Gillespie Life


Challenge accepted and enjoyed

Nancy Bennett of Fredericksburg completes the second day of her 140-day journey as apart of Race Across USA with Jack Cain, who joined the core team in running across California — Photos by Ted Bennett

By Yvonne Hartmann


Nancy Bennett likes a challenge.

She completed a cross country bicycle ride in 1998, ran her first marathon in 2001 at the age of 50, and now at the age of 63, is running as part of the Race Across USA.

Bennett is one of 12 core team members taking part in the 4½-month journey and running the equivalent of 117 back-to-back marathons across the country. When it is all done, Bennett and the other team members will have run 3,080 miles in 140 days.

She discovered Race Across USA, which raises awareness of childhood obesity and funds for the 100 Mile Club, while searching for her next challenge. “It sounded really exciting,” she said.

Since running her first 26.2-mile race, she has completed more than 60 marathons, with at least one in each of the 50 states.

“Over 3,000 people have climbed Mt. Everest, but only 252 people have successfully crossed the United States in a footrace?” she said.


Oyelowo paces shallow 'Selma' with worthy performance

There’s no reason not to like “Selma,” the Ava DuVernay-helmed drama which chronicles the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, during the 1960s led by captivating activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

British actor David Oyelowo makes the most of a poorly outlined script by first time screen-writer Paul Webb, largely succeeding in the attempt to provide a larger picture of King the man while given limited opportunity for character development.

There are better movies yet to be made about King’s life, achievements and character as DuVernay’s third feature film simply scratches the surface of a complex and powerful leader.

“Selma” is the rock dancing along the top of the water of importance, skipping around from beatings in the streets to White House visits, from quiet personal moments to loud public emotions without ever diving into any of them.


The man who 'had a dream'

A gathering of local resi-dents listen as the Gillespie County Ministerial Associa-tion replays Dr. Martin Lu-ther King Jr.’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech on Mon-day during an MLK Re-membrance Ceremony. The association hopes to renew such ceremonies and make them annual events in town. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie


“I have a dream.”

More than 51 years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic speech that became the voice of the civil rights movement, Fredericksburg residents gathered at Marktplatz on Monday to remember and reflect.

King gave his speech on Aug. 28, 1963, during the “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom” at the Lincoln Memorial.

The Gillespie County Ministerial Association hosted the event, which honored King and remembered his contributions to equality.

“I am told we have done this before,” said the Rev. Jeff Hammond, rector at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church. “We are trying to restart this tradition. This speech is beyond eloquent and it is very relevant to the world we live in today.”

Hammond said the civil rights era was the time he became interested in ministry.


Gem & Mineral Show rocks on

From left, Shelba Fenimore, Susan Crenwelge and Callie Crenwelge check out “baubles, bangles and beads” at one of the display booths. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke


Three local men found they shared a common interest in geology. Then they found they shared much more.

John Roup, Jim Gedeon and Jim Chude are all officers in the Fredericksburg Rockhounds group, the geo-enthusiasts who host the annual Fredericksburg Gem and Mineral Show each January at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park.

But the three also had previously worked for the same company – Amoco Corporation (now a part of BP Oil). As the three friends learned of one another’s geologist careers, they discovered yet another connection.

“All three of us worked in the same building at the same time in Houston, but didn’t know it,” Roup said.

The three were on hand Saturday and Sunday to help treasure seekers at the show, one of the steadiest in the nation as it nears the half-century mark.

Last weekend’s event was the 46th annual.


Bradley Cooper mesmerizes in authentic 'Sniper'

By now, if you haven’t seen or heard about Clint Eastwood’s epic war drama “American Sniper,” odds are good that the cell phone reception on that deserted island you’ve been living on is spotty at best.

The drama kicked off its national release with six Academy Award nominations — including Best Picture and Best Actor for Bradley Cooper — and completely dominated the cinematic landscape.

The film made $90.2 million, becoming the largest January weekend release in history and besting the $68.5 million pulled in by “Avatar” in a single weekend per “Variety.”

It isn’t an accident either.

Whether out of a sense of patriotism or Oscar buzz or a love for war films, Clint Eastwood, Bradley Cooper or any combination of reasons, everyone knows someone who’s seen “American Sniper” at least once, if not many more times.

What a great thing for cinema that thought is.


A helping hand

Cody Bearden gives a hand to “Jaco,” a robotic device that helps him have an easier time performing everyday tasks. Bearden’s family is seeking donations to purchase the apparatus. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie


After an hour of installation and almost two hours of programming, it was finally ready.

As Abe Clark of Canada-based Kinova company finished the wiring, Cody Bearden began his “test drive.”

Confined to a wheelchair due to being born with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), Bearden was able to increase his mobility during a 2.5-day trial use of “Jaco.”

Named after Jacques (Jaco) Forest, a Quebec engineer who designed it, this mechanical arm helped Bearden do things from his wheelchair he normally wouldn’t be able to do, such as turn on or off lights, press a button to get a drink of water from a fountain, and open doors.

On its website, Kinova describes Jaco as “an assistive robotic arm for upper body disabled persons in a power wheelchair. Its unique features will help you push the boundaries of your limitations and better equip you to live in this world with its obstacles.”


Bridging the gap

Ariana Detmar took advantage of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program to visit Argentina for 10 months instead of entering college after graduating high school. — Submitted photo

By Austin R. Eck


Most high school seniors graduate and enjoy summer break before packing their bags and heading to college.

But after Ariana Detmar graduated from Fredericksburg High School, she deviated from the script. Instead of gathering her belongings, putting them in the back of a truck and heading to college, she packed up and headed south — for Leandro N. Alem, Argentina.

Detmar delayed her college career a year to participate in the Rotary International Youth Exchange, a study-abroad program that allows students to experience education in other countries, while being hosted by Rotary clubs.

The summer before her senior year, she began applying to colleges like many of her classmates.

“I applied to college just like everyone else because you can defer your acceptance for a year at most places,” Detmar said.


'I just thought there'd be more': Revisiting 'Boyhood'

Coming-of-age films are nothing new.

Boy starts out young and naïve, things happen, boy matures, end of film.

Filmmakers have always circumnavigated lengthy time jumps in these sort of movies by casting multiple actors to play the same part at different ages.

In the case of the Golden Globe-winning drama “Boyhood,” director Richard Linklater took the slow approach, filming segments of his movie over the past 12 years as young actor Ellar Coltrane grows up in the film around him.

The film, which missed out on the Cinematic Considerations 10 best films of 2014 (available online at, is worth a second look following an initial review in September.

A lot is made of the 12-year filmmaking process, and indeed, “Boyhood” and Linklater need to be commended for their dedication to the project.


2014: A Cinematic Year In Review

By most accounts, 2014 was an underwhelming year in cinema, with revenues dropping by over five percent and attendance dropping around six percent to the lowest figure in nearly two decades, according to “Variety.”

Film quality has a lot to do with this downturn as a lot of big name films were either pushed back out of 2014 (“Jupiter Ascending”), performed poorly (“Transcendence”) or failed to screen at theaters almost entirely (“The Interview”).

There was a large dearth of family friendly entertainment throughout much of 2014, though that genre picked up significantly at the end of the year and should continue throughout 2015.

2014 was also a year for independent, art house cinema to take center stage, with some of the year’s best films getting wider release, thanks to miscues by larger films. Michael Keaton’s “Birdman” and Bill Murray’s “St. Vincent” seem to be the clear winners here.


Do your homework, then go 'Into the Woods'

Many audiences have left the Disney-produced fairy tale film, “Into the Woods,” disappointed and with little right to be.

Certainly, the studio is to fault for not clearing up the confusion surrounding the film. Too many people have left screenings surprised they just watched a musical and many others probably were in shock when the film doesn’t end with Cinderella’s marriage to the prince.

But moviegoers should have seen this coming.

The film, a clear adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s 1986 Broadway musical of the same name, is a darker intersection of several classic fairytales, including “Cinderella,” “Jack and the Giant Beanstalk” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rightly rated “Into the Woods” PG “for thematic elements, fantasy action and peril, and some suggestive material.”

The film is more “Snow White and the Huntsman” than the animated classic “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”


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