Lake fills and floods, passing of Sheriff Grubbs, Camp Bowie’s 75th anniversary among top stories
The year 2015 has almost reached its conclusion as 2016 knocks at the door. But before flipping the calendar, here’s a look back at the some of the bigger stories in Brown County over the last 12 months.
Lake Brownwood reaches spillway as summer rains bring flooding
Sodden skies poured more than 8 inches of rain onto Brown County beginning the night of July 7 and lasting into the afternoon of July 8, sending waters from Lake Brownwood over the spillway, and pushing the Pecan Bayou out of its banks and leading to evacuations, road closures, water rescues and a search for a missing man in the waters of the Jim Ned and Sand creeks.
The body of Glen Nation, a 61-year-old disabled veteran from Coleman, was found after a three-day search.
Sheriff Bobby Grubbs dies, George Caldwell appointed sheriff
Brown County Sheriff Bobby Grubbs died at age 70 on Sept. 3 in a Hendrick Medical Center hospice bed in Abilene, a day after he was disconnected from life support and two days after suffering a massive stroke at his home in Early.
Grubbs’ death ended a 45-year law enforcement career including 19 years as a Texas Ranger and 10 years as Brown County sheriff. He was in his third term as sheriff.
County commissioners later named courthouse deputy George Caldwell as sheriff to complete Grubbs’ term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2016.
Camp Bowie celebrates
Camp Bowie celebrated its 75 storied years in a weeklong series of events in September.
Camp Bowie really played a central role in World War II, when it was the largest military training facility in Texas. Both the 36th Division, and other divisions as well, trained here and went on to the European Theatre. The 36th Division was the first American Division on the continent Europe and liberated Southern France.”
Massive wildfire threatens homes
Speaking at a ranch used as a staging area for firefighters the afternoon of Oct. 16, Brownwood Fire Chief Del Albright described 100-foot-high wind-whipped flames a day earlier that scorched 300 acres on a hot, dry afternoon southwest of Brownwood.
Saving homes was the top priority for the nine fire departments who responded along with the Texas A&M Forest Service (TFS) and Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System to the fire, Albright said at the Fry Ranch on FM 1176. Vehicles including bulldozers and personnel with the TFS, which has assumed incident command, and volunteer fire departments were staged on the ranch as containment efforts continued at other locations.
Several homes were threatened and voluntary evacuations from 12 homes occurred, but no homes were damaged, Albright said.
Changing of the guard
in Brownwood and Early
Former sheriff’s Capt. Tony Aaron began working on Jan. 1 as the Early city administrator.
In Brownwood, Bobby Rountree retired on June 23 as city manager. Council members named Emily Crawford, who’d been working as executive director of the Brownwood Economic Development Corp., as Rountree’s successor.
Change with the Brownwood, Bangs and Brookesmith
school districts as well
Brownwood school board members voted 4-2 on Jan. 29 to accept the resignation of Superintendent Dr. Reece Blincoe, who began a paid administrative leave.
On Dec. 2, board members named Dr. Joe Young as superintendent. Young had been working as deputy superintendent in the Corsicana school district.
In the Bangs school district, Bill Foster announced his retirement as of Dec. 31. School board members named Bangs High School principal Tony Truelove as the new superintendent.
Dr. Jay Smith retired as superintendent of the Brookesmith school district. Guy Birdwell, a former high school band director, began working as the new superintendent on July 1.
come to Brownwood, Early
Just 11 months after a groundbreaking, United Supermarkets opened a 42,648-square-foot store at Commerce and Riverside in Brownwood on June 17, along with a United Express fuel and convenience store.
Earlier in the year, on April 23, Aldi opened a grocery store in Commerce Square.
In July, the City of Early and the Early Economic Development Corp. received a commitment from Early Hospitality Partners for the construction of a Holiday Inn Express.
Other projects in Brownwood and Early that were announced or were under way included plans for a McAlister’s Deli in Brownwood and several construction projects in Early including the 60-unit Riverside Park Apartments.
Contested races develop in elections of sheriff, commissioners,
The filing period for the March 1, 2016 Brown County Republican Party Primary Election ended earlier this month with multiple races developed.
Billy Bloom, Vance Hill and Paul Lilly are competing for the sheriff’s seat.
In the district attorney’s race, incumbent Micheal Murray is challenged by Bill Ruth.
In the Precinct 1 county commissioner’s race, incumbent Gary Worley is challenged by Tommy Blevins, Jimmy Trowbridge and Bob Contreras.
In the Precinct 3 county commissioners race, incumbent Wayne Shaw is challenged by Jessica Acker and Pat McLaughlin.