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April 2012 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

The Value of Volunteering

Thank you to Texas Co-op Power and writer Charles Boisseau for the outstanding and well-timed February 2012 cover story “Campground Comrades” about volunteers in Texas state parks. The value of volunteering has never been more appreciated than now, when drought and wildfires have reduced visitation and revenue needed to keep parks operating. Another option for those who would help: Consider making a donation to Texas state parks here.

Likewise, the story highlighting beautiful Balmorhea State Park also is timely, as the most important thing people can do to help keep our parks open is to visit them, since visitor fees pay about half the cost to operate state parks. A bright spot in tough times is how they bring out the true colors of friends and all who care about these great treasures.

Carter Smith, executive director, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Give Woody Welch kudos for that great cover photo in the February magazine. Nice.

Kelly Coppage Foster, Bandera Electric Cooperative

Dig In: Volunteer

The delightful article “Campground Comrades” in the February 2012 edition has prompted me to write in hopes of informing your readers that opportunities to volunteer in our state parks can easily be enjoyed without giving up home and hearth (the kind without wheels). Texas Master Naturalists have been doing it for years. There are at least 42 local chapters with 6,000 trained Texas Master Naturalists across the state, and opportunities to help our state parks have never been so abundant. The Texas Master Naturalist program is a partnership between the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. In the “Campground Comrades” story, it was wonderful to read about the experiences of La Verne and Harold Soefje at Pedernales Falls State Park. My chapter, Elm Fork, provides a tremendous amount of assistance to Ray Roberts Lake State Park and several other Denton County wildlife projects.

We’re doing some pretty interesting things up here. Thanks for publishing such a wonderful magazine.

Jan Deatherage, CoServ Electric
Texas Master Naturalist, Elm Fork Chapter

Article Planted a Seed

Thank you for your “Keyhole Gardening” article [February 2012]. I look forward to finally growing a garden this year with my 1-year-old daughter, and this article will give me a great start.

Paul Farinella, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

I greatly enjoyed the magazine this month, especially the article about keyhole gardening—I will be trying it soon! Thank you!

Helen Shoup, Central Texas Electric Cooperative

Strong Texas Woman

That was a fascinating article about a special Texas woman [“Dr. Sofie Herzog,” February 2012] who helped shape the character and mystique of our great state. She and many other independent, strong Texas women pushed the limits of what a woman’s place was expected to be. We are all richer for their hard work and contributions. I would have liked to have met her.

Bill Rogge, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative

Swimming Through Memories

Your article about Balmorhea State Park [“Don’t Forget to Look Down,” February 2012] brought back thoughts of growing up in West Texas. My older brother and two younger sisters, all born in Pecos, would go to Balmorhea’s spring-fed swimming pool and nearby Lake Balmorhea with my parents on vacation. I still remember my first time off the high board at the pool. But the memory that stands out the most is my mother swimming at the far end of the springs where the water was deeper. I just knew as a kid that there was some thing living down in that deep, dark water that would drag me under if I were to swim there. My mother, Billie Dean Franklin, was the bravest woman in the world.

R.D. Brewer, Sam Houston Electric Cooperative

Tearing Through the Pages

I just got done with my February 2012 issue, and once again the magazine sits in shreds. You see, I have gotten into the habit of tearing out informative, helpful or inspiring articles/recipes and recycling the rest of any magazine I read. Well, with Texas Coop Power magazine I know two things: 1) I will read each issue from cover to cover; and 2) with all the pages delightfully jam-packed with wonderful writers, Texas tidbits and great photos and recipes, very little of it will end up in the recycling bin, and for that I am thankful.

Jennifer Neumann, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative

At 91, Still Cooking

Your January 2012 issue, featuring the “Up From the Ashes” cover story about wildfire recovery, was the most interesting I’ve ever read. For 30 years, I lived out in West Texas, near Lubbock. My family and I spent two vacation weeks each summer at Possum Kingdom Lake [the wildfire-ravaged area was profiled in the cover story].

Also in the January issue, the “Say Yes to Adventure” reminds me of the 1930s when I was in junior high school near Waco. As a class project, we rode the train to San Antonio. I remember that as if it were yesterday. We each carried our lunch, spending the day visiting the Alamo and historical sites from Waco to San Antonio.

I especially loved the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie recipe. I’ve cooked since I was 9, and at 91, I’m still cooking. I have received awards at county fairs for my pies, and I have a collection of pie recipes.

Mattie Dee Kinnison, Heart of Texas Electric Cooperative

The Barbecue Line Starts Here

If you do a story about Texas barbecue places in 2012, be sure to add The BBQ Shop in Farwell to your list. Owners Kelly and Judy Mimms serve up generous helpings of brisket, ribs and sausage and their signature pork buns each Thursday from 11 a.m. until the food is gone—and the line starts forming before 11, so if you want to try samples of all the meat, be sure and get there early!

Jill Moudy, South Plains Electric Cooperative

Chess Success

Thank you for acknowledging Brownsville, the Chess Capital of Texas, in your January 2012 issue [Who Knew? item] and congratulations to all those students for their achievements in Brownsville and the Rio Grande Valley. My father, Francisco Ornelas, who is now a retired teacher, helped establish and lead his chess club at Vernon Middle School in Harlingen for many years. Congratulations also to the chess club leaders and the parents who helped the students along the way. It is always nice reading about the achievements of students these days, especially when their work requires the utmost concentration, determination and discipline.

Alma E. Ornelas Laurents, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: Watch for our feature story scheduled to run in June 2012 about the phenomenal success of Brownsville and Rio Grande Valley students in chess competition.