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For Electric Cooperative Members
May 2013 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Frank Curry

Giving Students an Edge

I thought these types of programs no longer existed [“Honing Their Futures,” March 2013].

I was a member of Vocational Industrial Clubs of America and the Industrial Cooperative Training class at Gladys Porter High School in Brownsville in 1977. This program and training helped me get a job during my senior year. It was a wonderful program, and I am glad to see schools today still have these programs to give students an edge in life, skills and toward a better living.

I am a business teacher at South Texas College and encourage all students to check out these vocational opportunities if they are offered.

Juan Ortiz | Magic Valley EC

Vocational Training

Gee, what a concept! The gap between laborers and supposed rocket scientists in our Texas workforce is severely hurting the future of our students, business prospects and our state’s economy.

Labor laws and liability, lack of mentoring and apprenticeships, and a “not-college-material” attitude has diluted value, honor and pride in the pursuit of trade and technical skills. There is nothing elite about a college education that garners an unfulfilling, mediocre degree and heavy loan debt.

As a private business owner of 39 years, I hope to be around long enough to enjoy employing some of these young people who graduate from farsighted school systems that invest in the real-world advantages of focused vocational training and licensing.

John Dea | South Plains EC

The biggest hindrance to a successful vocational education program is the school superintendents in most cases. They are academics and don’t understand, or are not interested in, vocational education. Their goal is to send 90 percent or more of each senior class to college. Most of us know this isn’t a reasonable goal for all students or for the needs of their communities.

I have taught vocational education in New Mexico and Texas. I think the answer is to create vocational education programs under regional superintendents who have appropriate vocational educational backgrounds. This would ensure proper funding for the programs.

Alan Trepanier | Nueces EC

Greek Mystique

I really enjoyed the March article “Foreign Accents” detailing how Texas cities got their names. I would really love to this see as a regular feature of the magazine.

John Kalma via Facebook | United Cooperative Services

After the Athens section, in the “Back to Greece” factoid, you write, “Turns out black-eyed peas are a regular part of the Greek diet.”

My family and I lived in Athens and visited all the provinces of Greece and most of the towns and cities. The lima bean is the only bean or pea we ever saw.

Each week they have a farmers market in each section of town. We did our shopping there, and all agree we never saw a black-eyed pea anywhere in the country.

I have to add that Greek food is absolutely the best in the world and cannot be duplicated outside of the country, even by a Greek.

George Vick | Cherokee County Electric Coop

Editor’s note: Greek chef Diane Kochilas, whose black-eyed pea recipe we cited, writes at “Dried black-eyed peas are often [dismissed] by Greeks who have vivid memories of World War II, since the humble black-eyed pea sustained them through years of hunger.”

In your footnote on Edinburg, “Back to Edinburgh,” you wrote, “Others of Scottish or Scotch-Irish ancestry … ” Scotch is a distilled spirit. Scots are a people. Ancestry of Scots and Irish would be Scot-Irish.

Dale Lynn | Pedernales EC

The Butts Crux

The sad part you omitted [“Miles and Miles of Cigarette Butts in Texas,” March 2013] is butts last 10 years on our roadsides.

Larry McWherter | Bluebonnet EC

Eat Your Veggies

So wonderful to see “The Veggie Experience” in your March issue. These were wonderful recipes. I wish more people would try a vegan- or plant-based way of life. You cannot imagine the energy and health benefits you will have after adopting this lifestyle.

Sandy Tate | Cherokee County ECA

It was lovely to find some vegetarian recipes in the March issue. But, oh, you silly people. A “vegetarian” who eats chicken or fish cannot be considered a vegetarian because neither a chicken nor a fish is a vegetable.

Nicole Huntley | Pedernales EC

Crock Creation

I adapted the Crock Pot Enchiladas [“Crockin’ Up a Storm,” February 2013] to a vegan version, making my own refried beans, mushroom soup, cheese sauce and enchilada sauce. I also substituted tofu protein crumbles for the ground meat. Instead of using the green chilies, I subbed a green table sauce made with avocados, tomatillos, jalapeños, homemade taco seasoning mix and vegan sour cream, which I make using tofu.

Anyway, it was wonderful, and I’ve added the recipe to my collection.

Joanne Cheshier | Central Texas EC

More on Pickens

My wife, now deceased, was the fifth great-granddaughter of Ezekiel Pickens, who was the brother of Francis Wilkinson Pickens, husband to Lucy Holcombe Pickens [“Know Your Currency Events,” December 2012].

While in Russia, Lucy gave birth to her only child and named her Eugenia Frances Dorothea, to which the czarina appended the names Olga Neva. The daughter came to be known as Douschka (Russian for “Little Darling”), a nickname she kept all her life. At the start of the Civil War, Douschka, as the daughter of Gov. Pickens, was given the honor of firing one of the first shots from a cannon at Fort Sumter.

Lucy’s picture appeared not only on $100 notes in 1862, 1863 and 1864, but also on the $1 note of June 2, 1862.

David C. Whitenberg | Pedernales EC

Remember Santa Anna

As I read Sheryl Smith-Rodgers’ story of Presidio La Bahía [February 2013] and the massacre of Col. James Fannin and his army of Texians, I started thinking about a recent trip back to Pasadena. Near old downtown Pasadena is the site where Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna was captured. My friend and I decided to try and find it one rainy afternoon.

I grew up very close to this site but had never been there. The San Jacinto battleground gets most of the attention, as that is where Santa Anna’s army was defeated and where a captured Santa Anna was delivered so he could surrender to Gen. Sam Houston. Before the battle, [Erastus] Deaf Smith had blown up the bridge over Vince Bayou, destroying the only way the Mexican army could retreat. This is close to where Santa Anna was captured.

About a mile north of Highway 225, South Richey Street Y’s off into a narrow road, North Richey Street, and just after crossing Vince Bayou there is a marker. We found it, buried under a pile of trash from the high waters of the rain that day. We got out to get a better look and remove some trash. It was an old granite stone, but the words were so worn down that I could not read them.

The State of Texas owes so much to this site and Houston’s men who tracked Santa Anna down. This should be a much more visited place.

James Alger | Nueces EC

Editor’s note: The site the reader describes would seem to be where Smith blew up the bridge. The Santa Anna Capture site, which has a larger maker, is a little to the northeast in Pasadena, near where the Washburn Tunnel meets the bayou.