News in Review 2022


By Kyle Mooty

LPR Editor

From COVID to closings, champs and colonels, Courthouse Nights to a new Christmas event, the Bistro burning and barbecue celebrations. What a year it was for Lockhart and Caldwell County.

And that was just a fraction of what was 2023 in Lockhart and Caldwell County.

The Lockhart Post-Register takes a chronological look back at some of its headlines from 2022.

First Friday Treats

First Friday events continued each month — Jan. 7 to Dec. 2 — in downtown Lockhart with businesses remaining open later than usual for guests strolling the sidewalks. Among the constant was Karen Cernoch at Fields Stable Antiques serving up her variety of homemade cheesecakes to those venturing in her store.

Comments From the Pulpit Stir Emotions

Following a January sermon on fasting, a local pastor who doubles as a member of the Lockhart City Council has found himself in hot water in February.

Derrick David Bryant, who is also a motivational speaker, children’s entertainer, fatherhood advocate, and member of the board of directors of The Education Foundation for Lockhart Independent School District, is hearing feedback from many of the city’s residents about a video of a sermon he posted on Facebook from his pulpit at Arise Christian Ministries in January.

The video was edited after the controversy first came about. Bryant refers to a slide in the video that reads “Jewish Media Controls Your Mind.” He also notes that people can tell if someone is Jewish by their last name.

COVID Cases Surge in County

For the second consecutive week, Caldwell County reported a sizable increase in positive COVID-19 tests according to data from the state, with 472 new cases in the area showing up on the Department of State Health Services website on Jan. 3. Caldwell County had tallied 7,971 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March 2020.

Lockhart ISD closed its campuses earlier on Jan. 24 in an effort to give students and staff infected with COVID-19 a chance to recover and return to school.

Most Worthy Citizen Retires

Joyce Buckner, the Lockhart Chamber of Commerce’s Most Worthy Citizen, retires Feb. 25 after 34 years with Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative. Jo Anna Gilland stepping into her Buckner’s role at Bluebonnet.

CARTS Comes to Town

Capital Area Rural Transportation System, better known as CARTS, launched its CARTS Now service March 2 in Lockhart. Residents can either use the app or call CARTS and within 15 minutes be picked up and on their way to whatever destination they need.

TAFE Team State Champs

Lockhart High School’s Association of Future Educators were state champions at the March 3-5 State Competition in Dallas. LHS competed against several education, training, and early learning competitions with 20 students involved in the competition, 18 called on stage as state winners. The Texas Association of Future Educators (TAFE) is a co-curricular statewide non-profit student organization created to allow young men and women an opportunity to explore the teaching profession. TAFE encourages students to learn about careers in education while promoting character, service, and leadership skills necessary for becoming effective educators.

Cooking Success

The Education Foundation for Lockhart ISD not only hit a home run but smacked a grand slam at its second attempt at its 50 Lions Who Can Cook event. The event, which included 25 teams of two-person teams making everything from entrees, appetizers, and desserts, enjoyed a packed Lockhart Lions Club on April 1.

London Comes Calling

Tim Wakefield made the move from England to Texas, but his art is universal so he’s hardly out of his element. Wakefield came up with the revolutionary idea to put the art of music on canvas. It began with what he thought would be a short-term project in 2007 in London, and now he has Soundwaves Art Foundation studios in both England and Texas. A formal opening, delayed by COVID, took place April 1.

New Martindale Police Chief

Tommy Ward, Jr., the Interim Chief of Police for Martindale for seven months, was officially named the town’s Chief of Police during a special called meeting of the City Council on April 2.

Courthouse Nights Rachs & Rhodes

For seven consecutive months, Rachel Lingvai and Will Rhodes of Rach and Rhodes Presents put together a lineup on the third Friday from April through October that entertained crowds around the Lockhart Square with musical guests – Tomar & the FC’s, James McMurtry, Bidi Bidi Band, Emily Wolfe, Nuevo, The Tiarras, and Matt Vasquez of Delta Spirit.

Road Rage Tragedy

The Lockhart Police Department arrested Joseph Anderson III of Luling in connection to a road rage incident that led into a fatal stabbing on April 21. He was charged with murder. At about 8:30 p.m., Lockhart Police responded to a stabbing that occurred at the 1100 block of State Park Road. Officers arrived at the scene and found a motorist, a 56-year-old William Thomas Chesser of Lockhart, who had been stabbed in the chest during an altercation with the 54-year-old Anderson, in a road rage incident. Anderson was driving eastbound on State Highway 20 (State Park Road).

According to Lockhart Police, Chesser pulled out of the strip mall parking lot and Anderson felt as if Chesser had pulled out in front of him. Anderson drove around Chesser’s car and stopped in the roadway, and that is where the fight ensued, leading to Anderson allegedly fatally stabbing Chesser. Chesser was transported to Seton Hospital in Kyle where he later succumbed to his injuries. Chesser was married with children.

Salad Bowls Fresher in Lockhart

Iron Ox CEO Brandon Alexander and his company, Iron Ox, welcomed various members of the press on April 21 to show off what will eventually total 535,000 square feet in Lockhart, or as Alexander said, “about five Walmarts.”

By comparison, Jen Capasso, Senior Director of Communications for Iron Ox, said the plant at headquarters for the company in San Carlos, Calif., is only 10,000 square feet.

“Everything is bigger in Texas,” Capasso said.

There are multiple goals for Iron Ox growing produce in Lockhart at his state-of-the-art greenhouses. The Lockhart facility will eventually employee about 100 people. The plant will include processing, production, and robotics, and is already growing Texas Basil, Sweet Thai Basil, Kale, different types of lettuce, and will be adding strawberries soon as well as Cucumbers and other items.

Old Settler’s Big Times

Old Settler’s Music Festival enjoys another big event, April 21-24 in Tilmon with musical guests including Shinyribs, the Del McCoury Band and many others.

Perfect fit for BBQ Capital

Mill Scale Metal Works on April 26 chose 1.3 acres next to Kreuz Market to build its new 10,000-square foot facility, where its renowned custom barbecue pits will be manufactured and distributed to businesses and barbecue enthusiasts around the world.

Hammond Wins Forged in Fire Competition

Justin Hammond, who lives between Lockhart and Luling, was chosen as champion of the History Channel’s Forged in Fire competition, season 9 — “The Revolutionary War Forge.” The season concluded April 28.

“I’m loving it,” Hammond said of the attention. “Of course, I’m up to my ears in work now.”

Plane Lands on 183

On May 4, at 6:21 p.m., the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office received a report and discovered a pilot of a small plane made an emergency landing on Highway 183, Southbound, near Schuelke Road north of Lockhart. Mechanical issues were suspected due to an oil leak. No damage was reported to property or the aircraft. Neither of the two occupants were injured.

Cinco de Mayo Record

The May 6-7 Cinco de Mayo included musical guests on the Lockhart square as well as its annual run and walk which included a record 341 registered individuals.

Original Black’s BBQ 90th Anniversary Spectacular

Capping off a long day of celebration on May 14 for Texas’ oldest same-family run restaurant, the musical entertainer for the 90th anniversary, Shinyribs, told the crowd at the music pavilion south of the Lockhart establishment, “Black’s Barbecue is a beautiful thing. I am glad to be a part of it. Tribute to your ancestors.”

Kent Black, current owner and Pitmaster of The Original Black’s Barbecue, held a ceremonial slicing of brisket on the 90th anniversary which involved, among others, his mother, Norman Jean Black.

Mill Scale Metal Works of Lockhart put on a BBQ Pit Display and Cooking Demonstration.

The Best of Lockhart Music was an ensemble of local musicians, highlighted by James McMurtry’s short set. McMurtry will have his full band on site Friday at Courthouse Nights.

A variety of musicians played, including Steven Collins, Jenn Hodges, Richard Allen Platt, HalleyAnna Finlay-Welch, JRC, Dustin Welch, Naomi Bessette, Chazz Emile Bessette, Jackie Oberkrom, and Hoyt Van Tanner. David Beck’s Tejano Weekend band played later and was followed by Pitmaster Barrett Black and his brisket cooking demonstration. Shinyribs took the stage to end the day of celebration.

Running of the Bulls… and People and Dogs

Braving the heat, runners from all over Central Texas as well as dogs and inanimate objects such as bicycles disguised as bovine took part June 4 in the second annual Running of the Bulls in Lockhart. A large crowd attended the event, which coincided with Farmers Market on the square. A pair of bands performed for the crowd, many of whom sought shade from the midday sun.

The Bulls costume contest was won by Chicken (the dog) of Kaye Adkins, followed by the decorated bull of Keep Lockhart Beautiful. Third place went to Pride of Caldwell County.

Bigger and Better than Ever

CTR The 48th year of the Chisholm Trail Roundup didn’t disappoint June 9-11 with three days of fun at Lockhart City Park and downtown Lockhart. Azzaraye Garcia was crowned Chisholm Trail Roundup Queen.

Firefighter Brothers Killed

Two members of the Maxwell Community Volunteer Fire Department were killed June 20 when their brush truck struck another vehicle in Lockhart, overturning the truck. Dying in the accident were brothers Assistant Chief Jonathan (25) and Firefighter Hunter Coco (21). They were returning to their station after fighting a fire outside of Lockhart when the accident occurred. Preliminary reports showed the accident happened at about 1:48 p.m. when the driver of the car, headed southbound on San Jacinto Street, turned onto State Park Road. The brush truck hit the car, forcing the truck to roll over and killing the two firefighters.

Downtown to be Upgraded

The Lockhart City Council finally adopted at its June 21 meeting the Downtown Revitalization Project plan.

Among their findings of engineers and city leaders were that there will be an approximate increase in three parking spaces – from 373 existing spaces to 376. A total of 53 spaces will be converted from angled parking to parallel parking, most of those are being on Church and Walnut streets. Commerce Street will gain 13 spaces, while Main Street will gain seven.

The project will focus on the nine-block area surrounding the historic Caldwell County Courthouse. Proposed upgrades include utility, drainage, street, hardscape, pedestrian access, and landscaping in the downtown area, along with traffic alternatives on North Main St., between SH-142/W. San Antonio St. and Walnut St. 

Retirement Ends Lumber Legacy

Wilson & Riggin Lumber had been open since 1935 before closing its doors on June 24 as Mark and Stephanie Riggin retired. The business initially opened as Stripling Blake Lumber Co.

McCoy’s Coming to Town

McCoy’s Building Supply of San Marcos finalized its deal on June 27 to purchase 12.8 acres of land on the southeast corner of Colorado Street and Bufkin Lane to build a store in Lockhart.

Bummer at Bistro

An early morning fire July 9 at a popular Lockhart restaurant temporarily closed the business, but plans are to eventually return. In the meantime, the restaurant has opened at owner Parind Vora’s building in Gonzales.

Food Pantry Serves Incredible Numbers

Meredith Jakovich is grateful for the space she’s able to work with at the Caldwell County Christian Ministries, but she needs more, as well as food and monetary donations and partners and volunteers of the CCCM Food Pantry.

Jakovich told the LPR on July 21 that in January 2022 the pantry served 753 households and 992 food baskets and in June it served 990 households and almost 1,500 baskets. CCCM has also added to its list of programs and now has five – Food Baskets, HOPE (Healthy Options for the Elderly), Backpacks, Garden, and Feeding Lockhart. Each basket has 100 pounds or more and clients are eligible to visit two per month.

Drought Pummels County

The summer drought in Caldwell County wreaked havoc on many, with farmers experiencing particularly tough times.

“It’s a real bad year,” said Wayne Morse, Extension Agent for Texas A&M AgriLife Extension. “Most of our row crops look bad. There’ll be lots of insurance claims.”

Helping Uvalde

Connie S. and Louise L. Amaya of Lockhart donate 500 backpacks to the children of Uvalde following on July 23 the tragic school shooting on May 24. The Amayas and other went back on Aug. 14 and gave out hundreds more.

Diez y Sies has Distinguished Guests

Diez y Seis brought hundreds of visitors to Lockhart for it Sept. 16-17 event, including Consul General of Mexico Pablo Marentes and his wife, Seniora Patricia Lerdo de Tejada.

LHS King and Queen

Lockhart High School crowned its King (Roman Estrada) and Queen (Jocelyn Adeyeye prior to its Sept. 23 football game at Lions Stadium.

New Historical Marker Unveiled

A lengthy procession led visitors from its longtime site at St. John Cemetery to the new location – the Juneteenth Grounds by St. John Regular Baptist Church — and eventual unveiling of the new Historical Marker for St. John Colony on Oct. 22.

St. John Colony began in the early 1870s when African American farming families moved there from Webberville. Their leader was Rev. John Henry Winn, and according to Wikipedia the community switched from Winn’s Colony to St. John Colony after the building of St. John Regular Missionary Baptist Church.

Election 2022

In the Nov. 8 election, Incumbent Hoppy Haden won Caldwell County Judge.

Dyral Thomas won the Precinct 4 seat on the Caldwell County Commissioners Court, while Rusty Horne did likewise for Precinct 2.

Mayor Pro-Tem Angie Sanchez Gonzales and Brad Westmoreland retained their At-Large seats on the Lockhart City Council, while John Castillo won the District 2 seat.

In other local races, Trey Hicks won Caldwell County Court at Law, and Yvette Mireless won Justice of the Peace Precinct 4.

Lockhart Independent School District won its $71 million Bond Election.

Police Chief Retires

Ernesto Pedraza announced his retirement at the Lockhart Police Chief effective Oct. 24.

Lockhart Names Interim Police Chief

Kevin Lunsford, who had a 40-year career in law enforcement in Huntsville, is named Lockhart’s Interim Police Chief. On Nov. 1.

Student-less Bus Wrecks Business

An LISD school bus is hit by a car as it travelled south on Colorado Street, then rolled through the parking of Central TX Autos on Nov. 17, damaging four cars in the parking lot before crashing into the garage area, where it damaged a 1942 Roadster “High Boy.”

LISD Bursting at the Seems

According to statistics announced at the Nov. 28 LISD board meeting, there are currently 6,464 students enrolled, a 4.8 percent increase from the 2021-22 school year — 298 more students than the year before.

Jam-packed Fashion Show

Willigan’s Island opened a new line of apparel with a fashion show Dec. 1 at Lockhart Arts & Craft before a standing-room only crowd. Designer Sara Barr and Willigan’s Island owner Will Rhodes put on the event, which included other merchants and their apparel.

One to Remember

A Christmas to Remember in Lockhart, a new name for what was once called the Dickens Festival, was enjoyed by many for two nights, Dec. 2-3, including having Santa along with various performers at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library. Saturday night’s Christmas Parade was back in full force for the first time in three years.

Coats for Many Kids

Coats for Kids enjoys another big event with 153 coats given away at its Dec. 10 event. Also handed out were crocheted blankets, crocheted beanies/hats, a pair of Bombas socks, and a pair of gloves to each child.

Hometown Promotion

Andrea M. Rosales was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the United States Army on Dec. 18 during festivities at the Caldwell County Courthouse.

COL Rosales and her husband, Jason Rosales, currently reside in Burke, Virginia, but they are 1998 graduates of Lockhart High School. She is currently employed at Fort Meade, Maryland. Jason retired as a sergeant first class (SFC) in 2018 from the Army after serving for 20 years.

Westy’s Closes after Century-plus

His family has been involved with the Lockhart pharmacy since the turn of the 20th century, but on Thursday evening, Dec. 22, Brad Westmoreland closed the business for good on Dec. 22. Westy’s Pharmacy was located on the west side of the Lockhart Square at 113 S. Main St.

“You kind of know when it’s time,” said Brad Westmoreland, who is a third generation running the business following his grandfather, Edwin Reese “Westy” Westmoreland, Sr., and his uncle, Westy Jr. Brad is also a member of the Lockhart City Council.

Roland ends 32-year Seat as Commissioner

Joe Roland saw his 32-year stay on the Caldwell County Commissioners Court come to an end at the Dec. 27 meeting. Roland retired after being elected for eight consecutive terms.

Midnight Ball Drop

Gaslight-Baker Theatre had its large fundraiser on New Year’s Eve, Dec. 31, at Little Trouble and Eldorado, with a Midnight in New Orleans theme. Also, at midnight, 2023 was brought in with a ball drop from the roof of the Eldorado to Main Street.


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