Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Hutto Scream House lives up to its name

Editor for the Hutto News

Driving to the haunted house was eerie enough.
It stands on County Road 134 in the middle of a a secluded field almost half an hour away from the safety of downtown and its surrounding suburbs.
So I already felt like I was in a horror movie, waiting for my cell phone and car to die at the same time.
What came after I found Grandpa Bo's Bargains, the store that transformed into Hutto Scream House — well I suppose that depends on the kind of person you are.
For the adrenaline junkies, it's a pure high. For the the homebody like me who watches too much TV, you are zombie bait and spend the entire time wanting it to be over.
So Hutto Scream House is no joke. You get what you're looking for when it comes to Halloween entertainment.
It starts with a maze that takes you through a land of nightmares, and the path leads you outside to an open field where you find yourself stuck in a crowd people who want to eat you.
Very creepy, very unsettling and not a good way to unwind for the night.
But I survived and am here to tell you all about it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Car show to benefit Hutto JROTC students

Editor for the Hutto News

Enrolling in the JROTC class at Hutto High School is not a one-step process.
Just like art class, supplies will need to be purchased. Unfortunately drill rifles cost more than paint.
"What the school budget doesn't pay for, we do," said Elaine Prout, JRTOC parent.
So to help JROTC families offset the additional financial burden, the group has planned a fund-raising car show, which is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 26, at Hutto High School.
Titled "Full Throttle," the event will feature more than 200 vehicles from sports cars to motorcycles. Live military displays are planned as well as a classic rock performance by the Clutch Kings band from Austin.
"You don't have to worry about bringing snacks," Prout said. "There'll be plenty of food trucks to chose from, so lunch is covered.
Anna Collins, the chief master sergeant of the Hutto JROTC, is looking forward to this inaugural event.
"It's going to be a fun day, and everything that comes in will be for the kids," Collins said. "What doesn't pay for the ceremonial uniforms and color guard equipment will go toward the end-of-the-year military ball and and scholarship fund."
To the students, preparing for the car show has become a tangible display of teamwork and leadership.
"That's why it's so important," said sophomore Michael Prout. "It's a product of what the JROTC is all about."

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Visit offers glimpse of what's to come

Special to the Taylor Press

Summer's a great time to visit family — if it's legal.
For Maria Newman of Taylor, it's not. Her family lives in Cuba, and the December 2014 decision to lift the travel embargo between there and the United States isn't fully operational.
But it will be, says Newman's cousin Pablo Arguelles Acosta of Cuba, once both sides catch up to the agreement that was made.
"And when it is, the family will be able to come together much easier," Acosta said.
That idea is what made Acosta's June 2015 trip to Taylor so special.
"We came (to America) for academic reasons, but what it did was show us how travel will become," Acosta said. "It will be welcoming, easy and doable."
It was an academic conference for the Latin Association of Scholars that enabled Acosta and his family to travel to Florida. His wife Grisel, a historian of city libraries, gave a presentation on bibliographic heritage.
The couple and their two daughters, Ana Paula and Gabriela, spent two weeks in Florida and the third week at Newman's house in Taylor.
"We spent the week touring Austin," Newman said. "We went to Barton Springs, saw the Capitol, the Blanton Museum of Art and went to the Bob Bullock Imax Theater."
The family also had the chance to catch a game of baseball at the Dell Diamond Round Rock Express.
"At the baseball game, we had our first meal of hot dogs and pretzels," said Gabriela. "Very American."

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Hutto copes with loss of popular police officer

Feature writer for the Hutto News

To us, Hutto is home. It's simple and quiet, most definitely not a place that's known for being featured on the nightly news.
That is — it wasn't until last Wednesday when Hutto Police Sgt. Chris Kelley was killed during an attempt to apprehend a traffic violator.
In about two seconds, Hutto's reputation as a quaint roadside Hippo-loving town exploded into what the TV is calling a "small but dignified town filled strength, bravery, love and solidarity."
Images of us — the people who live in Hutto — filled the TV screen. We were having fundraisers, leaving tokens of love at the City Hall shrine, praying at the community vigil, consoling the bereft family of Sgt. Kelley or simply taking the time to say a word of thanks to the servicemen who are still out there working on our behalf.
And that is amazing. It's something in which I'm sure we can all take pride.
The following is an account of how and when all of these wonderful shows of support unfolded.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Town mourns at prayer vigil

Special to the Taylor Press

They passed out posters and made a lot of posts on Facebook.
"It was an invitation, plain and simple, for people to come out and pray," said Casey Preusse of Hutto, regarding Thursday night's prayer vigil for Sgt. Chris Kelley at Fritz Park in Hutto.
She organized the event as a nod of respect to the widow of Sgt. Kelley, for she also lives the life of a law enforcement officer's wife. She's married to Texas State Trooper David Preusse of Hutto and is all to familiar with the sacrifice and hardships that work entails.
"I know it's hard, so I just started asking people to come," Preusse said.
She wasn't sure what the results would be, and she wasn't entirely sure what the vigil would entail when plans were set in motion.
"Yeah, we didn't know if 10 people would come or 10 hundred," said the Rev. Alan McGrath of Hutto Discovery United Methodist Church, the vigil's host pastor who opened and closed the program.
The pair's invitations started to circulated late Wednesday night. By Thursday morning the high number of RSVPs caused them to change venues from the parking lot at Hutto City Hall to Hutto Fritz Park.
"We enlisted the help of the Taylor and Round Rock Police Departments as well as the Williamson County Sheriff's Officers to direct traffic," said Christina Kane-Gipson, the public information officer for the City of Hutto, on Thursday at lunchtime. "It looks like a lot of people are going to be there, and we want to be prepared." (These law enforcement agencies have been covering for the Hutto Police Department in all other areas, as well, Kane-Gipson said. The local officers have been relieve of duty in effort to give them the freedom to mourn.)
By the time 7 p.m. came along, all of the parking lots near Fritz Park were full as well as the curbs of all the streets in sight. Several hundred residents had come in response to the invitation, alongside a host of community leaders, which included representatives of the Hutto School District, Hutto City Council, the Hutto Fire Department, Williamson County Regional Response and the ROTC members from the school.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Frozen sisters sighted in Hutto

Editor for the Hutto News

Princess Anna and Queen Elsa of Arendelle were behind bars at the Hutto Police Department on Friday, Feb. 27. Officer Stephen Schlather even had the pair in handcuffs.
“We had to lock them up,” said Officer Suzanne Glass. “The cold weather has gone on long enough, and we wanted to put a stop to it.
But the restraints at city hall were no match for Elsa's powers. The pair escaped and hasn't been seen since dinnertime Friday.
If any citizens see the “frozen culprits” within Hutto city limits, they are urged to call the police department.
“We want to shut them down,” said Lt. Dwain Jones.
At least that's the story the Hutto Police Department is telling on Facebook.
“It's been a fun way to deal with all of the cold weather,” said Christina Kane-Gibson, the city's public information officers.
Their posts about the Frozen sister sightings and “criminal freezing” have generated almost 200 followers, including KVUE News. An article about the pair and their mischief was posted to the station's website on Thursday, Feb. 26, when they were captured on camera in Pflugerville.
In reality, the Disney princesses are some local personal injury lawyers having a little fun.
“Everything just kind of happened by accident,” said Brittany Deane of Hutto, the woman who was dressed as Elsa, explaining that she and her twin sister, Briana Deane of Round Rock, perform at children's birthday parties as a side job.
“We were on our way to a party, and our marketing director took our picture in front of a cop car,” said Briana Deane. “He thought it would be funny to poke fun and make it look like Elsa was responsible for this recent batch of cold weather.”
The marketing director was Neil Angeles. He and the twins work for the Pflugerville-based law firm Justinian PLLC. The first photos from Thursday, Feb. 26, were taken near the law firm on Heatherwilde Blvd.

California horse lover films music video on local ranch

Editor for the Hutto News

A horse named Maverick had a message to share.
"And I heard it," said Tiffany MacNeil of California. "My job has been to figure out how to tell it.
That's how the song "You've Got Time Now" was born.
MacNeil and her crew were at Tri-Star Farm in Hutto last Friday, March 6, filming the accompanying music video. Both the film and video will debut this October in Germany at the European Conference on Horse-Assisted Education.

The song
"You've Got Time Now" started to evolve last September when MacNeil was in Round Rock helping her sister-in-law pack.
"She had gone to the University of Texas in Austin and was getting ready to move back to California," MacNeil said. "We had been real busy the whole time I was there, and I had started to miss my horses, so I looked for a nearby stable to visit and maybe go on ride."
The top hit on her Google search was Maverick Horseback Riding of Hutto, the outfit that operates out of the barn and stables at Tri-Star Farm, which is located at the intersection of Palm Valley Boulevard and County Road 110.
"I looked at their website and immediately wanted to go. Their horses looked beautiful," MacNeil said. "I told myself I'd get up early and go on my last day in town."
But she and her sister-in-law got busy and distracted with last-minute chores.
"So I ended up rushing," MacNeil said. "And by the time I got to the stable's gates I had to keep on driving so I wouldn't miss my flight. There was just not time."