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Just a Hop, Skip and a Jump Away

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

Personal flying machines, which could allow us breeze past traffic, might become reality in the next 10 years. And some folks in the Panhandle live closer to folks in many other states than they do to some fellow Texans. You’ll be amazed at how many.

Texas A&M’s entry in a contest to build a personal flying machine looks a little like a floating egg.

Courtesy gofly prize

Get Over It

Imagine hopping into a personal flying machine and zipping over traffic to your favorite coffee shop. Seems pretty far-fetched, right?

It might not be. A team from Texas A&M University is working on a vehicle that looks a little like a flying egg with rotor blades mounted near the base and is among the final 10 in a competition called GoFly that drew scientists from 95 countries. The winner of the competition will be announced this fall.

GoFly contest rules stipulate that the personal flying device must be safe, quiet, ultracompact and capable of vertical takeoff and landing.

It also must be able to carry a single person for a distance of 20 miles without refueling or recharging.

Moble Benedict, a Bryan Texas Utilities customer, is an aerospace engineering assistant professor and A&M’s team captain. “We want a regular person to be able to fly this thing with minimum flight training,” he told The New York Times.

Benedict says he can see personal flying machines becoming a reality within the next 10 years. Great! Will they have cup holders?

Cine on the Sea

While drive-in theaters evoke nostalgia, they’re still around and drawing moviegoers in Texas, as you’ll learn in our cover story, Drive In, Chill Out.

The first American drive-in opened 86 years ago this month in Camden, New Jersey. A year later, on July 5, 1934, the Drive-In Short Reel Theater in Galveston became the third U.S. drive-in. The theater was built for $1,500 right on the beach, with cars facing out to sea over the Gulf of Mexico.

Admission for a car and all its occupants was 25 cents. For 10 cents, an adult walk-in could sit in the bench seats at the front—5 cents for kids.

It operated for 20 days before a hurricane destroyed it and was never rebuilt.

Worth Repeating

“Texas is big, and Texans are proud of it. Prideful boasts can be made about the countless facets of our greatness without the slightest sacrifice of honesty.”

James Earl Rudder, Texan and leader during the Allied invasion of France on D-Day, 75 years ago

By the Numbers

Texline, in the far northwest corner of the Texas Panhandle, is 899 miles from Brownsville, in the southern tip of the Rio Grande Valley.

The folks in Texline, members of Rita Blanca EC, are closer to residents in 21 other states—Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming— than they are to fellow Texans in Brownsville.

The Kolache-Klobase Festival is June 8 in East Bernard.

Pamela D. McAdams |

A Day of Czech Treats

Join folks in East Bernard on June 8 as they embrace their Czech heritage with the annual Kolache-Klobase Festival. Kolache are traditional Czech pastries—you might remember our feature story, The Kolach Trail, from January 2014—and klobase is the Czech word for sausage. Obviously, food is the central theme of the festival, which includes a kolach-eating contest, but so is music—especially polka—and dancing. Part of the festival is indoors, at Riverside Hall, one of Texas’ historic dance halls, which were featured in February’s cover story, Hail the Halls. Call (979) 335-7907, or visit for more information.

Up in Arms

Americans Tommie Smith, born in Clarksville 75 years ago this month, and John Carlos sparked a controversy and created one of the most iconic sports images of the 20th century at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. During the medal ceremony after the 200-meter, Smith, who won gold, and Carlos, who won bronze, raised black-gloved fists in a black power salute.

“We were just human beings who saw a need to bring attention to the inequality in our country,” Smith, the seventh of 12 children, said in a documentary years later.

Within days, Smith and Carlos were suspended by the U.S. Olympic Committee and barred from further international competition. Smith, who retired to Georgia after a teaching and coaching career at Santa Monica College in California, turns 75 on June 6.

Corsicana: We Wanted Water!

Corsicana needed more water for its growing population 125 years ago, so city leaders hired a Kansas well company to drill three wells. On June 9, 1894, drillers struck oil instead, and the Corsicana oilfield became the first in the state to produce oil and gas in significant quantities.

The city council, angry that the wells didn’t produce water, wanted to pay the drillers only half of the $1,000 fee. Ultimately, the Corsicana oilfield proved lucrative, producing about 44 million barrels of oil.