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February 17, 2010     Hays Free Press
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February 17, 2010
 

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Section D ............. ..... HaysFreePress.com I 'ree ]ri CLASSIFIEDS PUBLIC NOTICES SERVICE DIRECTORY February 17, 2010 .Page 1D t PHOTOS BY JEN BIUNDO Buda Fire Chief Clay Huckaby, left, accompanied by Buda Mayor Bobby Lane, commemorated the dedication of a new fire truck last winter. The department has grown from a small volunteer force to a large professional force, and this year Huckaby was named fire chief of the year by the Texas Fire Chief's Association. Huckaby named top Fire Chief in Texas BY JEN BIUNDO jen@haysfreepress.com t could have all ended on a quiet Sunday night in 1994, when downtown Buda burst into flames. In the late hours ofluly 10, a fire erupted in a gtasshlowing shop on the comer of Main and Ash streets and quickly spread through the adjoining buildings. As the flames raced through the connected wooden and tar-papered attics of the century-old structures and threatened an entire block of the old downtown, Buda's small volunteer fire force leapt out of their beds and into action. Among the men fghting the inferno was the new- est volunteer on the force, Clay Huckaby. His day job? High School. At the age of 16, Huckaby followed in his father's footsteps to sign up on Buda's volunteer force. He wantedto help in his small, close-knit community- and what kid doesn't dream of being a firefighter? On that night in 1994, as firefighters from neighbor- ing towns raced to Buda to help combat the blaze, the teenage volunteer was assigned the relatively safe job of checking nearby buildings to make sure they were fire-free. He and his partner didn't realize that flames were quietly simmering in the attic space. "Where Nonna Gina's is right now, we were going in there to check it out," Huckaby said. "The gentleman with me knocked a hole in the glass. It caused a back- draft, and the whole building exploded. I ended up on the center yellow line in the middle of Main Street." Huckaby's first firefighting experience ended in an ambulance ride to the hospital, but that didn't deter him from what would become his life's profession. "I said that day that I wasn't going to quit, and I didn't," Huckaby said. A decade and a half later, the Texas Fire Chiefs Asso- ciation is recognizing Huckaby as the Texas Fire Chief of theYear for 2009 for his leadership in transforming the small, rural volunteer force into a modem, profes- sional department. Huckaby was appointed volunteer chief in 2004, and in 2005 he was hired as the first paid chief of the department. "What we've done here in the past seven years is basically try to advance the fire department to a more professional department that reflects the community we're in," Huckaby said. The board of directors of the Emergency Services District #8, which oversees the Bnda Fire Department, nominated Huckaby for the award. "We felt that all the accomplishments that we've had over the last couple years and especially this last year were overwhelming and he would be a hands "What we've done in the past seven years is basically try to advance th00epart- ment to a more pro00ional department that reflects the community we're in." -Clay Huckaby, Buda Fire Chietf down winner," said ESD commissioner Joe Segovia. "I call him Buda's local hero because he grew up in Buda,, and now he is both firefighting and saving the taxpay- ers tons of money." Since he was named chief, Huckaby helped double the number ofvolunteers, from less than 15 to 30, and expanded the department to include 27 employees, financed largely through $1.4 million in federal grants. Last year, voters outside city limits overwhelmingly approved a half-cent sales tax to increase funding for the department, allowing the construction of two new' stations and the purchase of new fire trucks. Firefighters jokingly complain that they never get to fight a good fire nowadays, since they arrive on scene be- fore the building is engulfed in flames. But the increased protection meant Buda's Insurance Services Office rating will drop from a 7 to a 3, effective this June, with 10 being; the worst possible rating and 1 being the best. That tmns,- lates into a 15 percent decrease in homeowners' insur- ance rates and a 33 percent drop in commercial rates. Huckaby implemented a fire code in ESD #8 and hired a full-time fire marshal to enforce the ESD and City of Buda fire codes, and helped the county imple- ment a new dispatching system. With the help of the annual Firefest fundraiser, the department built a four-story training tower and recently graduated its first recruit class. This year, Huckaby was also recognized as Citizen of the Year by the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce. He iss a graduate of Concordia University in Austin and was ira the first graduating class of the Texas Fire Chiefs Acad- emy at St. Edward's University in Austin in 2008. The Texas Fire Chiefs Association awards ceremonyt will be held in Galveston on February 24. Hays County/ ESD #8 and the Buda Fire Department will be holding a local dinner at Ruby Ranch Lodge on February 26 at: 7p.m. Huckaby oversees a training exercise for Buda firefighters. Sales tax receipts set record BY BOB BARTON bob@haysfreepress.com Sales tax receipts for the City of Kyle set a new record this month, princi- pally buoyed by the volume of business generated by the presence of the Target and Kohi's stores during the holiday Season, Going over the $300,000 mark for :ie:first te ia histo Kyle's share of ''he st/te saleS'tax resulted in a check for $329,379. That surpasses the previ- ous high of slightly over $293,000 back in November of 2008, and was an eye- popping 35 percent increase over the $244,000 check last year. Buda also passed the $300,000 receipt mark, banking $337,398 this month. The amount was about $5,000 below last February's payment. Its record for the largest check was a little more than $366,000 back in February 2007, when its share of the receipts from the first Christmas season of Cabela's opera- tion were received. Although the I4a,s tCoun 'cture for February sales tax receipts was up overall nearly six percent, the state as a whole registered a decrease in total income from this source of more than six percent. Among the 20 largest cities in the state, only Austin, E1 Paso, Frisco and Grand Prairie showed imcreases in sales tax revenue. In file srnalller cities the re- suits were not tter and the net drop in total city sales tbx receipts amounted to more than $50 million for the month. Other Hays cities' receipts for Feb- mary include San Marcos, $2,197,000; Dripping Springs, $75,906; Wimberley $764,101;iWoodcreek, $3,797; Ubhnd, $2,780; Niederwald, $1,622; lrdlag of Hays, $1,293; and Mountain City, $569. Hays County, which receives a half cent from every taxable sale within the county, received a total of just over $1.1 million from the state in February. Thz E was a 5.4 percent increase over la t February's check. Downtown Budab00es in Spring BUDA " t's still officially winter but things are heat- , ing up in Buda. Bring the family and friends to enjoy Buda's upcoming events. First Thursday March 4, 5 - 9 p.m. Downtown Buda First Thursday takes place on the first Thurs- day of each month throughout downtown Buda and focuses on providing downtown visitors the chance to stroll through the unique shops, while enjoying local restaurants and entertainment. The next first Thursday will feature Windwalker Primitive Weapons grand opening. The newest mer- chant to the downtown area features a gun shop and gunsmith services of the 1800's and early 1900's rifles and pistols. The celebration will include smoked brisket, cowboy chili, beans, jalapefio combread for sampling and a lot more - dancing, wine tasting, sarsaparilla and cowboy coffee. Yeehaw! Acoustic Song Circle March 21, 3 p.m. Nonna Glna's Italian Restaurant All levels of skill and experience are welcome! This is a chance for musi- cians to share, learn and inspire one another. Mu- sicians are invited to play an acoustic instrument or sing. No microphones or amps will be permitted. Musicians should contact Ben to RSVP or to learn more about the event at (512) 809-6647 or ben@ villa-magdalena.com. Nonna Gina's will offer drinks for sale during the event and will open at 5 p.m. for dinner service. Buda Jam Battle of the Bands March 27,10 a.m. to 1 lp.m. Buda City Park For more information please visit www.kismath- center.corn, then click on Buda Jam under "events." Easter Egg Hunt April 3 Buda Sportsplex That's right, Easter is right around the corner. Join us Saturday morning, April 3, 2010 at the Buda Sportsplex for pictures with the Easter bunny, games and, of course, an Easter Egg Hunt with over 40,000 eggs. More infor- mation will follow in the coming weeks. Family Fun Run and Healthy Kids Day April 17, 8:30 a.m. Buda Sportsplex/Hays Communities YMCA YMCA and the City of Buda Parks and Recre- ation Department pres- ent the Healthy Kids Day Family Fun Run. We'll have distances for all ages, including track and trail runs through Buda Sportsplex. Come enjoy the fun. All kid finishers will receive ribbons. More information will follow in the coming weeks. For any additional information on these or upcoming events in Buda please feel free to contact the City of Buda at 512- 312-0084.