Gillespie Life

Wed
28
Oct

Cancer recurrence doesn't stop hospital's long-time quality advocate


Debbye Dooley has worked at Hill Country Memorial for 30 years. She now sees through the patient's lens. — Standard-Radio Post/ Ken Esten Cooke

By Lindsey Bertrand

This October, Debbye Wallace Dooley will mark 30 years at Hill Country Memorial Hospital.

At 56, she worked for all four of the organization’s CEOs, seen it grow from 180 employees to more than 600, and helped guide it to national prominence with the recognition of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award in 2014.

For three decades, she’s worked to improve every aspect of patient care. And in 2013 she became a patient within the system herself.

“The symptoms were there,” she said. “I felt bloated and had back pain, but these are things women feel all the time.”

Throughout the summer of 2013, Dooley wore dresses while she ignored the persistent symptoms. In November, when the weather cooled, a simple wardrobe change made her realize something was wrong.

“One morning, I just couldn’t button a pair of pants,” she said.

Wed
28
Oct

Perception isn't reality

By Matt Ward

Steve Jobs was an innovator.

The man behind the iPod, iMac and one of the enduring beacons of the tech industry hasn’t been gone five years and Hollywood’s already on their second biopic about the enigmatic and fractured genius.

Two years ago, an independent feature with actor/model/Jobs-lookalike Ashton Kutcher as the Apple co-founder was released to little fanfare and critical derision despite a solid effort done in quick turnaround following Jobs’ death.

Recently, a much more ballyhooed film that focuses on key moments in his industrial years, “Steve Jobs,” arrived in theaters much to the delight of national critics and to the general shrugs of the general public.

Since the Kutcher version is — in essence — Intro to Jobs 101, this year’s effort is Jobs 401, designed to be a master class for those seeking to explore the complexities of a man that even his closest friends couldn’t completely relate to or understand.

Wed
21
Oct

Healing through faith, football

 It’s been a long, uphill battle for Christian filmmakers.

Their films, no matter how religious the movie’s message might be, will get labeled with the politically correct “faith-based” genre tag, an almost instantaneous death knell to the financial profitability of the project.

Sure there have been some exceptions to the rule — “Passion of the Christ” and to a lesser extent “God’s Not Dead” and “Heaven Is For Real” — but on the whole, these “faith-based” films won’t ever receive the development or marketing budgets that a major blockbuster would, limiting the potential for commercial success.

Sports films have traveled that same road, albeit with greater success, but much of that can be attributed to more swings of the bat. For every “Rudy” there’s four or five “Million Dollar Arm”-esque flops.

Wed
14
Oct

The Fields of the New Fatherland

Fredericksburg Writers Conference short story contest
Honorable Mention

 

The Fields of the New Fatherland

By Heath Dollar

Küken! Küken!” Ingrid called in clear, precise syllables.

She scattered a handful of scratch with a loose flick of her wrist causing the hens at her feet to fret and cluck. Beyond the yard sprawled fields of cotton. For a century and a half her family had farmed this land, but that had ended when Ingrid’s husband died three years ago. Strong as she was, Ingrid could not farm alone.

Wed
14
Oct

A Handy Man to Have Around

Fredericksburg Writers Conference short story contest
Third place entry

A Handy Man to Have Around

By Sally Clark

Reaching into the dryer, my hands landed on something I didn’t expect – a pile of soggy, dripping clothes. Had I forgotten to turn it on? I closed the door and pushed the button. Thump, thump, thump. A wad of wet clothes hit the dryer sides. After about fifteen minutes, I opened the door and checked. No heat. Something was definitely wrong with the dryer and now I looked forward to dragging a laundry basket full of wet clothes all the way to the neighborhood laundromat and a dryer that worked.

"The dryer's not working,” I told my husband. “It runs, but the clothes are still all wet. Guess I'll load them up and head for the washateria.”

Wed
14
Oct

Full Circle

Fredericksburg Writers Conference short story contest
First place entry

Full Circle

By Melinda Holley

As his rented convertible sped west along Highway 290, he noticed the wineries that had sprung up between Johnson City and Fredericksburg. The area had grown since he left, but it was still a far cry from the hustle and bustle of his big city life. They still rolled up the sidewalks at 9 p.m. here; he lived in the Big Apple, the city that never slept.

His father still kept him informed by sending the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post each month, circling articles about people and writing comments in the margins.  A town so dull that the paper only comes out once a week, he thought.

Wed
14
Oct

Holley picked as short story contest winner


Melinda Holley had the winning entry in the Fredericksburg Writers Conference short story contest.

Melinda Holley, a commercial insurance agent and aspiring writer, won the 2015 Fredericksburg Writer’s Conference short story contest with her entry titled “Full Circle.”

“It has been lifelong desire of mine to write and be published,” Holley said. “I’ve been so blessed to come in contact with people like Robert (Deming) and Mara (Fox Moretti), who have already published a book.”

Deming and Fox Moretti are the FWC writing group organizers.

Her story about a man coming home to care for his elderly father was inspired by real life experience. Her winning entry can be found in this issue of the paper.

Holley has lived in Fredericksburg for 22 years.

She said she grew up in an Air Force family and has lived in five states and two foreign countries.

She has completed a manuscript titled “Small Secrets.” It’s a mystery set in Fredericksburg and centers around antique shop owners.

She and her husband, Jim, spend their free time studying and collecting antiques, she said.

The top three finalists for the contest included second place, “A New Romance,” by Dr. Margaret Phillips; third place, “A Handy Man to Have Around” by Sally Clark, and honorable mention, “The Fields of the New Fatherland” by Heath Dollar.  The entries can be read online at www.fredericksburgstandard.com.

Proceeds from the short story contest will go toward the 2016 Agent/Editor Conference hosted by the Fredericksburg Writer’s Conference.

Short stories had to have been written in 1,200 words or less with some connection to the Texas Hill Country, however fleeting.

 

Fredericksburg Writers Conference Short Story Contest
First place - Full Circle

Second place - A New Romance

Third place - A Handy Man to Have Around

Honorable Mention - The Fields of the New Fatherland

 

Wed
14
Oct

'Meanness' helps with recovery


Janet Everett celebrated her 20 year anniversary since her double lung transplant with appropriate themed confection.— Submitted photos

Janet Everett celebrates 20 years as a double-lung transplant recipient

 

By Scott Allen

 

Janet Everett has fought through a lot. The 53-year-old has survived a double-lung transplant and a kidney transplant, and continues to enjoy life in the Hill Country.

“Janet has always focused on what she can do, rather than what she could not do and remains an inspiration to all of us,” said Everett’s lung doctor Randall Rosenblatt, M.D., chief of pulmonary and critical care medical director of lung transplantation at Baylor University Medical Center.

Everett was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis (CF) when she was born. Her sister, 14 years her senior, died of CF when she was 21. Janet lived in the shadow of her sister’s death while inhabiting the small town of Vernon. Everett wasn’t expected to live past her late teens, but she says her fight inside her has helped her survive.

Wed
14
Oct

‘The kids are losing their minds’

Hugh Jackman and a chorus of hundreds beckons the call: “Here we are now; entertain us!”

Over and over and over again in a melancholic work camp chant, they intone, pleading to be quenched in their thirst for violent justice, screaming Kurt Cobain-penned, 90s grunge rock lyrics.

The chaotic, post-apocalyptic scene feels like something straight out of George Miller’s epic fantasy “Mad Max: Fury Road,” but that would make just too much sense.

Instead, what viewers are left with in this very real scene is director Joe Wright’s earliest departure from convention and plot coherency in the atypical children’s film “Pan,” a prequel retelling of the familiar Peter Pan tale.

Wed
07
Oct

Starman waiting in the sky: “The Martian” offers up Damon’s best performance in years

Don’t make the mistake of skipping a trip to your local theater to see “The Martian.”

There are too many reasons not to miss out on what likely will go down as one of the premier science fiction films of the decade — though everything right about the movie starts and ends with Matt Damon.

As with all films about the stranded or marooned, a film requiring one man all alone to spend several cinematic years on another planet requires a phenomenal performance from Hollywood’s elite class of actors — and “The Martian” has that in spades with a tour de force effort by Damon.

In Mark Watney, Damon exudes the everyman qualities of an actor like Tom Hanks, melding it with the wry humor of George Clooney and the lovable charm of Leonardo DiCaprio to create a dynamic, layered character that audiences actually enjoy watching all by his lonesome for over an hour.

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