Category Archives: WHO is That?

This section of the Coupland Times is about getting to know the people who live or work in Coupland.

Alderwomen Caught Swearing in Public

On November 13, Coupland Mayor Jack Piper officiated the swearing in to office of three people. Sarah Torluemke began her duties as a new Alderwoman, replacing Eldridge Tidwell, who chose not to run for a second term. Barbara Piper and Susan Schmidt were also sworn in for a second term. Additionally, during the meeting, Ms. Piper was elected by her fellow Alderwomen to serve as Mayor Pro tempore for another year.

Barbara Piper

Barbara Piper

Susan Schmidt

Susan Schmidt

Sarah Torluemke

Sarah Torluemke

Before You Vote on Tuesday . . .

. . . check out the 2014 VOTERS GUIDE from the League of Women Voters of Texas and the League of Women Voters in the Austin Area.

Click here to view or download it.

Be advised that ALL of the  incumbent Senators and Representatives for both the Federal Government and the State Government did not respond to the questions submitted to them by the League of Women Voters.

I'vd had just about enoughThe non-responsive government officials are:

  • Federal Senator John Cornyn
  • Federal Representative John Carter (District 31 – for most people in the Coupland area)
  • Federal Representative Bill Flores (District 17 for some Coupland area voters)
  • State Senator Charles Schwertner (District 5)
  • State Representative Larry Gonzales (District 52)

Evidently, our County Judge, Dan Gattis, and our County Commission, Ron Morrison, are concerned enough about keeping their jobs that they took the time to respond to the League of Women Voters’ questions.

Retirement Party for LaVerne Rohlack

Submitted by Rexanne Pilkenton:

LaVerneHave you ever set up utility service and then didn’t get your bill?  That’s exactly how this story begins.  LaVerne Rohlack of Coupland will retire from Manville Water Supply Corporation with 39 years of service on October 31, 2014.  For many of you, she is the face of Manville and she will be greatly missed by customers and her co-workers.  While leaving the corporation and the daily office routine, she will not be idle.  LaVerne is planning on helping her husband, Ernest Rohlack, in the cattle business as well as having fun with her family and friends.

In 1969, a group of farmers from the Manor and Pflugerville area was searching for a water supply for their families and livestock.  Since then, Manville has grown into a much larger system with approximately 8,500 retail and wholesale customers and a staff of 24 employees.  LaVerne has been a vital part of the organization, as she was one of Manville’s first employees.  With her youngest son, (Thomas) in first grade, daughter, (Jana) in 8th grade and oldest son, (Ernie) a freshman in high school, LaVerne was working as a substitute teacher at the Coupland school.  Having been on the Manville water system for several months, she mentioned to her co-worker that she had only received one water bill.    At that point, someone suggested that she apply for a job at Manville since it appeared they needed office help.  She did and here she is 39 years later.  She has worn many hats over the years and currently serves as Assistant Manager and Director of Business Services. Continue reading

Coupland Gets Much-needed Roadwork

James Naivar uses a front-end loader to prepare the road so his workers can fill in some big cracks.

James Naivar uses a front-end loader to prepare the road so his workers can fill in some big cracks.

In the early days of September, Naivar Construction, under a contract with the City, did some work to help preserve roads that are not yet too far gone on the north side of Coupland. They also sprayed herbicide on the edges of the roads to retard the encroachment of vegetation. You have probably seen their other handiwork in the form of patches in many locations.

In the image above, you can see how much of North Commerce had been swallowed up by aggressive weeds, which were also coming up through cracks and helping to spread them. Some of the cracks were very wide and deep, creating a hazard. Previous mowing by other contractors began the process of beating back the jungle and Naivar finished the job. The road looks much better and, according to Naivar, has many more years of useful life before major work will be required.

Naivar says some of the streets on the south side of town are too far gone to simply patch and will need to be completely rebuilt in one fashion or another.

At the most recent City Council meeting (story coming soon), Mayor Piper said he is still looking for someone who can mow along CR 458. There is plenty more work to be done but this is major progress.

A Visit with the New Pastor of St. Peter’s Church

Pastor Garrison2

Martin Garrison is the new pastor of St. Peter’s Church of Coupland. Today was his first official day on the job. His first sermon as the pastor of St. Peter’s will be on Sunday.

I visited with him a few days ago. My first impression was that he is not as young as I had expected. There was wisdom and maturity behind those eyes. He is very easy to talk to and I spent quite a bit more time than I had intended.

He told me he went to high school in Hurst, which is in the mid-cities area of Dallas-Fort Worth. He attended the University of Texas, studying journalism and computers. He worked in television for a while as a Newscast Director. He also did some commercial copy and was the video editor for Central Texas Gardner on KLRU. That period was eight years of his life. He also did some residential remodeling before he decided to attend the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

I asked what led him to enroll in seminary. He said that because he had attended loving churches as a youth, he grew up to love church. When he was about 30 years old, he was reminded of his love for church by listening to books on tape while doing his remodeling work. He specifically mentioned Gilead, a novel by Marilynne Robinson. He also said that Bobbi Kaye Jones, a Methodist pastor in Austin, encouraged him.

Continue reading

Setting the Record Straight

People often wonder why I am so adamant about always using my middle name, especially on legal documents. The image and the link at the end of this story not only explain my cause but they prove my case. Nevertheless, its a fun story . . . sort of.

When I first moved to San Marcos in 1979, I was working at Taco Bell and looking forward to the day when I could attend Southwest Texas State University to finish what I had started in San Antonio. I showed up to work one day and my coworkers commented that they had seen that I had a DWI. I assured them I had not but they did not believe me and produced a copy of the local paper with a list of indictments from the Hays County Grand Jury. Sure enough, my name was on there: Stewart Spencer.


Now my first and last name are not that unusual but the specific combination and spelling is not common, especially within a limited geographical area. Ever since that day, this other person has been a pebble in my shoe. I don’t think he knows that I exist but that doesn’t matter. Years later, when I first started working at the San Marcos Housing Authority, a coworker called me and said she had heard over a police scanner that I had been mugged at Springtown Mall. She was calling to see if I was okay. Nope. Not me. I recall hearing that his story may have been fabricated.

Almost 10 years ago I bought property in Hays County, just northwest of San Marcos, but when I arranged to move my telephone service I was told by the phone company that I had an unpaid bill and had to pay that before they would move my service. Mind you, I had phone service at my San Marcos apartment for about 5 years before this came up. Upon investigation, I found that the unpaid bill was from the 1990s, during a time when I had a completely different number at another San Marcos address. Apparently they had tagged my Social Security number to the number of this other fella when he walked on a bill. The problem required the personal intervention of the local top dog of the telephone company before it was resolved.

Over the years I found that whenever I had reason to call the police to report some kind of concern, such as a loud and late party down the street in that college town, they thought I was the other guy and seemed to doubt the veracity of my information. Finally, a sympathetic dispatch operator told me that whenever I called, I should say, “I’m not the 96.” That was their code for people with mental issues. After that, I always got a laugh on the other end of the line when I would say, “This is Stewart Dale Spencer. I’m not the 96.”

It got even more fun, if you can call it that, after I moved to that property in the county. The other guy just happened to move out of San Marcos to another area of Hays County at the same time. Consequently, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office became familiar with him. I did not know about this but discovered it after I began to get strange reactions from Sheriff’s Office dispatch when I called about things like a brush fire that was not being supervised.

Fortunately, a patrol supervisor was a friend of mine and he advised the dispatch folks that whenever Stewart Dale Spencer called, he should be taken seriously because he was not the other Stewart Spencer who lived in Wimberley at the time.

In early 2007, when I saw that he had been indicted for a serious crime, I knew I needed to take pre-emptive action. I contacted the editor of the San Marcos Daily Record and he kindly posted a clarification so that I could say, in effect, “I didn’t do it!”


I managed to misplace my copy so many thanks go to Robin Wood and Dr. Arro Smith of the San Marcos Public Library for finding it in their archives and sending it to me. The Daily Record has changed ownership and they no longer had access to the electronic archives of the previous owner.

Why am I boring you with this story? It came up again in a recent custody case. The lawyer had no problem using the Internet to find information on the other Stewart Spencer, who has a different middle initial by the way. It then dawned upon me that this might explain a few things. Anyone taking the time to look it up could easily confuse me with that person and it would certainly affect what they thought of me or, in some cases, whether they would even talk to me again.

I am seriously considering changing my name or perhaps just dropping my first name altogether. “Hello. My name is Spencer . . . Dale Spencer.” I have always liked my middle name. I was given that name in honor of my uncle on my mother’s side. (Hi Unkie Dale!)

A person’s reputation and their good name is a valuable thing. I don’t want mine to be tarnished by the actions of someone else. I prefer to do that myself. Or maybe not. Anyway, see all the details here: Indictment Clarification

The second page shows the original indictment list. The third page shows the clarification in context with the rest of the page published on March 4, 2007. The defense rests, Your Honor.