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Special Delivery in Fort Davis and Shelbyville

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

Santa makes his rounds all over Texas, of course, but in Fort Davis, he arrives by firetruck. Do you know the name Cade Foehner? Fans of American Idol know well the musical talent from Shelbyville in deep East Texas.

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

It’s time for the children around Fort Davis to be on their best behavior because Santa arrives December 8 via firetruck—as he always does—in the parade down State Street that kicks off Frontier Christmas.

Santa visits with children and sits for photos at Jeff Davis County Library after the parade. Outside, in Kelly Pavilion, enjoy hot cocoa, live music, crafts and a cookie-baking contest. Elementary schoolchildren serenade revelers with Christmas carols followed by the high school Spanish program’s baile folklorico.

Fort Davis in far West Texas is a popular destination in part because of nearby attractions such as the Fort Davis National Historic Site, the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute’s nature center and botanical gardens, Davis Mountains State Park, and the University of Texas McDonald Observatory. Find more information by calling (432) 426-3015 or visiting

We Turn 75!

From time to time, these pages of Texas Co-op Power commemorate milestone anniversaries and birthdays as a way to mark history and progress. Starting in January and continuing each month next year, we will celebrate an anniversary near to our hearts: 2019 marks 75 years of this magazine.

Texas Co-op Power started as an eight-page newspaper called Texas Cooperative Electric Power in July 1944. Electric cooperatives were still in their infancy, and members needed a way to stay informed about the benefits and innovations electricity delivered to rural living. Perhaps more important, members needed an ally and a soapbox because as co-ops spread across Texas, investor-owned utilities, who for years wanted nothing to do with rural folks, began trying to wrest business away from co-ops. Texas Cooperative Electric Power stood with members as co-ops persevered and spread.

Over time, Texas Co-op Power grew into the general interest magazine it is today. It is still produced for co-op members and still delivers important co-op messages, reaching 1.56 million members monthly.

Each month in 2019, Currents will showcase a timeline that highlight major events and people during our 75-year history.

In addition, we’ll feature a retro recipe tweaked to accommodate evolving tastes and cooking methods. And each quarter, Texas History will shine a spotlight on the magazine.

Where To Find Happiness

The Texas towns of Plano, No. 5, and Grand Prairie, No. 10, are among the happiest cities in the U.S., according to personal finance website WalletHub, which ranked 182 large cities based on emotional and physical well-being, income and employment, and community and environment. No. 1 is Fremont, California.

Everything Clicks

This month marks 50 years since the debut of the technology-changing oN-Line System. Douglas Engelbart and his team at the Stanford Research Institute essentially kicked off the personal computer revolution with what has come to be described as “the mother of all demos.”On December 9, 1968, in San Francisco, Engelbart demonstrated text and images displayed simultaneously on separate devices, functional videoconferencing and working hypertexts. He also showcased the first model of the common computer mouse.

“That hour and 40 minutes was, in the end, one of the most impactful technological presentations to be delivered since Gutenberg got some people together for cocktails, crudités and a show of how he’d hacked a wine press,” Megan Garber wrote in The Atlantic in 2013.

Cade Foehner of Shelbyville was one of the final five musicians on American Idol last season.

Courtesy American Broadcasting Companies, Inc.

Bright Light in Shelbyville

Cade Foehner, 21, electrified audiences last spring with a thrilling run on American Idol, ascending to the final five of 24 contestants culled from tens of thousands who vied for a spot nationwide. He hails from Shelbyville, where his dad, Rick, is a serviceman at Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative.

Foehner transfixed viewers with his smoky vocals and soulful take on classic rock standards All Along the Watchtower and Simple Man, dedicating the latter to his mom on the show’s Mother’s Day episode.

The homegrown celebrity shared a stage with fellow Texas musician Gary Clark Jr. on the show’s season finale. Foehner, Clark and co-contestant Dennis Lorenzo delivered a scorching performance of Clark’s Bright Lights, with its driving refrain, “You’re gonna know my name by the end of the night.” We certainly know it now.

Christmas Past

Silent Night turns 200 years old. Stille Nacht was heard for the first time in a village church in Oberndorf, Austria, at midnight Mass in 1818.

A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens’ classic, debuted 175 years ago in London. Six thousand copies were published December 19, 1843. By Christmas Eve, it was sold out.

To the Moon

Humans went to the moon for the first time 50 years ago this month. Apollo 8 launched December 21, 1968, carrying astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovel and William Anders. They orbited the moon 10 times on Christmas Eve then splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on December 27.

Almost 69 hours into the flight, Apollo 8 passed behind the moon, and its crew became the first humans to see the moon’s far side. The crew also took an iconic photo called Earthrise, the first full-color view of our planet.

Each time the orbiter vanished behind the far side of the moon, it lost all contact with Mission Control in Houston for 45 minutes. During the first long silence, the black void crackled with tension until Mission Control reported, “We’ve got it! Apollo 8 is in lunar orbit.”


125 years ago: Helen Stoddard of Fort Worth, a mathematics professor and Woman’s Christian Temperance Union president, spent the winter of 1893 lobbying successfully in Austin for the passage of a law requiring that children in public schools be taught the ill effects of alcohol on the human body. She was later influential in the passage of anti-cigarette, pure food and child labor laws.

100 years ago: Elizabeth Howard West was named state librarian in 1918, the first woman to head a Texas state agency. She started the county library system and initiated services to minorities and the blind.