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Former Yoakum football star arrested on murder charge

A 19-year-old Yoakum man who starred as a running back and linebacker on the high school’s football team was arrested Sunday on a murder charge.

Deandre Enoch is being held on a $750,000 bond after the fatal shooting of a Hallettsville man at a party in rural Lavaca County early Sunday morning.

John Calloway, 31, of Hallettsville was killed in the shooting. He died of a gunshot wound to the head, officials said.

Contributed photo 

John Calloway, 31, of Hallettsville

The shooting occurred about 1 a.m. Sunday during a large party with about 150-200 attendees in the 2100 block of County Road 157A.

Enoch, who also went by the last names Johnson and Enoch-Johnson, was selected as a first-team all-district linebacker by coaches after his senior season in 2020. He rushed for several 100-yard games as Yoakum compiled a 9-3 record before losing to Columbus in the playoffs.

In 2018, Enoch blocked a punt late in the fourth quarter of Yoakum’s regional playoff game against Goliad and recovered the ball for the decisive touchdown, sending Yoakum to a 38-35 win.

Investigators took several witness statements at the scene and arrested Enoch later on Sunday, said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon. He was booked into the Lavaca County Jail that afternoon and charged with one count of murder.

The Texas Rangers and the Lavaca County Sheriff’s Office are conducting an investigation into the death. Harmon declined to comment on a potential motive because of the ongoing investigation.

Murder is a first degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison. A fine of up to $10,000 can also be assessed.

A cousin described Calloway, who was known by most as John John, as a quiet, empathetic man who enjoyed writing poetry.

“You have a hole in your heart that will never be filled,” the cousin, Wendy Foley, said Monday.

Calloway’s family has set up a GoFundMe to cover funeral expenses, which had raised about $4,000 as of midday Tuesday.

Small-town theater returns to Shiner this week

SHINER — “All tongues be fast frozen, for our play — it has begun,” said the masked, checkered-pants-wearing Arlecchino, played by Pat Egan, his voice echoing around the near-empty theater.

As the cast of “Pinocchio Commedia” embarked on its second dress rehearsal of the rollicking production, a classical Italian twist on the familiar story of Pinocchio, the Gaslight Theatre was nearly empty. But on Friday, the seats are expected to fill once again as Shiner’s dinner theater hosts its first play since the pandemic put plays on pause over a year ago.

Gallery: Pinocchio Commedia at the Shiner Gaslight Theatre

Doors open for the first of ten performances on Friday at 6:30 p.m. An Italian-themed chicken parmesan dinner will be served at 7 p.m., with live music from beloved in-house pianist Irene Cerny. Lights go down at 8 p.m.

“With COVID shutting everything down, there haven’t really been opportunities for kids to get involved in local community theaters because everything’s been closed,” said the play’s director, Michelle Winkenwerder, whose children, Megan and Ty, are taking on the roles of Pinocchio and Geppetto, respectively. “That’s what makes it so much fun, is to watch kids like that step outside of their comfort zone and get after it.”

Theatergoers expecting a traditional performance of the popular Disney tale will see right away that they are in for a twist. “Pinocchio Commedia” follows the commedia dell’arte style, an Italian theatrical form that was most popular in the 16th through 18th centuries but persists today in American comedies like “The Three Stooges,” Winkenwerder said.

“This is not necessarily Disney,” she said. “This is a highly stylized form of art that has been around for centuries.”

The actors alternate between masked stock characters like Arlecchino, Pantalone and Colombina and Disney favorites like Pinocchio, Geppetto and the Cricket. From the play’s first minute, the outsized personalities of the characters and the creative use of props and musical instruments are sure to keep the audience guessing.

“You have to be over the top in order for it to work,” said Jo Caka, an incoming Shiner freshman who is performing at the Gaslight Theatre for the first time as Colombina and the silver-masked Spirit.

While the entire cast put in a compelling performance at Monday’s dress rehearsal, Megan Winkenwerder starred as Pinocchio, capturing the herky-jerky motions of a puppet yearning to be alive with great comedic effect. Her mother, the director, threatened to steal the show as the Evil Puppet Master, with her booming voice and demonic laughter ringing throughout the 126-year-old theater.

Michelle Winkenwerder has enjoyed playing the villain ever since she was cast as the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1992 Gaslight production of The Wizard of Oz, her first theatrical role.

“I had a parent, their kid had nightmares for a week, and I told them, ‘I guess I did my job,’” she said. “That’s part of it, is making an impact on people. In my case, it tends to be a scarier impact, but without a doubt, it’s a lot of fun.”

As the cast finished applying their makeup and headed out to take the stage, Linda Truman, who provided a critique for the dress rehearsal, high-fived every actor and told each one to break a leg. Truman has directed one-act plays at Shiner High School with Winkenwerder for years, including a shortened performance of “Pinocchio Commedia” that earned the school first runner-up at the state competition.

While the spring and fall productions at the Gaslight, including this fall’s upcoming production of “Steel Magnolias,” are typically geared toward adults, the summer performance at the Gaslight Theatre is generally intended to appeal to children, and there was no denying how much fun the cast had on stage during the Monday dress rehearsal.

“Gaslight Theatre is a whole different ballgame,” Truman said during the intermission. “There are no rules here.”

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Sparklight to build fiber optic network for Victoria by 2023
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Sparklight, a nationally recognized internet provider, intends to build a fiber optic network for Victoria residents by mid-2023.

During the Victoria City Council’s Tuesday meeting, Kenneth Conner, director of market development at Sparklight, presented an overview of the company’s plans.

“We really want to work with you on planning how we’re going to build this out and where the fiber needs to be,” he told City Council members.

Sparklight already provides internet for businesses in Victoria and will now design a residential network. While the entire project won’t be finished for at least two years, some residents can expect to have access within nine months to a year, said Conner.

“This is something that’s going to start happening. It’s not dependent on grants. It’s not dependent on money from federal programs,” said Conner.

The expansion of Sparklight into Victoria is also expected to create about 30 permanent jobs and more than 100 temporary construction jobs, according to a press release from the city.

The multimillion dollar investment is one of many avenues the city is exploring to help improve internet connectivity. The city also partnered with the civil engineering company CobbFendley to launch a survey to assess residents’ broadband needs as part of a feasibility study.

Vineeta Ram, executive vice president of CobbFendley, presented some initial findings at Tuesday’s meeting. From the nearly 700 responses so far, she said, it is clear connectivity and internet pricing are challenges for residents.

Residents have until July 28 to participate in the survey. Afterward, a summary will be published to the city’s website at victoriatx.gov/broadband.

Jeff Bauknight was also sworn in as mayor. Bauknight thanked the many friends and family who came to see him, as well as his fellow council members.

A runoff election to fill Bauknight’s former District 3 City Council seat will be held on Aug. 21. Voters will choose between Duane Crocker and Chad Hall.