Yoe High student to represent region at International Science Fair

Yoe High students, from left, Neeraj Bhatka, Chandler Barton, Faith Kistler and Rebecca Kostroun brought home several awards from the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair in Waco on Feb. 22. Bhatka won first place in the plant science division and will represent the region at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in California in May.

Yoe High School junior Neeraj Bhatka will represent the region at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in May in Los Angeles after winning the Central Texas Science and Engineering Fair at Texas State Technical College in Waco on Feb. 22.

Bhatka won first place in the plant science division.

Yoe High freshman Rebecca Kostroun was named an alternate to the international event. She placed first in biomedical and health sciences.

Two other Yoe High students also placed at the event. Chandler Barton placed first in Mathematics and Faith Kistler placed third in behavior and social sciences.

All 4 qualified for the State Science and Engineering Fair to be held March 31 in San Antonio.

Bhakta, who wants to attend Texas A&M University, said his project, “The Reaction of Vegetation to Cultivation after Remaining Undisturbed for 15 Years,” was tied to his longtime appreciation for nature.


City begins search for police chief

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


The City of Cameron took its first steps in hiring a new police chief during its meeting Feb. 21 naming a committee to begin the search.

Mayor Connie Anderle, Councilmember Robert Davis and City Manager Rhett Parker will serve on the committee, which will read over applications and submit finalists to the whole council.

Parker told council that the police department is currently running smoothly under the direction of himself and three sergeants – Chris Stringer, Tony Maskunas and Jerry Muhamet. 

He said each of the sergeants is taking on a different administrative role. The department has also moved Officer Clay Domel from animal control to being a full-time police officer and hired on a new officer last week. He said the department is currently conducting interviews to hire one additional officer. 


Opening Day

Everyone enjoyed sunshine and baseball at Opening Day at The Yards of Cameron on Feb. 18. Young and old alike took part in activities throughout the day including a Wiffle Ball Tournament, Yoe Alumni game, Home Run Derby and Farmers Market.


Ballot set for May 6 elections

The ballot is set for the May 6 city and school elections in Cameron.

Five people have filed to run for two spots on the Cameron ISD school board. Six people have filed for Cameron City Council.

Positions held by James Burks and Daniel Willie are up for election. 

Incumbent James Burks has filed for re-election.  

Robert Welsh, Roy Martinez, Melanie Shuffield Romine and Jenny Gebhart have also filed to run.

According to City Secretary Amy Harris, six people have filed for places on the city ballot. 

Incumbents Melissa Williams, At-Large, Robert Davis, Ward 3, and Vergie Hardeman, Ward 5, have filed for their current places on the council. Daniel Willie has filed for Ward 1 on the council, currently held by Maurice Goza. Goza did not file. Mirl Forrest and Ruth L. Canady have filed for Ward 5.



Four places on the Buckholts ISD school board are also up for election May 6.


Storm leaves destruction across Milam County

The TISD baseball fields suffered damage due to powerful straight-line winds that passed through the area on Monday. The city was without power for most of Monday.


A severe storm with high winds raced through Milam County early Monday morning leaving several without power, multiple downed power lines and debris across the county.

Cameron residents on the north side of town were without power for most of Monday after high winds knocked down and tree and power lines near the Arlidge Storage Units along Highway 77.

Thorndale residents woke up to no power and extensive damage after a storm bought 70- to 80-mile hour winds to the area.

The winds damaged several power lines leaving the city and most of the area without power until late Monday. Damage was done to roofs, barns and many trees were knocked down due to the wind.

The lights at the Thorndale ISD athletic fields were knocked over along with damage done to a silo along the railroad tracks.

Residents and business owners were left to clean up the mess.


Mardi Gras Bash to raise funds for Holcombe Scholarship fund on Feb. 25

The 5th annual Mardi Gras bash will be held Saturday, Feb. 25, at Simon George Hall, 401 S. Karnes, in Cameron. 

The event, which will start at 6 p.m., will include a Cajun food dinner, auctions including a gun raffle and activities for the kids. Adult tickets are $10 and children under 18 are $5. 

Tickets may be purchased at the Milam County Extension Office in Cameron, the Rockdale Reporter, and Rodenbeck Farm & Ranch in Thorndale.

Organizers of this year’s Mardi Gras Bash have announced some of this year’s auction items which include an aerial tour of Cameron in a Cessna 182 donated by Ranspot-Cobb Flying Service. Other items include a prime rib dinner for 15 donated by Jerry and Agnes Kostroun, a Spider-Man V6 Power Wheels toy and a box of Black Label Cigars worth $250 donated by Stephanie Varga. 


Storm knocks out power, downs trees

Utility workers fix the downed power lines along Highway 77 in Cameron after storms moved through the area.



A severe storm with high winds raced through Milam County overnight leaving several without power and multiple downed powerlines and debris across the county.

Cameron residents on the north side of town are still without power after high winds knocked down and tree and power lines near the Arlidge Storage Units along Highway 77.

A Tornado Warning was issued about 1a.m. on Feb. 20.

Power was out for the entire town of Thorndale this morning with some debris being reported. 

According to MIlam County Sheriff David Greene Facebook page several roads throughout the county are closed due to storm damage.

There are power lines down all over the county with some being reported on the highways. Please avoid any traffic on our roads unless absolute emergency.

These areas are currently closed:

- 486 south of 486-487 intersection is closed due to down power lines.

- 908 around Apache Pass is closed


Commissioners reinstate burn ban for county

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


Milam County Commissioners reinstated the burn ban for the county during their meeting Feb. 13.

Commissioners approved the request from Cameron Fire Chief Henry Horelica due to the extensive amount of dry grass in the county. He said there have been several grass fires due to people burning trash and things over the past several weeks.

“Even with a significant amount of rain here in the county, there is an extensive amount of dry grass in Milam County,” he said. 

Agricultural and property clearing burns are permissible upon contacting and approval of the local fire department. Outdoor burning of trash is permitted in appropriate covered containers. 

Horelica said the fire chiefs will revisit the ban in six weeks or so after the grass has started to get greener.


Appraisal District reaches settlement with Luminant

By Lindsey Vaculin

General Manager


A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit between Milam Appraisal District and Luminant.  

The settlement agreement places the taxable value of two disputed units at $315 million for the tax years of 2015 and for $290 million for the tax year of 2016.  Although it was not part of the lawsuit, the Appraisal District and Luminant have agreed on a taxable value of $280 million for 2017.

“The only good news in this is that the county and Rockdale School District can now move forward knowing how much ad valorem tax revenue we can expect, rather than having to guess at what is going to happen,” Milam County Judge David Barkemeyer said. “The bad news is that in one swift action the county lost some 10 percent of its tax base with no way of recovering this in the near future.”


Celebrating 25 years

The Milam Community Theater celebrated 25 years of live theater in the county at its annual gala on Feb. 11. Guests enjoyed a catered meal, dancing and the opportunity to bid on several auction items throughout the night. MCT’s new season will kick off in April with “Don’t Dress for Dinner” on April 8, 9, 15 and 16. You can still get season tickets online at


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