Sunday, June 24, 2007

There's Something Rotten in Hays County, Texas

Hays County grand jury clears man in cyclist's death

10:33 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 13, 2007


A decision by a Hays County grand jury is enraging a community.

Click here for item:

A Hays County grand jury has cleared a man who hit and killed a cyclist in Dripping Springs. An investigator with the Texas Department of Public Safety says the driver broke two traffic laws in the process, but he was never charged or even ticketed. Some are now saying the jury’s decision send out the wrong message.

Members of the cycling community in Hays County say the jury’s decision sends out the message that it’s okay to kill a cyclist, even when you break the law.

But their frustration pales in comparison to a widow who’s now a single mom.

Libby Raibestein

Adam Raymond
“I’m just stunned and angry and disappointed,” said Libby Raibestein. “It’s been very, very hard on all of us, not just my husband’s family, but my family.”

For the past several months, it’s been a mixed bag of emotion for Libby. Her husband, Austin optometrist Adam Raymond, was three weeks away from being deployed to Iraq when the unexpected happened.

Raibestein and her husband moved outside of Dripping Springs a few years ago from South Carolina because of the vast cycling community. The 36-year-old rode at least three times a week, going 20-30 miles on each ride.

Specifically he would ride out in that area on those back roads to avoid traffic.

According to DPS, on March 23, Raymond was riding his bike south in the 1800 block of Mount Gainor Road when he was struck by a pick-up driven by Bradley Danz. An investigator says Danz, who was heading north on the road, crossed into the other side of the road and hit Raymond head-on. DPS estimates Danz going 51 m.p.h. in a 30 m.p.h. speed zone.

“I think he should be held accountable,” said Raibestein. “I'm not asking for Mr. Danz to go to jail, rot in jail, but he could do something to help educate, he could do community service.”

A Hays County grand jury cleared Danz of any wrongdoing last week.

“The grand jury has made a decision in this case, and whether or not I agree with it is not relevant. The grand jury has spoken and we will respect their decision,” said Hays County District Attorney Sherri Tibbe in a statement.

Tibbe told KVUE that her office is going over other options regarding the driver who killed Raymond, but she wouldn’t specify what those options are.

Bradley Danz had no comment on this story.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Friends of Lovegrove

One of life's greatest pleasures is crafted wine. The Yarra Valley has exceptional wines and among them are the super handcrafted wines of Stephen Bennett at LoveGrove Winery , Cottles Bridge on the Kinglake-Heidelburg Rd between St Andrews and Diamond Creek. Formerly a reknown artists colony and winery with Clifton Pugh in residence, Lovegrove has been producing wines since 1983. This beautiful vineyard belongs to Stephen and his gorgeous partner Louise , who have been making superb wines at Lovegrove since it became theirs in 1997. Over the years I've been lucky to enjoy the harvest and help with the picking along with other "friends"and "grape-grazers". Lovegrove became a given for me, I have developed a love for this place and its product(s).
On June 1, the Friends of Lovegrove gathered for the revelation of the 2005 vintage, three superb creations from Stephen. (mystery descends will have to go and find out all about them...)

The Vinyard at Lovegrove produces, on average each vintage, around 1000 cases, so it is not "glut & punishment" there unlike some broad acre vineyards elesewhere, but rare, superb varietals. The exemplary item that stirs me is Stephen's traditional methode champenoise "Petillant", a bubbly Pinot - Chardonney of extraordinary complexity, hues and surprises.

Stephen flashes his masterly talent in these rare creations. It's a talent for ensuring his berries are picked at a riskily optimum time ( based on skill, a canny sense and heart) to ensure his wines show the rich full concentrated characteristics of his unique hand and eye have captured from the berries.

Drop in when you can , Lovegrove, it's up past Diamond Creek at 1420 Kinglake Hedelburg Rd. Open weekends and public holidays, the Cellar Door in the towering mud brick "art gallery" is a haven for those seeking unique wines at an extraordinarily good price.
Wine Tasting is the way to go, ( but as always be responsible). Check out their website, and pop in...I am biased, you might have guessed, but coming from Pokolbin/Cessnock in the Hunter, its in my blood and so that's my excuse for giving out info on this secret gem so close to Melbourne...... oh, its also on one of the Yarra Valley/Victoria's most picturesque bike rides up to Kinglake via St Andrew''ll be glad you didnt miss it ( the vineyard and the ride!)