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So much to celebrate...

American Heart Month | Hagler Ranch Longhorn Beef is Heart Healthy Black History Month | 100 Black Men of Austin Help Georgetown Valentine’s Day | Local Love Stories

geo r get own v i ew W E B U I L D CO M M U N I T Y


Youngs In Love




FEATURES 10 100 BLACK MEN OF AUSTIN Showing Love with Grass Roots Support 14 LOCAL LOVE STORIES From Newlyweds to Seven Decades of Wedded Bliss 20 WORTH THE DRIVE Hagler Ranch Longhorn Beef 50 WHAT MAKES TEXAS “TEXAS”? Cowboy Boots

FAVORITES 8 EXPERIENCE GEORGETOWN Nyle Maxwell Dealerships’ Generous Impact

24 SHELTER STORIES Kitten Fostering 30 SAVE THE PLANET Wilco Master Gardeners 39 GEORGETOWN WORKS Angela Jones, Animal Control 55 FACTS TO BLOW YOUR MIND Heartfelt 57 POPPY TALKS “Unity” I Can Appreciate 60 FOOD Longhorn Beef Good, and Good for You 64 PARTING SHOT That Day it Snowed


46 THRIVING AFTER 55 A monthly, special section highlighting the people and lifestyles that build quality of life for us all.

42 AL BLASCHKE Still building his bucket list at 104


It’s February, so we’re sharing love stories from happy couples who have been married just a few months, to 73 years!

44 JOE PLUNKETT Appreciating history from a unique perspective... our cemeteries 46 WILCO VACCINE INFO Judge Bill Gravell spearheads walk-in vaccination site in Sun City 48 I PRONOUNCE YOU... Nancy Wood’s amazing retirement career


The Hagler Ranch Family has served central Texas in many ways over the years, and now they are serving up some great Longhorn beef!

ON THE COVER Pictured: During the clinic at the Sun City ballroom Jan. 21, County Judge Bill Gravell chatted with Sun City resident Diane Snyder, who

These two lovebirds were married in 1946. Kendall and Frances Young are enjoying life at the Wesleyan Independent Living, and took some time to tell us about their lifelong romance. Story p. 14

received her first dose of the vaccine. She says her arm is sore, but that was to be expected. “It was not hard to sign up and the whole process was well done.” Ms. Snyder is already scheduled for her second dose Feb 18.

Visit our Facebook page for follow-ups to these stories, outtakes & hints to those upcoming... GeorgetownViewMagazine F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1  G E O R G E TO W N V I EW


georgetown view Published by Optimus Media Group, LLC

EDITOR’S NOTE While we could argue the last nine months have felt like the movie “Groundhog Day”, we can officially celebrate the real thing this month.


Cathy Payne

cathy@georgetownview.com Like many of the best in her craft, Cathy has a specialized degree—in her case, hard science—and a gift for writing. She found her voice and fulfilment reporting and writing news and magazine features for a regional Central Texas audience. Along with serving as the publisher of the Georgetown View, Cathy oversees multiple news magazines, marketing campaigns, and books.

EDITOR Ann Marie Kennon annmarie@georgetownview.com

While not a native of Texas, Ann Marie is at home here. With a quarter-century of writing, reporting, and marketing behind her, she not only writes about Georgetown, she dove into community service almost as soon as she moved here.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charlotte Kovalchuk • Miranda Bradley Camy Reynolds • Greta Bauer GRAPHICS & DESIGN Zion Pistole • Ann Marie Kennon CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Rudy Ximenez • David Valdez • Todd White SOCIAL MEDIA DIRECTOR Jenny Campbell ACCOUNT SERVICES Debbie Tolliver ADMINISTRATION Kristina Poché IT / WEBMASTER Jesse Payne DISTRIBUTION David Schumacher CONSULTANT W. Ben Daniel

ADVERTISING Mark Elliott 512-240-2267 • 512-598-3500 mark@georgetownview.com

Georgetown View is an Optimus Media Group, LLC publication. Copyright © 2021 All rights reserved. Georgetown View is published monthly and individually mailed USPS, free of charge, to homes and businesses in Georgetown, TX zip codes. Mail may be sent to Georgetown View, P.O. Box 203, Jarrell, TX 76537.




Also worth celebrating is the letter I received from our reader, Alice Stephens. She shared that she was uplifted by our December issue and wanted to do the same for us with her Christmas letter. She, in turn, inspired us with the perseverance and goodwill she and her husband maintained all year. Thanks, Alice! Be sure to read our newest feature “Georgetown Works!”, which will celebrate some of the unsung heroes who work for the city and keep things running smoothly. To celebrate Black History Month, I am so pleased to introduce our readers to 100 Black Men of Austin. These inspiring grass roots benefactors have been making an impact in Georgetown for years, and I’m glad we are able to spotlight their mission to help young people “become what they see” in their mentors. It is also American Heart Month, and I am encouraging everyone to celebrate with some Longhorn beef from Hagler Ranch. One of the perks of being an editor, sometimes, is folks allow me to try their product or service so my stories will be authentic. After trying some of Mr. Hagler’s ground beef, I can assure you that our “Worth the Drive” feature may feel effusive, but it’s totally true. In between, we’ve included as much love and romance as might be needed, including how our county is showing love for our seniors by giving them their shots. So, here’s to the end of Winter, the goodness of community servants, to your health, and so much more in February.

P.S.: Never let it be said I’m not totally committed to our content! (Pages 20 & 27)



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experience georgetown

by Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@georgetownview.com presentation photo courtesy Thomas Eggers

Exceptional Generosity EGA Founder Dede Harper, Mike Wilson, and Thomas Eggers, Platform Digital Director at Nyle Maxwell


yle Maxwell is well-known in the community for his philanthropy and willingness to help, particularly when it comes to children. Nyle and his wife, Nancy began their philanthropy journey in 1990. “Something hit me. I have two darling, healthy children and what have I done? We saw so many needs; I realized when you create wealth, you have a responsibility to share it.” Thirty years later, Nyle continues to shower local organizations and families with help and support. Last month, the Nyle Maxwell Family of Dealerships gave 30 donations to local organizations, including a $10,000 donation to Exceptional Georgetown Alliance to support operations and help recoup some of the shortfall they’ve experienced due to pandemic restrictions. EGA Founder Dede Harper said, “We are so thankful for the generous donation and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Our major fundraiser, the Boo Run 5K, had to be pared down to a small virtual event last year. Help from Mr. Maxwell will provide some stability during these uncertain times and help us to continue to provide support to the Adaptive Summer Camps with Georgetown Parks and Recreation, as well as summer camp scholarships for children in need. We are looking forward to the new year and hope activities can resume this Spring.” EGA provides opportunities for special needs children to participate in many annual programs; summer 8


camp, basketball, baseball, volleyball, and swimming. They have been managing adaptive sports for, kids with neurological or physical challenges, since 2008. The young athletes are outfitted with t-shirts and other accessories donated EGA Dribblers were guests of the East View by local companies. basketball team at a January 2020 game. Once suited up, coaches and players from Georgetown and East View High Schools adopt younger team members and guide—or literally carry—them through a joy-filled hour of drills, skills, game play, and the occasional piggy-back ride. Dede adds, “We are looking forward to getting back to our normal programming as safety allows. We typically offer face-to-face activities with our partner organizations, and we are looking to add art activities and family get-togethers in the near future.” EGA is part of the Chisholm Trail Communities Foundation and is always looking for new families and partners to join. Visit ExceptionalGeorgetown.org or Facebook/ ExceptionalGeorgetown.

community action

by Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@georgetownview.com photos courtesy of Matt Easton

Heroes in Georgetown and Towns Around

Karl Spencer and Matt Easton assist at election polls in July 2020


very special group of men has been sharing their compassion and commitment in Georgetown for years, and you probably haven’t heard their name. The 100 Black Men of Austin are part of a national organization that is, above all, a mentorship organization focusing on economic development, education, and health and wellness for young black men. Chapter President Karl Spencer explains, “The Roy Perry Texas chapter was founded in 1995 and, 26 years later, we are still going strong. His work is proof that we should all do good things, even if we’re not certain of the outcome. His good things have kept us strong for 26 years and counting. 100 Black Men is the national name, but we do not limit ourselves to 100 people; membership is always open to men with a heart for service and ideas that align with our core values.” The Austin chapter partners with many community organizations in Central Texas to identify needs, then gets to work providing grass roots solutions and volunteers. Karl explains, “Last year we saw community needs evolve in different ways, so we pivoted to focus on those needs. The pandemic highlighted issues of food disparity, so we collected for, donated to, and volunteered at food banks, all for the sake of health and wellness. Children need healthy food to function in school, and education remains one of our pillars.



“As it was an election year, we mailed more than 60,000 voter registration cards across Texas and, to our surprise, we nearly doubled the expected response.” Karl, and Georgetown member Matt Easton continued their election efforts all the way to the polls, where they handed out water and hand sanitizer to make sure citizens were refreshed and able to wait in the long lines to vote. Karl is always happy to talk about the organization and its missions for unity and equity, and adds, “God blessed me that I didn’t lose my job and I have a roof over my head. As long as He continues to bless me, I will continue to bless others and do my best to help.”

GEORGETOWN IMPACT Matt Easton says he and everyone in the group focus on meeting people’s needs where they are. “We realized that 2020 created a new normal. Because we have a heart for kids and want to mentor them, we must first meet their needs. If they are hungry, homeless, or cold, it really doesn’t matter what their career goals are. Perhaps all they need is a sympathetic ear, or a hug; we just need to listen to them.” In Georgetown, 100 Black Men has been a regular partner with The Locker and provided all the supplies to launch at Tippit Middle School. Members continue to

community action

donate money, hygiene items, and other sundries, and also manage equity book drives. “Our goal is to fund and facilitate a good representation of many demographics in the school library. I live here and I care about the kids and people in Georgetown, and I also care about what Georgetown will be in years to come. Our focus is not just on black and brown kids because we know every kid deserves our best.”

MEETING THE NEED In the 2020-21 school year, with 100 Black Men as the vehicle, Matt was part of a special project at Tippit Middle School, one that recognized the parallel emotional needs of teachers and students due to pandemic stresses. Matt’s wife Tania is the PTA President and she and others at the school realized some student behaviors were indicators of deeper issues about safety or anxiety, irrespective of COVID. Still, COVID definitely put a different kind of strain on teachers and staff. “We realized, early, on, a need to support everyone’s sense of dignity and self-worth. Providing the means to eliminate some of those insecurities allows the students and teachers to have a better learning experience.” Matt and Tania partnered with school counselors to help teachers and students via a wellness room for each. With an anonymous $5,000 donation and a lot of hard work, several school rooms were outfitted with appropriate sensory experiences. The student room has, bean bag chairs, TVs, fidget toys, and more; three teacher rooms include aromatherapy, massage chairs, wellness lighting, and music. Those in need of a calm space are able to spend time there to de-escalate emotions, cry in a safe space, or even take a nap. Matt reports the student room has been widely used since the launch. He adds, “I would love for these rooms, the book drives, and other positive changes to be highlighted and replicated in other schools.” 100 Black Men is also a part of the Georgetown Police Department’s CommUNITY program, providing input about equity and unity policing from the African-American point of view. “We are in regular communication with Chief Nero. We realize we can’t do and be all things to all people so we are always

looking to partner across many lanes and offer resources,” Matt says. Matt and Karl encourage anyone who wishes to help their work to donate at 100BlackMenAustin.org. “I am proud of our commitment,” Matt says. “What we really want is for people to see that there are educated, professional, black males who care about community, and not the narrative that we’re used to. Georgetown is a giving place, and I know when we understand and tell people about these needs, they will step up to help.”

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by Charlotte Kovalchuk photos provided by couples featured

local love stories

Not too many words can make a person’s day brighter more than “love.” Meet Georgetown couples who say, and live it, every day!

BEST FRIENDS Lauryn and Alden Spooner met during math class in the 6th grade. She sat in front of him and liked to mess with him, while he, on the other hand, didn’t like her and felt bullied. One day she left a note in his locker asking if he liked her. He responded that he hated her and she should never talk to him again. So she didn’t, until senior year when they were both teacher aides, then friends, prom dates and, since October 2020, husband and wife. It was a rocky path to the altar, filled with long distance dating and racial challenges. “We have unfortunately been in situations of racial profiling and had hateful things said about us, face to face,” Lauryn says, adding that they learned to have conversations with each other and their families about race. “You really shouldn’t have to explain much beyond the happiness and joy someone brings you when in a healthy, loving relationship, but you soon find that others expect you to explain a lot more just because of the ‘difference’; that is very unfortunate. But at the end of the day we have overcome and grown exponentially from it.” The couple also learned to let each other grow and pursue their own paths while dating long distance, which made their relationship stronger and healthier. Above all, she is grateful to be married to her best friend, as she says, “there is nothing better than knowing your best friend is at home with you at the end of the day.” 14


LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT Considering Ricki and Bill McMillian were engaged less than two weeks after their first date, while living in distant cities, Ricki says she would call that love at first sight—reinforced by shared values and right timing. They met on a blind date in 1965 when she was a flight attendant in New York City and he was an ensign in the Navy waiting for his ship to be commissioned. A family friend arranged for Bill to escort her to a ship commissioning, and three months later, they were honeymooning in Charleston. “We have been married 56 years in November, although it is hard to believe it has been that long,” Ricki says. “We often say we grew up together and in those years changed into the people we are today.”

Today they share an active life through hobbies like hiking, biking, RV-ing and baking. At 78 and 76 years old, Ricki says they are incredibly fortunate to be in good health. “Life is good and we wish all could be as happy and lucky as we have been,” she shares. But more than luck has sustained this couple through the ups and downs of their relationship, as they always follow one rule: “Respect each other and always say I love you at bedtime, even if it is between gritted teeth!”

Enduring Love

What started as a whirlwind romance turned into 74 years of love for Frances and Kendall Young. “You might say it’s an enduring love. An everlasting love,” Kendall says.

town Utility Systems advisory board. He previously worked as a physiologist and clinical chemist, as well as a chemist and quality assurance manager for the Environmental Protection Agency.

It’s one that began in Abilene, where they were both attending McMurry University. Kendall was on leave from the Navy when they caught each other’s eyes on campus and he asked her out on a date. Six weeks later, they were engaged.

Their adventures have taken them all over Texas to pursue their passion for bird-watching as well as touring all but two of the state’s courthouses. Through every challenge, from the death of one of their children to Kendall’s battles with colon cancer and heart disease, the Youngs’ relationship has stayed strong thanks to their respect and love for one another. “We take care of each other,” Frances says. “We try to just be thoughtful of each other.”

Fast forward seven decades, and the Youngs reminisced over their shared adventures and challenges that ultimately led them to Georgetown, where Frances volunteered at the Visitors Center and Kendall worked as a park ranger and served on the George-

PUTTING EACH OTHER FIRST Take a girl from England and a boy from Chicago who find each other and fall in love in South Korea. They become a couple that’s still ferociously in love 31 years later­—that’s a true love story, Nick Austin says. It’s one that began in 1990 when she was working as a ballet dancer in Korea and Rick Austin was stationed there with the U.S. Army. While she was watching a movie in the barracks with a friend, in walked “the

best-looking man I had ever laid my eyes on,” Nick recalls. He immediately asked her out, and she “of course said, ‘no’.” That is, until the next day when his persistence paid off. The Austins have endured many challenges over the years, including financial and relationship struggles, miscarriages, and long deployments. Many celebrations together were missed because of army life, and the two have had 27 addresses in the last 30 years due to all the military moves.

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local love stories Despite the hard times, Nick says they’ve had the highest of highs—three beautiful children. Two of their oldest sons have told them, “I just want what you and Mom have.” Nick believes that’s because she and Rick put each other first, love fiercely, and always defend each other. She’s heard many couples say kids are the most important part of the relationship, but “before there were kids it was just the two of you and without the two of you there would be no kids. You have to put each other first. We love our kids so much and they know that. They see that because their parents love each other so much.”

NATURE MEMORIES Ricky and Betty Ward first met on a blind date with Betty’s sister and her husband during a night of dancing at Magic Music in Waco. The first time Ricky saw Betty getting out of the green Gremlin, he knew she was the one. “We both felt extremely comfortable with each other. He was easy to be around. We enjoyed each other’s company so much,” Betty remembers. “God has brought us together and kept us together all these years.”

They have been married 42 years, with their best memories spent outdoors. Betty remembers their first camping trip with only a red Pinto at Arkansas Petit Jean State Park, where they made Jiffy Pop popcorn over the campfire and slept in the back of the hatchback. Camping evolved from that to a large pop-up camper, and traveling to Colorado to escape the Texas heat became a regular family vacation. Ricky and Betty eventually became cruisers, although Ricky wasn’t sure about cruises at first until he realized on their first cruise to Alaska that he didn’t have to pack and unpack every few days and drive hundreds of miles. Over the years, the Wards have learned the power of communication in maintaining a healthy marriage. “Learning and knowing when to ask questions or make



comments is vital,” Betty says. “Forgiveness goes a long way in a marriage. It is difficult for some people to say, ‘I’m sorry,’ but it helps tremendously. Holding grudges is a definite no-no.” And even if neither one feels like it, the couple start and finish each day with a hug. “It helps the day begin on a joyful note,” she says. “It helps us to feel important and loved at the end of a long work day.”

A NERDY ROMANCE When Eric Mann, a self-described nerd, took a picture of a car covered in nerdy stickers, a Batman steering wheel cover and a Batman cape, he joked to his friend that the car had to belong to his dream girl. “He had no idea that he was 100 percent correct!” says Kelsey Mann, the “dream girl.” The two were working at Vans at the Round Rock Outlet Mall and officially met when he volunteered to walk her to her car after she got off work one evening. “I thought it was weird that he offered so quickly,” she recalls. “I didn’t realize it was because he thought I was cute and wanted to get to know me.” Though neither was looking for a romantic relationship, they quickly became friends and fell in love; bonding over nerdy things like video games and comics. “It was so funny that neither of us wanted a relationship and both tumbled straight into the one we would be in forever,” Kelsey shares. “It’s so special to get to come home to your favorite person every day and just share life with them.” After being together four years and married three months, she says the key to their relationship is communication and emotional vulnerability. “We talk about everything! We’re both so open and honest it hurts, and we try to always check up on each other to make sure the other person is comfortable and feels secure and loved.”

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Sponsored Content

by Charlotte Kovalchuk • charlotte@georgetownview.com


Taking Time for You


his new year, it’s more important than ever to take time out of our busy days to relax and rejuvenate. As Spa Luxe co-founder and owner Tori Clark says, taking a mere five to 15 minutes every day to pray, meditate, or reflect over a cup of tea can help you clear your mind, re-center, and stay focused on your goals. Sometimes, though, your body needs more than just a few minutes to release bottled-up tension, and that’s where a spa comes in. Here are some tips Tori shared to help identify the perfect spa. 1. Check Out Reviews: Explore Google reviews, inquire with friends, or start a discussion through social media. Credibility is key to a quality spa experience. 2. Spa Service Offerings: Whether you’re looking for a day spa, medical spa, or fitness spa, you want to make sure the one you choose has the specific services you want. Would you like a full-service spa or one that only provides aesthetic/facial services? Are organic products important to you? Take a look at the spa’s menu to become acquainted with the service options or give the spa a call to discuss your exact needs and options. 3. Sanitation: Spas must be clean and sanitary. Ask about sanitation and sterilization protocols­—what are staff members doing in between guests to ensure a safe and healthy environment?



4. Experience and Affordability: Consider what you desire for your spa experience and your budget for your self-care journey. Not all massages or facials are created equal. A massage at a day spa versus a fitness spa may have differences in amenities, price, and products used in service. In a luxury day spa or resort spa you are likely to be given a robe and sandals during your stay and have access to amenities like saunas, relaxation lounges, beverage service, swimming pools, or steam rooms. However, you may not have these amenities at a medical or fitness spa. 5. Connection and Comfort: It’s important to find a wellness sanctuary that makes you comfortable. Perhaps you would prefer a male or female massage therapist or a certain massage style. “A great spa will listen to your needs and goals, ask questions about your preferences, and pair you with a therapist they feel will be the best choice for you,” Victoria says. “Connection, trust, and comfort with your therapist and spa family is what helps motivate you to continue with your self-care journey.”


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worth the drive

Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@georgetownview.com photos courtesy of Keith Hagler and Hagler Ranch

Make the Trip for Hagler Ranch Longhorn Beef

I F I T ’ S N OT A LO N G H O R N I T ’ S J U S T A CO W. ~ K E I T H H A G L E R


hose who live outside Taylor may not know the Hagler family yet, but everyone needs to visit Keith Hagler’s offices before dinner. In short, if you already have an appreciation for Texas Longhorns, you are about to love them even more. Modern Longhorn cattle, once numbering in the millions, have been a part of Texas culture since the 19th century, and Keith has always had a special interest in them because of their gentle nature and beautiful colors. “Longhorns are very Texan. People don’t stop on the side of the road to take selfies with regular cows. I got into breeding and ranching as a hobby, but I enjoy the people who raise them so it’s a great business too.”

WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE? Keith’s ranch is in Taylor and he sells Longhorn beef directly from the freezers in his Taylor office. “Our cattle are registered, and they are all grass-fed within 20 miles of here.” He explains Longhorns are very self-sufficient and eat most anything. “They get plenty of rich grass but are also happy to forage for things other cows won’t touch. They tend to clean up a pasture, which enables it to grow back healthier. Plus, while they are very gentle with people, rare is the coyote or wild hog that will mess with an animal their size with horns just as large.”



In addition to selling the beef, Hagler Ranch also auctions and sells Longhorns to allow others to enjoy owning their own for Ag exemptions, or hobby farming. “They calf easily and are virtually maintenance free. I also love how unique they are; you can put a black bull and with black cow and they will produce a red and white calf—each as different as a fingerprint.” At press time, Keith is looking forward to the Fort Worth Cowtown Classic auction. He has three cattle registered, complete with bloodlines and histories, ready for breeding anywhere in the country. “It is all about genetics, and I have a consultant who assists me with bulls and cows to create the best pairings. For many generations, we have tried to grow the standard size, measured ‘tip-to-tip’ of the horns. A century ago, a large Longhorn was 60 inches. Today, breeding with different bulls, the standard is 70-80 inches and it’s not unusual to have a 90-inch animal. Outside of the beef business, we sell re-purposed skulls to those who use them for decoration, and even the skins find use. We respect what these animals give to us and do not take their lives for granted.” Hagler Ranch also has a heifer in the NASA Longhorn program. Within sight of the Space Shuttle, a small Longhorn show team provides educational opportunities for local high school students. The Ranch pays the fees for students to exhibit his animal several times a year and, while the heifer goes back at the end of the year, Mr. Hagler gives the team a new one to continue their work in husbandry and ranching.


TO YOUR HEALTH Keith says the uniqueness of the meat is visible in the rich red color and the health benefits are many. “I had a heart scare and I wanted to continue eating meat; Longhorn beef has no cholesterol and is 97 percent lean or higher. When you cook a pound of the ground beef, you eat a pound of ground beef, and my doctor told me I could have moderate portions at every meal if I choose.” Research has shown that eating lean beef can help increase “good” cholesterol and reduce the “bad” in those who have elevated levels. It also has Selenium, which may reduce the risks of heart disease, and enhance the body’s ability to fight infections. Everything Hagler Ranch sells is certified and USDA inspected, and their prices are very competitive with local grocery stories. Keith’s daughter Cameron works for the Ranch and explains, “Even the leanest beef in the stores is 7 percent fat, and costs $5.39 per pound. Ours is $5 and has almost no fat, so you’re always going home with more meat. We also have recipes and a cookbook available to help customers really enjoy the difference. Generally, because there is so little fat, start by cooking at lower temperatures for more time. I promise, once you taste it, you’ll be hooked.”

SAY HELLO Keith encourages people to drive by the ranch on FM1331 toward Granger Lake Road to see the herd. “We’ve had people visit from as far away as India to see these unique cattle—and they were impressed with our Longhorn chili. Anyone is welcome to stop and, respectfully, have a look and take photos any time.”


* Mr. Hagler is working on plans to make his beef available for nationwide shipping. Check the website for updates.

NATURALLY GOOD AND GOOD FOR YOU All red meat has benefits; protein, iron, and vitamin B12. In addition to those, grass-fed Longhorn beef is clean and nutrient-dense, which can help heal the gut and immune system, contribute to weight loss and better sleep, and diminish “brain fog.”

 Grass-fed Longhorn also contains Vitamins B3 and B6; and K2, which is important for bone and artery integrity.  Contains Conjugated Linoleic Acid, which has been shown to lower cardiac risks and, in some trials, resulted in body fat loss.  Contains three times the amount of Vitamin E by weight; known to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer.  Just 3oz has as much zinc as 12 cans of tuna, and as much B12 as seven chicken breasts.  Switching to grass-fed beef will save nearly 18,000 calories per year. A half-pound portion has 132 calories vs. 143 for white meat chicken, and no cholesterol.  Contains 4× the amount of Omega 3, and lowers levels of inflammatory Omega-6 (polyunsaturated) fatty acids common in most American diets; thought to be a cause of diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions.  “Grass-fed” has been singled out as the only red meat endorsed by the American Heart Association. F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1  G E O R G E TO W N V I EW


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shelt er stories

by April Peiffer and Charlotte Kovalchuk photos courtesy April Peiffer

Preparing for Kitten Season


ith kitten season coming up, the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter is asking the community to step up to help save feline lives. Kitten season begins in April, when many litters of kittens are born, causing an already-packed shelter to be overwhelmed with more pets. “Kitten Season is a time of year where community support is imperative to lifesaving,” Shelter Director Misty Valenta says. “When the community takes advantage of our community cat spay and neuter clinics, keeps mothers and kittens together, fosters kittens too young for adoption, they are saving lives. It takes all of us working together to create the best outcome.” April Peiffer, community programs coordinator for the shelter, says people shouldn’t “kit-nap” kittens from their mother, as leaving kittens with their mothers until they can be weaned is the ideal scenario. “They learn from their mother and siblings, like how to play well together and when they’re being too rough—momma cats will give corrections—which translates to better behavior in their forever homes,” she says. Once kittens are older than four weeks, the Shelter can begin the process of vaccinating, microchipping, spaying or neutering, and finding the right home for each.

FOSTERING HEALTH The shelter relies heavily on kitten fosters to help staff keep the kittens healthy until they’re old enough to be altered and adopted out; around 8 weeks old or ​a healthy 2 pounds. Sending kittens to foster homes is the best thing for them so they’re not in the shelter environment any longer than necessary. The immune system of a young kitten is very delicate, so even a common cold could be detrimental to their heath. Because of this, limiting the number of other cats they are exposed by placing them in foster homes is essential. Fosters are also able to keep a close eye on the kittens in their care, which helps shelter staff catch any illnesses early. The shelter recruits kitten fosters through social media and word-of-mouth advertising, many of whom are inspired by the Kitten Cam ​post featuring the shelter’s kitten nursery that April shares on Facebook. Despite the influx of kittens the shelter experiences each year, the facility’s save rate for kittens increased from 89 to 94 percent in 2020, thanks to a new kitten 24


coordinator funded by a grant from the Orphan Kitten Club. “Having a staff member devoted to their care while in the shelter and looking for foster homes for them before they’ve reached adoptable status was a major breakthrough in raising our save rate for kittens,” April says. With donations raised at the 2020 virtual Fur Ball and another grant from the Orphan Kitten Club, the shelter hopes to continue saving more kitten lives this year. To learn about kitten fostering, contact Erin Duran, Shelter Volunteer/Foster Coordinator at eduran@wilco. org. Fosters attend an online orientation and sign up to be on the shelter’s email list for foster pleas when a litter(s) of kittens comes in and needs a foster home. Mentors are available to offer support and check in with new fosters. The shelter also offers specialized training regarding bottle babies, ringworm, medical cases (upper respiratory infections, surgery recovery, etc.) and socialization for terrified kittens. Fosters can also join a Facebook group for kitten care to get advice and support from each other.


“DOUBLE-STUFF” OREO, as her fans at the shelter affectionately call her, is a mature lady that likes nice soft dog beds and long, leisurely walks. Oreo thrives on attention and affection, and has great qualities like taking treats gently and being house-trained. She would likely do best in an adults-only home. Oreo caught the eye of an admirer who decided to be her Adoption Angel, so her adoption fee has been paid! All she needs now is for you to be the milk. Email adoption@wilco.org to schedule an appointment.

Do you speak cat? Do you know what a hooked tail means? Is the sound of fear and shyness a clear sentence to you, complete with noun, subject, and verb? MIST needs a family that understands her language. She’s a sweet young thing who has captured her foster’s heart, and believes Mist can be a purrfect companion to someone who will let her lead the way, respect her boundaries, and just be herself. She doesn’t like loud noises or being picked up, but she loves being petted, playing with feather toys and pipe cleaners and she loves chicken Churus treats. If you understand how cats communicate with us and want to give Mist the love and patience she needs, then send an email to adoption@wilco.org. F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1  G E O R G E TO W N V I EW





Recover • Revive • Rejuvenate OUR MISSION IS TO IMPROVE THE LIVES OF OUR VALUED CLIENTS AND HELP THEM ACHIEVE THEIR HIGHEST GOAL. Everyone wants to feel better. But most may not realize it can happen in three minutes, and it is no longer just for elite athletes and celebrities. CRYO AT WOLF is whole-body cold therapy for everyone. A 3-minute dry bath of nitrogen-cooled air is known to help with pain, weight loss, sleep, and more. Call or drop in for as little as $30; packages start at $16 / session.

HOW IT WORKS As your nerve endings cool (at -166°F), they send a signal to your brain that says “Extreme cold! Protect vital organs.” Your body draws blood quickly to the core, where it is rapidly flushed, detoxed, and oxygenated. After, as your body warms, a new signal says “Everything is fine,” and the nutrientand oxygen-rich blood is circulated quickly to areas of inflammation, which demand good blood for recovery. The procedure is completely dry, and three minutes goes by quickly as manager Addison Elliott (right) stays with you and talks about your favorite things or answers questions about the unusual sensations; e.g., tingling elbows, or why your belly gets very warm about 2 minutes in. The warm-up is quick and very invigorating, and many clients have a treatment just before or just after a strenuous workout. BONUS: If you gave up exercise for weight loss because you have problems with your joints, your body’s thermogenic response to three minutes of cryo burns 500-1,000 calories. “Overtraining is really a misnomer,” Addison says. “It’s really about under-recovery, and cold therapy helps reduce the discomfort in everything from pulled muscles to swelling around knee replacements.” Whether you’re 14 playing volleyball, 75 playing golf, suffer from arthritis, managing autoimmune conditions, recovering from surgery or injury, or just want to elevate your mood with a serotonin boost, everyone can benefit. Call to ask about proper procedure and any contraindications for your personal health. Then, imagine a life without side effects from pain medication, and better sleep too... just visit Fact Fitness and follow the paw prints. Cryotherapy has been a blessing for me and I have been reaping the positive effects five years and counting. I am 62, have multiple sclerosis, and I have had no MS symptoms since adding Cryotherapy to my daily schedule. I have no inflammation and no imbalance, and my metabolism has returned to what it was in my college days. I enjoy deeper sleep, more energy, and my weight no longer fluctuates. I am medication-free and follow a clean diet. At my last MRI—two years ago—I received a great report and was encouraged by my doctor to continue what I was doing because the MS had not progressed. I recommend Cryotherapy to athletes, anyone with arthritis, auto immune illness, slow metabolism, chronic pain, MS, recovering from surgery/injury. The benefits will amaze you and it is my heart’s desire that you will be blessed from experiencing the many benefits of Cryotherapy. ONLY YOU CAN MAKE YOUR HEALTH A PRIORITY. ~Mimi Westbrook, Owner




by Miranda Bradley

The Reserve at Georgetown: A Place to Call Home Giving Families of the Aging Peace of Mind


t’s probably one of the most heart-wrenching decisions a child has to make: whether to place Mom or Dad in a senior living community. That decision is compounded further when a loved one has dementia. Thankfully, The Reserve at Georgetown helps ease that burden. Staffed with memory care experts, The Reserve at Georgetown provides a warm and home-like environment for those needing extra special attention, and boasts bright spaces and accommodations to meet every level of need. With more than 29 percent of Georgetown residents in the over-65 category, The Reserve is a welcome addition, particularly for families caring for aging loved ones. With a focus on memory loss and dementia, its unique approach to memory care has many families raving. “The staff is kind and understanding of my father’s stage,” said one resident’s daughter.

HEALTHY CULTURE The Reserve at Georgetown uses its award-winning SPARK program to

help support happy, healthy lifestyles for residents. SPARK’s four pillars are Community Contribution, Inclusion & Belonging, Lifelong Learning, and Purpose. This is often accomplished through sensory activities in music or art, and residents are also encouraged to participate in baking or cooking activities to keep their minds active. But that’s not where the fun ends. When not interacting through handson activities, residents are encouraged to socialize in the formal dining hall where dishes are prepared by the onsite executive chef. Each meal is made with taste and comfort in mind, and substitutions are available based on individual needs. If that wasn’t enough, residents enjoy social gatherings with masks, regular housekeeping, and medication management as part of their stay. While COVID has caused many things to change, one thing remains the same: The Reserve’s commitment to quality lifestyles for each of their residents. Daily exercise classes are held to encourage active living, and nature walks through the surround-

ing woodlands are a regular occurrence. It’s one of the reasons family members feel so comfortable with their loved ones living here. While placing a loved one in care is never an easy decision, with The Reserve at Georgetown nearby, at least families can have peace of mind knowing they are always in good hands.




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save the planet

by Ann Marie Kennon • annmarie@georgetownview.com

It’s Time to Think about Gardening


he Williamson County Master Gardeners know February is a good time to start thinking about and planning for planting and caretaking. Thanks to these expert community volunteers, aspiring gardeners and homeowners have a ready resource of information to keep yards and gardens healthy. As you might imagine, early 2021 meetings focus on where it all starts—healthy soil. Master Gardener Jim Williams explained how diversity creates healthy soil, and how we can all help the planet by maintaining healthy soil via natural means like compost, manure, minerals, and chopped up leaves. The January session, dozens of archived topics, and a schedule for future lectures are available at TXMG.org/williamson.

“I’m coming soon” February 2020 Bloom • Williamson County Master Gardener newsletter

In Williamson County, Master Gardeners (MG) are trained by the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. Everyone benefits because the program includes intensive study followed by a 40 hours of paying it forward by being expert volunteers in the community as representatives of the Texas AgriLife Extension. MGs host or participate in monthly meetings and lecture series, work on personal or community gardens, conduct research, and support many local projects. Extension Agent Kate Whitney adds, “These folks are truly experts in and committed to the field; they complete 12 hours of continuing education and 40 hours of volunteer service every year to maintain their certification.”



TRAINING Participants in the Master Gardener program prepare, over 16 weeks, to teach about:  Lawn care  Ornamental trees and shrubs  Insect, disease, and weed management  Soils and plant nutrition  Vegetable gardening and home fruit production  Garden flowers; perennials and annuals  Water conservation.

EXPERT SUPPORT MGs also benefit the community by educating on much more than just plants. Video presentations and newsletters, available online, include information on a wide variety of natural topics; tree problems, pollinators, shade gardening, landscape aesthetics, and even some garden-to-table recipes when you’ve grown your own produce.

Kate says monthly meetings are not for Master Gardeners, but rather by them, to help members of the community who wish to glean expert knowledge of all of these topics, plus conditions and horticulture opportunities specific to Williamson County. All meetings are open to the public, regardless of gardening experience. If you can’t attend a meeting but have questions about your lawn or garden, you may call the Master Gardener Help Desk on Tuesdays from 10am-2pm, and beginning in March, they will add hours on Fridays. (512-943-3300)

DEMO GARDEN If you would like to see them in action, the Demo Gardens at 3151 SE Inner Loop are a showplace for many varieties and progress in all seasons. The MGs maintain an herb garden, divided into sections and managed by different teams, and a vegetable garden from which they donate produce to local food pantries. There is a drought-tolerant garden that cultivates native plants and, new this year, a dry garden, with no irrigation at all and growing a variety of cacti. The garden is open to the public every day, but you can visit with MGs who tend to them on Tuesdays and Fridays and ask questions about their work. You may also visit them online to request a speaker for a community or club presentation, and check their Facebook page for updates on their annual plant sale.

The Texas Master Gardener program is an educational volunteer program conducted by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service of the Texas A&M University System. Visit TXMG.org for 2021 education opportunities. 100 Wilco Way, Georgetown 512-943-3300

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georgetown works!

by Charlotte Kovalchuk • charlotte@georgetownview.com photos courtesy of Angela Jones

A Hero for Animals in Need


caught her eye. “After so many years of working in the ER with animals neglected or abused at the hands of humans, I wanted to be the person that gave them justice and a voice.”

nimal control isn’t for the faint of heart. Chasing critters in 105-degree heat, getting zapped by a fence while saving a pair of pigs, and being attacked by three pit bulls have all toughened Angela Jones up over the last six years. Angela is the City’s supervising animal control officer, and she is not the same timid person who used to wait for her husband at the time to come home and take care of a problem. “I was very meek; this job developed a different side of me,” she says. “Now I don’t wait for anybody. I handle the business.”

Six years later, Angela is still doing just that. She has rescued cats who gave birth in a drainage ditch, recovered an escaped cow, and educated pet owners not to leave dogs in a hot car or tether them in their backyard, and to provide pets with adequate shelter and food. “No two days are the same.” Some days are heartbreaking, such as when she has to deal with human and pet tragedies. “It’s why,” she says, “ultimately, animal control is a job that takes a special person, one that goes far beyond a love of animals.”

Angela Jones has a heart for rescuing animals, one she constantly shows as supervising animal control officer for the City of Georgetown.

Except for spiders. When she calls her 13-year-old son to take care of another eight-legged crawler, he’ll say, “You catch rattlesnakes all day long. Why are you afraid of this spider?” To which she responds, “I can deal with aggressive dogs and rattlesnakes, but not spiders.”

HEART FOR ANIMALS Despite the challenges, Angela says her job is rewarding because she gets to improve animals’ quality of life, whether saving a deer stuck in a fence or helping almost all 26 animals in a hoarder case find their forever homes. “There’s something about putting on this uniform. I treat it like a cape,” she says. Angela is indeed a hero for animals in need, possessing a heart for the sick and the hurt that she has shown since she began taking in animals as a child. A nurturer by nature, she worked as an emergency vet tech for more than 20 years before an animal control job posting

COMMUNITY OUTREACH One of Angela’s goals is to develop school programs to help prevent animal bites and teach responsible pet ownership. She hopes to show kids what to do when a dog approaches and how to pet a dog properly. Older students should know how to take care of a pet and be prepared before taking home the “cute little kitten in a box,” which will end up being a 20-year commitment. She also wants to change negative perceptions of animal control, which she’s often experienced when responding to an animal welfare call. “We’re here to help and of course, enforce animal regulations, but we’re also there to serve the public and the animals,” she says. “We’re protecting them.” F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1  G E O R G E TO W N V I E W


Thriving AFTER 55

“The February sunshine steeps your boughs and tints the buds and swells the leaves within.” ~ William Cullen Bryant Mayor Josh Schroeder gives a socially distant “Congratulations!” to Al Blaschke on his 104th birthday.





Celebrate 104 with Al Blaschke

Wilco Cemetery Restoration

Updates on COVID Vaccines

Nancy Woods — Wedding Officiant

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World-Class and Wonderful


l Blaschke, also known as the current world record holder for the oldest tandem skydive, celebrated his 104th birthday January 4th at The Wesleyan Independent Living. He received a card, signed by residents and staff, from Director of Enrichment, Michelle Munk (above), and enjoyed a visit from Mayor Josh Schroeder (previous page). He was also the anchor story on the Today Show’s “Smucker’s Celebrates,” January 5. But, if you know Al, you know he didn’t just have some cake and head back to his comfy chair. After his photo op, he went bowling for three hours with his grandsons; he says spending time with them is his very favorite thing to do. This inspirational centenarian still plays golf, likes yoga, and runs the bases when the residents play beanbag baseball. He is active in the Sun City Kiwanis, and, as he did when he turned a mere 100, he continues to add things to his bucket list. After his skydive on his 100th birthday, Al said he would jump again when his grandsons graduated college. After checking that item off his list in July 2020, and being officially entered in the Guinness Book, his new plan is to visit South America and Antarctica. Al gets a (masked) birthday hug from friend and fellow skydiver, Betty Schleder. 42


Of the occasion, Al says, “I am beginning to realize that everybody doesn’t get up here to 104. I’m feeling like this is unusual, but also that my health is the most unusual. I’ve been fortunate to have a happy life. That’s what keeps you out of the doctor’s office, and you live a longer life. That’s the secret.” When Mayor Josh Schroeder came by to visit and celebrate, they spoke about the things Al has lived to see in his century on Earth. Al smiled big behind his mask and said, “It is a long time, but if I had it to do over, I would do all 100 years, and I wouldn’t change a thing.”

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Commitment Carved in Stone


oe Plunkett loves cemeteries. He is one of nearly two dozen volunteers in Williamson County who have made it their mission to repair and preserve the pieces of Texas history that our historic cemeteries represent. Now in his fourth year with the Williamson County Cemetery Restoration Volunteers, Joe is the group’s expert on stone leveling and repair. He began his work as a weeder, the group that mows and clears brush, and, over time, he noticed little was being done to upright and level the stones. “Obelisks may be pushed over by trees, cattle, or vandals. We are an older group; and it’s no easy thing to lift stones 800 to 2,000 pounds, so some laid there for years. It is a complex job, but I am committed to it.” Joe built a portable hoist tripod that could right stones up to 2,000 pounds, and the group uses pinch bars to lift the bases. He also has techniques to repair tablet stones, which break easily due to their shallow depth. “There are three types; limestone, marble, and granite,” Joe says. “Before the 1920s, limestone and marble were common because they were easier and cheaper to carve, but they are not as durable. We have many graves in settlements from the 1850s and they clearly show their age.”

Facebook/ WilliamsonCounty CemeteryRestorationVolunteers

They officially maintain 18 formerly neglected cemeteries in Williamson County, and last year, made more than 100 visitations to 23 cemeteries for grounds maintenance and stone work. Most of the time, volunteers pay their own expenses. But Joe says the County Historical Commission (WCHC) has recognized their efforts with $2,000 in donations for equipment, supplies, and signage to reflect their work at each site. Anyone can contribute to their work by donating to the WCHC and including the group in the memo/message.

A PASSION FOR HISTORY Joe and the team have a unique perspective on the history of the county as well as small towns that are little more than a crossroad or a mention on a map. He notes these cemeteries are not abandoned, just neglected, and connect us to the earliest residents of the area. For instance, the community of Gabriel Mills was absorbed into the City of Liberty Hill nearly a century ago, but the graves remain, despite being forgotten by everyone but the Restoration crew. The same is true for the former Donohoe Creek community in Jarrell. “All these little towns and communities have a history, and the work fascinates us, particularly when descendants come out to help. Those moments bring it all home and maintain our connections between the living and the past.” The CRV welcomes anyone who wishes to volunteer to help with the “yard work” of this labor of love. Contact the Williamson County Historical Society (WilcoHistory.org) for opportunities, or email WilcoCRV@gmail. com.



Photos courtesy of Joe Plunkett. Top: Leveling a stone at Davis Cemetery in Leander • Left: Connell Family tomb cover at Bear Creek

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Williamson County Begins Vaccinations PRIMARY SUPPORT FOR HIGH-RISK GROUPS


illiamson County has begun providing COVID vaccines to all those who wish to have it. Working diligently with state and private sector partners, County Judge Bill Gravell is committed to acquiring adequate doses of the vaccine to deliver to our most vulnerable populations as quickly as possible. Judge Gravell requested 30,000 doses and received 6,000 to start. On the first day of a vaccine hub in Sun City, Family Emergency Room personnel gave 2,530 doses, which will justify to the State of Texas that Williamson County is registering quickly and waiting for vaccines, which will move them to send more. The walk-in site, at the Sun City ballroom, will be in operation as the vaccines are made available. “It’s not just for Sun City; anyone residing in Texas is eligible,” the Judge says. “The process takes about 20-30 minutes, and is faster if you register online beforehand.”

V I S I T W I LCO. O R G F O R N E W S A N D D AT E S R E G I S T E R AT FA M I LY H O S P I TA L S Y S T E M S . CO M Judge Gravell says, “We have pushed hard for these doses because Williamson County has the largest number of veterans in Texas, and the 6th largest in the nation. Many of those are 65 years or older, and it is incumbent upon us to care for seniors and those who have served our nation.” Last month, the County reported all of Group 1A; local hospitals and healthcare systems, EMS personnel, and 2,020 seniors in 14 long-term care facilities or nursing homes received the vaccine. Group 1B includes all individuals 16 years and older with at least one chronic health concern; e.g., cancer, heart disease, sickle-cell, COPD, diabetes, obesity, and others. The County estimates there are 120,000 residents who qualify for Group 1B, and the Judge expects distribution to take about three months. He added, “From the beginning I have stated our seniors are our most valuable population, and they are the

group of people who have suffered the greatest loss of life in our county and country. That is why we are using every resource available to protect them.”

Referring to vials of vaccine in the makeshift lab room, Judge Gravell said, “This looks like gold to me. We are giving hope to our people.” Medical personnel are able to get 10 doses from each vial.

Medical personnel are eager to deliver shots and get the data entered, real-time, into the state database. Judge Gravell says, “We make requests and we have to put shots in arms. Bottom line, I can not get more unless I can prove that we need it. Fortunately, we have a waiting list and we will notify people when the opportunity is available.” Recipients also make the appointment for their second dose before leaving the ballroom. One gentleman received his confirmation email as he was walking out the door. The Judge says, as availability expands, there will be more than 100 locations county-wide, and the plan also includes a mobile vaccination van to address homebound elderly and rural populations. Most Texas counties, including Williamson County are using the Moderna vaccine. “The assembly line is moving along,” Judge Gravell says. “It will take some time to take care of our seniors first, and there is not currently an unlimited supply. It is important to note, also, that getting the vaccine is entirely voluntary, but we will ensure everyone in Williamson County who wants it will be able to get it.”

I W I L L G E T T H E VA CC I N E , B U T O N LY A F T E R E V E R Y P E R S O N O V E R 65 G E T S I T F I R S T. W E ’ V E B U R I E D TO O M A N Y S E N I O R A D U LT S TO P U T A N YO N E I N F R O N T O F T H E M . ~ J U D G E G R AV E L L



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I Now Pronounce You...

by Charlotte Kovalchuk charlotte@georgetownview.com photos courtesy of Nancy Woods

the responsibility for speaking a word for God week by week. But God kept poking at me and saying, ‘I want you to preach.’ After two years, I surrendered to God’s call.” Thus began a 32-year journey that led her to pastor eight United Methodist churches, including being the founding pastor of Wellspring United Methodist Church in Georgetown—a highlight of her career. Driven by passion for people and a desire to give back to her community, she loves being part of special days and traditions. She recalls one touching experience when the groom lit and inscribed a candle that has been in his family for more than 200 years, and bears the names of every descendant inscribed on their wedding day. “It was really special to be part of that ongoing family tradition.”


ancy Woods has been marrying couples for more than 30 years, so, after retirement, her next chapter was an easy one—weddings. “I get to be with people on the best day of their lives,” she says. “What’s not to like about that? That’s the best.” She opened an officiant business, I Pronounce You, in 2018 and has continued to be part of couples’ special days ever since. But what sets her apart from other wedding officiants is that she not only considers that memorable day, but all the ones that follow by offering premarital counseling. “People spend so much time on the details of weddings, some forget to prepare for the marriage,” Nancy says. “Marriage is daily; a hard gig. For-better-orworse really is true.”

A CALLING Nancy has had an interesting journey: legal secretary to preschool teacher to Christian education director to pastor. “I never wanted to be a pastor; because my husband was a pastor, I knew being a preacher/pastor/priest carries a tremendous amount of stress,” she says. “I was awestruck at 48


But never is her job more rewarding than standing at the altar when the bride walks down the aisle. “I always watch the groom as well. Usually, there’s a tear that leaks out,” she says.

LOVE DURING COVID-19 Nancy’s business, other wedding vendors, and many couples’ plans have taken a hit over the last year. “The whole wedding industry has been decimated,” she says. “Everybody has been affected. Most vendors have been trying to keep [their] noses above the water.” Many of her clients who dreamed of a large wedding have had to reschedule multiple times over the last year, or scale down to a ten-person event and plan for a big party later. But Nancy is hopeful for the future of I Pronounce You. “There is a huge amount of pent-up desire for couples to start planning their weddings; we are scheduling as quickly as we can,” she says. “I Pronounce You will be here to be their officiant.” Visit IPronounceYou.today to learn more.

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Cowboy Boots

Everyone Needs a Pair

Ann Marie Kennon annmarie@georgetownview.com

what makes Texas “Texas”


hile other states may argue the point, for many decades, there were not many items of clothing so rich in history that they identified Texas as your place of residence as accurately as a cowboy boot. (Don’t worry... we’ll get to ten-gallon hats later.) Boots were as essential to a cowboy’s standard gear as they are for a youngster’s Lone Ranger costume. And, you know you can actually hear the “kkshhching” sound in your head when you imagine an outlaw or a marshal doing a slow walk into a saloon wearing spurs. Like many things in the Lone Star State, cowboy boot design and function show off the vivid history and culture of Texas with every step.

BOOT CAMP Like much of the cowboy culture itself, boot designs were adapted from the equestrian culture of Spanish and Mexican vaqueros, who began hand-making boots in the 1500s. There is also some evidence that military boots, designed for cavalry, had an influence on the eventual design as well. Early boots were cowhide leather pieced together with single rows of top stitching. Custom boots often included decorative stitching to match the colors of the ranch, or cutouts in the high tops—e.g., Texas stars—based on the wearer’s preferences. When they first hit the trail, boots were a functional option for working cowboys. Hardworking trail riders needed affordable and practical footwear that would allow them to ride safely, but also provide support when they needed to run, and transition back into the saddle again.

In the 19th century, the rise and popularity of wild west shows influenced new fashionable styles that working cowboys adopted for their non-working and “dress” boots. Later, in the 1930s and ‘40s, Hollywood Westerns brought even more color, accessories, and materials that helped mold the cowboy image across the country’s collective conscience. Modern, authentic cowboy boots are available in all colors and can be made from just about every animal whose skin can be made into leather, including exotic materials like alligator and ostrich.

FUNCTION AND FORM Nothing tells you more about the cowboy you’re looking at than the boots on his feet. Specifically, heel height and toe shape. One thing they all have in common, the slick, treadless leather sole of the boot allows easy in and out motion in of the stirrups of a Western saddle. As well, the toe of a riding boot was rounded and slightly narrowed at the toe to make it easier to insert into the stirrup. The modern shape of the toe in “dress boots”, while a source for debate, does not have much influence on use or safety, and tends to simply reflect personal preference. Many bootmakers have proprietary names for the toe shape, but, generally, wearers can choose from roach-killer, narrow pointed to reach into corners; snip, the top edge of the point is flattened slightly; wide snip, wider edge at the top; square, and round. The heel of a roper boot is flat and stable. Men and women wear roper heels when jumping from a horse to rope a steer and immobilize the animal before branding it. This boot is designed for maximum stability on the ground to avoid falls or ankle injuries while wrestling or bull-dogging a steer. The modern roper style boot, with a low heel and shorter shaft, evolved from traditional designs to accommodate modern rodeo cowboys, particularly calf roping, where the cowboy had to run to tie the calf as well as to ride. The lower shaft meant

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what makes Texas “Texas” less expense and also allowed the boot to be easily removed. Riding heels; about 2”, with a steep forward pitch (angled forward from top to bottom) keep the rider’s foot from sliding too far forward in the stirrup. While in the saddle, the tall, angled heel minimizes the risk of the foot sliding forward through the stirrup, which could be life-threatening to the rider if he became unbalanced or unseated. Historically, this was likely, since cattlemen often rode young or unfamiliar horses in challenging terrain. If a rider fell from a horse but had a boot caught in the stirrup, there was a risk that the horse could panic and run off; if the boot was fully through the stirrup, there was a danger of being dragged. The tall, sturdy shaft helps hold the boot in place without lacing. These features helped prevent a cowboy from being dragged since his body weight could allow him to slip his foot out if he fell off while the boot remained stuck in the stirrup. While mounted, the shaft also protected the lower leg and ankle from rubbing on the leathers, as well as from brush and thorns. While dismounted, the shaft helped protect the leg and foot from rocks, brush, thorns, and rattlesnake bites. In wet weather or creek crossings, the high tops also helped prevent the boot from filling with mud and water.

MODERN FADS Back when cowboys were a feature of the West, these boots weren’t made for walkin’. They served the practical purpose of allowing men to ride comfortably in the western saddle for an extended period of time without slipping. Spurred by the 1980 movie “Urban Cowboy,” western fashion became a mainstream rage and sales of boots increased exponentially. For a brief time, fashion mavens and cowboy wanna-bes across the nation bought boots and hats as quickly as the manufacturers could stitch them. Many boot makers worked long hours and upscaled their plants to keep up with demand, which dropped just as suddenly and put many out of work by 1985. But the fondness for the American West never died out, although some designs are hardly recognizable or reminiscent any more of actual cowboys.



REAL LIFE URBAN COWBOY: Since 1998, Robert Burck has been one of New York City’s most popular tourist attractions. Wearing nothing but a hat, underwear, and cowboy boots, he performs for money and takes photos with visitors as long as weather permits. He has a long list of corporate sponsors although, oddly, just one of them is an underwear company, and none are boot makers.

Cowboy boots continue to come in and out of vogue around the world, and have changed with each iteration. In the Internet Age, in which you can find tie-dyed or metallic boots... or both, western wear even has its own counterculture hashtag, #Yeehaw. Some see the pop culture and fashion industries trying to assimilate the masculine image of the cowboy and a new embrace of the nostalgia it represents—although some do it ironically as a poke at conservative America. In either case, boot makers are going to continue to be in business for a long time to come.

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facts to blow your mind

Valentinus is not only the Patron Saint of sweethearts and love, he is also the go-to guy for bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, plague, travelers, and young people. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.” The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every year. In South Korea, the 14th of every month is a romantic holiday of some sort. Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day (for singles), Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day. 220,000 people get engaged on Valentine’s Day every year. Happy Irony Day: King Henry VIII declared February 14th a holiday in 1537. He also killed most of his wives for not giving him a son. A fourth chocolate, ruby, now officially exists. The innovation of Swiss confectionery company Barry Callebaut, its pink hue comes entirely from Ruby cocoa beans found around the world. Ruby beans provide pink color along with a fruity berry flavor no other chocolate type possesses. The 80 million bacteria exchanged during kissing helps boost your immune system—it’s good for your teeth, too. Americans spend $700 million on Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets. And 15% of American women send themselves flowers. In Russia, the Ukraine and former Soviet Union countries, if you plan to give a woman flowers, make sure you give her an odd number (not an even dozen typically given in America). Even numbers of flowers are reserved for grieving and funerals.

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~ PSALM 127:3





For questions, information or to schedule a tour, visit our website or call any of our locations.




104 Copper Lane Jarrell 512-746-2333 105 Western Sky Trail Jarrell 512-598-3900 4802 Moreland Dr. Georgetown 512-868-8300

poppy talks

“Unity” I Can Appreciate W

 We all have at least a partial pile of t-shirts we don’t wear but won’t throw away.

 Whether it’s kettle chips or kale chips, we all have those precious half-dozen-or-so things in the pantry that we never allow ourselves to run out of.

 Open birthday card, in front of gifter. Try really hard to focus on the nice message. Do not be obvious about trying to read the amount on the check.

 If you don’t say “wed-nez-day” in your head when you write it out, you’re totally lying.

 Am I the only one wishing I could be a child and someone would tell me to go to my room when company arrives?

ithout expressing my opinions about the current national conversation that focuses on unity (mostly because this magazine only has 68 pages), I do want to take a stab at some stuff we maybe already had in common.... ‘cause we’re human ‘n all.

 Admit it, there were a few times in life you peeked around the shower curtain to make sure there was no one in the room. Modern day... you probably (or should) have a sticky note covering your webcam, just in case.  We fall asleep on the couch and decide to stay there all night because, if we walk to the bed, we lose all our “sleepy.”  It’s really annoying that everyone in the neighborhood knows when you’re trying to sneak one of the danishes in those covered plastic, impossibly tight grocery store trays.  We all have that friend or relative we need only look at, when someone does something stupid, to know, “Yeah, we’re totally going to talk about that later.”  Most people want to be told “Happy Birthday” but most of us don’t want to have to actually tell anyone that it’s today.

 The only time I’m good at math is when I wake up in the night a dozen times and calculate, to the minute, how much more sleep I can get if I fall back to sleep immediately.

 That awkward moment when you insist someone hear/ see/read something that changed your life, and, a minute in, you have to say, “Wait, it gets better.”  Admit it, you’ve Googled yourself. And, perhaps, thought the page 1 results should have been different.  When you feel like you typed the password incorrectly, you have to delete the whole thing because you have no idea which character might have been wrong.  How often have you clicked the “Public View” of your social media profile to see what you might think of yourself as a stranger?  For dog and cat people... no matter how many pets you have in your life, there will always be that one perfect pup/kitty by whom all the others are measured.

 Maybe one of the reasons we don’t use much cash any more is the mild panic attack we have when people are staring and rolling their eyes while we try to put away the bills and the coins and the receipt without dropping it all over the place. Or, when you give the cashier exact change, you have to say, “I think that’s right...”

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Healthy, Simple & Delicious

Texas Longhorn Steak • Skillet • Olive oil • Garlic salt

• Salt & Pepper • Smashed garlic

• Onion • Rosemary

• Butter


Cover with foil and let stand for 5-7 minutes.

For the cut and size of your choosing, allow meat to thaw to room temperature.

While letting it stand, melt butter, smashed garlic, and fresh rosemary for drizzle.

Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. We add a little onion or garlic salt, whatever we have on hand.

Drizzle over steak, thinly slice and enjoy your healthy and delicious Texas Longhorn steak!

Heat the cast iron skillet until you can’t hold your hand one inch over the surface for more than 3 seconds.

4-oz Longhorn sirloin

4-oz chicken breast

Add steak and cook for 2-3 mins on each side. To see if done, press with finger; steak will not feel mushy or hard.

• 140 calories

• 173 calories

• 25.5 grams protein

• 30 grams protein

• 3.7 grams fat

• 4.5 grams fat

• 61.5 mg cholesterol

• 85.7 mg cholesterol

Note: Grass-fed beef is best medium rare. If you cook to medium, it will be tougher than traditional grain-fed beef. Remove from heat and place on cutting board.



food LONGHORN CHILI • 1 T olive oil

• 1.5 cups chopped onion

• 1/2 tsp minced garlic

• 2 lbs ground longhorn beef

• 3/4 tsp salt

• 1/2 tsp pepper

• 6 oz tomato paste

• 1/2 thyme

• 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes • 1/4 cup chopped green onion • 1 tsp Tony Chachere seasoning • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper • 1/2 tsp cumin powder • 1/2 tsp garlic salt Put olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add onions, garlic and beef. Cook until meat is browned. Add salt and pepper. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste, green onions. Add remaining seasonings. Stir and simmer for at least 20 minutes. Serve with warm tortillas and guacamole or avocado slices.

LONGHORN MEATLOAF 2 lbs. ground longhorn beef • 1 C milk • 1 C uncooked quinoa (or crushed Ritz Crackers) • 1 egg, beaten • 1/2 C ketchup

• 1 tsp salt • 1/3 C onion, chopped fine • 1 tsp black pepper • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

MEATLOAF Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 5½ x 10½ -inch loaf pan with butter or cooking spray, set aside. In measuring cup or bowl, combine milk and quinoa and cook in microwave for 1 min. Stir. This step is not necessary if using Ritz Crackers. In large bowl, combine ground beef, egg, milk, quinoa (or crackers), ½ cup ketchup, onion, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well with hands until thoroughly combined. Put mixture into prepared pan, smooth with a slight rise in the center (like a loaf of bread). Put on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for 1-1/2 hours.

SAUCE • 3/4 c apricot preserves • 1 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar (or Worcestershire) • 3/4 c ketchup • 1/4 c brown sugar In small bowl, combine sauce ingredients. If your Balsamic Vinegar is too tangy, add an additional tablespoon of brown sugar or honey. Mix well. Spread half the mixture on the loaf evenly halfway through baking; save the rest for dipping or when serving. Let meatloaf sit for 15 minutes before slicing. F O R Q UA L I T Y, LO C A L LY - G R A S S - F E D LO N G H O R N B E E F, V I S I T H AG L E R LO N G H O R N S . CO M TO P U R C H A S E F O R P I C K U P O R WA L K - I N . G R O U N D B E E F, F I L E T S , S I R LO I N S , R O U N D S T E A K , A N D R I B E Y E S . Thanks to Hagler Ranch for sharing recipes and preparation tips for their grass-fed longhorn beef, one of the healthiest sources of flavor and protein. See our story on page 20. F E B R UA RY 2 0 2 1  G E O R G E TO W N V I E W





NOW HIRING! Contact us for more details!

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parting shots

That Day it Snowed in Georgetown

While, officially, the snowfall was 3-1/2 inches, to all the kids in Georgetown (age 5-100) it might well have been three feet.

Photos: Top, Georgetown Firefighter/Paramedic Matt Stubblefield (Facebook) • Above: Valentina created a snowwoman in the image of her grandma, Irene; photo by mom, Vanessa • The Martinez Snowman in Teravista, photo by Veronica Martinez • The Brothers Noelle Snowman photo by Renee Noelle


Our brave firefighters were sharing safety advice with the uninitiated, but also taking some time to enjoy the fluffy happiness. The Almanac says we will be back to our regularly scheduled mild winter for February!


WHAT A DIFFERENCE TWO DAYS MAKES... We paid a visit to the Demo Gardens on Tuesday, and this is just a sampling of what Texas can brag about in January! See more about the garden on page 30.

georgetown view P.O. Box 2281, Georgetown, TX 78627


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Georgetown View Magazine • February 2021  

Georgetown View Magazine • February 2021