Sunday, December 31, 2006

Another year equals 104

Dec. 31, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

She will turn 104 years old on Jan. 31.
Residing in an assisted living facility, Edith Guess of Temple said she isn't too excited about her upcoming birthday.
'I'm a shade too old,' Mrs. Guess said. 'And I'm just going to get older.'
But after a couple of her friends started teasing her, a slight grin contradicting her unimpressed demeanor.
'There will probably be a party with cake and candles,' Mrs. Guess said, pointing to a picture of last year's birthday party. 'They better give me every one of my candles.'

Independent 101-year-old strong in will

Dec. 31, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

For the past 15 years or so, her goal has been to get out of bed and get dressed.
'I might not feel like doing anything after that,' said Virginia Bowen of Temple. 'But I'm not going to stay in the bed all day. I take one day at a time and enjoy it for all it's worth.'
That may be the 101-year-old's secret to long life. She's independent, living on her own.
Once an enjoyer of novels and puzzles, Mrs. Bowen's wit is still in tact, sharp with a century's worth of comments and opinions.
'My eyesight's not as good as it used to be,' she said. 'It's hard to hear too. But I get up and do as much as I can.'
One thing she looks forward to each week is her trip to Studio 2000 in Temple, a local beauty salon. Everyone who works there knows her when she comes.
'It's Miss Virginia,' they all said during one of her visits in December. Hi's and hello's were exchanged, and the long-time customer got at least four hugs before she had a chance to sit down.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Area Spotlight: Church reaches out to AIDS victims

Dec. 30, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Churches ostracize sick people.
Yes or no?
The answer depends on the illness.
If that person is sick with hives, depression, delusion or cancer - then no.
If that person is sick from HIV and AIDS - then, maybe, yes.
'People with HIV and AIDS are continuously turned away from church and organized faith activities because of the social stigma associated with the disease,' said Janet Cates, program manager for HIV patients at Central Texas Support Services in Temple. 'The ignorance of AIDS in Central Texas is shameful. Everyone thinks it's still a gay disease. It's not.'

Daring to share: Woman's controversial newletter in 14th year of publication

Dec. 30, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

It's yellow. It's monthly. And it's not a phone book.
Some, outraged by its message, tear the strip of paper into shreds and call it junk mail.
Others are intrigued. They study every edition and enjoy discussing its contents.
To the Temple woman who writes it, 'Connections: A Monthly Newsletter Calling the Church to Faithful New Life' is a tool for her to express her thoughts about church and religion.
Schooled in philosophy and history, newsletter author Barbara Wendland said she seeks to eradicate the narrow views of the Christian church. The unofficial reformer holds a master's degree in theology from the United Methodist Seminary at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Getting the truth from the man in the red

Dec. 24, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Santa Claus is not in high school anymore.
'So can we please stop spreading rumors?' Claus asked. 'If you want to know something, just ask.'
Regarding the issue of entering houses without chimneys, the toy maker from the North Pole wants to set the record straight, once and for all.
'I might fly around in a sleigh, and I might live with elves, but disappearing into thin air, that's ridiculous,' Claus scoffed. 'I don't shrink tinier than a needle, and I'm not in cahoots with Captain Kirk and Spock, so I don't get beamed up.'
Claus patted his belly. He was at Temple Mall one day earlier this month talking to a newspaper reporter.

She's a child at heart come Christmas

Dec. 24, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Some people never outgrow Santa Claus.
That's the toy maker's hope for every one of us.
Edith Wolffberg of Killeen is a 102-year-old woman who did Santa proud. Mrs. Wolffberg says she still believes in Santa. In her long life, she said she's never seen a reason not to believe.
'Edith and I just sit and visit. She's real sweet,' Claus said. 'We don't talk about anything in particular. She doesn't really have a wish list like the kiddos. She just likes talking to Santa.'

Santa gives rare interview

Dec. 24, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Santa has a secret.
'It's bad, but I've got to tell someone,' Santa Claus told a newspaper re porter one day at Temple Mall. 'House after house, it's always the same. Cookies and milk. Cookies and milk.'
The jolly old elf wasn't badmouth ing his most favorite snack. It's just that he works up a mighty appetite on Christmas Eve, flying around the whole world, unloading toy after toy.
'I need something more substantial. I get hungry on Christmas Eve. I mean real hungry,' Claus said. 'This year, I am telling kiddos that I'd like a big, old thick prime rib.'
Don't worry, though. Temple Mayor Bill Jones was quick in volunteering to leave Santa a plate of steak and potatoes.
'It would be an awful shame for San ta to go hungry,' Jones said. 'Well it won't happen, not here in Temple. I'll make sure Santa gets his prime rib.'

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Church learns tradition of Moravian candle craft

Dec. 23, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

For 250 consecutive years candles have been part of Moravian Christmas Eve services in America.
Temple Brethren Church will continue the Czech tradition this year. The service, 'Light the Way,' at 2202 Bird Creek Drive is set for 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 24.
To prepare for the candle lighting ritual, the Rev. Bill Rinderknecht taught about 40 congregation members how to make the traditional Moravian candles on Sunday, Dec. 17.
Supplies needed include bee's wax candles, flame-retardant red paper, scissors, scotch tape and Styrofoam.
'You use bee's wax because it's the purest form of wax known,' Rinderknecht said. 'Since it was developed as a children's item, the pureness is important because it represents the pureness of Christ.'

Festival of lights: Family hosts latke-licious party

Dec. 23, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

If there's no latke, it's not Chanukah.
The latke is what a hashbrown aspires to be, a patty-sized potato cake fried in German tradition.
'They are delicious. The latke completes the Hanukkah party,' said Jan Hart, the chief latke cook at the Hanukkah party that took place at the Frankel residence in Temple on Thursday, Dec. 21.
With each ladle full of batter, Mrs. Hart was teaching 12-year-old Rebecca Frankel how to properly form and fry each latke.
'Foods that are fried in oil are important at Hanukkah celebrations,' said Mary Jo Koss of Temple.
She referenced the Hanukkah story that tells the miracle of how the oil lasted eight full nights instead of just one.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Church sends gifts to Cardboard Village

Dec. 16, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Big cardboard boxes can make wonderful playthings for small children.
An imagination and a few crayons can transform them into cowboy forts or adventuresome hideaways. If a pair of scissors enters the equation, an empty TV box can turn into a whole-day affair for a 3-year-old.
But the youngsters in Saltillo, Mexico, see no such potential in their cardboard boxes. For them, they are lifeless and mundane. Pale brown cardboard is all they see everyday, no matter where they travel within their village.
Dubbed Cardboard Village, Saltillo is one of the poorest villages in Mexico.
'Everyone there lives in a cardboard house,' said Wanita Rylander, missions affiliate with Christian Life Church in Temple. 'They worship in a cardboard church. It's an amazing, sad sight to see.'
To add some Christmas festivity to the lack-luster environment, Ms. Rylander and a mission team of 12 from CLC Temple set out Thursday to deliver more than 450 cheerily wrapped Christmas packages.

God's love in action: Sip of water puts name on church's mission

Dec. 16, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

In Texas heat, thirst tortures.
For that dry, thirsty mouth, that first sip of water is a gift.
That's why the leaders of Christian Life Church in Temple say they frequently volunteer to distribute bottled water during public events.
'People were thirsty,' said Kathy Gillis, wife of CLC Senior Pastor Rick Gillis. 'They needed something to drink. So we gave it to them.'
In a nutshell, Mrs. Gillis said that idea is at the heart of CLC Temple's mission to share God's love in practical ways.
'That's what we do,' Mrs. Gillis said. 'We look for needs in the community, and then we go out and meet them.'

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Familiar face called to serve however he can

Dec. 3, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

It doesn't matter who's driving, they all wave at the man behind the big, red sign - the man they call Mr. Stop.
His name is Matthew Wilson, and he sits in a tollbooth-sized box each weekday, guarding the main entrance at Temple High School. He's done so for 25 years.
Drivers intending to park in the high school lot wait for his nod of approval. And when the afternoon bells ring, the traffic jams a bit because all the students, teachers, coaches and visitors won't turn to go home until they wish Mr. Stop a good evening.
'The all know me,' he said, grinning. 'I like my job here, and I like the people I've come into contact with. Never have been disrespected.'
He said he tries to greet each face within the steady stream of motorists, entering and leaving.
'I don't know all their names all the time, but I just keep on talking and smiling,' Wilson said. 'You might not think it makes a difference, but it does.'

Friday, November 24, 2006

Special Thanksgiving meal unites strangers

Nov. 24, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Not everyone at the table was related or even acquainted, but their behavior didn't show it.
They smiled, held hands and said grace before the Thanksgiving meal was served, just like a family.
Some were family through Christ, united as brothers in faith. And some were distant kin through their shared struggle in poverty and homelessness.
But most of the 100 or so people who came to eat turkey Thursday at First Christian Church in Temple were strangers to each other.
The opening prayer, however, quickly melded the various groups and those who were sitting alone into a single entity.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Whispering Mother Native American connects to God through nature

Nov. 11, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

He didn't know about his Chiracahua Apache heritage until he was 10 years old. Born in Belton, Rafael Montez said he thought he was just another kid.
But he wasn't.
The Belton High School graduate would grow up to be 'Tall Bear,' president of the Tribal American Network, the organization that keeps people of Indian ancestry in communication with one another.
'I was walking down a street in Belton one afternoon when a lady rolled down her car window and said, 'You're Indian, aren't you?' 'No, I'm not,' I told her. 'Yes, you are,' she says. And we went back and forth like that a few more times until I ran home,' Montez said, describing the day he learned of his Native American ancestry.
His mother and grandmother soon confirmed the woman's accusation. He was, indeed, an Indian.
'My path to know the Creator had started,' Montez said.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

Treehouse receives $30,000 grant

Nov. 4, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Christian Farms Treehouse Inc. of Temple received an anonymous contribution of $30,000 this week.
Attached to the check was a note of challenge to Bell County: 'Match this grant. Let's support this local drug rehab center in what it's doing. Its need is great - so let's help them together.'
'It's a much welcomed, much appreciated contribution,' said Jon Crosby, executive director of Christian Farms Treehouse Inc. in Temple. 'And we're eager to see what happens next.'

Sunday, October 8, 2006

Volunteers thanked for work with homeless families

Oct. 8, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Family Promise could not find homes for area homeless families without the help of the Temple community.
That's the message Director Rick Miller-Chaney shared during the non-profit agency's first volunteer appreciation banquet on Wednesday night, Oct. 4, at the Mayborn Convention Center.
'We couldn't do what we do without you,' Miller-Chaney said that evening to the crowd of about 200. 'It's because of you that we have been able to do so much.'
It was an evening of thanks for everyone involved in the program: the agency's donors, directors, partner churches and volunteers.
Alta Kemp of Temple was the volunteer who was recognized individually. The others were honored in groups.

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Woman thanks family whose loved one brought her life

Oct. 1, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

'You don't look like an old lady anymore. You're not all bumpy and purple.'
Not everyone would appreciate a compliment like this, but Kimberly Sommers of Temple does. She's a heart transplant survivor, and her young cousin's simple, blunt observation tells it like it is.
'I'm better now,' Mrs. Sommers said. 'I'm not sick all the time. I have energy. And that's something completely new to me.'

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Shelter group soars into second year

Sept. 24, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

The promise of Family Promise is to do what it can to eradicate the plight of the homeless within the community.
Since opening its doors in October 2005, the local branch of Family Promise has helped 15 homeless families secure steady jobs and permanent housing. The transitional housing entity is a refurbished fire station on 22nd Street off East Adams near Ferguson Park in Temple
'But we couldn't have done it without our volunteers and supporters from the community,' said Rick Miller-Chaney, director of the Family Promise program in Temple. The non-profit agency relies on grants, donations and fund-raisers to pay its expenses.
To show them thanks, Family Promise of East Bell County will have its inaugural Volunteer Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Mayborn Convention Center, 3303 N. 3rd St. in Temple. Tickets for the event cost $10. Reservations should be made by Monday, Sept. 25. Call (254) 773-9980 with questions.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Doctor educates group about Jewish culture

Sept. 23, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, began yesterday at sundown. And at sundown Oct. 1, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will begin.
'And that'll be it. Either you get to live another year, or God's going to call you home,' said Dr. Brenda Holbert, during an informative session about the Jewish culture last Sunday, Sept. 16, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Belton. 'This holy time is reserved for prayer and fast. At Yom Kippur, we apologize to everyone we think we may have wronged over the last year. And then God judges us. It is also a time to give to charity.'

Seaton Brethren Church celebrates 100 years of worship

Sept. 23, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

One hundred years ago, the Czech community in Seaton worshiped in a schoolhouse on a muddy road.
Today, Seaton Brethren Church is a Protestant place of worship for any ethnicity with its facility modernized and the road paved. It's on State Highway 53, headed east out of Temple.
The congregation and several guests from the Temple community celebrated Seaton Church's 100th anniversary last weekend with a service, the dedication of a historical marker, a homecooked meal and a concert last Saturday, Sept. 15. Brighter Vision is the vocal group that performed Saturday evening; its members are the Rev. Joe Emerson, his wife Christi and Tammy Pechal.
'Our church as a whole has a wonderful history,' said the Rev. Emerson, pastor at Seaton Brethren Church. 'But it has an even brighter future in life and ministry, for God will do great things.'

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Retired pastor creates polka verses to enliven worship

Sept. 16, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

Hey, hey the gang's all here, so let's praise the lord.
That's precisely the theme Ardene Wuthrich had in mind when he wrote the songs that the Jubilee Polka Band will perform during the seventh annual polka mass at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow, Sept. 17, at First Lutheran Church, 1515 W. Adams Ave. in Temple.
'I'm no musician by any means,' Wuthrich said. 'I can't read music, play an instrument or sing.'
His working resume offers not even the slightest hint of a musical background. He's a preacher. He's preached at churches, on the radio and to convicts.
A choir master, Ardene Wuthrich is not.
But polka's polka, a melodic breed of its own.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

It's not just TV: Preacher finds nuggets of Biblical Truth in sitcoms

Sept. 2, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

'He can make a sermon out of anything,' said Novalene Green of Temple at the conclusion of Wednesday night's Andy Griffith Bible study at Oak Park United Methodist Church, led by pastor Chris Mesa.
As the group of about 35 adults who attended the service left to go home, they were smiling and chatting with each other about Mesa's unique talent of applying Biblical perspective to non-Biblical things - like Andy Griffith and Homer Simpson and all their kin.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

From one veteran to another: Navy aviation mechanic presents poem to nurse

Aug. 20, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

They both served in the Vietnam War, he at the Naval Air Facility on Camrahn Bay and she at the 27th Surgical Hospital Unit at Chu Lai in southern Vietnam.
But their paths never crossed until this year on May 6 when Robert D. Fitzpatrick of Temple presented Paula Quindlen of Troy with 'Haunted Eyes,' a poem he wrote in honor of all Vietnam War nurses.
'Nurses didn't get recognition for everything they did. They still don't,' Fitzpatrick said. 'I had to do something for them. You have no idea the hell they experienced.'

Sunday, August 6, 2006

A promising future: Family Promise helps families start anew

Aug. 6, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer 

In nine months, Family Promise gave new life to 13 homeless families in East Bell County. They all have homes now in completely furnished apartment units or rental properties that they pay for with income from steady jobs they attained with the help of the Family Promise program.
Opening its doors in October 2005, Family Promise has functioned as a transitional housing entity in a refurbished fire station on 22nd Street off East Adams near Ferguson Park in Temple, leased from the city for a dollar per year.
'The families stay at the fire station during the day, preparing for employment and looking for jobs, and then we take them to our partner churches at night for relaxation and family bonding,' said Rick Miller-Chaney director of the Family Promise program in Temple. Families usually sleep in fold-away beds set up in private Sunday school rooms.
Family Promise welcomes its 14th guest family - a mother with two children - this first weekend in August.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

At a loss then, now fulfilled

July 22, 2006
Telegram Staff Writer

When the Rev. Dick Hudson, priest at Christ the King Catholic Church in Belton, retired from his engineering career at IBM in 1990, he thought he and his wife, Vera, would live out a fairy tale's 'happily ever after.'
'We were ready to walk into the sunset. That was our plan,' Hudson said, referring to the leisurely strolls cowboys usually take at the end of western movies once the good guys have won.
But it didn't happened.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

Welcome to my portfolio

Hello world: I'm a feature writer. My current position is that of assistant lifestyles editor at the Temple Daily Telegram, located in Temple, Texas.