Highland Lakes stories of impact from 2019

RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland

Construction on the new RM 2900 bridge in Kingsland neared its end in the spring of 2019. The bridge opened in May. The old structure was washed away in October 2018 by historic flooding. Staff photo

The Highland Lakes experienced many big events in 2019, including a new bridge reconnecting communities and a new city taking on the state in order to stay a municipality. As we enter a new year and decade, here is a look back at some of the most impactful stories of 2019.

RM 2900 BRIDGE REBUILT

RM 2900 bridge
Vehicles cross over the new RM 2900 bridge after it was opened to traffic in May. Staff photo

In October 2018, floodwaters destroyed the RM 2900 bridge over the Llano River in Kingsland, severing a major thoroughfare as well as cutting off communities on the north and south sides of the river, which forms Lake LBJ. But federal, state, and local officials came together, and, in 220 days, a new bridge spanned the waterway.

ZEBRA MUSSELS INFEST LAKES

Zebra mussels in Lake Marble Falls
Boaters are asked to take steps in curbing the spread of the invasive zebra mussel by cleaning, draining, and drying their watercraft after taking them out of Lake Marble Falls. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and Lower Colorado River Authority officials announced December 12, 2019, that the lake is infested with zebra mussels. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

The Highland Lakes became home to some unwanted residents in 2019. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Lower Colorado River Authority confirmed that lakes LBJ and Marble Falls are infested with the invasive zebra mussels.

BURNET OFFICER INDICTED FOR MURDER

A former Burnet Police Department patrol sergeant faces first-degree murder and aggravated assault by a public servant charges in the shooting death of 25-year-old Brandon Michael Jacque. On March 27, officers responded to a report of loud music in the 300 block of South McNeil Street. At some point, a vehicle ran over the officer’s foot, and the officer, identified as Russell Butler, fired at the car, killing Jacque. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton
A former Burnet Police Department patrol sergeant faces first-degree murder and aggravated assault by a public servant charges in the shooting death of 25-year-old Brandon Michael Jacque. On March 27, officers responded to a report of loud music in the 300 block of South McNeil Street. At some point, a vehicle ran over the officer’s foot, and the officer, identified as Russell Butler, fired at the car, killing Jacque. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

In March, a Burnet police officer responding to a call about loud music shot and killed a 25-year-old driver after the man ran over the officer’s left foot with a vehicle. Following an investigation into the shooting, a Burnet County grand jury indicted the officer for murder in April. According to court records, the case is still working its way through the legal system.

DOUBLE HORN V. STATE OF TEXAS

Double Horn, Texas
The city of Double Horn is located north of Texas 71 in the Spicewood area. File photo

A Goliath took aim at the city of Double Horn, challenging its reasoning and ability to incorporate. After residents voted to incorporate the Double Horn subdivision in December 2018, the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed a lawsuit on March 1 claiming the new city did not meet the requirements. The lawsuit went before a judge, who kicked it out, only for it to be resurrected by an appeals court. In the November election, residents reaffirmed their desire to keep Double Horn a city.

LAKESIDE PARK RENOVATIONS

Lakeside Park
Renovations at Lakeside Park in Marble Falls include a beach. Staff photo

The city of Marble Falls closed Lakeside Park as it tackled a multimillion-dollar upgrade, including adding a beach. It also meant closing the public pool for the summer. Fortunately, Lakeside Park reopened for Walkway of Lights in November.

SPARK OF LIFE

Inks Lake State Park
Morning glories peek through brush killed by an August 2018 wildfire at Inks Lake State Park. The park has seen a resurgence of life in the year after the fire. Staff photo by David Bean

Inks Lake State Park also underwent a major transformation, but it wasn’t planned. In August 2018, a wildfire burned through 600 acres of the park, leaving behind a huge scar. Officials decided to let nature run its course, and, by the spring and summer of 2019, life had resurged in the burned portion of the park.

BCISD BOND FAILS

Bonds are a major source of funding for school districts, especially for major capital projects. In November, Burnet Consolidated Independent School District officials asked voters to approve a $33.1 million bond. The voters, however, said no by 152 votes. District officials said that, despite the outcome, BCISD’s needs haven’t gone away.

LADY DAWGS MAKE HISTORY

The Burnet High School girls basketball team received bronze medals from the Class 4A state tournament after the Lady Dawgs lost 49-44 to Sour Lake's Hardin-Jefferson High School on March 1 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Ludecke Photography
The Burnet High School girls basketball team received bronze medals from the Class 4A state tournament after the Lady Dawgs lost 49-44 to Sour Lake’s Hardin-Jefferson High School on March 1 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Photo by Martelle Luedecke/Ludecke Photography

The Burnet High School girls basketball team advanced to the University Interscholastic League state tournament for the first time. The squad beat a district rival in the playoffs, paving its way to state. However, the Lady Dawgs lost in the state semifinals.

GOLD FOR GOGGANS

A Marble Falls High School runner kept everyone’s hearts beating as she raced to the UIL state track-and-field meet in May. Then-sophomore Bailey Goggans captured double gold at the meet with victories in the 800 meters and the 400 meters. She even set a new Class 5A state record in the 800-meter race.

THE PICAYUNE MAGAZINE

As the Highland Lakes underwent several transformations, so did one of its beloved publications: The Picayune. For almost 28 years, Victory Media published The Picayune newspaper every week. But, after much work and planning, the family-owned company shifted The Picayune into a monthly magazine in February 2019.

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