Brewster County held its regularly scheduled commissioner’s court meeting on Sept. 23, and heard County Judge Eleazar Cano talk about canceling Alpine’s Artwalk.
Scheduled for Nov. 20-21, the family friendly art festival is considered among Alpine’s biggest events of the year. Alluding to earlier cancellation of the annual Terlingua championship chili cook-offs because of coronavirus concerns, Cano expressed his desire to cancel Artwalk as well.
In an unusual move, during the meeting, Cano telephoned City of Alpine Mayor Andy Ramos. The mayor noted that due to both the coronavirus and the upcoming flu season, he felt it would be in the city’s and county’s best interests to cancel Artwalk.
Cano asked Ramos if the city council had decided, and requested that the city and county be “on the same page.”
Commissioner, Pct. 2, Sara Allen Colando cited unfairness as justification for canceling Artwalk, even saying she had been questioned by her constituents as to why the chili cook-offs were canceled, but not Artwalk.
“My understanding is that Alpine is its own entity, and for the most part, they can make the rules for themselves, but I have not heard anything official from the city’s government or employees as far as what the plan is,” said Colando.
Commissioner, Pct. 3, Ruben Ortega and Commissioner, Pct. 4, Mike Pallanez also justified the cancellation based on fairness.
Ramos then moved on from Artwalk to the upcoming Alpine High School homecoming bonfire. He said the high school should cancel that as well, then assured the court the Artwalk issue would be placed on the city council agenda for its Oct. 6 meeting.
On Wednesday, Alpine ISD Superintendent Becky McCutchen told the Avalanche the district had this week received approval from Alpine Police Chief Robert Martin to hold the homecoming bonfire event, permissible as outlined in Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott’s order GA30, item one. The bonfire is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 16.
In other news, Brewster County Sheriff Ronny Dodson announced that Chili Appreciation Society International had provided a monetary donation to the Sheriff’s Office to offset expenses incurred at the annual cookoff. CASI also donates to the Terlingua school’s scholarship program and Terlingua Fire and EMS each year.
Despite the cook-off cancellation, CASI pledged to provide donations as a goodwill gesture in January 2021 during the qualifying cookoffs at Terlingua Ghost Town. According to Dodson, only CASI members will be permitted to camp there during qualifying, and spectators would not be allowed.
Sunshine House Executive Director Judy Ford requested that commissioners approve a resolution authorizing the Sunshine House to apply for additional funding through the Texas Department of Agriculture Home Delivered Grant Program, Texans Feeding Texans. Ford said an increase in senior citizen and homebound services required supplemental funding, and commissioners approved.
County Treasurer Julie Morton announced that Friends of the Marathon Community Center had donated $1,448 to the county for repairs done at Post Park in Marathon. Finally, Road and Bridge Superintendent Frenchie Causey announced that North Double Diamond has just installed two water tanks, but was awaiting fire hose fittings.
And finally, EMC Stephanie Elmore renewed the county wide outdoor burn ban for 45 days.
The next regularly scheduled commissioner’s court meeting is set for Wednesday, Oct. 14, at 9:30 a.m. via Facebook Live.