Gillespie Life



Bathed in non-obtrusive red light, Ken Kattner peers toward the darkening night sky in his home observatory. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

Attorney-astronomer records skies from home observatory

By Ken Esten Cooke
and Austin R. Eck

As man looks to the heavens, he is able to see his small place in the endless universe. One man with an observatory northwest of Fredericksburg is peering into the skies to see the vastness that man is only beginning to understand.
Ken Kattner is a business attorney by day and amateur astronomer by night. From his Putman Mountain Observatory, he scans and records the universe — from supernovas to far-off galaxies — and documents his findings on a website that also serves as a weather station for local agriculture producers. He has invested a considerable amount of time and effort in his home to help him record events in the skies.

His interest in astronomy began in high school, but was interrupted by college and career.


FTC bring classic musical to town

Harvey Schmidt, who wrote the music for “The Fantasticks” shares a laugh with Jeryl Hoover, founder of the Fredericksburg Theatre Company, prior to the opening performance of the play on Thursday, Aug. 7. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke.

'Dixie Belle' comforts hospice patient

Phyllis Ludwig and her Chihuahua, Dixie Belle, are working to brighten the life of an area hospice patient. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie —

Looking flashy and dressed in a yellowish-green tutu, Dixie Belle joins Douglas Turk, for lunch.

A smile slowly emerges on Turk’s face as he removes a strawberry from his plate and holds it for Dixie to nibble.

Dixie, a four-year-old Chihuahua, seems more than happy to eat a piece of the berry and visit with her 75-year-old friend. While Chihuahuas can be energetic and loud, Dixie was calm during her visit with Turk.

Turk has lived in Fredericksburg for five years and is in hospice care at a local nursing home. For some nursing home residents, visits from friends or relatives can be a rare occasion. Having a visit from a small, friendly dog can be the encouragement patients need as they deal with their circumstances.

Dixie’s owner is Phyllis Ludwig, who lives in Rockwall, Texas. Ludwig said she first decided to get into “pet therapy” when caring for her brother, who’d suffered a brain injury.


Alfred Reeh family gathers for reunion July 26

Ninety-seven members attended the 14th reunion of the Alfred and Martha Moritz Reeh family on Saturday, July 26, at St. Joseph’s Halle.

During the reunion, family members enjoyed a social, silent auction, cake walk and door prizes.

The Alvin Reeh family donated two prizes, a $50 Smitten gift card, which was won by Hannah Moellendorf, great-granddaughter of Lydia Reeh Seelig while James and Amanda Rakowitz, grandson of Alvin Reeh, donated a bottle of wine with electric cork remover that was won by Edward Gold, grandson of Margie Reeh Duecker.

The Margie Reeh Duecker family donated a $50 HEB card that was won by Tana Lux, great-granddaughter of Lydia Reeh Seelig.

A $50 Opa’s gift card donated by the Vera Reeh Becker family was won by Donna Chase, a friend of David Ransleben, son of Mildred Reeh Ransleben.


Fredericksburg Chorale to begin rehearsals Aug. 18

Fredericksburg Chorale will begin rehearsals for the 2014-15 season on Monday, Aug. 18, at Bethany Lutheran Church.  

Rehearsals are held every Monday from 7-8:30 p.m. in the church’s music room.

The Fredericksburg Chorale, under the direction of Mark Hierholzer, is open to all interested singers without audition.

Membership fees are $55 for adults and $25 for students for each semester, which run August through December and January through May.

Scholarships are available.

The Fredericksburg Chorale presents three concerts a year. Scheduled performances include a Christmas concert on Saturday, Dec. 6; the Mid-Winter Concert on Saturday, Feb. 7, and a Spring Concert on Saturday, May 16.

The chorale will begin working on music for the Christmas concert, including Bach’s Cantata, “For Unto Us A Child Is Born,” several Renaissance Christmas pieces and a Cantata based on “The First Noel” by Hierholzer.


St. Mary's nets donations to upgrade weight room

The donors, children of donors and St. Mary’s School visit the recently upgraded weight room in the Murchison-Pahl Gymnasium. Those enjoying the celebration include from left: Harrison Spisak, Luke Duderstadt, Parochial Vicar Father Scott Janysek, Jake Stephens, athletic director Rick Loth, Stephanie Peña, Benny Peña, Nick Peña and Nathan Peña. — Standard-Radio Post/Austin R. Eck

Through a number of donations, St. Mary’s School recently completed an upgrade to its weight room in the Murchison-Pahl Gymnasium.

Stephanie and Benny Peña saw a need at St. Mary’s for the equipment and collaborated with athletic director Rick Loth to help provide a the equipment and bolster the athletic program.

When Stephanie Peña, one of the owners of Family Sports Center in Kerrville, closed the fitness portion of the center, a decision was made along with the co-owners and family to donate equipment to St. Mary’s.

In addition to the Peña’s donation, several families and businesses contributed money to allow the school to purchase additional equipment which now allows for a functional exercising space.


Writer recounts tale of Ugandan student studying in America

Ugandan student Everce Nyamahunge shows off her painting of Texas bluebonnets. — Submitted photo

Cottey College environmental science student benefits from generosity of many

By Sherryl Brown— In August, 2013, a talented student, Everce Nyamahunge, came to the U.S. for the first time. Hailing from Hoima, Uganda, Nyamahunge studies Environmental Science at Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, under the sponsorship of a philanthropic educational organization (P.E.O.), St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, a private educational foundation, and many generous individuals.  

I learned through discussions with Nyamahunge that in leaving home, she gave up everything that was familiar and close to her heart in the hope that she would discover a clear direction for her future through study in the U.S. 


Sharon Joseph honored as Zonta's 'Woman of Achievement'

Sharon Joseph receives a plaque and bouquet of flowers as she is named Zonta’s 2014 Woman of Achievement. Congratulating her are Liz Wunderlich (left) and Bonnie Baseke (right).

Sharon Joseph received the Zonta Club 2014 Woman of Achievement Award for her “tireless and selfless” service in the community.

Joseph received the award at the July 21 Woman of Achievement program at the Zonta Club of Fredericksburg. The event was at the home of David and Ginger Mitchell.

Joseph received a plaque and a bouquet of yellow roses from Bonnie Baseke, current president and a member of the Woman of Achievement Committee.

Zonta gives the annual award to a local woman who is a visionary, leader, worker bee or philanthropist who has demonstrated a commitment and provided leadership in the community.

Joseph, a Fredericksburg native, began her career in Houston before returning to the Hill Country in 1988. She is the owner of Joseph Financial Partners and a member of the Zonta Club of Fredericksburg as well as a past president.


Cummings marks 100th birthday Aug. 2

Even at 100, Bob Cummings is still the worthy foe when it comes to dominoes. His daughter says his favorite strategy is “blocking.” — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

Bob Cummings and his many family members and friends gathered last Saturday for a big anniversary.

Born on Aug. 2, 1914, Cummings celebrated his 100th birthday at the fellowship hall of Fredericksburg Bible Church.

The party included a cake with 100 candles, along with Cummings’ favorite game: dominoes.

“What he likes best when playing dominoes is blocking you, so he gets 70 or 80 points,” said JoAnne Spencer, Cummings’ daughter. (He also has a son, Bob Jr.).

Like all soon-to-be centenarians, Cummings gets asked his secret to longevity.

“If you’re going to live to be 100, before you even begin, don’t start drinking anything they put before you,” he said. “No alcohol — no beer, no wine. And eat right, also.”

One noteworthy person who missed the celebration was Roy Cummings, Cummings’ identical twin brother. Roy passed away on July 9.


Feathered friends find a new family

Birds need love, too. Stacey York gives her cockatoo a hug to show her she did a good job after a demonstration. York runs an exotic bird haven, located outside the Fredericksburg city limits, with her family that takes in abused and neglected birds. There are currently 26 birds at the haven. — Standard-Radio Post/Autumn Bernhard

By Autumn Bernhard —

Cockatoos, ducks and chickens, oh my.

While some people might think that is a lot to handle, Stacey York calls it Monday.

York runs an exotic bird haven located outside the Fredericksburg city limits.

“Currently, we have 26 exotic birds,” York said. “We have everything from cockatoos to diamond doves.”

The bird haven is family-run by York, her daughter and her husband.

“We take in birds that have been neglected, abused, or people just do not want them anymore,” York said. “Due to their past, all the birds are a little neurotic and have certain ticks about them. Also, all the birds are very protective of themselves to try to prevent any further abuse.”


Subscribe to RSS - Gillespie Life