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Currents

Nature’s Beauty, Nature’s Power

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

Guadalupe Mountains Landmark

One hundred years after Yellowstone became America’s first national park, the National Park Service established Guadalupe Mountains National Park on September 30, 1972.

The park, on the New Mexico border and about 100 miles east of El Paso, includes Texas’ four highest peaks and El Capitan, a 1,000-foot-high limestone cliff.

Most of the park’s 76,293 acres were used to ranch Angora goats in the production of mohair a century ago.

 

Being Prepared

Your electric cooperative is part of your community and wants you to stay safe during severe weather, which can strike with little notice. This month—National Preparedness Month—build an emergency kit to stay ready. Make sure your kit includes:

  • Enough food and water to last several days.
  • Medication, face masks and disinfectant for everyone in your household.
  • Pet supplies.

To learn more and bolster your family’s preparedness, visit ready.gov/kit.

 

Worth Repeating

“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
—Jhumpa Lahiri

 

Time To Rhyme

Or not.

National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day is September 1, when you might ponder these words generally considered unrhymable: month, ninth, orange, silver and woman.

 

Boomtowns

Texas’ rural population grew 2.4% between 2010 and 2020, and the state’s urban population grew 18.4% over that period, according to census data compiled by the Pew Research Center.

The second-fastest-growing metro area in the country was Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown, which grew by 33% to nearly 2.3 million people. The Villages in Florida was No. 1.

 

There are more than 122,000 wind turbines in the U.S., including some 33,000 in Texas, most in the nation.

ikostudio | Stock.adobe.com

Hold on to Your Hat

Wind generation in the U.S. hit a milestone March 29, when wind turbines produced more electricity than coal and nuclear plants. Natural gas is still the largest source of electricity generation in the country.

 

Captivating Images

You wouldn’t want Lois Gibson drawing your face.

Gibson was the forensic artist for the Houston Police Department for 39 years before retiring in 2021. Her sketches of suspects led to the positive identification of at least 1,266 of them, a world record.

 

On the Air

WOAI-AM, San Antonio’s oldest radio station, first crackled to life 100 years ago this month.

The story goes that G.A.C. Halff, a merchandiser who founded one of the first auto dealerships in Texas, had a brainstorm to give away hundreds of small radios as a business promotion and therefore had to start a radio station to give his customers something to listen to.

So WOAI, using a 500-watt transmitter, went on the air September 25, 1922. Initial programming included violin and piano selections.

 

The Wild Blue Yonder

The U.S. Air Force got its official start 75 years ago this month when it was established as a separate military branch September 18, 1947.

But nearly 85 years before that, Union troops took to the air during the Civil War, conducting reconnaissance from balloons.

Today’s Air Force, which has nine installations in Texas, has come a long way since the day in 1911 when Congress approved additional spending for a military strategy still in its infancy. One congressman objected to the $125,000 in funding, saying, “Why all this fuss about airplanes for the Army? I thought we already had one.”