spicewood

Two Marble Falls residents died in back-to-back crashes Nov. 28 on Texas 71 involving two cars as well as a semi-truck attempting to avoid the initial collision, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The wrecks were reported at about 8:20 a.m. near the intersection of Fall Creek Estates Drive in Blanco County on a small section of highway between Burnet and Travis counties, authorities reported.

7. Sunrise Beach man arrested after police chase, faces felony drug charge

An early morning chase July 10 with a suspect eventually led police to a Sunrise Beach residence where they discovered what was believed to be 40 grams of methamphetamine. The investigation also netted five people, including the initial suspect.

According to Sunrise Beach Police Department officials, officer Ruben Saucedo stopped a man at about 1 a.m. who was walking near Overstreet in the village. The officer obtained the man’s driver’s license and identified the individual as Matthew Moss. After he gave Moss his license back, the suspect fled into a heavily wooded area.

6. New Mexico police charge two in Marble Falls graduate’s death

On May 4, New Mexico State Police charged Albert Gene Hunsaker III, 32, with the murder of 1998 Marble Falls High School graduate Naomi Chaney. He is one of two men authorities have implicated in the 36-year-old woman’s death. But investigators have not found her body as of May 10.

Friends reported Chaney missing as of Feb. 1, and nothing has surfaced from her since that date. An April 29 murder in California of another woman from an area in Taos County known as the Mesa actually turned investigators’ attention to Hunsaker and his alleged accomplice in Chaney’s disappearance.

Imperial County (California) investigators arrested Clayton Vincent Jones, 40, within minutes of him allegedly shooting to death Shalon Lee Gheen, 39, in Slab City, an off-the-grid community outside Niland. Authorities said Jones and the woman were arguing, according to witnesses, when Jones allegedly shot and killed Gheen.

5. Marble Falls student arrested for threats against teacher and high school

Authorities charged a Marble Falls High School sophomore for allegedly threatening to stab a teacher and burn down the school.

Marble Falls police arrested Preston Harlow, 17, on May 12 after his mother brought the threats to the attention of school officials.

4. Garrett Ballard guilty in 2014 murders, receives life sentence

A Burnet County jury on Dec. 12 convicted Garrett Ballard, 23, of capital murder of multiple persons in the 2014 killings of Elijah Benson, 17, and Travis Fox, 26.

Burnet County District Attorney Wiley “Sonny” McAfee did not seek the death penalty in the case; thus, under Texas law, Ballard will get a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

3. Mother and child die in 4-vehicle collision north of Burnet

A mother and child died after a four-vehicle collision Sept. 3  on U.S. 281 north of the Burnet city limits.

The driver of the Ford Expedition, 26-year-old Roselee Rodriguez, and the passenger, 6-year-old West Adair Jr., both of Fort Hood, were pronounced dead at the scene. Another child passenger was transported to Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin. READ UPDATE HERE

2. Drag boat racer in ICU after incident at Marble Falls LakeFest

Scott Lumbert, 35, driving Spirit of Texas in the top fuel hydro division, was in his final pass at about 3:30 p.m. Aug. 14 during LakeFest on Lake Marble Falls when his boat caught fire and there was an explosion.

1. Marble Falls unveils timing of Chick-fil-A, Burger King and more projects

Marble Falls leaders released a state-of-the-city report in August featuring the city’s financial health, projects and business prospects. The report stated a Chick-fil-A, proposed in the 2100 block of U.S. 281, is expected to break ground in the early part of 2017, while Burger King officials are considering the southwest corner of U.S. 281 and RR 1431. READ UPDATE HERE

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