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C R O S S R O A D S   R E P O R T

           Lillian Griffin’s funeral will be at 10 AM on Thursday, August 11, at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Hearne with entombment to follow in the church cemetery mausoleum. Visitation will be on Wednesday, August 10, from 5 to 7 PM at Heartfield-Ritter Funeral Home.

           A special exhibit commemorates Lillian’s work at the Hearne Depot.  An inscription reads, “Starting back in the 1940s, at a time when most railroad telegraph operators were men, Lil Griffin proudly served alongside them.  Many railroaders fondly remember Lil and her years of service.” 

 

On Saturday, August 13, the Central Texas Chapter of the Studebaker Drivers’ Club will bring their vintage vehicles to Hearne.  This club will first cruise to the Hearne WWII POW Camp for a tour starting at 10 AM.  Afterwards, they will motor over to the Hearne Depot for an 11:15 AM tour.  This group will top off their outing with lunch in Hearne.

 

            The public is welcome to get up-close looks at these distinctive-looking relics of a by-gone era.  Be careful not to touch these highly prized possessions.  Studebaker manufactured motorized vehicles from the early 1900s through the early 1960s.  During some of this time, Camp Hearne was operational and passenger rail travel was in its heyday.

 

            Lights, camera, action!  A film crew recently shot scenes in Robertson County.  On Monday, there was a casting call in Rockdale.  Friday Night Lights (the popular Austin-based television series) was just looking for a central Texas football field for an away game.  In 1990, Don Johnson, Virginia Madsen, and Jennifer Connelly were in Taylor filming the feature film “The Hot Spot.”

 

            The Hearne Chamber of Commerce is hoping to put together a working group to market a two-county area as a “Film Friendly” zone through the Texas Film Commission.  This group would include Robertson and Milam Counties along with the cities and rural areas surrounding Hearne.

Each city and county would need to:  (1) attend a day-long Film Friendly Texas workshop; (2) pass film guidelines; and (3) submit location photos for inclusion in the Texas Film Commission's database.

Draft film guidelines are now circulating at Hearne City Hall.  When approved, these will be shared with the two county commissioners courts as well as neighboring cities.  All entities will be alerted to upcoming Film Friendly workshops. 

The hardest part of the process will be for each county and town to take panoramic photos of unique locations (like a depot, airport, courthouse square, gazebo, school, historic home, store, bridge, etc.).  Not just any photo, these must be a combination of photos that are stitched together using a computer program.

Once things green-up in the Spring, Hearne will start taking potential location shots.  These colorful photos will be placed on the Texas Film Commission’s website and displayed at the Hearne Chamber.

Whether it is a television commercial, music video, or feature film, “the Texas Film Commission wants you to be ready to welcome filmmakers in a way that benefits your residents, businesses, and community.”

Smithville (population 4,000), Texas’ first Film Friendly community, boasts an impressive filmography that includes “Hope Floats” with Sandra Bullock and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as “Tree of Life” with Brad Pitt and Sean Penn.  Quite a few Texas towns have jumped on the Film Friendly bandwagon since landing a two-week to two-month filming gig can greatly promote a county or town, provide lots of temporary jobs, and generate significant hotel/motel and sales tax revenues. 

Who knows?  Prospective filmmakers might be attracted to our unique local attractions and the one-stop service potential of a two-county package deal.  Just like Smithville and other towns, our local area has lots of interesting historic treasures (like Victorian and Antebellum mansions).  Filmmakers might never know these assets are here unless we make the effort to showcase them through the Texas Film Commission.

Crossroads Reports appear periodically in the Robertson County News & are archived at www.hearnetexas.info.  The views expressed in this report are those of the author & do not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Hearne, Hearne’s 4A & 4B Sales Tax Boards, Hearne Chamber of Commerce, or the Robertson County News.

CROSSROADS REPORT

 

            The Obama Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency announced earlier this year the January 1, 2012 implementation of its Cross-State Air Pollution Rule that is designed to ensure people in one state do not suffer from pollutants from another state.  Originally excluded, Texas was included in the final version of the rule. 

 

While environmentalists lauded the move, politicians and others cried foul asserting that the new rule would make energy prices skyrocket, force many coal-fired power plants to close, and result in massive job losses.

 

Much of Robertson County sits on a lignite coal belt that stretches from Rockdale’s Sandow to Franklin’s Oak Grove and includes Bremond’s Twin Oaks power plants.  These local plants appear to have escaped direct hits from the EPA’s recent announcement although industry-wide repercussions would likely filter down locally if the new rule stands.

 

On Saturday, August 27, from 6 - 10 PM on the Hearne Depot Grounds, Hearne's Love's Travel Stop & Country Store is sponsoring "The Event:  A Taste Of The Crossroads" to benefit the Robertson County Boys’ and Girls’ Club. 

 

With activities ranging from the tasting of great foods, to casino gaming and excitement, to comedy, magic, and music, to a night-time look at Hearne’s historic train depot, this event promises lots of fun for folks from throughout the county.  Designed as an adults’ Saturday night out, this fundraising event is all about the kids.

 

Tickets are just $20 per person.  For details, visit www.rcbgc.com and click on "The Event."

 

Robertson County Go Texan is sponsoring an International BBQ Cookers’ Association-sanctioned cook-off and concert over the October 14 weekend.  Lots of judges for the BBQ cook-off will be needed.  An evening of fun will center around a concert by Hearne’s own country and western music artist Chris Kleiber.

 

Thanks to Wheelock’s Eric Gubser at E&S Irrigation, the depot grounds and trees now have an underground watering system.  City of Hearne crews hauled the dirt and connected the irrigation to the water system.  James Shear’s Custom S Lawn & Tree Service did the landscaping.  With twenty-five pounds of bluebonnet seeds to be planted in early September, expect to see a little more color on the depot grounds next Spring.

 

Crews from local electrical contractor Joe Templeton’s shop also recently ran conduit and wiring to electrical outlets at the bottom of every sixth wrought iron fence post.  This should help keep numerous strands of yuletide lights burning brightly and assist with other activities and events on the depot grounds. 

 

The six vintage-looking overhead lights on the depot parking lot are now operable.  These green and white porcelain radial wave fixtures on gooseneck poles with scrolled ornamentation are the closest reproduction fixtures on the market to Hearne’s old residential streetlights.  These lights will not come on automatically but will need to be manually activated for nocturnal depot events (like the Boys’ and Girls’ Club soiree above).

 

At some point in the future, expect to see a scrolling marquee sign installed on the depot grounds.  Tastefully designed by local sign maker and artist Jeff Munson, this electrified sign will be on stilts to lift it above the seven-foot tall fence.  This high visibility sign will flash information about special events, Hearne Depot and Camp Hearne hours, local highway closures, and Amber alerts.

 

Not yet open a year, Hearne’s heritage tourism destinations are getting statewide publicity.  The Hearne Depot recently received a write-up and photo in the May/June issue of the Texas Historical Commission’s "Medallion" publication.  Expect to see articles about Camp Hearne in upcoming issues of “Texas Highways” and the “Texas Co-op News.” 

 

Now, if we could just get “Texas Monthly” or Chet Garner’s “Day Tripper” to do stories about Hearne!

 

In addition to its local websites, Hearne just bought a page for a trial year on the popular www.tourtexas.com.  With large numbers of people going online to plan business trips and vacations, this page offers easy access to information about Hearne and its attractions.  Check-out this new Hearne internet presence for yourself.

 

Crossroads Reports appear periodically in the Robertson County News & are archived at www.hearnetexas.info.  The views expressed in this report are those of the author & do not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Hearne, Hearne’s 4A & 4B Sales Tax Boards, Hearne Chamber of Commerce, or the Robertson County News.

 

THE EVENT:  A TASTE OF THE CROSSROADS

 

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, from 6 - 10 PM on the Hearne Depot Grounds, Hearne's Love's Travel Stop & Country Store is sponsoring "The Event:  A Taste Of The Crossroads" to benefit the Robertson County Boys & Girls Club.  With activities ranging from the tasting of great foods, to casino gaming & excitement, to comedy, magic, & music, to the touring of an historic train depot, this event promises fun for kids of all ages.  Tickets are just $20 per person.  For details, visit www.rcbgc.com & click on "The Event."

 

CROSSROADS REPORT

 

It's baaaacckk!  The popular Crossroads Report has started re-appearing periodically in the Robertson County News.  This report, which had been a mainstay of first The Hearne Democrat & later of The Robertson County News, took a hiatus of about six months earlier this year.  The latest Crossroads Report, which appeared in print on July 20, reads as follows:

Hearne’s new Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store is already surpassing planned customer numbers.  Many early mornings, upwards of fifty eighteen-wheelers can be seen backed into parking spaces or re-fueling.  Trucks are often doubled-up in fueling lanes as one truck pays while another begins the fueling process.  At night, the colorful lights on the towering roadside sign and hillside building welcome ever-increasing numbers of highway travelers to Hearne.

Towards the end of the school year, several buses full of students traveling through town stopped at this new facility.  Starting this fall, expect to see large numbers of yellow school buses stopping at the Hearne Love's & its new McDonald's.  With more than ample parking space, this large new facility can easily handle big groups of people.           

The new building going up at the former Shannon Wrecker Service/Crossroads RV Park location on combined TX6/US79 north of Sandy Creek is a new shopping center that will house an anchor store & will have two, 30 x 50 sq. ft. leased retail spaces.  On a short building timeline, this new Hearne enterprise of roughly 7,000 total sq. ft. hopes to open by November 1 of this year. 

 

A 4,000 sq. ft. Stoney's Liquor Store with a drive-through window & walk-in cooler will be the anchor.  In addition to selling beer & distilled spirits, Stoney's, which will be Hearne's first wholesale liquor distributor, will sell discount tobacco products.  It will also come equipped with a humidor for the keeping of cigars.  A similar store owned by the same company recently opened in Cameron & as many as three more stores will likely be built around central Texas.

 

As of the writing of this report, the two 1,500 sq. ft. retail spaces in this complex were still available for leasing.  Call Hearne Economic Development at 979.279.2351 for information.

 

A refurbished clubhouse at Ruben Gomez Eastside Park is nearing completion.  Over the summer, custom-made bead board wooden cabinets with granite countertops have been installed in the kitchen along with new appliances.  The floors in the kitchen, serving area, and restrooms are now adorned with attractive limestone-looking ceramic floor tiles.  The wooden floors in the main room are getting sanded and re-finished.  Along with getting a fresh painting inside, new windows, new ceiling fans, and new interior lighting have all been installed.

 

This much-improved facility is now ready to host birthday and wedding parties, family and class reunions, business meetings, and other events.  Call Hearne City Hall TODAY at 979.279.3461 to book your upcoming events at the better-than-ever clubhouse!

 

The City of Hearne has really spruced up Hearne’s Little League fields by installing new overhead lighting, new underground sprinkler systems, new chain link fences, and new bleachers.  The parking lot has even been paved.  Two of Hearne’s aggregate concrete streetlights now cast a night-time glow on the old-timey park benches and well-maintained baseball fields near them.  In the not too distant future, expect to see a new concession stand and new restrooms added to this very popular youth sporting facility.

 

While approximately 2,500 people came to the Hearne Depot’s April grand opening, this venerable old structure is now pulling-in roughly 150 visitors per month (that’s 1,800 visitors a year who actually sign the guestbook).  With the depot grounds open daily from early morning to early evening, these figures do not take into consideration the unrecorded numbers of people who drop by after-hours to look through the windows or the photo opportunities that the Hearne Depot routinely provides.

 

If you have not yet had the chance to view this recently opened roadside welcome center, put visits to the Hearne Depot and Camp Hearne on your list of things to do.  The Hearne Depot is open from 11AM – 4PM Tuesdays through Saturdays.  Camp Hearne is open the same hours Wednesdays through Saturdays.

 

Crossroads Reports appear periodically in the Robertson County News & are archived at www.hearnetexas.info.  The views expressed in this report are those of the author & do not necessarily reflect the views of the City of Hearne, Hearne’s 4A & 4B Sales Tax Boards, Hearne Chamber of Commerce, or the Robertson County News.

 

WELCOME ROBERTSON COUNTY PUBLISHING

 

Effective July 1, the Robertson County News has a new owner, Robertson County Publishing LP.  Larry Reynolds, who has been serving as The Mexia News' general manager, is the new publisher.  There is a front page article along with a photo in this week's Robertson County News that explains the ownership change.

 

TEXAS FARM BUREAU TO PLACE INDEPENDENCE DAY AMERICAN FLAGS AT HEARNE DEPOT

 

The Texas Farm Bureau is planning to place 5,000 small American flags on the Hearne Depot grounds for the public's enjoyment throughout the July 4 holiday weekend.  These flags will be placed between the wrought iron fence & the rails on the east side of the building closest to combined TX6/US79.  Hearne's patriotic display will be similar to the Texas Farm Bureau's flag display that will be placed at Texas A&M's George Bush Library.

 

The Texas Farm Bureau's small flags will be in addition to the large flags the chamber puts on the depot fence on holiday weekends.  As the result, expect to see a colorful display at the depot for several days before & after Independence Day. 

 

Approximately 20,000 vehicles travel this stretch of highway on an average day.  Since holiday and summer traffic is likely much greater, and many vehicles often carry more than one occupant, upwards of a hundred thousand people will likely see this patriotic display over a several day period.

 

The Hearne Chamber of Commerce has arranged for these foot-tall flags to be donated to Hearne's Miles Scrivener American Legion Post after the depot display is complete.  While the Texas Farm Bureau was willing to pick-up the flags on July 5, local Veteran's Service Officer Ray Hill volunteered his group to collect these 5,000 flags for future use.  Hearne's American Legion post routinely places foot-tall flags on the graves of veterans at local cemeteries.

 

Immediately after the flags have been retrieved, work on landscaping this area of the depot grounds will resume.  The Robertson County Boys' & Girls' Club has an event planned on the grounds at the end of August & time is needed to allow some grass to grow for that event.  Then, bluebonnet planting season begins with the dissemination of 25 pounds of bluebonnet seeds in this area.

 

BLINN TO OFFER CERTIFIED NURSE AIDE CLASS IN HEARNE THIS FALL

 

Paula Ritter is set to teach another Blinn College Workforce Education Certified Nurse Aide class in Hearne this fall.  The class will run from September 12 to November 23 on Monday & Wednesday evenings from 5 to 9 PM.  The cost is $675.  ENROLL TODAY BEFORE THIS CLASS FILLS-UP!  Call 979.209.7205 or visit www.blinn.edu/workforce.

 

According to Blinn, "This certified nurse aide course provides students with education & essential skills to provide basic nursing care & actual performance of routine tasks under the supervision of nursing & medical staff."

 

With an upgraded St. Joseph clinic coming to Franklin, a new extended hours, expanded services St. Joseph Express urgent care coming to Hearne plus Hearne's Robertson County Community Health Clinic, Hearne's DaVita Kidney Dialysis Clinic, & four Robertson County nursing homes needing qualified people to work in their medical facilities, job applicants should be able to get trained locally for local jobs in the health care field.

 

HEARNE ST. JOSEPH EXPRESS GROUND-BREAKING A HUGE SUCCESS

 

Roughly 100 people from throughout Robertson County & several Brazos County residents braved the summer heat to participate in the ground-breaking for Hearne's new St. Joseph Express Urgent Care Clinic.  St. Joseph, local county, city, school officials, media representatives, & others mingled under a huge tent while drinking water & juice & munching on fresh fruit, vegetables, & other healthy fare catered by Hearne's AMA's Restaurant. 

 

St. Joseph Vice President Tim Ottinger served as master of ceremonies as the assemblage listened to very brief speeches from St. Joseph CEO Tony Pfister, Robertson County Judge Jan Roe, Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez, & Franklin-based developer Ross Bush.  Hearne's out-going Catholic priest, Father Robert Herald, blessed the site.  This new seven-day-a-week medical facility is expected to open by Christmas of this year.

 

Starting on Monday, a local radio station began broadcasting information about the Tuesday event.  Other news coverage so far includes a BCS Eagle news story, a KBTX news story, & a KRHD news story.

 

HEARNE CHAMBER BUILDING

 

After no telling how many years of use, the aluminum & glass main entrance door at the Hearne Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed its last visitor.  Last week, Jason Lobdell & Patrick Tessman with Hearne's A+ Glass installed a new front door & put in two new plate glass windows on the front of the building.  The large old tinted window panes, which may have witnessed the widening of TX6 some fifty plus years ago, had cracks & holes in them from years of service along an increasingly busy highway.  In 1953, the Dixie Cafe opened in the building that is now the chamber's administrative office.  Prior to 1953, this building housed Hearne's Aztec Cafe.

 

LITTLE LEAGUE PARK / CLUBHOUSE / DEPOT GROUNDS

 

The old chain link fence around Herb Glockzin Field on Rose Marie Boulevard is being demolished by city crews.  A brand new chain link fence, an underground watering system, & overhead field lights will be going in shortly.  After years of allowing local youth to use this field, Mr. Glockzin is donating the several acres of land on which this field sits to the City of Hearne.  Expect to see Marvin Zeig start bringing this baseball field back to life in the very near future (just as he has the two other fields across the street).

 

The Hearne Clubhouse at Ruben Gomez Eastside Park is being repainted, rotten windows are being replaced, new ceiling fans are being installed,  the wooden floors will soon be sanded & re-varnished, new stained real wood beadboard cabinets are being installed, a granite countertop will soon be added, new tile floors will be installed in the food service areas & restrooms.  Contractors are working around a clubhouse schedule that is routinely booked for weekend events.  All renovations are expected to be completed by sometime this summer.

 

Expect to see city crews remove asphalt & gravel from the Hearne Depot grounds between the railroad tracks & the wrought iron fence on the southeast side of the building.  After this is done, fill dirt will be brought in, the entire area will be tilled, & a little contouring of the landscape will be accomplished to create drainage ditches.  Then, an underground sprinkler system will be installed.  Early this fall, twenty-five pounds of bluebonnet seeds will be planted to hopefully turn the depot into even more of a photo opportunity than it already is. 

 

As Bobby Jack Middleton mans the depot on Saturdays, he can usually be seen watering the new oak trees & crape myrtles with a hose.  Soon, all of the grassy areas will be watered by sprinklers & all of these trees will be watered with bubblers attached to the new irrigation system.

 

FLAGS ON FLAG DAY

 

To commemorate Flag Day, the Hearne Chamber of Commerce has once again placed large American flags along the Hearne Depot's wrought iron fence on heavily traveled TX6/US79. 

 

The Hearne Chamber also made a $250 contribution to Hearne's Miles Scrivener American Legion Post to replace flags that had been put on veterans' graves at local cemeteries.  These old flags are being burned in a public ceremony at 10AM at Guy Chandler Park.

 

FUNDRAISING CAMPAIGN TO BRING MISSOURI PACIFIC CUPOLA CABOOSE TO HEARNE DEPOT

 

The Hearne Chamber of Commerce is raising money to bring to the Hearne Depot an old Missouri Pacific caboose that is in good condition.  With a budget target of $25,000, the chamber hopes to raise money to purchase an old red metal cupola caboose, transport it to Hearne, place it on the Missouri Pacific tracks on the north side of the depot, then refurbish it. 

Once finished, this caboose will provide depot visitors with glimpses of how cabooses functioned back in the days when they were used.  The Hearne caboose will also be outfitted as a venue that can be rented for children's birthday parties.  This caboose will also likely become a popular location for photo shoots of children, brides, & lots of other people.  Hopefully, its bright red presence at the depot will prompt even more people to visit the Hearne Depot. 

Donations from businesses & individuals are being solicited.  If you wish to make a contribution, contact the chamber at www.hearnetexas.info or call 979.279.2351.

The chamber is also selling railroad memorabilia to help raise money for its caboose.

The two high quality, 8 x 10, 2011 & 1909 photos are being sold as fundraising keepsakes for $25 each.  These are available at both the depot & at Wilson United Drug at 118 East Fourth Street.  These make perfect Father's Day, Birthday, and Christmas gifts for the railfanners in your family!

The chamber just received a new batch of half dozen or so of the popular old glass insulator lamps.  Turquoise blue old Hemingray insulators are set on ornately carved brass bases.  White, off-white, & tan lamp shades go on top.  These small lamps are perfect for use in bedrooms, nurseries, & bathrooms.

About a dozen of the flush mount insulator lights are also now in.  All have matte black metal bases.  Most of the insulators on these are varying shades of clear glass.  Some are slightly green tinged while others are gray tinged.  These are perfect for placing over a kitchen sink, lighting a china or other cabinet.  These flush mount lights are used in many of the display cases in the Hearne Depot.

This lighting is also being sold to help raise funds for Hearne's hoped-for Missouri Pacific caboose.  The table lamps sell for $279 each while the flush mount lights sell for $249 each, plus shipping.  Or, they can be picked-up in Hearne.  Special orders of pendant & other glass insulator lamps are possible (while insulator supplies last).

 

NEW STRIP CENTER COMING TO HEARNE

 

During the week of June 13, expect to see activities at the former Shannon Wrecker Service/Crossroads RV Park location on combined TX6/US79 north of Sandy Creek.  The property has been purchased, plans have been drawn-up, building & other permits have been obtained, & construction crews will soon begin building a new strip center that will house an anchor store & will have two, 30 x 50 sq. ft. leased retail spaces.  On a short building timeline, this new Hearne enterprise of approximately 7,000 total sq. ft. hopes to open by November 1 of this year.

 

A 4,000 sq. ft. Stoney's Liquor Store with a drive-through window & walk-in cooler will be the anchor.  In addition to selling beer & distilled spirits, Stoney's, which will be Hearne's first wholesale liquor distributor, will sell discount tobacco products.  It will also come equipped with a humidor to keep cigars. 

 

A similar store owned by the same company recently opened in Cameron & as many as three more stores will likely be built around central Texas.

 

ST. JOSEPH MEDIA RELEASE

 

Contact: Tim Ottinger

Office: (979) 776-2458

Cell: (979) 229-0350

tottinger@st-joseph.org

 

New St. Joseph Projects in Robertson County - 06.06.11

 

St. Joseph leadership is working with local developers Wayne and Ross Bush to construct two new medical facilities in Robertson County - an extended hours, walk-in clinic in Hearne and a new Family Medicine and Specialty clinic in Franklin. Design work on both facilities is almost complete and fast-track construction will have both locations open to residents by November of this year.

 

“St. Joseph has a long standing relationship with the residents of Hearne and Franklin,” said Tony Pfitzer, President and CEO of St. Joseph. “Given the growth in the community it became clear that we needed to expand services. These new facilities will allow for medical care to be available evening hours, weekends and holidays so residents can have care close to home.”

 

A groundbreaking for the St. Joseph construction project in Hearne is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Tuesday, June 28. “We certainly owe thanks to community leaders for their support in improving access to health care in their communities,” said Pfitzer. “We also appreciate and respect the great job Robertson County EMS does every day in caring for residents who have urgent health needs.”

 

The Express clinic in Hearne will have frontage on Highway 6 and be located on the north end of town. The 4,500 square foot facility will be similar to St. Joseph’s highly successful Express clinics in Bryan and College Station, offering extended hours of operation from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and Noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays. The new Express clinic will be open holidays and will be staffed by a board-certified physician.

 

Additional features of the Express location in Hearne will include X-ray and laboratory diagnostic services on site, as well as offering employer services to area businesses. Currently St. Joseph provides primary care services through the St. Joseph Hearne Family Medicine Center at 709 Barton Street.

 

St. Joseph expects to start construction of a new Franklin family medicine and specialty clinic by the end of June. The new 4,500-square foot St. Joseph Family Medicine Clinic in Franklin will be located on Highway 79 on the west end of town and will replace the existing St. Joseph clinic location at 305 Gay Street. The new clinic, which will be open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., will have expanded diagnostic services to include X-ray, as well as offer employer health services. St. Joseph is recruiting a new board-certified Family Medicine physician whose practice will be dedicated to the Franklin clinic. Additionally, there will be space for visiting specialists to see patients in the new clinic.

 

MAYOR RUBEN GOMEZ COMMENTS ON HEARNE ST. JOSEPH EXPRESS ANNOUNCEMENT

 

"The City of Hearne commends St. Joseph Regional Health System for its decision to open an urgent care facility in Hearne", commented Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez.  "Folks from Hearne, Calvert, Bremond, Franklin, Gause, & surrounding areas of Robertson & Milam Counties will soon be able to get board-certified physician care in Hearne twelve hours a day on most weekdays as well as limited hours on weekends & holidays."

 

"With no hospital or emergency room in Robertson County," Gomez added, "many people with non-emergency needs should be able to get medical attention at this new Hearne facility.  In a high visibility location on heavily traveled TX6, this new facility will likely save lots of Robertson County & other folks trips to local emergency rooms."

 

Over the past couple of years, Hearne & St. Joseph officials have been meeting to discuss the best ways to address local health care needs.  An extended hours, expanded services urgent care facility, like a St. Joseph Express, has always been at the top of the Hearne discussion list.

 

HEARNE ST. JOSEPH EXPRESS GROUND-BREAKING SCHEDULED FOR TUESDAY, JUNE 28 AT 10AM

 

St. Joseph Regional Health System, City of Hearne, Hearne’s 4A & 4B Sales Tax Boards, & Hearne Chamber of Commerce

cordially invite you to attend the ground-breaking for the new Hearne St. Joseph Express.

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2011, 10AM

 

At the site immediately south of the Hearne Holiday Inn Express & Suites at 1645 N Market Street (TX6 North).

 

Chilled water will be served; enter by AMA’s & park at south end of lot.

IS A GAS WAR BREAKING OUT IN HEARNE?

According to www.gasbuddy.com, on Sunday afternoon June 5, regular gas is $3.47 at the Shell at 410 South Market Street and is $3.49 at Love's at 1423 North Market Street.  Some Hearne gas prices are a nickel or more a gallon cheaper than they are in Bryan/College Station.  The lowest price in Bryan is $3.51 a gallon.  In College Station, the lowest gasbuddy price is $3.54 a gallon.  One Austin-area gas station is selling regular for $3.34, with lots more Austin-area stations selling it for $3.39.  Let's see if these prices make it to Hearne!

UNLIMITED SCALE RACING ASSOCIATION COMPETITION AT HEARNE AIRPORT JUNE 9 - 12

The Unlimited Scale Racing Association's "Texas Nationals" competition will be held at the Hearne Airport Thursday through Sunday, June 9 - 12.  This national "speeds at over 200 mph" air racing event features Unlimited, Formula 1 Pro, Formula 1 GT, & Sundowner competitions.  It also features E - F1 racing on a 400-foot course as well as Control Line Combat. 

On all four days, the Robertson County Boys' & Girls' Club will be providing the food concession.  As a fundraiser, this local group will be selling hamburgers, hot dogs, chips, roasted corn, cold drinks, & chilled water. 

Volunteer spotters are needed to work both ends of the runway all four days.  If you, or an organization to which you belong, is interested in volunteering, contact Darrell at 979.255.5171.

The action each day starts with the slowest planes, those that operate in the 120 - 150 mph range.  As the day progresses, the speeds of the planes in the various heats will increase.  The competition will culminate on Sunday morning/early Sunday afternoon.

If you, your family, & friends are ready for some adventure, drive out to the Hearne Airport to watch the action.  Spectator admission & public parking are both free.  This event promises fun for the whole family!

Entry fees only apply to the contestants who will be coming to Hearne from various locations in Texas & from around the country.  Expect to see greater numbers of recreational vehicles around town.  Local hotels & restaurants will likely benefit from the presence of these competitors.  For the second year in a row, Hearne's Budgetel Inn & Suites is the event's host hotel.

Additional information is online at www.usrainfo.org

HEARNE'S MILES SCRIVENER AMERICAN LEGION POST MEMORIAL DAY OBSERVANCE

On Monday, May 30 at 9 AM, Hearne's Miles Scrivener American Legion Post will host a Memorial Day observance at Camp Hearne on FM485.  There will be two speakers & a brief presentation ceremony.  The featured speaker will be John Velasquez, Commander of the Bryan VFW Post.  An air conditioned building will be available.  Bottled water will be served.  Roll Call:  Friends of Camp Hearne is sponsoring this year's observance. 

In the past two years, the Hearne Chamber of Commerce has sponsored local Memorial Day activities.  Last year, Texas State Representative Jim Dunnam gave a rousing speech to an assemblage of people in the early morning shade on the north lawn of the Hearne Depot.  The year before that, a standing room only crowd gathered at the old pump house out at Camp Hearne to hear stirring words from U.S. Congressman Chet Edwards.

To add a little variety to the venue where this annual event is held, it might be a good idea for the City of Hearne to sponsor next year's Memorial Day observance either at the vastly improved Little League baseball park or at the under-renovation clubhouse at Ruben Gomez Eastside Park.

On Friday morning, May 27 of this year, American flags were placed around the Hearne Depot's long wrought iron fence as a multi-day observance of Memorial Day.  After a long four-day weekend's worth of fluttering in the breeze, these all-weather flags will be taken down on Tuesday morning.

For many years, the Hearne Chamber had been putting American flags out in downtown Hearne on a half-dozen or so national holidays a year.  With the high visibility depot on combined TX6/US79 now complete, these American flags are now being placed around the depot so thousands of passersby & localites a day can enjoy the chamber's patriotic displays.  Over a four-day Memorial Day weekend, upwards of 100,000 VEHICLES (probably twice that many people) will likely pass through Hearne.  The depot's high visibility flag-waving display will likely prompt large numbers of folks to pause & remember those who have made ultimate sacrifices for our country.

HEARNE LOVE'S RIBBON-CUTTING

 

The new Hearne Love's Travel Center & Country Store ribbon-cutting was at 10AM on Thursday, May 26. 

Those in attendance were:  Chris Ballard & Alex Stephens (with Love's), the Robertson County Newspaper (Kendra Maness) & the Bremond Press (George Yezak), two Robertson County Commissioners - Keith Pettit & Donald Threadgill, Robertson County Constable Vince Angele, Hearne City Manager Pee Wee Drake, Hearne City Secretary Anna Florida, Hearne Public Works Director Robert Penney, Hearne 4B Sales Tax Board Member Bart Lockhart, two Hearne Chamber of Commerce Board Members - Ben Luster (Brookshire Brothers) & Steve Jenkins (Luminant power plant), three representatives from the Robertson County Boys' & Girls' Club plus two representatives from the Brazos Valley Council on Alcoholism & Substance Abuse.

Love's made a $2,000 contribution to the local boys' & girls' club.

 

This new Hearne business, which is already drawing a crowd, has surpassed planned customer numbers during its first month in operation.  Many early mornings, anywhere from 30 to 50 eighteen-wheelers can be seen backed into parking spaces or re-fueling.  Trucks are often doubled-up in fueling lanes as one truck pays while another begins the fueling process. 

 

Towards the end of the academic year, several buses full of school kids traveling through town stopped at this new facility.  Starting this fall, expect to see large numbers of yellow school buses stopping at the Hearne Love's & its new McDonald's.  With more than ample parking space, large groups of people can easily load/unload to spend money in Hearne.

 

AT THE HEARNE AIRPORT

 

The new signs that recently went up on both sides of the Hearne Chamber building are a little hard to read when you're travelling past on the highway.  That's because so much is happening at the Hearne Airport this summer (including two national events).  All activities promise to bring people to town.  Here is the run-down:

 

Skydiving With

Lone Star

Air Sports

NOW

THRU

FALL

National

Paragliding

Competition

 

AUGUST

14 - 20

National Giant

Scale Air Racing

Competition

 

JUNE

7 - 11

 

Details are available online at www.hearnetexas.info which provides hyperlinks to Hearne Airport groups & events.

HEARNE HERITAGE TOURISM SITES NOW OPEN A TOTAL OF 45 HOURS PER WEEK

The Hearne WWII POW Camp is now open 20 hours per week, from 11AM - 4PM Wednesday through Saturday.

The Hearne Depot is now open 25 hours per week, from 11AM - 4PM Tuesday through Saturday.  An extra day has been added to the advertised schedule to accommodate summer tourists.  When the red, white, & blue "open" flag is flying at the depot, it is open & receiving visitors. 

Both venues, which will open additional hours by appointment for tour groups & individuals who cannot visit during normal business hours, dispense local tourism & other information.  Depot & Camp Hearne visitors are free to browse at their leisure the local history exhibits at both locations.

In an effort to make local information readily available, the Hearne Chamber of Commerce's phone lines are always transferred to a mobile phone that is answered weekdays, after hours, & on weekends.  This is in addition to 24/7 access to information at the chamber's website.

CAMP HEARNE HOSTS IMAGES OF VALOR EXHIBIT

Beginning May 18th at Camp Hearne Historic Site’s Visitor Center, Roll Call - Friends of Camp Hearne presents Images of Valor: U.S. Latinos & Latinas in World War II, an exhibition created by the School of Journalism & Center for Mexican American Studies at The University of Texas at Austin & produced by Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Through images & stories, this twelve-panel exhibition provides an historical overview of U.S. Latino participation in World War II.
In addition to photographs from the project's archives, “Images of Valor” incorporates contemporary photographs of men & women of the WWII generation by photojournalist Valentino Mauricio. The exhibition focuses on individual stories that reveal larger themes such as citizenship & civil rights & features excerpts from the more than 500 oral history interviews that were part of the VOCES Oral History Project at
www.lib.utexas.edu/voces/
 

The exhibit will be open to the public from May 18th to June 25th. For more information about viewing hours or to arrange group visits, contact Melissa Freeman, Program Director at 979.450.3000 or visit www.camphearne.com for directions to Camp Hearne.

HEARNE DEPOT GETS STATEWIDE PUBLICITY

The Hearne Depot recently received statewide publicity when the Texas Historical Commission included a write-up & photo in its May/June "Medallion" publication which goes to state legislators & county historical commission members throughout Texas.  This article is available for viewing online at www.thc.state.tx.us/medallionmag/medallionPDFs/md_05_11.pdf (page 17).

BREMOND'S POLISH DAY PARADE IS JUNE 26, 2010 AT 10:30 AM

This year's Polish Day Parade in Bremond on June 26 promises to be the best one yet.  Always a lot of fun, this year's parade begins at St. Mary's Catholic Church parking lot at 10:30 AM.

Prizes include:

Best All Around $325 Best Tractor $200
Best Auto $300 Best Motorcycle $175
Most Unusual $250 Best Horse & Rider $150
Wagon & Buggy $200 Best Bike & Rider $125
Most Charming $200 Best Youth $100

For more information, contact Marie Abraham at 254.746.7421, who says:  "Get Creative!  Join The Fun!  Great Prizes!"

HEARNE'S ALL A-BUZZ

The buzz heard all around Hearne on Saturday, May 6 was the sound of Lone Star Air Sports' plane taking the adventuresome skyward to jump at the Hearne Airport.  From about 8AM until 8PM, this new Hearne company was open for business - taking lots of Aggies & others up in the air.  The methodical buzz overhead resulted in first tiny black specks, then bright turquoise & white parachutes drifting towards the ground.  While there were some solo jumpers, most of the jumps were tandem, with two parachuters harnessed together.

Throughout the day, dozens of different parachuters took their turns near the pilots' lounge at the center of the airport.  At the north end of the runway, a handful of hang-gliders were staging their operations.

Several Hearne residents drove out to the airport to see what all of the commotion was about.  For the less adventuresome, parachuting & hang-gliding are good spectator sports - particularly on beautiful summer-like days.  What a great way to spend some time with elderly parents & the grandkids!

GRAND OPENING OF CALVERT'S NEW FIRST STAR BANK

The grand opening of Calvert's new First Star Bank will be during banking hours on Friday, May 20th.  Go take a look at this beautiful, two-story bank that captures the spirit of old Calvert.  A BBQ lunch will be served.

FRANKLIN LIONS CLUB DOWNTOWN FESTIVAL IS THIS SATURDAY

This weekend's big Robertson County event is the Franklin Lion's Club's Second Annual Downtown Festival.  There's lots for the whole family to do in downtown Franklin this weekend.  For details, check out the Lion's Club's flyer at: franklinlionsclubdowntownfestflyer.pdf.

LONE STAR AIR SPORTS COMING TO HEARNE

Last summer, the only skydiving business in the Bryan-College Station & surrounding area closed its operations at Bryan's Coulter FieldSkydiving enthusiasts & the adventuresome need not worry. Lone Star Air Sports is opening at the Hearne Municipal Airport.

Discussions with skydiving businesses have been taking place ever since the end of last summer.  These on-going discussions culminated when Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez recently sealed the deal to bring Lone Star Air Sports to Hearne.

This new Hearne business' website at www.lonestarairsports.com gives you all the information you need to schedule a jump.  For first-time jumpers, the company will even provide a third person's video of your entire dive.  How does this work?  A videographer will jump alongside you & your tandem jumping partner.  He/she will film your whole exhilarating experience from the plane to the ground & afterwards.  This video, which can be set to the music of your choosing, should become a keepsake for years to come.

Call Lone Star Air Sports TODAY to schedule the experience of a lifetime!  The number is 936.355.1897.  The company's e-mail address is LoneStarAirSports@gmail.com.

With its long runway & significant over-runs, the Hearne Airport has, over the years, hosted quite a few air sporting organizations, including another skydiving group.  For the second year in a row, the Unlimited Scale Racing Association's annual Hearne competition will be held at the Hearne Airport in June of this year.  A little later in the summer, a national ultra-light competition will take place at the Hearne Airport.  Ultra-lights and hang-gliders can routinely be seen using the Hearne Airport.

While the City of Hearne has encouraged aeronautical recreational use of the airport, it has also been working in earnest to develop the airport for general aviation use.  Over the past eight years, Hearne's 4A Sales Tax Board has implemented a plan to improve the Hearne Airport.  It started with a Texas Engineering Extension Service Airport Feasibility study that identified needed activities. 

Under a multi-year TEEX recommended plan, 4A has been spearheading the following activities:  (a) Remodeled the pilots' lounge; (b) Got an airport layout plan created which was a prerequisite for getting a GPS navigational approach (FAA will have in place by early this fall); (c) Got two reports (fuel containment & wastewater run-off) done that were prerequisites for getting a new fuel farm installed (it's in the works for later this year); (d) Obtained a 75/25 grant for funding a new fuel farm; & (e) Obtained a $30,000 contribution from Robertson County to assist with the cost of the new fuel farm.

It is hoped that a flight school that trains general aviation pilots will also someday open at the Hearne Airport since Hearne Field was built as an auxiliary landing strip for the Bryan Air Force Base to train jet fighter-pilots during the Cold War. 

With the Hearne WWII POW Camp nearby at the airport's entrance, observers could easily watch skydiving activities & visit Camp Hearne, which is open to visitors from 11AM - 4PM, Wednesdays through Saturdays.

A TWO MCDONALD'S TOWN plus A NEW LOVE'S

The Hearne Chamber of Commerce hosted a ribbon-cutting for the new Hearne Love's McDonald's at 9AM on Thursday, April 28.  As usual, Paula Ritter at Heartfield-Ritter Florist provided a colorful red & yellow ribbon bouquet for the opening of this new Hearne business. 

Hearne is now a two McDonald's town, with both of these businesses owned & operated by Frazier Management.  Restaurant patrons will get to see for themselves McDonald's new upscale format since Hearne's new McDonald's is one of the first of this design to be built.  Six months to a year after the Love's McDonald's opens, Hearne's original McDonald's will be outfitted in a similar upscale design.  For what it's worth, there are ten McDonald's in Bryan-College Station.

Since truck parking is virtually non-existent at the original Hearne McDonald's, the new store hopes to be able to better serve both travelers and local customers.  At the new Hearne Love's McDonald's, truckers & other travelers now have ample room to park.  So do local customers.  What's more, with some of the highway traffic stopping at the new Love's McDonald's, additional parking should become available at Hearne's original McDonald's.

While the Hearne Love's is now also open, the company plans to have its grand opening some five weeks after its new store opens.

Built on a hill that was once occupied by the Hearne Drive-In Theater, this new business complex bustles with activity during the daytime.  At night, it glows like a hillside beacon in tones of orange, gold, red, & yellow.  It also brings an around-the-clock vitality to the FM485/TX6/US79 intersection.

On the first night of business, a dozen or so trucks were parked at Love's while several more were pulled-up & refueling at the diesel pumps.  Hearne has seen lots of truck traffic over the years.  But, this is the first time Hearne has had a major gas station where trucks could fill-up.  This new business enterprise fits in nicely with Hearne's Crossroads of Texas moniker.

LEGISLATIVE REDISTRICTING

Although the Texas Legislature is considering several different legislative redistricting proposals, it looks as if all of Robertson County MAY wind up being represented by just one Member of Congress.  At present, different parts of Robertson County are in the 31st & 17th congressional districts represented by Congressmen John Carter & Bill Flores. 

Since the dividing line at one point runs down the center of the 200 block of Cedar Street in downtown Hearne, old city hall is in one district while new city hall is in another.  Dee Weatherford's office on TX6 is in one congressional district while his trailer sales lot across the highway is in another congressional district.  Some of Hearne & all of Franklin, Calvert, & Bremond are in the 17th congressional district, while the southwest side of Hearne & Mumford are in the 31st congressional district. 

Robertson County is not currently split when it comes to representation in the Texas Senate & Texas House.  Our county will likely remain similarly situated after the redistricting dust settles.  Everything, however, is still up in the air & the proposed final proposal will face judicial scrutiny.

The map at http://gis1.tlc.state.tx.us/ shows the current & various proposed congressional, state senate, & state representative district maps for the State of Texas.  Just "select a plan" & keep double clicking on Robertson County on the Texas map.

LITTLE DRIBBLERS

April 20 - 23, expect to see lots of Little Dribblers & their parents in Robertson County.  Just like three years ago, Franklin is sponsoring the National Little Dribblers' tournament which utilizes basketball courts in Franklin, Hearne, & Calvert.  Local hotels are just as full as our local restaurants will likely be.

TX6 IMPROVEMENTS

The resurfacing of TX6 through downtown is expected to be finished just after Easter.  While the FM485 intersection is almost built, the new stop light won't be installed for another couple of months.  TxDOT also plans to put sidewalks on the west side of TX6 from Sandy Creek past Love's towards the Holiday Inn Express & AMA's.  As soon as the contractor gets this middle of Hearne job done, expect to see the old travel lanes on TX6 between Hearne & Calvert outfitted with a new overlay of hot mix.

Love's is expected to open for business on April 28, with a grand opening to take place some five weeks later.    The highway resurfacing along with the new AMA's, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Love's, Valero, the Budgetel Inn & Suites, plus the restored depot have really improved the looks of Hearne on TX6 to the north.  TX6 from Rose Marie to FM485 also has a new batch of old-timey white & black street signs.

GOING TO BAT FOR LOCAL KIDS

Lots of Hearne parents, grandparents, & Little Leaguers were impressed on opening day by the vastly improved looks of Hearne's Little League fields.  Having fallen into disrepair in recent years, these fields were an embarrassment & an eyesore until Hearne Mayor Ruben Gomez stepped forward to initiate a three-year plan to provide a much-needed rehabilitation. 

Union Pacific donated the property to the city.  Underground sprinkler systems now routinely water two of these fields.  Under the watchful eye of Marvin Zeig, the fields are returning to their original glory.  A new chain link fence & two sets of new bleachers were installed at one field.  The concession stand & restrooms were repainted.  Some of downtown Hearne's streetlights, benches, & trash cans create an attractive seating area around the freshly-painted flagpole.  Part of the parking lot will be paved in coming weeks.

In Phase 2, an unlighted field will be illuminated & another new sprinkler system will be added.  Phase 3 will feature a new concession stand & new restrooms.

HEARNE DEPOT & CAMP HEARNE NOW OPEN

The Hearne Depot & Camp Hearne are now both open Weds - Sat, 11-4.  Melissa Freeman staffs Camp Hearne.  Polly Morgan & Bobby Jack Middleton staff the Hearne Depot.

HEARNE DEPOT GRAND OPENING

The Hearne Depot attracted a couple of thousand visitors to its Saturday, April 9 grand opening.  While the folks inside the museum viewed exhibits in the waiting rooms, others watched the model train show in the baggage room. On the front lawn, folks snapped photos with one of eight Model A’s, a 1937 fire truck, a 1949 police cruiser, & an old-timey railroad pump car.  Under a tent on the back lawn, people enjoyed boudin, hot dogs, sausage wraps, & cold drinks.  With a full parking lot, street parking stretched for blocks around the depot.

The BCS Eagle ran a front page story in its region section about the depot's grand opening.  It is at http://www.theeagle.com/local/Historic-Hearne-train-depot-to-reopen-as-a-museum.  KBTX ran one hundred, 30-second ads over a four-day period.