Gillespie Life


Homegrown Fredericksburg: Blumenhandler Florist

WITH HIGH SCHOOL homecomings just around the corner, Blumenhandler Florist owner Dianne Blount, left, pins a corsage-and-ribbon arrangement on her daughter, Stacey York. —Standard-Radio Post/Danny Hirt

By Danny Hirt— From a lifelong affinity for flowers, Dianne Blount has turned her Blumenhandler Florist into a multi-faceted business that offers so much more than just pretty blossoms.

“I loved flowers when I was young,” she said. “I wanted a flower shop.”

Years ago, while her husband, Don, was serving in the military in the state of Washington, Dianne attended a local community college there to further study her interest in flowers.

She mentioned that while there, she was offered a temporary job at a flower shop on a military base “just for Mother’s Day.” But because Dianne’s work was so good, she was kept on well after the holiday rush.

“In four months’ time we turned that shop around,” she said. And it wasn’t long after that that she was offered the head position at the store.

“The shop was very, very productive,” Dianne said, adding that the business became “more visible” by moving to an on-base shopping center.


Korean War veteran reflects on 555 days as a POW


By Richard Zowie— “It was a hell of an ordeal.”

Those succinct seven words are how Fredericksburg’s Jack Ledford described the 555 days when he was forced to move across the Korean Peninsula with North Korean and Chinese forces.

An Army Airborne paratrooper and veteran of six battles in the Korean War, including the Inchon invasion and the Chosin Reservoir, Ledford spent February 1951 until about summer 1952 as a prisoner of war.

“There were incidents that happened, incidents of unbelievable cruelty,” said Ledford, an Oklahoma native who grew up in Llano County and, after the war, worked in real estate and insurance in Fredericksburg. “Nobody would believe it. You adapted and as I told everybody, you just kept a low profile and remembered: don’t be argumentative and don’t threaten anybody. In time, we hoped maybe it would get better.”


Habitat for Humanity 'raising the roof' - Donations still needed

Earlier this summer, Habitat for Humanity launched a “Raise the Roof” fund drive to raise money for Home #15.

To date, Habitat has raised over $16,000, but officials say they have a way to go before that roof can be put on.

“Since 1995, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Fredericksburg has helped 14 area families achieve the American dream of home ownership,” said board president Larry Berkman.  “It is truly wonderful when a community cares enough to help its own citizens’ dreams come true. Hopefully, that dream will become reality next February for another family.”

Next February is when the all-volunteer group of Habitat home builders, the Care-A-Vanners, will pull into Fredericksburg in their RV’s to bring Home #15 to the “dry-in” stage.

A building lot is ready and waiting for these snow-birds’ helping hands, Berkman said.

After that, local volunteer builders will finish the house for move-in by a local family by the end of the year. 


Viva Texicana fiesta, concert on tap Sept. 28

The first annual “Viva Texicana” Hill Country Fiesta, celebrating Hispanic heritage in the Texas Hill Country, will be held Saturday, Sept. 28, from 4-9 p.m. at Pioneer Museum, located at 325 West Main Street.

The event will be an evening of family-friendly fun hosted by Stephanie Urbina Jones, a third generation Hispanic-American country singer-songwriter and featured artist on the TV show “Troubadour Texas.”

Festivities will kick off at 4 p.m. with an hour-long performance by Mariachi Nuevo Estilo ADM, recent “America’s Got Talent” performers whose style mixes traditional Mexican music with some of today’s top hits.

A special “Fiesta Fun Zone” with free children’s activities will take place from 4-6 p.m. featuring educational and cultural arts, crafts and games, including piñatas, mariachi musical chairs, a tortilla toss, fiesta rubber ducks, storytelling in English and Spanish and more.


'Love sick' with Fredericksburg: Filmmakers bring day-long shoot to Hangar Hotel

SETTING UP his shot, director of photography Jeffery Buras (right) prepares to film a scene at the bar with actresses (from left) Shina Sterns, Dani Bell and Kelsey Pribilski Sunday afternoon at the Hangar Hotel Officers' Club for the upcoming short film "Love Sick Lonnie." —Standard-Radio Post/Matt Ward

By Matt Ward—  Film crews shut down the Hangar Hotel Officers’ Club Sunday as the Hill Country Film Society (HCFS) shot a large portion of their second short film “Love Sick Lonnie.”

A non-profit organization that hosts the annual Hill Country Film Festival in Fredericksburg, the society finished principal photography on their second short film after the success of “Detention,” shot at St. Mary’s Catholic School last summer and shown at the 2013 Hill Country Film Festival.

“We just wanted to shoot another short film and involve the city of Fredericksburg,” HCFS executive director Chad Mathews, who also wrote, directed and acted in “Love Sick Lonnie,” said.

Mathews said the inspiration for “Love Sick Lonnie” came from friend Michael Morales, who stars as Lonnie, and his obsession with boy bands.


'Art of glass' comes shining through in work

The 'Glass on Glass' style allows light to shine through it. —Standard-Radio Post/Richard Zowie

By Richard Zowie— Two artists with two very different mosaic styles sat at the same table, chatting as they worked with glass and glue.

One likes working with blues and greens and creating stained glass-style work that represents Texas-based themes.

Another prefers a colorful, ceramic exploration of the fantasy world.

The two artists, Kathy Dalrymple and Patricia Karr, worked on their latest pieces Friday, Sept. 6 at the Artisans at Rocky Hill during Fredericksburg’s First Friday Art Walk.

Eleven of the city’s art galleries had displays and artists to celebrate art and to educate visitors on the creative side of life.

Dalrymple’s latest work involved a twining vine with hummingbirds. As she talked, she cut glass pieces and carefully glued them onto a glass “canvas” in what could perhaps be described as a “glass on glass” technique.


Ready, set, shop...

The 10th Annual Shopping for a Cause FUNdraiser will visit Fredericksburg Friday and Saturday, Sept. 13-14.

Friday will be the preview parties at participating stores with the stores open until about 7-8 p.m.

Saturday will be the tournament day with an 8:30 a.m. Tee Time Breakfast at the Nimitz Ballroom, located on Main Street.

Then, at 10 a.m. Saturday, the shopping begins with a shotgun start at participating stores.

There will be three drop-off stations downtown.

The event supports the Boys & Girls Club of Fredericksburg, whereby teams of up to four shoppers shop at participating stores on Main Street and receive prizes based on the amount of money spent, team spirit/costumes (costumes are encouraged) and the amount directly donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

The club provides a safe environment for kids and teens of both genders to learn and grow while having fun.


Food Pantry needs help to fill shelves

Food, food, food.

“That’s what we need,” said Tommy Moose, president of the board of directors of the Fredericksburg Food Pantry.

Moose said that last Wednesday, Sept. 4, the Fredericksburg Food Pantry helped a record 80 families that day.

“That is something that hasn’t happened before,” he said.

Because the Food Pantry continues to assist large numbers of families each week, food is needed to fill the shelves.

“Let’s fill the shelves back up,” Moose said.

Especially needed, he said are sugar, flour, peanut butter, canned meat (chicken, tuna, ravioli), soup, cereal, canned vegetables and canned fruit.

“We accept all food items as long as they are not expired and are unopened with the original packaging and labeling,” Moose said.

The Food Pantry also accepts donations of meat items, but the meat must be processed by a USDA inspected facility or purchased at a retail facility.


Veteran Fred Dietel recalls final days of WWII

Fred Dietel

By Richard Zowie— After having served in the U.S. Army’s First Infantry Division and having helped liberate the Philippines from Japanese control during World War II, Fred Dietel was sent on a new assignment about 1,200 miles north of the Philippine archipelago.

South Korea, to be exact.

With the end of the war near and Japan slowly losing its grip on the Asian territories it had controlled, American troops were sent to occupy the peninsula during the forming of what would become North and South Korea.

Soldiers in Dietel’s unit had been sent to North Korea, and he was unable to be with them at first due to being under the weather.

But then, as he traveled to join them, word arrived that the war was over.

On Sept. 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri, Japan formally surrendered to the Allies. Then, a week later on Sept. 9, 1945, Japanese forces in the Korean peninsula formally surrendered.


Girl Scouts registration to be held Thursday

For young ladies in the area who would like to become Girl Scouts, the next available date and place to sign up will be Thursday, Sept. 5 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Fredericksburg Scout House at 202 West Austin Street.

Prospective Girl Scouts and their parents can attend the Troop Formation Rally and receive an overview of the Girl Scout program which focuses on building girls of courage, character and confidence.

Girls can share experiences together when they meet regularly with their friends in a troop setting.

Organizers believe that “Everything’s more fun when you’re sharing it with others who love the same thing.”

Yearly registration is $15 for GSUSA membership. Scholarships are available. Troop dues are generally $25 for the year. Uniforms are not mandatory but highly recommended. Girls Guide to Girl Scouting badge books can be purchased but are not mandatory as each troop leader has a copy for the troop to use.


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