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January 06, 2021 - 00:00
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A look back: Top stories of the decade


Top stories for The Colorado County Citizen from 2015 – 2019 included:


During the Feb. 12 Columbus City Council meeting, Mayor Dwain Dungen was presented with a portrait from the citizens of Columbus. Local pastor and artist Daniel Pore painted the portrait. During the presentation, Pore thanked Dungen for brainstorming with Black leaders in light of the events of the Ferguson incident and showing solidarity with the Black community during the Martin Luther King, Jr. march.

In May, Columbus Community Hospital prepared to lose two valuable assets as Dr. Kirk Anderson of Four Oaks Medical Clinic and CCH CEO Rob Thomas prepared to retire from their posts. Dr. Anderson retired after 40 years of practicing medicine, 35 of which were at Four Oaks Medical Clinic. Thomas retied after serving as CEO and Administrator of CCH for 23 years.

The Rice CISD campus of the Texas Challenge Academy opened its second location just outside of Eagle Lake in June. The building, previously a juvenile detention center, has been overhauled into the base of the Texas National Guard youth education program. Designed for 16-18 year-old students in danger of, or who have already, dropped out of high school, the program helps willing students get their GED or recover high school credits.

Overall, the program aims to prepare cadets for higher education, employment or a successful military career.

Just a few weeks after the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of nationwide recognition of same-sex marriages in July, much of Texas is still in uproar over the decision, which has historically been a states issue. Colorado County Clerk Kimberly Menke stated that her office will issue marriage licenses, samesex or otherwise, as long as applicants fill out the paperwork and pay the accompanying fee. Colorado County Justices of the Peace are telling a different story and are split 50/50 on the decision.

After 10 years of service to the City of Columbus, City Secretary Linda Lakich left her position for a new job opportunity. Bana Schneider assumed the role of City Secretary/Financial Director in August.


Mario E. Barajas and Katia Y. Montejano-Sandoval of Garwood are proud to announce the birth of their son Mario E. Barajas, Jr. Mario is the first baby of 2016 born in Columbus Community Hospital at 5:26 p.m. January 4, 2016. He weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces and measured 20-inches in length.

The Citizen welcomed Alesia Woolridge as Managing Editor for the publication. Woolridge was the first Black Managing Editor in the publication’s 159-year history.

The Tax Day flood of 2016 hammered Colorado County. The Colorado River at Beason’s Park in Columbus rose rapidly during the heavy rainfall Monday. Texas Governor Greg Abbott declared a state of disaster for Austin, Bastrop, Colorado, Fort Bend, Grimes, Harris, Montgomery, Waller and Wharton counties. The river was expected to rise to 46 feet by Thursday morning, coming close to topping the 1938 rise of 49 feet.

George Havran has seen a lot of Colorado County news in his 92 years, including the news he helped deliver when he was a Colorado County Citizen employee from 1935 until 1937. Havran read that The Citizen building is being demolished, and he stopped by to pay the building one final visit last week.

An impressive crowd of county citizens was on hand at the Columbus High School auditorium Dec. 1 to express concern and opposition against a proposed hazardous waste landfill in Altair. Over 30 concerned citizens of Colorado County took the microphone and voiced their opinions to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and Clean Harbors representatives about building the proposed toxic dump site in the county they call home.


Columbus Community Hospital welcomed the first baby of 2017, Ytzell Swengel, daughter of Tamia Duchicela and Daniel Swengel of Weimar, born Jan. 2.

Columbus High School graduate, LaAdrian Waddle, celebrated a Super Bowl win with the New England Patriots. Waddle was a 2009 graduate of CHS and 2012 graduate of Texas Tech.

The three-day grand opening of the Courtyard Wine Bar at Live Oak Art Center was a stellar success.

Columbus Volunteer Fire Department welcomed their first female firefighter, Blake Cunningham, in March.

Hurricane Harvey, a Category 4 storm, struck the Gulf Coast of Texas in late August and caused catastrophic flooding and damage. The Colorado River crested at a whopping 48 feet, and hundreds of county residents had to be evacuated.


Bravlio Gonzales was born Jan. 3, making him the first baby born at Columbus Commuity Hospital in 2018. Bravlio is the son of Maria and German Gonzales of Alleyton.

Columbus Mayor Dwain Dungen, whos aw Columbus through disaster and recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, announced his resignation in July. Dungen’s 13-year non-consecutive tenure as mayor is the third longest in the city’s history.

The 40th annual Colorado County Fair was a fair to remember. The county mourned the death of inspirational teen Case Beken of Weimar, who succumbed to a brain tumor just one day after his steer, Casper, was named Grand Champion at the fair and fetched a record $52,200 sale price.


Texas community newspapers lost another of its old-school legends in February as Chad Ferguson, longtime publisher and owner of the tri-county Banner Press newspaper passed away following a valiant battle with cancer.

In February, water as black as India ink, scores of dead fish, and noxious odors greeted environmental regulators and law enforcement at Skull Creek as the county and state agencies grapple with what may be the worst environmental calamity Colorado County has experienced in at least a decade.

The Citizen’s Decade in Review will conclude next week.