Bravo! your articles on wildflowers in the March issue were outstanding. I only wish more parents would stop long enough in their busy lives to expose the beauty of wildflowers to their children.
There was an omission of one of the “pioneers” who made wildflowers a large part of his life. I am referring to Carroll Abbott from Kerrville. He was one of the first people to mention that developments and concrete were encroaching on the wildflowers’ habitat.
Rose Morrow Schroeder
I am a fifth-generation texan from Fort Worth transplanted to cold Minnesota, and I found Skip Hollandsworth’s “Blue Period” [March 1997] and the description of several other bluebonnet painters enjoyable. I wanted to mention another artist, Ms. Belle Austin, who lived across the street from us in Fort Worth. She was one of those quiet, diligent painters of bluebonnets and other wildflowers from the time she was a child till her last breath at age 99. A painting of hers once hung in the Capitol in Austin, and we have several of her paintings gracing our home in Minnesota.
I am confused as to whether “Blue Period” was intended to be about “Texas’ most famous living” bluebonnet artist and his beautiful work or Mr. Hollandsworth’s personal views on bluebonnet artwork. Mr. Hollandsworth seemed to have an agenda to bash bluebonnet paintings and W. A. Slaughter happened to be the unfortunate soul who was the focus of the article. Throughout, Mr. Hollandsworth pounded into the reader that “art critics may roll their eyes” at bluebonnet art and consider it “calendar art.” Texans are proud of their state, and Mr. Slaughter portrays its landscape like no other. Not only does he capture the Hill Country, but he also brilliantly depicts a variety of landscapes, from the Texas Coast to Palo Duro Canyon. He has brought the beauty of Texas to thousands of people, including admirers from all over the world. Mr. Slaughter deserves more respect than he received.
Kevin J. Harris
Pay to Play
Paul burka says that owners can’t afford new stadiums [Reporter: “In Play,” March 1997]. Just take a few million from each player’s salary. Some may have to cut back on wine, women, and dope, but that will leave taxpayers out of their mess.
Thank you for the excellent piece on aphasia written by Jim Atkinson [Health: “Making Headway,” March 1997]. It is rare when a general readership magazine such as Texas Monthly attempts to educate the lay reader about the problems of language and motor loss after a stroke. I believe it is even more unusual for a writer with no previous knowledge of a complex and convoluted topic such as aphasia to attempt a self-study in the way Mr. Atkinson did. The piece on Carol Koschak ended up being informative and uplifting when, with a different emphasis, it could have been depressing.
Delaina Walker-Batson, Ph.D
The Aphasia Center, Dallas
IN RESPONSE TO “Dumped On” [Reporter, March 1997], I would like to offer more of the story. To begin with, there is the Texas Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal Authority, which you note has spent $10 million over the past fourteen years trying to open a dump, with the Sierra Blanca site being its fourth proposed location. A few years back Bill Cosby told an audience about how he learned to drive a car by hiring on as a hotel parking valet. After the first four or five fender benders during on-the-job training at other people’s time and expense, he was becoming a real expert! Are there parallels to be made here?
The radioactive waste disposal authority turned its attention to West Texas and state-owned lands near Fort Hancock after screening the state for optimum repository locations and having its first two preferred sites in South Texas defeated for being located on privately owned real estate. But there were inherent problems in locating a site in this basin and range province, where fresh surface water and groundwater regimes, active faults, and earthquake potential abound in places. By court decree the authority was directed to look elsewhere for a repository site.
The authority elected to repeat itself by moving thirty miles downriver from the Fort Hancock site —an area just south of Sierra Blanca where both surface water and groundwater are known to flow directly into the Rio Grande, where active faults are known to border the river and Hueco Bolson Graben nearby, and where local soil and sediment horizons show signs of earthquake failures. There are justifiable questions raised as to why the authority would continue to waste people’s time and money trying to license sites with critical flaws rather than look at other areas that have been called to its attention that appear to be safer and within regulatory guidelines: for example, sites on state-owned lands northwest of Van Horn, where Precambrian bedrock crops out, where intermittent surface drainages flow only into closed basins, where freshwater aquifers are deep and some distance away, and where most faults show no evidence of recent movement.
J. A. Tony Fallin
I’d like to add a few interesting tidbits to Anne Dingus’ piece on Susanna Dickinson [Last Page, March 1997]. Susanna was led to make a decision for Christ by Dr. R. C. Burleson, the founder of Baylor University. He baptized her in Buffalo Bayou near Main Street in front of 1,500 people. She was Mrs. Bells at the time. Dr. Burleson met her again in Austin during a revival meeting in 1862. Things apparently had settled down for her as she was married to Mr. Hannig. More about her and her Burleson connection can be found in the writings of Mr. Burleson.
You scooped us with your article covering our Zagat U.S. Hotels, Resorts, and Spas Survey [Reporter: “Low Talk,” February 1997]. Generally you were on target, except on one critical point: The seven-suite Hotel St. Germain in Dallas, despite a high rating, does not, as you reported, qualify as Texas’ best hotel. Only 18 surveyors voted on the St. Germain, which falls below our threshold for a ranking. In contrast, the top-ranked Mansion on Turtle Creek had 693 surveyors from around the country who spent roughly 1,400 room nights on which they based their ratings.
New York, New York