Foodie Girl Finds: Poufs, Pallets, and Preserves

Around the State, Food and Drink, Front Page, Travel

Foodie Girl Finds

A food lover’s journey in discovering inspiring places and delicious bites along the way

Poufs, Pallets and Preserves

January 1, 2016

    “Is this floor pillow still good?  It looks like it’s gone flat.” my husband gestures to the sagging foot rest as I’m preparing to leave for my girls’ day out.  I give a distracted reply as I throw on my scarf and grab my purse.  

    “For the record, it’s called a pouf….not a pillow.  It just needs to be fluffed since the kids have been jumping on it.”  He shakes his head in disapproval with a look that lets me know his desire to send the pillow straight to pouf heaven.  I give him my best smile, then head for the door.

    My husband, the ever-changing actor and artist, is patient and tolerant of my obsessions with HGTV and the Food Network. He has come to recognize my first-name references to my favorite chefs (Ina, Giada, and Nigella to name a few) and my foodie television show acronyms (Who doesn’t call Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives “Triple D?”).  He doesn’t even flinch when I make reference to home decorating tips from Chip and Jojo (Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer Upper), as if we were lifelong friends.  

    Today is no different as I embark on a 90-mile trek to Waco, Texas, to do what I love most:  eat good food and discover inspiring places in the company of friends and family.  It is my joy and passion to explore off- the-beaten-path spots and rejuvenating spaces with the people I love most.  And so it begins….a blog to share each of these adventures.  


Magnolia Market Silos                                                                                                                             

601 Webster Avenue, Waco, Texas 76710

Hours:  Mon-Sat 10 am – 6 pm

The Findery 

501 South 8th Street, Waco, Texas 76706

Hours:  Mon-Sat 9 am – 6 pm

     It’s the Wednesday after Christmas, and my dear friend Erin and I park promptly at 11:00 a.m. in the dirt lot off of Webster Avenue in downtown Waco.  We join the rest of the devout followers of HGTV’s Fixer Upper show and make the short pilgrimage to the Magnolia Market Silos property about a quarter of a mile away.  The property originally served as an old grain depot, and in late 2014, the couple (who work in tandem as a construction and home redesign team) purchased and renovated the property.  

The exterior of a new location of Magnolia Market at the Silos, owned by Chip and Joanna Gaines, hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper, on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at Magnolia Market at the Silos in Waco, Texas. (Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News)
Photo courtesy of Ashley Landis/The Dallas Morning News

    It’s only an hour after opening and the hustle of loyal fans fills the air.  On our right, sit two large grain silos. The flagship storefront is to the left, and in front of us, a large food truck park with a green space covered in turf grass.  It is obvious that the property was not only intended to cater to eager shoppers but their families as well.   


Photo courtesy of

    Just past the common area is the working garden.  Raised planter boxes create a pathway of flourishing plants including a rainbow of Swiss chard, cabbage, and kale.  Visitors can stop and take pictures in front of the barn and escape the bustle of the shoppers.

Common area

Barn and garden

    The flagship store showroom includes elegant displays of Jojo’s home decor, including Magnolia Market candles and coffee mugs, vases and oodles of trays and baskets in every size and shape.   Other sections of the store include apparel and local artisan jewelry. “Chip’s Corner” is a space filled with gifts for the modern day man such as toothbrushes and pocket tools.


Photo courtesy of

     The sale section of the market is connected by a set of stairs that lead to the attached grain barn.  The drafty area has a rotation of products that have been marked down in price.  


Photo courtesy of Dumenco


Mercantile Takeaways  

     Magnolia Market is an inspiring venue that provides design enthusiasts with decorating ideas.  If you’re looking for a beautiful space to be inspired, grab a cup of coffee, or get a bite to eat, then this is an experience you won’t want to miss.  To avoid the massive shopping crowds, visit on a weekday (preferably not over a holiday) shortly after opening.  You will be able to get in and out of the market before the crowds begin to wrap around the street corner.    

     Since merchandise prices are generally affordable (but not cheap), a devout Fixer Upper follower would be better off taking pictures of the staged decor and visiting the unique boutique around the corner called The Findery to emulate the ideas.  Aside from Magnolia Market signature items, The Findery carries similar home decor and apparel items, for a more reasonable price.  

     Lastly, be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes on your trip, as you will want to explore all of the open spaces that Magnolia Market Silos has to offer.  Happy hunting!   


Photo courtesy of the

Monument Cafe and Monument Market

500 S. Austin Avenue, Georgetown, Texas 78626

Hours:  Sun-Thurs 7 am – 9 pm, Fri-Sat 7 am-10 pm


    As we ventured past the snaking line of visitors awaiting to enter the Magnolia Market, we could no longer ignore the grumbling of our stomachs.  Anticipating the afternoon traffic on I-35, we decided a late lunch in downtown Georgetown (just north of Austin) would be an ideal location.   A little under an hour later, we settled in at a booth at the Monument Cafe.

monument cafe

    Locals fondly refer to the cafe as simply “The Monument.”  As referenced on the front page of the menu, the diner is a tribute to rural Texas cafes that served simple yet satisfying food and served as community centers for the towns in which they were located. 

    The diverse menu includes home-style favorites such as fried chicken, liver and onions, burgers, salads and soups.  Breakfast aficionados will be pleased to find that breakfast is served all day.  Freshly baked biscuits with butter and housemade blackberry preserves (yes, please!) greet customers as they are seated.  


     I polished off a three-egg omelet with bacon and spinach, then followed it up with a slice of the Monument Classic Pie.  

monument pie

     The pie was every bit delicious as it was beautiful.  Organic dairy, pastured eggs, and local pecans filled every bite.    

monument market

     Upon closing our tab, the waiter encouraged us to visit the attached Monument Market.  As we entered through the glass door, we were greeted with a surprisingly diverse and well-stocked shop of groceries and gifts.

market full view

     Fresh produce, a wall of wine and beer, house-made granola, and baked goods lined the shelves.  The back wall offered a case of prepared foods, meat and eggs.  Picnic tables provided a spot to enjoy purchased treats, and the surrounding tables offered a variety of preserves and all-natural lotions.  Tucked away in the back corner of the market was a wall of organic gardening and pet products.   





     As I made my purchase of local honey, I spotted the adjacent outdoor biergarten.  It is a perfect spot to enjoy a glass of wine or a cold brew on a warm summer night.


     Our last stop before the car was a quick walk through the cafe’s garden.  Even in December, the crops were abundant and flourishing.



Foodie Finds  

     The Monument Cafe, referred by locals as simply “The Monument,” pays tribute to rural Texas cafes that served simple yet satisfying food and served as community centers for the towns in which they were located.  The restaurant prides itself on serving fresh, local, seasonal, unprocessed, simple and flavorful food.  The taste and quality of the dishes reflect the time and effort put into creating each dish in-house from scratch.  The inviting interior pays homage to roadside diners, while maintaining a sleek and updated feel.  Breakfast platters range from $6 – $10, and dinner entrees range from $8 – $17.  Parking is easy in the attached lot, and the cafe is walking distance to the downtown Georgetown square which includes wine tasting rooms, jewelry and fine gifts, antiques, home decor, and pet stores.  Be sure to visit the adjacent Biergarten for a cold brew or glass of wine.  On the weekends, you can order from the full cafe menu while listening to live music each night.  

     For high-quality gourmet fiends, visit the attached Monument Market and garden for fresh produce, all-natural dairy and cheeses, pastured eggs, organic vegetables and fruit, and Texas wines and artisanal beers.  The cafe prides itself on local and seasonal food direct from the source.  Be sure to pick up a bottle of local honey or gardening products to take home.  Bon Appetit!   


     I hope you enjoy my journey in discovering local food jaunts and specialty shops in Texas (and around the world).  It is my joy and passion to explore delicious dishes and the unique settings that surround them.  I owe that passion all to my dad.  I can envision him now at the dinner table, rubbing his hands together in delight and proclaiming, “I think this was the best meal we’ve ever had!”

~ Denise

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Breaking the Fear of Fat

Front Page, Health


“Most of what we need to know about how to eat we already know, or once did until we allowed the nutrition experts and the advertisers to shake our confidence in common sense, tradition, the testimony of our senses, and the wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers.” ~Michael Pollan

     It’s no secret that the typical American diet is greatly swayed by food fads and ever-changing government recommendations. Many of us have lost touch of our innate knowledge about how to nourish our bodies. If you feel confused about what is “healthy” and how you should eat, trust me, you are not alone.

     Over the years, Americans have been presented with many confusing “facts” and misinformation about food, and one very problematic piece of advice involves fat in our diet. We were taught that eating fat makes us fat, that high-fat foods can cause heart attacks and other chronic disease, and that fats should be consumed sparingly (as noted on the USDA’s Food Guide Pyramid). You might be surprised to find out that this information is not the truth.

     The low-fat campaign started gaining momentum in 1953 when Dr. Ancel Keys published a study that linked dietary fat intake with coronary heart disease (CHD). Later, it was discovered that he “cherry-picked” the data from only seven countries that proved his correlation between dietary fats and CHD, rather than including all available data from 22 countries. If all countries had been analyzed, there would be no correlation found at all. Further, in 1988, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Office released a report on the dangers of dietary fat and its connection with coronary heart disease that triggered a cascade of changes in the American diet for many years to come. Unfortunately, this report was flawed and not based on sound science.

     However, during the past 30-40 years, Americans have associated healthy eating with avoided dietary fat, and the food industry has taken full advantage by creating and marketing over 15,000 reduced-fat food products. This “fear of fat” has caused us to cut out nutritious fats and replace them with more processed grains, vegetable oils, high-fructose corn syrup, and other sugars. What has been the result? An unfortunate and drastic surge in diabetes and obesity, both of which increase heart disease risk.

     It is time to shift our thinking about dietary fats and happily welcome them back onto our plates. Did you know that fats are crucial for every system in your body, especially the brain, which is over 60% fat? In addition, they provide the building blocks for cell membranes, help to regulate hormones, protect the immune system, and increase the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (like A, D, E, and K). Eating the right types of fat can also promote weight loss and actually reduce risk of heart disease.

     Let’s get clear, the type of fat truly matters because not all fats are the same. Good sources of healthy fat can include: coconuts and coconut oil, avocados, olives and olive oil, nuts (i.e., walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, and almonds), seeds (chia, flax, sunflower, pumpkin, and hemp), grass-fed meats, organic eggs, and butter made from raw, grass-fed organic milk. It is really important to avoid margarine, vegetable oil spreads, and oils of canola, soybean, safflower, vegetable, peanut, cottonseed, and corn- all of which are highly processed, can be genetically modified, and promote inflammation in the body.

     It is not widely understood that some fats can withstand high temperatures better than others. To prevent damage or oxidation of oils when cooking, follow these simple tips. In general, saturated fats, like coconut oil, ghee, and organic butter are best under high heat, and avocado oil, known for its high smoke point, can also handle medium-high temperatures. Olive oil (mostly monounsaturated fats) keeps its integrity at medium-low temperatures but is ideally used raw on salads or veggies. Nut and seed oils (i.e., walnut or flaxseed) supply important essential fatty acids but should always be consumed raw, as they are very unstable when heated.

     Interested in learning more about this topic? Please consider joining a free online summit hosted by New York Times bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman. In The Fat Summit, Dr. Hyman will interview 30+ of the world’s top experts, as they reveal the truth about fat – and what it really takes to lose weight, feel great, and reverse chronic disease. This event airs for free online January 25-February 1, but you have to RSVP to save your spot. Find out more here: The Fat Summit

Sources:, “Heart Specialist Calls for Major Repositioning on Saturated Fat, as It’s NOT the Cause of Heart Disease”, November 2013

Gary Taubes, “The Soft Science of Dietary Fat”, Science, Vol. 291, No. 5513 (March 30, 2001), pp. 2536-2541, 2543-2545, “The Cholesterol Myth That Is Harming Your Health”, August 2010

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Neanderthal Wisdom

Front Page, Opinion/Editorial

    Hieroglyphics © Dan Thornton

     No, it is not an oxymoron; however, it is not fashionable in our current enlightened state; nevertheless, many people cling to “Neanderthal wisdom”, also referred to as common sense. At the expense of sounding clichéd, when it comes to common sense, I must point out that it is now quite uncommon. In fact, it is bordering on extinction in the halls of higher learning, the popular press and the seats of government. It is my expressed intention to encourage the Neanderthals among us to standup, speak up and be proud of their Neanderthal heritage.

     Science cannot tell us what happened to Neanderthal man, although there are several published theories. One possible theory is that he succumbed to climate change. Yes, there was climate change 40 thousand years ago, but the enlightened or progressives as they like to be called, do not want to discuss it. I am pretty sure that Neanderthal man was not the cause of climate change, but honestly the climatologists have not weighed in on this topic yet. As an aside, I recently read that there was evidence of water on Mars, but due to changes in the climate the only evidence left behind is in the form of dry lake beds. I was not so much impressed with possibility of water as I was at the admission of climate change on Mars. Again, I am pretty sure that Neanderthal man did not cause it.

Alaskan Mountains © Dan Thornton

   There is evidence that Neanderthal man lived into the time of Homo sapiens and may have interbred with Homo sapiens, but again this is not settled science but one of many theories. This is of particular interest to me because it could account for the residue of common sense that is found in modern man. At any rate, one theory suggest that Neanderthal man was destroyed by Homo sapiens. This theory is intriguing because it parallels the current ongoing conflict between the modern enlightened progressives and the rest of us.

     The third and final theory is not so much of a theory, but what I think might have happened to Neanderthal man. Neanderthal man met the Homo sapiens and looked him over closely then sat down and laughed himself to death.

     Until next time…

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The Revenge of the Unrepresented

Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial


      If you are reading this new and erudite newspaper, you make a point to be informed.  So you may have noticed that these are odd times in politics.  What, Trump the Republican front runner for President while Jeb! languishes in the single digits?

      But I can make matters simpler to understand, if still odd.  We are experiencing the Revenge of the Unrepresented.  Our English friends some 240 years ago found out the hard way that taxing people without representing them may not evoke a happy response.  Today’s Washington establishment politicians are finding out the same thing, yes, the hard way.

      Rewind to 2010.  Obama was determined to cram Obamacare down our throats in spite of half or more of Americans clearly not wanting it.  In January, Massachusetts elected a Republican for the U. S. Senate largely because of opposition to Obamacare.  Yes, Massachusetts.  That’s not an auto typo.

      Yet Obama and Congressional Democrats ignored that warning shot and marched forward in passing Obamacare.  The result was a historic political bloodbath in the November 2010 elections, handing the U. S. House and any number of state houses to the Republicans with a clear and simple mandate – Stop Obama.

      But that teary-eyed orange-skinned drunk Republican Speaker Boehner and other RINOs did little to stop Obama and instead enabled him.  And that included funding, of all things, Obamacare.  Thus the Republican establishment joined Democrats in virtually ignoring the 2010 elections.

      Fast forward to 2014.  Again Americans gave Obama’s Democrats a good pasting at the polls, handing now the U. S. Senate over to the Republicans.  Again, Republicans had a clear mandate to Stop Obama, particularly on the presenting issue of defending our borders and restraining illegal immigration.

      But, again, Republican leaders did little to stop Obama and again enabled him, including on immigration.  In fact, Congress, with the support of the establishment Republican leaders, just voted to fund Obama’s illegal immigration programs.  (And when I say illegal, I mean both the programs and the immigration are illegal.  I would say “illegal illegal”, but that would make me appear to be ranting, not to mention ungrammatical, God forbid.)

      So, yet again, about half the country finds themselves utterly unrepresented by either party.  This is not only bad policy; it is stupid politics particularly on the part of Republicans.  It is asking, nay, begging for trouble.

      And then here comes trouble with funny hair.  And in his very announcement speech for President, he came down hard on illegal immigration to the point of being crude and unrealistic to put it nicely…

      And millions loved it.  Immediately, Trump had high poll numbers, and they have gotten higher.  Finally, millions found that someone powerful seemed to represent them on illegal immigration and other issues.  (Note I wrote, “seemed.” I will leave aside the question of whether Trump should be trusted.)

      Now, are there more sensible ways to fight the establishment of both parties who are so intent on not representing Americans?  I certainly think so.  That’s why I support Ted Cruz, by the way.  But is there a more clear way than Trump to give the establishment of both parties an affectionate one finger wave? 

      And, yes, Americans are that angry at the political establishment.   Not just Trump’s numbers reveal that.  Here is what I see looking at the Real Clear Politics poll averages as I write this in early January.  Anti-establishment candidates (Trump, Cruz, Carson, Paul, Huckabee, and Santorum) have a combined 68% support among Republicans.  Jeb!? Just over 4%. 

     In desperation, the establishment wing of the GOP is turning to Rubio, but he polls only 11.5% compared to Trump at 35% and Cruz at 19.5%.Can it be any clearer that a lot of people out there are angry at being unrepresented by the establishments of both parties?

     So I’ve got a 2016 prediction you can add to the zillions you’ve heard already ‘cept mine is better.  2016 will be the Revenge of the Unrepresented.   One result will be the nomination of Donald Trump this summer or the defeat of Hillary Clinton this November. 

     And do not be too shocked if it will be both.


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Reviving a Dying Breed

Front Page
Corpus Christi Buffalo © Matthew Thornton
A Dying Breed by Matthew Thornton

Will Rogers said, “Well, all I know is what I read in the newspapers.”

The Paper Trail says, “That leaves so much more to know!”

Mark Twain said,  “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re misinformed.”

The Paper Trail says, “Sometimes it takes more than one newspaper to get the whole story.”

Ray Bradbury’s Illustrated Man: “It was summer and moonlight and we had lemonade to drink, and we held the cold glasses in our hands, and Dad read the stereo-newspapers inserted into the special hat you put on your head and which turned the microscopic page in front of the magnifying lens if you blinked three times in succession.”

The Paper Trail says, “Newspapers are not extinct; they’re just taking on a new look.”


Our articles cover a great many topics appropriate for anyone living anywhere. However, we will also serve as an additional news source for Corpus Christi and Flour Bluff. If you have an idea for a local story, please contact us.  So, read on and subscribe to our future editions!

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Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting Has Big Turnout

Flour Bluff, Front Page
Hogan and Skrobarczyk
Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk

Flour Bluff residents, Dan Hogan and James Skrobarczyk, organized the Flour Bluff Town Hall Meeting held on January 12, 2016, at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi Innovation Center located at the corner of First National Drive and South Padre Island Drive.  A group of about 125 people showed up to hear from several community leaders.

Justice of the Peace Thelma Rodriguez started the meeting by fielding questions about the duties of her office and how she works with school officials to do what is best for the students.

State Representative Todd Hunter followed her with a presentation on the local implications of state legislation for windstorm insurance.  Hunter said that James Skrobarczyk accompanied him to Austin and stood with him as they battled the Department of Insurance.  “After 12 years, we got the bill passed.  Finally, Nueces County is going to be treated like human beings,” Hunter said.  He told the audience that insurance companies are already creating policies as they begin to compete for business in the coastal areas.  “They’re high, but they’re coming down.  You are going to see a rate reduction, but there will be a 12- to 14-month transition period.”

Todd Hunter Town Hall Meeting
Rep. Todd Hunter

Hunter also addressed the possibility of cruise lines in Corpus Christi.  He said that the problem is that Brownsville wants it, too.  “We’re going to bring travel tourism here.  We’re going to set up a local group – a resource group from my area – to back us up when we start having these State hearings,” Hunter added.  He encouraged interested parties to contact his office if they want to be part of that group.

Hunter ended his part of the meeting with information on the expansion of Hwy 361 and the safety issues related to the roadway leading from Port Aransas to Flour Bluff.



Sheriff Jim Kaelin, who has served 9 years as sheriff, said that nothing is as important to this community as a safe, sanitary, secure jail.  “People need to understand that inmates in the jail have been accused of crimes.  Any one of us could wind up there.  Penitentiary inmates have been convicted of crimes.”  Currently, 900 of the 1068 beds are filled.  Kaelin said that increasing capacity has been slow, but the bed count has grown by 50 since he took over.  He is currently working on adding 144 beds by opening two areas in the annex.  The construction plans have been approved and that renovation could get the county through the next 10 or 15 years without added expense to the taxpayers.

Sheriff Jim Kaelin
Sheriff Jim Kaelin

An audience member asked the sheriff to talk about the inmate commissary.  “Our ratio of officers to inmates is 1:48.”  Kaelin said that in order to get chronically non-compliant inmates to follow rules, certain privileges are offered:  use of pay phones, weekend visitation by family members, television in the day room, co-mingling with other inmates, and commissary privileges.  The inmates use their own money to purchase items at the “jail store.”  The 42 cents made from each dollar goes into an inmate benefit fund that pays for shoes, uniforms, mattresses, bedding, and cleaning supplies.  $400-$500 thousand per year goes into the account.  Currently the balance is around $800,000.  “This saves the taxpayer from footing the bill for these items,” Kaelin said.

Kaelin finished with offering advice to the attendees on using cell phones to take pictures of suspicious cars, people, and activities to help monitor what is happening in their neighborhoods.  Skrobarczyk added that the Next Door website is another way to connect with neighbors and look our for each other.

Cdr Todd Green
Cdr. Todd Green


Cdr. Todd Green with CCPD, addressed concerns raised by audience members on several topics, including stray dogs, ways to protect their own property, knowing their neighbors, and calling the police.  Green responded to questions and concerns about ongoing problems in the Turtle Cove neighborhood.  He encouraged all to call the police every time something occurred, which one man said they had already been doing.  Another officer suggested that citizens take advantage of the CCPD social media websites and form Neighborhood Watch groups.

Captain David McCarty
Captain David McCarty

Captain David McCarty introduced himself and said that he took over the Bravo District on January 11, 2016, and wanted everyone to be able to put a face with a name.  He said he looked forward to working with and getting to know the residents of Flour Bluff.

Andy Taubman, Chairman for the Ad Hoc Residential Street Committee for Corpus Christi, addressed the group on what the committee is finding as they research the SPMP (Street Preventative Maintenance Program) and the standard practices.  “The phase the City is in right now is truly reactive.  There’s not a lot of planning, record keeping, or accountability in the system.  The committee is trying to get the City to emerge from this reactive behavior to a proactive behavior,” said Taubman.  They are trying to convince the City to repair the streets in a neighborhood rather than addressing pot holes only as they are reported by residents.

Andy Taubman Speaker
Andy Taubman

Other problems include master plans that have not been digitized and have missing elements, such as a missing sewer in the plans for Flour Bluff Drive.  One man spoke of his street that has 47 houses and not a single fire hydrant, which is a problem with the master plan according to Taubman.  To report problems, Taubman suggested that residents use the City website  so that a work order can be made.  Questions were raised about various streets, including Caribbean and Purdue.  James Skrobarczyk, who also serves on the committee, said, “There’s a lot issues where Flour Bluff has just been left behind.”

Greg Smith, longtime resident of Flour Bluff and member of ISAC (Island Strategic Action Committee), said, “Several communities are putting together an Area Development Plan, which falls under the Comprehensive Development Plan.  It would be a good idea if Flour Bluff got a group together and met and NOT be left behind.  That would allow the people of Flour Bluff to come up with their own plan instead of the people from Massachusetts coming up with a plan.”

The final minutes of the meeting included Melanie Hambrick, President of the Flour Bluff Business Association, who spoke about the Homeless Commission and the concerns surrounding the new ordinance to ban panhandling downtown.  She said the concern of many residents and businesses is that enforcement of the new regulation could actually bring more homeless to Flour Bluff.

Melanie Hambrick

A representative from Brent Chesney’s office (Precinct 4 County Commissioner) was open for questions from the audience.  After several comments about people fishing from Mud Bridge on Yorktown in Flour Bluff, she offered to talk to them after the meeting.  She also volunteered to help create the Flour Bluff area development committee through Chesney’s office.

Chesney rep

Since many questions were left unanswered, Dan Hogan suggested later in the meeting that another gathering be held in February just to address concerns of crime with Chief Markle and to cover other city issues with the Council members Magill and McIntyre who were unable to attend.

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Constitutional Convention a Bad Idea

Around the State, Front Page, Government and Politics, National Scene, Opinion/Editorial



In Wednesday’s Caller-Times, Rod Wolthoff thinks having a constitutional convention is a good idea.  But he is wrong; it is a terrible idea and here is why:

  1. The Constitution is not broken.  The politicians and judges who have taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution have broken their oaths.  And they will continue to do so.
  2. Once the convention starts, the attendees are not required to stay on one or two issues, such as a balanced-budget amendment.  In fact, the convention could turn into a runaway convention, and the whole Constitution could be scrapped.
  3. Who is going to represent US at this convention?  If you think it will be a bunch of conservative Texans, you are wrong.  It will be people from all political persuasions.  I am sure there will be plenty of progressives who do not think much of our Second Amendment.  Are you willing to risk our liberties on a convention that could take them away?

     I have seen a copy of the U.N. charter some want to replace our Constitution.  All the rights are government-given, not God-given, so they can easily be taken away.  Thirty-four states are required to approve this convention.  Only 17 more are needed.  This is a terrible idea that must be stopped!

Read more about this topic at:

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Flour Bluff Schools: A Notable History

Corpus Christi, Education, Flour Bluff, Front Page

The Beginning: 1892

The Flour Bluff Independent School District was created by the convergence of three very divergent entities: oil and gas, ranching, and the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. Through the use of student labor, frugality, and a visionary superintendent, it became a unique campus catering to a community with strong bonds.

The first school was opened in 1892 in the community of Brighton, later to become Flour Bluff. Precariously located next to the Laguna Madre, it served twenty-five students for a six-month term. In 1900, Miss Florence Savoy instructed twelve students for a total of four months. In 1916, the school board voted to replace the Brighton school; however, before it was completed, the hurricane of 1916 destroyed the building. Utilizing student labor once again, the school was rebuilt slightly inland where the Flour Bluff Early Childhood Center now sits.

1916 Flour Bluff School Building

Influence of Ranching

The schools that cropped up were scattered throughout the Flour Bluff region to accommodate the ranching families located in the area. 1920 saw the opening of Flour Bluff No. 2 at the north end of present-day Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. A third school, Flour Bluff No. 3, opened in 1926 and served the Flour Bluff students for two years. It was located at the Hannah Roscher home near Oso Creek, one mile north of King Ranch. Thirteen students attended at this location. In 1928 both Flour Bluff No. 2 and No. 3 were dissolved, and all students attended what became known as Flour Bluff No. 1, located once again at the 1916 site on Waldron Road. In 1932, the school board purchased a car to transport the students to Flour Bluff No. 1. Soon another industry would change the community’s idea of public education.

School “Bus” for Flour Bluff in 1930s

Role of Oil and Gas

In the 1930’s, oil and gas exploration came to the Flour Bluff area. In the midst of economic uncertainty throughout the United States, workers were drilling in Flour Bluff, and they were bringing their families. In 1937, a new brick building was constructed with the economic backing of Humble Oil. It was built adjacent to the Flour Bluff No. 1 at the Waldron Road and Purdue Street intersection. Although the community was increasingly becoming an oil and gas economy, the district was still very much a ranching area, and a fence had to be constructed around the school to prevent the intrusion of roaming cattle from the area ranches. World-wide events would soon reach the small community of Flour Bluff with yet another influence on education.

Flour Bluff School 1939

World War II Brings the Navy

World War II brought the Navy to Flour Bluff, and with it came progress and innovation. In 1941, a new nineteen-room junior and senior high school was built next to the 1937 building. The high school required 18.5 accredited units, which was 2.5 more than what was required for college entrance at that time. The “Laboratory of Industry” was created as a vocational center for boys. It was the product of Principal A.L. Smith at the request of the federal government to train men to work at the Naval Station Training station plant. Families in the northern area of Flour Bluff would be moved out to make way for training station. Throughout the early 1940’s, NAS Corpus Christi made a tremendous impact on Flour Bluff. However, when World War II ended, the school saw a reduction of students from NAS and developed a new need to keep the schools motivated and financially independent.

Flour Bluff Junior High
Flour Bluff Junior High (old high school)

Ernest J. Wranosky’s Vision

The residents of Flour Bluff voted to become an independent school in April 1948. Superintendent Ernest J. Wranosky expanded the boundaries of the district to 56 square miles of land surface and 100 square miles of water surface. Every year, the district committed to a construction project which utilized government surplus along with local and student labor. One such project consisted of dismantling a hangar at Fort Point at Point Bolivar, Galveston, Texas, by using district equipment acquired from the Texas Surplus Property Agency and manual labor provided by the Flour Bluff students. The surplus hangar was trucked and then floated to Flour Bluff where it became the new gymnasium for the school district. When asked how many seats the new gym could accommodate, Wranosky commented, “I hope none. We are building this for students to use, not sit.” This building, which was later appropriately named Wranosky Gymnasium, is located on Waldron Road and continues to serve students of all grade levels.

FB 1948

Flour Bluff’s purpose of all instruction and activities can be summed up with Wranosky’s philosophy which was to “advance and equalize, as far as possible, the opportunities of all students regardless of their mental abilities and social economic status.” This meant lots of student participation, which even included supervising and managing activities of the school. The philosophy also included an appreciation of all creeds and institutions and a desire for students to earn status in society, industry, politics, and professions “through fair and honest dealings, hard work and persistence.” Patriotism was ever present in this philosophy as Wranosky wanted students to acquire “a knowledge of and an appreciation for the great size and value of this great country, its resources, its surface features, and the relative opportunities of its sections.” The ideas also included an appreciation for the Creator, new fields in science, industry, and social progress. Not until 1963 would that social progress come to Flour Bluff ISD with the end of segregation. Black elementary students living in the Flour Bluff district had been previously bused to Booker T. Washington Elementary in the Corpus Christi Independent School District. The changing climate concerning segregation coupled with encouragement from the U.S. Department of Navy moved Flour Bluff ISD toward desegregation.

Ernest J Wranosky
Ernest J Wranosky 1973

The twenty-nine years of leadership of Superintendent Wranosky saw changes in curriculum to set expectations above the state mandate. It also included a wide range of additional curricular studies, including auto mechanics, building trades, cosmetology, and hospitality. Students who successfully completed four years of cosmetology were taken by bus to Austin, Texas, for the State Board Exam in order to complete their educations with state licensing.

In cooperation with the Corpus Christi Museum, Flour Bluff ISD owned and operated a museum on campus. The museum was housed in one of the surplus properties and was operated by students who received their instruction from their teacher. The Corpus Christi Museum curator at that time offered his expertise, as well. Many of the specimen in the museum came from findings of the district’s oceanography class and from the annual field trip to the H.E .Butt Foundation Camp in Leakey,Texas.

Open-Air School and Outdoor Education

Beginning in 1956, the first year the camp was opened, Flour Bluff students in grades three through eight made the annual trek to the H.E. Butt Foundation where they studied real-world science, social studies, math, and language arts. They were also given responsibilities in cabin maintenance and kitchen duties. “If students are to learn responsibility, they must be given responsibility,” said Wranosky. Currently, the eighth-grade students are the only ones who still make this trip to the H.E.Butt Foundation camp as Flour Bluff continues to foster this community partnership with the H.E.B. Foundation.

HEB Camp

Effects of the Cold War on the School

Another important community partnership evolved with the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi. The Navy’s involvement in the school district was a natural one since the children of base personnel attended Flour Bluff schools and made up a large part of the student body. This involvement influenced the school in many ways. For example, a curriculum was provided for military training, which included the “Laboratory of Industry,” and the push for the end to segregation created a whole new school environment. Even the day-to-day activities at the school were affected. The Cold War and the possibility of a hydrogen bomb attack had the Navy initiate an evacuation program for the entire district. Students and teachers practiced drills where they would load over 1300 students, teachers, and other personnel on to buses in eleven minutes. These buses then carried them fifty-one miles to the Knolle Dairy farm where everyone had an assigned duty. Some high school students erected a portable kitchen and an emergency hospital tent while others helped to organize and supervise younger children. During this time period, teachers were required to be in a state of readiness by keeping the gas tanks of their personal vehicles full at all times.

Flour Bluff Building Trades Students Build Homes 1958

Pride of the Community

Flour Bluff ISD is indeed unique, a true product of its ever-changing community. Created out of necessity by a rural population, the district has experienced tremendous growth over the past 111 years. The influx of the oil and gas industry, the growth of ranching, the building of the Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, and the determination of its citizens, students, teachers, and superintendents made it a model of efficiency, innovation, and collaboration that is the pride of the community today.

Flour Bluff
Google Map of Flour Bluff ISD today

“100 Years of Educational Excellence,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 1.
Marston, Opal Roscher. “Tales of Early Flour Bluff Schools,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 3.
Warner, C. A. Texas Oil and Gas Since 1543. Houston: Gulf Publishing Company, 1939. p. 298, 300, and 307.
Rouse, Thelma Darby. “Brighton’s One-Room Schoolhouse,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 7.
Order Authorizing the Issuance of Bonds. Nueces County Commissioner’s Court Record. 1 July 1937:
Vol. Q, pp. 465-468.
“100 Years of Educational Excellence,” Flour Bluff Sun, October 16, 1992: p. 6.Corpus Christi Caller-Times, July 7, 1940.
Hearn, Roxie. “Flour Bluff History Unique and Colorful,” Flour Bluff Sun, July 1, 1976: p. 2.
Ball, Jeffrey. “School Door Opened in Flour Bluff a Century Ago,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, October 17, 1992: 2B.
Field Notes: Flour Bluff Independent School District, pp. 1-3.
Arnold, Dorothy. “Thirty Years in Retrospect 1946-1976,” The Sun, July 15, 1976: p. 6.
Flour Bluff Public Schools: System-wide Report of Evaluation Committee, May 1958, pp. 1-2.
Pearson, Spencer. “Segregation May Bring NAS School,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 4, 1963:B1.
“Vocational Training,” Emphasis on Education, March 1969: p. 3.
“New Concepts in Learning Are Now Being Demonstrated,” Focus on Education, March 4, 1968: p. 3.
“Open Air Classroom Program,” Emphasis on Education, March 1969: p. 4.
“The History of Flour Bluff Schools,” Focus on Education, March 4, 1968: p. 2.
“The History of Flour Bluff Schools,” p. 2.
Russell, Cliff. “Ready for H-Bomb Attack,” Corpus Christi Caller-Times, January 22, 1958: B12.

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Life’s Little Paper Trails

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Personal History
Giles and Evelyn Dodson, 1987
Giles and Evelyn Dodson, 1987

     After our parents are gone, we cannot ask them pertinent questions about where important papers are located, what funeral preferences exist, and other everyday questions, which earlier could have been easily answered by a simple phone call. How much broth goes into the dressing? What songs would you like to have at your funeral? Too late! Every person alive right now who has a parent who lived through and remembers such events as the Great Depression or World War II should take notice that your parents are of an age where one had better talk openly about any nagging questions, no matter how trivial they may seem. Otherwise, we are “condemned” to follow whatever paper trail the parents have left for us in places both expected and unexpected. That quest can take strange turns.

     My parents could not be called true hoarders, but they DID live through the Depression, which left a great impact on them. They remembered World War II as if it were a recent event. When my family and I went through their things, we found that we could not just grab a box of clipped cartoons, or a tin of rubber bands, or even a stack of old Christmas cards and throw the entire thing into the trash. Invariably, there would be one little “nugget” in each pile of what had appeared to be nothing…a nugget we would have missed if we had not been careful and deliberate. Many times I found myself asking, “WHAT were you THINKING?” of my absent parents. Mama was a great seamstress, and left me the contents of her sewing room. I had three brothers, and I suppose she thought I would be more interested in those items than they would. I sorted through boxes and boxes of fabric, enough to totally outfit an entire cast of any movie set in the 1970’s…a LOT of double knit! I have patterns, thread, fabric, and buttons to last my lifetime and a couple more generations. Daddy was careful to keep “good” rubber bands in a big coffee can. Sure enough, after I had finally decided to throw them away, I actually NEEDED one!

     Mama kept little clippings of quotations and favorite phrases, but she also kept the newspaper item showing when my youngest brother’s birthday appeared for the Selective Service draft, as the draft was still ongoing for our “Viet Nam experience.” Tucked away in the drawer of her sewing machine, she left it to remind herself (and now me) that whether or not he was drafted was an ever-present worry on her mind. Daddy had left notes in his handwriting in his Bible, whether they were ideas for his Sunday School class or notes from a sermon he had heard. One was entitled “Work,” and for every question in life, his answer was to work. He was always busy, and never seemed to take a vacation unless it corresponded with work or church responsibilities. My parents kept letters, postcards, and calendars with important names and birth dates indicated.  These have proven to be great markers of important life events such as graduations, births, and even hospital visits. I found a tiny card that had been attached to flowers Daddy had sent on the day I was born. I have a Valentine he sent to Mama when they were both in second grade. These items are priceless, but are not considered valuable in monetary terms.

     War Ration Book 1      Another group of papers in the nightstand on my mother’s side of the bed shows how important war time had been to my parents. She had kept four war ration cards, one for each person in the family at that time…with some of the stamps for gasoline, sugar, and such still attached. (What were you thinking, Mom?) The notice on the ration cards said, “Do not throw this away. You may need it again someday.” My mother truly believed there might come a day in her lifetime when these ration cards would come in handy. Luckily, they were not needed. Another quote on the government-issued documents said, “Use it up. Wear it out. Make it do, or do without.” Do you know of any person who lives by this mantra today…in the “throw-away” society in which we live? I had to be meticulous going though their things, partly in search of something of value. I watch Antiques Roadshow, but still have not stumbled onto anything of monetary worth. But I also had to be careful, because once something is thrown out, it is GONE…and, like yesterday, it cannot be retrieved. Mama had a clipping in her pattern cabinet from an advice column dated before her own mother had passed away. The advice given was not to grieve for relatives who had died, but to enjoy the holidays and every day. I am happy I found that.

War Ration Book 2

     I saved the laundry room shelves for last. After all, what could possibly be up in those shelves other than cleaning solutions, light bulbs, and such? Finally, using a stool and getting on top of the dryer, I reached the top shelf. There was the Hopalong Cassidy lunch box which had been used and abused, and it even had a “replacement” handle made of a coat-hanger. (Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without?)I found cans of Singer sewing machine oil and an unopened box containing a bottle of white shoe polish. Maybe it was a little on the “antique” side, but it wouldn’t be worth much.

Lunch box

     At last, at last, I reached for the final item. It appeared to be a shallow, sturdy box with the lid under the bottom so that it was open on top like a boxy tray. It was very light and felt empty. Then I saw that there was something inside. It was the leather-like back of what used to be a Bible, probably a small New Testament. The BACK of a Bible? Why keep that? Then I turned it over and saw, in my mother’s handwriting, a statement she had used raising all four of us kids. This was a statement we all THOUGHT she had invented. I was an adult before I realized it was actually in the Bible. It said, from Numbers 32:23 “BE SURE YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT.” As I was standing on top of the dryer, all I could say was, “WHERE ARE YOU? OK, I FOUND IT!”

     Never take a day for granted. One day your own paper trail will be a quest for those who follow in your footsteps.

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BMX: No One Rides the Bench When Riding a Bike

Corpus Christi, Front Page, Sports


Do you have a child who loves to ride or wants to learn to ride a bicycle?  BMX is a sport that calls to bike riders from ages 2 and up. BMX stands for Bicycle MotoCross. It’s a form of bicycling that is meant to mimic MotoCross motorcycles. There are all sorts of competitive BMX sports including racing and stunt BMX; however, BMX is also a recreational activity enjoyed by millions of kids – and adults – throughout the world.


What most people don’t know is that Corpus Christi has a local BMX (bicycle motocross) track.  BMX is currently one of the fastest growing sports in North America.  Unlike most other sports (i.e. baseball, football, basketball), BMX is an individual sport.  Although riders can be picked up to ride for a team or sponsor, at the end of the season, they are placed by their individual successes (points earned throughout the season).  BMX is a fun, affordable, family-oriented sport that helps build self-esteem by building confidence and teaching the riders to set and reach personal goals. BMX also promotes physical fitness by building strong bodies and minds.


The Corpus Christi track is STX BMX, which is located at 3701 Greenwood Drive (past Horne and located across from Boys & Girls Club in the sports complex behind Universal Baseball).

To give the local BMX track a try, all you need is a bike (without a kickstand, reflectors, or pegs), a long-sleeved shirt, pants, and a helmet.  Your first time out you will need to fill out a one-day waiver and pay $5.00 to practice.  If you like the sport and want to come back to race, you will have to get a membership through USABMX, which is $65.00 per year and can be paid at the track. Races (motos) are run in heats.  Each set of heats is $10, which includes pre-race practice time.

If this sounds like something that you or someone you know would be interested in doing, please check the schedule below and be sure to check back for future articles in The Paper Trail regarding BMX – the sport where no one rides the bench.

   IMG_8058   The current schedule for STX BMX:

  • Sunday – Practice from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with races to follow;
  • Tuesday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. with races to follow; and
  • Thursday – Practice from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.



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