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April 2011 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Rick Patrick

Rattled About ‘New’ Rattler

I noticed with great interest the picture on Page 10 in the January 2011 issue in the “Emergency Call” cover article about rural veterinarians. Is this the new type of rattlesnake I’ve heard about? Friends have told me it’s called a hybrid because it was the result of some irresponsible fool crossbreeding a rattlesnake and a water moccasin. I’m told it’s yellow in color, with some markings, but I’ve never seen one. Is this the one I should look out for? A friend of mine said he saw one on my place, so I wanted to know for sure. Thanks!

Michael Nickerson,
Coleman County Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: The accompanying photo of the rattlesnake display that appeared in the January 2011 issue Texas Co-op Power is just that: It’s a plastic display of a Western Diamondback rattlesnake in Dr. Larry Brooks’ office in Junction; the diamondback in the fang-bearing display serves as a reminder to patients to get their dogs vaccinated against rattlesnake bites. As for any crossbreeding between a diamondback rattler and a water moccasin, that, according to Brooks, is a myth. However, he says, it’s possible that a snake called the Mojave rattlesnake is migrating to far West Texas. And theoretically speaking, it is possible that the Mojave and diamondback could someday crossbreed, although there is no evidence to support such an idea at this time.

Gratitude for Writer’s Sensitivity

You have heard me talk so you know that I do not say this lightly: I do not have the words to thank you, Ashley Clary, for the article you wrote for my son Daniel (February 2011, “In Midst of Tragedy, Family Gives Life”).

It is especially meaningful, and I consider it a gift from God, that the magazine came today. Saturday, January 29th, marked the sixth anniversary of Daniel’s accident, and February 5 is the anniversary of his death.

You captured Daniel’s spirit in your article! And we are so grateful. Admittedly, this is one of our emotional times. And the article will be one we treasure as giving meaning to Daniel’s life for years to come.

Thank you for your time and your sensitive interpretation of what organ donation means to us.

Carmen Polhemus,
Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Texans: Register as Organ Donors

I am a heart transplant recipient and president of Vital Alliance, a small San Antonio-area nonprofit whose mission is to educate the community about organ, tissue and cornea donation.  

I am always pleased and amazed when I see a donation story in print or on TV. It seems that people are afraid of what they don’t understand. Your article about Mike Myers, his sister Sudi Hamilton and their mother, Martha Myers, was inspiring (February 2011, Co-op People, “Run a Marathon, Donate an Organ: All in a Day’s Work”). Thank you for giving space to this wonderful story that describes how Mike and his mother each donated a kidney to Sudi. I offer them a big, collective Vital Alliance wish that they continue to live full lives and enjoy excellent health!

The best way for Texans to register as organ, tissue and cornea donors is to visit the Glenda Dawson Donate Life-Texas Registry, the state’s official online donor registry, at Here, individuals also will learn about donor registration through vehicle registration and the application for or renewal of driver’s licenses and ID cards.

Also, please visit to register and learn about donation. We have donor/recipient stories, facts and information, photos of our donation promotion events and volunteer opportunities.

Thank you for promoting organ, tissue and cornea donation in your magazine!

Tom Morrissey,
Vital Alliance president, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

I knew I recognized my friend, Sudi Hamilton, when I looked at the picture of her with her brother and mother in the February 2011 issue. What a beautiful person—you can tell by her smile! We have been friends for many years through a service organization. We have just moved full time to the Round Top/Warrenton/Fayetteville/La Grange area from Houston. We love Sudi’s success story, the country and your magazine.

Suzanne Ellis,
Bluebonnet Electric Cooperative

The Eloquent Barbara Jordan

Barbara Jordan. What more can I say? If you don’t get chills hearing her name, or just thinking it, then you never heard the lady. I’m a native Texan. My school days were back when blacks had separate entrances to some establishments, and whites had the main entrance. Honestly, I never thought about it, because that was just the way things were. My first awareness that blacks felt left out was when I was in college, and we had our first experience of integration. And then came the day I first heard Ms. Jordan. Then I understood what it was all about. For me, she was always 10 feet tall, head and shoulders over all the rest of us who meant no harm. We just didn’t understand. When that lady opened her mouth, we understood.

Thank you, Kaye Northcott, for your February 2011 article about the eloquent Barbara Jordan. She was more than eloquent. She was telling the truth and was telling us things in a way we could understand. So, thanks also to Texas Co-op Power magazine for publishing the article. It is good for us to remember that lady.

Olive Lohrengel, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Thank you, Kaye Northcott, for your very well-written article on Barbara Jordan. I was prompted by your article to go back to her July 25, 1974, speech to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee during the Watergate hearings. Following her words and listening to her speak was once again inspiring—and awesome. I forwarded your article and Jordan’s speech to my 14-year-old granddaughter, who is early in the process of developing her“voice.” What better guide than that laid out by Barbara Jordan.

Thank you for your well-chosen words and for the impetus to revisit Ms. Jordan’s integrity, her eloquence and the power of her presence. I know my granddaughter thanks you as well.

Stan Speed, Navarro County Electric Cooperative

I was pleased to see the article about Barbara Jordan. Barbara was my friend and a classmate of mine at Phillis Wheatley High School in Houston. We shared a worktable in biology. All of us recognized that Barbara was an extraordinary person. She was voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” And she did.

Nila Hill, Fayette Electric Cooperative

Good Times at the Five-and-Dime

Just a note to thank you for publishing Sheryl Smith-Rodgers’ “Five-and-Dime Happy Times” article about our store in the February 2011 issue. Sheryl did an outstanding job of encapsulating who we are, what we do and how we operate. It is with the support of publications like yours and the extensive word-of-mouth reputation you enforce that allows us to continue to stay in business. I invite you and all of your staff to come take a firsthand look at one of the last remaining “dinosaurs” in the industry.

Tim Dooley, Owner, Dooley’s 5-10 & 25¢ store, Fredericksburg, Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: “Five-and-Dime Happy Times” did not appear in all print editions of Texas Co-op Power.

Co-op Connection

What a fun surprise to open the February 2011 issue and read the “High-Tech Co-ops” cover story that included Bandera Electric Cooperative members Dick and Jerilyn Earnest. Dick and I graduated from McAllen High School the same year, and Jerilyn was in the class right behind us. Neither has changed a bit. I love your magazine and read it from cover to cover.

Susie Deck McGee, Magic Valley Electric Cooperative

Don’t Disappear, Beloved Magician

After reading Spike Gillespie’s article “Reappearing Act” (February 2011), I thought about my parents. Psychologist and magician Jim Dunn would have been the type of caregiver I would have looked for to assist my parents had they been nursing-home patients. Dunn’s approach is humanistic and insightful. In fact, at 78, I hope he takes good care of himself so he’ll be around if I someday need his help.

Jim Parrish, Nueces Electric Cooperative

Rural Veterinarians: A Rare Breed

I love, love, love this magazine! I was even more elated when I saw my favorite veterinarian, Dr. Lisa Willis—we affectionately call her “the bull god”—on the cover of the January 2011 issue (“Emergency Call: Texas’ Rural Vet Shortage”). Lisa is a rare breed herself. The hard work and care she provides animals is second to none, and a rarity. I was doubly pleased when I flipped right to the story, and there was my other fabulous vet, Dr. Larry Brooks, from Junction. The only one you left out was Dr. Gene Gibbens of the Sonora Animal Hospital. If you are wondering why someone needs three vets, don’t ask! It is a rather sore subject with my husband. Great story!

Beth Jennings, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Kudos for ‘Starstruck’ Story

I would like to say “kudos” on your “Starstruck” article in the December 2010 issue. We’ve moved back home to Texas after many years in New Mexico where they have a very successful dark skies initiative. I would ask that co-ops take on voluntary plans to help out with light pollution as well.
The “security” lights that co-ops regularly install are very unfriendly to neighbors. I would hope that officials would pledge to start using types with better shielding. They could install these on new installations and when replacing bulbs for existing customers.

People need to understand that bright, artificial light shining in their eyes can affect their night vision. And some studies show that dark shadows created by poorly designed light fixtures can actually make individuals, such as criminals, harder to see.

Those bright mercury lights that people have not only make your property look like a Walmart parking lot, they’re negatively affecting your neighbor’s quality of life. It’s very easy to use motion-detector lights, ones on timers, or those with wireless remote switches.

Danny Moffatt,
United Cooperative Services

Not-So-Hot Crossed Wires

In reference to John W. Roberts’ letter to the editor about electric blankets in the February 2011 issue: We use an electric blanket—not in the den, but on our bed. We can lower the thermostat just comfortably enough to satisfy, and all in all, we are warm.

About 10 years ago, older blankets had two wires, leading from the end of the blanket to each nightstand, hers and mine. (We now have the newer ones. I need the warmth, and she, the other.) One night I realized that I was getting colder, so I reached over to turn up the heat, and nothing happened. Then she spoke up. She was getting more heat. So, she checked at the foot of the bed, and, as I guessed, YEP, we had the wires crossed. Thanks for this message—it sure brought back a funny evening.

James and Marian West, Wood County Electric Cooperative

I am an 89-year-old lady living in Smiley, in Gonzales County. I read John W. Roberts’ letter about electric blankets. I tried it out, and it sure works for me. While I watch TV at night, I stay warm. I want to thank John for that wonderful information.

Thelma Barnett, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

Healing at Black Beauty Ranch

I enhance my pleasure of reading by choosing a quotation of the day. I had no trouble selecting it after reading the December 2010 “Black Beauty Ranch” article written by Staci Semrad. She quoted Diane Miller, director of the Black Beauty Ranch, as saying that caring for physically and emotionally damaged animals in a protective environment is “the best job on earth.” Here’s more proof, if we needed it, that no gratification surpasses what one finds in purposeful service. Bravo, Diane Miller, and let us hope Black Beauty lasts forever.

Quentin Eyberg, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Special Delivery to the Troops

Altrusa International in Waco sends packages to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as one of its projects. My sister is a member of this club, so I send items to her to be included in the packages. Reading material is one of the items enjoyed by the soldiers, so I included issues of Texas Co-op Power magazine. Recently, my sister forwarded this thank-you e-mail from Staff Sgt. James Rodgers.

Peggy Payne Lowrie, United Cooperative Services

Altrusa International,

I have received your care package that was sent to us here in Afghanistan. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you for thinking of us and taking time out of your day to gather together things to send. Every little thing from home is very appreciated around here. You have asked if everything in the package was what we wanted or needed. I can tell you that everything will get eaten and used.
I, myself, am continuing to enjoy the reading material that was sent: a Dallas Morning News with the Rangers story in it, a Texas Monthly magazine, and a Texas Co-op Power magazine. I like all kinds of reading material that is mainly Texas specific, so I thank you again for these items. Food is always a big hit and will never go to waste around here, so there is no going wrong.

Ladies, again we appreciate the support that we receive and we wish you guys the best.

Thank you again,

Staff Sergeant James Rodgers, U.S. Marine Corps, Cedar Hill

Editor’s Note: Altrusa International has 33 clubs in Texas. You can find the group online at or call the national office at (312) 427-4410.