Page 1









t u o b a

PROTECT What You’ve Worked So Hard to Grow

Call Now to Advertise in Call 979-885-3562 or email publisher@sealynews.com for advertising information. Deadline: Mid-March Issue Date: April 23, 2020 Effective advertising is key to driving your business’s success. The Rail Fall Magazine is a valuable vehicle to help you successfully market your brand. With features geared toward helping local economy, health and fitness, hidden treasures, education and much more, this section is the ideal spot for promoting your products and services to more potential customers.

SPRING 2020 Publisher & Editor KAREN LOPEZ General Manager AMY LIEB Managing editor JOE SOUTHERN


6 12 15 24 32 34

PERSON OF DISTINCTION Jeff Virnau is all about faith, family, community and business


MUST SEE This spring's box office blockbusters

Contributing photographers JOE SOUTHERN COLE MCNANNA

THE POWER OF POWERLESS FLIGHT Greater Houston Soaring Association finds the sky’s no limit

Advertising AMY LIEB

CBD All your questions answered CHECK YOUR 20/20 IN 2020 Get an eye exam to keep on top of your eye health DISCOVERING THE BONDS OF FAMILY Social media, DNA tests connect long-lost families

Designer VICTORIA PARKER Produced by Sealy Publications Inc., publishers of The Sealy News. 193 Schmidt Rd. Sealy, Texas 77474 979-885-3562 For more information about advertising and distribution contact publisher@sealynews.com COPYRIGHT © 2020 The entire contents of this publication and its electronic version at sealynews.com are copyrighted by Sealy Publications Inc. No material may be reproduced without the expressed written permission of the publisher. Copyright © 2020 Sealy Publications Inc. All Rights Reserved.





1 3 4


Don’t do one cup of water at a time when you have a container that won’t fit under the faucet. Use a standard dustpan that has a broom handle snap. Place it under the faucet. The dustpan will be the perfect channel to extend the reach of the water to the container below.



Most of you may already know this one. To keep water from boiling over your pot, place a wooden spoon horizontally across the top of the pan.


If you are like me, you hit your fingers while trying to hammer a nail into the wall. No more bruising! Hold the nail with a clothes pin.




Always losing your chip clips? Take one of the store plastic clip pant hangers, cut off each end along the horizontal line. Simple, easy and almost free!


FOR 2020



To remove strawberry stems use a straw! Push the straw from the bottom point of the strawberry through the top. Easy-peasy!


PERSON OF DISTINCTION Jeff Virnau is all about faith, family, community and business



any people talk about work-life balance, but Jeff Virnau takes it a step further. “You really can’t separate out business and community and my faith and my family because they’re all just intertwined,” he said. “If I’m out in the community I’m part of the family, part of the community, part of the business.” Virnau, 54, is Sealy native and the third-generation owner of Virnau Sealy Tractor. “The company itself, my dad, my grandfather and my uncle started in 1961. It was the three of them,” Virnau said. At the time it was called W.A. Virnau and Sons. “In ’71 my dad got it by himself and he kept the name because he was junior. I came back full time in ’88. That’s when I got out of college. I’d worked here since ’78. In 1978 I started 13 years old, a dollar an hour, helping mechanics, handing them wrenches, doing some of the grunt work for those guys.” Even though he has three siblings, Virnau has always known he was destined to run the family business. It’s what he’s done for 41 years. “I knew it was my career path and I enjoy it,” he said. “I enjoy dealing with people and I enjoy mechanical things, I enjoy the opportunity to get out and be around the public. Of course, being here is fun. The people that I work with, that’s what really makes this company great is all my people.” Virnau started running the business in 2001 and after his father died, he and his wife Melissa bought it from his mother,

Jeff Virnau sits on a tractor on his showroom floor. He has worked at Virnau Sealy Tractor for 41 years.

Kathryn, in 2016. As much as Virnau is identified with Sealy Tractor, he is also well ingrained in the community. “Graduated here in 1983 from Sealy High School, then went to Southwest Texas, San Marcos. I managed to squeeze four years into four and a half,” he said. Virnau met his wife in college. After he graduated, they married and came back to Sealy. While he worked, she raised their four daughters, Emily, Samantha, Annaliese and Katelyn. “She (Melissa) actually went back to college, she went to A&M; she’s a student at A&M right now. So after a lot of years raising a family she’s going back to finish her degree and will graduate in May of 2020. So I’m real proud of her and excited for her,” Virnau said. For most of Virnau’s life he was a member of First Baptist Church in Sealy. For the last few years they have been attending First Baptist Church in Bellville. They homeschooled their daughters in their early years and then sent them to Faith Academy. Community involvement has always been a big part of Virnau’s life. From school, church, and just growing up here, he has become as much a part of Sealy as it has become of him. “When you’re out in the community and part of the community we’re just real blessed as a business,” he said. “Like I say, my people make us successful. We have a good atmosphere around here. They’re proud to be out and part of the community and doing things out there. When I’m out we try to support different clubs and organizations and charities.” In addition to being a member of First Baptist, he is a member of the Sealy Lions Club and is part of the Austin County Go Texan Committee. “I do a lot with the fair. I’m not a committee person there because some of their time requirements don’t work with my ability to work our booth at the fair and things like that, but we’re real involved with the Austin County Fair,” he said. 8


Jeff and Melissa Virnau

Several Kubota awards line the shelf behind Jeff Virnau’s desk in his office at Virnau Sealy Tractor.

He has also been very active with the Sealy Chamber of Commerce over the years. “I’ve been on the chamber board I think three rounds. Now it’s mostly volunteer work,” he said. Chamber President Vince Wollney called him, “A true giver to all he meets.” Zanetta Knesek called him a man of many talents. “His heart is genuine and he’s the truest gentleman I’ve ever met,” she said. “Our community is blessed to have him be a part of our town.” There is no shortage of accolades that come in about Virnau from the community. “I have known Jeff a long time. I worked for him back in 1998. His father was still alive. He gave me a chance working for him. He had so many high school students also working for him at the time in the parts department. Jeff is a great man and does so much for the community. Him and his wife are both amazing,” said Casey Coursey (Andrews). “Jeff is an amazing, caring, compassionate and serving man in our community and county,” said Karla Wendlandt Kitterman.  “Jeff is a great community leader and businessman but more importantly, he has always been a genuine, caring and giving person! That’s what I remember from our school days,” said Barbara Jaloway Weatherford. Maggie Kent knows Melissa from her days teaching preschool at Trinity Lutheran Preschool.

“(He was a) big part of our program as his children were growing up. He’s still there for us if we need anything! Kind, generous, and trustworthy as God would like all of us to be,” she said. “The sign on his business may say Sealy Tractor, but I know for sure he supports the youth of Austin County and beyond,” Lennon Jones said. “Great influence for the community. He helped my son, Conner Neumann, as well as countless others.” Even State Rep. Ben Leman complimented him. “He is genuinely one of the nicest people I have met in House District 13. He always has a smile on his face and a welcoming remark,” he said. Virnau said he can’t see any other way of doing business or living life. “We’re here in business but we’re also a family business, so if somebody has a need or something, we want them to take care of that as far as an employee here,” he said. “We really want to work with our people. As I’ve said, we’ve got the best people, I really feel that. Our family atmosphere and our beliefs come first, then do the best we can, serve the customer and all of that is the goal and mindset and then help people with their equipment needs. “To me that’s the goal. If I can help them I will. If I can steer them in the right direction based on some of our past experiences and expertise, me and my people do a great job of that. People keep coming back and that’s a great testament to treating them right,” he said. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL


Arrive as Customers, Leave as Friends, Return as Family

Reliability comes in all sizes. Rugged versatility is what makes Kubota tractors the perfect choice for getting every job done right. And now the payment plan is as efficient as the machines. Get $0 down, 0% A.P.R. financing for 60 months. Visit us today.

BX Series

B Series

L Series

MX Series

Virnau Sealy Tractor

Your reliable dealer since 1961



W.A. Virnau Sealy Tractor 1537 Hwy 36, Sealy Tx (979) 885-3549

SealyTractor.com KubotaUSA.com Š Kubota Tractor Corporation, 2019. $0 Down, 0% A.P.R. financing for up to 60 months on purchases of select new Kubota BX Series, B Series, L Series, and MX Series equipment from participating dealers’ in-stock inventory is available to qualified purchasers through Kubota Credit Corporation, U.S.A.; subject to credit approval. Some exceptions apply. Example: 60 monthly payments of $16.67 per $1,000 financed. Offer expires 12/31/19. For complete warranty, safety and product information see dealer or KubotaUSA.com.


Public Service, Community Commitment We support our Sealy Chamber of Commerce Finance Public Works and Utilities Planning and Community Municipal Courts Police Parks and Recreation Animal Control Mayor and City Council City Manager And all of our wonderful staff !

il o B p m i r h K at hy ’s S fro m 5-9p m (eve r y Fr iday) fo r $10.50 lb in c lude s c o r n a n d p ot ato w it h eve r y pou nd.

t h g

i N y h a d fis r u aw t Sa Cr Buckets of Beer available!

Live Music!

Contact Us Phone: (979) 885-3511 Fax: (979) 885-3513

415 Main Street Sealy, TX 77474-2232 http://www.ci.sealy.tx.us/

9027 S.E. I 10 Frontage Rd. d. d. Sealy, Texas 77474








Fantasy Island

The Call of the Wild

MARCH 2020


Sonic the Hedgehog


APRIL 2020

I Still Believe

The Way Back



Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway

No Time to Die

Trolls World Tour

Authorized Agent for Alamo, Commonwealth, Fidelity National, First National, First American and Westcor

We proudly service the rural areas in & around AusƟn County including: Sealy, Cat Spring, Wallis, Monaville (in Waller County), Frydek, San Felipe, Brazos Country, Moravian Ridge, SeƩlers Estates, the Orange Hill Rd. area, CoushaƩe RecreaƟon Ranch & most business/rural residences along I-10.

High Speed Broadband Internet Service



 Movie & Video Streaming  Video Gaming  Households with Multiple Users  Music Streaming  Using an Internet Phone  Basic Internet Activities Such as Email, Browsing Websites, and

25 North Bell • Bellville, Texas T: 979-865-3669 F: 979-865-3670 Proudly serving Austin, Burleson, Colorado, Fayette, Lee, Milam, Waller & Washington Counties



Social Media Our Äxed wireless service is MUCH faster & more reliable than satellite internet service. 1089 Pyka Rd. Sealy, TX 77474 www.JetJetInternet.com

Call Now 979-885-6594 Locally owned company in Sealy, TX We pride ourselves on our excellent customer service and reliability



FLIGHT Nonprofit finds the sky’s no limit

This is the view from the cockpit as a tow plane pulls a glider into the air. PHOTOS BY JOE SOUTHERN

For more information

To schedule a ride, call 979-398-5827 On weekends call 979-478-2323 Email: info@houstonsoaring.org Online: Houstonsoaring.org



oaring in a glider is as elegant, graceful and peaceful as a bird in flight. Every weekend when the weather cooperates, dozens of pilots, hobbyists, and bucket list adventurists gather at the narrow grass strip next to Brazos High School in Wallis and take to the skies in tiny aircraft that have no engines. “It’s an exciting sport, it’s a fun sport, it’s a rewarding sport, it really tests your ability as a pilot,” said Michael Hunter, president of the Greater Houston Soaring Association. The GHSA is a nonprofit organization that promotes the sport of soaring. “Our charter is to educate people on the sport of soaring and general aviation in general,” Hunter said. “We instruct for free. We’re all volunteer.” Although instruction may be free, rides are not. That is one way the GHSA funds its operations. Rides are $110 for people 21 and older and $70 for those under 21. Riders must be between the weight of 75 to 230 pounds and can be of any age so long as they are mature enough to leave the controls alone so the pilot can fly the plane. “I’ve taken up a 70-year-old and an 80-year-old on their birthdays for rides. The smiles on their face is amazing,” Hunter said, adding that his youngest passenger was about 8-9 years old. Rides vary on the weather, availability of pilots, and how busy it is at the air strip. 16


“We usually stay up between 20 and 30 minutes,” Hunter said. “I’ve kept people up an hour if they’re enjoying it.” Pilots flying on their own stay up for hours at a time. “The average flight is three to four hours. We have some guys that do four to five hours every time they go up,” he said. Uwe Prigge (pronounced Oo-va Preg-ah) learned to fly in his native Germany and is a longtime member of the GHSA. “I grew up in Germany and it’s very popular in Germany. There’s many, many clubs and I’ve always dreamt of flying and that was a great place to start,” he said. “Soaring is a great team sport. Even though you’re flying in single-seaters it takes an entire team to get you into the air. You need a tow plane, you need a dispatcher, you need somebody to hook you up, and somebody to help you move the airplane. “Soaring is fascinating. I got hooked on it. It’s like three-dimensional sailing for me and it’s a hobby which you can expand very much in terms of knowledge – you have to understand flying and also the weather, for instance. It’s strategic when you do soaring in competition, when you fly with others and it’s very peaceful. It is looking and flying with the birds. It’s the closest way you get to heaven with your clothes on, that’s what we say,” Prigge said. Soaring is a sport, much like running in that the participant can just fly for the fun of it or enter a timed race. The races involve flying to predetermined locations and returning to base. The one with the fastest speed wins. “We have a couple people who are members of the club who are

A tow plane pulls a glider into the air at the Greater Houston Soaring Association airstrip in Wallis.

national champions,” Hunter said. “One of them recently went to the worlds over in Czechoslovakia and flew for the United States.” Hunter said the GHSA got its start as a club in Katy. “Then there was kind of a falling out amongst the members and it split into the two clubs that we have now in the Houston area,” he said. “This club moved to Beasley and was there for quite a long time until it purchased this land back in the middle ’90s and moved here in ’96 or ’97.” The other club is the Soaring Club of Houston in Waller. “We’re actually close and talk to each other all the time,” he said. “We share ideas, we fly together, do contests together and things like that. We enjoy a good relationship with them.” In 2011 the association built its aviation center, which includes bunks, a kitchen, showers, a large open space, meeting rooms, and even a flight simulator. Hunter likened the club to a fraternity. It currently has about 90 members. Back in the Katy days its membership included the first man to walk on the moon. “Neil Armstrong at one time flew with the combined clubs when the clubs were one,” he said. “He was a member of one of these clubs at one time. Someone out there has his old Libelle.” Not surprisingly, “We have three NASA people that fly with us but they’re not astronauts, they’re engineers at NASA,” Hunter said. He said soaring attracts a lot of engineers. The sport is dominated by men, mostly older with more disposable income. Hunter said there is a push to attract younger participants as well as women. “Among the 90 members we have eight or nine youth who are learning to fly, which is really the neat part of it all,” he said. 17


He said they’ve had youngsters earn their pilots license before getting their driver’s license. “We’ve had a number of kids come through the program who are now professional pilots,” he said. “We have a very diverse membership so it’s a great place to make friends,” said Prigge, who works in the chemical industry. “We have all different age groups. We have young students who can solo as young at 14 years old. We have transition pilots who want to get back into flying after they lost their medical, for instance.” For some, learning to soar is their first step toward earning a powered flight rating. For many, soaring is an emotional experience. “It’s amazing when you fly together with vultures in the same lift. You can even see some bald eagles here sometimes,” Prigge said. “That really makes my day. It helps me to relax after work and leave everything behind and it’s just you and the sky and the peaceful environment.” The lift he referred to is what the pilots call thermals. They are shafts or bubbles of warm air that rise from the ground and give gliders a boost, much like circling vultures and other birds do. Learning how to identify potential thermals and to take advantage of them is critical to maintaining flight according to Hunter. “If you’ve ever seen birds circling, like buzzards and different types of birds, what they’re doing is they’re in a mass of hot air that’s rising and it takes them up. And so we do the same thing. We get in that rising hot air and it takes us up to whatever elevation that hot air stops at,” he said. In this area, that is usually between 3,000 to 10,000 feet. “The highest we usually get in the summer here is around 6,000 feet,” he said. He explained that there are different types of lifts and different launch

Greater Houston Soaring Association President Michael Hunter and pilot Uwe Prigge make a safety inspection of a glider before it is flown.

A glider lifts off the ground as it is towed into the sky on a recent Saturday at the Greater Houston Soaring Association airstrip in Wallis.

methods, mostly in other parts of the country and the world. Here the clubs use tow planes and rely on thermals for additional lift. “You learn to read not only the sky but you learn to read the ground,” he said. He said some pilots actually spend as much time looking at the ground as the sky. “You’ll see things that will kick off a thermal,” he said. “If it’s a good, booming day, you’re looking for the next good-looking cloud. That’s how clouds are made. You’ve got the rising hot air that comes up and it hits the dewpoint and it turns into a cloud.” Naturally, one of the most common questions he gets from first time riders is about safety. “If you come out to get a ride, there’s some element of risk in it, otherwise we wouldn’t do it. But it’s very, very safe,” he said. “Accidents do happen,” Hunter admitted. “We are really, really safety conscious around here and are constantly reviewing our safety issues.” He said safety is the first topic of each monthly meeting. “A big part of what we do around here is safety,” he said. The peak season for soaring is March through October. Although they fly year-round, the winter months are typically dedicated to aircraft repair and maintenance and doing instruction. When the weekend arrives and if the weather cooperates, however, the call to flight takes hold. “If you’re just coming out here to get a ride, we just stay above the field here. It’s very peaceful, very quiet and you have to be careful because it’s addicting,” he said. 18


Greater Houston Soaring Association President Michael Hunter poses with his glider in the hangar at the airstrip in Wallis.



RIVERSIDE TIRE CENTER Family Owned and Operated Since 1940

12450 FM 1458 South Sealy, TX 77474 • 979-885-4009 www.riversidetire.com Monday-Friday 7am-5:30pm Saturday 7am-Noon

Traditional Texas Cooking since 1972





Free Estimates on New Systems

Wifi controllers available – Irrigation control from your phone!


(979) 732-3970 (800) 327-6787 sales@texasirrigation.com • www.texasirrigation.com 1870 Frelsburg Rd. • Cat Spring, TX 78933 Licensed & Insured • Licensed Irrigator Nos. 1373 & 9459 Whyman, Carolyn & Brian Psencik Established in 1983 Major Credit Cards Accepted 20


• Tune-ups • Oil Changes • Alignments • Engine & Transmission • Air Conditioning • Brakes 2036 Hwy. 90 West Sealy, Texas 77474 979.627.7746 (office) 979.627.7748 (fax)




alentine’s Day is celebrated in various ways throughout the world. One of the more popular methods of spending time with a romantic partner is over a delicious meal at a nice restaurant. Statistics Brain says that 34.6 percent of Valentine’s Day celebrants in the United States dine outside of the home, making this day dedicated to couples one of the most popular days to dine out all year. Dining out on Valentine’s Day helps to make the day more special, and the following are a number of additional reasons why couples should enjoy a meal out on the town this February 14.


Dining out gives individuals the opportunity to try new cuisine they may not attempt at home. This is a chance to expand flavor profiles and give something new a chance.


Many restaurants expend extra effort on presentation on Valentine’s Day,

dressing the plates with special garnish or with a unique presentation of the foods. Valentine’s Day meals are often as beautiful to look at as they are delicious to eat. Experiencing such visual masterpieces can add to the enjoyment of the night out.


One of the biggest benefits of dining out on Valentine’s Day is enjoying an evening away from the kitchen. Heading out for a restaurant meal means no stressing over what to cook for dinner, no wrangling with ingredients and no post-meal cleanup.


Chefs and restaurants may pull out all the stops for a special occasion like Valentine’s Day. Diners may learn more about exotic foods and wine pairings on Valentine’s Day than they might when dining out on less popular nights.


For much of the country, Valentine’s Day occurs during a time of year when winter is at its most harsh. Wintertime can be isolating as many people spend increased hours indoors to avoid inclement weather. Dining out gives couples the opportunity to get some fresh air and dine in a social environment that can help buoy spirits.


Dining at a restaurant may be the precursor to other things to come on Valentine’s Day. While out, couples may opt to head to a movie, enjoy some local live theater or stroll through a museum gallery. A good meal can make for the perfect starter to a memorable Valentine’s Day. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL


Valentine’s Day Dinner Date We’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with a delicious 6-course meal! Call today to make a reservation for you and your special someone!


Valentine’s Day Roses are red, Violets are blue, And we sure do appreciate Fine folks like you!

Sealy News

Reservation Only

Tin Lizzie’s Cafe 639 Taylor Street New Ulm, Texas


1425 FM 1463 Katy, TX 77494 281-665-1149 @TaDsofKaty


Join us this Valentine’s Day for a

Cajun Valentines! Cajun Catfish Special-$16.99

fried or grilled catfish topped with homemade crawfish etouffee served with a side & a salad



sealynews.com 193 Schmidt Rd., Sealy, Texas, 77474 (979) 885-356

n o a perstouch l

Add a personal touch to a classic drink FAMILY FEATURES

A traditional drink that’s easy to make when entertaining, it can be easy to put your own personal twists on the Bloody Mary. In this iteration, ditch the celery stick and complement your spicy beverage with cheese-filled perogies and bacon. For more entertaining and beverage recipes, visit Culinary.net.


• 1 teaspoon red pepper sauce • 1 bottle (64 ounces) tomato juice • 2 cups vodka 23


• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce • 2 tablespoons lime juice • ice • wooden skewers • 6 cheese-filled perogies, baked according to package directions • 6 slices bacon, cooked until crispy In large pitcher, combine red pepper sauce, tomato juice, vodka, Worcestershire sauce and lime juice; stir well. In glasses, pour over ice. Using wooden skewer, garnish each Bloody Mary with a cheesefilled perogy and bacon slice. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL









hat are the benefits of CBD? Is it a narcotic? Will it get you high? Will it show up on a drug test? What is it used for? Here are your questions answered!

What is CBD?

CBD, the acronym for cannabidiol, is a chemical compound from the cannabis (hemp) plant. It’s a natural substance used in products like oils and edibles resulting in a feeling of calm and relaxation. Unlike its cousin tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it is non-psychoactive, best known for its perceived medical benefits. By using it, you won’t have feelings of euphoria or feel an altered consciousness or feel sedated. “CBD is one of 113 plus molecules found in cannabis,” Joe Scearce, cannabis grower recently explained. “It’s the most abundant and the one that has been studied the most. It has hundreds of uses and benefits.”

Where can you buy it?

As one of the biggest wellness products advertised today, it seems you can buy it almost anywhere in states where it is legal. One reason is because CBD sales are estimated to be $22 billion by 2022 and businesses want in on the action because CBD is a considerably higher-margin product than the traditional dried cannabis flower. Plus, smoking any product (tobacco or cannabis), is at a five-decade low and a new generation of cannabis users prefer alternative consumption options, including vapes, edibles, topicals, concentrates, and oils. There is little fear of oversupply or pricing pressure. Retailers selling CBD-based products such as oils, topicals, and capsules include CVS Pharmacy, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Ulta Beauty, GNC, Designer Brands (sells creams and balms) and Neiman Marcus. Even though you can now buy CBD lattes at coffee shops, have a CBD facial at a spa, and buy CBD water in grocery stores, many people find CBD confusing, especially when learning how to use it and making sure it is legit. This is important because the FDA doesn’t regulate CBD, making it possible to buy a product more or less potent than advertised or even containing small amounts of THC.

What is hemp?

To understand CBD, you need to understand the female hemp plant. “We’ve all heard the words hemp, marijuana and cannabis and the Cannabis Sativa plant has two main species; hemp and marijuana, both of which contain CBD,” Scearce explained. The percentage of THC in hemp is very low (less than 0.3%) compared to marijuana. There is no CBD or THC in hemp oil which is oil taken from seeds of the hemp plant. You can often find this ingredient in beauty products because it is packed with healthy fats and used as moisturizers.

Where is CBD grown?

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, it is now legal to grow hemp in the United States. Because hemp grown for CBD could be worth up to $30,000 per acre, it is a lucrative crop to farm. Because regulations that govern hemp have yet to be established, it is up to each state to address their own policy regarding hemp cultivation. Hemp loves full sun (12-plus hours a day), loamy soil rich in organic matter full of specific rich minerals. It also adores water (20-30 inches of rainfall during its growth cycle). 26






“Because it is grown in high quantities, most of it is grown outside but it can also be grown in greenhouses,” Scearce said.

What are the health benefits of CBD?

With only one CBD medication FDA approved (for certain types of epilepsy (Epidiolex), people are now swearing it helps other ailments such as back pain, osteoarthritis and even cancer. But the research is not there yet to prove such statements. Pre-clinical trials over the last four decades have found cannabinoid shows promise as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, neuroprotectant, anxiolytic, anti-depressant, analgesic, sleep aide, anti-tumoral agent and anti-psychotic. It also acts as an antioxidant, absorbing free radicals. Cleaning the cells and helping them operate more efficiently is what leads to reduced inflammation. Reducing inflammation is very powerful in fighting diseases and ailments. It’s one of CBD’s strongest abilities.

What is the best way to take CBD?

There are many ways to take CBD and depending on how quickly you want the product to begin working and how long you need it to work are questions to ask when deciding the best method to take it. Vaping creates fast results (usually within 10 minutes) but wears off faster – usually between one to four hours. Tinctures (liquid placed under your tongue) and edibles (capsules, gummys or baked goods) begin working within 30 minutes but last four or five hours. Topical creams and ointments (apply to muscles, joints and ligaments for a localized release) last various time periods for various people and depend on how well your skin absorbs it and how much you use.

How is CBD extracted?

It is important to understand various CBD extraction methods as they have a major impact on the quality of the end product; not to mention your health. The solvent method is not recommended because it is dangerous to make and also more likely to cause health problems. CO2 cannabis extraction method: This is the most regularly used extraction method because it is safe and provides a pure end product. This method uses pressurized carbon dioxide (CO2) to pull CBD (and other phytochemicals) from the plant. CO2 acts like a solvent at certain temperatures and pressures, but possesses none of the dangers. The olive oil extraction method: This method can be done at home and involves heating the plant to a certain temperature for a specific length of time to activate the plant’s chemicals. The dry ice extraction method: This method can also be done at home although it takes more time and effort than its olive oil equivalent. The solvent extraction method: This method involves common substances such as ethanol, low-grade alcohol and butane. Although ethanol extracts the full range of cannabinoids from the plant, making the end product safe for consumption, it also extracts chlorophyll, which may lead to unpleasant side effects.

What is the difference between full spectrum and isolated? This is actually a question of dosing. Full



spectrum can include other cannabinoids such as cannabidivarin or cannabigerol. This is important because the “entourage effect” can happen which is when the ingredients are more effective together than any one of them alone. “Isolate is 100% CBD,” Scearce said. “Some people may need just 10 milligrams of full spectrum CBD while taking 80-100 milligrams of Isolate may not have the same effect.”

Does CBD cure diseases?

No. Any company making this claim should be avoided.

Is CBD a narcotic?

As long as CBD oil does not contain elements of THC, it is not considered a narcotic.

Will CBD show up on a drug test?

CBD should not show up on a drug test as long as you are buying it from a third-party tested CBD with no additional THC. But, if a drug test is more sensitive (such as the ones required for athletes), a positive test could result for trace amounts of THC if using CBD products.

Is CBD safe?

Because CBD is being produced without any regulation, products result in a wide variety of quality. It’s still uncharted territory because people who want to start a CBD company can say whatever they want and also put whatever they want on the label. There have been very few studies done on humans and in those studies did not include a control group that did not use the oil. Because of this, there is no way to know if the results are the true effect of the drug or just simply a placebo effect because someone thinks they have been given a drug that will be beneficial. A 2017 study led by Bonn-Miller found that nearly seven of 10 CBD products did not contain the amount of marijuana extract as indicated on the label and nearly 43 percent of the products contained too little CBD while 26 percent contained too much. One in five CBD products contained the intoxicating pot chemical. “If I were a consumer purchasing it for myself or my kid, I would want to test it so I knew what it actually had in it because I would not trust what was on the label,” Bonn-Miller concluded. People really need to be under the care of a health care provider who understands CBD. They need to be monitored and not just go out and buy CBD thinking it is going to be the answer. “Hemp and Cannabis have been around for a long time,” Scearce said. “A Chinese grave at least 2,000 years old was dug up in June in the Pamir Mountains (of what is now western China) and incense burners were unearthed. An analysis of the residue proved not only that it came from cannabis but also that it contained high levels of THC.” Marijuana can stay in the human system for several months but cannabis sticks to other surfaces for millennia.

Residential * Farm & Ranch * Commercial

832-723-2497 Roxanne Walker, Realtor roxtherealtor@gmail.com Serving Austin, Colorado, Fort Bend, Harris, Waller & Washington counties.


GREEN BEER? Overcome your hangover after partying on St. Patrick’s Day


t. Patrick’s Day is among the most festive days of the year. Whether you trace your ancestry to the Emerald Isle or not, chances are you have donned some green, danced a jig and/or hoisted a pint of Guinness in honor of St. Patrick on March 17. The festive atmosphere on St. Patrick’s Day compels some people to overindulge in alcohol. While medical experts warn against such behavior, cautioning adults to only consume alcohol in moderation, many Paddy’s Day revelers throw such caution to the wind. In such instances, a post-Paddy’s Day hangover may be on tap. Many people have their own hangover cures, which may or may not be effective. For those with no such cures in their arsenals, the following strategies may be just the thing to make the day after St. Patrick’s Day go more smoothly.

Stay hydrated throughout St. Patrick’s Day

Roxanne Walker is a native Texan. She is a member of the Houston Area Association of Realtors and Texas Association of Realtors. She loves helping others with marketing and selling their property and especially helping people attain their dream of a lifetime by owning their own home. She enjoys country acreage listing and sales and will meet you at the property with her Kubota! It is Roxanne’s desire to gain your complete confidence and trust as your Realtor.

If you’re going to be hoisting pints on St. Patrick’s Day, hoist glasses of water throughout the day as well. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking recommends drinking water while consuming alcohol. The IARD notes that alcohol acts as a diuretic. That means that when the body breaks down alcohol, it removes water from the blood through your urine. That can contribute to dehydration, creating some of the more unpleasant effects associated with being hungover. Drink some water with each alcoholic beverage you consume.

Consume electrolytes

According to Merck Source, alcohol interferes with the liver and pancreas, which can result in an imbalance of electrolytes. Electrolytes affect various parts of your body, including muscle function and other important processes. The medical resource Everyday Health notes that consuming electrolyte-rich beverages, including sports drinks, can restore the salt and potassium lost as a result of consuming alcohol. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL



19 North Bell • P.O. Box 339 Bellville, Texas 77418 (979) 865-3127 (979) 865-5034 Fax lschultz@ bellvilleabstract.com

Texas is Our Territory Bill Johnson & Associates Real Estate is thrilled to celebrate 50 years of serving Austin County and its surrounding communities. We’re here to assist you with your real estate needs anywhere in the Great State of Texas, so stop by our office and say “Hello”!

VIEW LISTINGS AT BJRE.COM 420 East Main Street Bellville, Texas 77418 9 7 9 . 8 6 5 . 5 9 6 9

424 Cedar Street New Ulm, Texas 78950 9 7 9 . 9 9 2 . 2 6 3 6






or much of the country, Easter Sunday typically falls during a time of year when the weather outside is still pretty chilly. But this year Easter falls on the third Sunday in April, increasing the chances that temperatures will be more spring-like and less reminiscent of winter. Warmer temperatures on Easter Sunday means hosts tasked with cooking Easter dinner might be able to expand their culinary horizons and avoid the stove. Though they might not have considered it before, hosts might want to fire up their smokers to give their families something delicious and different to dine on this Easter Sunday. If the weather takes an unexpected turn for the worse, electric smokers can typically be used indoors, but check the manufacturer’s instructions to confirm that. Big meals are part and parcel for Easter Sunday, this recipe for “Pork Loin Roast with Hot Pepper Jelly Glaze” from Karen Putman and Judith Fertig’s “Championship BBQ Secrets for Real Smoked Food” (Robert Rose) is a great way to take advantage of warmer Easter weather while still ensuring everyone has a full belly by the end of the meal.


• 1 boneless pork loin roast (about 2 lbs.) • 4 cups apple juice • 1⁄2 cup Brown Sugar Rib Rub (see below) • 1 cup hot pepper jelly • Additional apple juice for spraying 1. Rinse pork under cold running water and pat dry. Place in a large sealable plastic bag and pour in apple juice. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 12 hours.

2. Remove pork from marinade and pat dry. Discard marinade. Sprinkle dry rub over the surface of the meat, coating evenly. Set aside. 3. Prepare a fire in your smoker. 4. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt hot pepper jelly over medium-low heat. Keep warm by the smoker. 5. Place pork directly on the smoker rack, add wood to the coals and close the lid. Smoke at 225 F to 250 F, spraying with apple juice every 30 minutes, for 2 hours. Brush with hot pepper jelly, close the lid and smoke, spraying with apple juice every 30 minutes, for 1 to 11⁄2 hours, or until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the pork registers 160 F for medium, or until desired doneness. Let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.

BROWN SUGAR RIB RUB Makes about 3 1⁄2 cups

• 2 cups packed dark brown sugar or granulated maple • sugar • 1⁄2 cup fine kosher or sea salt • 1⁄4 cup sweet Hungarian paprika • 1⁄4 cup chili powder • 1⁄4 cup ground lemon pepper • 1⁄4 cup granulated garlic • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper • 1 teaspoon dried basil • 1 teaspoon dried thyme In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, lemon pepper, garlic, black pepper, basil, and thyme. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL




HOW IS YOUR 20/20 IN 2020?

Having the calendar roll over into 2020 is a good reminder for people to get an eye exam and to keep on top of their eye health. According to Dr. Paul Beckwith of Sealy Eye Center, many people take their eyes for granted until there is a problem. “Vision is one of the top senses we have,” he said. “People think eye exams, eye glasses, as a doctor I think eye exams, eye health. Let’s say the eye is healthy and we all age, that’s not fun and we get gray hair and aging eyes and we see everything from cataracts to retinal disease to macular degeneration – all of those things. Even if those people have aging problems they may or may not need eyeglasses as a result of that.” Beckwith said when it comes to vision and eye care, not everything is as it seems. “So, cataracts are an aging thing. We’re all aging, there’s a huge aging population now. Baby boomers are getting older now and I’m one of them,” he said. “So, you experience all of that. That eye care industry is a huge industry because you’ve got eye exams, eye problems, and vision difficulties, and people that need glasses and people that don’t need eyeglasses but then they have eye problems. “Then you start getting into the prescription glasses and people that do need eyeglasses and you write a prescription, and they’re almost like a recipe – optics are challenging, you get these eyeglasses and they don’t work because the prescription is off and so doctors, it takes an art to do that. You can get a great doc but not a very good optician, somebody that makes your glasses. There’s a lot of difference in optics,” he said.


According to the American Optometric Association, “20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. If you have 20/100 vision, it means that you must be as close as 20 feet to see what a person with normal vision can see at 100 feet.” The association notes that 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean perfect vision. “20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. Other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision, contribute to your overall visual ability,” it says on their website. “Some people can see well at a distance but are unable to bring nearer

objects into focus. This condition can be caused by hyperopia (farsightedness) or presbyopia (loss of focusing ability). Others can see items that are close but cannot see those far away. This condition may be caused by myopia (nearsightedness),” the AOA says. The most common chart used to test vision is called the Snellen eye chart. On that chart, the large “E” on top corresponds to 20/200 vision. If that is the smallest letter you can discern with corrective lenses, then you are legally blind.


Dr. Beckwith noted that there are many types of health issues with eyes, but that eventually everyone succumbs to something as they grow older. “You get an eye that comes in and it looks like this (pointing to a picture), you’ve got a very small cataract … the vision’s a little off, but that could be a congenital cataract, people were born with it, they were on oxygen as a newbie, things like that, so you get all kinds of eye problems. You get an aging eye, you get systemic problems, there’s all kinds of reasons to get an eye exam. So, I’m big on eye exams for eye health and then you get into all of the things that are related to it,” he said. He said being an eye doctor is very challenging. “Every patient is like a Forrest Gump movie; you never know what you’re going to get. You get a 12-year old, think it’s headaches and they don’t want to go to school, we have patients like that and they come in with a brain tumor. That’s an interesting type of patient. You never know what you see with patients,” he said. In addition to glasses and contact lenses, there are various surgeries that can be performed for different ailments of the eyes. The one thing Beckwith said doctors can’t fix is vanity. “So then you get into the optical business and the prescriptions. There’s all types of frames. There’s frames for $29, there’s frames for $1,400. They’re like jewelry,” he said. “You get into protecting the eyes in sun for fishing that type prescription and then you get into all types of eyeglasses. You get into specialty glasses, you get into all of this stuff, so when we write these prescriptions, we say ‘good luck, I hope you see.’ And it’s a challenge. Some people want very special glasses.”


Beckwith said people should not believe the old wives’ tale of glasses weakening the eyes. “The only thing eyeglasses do, the only thing they do, is help you to see better. If you’ve got great vision, you don’t need them. If you’ve got not-sogreat vision, you probably need them. At some point you start needing glasses, and that’s the focus of the eye. You can have very healthy eyes but horrible focus,” he said.

Dr. Paul Beckwith of Sealy Eye Center looks at different eye diseases depicted on his computer. He recommends people get their eyes examined to maintain good eye health in 2020. JOE SOUTHERN

Sisters Shelley Rocha and Kristina Freeman in Seattle. COURTESY PHOTOS





iraculous. That’s how it feels to find someone you’ve been searching for your whole life, says Diane Abel. Surprised, is how Shelley Rocha felt when at 48 she met her biological father, whom she never expected to know. Unbelievable, said Roberta Bryant Brown about finding a sister at age 80. As humans we have an intense desire to know where and whom we come from. The hope for a biological bond is the reason some people spend their whole lives looking for family. The vastness of social media and the convenience of at-home DNA tests such as 23andMe and Ancestry have made once impossible discoveries about our personal history and beginnings a reality.


Now 73, Diane says she was six when she first heard about Roberta Jean and Betty Lee Bryant, her two half-sisters on her dad’s side. Although she always wanted to find them, information was hard to come by. It was a tough subject for her father, Thomas Jefferson Bryant, and until the advent of social media, searching for names and information felt like trying to find a needle in a haystack. After her father’s death in 2013, Diane began her search with multiple Facebook messages to potential family in the Seattle area. She waited in radio silence for four years, later finding out that her messages had been seen, but as one might expect the family was leery of a possible scam. On a Friday night in September 2018 while relaxing on the couch after a long work week, Diane received a Facebook message out of the blue from a woman who said she was the daughter-in-law of Diane’s oldest half-sister Betty Lee, who Diane knew had died in 1985. Within 10 minutes a life-long prayer had been answered: Diane was messaging with her other half-sister Roberta, who lived in Seattle. “As we messaged, Roberta said she wanted to call me right then, but she couldn’t stop crying, so asked if we could talk the next day. She called me at 5:30 a.m. Seattle time and we had an immediate connection. She is the sweetest person and absolutely precious,” Diane said. Roberta’s mother and their father split up when she was around two weeks old and she never knew him, which left many unanswered questions. As an adult, Roberta began looking for her father in Georgia and Texas where her mother said they had lived. When she and her family would travel, she would look for records of her father, but she wasn’t able to find him. Once she felt all possibilities had been exhausted, she prayed, “Lord, if I have a sibling, you’re just going to have to bring them to me.” He did, in His own time. The sisters wasted no time and soon Diane visited Roberta where they laughed, cried, and talked for three days. 35




Diane Abel and her sister Roberta Brown.

Diane created a photo album for Roberta, and while she was looking through pictures, she found several small two- by three-inch photos that had handwriting on the back. When she showed Roberta, she was sure that it was her maternal grandmother’s handwriting. Before their father died, he gave Diane a picture of her oldest sister Betty Lee. Roberta actually had a picture of Betty Lee about the same age, in the same outfit but in this photograph, Betty Lee was being held by their father in front of a lumbermill. “The fact that we both had these pictures really helped some family members that were still cautious about the connection,” Diane explained. Diane’s husband and her youngest daughter and husband met Roberta this summer when they stopped in Seattle for a visit on their way to an Alaskan cruise. In October, Roberta traveled to Texas with her oldest daughter and got to meet their youngest brother, who is 52, as well as the rest of Diane’s family. “I have such a huge, huge family now. I have my husband and our family, my mother’s family and now my Texas family,” Roberta said. “Diane kept searching and I’m so thankful she did.” Diane says like most sisters they text daily, keep in touch on a Bryant Family Facebook Group that Roberta created and talk on the phone at least once a week. Roberta is now in touch with cousins on their dad’s side in Georgia, where he was originally from. Diane’s older half-brother passed away in 2013, but Roberta has been able to connect with his children through Facebook. “It’s a miracle at our age that we have found each other,” Diane said emotionally, and Roberta agreed, “I believe in miracles.”


Much like Roberta, Shelley knew nothing about her biological dad, and never expected to. She was actually looking for more information about her biological mother when she took the Ancestry at-home DNA test but instead was connected to an entire family on her father’s side. Shelley had been in and out of the foster care system since she was around one year old and was adopted with her younger brother David at around six years old. She knew her mother’s name and that she had at least four other children, three of which were given up for adoption and one tragically died as an infant. Several years ago, her oldest sister Lisa located Shelley and together they found their oldest brother Danny. About a year later her younger sister Jill found Shelley through Facebook and together they have been looking for their mother. Through Ancestry’s report of Shelley’s biological relatives, she first connected to a cousin on her biological father’s side. “At first he was like, ‘no way.’ But I told him to look at the DNA (on Ancestry),” Shelley said.

Diane Abel, her sister Roberta Brown and brother Jeff Bryant met when Roberta visited Sealy last fall.



Kristina explained. “She’ll just text me or I’ll text her. It’s different than just having a friend.” “They didn’t know I existed so I didn’t know how open they’d be to me, but it was better than I could have expected,” Shelley said. She also discovered she’s half Costa Rican which explains where her uniquely dark features come from. “My other biological siblings are fair like our mother, and I just didn’t look like them,” she said. “I hear I look like Diego’s cousin; it’s neat to look like someone.” Kristina said her dad has always been proud of the fact that he is left-handed and now they found out that Shelley is left-handed, too. According to both women, while their dad is overjoyed to have found the gift of another daughter, he also feels regret and some guilt because he wasn’t there to raise her. “Diego says that he always felt like something was missing in his life and when he found me, it wasn’t missing anymore,” Shelley said. Shelley’s adoptive family has also experienced mixed emotions. Both of her adoptive parents support Shelley’s journey to find her biological family, but the fact that her dad is fighting stage 4 cancer makes it complicated. While she’s excited to form these new relationships, she’s also very protective of her family. “I’m careful about what I post on Facebook or share so that I’m respectful and don’t hurt my parents,” Shelley said. “I never want them to feel like their being replaced.” Shelley said it’s been amazing because Kristina, Diego and their family pray for her dad. “Kristina even said she would like to meet him and thank the man who stepped up and raised her sister,” Shelley said. Shelley still hasn’t found her biological mother or information on where she might be living, but she has answers to another side of herself and a family she never expected to find. “It could have gone 14 different ways, but it could not have gone better than it has. I’m very blessed,” she said.

Shelley Rocha meets her biological father, Diego, and his wife Kyle, when they traveled to meet her in Seattle.

Through her newly found cousin, she was put in touch with her biological father Diego. After a paternity test came back confirming that Diego was Shelley’s biological father, Diego told his family he had a 48-year-old daughter. It turned out that at age 21, Diego met Shelley’s mom while living in California and they had a short relationship. They parted ways without Diego knowing she was pregnant. Now that Diego knew that Shelley was his daughter there was no time to waste; he, his wife, one of his two sons and his daughter and their families traveled to Seattle to meet this newly found daughter just months after the initial Ancestry connection. They instantly embraced Shelley as part of their family. Diego’s daughter, Kristina Freeman of Pattison, loves finally having a sister. “I grew up with two brothers so it’s different having a sister,” 38



This writing assignment motivated me to continue my search for more information on my own biological family. I finally took the 23andMe test that has been sitting on my nightstand since my mother-in-law gave it to me for my birthday this summer. The week of Thanksgiving I received my results and sat looking at names of more than 1,000 people who shared my DNA including two first cousins. To a person who is adopted and has never known anyone biologically related to them (except my children) this was a moment. Who knows where this will lead, but I’m glad to have fulfilled some of that need to know about where I come from.

SEALY Appliance & Butane Co. Serving Austin and Surrounding Counties Since 1941 Proud Member of the Sealy Chamber of Commerce! 1401 Columbus Rd. • Sealy • (979) 885-3388

Appliance Repair AO Smith Water Heaters Sell, Refill & Certify propane Cylinders Sell & Install Tanks Propane Fuel: Commercial & Residential




Beckon twilight with a tasty summer cocktail

Perhaps nothing is more relaxing on a warm summer night than sipping a cocktail as the sun sets. Some cocktails, such as the following recipe for “Blueberry Crush” from Susan Elia MacNeal’s “Infused: 100+ Recipes for Infused Liqueurs and Cocktails” (Chronicle Books), even evoke the twilight hours of summertime with their unique look.


• 4 or 5 ice cubes • 2 blackberries • 2 blueberries • 2 raspberries • 3 ounces Blueberry Vodka (see below) • Dash of lime juice • 1 cup cracked ice • 1⁄2 cup sparkling water or club soda (optional) Place the ice cubes in a chilled oldfashioned glass. Place the berries in a small



bowl and crush with a fork. Add to a shaker with the vodka, lime juice and cracked ice. Shake for 10 to 15 seconds, then strain over the ice cubes. For a lighter version of the drink, add the sparkling water. BLUEBERRY VODKA • 1 750-ml. bottle of vodka • 1 quart fresh blueberries • 1⁄4 to 1 cup Sugar Syrup (optional; see below) Decant the vodka into a clean 2-quart glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Soak the original bottle to remove the label. Let dry. If using frozen berries, allow them to thaw. Place the fresh or thawed frozen berries in a bowl, crush with a fork and add to the vodka. Allow the vodka to infuse away from direct sunlight and intense heat for 3 months. Shake the container a few times each week. When you’re satisfied with the intensity of

flavor, strain the liqueur through a metal sieve into a bowl. Discard the berries. Add the sugar syrup to taste, if desired. Using a funnel, pour the liqueur into the original bottle (or another container). Label with the name of liqueur and the date. Age for 1 month away from light and heat. SUGAR SYRUP • 1 cup water • 2 cups granulated sugar Put the water in a small saucepan. Add the sugar. Bring the water to a boil while stirring. Reduce the heat and continue to stir until the sugar dissolves. Cool to room temperature. Select a clean container that will hold at least 11⁄2 cups. Using a funnel, pour the sugar syrup into the container, seal and store in the refrigerator for up to 6 months.




hen spring break is mentioned, more often than not the top destinations involve all-inclusive beach resorts, but colleges have been leading the charge in bucking that trend as of late. Although the origins of alternative spring break reach back into the 1980s, it has been increasing in popularity over the last handful of years and allows college students to spend their week off making a difference in a community that otherwise wouldn’t have gotten the attention. “Instead of cutting loose on the beach, students can cut brush to maintain hiking trails. Rather than hitting the slopes, they can hit nails to improve housing alongside homeowners,” said a release from Habitat for Humanity. “These alternative spring breaks allow students to serve communities in a meaningful way. They can travel, meet new people, and feel the satisfaction that comes from working to improve communities — and lives.” On a more local level at the University of Texas at Austin, the



program has seen a resurgence since 2014 when 22 students traveled down to New Orleans to lend a helping hand to Rebuilding Hope in New Orleans (RHIN), Habitat for Humanity, the Center for Ethical Living and Social Justice Renewal as well as built a community garden. This year, the Alternative Breaks at the Longhorn Center for Community Engagement will see even more students give back not only around Texas but also abroad. “During the 2020 Alternative Breaks session, participants will travel to work closely with the communities of: South Texas (McAllen/ Brownsville); Houston, TX; Jackson, MS and Puerto Rico,” it says in a “current trips” release. “Participants will engage with the community that they are visiting by working with community leaders on service projects to learn more about the culture of the city they are visiting along with any social justice issues it faces. AB participants will also get the opportunity to learn of and enjoy the rich culture of the cities they are visiting and have the opportunity to network and bond with new friends.”











Justin Eckhardt

Clayton Fritsch

Tyrek McNeese

Garret Zaskoda


n a landmark move, the National College Athletics Association (NCAA) has ruled that student-athletes can benefit from their name, image and likeness although it will take a few years for it to fully take into effect. After California governor Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 206 into law on Sept. 30, 2019, it prevented the NCAA “from disqualifying teams from competition if players are compensated for the use of their personal brand, the Los Angeles Times reported,” it said in an Inside Higher Ed article. Nearly a month later, the NCAA’s Board of Governors “voted unanimously to permit students participating in athletics the opportunity to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model,” the NCAA said in an Oct. 29, 2019 statement. Although the benefit ruling won’t take effect immediately, “the NCAA Board of Governors Federal and State Legislation Working Group, which includes presidents, commissioners, athletics directors, administrators and student-athletes” have already started working towards new rules that will ultimately be installed Jan. 1, 2023. “The working group will continue to gather feedback through April on how best to respond to the state and federal legislative environment and to refine its recommendations on the principles and regulatory framework,” the NCAA’s statement included. “The board asked each division to create any new rules beginning immediately, but no later than January 2021.” With that, conversations will ensue to change the scope of collegiate athletics and some current collegiate student-athletes from Sealy weighed in with their opinions on the ruling that likely won’t have any effect on them. “I think it’s a good look; we sacrifice a lot of things, we don’t get to do what regular students do and I feel like there should be some reward to that,” said Arizona State triple jumper Tyrek McNeese, Sealy High class of 2018. “I think it’s a big step forward because we’re finally getting to get paid for our labor since we’re spending nearly 40 hours a week on athletics,” added Rice pitcher Garret Zaskoda, Sealy High class of 2019. However, another former Sealy trackster still has some uncertainty on how he feels and can see each side of the coin. “I guess I’m kind of on both sides; all in all, they are paying for our college is the way I feel about it,” said current Sam Houston State pole vaulter Clayton Fritsch, Sealy High class of 2017. “They’re paying for your school, but I feel like there should be some rules about if you want to go straight out of high school to the pros, that’s a great option they should at least open those doors up.” In the baseball realm, those doors are already opened and Justin Eckhardt, a current Texas pitcher and Sealy High class of 2018, also sees it as a positive. “A lot of kids that are superstar players out of high school they’re the ones getting drafted out of high school to professional teams,” he said. “It’s just based on your success in your sport and if you happen to benefit from that then I’m totally on board with that.” His former skipper, current Sealy head baseball coach Dane Bennett, could see how the recruiting aspect of things will be changed in this new era of collegiate athletics. “You sell Justin Eckhardt to UT but if you think he’s gonna go in

and make more money as a player, I would say yes you would try to promote him a little bit different,” he said. “Tell them, ‘Hey this guy’s gonna come to your college and make you a lot of money, and he’s gonna make himself a lot of money.’” With that extra cash flow going around, he also could see how it can draw more participation in the coming years as well. “My personal opinion is that it will make more people want to go to college and play sports so I think it will make college sports better,” Bennett said. “But if they do that, most people are trying to get as minimal college as they can – or if you’re a baseball player you’re trying to go right to the pros – because you’re ready to start making the money so I think that if they start finding ways to benefit players while they’re in college that’s gonna make more people want to go and be a part of the college.” McNeese agreed that everything surrounding collegiate sports will likely see an increase. “It’ll make it bigger, it’s already a big deal a lot of people already watch college athletics but I feel like with money involved it will make everything multiplied,” he said. “We’ll see, maybe it’ll make athletes go harder or maybe not because they’re getting paid so I don’t know we’ll see.” One big question on the athletes’ minds, however, is how is the NCAA going to equalize the benefits and how are student-athletes on the same campus going to feel about a wage gap? “I’m not gonna be upset (if other athletes are making more money than me),” said Zaskoda. “I’ll keep doing me and not let it get to me. If you’re good enough to get paid for what you do, then get paid but hopefully one day we’ll all get paid.” “We have bowling, they’re not making much money but if you have your absolute standout of an athlete then that helps that person for a little while,” Fritsch said. “Not every track athlete is going to get these big offers but you do have Mondo (Duplantis, who recently forewent his final three years of college at LSU to go pro in the pole vault pit) who came in and how he’s already built that likeness up and Matthew Boling from Strake Jesuit, those guys have their likeness already but at the same time they are already getting their school paid for, the education is where they see you’re getting paid but if there’s other benefits coming with it then I could see that you get paid a little more for spending money but it really depends where those people come from and their background; I totally understand that they’re trying to make some more money, gotta make it while you can!” And with more money could come higher-quality amenities for all involved. “I would say revenue will increase for universities based on jersey sales or memorabilia,” Eckhardt said. “If that were to happen then they’re more likely to build nicer facilities, better surroundings for fans at stadiums, just a better overall college atmosphere both for the players and the fans.” At the end of the day, the ruling has been something on the minds of athletes for quite some time now. “Some of them with big names like (former Duke guard and NBA’s No. 1 overall pick) Zion Williamson have been cheated out of millions of dollars while the NCAA gets like $60 billion a year off that so I think it’s a big step forward for us, it’s been a long time coming,” Zaskoda added. SPRING 2020 THE RAIL


Don’t miss our Summer edition of The Rail magazine. Advertising deadlines mid-March. Contact publisher@sealynews.com or call our office to find out more information 979-885-3562.

Saddleback Saloon Austin Coun�’s Premier Music Venue

A Texas Historical Landmark

BEST BURGERS AND SAMICHES IN THE COUNTY! ALL SPORTS EVERYDAY! HAPPY HOUR! MON.-FRI. 5 to 7 P.M.. MONDAYS – All you can eat Spaghetti $5 TUESDAYS – Steak Night WEDNESDAYS – Songwriters Night THURSDAYS – Texas Hold’em Poker Tournament FRIDAYS – 8pm Karaoke SATURDAYS – Live Bands SUNDAYS– $5 BBQ’d Hamburgers & Chips all Day Open Daily at 11:30 a.m. | Lunch & Dinner Daily | Kids Welcome until 8 p.m. 979-885-7346 | 207 Main St. | Sealy, Texas 77474 Historic Downtown Sealy, TX

Profile for Fox Press

The Rail - Spring 2020  

The Rail - Spring 2020  

Profile for foxlitho

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded