2023 Year in Review


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

Lockhart was represented at two of the most iconic stages in the world in 2023, while others took to walking a local runway with pets. Fires visited Caldwell County, a religious icon made its way to a local church, barbecue was once again recognized in the Barbecue Capital of Texas, and a group of Lockhart High School students were honored for acting quickly to save a dog in distress.

Those were just a few of the moments that made up the Year in News around Lockhart and Caldwell County.

Here is a chronological list of some of the events from the area in 2023:

Jan. 1 – A new tradition was started in Lockhart with the dropping of a New Year’s Day ball from The Eldorado down to Main Street in front of Little Trouble.

Jan. 14 — Summer Moon Coffeeopens at Primrose Plaza in Lockhart.

Jan. 27 – Connie Constancio retires as Secretary for the City pf Lockhart after first working there in 1998.

Jan.  28 – Jeffry Michelson is named the Most Worthy Citizen at the annual Lockhart Chamber of Commerce Banquet held at the Luling Civic Center.

Feb. 25 – The first annual Fur Ball took place at Two Wishes Ranch as a benefit for the Lockhart Animal Shelter. Many local residents walked runways with pets of the Lockhart Animal Shelter.

March 1 – The Lockhart High School band performs at the iconic Carnegie Hall in New York City.

March 2 – Lockhart High School’s TAFE (Texas Association of Future Educators) has 20 state winners and 6 national qualifiers at the Teach Tomorrow Summit in Round Rock.

March 6 – An 8-foot, 225-pound alligator that was born from a hatched egg and kept in the backyard of a Dale area home is removed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and relocated to the Animal World & Snake Farm Zoo in New Braunfels.

March 21 – Gary Williamson is confirmed by the Lockhart City Council as the city’s new police chief. Williamson came from El Campo, where he was also the police chief.

March 25 – Chauncey Franks is the featured speaker at the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce annual banquet at the Lockhart Lions Club.

April 21 – Courthouse Nights begins its third season providing free entertainment in downtown Lockhart with Cajun Music Hall of Famer Jesse Lege taking the stage. Other guests through the five-month Courthouse Nights include Hard Proof, which was forced indoors at Lockhart Arts & Craft due to inclement weather, Garrett T. Capps, Sonora Explosiva Dinamita, and Heartbyrne.

April 22 – Lockhart again host its annual Running of the Bulls, only moving the event up a couple of months to avoid the summer heat. Another banner crowd comes out to watch the fun-filled event.

April 27 – Kinder Morgan Pipeline LLC provides a $500,000 check to Caldwell County for maintenance and equipment in its Unit Road Department. Kinder Morgan later donated $200,000 to Caldwell County for its EMS services, and $300,000 to be distributed among the three school districts in the county.

April 29 – Lockhart native Kirstie Suerte Mattos is crowned Mrs. USA Ambassador of South Dakota.

May 1 – The Lockhart High School band performs at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

May 4 – Dallas businessman Mitchell Ward returns home to donate $25,000 with another $25,000 match for the Juneteenth celebration at St. John Colony.

May 5 – Cinco de Mayo, hosted by the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, begins another two days of live music and other events in downtown Lockhart, complete with 45-plus vendors lining the square.

May 15 – Lockhart ISD names Cynthia Vasquez as the new principal of Lockhart High School. Emily Marshall is named the new principal at Bluebonnet Elementary School.

May 16 – Formerly known as the SMART Terminal, Texas-based Scarborough Lane Development and Partners rename the Martindale-area, 2,000-acre project as Axis Logistics Park.

May 17 – McCoy’s Building Supply breaks ground on its new operation planned at 1600 S. Colorado Street in Lockhart.

May 23 – Lockhart ISD announces $2,017,269 in scholarships for graduating high school seniors.

May 24 – The late Rick Schmidt is named a Legacy Member of the American Royal Barbecue Hall of Fame in Kansas City.

May 26 – Lockhart High School holds commencement exercise at Lions Stadium. Jamayla Coleman is the LHS Valedictorian. Erick Lara Barrientos is the school’s Salutatorian.

May 27 — Barbs BQ opens with its Egyptian-style barbecue on the Lockhart square. A crowd gathered more than an hour prior to the opening and wrapped around the sidewalk down Main Street.

June 2 — The Lockhart Post-Gallery had a soft opening on April 1, then officially opens its monthly exhibit on June 2.

June 7 – The Chisholm Trail Roundup celebrates its 50th year at Lockhart City Park.

June 9 – Lockhart ISD holds a Centennial Celebration of the M.L. Cisneros Education Support Center at 419 Bois D’Arc Street.

June 12 – Kruez Market is certified as a Texas Business Treasure by the Texas Historical Society.

June 15 – Bill Schroeder, a Lockhart native and member of “The Junction Boys on Bear Bryant’s 1954 Texas A&M football team, passes away at the age of 89.

June 29 – Lockhart High’s TAFE team places 10th nationally at Orlando, Florida.June 17 – Juneteenth is celebrated for the 151st year at St. John Colony.

July 12 — Jenn Hodges of Fiddler’s Green Music Shop in Lockhart played at the Grand Ole Opry as a guest of friend Melissa Carper for three songs.

July 13 – Lockhart’s Joe Carter, following a feature in the Post-Register, is presented a Resolution drafted in his honor by State Representative Stan Gerdes for his “contributions to the community.”

July 22 – The 5th annual Connie Amaya Back to School event is held in Lockhart with about 700 kids served necessities for the upcoming school year.

July 23 — Longtime Lockhart resident Michael J. McCormick, former Presiding Judge of the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, passes away at the age of 77.

July 29 – Lockhart’s weekly Farmer’s Market around the square becomes The Farmers and Artisans market.

Aug. 11 – Texas National Guard helicopters joined the efforts of six area fire departments as 228.6 acres are burned from Boggy Creek at SH 130 to Black Ankle Road about 4 miles west of Lockhart. The fire was started when a tractor-trailer caught fire on SH 130.

Aug. 18 — The Barth Fire burns 150 acres near the intersection of SH 130 and SH 183. The fire was started accidentally by water utility crews making emergency repairs.

Aug. 20 – A train car overturns at the 700 block of E. Market Street at about 3 p.m.

Sept. 15 – Diez y Seis, hosted by the Greater Caldwell County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, begins a two-day event celebrating Mexican Independence Day and Hispanic Culture with 11 schedule musical acts.

Sept. 28 – The Kurst Root icon makes its way at Lockhart’s First-called Orthodox Church in a tour of Texas. The icon is on display for much of two days to view and pray before the Mother of God sign found in the 13th century in Russia.

Sept. 29 – Tammi Fest returns for a two-day music festival in Martindale.

Sept. 30 – A large crowd gathers at the 100th anniversary of the building that once housed Carver School in Lockhart, noting that it had received a $3 million promise from the Texas Historical Commission for it renovation and restoration.

Oct. 6 – Locktoberfest begins with much fanfare with several businesses joining in the fun to embrace the celebration.

Oct. 10 — Gavin Hinckley has the Youth Breeding Heifer Grand Champion at the Texas State Fair.

Oct. 17 – The Ziegenfelder Company, America’s largest producer of Twin Pops, holds a groundbreaking ceremony in Lockhart. The project is expected to be about $45 million and will add 100 jobs to the area.

Oct. 26 – Six Lockhart High School students — Sariah Johnson, Kaelin Krueger, Kendra Mendoza, Leah Ovalle, Azelea Shelton, and McKayla Tinoco — see a dog hit by a truck, rush to its aid, then take it to a local veterinarian. The dog survives, although a back leg has to be amputated. The dog is adopted by Krueger, who names it Cookie. The girls are honored by the Sons of the American Revolution at a December meeting of the LISD board.

Nov. 1 – Dennis Engelke retires as the Grants Administrator of Caldwell County.

Nov. 2 – Olga Alonzo-Trejo is recognized as H-E-B’s Central Texas Region’s Community Service Award recipient at a banquet in San Antonio.

Nov. 2 – A groundbreaking is held at Lockhart High School for a two-story, 36,000-foot addition that will eventually provide an additional 625 seats and 19 classrooms to the existing facility.

Nov. 2 – Martindale’s Terry Turner is found guilty of manslaughter by a Caldwell County jury for the Oct. 11, 2021 shooting and killing of 31-year-old Adil Dghoughi, who, while lost, had pulled into Turner’s driveway around 3:30 a.m.

Nov. 4 – Several baseball players on Lockhart’s two sandlot teams are also musicians and release an album, Sandlot Season One: Lockhart.

Nov. 4Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest and World’s Fair return to Lockhart for the second consecutive year.

Nov. 7 – At the General Election, Lew White is re-elected to his fifth consecutive term as the Mayor of Lockhart. John Lairsen wins Lockhart City Council, District 3; Lockhart ISD’s Tax Ratification passes; as does Caldwell County’s Emergency Services District (ESD) No. 5.

Nov. 10 – Poco Loco opens its new Lockhart location to a large gathering of guests.

Nov. 13 – Lockhart joins several Texas municipalities in a lawsuit fighting Senate Bill 2038 that allows developers to opt out of extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ). Specifically, Lockhart is concerned over Perry Homes’ 398-acre development of Juniper Springs just west of Lockhart’s city limits.

Nov. 18 – About 70 people turned out for a discussion at the First Lockhart Baptist Church Connection Center regarding concerns such as loud music, stray dogs, speeding, and gunfire in the Precinct 4 area of Caldwell County. The event is organized by Commissioner Dyral Thomas of Precinct 4.

Dec. 2 – A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart is bigger than ever, particularly with its lighted parade through downtown.

Dec. 11 – Filings for the March 5 Primary Election include two opponents of Caldwell County Sheriff Mike Lane – Hector Rangel and Alberto Luna; two running for Caldwell County Tax Assessor – Joy Pardo and Debbie Sanders; one opponent of Commissioner Precinct 1 B.J. Westmoreland – Taylor Burge; two opponents for Commissioner Precinct 3 Ed Theriot – Margarito Zapata and Alma Morales; one opponent of Constable Precinct 1 Clemente Verastegui – Richard Sanders; and three vying for Constable Precinct 2 – Paul Easterling, Leah Hathaway, and J.D.Murray.

Nov. 11 – Two Lockhart Theatre students – Reagan Bliss and Cierra Collins – qualify for the national level at the International Thespian Festival in San Antonio.

Dec. 18 – The Lockhart ISD Business office is recognized for earning the Government Finance officers Association Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting with a Superior Rating and a perfect score of 100.


Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.