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For Electric Cooperative Members
November 2009 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Phantoms Raid Your Electricity 
I noticed in your article “2 Good 2 Be True = False” (Power Connections, July 2009 issue) that you mentioned saving on electricity by unplugging devices that are not being used. I have heard this and wondered how true it is. Can you explain why and how it works and how much of your electricity bill you can expect to save? It seems that if your switches on your device work properly, unplugging the device should not be necessary.
Gene Shull, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Editor’s note: The usual suspect is “phantom” or “stand-by” power such as that used by televisions, computers and microwaves. They continue to consume small amounts of electricity when they are turned off. This is the power that allows a TV to come on instantly without warming up. Some estimates are that phantom electricity accounts for up to 10 percent of a household’s electricity budget.

Sweetwater Scouts Met Football Great
I remember meeting Sammy Baugh much the way Joe Holley did (“Slingin’ Sammy Baugh,” September 2009 issue), only it was my scoutmaster, not my father, who presented Mr. Baugh to me and my fellow Sweetwater Boy Scouts. We had gone out to Baugh’s ranch to climb some of those rocky hills that dot that area of Texas. Just as Mr. Holley, I had no idea who Baugh was. I do remember him as being very tall and slender and “old.” I now realize he was only in his 40s at the time and was probably coaching at Hardin-Simmons University. Of course, since that time I have read of his gridiron exploits at Texas Christian University and with the Washington Redskins. But until I read the article in Texas Co-op Power, I did not know that he began his athletic career in my hometown. Had my family not moved from Sweetwater to Irving the summer before I started junior high, I am sure I would have seen his name in the trophy case at Sweetwater High.

Stanley Statser, Wood County Electric Cooperative

Sammy Was Slingin’
You outdid yourself with the article on Sammy Baugh by Joe Holley. I got to accompany my uncle out to the Baugh ranch one day, and when we arrived, there was Slingin’ Sammy Baugh throwing a football through a swinging tire. I was impressed and have been to this day on the accomplishments of a great football star.

Carl Bailey, Comanche Electric Cooperative

Home Schooling Has Advantages
In his August 2009 letter, Roy Mitchell takes to task one of the Quebe sisters for her remark about being home-schooled “to get us away from the bad influences of public school.” Perhaps her comment, which appeared in a June 2009 Texas Co-op Power article about the Quebe Sisters Band, wasn’t as flippant as he believes.
Many Texas families choose to home-school for this very reason, believing that the risks of a public education clearly outweigh the benefits. Besides a generally better education (as evidenced by studies that compare home-school and public-school student scores on standardized tests), safe environment and learning to work with other students and adults of various ages, home-schooled children are monitored for their individual progress.
This is not to say that there are no benefits to public education, as Mitchell noted (for example, learning to work with people with different beliefs, ideas, cultures and ethnicities). However, it might be hard to defend Mitchell’s apparent proposition that there are no bad influences of public school. Otherwise, their reason for their school choice is as valid as any other.
Ben Debusk, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative

Family Survives Pandemic
I read with much interest the article “The Forgotten Pandemic” (Footnotes in Texas History, August 2009). I know it was indeed the flu that took three of my mother’s siblings and her father in the space of one month from May to June 1918. My mother was born two months later and named Wesley after her father. Left pregnant with four remaining children, my grandmother, Anna Horn Johnson, had her faith as a devout Christian tested. She, like countless others, “survived” this tragedy and raised her family well. 

Catherine Hall-Womack, Pedernales Electric Cooperative

Come to Mesquite Show
I enjoyed your September 2009 article “The Much-Maligned Mesquite.” Since I retired nearly six years ago, I spend most of my time in my shop making useful items from mesquite on my wood lathe. The wood from the mesquite tree is ideal for wood lathe work.
As a member of the Texas Mesquite Association (, I would like to invite everyone to the Texas Mesquite Art Festival in San Angelo, scheduled for April 16-18. You will find everything imaginable made from mesquite at the festival. There is even one man who makes kitchen sinks out of mesquite.

Terry Nance, Guadalupe Valley and Nueces electric cooperatives

Mesquite Serves As Cattle Feed
Your September 2009 article on mesquite was informative, but there is one very important and interesting facet of this wood that was not mentioned. You may suggest to the author, Clay Coppedge, that he investigate the nutritional value afforded to range cattle. I have personally saved my herd by feeding them mesquite beans during the tough times we face so often here in South Texas.

Abel Arredondo, Karnes Electric Cooperative