2018, a year to remember



While a new year is upon us already, let’s not forget about all the good, bad, happiest and saddest moments of 2018.

A lot of firsts and lasts happened this last year. There was loss and pain, but in the midst of it all, Atascosa County remained united as one and comforted one another, making some pretty fun and happy memories that will last a lifetime. Let’s take a look back through the front pages of the Pleasanton Express to celebrate such a great year passed.


Former Atascosa County Commissioner, Pct. 1, was honored and remembered during the 2018 Atascosa County Livestock Show by his grandson, Auston Gillespie. Auston hand built a Golden Oak Stained Working Grandfather Clock for the Ag Mechanics Projects show. Gillespie’s clock won first place.

The Atascosa County Commissioners’ Court approved the design plans for the enlargement and renovation of the Atascosa County Jail. An additional 84 beds will make for a grand total of 214 beds when the project is complete in early


Atascosa Animal Allies made a difference in the community by holding a volunteer work day. The organization is partnered with the City of Pleasanton Animal Shelter to find homes for cats and dogs. Founder Caron Tuttle and her amazing team of workers including Eldon Tuttle, Sue Samsel, Shannon Harvey and Cindy Vickers continuously encourage and inform the community on the importance of spaying and neutering their animals. The group, who formed in October 2017, is always seeking volunteers and forever homes for the many animals they take in and care for.

The community prepared for the upcoming 52nd Annual Cowboy Homecoming/Turn N Burn event held at Pleasanton River Park where it was expected that over 200 cookers would sign up to win the title for best BBQ in the area.


Pleasanton High School seniors and twins, Aubrey and Amber Guerra were crowned as the 52nd Cowboy Homecoming/Turn N Burn Queens. They are the third set of twins to reign as queens. The combined event was a huge success for the second year in a row.

Atascosa County held one of its largest capital murder trials for the murder of San Antonio Police Officer Robert Deckard. Shawn Ruiz Puente was later found guilty in April for murdering Deckard in Atascosa County boundaries and sentenced to Life in Prison Without the Possibility of Parole.


After a long three years, justice was finally served for Ariel Fernandez and her family for the fatal stabbing of Fernandez in December 2015 by her then boyfriend, Joe Anthony Perez, as well as for the stabbing of her brother, Richard Luebano. Perez was sentenced to 35 years for the murder of Ariel and an additional 10 years for the stabbing of Luebano.


The community of Jourdanton and Jourdanton ISD mourned the loss of one of their students this year. Jourdanton HS junior, Vicente Valero was honored at the JISD Stadium on May 8 by fellow classmates, teachers, friends, family and the community. Each took turns highlighting Vicente’s short lived life and the impact he made in the community. A balloon release was held and the JHS Symphonic Band performed some of Vicente’s favorite songs in his honor.

Poteet ISD named their new lone finalist for the superintendent position. Poteet alumnus, Charles Camarillo was chosen and 21 days later officially offered the position after former lone finalist, Janna Poth declined the offer. Camarillo accepted the position and officially started in August.


Groundbreaking for Phase I of the Pleasanton River Park Master Plan Renovation officially began. Among the highly anticipated features are a splash pad and skate park. Construction on the new drainage system took top priority followed by the renovation of the new restrooms and playground. The renovations are expected to be completed by March 2019.

Children’s Alliance of South Texas (CAST) officially opened their new office in Jourdanton. Services provided are part of a comprehensive response to child abuse

Julyin the state.

Prominent business man and owner of Price Chevrolet, Bob Price, was one of 11 people who survived a plane crash in Alaska. Price escaped with some injuries. According to reports, one passenger was critically injured, four were transferred to a Seattle hospital and all were expected to survive. Experts say there was less than a one percent chance of survival in the plane crash.

Sergeant Deputy Joe Saucedo was named the Atascosa County Law Enforcement Officer Association’s Officer of the Year at the 43rd annual banquet.


Derek Ashley was named the 2018 Cowboy of the Year at the Pleasanton Young Farmers’ Open Rodeo. Ashley followed his father, Darryl, who was the 1994 COY.

US Sen. Ted Cruz (R) made an appearance at Cafe Chris in Pleasanton alongside Republican State Senator candidate (at the time) Pete Flores. Cruz spoke for an hour to a packed restaurant about a strong Texas economy, cutting regulations and the historically low Latino unemployment rate nationwide.


Pleasanton native, Pete Flores, wins the race for Senator of District 19 while accomplishing a handful of firsts along the way. Flores won 53 percent of the vote over Democrat, Pete Gallego’s 47 percent. He is the first Republican since Reconstruction to hold the Texas Senate seat for District 19 and the first Hispanic Republican state senator in Texas history.

Atascosa County Animal Control Center held their Grand Opening Ceremony on Sept. 21. In attendance were Senator Pete Flores, Commissioners Mark Gillespie, William Torans, Bill Carroll and Eliseo Perez along with Atascosa County Judge Bob Hurley and Sheriff David Soward.


The new Pleasanton Fire Department on Airport Rd. held their Grand Opening on Oct. 5. The new station includes bunks, showers and a kitchen for firefighters.

The cities of Jourdanton and Charlotte signed interlocal agreements with the new Atascosa County Animal Control Facility.

A public meeting was held on Oct. 15 at the Pleasanton Lions Club for a tutorial on the new electronic voting machines that would be used during the Nov. 6 Mid-Term Elections in Atascosa County.

Atascosa Family Crisis Center changed their name to Safer Path Family Violence Shelter to reflect their true identify as a domestic violence


The Nov. 6 Mid-Term Election was held. Former presiding Judge of the Atascosa County Court at Law, Lynn Ellison (R), won the race for 81st District Judge. Mark Gillespie remains as the County Commissioner for Pct. 1 while Stuart Knowlton will take over the CC seat for Pct. 2, following William Torans’ retirement. Keeping their seats were Justices of the Peace for Pct. 2 and 3, Kyle D. Bradley and Orlando Carrasco.


The City of Pleasanton’s annual Merry on Main two day event was a huge success yet again! Downtown Main Street was closed as local food, craft and other vendors lined the streets. Christmas carolers, the Grinch, Frosty and Santa marched through the crowds. The Most Wanted Band performed on Friday evening while children enjoyed an ice slide. Various performances were enjoyed on Saturday afternoon ending with a fireworks show and a fun lighted night Christmas parade.

The new Atascosa County Justice Center held their grand opening ceremony on Dec. 17.

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