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Recent history
Wednesday, March 10, 2010 • Posted March 10, 2010

A couple of months back, I covered the first half of 1985 – just 25 years ago. I don’t think I could call anything much more recent than that “history,” but this week I’m going to cover the second half of that year. (Actually, my January 6 column ended with a story from August 29, so I’m going to start this with The Llano News from September 5, 1985.)

The top story that week told of Gordon Hefner’s nomination for the Ladybird Johnson Award. Back then, he was the “Highway Department Maintenance Construction Foreman,” in charge of beautifying 225 miles of Llano County highways through the use of strategic planting, seeding, mowing and pruning techniques.

The temperature had been at or above 100 degrees each of the first four days of September, and rainfall was definitely below average (less than 16 inches year-to-date on September 4). The Protect Lakes Buchanan and Inks Association had a new logo, and President Bob Root was seeking new members. Ronnie Horton and Richard Jackson of Llano were the winners at Brady’s World Championship Barbecue Goat Cook-Off, and the Llano Yellow Jackets were getting ready to play a highly-rated Mason Cowpunchers football team.

About thirty local “fashion models,” coached by Diane Oatman, held a very successful show at the Badu House. Leslie Shelley was opening a new grocery store near Fuzzy’s Corner in Buchanan Dam, and Poor Boy Super Markets (705 Bessemer) was advertising the “best prices in Llano County.” The First Llano Bank, Llano National Bank and People’s Savings and Loan combined to ask readers to “Drive Safely – School’s Open,” and sponsors of an ad wishing the Yellow Jackets good luck included: First Federal Savings, Abby’s Kitchen, Jim Inks Real Estate, the Gingerbread House, Birk’s Broken Arrow Western Wear and Western Auto (owned by Jim and Pat Winn). Miiller’s Meats (formerly Llano Frozen Lockers) advertised its Grand Opening.

Llano lost that first game to Mason 22-6, but the Yellow Jackets came back to beat the San Saba Armadillos the next week, 21-6. Mike Virdell was writing sports stories for The Llano News. Jamie Sheppard killed a five-foot, six-inch rattlesnake about seven miles east of Llano, and about 45 Llano County ranchers attended a field day at the Fay Miller Ranch in Pontotoc. The Llano city council was shocked by an insurance bill that went from $12,000 in 1984 to more than $29,000 in 1985. John Landon was mayor at the time; George Rogers was city manager. The Llano Independent School District set its tax rate at .589 per $100 valuation.

Houses for sale at Trading Post Real Estate ranged in price from $27,000 to $83,000. Brad Bradley advertised a brand-new 3BR-2BA home in Parkview Acres for $54,500. Virdell Real Estate offered a one-bedroom duplex to rent for $150 per month, and a two-bedroom house that rented for $225 per month. A 5-acre lot in Rio Llano was offered for $12,500.

The year-long Texas Sesquicentennial Party was scheduled to begin September 28, 1985, and Llano was preparing. Forty-five organizations were planning to participate in a day-long fair that day on the courthouse lawn. Coach James Saucier was honored for his 101 victories over 18 years at Llano Junior High. Sandy King opened her Sandy’s Hair Designs next door to the Holtzer House. A new addition was built on to the Kingsland Baptist Church.

A dozen beauties were nominated for Homecoming Queen. They were: Natalie Chamblee, Julie Brewer, Jerri Sue Murchison, Amy Foster, Shelby Rossberg, Melissa Merket, Allyson Altimore, Laurie Findley, Traci Osbourn, Jana Seals, Mona Evers and Misty Oates. Erik Aagaard received his Eagle Scout badge.

An editorial October 23 lamented terrible earthquakes in Mexico City. Therese Chamblee took over as manager at the Llano Chamber of Commerce, and Llano beat Blanco 34-18. Jim Ed Overstreet was the offensive hero for the Yellow Jackets.

A black-powder shoot and wild game cook-off were held October 12 at Robinson Park. Dwight Baker won best overall Black Powder Shooter, Marc Miller and Les Inman won the Wild Game Cook-Off, and Bozo Hoskins won the archery contest. Mona Evers was named Homecoming Queen; Llano beat Comanche 14-13. Fifteen airplanes stopped at Llano Airport as part of the 37th All Texas Air Tour.

County commissioners approved funding for a handicapped-access ramp at the courthouse, and hired architect Bob Story to proceed with plans for an elevator to the second floor. The Yellow Jackets beat Burnet 22-18; stars were: Heath Miller, Thane Appell, John Lilley and Chris Mayben. The Texas Association of Buckskinners held a meeting at the Reynold Schorlemmer ranch. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas were named custodians of the Red Top Jail.

Leroy Birk killed two rattlesnakes with a shovel on his Prairie Mountain ranch in November. One was 54 inches long; the other was 55 inches. A series of articles described a group of approximately 20 bald eagles which had been discovered six years earlier wintering on the north end of Lake Buchanan; naturalist Charles Tischner and cruise operator Ed Low started a fund to pay for studies into the migration habits and diet of these endangered American symbols.

Just before Christmas in 1985, the famous German-American Restaurant in Buchanan Dam was gutted by fire. The Llano Chamber of Commerce planned a Christmas Market on the Square. Local attorney Lawrence Bruhl was named to the Austin Lawyers’ Care “Roll of Honor.” The last few pages of the December 25 issue were filled with “Letters to Santa,” written by kids from Llano Elementary School. Quite a few of the boys (including several whose names I recognize) wanted a “Teddy Ruxpin.” If I ever knew what that was, I’ve long since forgotten; that was 25 years ago.

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