Ronald “Ron” Joseph Hughan, age 58, of Devine, Texas passed away on Sunday, March 5, 2023 with his beloved wife, Darla Ray Monse Hughan. He was born in New Orleans, LA on September 12, 1964. Ron is preceded in death by his wife, Darla Ray Monse Hughan. He is survived by his sons, Nick Hughan and wife, Ashley, Kyle Hughan and wife, Ashley; daughter Alyssa Lynn Hughan; grandchildren, Dixie, Abby, Tayton, Delton, Briella, Ruston, and Amelia; and numerous extended family and lifelong friends. As a tribute to Ron, the family asks that you bring in your biker patches or pins to be displayed as a memorial. Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at 10:00 A.M. Primrose Funeral Services Chapel Devine, Texas with service to conclude at the funeral home. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to a charity of your choice. Anyone wishing to leave condolences, share memories, or sign the online guestbook may do so at www.primrosefuneralservices.com Arrangements are under the direction of Primrose Funeral Service, 303 W. College Ave., Devine, Texas 78016, (830) 663-4445.
Jerry Wayne Busby, 47, of Hondo, Texas, passed away on March 7, 2023, surround by his family. He was born in Fredericksburg, Texas to Doris Medd and Larry Busby on December 3, 1975. Jerry is survived by his daughter Kayla Brooke Busby and Grandson Kash of Hondo; his mother Dolores Medd of Devine, father Lawrence (Larry) and Rosetta Busby of Atascosa; Sister Virginia and Jack Meyers of Devine, Sister Beth Ann Howell of San Antonio; Nephew Randolph and Lauren Haass of Biry; Ethan and Heather Meyers of Poteet; Joey Meyers of Devine and Amber Brune of Devine. He has 5 great nephews and 1 great niece and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins whom he loved dearly. He was preceded in death by his grandparent Ray and Frances Wendell; Carl and Virginia Busby; Robert Medd and bonus brother Scott Muennink. We will be having a Celebration of Life on Saturday, March 18, at the Hondo Golf Course in Hondo, Texas at 4 in the afternoon. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the golf course (checks must be made to Kayla Busby in memo you may put Love Fund for Jerry Busby) or online at https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8SjgoJ3cYl.
James Dorval Beaty, age 72 of McKinney, Texas passed away on March 2, 2023. James was born in Ralls, Texas August 21, 1950 to Dorval and Virginia (Mae) Beaty. James grew up in Lorenzo, Texas where he graduated high school in 1968. He moved to Ft. Walton Beach, Florida and attended Okaloosa Walton Jr. College. James was preceded in death by his father and son, Christen. He was the oldest of eight brothers and sisters, Jerry, Julie, Jeana, Janet, Joann, Jalyn, and Jerel. He is survived by granddaughters Aurora and Ceci of Alaska. As an adolescent, James worked on the family farm where the irrigation ditch doubled as a swimming pool, played high school basketball, and had an infectious laughter that brought a lot of joy to those around him. While in Clearwater, Florida, James was a manager in the thriving hospitality industry and enjoyed boating with friends. Upon returning to Texas, he continued working in the hotel business and enjoyed spending quality time with family and friends. James’ final contribution was donating his remains to UT Southwestern Medical Center, where donations can be made in his name. A family graveside memorial service will be held at a later date.
Last Friday, March 10th was a busy day for deputies in Medina County. In one bazaar incident, a resident was unloading his vehicle and carrying things into his office when a vehicle thief hopped into the vehicle and took off. Thankfully, the owner wasn’t in the vehicle at the time of contact. Medina County Sheriff’s Office quickly pursued the suspect who led them on a chase well into Bexar County. Both suspects were captured and arrested. In another case, a deputy on duty noticed a suspicious vehicle and pursued it. This resulted in the discovery of two stolen Dodge Chargers, which were found at a home in Hunter’s Lake Subdivision near Natalia and the arrest of another suspect for vehicle theft. The vehicles had just been reported stolen the day prior out of San Antonio.
The Medina County Sheriff’s office received an alarming report of a person walking with a long rifle near the school in D’Hanis last Friday afternoon. A thorough investigation led to discovery of the suspect and one un-related arrest warrant for a stolen firearm at the same residence. Even though the suspect’s weapon turned out to be a bb/pellet gun, he applauded the quick action taken by school staff. “Everyone did just as they should,” Sheriff Randy Brown said after completing a thorough investigation. “The janitor saw a woman walking with a long rifle-like gun near the school and the school went into lockdown quickly as the principal contacted us. Our investigation led us to identifying the probable person and the gun.” “The gun turned out to be a long bb/pellet gun, but looks similar to an AR rifle,” Sheriff Brown said. “While there, we noticed there were other guns at the residence. We ended up executing a search warrant at the residence, which is owned by a man who is a convicted felon, and one of those firearms was reported stolen.” “The woman who was reported walking with the bb/pellet gun did not commit a crime, however, the man who owns the home will face charges for the stolen firearm in the home,” Sheriff Brown said. The woman told investigators she was just walking from one house to another.
By State Rep. Justin Holland Every year, Texas loses nearly 250,000 acres of land to development. Rural working lands that make up the wide-open spaces definitive of the Texas character are evaporating at an alarming rate. Not only are these lands meant to be enjoyed by Texans, but they work every day to provide the food we eat and the water we drink. I consider it our responsibility as Texans and custodians of this land to pass on a state where my great-great-grandchildren will be able to enjoy the Texas outdoors, parks, wildlife and nature. That’s why I am proud to introduce landmark legislation in the Texas House calling for the creation of the Texas Land and Water Conservation Fund. The fund is a once-in-a-generation opportunity afforded to us because of the excess in our state’s Rainy Day Fund. As my colleagues and I carefully consider important priorities like infrastructure investment, we must also make a meaningful and lasting investment in Texas lands and waters. Our state continues to attract new people and new industry. We are blessed to have weathered tough times and continue to be one of the nation’s strongest economies and attractive places to do business. Our economic success comes in part because of the unique lands that make up Texas. I truly believe that our land is our greatest asset, and it cannot be replicated once it is lost. We must take bold steps to preserve the landscape and culture that makes Texas a great place to live. Texas is home to 7 of the top 15 most rapidly growing cities in the country. Research also shows that 78% of Texas counties will not have sufficient parks in the coming decades. Texas needs additional parks, open spaces and natural habitats to preserve our quality of life, provide food and fiber and clean water, and to support the multibillion-dollar agricultural and outdoor recreation economy. The Texas Land and Water Conservation Fund would provide a significant, long-term state funding source for enhanced conservation efforts across the Lone Star State. The $2 billion investment can be dedicated as either a trust fund or an endowment. It would provide grants for projects that support, enhance and protect state and local parks and recreation areas, working agricultural lands, water resources, wildlife habitat areas, and more. The fund could support the acquisition of land to expand state parks. The bill provides base eligibility guidelines for funded projects and ensures that 50% of the funds go toward the conservation of agricultural lands, water resources and wildlife habitat, while the other 50% of the funds go toward state and local parks, wildlife management areas and other public access conservation projects. The legislation would also establish a governing board for the fund led by a representative from the General Land Office and including others from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and Texas Water Development Board. More than 50 of the state’s leading land and water conservation, agricultural, wildlife and sportsmen’s organizations have formed the Texas Land and Water Conservation Coalition to support this effort. These groups represent thousands of Texans from all walks of life, connected by a desire to protect Texas for the next generation. I am confident my fellow lawmakers will pass this important and historic measure and give Texas voters the opportunity to codify this investment with a constitutional amendment. We have a unique chance to fund meaningful land and water conservation that will echo for generations to come. Justin Holland is a state representative from Rockwall. He wrote this for The Dallas Morning News.
For the #FRC9311 Warhorse Robotics Team, this is their rookie year, competing in the FIRST In Texas District Qualifiers for the International FRC robotics competition. “The heart that these kids have and how they work together (and sometimes apart) to achieve the best engineered robot is so impressive,” said one parent. Last week, DHS Robotics went to Waco, and never before having been to a FRC, Warhorse Robotics finished 23 out of 41 teams. This past weekend they were in Belton. Working hard and working with 2 other teams to win alliances and move forward, these young students adapted and moved up the ranks. Of 76 qualification rounds, the team played in 12 rounds. They placed in the top 8 teams. The team went into the finals as an alliance leader before getting knocked out in round 3 of the Finals. With 3 more weeks of District Qualifying events happening across the state, the Warhorse Robotics team is just waiting to see if their score lands them in the top 80 out of 247 teams in the state. If so, Devine will compete at the FIT District Championships in Houston April 5th through the 8th. They received the “Rookie Inspiration” Award at this event, celebrating the team’s outstanding success in advancing respect and appreciation for engineering and engineers, both within their school, as well as in their community. On the team roster are: Jeremiah Cardenas, Brian Custodio, Hunter Erwin, Christian Esparza, Nathan Fuentes, Tommy Hinkle, Ted Hinkle, Eli James, Curtis Kuykendall, Ashley Mattke, Felix Mendoza, David Rendon, Ace Sosa, and Trinity Spurgers. Coach Jim Wilcox stated, “I am so proud of the way these kids can ‘adapt and overcome’. It’s something I try to teach to all my students, and it is especially gratifying to see it play out in the real world. The experience these kiddos get competing at this level is priceless. They improved exponentially from Week 1 in Waco to Week 2 in Belton. In Waco we were just trying to survive, then in Belton we were straight up competing. It was awesome to witness.” “I’d like to give a special shout out to my young Freshman Programmer, Brian Custodio. He came to me often saying, ‘Mr. Wilcox, we have a problem,’ but with a little push, he ALWAYS figured out a solution to the problem. His perseverance is inspiring….I want to thank Mr. Gonzalez for giving us the push and backing to make this tremendous endeavor happen. I also need to thank HEB for their generous grant, Keely Construction for donating their services to build parts that the kids designed.” If there is anyone else out in the community who wants to donate to this unique, people-building experience Devine Robotics would love to partner with you. More about it…. We worked on the robot for 7 weeks, going from Idea, to Concept, Design, Prototype, then the Final Product. The Robot weighs in at 92 lbs. The Robot is comprised of a driving base and a vertical raise-and-lower arm assembly with a pneumatic end-effector used to pick up and place the air-filled cube and cone game pieces. There is a 15 second autonomous period at the beginning of every match where the robot must go score points without human controls. The remaining 135 seconds is the “tele-op” period, where the kids have to drive and operate the robot to get game pieces and score points. The kids have to be in an alliance with 2 other schools/teams for every match, so they have to strategize and cooperate. This type of gameplay is something that FIRST has coined “coopertition”.
By Anton Riecher The Lytle City Council voted 4-0 Monday to approve a $771,147 engineering services contract for water system improvements estimated at more than $5.5 million. On a motion by District 5 Alderman Charles Cate, the council voted to hire TRC Engineering for the water improvement project including a 250,000 gallon elevated tank on the town’s south side, a 12-inch water line extending from Interstate 35 to Railroad Street and a new pump for the city’s booster station. Cate questioned whether an even larger elevated tank might be beneficial in the long run. “Coming back in 10 years from now if we have to build another elevated tank it’s probably going to be triple what it is right now,” Cate said. For full video coverage of the meeting visit the Devine News YouTube channel at youtu.be/0b6XaSzAXM0. Craig Bell, representing TRC, said he could prepare estimates on a larger tank for consideration at a future council meeting. The figures presented Monday were already updated from a presentation several years ago. “Costs aren’t going down, you’re right about that,” Bell told the council. Financing for the water improvements is covered under $8.5 million in certificates of obligation approved by the council last year. The elevated tank, to be located in the Rosewood Estates subdivision, will consist of a concrete pedestal supporting a steel bowl. More than 5,800 linear feet of new 12-inch PVC distribution pipe will replace existing six-line pipe as part of the city’s water main loop. “The longer we wait the more it is going to cost,” Cate said. “If we put this off and don’t pull the trigger in the next six months we are looking at spending even more next year.” In other action, on motion of District 4 Alderman Michael Rodriguez the council authorized city staff to move forward with a financial cost evaluation for an amendment to the Lytle Farms subdivision public improvement district calling for a substantial increase to $20 million over the next 30 years. A PID is created under the state’s local government code to provide specific types of improvements or maintenance such as landscaping, sidewalk construction, roads, security, street lighting and water facilities. The Lytle Farms subdivision will consist of nearly 200 homes of which 99 will be duplexes. Also related to Lytle Farms, the council scheduled a workshop for 6:30 p.m. March 21 on establishing a consistent policy on providing street lights. The workshop comes after the council voted 3-2 in February to take no action on a request by Lytle Farms that the city take responsibility for the monthly electricity to power 14 street lights. City Administrator Matthew Dear reported a favorable reception from Texas Department of Transportation officials regarding two sidewalk projects proposed by the city. He said TxDOT is looking for “turnkey projects” without a lot of engineering involved. One project calls for sidewalks along Main Street near the city hall and post office. Dear said TxDOT recommended extending the project even further to reach Somerset Street with a six-foot-wide sidewalk on one side and a 10-foot-wide pathway on the other. That project might well qualify for 100 percent funding by the federal government, TxDOT told Dear. The second sidewalk project would extend from McDonald Street to city hall with pedestrian bridges across Interstate 35. TxDOT objected to the pedestrian bridges, Dear said, and recommended amending the project to eliminate sidewalks already included in the frontage street improvements underway. With regard to the I35 frontage road project, Mayor Ruben Gonzalez said that TxDOT is nearly two weeks behind schedule with the northbound road being opened to two-way traffic still needing curbs and sidewalks. He promised a complete update at the next council meeting. District 3 Alderman David Emery was absent from the Monday night meeting.
The Annual Natalia Bluebonnet Festival and Parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 25, 2023. The festival begins with the vendors opening at 9 am, then the parade at 11 a.m. through downtown Natalia. Afterwards we move to the festival grounds for the festivities, to include food trucks/booths, craft/vendor booths, music and activities for the kids. Don’t forget to bring your own chair and shade, as both are limited on the festival grounds. Please remember no outside food and drinks are allowed at the festival. We will have lots of great food and beverage choices available from our vendors. The Natalia Bluebonnet Festival Committee would also like to thank the OFFICIAL coordinators of the 2023 Natalia Bluebonnet Festival: The City of Natalia, The Natalia Public Library Foundation, the Natalia Municipal Development District and the Natalia Veteran’s Memorial Library. We greatly appreciate their help in pulling off this year’s festival. The Natalia Bluebonnet Festival is the single, largest fundraising event for the Natalia Veteran’s Memorial Library. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the festival, below are the details concerning this year’s sponsorship levels: Gold Level ($1,000 minimum contribution) – mention on all print advertising, logo on festival t-shirt, recognition at event, logo on festival website and social media; Bluebonnet Level ($500) – mention on all print advertising, recognition at event, logo on website and social media; Mustang Level ($250) and- recognition at event and logo on website and social media Friend of the Library ($100) – name/logo on website and social media This year’s vendor and parade registrations are online at nataliabluebonnetfestival.com. Vendor fees may also be paid in person or online at the time of registration. All proceeds from the festival directly benefit the Natalia Veteran’s Memorial Library and aid the library in providing Summer Reading Program activities, new technology and new books for the library’s collection. Please contact Amy at 210-213-1990 or stop by the Natalia Library. “We look forward to seeing you at the 2023 Natalia Bluebonnet Festival!” said Amy M. Edge, Library Director. Natalia Veteran’s Memorial Library. (830) 455-0007 Office, (210) 213-1990 Cell. Email: Natalialibraryfoundation@gmail.com
PRESS RELEASE Medina County Criminal District Attorney’s Office Wednesday, March 8, 2023 Jeff Diles, Assistant District Attorney and G.O.N.E. Prosecutor for the Medina County Criminal District Attorney (MCCDA), Mark P. Haby, announced that Patricia Ann Lara, of Hondo, was sentenced today by a Medina County Jury to nine years of imprisonment in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice for delivery of 1.44 grams of methamphetamine. The sentence was imposed by the same jury that found Lara guilty of the offense on March 7, 2023. Lara was the first case falling under the umbrella of the MCCDA G.O.N.E. initiative (Gangs, Organized Crime and Narcotics Trafficking Enforcement) to be resolved by a jury trial. Lara was one of 21 individuals arrested in an early morning warrant roundup in January of 2022 after the Medina County grand jury in Hondo and a federal grand jury in San Antonio returned indictments earlier that month charging 24 men and women with several state and federal felonies. The indictments resulted from an investigation of a methamphetamine distribution network operating in Medina County. The investigation, which unearthed methamphetamine distribution activities extending to multiple Texas counties as well as Mexico, began in October of 2020 as a collaborative effort of HPD, MCSO, supported by the MCCDA G.O.N.E. initiative. Lara had been identified as an investigation target due to her associations with other players in the larger investigation. Jury selection for the trial began on Monday, March 6 and the State, represented by Assistant District Attorneys Jeff Diles and Christian Neumann, concluded its presentation of witnesses and evidence by noon on Tuesday. Witnesses for the state included the two investigators of the Medina County Sheriff’s office, the purchaser of the methamphetamine, a private citizen who was paid by law enforcement to purchase the drugs from Lara, and the chemist for the Texas DPS lab in Abilene who confirmed that the substance delivered was methamphetamine. Investigators described how they met with the buyer, referred to as a Cooperating Individual or CI, prior to the buy to confirm that the buyer did not have drugs or money on their person or in their car then provided the buyer with cash from the Medina County Sheriff Drug Forfeiture Fund (not taxpayer funds) and a device for covertly recording the transaction. They also stated that they were able to watch the transaction on a live feed from the recording device and that they followed the CI from a safe distance and were able to park in a location where they could see the CI make contact with Lara in a vehicle in the parking lot of the Regency Hotel in Hondo where the transaction took place. Lara’s face was never seen on the video from the recording device, the investigators showed the jury an image from the video of a distinctive upper-arm tattoo and tattoo photos taken at the jail of Lara after a previous arrest that showed the same distinctive upper-arm tattoo. When the CI was called as a witness, they entered the courtroom from a secure area wearing a prison jumpsuit and shackles. The CI is currently serving a prison sentence for a drug related offense and testified in this case after a bench warrant was issued by the presiding Judge requiring the CI to be brought to court to testify. The CI’s testimony matched the statements made by the investigators, and the CI confirmed it was in fact Lara who conducted the delivery of the methamphetamine, ”I gave her the money. She gave me the drugs.” The CI also identified the defendant in the courtroom as the person who gave her the methamphetamine that day. Sarah McGregor from the DPS Crime Lab in Abilene walked the jury through the drug testing process used by DPS labs and specifically the testing used on the drugs acquired from Lara during the transaction to confirm that it was methamphetamine that was purchased by the CI. The defense produced no witnesses on behalf of Lara, and the jury delivered a unanimous guilty verdict before 4:00 p.m. that same day. The punishment phase of the trial began without delay. The state submitted evidence of Lara’s prior felony conviction and prison sentence for Injury to an Elderly Person, and Lara’s defense team presented character witnesses on behalf of Lara. Lara was represented by attorneys with the Hill Country Regional Public Defender’s Office, and Judge Daniel J. Kindred, 454th Judicial District Judge, presided over the trial.