The year 2017 has brought good and memorable stories, photos and moments from our communities. To commemorate this year’s passing, let’s take a walk down memory lane through the front pages of the Pleasanton Express.
In January, Mason Vick sold his Class 3 Exotic Steer for $14,000 at the Atascosa County Livestock Show, winning Grand Champion Steer. Bob Byrd addresses the oak wilt problem that was rapidly spreading through Pleasanton to the City Council during the citizen’s comments. The McMullen County Livestock Show was held January 27-28. Family, friends and community members of Jourdanton, Charlotte, Poteet, Pleasan-ton and Atascosa County surrounded the McCleary family after the loss of 18 year old Madison McCleary and her 11 year old brother Tanner in a fatal accident on FM 1333 on January 18.
February saw more devastation as Lesley’s Flowers & Gifts caught fire the Saturday before Valentine’s Day. Also, the announcement of Pleasanton’s Cowboy Homecoming and Turn N Burn joint celebrations was announced to be held March 9-11 at the Atascosa River Park. The Strawberry Festival Coronation took place on February 18. An accidental explosion at the Stevens Tanker Division location took place on February 8, injuring employee Daniel Wickham.
The 51st Cowboy Homecoming and Turn N Burn Cook-off was held during rainy conditions at the Atascosa River Park on March 9-11. Over 200 BBQ teams participated and Dennis and Vicky May of the Smokin’ in the Dark team were named the Overall Grand Champion. Abigail Partida was crowned Cowboy Homecoming Queen on Friday, March 10. Sand Mining of Texas agreed to meet with the public on March 23 to discuss the building of a frac sand processing facility in the county.
The 70th Annual Poteet Strawberry Festival was held April 6-9. Crowned as the King and Queen were Ross Mikolajczyk and Amanda Rivera. Headliners included Diamond Rio, Elida Reyna, David Lee Garza y Los Musicales, John Wolfe, Easton Corbin and La Mafia. Will Bates was named 2017 Grower of the Year and Kenneth Hoffman was named Honorary Grower. The Pleasanton PD had a pair of drug busts including cash, drugs and weapons.
High School graduates from all around Atascosa and McMullen County walked the stage in May as they moved onto the next stage of their lives. Robert Leonhardt was sworn-in the Pleasanton City Council on May 17 to occupy the Place 1 seat vacated by Doug Best. The Pleasanton Express won seven awards at the Texas Gulf Coast Press Association Better Newspaper Contest in Galveston. They won four first place awards for Humorous Column, Advertising, Special Section and Serious Column; two second place awards for Best Website and News Photos; and one third place award for Feature Writing.
June marked the beginning of summer as the Pleasanton Police Department held “Popcorn with the Police” to mark the end of the school year for local students. The Jourdanton ISD Board of Trustees broke ground to begin work on the JISD Early Childhood Campus. Pleasanton and Charlotte finished up commencement ceremonies for the surrounding communities. Preferred Sands planned to move their frac sand mine site to another location in Atascosa County.
In July, Methodist Healthcare System purchased South Texas Regional Medical Center in Jourdanton. Various July 4 celebrations were held throughout Atascosa County for families to enjoy. The Pleasanton City Council voted unanimously to direct city staff to bring a proposed budget and Johnny Huizar presented recommendations of the Master Plan 2025.
Devastation was brought to the Texas Coast at the end of August, but that didn’t send Atascosa County in turmoil. St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Pleasanton opened up the doors of its Parish Hall for the evacuees of Harvey from the coast. The community outpoured their support. The Atascosa County Sheriff’s Department and Jourdanton PD sent a team of officers to the coast in “Operation Gulf Rescue”. The Pleasanton Express launched a new website. Poteet’s Ramiro Ortiz went missing from his home at 643 Shalimar.
Atascosa County saw the loss of County Commissioner, Precinct 1 Lonnie Gillespie at age 65 in September. Gillespie had been in office since January 2009 and referred to himself as the “go to commissioner” since the day Judge Bob Hurley became judge. He was willing to do any job asked of him. The Pleasanton City Council voted to re-open Grant Street gate to help with traffic flow now that the new elementary school had been built.
Preferred Sands held a job fair on October 12 in hopes to fill over 100 positions for its 24/7 operation. A barbecue and door prizes were available for those in attendance. The fair was Preferred Sands way of thanking the community. The PISD School Board tabled the action on Apparel Color Guidelines in concern with the colors representing the school on theme shirts funded by the Athletic Booster Club and its sub-clubs.
Vietnam veterans Staff Sergeant Joe Rodriguez and Airman First Class Joe Garcia remember flying a flag for their friend recuperating at Ft. Sam Houston from wounds received while serving in the Republic of Vietnam in November in honor or Veteran’s Day. A group of church leaders met with law enforcement to discuss safety measures in their own church facilities following the tragic shooting in at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. Pleasanton PD held an Active Threat Brief for Civilians to help the community gain a better understanding of what to do in such a situation as in Sutherland Springs. Pleasanton ISD went blue for Diabetes Awareness Day in support of Hunter Norment, Max Wiggins, Libby Kemp and Alex Guerra.
Merry on Main took place on December 16 including a Santa 5K Run, Holiday Cookie Contest, Ice Fights and various merchants. Due the inclement weather this year, most activities were moved inside the Civic Center and the Night Parade was cancelled. On December 7, snow made an appearance for the first time since 1985. Families stayed up late to enjoy the rare whiteness our county sees. The trial for Ariel Fernandez’s murder was postponed due to Joseph Anthony Perez’s lawyer not showing.