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Hays Free Press
Kyle, Texas
December 14, 2016     Hays Free Press
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December 14, 2016

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Deep Eddy, Buda finalize facility agreement. - Page 1D December 14, 2016 Page 1C BY SAMANTHA SMITH W anen the final allot is counted d the last .precinct's votes come m, some assume the job of an elections administrator is finished. Hays County Elections Administrator and Voter Registrar Joyce Cowan, who has held the position for the last 31 years, said that's far from the truth. When the calendar flips on Dec. 31, Hays County residents will bid farewell to Cowan, who is retiring from her position. While she recalled her tenure as Hays County's Elections Administrator as Challenging, Cowan feels that the efficacy of her office speaks for itself. Cbwan Said she was originally hired in Octo- ber 1985 by a committee of five people within the Hays County staff. Those were the coun- ty's tax assessor, county judge, county clerk and the Republican and Democratic chairpersons. Cowan said her role as Elections Administrator is to serve the public, but she answers to the com- missioners court, primar- ily the county judge. That position is currently held by Bert Cobb. Since the position of elections administrator is not an elected position and it would take a 4 / 5 majority to terminate Cowan, she joked that she serves the people, "but the court controls the purse strings." Cowan said the Hays County Elections Office is responsible for han- dling voting equipment and nmning elections all across Hays County, as well as managing voter registration for all Hays County residents. "We are a nonpartisan Hays County Elections Administrator and Voter Registrar Joyce position for the last 31 years, will retire from her position as of Since the position of elections administrator is not an elected position and it would take a 4/5 majority to terminate Cowan, she joked that she serves the people, ,'but the court controls the purse strings." office and here to serve the people," Cowan said. Cowan acknowledged many believe her job ends when Election Day ends. But she also says that her job is a year-long process. "We're still working on November elections and at the same time we are working on various runoff elections across the coun- ty," Cowan said. In between elections, Cowan said she and her staff are still responsible for voter registration in Hays County, but that the responsibility of running PHOTO BY SAMANTHA SMITH Cowan, who has held the Dec. 31. elections never ends. Cowan said the reason is that voting districts and entities in Hays County have to use the county's voting equipment. "The work never really ends," Cowan said. As for rumors that have been swirling around social media that the Nov. 8 general election could have been rigged or that election results could have been tampered with, Cowan said it was a non- issue for Hays County. 'Tkll of our voting ma- chines are plugged into outlets, there's no con- nection to the Internet so no chance of hacking the results," Cowan said. BY JONATHAN GONZALEZ The establishment of a newVeterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) post in the city of Buda is in motion as Bob Holcomb, a local veteran and member of the Kyle/BudaVFW Post 12058, seeks to expand the presence of the nonprofit veterans organization. Holcomb has been a member of the VFW for over 11 years, but only recently in the last three months has he actively campaigned to start a Buda post. "I am currently of the Kyle/BudaVFW Post 12058, but recently I've been looking to start our own branch here in Buda,, Holcomb said. "I had a meeting with the charter leader in Kyle, and spoke to him about establishing this branch as a way of expanding our presence." However, Holcomb said the creation of the Buda post isn't meant to be a competition be- tween them. "The Kyle VFW has more than enough mem- bers, so we decided it'd be good to expand. Our mission in the VFW is to help other veterans. A post in Buda would allow us to reach out to other HAYS FREE PRESS FILE PHOTO Area veterans may soon have a choice between VFW posts if enough sign up for a proposed Buda station. veterans." places, including the Gulf In order to establish a Coast and the Mediter- post in Buda, Holcomb ranean. said it needs a minimum In his efforts to estab- of 35 members with at lish the post, he's met least ten who are newly with city officials, includ- enrolled, ing Mayor Todd Ruge, to "We have more than discuss the matter, who Although the Buda 35 members willing to were all supportive of his VFW does not have its join the Buda VFW, but work. own meeting place right we don't have the ten "J.R. Gonzales with the now, they've received new members needed Buda Chamber of Com- help from the Buda Fire for the requirements," merce [in particular] has Department to provide a Holcomb said. "Once we been very helpful in our temporary space. get those members, we'll cause, but all the coun: "We are actively look- submit our application cil members and local ing for a permanent place to the Texas State Depart- businesses I met with to hold our meetings, but ment of the~ who'll showed their support Fire Chief [Clay] Huckaby review our paperwork." as well," Holcomb said. has been kind enough to Holcomb, a veteran "The council even offered allow us to use a class- of 23 years in the Navy, to keep an eye out for a room in one ofthe fire retired as Master Chief permanent place for us to departments," Holcomb after serving in various hold regular meetings.said. "The Kyle VFW has more than enough members, so we decided it'd be good to expand. Our mission in the VFW is to help other veterans. A post in Buda would allow us to reach out to other veterans." - Bob Holcomb Billy the Kid rode into Fort Sumner, New Mexico with five fellow fugitives on the night of Dec. 19, 1880, but sensing danger in the darkness, the most wanted outlaw in the Southwest pulled up leaving a young , Texan in the lead. If his parents had not perished in a smallpox epidemic soon after emigrating from Ireland, life might have been very different for Tom O'Folliard. Relatives in Uvalde, Texas took pity on the orphan and tried hard to mold him into a law-abiding adult. But he was immune to their strict teachings and ran off right after his twentieth birthday. O'Folliard wandered all the way to Lincoln County, New Mexico, scene of the fabled frontier feud that forced everyone, native and newcomer, to pick a side. Always on the lookout for fresh recruits, William "Billy the Kid" Bonney befriended the bewildered Texan, who eagerly joined his growing gang. In a matter of weeks, O'Folliard was an old and trusted hand rustling cattle and stealing horses with the best and worst of his new companions. He also accepted with question Billy's convincing justification for the crime spree, romantic resistance against the corrupt forces of law and order. As a member of the so-called "McSween faction," O'Folliard fought in the epic 72-hour battle in the streets of Lincoln in the summer of 1878. He was among the dozen gunmen trapped in a house on the third day by the arrival of hostile regular army troops. When flames began to envelope the structure shortly after nightfall, the McSween men had no choice but to make a break for a nearby river. O'Folliard was the first out the door and home free until he went back to help a wounded cohort. A bullet tore through his shoulder as snipers dropped several more friends in their tracks. Realizing it was every man for himself, the Texan sprinted to safety and eluded capture. While in hiding after the Lincoln shootout, O'Folliard was secretly visited by his uncle Thalis Cook, a Texas Ranger. He urged his wayward nephew to surrender, but the youth stubbornly refused. His addiction to the exciting existence outside the law and misguided loyalty to his mentor kept him on the road to ruin. A posse led by Pat Garrett almost caught O'Folliard in early December 1880. The Texan traded shots with the lawmen before finally losing them after a long chase in open country. As the six desperadoes slowly rode single file into Fort Sumner two weeks later, Billy silently slipped to the rear. Alone at the head of the line, This Woek In Texas History by Bartee Halle O'Folliard was a sitting duck. He reached for his gun the instant Garrett yelled. "Halt!" but a slug slammed into his chest before he could pull the trigger. Abandoning O'Folliard to his fate, Billy and the rest of the gang raced out of town without firing a shot. The mortally wounded Texan tried in vain to catch up with them before finally reining in his horse. "Don't shoot, Garrett." he pleaded pitifully. "I'm killed." A deputy, who cautiously approached the outlaw, answered softly, "Take your medicine, old boy. Take your medicine." O'Folliard offered no resistance and struggled to stay in the saddle. When Garrett demanded that he raise his hands, he explained that he could not lift his arms above his head. Repeating the prediction of his imminent death, O'Folliard asked to be lowered to the ground. The possemen obliged and carried him indoors to die. But oblivion did not come as quickly as O'Folliard expected, and he begged the sullen sheriff to end his suffering. Pat Garrett, who would soon murder an old pal in cold blood in the name of justice, ignored the pathetic appeal for mercy. The deputy again advised O'Folliard to take his medicine, which this time must have meant to go to his reward quietly. He smiled weakly and whispered, "It's the best medicine I ever took." Though blood poured from the gaping gunshot wound beneath his heart, O'Folliard lingered with the living for almost an hour. Delirious toward the end, he cried, "Oh, my God! Is it possible that I must die?" Evidently angry that O'Folliard had escaped the gallows, Garrett would not let his prisoner depart in peace. "Tom, your time is short," he loudly announced, as if the dying man required a reminder. O'Folliard answered with his last words. "The sooner, the better. I will be out of pain." A few seconds later, he felt nothing at all. That night they buried Tom O'Fofliard in the Fort Sumner cemetery, but he was not alone for long. Seven months later, Billy the Kid joined him in the same graveyard. That was the way the Texan would have wanted it, to spend eternity alongside his flawed hero. Bartee welcomes your comments and questions at barteehaile@gmail. corn or P.O. Box 152, Friendswood, TX 77549 and invites you to visit his web site at +