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For Pulpwood Queens, Hollywood Beckons

Some of the stuff we looked into while you were reading last month’s issue

The story behind Kathy Murphy’s book club is the subject of a planned Dreamworks film. Murphy is passionate about reading, as are the folks at the Tocker Foundation, which helps serve the needs of rural libraries in Texas. Galveston’s landmark Tremont House celebrates an anniversary, and you can have a chance to join the celebration. Finally, we remind you that May is Electrical Safety Month.

Next Chapter: The Big Screen

You might remember Kathy Murphy, the East Texas woman whose saga reads like a Hollywood script: Woman loses lucrative dream job, becomes hairdresser and opens combination beauty parlor and bookstore. Woman starts book club that grows to hundreds of chapters around the country and overseas. Woman’s marriage falls apart. Woman packs up and moves from one small town to another and carries on.

Woman finds out in January that Dreamworks Entertainment plans to make a feature film about her life and the hugely successful Pulpwood Queens Book Club.

The club, which Murphy manages from her Hawkins salon, Beauty and the Book, is some 650 chapters strong (Read “Bound & Determined,” March 2014). “When I heard the news, I buckled to my knees,” says Murphy, a member of Upshur Rural Electric Cooperative. “Still hard to believe that a small-town-born and -raised Kansas kid could have a movie based on her life in the wonderful world of books.”

The movie will be largely based on Murphy’s book, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara-Wearing, Book-Sharing Guide to Life.”

Grants for Rural Libraries

June 1 is the next deadline for grants to rural libraries from the Austin-based Tocker Foundation. All public libraries in towns of 12,000 or fewer are eligible, and grants can cover a range of needs, from furniture and shelving to technology equipment or digitizing newspapers. For information, go to rocker.org or contact Karin Gerstenhaber, director of grants management, at (512) 452-1044.

Tremont House, Anchor of Galveston’s Strand, Turns 30

The latest incarnation of Tremont House, which triggered the rebirth of Galveston’s Strand Historic District, turns 30 this year.

Tremont House occupies the restored Leon and H. Blum Building, built in 1879. The 119-room boutique-style hotel was resurrected by George Mitchell, the Galveston native considered the “father of fracking,” and his wife, Cynthia, in 1985.

The original Tremont House, built in 1839, hosted such dignitaries as Gen. Sam Houston, Ulysses S. Grant and Buffalo Bill.

For years, the hotel was the largest and finest in the Republic of Texas. Fire consumed the building in 1865. A new Tremont was built, opening in 1872, but it succumbed after the historic hurricane of 1900.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary, Tremont House revives its periodic “afternoon teas,” including one June 14. Before that, the Strand will be bustling during Artwalk, May 30, at the nearby Galveston Arts Center, and for Craft Beer 101 Weekend,June 5–7, at the hotel. Enter to win a Galveston Getaway from Texas Co-op Power.

May Is Electrical Safety Month

Make safety a priority around electricity and remind friends and family to do the same this month. Texas Co-op Power regularly features warnings about the hazards of electricity and advice about the safe use of this valuable resource. Test your knowledge of electrical safety with this quick quiz from Electrical Safety Foundation International:

1. True or False: Using a corded telephone during a lightning storm is safe.

2. Why do some outlets have three holes?
a. The third hole provides more voltage.
b. The third prong is the “ground.”
c. To accommodate foreign appliances
d. It keeps the plug from falling out.

3. You shouldn’t swim near docks or marinas because:
a. Boaters may not see you and run you over.
b. There could be fishing hooks in the water.
c. The water might be electrified by docks or boats that “leak” electricity into the water.
d. All of the above

4. The proper way to safely move away from a downed power line is to do what until you are 35 feet away?
a. Take small hops with your feet together.
b. Shuffle away with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times.
c. Skip, so that only one foot is on the ground at a time.
d. Crawl on all fours.

5. Birds are able to perch on power lines without risk of injury because:
a. Those power lines do not have power running through them.
b. The unique skin on their feet protects them.
c. Sitting on one wire does not provide a ground or connect a circuit, so the current doesn’t leave the wire.
d. Their bones are hollow.

Answers: 1. False, 2. b, 3. d, 4. b, 5. c