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September 2012 Letters

TCP Talk

Letters and comments from our readers

Hot Topic

We just read Suzanne Haberman’s article, “Cool, Daddy.” We are very interested in this concept for saving energy. Could you please tell us what particular product the Halkos used on their roof and where we might find more information on that product? We plan to check the Cool Roof Ratings Council website for information but wondered if the Halkos would share their information.

Norman Coulter, Pedernales EC

The article is very interesting to me because my power bills get rather high during the summer, and I can sometimes feel my ceiling radiating heat. I would like some additional information that is more specific regarding the coating that Gary Halko used to coat his roof—specifically, the type, brand and source of the spray-on adhesive and paint-on coating.

I have access to airless spray rigs and equipment, as I work with a company that sandblasts or water-blasts ground and elevated water tanks and coats them. Here in Houston County, as in a lot of Texas, heat is a big issue, and I like to try to find ways to lessen its impact and costs on our life and home.

Chris Sowell, Houston County EC

You should have done a little more research for the story. The ceramic beads the gentleman added to his roof paint have been shown to be of almost no thermal value. A quick Internet search found several university and government studies showing that color and reflectivity are what’s really important.

The roof on our home is white enameled sheet metal panels. The color makes solar reflectivity built in, and it’s backed by the manufacturer. No special coatings needed for a really cool roof.

James Barton, Central Texas EC

Editor’s note: Many of you asked what specific product we described in the July article, “Cool, Daddy.” But instead of naming one product, we encourage you to use the following resources to start your search for the product that best suits your own needs and goals:

ornl.gov: Search for “cool roof calculators.” Enter specs about your roof, location and product traits to find out how much a cool roof can save you.

energystar.gov: Search for “cool roofs” and download a list of Energy Star-qualified roof products. These range from metal roofs to reflective coatings.

coolroofs.org: Browse the Rated Products Directory, which allows you to search by criteria such as keyword, product type, color and reflective properties.

Finally, if you take on the challenge of giving your home a cool roof, it would be really cool if you would share the experience with our readers. Send us photos; pass along tips; and let us know what difference it made in the comfort of your home or the bottom line of your electric bill.

A Photo Is Worth …

Just a short note to say that I found the cover photo for the July issue featuring the Alabama-Coushatta dancers to be one of the very best ever. Keep up the good work.

Robert Nowotny, Pedernales EC

The photographs that folks submitted for the Focus on Texas “Yard Art” in July are awesome. I have never seen so many creative and different examples of yard art, and I looked at all of them—in the magazine and online. Just fantastic! Hats off to all those creative people.

Carey Collier, Pedernales EC

About Custer

Thank you for the informative article on Elizabeth Bacon Custer [July]. It is well known that the Custers were very devoted to each other. Mrs. Custer was an amazing woman to literally endure the Army life alongside her husband. She saw a gentle side of Maj. Gen. George Armstrong Custer that probably few did.

His reputation was more than “headstrong,” as you say. He was bloodthirsty in the Civil War and was racist toward Native Americans. I respect her but not him.

Jim Sanders, Bluebonnet EC

I was very happy to see the Alabama-Coushatta cover. It is not very often that non-Native American magazines publish stories about Native Americans. So I thank you for that. However, in the same magazine, one of your articles speaks of a man who massacred Native Americans. I think it was very insensitive of your magazine to do this, especially with the Battle of Little Big Horn’s anniversary falling on June 25. It is this type of insensitivity that damages, yet again, a nation of people still struggling.

Yolonda Bluehorse, via Facebook

Pecos Passions

I am mentioned in “The Truth About Pecos Cantaloupes” [July] and am proud to be the grandson of Madison Todd. My parents, Neil and Zorene Thompson, took over the cantaloupe business from granddad and grew the business for a number of years.

I really enjoyed your story, and it brought me up to date on a number of points. The technical details about where the sweet taste comes from were especially interesting, as I’ve followed many theories about this in years past.

Once a reporter asked Granddad if he really thought his melons were better than those grown elsewhere. With a twinkle in the eyes of his ever-sober countenance, he replied, “Well, if they aren’t, I’ve got enough people convinced that we can’t fill all their orders, year after year!”

Ray Mack Thompson, Richardson

Thank you for the article about the Pecos melons. We have searched high and low for them and finally found them at Fiesta Mart. Eating the melons brings back fond childhood memories.

Pat Miller, Burleson

Visionary Collector

I can relate to the article “Changing Views, One Kaleidoscope at a Time” [July]. Peach Reynolds, Mark Reynolds’ brother, made the first kaleidoscope I purchased, in Kerrville in 1986. Since then I have collected several more of Peach’s scopes. I now have more than 200 scopes in my collection. Recently I have started making simple scopes myself.

Howard Hughes, Central Texas EC

Luring the Tourist

Re: “Magical History Tour” [June].

What a great article. These little towns need all the help they can get to bring tourists in and make them aware of what’s out here. Our merchants can’t keep their stores open without help from the tourist dollar.

Patsy Zesch, Central Texas EC

Light Switch

Thanks for the article on energy-saving light bulbs [“Illuminated Thinking,” January]. We have so many people come into the store who are absolutely confused about what the heck is going on with bulbs. Our most common question is about how they can stockpile incandescent bulbs now. Why they can only use a max of 190 watts in a fan light kit is a close second.

Appreciate the easy-to-understand info and am making copies to put on our bulb display.

Joann Ontiveros, Carol’s Lighting, Humble