‘You can’t go swimming ‘til you learn how'

By Willis Webb —

Boys, particularly those who grew up in my time in a rural area, learned to swim and swam most every day in warm weather in a stock tank or creek.

My sweet, late mother had a deathly fear of water. I don’t know what precipitated that dread of any amount of water deeper than a few inches in a bathtub, but her fear was real and palpable. I know she lost a friend to drowning in a river, but I was a young boy when that happened and had already heard the swimming edict.

She tried to transfer the fear to her four sons with some early success … me. I’d ask to go swimming with some buddies and she’d issue her dead serious, only qualification: “You can’t go swimming until you learn how to swim.”

“But, Mother, these guys know how to swim real good and they’re going to teach me so I’ll be as good a swimmer as they are.”

“Nope. You can’t go until you learn how to swim.”


To grads: Leadership skills a lifelong pursuit

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to hear General Bill Looney speak at the Admiral Nimitz Foundation’s Leadership Seminar at the Nimitz Museum.

The four-star Air Force general, now retired, said the most important thing a leader can do is to create an environment where all employees are motivated to exceed expectations.

To achieve that, he or she must inspire, lead by example, focus on objective achievement and get rid of as many of your staff’s obstacles as possible.

And Looney would know. He led a fighter squadron based in Europe from worst to first in flying skills and effectiveness.

A lot of what he chronicled that day is found in his book “Exceeding Expectations: Reflections on Leadership,” which is available in the Nimitz Outpost Store.

So what do “followers,” whether they be employees or volunteers, want from their leader?


Fredericksburg's visitor stats revealed

Tourists drawn to town's uniqueness in character, attractions

By Ken Esten Cooke— The Fredericksburg Convention and Visitor Bureau recently released its annual study of this town’s million-plus visitors. And, as if we didn’t know it, the study confirmed that the town is becoming a destination for more and more people.

Tourism — whether family vacations, a tour of the National Museum of the Pacific War, winery visits or Main Street shopping — is a huge and growing part of our economy. The explosion of construction in B&Bs and hotel space is a testament to that. Thankfully, most all of our residents and business owners give these visitors a friendly Texas welcome.

Sixty percent of visitors are age 50-plus. The CVB called that the “sweet spot” for the baby boomers as it is the time in a person’s life when disposable income is at a high.


Mentors: Adult role models

Booster program helps students with goals, academics and self-esteem

By Ken Esten Cooke— There is a group of quiet servant-leaders in our community who just finished up another year of valuable work. It requires a small bit of time commitment now from each, but the dividends it pays can be seen for decades to come.

We speak of the Fredericksburg Independent School District’s Academic Mentoring Program. Held at all campuses, a group of around 50 to 60 people meet for 30 to 60 minutes each week with a student.

Whether one calls it “life coaching” or “counseling,” these mentors provide a stellar example and someone to talk to outside of their circle of friends and peers.


Canto Chamber Choir to perform concert Saturday

Canto Chamber Choir will perform its first all-Broadway concert on Saturday, May 31, at 3 p.m. at the Hill Country Evangelical Free Church.

The concert is entitled “Canto Does Broadway.”

Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for adults and can be purchased in advance at Hill Country Evangelical Free Church and at Grasshopper and Wild Honey, located at 113 East Main Street.

Tickets will also be available at the door.

For those who cannot attend the Saturday performance in Fredericksburg, Canto will perform the program again in Kerrville on Sunday, June 1, at 3 p.m. at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, 201 Holdsworth Drive.

First on the program will be Rogers and Hammerstein’s first musical together, “Oklahoma!”

The choir will sing a medley of tunes and the featured soloists will be Charles Malinak performing “Kansas City,” Donna Jackson in “Many A New Day” and both joining in “People Will Say We’re In Love.”


Public electric vehicle charge stations installed

Two Tesla cars, both owned by visitors from Austin, were charging recently on the newly installed dual car charging unit, stationed at 206 West Austin, just west of the Adams-Crockett intersection. — Submitted photo

A dual charging station was installed at 206 West Austin Street, and will help area electric vehicle owners “fuel up” their cars.

The charging station, located just west of the Girl Scout Cabin, was relocated from an original site on Courthouse Square. The $2-per-hour charge will be paid using the MobileNOW smart phone app vendor.

“We expect that this new charging station will benefit both local citizens and visitors, particularly from the Austin area,” City Manager Kent Myers said. “The city enjoyed working in partnership with Fredericksburg SHINES on this project.”

The project was secured with funding with a challenge grant from The Community Foundation of the Texas Hill Country.

Donations to Fredericksburg SHINES are still being accepted to cover the costs of the project, said John Watson, executive director.


Keep water conservation efforts in full swing

We are ever-thankful for the recent rains — four to five inches, by most accounts. It is both life-affirming and soul-renewing to hear the sound of a good, soaking rain.

But as the rains ease our drought-caused water crisis, let’s not turn our attention away from conservation measures.

There are simple things we all can do to put a dent in water needs. Since landscaping is responsible for up to 70 percent of in-town water needs, that is the easiest place to begin. As they say, the water we save is the easiest to claim.

Rainwater catchment systems and native landscaping just make sense for our semi-arid region. Let’s remember that no settler’s home place was complete without a cistern to reuse previous rainwater.


Dive into summer with FISD

Summer will be here before you know it, and so will cries of “there’s nothing to do,” or blank stares into computer or tablet games.

This summer, let’s get our kids (and ourselves) active with Fredericksburg Independent School District’s Community Education program.

You should have received a mailer from FISD listing all the offerings from June through August. There are more than two full pages of “Kid Stuff” activities, from Little Billies sports camps, to Rocket Camp to baking, soccer, nature camp, dance team, arts, star-gazing, painting, theater and more. (There’s even a “Dinosaur Roarrr” camp for young boys and a “Mermaid Lagoon” camp and “Butterfly” camp just for girls.)

Adults can take part in yoga, Zumba, country and western dance and Mah-jongg. Even the family pet can get involved with dog obedience courses.

Other offerings include a drip irrigation course, and several “Money Matters” courses that teach the basics of finance and job hunting.


Leaving home again, this time for good

By Cathy Collier

I remember when the slab for the house was poured. I was 12 and I couldn’t imagine that chunk of concrete being big enough for all four of us to sleep in, let alone live, cook or bathe.

But as the frame went up and the rooms started to take shape I would go every day with my parents to browse through what would one day be the rooms of our new home.

There was no grass — not even any real dirt on the two lots that fanned out beyond the curve in the street. Our house sat in the middle, resting on what seemed like only caliche and rocks. But my mom and dad had dirt brought in, as they could afford a load or two, and spread it carefully, nurturing St. Augustine runners and trimming with scissors when the grass only grew in a long, narrow strip along the sidewalk.


EMS sirens are 'the sound of hope'

(Editor's note: The following is run in recognition of National EMS Week this week, May 18-24.)

By Catherine Kuhlman, guest columnist— Flashing lights and blaring sirens waken the silence of a sleepy little town, with tree-lined streets matched with manicured lawns … Smalltown, USA.

To some, those sounds and visions of an ambulance responding is no more than a nuisance, as it delays their day and interrupts the tranquility we call home. While for others, they conjure up images of fear and despair of the injured or sick on the verge of Death’s doorway. In reality, though, these are the images and sounds of hope!

Most patients will be saved. Birthdays … weddings … graduations are events that most will get a chance to enjoy another day.

Bad things happen to good people and it is the job of EMS to not only treat the patients’ medical needs, but to also help calm their fears.


Subscribe to RSS - Commentary