Gillespie Life


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.”


FUMC to host 'Coming Home' concert Sunday

The old First Methodist Church sanctuary will once again be filled with musical life, as a service of old-time singing will be hosted by the Music Ministry of the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church on the grounds where its first rock church building was built in 1853.

The singing will take place at 6 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 3.

Now a part of the Pioneer Museum complex, the old church is located at 312 West San Antonio Street.

“The FUMC Chancel Choir will present some older songs that congregations love to hear,” said Don Doss, FUMC director of music ministries, “and the younger generation will enjoy some interactive family fun led by special musical guests, Justin, Michelle and Gabi Graves.”

“There will be singing and fun for all ages as well as the memorable time of returning to the location of the first church building,” Doss added.


Rescue at the Rock

THE INTERPRETIVE RANGER — Park ranger Scott Whitener has had to help his share of hikers during his time at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. — Standard-Radio Post/Austin R. Eck.

By Austin R. Eck—  When the harsh Texas sun beats down on the dusty red granite rock, it gets hot, and when the occasional shower wanders through the Texas Hill Country, the rock gets slippery.

Those factors and others make the climb to the summit challenging for some, and somewhere during the 425-foot climb or in the 1,600 acres of Enchanted Rock State Natural Area, visitors will get into trouble.

“Most of our incidents are broken ankles, twisted ankles and fall-on-their-head injuries,” said Scott Whitener, Enchanted Rock park ranger.

When park visitors are hurt, lost or dehydrated, it is up to park rangers and law enforcement agencies from both Gillespie and Llano counties to help assist in the process.

Typically, it starts with a phone call to 911, Doug Cochran, park superintendent said.


Fiesta benefit for Misiòn de Candelilla to feature art, music

Jill Holland of Fredericksburg is one of several artists who have donated pieces for the Misiòon de Candelilla fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Oak Hills Church and Event Center. — Submitted photo

Silent auction items include playhouse, dinner art and more

The committee for the seventh annual fund raiser for local Christian mission group, Misión de Candelilla, is working to finalize plans for this year’s event, to take place from 6-9 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 2 at the Oak Hills Church and Event Center.

Attendees will be greeted by an all-female mariachi group, “Las Coronelas” and John Hierholzer, honorary fiesta committee chairman and pastor at Hill Country Evangelical Free Church. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to look at more than 50 silent auction items while enjoying a cool beverage.

“We are grateful to our community for their generous donation of items for our silent auction,” said A.J. Rodriguez, silent auction chairman. “Hager Construction is donating a 4-foot-by-6-foot-by-5-foot durable wooden playhouse with a deck which will catch the eye of any parent or grandparent.”


'Secret restaurant' known for its food

Glenn Jung, Rathskeller Restaurant head chef, puts “a little of this and that” into a Carbonara dish that includs jalapeño peppers, roasted bell peppers, bacon, butter and garlic. The restaurant also serves dishes from Jung’s family recipes. — Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— In the basement of the old Keidel Memorial Hospital, at 260 East Main Street, is a place many visitors might not know exists.

A walk down the steps reveals, in the confined quarters, a restaurant that serves not only German food, but foods from a wide variety of countries.

“It’s kind of like a secret,” Tula Smajstrla said. “We’re not here only for locals or only for tourists. We’re a laid-back, family-style restaurant, here not only for locals but also for tourists.”

Tula co-owns the “secret” — Rathskeller Restaurant — with her husband, Sean. They opened Rathskeller in July 2000 after originally having The Oak House on South Washington Street.

Sean described their first restaurant as being “very formal” and said they wanted to do something lighter with Rathskeller.

“We also wanted something on Main Street, because in Fredericksburg, you really need to be on Main Street,” he said.


Gillespie County Fair Queen contest applications now available

Applications for the 2014 Gillespie County Fair Queen Pageant are now available, it has been announced by officials with the Gillespie County Fair and Festivals Association.

The applications can be picked up in the fair office at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Applications are also available online at

Completed applications should be turned in to the fair office or brought to a mandatory meeting on Wednesday, Aug. 13, at 7 p.m. at the fair grounds.

Each applicant must be accompanied at the meeting by at least one parent or guardian.

The queen’s contest is open to all sophomore and junior girls who attended a Gillespie County high school during the 2013-2014 school year and are enrolled in a Gillespie County high school for the 2014–2015 school year.


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