Glen Rose’s painted ‘Bug’ to be subject of TV news story

The painted VW Beetle recently got a spring makeover. Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

The painted VW Beetle recently got a spring makeover.

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

By Kathryn Jones


The painted Volkswagen “Bug” that’s been threatened with removal for violating a junk car ordinance will be the subject of a TV news story about the controversy.

Saul Garza, a general assignment and feature reporter for Fox News affiliate Channel 4 in Dallas, plans to visit The Junkyard Dog’s “art car” on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Michael and Deidra Cockerham, who own the metal building that once housed the antique and collectibles shop, recently gave the car an updated design with bright zigzags on the side, a winking “eye” on the headlights and “Welcome to Glen Rose” painted on the back. The car’s interior holds plants.

The Cockerhams plan to appeal the City of Glen Rose’s contention that the vehicle, which does not have an engine and is placed on a bed of gravel outside the building, is a “junk vehicle” under a city ordinance.

Michael Cockerham plans to address the municipal court on April 2 to protest the city’s recent warning that the Bug cannot stay since it does not have an inspection sticker and visible Vehicle Identification Number and because it is parked illegally.

Michael Cockerham told the Glen Rose Current last month that he is “looking for some lenience from the judge,” Mickey Garrett. Deidra Cockerham said she had planned to reopen The Junkyard Dog, but not not do so if the Bug cannot stay.

The previous municipal judge, Kay McPherson, showed lenience when the Hollywood & Vine restaurant asked to be able to keep its large sign above a city easement. She ruled that the sign had become a local landmark.

The restaurant had put up the sign without obtaining a permit from the city, then went through much back-and-forth negotiating with city officials about whether the sign could stay.

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

Photo by Kathryn Jones/GR Current

The action has sparked a wave of protests by fans of the Bug. Many of them have posted comments on The Junkyard Dog’s and the Glen Rose Current’s Facebook pages, saying that the Bug has become a city landmark and a magnet for visitors who often pose for photos by the car.

The Bug had been acquired from the local garden club and displayed by the building, which previously housed the Petals store. After the Cockerhams bought the building and Deidra opened her shop, The Junkyard Dog, there, the Beetle was painted to look like a lady bug — red with black spots. The passenger compartment was turned into a big flower pot.

It has subsequently gone through several repaintings. The previous building tenant, a seafood restaurant, had painted it brown. After it closed, Deidra Cockerham repainted the Bug an ivory color with sparkles. This month, she decided to go a bit “wilder” with the color, she said.

City Administrator Ken West recently told the Current that the city’s stance on the Bug has not changed. The only recourse for the Cockerhams under the law is to go before the municipal court. They also can appeal a decision against them to a higher court.

A similar case involving an “art car” in San Marcos in 2010 went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which declined to hear the case.





7 Responses to Glen Rose’s painted ‘Bug’ to be subject of TV news story

  1. Barbara Russell Reply

    March 26, 2013 at 8:45 am

    I love it. If they want to flat bed it all the way to Forreston Texas if they lose the case I would proudly display it on my front yard
    I am outside city limits so no ordinances .
    I agree with the other comment about the noise pollution.
    Spend tax dollars taking care of that. If residents can’t sleep they will move and you will lose tax dollars

  2. Marie Reply

    March 25, 2013 at 6:14 am

    Why is Glen Rose so worried about the bug? I live across the street from it and can see it daily from my front window and I don’t have a problem with it. My daughter actually went outside last week when she saw it being repainted so she could watch, she was so excited. What Glen Rose needs to worry about is the noise pollution from the Green Pickle that keeps the residence awake EVERY weekend until midnight.. Does anyone care about that? Please, our windows rattle and our kids can’t sleep EVERY weekend and Glen Rose only cares about a beautifully painted bug that is advertising their town even. How sad that even this small town is currupted by tax dollars from alcohol sales and just like the big cities, trying to hold the everyday citizen down. Shame on you Glen Rose!

  3. Ann Claybaugh Reply

    March 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    I, too love “The Bug”! I, too have lived only a few years in Glen Rose (having lived many years in Fort Worth) and love this little town for all the charm, character and friendly atmosphere. There are so many other places in town that need the intervention of Code Enforcement. Cars that are “junk” are strung out all over town. Go get them!!!!

  4. Larry P. Smith Reply

    March 20, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    It was good to see you and visit at the “Bug”. That is Christi Clark in front (flag top). She deserves the credit for the idea and seeing that it was done. She was my office manager at the time and brought me on board.
    Thanks for your excellent reporting and thought provoking editorials. I get most of my local news from the GR Current.
    Also, met Sandra Reed and read her column.

  5. Lila Carter Reply

    March 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    I will be happy to attend and speak at the municipal court hearing on April 2. It is on my calendar BUT an email sent out to remind everyone would be smart. If we show up in strength, I feel our city judge will understand reality.

  6. Stacey Polk Reply

    March 18, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    I have lived in Glen Rose for a little over 3 yrs. I have not only grown to love Glen Rose but now consider it my home. I have always loved the beauty of this small & quirky town. The Hollywood & Vine sign and of course the Bug at Junkyard Dog is all part of the quirkiness. It gives a little small town, some flavor. Makes it stand out from the other surrounding towns.
    Deidra and Junkyard Dog are part of what made me fall in love with this place. Her smile is only out-shined by her kind heart. Her creativity is a gift to this community; a community that has been hit hard by the difficult economy. I would think the city would be looking for ways to keep this town going; instead of pointing their focus to remove the Bug. How about buy her paint, shake her hand, and thank her for her part in making this community great! Small town politics is a petty waste of time if not focused on REAL community concerns. Real concerns like the many empty buildings downtown.
    The down town square shopping use to be how I filled my Saturdays. Sadly, the square has been another victim of the horrible economy. Watching shop after shop close has been hard to see. I would think anyone with an ounce of business sense would want to add all the attractions they can to draw tourists in; so that empty buildings can start to fill up again. I see people all the time taking their picture next to the Bug, the statues on the square, and of course in front of the HW&V sign. Strange though, I have never not once witnessed a tourist walk a block off the square to have their photo taken with City Administrator Ken West or any other city official.
    If you have Facebook and keep up with Joel Osteen, his current status is this
    “Stick up for your family. Stick up for your friends. God is counting on us to make deposits of joy, encouragement and praise.”
    Deidra is our family and the Bug is even our friend. They both are worth standing up for.
    God Bless

  7. Shirley Wood Reply

    March 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm

    Leave the bug alone I enjoy seeing how it will be painted next. Anyone can see it is yard art. We are an small homey little town it brings a smile to my face. The grandkids just love it.

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