Rockdale Reporter

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CRIME BEAT
First holiday
of New Year
set Wednesday
Wednesday is, of course,
New Year’s Day with most
businesses to be closed,
along with city and county
government offices.
Among the closings are
all of Rockdale’s financial
institutions.
City Hall and the Lucy
Hill Patterson Memorial
Library will be closed and
Rockdale’s garbage pickup
will be one day late from
Wednesday through Sat-urday.
The Rockdale post office
will be closed for New
Year’s Day.
BACK TO SCHOOL—
Schools are still out but
all South Milam students
will return during the next
week.
Thorndale St. Paul’s will
be back in class on Mon-day.
Classes will resume
Tuesday for students in
the Milano, Thorndale and
Gause ISDs.
Rockdale ISD students
will return to classes on
Wednesday, Jan 8.
QUICK LOOK
VOL. 142, NO. 9 | ESTABLISHED 1893 $1 THURSDAY, JANUARY 2, 2014
TAKE A LOOK BACK AT THE
YEAR THAT WAS IN SPORTS
FOR YOUR FAVORITE TEAM,
SPORTS, 1C
2013
THE YEAR IN PHOTOS
Serious, funny, ‘miraculous’ and
cute, The Reporter was there,
Lifestyle, page 1B
2013 big news: What didn’t happen
Brandon Cotton (L)
avoided death pen-alty
trial by accept-ing
a life without
parole plea bargain.
Sherill Small was
charged with capi-tal
murder in death
of two-year-old for
whom she was pro-viding
foster care.
LCRA-Alcoa sale canceled; no death penalty trial
By MIKE BROWN
Reporter Editor
In 2013 it wasn’t what hap-pened
in the Rockdale area that
made some of the year’s biggest
news, it was what didn’t happen.
As 2012 ended, Rockdale’s
two biggest stories waiting to be
played out were LCRA’s acquisi-tion
of land at the former Alcoa
Rockdale Operations and the
death penalty capital murder trial
of Brandon Charles Cotton.
Neither one of them happened.
Alcoa still made headlines
by announcing it would close
its atomizer, the last producing
facility at Rockdale Operations.
And another high-profile adju-dication
is looming. A new res-ident
to Rockdale was charged
with capital murder in the shock-ing
death of a two-year-old girl
for which she was providing
foster care.
SAGAS—The Rockdale City
Council continued one ongoing
saga and terminated one before
it could get going.
Demolition on the former Cam-eo
Insurance Building, mortally
damaged in a 2012 retaining wall
fall, was ordered, then rescinded,
then ordered again.
A new firm was hired to pro-mote
tourism in Rockdale, then
fired after its initial events did
not do well and a substantial
budget deficit was revealed.
There were so many split
council votes that five times a
mayor had to cast a tie-breaker.
(Rockdale mayors don’t vote
unless there’s a tie.)
Something else that didn’t hap-pen
in 2013 was the choosing of
a new superintendent to replace
Dr. Howell Wright, who resigned.
A successor was actually cho-sen
but she turned down the
position the day before trustees
were to cast a final vote.
An interim was hired and
a new superintendent is to be
selected in 2014.
LCRA—As 2013 dawned,
Alcoa and the Lower Colorado
River Authority were thought to
be finalizing a deal, mostly about
water rights, that would transfer
ownership of the 34,000 acres of
land at Rockdale Operations to
the river authority.
The companies were in “due
diligence”—big biz talk for doing
their homework on each other—
but only two months into 2013
the wheels started coming off.
In a February LCRA board
meeting, the river authority’s
directors deadlocked 7-7 on a pair
of votes tied to the proposal, one
of them a motion to terminate it.
The proposed deal survived
when directors agreed to a nego-tiation
extension.
The extension came and went
with no word. Finally LCRA said
the deal was dead with one blunt
summary sentence:
“LCRA elected not to purchase
the property.”
In December Alcoa announced
it would close the Rockdale
Operations atomizer, which had
remained open since the smelter
was shut down in 2008-09.
Thirty-seven atomizer employ-ees
are losing their jobs.
NO TRIAL—Milam County
had budgeted hundreds of thou-sands
of dollars to cover costs
of a capital murder trial and a
long and laborious jury selection
process had already begun when
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