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August 2009


EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

Steve ssick CUSTOM


Winning Team Takes GSABA Summit Awards for Second Year It’s been a busy year for local Interior Custom Designer Catrina Hoelke and Custom Home Builder Steve Essick. Their artistic designs captured the eye of judges once again taking home the prestigious Summit Award for 2009 Best Product Custom Design $751,000 - $1,000,000 and 2009 Best Interior Custom Feature Design Treatment. Rich colors and elegant features that helped to capture the Tuscan feel that Catrina and Steve were striving to achieve. The home selected for this year’s top awards is on the market and available for viewing, located at 28245 Equestrian, Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas 78006. Interested buyers or those seeking the award wining custom home building services can contact Essick Enterprises for more information. Design lovers can find everything from elegant ranch, authentic Tuscany to Old World all with custom designs at Catrina’s at the Ranch. Please visit Catrina’s at the Ranch to customize your dream.

Essick Enterprises • • 210-710-0988 • Catrina’s at the Ranch • 830-755-6355 •

august issue

E xplore what's inside this issue.

From the Publisher

6: calendar of events

Dearest EXPLORE reader, As I often do, I’m writing this letter at 6:45am while sitting in my office chair. I tend to be an early riser, and once I’m up, I figure I might as well get to work. The office is quiet, the phones aren’t ringing, and no “fires” have popped up yet. It’s my favorite time of day. I was sitting here reviewing many of my publisher’s letters searching for inspiration, and I just chuckled at myself. So many of my letters have continued to dwell on this “simplify life and enjoy the ride” theme, and I have been curious as to why I tend to do that. My life isn’t overly complicated, although it can be stressful. I don’t necessarily work 80 hours a week, although I do work quite hard. I couldn’t figure out what exactly I’ve been trying to say. And maybe I still don’t know what great breakthrough I’m seeking, but I think I’m getting closer. I just want to be comfortable. I just want to be able to lay my head down at night and be content with my life’s directions. Have you ever felt like that? I have continued to write about our desires to hug our kids, enjoy our jobs, and love our fellow man. I have tried to write about the connection that we all have, and how closely intertwined we all are. And it’s true, when you think about it. But I think I was writing those things because I want to feel more connected. I feel like I’m the person watching the world go by while I try to figure out how to jump on board. My job tends to feed that feeling sometimes. My friends will call and say “Let’s go play golf today!” never mind that it’s a Tuesday. When I groan and say “Wish I could”, I get ribbed that I’m self-employed and thus can leave work whenever I want. This is a common misconception. I like to tell people “Being self-employed means I work twice as hard for half the money”. But there goes my friends, off to enjoy a day off. Additionally, my writing tends to disconnect me. I sit in a weird chair – I write articles that tend to be quite personal, and have my picture plastered at the top of the column. I rant and rave about a myriad of subjects (you should have seen last month’s rejected Publisher’s Letter – you would have mistaken me for a psycho), and do so without any guarantee of anonymity, and broadcast it to all corners of Kendall County. Then, a couple of people will tell me they liked what I wrote, and a couple more will pick on me and tell me I’ve lost my mind. I’m left to shrug and wonder if they know something I don’t. But as I’ve reviewed almost two year’s worth of Publisher’s letters, I really think I’m seeking something that we all are trying to find – comfort with ourselves. We all second guess ourselves, critique our performance, and stress ourselves out. Nobody is harder on YOU than YOU. So again, I doubt I’m unique in my desire to seek vindication, thus continuing the “great theme” of these letters that no matter how different I might think I am, or how different you might think you are, odds are that you and I probably lie awake and worry about many of the same things. So I think picking on the hippies in Luckenbach, or philosophizing about the checkout lines at the HEB are my way to remember I’m part of the team. Discussing my fatigue with work, or my excitement with success is universal, and easily relatable. Because if I’m not so different, I’m more comfortable. Being different is cool and all, but sometimes, at 6:45am, I need to feel like I’m on the roller coaster ride with the rest of ya’ll. After all, one of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody. As always, I hope you love this latest issue. We’ve had so much fun hearing the feedback on the layout, design, and articles. We certainly hope we continue to raise the bar and provide you with a publication that makes you laugh, think, and smile. Enjoy your EXPLORE.

“Holiday Inn couldn’t be happier with the advertising we have done in EXPLORE. The layout, readership, and service have been top-notch. EXPLORE is read not only by the locals, but also by the scores of visitors that come to our area, and it provides a wealth of information to them. The new layout captures your attention, and we have received a tremendous amount of response from the ads we have run in EXPLORE. We would encourage anyone looking to maximize their exposure, and to do so cost-effectively, to advertise with EXPLORE!” Brittany Hardy General Manager, Holiday Inn – Boerne, TX



Could Boerne be the next Tree City USA? by Carolyn Chipman Evans


by Jeanna Goodrich

14: Where to eat

Controy's - Beer N' Burgers by Chris Jenkins

16: Art & culture Made In America

by Jeanna Goodrich

24: history

Schoolhouse Rock by Marjorie Hagy

29: landscaping

A Growing Perspective by Jon Whitaker


Hill Country Outdoors - Kayaking/Canoeing by Steve Ramirez

31: spiritual My Wife Thinks I've Lost My Mind

Smiling, Benjamin D. Schooley PS – I have set up email addresses for almost all of the authors in EXPLORE. I get loads of emails from people asking to pass along notes, and thought this might simplify the system. I’d encourage all of you to write our authors with comments, suggestions, and feedback. Trust me, they love to read them.

s e n d o o G

8: nature

by Kendall Aaron

Publisher Benjamin D. Schooley – associate Publisher Jeanna Goodrich – Creative Director Laura Kaples – OPERATIONS MANAGER Natalie Meadlin – advertising sales 210-507-5250 or EXPLORE magazine is published by Schooley Media Ventures in Boerne, Tx. EXPLORE Magazine and Schooley Media Ventures are not responsible for any inaccuracies, erroneous information, or typographical errors contained in this publication submitted by advertisers. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions of EXPLORE and/or Schooley Media Ventures. Copyright 2009 Schooley Media Ventures, 113 S. Plant, Suite F, Boerne, TX 78006

EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

Out & About in August Fun in the great Texas Hill Country The most comprehensive events calendar you’ll find anywhere. send submissions to

June 2 – August 18 GRUENE: Two Ton Tuesdays. Features the popular rockabilly band Two Tons of Steel every Tuesday. Begins at 8:30 pm. Gruene Hall. For more information please call (830) 606-1281. July 16 – 18, 23 – 26, 30 – August 2 BULVERDE: “Barbara’s Blue Kitchen”. S.T.A.G.E., 1300 Bulverde Rd. For more information please call (830) 438-2339 or email July 30 – August 23 KERRVILLE: Hometown Crafts & Gifts – Teachers Art Show. Exhibits artwork of Hill Country educators. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For more information please call (830) 895-2911, email or visit the website at July 31 – August 1, August 7 – 8, 14 – 15, 21 – 22, 28 – 29 NEW BRAUNFELS: Canyon Trail Chuck Wagon Supper & Cowboy Music Show. Hear the English Brothers – Western Music Artists perform “How the West was Sung” – a high energy, one hour western/cowboy music show complete with yodeling, comedy and the best pickin’ around. This nostalgic show follows an authentic chuck wagon meal with all the fixin’s. Gates open at 6 pm. Call for reservations. 1201 FM 2722. For more information please call (888) 408-7245, (830) 626-8200 or email August 1 BANDERA: Market Day. This is an arts & crafts vendor fair. Bandera Courthouse Square. For more information please call (830) 796-4447 or visit the website at FREDERICKSBURG: Historic School Open House. Former students will be available to share stories of school days from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Willow City School, 2501 Ranch Road 1323. For more info. please email or visit the website at August 1, 8, 15 BLANCO: Texas Fish School. Children can become certified Junior Anglers by learning basic fishing skills and safety at the river through games, booths and help from fishing experts. Families can then head down to the river to fish together. 9–11 am. Blanco State Park. For additional information please call (830) 833-4333. August 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 BANDERA: Cowboys on Main. Features a Western display in front of the Bandera Courthouse and strolling entertainers on Bandera’s Main Street. 1 – 4 pm. Main Street Bandera. For more information please call (800) 364-3833 or visit the website at BANDERA: BR Lightning Ranch Rodeo. Begins at 8 pm. BR Lightning Ranch, Hwy. 1283. For more info. please call (830) 535-4979, email or visit the website at August 3 SPRING BRANCH: Butterflies of Guadalupe River & Honey Creek. Begins with an introduction to butterfly identification. Then take off in search of species and individuals. 8:30 am – noon. Guadalupe River State Park. For more information please call (830) 438-2656.


August 5, 12, 19, 26 BOERNE: Fernbrook Estate on Cibolo Creek. Alzheimer’s Association Support Group: for caregivers/ family of Alzheimer’s/Dementia Victims. Meetings every Wednesdays @ 6 – 7 pm, and Saturdays @ 1 – 2 pm. Catered meal for caregiver & patient at each meeting. Fernbrook is located at IH 10 W, Exit 538 before Ranger Creek Road. RSVP 48 prior required. For more information and directions or to RSVP please call (210) 557-3045 or (830) 249-3730. August 6 – 9, 13 - 15, 20 – 22 KERRVILLE: “Blithe Spirit” – A Playhouse 2000 Production. The action of the play centers on socialite Charles Condomine being haunted by the ghost of his first wife, following a séance, and the ghost’s efforts to disrupt Condomine’s current marriage. Cailloux Theater, 910 Main St. For more information please call (830) 896-9393 or visit the website at August 7, 14, 21, 28 BANDERA: Twin Elm Ranch Rodeo. Begins at 8 pm. Includes calf scramble and mutton busting for kids. Twin Elm Ranch, Hwy. 470. For more info. please call (830) 796-3628, email or visit the website at August 8 BOERNE: Cibolo Songs and Stories. Concert under the stars at the Cibolo Nature Center featuring Brandon’s Revue. For more information please call (830) 249-4616. BOERNE: 2nd Saturday Art & Wine: On Second Saturdays the galleries of Boerne host joint openings from 5 – 8 pm. Come out and enjoy a glass of wine and the latest offerings on the Boerne Art Scene. Park your car and take advantage of the free trolley service. Restaurant participants offer 2nd Saturday specials at Boerne Grill, Naples Ristorante, Spinelli’s Vistro, The Creek, The Limestone Grill at Ye Kendall Inn and The Blue Heron at Tapatio Springs Resort and hotel participants offer 2nd Saturday special weekend rates at Ye Kendall Inn and Tapatio Springs Resort. August 8 – 9 BOERNE: Market Days: Take beautiful small-town surroundings, dozens of vendors from all over Texas, arts & crafts, antiques, collectibles, unusual items & great food, & you have Market Days! Main Plaza. For more info. please call David at (830) 249-5530 or (210) 844-8193, or visit the website at August 8 – 9, 22 – 23 FREDERICKSBURG: Pari-Mutuel Horse Racing. Features a full slate of quarter horse and thoroughbred races, special races and trials for the 2009 Fair Futurity. Gillespie County Fairgrounds. For more information please call (830) 997-2359. August 9 GRUENE: Gospel Brunch with a Texas Twist. Serves awe-inspiring gospel music coupled with a mouthwatering buffet from 10:30 am to noon. Gruene Hall. For more info. please call (830) 629-5077 or (830) 606-1601, or visit the website at KERRVILLE: Second Sunday Summer Serenade. Bring chairs and a picnic, and enjoy a performance by Texas Tide. Begins at 7:30 pm. Louise Hays Park. For more information please call (830) 895-2265 or visit the website at

August 10 SPRING BRANCH: Making of a Naturalist: Birds of the Hill Country. Begins with a morning walk searching for and identifying birds found in the park and adjacent natural area. End the morning with an indoor program taking a look at bird life histories, identification tips and more. 7 – 11 am. Reservations required. Guadalupe River State Park. For more information please call (830) 438-2656. August 13 – 15 JOHNSON CITY: Blanco County Fair & Rodeo. Includes food vendors, animal sales and exhibitions, rodeo shows, music and all-day activities. Blanco County Fair Grounds. For more info. please call (830) 868-7684, email or visit the website at August 14 – 16 BANDERA: Old Bandera Downs Trade Days. Features 350 vendors. Grounds of the Old Bandera Downs Race Track. For more info. please call (817) 832-9936 or visit the website at FREDERICKSBURG: Trade Days. Shop more than 350 vendors. Includes live music and more. Hwy. 290 E., across from Wildseed Farms. For more information please call (210) 846-4094, email or visit the website at August 15 BOERNE: Byrd and Street concert. 7:30 pm. Main Plaza. For more information please call (830) 249-9511 ext. 1181, or option 5, 3, or visit the website at KERRVILLE: Guadalupe River Parade. Annual clean-up event. Includes live music, auctions, fun and family entertainment. Sponsored by Clear River Advocates. Flat Rock Park, 3840 Riverside Drive. For more information please call (830) 377-9838. NEW BRAUNFELS: “The Couple of the Century: Wine & Food Pairing”. Learn about the two fundamentals in the pairing of food and wine that will provide if not that proverbial “zing”, then at least a pleasant dining experience. Pre-registration is required. Dry Comal Creek Vineyards. For more information please call 9830) 885-4076 or visit the website at August 15 – 16 GRUENE: Old Gruene Market Days. Nearly 100 vendors offer uniquely crafted items, collectibles and packaged Texas foods. 10 am – 5 pm. For more information please call (830) 832-1721 or visit the website at August 18 BANDERA: Bandera Opry. 7 – 9 pm. Silver Sage Corral. For more info. please call (830) 796-4969. August 20 – 23 FREDERICKSBURG: Gillespie County Fair. Features agricultural, livestock and home skills displays. Includes horse racing, concerts, dances, carnival and midway. Parade begins at 10 am Friday. Gillespie County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 16 S. For more information please call (830) 997-2359, email or visit the website at August 20 – September 13 KERRVILLE: “Working Texas Cowboys”. Photographic images, by artist Kristi Beabout, personify the stories of ranchers and cowboys who enhance the Texas ranching industry. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For more information please call (830)

EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

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A Senior Community

A Seniors Community for Affordable Senior Living Come tour our beautiful community, filled with great amenities including daily coffee, card game room, fitness center, and sparkling pool. Enjoy daily activities or sit back and read a book in our clubhouse. We hope to see you soon!



nature Could Boerne be a

Tree City USA?

All it takes is You!

why not?

Our town is beautiful in great part because of our lush green canopy of trees, our cool shade, and our soft edges that buffer the glare of concrete and steel. And yet, we are losing trees and our cherished “Mayberry” feel every day. Growth is a fact of life in Boerne, Texas. People want to live here, in part because of the beauty of our town and the small-town atmosphere. With growth often comes the loss of the very thing most attractive. However, I believe we can have both. With care and attention, many towns are protecting their trees, planting new ones for the future generations, and even winning national awards for their efforts.

By Carolyn Chipman Evans

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if our town could remain a quiet oasis of green trees and shady streets? Let’s start today! If you are interested in being a champion for the trees and starting a volunteer tree committee to work with our city please contact Carolyn Chipman Evans at For More Information on Tree City, Assistance and Applications Please Contact:

THE BENEFITS OF TREES • • • • • • • • • •

A large tree can provide enough oxygen for the daily requirements of ten people. Trees have a positive impact on the incidence of asthma, skin cancer and stress-related illness by filtering out polluted air, reducing smog formation, shading out solar radiation and by providing an attractive, calming setting for recreation. Tree planting strengthens communities by providing people with an opportunity to work together for the benefit of the local environment. Trees can save up to 10% of energy consumption through their moderation of the local climate. 1 acre of woodland grown to maturity and looked after forever would absorb the carbon emissions of 100 average family cars driven for one year (Climate Care/Trees for Cities estimate). Property in tree-lined streets is worth 18% more than in similar streets without trees, according to a survey in Chicago. Trees help to lock up the carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Trees play a vital role in the urban ecosystem, by helping to support a great variety of wildlife. Trees reduce noise in cities by acting as a sound barrier. Trees and green spaces significantly reduce the stress of urban living.

drought care Watering and other tips for plant care during drought:

I have done a little research because I am worried about our trees. This drought is killing many of our trees, from small recently planted maples, to our legacy giants. Combine this stress with the cutting of a tree here, and a tree there, and a parking lot here and a new building there…and suddenly before our eyes, we have lost a shady, beautiful community that cannot be replaced in our lifetime. So, what can we do? First, we can all help by learning how to save our trees in these drought conditions. Drought stress develops in plants when the available soil water becomes limited. As this happens, young roots are killed outright, reducing the plant’s ability to absorb sufficient water. The soil also becomes hard and compact as it dries, reducing oxygen to the roots. If landscape plants (trees, shrubs, and ground covers, especially evergreen types) do not receive adequate rainfall or supplemental watering, heavy plant loss is likely. Water trees and shrubs during extremely dry soil conditions. If you have to choose, water your trees and not the grass since grass will turn green again when water is available. For water conservation, it is best to not water your lawn at all. Trees, on the other hand, will show subtle signs of drought, wilting or dropping leaves. However, they can be seriously injured or die without water.


• Depending on air temperatures, trees and shrubs need at least 1 inch of water applied every week to 10 days to cope with lack of rain. Larger, established trees have a wide-spreading root system and need not be watered as frequently, perhaps every 2 to 3 weeks. Let the top few inches of soil dry out between watering to avoid saturation and to allow roots and soil organisms to breathe. • Water slowly and deeply so water percolates down into the soil, electing one or two deep waterings as opposed to several light ones. • Use soaker hoses and drip irrigation, effective watering tools because they discharge even streams of slow, trickling water directly to the root zone beneath trees and shrubs. When combined with a 3 or 4-inch layer of organic mulch, plants can use nearly all of the water that’s provided with little evaporation loss. • Another effective means of watering a small tree is letting a hose run slowly at its base until the ground is moist. For large trees, let the hose run at various points around the tree’s drip line—the imaginary line on the ground that encircles a tree’s extended branches. • Water shrubs at the plant base and under the spread of branches until soil is moistened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. • When using a sprinkler system, place a container nearby to measure when you have distributed 1 inch of water to the soil. • Plants vary in their ability to tolerate water stress. Prioritize watering, caring for newly transplanted trees and shrubs first, then those that have been in the ground from 2 to 5 years. Next, water “specimen” trees or important trees, then all other plants. • Water strategically. Plants absorb more water in the early morning, before the warming sun causes evaporation. • Avoid using fertilizer during drought conditions. Fertilizer salts can cause root injury when soil moisture is limited.

EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

More stuff to enjoy!

tree city Next, we can encourage our City Council to work hard to protect our trees and natural heritage and even apply to become a TREE CITY USA . TREE CITY USA is an awards program sponsored by the National Arbor Day Foundation that provides public attention and national recognition for local commitment to community trees and forests.

reasons to become a tree city • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Encourages better care of community forests. Touches the lives of people within the community who benefit daily from cleaner air, shadier streets, and aesthetic beauty that healthy, well-managed urban forests provide. Recognizes and rewards communities for annual advancements in urban forestry practices. Increases public awareness of the many social, economical and environmental benefits urban forestry practices. Provides education to improve current urban forestry practices. Builds cooperation between public and private sectors to effectively manage urban forests. Encourages, supports, and strengthens effective urban forestry programs in diverse communities nationwide. Can make a strong contribution to a community’s pride. Serves as a blueprint for planting and maintaining a community’s trees. Puts people in touch with other communities and resources that can help them improve their program. Brings solid benefits to a community such as helping to gain financial support for tree projects and contributing to safer and healthier urban forests. Helps present the kind of image that most citizens want to have for the place they live or conduct business. Tells visitors, through signage, that here is a community that cares about its environment. Sometimes gives preference over other communities when allocations of grant money are made for trees or forestry programs. Provides a way to reach large numbers of people with information about tree care.


895-2911, email or visit August 21 – 23, 28 – 30 FREDERICKSBURG: Harvest Wine Trail. Enjoy special events, tastings, tours, food and entertainment. Twenty-four Hill Country wineries participate. For more information please visit the website at August 22 KERRVILLE: Kerr Market Day. More than 75 vendors from the Hill Country offer arts & crafts, woodwork items, metal craft, quilts, toys, native plants and produce, jams and jellies. Kerr County Courthouse Grounds, 700 Main St. For more information please call (830) 895-7962, email kerrmarket@ or visit the website at www. KERRVILLE: Original Team Roping. Cowboys compete in this exciting event. Hill Country Youth Exhibit Center, 3705 Hwy. 27 E. For more information please call (806) 499-3584, email office@otrc. net or visit the website at August 27 – September 20 KERRVILLE: Multimedia membership show portrays anything that moves. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For more information please call (830) 895-2911, email or visit the website at KERRVILLE: “Ken Malson – The Spirit & Aesthetic Objects”. Expressions in ceramic sculpture, furniture, paintings and mixed media. Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, 228 Earl Garrett. For more information please call (830) 895-2911, email or visit the website at August 28 BOERNE: Summer Scene – Movie in the Park, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Join Boerne Parks & Recreation for a free movie on Main Plaza. Begins at dark! Come out early and enjoy Story Time in the Gazebo with Miss Constance, jump in the Boerne YMCA Moon Bounce & play Agility Games. Bring the whole family, pack the cooler and set up your lawn chairs for a fun time! Sponsored by Outdoor Movies of Texas. For more information please contact Boerne Parks & Recreation at (830) 249-9511, option 5. August 29 FREDERICKSBURG: Roots Music Concert. Features Cajun/Zydeco. 6 – 10 pm. Pioneer Museum, 309 W. Main St. For more info. please call (830) 997-2835.

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In Memory

Brandon’s Revue promises Boerne a concert like no other By Jeanna Goodrich “Music and friends: they were his life; they were important to him,” Bob and Linda Manning both said of their son Brandon, who passed away eight years ago. It seemed only natural to start an endowment to honor Brandon’s memory, and the Mannings began the journey to what will, on August 8, 2009, be the fifth-annual Brandon’s Revue, a concert to celebrate music, friends, and, most importantly, Brandon Manning. “It’s been eight years now since we lost Brandon,” Bob began the story. “On May 12, 2001, the Sherrif knocked on our door to tell us that our child was dead. He’d died in a one-car wreck on the day before mother’s day that year. Our life changed, as of that moment, forever, and we looked to the need to keep your child alive, keep their memory alive, so that people don’t forget them. So we started looking at some sort of endowment or scholarship—something—in his memory. Brandon was 21 years old, and he really hadn’t figured his life out yet. He’d moved back home, he was saving his money, and he was going to move to Austin, get into the music scene, and finish his schooling. So, naturally we thought about a music scholarship, and sat down with [the San Antonio Area Foundation] to discuss it.” However, the logistics of the scholarship didn’t quite line up with the Manning’s desire to share Brandon’s memory. “We were talking with our neighbor, and he knew about the music and the friends,” Bob recalled. “And he said, ‘Have you thought about endowing something out at the nature center?’” Perhaps you have heard of the Cibolo Nature Center’s Songs and Stories concerts? Perhaps you have heard the music, indulged in a couple of glasses of wine, and enjoyed quality time with a picnic basket and your best friends? “We’d been to the songs and stories concerts, but we’d never met Brent Evans. We sat down to talk with him, and after 30 minutes, we both knew: something here is the right answer. This is us, this is Brandon, and this works. It’s local; it’s organic; it’s the answer. So, it morphed into the Brandon Gallagher Manning Endowment, administered by the San Antonio Area Foundation. Five percent of the principal each year goes to the Cibolo Nature Center for their Songs and Stories Program. Now, we’re busy trying to grow this fund to be bigger and bigger and bigger, so that forever they have funding for Songs and Stories, because it is the fitting tribute to Brandon’s memory and will continue to be.” The first concert to support Brandon’s fund was the Irish Storytelling concert, but soon the Mannings wanted to branch out even more. “We’re on the cusp of doing a concert that has never been done before for Brandon’s Revue,” Bob said. “It’s transitioning into a whole new identity, and it’s a big deal for us. We’re celebrating what the music side of this thing has become.” “When we first started talking about doing a concert, we slated it as an all-day type concert. We tried to give a series of different artists a venue to get exposure,” Linda chimed in. But, Bob added, “This year is unrecognizably different. We’ve been so fortunate to have some wonderful event planners and media people offer to promote this event for free, into something that’s highly commercialized, highly visible, a lot of sponsorships; it’s going to be so well-attended that we have moved from the CNC out to the Fairgrounds.”


With mixed emotions, both Bob and Linda explained the transitional journey from homegrown to growing exponentially larger. Public relations and media experts Janice and Ted Maxymof had, according to Linda, approached the Nature Center and offered to market one big event, for free, and they had requested to plan and market Brandon’s Revue. “In a way, it’s really great, because we can hand this off to someone else,” Linda expressed, “but in another way, this concert is our baby, and we don’t know whether or not it will have the same, organic feel it has had in the past.” “It really is a neat experience for us,” Bob explained, “because, if Janice were sitting here, she’d say, ‘Yeah, it is going to be commercialized. We’re going to set up vendor booths and get sponsorships.’ There’s a wonderful push between ‘Go there and get the big pot of gold’ and ‘We don’t want to lose the community feel.’ The pushpull of that has really helped us grow this year.” Yet some uncertainties remain: the Mannings began this concert to remember Brandon’s passion for his music and his friends, and they don’t want to stray too far from that ideal. “Brandon’s big deal was friends. One of the things we really wanted this to be was where a family, friends, and neighbors could come and spend a few hours listening to music. The event has always been pretty laid back, but with this growth, are we trying to be all things to all people?” Linda asked. “We’re not used to going out and asking for support for this event,” she continued. “We’d had the ‘usual suspects’: an immediate family that we’d secured working with the Nature Center, and our community of volunteers. But with the growth of the concert, the questions arose. How do we broaden the community involvement? How do we stimulate the economy? Is there a way to help the city, the merchants, in a better way?” So, without losing the natural, homegrown elements of the concert, Bob and Linda hope that this year they can start supporting the community that has supported them through their most difficult times. “We don’t have as much support from the local Boerne business community as we’d like to have, but if it shows to be a success for us and for the people who are sponsoring us, then part of the answer would be to have more local business support,” Bob said. “If this year is a modest success, it means we get to build on it. It might lead to a bigger venue, which would lead to a bigger event: more sponsorships, more people coming in, more tourism, and more benefit for the community.”

Matt (cente r) and Bran don (right) “YEARS ag a photo fro o” m

Brandon in his senior portrait

As the Manning s attested, Bran don was always “surrounded by friends.”

EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

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In some facets, the Mannings have gained phenomenal support. “Ye Kendall Inn has developed a weekend package that includes two nights of stay at the hotel, with a wine dinner on Friday night and tickets to the concert on Saturday night,” Linda said. The package, about which more information can be found on their website, “It was difficult for us to ask for money,” Linda continued, “So we asked for time and service instead, because those are things that we can give as well. We’re hoping this partnership will bring people from out of town to come spend the weekend in Boerne. They’ll come to the wine dinner on Friday night, hopefully shop around on Saturday, and then come to the concert Saturday night. The community supports us; how can we then help the community in return?” Ye Kendall Inn wasn’t the only one to come through with support: the Mannings have a large, local sponsorship this year, Ewald Tractors. “Ewald Tractors is our first-ever big sponsor,” Linda said, proudly. “We’ve never had a big sponsor, but because of the synergy between the event planners, the media, the professionalism, and this being a community-based experience, all have worked together to create the opportunities for people who weren’t just our usuals to join in on the concert.” Randy Schmidt, a television producer, presented an unexpected but delightfully opportune media outlet. “Randy Schmidt, from channel 12, got involved because his wife was a big Cibolo Nature Center fan,” Bob said. “She passed away about three months ago, so he was looking for a way to give something to the nature center, which aligned perfectly with our planning of this concert. He has been such a tremendous help to us. There will be TV commercials starting up, and a lot of media attention that wouldn’t have otherwise been given to us.” “For us,” Bob continued, “this is a watershed change of us doing the concert with our usual suspects and with our friends at the nature center, to making, through Ted and Janice’s professional efforts, this breakthrough into the larger community to get their support.” Linda added, “This might be a catalyst for bringing big music here once a year. If a business can benefit, we’re hoping that this has a little creativity to overflow into the Boerne business community as well, certainly if it’s a success for us and a success for them.” And what better to bring music enthusiasts and family fun alike than a headliner like Jimmy LaFave! “They reached into the Austin music scene and came up with Jimmy LaFave as the headliner this year,” Bob said, smiling. “He was on our ‘wish-list’ of headliners,” Linda added; “we dream big!” “Artistically, we have the premier Texas singer-songwriter to headline this year,” Bob continued, “but we also have Matt Harlen, who is up-and-

coming of the highest order.” Harlen was a friend of Brandon’s as well as a gifted musician. “In the seventh grade,” Linda noted, “Brandon met Matt, and they both got guitars and started playing together. Matt comes back every year; he is an award-winning singer-songwriter. We are focused on singer-songwriters; they’re whom we made the concert for. And this year, he’s dropping the label deal and bringing his first CD. This has potential to be the largest venue he’s ever played.” She continued, “This concert provides a possible platform to become a singer-songwriter event where people want to come to Boerne to expand their music. We’ve always concentrated on the artistic side of the singer-songwriter. Brandon was a brilliant musician, and Matt is a fantastic singer-songwriter. It’s always been an underlying theme: the up-and-coming artist who is a singer-songwriter. Will we start to build? Set one-year, five-year goals, to pull people from local venues and from far away, if there is a reputation for it? There are a lot of long-term dream goals that we can set for this event, and no matter what, the concert will be a success. How it’s successful will certainly set the tone for our after-meeting, and answer how we now take this from our original vision of homegrown music and build it to become a regional music event that people want to come see. I’d like to see this eventually become an event that singer-songwriters want to come to, that they promote, that they put on their calendar a year in advance.” With all of the hard work from the Mannings, the Maxymofs, and the support of the local community, the Mannings’ dream goals for Brandon’s Revue now don’t seem too far away. “We certainly didn’t imagine it getting this large this fast, but we definitely appreciate the support Janice and Ted have given us,” Bob said. “It’s hard work; there’s no doubt about it;” Linda added, “but as long as this is still fun for us to do, and we get enjoyment out of it, then we’ll continue to do it. And maybe it will expand into an all-day music event that the entire Hill Country can look forward to. I couldn’t imagine anything better to remember Brandon by.”

By Paige Losoya

The gates open at 5:30 p.m. August 8th at the Kendall County Fairgrounds in Boerne with anticipated excitement. Whether you knew Brandon or not, the foundation of Brandon’s Revue creates an atmosphere that allows everyone the opportunity for reflection and celebration.

Jimmy LaFave

will headline as a prominent and passionate singersongwriter. LaFave has received international attention for his songwriting and vocal talents and is a long time fixture in the Austin music scene. For over a decade he has carved out his place as one of Americana music’s exceptional artists.

Matt Harlan, a

childhood friend of Brandon Gallagher Manning and opening for LaFave, is an award winning singer/ songwriter and composes scenic landscapes and pointed statements disguised as songs. Harlan’s works confront social norms and celebrate lives overlooked. Whatever the inspiration, the music is always heartfelt and genuine.

Lil’ Bit & the Customatics is first

on stage, combining their love of rockabilly, country, honky-tonk and roots music, putting together an evening of traditional and original favorites.

For more information about Brandon’s Revue and to purchase tickets, visit August 2009


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223 Waring Welfare Road Boerne, Texas 78006 To make reservations or get information on our specials or book a party call 830.537.3700 e-mail 12

he Welfare Café has been delighting diners and critics since they opened in 1998. Sit in the Bier Garten or inside the Old General Store and Post Office, which was built in 1916. Eat some of the best food the hill country has to offer. With a wide range of entrees from a more modern take on traditional German fare to a mixed grill of lamb, quail, duck and venison to weekly fresh sustainable fish specials, buffalo ribeye and the ever popular beef tenderloin served with onion rings and a spicy tamarind poblano sauce that we call the “Darwin”. The Chicken Fredericksburg, our first signature dish, is a hit with house made spätzel. Café hours are Thursday thru Sunday from 5:00 until 9:00. On Sundays, in addition to selected items from the Café menu, we offer Sunday Suppers: a different entrée every week served family-style for $20.00 for two and $38.00 for four. The Welfare Fathers play on Sundays starting at 6:00. The Goat Barn, adjacent to the café, is constructed of reclaimed long-leaf pine and cypress. Two stages, one inside and one outside, are available for music events, such as our Welfare Wednesdays. Starting at 6:00, we present a selected menu of specialties from the café plus a small plate menu. Jay Bay Adams and the Roadhouse Scholars with guest appearances play from 7:00 until 9:00. The Loft in the Goat Barn is open for beer, wine, and specialty coffees. The Goat Barn is available for special events. We can seat 100 inside and 70 outside on the porch and rock patio. The barn is ideal for weddings, receptions, corporate functions, and any special gathering. The newly established, organically grown garden on the 14 acres surrounding the café and goat barn provides vegetables and herbs for use at the café and goat barn.

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Beer 'N Burgers

By Chris Jenkins

It’s 4:30pm on a Friday. It’s been a helluva week, your tie is crooked, and your back is aching. Sound familiar? We all can get pretty wiped out at times, and sometimes we just want a place where we can sit with good friends, have a cold beer, and eat a big ol’ burger. At these times, I want you to grab a buddy or two and run up to Conroy’s Pub. When Conroy’s first opened, I knew that it would be a success. It is, quite simply, a great sports bar. We’ve had a lot of restaurants pop up that then try to capture a “bar crowd” and a lot of bars that try to become high-end eateries. It has left the customers confused. This is precisely where Conroy’s shines. You know exactly what you’re going to get. Located at the corners of Fair Oaks Ranch Parkway and I-10, you can’t miss it. Capturing a lot of the “19th hole” crowd from the Fair Oaks Country Club, Conroy’s boasts an eclectic mix of the older golfers with a younger professional crowd. This is a rarity in this area, and it’s a welcomed change. So often we get “biker bars” or “dives” or “uppity wine-sipping” bars…so it’s cool to have a place for the “regular Joe”. Entering through heavy oak doors, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to the lower lighting, and you quickly see that the owner cut no corners. Boasting an amazing custom bar, complete with flat screen TVs above the bar, a most handsome liquor collection, and several beers on tap, you can quickly belly up to the bar. Waitresses wear Irish-themed skirts, and are quick with your drink orders. A jukebox pumps music throughout the bar, but not so loudly that you’re shouting at your buddies. The interior is nicely done, and quite clean. There is smoking allowed, but they have an enormous air filtration system, so even with the worst of allergies, you wouldn’t know that someone is smoking inside. The menu is rather comprehensive. I must admit I was expecting nachos, burgers, and…that’s about it. However, it’s actually a full menu the likes of which you would expect at more formal eatery. Several appetizers, a wide array of entrees, and even a nice selection of desserts sets Conroy’s apart from some other sports bars. And the food is very, very good. My burger was cooked to a perfect medium rare, garnishes were fresh, and it was served quickly. The rest of the folks in my party had the same comment – “This is actually really good!” And that’s really main the draw to Conroy’s. It’s somewhere that you can enjoy some really good food, enjoy some really cold beer, and just have a really good time. It’s not pretentious, and makes no false assumptions. It’s a place where you can relax, not worry about getting into a bar fight, and enjoy a night in the Hill Country. Live music is abundant on the weekends, as are drink specials. I get to travel all over the Hill Country checking in on some of the finest restaurants in the area. I eat complicated foods, drink sophisticated wines, and rub elbows with the elite. Sometimes it’s just fun to grab a burger and a beer, laugh at a tacky joke, and just enjoy myself. Check out Conroy’s Irish Pub and Grill. I promise you’ll have a great time.


EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

Good Pub Grub!

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art&culture By Jeanna Goodrich Meet Curtis Kroesche: a metalworking artist in New Braunfels, Kroesche is truly proud to be an American. He’s proud that his art is American, too, and hopes to share his enthusiasm through the work he creates. Kroesche’s pride in his country and his craft stem from his time in the United States Navy, where he served as a mechanic at sea. “I started metalworking in the Navy,” he began, relaying his history with metal arts. “I went to school to be a machinist, making and repairing parts for ships. I was on a destroyer tender, so we were like a floating machine shop.” Returning to dry land—though his passion for the sea, as he so artfully exemplifies, never quite left him—Kroesche moved to Pennsylvania, where he started working for metal fabrication companies. “I started working on trucks for the electric companies,” he recalled; “I worked with dump trucks, machine trucks, railroads, and gas companies. Eventually, I worked to build a machine to pull underground cable. We owned the patent on the machine—there were only five of us—so we put the machines in service, we repaired them, we went out and demonstrated them.” Kroesche laughed, admitting, “It was probably the most interesting job I ever had.” But Kroesche, a native Texan, eventually returned to his home state, where he could have resumed a machinist job with a utility company. However, he decided he wanted to “try and do something a little different.” “A little different” morphed into brilliantly designed, hand-cut, heat-colored works of metal art. Kroesche cuts intricate, puzzle-pieced patterns from sheets of unfinished steel; he then grinds the steel according to shape, size and features to give a reflective appearance. Then, Kroesche molds and shapes the steel, and hand-heats it to bring out vibrant colors, each color representing a different temperature range. Using this coloring process, no two pieces can ever be duplicated, which makes every piece an individual piece of art. All pieces are then sealed in an automotive clear coat sealer to achieve a high luster finish and prevent rusting. Fish of various types hung as patterns from the back room of his workshop; crosses, small and large, decorated the house; pelicans and whooping cranes were perched over the workshop. “I had all of these metal working skills,

so it became a matter of developing something. I knew steel could turn these colors—” he said, referring to the deep blues, purples, and golds that shone from the fins of his fish—“from when I used to make parts. It’s how you could tell if you were going to burn your cutting tool up: if it started turning blue, you were cutting too quickly. But could I use this to my advantage? Could I use those colors to make metal artwork?” To test these questions, Kroesche set up a small metalworking studio right in his family’s own backyard. “My shop is my dad’s old workshop. He was a woodworker; he built numerous cabinets, entertainment centers, and he used to repair old wood screens and screen doors for the historic homes in New Braunfels. He helped me get started in the business before he passed away. He spent a lot of time out there with me during the course of the day. I gave him odds and ends to do to help him be a part of the process. Now, it’s a good feeling to know that I can earn a living from something he left for me. And, it’s not just my shop—it belongs to my family. It’s a great place to work, and it gives me such a good feeling that I’m always close to my dad.” He attested that his family was his biggest help in developing an answer to his most difficult question: “Knowing what I know about metal working, how could I turn it into an art form?” Which is where Kroesche’s mother chimed in. She recalled of his first artistic experiment, “He pulled a picture of a little bitty fish out of the paper one morning, and by that afternoon he had a fish this—“ she held up her hands about 18 inches apart—“big.” Kroesche laughed, saying, “Well, I love to fish! My brother and I have a place in Port O’Connor, and we try to go fishing as much we can. I also have some friends in Florida, and the fishing is great there.” Kroesche went on to describe his first attempts at turning his art into his own business. “I asked myself, what can I do to go on a paid vacation?” he chuckled, “so I started creating metal salt-water fish, which is what I love to do. I’d load my trailer up and go to Florida for six weeks. I’d stay with my friends and sell a little of my art at fruit stands on weekends. I’d make enough for the week, and go fishing, and it was a pretty easy lifestyle.” But after spending so much time in Florida, Kroesche came back to Texas yet again. Though the fruit-stand fishing adventures were fun and exciting, Kroesche said, “I realized that if I really

wanted to make a living at doing this art, I would have to establish myself better as an artist.” It is what he has been doing for the past five years: “I started this in 2000, and for the last four or five years I’ve been establishing myself here in Texas, trying to reach out at every opportunity.” For his local community, Kroesche has cut signs, logos and artwork for various local businesses. You know the dancing bears in Grueue? The ones you’ve taken a picture by, trying to pose in the same style they’re dancing (or was that just me)? Yep, those bears are Kroesche’s, a decorative commission by the Dancing Bear. Further throughout the state, Kroesche has customized work for Clear Springs

Seafood Restaurant and for Eddie V’s Restaurant in Austin, as well as various other works of art from the beaches to the Hill Country. His vision has even brought him back—just visiting, of course—to the Pennsylvania area to showcase his work at the Buyers Market of American Craft [BMAC]. “I’m basically just trying to reach out to the northeast corner of the United States now, sales that I can’t get in places like Dallas. The first time I set up in Dallas, someone came by in a suit

and said, ‘You need to start marketing in Philly. You’ll sell your stuff here, but you’ll never get where you want to be.’ It took me another three years to research and produce for the market in Philly, creating new designs that I felt were good enough to compete with the high-dollar artists.” Kroesche’s research and creation has paid off: The BMAC isn’t your average craft show. “It’s a jurored show,” Kroesche explained. “I have to submit photographs to ensure that I have the quality of work to fit there, and the buys are subjected to be jurored as well. It’s not a gift shop atmosphere: it’s for galleries, upper-scale stores, people who want to buy handcrafted American art, made by Americans. They don’t want to buy stuff from Mexico, China, or Taiwan: they can buy that anywhere!” Passionate about his country, Kroesche boasts his art as American by placing “Made in America” stickers on the back of each piece of his art. “Hey,” he laughed, “we still have the capability to do things here; we’re not just a lazy country. Granted, it’s a world economy, and the countries of the world have to help each other. But when we give our jobs to China and have poison in our dog food and lead in the toys we give our children, there’s not a lot of trust in that. We need to build America, and take a little more pride in America and in our jobs, to make sure that we have our own economy working for us. That’s why I use made in America stickers on the back of every piece of all of my products, and have been doing so for the past 8 months now. A lot of times, people will look at the sticker, and even if they don’t like the art as much, if they see it was made in America by an American, it gives them a sense of pride in buying an American good.” More than just selling his American art, Kroesche also donates to the CCA, to Wurstfest for college scholarships, and “to any organization that needs my help,” he said. Kroesche believes strongly in helping others, and hopes that he can help as much as possible through his artwork.

“I love to do it,” Kroesche ultimately stated. “It’s a very dirty, hot process, especially this time of year when it’s 102 degrees, I’m sitting by a fire turning steel blue; it’s probably 150 degrees or more next to where I’m working. I’ve had to learn that you can’t do it all, and that’s what’s very hard about it. A small guy like me, I do everything from design and ideas to manufacturing to sales. Everybody says that it must be nice to work for yourself and have your own business, but very few people have an idea what’s involved. It’s a lot of work; it’s a full time job: I’ve got taxes to pay, I’ve got insurances, and I’ve got customers to work with.” With local stores, walk-in customers can find a variety of Hill Country pieces—such as stars, crosses, and other local flora and fauna—or request a consultation for a custom order. You can find Kroesche’s art locally at Lone Star Country Goods and Gruene Outfitters in Gruene, at The Gingerbread House in Bandera, at Country Home Furniture in Bulverde, and at Valeskas Inc. in Fredericksburg; you can visit his website,, to place orders or request custom work online. “I want to make sure my art makes my customers completely satisfied,” Kroesche emphasized. “That massproduced, commercial-type art: I can’t compete with it; I don’t want to compete with it. I like to take a challenge from a customer of something they want, and give them exactly what they wanted on their wall. There’s a great sense of pride when you make something with your own hands, and someone pays you with their hardearned money and hangs it on the wall in their home and brags to their friends about it. There’s a lot of gratification in that; it’s what keeps pushing me forward.”



e to

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winner of two GSABA Summit Awards It’s been a busy year for local Interior Custom Designer Catrina Hoelke and Custom Home Builder Steve Essick. Their artistic designs captured the eye of judges once again taking home the prestigious Summit Award for 2009 Best Product Custom Design $751,000 - $1,000,000 and 2009 Best Interior Custom Feature Design Treatment. The Summit Awards is the Association’s premier annual event recognizing the outstanding achievements of its Builder and Associate members. The Greater San Antonio Builders Association’s 1000+ Associate and Builder members recognizes the best in residential Builders, Architects, Sales and Associates who have made a significant and creative contribution in residential development. Judges from across the country score each entry, narrowing the field to one winner for each category. Working together Essick and Hoekle have created a one of a kind dream home. The 2009 award winning home is graced with rich colors and elegant features that helped to capture the Tuscan feel that Catrina and Steve were striving to achieve. “Creating the interior design and ambiance of an Essick Enterprise home is a joy for us. The natural stones, Tuscan designs and attention to detail in each Steve Essick home mesh beautifully with the elegant hill country interiors that we provide at Catrina’s at the Ranch,” said Catrina Hoekle. The duo is no stranger to awards having previously won in years past. Essick stated, “Each year we make a commitment to continue creating the best and most beautiful home that we can going above and beyond from the year before. To have that effort acknowledged through such a prestigious award means a great deal to me and my team.”

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schoolhouse rock

y the end of August, when Sears had its back-to-school sale and we were all herded down to Central Park Mall with every other kid in South Texas and where, despite our pleading to be costumed like the Jackson 5, we were invariably outfitted in striped shirts and corduroy pants more befitting Bert & Ernie, no self-respecting kid would admit it, but we were all secretly looking forward to going back to school. By the time, the week before Labor Day, we were marched to the Winn’s store to load up on school supplies, we were actually excited for the first time since that day in May when the last bell rang on the last day of school and we erupted out the school doors in a cacophony of shrieking and a storm of loose-leaf paper.  After all, summer was played out by the end of August.  We’d been to the Boerne Pool often enough that our ear infections were more or less permanent and our hearing was in danger, and we’d slopped around in enough stock tanks that we ought to have been good and dead of Staph, if not Ebola.  We’d been dragged kicking and screaming to Vacation Bible School and even when we were finally old enough not to have to go anymore, mom signed us up as volunteers.  We’d been halfway across the country in the backseat of an un-air-conditioned car with our butts not three inches away from the butts of our siblings, having perfected the art of mental torture so that we knew just exactly how far we could go before our parents snapped.  We’d ridden our bikes enough miles to get us back and forth to the moon at least five times and we’d just run out of things to do.  Those August days were the dog days.  We could actually feel ourselves getting stupider with each re-run of Gilligan’s Island.  We were ready.  It was time.  So: here’s to school, gentle reader. In the fall of 1857, public school officially started up in Boerne.  Up until then, it had been a matter of private education and tutors, or more often no education and your parents making you read the Bible by candlelight (I made that last part up). But in 1857, a guy named Herman William Toepperwein, a 20 year-old German immigrant who was only six years out of the mother country, became the first public school teacher in Boerne.  He was married to a gal named Amalie Luckenbach, and he had command of a one-room log cabin schoolhouse and 19 students from nine different families: Baumann, Bergmann, Hagemann, Pfeiffer, Schaefer, Stephan, Theis,

By Marjorie Hagy

Vogt and Wendler. Amazing how many of those names survive in Boerne today, 152 school-years later.  The old log cabin was located on what is now Blanco Street, but was moved at some unknown date to the corner of Graham and Herff Streets in the Flats, where it is now used as a house.  Yeah- it’s still there!  For his services, Herman was paid $25 a month. In the 1870s, a new 2-room rock schoolhouse was built on the big hill on present-day Blanco Street, right behind our Boerne City Hall.  This was where the older kids went, and they built a wood-frame building just in front of it for the lower grades.  In 1911 a new, 2-story limestone block building was built, and that’s what became the City Hall & Utilities building.  The wood-frame schoolhouse was moved from that location to the corner of Hosack and O’Grady, also in the Flats, and from that time it became the Boerne Colored School, later called the Royal School.  It is also still standing, also in use now as a private home.  In 1915, Boerne High School graduated six seniors in a ceremony at the Metropolitan Opera House here in town.  In 1924, the PTA— already established at that early date—first launched the Boerne School Lunch Program, and by 1956 was serving an average of 360 meals a day.  It wasn’t until 1949 that the School Board voted to purchase three school buses and thus began the district’s transportation system—of which I would later be one of many victims.  Old Bus 6, which was my own particular cross to bear, was a sort of rolling house of horrors, that sounded of unearthly shrieks and moans and smelled like one hundred dirty feet and a couple of sack lunches that went bad last semester.  Ugh– I still wake up screaming.  In 1929, the student population having outgrown the 2-story Blanco Street building, a new high school was constructed on Johns Road and the newly-named School Street, what is now Boerne Middle School North.  Up until 1937, no electives were offered at the high school, but in that year Vocational Agriculture was added. In 1938 the Board voted to offer Home Economics, and a cottage was raised on the campus for that program.  In my time at BMS, the Home-Ec cottage had been joined to the main building and served as the library, and in my kids’ day, it was the office.  When I went to school there, the office was in the middle of what we called the Main building,

across the hall from the entrance to the auditorium, and the receptionist, the principal, the teachers and any other adult who wanted to all smoked like exhaust valves in there. When they slid open that little glass window you could get a mean nicotine buzz.  The Ag Building was constructed in 1941 under the National Defense Program, and later became the art building. At some point the Boerne Lions Club built the lighted athletic field at the high school campus, that later became the Gordon D. Leesch Memorial Stadium, after the Boerne native who was killed in Korea.  In 1939, the School Board purchased the land across Johns Road from the High School from the Lohmann estate for $2000, for the purpose of building a new grammar school, and the new school was built (which is now the oldest part of Fabra Elementary School). By 1951, all the schools in the so-named Boerne County Line Independent School District were located along Johns Road, and the 1911 schoolhouse on Blanco was sold to the City of Boerne for $20,000. The

total school enrollment for the district in 1956 numbered 772 kids, of whom 190 were high school students, and seven attended the Colored School. Boerne Schools also employed a superintendent, three principals and 31 teachers, and that year, for the first time, a high school counselor; also, five lunch-ladies and three janitors.  In 1967, 50 acres of land on the Herff estate were donated to the school district by the Herff twins, Caroline Kennon and Juanita Chipman, as a site for a brand-new high school.  But it wasn’t all smooth-sailing…not in Boerne of course.  The newspapers in those days were full of controversy, with different factions taking out ad space and letters to the editor getting increasingly nasty as the bond election in the amount of 1.3 million dollars approached in May of 1970.  Some letters pointed out how ridiculous it was to locate the new high school “out in the middle of the woods” and “so far away from town,” and others cited the necessity of building a new “T-shaped” road to access the site.  There were allusions to crooked school board members, city councilmen and contractors advancing the cause in order to line their own pockets.  Nevertheless, the bond issue passed and the new school was eventually built, and dedicated in a Sunday ceremony on March 12, 1972, at which U.S. Senator John Tower held forth.  The 408 administrators, teachers and students of BHS had moved to the new campus the previous Monday. They had begun classes on March 6, 1972, in the “eleven very attractive new buildings on North Esser Road.”  The new “ultra-modern” Boerne High School was designed to resemble a college campus, with its detached science, business, language, social studies, home economics buildings, etc.: 62,000 square feet connected by walkways under the oak trees and paths radiating out from its central administration building.  Eight of the buildings were air-conditioned, which was a switch, let me tell you, because the old schools on Johns Road definitely were NOT.  There was also a gym, two vocational shops housing the auto mechanics program and Vocational Ag, a 5-hole golf course and a 440-yard oblong track with plans to build a football field in the future.  An aerial shot of the new high school campus taken in April 1972 shows the buildings clustered in their splendid isolation, so far away from town and, indeed, in the middle of the woods.  That’s where I graduated, from that ultra-modern campus, in 1982.  As I used to say: Class of 82– Totally AWESOME!  God help me, I was a hick from the sticks, trying to talk like a valley girl.  Confession is good for the soul.

Up until school consolidation in the 1950s, there were also a whole lot of rural schools scattered all over Kendall County. In the days before automobiles, and then before reliable roads were paved, all the little communities dotted around the big, old county were distinct and autonomous; what are now the names of roads or half-forgotten, vague places were then little villages with a store and a school and a cluster of houses, farms, and their own family names.  The Pleasant Valley School, on what is now Hwy 46, was one such school, first located on the Joe Nickel ranch and moved, plank by plank, in 1887 to its new location on the hill, onto an acre of land donated by R.W. Whitworth.  It was an 18’ x 20’ wood-frame building onto which a porch was added in 1906, with two outhouses and a pump.  When the schools were consolidated in the early 50s, the Panther Creek Schoolhouse, where many of the children of the cedar choppers attended, out on Kendalia Road near Bergheim, was moved to the site and joined to the Pleasant Valley School.  Kids continued to go to school there up until the late 50s, and after that the schoolhouse was donated by the Whitworth heirs for use as a community center.  In the early days of the Pleasant Valley School, the term only ran from October til May, and only went through the 8th grade.  One early student had to pass by Indians on his way to school.  During WWII the school closed down, from May 1944 until the fall of 1947, as the teachers all went to help with the war effort, many at Camp Bullis.  One of the teachers at the Pleasant Valley School, Joyce Rust, was a student there herself, like her father before her.    The Balcones School, built around 1876 on Scenic Loop Road overlooking Balcones Creek, also still stands and is in use today as a church and American Legion hall.  In fact, it doubled as a church from the very beginning, and parties, dances and BBQs were held there too.  The oneroom, one-teacher, wood-frame schoolhouse was built by Daniel Perrin, maternal grandfather of the late Harry Davis, and when a second room

was added, Harry’s mother, Minnie Perrin, taught there, from 1905-1910. The Balcones School enrollment lists Perrins, Beaths, Voges and Georgs, descendants of whom still live in these parts.  Students from the Fincke and Ertel families attended here, along with pupils from the former Hastings School, located 3.5 miles west of Boerne on the Bandera Road.  Opened in April 1898, the Hastings School was in the English Colony, whose people did not hold with the practice of teaching, at least half the time, in the German language.  This was actually a big controversy in the old days.  The Upper Balcones School was also predominately English, and when Hastings closed because of low attendance in 1919, its students joined with those at Upper Balcones.  In 1953, it was absorbed into the BISD.  The Kreutzberg School was another one-room, wood-frame place, built on Zoeller property off 474 and Kreutzberg Road.  It had eight benches and sat 32 students.  In 1898, subjects taught there included arithmetic, composition, grammar, reading, writing and physiology, and the teacher, JP Corley, earned $33.50 a month.  There were other one- and two-room schools all over Kendall County, including Cedar Grove, out near Bergheim, which also served the children of the charcoal burners, Sheppard Creek School in Kendalia, Wasp Creek and Waring and Sisterdale Schools, where generations of Langbeins, Gourleys, Schuchardts, Edges, Herbsts, Woolschlaegers, Ammanns and Bergmanns came of age.  Many, if not most, of the schools had their corresponding “colored” schools; there were Kreutzberg, Wasp Creek, Welfare and Simmons Creek Colored Schools.  The Boerne ISD was not integrated until February 13, 1963, when federal law mandated the policy. So there’s a part of the story of school in Boerne, to get you into the mood for another school year.  If you’re getting down about having to go back, count your blessings: you don’t have to evade Indians to get there; teachers aren’t allowed to snatch you outside and wail you with a stick anymore; and—far and away, more important than anything else—now they air-condition the place.

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Welcome Home


Lea Townh se a o Shop S me or pace



Come home to Boerneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s newest gated townhome community filled with tons of Boerne charm, where we pride ourselves on excellence and customer service. Enjoy living in a beautiful townhome and walk over to use the swimming pool, hot tub, BBQ area and 24-hour fitness center. Meet your neighbors at Bingo night or enjoy the shops of Stone Creek Plaza. We are just a few blocks north on Main Street from Boerneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Main Square and a short drive to IH-10. Hope to see you soon, and remember to be a great neighbor wherever you are! &E5SFWJOP .BOBHFS *Restrictions apply

Back to School AppleTree Day School in Boerne is completing its â&#x20AC;&#x153;Fun in the Sunâ&#x20AC;? Summer Camps and preparing for its back-to-school programs. Our schools are locally owned and operated and are open year-round. We provide before and after school care and transportation to all elementary schools in Boerne, Fair Oaks Ranch, and the Geneva School.

Always compare Apples to Apples!

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Just Off IH10 - Exit 543 18 Scenic Loop Rd. Ste. 100, Boerne, Texas 78006 | 830-981-4343 | Full and P/T programs available â&#x20AC;˘ Government Aid Accepted â&#x20AC;˘ Secure web-based cameras in every classroom for parents to observe 26

EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County.

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For Sale:

$410,000 - This beautiful property has 4.76 acres in Stagecoach Hills off Boerne Stage Road. There is a home with approx. 2600 s.f. of living area and an attached 2 car garage, plus a large shop (20x48) detached. The house has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths and is fenced with an automatic gate. Truly a showplace!

$515,000 - FANTASTIC PROPERTY in River Mountain Ranch! Look at this! 8.85 acres on a cul-de-sac with great views! Add to that, a heated pool, beautiful ranch-style house with approx. 2700 s.f., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, office/ study, covered porch, extra large garage, and did I mention the views!? Wood floors, beadboard ceilings, and so so much more!

$155,000 - PRICE REDUCED! Very nice home in town near p. o., schools, main street shops and restaurants, very convenient. This home has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and approx. 2000 s.f. of living space, with a large fenced back yard. Owner says “SELL SELL SELL”! So, BUY BUY BUY!!

$495,000 - Fair Oaks Ranch - 4 bedroom, 4 bath home with approx. 3600 s.f. of living area and a 3 car garage. This home has a large fenced yard and covered patio. There is also a study/office downstairs with an adjoining full bath. Laminated floors compliment the wood and ceramic floors throughout. Lots of extras!

$259,000 - 4 bedroom, 2 bath home in Chaparral Creek. Approx. 2500 s.f. of living area on 1/4 acre lot near downtown shops and restaurants. Separate dining room and breakfast area. Master bedroom downstairs. Gallery entrance. Screened porch. Large fenced backyard. 2 car garage. Owner will consider 1 year lease at $1500.

For Lease: $795 - Burning Tree Condos - 2 bedroom, 2 bath covered parking, fireplace, approx. 1000 s.f. living area

$1300 - Boerne Heights - 3 bedroom, 2 bath, 2 car garage, office/study, approx. 1520 s.f.of living area. $4700 - Fair Oaks Ranch - 5 bed, 4.5 baths, approx. 4578 s.f. of living area, 3 car garage. 3 living areas, separate dining room and breakfast room, granite countertops in kitchen, double ovens, gas cook top. Gameroom has surround sound. Heated pool with adjoining spa. Lot is .68 acres, fenced. Owner will pay pool maintenance, lawn service, pest control and maid service 2x month! All Boerne Schools.

$3950 - Cordillera Ranch, fully furnished. 3800 s.f., heated pool, 3.37 acres. 4 bedrooms, 3 full baths and 1 half bath; study/office, 2 eating areas, 2 living areas. 2 year lease available.

$850 - 2 bed, 2 bath duplex

$1375 - Boerne Heights - 3 bedrooms, 2 bath, 2 car garage, approx. 1625 s.f. of living area. Clean, wellmaintained by owner, ready to go!

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Growing Perspective

By Jon Whitaker

reve r se psychology All you need to do is drive down the street these days and it becomes painfully obvious that we are in the throws of summer in south Texas. Crunchy, sun-scorched lawns and vegetation as far as the eye can see. This season, more than any, reminds us that we live on the edge of a desert, and I believe it to be one of the most beautiful, mysterious, and wonderful regions on this continent. A thin long oasis of Hill Country with rolling hills and live oak truly is a blessing to be a part of. But it does come at a cost (a.k.a. extreme heat), and demands our respect at this time of year. The question is, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Do we embrace this, or fight it?â&#x20AC;? I believe we embrace it and ask ourselves the appropriate questions to learn how to adapt to this truth: â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hot in Texas.â&#x20AC;? By doing this, it can free us from the traditional thought that landscaping can only look a certain way. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to share with you alternatives to watching your lawn turn into hay, or irrigating so much that it becomes unnatural, un-regional, or unreasonable. The truth can set us free in many cases, and this is no exception. Using these challenges as questions, we can create opportunities to think of landscaping our yards in new and bold ways.

The typical landscape design goes something like this: planting beds and plants pushed right up against the home, and most of the time a few years after planting they are growing right into the homeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s exterior. Next, the lawn covers about 65-70% of the yard space and is usually exposed to the scorching rays of summer sun. Then, hopefully a few mulched planting beds add some interest. Now, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s nothing wrong with this approach, but I feel that it does not embrace the challenges set in front of us by the scorching Texas summers. What I am proposing is at bit more daring. What if we inverted or reversed the way we think of landscaping? Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s start by moving the planting beds away from the house and giving the vegetation some room to grow, exposing them to the full wrath of the South Texas sun. This would allow for more opportunity to use native plants and lots of them! Ornamental grasses, sages, flowering bushes, and rock could fill these beds and add wonderful color, texture, and depth. Also, it would soften the space between the street and the home, by giving it a more natural, three-dimensional look. Then, take the lawn and put it up against the house, where it could find more shade. It would be more accessible, interesting, and usable, while

August 2009

taking up about 30-40% less of the yard than it originally did. And finally picking one area to make a centralized turf grass social/ play area that could be used for pleasure, cutting, watering, etc., and the rest of the turf grass around the house could lead to this centralized space. Basically concentrating the areas and defining them: turf grass area for regular use; planting areas are for nature; a main lawn area for designing, grooming, and entertaining. By doing this, you could drastically cut your outside water consumption, and allow for a moisture- and bug-barrier between the plants and the home. Also, by pushing the plants away from the house, the architecture of the home would become more exposed and less cluttered. Now, I know what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m suggesting seems a bit radical, but if you consider it for a moment, it really is quite simple and more natural. I do know Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve thrown a lot at you, but I believe we are ready. And, of course, this would not be right for every application or homeowner. Maybe using 100% of these ideas would also not be the right balance; maybe only using some aspects of it just for fun or experimentation could be worth the effort. Just imagine how interesting this would look if an entire street approached theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re landscaping this way. As you passed by each home, you would notice lush native plants, with architecture exposed, and clear definition between nature and usable space, lush and green grass protected from the harsh Texas sun, and native plants doing what they do best: being natural. Be Well, Jon


hill country


By Steve Ramirez

There is something primal about digging your paddle into the water and propelling your spirit forward. I remember in my youth, the pirogue slicing through black African waters across the lagoon and past the crocodiles. It felt like adventure. Later in life, my canoe drifted across a mountain lake. It felt like serenity. This morning, as our kayaks launched into the Guadalupe River under the cypress trees and past the feeding white-tailed deer, it felt like home. There is a natural rhythm to the action of paddling a kayak. When you paddle a kayak down a Texas Hill Country river, it feels right. You can almost see the cares of the “civilized” world as they sit on the shoreline watching you leave them behind; you drift with the current, and you do not look back. Today I shared this journey with my daughter Megan. She has an adventurous spirit. She really had no choice in the matter. It was genetics, karma, or both. The poor girl is doomed to a life of exploring, experiencing, and living. It is a shame what parents do to their kids. This morning she did not seem to mind as we paddled along tree-lined riverbanks and listened to the birds’ morning songs. When we reached a patch of mild rapids, I could see her power up through them and I knew she was having fun. I think she even forgave me for waking her up before sunrise. Guiding us along the river was Ben Munoz of Guadalupe Canoe Livery (830-885-4671). This stretch of river was new to us and Ben had volunteered to give us the tour, pointing out where he and GCL owner Bill Johnson had seen a flock of wild turkey the day before. Ben, also a former Marine, was a gracious host as we paddled along the Guadalupe. Occasionally we would slow our progression to share our impressions of a tree, rock formation, or the river. For the most part, we just paddled in silence. When you are out in the subtle beauty of the Texas Hill Country, not much needs to be said. In parts of the river, we paddled rhythmically, in the circular fashion of the kayaker through the glassy water. Wild flowers grew along the banks. Cardinals sang as kingfishers fished. Mayflies hatched near the shoreline. Guadalupe bass jumped into the air, perhaps to catch the mayflies, perhaps because it was fun. Map turtles slid from their sunny places as a soft-shelled turtle sniffed the morning air. A herd of Axis deer stood silently watching as we passed them by. At every turn, the hill country showed us something new—a window into what goes on while people waste time and money at the mall. In other places, the river narrowed. The current quickened and we paddled with intensity partially to power through the rapids, and partially because it was fun. We stopped along a gravel bed to survey a section where the rapids rushed under two fallen trees. After a brief survey of the river and the obstacles, Ben pointed out where we would need to “do the limbo” under the fallen trees while keeping our kayaks pointed downstream between the rocks and powering through the rapids. We got back in our kayaks and as we launched I heard Megan say, “Excellent!” We each smiled and laughed our way down the rapids, under the trees, and through the rocks. Half way through one set of rapids, Megan was spun around. She has some experience at white water canoeing and actually cut through one set of fast water backwards to avoid being tipped. I have experience at laughing at myself, which really came in handy as I zigged when I should have zagged and almost swamped my kayak. The thing about the rivers in the Texas Hill Country that makes them great is that they are both serene and fun. Under normal conditions, there is just enough water to give you both the calm stretches where you can take in the scenery, and faster, class II rapids that are just plain fun.

Hill Country Rivers include the Guadalupe, Medina, Llano, Nueces, Frio, Sabinal, Pedernales, Blanco, Lampasas and the San Gabriel. Just to the west of the Hill Country is the Devils River, which is wild, scenic, and eventually meets the Rio Grande at Lake Amistad National Recreation Area. Each of these rivers has some service available, either a full service kayak/canoe rental/shuttle, or one that will shuttle you and your vessel from point to point. On this trip, we chose to run the Guadalupe from Spechts Crossing to the Guadalupe Canoe Livery docks at Hwy 281. This is a trip of about three hours and was perfect for an early summer morning. I grew up paddling a canoe, but this was my first time with a kayak. If you have ever wondered if paddling a kayak is rocket science: don’t; it’s easy. Because the water is often very shallow in places, “sit on top” kayaks are prevalent in the Texas Hill Country due to the fact that they have less draft than the “cockpit” style. A kayak feels like something you are wearing that floats. It is as if you have inflatable pants. You get to feel the river, and the motion of paddling a kayak is circular, natural, and serene. Canoes work very well on our rivers, again because they have a shallow draft. Whenever I paddle a canoe, I feel like a pioneer. It feels adventurous. And, it is a lot better use of my limited lifetime than sitting on the couch watching reruns of shows that weren’t any good the first time. This leads to another great benefit of getting off the couch and enjoying the Texas Hill Country outdoors; you can burn a calorie or two and have fun doing it. The wonderful thing about rivers is that they connect things. Rivers connect us to moments in time. As I paddle my kayak along the Guadalupe, I am reminded that Comanche braves, Confederate soldiers, Texas Rangers, and intrepid homesteaders all watered their horses here. You have to think about that, because otherwise you would never know it; they never threw a beer can in the water. They only left the tracks of their horses, and perhaps a memory or two. I like that about those who came here before me, and I hope to do the same for those who will come after me. Our Texas Hill Country rivers deserve to be treated kindly. After all, they are teaching us all the time. Life flows, is transient, movable, uncertain, beautiful, at times turbulent, giving, and in the end….it does not end; it just changes course. A green heron watches me suspiciously, as I pass slowly by. He is still catching his breakfast while I’m beginning to think about lunch. High on a hilltop overlooking the river is a ranch house from which emanates the sweet smoky smell of a brisket being born. I fight my primal urge to paddle for the shore, climb the hill and ask, “What’s cooking?” In the distance I can hear the sound of “civilization” intruding, and in that moment I know that our journey is about to end. Like taking the last sip of a very good bottle of wine, it’s best not to lament the ending; instead I feel fortunate to be truly alive and know that the memory of this adventure will belong to Megan and me for at least this lifetime. I know that we will never forget laughing as we ran down the rapids or feeling blessed as we watched the deer as they watched us. We will never forget the feeling of launching into the river or the beauty of the Texas Hill Country that surrounded us. Funny, I can’t remember a single thing about any of my past trips to a shopping mall.


By Kendall Aaron

My wife thinks I’ve lost my mind. I want to throw my TV away. I know that most guys would break out in a cold sweat at the thought of not being able to catch the football games on their 51” HDTVs, but I’ve come to believe that my tv is a source of evil. Maybe “evil” is a bit dramatic, but I’ve begun to eyeball my tv when I walk past it as an enemy of my family. Before you brand me as crazy as my wife has, let me explain. I’m 33, which makes me a relatively young man still, but when I was growing up, I had 3 tv channels. They were on an old Zenith TV, and you had to manually turn the knob on the front of it to switch through six channels of fuzz to get to the next station. You had to hit it real hard on the side sometimes when the sound quit working. And, as a kid, rarely was there anything worthwhile on TV. We had the Saturday morning cartoons, but outside of that, it seemed like every time I turned on the tv, all I could find was “soaps”, talk shows, or the news. As a kid, this was no good. So I did the unthinkable. I turned off the tv and went outside on our 10 acres and did “stuff”. I climbed trees, shot my bb gun, and played

in the creek behind our house. I rode our horse, explored, and watched the clouds. As I grew older, I watched sports on Saturdays, but when you don’t even have cable, there were only a few games on per season. My kids have almost 200 channels of tv. They have about a dozen channels devoted exclusively to them. From BAM!, to BOOM, to Nickelodeon, to the Disney Channel… they can turn on the tv 24 hours a day and find dozens of shows playing that they love to watch. But even the shows are different. I was telling someone in the office the other day about my all-time favorite cartoon, Tom and Jerry. This was good ol’ fashioned silly violence. It was hysterical. Now cartoons have “morals” and “lessons” that the kids must learn. They’re no fun anymore, but sure enough, there’s my kiddos sitting there slack-jawed watching mindless TV. And it’s driving me nuts. As parents, we are bombarded as well. I have 7 different HBOs to choose from. 6 different news channels that remind me of everything wrong in the world. It never stops. I know more about what’s wrong than I ever wanted to know. And so as I’ve begun to look at this situation, I am beginning to see how out of control it is. Why do we allow something so intrusive to take our precious family time from us? Most nights I can look around our family room, and find one person playing a video game on a handheld system, one person watching mindless tv, while yet another is arguing over changing the channel to something equally as useless. Why aren’t we playing a board game? Why aren’t we going for a walk? Why aren’t we out watching the sunset? Why aren’t we spending time as a family? And because of all that, I want to chunk my TV. God didn’t design us for this, in my humble opinion. Our families are our strength and our shields. They help mold us into the people we are to become, and are the ones to catch us when we fail. They are our most precious gifts from God, and ones to not be squandered by spending hours a day staring blankly at a TV. I know it’s a lot easier to settle into our chairs, fire up a movie, and spend two hours before bedtime unwinding, but tell me what your kids will remember – the time you spent together as a family, or the latest “Ice Age” movie you rented? Surround yourself with your families and make it a mission to shield them from all of the negativity that your TV can allow into your world. Make memories together, and cherish the time you have. Just as with your own life, cherish the gifts from God and make every effort to use time to glorify God. I don’t think I’ll win my argument for tossing the TV. Besides, there is a good game on this weekend.

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August 2009 EXPLORE it! The REAL Kendall County. 2 C U S T O M H O M E S Essick Enterprises • • 210-710-0988 • www.essickho...