Saturday, February 24, 2007

Locked up, not lost: Female inmates laugh for God

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

A series of three locked fences led the way to the chapel.
About 150 women stood in a single-file line as they waited to pray.
Each woman wore a white jumpsuit with orange cuffs. Most of them also wore a green overcoat, for the night wind was cold.
When the clock chimed seven, armed guards issued the order for the lot of women to move.
As each woman entered the chapel, she was no longer a 'female offender,' the official term for those imprisoned at the Hilltop unit of the Gatesville prison. To the man standing on the far side of the chapel, near the Crucifix, each woman was a child of God. That man was their chaplain, Wallace Nelson.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Faiths unite in prayer for peace

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Two Hindus, a Muslim and a couple of Jews joined a pair of Christians on a stage. Their prayer is that one day that sentence won't sound like the beginning of an offensive joke.
Praying for unity and acceptance, representatives of the major faiths within the Temple community met Feb. 11 at First Presbyterian Church. The occasion was the third annual Interfaith Service of Prayers for Peace, Unity and Justice.
'This is a historic night,' said host pastor the Rev. Margaret Boles. 'Never have we had so many people from so many faiths come together in prayer. It's a beautiful, blessed opportunity.'

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Couple finds love where they left it 25 years before

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The little girl was 6 years old when her daddy left.
Confused and sometimes sad, she watched him marry another lady. She watched her mother marry one man, then another and another.
The little girl knew about the hurt feelings that caused her parents' divorce, but, in her eyes, the shouting was about anger, not hate.
'My parents loved each other so strongly that they couldn't get along,' said Gayla Rogers of Belton - that little girl now 32.
Throughout the 25 years when her father was 'just someone who showed up on Christmas and birthdays,' Gayla believed that mom and dad would one day rediscover the way to each other's arms.
And they did. Jimmy and Pamela Wilson of Belton married for the second time on Aug. 19, 2006.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cheers to the Chief

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

At least seven generations of the chief's clan came to celebrate his 90th birthday.
The festivities on Feb. 4 at Heights Baptist Church in Temple were neither a day late nor a day early. Woodrow Wilson Robbins, the man of the hour, was born Feb. 4, 1917.
Woodrow is a name full of character, summoning thoughts of Woodrow Wilson, 28th U.S. President, or Woodrow McCall, Gus McCrae's pal in Larry McMurtry's 'The Lonesome Dove.'
Family members say the Robbins man of that same name is full of bravery, wit and warmth, 'just like the famous Woodrows.'
They call W.W. Robbins the chief because he was Chief Petty Officer Robbins of the U.S. Navy for the majority of his adult life. In 1950, he implemented the Navy's first recruiting station in Temple.

Temple church opens doors to addict

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Make the pain go away. If I could get just one more high - just one more - then the hurt will stop. Numb to everyone and everything, I can survive. It'll be OK.
That's the thought process of an addict.
'I know - I've been there,' said Amanda Moore of Temple. The 25-year-old is recovering from a four-year addiction to crystal meth.
'It controls your life,' she said. 'Your every thought is about how to get that next high.'
The 'it' that produces the desired high varies from person to person. For Miss Moore, 'it' was methamphetamine.
But for someone else, 'it' is food. For another, 'it' is sex.
The 'it' list knows no end. 'It' can be nicotine or crack cocaine. 'It' can be exercising, shopping, fighting, hoarding or manipulating. 'It' can be anything.
But 'it' doesn't have to win.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

God found on death row: Unique events lead musician to life of ministry

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

A convicted killer introduced him to God.
'She radiated the presence of God,' said Terry Strom, 46, of Temple about Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman in Texas to be executed.
'Meeting her was a life-changing experience. That was the first time I knew there was a God.'

Rank amateurs take aim at everyone

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The opinions expressed Friday night at the Cultural Activities Center in Temple were not necessarily those of the people who said them.
The pun on the common disclaimer opened the 30th annual Rank Amateur Night. The two-hour parade of satirical jokes and mini-musicals ridiculed last year's most memorable news stories.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Family stirs up love for foster children

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She's 6 years old, and Monday was a big day for her.
It was the first time ever for her to go the whole day at school and not get a timeout.
It was a big deal, well worth the congratulatory cake and turkey dinner prepared in her honor.
Her mommy didn't bake her that cake. Her daddy didn't cook the turkey.
Donna Merrill did. She and her husband Kenneth are foster parents.
'We were so proud of her,' Mrs. Merrill said. 'She's been working at it, and we didn't want it to go unnoticed.'