Sunday, December 27, 2009

History buffs unite for the love of the fight

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

It's a brotherhood.
The Joms Vikings are friends on the battle field and off.
'Each man is your neighbor and brother, and you are with him to the end,' said Dave Kilbourn, 30, of Austin. 'It has to be that way. That's the culture.'
Kilbourn is the styrsman (leader) of the Joms Vikings Texas Elag, a non-profit Central Texas organization devoted to Viking history and legend.
'We celebrate the Viking way of life,' Kilbourn said. 'We fight, we eat, and we work and play. Sometimes it's for a public demonstration like the Celtic Fest. But a lot of the times it's just for us.'

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Too much to bear?: Not for this Gatesville woman

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The single lady is far from lonely.
She's got plenty of bears to keep her company - 1,035 of them, in fact.
'I don't know how this collection got so big,' said Wanda 'Jean' Sims of Gatesville. 'It just happened, but I can tell you I love every single one of my bears.'
It all started in 1983.
'We had a precious little dog - Susie - and she loved stuffed animals,' Ms. Sims said. 'So I'd buy her little toys from the Goodwill store, and one day I got her a teddy bear, and she loved it, but I thought it was too pretty for her to chew on, so I kept it.'
That teddy bear prompted the purchase of another and another.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

'God's promise is in the light'

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

There are bells, elves and toys - it's Christmas.
'But it's OK to feel something other than off-the wall joy,' said the Rev. Philip Shuler.
That was his message at the Blue Christmas service on Dec. 16 at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Temple.
Good and bad, life happens - and it doesn't stop when the carols start.
'People die, and their loved ones mourn,' Shuler said. 'Jobs are lost, money is needed and children are away from home.'
So in anger, grief and frustration, there are reasons not to deck the halls.
'But you have to let it out,' Shuler said. 'Otherwise it will constantly nag at you.'
The St. Paul blue service is the only one of its kind in Bell County, Shuler said. And the ceremony of scripture reading, hymn singing and silent candle lighting is an opportunity to release stress.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Community's treasures go hog wild to help save historic building

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Humor, sass and spirit.
The 2010 Biker Broads calendar has it all.
'And that's thanks to the wonderful models,' said Elaine Dobos of Belton, the photographer who designed each month's photo illustration. 'It wouldn't be what it is without the good nature and humor of all the ladies.'
The calendar features 14 women in, on and around Harley-Davidson motorcycles. They range in age from 65 to 100, with the youngest being Sharon Wilson, the widow of Ralph Wilson Jr., and the oldest being Mary Alice Marshall, longtime arts benefactor.
Costing $20 a piece, the calendars are a fundraising project of the 1874 Church Restoration Committee.
'It's all in effort to save the old St. Luke Episcopal Church in Belton,' said Vicky Moose, fundraising chair. 'The building's condemned, but there's a bunch of us who want to see the building stick around. It's a part of Belton.'

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Visions of (tennis) shoes dance in their heads

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

All they want for Christmas is a pair of shoes.
'It's what students are saying,' said Mary Erwin-Barr, the executive director of Communities in Schools for Bell and Coryell Counties.
Each Christmas, CIS asks the students they serve to submit a holiday wish list. And usually, the top-wanted gifts are toys and video games.
But this year it's different.
'We've got several kids saying all they want is shoes,' Ms. Erwin-Barr said. 'For themselves, for their siblings or for their parents. I think it's because the economy has been so rough this year, and people have been having to choose between food and shoes.'
The simple plea for shoes inspired the student-help group to launch a holiday shoe drive.

Church ready to dedicate new building

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

It's been an exciting year for the First United Methodist Church of Temple.
'There have been a lot of improvements to the church,' said the Rev. Tom Robbins. 'It's the result of a church grown rampantly.'
Membership has been growing steadily for the last seven years.
'And in the three and a half years I've been here, it's boomed,' Robbins said.
One area that has seen a spike in popularity is the FUMC contemporary worship program.
An average of 30 people attended contemporary worship services three years ago. Now the attendance averages at 175.
To accommodate the growing contemporary worship group, FUMC opted to create a new space for them, a Family Life and Worship Center. Its construction, now complete, started a year ago.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Women find fun, fitness and fortitude in belly dancing

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Every woman has an inner-hottie.
'Or an inner-diva,' said Vicky Mitchell of Harker Heights. 'However you want to put it.'
That's Mrs. Mitchell's first lesson to all of her students. She teaches belly dancing at the Summit Family Fitness Center in Temple and at Central Texas College in Killeen.
'Belly dancing comes from the heart, and it makes you powerful,' she said. 'Things get poured out of you, things that are positive. You become a persona, the minute you become the dancer, you're a hottie. It doesn't matter what size you are, there's a sensual, gorgeous side to you.'
Nurturing the life of the inner-hottie is just as important as learning the dance steps.
'Embracing the dance, it makes you something you weren't before,' Mrs. Mitchell said. 'I was extremely shy. But now I can carry myself with pride. It's a major confidence builder.'
And it helps women find sensuality.

Community center opens door for singles program

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

There are folks in Temple ready and willing to start dating.
'The problem is meeting people,' said nurse Cheryl Bond of Temple. 'There's activities geared for kids, and there's activities geared for seniors, but everyone in the middle seems to be left out.'
Staff at the Sammons Community Center heard the plea for singles' fun and responded with a plan.
'We're starting with a monthly dinner on the second Tuesday of the month,' said Charity Diaz, Sammons program coordinator. 'It will be buffet style, so people will be up and mingling.'
The first three are scheduled from 7-9 p.m. Jan. 11, Feb. 8 and March 8.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Revved up: Biker Broads calendar 12 Bell County seniors strike a pose for church fundraiser

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The Biker Broads of Bell County made their debut Thurs day night during a wine reception at Horny Toad Harley Davidson in Temple.
The 12 women were signing their autographs on the 2010 calendar they made for the 1874 Church Restoration Committee. All of them are posed on and around motorcycles.
"It's all in effort to save the old St. Luke Episcopal Church in Belton," said Vicky Moose, fundraising chair. "The building's condemned, but there's a bunch of us who want to see the building stick around. It's a part of Belton."
So the group devised the idea of the calendar as its first major fundraising project. Photographer was Elaine Dobos of Belton.
Models range in age from 65 to 100, with the youngest being Saron Wilson, the widow of Ralph Wilson Jr., and the oldest being Mary Alice Marshall, longtime arts benefactor.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

It's a great time to fill the branches on your family tree

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Christmas is a time for giving - and it's a time for asking.
'With everyone over, it's a prime time to find out what you can about your family,' said Norman Sisk of Temple, president of the East Bell County Genealogical Society. 'Start with the oldest person in the room and work you're way down.'
The grandparents and great aunts and uncles of the family will be able to provide the foundation of the family tree: the main names of the family, and the cities and states of origin.
'Quiz them about their aunts, grandparents and uncles, where they lived, who they worked for and where they traveled,' Sisk said. 'Ask them about their favorite family memories, and then ask them to see their family Bible.'

Saturday, November 28, 2009

To live is to give: People find joy, purpose as volunteers

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

It's the season to give.
All of us know that. December is near, and so is the time to start piling presents under the tree.
But for several people in the community, "the season to give" didn't just get here.
"It's been here all along," said Charles Taylor of Temple. "The time to give is here and now, no matter what the calendar says."
He's talking about the kind of gift that comes from the heart, not a store.
"You do what you can to help who you can," he said.
Taylor is a long-time volunteer for one of Temple's food banks, Churches Touching Lives for Christ. He works one of the desks in the welcome area.
"I see clients and write them vouchers for food, clothing and household items," Taylor said. "I make sure everyone leaves with a list of all the help agencies in the area, and then I offer them a Bible and if they want to pray, I pray with them."
He's been doing this for 15 years.
"Every week, twice a week," Taylor said. "There might be a day when I don't feel like getting out of the house to head over here, but by the time I step through the door, I am so glad I came."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Jewelry gives Temple native good career

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Her jewelry bears the brand of Dirty Librarian.
'It's kind of a joke,' said the artist, Temple native Susan Domelsmith of Brooklyn, N.Y., promising that there's nothing X-rated about the pieces she designs.
'I had a friend who worked at a record store, and he had a crush on me,' she said, giggling as she explained. 'That was his secret pet name for me. I wore glasses and always had my hair in a bun.'
She learned about the term of endearment through a bit of gossip with a mutual friend.
'Once I found out, he go so embarrassed,' Miss Domelsmith said. 'I teased him and teased him. It's a great memory.'
No romantic relationship came from the interlude, but the 1998 Temple High School graduate didn't have to think twice when it came time for her to develop a brand for her jewelry.
'Dirty Librarian Chain - it's a catchy name. DLC for short,' she said. 'There's humor, and I love the old vintage library image it conjures.'

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Fellowship is born of two cultures

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The Lipan Apache tribesman is proud of his heritage.
'I am Native American,' said Ed 'Lone Red Hawk' Hernandez.
Raised on an Indian reservation in New Mexico, he embraces all parts of the culture - and celebrates it.
'I respect the spiritual side too,' Hernandez said. 'I know that Creator is real and true as do all the good people of the old way. But what got left out of the lesson is that Creator had a son named Jesus.'
That's why Hernandez launched the Native American Baptist Fellowship.
'I want to reach out to Native Americans, and show them how the gospel fits to the Creator,' Hernandez said. 'It is the same God.'

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Whipping up wishes: Boy from Moody at home in the kitchen

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

In the kitchen, anything is possible.
'I make all sorts of stuff,' said Keighton Farrenkopf, 13, of Moody. 'I just put things together and see what happens. Most of the times it's tasty. Sometimes it's not. But it's always fun.'
The lad says his best dish is chicken parmesan.
'I love making pastas,' Keighton said.
His mom, Tanya Farrenkopf, said Keighton has inherited all preparation responsibilities for Thanksgiving dinner.
And that's just fine with the young chef. He says he's 'a pro at it.'
'I made Thanksgiving two years ago,' he said. 'And the gravy was my masterpiece.'
The turkey's stuffing was flavored with lemon.
'I like using different spices and herb butter,' he said.
Keighton grinned as he talked about his culinary adventures.
'He loves being in the kitchen,' said his mother, Tanya Farrenkopf. 'He loves to be the chef and play host. That's where he gets his joy.'
'Well that, and I like to eat,' Keighton said, breaking out an even bigger smile.
Growing up sick
Keighton likes to laugh. He's hungry to talk about life and food. Nothing in his behavior hints to the illness he endures.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Woman's hobby is a book in progress

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She's got a whole world inside her head.
And she's trying to share it the only way she can - with her art.
'It's a very dark, very serious futuristic story about a female bounty hunter who's on a quest for revenge,' said Samantha Oliver of Killeen. 'Her brother was killed in front of her, and there's great sadness in her life.'
Entitled 'The Hunter,' her story started as a writing sample for a college scholarship application.
'I kept on writing and writing, and by the time I got to page 15, I still wasn't done,' Mrs. Oliver said. 'I missed the application deadline, but it didn't matter.'
She had created a parallel universe.
'And I had to get to the end of the story,' she said.
But it's not a story that relies solely on words. 'The Hunter' is a graphic novel.
So Mrs. Oliver is creator of both prose and art.
'The talent's natural, I guess,' she said. 'It's in my family.'

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Faith-based group helps kids find stability

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Magic slippers sent Dorothy home to Kansas. Her misadventures were only a dream.
No such luck for Rosa Hernandez, 2003 graduate of Temple High School.
'I was 16 when I met the people I call my parents,' she said. 'That's when I got home.'
And her childhood nightmares, they are real experiences of neglect and abuse.
Miss Hernandez, 24, and her three siblings spent the majority of their childhood in group shelters and foster care.
'It depended on where we were on whether it was good,' she said. 'Sometimes it was, sometimes it wasn't.'

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rusty's revival: Gospel concert to launch TC endowment fund

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Rusty Morales lived for God.
'His faith meant everything to him,' said his cousin, the Rev. Michael Rios of Dallas. 'He had a thorough understanding of Biblical theology.'
And Rusty wanted to celebrate it with a revival.
'He was so excited about it,' said mom Judy Morales of Temple. 'We started talking about how we could have it in the backyard.'
Having the revival somewhere else wasn't an option, because Rusty's health was on the decline. A 1978 motorcycle accident confined him to a wheelchair and a lifetime of hospital visits.
The revival didn't happen. Rusty died on June 14, five days after he and Rios started planning. He was 48.
'It was a Sunday,' Ms. Morales said. 'I went to go wake him up for church, and he was gone.'
But Rusty's dream of a revival is not lost. His friends and family aim to make the revival a reality with a Nov. 14 gospel concert.
'It'll be a memorial in his honor,' Ms. Morales said. 'There'll be praise, worship and gospel music.'

Musician returns to home church for concert

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She's his mom, but she has no idea where he gets his talent.
'I just don't know where the kid came from,' said Colleen Palmer of Temple. 'Nobody else in the family is musically inclined.'
Her son, Daniel Palmer of Huntingtown, Md., is the leader of a new band called Scattered Leaves. He's the lead vocalist and lead guitarist.
'Our style ranges from punchy pop to melodic rock,' Daniel said.
The group's first CD, 'Midsentence,' was released last Christmas.
'There are some new songs we've been working on,' Daniel said. They have titles like 'Everybody Sing,' 'Wounds Will Heal' and 'Here.'

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Driven to sing, duo lives on the road

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They've been married for more than 25 years, but they've never settled down.
'It's a gypsy life for us,' said Jay Roy.
He and his wife, Tammy, have lived in a bus since their wedding day.
'Well not the same bus,' Tammy said. 'The first one was a green school bus with yellow curtains.'
The next one was a Greyhound, and then they graduated to a series of RVs rigged with cable TV and Internet.
'No matter where we are, we're always home,' Tammy said.
And that's good for business. The couple's an award-winning musical duo, always on the way to the next gig.
The couple's in Bell County through the end of November for a series of performances in Temple, Belton and Moody.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

A voice of silent praise: Woman channels her inner mime in service to the Lord

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She worships without words.
The Anointed Mime, Patsy Jones-McClintock, doesn't need them. Her praise takes life from music and movement.
'When I'm the mime, I get shaken out of my soul,' Mrs. Jones-McClintock said. 'I get in the zone of the Holy Spirit, and it's overwhelming.'
Her first performance as the Anointed Mime took place about two years ago at Corinth Baptist Church in Temple.
'She came to me with the idea as a ministry,' said the Rev. U.C. Barnes, the pastor at Corinth. 'She felt very strongly about it, and when I saw what it was that she wanted to do, I knew it could be something that could enrich lives.'
Mrs. Jones-McClintock can remember the first Sunday she took the face of the mime. Her performance centered around Marvin Sapp's 'Never Could have Made it.'
'I was nervous,' she said. 'I knew I was doing this for God, and that made me want to do it well. And then came the adrenaline. I was so excited.'

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

From prison to JAIL: Former convict shares his story at ministry's annual banquet

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

A reformed inmate was the center of attention at Tuesday's JAIL banquet.
From the moment Rick Vasquez took the microphone, all eyes were on him. The Bell County Expo Center conference room was quiet, despite the crowd of more than 1,000 people.
'He's the Texas field director for Prison Fellowship Ministries,' said Steve Cannon, JAIL Ministry executive director, as he introduced Vasquez. 'He's a perfect example of what prison ministry can do. His is a story of transformation.'

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Resort offers dog park and daycamp

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

An in-ground pool in the shape of a dog bone is in the front lawn of the Barking Oaks Pet Resort.
'The goal is to have it working by next summer,' said the owner, Hansy Howard of Temple. 'There's going to be a tiki bar, so dogs can swim up for snacks.'
The luxury pet resort had its soft opening in September. The grand opening is set for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at 4153 Shallow Ford West Road in Temple.
The grand opening will be a fun party, Ms. Howard said.
'There will be pet tricks, door prizes and games for kids and dogs,' Ms. Howard said. 'Proceeds will benefit local animal advocacy groups.'

Pet resort pampers puppies

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Deep tissue massages. Private walks on the sun deck. And social activities.
It's everything a resort should be: decadent, fun and relaxing.
But humans aren't the customers at the Barking Oaks Pet Resort in Temple. Dogs are.
'The dogs are our guests,' said owner Hansy Howard of Temple. 'They can come for the day or stay overnight.'
From beauty treatments to outdoor playtime, there's plenty to do.
'The idea is luxury,' Ms. Howard said. 'They get individual attention here, and they get to play with friends and get exercise in the fresh air.'

Sorority starts tutoring program

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The sorority club is back.
'The hiatus is over,' said Ethel Flowers of the Delta Sigma Theta Temple branch. 'We're getting back on track.'
As a community service project, DST has adopted Meridith-Dunbar Elementary School in Temple.
'We are all educated African American women, most of us went to Meridith,' Ms. Flowers said. 'So we want to see these students succeed like we did. And they only way they're going to do that is get their grades up.'
So to improve TAKS scores and classroom performance, DST has launched an after-school tutoring program. Focusing on reading, writing and math, it meets 3:30-4:15 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in a classroom by the gym.
'All the curriculum is provided by the district,' said Veronica Moten, the Delta sister who initiated the sorority's adoption of Meridith-Dunbar. 'Students will be identified by counselors and teachers according to academic need.'
The tutors are the 16 women of the Delta sorority.
'It's a fine community service effort,' said member Paula Townsend.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Shelter celebrates a decade of assisting women and babies

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Pregnancy is new life.
There should be joy and hope.
But that's not the case for every expectant mother.
'I was depressed, hopeless and scared,' said Tyreena Mendez of Temple.
The month was March.
'I had one baby with me, and I was eight months pregnant with another,' Ms. Mendez said. 'I had no friends, no family, no where to go.'
She had come to Killeen from Puerto Rico to let her son Devyn see his father.
'He was locked up, about to go to prison for a DUI,' Ms. Mendez said. 'After that, I went to a shelter in Copperas Cove.' And that's where she learned about the Our Lady of Angels Maternity Shelter in Temple, a non-profit United Way agency that provides emergency housing to pregnant women.
By April she was an Our Lady resident.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Fantasy breathes life into Temple grad's career

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

"They call me Daarken. It's my pseudonym, the only one that seems to fit. Everyone always says my work has a dark nature to it, so the name fits, and it's a lot more memorable than Mike."  - Michael 'Mike' Lim, 1999 graduate of Temple High School
---
Nothing thrills him like the heroes and villains of his video games.
'I love fantasy,' said Michael 'Mike' Lim from the Temple High School class of '99. 'Comic books and video games have spectacular worlds, and for as long as I can remember, I've always been fascinated by the way the look.'
So Lim didn't dote on his schoolwork. He did what he needed to pass, and he focused on the images he sketched in his notebook. The harder he worked, the more interesting his images became.
'They became characters with back stories and personality,' Lim said.
After graduating high school, he went to study computer programming at the University of Texas, but quickly found that was the wrong approach.
'That was learning how video games worked,' Lim said. 'I wanted to know about the look of video games.'

Grandpa's gift makes the kids hunters for life

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

'If you hunt and fish with your kids now, you won't have to hunt for them later.'
Kathryn Kyle of Austin said she grew up hearing those words.
'And now that I'm watching my own kids grow, I see how true those words are,' Mrs. Kyle said.
The motto comes from her father, Alvin Dusek of Temple.
'My mother, brother, father and me - we did stuff all the time outside,' Mrs. Kyle. 'I got married, so did my brother, and now we're doing the same things with our kids, going to hunt and fish every chance we get.'
To make that a little easier, Dusek bought everyone in his family a blue tag lifetime combination hunting and fishing license.
'It was a very generous gift,' said son David Dusek. 'All 11 of us, we're quite excited.'

Temple foundation empowers the women of India

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/texassouthwest/stories/DN-financing_08tex.ART.State.Edition1.4b78b20.html
This story was picked up by the Associated Press.
 ---
By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

He's a store man by trade.
He couldn't help it; his father owned West Brothers, a popular department retail chain in Louisiana.
So as Glen West grew up, he learned about merchandise, staff morale, productivity and the daily finances of a small business.
'It was second nature,' said West, who's now retired and living in Temple.
The shop talk hasn't left him. He's using it to carry out a life-long dream of Christian ministry.
'I had a profession of faith at 17,' West said. 'I've always wanted to do God's work. That's what this is about.'
For three years West has run a department store called West Brothers No. 2 in Ahmednagar, India, to generate the funds for a ministry he operates there.
'The ministry is a microcredit center,' West said. 'We give $300 loans interest-free to women in poverty, so they can start their own businesses and make a profit that will give them a good home. We're there to encourage the women that they can improve the lives of their families and that they can do more than they think they can.'

Saturday, October 3, 2009

'I live by His rules now'

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Felon. Bigot. Addict.
'That was me,' said Robby Shadburn of Temple.
But those words are no longer accurate.
'He's a new man,' said coworker Mike Huisinger of Temple. 'Doing good is the only thing Robby's about now.'
God is the only explanation, said Johner Martin of the J.A.I.L. Ministries.
'That's right,' Shadburn said. 'It's as true as the chair I'm sitting in.'

Sermon captivates for more than 30 years

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Thirty years have come and gone, and he's still preaching the same message.
It's tradition for the retired Rev. Joe Baisden of Belton Church of Christ.
'I'm honored that the congregation regards the sermon so fondly,' Baisden said. 'And it's an honor to be invited back each October to give it.'
Baisden's been preaching a sermon called 'Come Before Winter' the first Sunday of October since 1971, his first year as pastor at Belton Church of Christ.
'It's the same message,' said Judy Cass of Belton, a longtime church member. 'But it never gets old. He presents the lesson from so many angles that it's always fresh and new and interesting.'

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Former addict uses music to heal

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

From jail to church, music's been the one constant in his life.
'And that's because of God,' said Todd Smith of Temple. 'He's the one who put the music in me.'
That realization didn't come easy.
Smith had to endure a 20-year addiction to cocaine 'before things started making sense.'
'I'm doing what I'm supposed to now,' Smith said.
Known in the community as GODINTODD, Smith shares God's Word through rap music.
'I probably do 30 shows a year,' he said. 'Most are around here in Temple and Belton, but within the last couple of months, I've been driving as far as Dallas to perform.'
He's got about a dozen titles to his credit, some on a new CD called 'True Grind.'
The song 'Come as you is' says looks and lifestyles don't matter when it comes to church.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Alphabet for life

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Our ABC's never leave us.
The letters are there from kindergarten to the nursing home, guiding us through work and leisure.
'That's why literacy is so important,' said Chris Scherer of Temple's Altrusa. 'Quality of life depends on it.'
That's why Altrusa chose literacy as its focus for the 2009-10 club year.
'We want to do everything we can to get the word out that reading is important and fun,' said Mary Black Pearson, club president.
This summer, the club collected reading materials and educational pamphlets on literacy for low-income students returning to school through Project Appletree. And over the last year, they've opened a library at the Wheatley Alternative Education Center.
So when the Thursday Club asked Altrusa to support its ABC Book project, it was a shoe-in fit.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Marching 100 calls on Tiger pride for reunion performance

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Once in band, always in band.
That's how they feel, the Belton High School alumni of the Belton Marching 100.
'I haven't touched the trombone in 35 years. I wasn't sure if I could still play,' said Donnie Carpenter, class of 1974. 'But the notes and positions came back to me right away, and it sounds like I remember it. My air power's not quite what it used to be, though.'
He's glad to be 'back at it.'
For the last month, he's been practicing with 89 other Marching 100 alums in preparation for the group's anniversary, which is set for Sept. 12 during the BHS football game at Tiger Stadium.

California trip full of surprises

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Adventure's the word for the Marching 100's 1974 trip to the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
'Getting to go and be a part of something that large was a once-in-a-lifetime thing,' said Debbie Newman of Moody, a drummer from the class of '76. 'We got to sightsee, and we got to tour Vegas on the way there.'
And they got to march in the parade.
'That was a long parade, the longest I'd ever seen or marched in,' Mrs. Newman said. 'We had practiced and practiced for it, but it was still longer than we imagined.'
Donna Leune, baritone player from the class of '74, remembers it to be at least 7 miles long.
'Maybe 10,' Mrs. Leune said.
'Maybe more than that,' said Bobby Hilliard of Hewitt.
'It was walking and marching and walking and marching,' Mrs. Newman said. 'There were little cars that would come and pick you up if you fell behind or couldn't make it. But the Marching 100, we were the only confirmed band that didn't have anyone drop out. We all made it. But I'll tell you one thing, after that my toes have never been the same.'

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Men aim for steady worship with outdoor fun

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They fire their guns and arrows at wild game, but Jesus is the true target of the Legacy Outfitters.
'We are about having a relationship with Jesus Christ,' said Beau Bush of Temple, a member of the Outfitters shooting focus group. 'We want to be good husbands and good fathers, the kind of men God wants us to be.'
But to make that happen, it usually requires prayer and intimate discussion in a small-group setting.
'And that's generally tough to make happen for a bunch of guys who'd rather go hunting than anything else,' Bush said.
So to make it easier, the non-profit Legacy Outfitters organization was formed in 2002.
'It gives the man's man, the man who likes to hunt and fish, a place to be and worship while doing something they like,' said Larry Thompson of Belton, the man who helped organize the Temple-Belton branch in 2005 alongside Bush, Bryan Rugh of Belton and Todd Vincent of Temple.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

After growing up Amish, couple finds a new life in faith

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The decision to leave wasn't simple, but it was right.
'It meant leaving my family and everything I knew,' said Barbara Keim of Temple. 'But I had found the Lord and wanted to live the life He wanted me to. That meant leaving my Amish community.'
The year was 1995. She was 23 and didn't have a college education. She had some work experience, but it was limited.
'I was a waitress, and I taught for seven years in the Amish school,' Mrs. Keim said. 'That was after I graduated the eighth grade.'
Her faith helped her make the transition from Amish to modern-day American. The only encouragement she needed was from the Bible.
'Jesus died on the cross to take my sins away,' she said. 'That's not something you can earn. It's yours for the taking, it's a gift, it's something greater than you are.'
It didn't take her long to learn that lesson.

Woman ends first year as Baptist pastor

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Sunday will be a special occasion for Meadow Oaks Baptist Church in Temple
The congregation will be celebrating its first anniversary with the Rev. Lillian Hinds as senior pastor.
Her gender is what makes the occasion noteworthy.
'Having a female senior pastor is unique in Baptist life,' said Tom Henderson, mission director at the Bell Baptist Association.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Temple native enjoys the limelight

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The verdict's in.
'The movie stuck close to history,' said Bryan Burrough, author of 'Public Enemies,' the non-fiction book that provided the basis for this summer's blockbuster about John Dillinger. 'I loved it.'
So did his parents, Mary and John 'Mac' Burrough of Temple.
'It was exciting every bit of the way,' Mrs. Burrough said.
They got to accompany their son, his wife and children to the June 24 world premiere of the film at Mann's Village Theatre in Westwood, Calif.
'It was a two-day whirlwind,' Burrough said.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Group wants to help families of inmates

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Prison doesn't just affect the inmates.
'It can be just as bad for their families,' said Dr. Weldon Bowling, a licensed professional counselor from Harker Heights.
When people are incarcerated, their families have got to go on with the rest of their lives.
'They've got to work, get educated and try to maintain a relationship with the person behind bars,' Bowling said. 'And there's medical issues to contend with, for the person in prison and for those outside.'
Bowling, whose son is imprisoned for narcotics use, said these issues can be problematic for families involved with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
That's why he wants to start a Bell County branch of the Texas Inmate Families Association. The goal is to break the cycle of crime by strengthening families through education, support and advocacy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

On the runway: Temple native designs a way to get on TV

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She says she has a dark nature.
'I like things that are spooky and creepy,' said Carrie Jackson of Dallas, one of the 16 fashion designers who will appear in the new season of Lifetime's 'Project Runway.' 'I'm also a horror film fanatic, and I am always collecting weird doll parts.'
So for Internet chat rooms and social networking sites, she wanted a screen name that would fit her 'twisted, quirky personality.'
'I went with Louise Black,' Mrs. Jackson said. 'Louise is my middle name, and Black fits me.'
She liked her online identity so well it became her professional pseudonym. The clothes she designs and sells come under the label of Louise Black - and that's the name she'll be competing under on 'Project Runway.'
Her parents, Patricia and Rueben Harrell of Temple, can't wait to see the Thursday's show premiere.
'It'll be a fun day,' Mrs. Harrell said. 'We've been looking forward to it for so long.'

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Revive us again . . .

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The revival is Protestant Christian in nature - but how, when and where it is celebrated depends on who you ask.
Each denomination has its own style of revival, but some elements are the same, no matter what church you attend.
There's always prayer, a speaker, singing and scripture reading.
'It is meant to draw people in the church and revive the ones who are already there,' said the Rev. Roscoe Harrison, pastor of Eighth Street Baptist Church in Temple. 'It renews us as Christians and gives us the strength to continue our work for the Lord.
'A lot of people get burned out on their faith - even pastors. When someone new comes in to speak, there's the same message with a fresh energy and fresh perspective. It lets us recharge our focus.'

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Woman surprised after dinner with award

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The night was nothing she expected.
At first, Lisa Griffin of Nolanville thought she was attending the July meeting of the American Business Women's Association as the guest of a friend - Bonnie Hunt of Temple.
'At least that's what I thought when I agreed to go,' Ms. Griffin said laughing.
But Ms. Hunt had a plot. The club needed a guest speaker for the evening's program, so Ms. Hunt asked Ms. Griffin if she'd mind giving an impromptu presentation.
'There wasn't much notice,' Ms. Griffin said. 'I was invited two weeks beforehand, but it was one or two days before the meeting when that part came up.'
Ms. Griffin hesitated.
'I don't care for public speaking,' she said. 'I don't like being in front of a crowd, but I thought about it. The ABWA is a good group, and Bonnie's my friend. So I agreed to do it.'
Ms. Griffin's surprise program was on organizational storytelling.

Sea shells out lessons

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Debbie Potts of Temple watched Luke, her seizure-prone son, suffer through brain surgery after brain surgery.
He was afraid, but she saw him face the challenge and overcome it. So she wrote a story about hope.
Connie Weeks of Austin is the mother of Elliott, a marine who's served in Afghanistan and Iraq.
She spent more nights than she cares to remember in tears, praying he'd come home safe. Though bullets fired all around him, his only word to his mother was that he was proud to be serving his country. So she painted a sea at battle in a storm and at peace in the sun.
Each mother created a survivor - and together they created 'Ocean Surprises,' a children's book that teaches the merits of courage.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Area revivalists pray for God's presence at meeting

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Revival is here.
'And the speed is picking up,' said Pat Dalrymple, coordinator of the Central Texas Prayer Network. 'It's like someone's putting a foot on the gas petal.'
Her remarks opened the Aug. 4 prayer rally at St. James United Methodist Church in Temple. More than 30 people from 12 churches attended to praise Jesus in anticipation of the upcoming Just Give Me Jesus revival.
More than 11,000 people are registered to attend, and at least 700 of those are from the Temple-Belton area.
Part of the revival's attraction is its keynote speaker - Anne Graham Lotz, the daughter of Billy Graham the evangelist. Her last Texas program took place in 2004 near Dallas.
'She's an outstanding speaker and a strong Christian,' said Lynn Ringstaff of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Temple. 'She has a God-given gift of bringing the spirit of revival wherever she goes. It'll bring more hearts to Jesus, and I want to be a part of it.'

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Girls rock!: Sales help families with sick children

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Earlier this year, they made a 100 on their science test about rocks.
Then the two friends had an idea: 'Why don't we collect them and sell them?'
So this past Easter, Haily Dyer, 8, and Kennedy Cox, 9, went to work. They hunted high and low for cool-looking rocks.
'I looked at our school (Kennedy-Powell), in my back yard and at my grandpa's ranch,' Miss Cox said. 'There's all kinds of rocks in regular dirt.'
And Miss Dyer, she said she's found some.
'But most of the time I help Kennedy polish the ones she found,' Miss Dyer said.
Once the girls collected rock No. 50, they decided it was time to start selling.
Big rocks the size of volleyballs cost $10, medium ones the size of softballs cost $5 and little ones cost $1.
'And the money, we thought could go to the Ronald McDonald House,' Miss Cox said. 'I live really close to it, and I think it's nice that families can stay their while the kids who are injured or ill are in the hospital.'

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Man moons over pictures: Brian Floca succeeds as an author and artist

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Going to the moon wasn't his childhood dream.
But drawing it was.
And that's just what Brian Floca did when he grew up.
The 1987 graduate of Temple High School drew the big, bright moon on the cover of 'Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11,' his most recent book as author and illustrator.
'I've been wanting to do that project for a long time,' Floca said. 'The first time I tried to put it together, it was too complicated for a picture book, but this time it worked.'
Critics are saying the Simon & Schuster children's book is a success.
'The main text is beautifully illustrated with line-and-wash artwork that provides technological details and visually stunning scenes,' said Carolyn Phelain of Booklist.
Her favorite scene in the book is the image of Earth as seen from the moon.
'Then there's picture of a lone astronaut looking up,' Ms. Phelain said. 'It shows the enormity of it, and the fine details.'
The perspective is dead-on, according to astronauts who've read the book.
'Reading it gave me the feeling I was back up in space,' said Michael Collins, command module pilot of Apollo 11.

They ride for the fun of it

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Don't let the club's name fool you.
The Bell County Gunslingers Riding Club doesn't have any guns.
'We're about horses,' said Rena Burleson of Temple, one of the club's founders. 'We go riding and have a bunch of campouts. It's pure enjoyment.'
Fellow founder Jimmy Adams nodded.
'This ain't no job, this is recreation,' Adams said. 'The day it starts being a job is the day I quit.'
The Gunslinger reference is a nod to old western movies.
'That's what the cowboys were called,' Burleson said. 'Thought it would make a good name.'
The club meets every weekend at a Temple ranch on the corner of East Adams and Friendship Road.
'We've got about 30 members,' Burleson said. 'Whoever can make it shows up, and we get the horses out and go riding, in the direction that suits us.'

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Church helps special needs families with night out

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Everybody needs a break.
Nothing could be more true for parents of special needs children.
'Their job is 24 hours a day, seven days a week,' said Marsha White, volunteer with the special needs ministry at Temple Bible Church. 'It's tough to find a few minutes for a shower, much less an evening out.'
That's where TBC's His Kids program comes in handy.
'Every second Tuesday of the month, the parents can drop their kids off and go do what they want for a couple of hours,' Ms. White said. 'They can have a date night, go grocery shopping, pay bills or take a bubble bath. All those little things they've been putting off because they don't have time.'
Susie and David Marek of Salado are grateful. They've been participating since last fall along with Logan, their 14-year-old autistic son.
'Logan can stay here and have fun,' Mrs. Marek said. 'And we can go out to eat and relax for a bit.'
All of them look forward to His Kids Tuesdays.
'The days are marked on our calendars,' Mrs. Marek said. 'And as soon as we pick Logan up from one of the nights, he's already talking about the next one.'
'It's a blessing to a lot of families,' said Lisa Prince of Temple, another mom. 'It's so much easier to take an evening off when you know your children are safe and happy.'

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Special needs kids rule the court in Buddy Ball

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Winning's not always the point. Sometimes just playing the game is enough.
That's why the Buddy Ball games at First Baptist Church in Belton always end in a tie.
'The score doesn't matter,' said Ricky O'Banon of Belton, program coordinator. 'It's about everyone getting equal court time.'
That's important to the Buddy Ball players, children from 5 to 18 with special needs and disabilities.
The group's first practice was July 6, and everyone was having a blast. A smile was on everyone's face, and cheers could be heard from every corner of the FBC gym.
'Fun. Fun. Basketball is fun,' said Bobby Ayer, one of the players. 'My favorite is to throw, count and bounce.'
The enthusiastic Ayer also likes Buddy Ball because he gets to 'talk to a hundred friends.'
Parents enjoy Buddy Ball for the same reasons.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Sisters harvest for the hungry

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Three years ago, there was just a half dozen lavender plants.
Now the Belton farm produces a variety of crops, sometimes more than a thousand pounds' worth.
The farming started as a hobby that two sisters - Melanie Morrow of Temple and Donna Stoa of Nassau Bay - could share.
'At the time we lived two states away,' Mrs. Stoa said. 'I was close to Houston, and Melanie was in New Mexico.'
And the routine was to meet at home base, the house of their parents, Don and Estelle Fisher of Belton. So there wasn't much opportunity for quality sister time.
'I wanted something we could do together like a project or a hobby that would give each of us an excuse to get together,' Mrs. Stoa said. 'Farming, why not? The land was there, and the barn was there. It could be put to use.'
When the sisters' garden project launched in 2006, the Fisher's five-acre farm land wasn't being used.
'The parents had donkeys and horses on it when we were younger,' said Mrs. Morrow, a member of First United Methodist Church in Temple. 'But those are long gone.'
The two novice gardeners opted to try their hands at lavender.
'There was no particular reason,' Mrs. Morrow said. 'We thought it sounded like fun.'
And it was successful, sort of.
'We got some plants working,' Mrs. Morrow said. 'But not well enough to grow them over the two acres we were working. There was a fungus that would grow on them, and it was too expensive to keep the plants treated.'
So they moved their sights to produce farming.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Harmons huddle into a traveling sisterhood

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Sunday afternoons were for dinner with the family.
That's the way it was for the 10 children of Joseph and Bertha Harmon of Moffat.
'It was the way all of us came together,' said Martha Tomme, the oldest daughter. 'Us five girls, and the five boys. We'd all come for supper, even after we were grown.'
But when Mrs. Harmon died 23 years ago, her fear was that the family would drift apart.
'We didn't want that to happen,' said Melinda Murray, the youngest daughter. 'So we tried to make it a point to continue to get together.'
Even though all of the 10 siblings lived within 40 minutes of each other, it was difficult to continue the routine.
'The dynamic of the family had changed,' said Martie Crocker, one of the sisters. 'Things weren't the same.'
So the group made a pact. They promised each other they would take a vacation together at least once a year.
'It doesn't matter where we go,' Mrs. Murray said. 'As long as we go somewhere.'
That pact transformed into an annual October camp-out at Cedar Ridge.
'That's when all of us get together,' Mrs. Crocker said. 'And it's a big group because we bring our husbands, kids and what not. Sometimes the siblings of our spouses tag along.'
So the Harmon family felt whole again - not the same as when they were young, but just as happy and just as united.
The group's approach to life after the death of their mother was normal and healthy.
'Things change,' said Vekram Mehra, an area psychologist and counselor. 'And the best thing you can do with that is accept it and learn how to live with it the best you can.'

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yard art defines the home

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

From flamingos to toilets, all sorts of things decorate the lawns of Bell County.
The six-foot metal daisy, the gnome and mermaid statue: It could be homemade, store bought or a reminder of years gone by.
Each has a different story about why it came to be.
But they all have one thing in common: They make a place a home for their owner.

Astronomer takes the fiction out of science

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

When the first 'Star Trek' movie aired, the young Seth Shostak had a few things to say.
'There were a bunch of mistakes,' said Shostak, who was studying radio astronomy at the California Institute of Technology at the time. 'So I wrote Gene Roddenberry saying that if he paid the bus fare twice a week, I'd come red line his script and catch all the errors.'
The movie producer responded to the graduate student to express his thanks, but he had already employed a group of scientists to take care of that.
'Oh well,' Shostak said. 'That was that, but I bet I could have done a good job for him. That letter's still around somewhere.'
The young scientist didn't let the rejection slow down his career.
Now, more than two decades later, Shostak is the senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, Calif. - and his advice is sought on a regular basis.
He was the science advisor for the 2008 Keanu Reeves film 'The Day the Earth Stood Still,' and this week, he's been traveling the country giving talks on science. On Thursday, he was at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston.
And today, he'll be at Stagecoach Inn giving a lecture for the Central Texas Astronomical Society and the Institute for the Humanities at Salado.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Eagles song makes great sermon material

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Don't you draw the queen of diamonds boy, she'll beat you if she's able. The queen of hearts is always your best bet. Now it seems to me, some fine things have been laid upon your table, but you only want the ones you can't get.
That's 'Desperado.'
'If there was anything that ever needed interpreting, it's that song,' said the Rev. Aldon Samaha, the new pastor at the Unity Church of Temple. 'It's filled with a symbology that carries a deeper meaning, one that many find important and true to their lives.'
The pastor plans to decipher the riddles of the Eagles' 'Desperado' at a western-themed worship service on Sunday at the Unity Church of Temple.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Native American ritual leads way to healthy body, mind

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D99C1OTO2.html
This story was picked up by the Associated Press.
---
By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

For many moons, the Native American sweat lodge has held great power.
'It puts you in touch with the Creator,' said Rafael 'Tall Bear' Montez of Belton, president of the Tribal American Network. 'You suffer the heat, you sweat and your spirit is cleansed. When it's done, negative thoughts are gone.'
The ritual works magic on the body too.
'You sweat the impurities out of your skin,' said Jane Lee of Moffat, who's married to Marcus, a member of the Tarahumara tribe. 'Your skin gets so soft, and if there's anything wrong with you, like an aching back or sore knee, you'll be over it by the time you get out of the lodge. The heat is so intense that your body releases all tension.'
A night of deep and easy sleep is a gift of the sweat lodge as well.
'Your soul is renewed,' Tall Bear said. 'Your spirit is purified, and you are at peace.'
That's why the Apache tribesman hosts monthly sweat lodges for area Native Americans and soldiers returning from war.
'The soldiers coming home, they have so much stress and pain,' Tall Bear said. 'This helps them to get rid of it and move on.'
For soldiers needing immediate spiritual relief, Tall Bear is on-call. He will conduct sweat ceremonies for them any time, day or night.
'Those lodges are private and personal,' Tall Bear said.
People who suffer from arthritis are also welcome to attend the sweat lodges.
'It helps,' Mrs. Lee said. 'They're often able to move around more easily after it's over.'
There will be no sweat lodge in July because Tall Bear and his friends will be attending a U.S. tribal reunion. But starting in August, the sweats will take place the first Saturday of the month on Tall Bear's property in Belton. For details, call 254-624-7206.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pantry needs help providing for food babies

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

There's just one shelf that's bare at the Helping Hands food bank in Belton.
'The baby food,' said Mike Bergman, ministry director. 'We never have enough.'
And that has a direct effect on Bundles of Joy - the sub-program of Helping Hands that caters to pregnant women and new babies.
'Every new mom gets a bag full of goodies when the baby is born,' said Jeannette Kelley of Temple, the Bundles volunteer manager. 'It's got all the basics a baby would need - except food.'
For the month of June, the food bank had five cans of powdered formula and 10 jars of mashed baby food in stock.
'That's on reserve,' Mrs. Kelley said. 'We save it for emergency need. We'd like to be able to provide food for all of the new moms in Bundles of Joy.'

Sunday, June 14, 2009

National calendar will feature photos by local kids

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The decision is final.
Of the 13 photos featured in the 2011 National 4-H Calendar, three are by young photographers from Bell County.
'And we couldn't be prouder of them,' said photo trainer Harold Carter of the Oenaville 4-H club.
Children, ages 8 to 18, from 4-H clubs around the country sent in close to a million pictures for the calendar. Bell County alone submitted 12,000. The submissions that won had to make it through the chapter, district and state levels.
'This calender contest - it's the highest competition for 4-H photographers,' Carter said. 'And to be chosen is a big honor.'
Bell County's three star photographers for 2011 are 16-year-old Danielle Fasolino of Belton and the Coffman siblings from Temple - 11-year-old Emma-Leigh and 9-year-old Christian.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Youth put 'love thy neighbor' to work

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

'Tell me more, tell me more, like does he have a car?'
That's a line out of 'Grease,' and it was coming from Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Cameron.
More than a dozen girls in tank tops and ponytails were singing the tune Tuesday afternoon as they painted murals and cleared out lawn debris.
They were part of a youth group from Memorial Drive United Methodist Church in Houston, and they were on a mission to spruce up Cameron churches.
'We primed the walls, scraped the walls and painted them,' said Sara Wagner, a University of Texas sophomore. 'We redid the sign and did some weed-eating. We're pretty much making it all better.'
It's the Houston church's annual work camp.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Local Bahá'i community forms spiritual assembly

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The Bahá'i faith is a religion like any other, but it has no church and no pastor. Instead the Bahá'is are led by a nine-member spiritual assembly.
'But only in the administrative sense,' said Vina Stasik of Temple, chairperson of the newly formed Bahá'i­ assembly in Temple. 'There's an elected board of directors with a treasurer and vice-chairperson and officers like that, but we don't lead the prayers or devotionals.'
At a Bahá'i gathering, everyone sits in a circle, and attendees have equal voice and equal right to participate.
'Women are equal to men,' said Dondie Crook of Temple, assembly secretary. 'And children can participate like adults.'
Having formed April 20, the Temple spiritual assembly of the Bahá'i faith has met regularly at Ms. Stasik's home.
'Our weekly devotionals will take place on Sundays at my house,' Ms. Stasik said. 'Those will start sometime this month.'

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Homeless not hopeless: Program supports kids who've hit hard times

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Anna thought she'd never see a cap and gown.
She was 15, pregnant and alone after the death of her mother. And she was homeless.
So graduation didn't seem possible. It wasn't even a priority.
'I was just trying to get by,' said Anna, a Belton High School senior whose real name is being withheld. 'There was too much of everything else to worry about.'
Life was hard. Everyday brought the challenge of finding food, shelter and safety.
'That's how it was, and that's how I thought it would keep going,' Anna said.
But it didn't.
Thanks to Project Heartbeat, Anna will receive her high school diploma on Thursday at the Bell County Expo Center. And she'll be wearing a red cap and gown.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Having the life of her time: Woman shares history through her ancestors' eyes

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She goes by several names, but her face is familiar throughout town.
'I'm the log cabin lady at the Bell County Museum,' said Welba Dorsey of Belton. 'I'm part of the exhibit. I dress up as one of my early Texas relatives and talk about what it was like to be a Texas pioneer.'
But the Texas pioneer is not the only ancestor she impersonates. In programs for schoolchildren and civic groups, she also portrays relatives who lived in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and early colonial America.
'It's thanks to research that I'm able to do all this,' Mrs. Dorsey said.

Family faces

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Learning about her ancestors has been a joy for Welba Dorsey of Belton.
'The value in doing genealogical research is in the enjoyment and leaving a sense of heritage for your children,' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'It has helped me know more about myself.'
Her work has also reinforced the lessons she learned in childhood.
'I was raised with the phrase, 'You should behave like a southern lady,'' Mrs. Dorsey said. 'With everything I learned about my ancestors, I have a better idea of what a southern lady is. She is polite, well-mannered, strong and capable, and she takes pride in her family and keepsakes.'

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tenacity of tiny Russian congregation inspires local team

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Tears fell at Monday's meeting of the Church Women of the Temple Area.
The heartfelt reaction was in response to the guest speakers, the Rev. Margaret Boles and Peggy Maesaka, both of First Presbyterian Church in Temple.
The pair came to talk about their summer 2008 mission trip to Russia.
'The presentation was very informative, thought-provoking and moving,' said Theda Maxfield, past president of the Church Women group.
Fellow organization member Ruth Hovel agreed.
'I was surprised to learn about the Russian government's attitude toward religion,' Ms. Hovel said.
While in Russia, Mrs. Boles and Mrs. Maesaka learned that because it's the official church of the country, the Russian Orthodox Church has power over churches of other denominations.
'The Orthodox Church can determine where and when churches of other denominations are planted,' Mrs. Boles said. 'As a result, the other churches are often small and far away from towns.'

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Nurses salute alumni group's 100 years

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

More than 2,790 people have graduated from the Scott & White School of Nursing.
'And they're scattered all over,' said Grace Labaj, class of 1958, former dean of the Scott & White College of Nursing at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. 'They come to Temple to study, and some stay, but a lot move on.'
There's one thing that keeps track of where they go. That's the annual directory produced by the nursing school's Alumni Association.
'It's a very useful tool,' Labaj said. 'It helps us maintain contact with the graduates and keep tabs on their careers.'
The directory is just one reason why the Alumni Association is important.
The 100-year-old organization is always raising money for nursing scholarships, and every term, it hosts a congratulatory dinner for graduating nursing students.

Nursing memories

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

LaVerne McDaniel of Thrall enrolled in the Scott & White School of Nursing in 1949. She was 18.
'The schedule was tough,' she said.
Breakfast was at 6 a.m. sharp.
'And from 7 to 10 you had 'a.m. cares,' Ms. McDaniel said. 'It was a morning round of caring for patients. You washed their face, brushed their teeth and served them breakfast.'
Then it was time for classes.
'Lunch came around but it was only for half an hour,' Ms. McDaniel said. 'Then you were back in class until 5 or 6, when it was time for 'p.m. cares.' That was when you got the patients ready for bed.'

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Teacher's retirement sparkles with fun new hobby

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

For English teachers, some habits are hard to break.
'Everything's got to have a theme,' said Jerie Weasmer of Belton, a retired English professor from Southern Illinois University and the Central Texas branch of Tarleton State.
So when Ms. Weasmer delved into her new hobby of making jewelry, she found that continuity and thematic structure are just as important to jewels as they are to literature.
'Everything has got to flow,' Ms. Weasmer.

Stardust dancers see silver anniversary

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

This year marks the 25th anniversary for the Central Texas Stardust Ballroom Dance Club, and plans are underway to make it memorable.
The first special event is set for 8-11 p.m. July 11 at Strasburger Hall in Temple's Cultural Activities Center.
'It will be a military appreciation dance,' said president Nance Travis.
Admission for those with military IDs will be discounted by 50 percent.
'It's our way of saying 'Thank you for serving our country,'' Ms. Travis said. 'The sacrifices they have made and endured have not gone unnoticed.'
Then come Oct. 10, the club will have its anniversary dance.
'I'm very excited about the anniversary celebration,' Ms. Travis said. 'It will be wonderful. We hope to have a big turnout of our longtime members and club founders.'
Club founders will be welcome to attend the Oct. 10 dance for free if they register in advance with Ms. Travis at 254-213-1951.
So plans for future festivities are set, but the present is a time of anniversary, a time for reflection and memory.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Altrusa honors one of its own

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They call her an everyday hero.
Why?
'Because she works so tirelessly and graciously at everything she undertakes,' said Judy Duer from Altrusa International Inc. of Temple.
Those kind words are in reference to Tamara Clothier of Temple, the woman who was named Altrusan of the Year for 2009.

Ladies dance for the fun of it

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

They slide, they step and they wiggle. They're the R.S.V.P. Rhythm Rockers.
'And dancing is what we're good at,' said director Kay Short of Temple.
Their faces are familiar all over town. They've performed at schools, nursing homes, Senior Day celebrations, parades and style shows.
Former State Rep. Diane White Delisi hosted the group twice at the Austin Rotunda, once in 1996 to introduce them to the state legislators. The occasion was to honor the Rockers for their win at that year's Texas State Senior Games. In the years they've competed, they've won two golds and two silvers.
'And we've been on TV,' Ms. Short said. 'That was sometime in the late 90s.'
They appeared as guest performers on TNN's 'Wildhorse Saloon Dance Show.'
'We got to travel to Nashville to do it,' Ms. Short said. 'And it was a hoot.'
They also were featured on KXAN's 'On the Porch with Jim Swift.'
It's been a fun ride for the Rhythm Rockers, and they're nowhere near done.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Vocabulary is baffling but beautiful

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

People sing hymns every Sunday at church.
It's a traditional show of faith.
But does everyone know what they mean?
Probably not. Christianity's hymns take root from a massive vocabulary that spans across several cultures and centuries.
'So it's not surprising that people get confused,' said Jane Woodward, associate pastor and music minister at First United Methodist Church in Temple. 'Some words have different meanings today. Others died out.'
Ms. Woodward researched the subject and wrote an article about it for the April issue of The Word, FUMC's news magazine.
'What I learned is that you can't understand the whole meaning of the hymn until you understand each word and each phrase,' Ms. Woodward said. 'You find that the hymn is a piece of literary art, something to be appreciated.'

Sunday, April 12, 2009

He's 'The Doc': At 82, Dr. Weinblatt is still patient with patients

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

'Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee. Hey, diddly-dee, a doctor's life for me!'
Walk into his office on the corner of Third and French, and you'll hear Dr. Jack Weinblatt singing this tune. It's his theme song.
'It worked in 'Pinocchio,' and it works for me,' he said. 'I'm Dr. Jack.'
He's 82 years old - and still doctoring. He serves as medical director for six area nursing homes, and he works at his family practice three days a week.
'I'd be an idiot to quit. I wouldn't be Dr. Jack if I quit,' he said. 'You can't fish all day. I don't like yard work, and you can't sit and watch trains all day. I love being Dr. Jack. It's what I do. I like helping people.'

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ministry builds women's shelter in Troy

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Come May, there'll be a shelter for victims of domestic violence in Troy.
It'll be run by Shield of Grace Ministries from the Belton First Assembly of God.
'We've got a house, and it's being remodeled,' said Alicia Prado of Temple, project board member. 'We plan to be open by the middle of May.'
Pastor Harry Thrasher of Belton First Assembly of God says the shelter will be a great asset for the community.
'It's a good thing because in the ministry, we see women who are battered and fearful for their lives but have no place to go,' Thrasher said. 'We want to open doors to them and give them counseling, so that they can get their lives back on track. It's a chance for them to get out of bondage.'
But the shelter won't be funded and managed by Belton Assembly of God alone.
'It's a community effort,' said Melissa McCoy, shelter board member. 'Several other churches have joined the effort, and our volunteer count is up to 20 or so.'

Russian woman converts then translates

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

As a child, Christina Matkina had no knowledge of Jesus or the Bible. She was 15 when she became a Christian.
'All it took was a single sermon,' Miss Matkina said. 'That happened in 1995, and it changed my life.'
In Russia on a mission trip, Russell Chupik of Rogers stopped to share the message of Christ at Miss Matkina's high school.
'He said, 'There is someone who will always talk to you, someone who will always listen and care,'' Miss Matkina said. 'I liked the idea of that. I was lonely growing up. My mother raised me and my sister by herself, so she was always working. She didn't have time to nurture the spiritual life.'
Her friends, also, were of no comfort.
'They could always tell me of their problems, and I would listen,' Miss Matkina said. 'But when I had a problem, nobody cared. Nobody wanted to listen.'
So she approached Chupik and asked him to tell her who 'that guy was.'
'He said, 'That's Jesus Christ. Invite him into your heart, and he will be there and he will be your savior because that's what the Bible promises,'' Miss Matkina said. 'I did.'
Since then, Miss Matkina said her life has been filled with an overwhelming sense of the Lord's presence. It has encouraged her to become a full-time missionary.
And on April 3, Miss Matkina had the opportunity to reunite with Chupik.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Club gets groovy with vintage style

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Vintage wear is not out of style.
That was the theme of the Newcomers Club's April 1 style show at the Wildflower Country Club.
'The thing about vintage is that it's fun,' said Maxine Willingham, a Salado area buyer and personal shopper of women's apparel. 'And we love to see how it transpires to the new fashions of today.'
Jeannie Parker, one of the event's six models, agreed.
'Vintage is timeless,' Ms. Parker said. 'And very lovely.'
The show had the feel of a trip in a time machine. The models sported 18 fashions that were popular in the '60s and '70s. Ms. Willingham said the outfit selection showed how styles changed from 'hippie to disco.'

Therapy turns grief into works of art

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Art therapy is what happens after talk therapy fails.
'Words are often insufficient,' said Sandy Ellis of Temple, social worker and grief counselor. 'So you can't always just talk about it.'
So to help her clients, she relies on art.
'Creating a vision, it helps to express what's going on inside,' she said.
It's a useful therapy for adults and children.
'It helps older people broach subjects they're uncomfortable with,' Ms. Ellis said. 'And for the children, the art helps them show what they don't understand.'
Art therapy can take dozens of forms: collages, drawings, paintings, sculptures, journaling and 3-D structures.
The options, Ms. Ellis said, are endless.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jewish congregation forms in Harker Heights

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She needed a spiritual home.
'If you're Jewish, you don't have that many options as to where to worship,' said Caren Cohen of Harker Heights.
That's because the nearest synagogues are about an hour away. There's one in Waco, one in Austin and another on the Fort Hood military base.
'That pretty much well limits it for the rest of us,' Mrs. Cohen said. So she and her husband, Larry, spearheaded the effort to form a Jewish congregation for the local community. Based in Harker Heights, it's called Simcha Sinai, which in English means 'Joy where the Torah was received.'
So far it's got about 30 members.
'And we get more each week as word gets out,' Mr. Cohen said. They meet for worship and a homemade Sabbath meal at 7 p.m. the second and fourth Fridays of the month at various members' homes. To obtain specific locations, people should contact the Cohens at 254-231-4930 or lcohen@hot.rr.com.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Woman finds half-brother on MySpace

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

It took more than two decades for the siblings to meet.
Thanks to MySpace, 32-year-old Malinda 'Mindy' Mungia of Temple was able to locate her half-brother, 27-year-old Daniel Tamez.
The ironic part is the they live within 15 miles of each other. Daniel's home is in Academy.
'It's funny how we were so close and didn't know it,' Mindy said. 'It's been so long that I've been looking for him, and I can't believe that he was around the corner.'
She found her brother via MySpace on March 12 with the help of her stepdaughter, Cecilia Mungia of Temple.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Boy's illness no match for the love of friends

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Daniel Farnham is here.
That's become a common half-time rally cry at Central Texas Christian School basketball games.
'The announcer says those words, and everybody stands up and cheers,' said Coach Nuni Venegas. 'Daniel comes out to wave. It's wonderful.'
But it was no score or trick on the court that earned Daniel the honor. It was a far harder battle against pain.
Two years ago, the high school junior was diagnosed with lupus - an autoimmune disease that weakens the body's defense system against viruses, bacteria and germs.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Shelter offers a path to a new life

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She watched it happen to other people.
'First my mom and then my friend. I said it would never happen. I'd never be one of them.'
But she was wrong.
'Easier said than done. It could happen to me and did. I was abused.'
Those words are from Kate, a battered woman seeking refuge in the non-profit Families in Crisis Temple shelter for victims of domestic abuse. Like all of the FIC clients, her safety is at stake, so to keep her identity secret, the Telegram is withholding her real name.
The Temple shelter was a godsend for Kate.
'Coming here meant me getting my independence back,' she said. 'And my self-esteem. I lost it for a while, but I got it back.'
'Yes, she did,' said Barbara Stephens, manager of the FIC Temple shelter. 'I was with her every step of the way. She's worked very hard.'

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Missionary finds fulfilling work on African farm

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Missionary work is God’s work — and in Lori Price’s case, it’s farming peanuts.
“And I never thought I’d be doing any of it,” she said.
But she is. She’s a career missionary with the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board, and her daily life in the Samogho village of West Africa is consumed with two things: teaching Christianity and maintaining a peanut crop.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Thoughtful landscaping sows value, enriches life

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Landscaping your home is no easy task.
'It takes work, time and patience,' said Janet Lockwood, co-owner of Tem-Bel Nursery.
And it takes money. According to the Texas Association of Realtors, homeowners should expect to spend up to 5 to 10 percent of their property value on landscaping.
'You have to look at it as an investment,' said Sara Irvine, managing broker at Joan Mikeska Realty in Temple. 'Because it's going to add to the overall value of your home, and that, sooner or later, will be a major advantage to you when it comes time to sell.'

Saturday, March 14, 2009

A matter of history

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

For more than a century, it's been a house of worship.
And today, the County Line Baptist Church in Rogers will become a state landmark. In a special ceremony, the Texas State Historical Commission plans to designate the site as one of historical significance with one of its familiar roadside markers.
'It's got such a rich history,' said Nancy Kelsey of Belton, the Bell County Historical Commission chair of historical markers. 'And recognition such as this keeps the area's legacy alive.'
County Line Baptist Church celebrated its sesquicentennial, or 150th anniversary, in June of 2006.
'So that makes us about 152 going on 153 this year,' said Ray Tharp, a longtime member of the church who served as interim pastor in 2005.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Lutherans start clinic in Africa

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The people in Sierra Leone needed medicine - and some people from Temple wanted to help.
So with some fellow Lutherans from San Antonio, Waco and New Mexico, they developed a plan to open a clinic.
'And we did,' said Pat Dietrich, pastor of First Lutheran Church. 'The experience was overwhelming. The amount of need there is great, and the poverty they face is humbling.'
She was one of the group of 12 who undertook the mission. So was Dr. Dan Ladd of FLC-Temple.
They departed Feb. 1, and arrived in the West Africa country on Feb. 6.
'We got held over in London,' Ms. Dietrich said. 'There was a massive snow storm, and we were stuck.'
It was awkward, said mission participant Pam Hendricks of Covenant Lutheran Church in Temple.
'We didn't have any appropriate clothing,' Ms. Hendricks said. 'We were all dressed for tropical hot Africa.'
Bonnie Oltmann from FLC-Temple nodded her head. She and her husband Keith went on the trip.
'We had to go buy all new clothes,' Mrs. Oltmann said.
And the layover shortened the group's stay in Sierra Leone by four days. But they managed to accomplish their goals in the time they had. The Evangelical Lutheran Community Health Clinic was established long before they returned home on Feb. 16.

Salado church reaches 150 years

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Sunday will be an especially busy day at Salado Church of Christ, as the congregation will celebrate its 150th anniversary.
The theme will be 'Heritage of Faith,' and Pastor Joe Keyes says that's most appropriate.
'We wouldn't have got this far without faith,' Keyes said. 'It got us this far, and we're still here and growing.'
Planning to serve as host for Sunday's festivities, Keyes said the day is sure to be a joyous occasion.
'It'll be a homecoming,' Keyes said. 'For all members, past and present, to come together, celebrate and share memories.'

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Doll and woman make milestones together

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Barbie's lived half a century.
And Hilde Cort of Temple has been living right along beside her.
She has about 50 Barbies, and each one represents a different phase of her life.
'They're all very special to me,' Mrs. Cort said. 'I keep them in my office with my computer, so I can look at them every time I work on something.'
The doll that launched her collection was the 1992 Pinstripe Power Barbie.
'I had to buy it as soon as I saw it,' Mrs. Cort said. 'Because I had a business suit just like the one she has on. It's the one I wore to work most of the time. I was a business executive for 30 years.'
She purchased that doll 12 years ago, and that was the only hint her grandchildren needed. She's been getting Barbies as gifts ever since. And she's been buying them as the mood strikes.
'But not just any Barbie,' Mrs. Cort said. 'They all represent something about me.'

Barbie turns 50 without a gray hair on her head

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Come March 9, it'll be official.
Beautiful blond Barbie will be 50 years old.
'And it just isn't fair,' said Moni Bittenbinder of Temple. 'I turn 50 that day too, but she still looks 18.'
That's true. Barbie's waist is as slim as ever, she has no wrinkles and the phrase 'bad hair day' has never had reason to become part of her vocabulary.
Earning an average of $3.3 billion in sales every year, the Mattel Inc. Barbie doll remains one of the country's most popular toys.
'She tests out our imagination and our dreams through active play,' said Andrea O'Reilly, founder of the Association for Research on Mothering. She still cherishes the 25 Barbies of her childhood. 'I think this is why Barbie has such retaining power. She's not a scripted toy. Her storyline is limitless.'

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Boy sends toys to orphans

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Not all children have toys.
This was a sad lesson to learn for 11-year-old Joshua Stegall of Temple.
He doesn't want that to be the truth, so he's trying to fix it - one ball at a time.
'Every kid needs a ball to play with,' Joshua said. 'It doesn't matter where you are or how rich you are.'
That's the premise behind a mission project he started called 'Children Being Children.'
'It's a way for the children in Haiti to be able to get balls,' Joshua said. 'Soccer balls, basketballs, baseballs, any kind of ball you can make a game with.'
He chose Haiti because of a friend. His family sponsors a young boy in Haiti via Hope for the Hungry, an international ministry devoted to providing food for orphans.
'Because of him, I know what the living conditions are like there,' Joshua said. 'They don't have much of anything.'
So with the aid of First United Methodist Church of Temple, Joshua hopes to get the project underway. He's asking the community to donate new and gently used balls for 'Children Being Children.'

Girl recycles quest for iPod into way to help

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

She wanted an iPod, some new clothes and new shoes.
But she needed money.
So 11-year-old Kimberly Rankin of Temple had an idea.
'I thought I could recycle and get paid for it,' she said.
So she started collecting aluminum cans, trash mail and newspapers to trade in for cash.
'I asked all my neighbors to help,' Kimberly said. 'I wrote my name and address on index cards and passed them out. That way they'd know I'd take care of their recycling stuff.'
The young girl's enterprise turned out to be quite profitable. She earned enough money for the things she wanted but decided she didn't want to go shopping.
'I had a better idea,' Kimberly said.
She took her earnings to First United Methodist Church of Temple for its Soldier-of-the-Month program.
Her contribution bought supplies for a care package that was sent to a soldier in Iraq.
'I was very proud of my daughter when she decided she wanted to do that,' said Iris Rankin, the FUMC children's ministry leader.
That was in September of 2008. By October, the FUMC Recycling Project was born. Encouraged by Kimberly's example, the children of FUMC decided they wanted to 'recycle for the soldiers.'

Church embraces future

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

It's a store no more.
Formerly the site of Dollar General, the address of 102 S. General Bruce Drive now belongs to A New Day Awakening Church.
'Work has been non-stop for the past few weeks,' said Pastor Mike Rutledge. 'We've been remodeling the inside.'
Plans are to create some Sunday school rooms, a sanctuary and an indoor youth area equipped for basketball and volleyball.
And Rutledge is leading the renovation efforts. He's a construction worker by trade.
'I live in Austin but am called to lead this church in Temple,' Rutledge said. 'I consider my work here a privilege and blessing.'

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crown me: Temple girl goes on TV, wins beauty contest

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Lights, cameras, action.
That was the cue for 7-year-old Rebecca Alley of Temple when she appeared in the Jan. 27 show of TLC's 'Toddlers & Tiaras.' The cable series is an ongoing documentary of Texas girls who compete in beauty pageants.
'It's kind of like reality TV,' said Rebecca's mom, Stacey. 'Each episode, the camera follows a different set of girls. You get an idea of what pageant life is like - the preparation, comradery, the work and the fun.'
The experience was an enjoyable one for Rebecca.
'It was so cool,' she said. 'I liked being followed around and everything. It was fun to see me on TV. I giggled.'
She appeared in episode 102, the show that featured three mother-daughter beauty teams competing in the University Royalty Beauty Pageant at Austin. Rebecca took top honors, earning $1,000 and the title of Mini Grand Supreme, and Mrs. Alley received an honorable mention.

Wildlife painter featured in state annual

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

For her, painting is as easy as looking out the window.
In fact, that's the first step for artist Nancy McGowan of Little River-Academy.
She looks out the window of her art studio for inspiration.
'I like watching for plants, birds and other animals,' Mrs. McGowan said. 'I like to paint anything that's native to Texas.'
Her goal is to show realistic beauty. She matches the color schemes and sizes of her subjects to live models.
'I like to get things precise,' she said.
Her dedication and passion won her some recognition from the Texas Ornithological Society. The organization selected three of her water-color paintings for publication in its statewide December 2008 annual.
'It was a T-shirt contest they did for a fundraiser,' Mrs. McGowan said. 'They asked for drawings and paintings from us members, and the winning one was printed on a T-shirt and the cover of the annual.'
Mrs. McGowan won with a painting of an Altamira Oriole, a bird known for its orange and yellow colorings. That's the one the Society selected for the T-shirt design and cover print.
'Her work is outstanding,' said Jack Eitniear, editor of Texas Ornithological Society publications. 'The paintings she submitted show fine detail. I'd say she's one of the top bird artists of the state of Texas.'

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Scent of a wedding: Flowers and brides have long history

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Here comes the bride.
Wait a minute. What's with all those flowers?
Are they for beauty's sake or for luck? Both.
Flower bouquets and herbal arrangements have long been a staple of wedding ceremonies.
The earliest record dates to ancient Greece. Brides would wear crowns of garland, ivy or field flowers upon their heads.
'It was considered a gift of nature,' said Charlotte Elrod of Temple. She spent about six months researching the history of wedding flowers for the Feb. 5 Temple Garden Club program.
The use of crowns added a sense of formality to the wedding, Ms. Elrod said. It also aligned with Greek custom and identity. People of importance at that time, like philosophers and actors, would wear plant crowns because of what they symbolized.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Federal funding for churches stirs debate

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Government funding: Should it go to religious organizations?
That's a tricky question to answer, and it depends on who's answering.
'Absolutely not,' say people like Derek Davis, a University of Mary Hardin-Baylor professor. An advocate for religious freedom, Davis believes it is a breach of the separation of church and state.
'And the separation of church and state is a good thing,' Davis said. 'It's part of what our country was built on. It gives us the freedom to worship how we choose, free of government's control.'
When the government gives churches money, Davis said that freedom is threatened.
That's the main point of an essay Davis wrote for the UMHB Center for Religious Liberty. It was in response to President Barack Obama's Feb. 5 decision to replace the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives with a similar Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Elmo heads home early

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Elmo, the Temple dog competing in the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, didn't win.
'He showed very well, but he evidently wasn't the judges' cup of tea,' said Elmo's owner, Chris Chirdo of Temple.
Best of Breed honors went to Chinese crested No. 11, Champion Risin' Star's China Doll. That's the Chinese crested that was featured in Tuesday's televised broadcast of the competition in New York.
'I had a good look at China Doll, and he definitely was the best example of what a Chinese crested could be,' Chirdo said. 'He was beautiful.'
So there's no hard feelings. Chirdo's just grateful he and Elmo had the opportunity to compete.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Dog gone to top dog show

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

A Temple dog has wagged his tail all the way to New York City, and come Tuesday, he just might be on TV.
The pup is a contender in this year's Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. And his owner, Chris Chirdo of Temple, is very excited.
'The Westminster Dog Show is the most prestigious dog show in the world, and my dog Elmo is going to be there,' Chirdo said. 'I can hardly believe it. It's the first time for any of my dogs to make it.'
But he kept his enthusiasm in check.
'The day I care about the outcome of a dog show is the day I've lost all my people skills and have no life,' Chirdo said. 'It's an honor just for Elmo and me to be there. It's the experience that's wonderful, not the results.'
But Chirdo added that if Elmo happens to win, he'll have to go to an emergency room because he'll have lost consciousness.
His friend Amanda Malloy laughed.
'That's so right,' she said. 'He's a nervous wreck when he's watching his dog in a show. He's like a stage mom - err, dad - all nervous and paranoid.'

NAACP turns 100: Local branch plans year of celebrations

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

NAACP are some of the most well-known letters on the planet.
They stand for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - an organization that stands for equality and fair treatment of all people.
In the century it has existed, the NAACP has accomplished several feats, including the commissioning of black soldiers at war, the desegregation of public schools and representation of minorities in government.
'We the people of color, any color, would not be where we are today if it wasn't for the NAACP and its people, white and colored,' said George English, president of the Temple branch of the NAACP. 'It took all kinds of people to get the NAACP started, and it takes all kinds to keep it going.'
This Thursday, the NAACP will be celebrating its centennial, 200 years after the birth of Abraham Lincoln, one of the earliest political advocates of black freedom. And festivities are planned everywhere.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Love of the challenge trumps for area players

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Bridge is more than a game. It's a way of life for a lot of folks in Temple and Belton. They play online, they play with friends and they compete two to six times a week in one of the many local bridge clubs.
There's not an official tally of how many area residents suffer from the bridge bug, but area club leaders say it must be close to a thousand.
'Oh, I'm quite addicted to it. Or at least that's what my husband thinks,' said Malissa Baugh of the Queens of Heart Duplicate Bridge Club. 'The dishes get done, the clothes get washed and then I play bridge. There's not much I'd rather do.'
That's the sentiment of fellow bridge players Dale Allen, Janet Bartoo and James Goodwin. They say it isn't unusual for an entire day to be devoted to the game.
'You keep on playing for the challenge,' said Allen, manager of the Rolling Hills Bridge Club. 'You could play one game a day everyday of your life and never see the same hand.'
That's not an understatement. According to the American Contract Bridge League and Bridge World Online, the number of possible bridge hands exceeds 53 octillion, a really big number with nine commas and 27 zeroes.
That figure is based on the math of the game. Bridge uses a 52 card deck divided evenly among four players who form two, two-man teams. So that's 13 cards to a hand - 13 cards that have equal probability of being any suit and any value.
'The odds are literally millions to one that you'll ever see the same hand,' Mrs. Baugh said.
So when it comes to playing bridge, there's no explicit set of steps to take.
'There are only guidelines,' Allen said.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

A place called home: Georgetown center provides home for retired priests

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

What happens to a Catholic priest when he retires?
Having taken a lifelong vow of chastity, he's got no wife or children.
There's only three options: He can go to a parish where a priest needs help and work on a part-time basis, filling in when the main priest is ill or on vacation; he can purchase his own home if he has the financial means to do so; or he must live in a facility owned by his diocese.
Father Charles Davis opted for Choice No. 3. Retired from St. Mary's in Temple, Christ the King in Belton and St. Joseph's in Killeen, Davis now lives at the John Paul II Residence for Priests in Georgetown. Located next to St. Helen's Catholic Church, the residence is within 10 miles of Southwestern University.
'It's a great place to call home,' Davis said.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Clubs are good for your health

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

Being a member of a club isn't just a diversional activity.
It's a useful tool in building strong mental health.
'The nature of your relationships with other people is important to your well-being,' said therapist Linda Chupik, the founder Chupik Counseling & Consulting in Temple. 'Studies show that people who participate in activities that are not self-centered, like social and service clubs, live longer than those who don't.'
And they're generally happier.
'Organizations offer many different activities - like quilting, bingo, book reviews or whatever - for you to get involved in,' said Bill Berning, a 40-year clinical psychologist retired from Associated Family Counselors in Temple. 'And that provides social stimulation, which is an important step in coping with life's blows.'
Mary Young understands this. She recently wrote a letter to the Bell County Newcomers Club, thanking its members for their help and friendship in her transition from wife to widow.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Youngsters share talents, hugs with seniors

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

From show-and-tell to pet birds, the third graders from Central Texas Christian School are finding they have a lot in common with people more than 10 times their age.
Twice a month, the youngsters visit the residents of Hearthstone Assisted Living Center. It's part of a mission outreach program that's now a decade old.
'I like older people, so I wanted a program that would benefit them,' said Wendy Wolfe, the third-grade teacher who started it.
The visits have turned into an enjoyable experience for all parties involved.
'It's so wonderful because we get to see the kids,' said Ruth Miksch, a Hearthstone resident. 'It's something I enjoy very much.'
So does 8-year-old Taylor Humphrey of Temple.
'We get to come visit and talk and walk in the garden and play with cats,' Humphrey said. 'It's always a fun day when we come to see them.'

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Woman paints the way for granddaughter

By TOMIE LUNSFORD
Telegram Staff Writer

The back of a brick building in Belton is taking on a new look. No longer a wall of pale brown, it has become a work of art.
'There's a bright blue sky, some green hills and golden flowers,' said Ann Montgomery of Belton, pointing to her creation at Vintage Daze, 213 E. Central. 'I think I'll call it 'French Countryside.''
She painted the landscape with the aid of her 5-year-old granddaughter, Jenna Montgomery of Belton.
'It's all part of a project to spruce up the back side of the store,' Ms. Montgomery said.
The owner, Sandy Bigham, said plans are to transform the area into a break nook.
'We want the back patio to be a place where people can come drink coffee or have lunch,' Ms. Bigham said. 'It's in the process of being fixed up.'
The mural was the first step. A vendor at the store, Ms. Montgomery volunteered to paint it because she enjoys arts and crafts.
'She said she had an idea for a painting, and I told her to go for it,' Ms. Bigham said. 'It turned out great. I love it.'