Refugio County’s year in review
by Tim Delaney
Jan 03, 2014 | 3480 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tim Delaney photo
Debbie Carter of Bayside pets the African turtle that took residence at her house. She said she loves the unusual pet.
Tim Delaney photo Debbie Carter of Bayside pets the African turtle that took residence at her house. She said she loves the unusual pet.
Tim Delaney photo
A buck seems perfectly happy at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge where it is not threatened by hunters.
Tim Delaney photo A buck seems perfectly happy at the Aransas Wildlife Refuge where it is not threatened by hunters.
Tim Delaney photo
Refugio Mayor Joey Heard, right, shakes hands with former Refugio Mayor Rey Jaso at a special dedication held in Kings Park. A marker was erected to memorialize the service Jaso gave over numerous years as mayor.
Tim Delaney photo Refugio Mayor Joey Heard, right, shakes hands with former Refugio Mayor Rey Jaso at a special dedication held in Kings Park. A marker was erected to memorialize the service Jaso gave over numerous years as mayor.
Tim Delaney photo
The 100-year-old Baptist Church building was donated to the city of Austwell. The city tried for months to sell the building, finally getting a successful sealed bid for $15,500.
Tim Delaney photo The 100-year-old Baptist Church building was donated to the city of Austwell. The city tried for months to sell the building, finally getting a successful sealed bid for $15,500.
REFUGIO COUNTY – 2013 is gone, and today marks the beginning of 2014, a year we all have hopes for prosperity and good will.

But as we think about future days, weeks and months, we must pause and reflect on the happenings of 2013.

Spanish philosopher George Santayana wisely said, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Of course, we wouldn’t mind repeating good things, so those are good remembrances worth repeating.

Santayana also said this: “Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.” So there you have it.

And here is our review of 2013:


Bob Koonce was named the 2013 Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year at the 80th annual banquet.

Fifteen-year editor of the Refugio County Press, Kenda Nelson, resigned her editorship to take the directorship of Refugio County Elderly Services.

Dozens participated in the annual Martin Luther King Jr. march to remember King and his “I have a dream” speech. The Rev. Eugene “Bull” Lewis commented that King “was a preacher, a prophet and a pastor who loved justice.”

The first fatality of the year was a man from Brownsville, 55-year-old Tseng Ho, the morning of Jan. 2, about two-and-a-half miles south of Woodsboro.


Weston Holstrom joined the Cox Law Office, PLLC. Holstrom, originally from Georgetown, studied law at Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic.

Tyler Galbreath, of Bayside, in the San Antonio Livestock Exposition Junior Shootout, won part of $80,000 set aside by the Exposition’s scholarship committee for shooting an almost perfect score over two days.

A Corpus Christi man was arrested in a suspected attempt to burglarize a residence and assault with a deadly weapon. William Rogers, 43, was arrested and charged in the incident in which a Woodsboro man was shot in the leg.

A total of 257 whooping cranes populated the Aransas Wildlife Refuge plus 22 more made their winter grounds outside the refuge, according to surveys.

The Zarsky Lumber Co. building on Alamo Street was demolished to make way for a new Family Dollar Store.

Refugio County governmental entities approve the expansion (adjoining office) of the Refugio County Appraisal District offices in the Refugio Shopping Center, Alamo Street.

The Sports Writers Association named Refugio and Woodsboro players to All-State. Players included Bobcat offensive linemen John Wesley Shipp and wide receiver Marcus Thompson, quarterback Travis Quintanilla, defensive end Devin LaFrance and linebacker Alex Coronado. Also from Woodsboro, leading rusher and running back DeBray Bonner, was named.

World-traveled archaeologist Michael Collins addressed the Bayside Historical Society quarterly meeting with a presentation on how the Americas were populated. About 65 people attended the presentation.

Refugio County farmers began planting crops in late February. Primary crops were sorghum grain and cotton.

A strong wind storm Feb. 25 felled trees and signs throughout Refugio.


D.L. Johnson and his wife Ann, of Corpus Christi, purchased and plan to restore the Rose Lambert-Hynes house at the south end of Refugio on U.S. Highway 77.

Longtime Bayside resident Tim Delaney takes the reins of the Refugio County Press as its editor. Delaney, who worked for the Victoria Advocate 24 years, has master’s degrees in communication and English, also has won Associated Press awards for his writing and was once the County Press editor before in 1987.

The Refugio County Community Development Foundation upon Director Joe Arredondo’s sudden resignation, vote to advertise anew for the position.

A pistol range was planned to be constructed in Austwell. Earl Bluhm said he was constructing the range and hoped to have lessons for concealed handgun permits there.

The third annual Texas Independence Wine Classic, marking 177 years since Texas Independence, was deemed a success although a $20 fee for free wine tasting was added. Attendence was estimated at 450 people.

Ishmael “Mike” Beltran relates his early history at the old Spanish School. The segregated school has three grades and was located where the apartments are on Osage Street on the side of the U.S. post office.

The Woodsboro City Council considered capping the number of amusement/game rooms.

Texas Department of Transportation officials said the planned Interstate 69 through Refugio is two decades away. The officials were hosted by the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce in an open forum setting.

The Refugio County Fair Parade proceeded down Commerce Street in Refugio, while the Refugio County Fair, Livestock Show & Rodeo was in progress.

Members of the Refugio County Historical Commission were sworn in. They were Don Foxhall, Lorraine Lopez, Beverly Fletcher, James Kelley, Lori Bellows, Robert Rooke, Becky Rooke, LaNelle Wright, Rosemary Kelley and Bart Wales.

Dr. J Tim Rainey of Refugio continued to advocate his minimally invasive preventive dentistry, which has become nationally and internationally known.

Journalist and author Joe Galloway, of Bayside, addressed a special groundbreaking in Austin for Texas Vietnam veterans.

Pastor Jimmy Arnold opf the First Baptist Church in Woodsboro addressed the Refugio County Commissioners Court to urge commissioners to curb the growing number of eight-liner businesses in the county. He called the activity “unwholesome.”

The Refugio City Council voted to continue funding to the Refugio County Community Development Foundation. The questioning of the foundation came after its director resigned after five months, claiming he did not have enough money to travel.

Easter Sunday, March 31.


After a huge showing of game room fans, the Woodsboro City Council backed off a proposed $5,000 fee per machine permit ... up from $500. Instead, an increase to $1,000 was approved.

A Gibson Hummingbird guitar was stolen and recovered after a month of being missing and an investigation by Refuigo Police Department Officer Danny Madrigal.

Refugio Quarterback Travis Quintanilla was named the 2A cover boy for the Dave Campbell Texas Football magazine.

A suspected bomb was found in a dumpster behind Dr. Gary Wright’s office in the Refugio Shopping Center. A Corpus Christi bomb squad was called and it recovered the bomb, took it to Corpus and safely checked it out.

A 100-year-old Baptist Church building donated to the city of Austwell, was put up for sale. Sealed bids were solicited.

According to an impact study by the Institute for Economic Development at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Eagle Ford Shale play has had a $61 billion impact on Texas counties.

The railroad overpass bridge on U.S. Highway 77 just north of Refugio, was struck by a truck rig carrying an excavator. The northbound lanes were closed for 24 hours while crews repaired damage.

Bob Garner, of Bob’s Leather Shop in Austwell, said he is carrying on the boot making tradition ... something his father did, as well.

A Christian Youth Rally was planned for Bayside in August. Bayside’s Pastor Bill Lendly, of the First Baptist Church, said he was working with others, including Pastor Jeff Churchill, of the Ground Zero Biker Church in Corpus Christi to plan the event.

The Refugio City Council said it wanted faster cleanup of properties in the city limits. Two properties in particular were specified: 502 E. Empresario St. and 301 Power St.

Hank the Cowdog series writer, John Erickson, visited with Refugio Elementary School students April 8.

A drought in Texas persisted. It was called the “driest” since records were kept – drier than 1917, the 1930s or the 1950s.

A Woodsboro boy, Tayden Davis, 5, died in a one-vehicle rollover on County Road 1906 in San Patricio County on April 22.

A Bayside couple – Chuck and Nancy Henderson – design and contruct a huge garden in the shape of the moon, a star and the sun, which can be seen from space.

The McDonalds’s Restaurant in Refugio was demolished April 17 to be rebuilt in a newer design.

Refugio Police Chief Andy Lopez Jr. leads a sting on Refugio game rooms and confiscates more than 70 machines on April 25.

James and Joann Gonzales, of Woodsboro, retire the blue star banner at their home upon the return of their son Joseph after his tour of duty in Afghanistan.

The Refugio City Council granted tax abatements April 23 for McDonald’s and Stripes for their investment in Refugio. A minimum of $300,000 investment was required to receive the five-year abatement.


Rene Mascorro, taking on a mission to raise money for the Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium, said he was not acting in the capacity of county judge but rather someone who took on the stadium improvement efforts of Jack Sportsman, after his untimely death. Mascorro was successful in getting monetary commitments for installing artificial turf at the stadium.

Bayside finalized plans for its first summer program for kids May 6.

Refugio County Sheriff Robert Bolcik said he was notified that all game rooms closed their doors as of April 30. Bolcik had sent a warning letter earlier that the game rooms had better abide by the state’s gambling laws.

Pauline Dillard celebrated her 105th birthday on May 14.

Refugio County EMS’s director Hoss Whitt gave a presentation and answered questions at an Austwell City Council meeting, assuring those present that the EMS would strive to cover Austwell and the surrounding area.

Victor Garza was hired as the new director of the Refugio County Community Development Foundation.

Refugio County commissioners extended a countywide burn ban for 30 days on May 14.

The Refugio school district board of trustees approved the purchase and installation of artificial turf for the Jack Sportsman Bobcat Stadium May 20.

Refugio and Woodsboro have new mayors: Joey Heard of Refugio and Larry Jochetz of Woodsboro.

The Bayside Historical Society hosted Professor Robert Benson, of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, who gave a presentation to about 30 people on how to identify birds by ear.

Wilkinson Chevrolet announces a reinvestment in Refugio by remodeling and upgrading its facilities on Alamo Street.

County Commissioner Gary Bourland gives the oath of office to newly elected Refugio school board members: Eugene Lewis, Laura Ramirez and incumbent Jorge Jaso on May 20.


Guadalupe Campos Martinez, 80, perished in an Austwell house fire the evening of May 31.

Laura McGuill, a member of the Team USA weightlifting team, traveled to Russia for international competition. She was a Refugio High School 2009 graduate.

Houston attorney Daniel Barrera announced opening an office in Refugio on Alamo Street. Barrera had attended Refugio High School.

Four rodeo high schoolers traveled to Abilene for the state finals: Daniel Braman, Colton Arredondo, Courtney Myers and Robert Arriaga.

The second annual Matthew McGuill Memorial Walk for Prader Willi Syndrome was held in Refugio, beginning at Kings Park on June 22.

A Juneteenth celebration was held June 15 at the VFW Hall. The celebration was deemed a success with the hall filled with participants.

The 2013 graduating high school classes of Austwell-Tivoli, Refugio and Woodsboro commencements were held.

Refugio countians were shocked to hear of the Ingleside deaths of Jerry and James “Bubba” Wolfshohl on June 15. Both were former Refugio County residents.

The Refugio County Crop Tour was a huge success. About 120 people attended the all day event.

The Rockport Writers Group and the Estelle Stair Gallery recognized Bayside historical writer Herndon Williams during a showcase of 10 area writers on June 15.

Refugio County commissioners extended the countywide burn ban for an additional 60 days.

A rare African Salcado tortoise showed up at a Bayside woman’s house. Debbie Carter, its new owner, said she was reluctant at first but now has taken to the turtle named Antonia and calls it “a woman’s best friend.”

The Texas Municipal League held its quarterly meeting in Refugio. Fennessey Ranch executive manager Sally Crofutt was the guest speaker at the event.


Dennis Fred Heinold, 61, a longtime probation officer and juvenile program presenter, committed suicide on a residential street in Refugio on June 26.

A suspected murder the night before of Paul Lopez, 43, occurred at Lopez’s house in Woodsboro.

Former longtime Refugio Mayor Rey Jaso was honored with a marker in Kings Park on June 29.

The Refugio school board agrees to provide teacher raises when the district’s new budget is figured.

Refugio County celebrates Independence Day on July 4.

Deadly conduct charges were filed against Noe Rodriguez. Rodriguez was suspected of discharging a firearm at another resident.

The Austwell City Council agreed it wanted a review of the wording in a Fish & Wildlife Service grant before signing off on the deal. The $184,000 grant was to pay for a Wetlands Information Center at the city’s community center.

Farmers began harvesting of grain sorghum across Refugio County.

The town of Bayside considers recycling service from Republic Services.
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