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.