ISSUE #5: New Representatives, New Charging Stations, & Advent

Gillespie County’s New Representatives

by Heath Bell

Now that the 2022 midterm elections are over, many governmental changes are expected to take place across the nation, including most notably that Republicans have thankfully retaken the House of Representatives. With the fate of the Senate still uncertain as incumbent Senator Raphael Warnock and Republican challenger Herschel Walker head to a runoff, attention is focused nationally, and on the 2024 Presidential election. Thus, it’s easy to overlook the changes that have occurred in our own state in 2022.

Gillespie County is in a unique position, being that all 3 state representative offices have changed this year. We’ll be giving a brief rundown of each of them.

We’ll start with our State Representative: with Kyle Biedermann stepping down after 6 years of service in the Texas House, the newly open seat was subject to a hotly contested primary. Former Austin City Councilwoman Ellen Troxclair and Austin police officer Justin Berry were the first to announce, with Nubia Devine and Perla Hopkins soon following. In the primaries, Devine won Gillespie County, but Troxclair and Berry advanced to the runoffs as the top 2 overall. In the May runoffs, Troxclair consolidated support among all counties in the district, winning nomination. Finally, in November, Troxclair received 72% of the vote, winning the seat. You can find footage of our runoff forum here.

The big focus of the Troxclair campaign was property taxes, an issue across the Hill Country, but certainly most relevant here in Gillespie County. On the Austin City Council, Ellen succeeded in introducing a homestead exemption, and being known as a budget watchdog and reformer. She has already introduced a bill to apply 90% of the $27 billion state budget surplus to buy down Texas school tax, cutting it by half. In addition, she has filed another bill to remove the obscenity exemption, a huge issue throughout this year.

We congratulate Ellen on her great victory, and look forward to her actions in the Texas House!

Next, with State Senator Dawn Buckingham stepping down to run for Land Commissioner, our State Senate seat was left open. Unlike our State House seat, this race was much less spicy. However, even though both candidates who made it into the runoff had a border-focused campaign, the race was still contested. In the end, Trump-endorsed Pete Flores won the nomination against Lt. Col. Raul Reyes, and went on to win in November with 67% of the vote. You can find footage of our runoff forum here.

A strong ally of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, we expect that Flores will work with Patrick and the Abbott administration to accomplish our priorities during the next session; given the Governor has now officially declared an invasion, we’re confident things are going in the right direction, especially with the border issue. Congratulations Senator Flores!

Last but not least, we are now represented by a Republican in State Board of Education District 10. Previously, we had been in District 5, which was an extremely close district. Some readers might recall the 2020 race, in which Democrat Rebecca Bell-Metereau barely won against Republican Lani Popp, who had huge grassroots support. The race was 48.9%-47.1%, with less than 20,000 votes separating the two candidates. Bell-Metereau was no doubt thankful for the almost 40,000 Libertarian voters in the race.

Luckily, in 2022, we were moved into District 10, which has been represented by Tom Maynard for 10 years as of January. Some may recall Maynard attending our County Convention in March; he was in the process of introducing himself to many counties who had been moved into the district. This came after he had just won the primary outright, with no opposition. After destroying both his Democratic and Libertarian opposition by almost 50,000 votes in 2020, neither party opted to nominate a candidate to face Maynard again; he went on to win in November unopposed.

We’re thankful to be represented by a Republican while facing the myriad of issues in our own county’s education system, and we’re hopeful that during the next session, Maynard will help to stop the increasing perversion of our school system.

More Plugs?

by Amy Heimann

The City of Fredericksburg and Gillespie County may be collaborating on a new project as elected officials have expressed plans to install a new electric car charging station (or two) in the downtown area. The 100 block of West San Antonio Street just behind the gazebo is the intended destination for the proposed new station. It is unknown who will be responsible for installation and upkeep, but the proceeds are to be split between the city and county. The tourist-revenue-driven thinking is evidently to bring in a more diverse crowd of spenders to the area. But do we not already have an e-car charging station? Yes, we do. Over a dozen of them, actually.

The City of FBG currently owns a two-port station at 206 W Austin Street in front of the current Girl Scouts cabin. Installed at least six years ago now, users can choose a 20-minute, hour-long, two-hour, or four-hour charge for less than $9. Interestingly, the station does not operate like metered parking; users must download a third-party Liberty Hydra app to their smartphones and create an account with Liberty Plugins in order to operate. This is at least the second company to run payment processing, as the earlier Mobile Now closed its business a few years ago. Online reviews of the Austin Street stations are not wholly favorable. Cites like PlugShare and ChargeHub (which run similarly to GasBuddy) show negative comments and reported problems with the station since 2017. Based on reviews, faulty charging ports may have been fixed sometime in 2019, but they were again causing issues earlier this year. One attempted user in February of 2022 posted that payment was taken, but electrons were not given in exchange. A November 2022 user claimed to have “waited over 3 hrs. Charged 1%.” It is an accepted fact that the #2 station is currently non-operational.

So, the city council believes adding a station two streets away sounds like a grand idea. Why fix what is broken when you can just add more parts? Especially since cars are often lined up for blocks on end waiting their turn to charge batteries. Oh, wait. I meant to say that in the six years the station has been on Austin Street, I have only seen a vehicle parked in front once.

Besides, electric vehicle owners have surprisingly many options for where to juice up their engines. A quick internet search reveals charging stations at Alexander Vineyards, Barons Creek Vineyards, Beethoven Villa, Boot Ranch, Garrison Brothers Distillery, Grape Creek Vineyard, Hoffman Haus, Kalasi Cellars, Rose Hill Retreat, Sugarberry Inn, Torre di Pietra Winery, the Vine at Middle Creek, and William Chris Vineyard. Electric car owners can charge for free at these destinations, provided they are customers or guests of the host business. Pecan Grove Store also boasts a charging station, as does Albert Dancehall. Even electric TxDOT vehicles (if any exist) are covered by the local transportation department facility at 1623 E Main Street.

Do we really need another station on San Antonio Street? Will the revenue offset the cost to taxpayers for installation and maintenance? Will it be of any benefit to residents? Or will it stand there collecting dust? Will it limit already scarce downtown parking? Will it be a depreciating ‘investment’? Has city council answered these questions?

As a tangential jab to the eco-minded drivers and industry, it is interesting to trace the origin of the electric energy that powers vehicles. The City of FBG buys its electricity from the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA). The LCRA owns six plants, two of which are coal and the remaining four are gas. It would appear, therefore, that electric vehicles are powered by non-renewable energy, at least here in Fredericksburg. What about the Highland Lakes dams, you ask? In the words of the energy provider: “Though once a significant portion of LCRA’s generation portfolio, hydroelectric generation now is only used as a byproduct of river management or during a power emergency.” In defense of the LCRA, they have purchased renewable energy from solar projects in Borden County and wind power from Culberson County, but those amounts seem to be rather negligible, if not experimental.

Also, This:

California, Vermont, & Michigan added Right to Abortion to their State Constitutions in the recent November elections. Seventeen more states could place similar measures on their ballots in 2024. Shockingly, Montana voters declined to pass a motion declaring that abortion-surviving babies will be provided medical care.

New Zealand Supreme Court Rules Voting Age as Discriminatory. Current age discrimination laws protect citizens beginning at age 16, but the legal voting age is 18. New Zealand lawmakers need a 75% majority vote to change the minimum voting age for the country. The liberal Labour and Green Parties support a change, but conservative party leaders will likely prevent the motion to pass next year.

Chinese Government Dissuade Protests by Arrests, University Shutdowns. Two universities in Beijing and Shanghai have sent their campus population home early in attempt to quell anti-COVID-lockdown protests. Police have also arrested or detained citizens following the most wide-spread demonstration against the government in China since Tiananmen Square. At least 50 of the arrested citizens were attending a vigil for those killed in a recent fire—common belief is COVID lockdown measures prevented exiting the burning building through the fire escape and potentially kept firefighters from responding to the scene.

Disney 0-2 for pro-LGBT movies this year. Recent Thanksgiving release “Strange World”, which features a homosexual sub-plot, earned less than $24 million in its first five days in theater. With a production cost of over $180 million, the movie is set to be an official flop. This comes after the newest “Toy Story” installment “Lightyear” bombed at the box office in June, showing that conservative and religious parents are not buying Disney’s woke agenda.

Mark Your Calendars

December 1st & 22nd, 7p: Hill Top Café hosts country music artist David Lee, known for writing hit songs including “19 Something” (recorded by Mark Wills), “I Need You” (recorded by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill), “Letters From Home” (recorded by John Michael Montgomery), & “Roll With It” (recorded by Easton Corbin). December 2nd: Holy Ghost Lutheran begins annual Nativity display; Light the Night Christmas Parade at 6:30p; “A Sanders Family Christmas” opens at the Playhouse 2000 Theater. December 2nd & 3rd: Hunt Community Fine Art Market 10a-4p. December 3rd: Living history demonstrations at Fort Martin Scott. December 3rd & 4th: Singing Christmas Tree (Der Singende Weihnachtbaum) at the Pioneer Museum 6:30pm. December 7th: Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day program at the Nimitz Museum 12:55p; The Classical Ballet School presents “An Arcadia Holiday” 6p. December 9th: “Miracle on 34th Street” opens at the Fredericksburg Theater Company; Bethany Lutheran hosts drive-thru Christmas Journey 6-8p. December 10th: Gingerbread House Decorating at the Butt-Holdsworth Library 12:30p & 2:30p; A Cowboy Christmas with Michael Martin Murphey at the Cailloux Theater 7:30p. December 11th: ABBA Tribute Christmas show at the Rockbox Theater 3p. December 16th-18th: Trade Days open. December 17th: Friends of Gillespie County Country Schools hosts annual bake sale 8:30a-2:30p; Gillespie County Airport to host caroling and cookies for over one thousand visitors at the Santa Fly-In 1-3p. December 17th & 18th: Knights of Columbus hosts blood drive at St Mary’s. December 18th: LBJ Park Annual Christmas Tree Lighting 5:30p. December 26th: Zweite Weihnachten at the historical society 2-5p. December 31st: New Year’s Countdown at Marktplatz 4p-12a; USO annual dance at the Hanger Hotel 7-11p.

Book Review

There is a dearth in the book world when it comes to Christmas legends. Selections such as The Legends of Christmas Treasury, Christmas Legends to Remember, and The Great Big Book of Christmas Legends are the most common finds, yet each work only contains three stories apiece. Far more remarkable is Christmas Ornament Legends, which details the origin and meaning of various glass-blown tree ornaments. While an interesting quick read for collectors, this book is rather limited in scope for the general populace and children in particular. Bronner’s® distributes an Ornament Legends, Symbols & Traditions book, but this volume is not specific to Christmas. To find a variety of Christmas legends, one sadly ends up reading from websites rather than the physical pages of a book.

Perhaps an aspiring author could rise to the holiday occasion. Sections can include the fairly well-known legends, like that of the poinsettia or tabby cat, and symbols, like the rooster and the cardinal. It can elaborate on the creation of the first Candy Cane and name the theologian credited with being the first to decorate an indoor Christmas tree. It can recite the fairytales of the Russian Babushka and the Austrian tinsel-spinning spiders. It can debunk the theory that the Christmas pickle (Weihnachtsgurke) is a German tradition and not a product of the American Civil War. It can even explain why the stork is widely considered the symbol of newborn infants. Has your interest been peaked? Happy reading!

Die Deutsche Ecke

Acht Tage–eight days Alle Welt–all the world Aus Galiläa–from Galilee Beschneiden–circumcise Des Herrn–of the Lord Die Menge–crowd/multitude Ehre–glory Ein Gebot–a command Erden–earth Ersten–first Friede–peace Fürchteten sich–were afraid Gebar/geboren–bore/born Gehen nach–go to(ward) Gesagt–said Große Freude–great joy Heißt/genannt–named Herzen–heart Heute–today Himmel –heaven Jeder–each Kind–child Lobten–praise Mutterlieb–womb Raum–room Schwanger–pregnant Sehen/gesehen–see/saw Siehe–behold Stadt–city Untereinander–with another Volk/Menschen–people Weibe–wife Welcher–which Wickelte–wrapped Wort–word/message Wunderten–wondered/marveled Zeichen –sign Zeit–time

Es behab sich aber zu der Zeit, daß ein Gebot von dem Kaiser Augustus ausging, daß alle Welt geschätzt würde. 2Und diese Schätzung war die allererste und geschah zur Zeit, da Quirinius Statthalter in Syrien war. 3Und jedermann ging, daß er sich schätzen ließe, ein jeder in seine Stadt. 4Da machte sich auf auch Josef aus Galiläa, aus der Stadt Nazareth, in das jüdische Land zur Stadt Davids, die da heißt Bethlehem, weil er aus dem Hause und Geshclechte Davids war, 5damit er sich schätzen ließe mit Maria, seinem vertrauten Weibe, die war schwanger.

6Und als sie dort waren, kam die Zeit, daß sie gebären sollte. 7Und sie gebar ihren ersten Sohn und wickelte ihn in Windeln und legte ihn in eine Krippe; denn sie hatten sonst keinen Raum in der Herberge.

8Und es waren Hirten in derselben Gegend auf dem Felde bei den Hürden, die hüteten des Nachts ihre Herde. 9Und der Engel des Herrn trat zu ihnen, und die Klarheit des Herrn leuchtete um sie; und sie fürchteten sich sehr. 10Und der Engel sprach zu ihnen, “Fürchtet euch nicht! Siehe, ich verkündige euch große Freude, die allem Volk widerfahren wird— 11denn euch ist heute der Heiland geboren, welcher ist Christus, der Herr, in der Stadt Davids. 12Und das habt zum Zeichen, ihr werdet finden das Kind in Windeln gewickelt und in einer Krippe liegen.” 13Und alsbald war da bei dem Engel die Menge der himmlischen Heerscharen, die lobten Gott und sprachen, 14“Ehre sei Gott in der Höhe und Friede auf Erden bei den Menschen seines Wohlgefallens.”

15Und als die Engel von ihnen gen Himmel fuhren, sprachen die Hirten untereinander, “Laßt uns nun gehen nach Bethlehem und die Geschichte sehen, die da geschehen ist, die uns der Herr kundgetan hat.” 16Und sie kamen eilend und fanden beide, Maria und Josef, dazu das Kind in der Krippe liegen. 17Als sie es aber gesehen hatten, breiteten sie das Wort aus, das zu ihnen von diesem Kinde gesagt war. 18Und alle, vor die es kam, wunderten sich über das, was ihnen die Hirten gesagt hatten. 19Maria aber behielt alle diese Worte und bewegte sie in ihrem Herzen.

20Und die Hirten kehrten wieder um, priesen und lobten Gott für alles, was sie gehört und gesehen hatten, wie denn zu ihnen gesagt war.

21Und als acht Tage um waren und man das Kind beschneiden mußte, gab man ihm den Namen Jesus, wie er genannt war von dem Engel, ehe er im Mutterleib empfangen war.

Lukas 2,1-21

The Good News

Guest Column by Pastor Cody Carnett, Fredericksburg Christian Fellowship

Throughout church history, some believing as far back as the fourth century, the Christian
Church has celebrated a season of Advent. The way in which the season is to be celebrated
has never been precisely defined, but in recent years the time to celebrate the Advent season
begins the first Sunday following Thanksgiving and ending the Sunday preceding Christmas
Day. But what is Advent and is it helpful for Christians today?

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German Lutheran pastor during WWII. He was imprisoned for almost
2 years during the regime of Nazi Germany and spent much his jail time writing to believers
outside his confinement. The following quote from Pr. Bonhoeffer is helpful as we consider the
season of Advent:

“A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes – and is completely dependent on the fact that the

door of freedom has to be opened from the outside, is not a bad picture of Advent.”

Hope. Anticipation. Expected arrival. All these words and descriptions are accurate to the
season of Advent. A time where we refresh or rekindle our hope by considering the coming of
Jesus Christ. Advent is a time of preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the
Chosen Savior of mankind. One must take note that Advent is a season that prepares us for
the birth of our Savior and less a season of celebrating the birth of our Savior. That is an
important distinction. Many are confused when they hear about Advent, as they presume it is
the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus, but that is not so, because Jesus has already been
born. Advent is a season of expectation about the arrival of Jesus Christ for the second time!
Jesus Christ already came, over 2000 years ago, and fulfilled His heavenly mission of dying on
a Roman cross to take the wrath of God reserved for sinners and rising from the grave to
eternally defeat the power of sin and death. Jesus Christ has already come as a baby. The
season of Advent isn’t to celebrate the arrival of Jesus as a baby, but rather to prepare for His
return as a King by recognizing that He came as a baby.

Thus, Advent helps us celebrate Christmas! In fact, the ability one has to observe Advent is
because of Christmas. The truth that Jesus Christ humbled Himself and took on the flesh of
His creation is the sure and certain foundation of which our hope in His second coming is built.
Christians need hope and we have hope because Jesus came, died and now lives and has
promised to return. But our hope can grow weak as we wait for Him to free us from the prison
cell of a life under the curse of sin. The season of Advent is when a smoldering hope can be
fanned aflame. That is, to be reminded, for a few weeks, that Jesus is coming back to make all
wrongs right. That Jesus is coming back to take His children into eternal bliss, where tears and
terrors can never again reside. The Advent season escalates the joy of Christmas to a height of
which decorations, presents and pumpkin spice lattes can’t compare. The Advent season
reminds us that Jesus is coming back again, because He came once already on that dark and
dusty Christmas morning.

How is your hope during this Christmas season? As young and aspiring political advocates and
future leaders, you must consistently and intentionally align your hope with the One who
oversees all the affairs of world leaders and controls how long they will be in power. If your
hope is in an election cycle, prospective candidate, or political policy, the season of Christmas
will struggle to be one of rejoicing for you. Take some time these next few weeks and open the
Bible to strengthen your hope that Jesus is coming back again soon. Study the birth of Jesus
Christ, but do so with His return in mind. To do so will have your Advent season be a helpful
time of hopeful preparation and celebration. Merry Christmas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *