In addition to reading about Lineman Appreciation Day in Currents, you can learn about a couple of special 50th birthdays this month. One is the internet. The other is an Academy Award-winning actress from Katy.
‘There’s No Eraser’
Joe Huerta III started as a groundman at Medina EC, based in Hondo, in 2003—with “zero knowledge in this field,” he says—and worked his way up to become a journeyman lineworker.
“My cousin was a lineman for Medina EC, and every time we hung out, he would tell me stories about his job,” Huerta says. “I was told the job was hard, the hours were long, and the work was underappreciated. At the end of the day, the work of a lineman is a great way to provide for your family, to feel proud of a skill that you earn and continually learn throughout the years, and a great way to give back to the community.”
Today, Huerta is the safety and loss control manager at Nueces EC in Robstown, where the co-op will join others nationwide to celebrate Lineman Appreciation Day on April 8. Huerta is responsible for maintaining a culture of safety among the lineworkers.
“In lineman’s work, there’s no eraser,” Huerta says. “Once something happens…that could be it.”
Internet at 50
The internet looks good for its age, especially if you believe it turns 50 this month, as some experts claim.
On April 7, 1969, UCLA’s Steve Crocker authored the first request for comments, a type of technology publication, to organize notes of the new ARPANET research program—cited as the symbolic birth of the internet. The Advanced Research Projects Agency Network’s initial purpose was to link computers at Pentagon-funded research institutions over telephone lines.
So, happy birthday, internet.
But Discovery and National Geographic magazines, among others, say the birth of the internet was September 2, 1969, when UCLA professor Leonard Kleinrock established the first local connection, between two computers in his lab.
Still others say the moment Kleinrock’s UCLA computer transmitted the first host-to-host message to a machine at the Stanford Research Institute on October 29, 1969, marks the internet’s birth. Kleinrock has called this the “first breath of life the internet ever took.”
Needless to say, very smart people were hard at work 50 years ago so that today you can Google things like “birth of the internet.”
Zellweger Turns 50
Another 50th birthday this month, one not in dispute, is actor actress Renée Zellweger, born April 25, 1969, in Katy. Zellweger’s breakout role was opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire in 1996, though she’s best known for the lead role in the Bridget Jones movies. She also won an Academy Award for best supporting actress in Cold Mountain.
San Jacinto Revisited
The largest battle re-enactment in the state is the centerpiece of the San Jacinto Day Festival, which takes place most years on the grounds surrounding the San Jacinto Monument in La Porte. The event scheduled for April 13, 2019, was canceled because of the ongoing investigation and cleanup of a nearby chemical plant fire.
The re-enactment portrays the events leading up to Texas winning its independence from Mexico at the decisive Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
Visit sanjacinto-museum.org, or call (281) 479-2421 for more information.
Update: March 29, 2019
This item was updated after the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department announced the event was canceled.
By the Numbers: 20,000,000
Campbell’s Soup estimates 20 million households served the Thanksgiving staple green bean casserole last year. Dorcas Reilly, a Campbell’s employee, came up with the simple, six-ingredient recipe in 1955. When Campbell’s began putting the recipe on cans of its cream of mushroom soup in 1960, the dish’s popularity took off. Reilly, 92, died in October 2018.
Heart to Heart
50 years ago: On April 4, 1969, in Houston, Dr. Denton Cooley implanted the first completely artificial heart in a human being. The patient lived on the artificial heart for 64 hours but died 32 hours after receiving a new human heart. The first artificial heart is in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
75 years ago: The U.S. Supreme Court ruled April 3, 1944, in Smith v. Allwright that Texas’ “white primaries” could not exclude black voters. The case originated in 1940, when Houston dentist and civil rights activist Lonnie E. Smith attempted to vote in the Democratic primary in his Harris County precinct. The Smith decision did not end all attempts to limit black political participation but did virtually end the white primary in Texas.
75 years ago: The United Negro College Fund was incorporated April 24, 1944. Mary Branch, president of Tillotson College in Austin, helped establish the organization, which supports 37 historically black colleges and universities, including Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, Jarvis Christian College in Hawkins, Texas College in Tyler and Wiley College in Marshall.
125 years ago: William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, published the first issue of The Rolling Stone, a weekly newspaper in Austin, April 28, 1894. The lampooning contents were more about entertainment than news. While publishing The Rolling Stone, Porter worked as a teller at the First National Bank. He was accused of embezzlement and fired by the bank in 1895, and The Rolling Stone ceased publication.
275 years ago: Anders Celsius, Swedish astronomer and namesake for the Celsius temperature scale, died April 25, 1744. He was 42. That’s 107.6 Fahrenheit.