Gillespie Life


It's Native Plant Week

Native Plant Society of Texas-Fredericksburg Chapter has tended this native plant garden on the grounds of the Pioneer Museum complex. The garden is an example of diverse, colorful native selections.

By Raeann Reid


Native Plant Week, Oct. 19-26, is a time to pay homage to the many beautiful and useful plants that for centuries have made their home here in the Texas Hill Country.

In celebration, the Fredericksburg Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas (NPSOT) invites you to pay special attention to the native plants around town. In addition to being beautiful, these plants require less water than non-natives, attract and sustain local wildlife, require little or no soil amendment, are natural to their ecosystem and help to maintain biological diversity.

Consider taking advantage of the cool, wet weather to plant natives in your landscape. Plants transplanted from one-gallon or larger containers will have time to establish roots to survive the winter and be thriving before the summer heat.


'Ugliest tree, prettiest wood'

A turquoise star inlay, with additional decorative items, is a specialty of Robert Lerma, of Mesquite Wood Gallery near Alice. Lerma’s son, Carlos Lerma, of Brownsville, also works with mesquite wood, spe-cializing in furniture. — Standard-Radio Post/Ken Esten Cooke

By Ken Esten Cooke


Charlie Roberts of San Angelo has been working with mesquite for four decades. His artistic pieces include round mesquite frames that are inlaid with other woods and even turquoise.

Roberts was one of 55 artists at the 22nd Annual Texas Mesquite Show, held Friday through Sunday at Marktplatz, overflowing its spaces under the Adelsverein Halle and the adjacent pavilion. Thousands of curious onlookers came to see this Texas wood being used in all manner of artistic pursuit, from furniture, to decoration to kitchen items.

“It’s the ugliest tree and the prettiest wood,” Roberts said.

Al Carr, the festival director, joked that people call him “the rainmaker,” as it has rained 15 of the 22 years of the show.

Still crowds were strong, and a lot of vendors sold out completely.

Carr said he will use $500 of the show’s proceeds to donate to the Fredericksburg High School’s industrial arts program.


Fincher's "Gone Girl" a cinematic spectacle

That subversive grin smeared across Ben Affleck’s face has been plastered all over television and social media for weeks now as “Gone Girl,” the David Fincher adaptation of the best-selling Gillian Flynn novel, hit theaters at the beginning of the month.

It’s a smart marketing ploy and an ingenious casting choice by Fincher to center his film around Affleck, whose natural charm mixed with the public’s general disdain for anything he’s been involved in before “Gone Baby Gone” make him the ideal guy you’re supposed to hate in a film where Affleck’s character is believed to be involved in the disappearance of his wife.

Fincher has often made smart casting choices that underlie the nature of the character by using public perception of the actor in his favor, most notably Justin Timberlake as Napster founder Sean Parker in “The Social Network.”


Bierschwale-Rees relies on long-term ties

The staff of Bierschwale-Rees includes (from left) Cammie Crenwelge, Tessa Welch, Todd and Karen Willingham and Renee Cruz. Not pictured is Christie Zenner. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie


For Todd Willingham, insurance runs in the family. His father and brothers also work in the insurance business.

And now, for eight years, Willingham has owned Bierschwale-Rees Insurance and has served as its president since 2008.

The agency is located at 1105 North Llano Street, and their number is 830-997-7693.

Willingham’s wife, Karen, one of his five employees, is from Fredericksburg. Her family was good friends with the prior owner, Frosty Rees.

“We’d been coming here [to Fredericksburg] for 20 years,” Willingham said. “I come from an insurance background, so it was kind of a natural fit. Frosty Rees was looking for a partner at the time and everything worked out very well.”

Willingham said Bierschwale-Rees is the second-oldest continually-operating business in Fredericksburg, and that their success hinges on developing long-term relationships with insurance companies and customers.


Corden leaps into stardom in 'One Chance'

James Corden is going to be a big star.

The 36-year-old Brit will soon take over for Craig Ferguson as host of CBS’ The Late Late Show and plays a sizable role in the musical “Into The Woods,” which opens in theaters Christmas Day.

Movie goers can get an advance peek at one of Europe’s best kept secrets beginning Friday as Corden’s latest film, “One Chance,” opens in limited release.

Corden stars as Paul Potts, a small-time cell phone salesman who attempts to hit it big as an opera star. The film is based on a true story as Potts was the first winner of the “Britain’s Got Talent” competition and has gone on to star in a number of top operas internationally.

There’s not really much to “One Chance” that hasn’t been seen in some form or other before. It’s your standard biopic in every single way.

Only one thing makes “One Chance” worth seeing: Corden.


Local resident wins Highland Games championship

By Austin R. Eck

A stone’s throw away in Scotland, Mike Dickens won his age group in the 2014 Scottish Highland Games Masters World Championship, which took place in Inverness, Scotland.

Dickens, who played college and high school football, was looking for a way to stay in shape after college, but running was not cutting it for him.

“It didn’t meet the competitive desires I had,” Dickens said. “It didn’t have the intensity, and there wasn’t the strength component that I was used to.”

When Dickens and his brother went to a renaissance festival in Austin, they witnessed a Highland Games tournament.

“These guys were doing demonstrations, and they were throwing stuff — one looked like a telephone pole and stones,” he said.


Mammography tech gets support in breast cancer battle

By Lindsey Bertrand —

It was just an everyday February morning. Thirty-six-year-old Emily Ottmers and her husband were getting ready for work, and their two children were getting ready for school.

For the past 12 years, Ottmers had worked as a mammography technologist at the Hill Country Memorial Breast Center, performing mammograms and ultrasounds to help women make the most of their health.

“I was putting on deodorant, and I felt a lump in my armpit,” she said. “Just like that.” She went immediately to work and asked for professional advice. A colleague examined the lump with an ultrasound machine, but its smooth edges and lack of a dark “shadow” made the mass appear benign. So Ottmers had her first mammogram — an exam she had performed on other women thousands of times. She was four years shy of 40, the recommended age for women to begin getting mammograms.


“A Walk Among The Tombstones” a visually stunning, gripping thriller

Trailers can be deceiving, convincing the viewer that the movie being previewed is something that it’s not.

Take for example the trailers for the new Liam Neeson film, “A Walk Among The Tombstones,” which looks like a “Taken” spinoff starring the same actor playing a different part.

“A Walk Among The Tombstones” isn’t that movie, however. For as gritty and violent as the trailers make the film seem, Tombstones is actually tamer than the much gorier “Equalizer” and considerably toned down compared to the Lawrence Block novel it is based on.

Writer/director Scott Frank does a terrific job adapting Block’s novel for the big screen, keeping the essence of the book while morphing the film into its own separate project much in the same way Doug Liman took Robert Ludlum’s “Bourne Identity” and made it his own.


Pedernales Brewing, Keen team to create 'honey pils'

Texas singer/songwriter Robert Earl Keen pour some Fain's Honey into the mix as the musician tour the Pedernales Brewing Company in advance of the release of his "Robert Earl Keen Honey Pils" next month. — Submitted photo


A new line of beer bearing the brand of Texas singer songwriter Robert Earl Keen will soon be hitting the shelves, according to Lee Hereford, CEO of Pedernales Brewing Company in Fredericksburg.

The beer is called Honey Pils and will be made with Fain’s Honey from Llano.

“The Pedernales Brewing Company is the first brewery to create a honey pilsner,” Hereford said. “It reflects all the atmosphere of the Texas Hill Country, with honey from Llano, a musician from Kerrville, and a brewery in Fredericksburg.”

The new beer was created by world-class brewmaster Peter McFarland. It is the first in “an exciting new category,” according to Hereford.

“This is first ‘honey pils’ that we know about,” Hereford said. “So we are proud to introduce both the first Robert Earl Keen beer and the first honey pils.”


After 20 years, suds still flowing

Rick Green pours a pint from the taps at Fredericksburg Brewery into a celebratory 20th anniversary glass. — Standard-Radio Post/Austin R. Eck

By Austin R. Eck


In the early 1990’s, Texas beer drinkers did not have much have an option outside of Budweiser, Coors and Miller, and the term brewpub was unknown. 

It has been 20 years since the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, the brewpub situated on Main Street, opened its doors to the thirsty wanderers of Main Street, but the half-restaurant-half-brewery with a bed and breakfast upstairs transformed from an oddity to a destination.

When Dick Estenson began the process of opening a brewpub in 1993, there were only two other businesses in the state applying to become a brewpub.

Estenson believed the brewpub could work in Fredericksburg because it would enhance the guest experience.

“Being part of the community, and having all the things we have in the community for the tourists — the popularity of the peaches, pecans — it was just a natural fit,” he said.


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