Sunday, June 28, 2009

Yard art defines the home

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

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

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
This story was picked up by the Associated Press.
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

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

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

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

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.'