ISSUE #1: RPT Recap, Luckenbach Dispute, & Drought Troubles

Texas Republican Convention Recap: Strongest Platform Yet

by Heath Bell

Gillespie County sent a full slate of 20 delegates to the Republican Party of Texas’ convention in June, a more significant feat than you might think. Other larger counties seated nearby were allotted almost 100 possible delegates, yet struggled to field half that number. What this means is that throughout the whole convention, Gillespie was able to punch with its whole weight, an impressive feat which says a lot about our community.

Adding to our county’s level of involvement, Gillespie Delegate Matt Long served as the entire Senate District 24’s representation to the Rules Committee. Some of the greatest accomplishments of this convention came from the Rules Committee, and Matt’s hard work was no doubt instrumental in its success.

The Rules Committee successfully implemented a complete removal of all references to the Texas Election Code in how the Republican Party conducts their own primary elections. This opens the door to changing how the primaries are run, as one of the biggest grassroots efforts at the convention was the push for closed primary elections. This would require a person to “register” as a Republican to vote in the primaries, unlike now. In the current system, a Democrat can easily vote in a Republican primary, potentially electing those who do not align with Republican values to office as a Republican.

Speaking of which, in one of the most reported on events of the convention, delegates were outspoken against Senator John Cornyn for his actions pushing red flag laws. During the Senator’s 20-minute-long speech, he attempted to energize the crowd by condemning the left’s desire to take guns; this backfired tremendously. Every time Cornyn mentioned the Second Amendment, the delegates became increasingly enraged. The tension in the room was palpable as 20 minutes of boos were given over the 20-minute speech, the delegates responding in turn at the end of every sentence. When the Senator briefly addressed the need to elect new leadership, they responded in kind: “Like Cornyn!”

As for new leadership, the Republican Party of Texas now has a new Vice Chair, with Cat Parks retiring from the position. The 3 candidates for the position were: Alma Perez Jackson (previous Vice Chair), Adrienne Peña-Garza (Chair of the Hidalgo County GOP), and Dr. Dana Myers (Vice Chair of the Harris County GOP). In the end, Dr. Myers won the race, and presently serves as the new Vice Chair of the RPT. In a complete mirror image of the Vice Chair race, the RPT Chair race ended with Matt Rinaldi being re-elected with no opposition. In addition, SD-24 SREC Committeeman Andrew Eller and Committeewoman Mary Jane Avery were both re-elected.

After the elected officers and SREC representatives, the delegates also voted on the new Legislative Priorities, and every plank for the new Platform. The new Top 8 Priorities are ranked in order as follows: Protect our Elections, Secure the Border and Protect Texans, Ban Gender Modification of Children, Stop Sexualizing Texas Kids, Ban Democrat Committee Chairs, Abolish Abortion in Texas, Defend Our Gun Rights, and Support Parental Rights and Educational Freedom. Delegates chose their Top 8 priorities out of a list provided by the Priorities Committee, who provided their Top 15. Notably, not one member of the committee ranked Election Integrity, the number 1 ranked priority, below 3. Issues that did not make the Top 8 list include Eliminating Property Tax, Banning Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying, and Protecting Women’s Sports.

While delegates could only choose 8 Priorities, the new Platform contains 274 Planks outlining exactly what the Republican Party of Texas calls for and believes. While it is worth giving the whole platform a read, it notably includes repealing the 16th Amendment (ending federal income tax), making English the official language of the United States, repealing the 1965 VRA (which mandates race-based districts), banning sex education in schools, and opposing the validation of transgenderism. Safe to say, this is the strongest platform to have come out of the Republican Party of Texas in years.

Finally, in one of the most newsworthy events, the convention passed a resolution declaring the 2020 election to have not been legitimately won by Joe Biden. To some, this statement may seem like a given, or that it lacks intrinsic purpose. However, recall that in late 2020 and early 2021, almost all Republican elected officials and media figures either explicitly denied or were silent on election integrity. Now, in mid-2022, the frontrunners in the Republican primary in numerous states are calling for decertification of the election, the media is forced to talk about the issue, and here in Texas, it has become the top Legislative Priority of the Republican Party. Do not underestimate the grassroots.

RPT Legislative Priorities for 2022 can be found here.
New RPT Platform for 2022 can be found here.

The Fight for a Name

by Amy Heimann

If you have not checked out the calendar of events lately on Luckenbach Texas’ website, then you are probably not aware that Luckenbach is in the middle of a legal battle. Intrigued by the vague site page announcing the endangerment of music mecca Luckenbach by a mega-developer, accompanied by an online petition sign-up and a new hashtag, I scoured the site looking for the culprit. Unable to truly find out what was going on, I took the only reasonable course of action given the circumstances: I drove out to the famous general store for a cold beer.

It was triple digits outside under the afternoon sun, but even half an hour before the pickers circle began, there were already dozens of folks about enjoying the inherent appeal of the place. It’s a laid-back, magical, off-the-beaten-track, picnic-tables-under-the-oak-trees and good-people-surrounding-you kind of place. And owner Becky Patterson (daughter of Hondo Crouch) and son want it to be the kind of place that you will find if you need a break from the wide world to be somebody. Therein lies the scare of a developer.

While meandering the grounds of Luckenbach, I entered into lively conversation with Miss Katy and Miss Meredith, two lovely gals working behind the old store counter, both of whom are natives to the area. They filled me in on the details. Turns out, I already knew about the megacorporation coming in and making a mess of things. Driving between Fredericksburg and Stonewall, it is hard to miss the gigantic signs announcing the forth-coming “Luckenbach Road Distillery.” This proposed 28,000 foot distillery started in 2017 under the ownership of Frontier Spirits LLC (who also own Pura Vida Tequila) and had their first whiskey tasting in 2019. The development is set to open next year. Besides a distillery, the site is also claimed to have in mind a heck of a lot more concrete poured in the form of an “adult-only” hotel, live music venue, recording studio, helipads, shopping-mall-sized parking lot, a Salt Lick BBQ, and a Harley Davidson store.

Frontier Spirits originally contacted Patterson to see whether she wanted to be in partnership with the then-called “Luckenbach Distillery” and she said “no”, she did not want the living memory of Hondo’s Luckenbach to be associated with such things. And oh by the way, you can’t name your distillery after my property. So Frontier added a “Road” to their name and went about with their plans.

The fear for Luckenbach lovers and employees is that when visitors new to the Hill Country drive in on Hwy 290, they will see the distillery signs and think that is the famous Luckenbach of the Willie and Waylon song. They will turn into the concrete metropolis and either be mightily disappointed at not finding the “population 3” sign, or worse, will assume the “center of the universe” is a commercialism-centered money taker. This concern is valid, considering the new development will advertise a focus on music.

Luckenbach Texas proper is currently going through the court process to prohibit Frontier Spirits from coopting their name. In the meantime, you can go to the general store or website and put your name and contact on their petition and send in your personal story of enjoying Luckenbach as it’s meant to be. Reading through the stories others have shared will surely put a smile on your face. Live music fans are also encouraged to post memories of Luckenbach Texas with the new hashtag @LongLiveLuckenbach. The goal is to show the Houston-based LLC that “bluebonnets and peach orchards hold higher value than asphalt jungles and cash registers.”

Frontier Spirits Company, “About Us”, Linkedin.
“Frontier Spirits LLC” Texas Company Directory
 “Misson.” Luckenbach Texas, INC.
Rice, Chantel. “Texas Spirits Maker Enters New Frontier with Hill Country Whiskey Distillery.” Culture Map San Antonio, 21 February 2022

Who’s in Town? – Woman’s Innovation Network

by Amy Heimann

Woman’s Innovation Network (WIN) is a fairly new organization to the hill country. Founded in the fall of 2021, this group meets every second Tuesday evening of the month at various local business locations, ranging from the Barn at Swallows Eve to Dankworth Drygoods to Windmill Meadow Farm. The goal is to bring entrepreneur women in the Fredericksburg area together for learning and support, says WIN spokesperson Amy Tucker. Each month’s meeting usually begins with a guest speaker, continues with an engaging activity among the sharing of food, and ends with time for socializing and networking. Tucker states that each gathering is intentionally planned to be “as meaningful as possible while also fun and social.” Being a business owner is not a requisite for attending the events; however, most members come to attain knowledge and inspiration for addressing challenges within their career fields as well as to build up their professional network.

The August meeting will be Tuesday the 9th at Sage Restaurant from 6-8:00pm. Any ladies interested in attending are encouraged to either follow the group on Instagram @WIN.FBG or reach out through [email protected], as some events need an RSVP or a payment from attendees to cover food and materials. Additionally, WIN often encourages participants to bring a specified item for donation to local charities, including the Hill Country Needs Council and the Mom Center. If you are a business woman in Fredericksburg looking for a supportive and fun network, WIN may be a good opportunity for you to check out.

No Flow Rios

by Amy Heimann

Take a survey of Texans on a long hot summer day on what activity they would like to do, and a bulk of responses will be either getting in or getting on the water. Lakes are a common destination for weekend travel for those with a boat, but most folk are content with an afternoon of floating the river. Indeed, certain parts of the state are famous for good inner tubing, such as San Marcos- ever the reason for poor grades on the Texas State University campus- and the Frio- made a Texas staple by the county chart topper “My Texas” by Josh Abbot Band and Pat Green. If you are checking off a Lone Star State bucket list, you may find yourself heading down to Concan for just this reason. But you will be disappointed.

Concan, Texas, about 17 miles south of Leakey, sits on the Frio River and is well-known for hosting its annual Rio Frio Fest every spring as well as a steady stream of visitors looking to dip their toes in the water. For the past two months, however, a steady stream is exactly what Concan is lacking. On June 21, customers of the Concan Water Supply Corporation (CWSC) received a notice of immediate water restrictions, citing “extreme drought conditions” and wells that “are struggling severely”. Under penalty of fines, customers are prohibited from any outdoor water use (exemptions for livestock) and more than one quick shower per day. The CWSC board also made the decision to shut off water between 12am and 6am daily. This notice coincides with the US Geological Survey (USGS) report that the Frio measured 0.0 cubic feet per second that Wednesday. Essentially, the river stopped running.

Normally, the Frio runs between 50 and 60 cubic feet a second, but due to lasting drought conditions, the discharge was 0 from June 21 through July 2. Some rainfall did occur in early July totaling 3.23”, hence the river flow went up to 5.5 cubic feet/second July 5, but then gradually fell back down to 0. Concan remains in emergency level drought response, defined by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) as “could be out of water in 45 days or less”. Concan WSC puts Uvalde County on the TCEQ list of public water services limiting water use, joining over 190 other counties. This list includes parts of Gillespie County, which were added in 2011, although not at an emergency level.

The Frio is not the only Rio running near zero flow. The Rio Grande hit the 0 mark on April 28 near Santa Elena Canyon. Granted, stretches of the Rio Grande have run dry off and on for the past 40 years, but the stretches are getting longer and more frequent and visitors to the Big Bend area are noticing. An estimated 100 miles of the natural boarder between Mexico and Texas are either dry or stagnant.

Will this happen to the Pedernales? According to the USGS it already has, although the standstill does not seem as shocking to locals since the 37 year average discharge has only been about 10 cubic feet/second. The National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) claims that the first five months of 2022 make the 3rd driest year to date for Gillespie County in the past 128 years. For your own sake, please limit daily water consumption and encourage your friends and neighbors to do the same. We don’t want to truck water in from another town. And pray for rain.

Baddour, Dylan. “Big Shock in Big Bend.” Texas Observer, 29 June 2022
Board of Directors, CWSC. “Customer Notice of Water Rationing.” Concan Water Supply, 21 June 2022
“Conditions for Fredericksburg, TX.” National Integrated Drought Information System
“Concan Past Weather.” Local Conditions
“List of Texas PWSs Limiting Water Use to Avoid Shortages.” Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
“USGS 08152900 Pedernales Rv nr Fredericksburg, TX” USGS
 “USGS 08195000 Frio Rv at Concan, TX.” USGS

Die Deutsche Ecke

Wilkommen! In dieser Artikelserie, will ich etwas stadtbezogen Deutsch lehren versuchen.Wenn Sie schon verstehen, was ich geschrieben hat, dann herzlichen Glückwunsch! Sie brauchen “Die Deutsche Ecke” nicht und können viellicht meine Fehler auf hinweisen. But for the rest of y’all, let us begin.

If I asked you what, besides the Nimitz Hotel, is the most iconic structure in Fredericksburg, what would you answer? If you said something along the lines of “the octagonal building on Marktplatz that is a replica of the one built by German settlers in the mid-1800s and is currently a museum” then we are so far on the same page. Now say the name of it out loud. Hm-mm. Having lived in Gillespie County since I was wee little, I’ve come to find there are three groups of people. 1) Those who know how to pronounce V-e-r-e-i-n-s K-i-r-c-h-e correctly. 2) Those who think they know how to pronounce it and fail. 3) Those who have no clue how to pronounce it and will readily admit as much.

Repeat after me: dee  fehr ‘EYEns  ‘keer sheh. Now say it again while I wait.

That last syllable in some dialects is also pronounced with a soft “k” sound, as in “Bach.” If you still need help (and there is no native Texas-German speaker within earshot all too happy to correct you), then you have my permission to jump on the internet and look it up. Die Vereins Kirche translates to “the association’s church” and is an important part of our treasured heritage and culture.

Hausaufgaben: Make it a goal to include “Vereins Kirche” in your speech this week. Our community was built around this beloved structure, so value it!

Also, This:

Israel Dissolves Government. Again. Israeli parliament has voted to dissolve December 2018, May 2019, December 2020, and most recently in June 2022 due to stalemates in the legislature and the inability of any political party to win a majority of seats. On November 1 of this year, citizens will head to their fifth national election in just four years.

Japanese Supreme Court Denies Legality to Same-Sex ‘Marriages’. The nation’s high court recently upheld their country’s constitution, which defines marriage as a mutual consent between both sexes. The constitution also prohibits a woman from sharing her parental rights with another woman or a man sharing his parental rights with another man.

Over 40,000 Farmers Protest Emission Restrictions in Netherlands. The Dutch government is aiming for a 50% decrease in certain “greenhouse gases” by 2030 for the sake of the European Union. The new rules, which may force farmers to reduce their livestock herds and curtail tractor usage, have prompted those in the nation’s agricultural field to dump milk out on the ground (reminiscent of the US Great Depression) and create traffic stalls with tractors on highways and in The Hague. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands seems unrelenting. “Not all farmers can continue their business,” he says.

The Good News

Guest Column by Pastor Garrett Buvinghausen, Resurrection Lutheran Church

The overturning of the horrific ruling of Roe v. Wade by the Supreme Court is one that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. For forty-nine years the murder of more than 63 million children in the womb (and in many cases, out of the womb) had been illegitimately justified by our federal government, and there was no reason to think that we wouldn’t continue on to fifty, seventy-five, or one hundred years before the madness would be halted. The end of Roe means that civil authorities can no longer shrug at the practice of abortion claiming it to be “out of their hands,” but now have no excuse when it comes to securing the right to life when their constituency demands it. Evil must be hindered for the sake of good and this is one of the roles of civil authority (Romans 13:3-5). Thanks be to God Almighty that this major step in the right direction has been made. It’s not perfect, but it’s a start; the Supreme Court’s ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson has given each individual state the right to determine the legality of abortion, which gives the advocates of life smaller, more manageable battles to fight.

Even with this major victory, we must acknowledge the reality of what we are dealing with so that we can move forward with precision. When a child has been killed by abortion it is more than just murder; there is a wave of sinful effect that undulates outward from the mother, to the father of that child, to the extended family, to the community, and to society. There is untold spiritual, psychological, and physical damage done to those who have been deceived in such abhorrent behavior. We could take the time to unravel every little piece and find ourselves with even more to unravel or we could cut right to the heart of the issue.

The underlying problem that abortion and its adherents present is a spiritual one. St. Paul writes in Ephesians 6 that, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (v. 12 NKJV). Anyone who supports abortion in any form or fashion is demonically and diabolically deceived. They may say that they are for “women’s rights” or “reproductive rights” or some other feeble justification, but in the end, they are for the murder of blameless children who are made in the image of God. The justification offered in support for abortion can be nothing other than a lie, and all lies come from the father of lies: Satan. Christ Himself said that Satan, “was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it” (John 8:44 NKJV).

“…in abortion a child is sacrificed in order to appease the demons who demand the blood of the blameless so that the desires of the sinful flesh could be made manifest.”

Fallen, sinful man is given to worship the things he ought not. Any worship of a false god and the sacrifice made to them is truly a worship of demons (Deuteronomy 32:17). What makes our current situation of demon worship so tricky is that the false gods are veiled in the abstract. Sometimes the sacrifice of children by abortion is grotesque in that it is done for the sake of gaining or maintaining career, money, autonomy, vanity, pride, or the like. Other times it is truly tragic because the sacrifice is made out of fear from coercion of family, spouse, or friends. Either way, in abortion a child is sacrificed in order to appease the demons who demand the blood of the blameless so that the desires of the sinful flesh could be made manifest. This is no different from the ancient Israelites sacrificing their own children to Molech by passing them through the fire (Leviticus 18:21; 1 Kings 11:7) so that peace, prosperity or some other benefit might be granted them apart from, and in direct opposition to, worship of the One True God. Not only does God see worship of idols as abominable, but to sacrifice your children to a demonic idol meant that God would set His face against you and your family to cut you all off from eternal life (Leviticus 20:1-5).

With the severity of God’s judgement on the matter, how unloving would it be not to warn someone of taking this issue lightly?

The fifth commandment states “You shall not murder.” The depth of this commandment means that, “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body, but help and support him in every physical need” (Luther’s Small Catechism, I, 7-8). When you are not actively working by word or deed to help and support the helpless neighbor (pre-born child), or refuse to take a stance, it means that you are complicit in murder in the eyes of God. Indifference on these matters is to show hatred. We are all guilty on some level. This is how God’s Law works. No one is righteous, no not one (Romans 3:10-20). We all sin and fall short of the glory of God. We all need God’s grace shown in Jesus Christ’s blood shed on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Yet, this does not mean that we are barred from calling out lawlessness and flagrant, sinful behavior or the assent to such sins.

If being a sinner disqualifies you from speaking against sin for the sake of your neighbor, then we are all lost from the start. Thanks be to God this is not so! God’s Word tells of all the prophets and apostles who, while still sinners, preached against the sinfulness of their generation. We must remember that the prophets, the apostles, and those who follow in their train by faith, preach God’s divine Law not for the sake of leaving people in their sin, but with the hope that they would be convicted of their sin and repent of it (Romans 3:20-26).

No preacher of repentance was better than St. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ. He preached against those who would self-justify, and then pointed to the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (Matthew 3:7-12; John 1:29-34). With all that in mind, it is nothing short of divine providence that the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade was officially published on the day we celebrate the Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. How delightfully wonderful that such a ruling protecting the lives of unborn children was made on the day that the Church celebrates the birth of the one who would be instrumental in proclaiming the coming of Christ for the salvation of the world. It’s also worth noting that St. John the Baptist, filled with the Holy Spirit, leapt in the womb of his mother Elizabeth when he was in the presence of his unborn Savior (Luke 1:41-45). Scripture itself speaks of unborn children in stark contrast to those who would simply label them as “a clump of cells” or something else equally grotesque.

Let us now rejoice in the casting down of Roe, and at the same time let us pray for those who are still under the spell of the demons who spew forth false teaching at every turn. Pray that God would grant us the strength to endure the coming hardships that will arise when speaking His Word so that others would know the truth and be set free from their sin. Amid this hardship I pray that you would meditate on God’s Word found in passages of the Bible such as Philippians 4:8-9, Colossians 3:1-11, the book of Proverbs, and the like. Even dare to pray the psalms, especially Psalm 1, 27, and 109. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly in all wisdom, for this is the only guard against the evil one and his lies. It is the only way for people to know the absolute divine truth that will save them from demonic deceit of all stripes. Lord have mercy on us as we go forth speaking the truth in love. Amen.

1 Corinthians 2:1-2

Letter from the Editor

I’ll keep this as brief as I can: I have always been a truth-seeker, and thus I have also always been a truth-sayer. At this point in American history, telling the truth has become an act of rebellion in many regards. Thus, where there are heavy lies weighing down on this community, what is needed is a Fulcrum by which that weight can be lifted off. Our hope is that this publication can provide a refreshing break from the mockery and malice that many are used to in the local news scene, and so too do we hope to have your support as we continue our mission.


Heath Bell
President, GCYRs

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